─││││┌┌┌ 01-M15AK1 ┐┐┐┘┘┘└└└
"Move out of the way!" Usami shouted to the ragged-looking doll following him wherever he went.
He had been busy running after a deadline and this doll kept on following him like he was its mother.
Being a nuissance specially on the hallways got into the silverhaired man's nerves and before he knew it, he had pushed the doll by the head and off it went toppling down on the floor. With the doll's green eyes shining from the bulb above its head, it tried to get up on its own but couldn't.
"Thank you...thank you..." the doll said.
Yes, the doll was defective. Of all the dolls created by Marukawa Robotics Company, Series 01 M15Ak1 was the only defective one. It can only say two words. And that was "thank you".
"I really don't get why Marukawa is sending me these dumb robots!" Usami Akihiko grumbled while dragging a deep one from his cigarette. He was in the roof top together with her editor Aikawa, sipping a little of her tea, enjoying the summer breeze.
The woman glanced at the boy doll standing by the doorway gazing at Usami Akihiko. Looking at the doll designed to look as close to a human being as possible, no one would think that the "boy" was only a mechanical thing ran by a series of programs covered with aesthetics. Since Marukawa was a huge group of company from books to foods to engineering, the company sends the author some of its product so he could review it. Reviews coming from the number one author that time was a huge publicity.
"Sensei...I think he's really cute. Please don't be harsh to the boy..."
Aikawa felt bad about the android for some reason. Series 01 M15AK1 was a human android designed for old people in care facilities and people with disabilities so that these people could have their personal companions. These dolls usually could carry a normal conversation. And aside from charging them with electricity there was nothing that they needed.
Since the series number was hard to say, Usami turned the android's name to 'Misaki'.
Usami threw a spiteful look at the doll and snorted. "Cute? What part? He's only a nuissance around my flat. Not to mention he could only say 'thank you', 'thank you'. Is this the product Marukawa Robotics are taking pride of? How on Earth are they expecting me to release a review about that trash?"
Aikawa frowned at the author before motioning to the doll to come closer. "Hello? Misaki-chan right? That old guy there is scary, isn't he?" the woman cooed.
The doll wearing a pink jacket and denim trousers looked up at his "owner" and smiled. A smile that looked painful and slow but the face did turn into a smile. "Thank you...thank you..."
Sighing, Aikawa patted the chocolate hair of the doll and whispered to the boy's ears.
The doll just said his usual phrase.
"That reminds me sensei, since I reported this defect on the M15AK1 Series, they'd be sending another one. Apparently they already stopped doing his batch. They couldn't find where's the error about this one so they moved on to a different project. I heard they'd be sending you a new android."
Usami stubbed his cigarette and closed his eyes. "I wish they send me something that would be helpful. Something that could at least clean the house perhaps? And talk?"
The pendulum clock struck 12 and the dark flat was nothing but silent. The green eyed doll was wandering about the house of the author, picking up the dried leaves of the plant near the author's room.
Looking on both his sides, he entered the ajar door and soundlessly went to the author's huge bed. He stared at the sleeping face in the dark for a couple of minutes.
The doll almost jumped when his owner stirred from the bed. The author's blanket slipped down on the floor from his stirring. Staring at his half naked owner, Series 01 M15AK1 bended slowly and with his rigid fingers, picked up the blanket. Careful not to wake Usami up, the doll gently put it back on the man.
Satisfied with his good deed, the doll went out and looked for cleaning materials. He heard the word 'clean' earlier. He figured his master must have wanted him to clean something. And off the doll started scrubbing the floor with a very wet mop. And after he finished, the whole living area was soaking wet.
" .Heck?" Usami uttered, staring in disbelief at his living room that turned into pool that early morning.
"Misaki!" Usami shouted. "MISAKI!"
Being rigid, the doll moved as fast as he could but only did after three minutes was he able to face his calling owner. "What is this?!"
The doll looked around him. His eyes questioning. He thought he'd done 'cleaning' and he was actually hoping a praise, but his sensors had concluded that his master was very mad instead.
"What did you do? Shit," his lavender eyes were into slits as he roamed his eyes around his wet living room. He stared at it like it would go dry on its own. Aside from the fact that there were scratches on the floor, it smelled awful.
That was when the doorbell rang. The new companiondoll has arrived.
"Could you clean up this mess?" Usami Akihiko asked the new doll. It had blonde hair and blue eyes and was dressed in casual clothing too.
After the company technicians had turned the new doll on and running, Usami wanted nothing but to see something that actually works.
"Yes, of course sir. Right away," the doll named Aki answered.
Compared to Misaki, Aki could move more fluidly. The new doll could also talk as if like a normal human being and most of all, the doll was a great worker and cook. While Aki did what Usami Akihiko wanted, Misaki lost what little attention he was getting from his owner.
"Aki," Usami called. "My editor is currently sick so deliver those manuscripts on the table to Marukawa Publishing. Could you do that?"
The blonde doll nodded and took the manuscripts right away. Giving a haughty smile at Misaki standing by the corner.
