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Animal Kingdom News
Posted: Aug 6 2011, 11:07 AM
Member No.: 29
Joined: 16-May 09
The Beginning of All Beginnings
Astroi, as far as anybody knew, was twelve-years-old. His height was less than four foot six inches, which was small for his age, but his shoulders and chest were fairly stocky making him look taller than he actually was. His hair was the color of a piece of lumpy, black coal; not to dark and not to light. It was thick and ruffled gently giving his round, cheerful face an extra boyish appearance. His rich, chocolaty-brown eyes always sparkled and shimmered happily, especially when he smiled.
At this moment, Astroi was taking a pleasure stroll around the city that bordered his own neighborhood. He was just about to pass an alley that was sandwiched between a bank and fashion boutique when a man’s voice sound out, “I wonder where in the world that troubling Uko could be right just now?” Astroi stopped beside a dumpster and listened out of curiosity. He didn’t dare pop his head around the dumpster and look for the man, but he listened anyway.
The voice continued, “I know she just didn’t dismantle that robot and jump off that bridge in despair. She is still out there and so is that horrible robot.” Astroi wondered who this “Uko” was and what the guy was talking about, but suddenly he felt a strange pounding in his heart and he unexpectedly blacked out.
After what must’ve been hours, Astroi felt himself waking up. He sat up and shook himself awake. He saw that he was in a parking lot of a warehouse that was next to the sea. He saw a couple of boats skimming around on the water and there were birds flying overhead of them squawking and screeching their presence.
I wonder how I got here, mused Astroi. He stood up and looked at the warehouse in front of him. Being an adventurous type, Astroi decided to take hold of the handle of the door and go inside. It opened slowly and surely in an eerie way. Astroi walked in and closed the door behind him. It was mostly dark inside with only dim lighting and a little sunlight coming from the windows near the ceiling.
Astroi looked around the interior of the warehouse after his eyes adjusted. There were cobwebs in the corner of the high ceilings and several wads of paper on the dusty cement floor, but other than those things the space was fairly clean. There were some chairs lying and some plants placed helter-skelter around the room too. The plants didn’t exactly look healthy, but they did they look like they were taken car-of absent-mindedly. The rest of the place was empty, but it definitely looked like someone was living there.
Suddenly, Astroi got an eerie feeling that he wasn’t alone. He looked around in the dimness and saw a robot dog staring at him with a vicious look in it eyes. The dog bared its sharp teeth fiercely, but it kept silent. The dog prepared to leap towards Astroi as a slow growl began in his throat. Astroi put his arms up in defense, but before the dog could pounce on him a voice shouted, “Stop!” The dog instantly stopped his attack and relaxed. Astroi heard the pitter-patter of the dog’s metal feet on the cement floor as he headed towards the person who made the command.
Astroi looked in the direction of where the dog went and yelled, “Who are you? Show yourself!” A lady, he guessed to be in her early thirties, came out from the shadows. Her hair was dark red in color and looked terribly neglected with it only being smoothed down instead of brushed. Her brown eyes would’ve been lovely if they weren’t bloodshot with dark circles under her eyes from restless nights of no sleep. Her expression was somber and blank as if she didn’t care what happened to her. The way she carried her body seemed to express that she was not happy and in fact very much the opposite.
She exclaimed after taking one good look at him, “Is it really you, could it really be you?!” Her blank expression changed dramatically with hopefulness.
Astroi was bewildered by her statement. Did this lady know him? Furthermore, could it be possible he knew her? The lady put out her hand for him to take and he backed away shyly.
The lady, clearly showing her disappointment and remorse, stated sadly, “Oh I-I forgot, you probably don’t remember me at all.” Astroi abruptly felt a longing to rush into her arms, but instead he timidly took the hand that was still stretched out to him. She beamed faintly.
She was surprised as much as she was happy; she thought in her mind, does he remember me somehow? She decided to take a chance.
“William, it’s me. Do you still remember me?” She questioned. She knew afterwards that she was wrong with her assumption because the face of the boy showed confusion.
She quickly tried to fix her mistake, “Well, you look so much like someone I knew. Anyway, if William is not your name then what is it?”
Astroi politely demanded, “Tell me yours first please.”
She answered him with a smile, “My name is Uko.”
