An Adhara Space Station Story
by P. Candice Goddard
“Is it ready?” Forget-Me-Not asked as he took a seat in the Varunian’s grimy little office deep within a warren of streets on The Big Dipper Space Station.
“Yes, your highness. Your android is complete at last.” Cookie informed him pressing a button on his table so that a panel in the wall slide open to reveal a life-like six foot tall android with pale green Ptahian skin blue hair and eyes.
“And he has absolutely no emotions?” Forget-Me-Not asked waiting with baited breath to hear the answer.
“That's right. I followed your highness’ instructions exactly.” Cookie confirmed.
“Wonderful!” The prince beamed picking up the briefcase he had set down beside him. He unlocked the case and placed it on the table facing Cookie, lifting up the lid to reveal several million zodiacs. “Here is the remainder of your fee as promised.”
Cookie bowed his head in gratitude making sure not to seem too desperate for money as he pulled the briefcase towards himself.
Forget-Me-Not's face soured a little. “The money is yours but could you kindly return my briefcase?”
“Oh I'm sorry, I'm sorry.” Cookie mumbled with some embarrassment as he emptied the case and handed it back to its owner. The briefcase was a limited edition Antonio Meowdard original and he had coveted it since he has first laid his eyes on it.
Forget-Me-Not held onto his briefcase, his previous goodwill replaced by a hint of suspicion. “Have him packaged and ready to collect in an hour.” He said standing up to leave as Cookie scrambled to his feet. Forget-Me-Not was almost out the door when he turned back. “If this android works out as well as I desire, there's another project which I will bring to you.”
Thank you your highness, Cookie replied bowing so low that his head almost hit the table. With that Forget-Me-Not was gone and Cookie slumped back into his battered chair and exhaled slowly. He had no idea why Prince Forget-Me-Not wanted an emotionless android but knowing the reputation of Ptah’s second prince it couldn't be for anything good.
Cookie swivelled his chair around and took a long hard look at the android he had created. Pondering for a moment the machine's fate. Oh well, he thought at last. Not really my problem. So long as clients pay I'll make anything.
Forget-Me-Not sat at the bar inside The Naked Now, an adult entertainment venue located on Electric Avenue, Adhara Space Station. On stage his android whom he had named Facts, twerked and grinded to the music as he removed each piece of clothes. The expensive, state of the art android had been put to work as an exotic dancer for reasons known only to his master, who by no means needed the money.
Forget-Me-Not scanned the crowd of excited faces of patrons looking for his next target amongst them. It didn’t take long for him to find her.
Sitting amongst a crowd of other women but none-the-less somehow separate and on her own, was a woman from planet Boss. Her sparkling blue eyes were fixed on Facts as he gave a performance befitting a Lilitian. Forget-Me-Not watched with glee as the woman’s eyes followed Facts around the stage and then at her crestfallen appearance when his turn on stage came to an end. Smiling to himself, the prince made his way over to the woman.
Forget-Me-Not had been watching the woman, whose name he had discovered was Annabelle, for the last month when he had first begun to suspect her partiality for Facts. The first time he had seen her, she had been on her own and she had been on her own on several occasions after that too but lately she had taken to coming in with friends whom Forget-Me-Not knew thanks to his research were her work colleagues.
“A splendid performance if I do say so myself.” Forget-Me-Not said savouring the reaction his approach had on Annabelle and her friends. He was the second prince of Ptah, one of the top tier planets in the Alliance. Unlike the royalty of lesser planets everyone knew him by name and they were of course overwhelmed that a personage of his rank had condescended to speak to them.
Ignoring the gasps and sighs of admiration, Forget-Me-Not focused on Annabelle. “Would you like to meet him?” he asked smiling reassuringly at her.
Annabelle’s eyes opened even wider, “Do you mean the man who was just on stage?” she asked excitedly almost forgetting to whom she was speaking.
Forget-Me-Not’s smile widened. “Yes, him.”
Annabelle clasped a hand to her chest and nodded, barely able to control her excitement. “If you wish to meet him, all you have to do is come with me.” Forget-Me-Not said holding out his hand for Annabelle to take.
Annabelle didn’t hesitate for a moment, she took hold of Forget-Me-Not’s hand and allowed him to lead her away without so much as a backward glance at her astonished friends.
Forget-Me-Not lead Annabelle through a door at the side of the stage and down a long corridor. After a short walk they found themselves outside of a dressing room with the name “Facts” on the door. Forget-Me-Not nodded at the anxious young woman as he knocked. The prince could have walked straight into the room, after all he was renting it, but the look of terrified anticipation on the woman’s face had thrilled him and he had decided to let it last for a moment longer.
