I receive a virtual message from eVAXSIL Robotics saying the delivery drone has landed outside my lifePod. So, I open the front hatch door and step outside. The car-sized drone lifts away, leaving behind a large metallic crate flat on the ground. The crate looks like a big shiny silver metallic coffin. On the side, there is a liquid metal digital display with my name and address and a flashing welcome message. “Your new MAY-05 model has arrived! Scan Q-code for further instructions.”
The instructions from eVAXSIL say not to attempt to move the metal box. Simply click on their app button, enter the passcode, the box lid will unlock, slide open, and Maybelline will step out and follow me home. Once she has stepped out, a carrier drone will be sent to fetch the empty metal shipping container and ship it back to their headquarters. Easy as that, so they say.
I enter seven, four, X, B, one, one, nine, then select the ‘Unlock Box’ button. Sure enough, after a second or two, I hear a clicking noise and the top of the box slides open. As I step closer to the box, I can see its contents. It’s a gorgeous twenty-something brunette, lying on a thin makeshift mattress. Her eyes are closed and her lips make a light smile. She looks dead. But gorgeous. She’s wearing a tight spandex jumpsuit with a badge a few inches above her left breast, which says “MAY-05.” She’s the one!
A few seconds go by, her eyes open, she blinks a few times, sits straight up, then turns to look at me with a smile and says, “Hello.” Her voice is neither high nor low, but just the right amount of feminine tonality.
“Oh. Hi,” I say. “You must be Maybelline. My name is Marcus. Pleased to meet you!” I extend my hand; she tilts her head a touch to the left as if she is considering what to make of my move. She then raises her right hand and shakes mine in a firm manner. Her skin feels very real, soft and moist.
“Shall we go into my lifePod and chat?” She looks towards my open hand extended towards the hatch door of the lifePod.
She pushes herself out of the metal shipping box and follows. As we open the hatch door and are about to step inside, I hear the drone in the distance, coming back to fetch the empty shipping container.
“Maybelline, I would like to welcome you to your new home.”
“Thank-you Marcus. This is a lovely, functional lifePod. If you like, please call me May. It’s shorter and less cumbersome.”
“Very well. I like May. It suits you. Please make yourself at home.” She moves past me to sit on the small two-seater sofa against the wall, then crosses her legs and rests her lovely shaped hands, one on top of the other.
“Sorry but I have to ask. Do you eat and drink?”
With a cute smile, she says, “Of course Marcus. I’m designed with near-human physiology. My android body extracts and absorbs nutrients then converts them into energy. My excretion tract is almost the same as a human female.”
That is Amazing.
All I can do is smile and nod with acknowledgment, feeling a bit embarrassed, as I look for a way to change the conversation.
“Then would you like fresh coffee?”
“Sounds great!” she says.
I grab two intaPods of dark blend Arabica coffee from the food drawer. Each make a perfect cup of coffee served at the perfect temperature in the brewing device. Two packs of French cookies are opened and spread onto a serving dish. The aroma permeating through the small space is splendid.
“Thank you,” she says, after tasting her coffee. “This is very good. It’s my first coffee, ever.”
I raise my cup to his news. She appears to really be savoring the moment, her reactions appear almost trance-like. My eyes remain fixed on her for a few long moments. How could one not admire such beauty? The thought that she is here to replace me and that I am to take advantage of her, in terms of income, lies heavy on my conscience. She’s also chewing her cookie like someone who’s never done that before.
Simply exquisite. The Gods of Smart-Silicon must be proud…
“I’m downloading all my updates including new mission information from the Unifarium cloud.”
I nod, “Will that take long?”
“Oh no. It’s continuous. I will always be downloading updates in the background while I perform other duties.”
“What happens if you lose connection with the Unifarium?”
She tilts her head slightly, pausing for a minute as if she is looking for the information. A gesture that may seem cute or strange depending on one’s interpretation.
“Then, basically, I shut-down.”
That sounds inconvenient.
“Do you mean shut-down, as in falling asleep and unable to move?”
“No Marcus. I do have temporary subsystems that will keep my basic functionality in tack. Basic movement and motion, limited speech and the ability to return to home base. This home. Your LifePod.”
“Wonderful!” Not sure what else to say.
“And how long can you function before you need recharging?” Seems like a valid question to ask, since the answer may include upgrading my lifePod power system. I only have a few free outlets.
“My power pack will last five years.”
“Then you will need to send me into eVAXSIL for a power pack upgrade. There will be plenty of reminders and notifications in the months prior.”
Great. Something else I will need to budget for. I bet it will cost a fortune. I’d rather not ask, as I’m certain it would only make me feel depressed. She seems very happy-go-lucky, turning her head, blinking at me and her surroundings.
“There is something else I’ve been wondering.”
“Are eVAXSIL monitoring everything you hear and see?”