Astroi thought, is this all coincidental? Could she really be the Uko that man was talking about? Why am I suddenly here with a lady with the exact same name as the one mentioned by that guy awhile ago? Astroi decided to answer, “My name is Astroi.” Uko nodded as if to decide if she liked the name.
“Nothing is wrong with my name and if you don’t like it I’ll leave.” He said stubbornly. Astroi crossed his arms to show that he meant it. She laughed and that made Astroi relax.
Uko questioned, “Would you like a new upgrade?” Astroi was perplexed, but he nodded anyway. “Come this way then.” He followed her with curiosity. She led him into another dim room. She turned on a bright stand lamp.
Uko explained, “The lights aren’t very good in this room so I have this lamp to help me work by. I would change the lights if I had a cause, but for now I don’t mind the gloominess.” She sniffed quietly, but Astroi still heard her.
The room was very spacious with tall ceilings. Astroi saw a huge screen computer with a station full of buttons and levers to control it. There was a solitary table in the middle of the room that looked kind of like a table a doctor examined his patients on. Beside the table there was a stool chair with a back cushion attached to it; it was almost as high as the table. There was a metal shelf standing parallel with the stool with tools of all sorts on each shelf. Skinnier and handheld tools were in reach of the stool and every other shelf had bigger tools. They were also more withered, unattended plants and a beige carpet instead of the cement flooring. Astroi saw as he followed Uko to the middle of the room that close to the wall where the door was, there was a rocking chair sitting forlornly alone in the corner.
Uko stood next to the table and hoisted Astroi up on to it, which he thought was unnecessary even though he let her do it anyway. She sat down in the stool looking into his face as soon he was laid down on the table. Uko then started to reach out and touch Astroi’s hair after a moment of gazing fondly at him. Astroi was very sensitive about his hair being touched and immediately began to protest before she touched a strand.
Astroi barked, “What are you doing? Stop it, please.” Uko was trying to decide if Astroi really didn’t know what she planned to do.
Uko simply answered, “I was going to turn you off so I could do the upgrades you agreed to. I know I’m a stranger to you, but I promise I won’t harm your system; though, it’s very unlikely you’ll feel anything because I made you able to endure more pain than humans could.” He was stunned. What did she mean?
Astroi sat up and questioned her, “What do you mean? I don’t understand. What do you mean turn me off or that you made me?” The wheels in Uko’s mind were turning.
Oh my goodness, she reflected, he really doesn’t know that he is a robot. She started to picture what might have happened all those years ago. She remembered she must've forgotten to pin the note onto Astroi that would tell the people he was going to be with that he was a robot!
Uko started to say straight off that Astroi was a robot, but then decided to tell him the story from the beginning to avoid shocking him, “Astroi, a long time ago I made you in the very image of my brother. You see, he was killed by a car bomb while you were still in the development of being created. I made a computer chip that had all my brother’s memories, ideas, thoughts, and also his personality in it. When I implanted it inside of you, you were every bit like my brother and we spent many happy months together, but soon after those few months you changed to a completely different person.” She paused with a sigh and then continued.
“You seemed to be angry at everyone that you knew, including me. At other times, you acted scared as if someone was going to punish you. Sometimes you phased out or fell unconscious and I had to shake you to bring you back to the real world or give a slight shock to your system to wake you up again. Other times I just couldn’t find you and still other times you ignored me spitefully.
“Well, one day you had disappeared from me again. I began to look for you and when I finally did find you were hiding behind a bush. What I saw shocked me; you looked as if everything was drained out of you. Your expression was blank and inert and your skin was pale and sickly. The only thing that did show life was your eyes; they were bright red and shining like rubies. I immediately brought you to my lab in town and turned you off. I scanned you to try to find anything that would explain why you have been acting so strange, but I found nothing. I decided to tell the people at the International Science Board about your situation to get some advice on how to fix you, but instead they ordered me to demolish you because if you went mad, you could destroy the world. I begged them to change their minds because you were just like my brother and I would’ve felt like I killed you if I destroyed you. They ignored my pleas and told me if I wouldn’t destroy you that they would come and do it themselves.
“In desperation to keep you alive, I decided to erase everything in your memory banks, take out the chip that made you like my brother, and leave you on a doorstep. To keep people from pressuring me about you, I jumped off a bridge during a storm and splashed into the sea. I had a small submarine there waiting for me underwater so that I wouldn’t drown and I started my life over.
