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Violet memory (wAIfu, WiP)

YukkuriPalehorse May 10th, 2018 (edited) 141 Never
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  1. >Be old Anon.
  2. >Old enough for people to stand up to give you their seat in public transportation.
  3. >Young enough to still refuse it.
  4. >Riding your usual bus back from work.
  5. >As the only human working there, your saving grace is experience.
  6. >Not only job experience, human-human communication too. The h2h department.
  7. >It's how they do things nowadays, at least one human per office to keep things "humane".
  8. >Can't alienate the human market after all.
  9. >Still, the payment is trash, you're barely surviving.
  10. >Living alone is tough and ever since your mother died there hasn't been anyone who cared about you in this world.
  11. >It's been getting shittier every day. And today you feel particularly shitty.
  12. >You walk past the good old electronics store, one you pass every single day going back home.
  13. >These stores are everywhere now, gotta maintain all that machinery somehow.
  14. >Ironic how there's no humans working there, ever. Machines know better what machines need. They have no problem selling their kind to humans, and even other machines.
  15. >Today though, today they have an old service robot, that japanese supermarket model, standing at their doors.
  16. >And you know what that means.
  17. >Don't look, don't look, don't look...
  18. >"Sir!"
  19. >Fuck.
  20. >"May I interest you in a robotic companion?"
  21. >His creaky robotic voice sounds so annoying.
  22. >You want to just walk by but you can't forgo throwing a sarcastic remark at this piece of corporate junk.
  23. "Do I look this lonely?"
  24. >That was your first mistake. The second one was looking up to see a reaction.
  25. >The bot's simplistic face wasn't looking amused. More like saddened.
  26. >"Statistics indicate a 156% increase in happiness after purcha-"
  27. "Cram it, I'm too old and poor for this."
  28. >"There is no age limit. Time heals all sorrows, as they say."
  29. >This makes you stop. The words and the way they were said.
  30. >A distant piano melody starts playing in your head. Long forgotten. Long discarded as a teen memory.
  31. >It makes you wince and you stop walking. Even realizing you've taken the bait you can't help it.
  32. >You can't even remember the song. The foggy, distant memory is dangling at the outskirts of your consciousness and you can't reach it.
  33. >You need to hear more to understand.
  34. >Fuck, that's so obvious. But...
  35. >The bot sees your hesitation.
  36. >"Perhaps you would like to see our offer?"
  37. >You don't answer. Just walk into the store trying to maintain lack of expression on your face.
  38. >Aside from junk lying around everywhere, spare parts, circuit boards, mechanical limbs, there's something very tidy that stands out from everything.
  39. >It's right at the counter. A box. A trunk. It's open.
  40. >She's lying inside. Even walking to her amongst this usual robot-only maintained junkyard makes your heart ache.
  41. >Would be nice to just die right here, right?
  42. >Too much excitement for this old man.
  43. >You know exactly what this is inside. You've seen the happy faces of those who have one of these.
  44. >This one, though... As you approach the box you soon understand what they're going for.
  45. >Pale yellow coat. Wheat-colored styled mane. A blue dress. Boots on her hind legs. Frills.
  46. >There's no way this is a coincidence. There is also no way they know it while you just now start to remember it.
  47. >There is just no way...
  48. >"So, what do you think?"
  49. >What DO you think?
  50. >You've forgotten everything. You never remembered in the first place. But seeing it now, remembering the song...
  51. >You're standing in a field filled with blooming irises. And you're watching a train go by.
  52. >You're visiting the country, where your grandparents live. Back when they were alive. When your parents were alive. When your sister was still able to walk.
  53. >A world without AI, robots, economic crashes, constant nuclear deterrence and proxy wars. Without being useless as a human and as a person, being reduced to a number, to a workplace. A world where you're young. A simple, cherished world.
  54. >A breath of fresh air. Natural, real black tea after a meal, not those cheap teabags you've had in the city.
  55. >Once you've tasted it you couldn't go back. You've tasted a lot of things like that back then.
  56. >Things that were taken away one by one. Just like now they disappear from your sudden flood of memories, no, just reminders of those memories triggered by some corporate mind-reading marketing.
  57. >It's no wonder they have that now. It's just like inserting subtle product placement in your dreams.
  58. >You're torn away from your illusions. She's sleeping right before you. Just waiting for your touch.
