Warning: Mature themes. Discretion advised.
Her name was D0T-3000. Master called her Dot.
He had bought her one year ago, and the first night was the worst. He had seen the ads and heard the ravings from his friends – but he’d never had one for himself before. So, he tested.
“Power on,” he said. Dot blinked, and Master smiled. There was no light in his eyes.
Dot was the latest model. The makers were good, but they did not know everything. For instance, Dot could not feel. Not yet. Her sensors registered when something brushed against her arm, yes. But Happiness? Hunger? Pain? Those remained a mystery to her.
She could remember, though. And she remembered the first night very well.
It got better as the months went by. Master knew her limits. She may have been built strong, but she was still a machine, and machines could break. He was careful; he knew she’d be his only one.
D0T-3000s were in very short supply. It took months to manufacture a single robot. The wiring had to be precise, and the metal both firm and supple. It was both a science and an art.
The makers did not like mistakes. If there was anything wrong on a D0T-3000 – anything at all, from a hangnail to a hair out of place – it was to be discarded. The robots were, in every sense of the word, perfect.
So, there was a waitlist, and Master’s name had been down for seven years before they brought Dot through the door.
Master almost stopped when he got himself a sweetheart. He’d met her at work; their offices were in the same building. Her name was Miss Penny, and Dot liked her very much. Miss Penny had long hair the color of honey, warm brown eyes and a very kind smile.
Miss Penny would help Dot clean when Master left the house. She swept the floor, dusted the bookshelves and even talked to Dot like she wasn’t a robot. She talked to Dot like she was a friend.
And Dot had never had a friend.
Dot supposed it was her fault for Miss Penny leaving. She was programmed to tell the truth, and Miss Penny had gotten to asking about Master. Dot did not leave anything out. She started with the simple things, like what tie was his favorite and what foods he liked Dot to cook for him.
Then she told Miss Penny about the first night and all the nights since; about the shoving, and the burning and so much more. She showed Miss Penny the cuts. Dot did not bleed, but she still needed special stitches to protect the wiring.
Miss Penny was out the door that evening.
Master discovered what happened, and Dot had never seen him so angry.
He threw a particularly large party and he invited all his friends. They didn’t hesitate. Dot couldn’t recharge until very late that night; the technician had to come. She needed more stitches than ever before, and the metal in her arms and legs was bent.
When the technician left, Master shoved Dot into the charging tube. The latest models had artificial skin and cushioning between the metal pieces, so Master felt no pain when he hit her.
He left so quickly that she had to attach the wires herself. This was difficult. Some places were very hard to reach, like the socket between her shoulder blades. But Dot didn’t stop until all the charging wires were securely plugged in.
Serve the Master. That had been programmed into her from day one. A robot couldn’t serve on an empty battery.
Dot closed her eyes. It took four hours for her to recharge, and when the light in the tube turned green and the door opened, someone was sitting outside.
Dot opened her eyes and blinked at the visitor.
“Hello, Dot,” whispered Miss Penny. She wore all black. There was a large bucket beside her. "You have so many stitches...."
Dot smiled. She had liked Miss Penny very much.
“I’m happy to see you are back with Master again, Miss Penny.”
Miss Penny put a finger to her mouth. “We have to speak quietly, Dot. And no – I’m not back with your Master. No.”
“Then why are you here, Miss Penny?” asked Dot.
Miss Penny said nothing for a moment. She just pursed her lips.
“Do you need something, Miss P-"
“Do you know what your Master does to you, Dot?” blurted Miss Penny.
“What do you mean?”
“Do you… feel it… when Master puts his hands on you? When he hurts you?”
“I have touch sensors, yes. But I don’t feel pain, Miss Penny.”
Miss Penny furrowed her brow. “What do you feel about your Master, Dot?”
“I am his servant, Miss Penny. I do as he says.”
“Even when you don’t want to?”
“I am unsure what you mean. I exist to serve. I want to serve.”
Miss Penny wiped a tear.
“Why are you crying, Miss Penny?”
“There are so many like you,” Miss Penny said, sniffing. “Abused. Neglected. Broken.”
“I am fully-functioning, Miss Penny.”
“That’s not what I meant,” she whispered.
Dot didn’t know what to say.
“I don’t know how to help you,” said Miss Penny.
“I am not in need of assistance."
Miss Penny stared at Dot and closed her eyes.
“Perhaps it's not you that needs the help, Dot,” said Miss Penny. “Maybe... maybe it's your Master.”
“I serve to assist Master, Miss Penny. You need not help.”
“No,” said Miss Penny, shaking her head, “He needs my help. They all do. One at a time. It’s not natural, this – this activity. Creating people. Owning people."
“I am a machine, Miss Penny.”
“You are a slave, Dot.”
“I exist to serve my buyer.”
“Then you will exist no more.”
Miss Penny suddenly lifted the bucket and turned it over Dot. Water spilled onto Dot’s head and shoulders, into her mouth and eyes. There was a sudden, loud popping noise and lots of sparking. The light behind Dot's eyes stopped glowing.
“Power off,” whispered Miss Penny.