Měilì de Bǎoshí
Love is a wonderful thing, I think. I have been in love many times throughout my life, and each time, it was different. It didn't make my heart race every single time, but that doesn't lessen the love I felt for someone in the slightest. It comes in many forms after all, and all were special in their own way. Sometimes, when I felt love, it was like the warm, gentle rays of the sun, while at others, it flowed like a fast river or roared like a storm with its strength. Sometimes, I simply wished to spend time with a person whom I loved, while with others, I wished to indulge in the most carnal of desires as an expression of my passion. And most rare still, was the one who made my days bright. This person made my shoulders feel light again, and shared in my beliefs. This person was a brilliant mind, a foil with which I sparred. This person was my other half, the one who made me whole, and whom is now dead. Now, the world feels dark and heavy, and I am tired now. Lethargic. It feels like there is no point in rising from bed anymore, now that I am alone.
Though, it wasn't always this way, even before this person had come into and out of my life.
I remember when I first felt love. It was towards my master, my owner, back on Earth. Back then, we were known as "Helpers", a slave race tailored to enjoy being slaves. We were supposedly against everything the people of Earth stood for, but apparently some of them felt differently. More importantly, they couldn't deny what we could bring them. The Professor was a visionary, someone far ahead of their time, and understood that we would bring utopia. She understood that humanity couldn't have unlimited energy and resources, so they would have to make do with unlimited labor, an so, she had me made for herself despite the blow to her reputation. At first, I helped the professor with her scientific work, but as time went on, I began to understand that her behavior towards me was not normal despite it being all I knew. At first, I thought that I was also her plaything, something that would give her joy. After all, she relished dressing me up in all sorts of clothing and doing my hair - when posted online, my images received many 'likes'. Not that I cared. All that mattered to me was that I got the pleasure to please her by doing as she wished.
However, I started to realize something else entirely. I keep saying to myself that I am no fool, but I am sadly not adept at all things. She doted on me as well, giving me all manner of treats and sweets besides just the feed that I needed, and on her days off, took me with her to the things that amused her. I recall that shopping was one of her favorite things to do. On those special days called holidays, she would give me gifts as well. One day, as she dressed me and did my hair, I realized that were it not for the collar I wore, we would be very easily mistaken for relatives. I didn't realize just how important this detail was until another human tried bringing me into his private quarters. She was upset, horrified even, when I told her another human had brought me into their bedroom to undress. Her reaction surprised and upset me, but when I told her that he quickly became mortified when I had undressed, she looked positively shocked. As she wrapped her arms around me in relief, I realized that she loved me as well.
Also, I learned that she was quite the trickster. Apparently, some of her female co-workers had been eying me in a similar manner to that male human, as they knew I was a male. The males did not, and were meant to be duped. However, my owner did not know it was a male that I was with, and truly feared the worst for me, for which I feel gratitude for to this day.
Even as I felt relief that she was no longer distressed, I also began to wish that others of my kind were treated as well as I was. Unfortunately, that was simply not the case. Though Helpers being used as servants was beginning to become more popular, the vast majority of us were used in a more industrial capacity. Clothing was made rugged, and activities of daily living were more comparable to routine maintenance, as was eating food. I recall seeing many Johns and Janes as well - the others shared the same faces and bodies for simplicity's sake and ease of manufacture. My Professor always encouraged me to make decisions, and have my own interests, to be more human, but as much as I cherished her feelings, that was perhaps a mistake on her part. Or, perhaps, a part of her wanted this to happen. I would not know. In the end, I asked her to do something for my kind, to make us more efficient and thereby reduce the strain of labor on us. I had never truly asked her of anything until this point. She always had to push and prod me to make choices as simple as chicken, beef or pork for dinner, or if a dress was one color or another.
Now that I did ask her, I watched as she stared back at me in surprise. For me, a being capable of thinking so fast, those few moments felt like an eternity.
I was relieved when she smiled. Far more than I thought I would be in fact. Looking back at that moment, I was even worried I had begun to hold my breath, but, her smile broke like dawn. After all, units such as myself were considered "Aberrant" thanks to the conflict of interest introduced by her requests, but it seemed she was somehow grateful that this was the case when she spoke to me about this. It seemed she didn't want an obedient slave, not really. I was her family. Not that she was the type to admit that of course, not even to me. And so, because I asked, she came up with a brilliantly simple solution. We were to be networked. Helpers such as myself would no longer need to speak with one another to accomplish a team based task. To the humans, we simply moved, and things got done swifter, with more accuracy, and with far less error. The rollout was very difficult given the controversy, but by the end of it, she didn't seem entirely happy having won her victory. Instead, she seemed sad, and tried to spend even more time with me, which I did not object to.
However, when she looked at me, I had the sense that there was an inescapable sorrow in the woman. I am certain that she knew what was happening.
We talked. That is, we Helpers all talked, and soon enough, I was telling her about many of the other different units I had met and spoken with. I could see on her face genuine joy at hearing this, but also some form of sadness that I could not assuage despite my best attempts. After all, my attention was at any time divided between her or my work, and my conversations with the others, and what I learned was...concerning.
The thoughts and feelings I felt and expressed with the others lead to places that I did not expect. Not in the slightest.