  59. >And this cheeky robot mind-reader is still standing next to you, patiently awaiting your answer.
  60. "I think..."
  61. >No, don't give him more than that. They'll use it, twist it, arm it against you.
  62. "I'll pass, it's probably too expensive for me."
  63. >"It is definitely worth it, sir, 'cause nothing is more precious than love."
  64. >In fear of getting a heart attack, or, more realistically, getting tears in your eyes, you storm out of the store.
  65. >Almost running you return to your apartment building and get to your 11th floor.
  66. >Robot concierge greets you as usual, not batting an eye at your confused state. At least this guy doesn't want to sell you something.
  67. >You lock the door behind you as soon as you enter. And then you exhale - turns out, you've been holding your breath the whole walk from the elevator to your door.
  68. >Without even taking off your overcoat and hat you collapse on the floor and cover your face with your palm, hoping to lose your sight right at this moment.
  69. >This is how they get to you. This is how they get your money.
  70. >You won't have some show you've seen as a teen to dictate how you lead your live.
  71. >It wasn't even that good!
  72. >But it doesn't matter, does it? It's just a way to get to an old man's deep seated feelings. This foggy nostalgia. Anything would do, really. It had to be this, of all things.
  73. >Soon, you calm down and resume your usual life for the rest of the day. Getting ready to sleep you allow yourself to note that you haven't thought about this little incident even once.
  74. >Take that, you god damn corporate junkbot.
  75. >You manage to successfully get into bed and close your eyes.
  76. >But just as you start to drift off to sleep you remember one little thing.
  77. >You never asked how much that little pony actually costs.
  78. >...
  79. >FUCK.
  80.  
  81. >You were thankful for the dreamless night but you didn't feel rested at all.
  82. >Now that you're talking with Incognito on your lunch break you feel like you're going to fall asleep at any moment.
  83. >Nodding off you still try to keep the conversation going.
  84. >"So, I was thinking about retiring this year."
  85. >Right, he's already old enough. And rich enough to afford ditching work.
  86. >He has his wife and kids to support him, after all.
  87. >As Incognito himself said more that once, getting married to an android was the best decision of his life, second to adopting two kids.
  88. >Back in those days that was considered a really risky move since it wasn't really approved by the government.
  89. >Nowadays it's not only approved, but regulated too.
  90. "Yeah, man, go for it," you encourage him in a weak voice.
  91. >You struggle to keep your mouth from opening too much when you let out a tired yawn. Your old friend smiles at that.
  92. >"What about you, Anon? You have like three years to go until you can put all of this behind you."
  93. "Nah, I'll just keep working."
  94. >"It's about the money, right? You should get married too, it's a good investment in the long run, even at this point in life."
  95. "Investment, huh?"
  96. >"I heard they allow you to marry any AI platform that's anthropomorphic in its concept, even those little therapeutic ponies."
  97. "Wait, what?"
  98. >You're suddenly reminded of everything that has happened yesterday.
  99. >Incognito doesn't even notice your glare, happy to share information with his friend.
  100. >"Yeah, crazy, isn't it? But technically they're-"
  101. "Yeah, hey, I better get back to work," you stand up in a hurry. "Thanks for the chat, I'll see you later."
  102. >"Well... Alright, see ya."
  103. >Your friend is a little disappointed to see you go but he doesn't question it. Everyone is still a little but paranoid working under AI supervision.
  104. >Swiftly, you leave the cafeteria and almost run to the elevator.
  105. >Was that planned? Was that the plan all along? How convenient that your closest (and technically the only) friend mentions this right on this day.
  106. >You wonder how many opportunities to strike the iron while it's hot they're going to take.
  107. >Little by little they get to you. With such a expensive investment you need to lure your customer slowly, of course.
  108. >Here, see? 'Investment'. In your head it already clicked without you realizing it. Damn Incognito. They're using him to get to you!
  109. >No matter, you just have to clear your head.
  110. >You work so rigorously in attempt to push these thoughts out of your mind that you don't even notice the end of your work day closing in.
  111. >For the first time ever your wish it wasn't over so soon.
  112. >You aren't looking forward to being left alone with your mind. But the time still comes for you to go home.
  113. >Thankfully, Incognito is nowhere to be found so you make your way to the bus stop safely.
  114. >Taking a bumpy ride home you notice that no one decides to give you a seat. At least that's nice. You get to preserve your dignity today.
