Continued from Part 1
It was late night as he sat inside the cave under the boulders, warming his body before the fire when he heard the sound. The wind was howling outside. The fire had warmed the stone cave but it was not enough. He cursed the wind and heard the sound again, What is it?. His body stiffened and eyes narrowed. He tried to hear but the wind was making it difficult. It was scrappy sound of ..feet? Yes they were footsteps ... feet .. two footed or four?.
His mind tumbled into emotions, fear and hope alike. Would it be some human? A rush of hope came to his heart at the anticipation of companion. But what if it was some animal? What if wild? It could be hungry and dangerous. Should I extinguish the fire? He sat undecided staring at the black opening at the end of the cave. The footsteps were coming closer and for a moment he almost closed his eyes. The sound stopped a few feet before him. He looked up. Across the fire was a girl dressed in a short skirt and blouse, age he guessed between eighteen to twenty. Her face was soiled with dirt. Her clothes was torn. He searched the pile of clothes he collected from the debris and handed a jacket to her, “Wear this. It would be warm”. She took it. He realized he was smiling. And why not, she was more than what he asked. “Come warm yourself. You must be cold”, he said little intrigued with her silence. He shivered beside the fire and here she was, walked in through a howling chilled wind but calm.
“I am Ryan”, he said when she sat beside him cross legged. Something in her in her was unsettling him, She look.. dead? It was cold yet she sat there comfortable.
“What is your name?” he asked.
“I don't have a name.” she replied as he stared at her. It was when he saw the tiny light on her right shoulder that blinked through the worn out jacket that he realized.
“No name, huh? A brand new piece? I guess”, he asked.
“Work In Progress” she said. Her voice was soft, very much like an ordinary human girl. He was surprised at the hint of sadness in her voice. “Human emotion enabled! Interesting. I would like to see your complete specification.”
“I can print it for you”, she said.
“Oh! You have paper and ink? Fabulous! But better not waste it, I will study on your UI” he said as he went closer to her and turned her to face her back. It was five months since he had seen a face, alive, though this robot can be called anything but alive, but still it counted, at least for him.
It felt odd to open her blouse, though he knew she was an artificial robot. His fingers shivered as they touched the artificial flesh. It was cold and he relaxed. He studied her, she was indeed modeled on emerging technology. He assumed her creator was working on her privately, it was impossible to work on the technology when the governments across the world had ordered the scientist and mathematician fraternity to work on destructive and intellectual robots, an efficient approach to bring up fleets to be sent on fields. Working on a robot with body a replica of human flesh, with run-time emotional IQ in action was not at all the need of time. Any government would call it treason and the scientist would be risked being sanctioned and possibly imprisoned. He saw that her battery was 90% used. But she was solar rechargeable and that came as a relief to him. He closed her up. She would be very resourceful.
“You are a treasure, do you know that? I would have loved to meet your designer but what does it matter now. And besides I am done with science..", he shrugged. She was smiling. Through the dancing flames he could outline her petite features under the dirt. He felt a pang to think such a pretty face was cold rubber.
He asked her to go sleep as he lay on the other side of the fire. He was no longer alone, he smiled at the thought. He tried hard but sleep evaded him. He took occasional glimpses to her. She lay on her back with eyes closed. Sleeping?, he chuckled, happy to have someone, be it a robot.