Another old entry from my defunct blog I found in my Jedi archives! And the same as with the fictitious “computer series“, Theth has never mentioned anywhere that the following collages are part of any set of images, much less that the shrunken men in them are bots. It just so happens that my mind classifies them that way, but either way they are wonderful images.
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Of all the images I have added to my collection, Theth has created over a couple of dozen, and I can see a story behind every single one of them. The tale behind the image above came to me partly because of Jar Jar Binks.
Unlike what seems like the majority of Star Wars fans, I love Jar Jar. I was never one of those people that claimed George Lucas had “raped their childhood” with the way A Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones developed the story of the earlier films. There are other things in life I choose to be upset about.
Before APM was released, I did my fair share of Star Wars-related shopping, and one item I had to have was this:
He measures nearly twenty-four inches in length, says a great number of phrases when I squeeze his hand, and vibrates to wake me up. Or used to, before I got tired of being snatched from slumber thinking a wrestling raccoon had slipped between my sheets. The most important thing is that it makes me smile.
Theth’s image made me think of a woman and the life she shares with her little toy robot. It inspired a poll about robots at GDC, and the following scene.
Amanda woke up at once, and the dim light in the room told her it would still be another hour before she would hear music coming from her alarm clock. Her cheek rubbed the pillowcase’s soft fabric as she cast her gaze on the small shape that lay next to her. Wrapped in her arms and legs, he looked asleep, but was not. Robots did not sleep.
She stared at his back, and the way it rose and sank in a way that emulated slow human breathing. She knew he would stay in that exact position until she moved him, and would continue to act as though he slumbered until the alarm clock went off. She had programmed him that way seven years ago.
Pleasure models could do almost anything these days. Hers was not one of the latest versions, yet she could have fixed it so he would wake her up; but after the first few mornings of his inhuman-yet-human hands pressing on her shoulder and his lifeless voice whispering in her ear, she had gone back to her clock radio, which didn’t begin to pretend to behave as a human.
Is this how it feels to go insane? she wondered. To know that I’m functioning at a normal capacity, and then it all snaps into disarray when I start thinking about him? It. IT! Dammit. There I go again. Seven years with no repairs, not even one maintenance check, no oil changes for you, she though. No wonder you are malfunctioning. But I’m “malfunctioning” too. Who’s gonna fix me?
Little One had always malfunctioned, though. Pleasure models were never supposed to ask “why” or its derivative questions, neither as factory preset, nor after customizing downloads. Only Logic models could do that, and Amanda could have never afforded one of those, but when she brought Little One from the store and began to dress him, he looked at her with those deep dark eyes, and asked her why.
“Why are you dressing me?” he had asked. She had been squatting like a mother tending to her child when he spoke, and the shock caused her to fall backwards. She could have sworn she heard him giggle but when she straightened her body and looked at him, his face was calm. Then he started dressing himself.
All those years ago Amanda had thought of taking him back to the store to get a replacement, as she was sure they had given her a Logic model by mistake, but in the end she kept him, and she always thought her feeling of guilt over keeping something she had not paid for prevented her from having his processor checked.
His brain, as she helplessly thought of it. His behavior had been startling since the beginning, and she had always thought she should feel more alarm than she did. She had tried to feel some kind of revulsion at his random displays of humanity, but maybe her loneliness and the fact that he had made her writhe with pleasure in bed as no fully sized human ever had, made her decide to put up with what must have been a bored assembler’s joke.
Now she looked at his neck, at the code imprinted on it, bars and dots that meant nothing to her. She was dozing off again when he rolled over into her, startling her into a scream.
“Aah! What are you doing? You are not supposed to move yet!”
“I’m sorry. Amanda. I woke up, and felt you were awake too. Good morning. Did you sleep well?”
Surprised, Amanda felt her mouth open in the shape of an ‘o’, but no noise came from it. When she thought of her morning breath and how it would bother him, she felt anger, and pushed him away, fighting with sheets that seemed to wrap around her legs like moving vines.
“Listen, Little One, you don’t move until the music comes on, alright? That’s what you are programmed for! And you don’t ‘feel’ anything. You are a thing, like the teddy bear my dad gave me on my eleventh birthday. I talked to it, but it was just a toy! It couldn’t smell my breath, and- STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT!”
Little One was rubbing his chest where she had shoved him, his face expressionless, but his eyes… was that pain? Was he hurt?
“I’m sorry, Amanda. I won’t do it again.”
“I don’t understand.”
“‘I do not. I will not. I am‘. Why have you dropped your contractions? I never programmed you to do that.”
He was silent a second too long. She could have sworn he looked as though he had been caught lying. A very human response. But he was supposed to be silent when faced with input he had not been programmed to process, right? She slapped her forehead with frustration. He imitated her. It was so unexpected, to see him do that, to hear that little hand hit what felt and sounded like skin, she burst out laughing. She rolled onto her back and did not stop laughing until tears filled her eyes.
“Little One, you are driving me to madness.”
“Are you angry?”
She wiped her tears with the balls of her hands and stared at him for a moment. “Yes. No. I don’t know. You confuse me. None of my friends’ toys act the way you do. Not even the Logic models. Do you understand what I’m saying? You act in a way that’s completely unexpected.”
“Have I displeased you?”
“No. But sometimes you frighten me.”
“Will you send me away?”
“Of course not! I would never! Why would you think a thing- See, this is what I mean. You aren’t afraid I’ll send you away. It doesn’t matter to you. You don’t have feelings.”
Little One said nothing, and Amanda hated to think she had hurt him, his heart, whatever part inside of him that made him behave in this way. She shook her head, disgusted with herself.
“I’m not going to send you away. I paid a fortune for you. You are mine forever. And you keep costing me a fortune with all the metal you eat! Man, what a thing to do, to design a toy that runs on metal. I suppose I should be thankful my energy bills are low, and that stainless steel is so cheap these days.”
A whisper from him.
“Because you love me.”
Amanda stared at him, at his unmoving lips, and thought she had imagined what he said. Did she imagine it because it was true? She pushed away the thought. It would return.
“Fix me some breakfast, Little One. Oh, and I got you these handcuffs. They were on sale for five dollars a pair at the pawn shop. I got you enough food for a whole year. Here!”
She stretched over the side of the bed bed and picked up a pair from the floor, where it had fallen from a cardboard box filled with them, and tossed it in his direction. He caught it effortlessly, his hand moving in a blur common to hummingbirds.
Such speed. Of course he’s a robot.
She smiled to herself and tossed his little tuft of hair before she got up and walked to the bathroom.
She did not see the distant smile on his face as he examined the cuffs.
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