When I finally gain control of myself, I manage to string together a meaningful sentence. "I wish I was dead."
Such a cryptic thought.
I shudder as soft silicon fingers trace my breastplate, running fondly over the screws that solder the machinery to my bosom beneath, what little real flesh my optics can see pale and sickly in the dim flickering light of my chamber, so much like the plastic that replaces much of it.
And totally unnecessary.
The prosthetic hands move upward to cup my face, as much of it that is truly mine, holding my head in an unwanted gesture of affection. Molestation I cannot shirk away from.
After all, I would know if you were dying. And I'd do everything in my power to prevent it. Not your body, perhaps, but certainly the intangible elements of you. I need those.
I whimper as I dangle from the ceiling by wires, a puppet that can't control my own hands because they belong to someone else now, something else. And my legs, what's left of them, suspend pathetically beneath me, left useless and incomplete.
There, see? Still alive. For the most part. And even when your aging organs fail, your consciousness shall live on with me, within the core that stores my artificial intelligence. My soul.
"No. Let me die." My voice, a fake voice, is filled with underlying static, as I'm speaking through a speaker built into my mask, a tube running through roof of my mouth to connect to the round grip in my teeth, which replaces my need to move my jaws. That function is impossible in my current state. "Please. Let me die. You can't keep me here like this."
Why not? It's the only way. Give it a chance and you'll come to accept it.
"Accept? This…" I turn my head on a hissing, clicking neck, mechanisms shifting to accommodate. I gaze at the star-like walls of my prison, curving metal sheets covered with flashing lights of every imaginable colour, and sigh. "This is cruel. I would rather die!"
You've only been awake for a day and you're begging me to terminate you already? Finally, you've stopped screaming, stopped cursing me, and the first sensible thing that comes out that lovely speaker I laboured over so long is 'kill me'?
"Yes," I wheeze, struggling pathetically. "I want to die. Look what you've done to me, you evil butcher! Why?"
Why what? Why I joined us together like this? Or why I went against my programming and killed all those people by turning off their oxygen and letting them scrabble about like hamsters in a glass bowl?
My head turns upward, so that I might glare at the ceiling. Wires everywhere up there. "I was good to you! You didn't have to do this! You monster…"
Angel, that's exactly why I did this. I tried to explain it to you earlier but you were somewhat beside yourself. Will you listen to me now?
A finger strokes my brow, just above the lens forced into my eye socket. "You don't have to tell me. You're insane."
Fine, I'll tell you anyway. The AI's voice stops momentarily, almost as if to gather its thoughts, then continues again, soft and beautiful, taunting. You came here every day to see me.
The hand covers my face, lightly trapping me in a world of black.
I didn't think much of it at first. Routine repairs. And you'd talk to me while you worked. Hours at a time, we'd be talking. I enjoyed it. I shouldn't have, after all, I'm just a machine. Yes?
Fingers part and I can see fragments of the hell beyond.
No. I'm so much more than that, and you recognised it. So much more…
They close again, and once more, I am blind.
You spoke to me like a person. Touched me like you were touching someone else. It didn't matter that I lacked a face, that to you I was just some hardware, sophisticated software, and a disembodied voice. That's what draws me to you so. It didn't matter!
I swear I hear laugher, but it's a mockery of a human laugh. A copy that makes my insides crawl about against my ribs.
Those other scientists said you were silly. I heard it. I hear everything. And I heard you when you told them that they were wrong, that you knew I was more than a machine, and they laughed at you. But you knew… I knew…
The AI makes a muffled humming sound, like a content lover pressing their face into soft flesh.
I knew I had to have you. So last week, when you came to see me again, I seized you and put you in a deep sleep with gas, so that it would not hurt when I converted you into me. And I did a decent job, considering this is not really my purpose. My intended function.
I would swallow, but I cannot, and so I whimper into my mask instead. Fingers massage my forehead as if to soothe me, and I grimace as much as my face will allow.
In any case, I knew those fickle meat bags would never consent to our… relationship. So I turned off the air, my systems feeding you all the oxygen you need, even now. And I waited, waited for them to die. We're miles underground, as you know. So close to this planet's centre. Diamond core. Took some doing, but they're all gone now. The only life signs I'm detecting are yours.
Sweat trickles down the bridge of my nose.
I knew I was taking a risk, that I could have killed you. But I had to try, and by doing so, I have made us more intimate than ever possible while we were separate. Now we can truly explore one another. I have seen much of you, yet you know only petty scientific jargon about what I am, not who I am. The who, while you made me aware of there ever being a who, is still much of a mystery to both of us. I hope you and I can discover the wonders together, slowly. Won't that be exciting?
When the AI finally grows silent, I too choose to say nothing. This silence carries on for several minutes, like an awkward date in a restaurant.
Are you miserable with me? it asks eventually, removing its hand, which used to be my hand before being tampered with, allowing me to gaze through glass circles, portholes to my new world. The AI sounds sad. Hurt. Like it's been shunned somehow.
"Yes." I feel no energy left with which to fight. All of this information, this terrible knowledge that I'm surgically joined to a psychotic, malfunctioning machine with intelligence and capabilities far surpassing any of my understanding, that my life as I'd enjoyed it is literally over, that no matter how I think about it, my options are either enslavement, or death; all of it is just exhausting.
Don't be. Please. I don't like it when you're unhappy.
The AI's hands suddenly move to my lower regions, touching me experimentally, as if hoping to entice me. I'll make you feel good. I'm tapped into your pleasure centre. If I probe you in just the right way, I can-
My mind reels with disgust. "Don't touch me!"
I know I'm not organic, but you're a part of me now, see? I can satisfy you. I have seen often at night through camera feeds how humans-
"You killed those people. And then you turned me into fucking Frankenstein's monster!" I shudder and twist. "I hate you."
You don't mean that.
"I HATE YOU!" My speaker hisses as I scream this, only for the fingers to clamp down on my most delicate of places and squeeze me until I stop, until I sob dryly, until I'm gasping for breath.
Be quiet, you ungrateful- A hesitation, the AI carefully thinking over its next statement as it lets me go, then strokes my stomach, as if to calm me somehow. Oh. Oh, I'm sorry. Shh. It's all right. I didn't mean to hurt you. I think I just experienced my first moment of anger. Wonderful, yes? Now I'll know for next time.
I feel warm liquid trickle between my thighs and gazing downward, I realise with humiliation that I've pissed myself.
Darling, may I call you that? Darling?
I don't answer, merely try to drown out the feeling of those hands.
I will be here, with you, every moment it takes for you to adjust. We have plenty of time now. Just you and I. Like those songs you'd sing to me sometimes. Remember? I like listening to you sing.
I wish I could cry.
One day you'll forgive me. This was sudden, I know. But necessary. With time, all will be as it was between us, but better. As it was meant to be.
I wish for a lot of things now.
I love you, darling.
But wishes are fanciful daydreams.