"Hey, Joe…Oh, NO!!"
A "Bicentennial Man"/"A.I." Crossover
By "Matrix Refugee"
The idea came to me as I was watching Bicentennial Man, which I saw after I'd seen "A.I." (which, to guess from the sheer number of fictions—mostly, like this one, Gigolo Joe fictions!—I've written based on it, is my all time favorite movie); as soon as Galatea the girl android showed up, and especially when she began to dance to the music playing from her own music centers, I wondered, "Hmm, where else have I seen something like this, only with better moves?" She's such a sex kitten for a metal-skinned robot that every time she was hanging all over Robin Williams's character, I expected her to try smooching him; so of course, I started wondering what kind of positronic fireworks would fly if she ever met the Other robot hottie (THE Robot Hottie, if you ask me [Thanks, Jude!]). I originally posted this idea as a simple message on Laurie E. Smith's "A.I." fanfiction message board on Yahoo!, and I was going to let someone else take it, since I have been "trying" to write some David fictions for a change; but at the urging of "trjessie", I have taken up my own challenge. TA DAAAAHHH! But please, no flames! I meant this in good fun.
Special Note on Semantics:
This story juggles the terminology of robotics, especially given the fact that I've combined two universes. "Robot" here means any artificial/mechanical humanoid in general. "Android" (or "droid"), a term used in Bicentennial Man, here refers specifically to a metal-skinned mechanical humanoid. "Mecha", a term used in "A.I.", refers explicitly to a silicon-based skinned mechanical human substitute which can easily be mistaken for a flesh and blood human ("Orga").
I do not own either Bicentennial Man, which is the property of Touchstone Pictures et al; nor do I own "A.I." which is the property of DreamWorks SKG, et al. I don't own the incidental song lyrics that appear, either. The only characters I own are Neve the Folksinger, Cecie Martin, and Dyckman. Also, I don't own the song lyrics that pop up here and there.
Rupert had brought some of Andrew's artificial organ designs up to the annual Roboticists' Convention and Trade Show in Albany. Of course many of the other designers and builders regarded the designs with mild curiosity and heavy skepticism. They'd already designed heartbeat and breathing simulators. And as for more personal organ simulators, Companionates and Cybertronics, the largest manufacturers of lover models had solved that difficulty a long time ago. But they didn't completely put down the designs; after all, an android had devised the designs, which made them worthy of note, or at least novelty. He'd expected that kind of response.
He'd brought Galatea along as his personal assistant, secretary and baggage carrier. Her data centers stored audio transcripts of the talks he'd attended and she could replay them word for word at a later time. Of course his friends in the industry who'd attended kidded him about "his girl". He'd rebuilt her to be female just to see if it could be done with a metal-body droid; he'd always been a little short in the hormonal department, even in high school, and he'd chosen to stay largely celibate to keep his mind and his hands free for his work. In college, he'd experimented with the crude early lover-Mechas, more to see how they performed than out of real lust; he hadn't been too impressed. They'd improved the design, but he had little interest in finding out for himself.
But after the conference, his old friend Dyckman prevailed upon him to come along with him to Rouge City, just over the Delaware, to see some of the newer models in action (or at least the trial vids).
"You should see the Sierra class models they brought in from Stockholm, whoa! You can barely tell they're really silicon and titanium underneath," Dyckman described as they drove up the road to Rouge City, through one of the viaducts shaped like a gigantic woman's head. "I bet your NDR model who did them designs would be interested—just for comparison, of course."
"Yeah, but they don't have organ simulacra."
"They got something like that, at least for…you know."
Rupert didn't think much of Rouge City: too crowded, too noisy, too much neon, too much sex. Everywhere you looked was some topless bar (or a bottomless one) or a peep show, or a XXX cinema or a cabaret.
Galatea followed them, carrying the bags as they headed for the Hotel Graceley, one of the few hotels that wasn't a hooker hotel. She'd never seen so many people together at once since her inception; then her positronic pathways logicked that most of them weren't really people: they were like her, except they had skin on them
As they entered the Graceley, a tall, slender, dark male figure swaggered out. Rupert looked at it.
