“Bunny” a Short Story.

I have always been different.

While it would be easy for me to attribute my eccentricities to my having been designed and hand-built by my maker, Bum Ting, himself quite the eccentric, the truth is that I am not just “droid” odd. Even other artificial units look at me with some degree of wariness. It has been centuries since my planet’s inhabitants designed and installed the first androidal units, more than enough time for them to have habituated themselves to our presence. Certainly, other androids, and in particular robots, receive heated stares and vitriol from the organics. But I seem to be a special case. While tensions between organics and artificials still run high, they are precipitated by economic necessity and not some innate hatred of all things droid.

Our planet, Getzani, came by robots the hard way and not merely as a way of supplying the fat-bellied gentry with indentured servants. They needed us. To summarize a decade’s frantic angst, Getzani suffered a pandemic that nearly wiped out its dominant organic species, the Zolweg. Particularly daunting was the fact that the invasive virus that caused so many deaths was both airborne and food borne. Sick workers unknowingly contaminated the food supply, killing hundreds of customers per viral vector. To alleviate this, Zolwegs hurriedly purchased and then designed their own robotic workers to process food and deliver it to shops. Soon thereafter, the virus’s hold over the planet began to wane, since the robots could neither catch the disease nor spread it further via the food supply. As the pandemic began to ease, robots were secured to prepare meals in restaurants and serve it to customers who otherwise would not touch the stuff. In no time, robots began to invade other parts of the service sector, since even though the virus had come under control, there was no vaccine that would guarantee its permanent end.

After nearly fifty years of this, scientists finally perfected both a cure and a preventative for the virus, and it was wholly eradicated from the planet. By then, however, almost all the service and manufacturing jobs were performed by artificials, with the enormous though fragile Zolwegs relegated to tasks that could be done remotely. Exacerbating this was the fact that since our food production was wholly “automated” (including via manual labor performed by automatons) Getzani developed a reputation for clean food, and our agricultural sector became a dominant force in the Aligned Worlds’ economy. There was no going back. By the time the virus was defeated, the organic Zolwegs’ culture was remote, aloof, and highly technically oriented. If a job could not be performed at home, Zolwegs wanted nothing to do with it.

Since high tech requires a strong educational foundation, those without access to learning fall by the wayside, living off government aid funded by taxing the rivets out of all businesses that employ artificials. Androids are paid, if they can argue for their right to compensation, but robots are built to serve. Profits from using reliable, low-maintenance robots are tremendous. On most planets, robots are less reliable than poor people, those who care about starving to death if their work is insufficient. Robots, being non-sentient, don’t give a hoot one way or another. Our robots are exceptions and outperform even the most energetic organic laborers, but Zolwegs rarely export them, being a selfish lot.

It is not an ideal balance, but no one thinks of ideal solutions in times of distress. We on Getzani take pride in our technology, ignoring the fact that one in three Zolwegs are not gainfully employed on their home world. Most impoverished Zolwegs leave as soon as they reach maturity to work in the technical sectors on other planets or as military laser fodder in one of the myriad interplanetary skirmishes that spring up annually. I am told that as many as one in ten military techs are Zolwegs. Few ever return home.

Meanwhile, back on Getzani, we artificials do the work that the Zolweg now believe they are too precious to do. My designer, whom I call Professor Ting rather than Father, endowed me with capabilities that even the most advanced Cetusian androids, the famed cetusoids, do not have. I am seven years old but have been an adult for all of them. I needed no training period. I do not breathe, but I make a sound like taking a breath after each sentence. Organics will not believe you are real without that. I blink at the appropriate times. I can see all visible light spectrums that Zolweg can see, including infrared and ultraviolet. I speak 139 languages and dialects, and I could rebuild a starfighter were I asked to and given the proper materials. I can belch.

All of which is very helpful to me in my work cutting up meat … sorry, I sometimes allow myself to bathe in cynicism. Forgive me if I occasionally get you wet.

In any case, despite our history of having put one in three organics out of work, without my kind, it is likely the planet’s populous would have died or have gone bankrupt through being forced to buy food manufactured on worlds stupid enough to risk delivering to Planet Quarantine, as we were known at the time. So, while they do not love us, they know that should another pandemic arise, it is we artificials who will likely keep them from going extinct. All of which is to say that they don’t actually hate androids and robots—mostly they just ignore us. So, the Zolweg organics’ animosity toward me is unique to yours truly.