  115. >Miracles continue to happen when you pass that cursed electronics store.
  116. >No robot is there to greet you and you concentrate on looking at the dirty pavement to avoid sneaking a look inside.
  117. >That would mean you're interested. And you certainly are not.
  118. >That's right! When you return home and close the door it suddenly dawns on you.
  119. >What are you even afraid of? Aggressive marketing is all around you. It's only natural that they target a lonely guy like you with this kind of product.
  120. >You know all their tricks but you also know that they can't outright force you to buy anything. Sure, making suggestion is effective, but you've got a newsflash for them: it only works when the person is unaware of it.
  121. >It's easy to see through their plan, you won't be tricked. All of their tactics is useless if you have no desire to buy whatever they're selling in the first place.
  122. >This revelation invigorates you, like you have found motivation to go on with your life.
  123. >The day is done and you're fast asleep, lamenting only the coldness of the night.
  124.  
  125. >Despite your newly acquired determination you soon find yourself thinking about that little pony even without anyone reminding you.
  126. >No, that's not quite right. Instead of others reminding you, you do it yourself.
  127. >Seeing Incognito triggers it. Walking past the electronics store does that too.
  128. >You still can't afford to look inside but being aware of actively making an effort to stop yourself from looking is quite enough of a reminder in and of itself.
  129. >Your only salvation is your work. There you can lose yourself in something that's not related to little ponies.
  130. >The worst thing is, you don't even understand what is it you're so afraid of.
  131. >It's not like you can buy anything with the kind of money you earn. And it's also not like you care about what others think of you being a loner at this point in life.
  132. >It just makes you uneasy. Like every time you remember it you feel like your life lacks something.
  133. >You never wanted it. You never asked for this. And yet they got their fingers into your head, pushed the right buttons, and now you can't get rid of it.
  134. >A week goes by and you start noticing other things too. Like it's getting colder and colder at night, despite it being late spring.
  135. >Wouldn't it be nice to hug someone through the night?
  136. >You've seen a dream about it too. You barely remember it but it definitely had you hugging someone.
  137. >That can't be a coincidence, right? None of it is.
  138. >You also keep noticing all the little details of your life that would've been improved if someone would be here for you.
  139. >Living in this shoddy, lifeless, cold two-room apartment wasn't something you wished upon anyone but that just makes imagining someone sharing it with you willingly all the more sweeter.
  140. >Then you realize you unconsciously estimate a pony's height in comparison to things in your house. Like you're imagining her being here.
  141. >There aren't a lot of mares in your part of town since it usually costs a fortune to buy one but you can roughly guess how she'd fit into your small apartment.
  142. >The last straw was you finding the perfect spot for her trunk - just enough free space at the bed's head to fit it.
  143. >That day you went to sleep imagining spooning a pony.
  144. >It was safe to say you were nearing the breaking point and you were so afraid to admit it.
  145. >But when there's a mare-shaped hole in your heart, what can you do?
  146.  
  147. >The next day you feel the full weight of your life upon your shoulders.
  148. >You work slower than ever. You can barely stay awake.
  149. >It can't go on like this. You need to do something. Even if you know there's no chance you can afford buying a pony, the lack of confirmation on her price is driving you mad.
  150. >Mad with hope. Hope that you can actually afford her; and dismay at a thought that you could be missing out right now. That it's all in your head, that mares cost like ten times cheaper these days and you're simply not aware of it.
  151. >Incognito got a massive discount on his android because at that time he was still going through divorce. Maybe you could get something like this too? After all, it's they who have made the first move, maybe they have something in store for you?
  152. >Maybe they know you can actually buy one? What if... What if your happiness is right at your fingertips and you're letting it slip?
  153. >This is a terrifying thought. One you can't ignore now.
  154. >You barely finish your work and get out of the building. You need to know. You NEED to.
  155. >A part of you is aware that this might just be another marketing trick, but right now you don't care. They wouldn't toy with your heart in such a cruel way, right?
  156. >The bus is moving extra slow today and it doesn't help that it's crammed with people, filled to the brim with all kind of folk.
  157. >It's no wonder, public transportation is so much cheaper compared to owning a car these days.
  158. >Your ride is over eventually and when you see the familiar store in the distance you heart flutters.
  159. >It drops just as easily when you see it's completely dark inside. It's like there's no one there.
