My Robotic Destiny
By Grizzly Moose
The park bench he didn’t remember, what he remembered with sound clarity were the events of his last visit here. Nearly three years ago Dane had been walking and texting when he tripped over a pot-belly pig, stumbled into an old lady with an ice cream cone that ended up on the woman he would ultimately love more than particle physics. The pig, as usual, was okay, and Dane appeased the old lady with some hard candy. He then demanded that the women, Veronica, let him buy her dinner for his clumsiness. Dane had seen this concept work for others but did not think that it would ever work for him, so when she had agreed Dane became petrified with shock – only able to nod yes when Veronica finalized the plans. In doing so, he followed her into a three-year dream. He had always assumed the only way he could feel this way is if he was bouncing in gravity 83.3 percent less than earth’s or on the moon. Dane knew other people would consider this pathetic, to meet his first girlfriend at twenty-five, probably because he knew the moon’s exact gravity but to him it was perfect.
Veronica had taken the train instead of a cab which would make her later than usual. She hoped that in that time something in the universe would change, and she would not have to follow her mission objectives. Dane would not mind that Veronica was late, she always was. Not because he was hopelessly in love with her but because Dane was always early and the most patient creature she had ever known. She knew that was why she loved him, why she had to be with him. Despite the fact that it was not meant to be like this, Dane had been chosen because of his social awkwardness and inability to connect with others. These traits were valued because they were supposed to help her avoid any romantic entanglements. Not that it was doing her any good right now. She knew it wasn’t part of her to be with him, and now she knew why those who love both hate and adore it. She loved Dane, but she also knew that she had to break up with him and never see him again.
Dane sat on the bench, pulled his cell phone out and loaded an app that he had programmed. He called it Alien Attackers – he was an analyst and made up for his lack of creativity with a love of numbers and calculations. Somewhat inhuman by some standards but that’s who he was, and he didn’t make excuses or lie about it. The mission of the game was to solve formulas that allowed you to shoot more accurately and destroy invading aliens invading Earth. It was the story of his life – the hope of any nerd, probably why he liked the game so much. A dog barked, Dane looked up, saw the sun was about to touch the horizon then closed the game. He checked the time, guessed he had ten more minutes and began reading recent texts between him and Veronica.
Veronica entered the park at the opposite end of where the bench and Dane waited. She had accepted that there was no calculation to explain her love, only that she did love Dane. What she did know was the cutest thing about Dane: his texts. He thought that they were the smartest, wittiest statements anyone ever thought of but were to put it bluntly: were not. She imagined him sitting in his cubicle taking time away from the job he loved so much. He probably spent hours thinking about her, agonizing over finding the perfect text to impress her and therefore she loved them. She wished she could just stay here forever with Dane, but that was not her mission programming.
Dane noticed the sun was halfway below the horizon then looked at his watch. What had happened? Veronica should have been here by now. Was something wrong? Why had she not texted him if she was going to be later than usual? If she didn’t show up soon, it was going to throw huge shock waves through the carefully scheduled rest of his day. Was she okay?
“Hello my sacchariferous lilliputian nerdy Homosapien,” he heard in Veronicas sweet, tender, harmonic voice. He smiled at her nerdy pillow talk; he loved her. He turned to see her in a green sundress that covered her pale, milky skin that reflected the setting sun making her glow.“So…” he started to question her, and she cut him off.
“I just want you to know, it wasn’t supposed to be like this,” she trudged through her words struggling to find the wording.
“When I met you,” she continued, “It wasn’t out of choice, it was for my job,” she finished, and she saw Dane’s eyes narrow with anger.
“You were paid to meet me,” he demanded, and the gentleness in his voice was now caustic tones of anger.
“No… Yes…. its more complicated than that,” she struggled again seeing the downside and complications of love.
“I’m all tympanic membrane,” he responded not so angrily and she knew what was about to come would crush him.
“Close your eyes,” she demanded, and he glared, “please,” she nudged, and he complied.
Veronica morphed her right index finger into a screwdriver, opened an access plate on her left wrist, unscrewed three screws and then popped her left hand off. Inside the wrist, her were veins made of fiber optics and muscles of micro-motors and titanium ligaments.
“Open your eyes,” she commanded and Dane opened his eyes to see Veronica’s hand.
“I’m a robot,” she squandered away any doubts as his eyes grew red and he took a step back.
“What in the… how…” Dane rendered himself speechless.
“I’m programmed to emulate alien species, infiltrate their societies and report back to my owner,” Veronica said in a tone that was too matter-of-factually for her liking.
“Whooping-freaking-do,” Dane almost yelled as he turned away.
“I never wanted to hurt you,” she tried.
“You haven’t how could I ever love a robot,” he attempted to push her.
“That’s what makes our love unique, it shouldn’t exist but it does,” she pleaded as he began walking away.
“Wait,” she yelled as he kept walking, ” I need your help, “she shouted as she started running after him. He continued to ignore her as she tried to explain.
“My owner, he was hired to destroy the Earth,” she empathized, “we have to stop him,” she finished, and Dane looked to her.
“Why, so I can get my heart broken again? Maybe by a toy this time,” he seethed at her before averting his eyes. She knew he needed space and turned towards the city beyond the park.