Perhaps you think I exaggerate. True, only on rare occasions have they thrown things at me, rotten vegetables aside, which someone throws almost daily. And a few Zolwegs have been known to spit on my head as I pass underneath, but they do that to all of us. For whatever reason, when they designed artificials, they chose to make us significantly shorter than they are. Quite often, they don’t notice we’re around, scurrying underneath like unwanted pets. The reason I know they hate me, however, is how they look at me once they do notice me. Open-mouthed stares. Most seem frozen in confused revulsion as though they cannot decide whether to scream in horror or set me alight.

Don’t laugh. I’m a bit furry. It could happen.

It is possible that I am being too hard on myself—or self-pitying—when I say that those leggy bug stompers hate me personally far more than they dislike my kind. Or my … similar, I should say. I have no other kind, precisely. There ain’t no bug like me in this pile of dirt and rock. It is possible, though unlikely, that I overestimate how much I am scorned and underestimate the Zolwegs’ distain for artificials in general. Or it could be my own guilt routines that make me believe I’m despised by others, since I confess to wanting to murder every robot I see.

I am quirky, I admit.

Hmm. I should let you to decide for yourself if my awkward social position is because I am an android or just a special kind of fraghole. I will begin by describing a typical day … this one, for instance. Well, I suppose that today could hardly be called typical, but it is the most significant in terms of making my case, so I will start there. I trust that you will be able to tell when things began to go awry.

Today was the second day of our eight-day work period that we call a viik. It is a term we borrowed from the Tarwelians, our largest trade partner, mainly because Getzani never had such a thing as a non-working day, and so when Zolwegs, like Tarwelians, began to take every fourth day as a rest day, they needed a word that conveyed that their new period of three-useful and one-wasted day was to be the new normal. When Tarwel switched to an eight-day viik, we did so too, but we kept our pattern of three on and one off. Each of our days has a name, but I am an android, so who cares? I’ll call our second day by its android name, Day Two.

We are a simple people.

Contrary to organic belief, we androids do dream, and though I neither know what a sheep is nor how to turn one on, I have been known to dream of electric fong cows. I work in a meat-processing plant, slicing sides of fong meat into the intricate cuts that Zolwegs desire. Thankfully, others slaughter the beasts, and most are decapitated long before they reach me, so there are no faces for me to stare into all day, at least until recently. In any case, today I awoke from my sleep period of four hours, which not only recharges my body, but allows my brain to process the day’s data and decide which new neural pathways are worth keeping and which should be forgotten. Like Zolweg brains, my brain doesn’t actually forget anything. It just erases all pointers to the data in much the same way a computer tells you a file is deleted when all it really did was erase the pointer to the space where it was stored and indicate it was free to reuse. I wish my brain would reuse some of its old sectors. I have memories there that ache to be overwritten.

My sleep cycle ends precisely at sunrise, which occurs at nearly the same time each day, and after my morning ritual, I dress quickly and prepare myself for work. I sleep in the nude, primarily because I cannot afford to waste credits on nightwear no one will see, but also because I enjoy the staticky feel of the silken covers against my furry skin. By sunrise, the sensors embedded under my flesh have recorded a fair bit of stimuli, and I invariably awaken aroused. I set to fondling myself, a fifteen-minute period that ends in masturbation and an adequate though unsatisfying orgasm.

Why does an android masturbate, you ask? Obviously, it’s because I don’t have a boyfriend. However, if you’re actually wondering why I am sexual at all, the answer is because my creator is a pervert, and I think it arouses him to imagine his little green bunny waking up each morning and diddling herself until she cries out in disappointed fervor.

Yes, I am a bitter bunny.

Oh, I didn’t tell you that, did I? I do not look like the other androids, and I certainly look nothing like the enormo-gangled Zolwegs. I stand at normal android height, just under six of the old measuring units we call feet, though whose feet were that small I cannot imagine. My skin is soft, comparable to most organics, and made of composite lattice-work silk and polymer fibers that feel like flesh, but that are strong enough to withstand most small-weapons fire. Ting then covered it with wispy, light-green fur. Why? Ask Ting. I am a military-grade unit, which comes in handy when I am sweeping fong guts off the cutting room floor … not even a bit. My head is almost perfectly spherical, except that it is slightly flat on top where it is joined by my two huge, pointy, elliptical ears. They are as green and fuzzy as the rest of me, but their undersides are tinted a warm yellow hue. Since I actually use them to hear, they pivot around my head, not being content to be the tallest and most obvious parts of me, but ones that are in constant motion, ensuring that no passersby miss staring at them in disgust. I have two arms and legs and normal length feet—for a Zolweg—although that lot are typically four feet taller than I am.

