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WHEN THEY MADE DALE...
28 August 2004
"We're setting up a poker game tonight. Do you think you'll be able to come over and lose your money? You're such a great mark," Jason joked. Dale looked up from patterning the robot's mold - engraving skin details into the surface of the mold and sneered at Jason.
"Lose my money? Lose my money? Look who's talking. You lost so much last time that you had to beg your way back to base on that shuttle from Betelgeuse. It took you three days and when you got back you smelled like fish for a week," Dale answered. The denizens of Betelgeuse were bipedal, fish-like humanoids.
"I was doing research for a new robot they want to build. I had to study their bodies up close and personal-like. Besides, they served caviar. Who was I to refuse their hospitality," Jason defended himself. Both men laughed.
"Isn't caviar fish eggs?" Dale asked rolling his eyes at Jason's lies. They laughed. Dale added: "No, no poker tonight for me. I've got too much work to do to finish the exterior of this robot."
"We're going to Oliverio's Livery and Gastronomique when we finish. I'd hate to leave you alone," Jason mentioned. He folded his arms and stood impatiently waiting for Dale's answer.
"Oliverio's? Oliverio's? Aw fuck! Not that place. Rumor has it that one out of five of his patrons suffers severe intestinal bleeding and requires a new intestinal track. It's that deep-fried, machine-processed rat meat he serves. The only time I ate there I could feel my arteries harden with each mouthful and my ass was open wide and splattering red hot tamales for says afterward," Dale grabbed his throat with one hand, stuck his tongue out as far as possible and made gagging noises. Jason waved a finger at him as if he was a bad, little boy.
"No, no, no! It's not processed meat. It's frozen kitty cat from old-age retirement homes and it tastes like chicken. Besides, poker's your favorite game," Jason answered.
"I'll tell you what. You can lose your money for me and I'll clone a replacement for your intestinal track tomorrow. Tonight, I have to work," Dale answered.
"Me… lose MY money for you? Wow, last of the big time spenders. Tonight of all nights you shouldn't be alone in this spaceship," Jason teased. Dale playfully flipped him the bird. Jason said goodbye and left the laboratory for his shuttle craft. Dale cooked a frozen pizza and returned to patterning the mold.
Robots were big business in this part of space. The basic robot - boxy, squat, ugly and gray - was physically and financially available for many years. They even had the bipedal robots that looked ugly with slick skins, ovoid features and ungainly movements. However, Dale's company specialized in making anthropomorphic, gender-specific, and if not graceful and elegant, then accomplished and natural moving robots. One of the last steps in the robotic process was to pattern the skin of the robot with natural details - fingerprints, wrinkles, folds, curves, and textures - that made human or alien skin unique to the person.
The internal structures of the robot stood ready and waiting for its outer coating. It looked like a plastic exoskeleton full of holes. The openings were fit with motors, cables, power supplies and computer connections. Dale's mold would be placed over the exoskeleton and a flesh-like, polymeric skin would be injection molded over the exoskeleton to create the robot. This particular robot would look like a male from the planet Garzery in the Aldebaran system. The Aldebarans were laid-back and politically savvy. Physically, they were bipedal humanoids endowed with heroic statures. They stood between eight and nine feet tall, blond and uniformly well-muscled to the point of being over muscled. They had soft, pale-blue skin with brilliant green eyes. Pink skinned, brown-eyed, black-haired Homo Sapiens fascinated them. Both races became friends and allies effortlessly.
Dale repeatedly molded small pieces of plastic to check their detail and texture. When he was satisfied with the pieces he committed the instructions to the computer. The toughest parts of any robot to pattern were the hands and feet. Hands and feet not only had many lines and creases but also had to do be the most flexible and adaptable. Faces and genitals were next toughest due to their suppleness and sensitivity. Dale worked quietly for several hours not paying attention to much of anything other than his work. Only when a yellow proximity alarm light announced a ship was maneuvering into the docking bay did he interrupt his work. He checked the transponder and was surprised to find out that it was the Aldebaran Prince Gregory, heir to the throne of the planetary system.
