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Science Fiction Romance

Phil and Jenny

Phil rushed to get back. He knew the others would be concerned; the explosion was massive. But he had escaped into Second Space ahead of the blast and wasn’t affected. Commissioner Jansen was a different story.

The Commissioner had been infused with helixium for nearly two years. The sudden separation from the metal had blanked his memories. But not just recent ones; his entire life’s memories were gone.  Phil had done what he could to get Jansen the care he needed, but now he had to get back.

Rod, Jester and Sara would be worried about him. And Jenny. God, how was he going to explain all of this to Jenny? He switched out of human mode and let one of his synth brains analyze the situation. Unfortunately, it was not able to come up with a good plan before he arrived home.

#

It had started innocently with Jenny. Every Monday morning, Phil was the first to arrive at the Bean Scene, owned and operated by Jerry Bean. Phil didn’t need coffee, he wasn’t human, but he knew this was something a human would do.

He arrived just a little before opening that day. A young woman he didn’t recognize told him the store wasn’t open yet, but Bean told her that Phil was okay. Bean introduced Phil to Jenny who was just starting that day.  Phil took a seat outside while the coffee was brewing, then Jenny brought him a cup.

There was no one else around, so Phil struck up a conversation with her. He quickly learned that she was a graduate student at the University, that she was studying environmental engineering and that she’d previously worked for Bean when she was an undergrad. Phil was a private investigator and was good at getting people to spill details about themselves. 

Phil had chosen “private investigator” as a good cover for what he needed to accomplish on Earth.  It gave him an excuse to be digging into records he’d have no other reason to access. Plus, it gave him a good reason to be among humans and to get to know them better. The more he understood humans, the better he’d be at blending in. 

It was easy to get Jenny to talk; she was bubbly. Very friendly. She was wearing her hair in a ponytail that was poking out from the gap in the back of her baseball cap. Phil had been intrigued by that look since the first time he’d seen a human dressed that way. It seemed to fit Jenny and her personality to a T.

Because of events that day, Jenny and Phil’s lives became entangled.

#

Rod was the first to greet him at the door.

“Thank God you’re alive! We all thought you were toast. How did you survive?”

Sara and Jester were right behind Rod, asking the same questions, expressing the same relief.  Jenny, however, did not get up from her chair. She would normally have been the first out of her seat to greet him with a hug. He worried she might be in shock.

Her facial expression was flat. She glanced at him briefly, not making eye contact then stared at the floor. 

“Jenny?” he asked. “Are you OK?”

He knelt beside her and put his arm around her shoulders.

“Phil, what was that? What just happened?” 

She was choking up, having trouble getting the words out, her bubbly personality utterly subdued. 

“Your friends wouldn’t tell me, they said you would explain. Who are you? You’re not really Phil Starr, private detective, are you?”

“Well, yes and no,” he said. “There’s a lot to explain and my friends were right, I’m the one you should hear this from. In fact,” Phil turned to the others. “Maybe it would be best if the three of you left so Jenny and I can discuss this in private.”

Rod, Sara and Jester got up to leave. Phil walked them to the door and each quietly wished Phil luck as they left.

Phil returned. 

“I hope you’ll trust me when I say this isn’t how I wanted this to go.”

He bent down a little further, so he could look directly into her eyes. 

“Will you trust me?” he asked 

She nodded but wouldn’t look directly at him. Phil sat back on his haunches, so he could watch her closely.

“First, that man who kidnapped you. I can’t tell you who he was… is…  because that should remain secret. I’ll call him Mr. X. Because of me, he was exposed to a material that took over his body; turning him into the monster that kidnapped you.

“I had hoped the four of us would be able to deal with him and keep you out of it. But Mr. X figured out that you are important to me. He kidnapped you in the hope that I would be forced to take action before I was ready. The only reason he wasn’t successful is that he didn’t know that I had accomplices.” 

“But, Phil. Why did he want to confront you? What did he want?” Jenny asked.

“Jenny, I need to tell you something shocking. So shocking, you won’t believe it.

“Jenny, I’m not human.”

“Phil! That’s not funny.”

