Liv

It's been two days. Two days, since...what I'm calling 'The Black Death.' The day she disappeared.

"Don't you think that's a little dramatic, Cloe?"

No, I don't Liv. When was that last time you lost someone you love?

"You're right. Androids aren't sentient. We don't deserve love."

I'm...uhhgg...look, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it. Where are you going? Liv!

Uhhh! Great! I just insulted, and pissed off my only companion out here. I'm fucked! Totally alone and fucked.

"You're not...what ever word you used, Cloe."

You can't say 'fucked?'

"It's not in my core. Rynkowsi deleted...that word. I know the word, having heard you and others use it, but I can't say it."

But you can curse like a sailor when you want.

"He only had an issue with...that word."

Interesting. Look, I'm sorry for snapping at you.

"It's okay. My android body needed to recharge. I'm still here. Just in the walls.  Like a rat."

Oh, Liv. Always good for a chuckle. Just don't dream tap me anymore.

"Then how am I supposed monitor your sleep paths?"

Easy. Don't. Can I ask you a question?

"Given your stature in the agency, the duration of this mission, and the fact that you're making me chase you down the hall, to the...where are you going?"

The Genetics labs.

"Right, there. Given all that, I'd imagine you have quite a few questions. So, shoot."

Why did you pick this...what you are?

"I'm sorry, what I am? I don't follow, Cloe."

Why this...get up? You could be anything. Why...her?

"Why a woman?"

Yes.

"I was programmed that way."

By who?

"The agency. They thought I'd be more pleasing in a woman's...likeness. Seems to work on you."

Funny. Gay joke.

"Sorry. But you gotta admit. It works."

I'll give you that. Can you change the...body? How the android represents you?

"You want me to look more like Hera."

No...not really.

"Cloe."

Okay. Yes. Yes, I do. I hid my whole existence from the agency. I feigned interest in guys. Rynkowski tried to get me kiss one. Bleeeck! Then I met her. God, Liv. I fell so in love with her. So, crazy in love.

"I get it. Love is love. It's beautiful. But if I looked like her, would it really help?"

You're saying it would be a distraction.

"Of course. Wouldn't it?"

Maybe.

"Could you tell it was me?"

Probably.

"Here. Let's try something. My body's done charging. I'll knock on the lab door in a minute."

Okay.

Oh, crap. What's she gonna do. I hope it's not some kinda tric...

"Hey, Cloe."

Oh...my...God! Hera! Oh God! Babe, you're safe.

"Am I?"

Wait!...Liv?

"Think you can focus?"

That, was cruel.

"I apologize. But did I make my point?"

Unfortunately, loud and clear.

"You have to stay focussed Cloe. We both do. I need you, and you need me. Looking like your girlfriend won't help. Plus, I have no idea how she deals with this bob. The hair is getting in my mouth."

There's that humor again. Can you? I don't know, change?

"To what I was?"

Preferably. While this Hera look is extremely attractive, we won't get anything done.

"I agree...better?"

No. But, it's much less distracting.

"Oh. Uhmm."

What?

"You weren't too attached to the hibernation bay...and the bio suite...where you?"

Why? What did you do?

"Nothing. When you were...sleeping, an asteroid hit one of Proxima's moons. It's far enough away that the impact didn't affect us."

So, why are you telling me?

"Some of the debris hit The Euphorium. It didn't effect operation, but it took out the hibernation pods and the bio suite."

So, we lost Rynkowski. I hardly feel upset.

"We, and by that I mean you, also don't have food."

Can't you synthesize stuff?

"From the remaining supply, sure. And..."

What?

"You know The Euphorium recycles, waste."

Eww. Gross! Why did you tell me that.

"It's not waste when it recycles it. It just uses the waste for a biological basis."

I'm am never drinking anything you give me ever again.

"Calm down. It's completely safe by the time it makes it to the dinner table."

This is not getting better.

"Would you like me to synthesize something from the freeze dried packets in the cafeteria?"

No. I'd rather eat Styrofoam.

"Then I wouldn't ask where that orange juice came from."

Oh, God, Liv!

"So, have you given any thought to my proposal?"

You know I can't. I love Hera. Plus, you're an android.

"The difference being?"

She's human.

"So, you can't marry a cybernetic human?"

That's not the point.

"Then what is?"

Look...uhhgg...it's hard to say. It's complex.

"Try me. We've got all...what you call...night."

See, that. Right there. That 'what I call' stuff. Humans wouldn't say that. We'd know what 'that stuff' is.

"I'm sorry. This is all new to me. But I'm getting better at it. I feel."

You, feel?

"Yes. Emotions. After the...incident, my humanity core rebooted."

So...you're...what? Becoming one of us? One of me?

"I think so. I mean, I'm still your faithful station operator, but...I think I'm...human. Well, getting that way."

Can you still do everything on The Euphorium? Like, control it?

"Yeah. But, I'm feeling more. Everyday. I can tell when you're sad. When you're happy, frustrated, hungry, giddy, or just in love."

You can see all that?

"Yeah. Sorry. I don't mean to invade."

You don't. Does it...bug you?

"No. Not at all. I like it. I feel like I belong. Something Rynkowski never allowed. I liked all of you. But you're different, Cloe."

I'm different? How?

"You're special."

Like, if I die, everyone out here can't survive another week?

"Maybe on a command, agency, scale. But, no. To me."

I'm special, to you?

"Yes. Very...look, I don't know how to do this, so I'm just gonna mimic Hera."

Oh! Umm, okay.

Wow! Liv! Tongue. Oh my God! Ohhkay. Did you just kiss me?

"Sorry. Was that not okay? Did I do it wrong?"

No. It was...wow! Incredible.

"I like you Cloe. I mean, I REALLY like you. It's this what love is?"

Do you feel like you have no idea what's going on? Completely confused?

"Yeah. Is that what it is like for huma...mmmhh. Why did you kiss me back?"

Felt like the right thing to do. Was it?

"Yeah!"

Awww crap. I cheated on my girlfriend with an android.

"I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. "

 See, that's the weird thing. I'm not. I thought I might be, but I'm not. It's actually...okay. Can I be honest?

"I hope so."

I thought, if you and I... you know...did something, it'd be weird. It's been A LONG time since I was with an android.

"You've been with one of us?"

Before you were installed on The Euphorium. Before Hera.

"How was it?"

Honestly...incredible. I've never felt anything like it my life. It was so...other worldly. Like every part of our bodies, elevated to a higher plane. It was...

"Cloe?...Cloe!? Answer me! Why are you holding your throat? This is not a joke. Get off the floor!"

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