"Prince Gregory, welcome to my studio. I didn't expect any visitors tonight. Please forgive the mess. I only have some cold pizza to offer you," Dale said. Prince Gregory walked carefully through the cabin avoiding pipes and objects lower than his eight foot plus height. His form-fitted spacesuit clung to his body and accentuated his dimensions. Dale brushed aside a heap of rejected body pieces and set the pizza on one end of the work bench. Then he cleared an overstuffed chair so Prince Gregory could sit.
"Don't worry; I've never seen such a large workshop set into a small spaceship. The differences in our sizes are not insurmountable. As for pizza, I think you Terrans invented it as the perfect food. I love cold pizza. But beyond that, I was just too impatient to see your incarnation of the robot. Didn't Jason tell you I was going to visit? I was going to meet him tonight. He left a message you would be here if he wasn't," Prince Gregory said cheerfully. Dale didn't understand why Jason sent a message like that. He didn't want to interrogate Prince Gregory about the message.
"No, Jason didn't mention it. But, you've arrived at a good time. I just finished patterning the skin for the robot. I can show you the computer simulation, if you like," Dale said as he called up the computer images. Prince Gregory dutifully looked at the images growing more and more excited at the detail. He had some suggestions for the skin which Dale translated into the computer. Prince Gregory watched in amazement as the test pieces popped out of the dimensional mill and the lasers etched the patterns into the surface. Dale showed Prince Gregory the virgin moldings. They quickly added to the piles of accepted and rejected body parts that littered the cabin. When they finished, Dale showed Prince Gregory the full-sized mold for the robot.
"As you can see the mold is like a mirror or reverse image of the final robot. What's up is down and what points out is pushed in on the mold. The lasers cut the material away. You have to wear these glasses to protect your eyes and I suggest you should get comfortable. I don't have much energy dissipation capacity and it gets hot as the laser etches the virgin mold," Dale handed Prince Gregory a pair of dark goggles.
"I thought you'd never ask. As you are well aware, we like it cooler than Terrans," Prince Gregory removed his spacesuit and stood naked. He was a mountain of muscle and sinew. His body gleamed with sweat. Diplomatic protocol demanded Dale remove his clothes. Dale was tall, six foot nine, well built and fit. He felt a little puny next to Prince Gregory. Both men gave each other's bodies a good look. Dale pushed a few control buttons and they watched a dozen lasers moved into position over the two halves of the mold.
"This is quite spectacular if you've never see it before," Dale said as he triggered the lasers. The cabin lit up with a dozen beams of white-hot incandescence. Bits of the mold material flashed into vapors as the air purifiers worked overtime to contain them. The lasers blasted microscopic bits of metal off of the mold. Prince Gregory watched in amazement. Dale kept the process under control. It took the better part of an hour to complete work on the mold. When the lasers shut down, Dale motioned to Prince Gregory to remove his goggles. He triggered the cooler. Prince Gregory smiled and chuckled as Dale stood shivering in the cold room.
"Normally, I don't make a sample, but it's possible to make a gelatinous model for you to see. The gelatin doesn't last more than about ten minutes. It's a fast look," Dale said. He entered the command sequence and they both watch as the molding machine closed the halves. In two minutes it popped open and disgorged a life-sized gelatinous copy of the robot onto a platform. Dale dusted the copy with powder and then let Prince Gregory examine the model while he set about getting cleaning the mold in preparation for molding the skin on the real robot.
"This is magnificent, amazing, incredible, outstanding," Prince Gregory kept muttering superlative words. Prince Gregory left the gelatin as it slowly turned to liquid and regarded Dale standing proudly before the mold.
"Whose face is this on the robot? It's a very handsome face, by the way," Prince Gregory asked.
"Mostly mine. That's what you asked for, wasn't it? I thought you and Jason agreed about that," Dale was puzzled.
"Jason and I reached an agreement that the mold would reflect its animator. I thought it was going to be Jason, but he sent me a message that you would be here tonight to take his place. You seem puzzled," Prince Gregory said. Dale really didn't understand what Prince Gregory said.
"It's just that Jason went out to party tonight. He didn't tell me you would visit and he actually asked me if I wanted my face on this robot. He said you didn't care whose face it was," Dale said. At first, Prince Gregory looked puzzled and then he smiled at Dale and then he removed a few things from his spacesuit and set them on the counter.
"It's not really important now, is it? And your face is handsome and attractive. It's a good face," Prince Gregory said. Dale broke up laughing. Prince Gregory didn't understand.
