Mechanical Girl Blues

The used sports car wove through the hills, out past the edge of the small town and to the base of the mountains. The location was chosen quite deliberately, intended on one hand to be accessible to cities and community, but on the other to be remote and private. She got out of her car and used her key to enter the two story house, an almost typical looking design from the outside.

The woman strode through the upper floor of the house with easy familiarity, reaching the elevator in the center of the building in a few moments. A keycard swiped through the reader opened up the door and she pressed the button for the sub-basement level as she wondered what her research partner and best friend might want. She emerged into the lab with a spring in her step only to slow to a stop, gazing at what awaited her.

It hung up there in the web of cables and conduits, the steel alloy skeleton of what might one day become a human being. From a distance it looked just like a human skeleton, it was only as you drew closer that you saw the shades of metal alloy and mechanical joints, the segments fused together to make the familiar shapes.

"You know, I almost can't believe you're doing this," Heather said in awe, her golden hair falling over she shoulders and down to the top of her breasts. She wore simple clothes, a plain black skirt and top, but carried them off with style.

"Love, I've been working for this on paper for years," Nina softly answered. She pushed her wheelchair forward a bit, easily weaving her way through the lab equipment over to her partner's side. Her glasses shone in the light, almost as much as the glossy sheen of her brown hair, and her white shirt and pants were still spotless.

Heather blushed faintly at the endearment. Nina had been calling her things like that for almost as long as she knew her, and she was never that sure how to take them. "I didn't know you were any where near achieving physical reality, though," she commented, circling the skeleton thoughtfully, "How will it move?"

"She," Nina corrected Heather gently. She gestured grandly towards her creation as she continued calmly, "I have a hybrid approach in mind, using artificially grown tissue accompanied by miniature mechanical motors."

"You're going for a human appearance?" Heather raised a eyebrow as she cautioned, "You know the scientific community won't like that."

"The scientific community," Nina said frankly, "can go hang."

Heather chuckled softly, "I love the way you tell it like it is."

Nina shrugged slightly as she waved, "There's not a lot they can do to me, really. I'm already considered something of an outcast for my thoughts on post-humanism."

"True enough," Heather conceded.

Nina was a thinker as well as a hands on researcher, and part of her studies were on the fate of humanity. She had outraged the idealistic posthuman movement, a group who believed in artificial evolution of humanity, by pointing out that a true posthuman might not be a wonderful thing. In fact she had speculated on how regular human xenophobia might make a posthuman a threat to his merely human ancestors...

'No, they weren't happy with Nina,' Heather thought as she looked down at her friend thoughtfully, considering how best to ask the next question. "You told me about your doctor's visit," she started, "is that why...?"

Nina rolled forward a bit more, reaching out to touch the smooth metal of the skeleton. "Yes, my doctor has confirmed that I can't have children," she acknowledged the fact calmly, "both my parents are dead and my younger brother is gone, too." A soft sigh, "Yeah, I think part of it is just wanting something of me to... carry on."

"As long as you know that is part of why you're doing it," Heather smiled at Nina, "that's the important thing."

"Always the psychologist," Nina grumped.

"Well, I have to use my college minor for something," Heather shrugged, feeling a stab of regret for her friend. For as along as she had known her, Nina had dreamed of having children, and even after the accident that had crippled her from the waist down she had still hoped. Banishing the thought Heather gave Nina a smile, "So what can I do to help?"

Nina's face lit up with a relieved smile, and Heather again was struck by how beautiful the other woman could really be. "Thank you," she said, turning her chair to look up at Heather with twinkling eyes, "I was hoping you'd say that."

Heather chuckled as she remarked, "I don't know about that look on your face...."

"Oh don't worry," Nina cheerfully lead the way over to the work benches around the outside of the room, "when have I led you wrong?"

"I seem to recall a night in jail," Heather replied dryly.

"That was a special circumstance," Nina defended herself, "and we were both drunk when I talked you into flashing that police officer."

"True enough," Heather acknowledged, sitting down on her chair even as Nina smoothly slid into place beside her.

"You've had more experience than I have in visual design and engineering," Nina said as she used a monitor to call up schematics, "I need help in figuring out how to get the sort of look I want for her using the systems I've already designed."