“I guess you’ve thought all these years you were a human because I made you so much like one and your initial system was made so you thought you were one. I intended to pin a note on you saying that you are robot, but I must’ve forgotten in my sadness and haste. I’m sorry Astroi, I had to send you away, or you would’ve been destroyed if I didn’t. You’re a robot, Astroi, with a mind and soul of your own; the most special robot in the world.” She finished her story and looked toward Astroi regretfully.
Astroi stammered, but managed to ask, “You m-mean I’m a-a robot and you created me? Then you sent me away to protect me?”
“Yes, I did make you. I had help from another scientist, but I prefer not to tell that part of the story yet. Furthermore, you have to understand that I had to let you be with someone else because the Science Board would’ve destroyed you if I didn’t. The only good thing about that arrangement is that you won’t become bad again because I made sure I took ever precaution to prevent it.” Uko replied seriously.
Astroi then lay down miserably on the table and said solemnly, “You can continue with whatever you were going to do. I don’t care.” She almost cried because he looked so shocked and horrified, but he was letting a perfect stranger, at least in his mind, do what she wanted to him.
She asked, “Are you sure? You are a robot with a complete mind of your own so you do have the ability to decide for yourself.” He winced at the mention that he was a robot.
Astroi answered sincerely, “I really don’t mind. You made me, right? Then I shouldn’t worry about the results.” He paused and then continued. “When you finish do you mind if I ask some questions after you tell me what my upgrades are?”
She responded with a smile on her face; she hadn’t smiled this much in six years, “Of course I’ll answer anything you ask me.” Uko then reached her slender fingers into his black hair. Astroi felt a slight pressure on something under his hair and then darkness flooded over him.
When Astroi woke up yet again from unconsciousness in the same day, he saw Uko’s smiling face watching him. Astroi looked at himself and noticed that he was stripped down to his permanent clothes; something which, when he thought he was a human, was completely normal for him. He sat up and instantly rampaged Uko with questions.
“Are you done? What upgrades did you do? Was it difficult or easy? Please tell me.” Uko laughed at his immediate curiosity over his robotic upgrades despite the shock he had gotten two hours ago.
She decided to ignore his questions for the moment and ask him one of her own, “May I pick you up?” Astroi was kind of annoyed that she ignored his questions and that she wanted to pick him up like a baby.
She guessed what was going through his mind and declared with a forlorn look, “I only want to because William, my brother, loved to be picked up and it would make me happy if you let me.”
Astroi almost forgot that he was made in the image of Uko’s brother and maybe the sight of him would make Uko sad. So he decided to tell her, “It would make me happy too.” Even though he meant every word of what he said, his face still flamed with embarrassment as Uko picked up him in her arms, and sat down in the conveniently placed rocking chair. Once Astroi was comfortable in her lap though, he smiled and forgot his embarrassment but he smiled once he got comfortable in her lap. Once he got settled against Uko’s warm body he felt a little faint and again went into oblivion.
The next moment he woke up with a start, but a rush of comfort and contentment came over him when a soothing voice said, “Everything’s okay, just one of your wires became loose when you moved and I fixed it.” He was back in Uko’s lap. He was sitting the other way so he knew that Uko picked him up to fix him and then sat back down. He got comfortable again and relaxed against Uko’s arm which she had placed under his head so that he didn’t have to lay on the hardness on the wooden rocking chair. He closed his eyes as she started to answer the questions he had asked before he even got into her lap once.
Uko spoke in a lulling, melodious voice which seemed to comfort him most, “The very first thing I did was enhance the rockets in your feet. The rockets make you able to fly and now with the enhancement you can go almost twice as fast. The second thing I did was enhance one other tool and add two more tools to your system. Your right arm has always had the ability to shoot lasers, I edited it so that it was slightly stronger and also you now can shoot in blasts like a cannon. One of the tools I added was propellers to your arms so that you could go fast under water and even do a nice breeze like a fan.” She chuckled. “The last thing I added was a walkie-talkie so that you could reach me fast. All you have to do is push a button that is inside the door to your heart.” She pointed to the center of his chest where his heart. “That way you can talk to me whenever you want to, only it does have a limit on how far it can reach.” She then looked down at Astroi. His eyes were closed peacefully. She gently nudged him to signal that she was finished.
Astroi looked up at her and said sleepily, “I’m sorry I fell asleep. I just couldn’t help it because your voice relaxed me to the fullest. Even though I was asleep I still heard every word you said. I don’t how, I just heard them.”
