By Icka! M. Chif

Something's wrong.

Wait, no... Nothing's wrong now. It was wrong earlier, but now it's right. I'm back to being myself. Rusty the Boy Robot. Emphasis on 'Robot', not boy. Had enough of that for one life time, thank you.

I didn't like being a boy, not one bit. Being all squishy and delicate. I couldn't even read a book without getting hurt! No, didn't like that at all.

But its all fine now. I can crash through walls, get hit by laser fire and loose my limbs without having to worry about it hurting. As it should be.

So why does it feel like I'm missing something? I can't quite seem to Power Down tonight. Well, true, I don't like to Power Down anyway, you never know what you're missing while you're down, but tonight my human emotion grid just won't turn off.

What am I missing?

I guess there were some good things about being human. I can now tell Jeffie that I like Nuttie Buddies. Dr. Slate let me try one, out of the vending machine. After I couldn't get the taste of quiche out of my mouth.

I don't like quiche. It's squishy in your hand, but it tastes bad. Must be a grown up thing.

Being able to feel things was kinda nice too. Not painful things, no. But other things, like how smooth the desk was. Or how squishy the quiche was. Before the bad taste. Skin is squishy too. It feels weird on me, it's better on humans.

Skin on humans is all soft and gentle. No wonder they don't like getting hurt. They're easy to break. Not like me!

It's different on humans too, it has different textures depending on where it is and their moods. When Dr. Slate touched my face, it was gentle, but kind of strong. Not strong like me or Big Guy, rip through walls without a second thought, but a different kind of strength. Like she knew I was hurting, and some how by touching it she could make it solid, make it go away. Usually her hands are gentle, but efficient. Like when she puts circuit boards together.

The skin on their face is even softer than their hands. I noticed that when Dr. Slate hugged me. Her cheek was on mine, where her hand had been. It was very soft, almost fuzzy. And she smelled kind of strange, like I think how a flower smells. But I don't know. I've never smelled a flower before. And that's silly. Flowers can't smell like humans.

I could feel her heart beat too, it was a bit faster than normal. I think she was worried about me. But she said that everything was going to be okay. And I believed her. She's my creator after all. She cares about me, even if she doesn't let me do stuff. And she was right. No more pain receptors!!

So what's this nagging feeling?

Maybe I can ask Dr. Slate. She'd probably know. Either that or tell me to go back to bed. She's like that. Jeffie says that his mom's like that too, so I guess it must be a human female thing.

She's in the lab, pouring over some data. Correcting it or something. I don't know. Most of the stuff she does I can't make heads or tails out of. But evidently she can. Go figure.

Hmm... heads or tails... maybe I could bug her into making me a dog to play with sometime...

"It's past your Power Down time, Rusty." She informs me without having to look up from her work. How she always knows I'm there will probably be one of life's greatest mysteries.

"I know." I float along side of her desk, so I can see her. "I just wanted to-"

I trail off, noticing how tired she looks. Like she's had a really long day. She looks up at me, a slightly impatient look on her face. "You just wanted to?" She repeats, exhaustion and patience colouring her voice.

The little nagging feeling finally blossoms into an idea. I smile at her. "Just wanted to wish you pleasant dreams." I say, floating lower and giving her a hug.

There's a slight pause, like she's hesitating, then she hugs me back. It's different now. I can't smell what she smells like now, and I can't feel her skin, but my sensors tell me it's the same as it was this afternoon. And somehow, that's re-assuring.

"Good night, Rusty." She says affectionately, rubbing the back of my head. "Now go to sleep. I'm going to bed shortly myself."

"Kay." I give her one last quick squeeze before letting go and floating back. The look on her face isn't so tired now, she looks a lot happier. She motions carelessly with a hand to go back to my room, a slight smile on her face.

I grin and follow orders, feeling a lot happier for some reason than I did a minute ago. And it's not because she didn't scold me for being up past Power Down.

I settle down on my bed and close my eyes. My mind isn't so full now, and it's willing to let me shut down now. But not for long. Tomorrow's another day, and there may be more Zencal out there for me and Big Guy to trash.

The last thought I have before shutting down is that maybe today really wasn't so bad after all.