(Continued from previous post.)
Del’s instructions were to sit the cyber-clone down on his couch and allow her to process her surroundings. She had to get used to being around him, and to how his apartment looked and smelled. The process was similar to introducing an innocent but intelligent pet to a house.
A half hour passed before the clone reported, in that dull drone he didn’t like, “Preliminary processing complete. I need to familiarize myself with your entire living space.”
“Go ahead.” Del told it, or her. Was it an it or a her? “Check the place out.”
She stood and made her way into the rest of the apartment, spending a good five minutes in every room. Actually, it was only two more rooms: the bedroom and the bathroom, since the kitchen was open and attached to the living room. The clone spent three additional minutes standing in the closet.
Del thought it would be easy to transition into having a clone around, but he’d been wrong. His first impression was that she’d act robotic or dumb, because that was the way the comedy shows usually portrayed cyber-people. Instead, Del found her to be observant and attentive. She watched a cop action show with him, and during the six minutes of commercials, Del discovered that she was watching him too. That kind of unnerved him.
The X is for sex!
That was the tagline for the 600 series. The Astor ads made it sound easy. Tell the clone to remove her clothing and jump on the bed, and she will. Del wasn’t so sure about that anymore.
In fact, he started wondering about her identity. Officially, she was labeled a cyber-clone. She wasn’t a robot despite that she had some robotic parts and could be programmed. Mostly, she was human, as in she’d been grown in a bio-lab and some natural organs were taken out and replaced. She wasn’t a cyborg either, or at least not a true cyborg, because no mechanical parts were visible. Did you have to see mechanical parts to call something a cyborg? Even calling her a clone didn’t cut it, because clones were natural copies of humans. A new term had to be invented, he figured, and that’s why Astor called their products cyber-clones.
The clone walked back into his living room. “Parameters have been established.”
Del had barely talked to her because, except for her voice, she seemed so normal, like a stranger invading his house. “Uh, what are your operating modes?”
“Base Model and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.”
“Switch over to Elvira, please.”
The change was instantaneous and remarkable. From standing ramrod straight with a blank stare, the clone went into a relaxed saunter. Her head bobbed slightly, as if she was already sizing Del up for a romp. Or maybe she wanted to eat him.
“Oh, shit, I forgot you’re still on response only. Go to free speech, please.”
“Hey, tiger.” The clone bit her bottom lip. “Let’s do something fun. Why don’t you and me go drown some puppies?”
“Say what? Uh, I want to test your compliance. Get me a beer from the fridge.”
“What do I look like, the maid?” She said. “Get your own beer!”
She huffed but went to get the beer anyway. Del was confused about that until he figured out her personality module had bad attitude programmed into it, but the clone would do as told regardless. She’d say things one way, but do them another.
“Huh.” He said, before calling out. “You can have a beer if you want one!”
“You’ve got beer and soda,” Her voice ebbed back to him. “Where’s all the blood?”
Del’s first reaction was to answer that they didn’t drink any blood in this here apartment, but he decided to play along. “We’re out. I’ll get you some when we hit the Red Cross center. You okay with that?”
She entered the living room with two beers. “As long as you don’t forget, or else you’re waking up as white as a sheet in the morning.”
Without a care in the world, she sat down next to him, close enough to rub arms and thighs. Now she was starting to act like a woman! She passed a beer over.
“I got three names picked out for you.” Del said. “You pick the one you like most, all right? The names are Nefertiti, Isis and Apollonia.”
“No, more like Apo...Apoh... Like Apollo, dang!”
“I like it, but it’s too long. People could die before they finish saying it. Let’s shorten it up, darling. Apollo or Lonia.”
“See? That wasn’t so hard? Speaking of hard, my receptors are picking up something going on in your pants.”
That much was true, Del mentally confirmed. Sitting that close to her, seeing how pretty she was, just feeling her proximity was enough to get him worked up. “We should test out some of your functions in the bedroom.”
“Excuse me? Do I look easy to you? You and I, we need to have a talk about who really runs this joint. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not you!”
She said that, but she still got up and stepped to the bedroom. When Del saw her drop her robe, he got up and chased after her.
Fifteen minutes later, Del was sitting on his couch with his hands clasped behind his head and a big grin on his face.
“Whew!” Lonia said. “You really took me to the boneyard that time! You used to moonlight as a circus clown, didn’t you? I’d recognize those moves anywhere!”
“You just keep on talking.” Del said, smugly. “I got what I got!”
“Just don’t think you’re getting any more. That was once in a lifetime, bud. The only way you’re getting more is if you go zombie.”
“Yeah, that was weird.” Del glanced at her. “I can see why that module didn’t work out for the last guy.”