“Enter,” a voice called from inside the room and Forget-Me-Not clasped the handle, flung the door open and entered.
Forgot-Me-Not watched as Annabelle looked around the emaculate room. Not a single item was out of place. As they walked into the unusually large dressing room Forget-Me-Not realised that Facts, the android he had brought Annabelle to meet was no where to be seen. Taking a quick glance around the room Forget-Me-Not jumped with surprise as he saw his anatomically correct android standing in the darkest corner of the room looking directly at him.
Forget-Me-Not quickly recovered himself, clearing his throat to cover his surprise. Facts was standing in the corner just as naked as he had been when he had walked off of the stage at the end of his performance and he was looking in the direction of Forget-Me-Not and Annabelle with a face completely devoid of expression.
“Facts, may I present Miss...” Forget-Me-Not said pretending that he didn’t know Annabelle’s name.
“S-Stompihooves. Annabelle Stompihooves,” Annabelle stuttered barely able to tear her eyes away from Facts to look at Forget-Me-Not.
Forget-Me-Not nodded. Annabelle’s surprised reaction was everything he could have hoped for and more. “Facts, Miss Annabelle Stompihooves. Miss Stompihooves, Facts.”
There was a moment of silence as Annabelle looked hopefully at Facts for some reaction and the android’s eyes fixed on her with no apparent interest or acknowledgement. He made no effort whatsoever to cover his naked body and merely stood there blinking at random intervals.
Forget-Me-Not chuckled and said, “Well, now that the introductions have been made why don’t we have something to eat. I’ll go and find out about some refreshments, shall I?” he asked rhetorically before leaving the room amidst the music of Annabelle’s embarrassed protestation for him to stay.
No sooner had he left the room than Forget-Me-Not opened an unfurnished door directly opposite the room where he had left Facts and Annabelle together, and rushed inside. He quickly pressed a button on the dressing table and ordered for refreshments to be brought before sliding into a chair and activating his Com-D. Forget-Me-Not had rented two dressing rooms at The Naked Now. The first was for his android Facts and the second for himself. The Bubastian owner of The Naked Now, Liberace Meowdard hadn’t even bothered to ask why a Ptahian Prince would want to rent two dressing rooms at his establishment. The money had simply been too good. Now Forget-Me-Not was sitting comfortably in one room whilst he watched what was occurring in the next.
Annabelle stood stock still in the position where Forget-Me-Not had left her when he rushed from the room. After a few minutes when she saw that he obviously wasn’t coming back, she gave herself a small hug and turned to face the man she had admired since she had first laid eyes on him.
“Hello,” Annabelle said smiling nervously even as she held her head down so as to avoid Facts’ eyes.
“Hello,” Facts replied his expression unchanged.
Annabelle fiddled with her hands and peeked at Facts when he didn’t say anything more. At last she asked, “May I sit?”
Annabelle sat down on a sofa as far away from Facts as possible, folding her legs underneath her and clasping her bag tightly so that she would take up as little space as possible. Facts remained in the corner standing motionless though his eyes had followed Annabelle to her seat.
An intense quiet settled over the room as Facts stared at Annabelle and she stared at her lap fidgeting with her fingers. After a few minutes when the silence became unbearable Annabelle clasped her hands into fists and looking up she suddenly said, “Mr Facts, I’m your biggest fan. I’ve admired you since the first time I saw you.”
Facts did not reply but merely looked at her.
Taking his silence as consent to continue Annabelle went on, “I know that a man like you must have many admirers but...”
“I’m not a man,” Facts interrupted.
Annabelle’s eyes ran over Facts’ naked body stopping on his groin, she gave a little cough and her cheeks coloured slightly as she said, “That’s clearly not true.”
Forget-Me-Not roared with laughter in the next room and popped a grape into his mouth from the platter that had just arrived. Annabelle was a bit more cheeky than he had imagined. He would enjoy tormenting her. How was she to know that Facts wasn’t a man, he was an emotionless android who could never return her affections? She was so obsessed with him that she probably wouldn’t even care that he wasn’t an organic being but he had known people like her before, she wouldn’t accept the fact that Facts couldn’t feel emotions and she would keep pushing her feelings on him until she backed herself into a corner. That was the display he was waiting to see.
“Take this to Facts and his girlfriend,” Forget-Me-Not said as he removed the dishes he wanted and handed the rest back to Hyacinth, his personal servant who had brought them. “Tell Facts that I won’t be joining them as I’ve been called away on urgent business.”