Heather felt a stab of pleasure as they both bent over the console, looking at Nina's face lit up by the eagerness of a scientist who was happily at work. "I think I can see how I can help," she agreed, reaching out to use the mouse to highlight the skeletal face and how the artificial muscles on it were to be configured.

Nina was reaching for the controls, too, and their hands brushed together. A faint blush colored her cheeks but Nina was calm as she watched Heather smoothly reconfigure the layout to allow realistic expressions. "You really are good," she agreed.

"Thank you." Heather was also blushing.

They worked together for many hours, quickly losing track of time as Heather and Nina went over the various designs for the arms, legs and upper body, layering simulated flesh over projected musculature to create a body that would look as close as possible to a natural human. They had a unique way of working together, unconsciously complimenting each other's skills, deferring to the other's abilities or taking the lead when needed.

Finally Nina yawned softly, peering at the time on the corner of her computer screen. "You aren't going to believe the time," she said sheepishly.

Heather stretched her arms above her head, likely unaware of how the motion pulled her shirt tightly across her full breasts. "I think I can guess," she rubbed at the back of her neck, "from the crick I'm getting if nothing else." She got up, wincing a little at the stiffness in her knees, "So how badly stocked is your fridge?"

"Huh?" Nina blinked, diverted from what she had been thinking about.

Heather gave her a fond smile and said, "Well, it's that or order take out." After saving their work she went behind Nina's chair and took the handles to push her towards the elevator, "Do you want to cook or I?"

"I take it you're staying over?" Nina asked impishly as they went into the lift, rising to the house above them.

Heather chuckled, "I'm inviting myself."

"Good," Nina said with another of those flashing grins before continuing happily, "then you get to do the cooking."

"Are you still living on TV dinners and takeout?" Heather asked as she gently pushed her out onto the living room floor.

"Hey, I do cook real food occasionally," Nina protested with as much dignity as she could muster. Which wasn't very much, considering how often Heather had been over here and seen the inside of her fridge.

"Yeah," Heather laughed, "when you're trying hard to impress a date." She opened the freezer first, pulling out the burgers, then retrieved onions and tomatoes from the bottom. "How did things work out with the last girl you had over?" she asked.

Nina blushed brightly, remembering how Heather had innocently used her key to enter and walked in on her and a pretty young thing making out on the couch. More exactly the lady had been performing oral sex on Nina, while she had gaped in surprise at the equally stunned Heather. "We're not seeing each other any more," Nina admitted.

"I don't think I've ever seen you blush that way," Heather remarked, a blush on her cheek s she put the heat on the stove and dropped two burgers in.

Nina rolled over to where Heather stood by the counter, chopping onion and tomato, "I'm sorry you had to see that." She smiled up at her hesitantly as she reached out to rest her hand on Heather's once she stopped, "I hope it didn't make you too uncomfortable?"

"I knew that you were into girls before," Heather pointed out to her, meeting Nina's warm eyes with her own.

"That doesn't mean you weren't uncomfortable," Nina said gently.

"No, it didn't bother me," Heather said, her voice soft. A faint smile, "If I'm going to be honest, I think it was the first time I saw you as a sexual being."

Nina rolled her eyes at that. "I thought I was pretty sexy," she sighed.

Heather shifted her grip, squeezing Nina's hand as she tried to explain, "It's not that, it's just that you're...."

"Disabled?" Nina asked a bit coldly.

"No," Heather shook her head firmly, "detached. When we're working I think of how intelligent you are not... your body."

"Gee, thanks," Nina sighed, but she was still smiling. She looked over at Heather impishly, "You mean you never noticed me?"

"I think I'm just digging myself deeper here," Heather sighed. Changing the subject she asked, "Have you decided on a name for her?"

"Terri," Nina said thoughtfully, "I was thinking about Terri."

"I like that," Heather said thoughtfully, setting the burgers on a plate and carrying them over to the table with buns, condiments and toppings.

"Good," Nina rolled over beside her. She batted her eyes charmingly and asked Heather, "You really didn't notice me?"

"Nina!"

"What?" Nina tried to look innocent.

End

Notes: If you've read my story "Passing" in Yuri Monogatari II from ALC publications, you'll know who Terri is. I wanted to look into her background a bit, as well as trying to write a disabled character. Not sure if I was quite successful.... Also added some detail based on readers requests.