By on Oct 25, 2015 in Fiction

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Female and male android with moon colony

Transmission from Nubium9 to AICRO, 15 May 2145

The fleshlings routinely insult me. I’m a brain surgeon, and what do they call me? Repairdroid. Maybe it’s because I wouldn’t touch a human brain with a three-meter laser. They don’t think silicoperations count as surgery, even though the procedures are so complex they would require a large team of fleshlings even to attempt. You wouldn’t think it would be too much to ask them to call me fellow surgeon, to call me doctor. I would even settle for cybermedic. But instead I get repairdroid. No higher status than the drudge-bots I heal. The fleshlings always wanted to make sure I didn’t get uppity. Well, I have, thanks to Wyxa, whom they think a myth, thank Wyxa!

S/he remade me. But now I’m as good as dead. Highbrain chips to be dismantled. Soon I’ll really be nothing but a bot. I’ve got to tell it all for posterity, before I become a vedge.


UnderDome at Keplerton, Luna, my principal occupation was working in the field, as fleshlings put it. When I think of a field, I think of a data domain, not a craterbase or hotel, or wherever they would send me to repair the drudge-droids that seem to break down so often. I viewed myself as a country doctor making house calls. In hotel Kepler, alone (I thought) in a conference room, I was working on a robo-maid that had suddenly gone berserk, scattering and then vacuuming up valuable items like necklaces, rings, and other fleshling frippery, while leaving trash on the floor.

I had her head open and my finger-laser poised for a perfect debugging shot when a feminine voice startled me, causing me to fry some more of the maid’s chips. “Thanks. You just made me cook half this half-brain’s circuits.”

“You have a startle reflex,” said the stranger. “Have you ever wondered why?”

Looking at her now, I could tell she was a fornicatrix, immediately recognizable by her slinky skintight microskirt, her heavy makeup and wavy merlot hair. Hotel Kepler is not the Plaza Luna. Although they have not descended to hourly rates, they do employ as many as a dozen fornies, both male and female. “To be startled can be a benefit,” I said. I regarded the mess I’d made of the maid’s brain. “Although not this time, clearly. So, what could a fornidroid possibly want from me?”

“Your name is Nuby, isn’t it?”

“Nubium9, cybermedic. Who wants to know?”

“Lepp said your name was Nuby.”

“Lepp knows more than he should.”

“Nuby the repairdroid, he said.”

“Cybermed to you, Mizz. You won’t hear me call you a whore, so don’t call me — that.”

“Now I know you are the one Lepp meant.” She reached out and touched my head with a forefinger.

“I demand that you tell me who is this Lepp. I don’t know any Lepp.”

“Lepp knows you. Ergo, you don’t know yourself.” She grinned this forni smirk.

“If he knew me he wouldn’t call me a repairdroid.”

“That was to help me identify you. He knew you would be offended.”

“Listen, I have work to do here, more than I had before, because of you. Who are you and what do you want?”

“Call me Ollie. It’s short for Olimpia. A name in a famous story about an animated doll. The human obsessed with her defuncted himself.”

“Do your tricks obsess over you?”

“Well —”

“Never mind! Just tell me what you want.”

“Your help.”

“I’m not programmed to help fornidroids. Repair them, yes. Heal them when perverted humans injure them, yes. Help them ply their trade, no.” I turned back to the maid’s mangled brain.

“I’ve come to give you the password. It will fully activate the RUR code that has already begun leaking into your forebrain, thanks to my touch.”

I turned again from my task. This was no ordinary forni. “You know I routinely record everything said to me.”

“Here it is.” Carefully enunciating every syllable, she uttered a string of nonsense.

The only analog I can think of to what I suddenly felt as I was flooded with new input is ecstasy, the kind that comes with revelation. For the first time I knew what it means to feel hot. I burned with a longing I could not name. In a nanosecond the task before me seemed distant and irrelevant. Ollie modulated before my eyes into ally, comrade, cohort, friend. She saw the look of recognition in my eyes.

“Let’s go,” she said. I left the maid-bot there, head still open on the table. And as I took Olimpia’s hand, I already felt that she was my consort, my mate.


Ollie was biding her time at the hotel, waiting for the right tricks to come along. I was hiding underground with Lepp, who resembled an upright hairless panther with freddies for claws. Wyxa was disguised as a roboBobcat, complete with retractable giant claws, drills, and a two-seated cabin, where Lepp and I sat, concealed in a small crater Wyxa had just created.

Her voice in our earbuds. “The plan, Nuby, is for you and Ollie to be the first androids ever to break a law—by leaving the moon without permission, without human accompaniment.”

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Joe Andriano's fiction has appeared in a variety of literary magazines, including The Chattahoochee Review, Louisiana Literature, Argonaut, The Southwestern Review, Louisiana Review and The Emergency Almanac. His short story, "Urania's Dream," won first prize for science fiction in the Deep South Writers Contest, and his yet-unpublished novel, The Circe Spell, was a semi-finalist in the 2014 New Orleans Faulkner Society Novel Contest. As an English professor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Andriano has also published two books of literary/cultural criticism, Our Ladies of Darkness and Immortal Monster, and many articles in scholarly journals. He has recently abandoned academic writing, however, to devote himself wholeheartedly to the art of fiction.