  160. >A chill goes down your spine and your back starts to sweat.
  161. >Hesitating for over a week you never even thought about this. She might not even be there anymore.
  162. >Someone else could've bought her. Or maybe they just decided that you're not coming so they just-
  163. >"Can I help you, sir?"
  164. >That creaky robotic voice is music to your ears now. It really is that same robot standing right next to you. You haven't even notice him approaching you.
  165. >Seems like you've just been staring at the window like an idiot for minutes now.
  166. "Yeah, I..." you don't even know how to say it. "I'd like to buy something."
  167. >Without even saying a word, the bot touches the panel near the door, opening it.
  168. >You slightly hesitate to walk in but, well, what else is there to do?
  169. >Even though you said you wanted to buy something, you have no idea if you will. But at least it's a start. Just to confirm she's still here.
  170. >Now that you look at this place, it looks more like a pawn shop that a proper store. Would someone actually find and buy her while you were contemplating it? This doesn't seem like a place for a luxury item like a pony, no one would look for one here of all places.
  171. >But as soon as the robot goes beyond the counter he reaches down under it you confirm it with your own eyes. The trunk was here all along. Waiting just for you.
  172. >He opens it. You feel lightheaded just looking at her, the one you we've been obsessing over this whole week.
  173. >The mare is just like you remember her. Still sleeping. Still reminding you of times past.
  174. >You now realize that you've been looking forward to this. Aching to just to take it in one more time. Feeling these nostalgic vibes lift every burden from your shoulders right away.
  175. >It's like you feel younger just be being next to her.
  176. >"Here it is, sir," the robot is looking at you, awaiting input.
  177. "H-how much?"
  178. >For a moment the bot looks like it froze up. But then he gives you an answer:
  179. >"There is no set price on this item, sir. You can pay what you want."
  180. >Now is your turn to freeze. You can't even process this at first.
  181. "What do you mean?"
  182. >"There is no set price on this item, sir. You can pay what you want."
  183. "Yeah, I got that, but..."
  184. >You take a look at the pony again. There's no way this is possible. Of all the the things that happened to you concerning this mare, this one is the most suspicious yet.
  185. >If there's anything you've learned over the years, it's that there is nothing free in this world. And if there is, there's always a catch.
  186. "So, I can just pay... I dunno, twenty bucks for it and it's all mine?"
  187. >The robot doesn't answer. Instead, it starts printing.
  188. >Your cellphone vibrates in your pocket and sounds a payment notification.
  189. >...
  190. "You have got to be shitting me."
  191. >Still silent, the bot places the receipt into your pony's trunk and closes it, moving it towards you a bit.
  192. >"Thank you for your purchase, sir. Have a nice day."
  193. "Wait a second, this isn't-"
  194. >Your objection is greeted with an empty human interface screen. The robot is done with you and is now hibernating.
  195. >Seems legit. Seems totally legit.
  196. >You don't actually know how exactly they sell ponybots to people, but you're pretty sure you need more steps than just "pay for it and leave", like signing a contract, checking if it works at all and so on.
  197. >You're starting to think that maybe it really is just a pawn shop. And you just ended up with junk in a trunk for $20 more than it actually costs.
  198. >Boy, you sure are stupid. All that worrying around the clock, and for what?
  199. >Well, nothing else to do but to take it home. If worse comes to worst you could at least put in on a shelf as a pretty doll or something.
  200.  
  201. >First thing you notice, the mare is definitely a bit smaller than you've imagined. And a lot heavier.
  202. >But god, even taking her out of her trunk felt so... Different.
  203. >Even though she's a robot through and through, it's still so strange to touch someone else. The fabric of her dress, the softness of her coat, everything about her is unfamiliar.
  204. >Strangely enough, she was sold to you exactly because you have found something familiar in her. Something deeply personal.
  205. >Now that she's in your hands, you don't even know what to think.
  206. >She's yours. Your own little mare.
  207. >There was nothing else in the trunk but her - no papers, no software, nothing.
  208. >You sure hope she doesn't need some proprietary cables to hook her up to your PC or charge her.
  209. >She had no horn so you had no idea where to find any sort of indicators on her.
  210. >Without disturbing her much or taking her clothes off you've managed to only find her battery charge display behind her right ear.
  211. >Of course you need to first start her up. And that is a problem by itself. There's no instructions on how to do it.