"I've never heard my face or my looks described as handsome and attractive by another man before. It's not a comment I'd expect to hear from a naked man. You're generous and pleasant. Let me tell you, this mold is good for several thousand robots if you want them," Dale said. "I know you ordered only one robot, but if you don't damage this mold you could use it to make more copies." Dale let his weight rest on one leg and rested one hand on his hip. He held hid breath, waiting.
"Please hold that pose a moment. You know, you look magnificent standing there. I just have to have a photo of the creator," Prince Gregory said. He took a small camera from his spacesuit and snapped a picture of Dale standing before the mold. Dale blushed. Normally he just created the mold and never met the buyers. Prince Gregory's attention made him feel a little self-conscious. Prince Gregory smiled and stepped onto the small platform crowding Dale against the mold. Their bodies touched as they jockeyed to find enough foot room on the platform. The little camera flashed several times. Although Dale was tall, he looked directly at the top of Prince Gregory's chest. Muscles rippled before his eyes. Prince Gregory moved close against and put his arm around Dale's not insubstantial shoulders. Dale inadvertently rubbed intimate parts of his body against Prince Gregory's body. Prince Gregory's body was firm, hard, and surprisingly warm.
Dale thanked Prince Gregory for his thoughtfulness.
"Oh, no! You are giving us a great gift. You know, Dale, this robot is quite special for me and my planet. It is our first and it will be our only robot for many years. We will store your magnificent mold for future use," Prince Gregory said. He stood right up against Dale and put both hands on his shoulders. Dale felt cold metal against his back.
"Yes, I know. If you have the internal computer chips, I can mold it right now," Dale pushed back. He wanted to get a little more room on the platform.
"The chips are on the form of nanomachines," Prince Gregory replied. He snapped his fingers and a silver-colored cylinder about ten inches long floated into Prince Gregory's hand. Prince Gregory kept Dale completely backed into the rear half of the mold. Dale looked from side-to-side at the mold. Both men laughed at the size difference between Dale and the mold.
"All the programming I did, I didn't realize just how big you guys are. It's one thing to be in the same room with you, it's another to stand face-to-face against you with my back touching the mold. I can feel the difference," Dale winked at Prince Gregory.
"You Terrans… or should I say you 'guys'… are small but not unattractive. Your differences fascinate us. Don't feel like you're inferior because of your size. Why don’t you let me close the front of the mold and then you can really experience the differences," Prince Gregory said. He stepped back and half closed the front half of the mold. Dale put his hand on the door and stopped it.
"Oh no, don't do that. Please don't do that. I'm a little claustrophobic and I don't like being closed in any small space. Everyone I know who works with molds has been closed inside one at one time or another," Dale said as he pushed the other side of the mold open even more. Prince Gregory looked disappointed. Dale wanted to change the subject.
"By the way, I should tell you, I've never used nanomachines before. How do they work?" Dale said. He inspected the silvery cylinder that supposedly held the computer chips. It didn't seem to have a way to open it. Prince Gregory smiled. Again, Prince Gregory maneuvered Dale completely into the back half of the mold. He started to sweat. The metal felt cold against his skin.
"Nanomachines are as unique and as special as you or me. They build the inside of the robot based on a specific memories or even DNA encoded in their programming. Touch your finger to the end of the rod," Prince Gregory said. Dale touched his finger to one end of the cylinder. It glowed silvery blue and throbbed. Dale's eyes opened wide in amazement.
"Wow, that's… that's… amazing. I've never seen anything like it," Dale said. "What do we do, put it in the exoskeleton?"
"No, they are encoded to your DNA. Just touch it to your chest like this," Prince Gregory said as he gently pushed Dale's hand and made one end of the cylinder touch the middle of Dale's chest. It pulsed and glowed brighter. Dale stood there amazed.
"That feels so strange," Dale said. He laughed nervously. Then the cylinder dissolved spreading a blue stain all over Dale's hand and chest. The nanomachines entered Dale's body and immobilized him. Dale stood there stunned.
"What have you done?" he gasped. Dale couldn't move. The nanomachines held his body rigid. Prince Gregory watched as the blue of the nanomachines spread over Dale's body. He pushed Dale against the back of the mold and moved his arms into the proper depressions.