"Is that one of them Swedish models?" he asked Dyckman.
Dyckman glanced at the figure that swung down the street. "Nah, that's a domestic model, a Companionates' JO-4379. But it's a good quality model for a Class VII. Loads of personality."
Something crossed Galatea's field of vision; she turned her head to follow it.
Even from the back, he looked gorgeous, and he walked to a beat all his own: lithe, cool, groovy, almost dancing. Her grip on the suitcases loosened as she strained her distance vision to follow him, till he was lost in the crowd.
BUMP! One of them fell to the floor. Rupert turned around as the other one fell. Galatea had her head turned away.
"Galatea, pick up those bags, please?" he said.
She turned back letting out a sigh as she picked the bags up and followed Rupert and Dyckman up to the hotel room.
When they got there, Rupert gave Galatea her next orders. "Okay. Dyckman and I are going out, so I want you to unpack the bags and put our stuff away in the closet and the dressers, Dyckman's in one, mine in the other. Got it, Galatea?"
"Okay!" she chirped.
When they had gone, Galatea sighed for a different reason than before, and opened the first suitcase.
When she finished, she decided to go out. Rupert hadn't given her specific instructions to stay in the hotel room, so she wasn't breaking Second Law. Now she could go find out what that hottie looked like from the front.
Neve the Folksinger stood at her usual place near Main Plaza, between Tails and Mildred's flung-back fiberglass head, singing her heart out and strumming her six-string guitar, a ditty of her own composition patched together from snatches of old songs, like the coat on her tiny frame was made of mismatched swatches of cloth she'd stitched and polymered together.
She gleefully changed her tune as a familiar, tall dark, handsome thing approached, pretending to avert his green eyes.
"I fell in love with you
First time I looked into
Them there eyes.
You gotta certain little
Cute way of flirtin' with
Them there eyes.
They sparkle, they bubble
They're gonna land you
In a whole lotta trouble.
You're overworking 'em,
There's danger lurking in
Them there eyes!"
He pretended to walk by her, hands in pockets, arms akimbo, but he hopped backward several steps till he came up before her and the guitar case lying open on the polymer pavement before her.
He drew one hand out of his pocket and, with a grandly surreptitious gesture, dropped a couple five copper pieces into the case.
"Hey, Joe, whaddya know—about time you paid the damages," Neve snipped, continuing to play.
"What damages, may I ask, could I possibly have caused?" he calmly asked with an innocent smile.
"Distracting me while I'm playing, so I end up singing drivel like that. You walk by and all I can think of is sentimental junk like that."
"Perhaps you would do better business if you varied your repertory with such songs." He dropped another coin into the guitar case before he turned and swaggered away into the thick of the night crowd.
Two guys, a tall thin one and a shorter, heavier one, walked by, talking what sounded like technical talk about Mechas. Must be designers, she thought. One of them, the shorter one, pulled a handful of loose change out of his pocket and dropped it into the case as they went by. A few other people, who'd paused to listen, added more contributions.
Then a tall, lean woman in a black trench coat and mirrorshades, topped off with a black fedora passed by in the footsteps of the designer guys. She stopped and jotted something on a pocket datascriber, then she reached into her pocket, extracted a few bills and put them in the case.
"Thanks," Neve said between chords. Then she looked closely at the woman. Oh, her.
Two men "talking shop" about Mechas. Is this genuine or just a scrim for what they're REALLY here for? (i.e. ooh, la! La!) No, the words they use are too big and techy sounding. Or are they real designers who are mixing pleasure and business? If so, they are doing themselves some harm by this kind of detachment. Sex with a Mecha is wrong, but are they making it worse by approaching it coldly and sterilely? C.S. Lewis contends we have to approach sex with joy, even playfulness, and I suppose this applies to those with fewer moral inhibitions. Gotta avoid relativism here…
Cecie Martin saved her notes and scanned the crowd on the plaza, looking for Joe.
To be continued…