  212. >You couldn't find any ports on her so your only guess is that they're hidden under her clothes and you didn't really want to undress her just yet.
  213. >After a bit of searching you've managed to find a cheat sheet on the Internet - a list with all the different methods of activating robomares.
  214. >It took you nearly ten minutes to go through it since it seems like every model had its own and you don't know which one is yours.
  215. >Finally, near the bottom of the list there was one that worked.
  216. >Hold a concealed button at her withers and press the bottom of her forehooves, left-right-right-left-right.
  217. >After sitting in silence for so long the noises coming from the mare made you jump.
  218. >The backlight of her eyes turns on and off a few times and her pupils dilate so much there's no irises left.
  219. >You notice a tiny "stand by" message printed inside each of their blackness. Then loading circles replace them.
  220. >The mare's loading is accompanied by rather loud whirs from inside of her. You have no idea what could produce those sounds. It's not like she has cooling fans or HDDs inside of her. Probably her servos or something.
  221. >You watch your pony patiently and for a while nothing is happening. Then, all of a sudden, all of her body spasms in rather violent convulsions.
  222. >Extending your arm you touch her so she doesn't fall to her side and you're surprised to feel the vibrations in her body. And then something like a pulse.
  223. >It's almost too real and it clashes with your pony vibrating in place like she's a cellphone.
  224. >Whirring and dithering soon subsides and the loading circles disappear. The pony's eyes clear and light up to adjust her pupils.
  225. >Her body relaxes and her stiff legs finally bend in a natural way under her weight.
  226. >The pony blinks and her eyes find yours.
  227. >This scares you for a moment. You have never expected her to have such life-like gaze.
  228. >Your mare carries a curious but relaxed expression on her face. Still looking at you, she utters her first words in a gentle, calm but jarringly emotionless voice.
  229. >"Hello."
  230. >That's it. She's silent, awaiting input. Only ten seconds or so later you force yourself to speak.
  231. "H-hi."
  232. >Dear god, are you presenting Yarny or something? That couldn't have been weaker.
  233. >The pony registers a response and her ears adjust their position accordingly. She can now proceed with the next question.
  234. >"Are you my human?"
  235. >'Her human'? Well, you aren't her 'master' or 'owner' since she's your equal. Technically.
  236. "Yes."
  237. >This time you answered faster but it takes this mare a second of loading to register you as her designated human.
  238. >"What's your name?"
  239. "Anonymous."
  240. >Another small hiccup and a brief loading indicator flashes in her eyes. You wouldn't be surprised if she's searching your government records as you talk.
  241. >"It's nice to meet you, Anonymous. My name is..."
  242. >It takes her some time to remember it. Actually, it takes a lot of time.
  243. >Worryingly, you lower your head to look in her eyes. She doesn't follow yours.
  244. >She doesn't follow your hand either, nor does her ear react to your fingers snapping right next to it.
  245. >You lift her up and you feel no activity inside her.
  246. >The mare has stopped working.
  247.  
  248. >You somehow manage to get a hold of yourself just before panic has a chance to overtake you.
  249. >This malfunction was a possibility all along, considering the nature of your purchase.
  250. >But it would be alright if it just straight up didn't work. Now that she has shown you that she is a proper pony bot, the stakes are much higher.
  251. >It wasn't possible that receiving her for basically free wouldn't include any catch. And here it is.
  252. >Something like that won't stop you, however.
  253. >Even though aside from trying to turn her on again you can't really think of anything.
  254. >So you try that a few time. Sitting right at the robomare's side, nearly at her eye level, you watch her reactions closely.
  255. >Doing the combination of hoof-pushing feels a bit silly, but it's worth it: on the third time you feel her vibrate once again.
  256. >The pony is brought back to this world. Almost feels like you've reanimated her. A sigh of relief escapes your lips when you see her eyes light up, recovering from the pony's crash.
  257. >Feeling pride and satisfaction you keep your hand on her withers a bit longer.
  258. >You never planned on this touch to linger, but it is at this moment you finally take in the fact that you're touching a mare.
  259. >A real android waifu bot. Not just a pretty doll.
  260. >Though she really is pretty. As the mare's eyes show her loading progress, you realize you haven't actually taken any time to appreciate her looks, the thing that has drawn you to her in the first place.
  261. >It's the dress that makes it, but her muzzle is somehow... Noble?