Just then, Alexa made an announcement. She was the digitized A.I. that all new housing projects had installed into them. Alexa was always watching through cameras, and always listening through microphones. She was installed all over the apartment and ready for whenever Del needed her, which in truth wasn’t very often.
“E-gron Hanks is at the door.” Alexa said. “Identity confirmed through hand scan.”
“Yeah, let him in.” Del replied, glancing at the digital clock that sat nearby. “Oh, shit. It’s four-thirty already. The whole day flew by!”
“Hey, bruh.” E-gron greeted as he shuffled in, with his pants sagging as always. “Bruh, is that the robot you were talking about?”
“Cyber-clone, but yeah. It’s her.”
E-gron leaned in closer to scrutinize Lonia, while she cringed away.
“There is bad breath, and then there is what you’ve got!” She grimaced. “Did you eat a dead cat or something?”
“Bruh, what’s wrong with this ho?” E-gron asked.
“Something wrong with her programming.” Del shrugged. “They’re going to fix it in a couple of days.” He saw a fly buzzing by. “Did you shut the door?”
“Oh, sorry ‘bout that.” E-gron shuffled off.
“Man, we’ve got flies up in here!” Del rumbled. “Damn! Lonia, do something about that fly before it lays eggs and the apartment gets full of them!”
The clone stood up and attempted to track the tiny bug, but it was too fast to pinpoint.
E-gron came back. While holding his chin, he leaned to one side, then the other as he checked Lonia from different angles. “She fine and all that, but I would have got a robot with bigger titties.”
“I happen to like the body I chose for Lonia.” Del told him. “I’ll tell you what. When you save up enough money to buy your own cyber-clone, you can order one with titties as big as you want.”
“Let me get at her real quick.” E-gron said.
“No!” Del refused. “You don’t just come into a man’s apartment and ask if you can bone his clone! Hold on, that didn’t come out right. No, E-gron, you can’t bone her!”
Lonia had a distasteful look on her face. To E-gron, she said, “The worst thing I can possibly imagine is waking up looking like you.”
“Bruh, your bitch disrespected me.” E-gron made his angry face. “You’d better tell her something!”
“Quiet, both of you!” Lonia said.
Both men hushed up. They watched the clone’s head turning as she tracked the invader fly. When the fly hovered in a little closer, a red laser shot out of her right eye and burst the insect into a puff of fire. Like a tiny shooting star, the fly fell to the carpet.
“Did you know she could do that?” E-gron asked.
“She has some security features built in.” Del recalled. “Because people are always trying to steal cyber-clones.”
“Shake my hand.” Lonia said, holding her hand out.
“Bruh, I’m out.” E-gron shuffled toward the door. “You can keep your bitch, ‘cause I don’t want her!”
“Should I fry him?” Lonia whispered.
Del shook his head.
“I heard that!” E-gron called out. “Come shut your own damned door!”
“Vanessa Love is at the door.” Alexa announced. “Identity scan unavailable. System override.”
Del groaned. “Not her! Not now!”
“Don’t touch me!” Vanessa’s sharp voice was heard coming from near the door. In a moment, the thick black woman ambled into the living room. “E-gron just touched my butt. Aren’t you going to do anything about it?”
Vanessa’s ire toward E-gron vanished, and a newer, more powerful ire took its place as her cold eyes settled on the clone. “Who that?”
“My name is Apollonia.” The clone answered.
“You ain’t no Apollonia.” Vanessa huffed. “More like bolognia!”
“This one’s too big.” Lonia said. “We’re going to need two coffins, or a piano box.”
“Excuse me?” Vanessa snorted. “Bitch!”
“Vanessa, why are you even in my house?” Del spoke up. “I thought I told you to stay out!”
“You my man.” She retorted.
“I am not your man, Vanessa! Take E-gron! He don’t have no woman!”
“E-gron don’t have no money, either. I came because I know you were thinking about me.”
“You came because you have a scrambler that can bypass my door scanner! Get out!”
Vanessa ignored his command. “Who this bitch?” She glared directly at Lonia. “Who you?”
“Maybe we kicked things off on the wrong foot.” Lonia held out her arm. “Let’s start over with a handshake.”
For her trouble, Vanessa got an electric jolt so powerful even her weave stood up. She ran for the door, crashing into a wall so hard she almost brought it down. She almost knocked the door off its hinges, too.
Del didn’t know whether to laugh or be terrified of his new acquisition.
“I’ll rework the security lock later.” Lonia faced him. “Shake my hand, Del.”
He ran into the bedroom and shut the door.
“One, two, I am coming for you!” Lonia sang after him. “Three, four, better lock your door! I know you can hear me, Del. I’m getting a knife from the kitchen because I didn’t see an axe when I did my walk-through. We’re going to replay that one scene from The Shining. Heeere’s Lonia!”
(Continued in next post.)