Uko answered this even though it was more of a statement, “Sometimes, if you were listening to something and fell asleep or otherwise let your mind wander, your electronic brain will still record it in your memory banks without your needing to hear it yourself. Do you still want to ask me questions?” He nodded and then sat up more straight against her.
“My first question is why, when a thought I was human, I didn’t think that having clothes I couldn’t take off was strange? Also why did my shirt always fade away when I took a swim or a shower?”
Uko answered him, “It’s not difficult to understand. You thought that your permanent clothes were normal being attached to your body even it wasn’t normal for other people. Remember when I mentioned that your initial system was made to think your human no matter what. That means even if someone told you it wasn’t normal you would keep thinking it was normal and not strange at all.” She continued on to the other question. “Your shirt would always disappear when you heard the words “swim”, “beach”, “pool”, “shower”, “bath”, or when the shirt itself is splashed with water. The shirt wouldn’t come back until after six hours after you heard any of those words or being splashed with water; though, it would restart the time without bringing the shirt back if you were still in water. See, your shirt could become dirty and stained, so I thought it would be a good idea that when it was splashed with water it would be able to ‘Refresh’ itself every time you took a shower, bath, or went swimming.”
Astroi nodded and looked down at his clothes. The whole outfit had reds, blues, whites, and stars. He sort of expected to see stripes as well, but he also found himself grateful there weren’t any because he didn’t care for stripes very much.
His shirt had sleeves that just barely went past his shoulders. He had a short, straight collar that stood stiff around his neck. The sleeves and collar were red and the rest of the shirt was white. In the middle of the shirt, there was a blue ring with a red star inside of it. This blue circle was the door to his heart that Uko pointed out earlier.
His pants were very similar to boys’ swim trunk. They were solid blue in color, but darker than the blue star. Scattered all over his pants were random-sized white stars. Around his middle was a ruby red plastic belt. Going around the center of the belt in a straight line were several white stars. He had a gold, oval buckle attached to his belt. After he had finished his inspection, Astroi looked back up at Uko.
“Next question,” He declared. “When is my real birthday, the day you made me? My adoptive parents and I only celebrate my birthday on the day they found me on their doorstep. I’ve never guessed all these years what my birthday really is.”
“It’s May fifth,” confirmed Uko.
“And I’m about twelve, right?” He checked.
“Well, in human stature you are, but you’re actually six-years-old. When I made you, you were in the form of a six-year-old boy. Even though my brother was eight when he was killed, I decide to make you look six.”
“How about this one, where did I get this ring that makes me invisible.” He pointed to the green, transparent ring on his left wrist.
“Oh, I gave you that as a going-away present. I just wanted to give you something of mine before I left you on that doorstep. It’s called an invisaring.” He nodded again. He turned the ring around on his arm and then asked another question.
“Who is that man you said helped make me?” Astroi queried.
“Do I have to answer that one?” She responded.
Astroi replied, “Well, I guess you don’t have to because it makes you uneasy to talk about it, but you have to tell me sometime, right?”
Uko promised, “I promise I will, but not now please.” Astroi nodded.
“Next, how was I able to find you? One moment I hear the name Uko and the next second I’m here in front of this warehouse.”
Uko was surprised, “You mean you didn’t just venture here on your own.” She tried to answer the question to the best of her ability. “Well, you might have had some recognition of my DNA still in your system. When you heard my name your electronic brain probably automatically searched for my DNA in the surrounding area to find the answer to why that name sounded familiar. When it found me it probably decided to let you wake up where it was instead of going back to wherever you were before. It’s possible, but I’m just surprised that it happened like that.”
He declared, “That’s all I can think up at this moment except…what time is it?” Uko giggled and Astroi laughed along.
“It’s about six o’clock.” She pointed at the clock that Astroi didn’t notice before. Astroi nodded. He knew he would have to go home soon or he would be late for dinner. He looked around the room again wanting to remember everything. His eyes landed on the robot dog.
Astroi uttered, “You didn’t tell me his name yet.”
“His name is Coggie.” She clucked her tongue and Coggie came up to the rocking chair from his place next to the stool and sat down. Astroi leaned over and petted Coggie’s head sleek, metal head. Coggie stood stiffly, sniffing Astroi’s hand.
