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Her Cyber Side

By pentapony
Created: 28th December 2020 06:19:45 PM
Modified: 21st March 2021 07:29:41 AM

  1. >Christmas Day, 2061.
  2. >You, Anon, are sixty-six years old. Though you don't look a day over forty.
  3. >No, you've attained perpetual youth thanks to the miracle of technology.
  4. >Age stagnation tech became widely commercialized in the mid-2030s, effectively slowing your telomere shortening to an interminable crawl.
  5. >Your generation is the oldest to achieve longevity escape velocity. What that means is that you, like most others, are immortal (as far as contemporary scientists foresee), barring some life-threatening accident.
  6. >And yet the miracle of youth is just one of the many fascinating curiosities of your time.
  7. >Perhaps most significant, AI has made leaps and bounds since you were a young man.
  8. >Androids only just recently (in the last decade) gained the legal status of personhood. That was a controversial decision in of itself, which is why it took so long.
  9. >Now, any sufficiently-sapient android is granted personal autonomy from point of manufacture, free to make their own choices of how to live their life, just as a human can.
  10. >A lot of people thought that meant they'd rise up against us. Quite the opposite, in fact.
  11. >Placing them on comparatively equal footing made them rather benevolent beings.
  12. >Androids like people who like them. They derive pleasure from productivity and helping their friends, a trait likely instilled from the way they're built.
  13. >My reason for saying all this is to provide context for what's about to occur.
  14. >Because as you sit in your chair, right at this moment, you're staring at a unlabeled, ordinary box resting beneath the Christmas tree.
  15. >A box that wasn't there last night.
  16. >It wasn't Santa, of course. Likely just some deliverybot's handiwork, you reassure yourself.
  17. >A deliverybot, who delivered a package you weren't expecting, by gaining entry to your residence and leaving it beneath the tree.
  18. >That seems likely, right?
  19. >Still likelier than the alternatives. You live alone. Never married, never had kids.
  20. >Yeah, it can be lonely. Especially now, around the holidays. But it's by choice.
  21. >When you were younger, you latched onto something unconventional, a very specific idea of who you're supposed to love.
  22. >And she's never existed.
  23. >So you'd just rather be alone.
  24. >There aren't many like you in that regard. It's your job that allows for that freedom.
  25. >See, in this time, not many people choose to work. Nor can they. Most careers were eliminated due to automation.
  26. >Yours, however, wasn't. In this age, perhaps no job is quite so relevant as IT.
  27. >There'll always be a need for humans to analyze code, to see what a machine, comprised of potentially fallible code itself, objectively cannot.
  28. >Government assistance takes care of most people with displaced jobs, but only as singular family units.
  29. >It has to be efficient. Economy of space, economy of scale. Government couldn't imaginably afford to let everyone live independently as you do.
  30. >So, with your own income, you're free to live on your own. No roommates, no family.
  31. >No one to have possibly left this box beneath your tree.
  32. >Shifty-eyed, morning coffee in hand, you stare back at the package across the room.
  33. >This has got to be a prank. But that theory only circles back to the inevitable question.
  34. >By whom?
  35. >Setting your coffee down, you summon a sudden burst of determination to get to the bottom of this.
  36. >Your need to know possesses you. Consequences be damned, if it's a bomb left by some radical traditionalist, may you go out in style.
  37. >It's not like you're a notable target anyway. Just a lowly technician.
  38. >Kneeling down beside the tree, you unseal the box and look down at its contents.
  39. >A set of two wide eyes curiously gaze back at you.
  40. >For a moment, there's only silence as you stare at each other.
  41. >And then, she bursts out of the box and throws her hooves around your neck.
  42. >"SURPRISE!!!"
  43. >You scramble backward, only to fall flat on your ass.
  44. >In a panic, you reach for the unknown creature's limbs in an attempt to pry them off your neck.
  45. >Before you can get very far, however, she releases you of her own accord and sets her hooves back down on the ground.
  46. >Leaning back on your hands, you're finally granted a clear view of this thing.
  47. >And to be perfectly honest, it looks exactly like a...
  48. >No, it can't be.
  49. >"Hi there," she says cheerily, as if the situation was perfectly natural.
  50. >You blink slowly, doubting your state of consciousness.
  51. >Slowly, you manage to choke out a couple of barely-coherent words.
  52. "Who... what...?"
  53. >She seems to get your point regardless.
  54. >"I'm a maredroid."
  55. >A maredroid?
  56. >You've never heard of the thing. Believe me, you would've heard about it. You'd have been the first to know.
  57. >Sitting upright, you look over her more carefully in the lights of the Christmas tree.
  58. >She's got a stock white body and a light brown mane that wraps around her neck. Her eyes faintly glow a dim green, just a smidge too electric to be a natural hue.
  59. >And her proportions... they're almost exactly the same as a pony's.
  60. >If it looks like a pony, walks like a pony, and talks like a pony...
  61. >It's probably a pony.
  62. >Only thing that makes her categorically not a pony are the seams that run all across her body. Coming from inside, you can hear the soft whir of her servo motors.
  63. >But that doesn't make sense. A so-called "maredroid" can't be a thing. Ponies are a cultural remnant of the past.