Usami who was wearing a white cotton shirt for comfort sat on the sofa with his laptop on his lap. He figured its time to write a review about Series 02 AK1. He had no complaints about the doll and he was sure it would be a great help to the people in the home for the aged once it was officially released. On the other hand, since the company already stopped the production of Series 01 M15AK1, they didn't need any more reviews about that defective doll.
For a moment, Usami felt like the first doll that came to his apartment wasn't following him much lately. It was not that he missed it. More like he was thinking if he should just shut the doll off since it was useless in the first place.
"Misaki?" he called. And right away, the doll standing by the door moved as fast as he could towards his owner. His face looked happy. His eyes sparkly as if the gloom on its appearance disappeared. "Sit there."
The doll cocked his head for a while not knowing where to sit. On the table or on the sofa across the author?
Deciding to just sit on the low table, like a good kid, Misaki sat. He was eagerly waiting for a request from the man because lately, Usami called nothing but Aki everytime.
"Can you shut yourself on your own?" Usami asked with a straight face.
The doll shook his head very rigidly that Usami found it painful to look at. "Thank you...thank you..." the doll once more uttered.
"Ugh...does that mean you can't?" the man brushed his hair with his hand and sighed. "Come here and turn your back."
It took another three minutes before the doll was able to move to his owner and turn around. Without care, Usami pulled Misaki's shirt up and groped the doll's back.
"The switch should be here..."
At the skin contact, Usami was rather shocked that it felt real. The warmth from the skin coming from his defective doll was so very vivid that it was kind of creepy. He continued searching for the switch though but he couldn't find it. And as Usami was looking for the switch to turn the doll off, the doll was crying. Though there was no tears that fell from his eyes.
"Ah...I give up...maybe next time when Aikawa comes. Go and stand back there."
Politely, Misaki painfully wore his jacket back and slowly moved back to his spot beside the door. As if he was the unrecognized watch dog of the author's flat.
Each night, Misaki would go away from his spot by the door. At the time when his owner can't see, he would sneakily go into the man's room and always check whether the blanket was on or not.
That night, Usami was stirring so much and didn't realize that he was having a fever. The doll stared at his owner for a while before going out. And when he returned, he had icepacks and cool fever in a tray. And like what he was really supposed to do, cared for the sick.
"Huh?" Usami grunted, his head aching from the after effects of having a high fever that night. The cool fever on his head fell on his lap and the basin of water was there on top of his side table. And then a knock on the door came, revealing Aki with a tray of food.
Usami smiled and patted the doll on the head without saying anything. All the while Misaki was peeking at the space between the door and room, hoping for the pat of affection he had been waiting. But seeing his master being happy while patting that Aki, Misaki took his slow steps back on the side of the main door.
That afternoon, even though he was just out of a very sudden fever, the author had decided to go out and walk for a bit. He got some new changing clothes for Aki and out of pity, brought one shirt for the defective doll.
Warm breeze around him, Usami then decided to come back into his flat and just relax there. That was when Usami Akihiko noticed the door to his flat was open.
"What... I locked this before I went out..."
The author went into his flat slowly and cautiously. Feeling the wall, the man switched on the light and noticed his reliable doll Aki standing in the middle of the living room frozen. He ran towards it and patted the cold cheeks of the android. He had a sudden thought why Misaki had a warmer feel than Aki but the thing that caught his attention at that time was Aki's situation.
According to the wrist watch the doll was wearing he was still fully charged, how come the doll was as immobile as the dead?
At the blinking light of the wrist watch it said "safety mode".
"Safety mode?" the man repeated. His sharp mind ransacking the manual he had read about this series, O2 AK1s automatically shuts itself off when sensing danger.
"I knew it, someone's in the flat..." Usami darted his eyes at his door way and his useless Misaki was not there. "Great, that one must have shut off itself too..."
Not the least bit happy about having an intruder inside his flat, Usami ran up the stairs while dialling the number of the security downstairs with his phone.
"Oi! Show your damned self!" he shouted nearing his room. "Shit...my laptop...the new novel I was writing...I don't have any other copy of that yet..."
More than everything, the author was worried about his laptop being stolen. It was a precious thing for him as a writer and a person who seldom communicated with the outside world.
His lavender eyes into slits, he kicked open the door to his room and found an unconsious man lying on the floor. He moved towards the body and kicked the man's leg lightly. There was no response from the man although he didn't seem to be dead. He walked to the other side of his bed.
That was when he saw his defective doll Misaki on the floor, hugging his laptop tightly.
Usami didn't know what to feel at first for there was no response from the doll.
However, slowly, the brown head on the floor tried to look up with a creaking sound like something was broken.
With cautious moves, Usami kneeled before the doll. There was nothing that seemed to be wrong with the doll. His face was intact, his body parts looked fine.
"Misaki?" Usami called once more.
The doll on the floor extended the laptop to Usami as if telling him that he'd been trying to protect that thing with all his might. Once after the man had taken the device, the arms clinging to it fell on the floor with an ugly thud.
"Oi..." Usami touched the cheek of the doll. It was really warm.
"Thank you...thank you..."