"No! Please stop!" Dale gasped. The nanomachines were spreading quickly inside his body. He felt dizzy. His body felt unstable, erratic, fluid. Prince Gregory got the robotic skeleton and pushed it against Dale's body. His skin reached out and stuck to the plastic skeleton.
"Why are you doing this?" Dale said. He felt sick as his body began to flow around the skeleton material, covering it with his flesh, blending it with his skeleton, embedding his organs into the hollows, replacing his muscles with motors, his sinews with steel cables. Prince Gregory watched as the nanomachines began to reshape Dale's body to fit the plastic skeleton.
"I thought Jason told you? We negotiated a deal for a human intellect to occupy our robot. Usually, the human who negotiates the contract becomes the robot. But yesterday, he told me you wanted the opportunity. We like you much more than we like Jason. We were happy to make the substitution. And you'll really enjoy being our robot after the transformation is complete."
Mentally Dale panicked. He wanted to scream and yell but the nanomachines were in control. He only heard a low moan. He knew what was going to happen. He'd seen soldiers submit to molding when the military needed an operative for undercover work. Typically, the soldiers died during their missions. The few that survived had to spend their existence as aliens because the transformation was irreversible. He'd never used nanomachines and these nanomachines burrrowed into his body like fire ants. Each nanomachine felt like a hot coal as it penetrated his body. Dale watched helplessly as Prince Gregory closed the mold door and sealed him inside the chamber. He could hear the machine prepare itself and his still fleshy body for injection. Hot plastic polymer scorched Dale's skin as the mold filled. It would take thirty minutes to complete the transformation. Thirty minutes of pain and agony as his body changed from flesh and blood into composite polymers.
Dale felt the nanomachines start to transform his body: his human skeleton integrated itself into the plastic framework of the robot; his internal organs changed into small chemical factories; his muscles changed into motors, cables and hydraulics; his heart and lungs changed into a small, nuclear power plant; his eyes changed into scanners capable of seeing more than visible light; and his hearing increased. Dale could feel the mold heating up to increase the rate of reaction. The nanomachines made an all out assault on Dale's once-human body and brain, digitizing all his functions. Many of his once-useful human organs - kidneys, stomach, intestines, liver, thyroid, spleen - merely disappeared. Others, like his testicles, adrenal glands, heart, skin, spinal cord, medula, and a few others turned into machines to perform some analogous function. Dale felt his mind, his memories, his experiences, and his entire conscious mind drain away as the nanomachines transcribed his brain into digital code. Then he felt an overlay of Aldebaran mannerisms and behavior form over his Terran norms. He wondered if he would retain any of his humanity when the nanomachines finished with him. He felt the mold cool down.
Dale felt his human body slipping away as his new body took form. He felt its increased size and muscularity. New sensations swept over his body overwhelming his mind and flooding his intellect. New childhood memories burst into his consciousness: memories of growing up with other boys on Aldebaran, memories of playing sports with other boys, memories of schooling with boys, memories of older boys, of physical exercise and sexual matters with only boys. Apparently, part of Aldebaran society was exclusively male. A rush of new physical abilities filled his mind with sensations and memories. He tried to think about the new memories but they were too many, too fast.
Without warning, the mold opened and Dale staggered forward, his new and unfamiliar body felt awkward and inflexible. Prince Gregory grabbed him and pulled him off the platform. Dale could see that his new, bluish skin and when he looked at Prince Gregory, he wasn't smaller anymore. He was the same height and weight as Prince Gregory. He tried to stand upright but his body didn't want to move. Suddenly, his body reacted to his thoughts. He nearly fell over. Prince Gregory caught him and held him tight. Their bodies felt good together.
"They tell me that the first few minutes are the worst. Apparently the nanomachines release control of your body all at once and then let you cope with the new structures," Prince Gregory embraced Dale. Dale stared at Prince Gregory's face only an inch away from his face. He tried to remember being human but the nanomachines turned his old life into a vague memory. Robots with embedded humans were rare. Jason didn't tell him that Prince Gregory wanted just such a robot.
