#Nano Excerpt – The Name Is Jasper, Sir

4 June 2137 8:00 a.m. Central European Time (Precisely).

Roxx awoke with a start, blinking from the intrusion of early morning sunlight. It had been allowed into their quarters, it seemed, by one skinny robot in a suit and tie.

“Jesus bloody Christ!” Roxx exclaimed.

Said robot was bending over her, his large face centimeters from her own. “Has Miss found the bed undesirable?” he asked. He had an expressive face, with a high forehead, small, almost pointed chin, and large eyes mostly hidden behind a pair of  round glasses with thick, red frames. The glasses seemed improbably held up by his small nose, and would have been his dominant feature, had it not been for the red turban he wore tied loosely about his head. With his wrinkled pseudo-flesh and tight lips, he managed to seem disapproving without actually doing anything. He was impeccably dressed, with the creases of his trousers sharp enough to have cut Roxx’s fingers, had she been brave enough to touch them.

They were, in fact, lattice-fiber metal, lighter than cotton, stronger than steel.

Roxx blinked, propping herself up on her elbows. “I didn’t think robots needed glasses,” she said, then immediately admonished herself. After all, their intruder never actually claimed to be a robot. Still, with his neat black suit, large, red bowtie, and matching kerchief, she could not help but feel certain of his artificiality.

No human worth his beans would wear that getup first thing.

Trint sat up beside her, smiling, the bedspread held up to her chin.

“Hi Jeeves!” She was practically shouting.

“The name is Jasper, sir.” He spoke in a distinct, old-style, high-British accent that made Roxx smile.

Roxx leaned over  and whispered in her ear. “Why is he calling you sir? Can’t he tell the difference?”

“He can tell,” she replied, speaking aloud. “He’s just being a smartass, per usual.”

“Indubitably, sir,” replied the robot, nodding. “It is a gift we share.” He stood, once again, erect. “Shall I inform Sir that you will require new accommodations?”

“No, we’re on the floor because Roxxy missed me,” Trint grinned, looking at her mate.

“Ah, that would explain it, sir.”

This guy is a smart arse. I like him.

“Roxxy and I are married,” Trint enthused, undaunted. She held up both of their right hands together, showing their rings. “See? We’re in love.” She was smiling, and appeared to be very much in the throes of a childhood reenactment.

“Oh, goo-dee,” Jasper said, elongating each syllable.

Roxx sat fully up, and noticed he had already made the bed. She wondered if he would have done so even if she hadn’t gotten lonely and slipped onto the floor with Trint. His standing there, stern robot face and all, projected an annoyance that suggested the answer was an unhesitating “yes.”

Maybe us clinging to the bedspread stops his finishing the cleaning up and all.

On impulse, Roxx spoke up. “Don’t worry Jasper, we’ll put the covers back on the bed good and proper as soon as you leave.”

Jasper blinked behind the thick glasses but did not move.

Trint spoke in a too-loud whisper to be an attempt at secrecy. “He’s actually waiting because he hopes to see our naked boobies. Old Jeevesy is a bit of a perv.”

“Your little booblets have always meant the world to me,” he answered. Trint giggled in response.

Roxx was certain she saw the robot roll his eyes.

“Sir has requested you be ready to meet him ‘in the field at ten-hundred hours,’” he said, his inflection implying deep boredom. “I hope by then to have learned exactly when of the clock that is.” With those words, Jasper made a sharp about-face, and departed.

“Isn’t he great?” Trint asked.

 “He’s kind of an arsehole, isn’t he?”

“Yes!” came the gushed reply. “I adore him.” She sat up, and gave Roxx a pre-tooth-gel kiss on the lips.

Ew.

“He’s gay you know,” she said, standing and walking toward the bathroom.

“What? How can a robot be gay?”

Trint answered, sitting on the toilet with the door propped open.

Ew again. Now I’m bloody blind.

“Poppa had him upgraded when I was ten, with some emotion subroutines his company was working on. As soon as they were installed, they rebooted him. He looked around the room, then announced that he was gay. Said he’s a ‘homoromantic asexual artificial.”

“What the bloody hell is that?”

Trint flushed, then shrugged. “I think it means he likes boys, but he doesn’t have sex.”

“What’s the fun of being gay if you’re not gonna have sex?” Roxx asked.

“That’s what I said,” Trint agreed. She blew Roxx a kiss, then threw on her robe and ran, barefoot, to harass Jasper some more as he woke the girls.

“Welcome to your new life, Roxanne,” Roxx said, looking at herself in the mirror. She turned from side-to-side, looking at her rippling abs. “Hope this place has workout holograms. I’m getting soft.”

Ain’t killed no bad guys in weeks.

For some people, the definition of “soft” differs from the rest of us.

 

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