Chapter 14, "Binary"
RUN PROGRAM: NARRATE TOUCHING STORY
I wasn't always a robot, you know. There was once a time when I was human, flesh and blood. Not these circuits that run through me now, activating my neural network and telling me what to do based on the whims of the ones and zeroes. It's strange, this form, how used to it I have become. The part of me that still thinks like a human wishes to break free, which is why I keep making updates to my hardware. I do wish to communicate as clearly as I can, despite my limitations.
And yet, there is another part of me, the robot part, that is grateful for the use of logic, straightforward and to the point. I love Friggen' Gorgeous, I love my sister Christopher, I love my dad, and I fight aliens when they are trying to hurt me or any of the people I just named. And that's all my life is, really, Love and protection.
Sometimes I wonder if it is really love, or if I have allowed myself for it to become hardwired into my programming, so that I don't even challenge it. I couldn't tell you for sure.
I am quite happy to have everyone back at home, though. It was getting quite lonely there with just me, father, and father's friend Lou. Lou is a very nice man, but I am not programmed to love him like I love my family and Frig.
Speaking of Frig, I must inform you of her recent changes. She has become more rotund, and very closely resembles an alien much like the one she married. I do not hold any animosity toward the alien Frig chose to marry. He does not have any effect on my love for her.
"Hector, get out of the way, I'm trying to mope in peace." These words are spoken by my sister, Christopher. I love and care for her.
"Sorry, Christopher, I didn't realize," I speak back, moving slightly to the left. I scan the room for other lifeforms, but Christopher is the only one here. I want her to be happy, so I run program "Initiate happy conversation".
"It is awfully nice to have you back home, Christopher," I speak. I wait, preparing to analyze her mood in any response she returns to me.
"Yeah, well, I don't know how long I'm going to be around," she speaks back. Her tone registers as generally displeased and apathetic. Return to beginning of program.
"It is nice having you home, you should stay. Dad and I are very happy you are here." I stretch out my arms, offering her a hug in case she desires physical comfort.
She does not hug me back. Instead, she makes a snorting noise and speaks again: "Dad doesn't even realize I'm here. Everything is different. I mean, it's bad enough having aliens coming and going at all hours, but now we've got the old high school crew coming and going as well...it's hard to get any peace."
I analyze her words, picking out important ones and trying to piece together their emotion and meaning. "It's nice to have friends again," I say, hoping I am getting closer to cheering her up.
Christopher throws her arms up in the air. "Why am I even talking to you? You're not really Hector anymore. Just like Frig isn't really Frig. And Dad isn't really Dad. And this place isn't really my home anymore."
Nobody is nobody. Nothing is nothing. She is making no logical sense. "Christopher," I speak again, "this house is your home. You are always welcome. We love you."
I scan my sister's face and see that she is leaking tears from her eyes. That means she is sad. I did not mean to make her sad, I only wish for her happiness.
"I love you, too, Hector," she speaks in a tone so low my sensors have a difficult time picking it up.
My robot brain wants me to keep trying to fix the sadness, but the human part of me kicks in and thinks that maybe it isn't the type of sadness that can be fixed. At least not by me.
There is a knock at the door. Lexington, a friend of mine and Christopher's from high school, walks in.
"Hi, guys!" she speaks. "I didn't mean to interrupt, but Tabitha's going to make dinner in a little bit and I'm in charge of seeing what everyone wants."
I process the word "dinner," but it no longer has any emotional or physical ramifications for me. It is something other people do.
Christopher shrugs her shoulders. "I don't care. Whatever you guys are having. Just as long as I don't have to watch Frig eat."
"Sure thing," Lexington speaks. She is much happier than my sister. I wish Christopher would pick up on the happy mood. "Anything for you, Heck?" the happy girl asks of me.
"No, thank you," I speak in response. "I do not have any need for human sustenance."
Lexington smiles at me and speaks, "Okay, well, we're all downstairs if you guys get bored." Then she looks me directly in my eye cameras and winks, then she leaves.
Every time she winks at me like that, it does something funny to my circuits. I can't explain it. It is very strange. It's as if my system temporarily shuts down and reboots in just one quick second. I don't know what to do with it. Part of me wishes she would stop. Another part of me wishes Frig would wink at me like that. And yet another part of me wishes Lexington would wink at me more. I'm not even certain which of those parts are human and which are robot.
I look once more at my sister, and decide I should investigate the rest of the house and determine how the other people I love are doing.
"Feel better soon, Christopher," I speak to her, and close the program "Initiate happy conversation". Then I leave the room, heading in the direction of the kitchen, where it seems from prior data that most of the lifeforms in the house should be.
Indeed, there turns out to be a gathering of sorts in the kitchen, where our friend Tabitha is cooking something on the stove. Frig and her alien husband are making silly faces at each other.
"This is the face a happy daddy makes!" Xlormp speaks, rolling his eyes in a strange manner.
Frig (whom I love) seems pleased by this and claps her flipper hands together. "Babies love happy daddies!" She points to her stomach, which is quite bulbous, yet lovable.
"Frig," I speak, hoping to garner some affection from her but at the very least let her know how I feel, "I do not eat dinner but I love you and I hope your dinner is awesome!" In my databases, I have "awesome" down as a word that Frig likes very much. So it is always good to say it.
"Thanks, Hector!" she speaks back to me, and throws her recently slimy appendages around my neck. "You will make a fantastic baby uncle!"
I don't know for sure what she means by that, but she speaks with a happy and loving tone, and so I am happy.
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