Uko declared, “It’s alright, boy.” Coggie followed the command and warmed up to Astroi. He licked the hand that was petting him.
Astroi smiled and then sat back against Uko.
Uko enlightened, “He won’t do anything without me telling him its okay. I made him that way. He is every bit a dog, but he is a robot until I say it is okay to be a dog.” Astroi thought that sounded funny, but he didn’t laugh. He just sighed. He liked it here with Uko, his creator, but he had to go back to his parents soon.
“Uko, I have to go. I’m already so late and if I’m late for dinner my parents might get alarmed. May I come back anytime?”
Uko answered, “Absolutely. In fact, I order you to come back. Seeing you again has healed me in so many ways. I thought that I would never see you again and I was so depressed because of it. You must come back soon or otherwise I’ll return to my old self again; depressed, sick, and restless.” Astroi nodded vigorously. He carefully got off her lap. Uko stood up with him. Astroi began to walk off, but then he felt that sudden urge to hug her again. He ran back to her and hugged her tight. Uko was startled, but smiled genuinely. Astroi then turned back again and headed towards the door in the other room. When he was outside he kind of stood there for a second, not sure which way to go.
Uko saw his lost expression and inserted, “Astroi, if you want to fly home just think about rockets. It should come naturally to you.” Astroi followed her advice and thought about rockets. He wasn’t sure it was going to work, but he hoped it would. The next second, his shoes, which Uko left on his feet, were sucked into his legs and rockets flared beneath him. He started to rise a little, and then he remembered his clothes.
He landed on the ground and asked for them from Uko. Uko immediately complied and brought his clothes to him. He put them on quickly and then rocketed up again.
“I promise I’ll come back.” He shouted as he flew away in search of his home.
She smiled and said jokingly, “You’d better come back.” She then closed the door. With Coggie at her side, she started to make the place a little more cheery for the next visit of her dear long-lost robot.
Astroi was finally able to find his way home. Once, he had passed by a window and there was a kid inside playing with his toys. When he saw Astroi fly by, he instantly dropped his toy and opened his mouth wide in wonder. He got up and ran from view of the window. Probably, Astroi mused, to tell his mother he saw a flying boy outside the window. Astroi had a good laugh over this and he was still laughing up to the time he landed in his front yard. Once he was in his home, Astroi removed the cap from his head that he wore outside that day and laid it on top of the banister of the stairs. There was a wooden ball placed for decoration attached to the banister that was perfect for his cap. He then walked through the entryway of the front door, into the living room, and then through a door that led to the kitchen. Inside the kitchen there was a delightful aroma of bread and chicken mixed with the orange smell of the cleaners that his mom always used to clean the kitchen.
The kitchen was mostly light blue in color and just wide enough for two people to stand side by side and maybe then some. The first thing you saw when you walked in was a double-oven next a counter and then a cook top. Then another counter which was taking mostly up by the microwave that was on it. The fridge was the next on that line-up of the wall. There was a kitchen sink parallel the stovetop. There was a section of an L-shape counter top with the end of the L going in towards the fridge. The cabinet wood was a nice timber and there were three cupboards over the kitchen sink that had glass inside them. Those cabinets held the china and special glassware. Then they were more cupboards over the counters in several places with no glass in them. Standing over the cook top, oblivious of Astroi’s arrival, was a slightly plump woman nearing her thirty-fifth year with cinnamon colored-hair and light blue eyes. She was wearing a dark green shirt with denim pants, and a simple white apron worn over her clothes. She wore cozy brown slippers as well despite the fact it wasn’t that cold.
Astroi, with a grin on his face, cried out, “Help! Help! The house is on fire!” The woman yelled out loud and threw her arms up in fright. She brought her hands over her heart like she almost had a heart attack and turned to the snickering boy.
“You,” She tried to sound mad, but she was trying to hold back a laugh too so it came out pretty gruffly. Her voice crack in her attempt to sound and she laughed, “You got me that time, Astroi, but just you wait. One time at night when you are in bed…” She made an evil laugh to state her meaning. “Anyway, I’m making one your favorites tonight. Chicken Alfredo and ranch bread which you know is one of my family recipes. I’m very proud that my mom made it up all by herself and that she taught me how to make it. Maybe if you’re willing, I’ll teach it to you so that I can pass it down to at least someone.” Then she added. “Wash up for dinner. Your father will be down in a second. You know how is, ‘Is dinner ready now, Miranda?’ That man always seems to be hungry so it’s a good thing I’m a good cook; though, I never know where he puts it all. He always seems to be thin while I am always fat.”
