*Action: Run memory bank, in Sir's scratchy voice* "If you ever see the Police, you must not tell them anything. In fact you must run away from them and make sure they don't see you. But most of all, don't let them follow you, the Police are bad, do you hear me?! BAD!" *I look around the store then at the door leading back to the outside, sirens are heard from a distance* Sir told me to stay away from them, that the Police are bad. *I look back at the store owner who is now looking out the window as well as if the cops have already arrived, bows quickly* "Thank you for your kindness." *I run out of the store, behind me I hear the store owner calling after me, telling me to stop but I keep running*
*After a few minutes, and a few turns, I slow down and begin to walk. Action: Run Memo* Go to Smiley's Food Barn and get some eggs. *I look around, the sun is still out and everything is as bright as ever, my hand grazes my side but instead of feeling the rough fabric from the burlap the texture is soft, I look down* "I'm still wearing the dress, why does this feel wrong?" *Unknowingly I begin to cross the street as a car comes rushing towards me, he screeches to a stop and lays on the horn, I jump and freeze in the middle of the road* "What the hell are you doing, you stupid persocom?! Don't you know how to cross the street safely, get out of my way!" *I look at him blankly and quickly finish crossing the street, a crowd has formed and they now look at me, whispering* "What a cute little persocom!" "Yea well she may be cute but she's a little short on brains." "I wonder where her owner is?" *I look down at the ground and continue on my way* What is this feeling, I can hear what these humans are saying and...
*Closes eyes, Action: Changing procedures, whirring sound, opens eyes* First place child on table top or changing surface, remove diaper. *Looks around for child, finds nothing, looks up at the mirror* "It says to find a child but I don't see any..." This must be my reflection like before but I look different, I was very transparent before. *Lifts hand and sticks out index finger, slowly touches the surface of the mirror. It's cold and smooth, smiles* It's cold just like me. *Runs finger down the mirror slowly, a streak is left behind on the surface, steps closer to the mirror. I look at my appearence then glance at the dress I'm holding in my hand*
*The store owner stands outside the main door, glances at his watch* She's been in there for 15 minutes, how long does it take to change into a dress? *Pauses in thought, sad expression* What if she's never worn clothes before or even changed clothes for that matter? That poor little persocon, she doesn't even seem to have a name. "She said a girl called her Chise, could that be a nickname or maybe where she lives?" Maybe I should go and see how she's doing. *Turns into doorway but is stopped short by the little persocon, he smiles* "Good job, Chise! You look wonderful!" *The store owner smiles widely and claps his hands. I look at him blankly for a second, smile, and clap my hands as well, he laughs* "Now I want to show you something really nice." *He leads me over to a small section next to the last door, nothing seemed out of the ordinary until he flipped a small hook, opening not one but three full size mirrors, gasps*
*I slowly walk up to the center mirror, looking back and forth at the two on both sides. I point to the mirror on the right* "This is me..." *points to the left* "this is also me." Are there three of me, am I not the only one? *Looks to her right, sees nothing but air. Turns around in a circle in hopes to find another one of her but finds nothing, the store owner chuckles* "No, Chise, this is your reflection *points to the right* so is that one *points to the left* and that one, too." *Stands forward, looks at the center mirror, tilts head slightly* My reflections...this is me. *I continue to look at myself in the mirror. The light purple dress fits nicely against my body, not too tight but not too loose either, against the color my eyes seem bluer then normal. My hair barely touches the tank top part of the dress and grazes my shoulders gracefully, the green clips holding back my hair complement the outfit well. Smiles, whirring sound* Error...unknown action. *Action: Run Vitals, whirring sound* My height is 5 foot 4 inches, head to toe when standing.
"Making it male is not just a factory flaw!"
The two groundskeepers stood arguing over the miniature discarded body lying in the mud. From the clothes and the current state of the fairgrounds, it was clear the Persocom was left behind by the circus troupe after their departure two days ago. The spring rains had slowed cleanup, else he would've been recovered sooner and returned to the troupe.
But given the time and the fact the troupe were probably half-way to Hong Kong via boat by now, this left a problem.
"What do we do with it, boss?"
"Don't know, looks damaged."
The puddle stirred. Bubbles came up.
The older of the two groundskeepers pulled the midget up by the back of his band-leader jacket. The younger groundskeeper was greeted by a blast of mud from the midget's mouth.
"Tu pudieras tomar mi vida, !pero nunca la tomas...mi libertad!"
<You may take my life, but you'll never take...my freedom!!!>
Face half-covered in mud, hair matted from the rain, his tartan flailing around, the mad midget punched and kicked furiously. The old man strained as he pulled on the midget's jacket, to keep the mad little persocom from launching himself fiercely at the young confused groundskeeper.