"Why me? I didn't make this deal, Jason did. Why me?" Dale said. This transformation was irreversible. He wanted anger to overwhelm him. He wanted sorrow to flood his mind. He wanted to hate Jason and Prince Gregory. The nanomachines wouldn't let him. He found his footing and slowly disengaged his body from Prince Gregory's grip. He flexed his new body and felt his new muscles. The energy powering his body no longer came from the burning of oxygen to carbon dioxide in his body. He remembered that he had an inanimate reactor powering his body. He caught the nanomachines digitizing his memories. They quickly reprogrammed to be more subtle, more transparent. It was all so strange and yet so normal.
"Jason didn't tell you? But he couldn't fulfill the contract. You were his replacement in the contract," Prince Gregory replied. Dale leaned against Prince Gregory. The sensations gave him pleasure. He wasn't sure if the nanomachines had programmed him to feel pleasure when he touched other Aldebaran males or Prince Gregory was just sexy regardless, his was aroused and erect.
"That's the standard contract. What was wrong with Jason?" Dale asked.
"He was infected with a deadly Betelgeuse Tropical Fever some months ago. They came to get him last night. He only had a few days left before his body dissolved into fish eggs," Prince Gregory said.
"I didn't know. He never told me about the infection. I knew he played around with some Betelgeuse on a shuttle. We joked about him stinking of fish but I never thought he was stupid enough to get infected. You know, he teased me that this simulation was my dream body," Dale remarked. He thought about the lines in his face, the skin of his hands, the textures on his large muscles, and the extra sensitive erogenous areas around his genitals. In snort, everything that he had created for Prince Gregory's robot was now part of his body, his robotic body.
"And so it has become," Prince Gregory stood behind Dale and rubbed his shoulders.
"That feels good. So, this is the standard robot deal, then?" Dale asked. He picked up a mirror studied his reflection.
"Yes! You're my property. Tomorrow we will declare you dead and take over all your possessions including this spaceship and the business," Prince Gregory said softly. Dale made his way to the computer console and studied his handiwork. With every new touch, the nanomachines imprinted this body in his mind. He closed his eyes and thought about his childhood. He remembered two versions, one human, one Aldebaran.
"What are all these new memories? Why do I know about life on Aldebaran? And what about all these men?" Dale asked.
"Those are the memories of my twin brother. Before he died he let me digitize his mind in the hopes that we could construct a robot to replace him. However, the nanomachines could never synthesize a consciousness without gaps and flaws. I decided to overlay his memories onto your mind to help you adjust to life on Aldebaran."
"Is that why you wanted a robot? A replacement for your brother?" Dale said. He placed a hand on Prince Gregory's chest. He could feel his heart beat. He remembered how Prince Gregory's brother used to lean on those large pectorals and take comfort from them.
"No, nothing that simple. I wanted a robot who was more than that. You'll be a synthesis of your human memories, emotions and reactions with my Brother's loyalty and political savvy. As a companion and advisor, you will be invaluable to me."
"And I'll be your lover," Dale meant that to be a question but it came out as a statement. His thoughts surprised him. Prince Gregory stood silent. Dale didn't feel disgust at being Prince Gregory's lover, in fact, at some deep level he wanted to be his lover. He worshipped the Prince's body. He took a deep breath to sigh and realized for the second time that he not longer needed to breath, his heart didn't beat, his blood didn't flow, and his stomach wouldn't feel hunger. He didn't need food. He didn't need air. His new skin was nearly indestructible. This body was bigger, stronger, healthier, and sexier than his human body.
"This is all still strange. I keep forgetting I'm a robot and thinking I'm still human. Anytime I've ever seen a human submit to transformation in a mold they've never returned to normal or they didn't survive more than a few weeks. This is all new for me," Dale sat down at his desk. Aside from his body being larger, his desk and work area felt perfectly normal.
"The nanomachines will never die and chances are that you won't either. You said before that your work is so good we can make several thousand copies from this mold. When this body wears out you can have a new one made. The nanomachines will transfer your mind from body to body," Prince Gregory sat next to Dale.
"That's right. I might be the first human to become immortal," Dale smiled at the thought.
"Do you think you can sculpt my body into another one of these molds?"