Astroi grinned and said honestly, “Ah, you’re not fat, mom, just huggable. That’s what dad says anyway. I wouldn’t want you any other way.” She turned back to the stovetop briskly, ignoring Astroi’s statement. Astroi then obeyed his mother’s command and washed his hands thoroughly. He dried his hands and went through the entryway that was between the fridge and the L-shaped counter. The entrance he went through opened into the dining room and it had no door which kept the kitchen and the dining room open with one another. The dining room was blue like the kitchen with subtle white and lavender accents. The table was in similar wood color to the cabinets in the kitchen, but was faintly darker by a whole shade. He sat down in his chair. He noticed ashamedly that his mom had done his job of setting the table.
He apologized, “I’m sorry I took so long on my walk, mom.” His mom turned away from the stovetop to look at him.
She stated, “Yes, you were gone a long time. I was getting really worried, but your dad said that you would probably be here by dinnertime and that I shouldn’t worry too much. I guess he was right because here you are. Your dad says that a growing boy always remembers his stomach even if he forgets the time. He said that if you wouldn’t come by dinner then we should be worried. Do you care to tell me what happened? You left about two and I would like to know what you’ve been doing all this time.” Astroi rubbed his palms together and looked at his shoes uneasily.
“I’ll tell you while we’re eating, okay?” He said kind of guiltily. His mom was worried at the tone of his voice, but wisely agreed.
The next moment his dad came down the stairs and came into the kitchen. His dad was wearing gray slacks with a short-sleeved, blue and white vertical-striped, button-up shirt. His dad’s brown hair was parted down the side and combed smooth. His face was clean shaven; his eyes were dark blue in color like his mom’s.
As his dad bent down to kiss his mom from his height of six foot two inches Astroi pondered, I wonder if I can still love even if I’m a robot. Then his dad came over and sat down next to him.
Then he inquired, “Are you alright, Astroi? Did you have a good roam?” Astroi smiled at his dad and nodded. The oven rang out its buzzer and his mom started to bring the meal’s dishes to the table. Astroi got up and helped her. When everything was on the table, his dad prayed for thanks of the meal then they began to eat.
About halfway through her food his mom, Mrs. Hammed, put down her fork. She declared, “Dear, Astroi says he has something to tell us.” His dad turned to look at their son and put down his fork also. Astroi felt he was being put on the spotlight.
He started out breaking the news he had found out today, “Dad, Mom, when I was on my walk something happened to me. You remember when you found me on your doorstep when I was six, right?” His parents nodded their heads, afraid of what was to come. Astroi continued, “Well, I found myself near the harbor where some of the warehouses are and decided to explore one of them.” His parents looked slightly disturbed that he went inside a warehouse that was on the harbor, but they let him continue. “Inside I met a lady and, in a one-in-a-million chance, she turned out to be my mother. I found her, dad, mom; isn’t that great!” His parents smiled.
“Oh Astroi, we’re so happy for you.” His mom spoke out.
“When do we get to meet her?” His dad asked. Then his parents sagged a little. They glanced at each other.
They quietly asked together, “When do you want to move?” Astroi saw their distraught looks.
He said, “Mom, I won’t move just yet. To me she’s still a stranger, but, if I do move, I promise to still come and see both of you.” His mom smiled slightly.
Astroi then paused and had difficulty saying, “Dad, Mom, the surprises didn’t stop there.” His parents eyed him seriously preparing each other for the next statement. “I am a robot; a robot through and through.” They were shocked.
“That’s not true, Astroi. You can’t be a robot. You have emotions and a mind and a heart. No person could make that in a robot.” His mom protested.
Astroi affirmed to his parents, “It’s true, mom. I can prove it to you.” He got up from his chair and went a ways from the table. He thought hard about a laser and his arm changed into a laser cannon. Then he changed it back and sat back in his seat. His parents were speechless. For all these years they had thought that their adopted son was human, but instead he was a robot.
Mr. Hammed stammered, “How was she able to make you so…”
Mrs. Hammed continued for him, “…Human.” She didn’t speak anymore after that and she silently continued eating her dinner. Astroi thought that his parents were too shocked to talk anymore about it so he continued his dinner as well.