Dane sat atop his three-story, brick apartment building watching the city bustle under a soft, warm blanket of quickly vanishing sunlight. He knew he had always been different, a reject, but a robot: really? He pulled out his cell, loaded Alien Attack and wondered how he could ever save the planet if he couldn’t even fall in love with a member of his species. He knew that the dream he had been in with Veronica was over, and he was just another nerd who would find more companionship with his phone than a person.
The sun was gone; the street lights covered the city in the familiar, fuzzy glow that made her feel warm and content. Her inhuman innards made her feel more comfortable in artificial light than sunlight, and she accepted that. Apart from when she was with Dane, there had been something different when she was around him even though she had lied to him every second since they first met. Ironically or poetically, she hadn’t decided which, she had also loved him since that same time.
She found herself turning onto a side street that was little more than an alley barely lit by a couple of fizzling, light bulbs attached to the sides of the brick buildings. Thinking of Dane sitting atop his building, she knew that’s where he was; she kicked a can down the alley. Little rumbles echoed away from it as it rolled to a stop against a distant wall and Veronica felt emptiness resonate through her body. She missed Dane and feared for his future and the future of this planet.There he was falling, then landing with a loud thud at the center of the alley. Veronica was at his side; she rolled him onto his back then looked into his eyes as she wiped the blood from his lower lip.
“Don’t kill yourself over me,” she commanded as she helped Dane to a sitting position.
“Get over yourself,” he responded as he pointed upwards. Veronica bent her neck to see the eyes of her alien owner in the body of a human that was hovering ten feet above them. All she could think of was Dane had come back – or dropped back.
“I’m so sorry,” she said locking eyes with him.
“You lied to me,” he responded, and her owner dove towards them. They jumped away from each other.
“But you need to help me if your species is going to survive,” she yelled as she huddled against a wall of the alley.
“I can’t trust you,” he yelled back dodging an attack from the flying human and Veronica stopped herself from rolling her eyes knowing it would not be productive.
“If my owner gets the information in my storage drives he will be able to obtain a permit to destroy Earth,” she yelled running to him as he ducked in a small alcove.
“I knew there was a reason we never fought until now,” he said looking away.”
“Because your a liar and a robot,” Dane seethed, “I never lied to you about anything,” he finished, and Veronica was not hurt. Everything he said was true but knew they had more urgent issues right now. She was about to respond when Dane ran from the alcove and got kicked in the face by her owner’s boot. He fell to the ground, and she jumped to his side seeing a crooked nose.
“No,” he mustered in a quick breath, “You can’t…” and Dane knew he was failing, the aliens were winning.
“Do you really want to have a colloquy about our relationship right now,” she demanded as she dragged him back into the alcove. With Dane hidden, she was exposed; she got to her body ready to face her owner. He dove towards her;
she jumped, tripped and rolled to the ground causing her owner to veer away from a wall and turn towards her.
In the cover of the alcove Dane sat and watched the attack. His muscles locked in fear – he had never been this close to any real danger. Then his lungs stopped. He held his breath as he saw himself losing Veronica to the aliens, this is not what he expected. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t breathe or blink, all he could do was stare.
Veronica rolled to a stop, got on one knee and saw her owner attacking from above. He pulled a knife from a hidden arm sheath and swung it at Veronica’s face. Dane stared. The blade slashed Veronica’s cheek leaving a three-inch gash that gushed scarlet blood. Veronica winced at the cut that sent bolts of pain cascading through her face. Blood rolled from her chin and splatted on the ground.
Dane could breathe or think. All he knew was that Veronica was hurt – could you hurt a robot? He didn’t know the answer but acknowledged that seeing Veronica get hurt had erupted an internal geyser of anger and fear more intense than he had ever known. He ran to her side trying to rip a bandage from his shirt but as suspected, he failed miserably. At her side, he tugged at her shirt till she held up a finger that morphed into a knife. He grabbed her soft, gentle hand and used it to cut a strip from his shirt then held it to her cheek. She looked at him, her green-blue eyes pierced his and his heart stopped, it would never again beat. He knew he had to be with her, whatever she was.
Dane smiled, and Veronica knew he felt what she felt. She grabbed the bandage from his hand, wiped the blood from her face and Dane watched the wound quickly heal.
“One good thing about knowing a robot,” she beamed at him, “I’m programmed for combat,” she finished and turned towards her owner.
Dane watched his cavalier robotic woman attack. She was the wind: graceful and silent. She was the river: powerful, unforgiving and twisted. She grabbed her owners foot and dragged him to the ground and began beating him. She was the sun: a bright beacon for all to see. She was a hundred foot tree with an eighteen-inch diameter: capable of producing six thousand pounds of oxygen in a year, the essence that kept him alive – Veronica.
Veronica stood from beating her owner; the alien did not move. She turned to Dane, who emerged from the alcove. The alien was dead; they had saved Earth. Veronica ran towards him, and they embraced in a hug. Veronica rested her chin on Dane’s shoulder inches from his ear and whispered.
“I love you; I couldn’t have done it without that.” He knew she was telling the truth. More importantly, if she couldn’t have defeated the alien without him then he had done it, he had saved Earth and found the love of his life. Now all he had to do was figure out how to tell his parents he was in love with a robot.