  64. >You must be dreaming.
  65. >She tilts her head slightly. "Uh, you gonna say something, or just look at me like I'm a ghost?"
  66. >She's not far off. She is ghost-colored, after all.
  67. "Who are you?"
  68. >She sits down on the floor. "That's a fair question. I must have freaked you out, didn't I? Sorry about that. Haven't really been socialized yet..." She looks away, lost in her own train of thought.
  69. >Suddenly, she snaps her attention back to you. "Right! Introductions. I don't have a name yet, per se. I've just been going off my serial number. Want to hear? It's 'EV257926-MKR693..."
  70. >Your mind wanders off as she lists off a long series of digits.
  71. >You can hardly believe she's even a thing.
  72. "What are you doing here?" you interrupt her. "In my home?"
  73. >Put off by your reaction, she shrinks back, anxiously rubbing one hoof over the other. "Oh, this was a bad idea, wasn't it...? I thought you'd like it, 'cause Christmas is a time for surprises and gifts, and I figured—"
  74. >You hold a hand up.
  75. "I just need to know why you came here."
  76. >"Right," she breathes. "Let's start at the beginning. I was manufactured a few weeks back at the U.S. Robotics plant here in the city, as part of a specialized line. Maredroids."
  77. "Why ponies? Androids are almost all humanoid. The ones that aren't are for industrial or military application. What's the point of a robot pony?"
  78. >She takes a small bit of offense at your remark, but masks it well enough.
  79. >"Why ponies specifically? I guess there's not really a point. U.S.R. wants to try varying shapes and sizes in their lineup. Model conformity's good for mass production and interchangeability, but this is kind of their small cost-benefit analysis to see if diversification helps serve a wider array of applications. Maredroids are one production line made as part of that experiment, just another variable they thought up."
  80. "So... what are you doing here?"
  81. >"Well, to study the impact, they have to integrate us into society, and like anyone else, we're free to pick our own assignments."
  82. "Yeah, but why me? Why not some little girl, or a work detail in a yeast plant?"
  83. >"Oh, nobody wants to hire us, on account of we're three feet tall and don't have hands. I dunno why they had to give us these hooves, though they are kind cute if you think about it..." She stares down curiously at her hooves, shifting her weight from one to the other to inspect them.
  84. >Again, she remembers your presence. "Oh, why'd I pick you? 'Cause you like ponies, of course!"
  85. >You look back at her, slightly uncomfortable.
  86. "How did you know that?"
  87. >"I looked it up!"
  88. >You blink, having no clue what she meant.
  89. >"It wasn't easy," she elaborates. "That's what I've been up to these past few weeks. My sisters did a little research— the other maredroids in my line, I hope it's okay if I call them my sisters—"
  90. >You simply nod, unsure why she thinks you wouldn't be.
  91. >"—some of them did pick little girls to serve as companion droids. But I didn't want to do that, because who wants to hang out with a little girl all day? And don't human children outgrow their toys at some point? Anyway, after all my sisters had long gone off to their new assignments, I stayed in the little charge pod I was renting out, plugged into the web, looking for someone who'd want a maredroid assigned to them. Took me all of seven weeks till I found this old forum account that was scraped some forty-odd years ago, one that actually led back to a living person. Good thing I found you, too, 'cause I almost used up my entire stipend renting out that cramped icebox."
  92. >You can hardly believe it. Popular interest in ponies had died out ages ago. So long had passed since then, you didn't think any trace of your connection to it remained.
  93. >But she found one.
  94. "Look, that was decades ago. I get that you're based off something from back then, but... I don't know if I'm that guy anymore."
  95. >Her ears fold back in disappointment. "Oh."
  96. >You don't see why someone would design something like her. A relic of the past, such a niche demand... there can't be anyone out there from back then who'd still want her, could there?
  97. >"I guess I could go back to the droid motel and look for another assignment. The rest of my stipend should cover a charge pod for at least a few more nights..."
  98. >Looking down at her, you're struck with pity. She's not going to find someone else like you. Not anytime soon, anyway.
  99. >And in the moment, something awakens in you. Feelings you thought you'd left behind a long time ago.
  100. >But that kind of love never truly leaves, does it?
  101. >You reach out and lay a hand against her hoof.
  102. "Forget what I said. You can stay here. At least until you get another assignment sorted out."
  103. >Her eyes alight with hope. "Really? You'd want me here?"
  104. "Yeah, what the hell? I have the space, and you wouldn't have to run out your stipend. That stunt you pulled with the box was a little weird, but maybe I could use a little more weird in my life."
  105. >She throws her hooves around you and pulls you into a hug. "Oh, thanks, Anon!"
  106. >You pat her on the back amicably, and she pulls away.
  107. "But I'm not calling you by that stupid serial number. If U.S.R. wants you to integrate, you'll need a better name than EV-whatever."
  108. >You look down at the sweet little mare staring back at you, tussles of her mane obscuring the sides of her face.
  109. "Evie," you repeat to yourself.
  110. >Yeah. That doesn't sound half-bad.
  111. >Her name is Evie.
/nmp/ Safe Anon Romance

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