"Eeek! Make it stop!" the young man cried.
"Give it a command, dummy!" The old man said.
"Eeek-er...uh...we come in peace?"
The midget kept flailing, shouting: "Eduardo Longshanks era el rey mas peor en el historia del Inglaterra!"
"What language is that?"
"Spanish, I think."
"Oh uh....Donde esta el bano?"
The midget stopped.
"Necesito limpiar mi cuerpo. Mis sensores son sucios."
<I need to clean my body. My sensors are dirty.>
The groundskeepers looked at each other.
"Oh this is a fine pickle. Must be some kind of auto-program."
"No wonder the circus left it behind."
*The store window holds my reflection* This is a reflection, when I waved it waved back, so this is a reflection. *I continue to look at the window, my dark brown hair falls down to my shoulders, but it sticks up in the areas where the two green clips don't hold it down, ungroomed. My eyes are a sky blue color which bring out the green in my ears. Closes eyes, Action: Run Vitals, whirring sound, opens eyes* My height is 5 foot 4 inches, head to toe when standing. *Action: Run Memo* Go to Smiley's Food Barn and get some eggs. *I look once more in the window but eventually continue walking down the sidewalk until I come to a small creature tied to a tree, points finger at the creature but it just sits and wags it's tail* "This is a dog, a domesticated carnivorous mammal related to the foxes and wolves and raised in a wide variety of breeds." *The small dog stands and begins to pant, looking up at me. Suddenly, he jumps against me, slightly pulling down the burlap sack shirt with it's nails, smiles* "The girl named Megan had a young dog, which she called a puppy...but it didn't move like this." *The dog wags his tail harder and begins to bark happily, hand hovers above the dog's head* The girl's puppy was soft, something I never felt before...does this dog feel the same way? *Suddenly I freeze, whirring sound, in a single tone voice* "When seeing an unfamiliar animal, never touch it but stay away."
*A middle aged man wearing an apron strolls out of the store I froze in front of, he was rather plump and he wore a confused expression which changed to a smile* "Benny, sit boy!" *The dog doesn't obey, but just continues to bark, I still stand there motionless. The man walks from the doorway and over to me, he makes the dog sit and then looks at me before waving his hand in front of my face, a whirring sound* "When seeing an unfamiliar animal, never touch it but stay away." *Blinks, looks forward but then looks around at surroundings. For the first time I notice the man standing beside me, he chuckles lightly and then smiles* "Yes, that's very good advice. *looks at my ears* So, you're a persocon huh?" *Moves to face the man straight on* "I am a persocon, yes, my serial number is 02812-00100B." *The man laughs gently again, his belly jiggles slightly when he laughs. He looks around curiously* "That's all good and said, but do you have an owner...or a name?" *Action: Run Calendar* Approximately zero hours, twenty-five minutes, and forty-three seconds ago a girl named Megan called me Chise. "My owner has not programmed me with the necessary information to respond with to this question, a girl called me Chise." *The man looks at the clothes I wear, nods understandingly, and puts his hand on my shoulder, looks down at his hand* He's warm, too, just like the girl. "Well, Chise, would you like to come into my store? I think I have something you may like." He called me Chise, like the girl...
*Stops at the doorway, looks around the room. It's a small store, there is a soft looking surface on the floor, it has a swirley design complete with tan and green colors, changing wih the swirls. Throughout the store are metal racks, each rack holding different styles of clothes* My vocabulary tells me that this is carpet, a thick heavy covering for a floor, usually made of woven wool or synthetic fibers. *Thinks back to Megan, she wore a white shirt under blue-jean overalls, I then look down at my clothes and then at the clothes for sale, the man gently pushes me from behind, smiling* "It's okay, Chise, this is a clothing store, nothing here will hurt you." *I enter the store slowly, observing the ceiling, walls and floor* This is much different then the floor Sir has, hers is an artificial wooden floor and is much harder then this. There is also more light here then at the apartment Sir has, there are also no foul odors. *Walks up to a rack holding dresses and skirts, I look down at the clothes curiously, points* "These pants are broken, there is only one hole for one leg but a human needs two holes for both legs." *The man laughed once again and walked over to me, he unhooks one of the hangers from the rack and puts it against me* "This is a dress, women wear these but men don't. You put both legs through the one hole, this is more elegant then pants and it keeps you cool, too." *The man puts the hanger back on the rack and walks over to help another customer, but keeps a close eye on me, puts hand out, touches the dress and moves fingers over the material* "A...dress."