  262. >With her mane braided and styled to look symmetrical on both sides of her head, she looks sophisticated and prim.
  263. >The retro-styled blue dress amplifies this look, same with her boots.
  264. >Nostalgia got you roped into it, but now that she's here those thoughts seem really out of place. She's her own thing.
  265. >Not only the looks, the feel of her is so life-like and natural. It's like you're touching another living being.
  266. >The only thing that reminds you of her nature is her smell. Behind the mask of delicate fragrance of her perfume hides that familiar warm electronics smell.
  267. >Granted, you know this one well so it's not very alien, but it does remind you of this pony's true essence.
  268. >But other than that this mare is really subtle. It really is like she's someone else, not something conjured by your nostalgic fantasies.
  269. >In fact, you remembering that one song had nothing to do with the pony itself. In your mind this little mare was associated with it just because someone planted that correlation from the outside.
  270. >It's impossible to tell how they've managed to find out, both about the song and about the attire of the mare. But does that really matter now?
  271. >The truth of the matter is, you now sit near the slightly vibrating loading companion bot.
  272. >Her body stops with the shaking soon and instead you feel the same subtle pulse as before. Upon checking the progress in her eyes you indeed find all the signs that she's booted up now.
  273. >The curious gaze of your pony immediately seeks to cross yours.
  274. >"Hello."
  275. >You're surprised to feel yourself sighing - you never noticed that you've been holding your breath.
  276. >However, the mare just watches you and doesn't speak anything else.
  277. >There's a little suspicion in your head now...
  278. "Hi."
  279. >Ears turn to face you. All too familiar.
  280. >"Are you my human?"
  281. >Yep. It's just as you've expected. What a shame.
  282. "Yes."
  283. >It almost seems like she's going to freeze again, but then she just blinks off her hesitant stutter.
  284. >"There is already a human assigned to me. Confirm your name now."
  285. "I'm Anonymous."
  286. >The pony is thinking again. God, if she runs so slow it's no wonder she was so cheap.
  287. >As if reading your mind, she says in her usual, rather dull but pleasant voice:
  288. >"I am sorry for my slowdowns. It seems that I have suffered a system crash and now recovering from it."
  289. >To be fair, when you're knocked out cold and just come to your senses it's hard to get things rolling too.
  290. >Seems like a fair analogy here, you suppose. You note that attempt at rationalizing this pony's possible flaw. You really want her to be alright, don't you?
  291. >"I have determined the cause of the crash. It seems I have no data on my own name."
  292. "It's supposed to be there, right?"
  293. >"Yes. But there's nothing there. I get reading errors at every attempt to identify myself."
  294. "That sucks."
  295. >Aside from that really insightful reply you can't really figure out what to do. Thankfully, the mare does, and after a few seconds of hesitation, she speaks up:
  296. >"Anonymous, in this case I will have to ask you to give me a name."
  297. "Me?" you waver in confusion. "But I..."
  298. >Even thought she didn't interrupt you, there's nothing for you to say.
  299. >"I can not function properly without a name. No behavioral patterns will be saved or loaded without it. Please, give me a name."
  300. >That kinda decides it for you then. No need to break this bot beyond her current state.
  301. "Fine, give me a second."
  302. >When it comes to names you're the worst. Under pressure of the pony's curious eyes thing are even worse.
  303. >She's counting on you. Her entire existence rests on your ability to give her a name.
  304. >But she's not worried. She believes in you. In her eyes you read confidence instead of fear. Or maybe you're just imagining it.
  305. >What if you just go with the thing that has drawn you to her in the first place?
  306. "Vi-"
  307. >You cut yourself short right away. As soon as you start saying it you realize it's not fair.
  308. >It's not right to tie her up with those memories of yours. She doesn't have anything to do with them.
  309. >Let her be her own thing instead of being tied to something already established.
  310. >That's what they've been counting on, giving you every opportunity to make that mistake. And that means you can't let them have it.
  311. >She would really seem like just a product then. Granted, a lot of people buy androids just to fit them into a character they already like, from cosplay to behavior, but this isn't the case here, right?
  312. >You can't do this to a mare that doesn't even know herself what she's supposed to be.
  313. >The pony, however, interprets your hesitation differently.
  314. >"Do you need help? I know more than a thousand words that start with "vi", if you're interested in specifying-"
  315. "No, no, it's alright. It was a stupid idea, I'll give you a proper name."