The ranch bread which was usually so moist and tasteful was now flavorless and felt dry going down his throat no matter how much water he drank. The Chicken Alfredo was just as tasteless in his mouth. When he had finally finished, he put his dishes in the sink and went up to his room.
It’s nearing bedtime anyway, Astroi mused. While he was in his room he tried to think of something to do to get his mind off of things. He remembered that his mom’s birthday was coming up soon and that making Uko a present would be nice too.
“But what should I make?” He asked himself out loud. He thought and then thought some more and finally an idea popped inside his head. When that idea popped inside his head, a tool to accomplish his idea popped up with it. Astroi didn’t how he got the tool, but he used it anyway. He searched through his past memories to find the perfect present for his mom. At last, Astroi was able to remember a bouquet of flowers he gave his mom once for mother’s day. He was about seven at the time, at least by human standards.
The tool that Astroi acquired was a replicator. Astroi, with his fingers stretched out, pointed over a table. From the memory in his mind, Astroi copied the image onto the table. The bouquet was of lilies, daffodils, and tulips all perfectly fresh and pleasing to the eye. Astroi was even able to genetically enhance the flowers, like they do in the flower shop, so that they would last longer.
Next, Astroi worked on his Uko’s present. It was hard to think of something to give her because he had only known her for so long. He wanted to give her something that would make her happy even while he was gone.
“I know,” Astroi exclaimed. “I’ll make a copy of myself; it will be just as alive and alert as I am.” Astroi took off his clothes and shoes so that all was left on his body were his permanent clothes. Then, uncertainly, he pointed his fingers at his body and scanned every inch of himself; being sure that he was thorough. Then he aimed his fingers over his bed. His fingers laid down the framework of his body and gradually added layer by layer of what he looked like. When Astroi was finished, he stopped projecting the copy and the image stayed and turned into tangible matter.
Astroi had made the replica about a head and a half smaller than his self. Astroi looked around for a box that was big enough to fit the copy. Miraculously, Astroi did find a box that would fit the duplicate of him and he gently implanted it inside. Astroi had to fold the copy’s legs and arms tightly around its body to make it fit, but it did fit. Then Astroi looked for some wrapping paper. Astroi found some wrapping paper in the closet down in the living room and he also found a box for his mom’s flowers. The ribbon to go around was just plain green twine, but he thought it would serve the purpose just right. He brought everything up to his room including a roll of tape. Astroi precisely measured each box and wrapped them up in the paper. He then took the twine and tied both boxes as nice as he could get them. Then he hid both boxes under his bed. When he was finally finished, Astroi thought it was time to go say goodnight to his parents. Just as he was going out, Astroi decided to put on a pair of pajamas so his parents didn’t have to be reminded by his permanent clothes that he was a robot.
Outside in the hall, Astroi heard whispers coming from the direction of his parent’s bedroom. He sneaked up silently and listened even though he knew better than to eavesdrop.
“…Miranda, you know what the neighbors would think if they found out our son was really a robot. Also what if my boss found out; he doesn’t like robots one bit and he would probably fire me.” Mr. Hammed proclaimed.
Mrs. Hammed replied, “Herald, I know you don’t like being the center of prejudice, but we just can’t throw out our adopted son just because he is a robot. We love him too much to even think about such a thing.” Right then Astroi burst into the room.
He cried out, “I’ll go; you don’t have to ask me to!”
His dad declared, “That is totally out of the question; you won’t leave this home just because I’m insecure. You shall stay here no matter what people might say.”
Astroi thought for a moment, “Dad, how about we just don’t tell anyone I’m a robot? Then you won’t lose your job or your friends just because of me. We can keep it a secret.”
Both his parents glanced at each other, “Son,” His dad said. “We don’t want you to hide who you are just because of us.”
His mom added, “It doesn’t matter if you are a robot, but you still shouldn’t feel ashamed about being one.”
Astroi decided, “I’ve made up mind. You don’t have to tell anyone I’m a robot; I really don’t mind.” His dad and mom looked quietly at their son.
His dad said, “Alright son, if you’re really sure about this, we won’t tell anybody until you want us to.” Astroi smiled reassuringly and then hugged his parents to say goodnight. He brushed his teeth, and then, after checking on his presents, he settled into bed.
Astroi proclaimed out loud, “Goodnight to you too, Uko, my real mother.”