"What on Earth are you thanking me for? Come on, stand up..." the silverhaired man hoisted the limp doll, trying to make it sit. Only to realize the huge broken part at the back side of the doll's head.
"Hey...we'll be able to fix it so hang in there okay?" Usami didn't like the blurry glint in those green eyes. True he wanted to shut the doll off, but properly. Not as a broken mannequin.
The sound of metals creaking from rigid joints echoed into Usami Akihiko's ears as he felt warm arms circle around his neck. He for the first time wondered if these android dolls could feel pain.
"Are you in pain?" he asked, going down the stairs. The sound of the security force's shoes of the condominium was already in his living room. "The guy's inside my room upstairs," he announced.
"Argh, don't do that, are you trying to choke me?" Usami muttered as the doll squeezed harder.
"Thank you...thank you..."
"Stop saying th-"
And then the doll went limp, catching Usami by surprise.
For a very weird situation having a burglar inside his flat, Usami wasn't even the least bit concerned about the man lying on his floor or what would happen to him. He could die and rot for all he cared. His attention surprisingly was all directed to the doll he always yelled at. To the doll he always told useless. To the doll he always called defective.
The limp doll slid down the sofa, not being able to steady itself anymore.
"Wait, are you out your battery?" he stood suddenly, looking around him. What should he do? As he was busy thinking, the wrist watch on Misaki blinked white.
"Program malfunction. Series 01 M15AK1 Unable to recover."
The man grabbed the thin wrist and looked at it and at the doll's face alternatingly. "Not being able to recover...Hey...Misaki...reboot."
"Thank you...thank you..."
"Stop saying THANK YOU and fucking Reboot!"
"Thank you...thank you..."
"Shit..." Usami stared at the doll helplessly. Looking at the doll, somehow, he was feeling so much guilty.
Misaki lifted one of his hand and grabbed his owner's. As if directing and leading Usami, the doll placed the huge hand on top of his head. That was when Usami started feeling a lump in his throat.
"What is it?" he asked quietly. "Want me to pat your head?"
The doll nodded.
"What an idiotic doll you are..." Usami said that, but slowly patted the doll's head for the first time. It's the first time I ever did this for you isn't it?
Without a voice coming from Usami, he mouthed "I'm sorry", which the doll saw vividly.
"Great job Misaki...you've done well..." he praised. For the first time too.
"Thank you...th-k u..."
On his living room, on the sofa was his Misaki doll lying dead. And Aki back on his "on mode". He and the police officers that came were in his CCTV room, investigating how the burglar was able to come in.
The police and Usami saw how Aki carelessly opened the door. The doll run away and went to safety mode in the middle of the living room. On the other hand, the man hadn't notice the other doll since it moved rather slowly and this doll followed the intruder up the stairs.
That was when the tug of war began with the high end laptop of the author. With the man having a baseball bat, he hit the doll with all his might, sending some screws and scraps of the aesthetics on the floor. But the Misaki doll wouldn't let go and instead threw the vase at the top drawer of his owner towards the man's head. It sent the intruder unconscious on the floor.
"Hey, look Sir, isn't your android typing something on your laptop?"
"Oh yeah... he is..." the other police agreed.
However, Usami's eyes were fixed at the huge monitor before him. The officers leaving the owner of the flat alone, Usami pressed on the 'backwards' button and hit the 'fast forward' after.
Misaki putting on his blanket.
Misaki rigidly picking up dried leaves.
Misaki just checking on him.
Misaki taking care of him when he was having a fever.
And Misaki, looking away when he patted the more useful doll "Aki".
After all the ruckus of the incident, Usami was there on his living room. He had shut Aki off and placed him on the side of the door. And beside him was the dead doll Misaki. He had tried to call Marukawa Robotics to fix the doll. But they said the parts they used for that doll was no longer being produced. And his software was different too.
In short, the doll, just like any other kind of doll would be like that. Unmoving, uncaring, just a decoration.
Sighing, Usami looked at the doll beside him, eyes open and unseeing. And most of all, the warmth was already gone.
"Why...do I feel like shit?"
He picked up his laptop one more time on the middle of his table and opened it slowly.
His breath was caught up in his throat and as if he lost his strenght in his body, he placed the device down. With his hand, he traced the doll's once warm cheek and patted it again on the head one more time.
"Usami-san...that's odd. We never input something like that in him. Given that he can only say two words..." the Marukawa engineer said when he checked if he could still fix the broken doll. It just left Usami staring at the lifeless doll.
"I'm sorry...I'm such a bad owner...really...I'm sorry..." Usami whispered, his eyes reddening as he watched the unmoving doll on his sofa. "You know I'd rather have you than the most efficient doll there is...really. I'm sorry, from the bottom of my heart..."
That was when the author finally got to taste the bitter and painful taste of having regrets at the end.
It said, "'Usami-san, I love you. Thank you. Thank you.' -Series 01 M15AK1"
chapter end notes:
lol..i know there are tons of android ideas in mangas and stuff...but i at least wanted to try a defective one instead of the eyepopping androids and dolls which are the norm.^^
thanks for the time...the ball jointed dolls are my inspiration here, though they are crazy expensive (but very beautiful)...*sigh*