"That's an easy project. This body was hard because I had to create it from scratch. That's why I used my body as a starting point. I can map your body with lasers and use that typography as a template for the robot. It would be identical to you in every respect but intellect. Not many people want robotic duplicates of themselves. People get weird about duplicates," Dale tapped out a few commands on his keyboard. His large hands moved over the keys swiftly and sprightly. The computer calculated the parameters of a scan that would digitize the exterior of Prince Gregory's body. Dale rubbed his hands on his bare legs and was surprised at the lack of hair. He caught his reflection in the glass of the monitor and felt surprise at his blond hair.
"Could we do this now? I have another batch of nanomachines created from my DNA," Prince Gregory asked.
"Yes and yes, But I won't. I'm still being surprised by my appearance. I'm going to need some time to acclimatize myself to this new body; how it feels, how it looks, how it moves. Stuff like that," Dale said.
"We could both get used to our transformations at the same time. Think of exploring our new bodies together, playing the different sports from our planets, having sex, enjoying the camaraderie. We would be bets buds," Prince Gregory said. The words "best buds" resonated through Dale's being. He knew immediately what the words meant and what he had to do.
"I can do it immediately," he said to Prince Gregory. He entered the proper commands into the keyboard to scan Prince Gregory's body.
"Use these eyecups to shield your eyes. Go stand on the platform with your arms out, best bud. And don't do that again," Dale's face turned scarlet in anger. The anger didn't disappear. He moved the mold of his body into a long term storage and transport tube with his memory module. He reset the machine to scan mode. The lasers whined in anticipation.
"Sorry to use the override commands. You'll be able to do the same to me after my conversion. The override prevents the nanomachines from going berserk. It's not there to make you my slave. I want you to be my equal, that's why you have my brother's memories," Prince Gregory stopped and embraced Dale to reassure him. Then he stepped onto the platform and placed the eyecups over his eyes.
"So if I tell you to drop to your knees and suck my cock, you won't be able to resist?" Dale asked. He prepared the memory module to hold the scan.
"You won't need orders for that," Prince Gregory said. Dale triggered the lasers. A dozen beams of reddish laser light smacked Prince Gregory's body and started to record every ridge, every pore, every bump and every depression. Dale had set the intensity high to handle the blue skin. The mechanism gave instructions for Prince Gregory to move into certain positions, most of which were awkward and undignified. The lasers mapped every bit of Prince Gregory body. While they did, Dale examined Prince Gregory's camera and downloaded the pictures. The camera was really good at taking good pictures. He set the camera on automatic so it would record the transformation. The alarm dinged for the final pass over Prince Gregory's body. Dale added a few extra seconds to the lasers and upped their power. When the lasers died out, the machine instructed Prince Gregory to remove the eyecups. His body felt hot, itchy and tender all at once. He looked at his arms and legs. His skin was prickly and tinged red.
"What's this?" Prince Gregory asked, touching his tender skin.
"It's called sunburn. Apparently your skin is sensitive to the laser light," Dale giggled.
"A Terran malady that you deliberately programmed, I'll bet," Prince Gregory suggested. He touched his shoulder and winced.
"It's even more fun when it heals and your skin peels off. Then it tickles," Dale answered. Both men laughed. When he got close, Dale smacked Prince Gregory and set him howling. He readied a new mold and exoskeleton. It didn't take too long for the lasers to etch the mold. Prince Gregory stepped up onto the platform and pressed his back into the mold. It fit his body perfectly. He held a silver tube in his hand.
"Would you get the exoskeleton ready," he said to Dale. Prince Gregory triggered the nanomachines and let them spread all over his body. He could see pain on Prince Gregory's face. You are in for a real treat, Dale thought. He pushed the exoskeleton against Prince Gregory's skin and watched as Prince Gregory's body deformed and absorbed the exoskeleton. He closed Prince Gregory inside the mold and triggered the injection sequence. He knew what was happening inside, the pain, the agony and the exhilaration of the change. He sat down and waited for the cycle to finish. When the machine signaled the end of the cycle, he positioned himself to catch Prince Gregory when the mold opened its doors. Prince Gregory stumbled forward. Dale caught him.
"That hurt, really hurt! Why didn't you warn me of the pain," he gasped. His voice was rough and new.
"I thought you knew how much it hurt. That's why I was so nervous around the chamber. It wasn't because we were naked and you kept touching my body. It was because I knew how bad the transformation hurt," Dale said. He held Prince Gregory's body against his. He could feel the toughness of the polymeric skin. It took a few moments for Prince Gregory to move smoothly and naturally. Dale stored Prince Gregory's mold and memory modules in a long term storage and transport tube. He shut down the machine and made the spaceship ready for flight.
