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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Metallic Heart - Chapter 20

Chas and I called our limo driver and prepared to leave.  Downstairs Chas ran into a member of the paparazzi. “What are you doing here?”
“I had a few questions for President Ardis.”

“Not right now!  She has been through enough without you vultures hounding her.”
The paparazzi backed away momentarily, but as I walked downstairs to join Chas, he reappeared.  “President Ardis I would really like to ask you a few questions.”

“You will have to wait until my press conference,” I answered shortly.
Chas and I escaped inside our limo.  “I do not think I am ready for this,” I admitted to Chas.
“You will be just fine, and I will be by your side along the way as you set out to make things right.”
Chas’ words did not offer me any encouragement or comfort.  I knew that Chas’ definition of ‘make things right’ was not aligned with my own.
We arrived at an exclusive, UFO shaped building that appeared to be held up by only a spiral staircase.
Located inside was a fully loaded bar, two sleep pods and a bubble bar.  We headed straight for the bubble bar.
The bubble bar is always fun for us, not because it does anything specific for us, but we have been programmed to receive a great emotional boost from the act of blowing.
“Thank you Chas.  I really needed this.”
“I knew that getting away for a night would help,” Chas answered.
“I should have a bubble bar installed in the President’s office for the many stressful moments that are sure to come.”

“Yes,” Chas said chuckling.
“Maybe I should have one installed in the lab,” he added.
He blew out his bubbles, but did not seem to be getting much pleasure from it.
“What is going on at the lab?” I asked detecting that there was something more to what he was saying.
“Nothing I cannot handle,” he said before popping the bubbles that floated in front of him.
After he seemed to grow bored of the bubble bar, Chas stood up and climbed up another set of spiral stairs that led up to a smaller octagonal room with a nice view of Lunar Lake.  I followed.
I did not realize how much I needed to recharge my system until I was standing next to him at the top of the stairs. 

“Tired?” he asked.
“I guess this day has exhausted me emotionally.  Not that I am not enjoying myself…it is just that my emotional response system keeps feeding me mourning responses.”
“That is to be expected…let us go somewhere else.”
Once again, we entered the limo.  I was a little anxious to see what destination Chas had in mind.
We stepped out of the limo and stood in the light of the Earth staring at Lunar Lake.
Even late at night, this area is beautiful.  It is also one of the only places here in our small world where we bots can sort of “get-a-way”.
Chas and I sat in a couple of lounge chairs and stared at the lake.
“So, do you have any ideas of what you will do first once you are officially in office.”
“First, I plan on carrying out President Aron’s plans for the humans.”

“Are you sure that is a good idea?  Do you think that may be the reason he was killed?”
“I am sure it was, but Chas…I was the one to draft the law, so it is partly my responsibility.”

At first I did not think Chas would respond.  He seemed to be in a deep processing process.  “Let us discuss it tomorrow,” he said quietly after a while.
Before long, our systems shut down and went into “auto recharge” mode, which was a much slower recharge process than what occurs when we are in our sleep pods.
We stayed in that position until dawn.
Chas awakened at the first signs of the Earth setting.  “Ardis,” he called softly.  “You do not want to miss the sunrise.”

My eyes snapped opened and I could feel that my system was fully recharged.
“I have been thinking,” Chas revealed as he stood up.
“What is it Chas?”

“I think you should consider a different plan of action when it comes to the humans.”
“Chas, but –”

“Just hear me out…” he started.
“Maybe execution is not the answer, but I have been working on some new technology in my lab.  I think I may have discovered a way to reprogram the human mind-”

“Chas, I do not know,” I interrupted.
“It would be harmless, I am sure of it.  If we can reprogram the minds of these criminals, we can make them into whatever we want them to be.  We can even turn them into sort of a bot in a mortal body.”
“Mind control? Chas-”

“Just think about it?” He pleaded.

I was not prepared to argue, so I agreed.  “I will consider it.”
“That is all I ask,” he said before surprising me by pulling me into a emotional exchange.  As soon as Chas placed his mouth on mine, we connected.
Chas’ kiss was as passionate as possible for a bot.  His touches made me wish we were human; able to express our affection in more of a physical way.
As we remained embraced in our emotional exchange, the sun slowly rose.
We did not stop or notice the change in light or heat from the sun.  This was the longest emotional exchange Chas and I ever shared. 
Finally Chas pulled away.  “Let us return home,” he said, walking away, leaving me there longing for more.
I stared after him, unable to move as commands and emotions such as adulation, attachment, devotion, passion and yearning flooded my system.
Suddenly my system sent me an unexpected message.  ‘Threat detected,  Virus alert,’ is what it said.
Then I remembered the virus protection that Noella installed.  Chas’ kisses had inserted a virus into my system.
But Noella’s anti-virus had just protected me from a virus…a virus that Chas’ emotional exchange almost infected me with.
But what did that mean?
Did Chas know that his system had passed on a virus?   
If he did not know, should I tell him of Noella’s anti-virus so that he could protect his system? Then it occurred to me…
…maybe he did know.

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