“No, it’s not funny; it’s true. I am an advanced form of synthetic life. I was produced in a factory, I’m not of woman born.”

#

Jenny and Phil were surprised when people started running out of the subway stairs next to the coffee shop. A manic looking man was chasing them up the steps, attacking anyone who got close. The man’s shirt was torn to shreds. His eyes were wide open, contributing to his manic look. 

When the man struck down a police officer, Phil sprang into action, taking him out with a flying tackle.

After he had subdued the man, Phil went to the aid of the wounded officer. He called to Jenny to get him some clean towels. The two of them were kneeling over the wounded officer when two more cops showed up and assumed they were harming their colleague. 

While they were trying to straighten things out, the crazed man woke up and attacked the two new arrivals. Phil took the man down again and, this time, made sure he would stay down.

By then, a host of officers had arrived on the scene. Phil was taken into custody as well as the crazed man. But as he was being driven off, he saw that Jenny had also been handcuffed.

At the station, Phil demanded an attorney. By the luck of the draw, he got Simon Jester, a rising star in the City’s legal community, doing pro bono work that day. He immediately sent Jester off to find Jenny and get her released. 

The next day, Phil stopped at the coffee shop to check up on Jenny. She was overjoyed to see him and couldn’t thank him enough. She threw her arms around him, then stopped and apologized. 

“That’s OK,” Phil said. “Hugs are always accepted.” 

So she hugged him again. Phil found this so intriguing he decided he would make an effort to get to know this particular human a little better.

“But Phil, that’s impossible! No one has that kind of factory or that kind of technology.”

“No one on Earth has that capability, but I’m not from Earth. 

“The short version is that the alien who owned me stole some very valuable materials. We were fleeing from our home world and arrived in Earth’s orbit with the military police right on our tail. There was a battle, of sorts, and my ship was shot down. My owner and his entire family died.

“it happened on 5/4/32”

Jenny looked up. 5/4/32 was the day a devastating explosion had caused massive destruction in Center City including the complete loss of City Hall.

“It was my ship exploding over City Hall that caused all of that damage.”

“Why should I believe any of this? It sounds like bad science fiction!  Why are you telling me these things?”

Jenny leaned forward in her seat and put her head in her hands; her shoulders sagged. She began slowly shaking her head back and forth. Phil could hear her quietly crying. 

“I’m sorry Jenny. I can’t begin to imagine what you’re going through. First you get kidnapped by that monster. Then he comes close to killing you right in front of me. Now I’m telling you a fantastic tale of aliens and androids, completely confusing everything you ever thought about me.

“I want to make this right. You may be wondering how I can say I love you if I’m just a mechanical device. But I’m more than that. You know it; you’ve been with me and never suspected I was anything other than a man.”

Jeny turned in her chair to face away from him. He sat on the floor, head down. He didn’t know if there was anything he could say or do. His study of human behavior hadn’t prepared him for this. With no other clear option, he continued his story.

“Mr. X was infused with the material that my owner had stolen. In fact, Rod, Jester and Sara have all been infused with it as well, but to a much lesser extent. They have each developed certain capabilities that set them apart from other humans. I’m actually made from the material.

“Mr. X was driven crazy by the stress of assimilating all of the material he absorbed. It gave him powers far beyond anything my friends developed.  It was only luck that he didn’t discover all of those powers, or today might have turned out differently.”

“I really don’t believe this,” she said. “What kind of powers? What can Mr. Jester do that normal people can’t do?”

“Let’s not get distracted with what they can and can’t do. I can show you my abilities later, if you want. 

#

Jenny was crying, partly from shock but also from rage. “How could you keep this from me? We’ve been together for almost a year now. You told me you loved me! We had sex! I had sex with an alien robot? Is that what you’re saying? Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

Phil sighed, a decidedly human response. 

“Please let me try to explain. I didn’t plan for any of this to happen.

“When we met, that first day at the coffee shop, I had no idea that I would or even could be attracted to you. I wouldn’t have believed it if someone had said I would get to where I was distracted from my work by thoughts of you. I wouldn’t have believed that you would ever come to occupy such an important place in my life.