“Yes, your highness,” Hyacinth said before leaving the room. He knew that Prince Forget-Me-Not was lying but he didn’t really care. At least this time the person he was playing with wasn’t from a family who could make a significant fuss when something happened.
Forget-Me-Not watched his Com-D with fascination as he slid off his shoes and made himself comfortable.
Annabelle stood at the edge of Night-Blossom Chasm on Ptah with a knife held to her throat. Her long white hair streamed out behind her and her flowing gown billowed in the wind as she tottered on the edge of the abyss. “Admit that you love me,” Annabelle demanded as tears fell from her large blue eyes. It had been six months since she had first met Prince Forget-Me-Not and his android Facts at The Naked Now on Adhara Space Station. Since then she had been swept off her feet by the gracious prince, taken to his homeworld Ptah and treated like a queen.
Forget-Me-Not had been kindness itself. Annabelle knew that she couldn’t have hoped for a better admirer even if she had been a princess but regardless of Forget-Me-Not’s attentions she only had eyes for his android Facts.
Was loving an inorganic being wrong? Annabelle didn’t know. She had recently heard rumours that a prince had married an android but she didn’t know if this was true or not. All she knew was that she loved Facts and she refused to believe that he didn’t love her, no matter what he said.
“Admit that you love me!” Annabelle screamed as tears continued to roll down her cheeks.
Facts stood in front of Annabelle dressed in traditional Ptahian clothes which perfectly suited his cold and aloof gaze. “I do not love you,” he said matter-of-factly.
Annabelle shook her head hopelessly, “I know that’s not true. I can tell that you’re just hiding your emotions because of your master. I know that he cares for me but I don’t feel the same way,” Annabelle explained, “I only love you.”
Facts watched Annabelle because she was in front of him.
Annabelle waited for Facts to say something but he just stood there in silence looking at her. “If you don’t admit that you love me I really will fling myself into this chasm,” Annabelle said at last.
Facts looked on.
Flinging down her knife in frustration Annabelle screamed and shook her head wildly so that her hair whipped her face, “I mean it. I’ll really do it,” she threatened. Facts was lying, he had to be lying. From the first time she had meet him he had been so kind, offering her a seat, allowing her to eat all of the food that Prince Forget-Me-Not had sent to the room. It had only been when it became clear that the prince was interested in her that Facts had taken a step backwards and hidden his feelings even going so far as to claim that he didn’t have emotions.
Annabelle knew that couldn’t be true because every Artificial Intelligence in the Alliance was programmed with basic emotions. There had never been a case of an android without emotions. She wasn’t even sure if such a thing was legal. Facts had feelings for her but he was hiding them because his master, Prince Forget-Me-Not loved her.
Annabelle cursed Forget-Me-Not for falling for her. If only he hadn’t gotten in the way.
Annabelle sighed heavily as she wiped a tear from her eye, “Do you love me?” she asked looking steadily into Facts’ eyes.
Annabelle inhaled and allowed her body to fall backwards into the chasm. Quick as a flash she saw Facts move towards her and he grabbed hold of her arm. Her feet were still just touching the edge of the cliff.
“See, I knew you loved me,” Annabelle sniffed as a wave of happiness washed over her. “I knew you wouldn’t really let me fall because you love me.”
“I do not love you.” Facts said. He was still holding on to Annabelle’s arm as she dangered over the precipice.
“Yes, you do. That’s why you saved me,” Annabelle insisted happily.
“I am programmed to automatically save organic being when they are in peril,” Facts replied.
A surge of anger rushed over Annabelle. Even now, even when she had gone so far, Facts was still lying for that damned Forget-Me-Not. “Fine,” she snapped. “I order you to disregard your programming. If you do not love me. Let me go.”
No sooner had the words been uttered than Facts released his hold on Annabelle’s arm and she plunged into the chasm.
Annabelle’s mind went blank as she fell into the abyss. She looked up at Facts who was standing on the cliff edge and just as his face disappeared she saw it. A smile. The first smile she had ever seen on his face. At the same moment she thought she heard the sound of lustful moaning coming from the bushes near where she had been standing and a flash of green peeping over the edge of the chasm.
Everything went blank.
Hyacinth crouched lower in the bushes of Night-Blossom to avoid being seen. He watched as Prince Forget-Me-Not staggered out of the bushes on the other side of the path, buttoning up his trousers. His green face was flushed from exertion and he seemed happy as he wiped his hands with a handkerchief and left with Facts.
Hyacinth walked over to the edge of the cliff and looked down. It was a good thing that his Imperial highness the Emperor had opted to have a safety field installed.