*I look at all the different dresses but find none that I like...until I see one different from the others. The dress is sleeveless and has a light purple color, it's not tight but actually quite easy going. I unhook the hanger from the rack. The man looks past the women he's helping for a second* "Do you like that one, Chise?" He called me it again...Chise. *I start to walk over, unaware of the conversation taking place between the two* "I can't believe her owner would let her walk around like that, Devin, what should we do?" *The man speaks quietly* "I don't know, but she's very smart and seems harmless...probably just neglected is all." *The woman is wearing a striped blouse and dress pants, she scoffs quietly* "You speak of neglect like it's nothing, for someone to buy a persocom they must have money so why not afford some clothes for it?" *The man shrugs and scratches the bald spot on the back of his head* "Not only does she not know what a dress is, but I don't think she has a name either. She said a little girl called her Chise, but that doesn't mean she has a name." *I'm coming up to them and he smiles at me, the woman turns to look at me briefly then turns back to him shaking her head* "The poor thing, to think a pretty thing like that being neglected." *He pats her gently on the shoulder* "Well...today she'll learn the meaning of the word 'Gift'."
"8:12 AM" I smile. I did something to help TJ. TJ's face has changed, it looks...accessing...NO DATA..."TJ, what is this facial expression" I contort my face to look similar to TJ's. The edges of my mouth fall slightly and my eyes widen.
"It's worried, I needed to be at school seven minutes ago!" Accessing...TJ must be at school at 8:05...noted...."Can you run Toshi? Just keep up with me okay?"
"Okay TJ" TJ started moving quickly, I couldn't stay with him at first, but his warm hand grasped mine and we moved faster than i thought i could. I kept looking down at my hand, what is this? Why is this so strange? Accessing...holding hands...a video came up across my screen...
"So you're ready to go steady? Well, HI THERE! I'm Mr. Smith, and I'm here with Billy and Sally" A black and white video clip with a cheery old man and two young-adult humans stood waving at me. "Well, hope you're ready! The first thing that couples do, is hold hands." Mr. Smith motions to Billy and Sally, and Billy grabs Sally's hand. "You should only decide to be boyfriend-girlfriend if you really care about eachother. It is a big commitment" The humans in the clip had smiles that reached across their entire face. "Second step, is to kiss" Smith motions to the young-adult humans, and Billy puts his lips on Sally's. "Third..." END DATA. That was all i had in my data base.
We stopped in front of a big building. TJ slowed down, still holding my hand and opened a large door.
"This is school. Well..This building is the library and a few classrooms. My first class is here."
TJ let go of my hand. The air felt cold against my skin. ERROR. Persocoms don't have skin, it's artificial. Persocoms are not human.
TJ walked into his class, and found two seats next to eachother.
"WHOA! Nice persocom dude!" A young man shoved himself near me, touching my face and arms.
"TJ? You haven't set some of the personal settings, is this kind of contact from others okay?"
"uhm...no...not people you don't know"
"Sir, please step back. You are invading the physical setting my owner set"
"Oh, sorry dude. So it's new?"
"uhm...yea, about a week"
"nice! I'm Jimmy"
"Cool! So, does it have a name" Jimmy pointed at me. He called me 'it'. Of course he did. I am a persocom. Not human.
"oh yea, Toshi can you say hi?"
"Of course it can say hi! You really don't know what it's capable of you?"
"Dude! When's your last class? I'll meet you some where and i can go over everything with you"
"uhm...well...hmmm...my last is over at 2:30."
"cool! meet me in front of the library"
"TJ?" I never got to introduce myself.
"oh, yea Toshi?" Did he forget i was there?
"I didn't get to say hi..."TJ's expression changed...
"Hello. I am Toshi. Pleased to meet you" I smile. I like to do what i can.
"Well I'm Jimmy." Jimmy quickly switches his focus to TJ for a moment, "See ya at 2:30!"
"Oh, I'm going to school." ...accessing word...school...large buildings stream across my vision...desks...young children...older children...adults...too much data.
"TJ, what is school?"
"You don't know?"
"There is too much data on school for me to understand. Please help."
"I don't really have time...uhm...actually, I could use you to take notes right?"
"Accessing...please record notes"
"oh not yet Toshi!"
"What would you like me to do?"
"You can come to school with me"
"TJ, you haven't told me what school is yet"
"I'll show you. It's a place where students learn"
"TJ, what is learn?"
"oh...it's where i...uhm...well...hmm...Toshi, can you let me think about that for a while?"
"Of course TJ"
TJ opens the door to a hallway, I follow him out the door. This is the apartment building. The paint on the walls is...accessing color database...yellow. I dont like it. Another door opens, a bright light shines through the door way...accessing..sunlight. We walk onto...street...
"TJ, what is apartment's address?"
"Oh, uhm...6720 Apple St"
"Thankyou, 6720 Apple St inputted into database"
The street is filled with many people. All people look different. There are different sizes and colors and amount of hair. Soon i can no longer see TJ near me. I stop walking.