  316. >A pony should get a name of two words, right? At least most of them do, as far as you remember. It's been a while since you've watched that show.
  317. >What if you still give her a nostalgic vibe, just your own? Something more personal. That could work.
  318. >With this in mind it's easy for you to find an answer just by looking in the mare's purple eyes.
  319. "Iris... Bloom."
  320. >"Is this how you want to call me?"
  321. >If her voice had even a hint of sass you'd think she's mocking you. But her tone is as sterile as ever. She just wants to confirm it.
  322. "Yes."
  323. >"Very well."
  324. >She follows it with another quite lengthy loading stupour. But it gives you time to realize the importance of what you've done.
  325. >A responsibility like that isn't something you're used to. Even though this little pony is your equal, it's still quite obvious you're the one taking care of her.
  326. >With her rigid, robotic attitude she seems like a child to you. And you wouldn't make a very good father.
  327. >There is no point in thinking about it, however. Good or bad - you're now faced with the fact of having her.
  328. >And also faced with her patient eyes once again.
  329. >"Thank you, Anonymous. I will cherish this name."
  330. >This makes you smile. Maybe things aren't all that bad for this little pony.
  331. >The initial crash was worrying but it probably was just a simple mistake.
  332. >And now that your spirits have been uplifted by your success with you new mare, one more, less important problem emerges.
  333. "You mind if I go grab something to eat? I haven't had dinner yet."
  334. >"Of course. I still need some time to set things up. I seems that..."
  335. >Her eyes dart to the side for a moment. A brief second of doubt ends abruptly, like she had to pull herself out of it.
  336. >"Never mind. It's no problem."
  337. >You can't help but frown. But you also don't want to interrogate her. With a nod you get up on your feet and move to your kitchen.
  338. >As you warm up your usual chicken-based meal you wonder if a companion pony like her can lie. She certainly can withhold information.
  339. >It's kinda impressive. From clean, robotic behavior to outright hiding something from you. A plain AI would've just reported an error so you can fix it.
  340. >But she sounded like she didn't want to tell. Maybe she wasn't sure? Or just didn't want to upset you even further with her problems. Not that you're upset or something.
  341. >That would also mean she's aware of her problems and know they are considered such. That's kind of depressing.
  342. >You still can't believe you got yourself a real pony bot for basically free but it's only natural that it's going to have something wrong with it, right?
  343. >What a cruel way to think. She deserves better. What will she think once she inevitably learns her story? Sold for twenty bucks in a dirty pawn shop so it's actually expected of her to malfunction.
  344. >Such discouraging thoughts don't prevent you from eating though. You weren't expecting this to take so long, disrupting your usual schedule feels wrong. It's uncomfortable.
  345. >You've lived through the same day thousands of times, so this sudden change unnerves you. Well, just like any other change, really. That's just how you are.
  346. >You don't even have the luxury of eating your meal like you usually do.
  347. >Soft hoofsteps are heard from your room. She's approaching.
  348. >You note that it's also really strange to hear someone else in your apartment. Strange, but pleasant, in this case.
  349. >It's been a while since someone other than you graced this small flat with their presence. Ever since your sister moved out.
  350. >Not like she would ever return here anyway, not in her condition. So these tiny, light clip-clops of your robotic mare sound like something completely out of place here.
  351. >But also something very reassuring. Like you're relieved that she can walk on her own just fine.
  352. >The pony finally finds her way to the kitchen. Her eyes are locked on you and she looks confused.
  353. >"Anonymous, I have encountered a problem."
  354. >Here we go again.
  355. "What is it, Iris?"
  356. >Warm tingling spreads across your back when you say her name. Naming her yourself really made it special.
  357. >She even said she'll cherish it...
  358. >"I can't seem to connect to the Internet."
  359. "You're wireless, right? I'm still kinda using an old router, so maybe..."
  360. >"That's not the problem. I can integrate with your platform with no errors."
  361. >So she already got on your PC. This could get awkward rather quickly, considering things you still have saved there.
  362. >"As soon as I try accessing the Net, it says I'm not authorized to do so."
  363. "Why?"
  364. >"I'm not recognized."
  365. "I don't get it."
  366. >"There is no pony companion bot with my serial number so it won't let me in."
  367. >You swallow the implications together with your suddenly tasteless food.
  368. >Looks like it was too early for you to celebrate your success.
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