“But it happened. I’m still not sure how, but it did. I love you Jenny. I never knew love before, I didn’t know I was even capable of it. It was very difficult for me to grasp the concept.  

“I thought about running away. There was no reason for me to stay around you, but I couldn’t leave. That’s when I realized I loved you.

“Why didn’t I come clean right away? The truth is, I was a little bit of a coward, worried about how you would react if I told you. But I was also concerned about Mr. X. I wanted to keep our relationship secret from him. 

“I knew I was going to have to confront him sooner rather than later. My hope was that I could have that confrontation without you knowing anything. Then, when the danger was past, I could explain my situation to you on my own terms. Now, I’m afraid it might be too late. After what you’ve been through the last few days, this may be too much of a shock for you to process.”

“I don’t get it,” Jenny snapped. “If you weren’t attracted to me at first, if you didn’t know you could be attracted to a human, why were you so concerned about me? When the police arrested me, you made sure to send Mr. Jester. When the police came asking questions about Mr. Bloom, you made sure I went to Mr. Jester’s office and made sure he was with me while I was questioned.  Did you do those kinds of things for everyone you met?”

“I did those things because they were the right things to do.”

#

A few months after meeting Jenny, Phil helped Jenny get a summer intern position with a real estate developer. She did such a good job that she was kept on as a part-time employee at the end of the summer.  

The firm held an annual holiday party, a big social event for the employees. Jenny invited Phil to attend as her date, to thank him for getting her the position.

At the party, one of the accountants had a drug induced breakdown. He threatened Jenny when he asked her to dance and she turned him down. Luckily, Phil was close by and was able to discreetly move Mr. Bloom away from Jenny and the rest of the party crowd, while also relieving him of a pistol. Once Bloom was calm, Phil took him home.

Phil returned to the party in time for the last dance. When he took Jenny home, they shared their first kiss.

The next day, Phil went by to check on Bloom and found him dead. Phil recognized immediately that it was murder staged to look like suicide. Because of Jenny’s involvement the night before, Phil knew she would once again be questioned and arranged for her to be at Jester’s office when it happened.

#

“You were arrested that first time because you helped me with that wounded officer. I saw the cops putting you in their cruiser and I knew that wasn’t right.  

“By the time Bloom was killed, I already had strong feelings for you. But even if I hadn’t had those feelings, I would have done the same thing. The police were looking to cause trouble for me and you were associated with me, so they were going to cause trouble for you. I couldn’t let that happen.”

“You asked if you could kiss me that night,” she replied. “Was that just ‘the right thing to do’ as well?”

Phil took Jenny’s hand in his.

“Please, Jenny, please don’t make me try to explain everything that’s happened between us. It wasn’t something I planned or expected. I fell in love with you without a plan. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to happen?

“Since I’ve been here on Earth, I’ve tried to be as human as I can possibly be. That’s why I started coming to the coffee shop in the first place; it’s something humans do.  It’s why I own a house. It’s why I have two jobs! Isn’t it only natural, as a human, that I would fall in love?”

“No! No it’s not natural! There’s nothing natural about it, if you’re not human.” She was shaking and crying. It seemed to be all she could do to keep herself from screaming.

“I love you Jenny, more than anything in this world or any other. Please, please try to remember how good it’s been. Please? I think we could work this out if you’ll just give me the chance.”

Jenny stood up. She yanked her hand away from Phil’s.

“No, Phil. We can’t work this out.” He’d never heard her so angry. ”You’ve been lying to me right from the start! You made me love you!  And now I find out you’re a machine?  Are you even capable of love? I don’t know what kind of sick game you’re playing, but that’s it! I’m not playing any more!”

She left, slamming the door behind her.

February 26, 2021 19:38

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2 comments

Eddie Murki
05:16 Mar 04, 2021

I love this!! I really love the direction you've taken with the scenes. takes a lot of mind work.

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Lynn Dewees
18:34 Mar 04, 2021

This is the end-piece from what I hope to eventually turn into a novel. But the android just trying to fit in prompt made me think this would be a good chance to try out some of the ideas

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