"Well, I put both of the molds and the memory modules into storage tubes for transport. They'll be safe," Dale said.
"Is there possibly an attaché, bodyguard or pilot on your shuttle twiddling his thumbs, playing solitaire or bored to tears doing nothing?" Dale asked.
"My pilot and a bondsman are on the shuttle," the prince answered.
"Good, get one of them to come over here with an extra spacesuit. I'll give him my access codes and he can fly this ship to Aldebaran. No one can scan anyone of royal rank. So our transformation will be secret until we get back to Aldebaran," Dale said.
"I never thought about that. As robots we don't have any rights, do we… None, not even in the Aldebaran Empire," he paused. "We only have two spacesuits, no extras. You don't happen to have one the proper size onboard here, do you?" Prince Gregory looked a little puzzled. Good, his facial muscles are working, thought Dale analyzing his work.
"Nothing big enough... how well can you trust that pilot?" Dale asked.
"With my life. He's my personal bondsman and vassal. His family has been our vassals for ten generations. Why?" Prince Gregory answered.
"As long as you trust him, we can walk to your Shuttle without spacesuits. Robots don't need air to breathe. You didn't think of that, did you?" Dale said in a matter of fact tone. Prince Gregory pushed his lips into an "O" and shook head affirmatively. He signaled the pilot.
"Sorry to be so outspoken but you should also know that our skin is tough enough to withstand the vacuum and can't be punctured. It might look and feel like skin, but it isn't. And you have to be careful about those quick medical or security scans, they might reveal anomalies in our new bodies," Dale related. Again Prince Gregory pushed his lips into an "O" and shook head affirmatively. Dale was correct. He had not planned this part of his adventure. He needed a plan to get back to Aldebaran Prime.
"You know, we won't be taking the direct route back to Aldebaran. I have to stop at the embassy. What if they ask about you?" Prince Gregory narrowed his eyes to think.
"Simple, I'm merely one of your slaves, a possession. You bought me at the slave market in the Hyades. Let's say my owners, Dale and Jason, lost the business in a poker game and sold their robot to you for passage. Once they hear I'm a robot and a slave, I'll have no status worthy of inquiry," Dale answered. Prince Gregory shook his head.
"You're good at this identity thing, aren't you?" Prince Gregory asked.
"Not especially, I've created robots for other customers," Dale answered. The Prince has at least an ounce of brains, he thought.
Dale fished around the cabin or any of his old personal gear to see he had anything of value. He didn't fit his human clothes. He had no jewelry. His only real possessions were memory modules and his robot business. He packed a case with memory modules marked with the Prince's insignia. The robot creation apparatus was incorporated into his spaceship. All those things were material possessions. Knowledge was the real coin of the realm in outer space and Dale had the knowledge, the ability, and now the means to live many, many lifetimes and eventually become the force of destiny incarnate.
"This is all I need. Don't lose our memory modules or the specifications for the molds. We ready to go to your shuttle?"
"Before we leave, I can't call you Dale on the trip back," Dale shook his head in agreement. "That's not a good name for you or any android in my employ. from now on, your name is Danny Andro and UNTIL we reach my private study in the Palace on Aldebaran, your IQ is seventy, you're a mute, and you're my private, clinging sex slave. Got that, Danny Andro my best bud?" He watched Dale's face carefully and saw the commands take effect. Now, they were both safe from Dale's talkative nature. Prince Gregory smiled and mentally patted himself on the back. It would take him four years to reach his palace. By that time, he would be king of the Aldebaran Empire and Danny Andro would still be at his side. faithful, subservient, and mute.
5950 words more or less
FUTURES YET UNKNOWN
Ten Stories by Dave Fragments
*An Alien serial murderer and a furry detective with fleas.
*Murder on a world with altered humans.
*Disturbing apocalyptic visions *Monstrous dystopian societies.
*A man on trial for betraying the human race to robots.
*Devils, demons and ghosts.
*Survivors of a plague war.
*Cyborgs trying to be human.
*Six friends in a strange sinkhole.
*The truth about a world drowning in rain, without sun, without hope.
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