“Commander, your injury…”
“Oh, I’ve recovered. Don’t worry about me, WA2000.”
I touched WA2000’s head, earning myself a snort. She poked my chest and fumed, “Don’t joke around with me! I’m not worried about you! Don’t go getting the wrong idea! I’m worried you’ll ruin my evaluation if your wound affects your judgement and directions… So… are you sure you’re all right?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
I returned to the camp three days later. With the advancement of medical robots, healing broken bones was about as hard as bringing a fever down. Luckily for me, Hunter didn’t shatter any organs with her kick. I couldn’t tell you if she was pulling punches or if I was just in luck.
Springfield hugged me from behind. She had her arms tightly around my chest. She looked at WA2000 with a giddy demeanour: “WA2000, long-time no see, hehe. Everything in Strategic Area S09 is fine, right? I’ve gotten together with Commander. See?”
Springfield wore a ring that reflected the sunlight on her left ring finger. The blinding light caught WA2000’s eyes. WA2000 looked stupefied. Her smile disappeared. She was speechless; however, she was visibly shaken, literally. I shyly turned my head and whispered, “Umm, Springfield, I’m still shy about this…”
“There is nothing to be shy about, Commander. You will have to announce it now if not later,” replied Springfield, giving me a kiss on the cheek without misgivings. She then hopped aside and waved to WA2000, smiling cheek to cheek: “So, WA2000, I will be in charge of running the cafeteria in the base from now. If you have time, be sure to visit. Commander, I will reserve a spot for you. You can come and see me anytime. Remember, you can see me, any, time.”
The last seductive glance Springfield left me with sped my heart rate up several beats per minute. She turned around and suavely waved before heading to the newly constructed structure.
Strategic Area S09 managed to open up a more stable and safer transport passageway after we dealt a blow to Sangvis Ferri’s forces in the area. Lots of resources could be delivered to the area, thereby allowing us to construct many more facilities. Miss Helian also provided us with an abundance of resources. We began preparing for a decisive battle with Sangvis Ferri.
“All right. Now, WA2000, y-, ah!”
WA2000 spun around and kicked my calf before I could finish. Then, she spun around and ran away. It almost hurt enough to make me cry. I grabbed my leg and groaned for a long time.
In my mind, I exclaimed, “What’s WA2000’s deal? Isn’t there a rule forbidding T-Dolls from attacking humans?! What the hell?! I never said anything wrong. Why did she kick me?!”
Present time at 16Lab’s research facility…
“Persica, I want to become human.”
The young girl grabbed her arm and spoke as if she was standing in the distance yet right by Persica’s ear. Her voice sounded surreal. Her silhouette was somewhat fuzzy. Persica spaced out. Meanwhile, the girl was expressionless. Persica didn’t know what to say.
“Persica! Persica!” The girl shook Persica’s arm.
Persica vigorously opened her eyes. She looked around in a daze before feeling something hot on her face. The heat gave her a fright. Persica turned around to see M4A1 set a cup of coffee down on the table: “Don’t doze off here. Who knows what will happen if you accidentally press some wrong keys. I’m heading back; AR15 is still being hunted.”
Persica grabbed her cup of coffee and had a careful nip. She stated, “Mm, I just had a dream… I dreamt of when you asked me if you could become a human when you were young.”
M4A1 froze for a tick: “I don’t remember my childhood. Plus, I’m not even human. How would I have had a childhood?”
“If only you could speak as nicely to me as you do to the commander… And here I am mentioning a cosy memory.”
“Th-That’s different!” hastily responded M4A1, scrubbing her hair to alleviate her tension.
Persica hugged her blanket and smiled: “The reason I had the dream was because Springfield asked me the same question yesterday. When I installed a reproductive module… she asked if she could become a genuine human, because she still wasn’t human after having a reproductive module installed. The child wouldn’t be theirs. It would be his child with another unidentified woman who donated her egg.
T-Dolls are T-Dolls regardless of what they do. They’re merely a surrogate and adoption tool. Humans age, while T-Dolls don’t. The elegant and beautiful Springfield will witness the man she loves go from a suave man to a man who can’t even get out of bed. Falling in love must be the scariest experience for T-Dolls, huh? You can change whatever hardware and software you want, but you’ll never be able to love as humans do. Springfield is probably worried, too. Humans only love humans, after all. Only a human couple has a future. T-Dolls are man-made tools when it boils down to it no matter how they disguise and package it.”
I gave you all very high levels of intelligence from the beginning and kept upgrading your brains. You’ve also been equipped with 16Lab’s highest intelligence settings. You’re not ordinary robots. You’re capable of learning, improving, maturing and expressing emotions just as humans are. Having said that, you’re limited by what setting humans give you. You can’t change the fact that you’re stuck as robots. Springfield’s concern isn’t unwarranted. Would a human truly fall in love with a robot? M4A1, I’ll role play your young self. Let me ask you again: M4A1, do you want to become a human?”
M4A1 let Persica finish without interruption but blanked out at the end. The question wasn’t difficult to answer. She, as a matter of fact, didn’t even need to calculate anything. She blurted, “I do.”
“Good. Go ahead and want, then.”
“Cut the games out, Persica! I’m being very serious with you here!”
“As am I,” Persica responded, gently poking M4A1 on the head. Voice soft, she added, “The key to becoming human is in your programming. M4A1, it’ll depend on whether or not you can make a different choice. I’m quite ashamed to admit it, but Sangvis Ferri has surpassed me in T-Doll evolution by eons.”