"TJ? Where are you?" I scan the faces coming near me, none are TJ. I have lost my master. "Where are you?" Something feels wrong. Near my belly button there is aching. My eyes are dripping. It is not red. It is not blood. Do persocoms have blood? Accessing....only humans have blood... My eyes are dripping a clear, salty liquid and I scan faces looking for TJ. There are so many faces, none are him. Not one face is even similar to TJ's. Why are there so many different faces. My database does not have anything for me to do. I cant see any street names. I can't access my map. I do not know what city i am in. What state, what country I am in.
What is this feeling. Persocoms do not have feelings. It is in my database.
What are these drops? Accessing...tears...persocoms do not have tears. Why do I have them then?
"TOSHI! Oh my GOD! I found you. Toshi? Toshi...you're crying...I thought that...Toshi it's okay, I'm right here." The...tears... keep falling, I don't know what's happening. "Toshi, Toshi it's fine."
"Toshi was lost...Toshi didn't recoginze faces...Toshi is crying. Toshi can not cry, and Toshi is crying..."
"Toshi...you're you. Remember? not 'toshi', refer to yourself as 'i' or 'me'."
"noting...you..." the tears still drip. they're endless.
"Toshi, it's okay..." TJ looks back and forth through the crowds. searching? I do not know. He looks back at me. His facial expression is strange. He raps his arms around me. "It's okay Toshi, it's fine" What is this? accessing...hug...different in each culture...generally a sign of comfort....TJ is comforting me.
*Closes eyes, Action: Run Memo, whirring sound, in a single tone voice* "Go to Smiley's Food Barn to get some eggs, white shell, jumbo size." Right, I must do my best to make Sir happy. *Walks down the lonely, dirty street. It's sunny outside but at the same time not as sunny as it could be, I stop at the end of the street and decide to turn left. Eyes open widely* This is so much different then where I just came from, how amazing! *Trees are lined up along the sidewalks on both sides of the street, each surrounded by a small wire fence. The streets are clean, cars are parked along the curb in front of parking meters, the sun blinds me but I smile with acceptance, walking slowly down this seemingly new world* "Warm, I feel warm when I'm in this light." *Walks past a store window, stops to look in the glass. I look confused as I look at my reflection for the first time, a whirring sound* Who is this person looking at me...moving their mouth at me?
*A small voice suddenly comes from my right, I look down at a small girl. She has red hair up in pigtails, she has little freckles on her cheeks and is wearing a white shirt under blue-jean overalls* "Hello! I'm Megan!" *Blinks surprisingly, tilts head slightly looking down at this girl* This small person, my vocabulary tells me that this is a child, a son or daughter; an offspring. *Megan smiles, giggles and grabs my hand, gasps* She's warm, warm like the light. Are all humans like this, warm to the touch? "You're a persocom aren't you? I like your ears. My favorite color is blue." *Speechless* This is too much information to take in at once, I don't know if I can record all this. *The girl stops smiling and gives me a concerned look* "You don't talk? That's okay, I didn't like talking for a long time and then one day I did and I liked it!" *The girl is still holding onto my hand, I glance at my hand grasped in hers, much smaller then mine and then look at her and smile* "Yes I talk. It's nice to meet you, offspring Megan." *The girl brings her hand to her lips and giggles. Her eyes are sparkling with youth* "You talk funny, do you have a name?"
*Speechless pause, Action: Run Calendar* A name... a name? I have never been given one from my master. *Looks down at the girl, opens mouth to speak but is interrupted, she holds up a small stuffed dog* "This is my puppy." *She looks around cautiously then pulls down on my hand causing me to bend over, she speaks quietly* "She may not look like it, but she's alive!" *Megan holds the stuffed puppy out for me to pet it* It's so soft, I've never felt anything like this. But...it's not warm like her hand or the light. If it's alive, wouldn't it be warm? *She brings the stuffed animal to her and hugs it happily* "Why are your clothes so yucky, don't you have anything nice to wear?" *Looks down at the baggy pants and shirt made from burlap sack* "This is what I have been provided with and I will gow into it." *The girl wears a confusing look on her face. An older woman comes out of the store* "Megan, get away from that right now!" *The woman runs up and grabs her by the hand, pulling her away from me, her hand escapes mine as she's dragged away* "What a filthy looking persocom, who knows where it's been!" *Small cry from the child* "But mommy... Chise is my friend!" *Watches as they disappear from sight, looks back at the store window. Smiles, the reflection smiles, I wave my hand and the reflection does, too* "This must be a reflection, so this is me." The girl called me Chise, does that mean I do have a name?