To ensure the organics wouldn’t wonder if I had a gender, I am endowed with moderately large breasts, just big enough to get in the way of almost everything I do. So yay, I’m female. I also have other female anatomy, but I assume you can imagine those parts, so I will spare you the details. My face is … I don’t know what. I have normal humanoid eyes, a wiggly nose, and a twitchy mouth with large teeth. Professor Ting says my nose is my most attractive bit, which probably explains why I have never had a boyfriend despite how slutty I imagine I might be were I ever given a chance to prove it.

After dressing, eating, and then spitting out my breakfast—I love the taste of food but have none of the parts required for digestion—I head for the train that would take me to work. I call it a train mainly because my reading indicates that is the thing that many city folks like those on Maydán Kuulä commute in. However, I get the sense ours is different, as the cars are linked to each other and pulled aloft on the backs of the giant moths that inhabited our planet before the Zolwegs moved in. I sit in the same spot every day, in the rear of the car, nearest the window. That is the seat which I have calculated to be the most likely to end in death should we crash. The damnable moths never fall themselves, but happily shrug a car or two over the side at least once per year. I keep hoping I’ll be in one of them, but so far, no such luck.

After I settle in my seat, the groaning starts. Usually, it starts with a Zolweg female who isn’t content with taking up all the available leg and headroom with her ten-foot frame but who must also invade and secure all neighboring floor territory to make room for her feet. My feet are just as big as theirs! I don’t think it fair that I be asked to pull mine up into my seat so Mrs. Zaftig Zolweg can wiggle her twelve toes. As a result, we have a five-minute foot war until I finally overload my calming chip and pull up my legs like a good little android.

All of the other androids choose to stand and make disapproving faces at me for sitting among the organics. So, I guess calling myself a good little one of them is a misnomer. I sit, therefore, like a spineless little chuto afraid to stand her ground. By the time we’ve reached the high plateaus where most of the industrial plants are located, I have been shoved around by the Zolwegs, disapproved of and sighed at by the pooky little Cetusian androids, and completely ignored by the fleet of robots who climb aboard at the last stop, the warehouse district just below my factory. Plus, my cute little butt hurts by then too. Why does my ass have a crack when I cannot poo? My designer is insane.

When that nightmare is finally over, we disembark at the single train stop that sits on the edge of the largest plateau. I usually turn and watch the train leave, torn between being afraid it will crash and leave me stranded, and hoping it will plummet into the robot warren below and utterly destroy it, rendering the uneasy truce between robots and Zolwegs finally moot. It never does crash, and to my horror, as soon as it reaches the warehouses below, the remaining dull-witted ninety percent of the bots stream aboard in a noiseless lot, plugging every available hole in the trains before it chugs back aloft on the wings of insects too dumb to fly them all into one of our three suns.

There are three of them! Can you not find even one to die into?

So you know, the robots hate me even more than I hate them. Therefore I am not racist. This day, all went as I have described it, the same as every morning, right until the train reached the robot warren at the base of the plateau. As if directed by my curse, the moth carrying the train load did, in fact, die. Sadly, it chose to do so while lying in front of the penultimate train depot instead of while aloft, heading for a sun. It lay rotting there while hordes of robots climbed aboard the trains and stood waiting to be carried aloft. It took three organic Zolwegs thirty minutes to get them to disembark, as their programming told them that they could exit only when they were at work. I almost got fired by a robot supervisor for being late, but the scolding was worth it. I have never laughed so hard in my life.

And yes, my supervisor is a robot. Shut up.

Although I cut with the precision of a neurosurgeon, on this day I was placed on slaughter duty where most of the robots who’d been stranded at the base of the plateau usually worked. To this point I had never looked a fong in the eye. They are quite gentle and sweet, to my dismay. It turns out that fong do not seem to much mind being killed, and that made me form quite an affinity to them, as most days, I feel that way myself. My boss pulled me off murder duty by lunch, as I was coochie-cooing the cute ones to the detriment of efficiency. None of the other workers seemed to mind murdering the beasts, and by the end of my shift, they had set all-time records for the numbers of frowns and head shakes sent in my direction. I spent the rest of the day ankle deep in fong blood in a vain attempt at trying to keep the place clean. I was late for the train home, as I was still busily washing fong blood out of my clothing.

Luck being what it is, I thus missed the second most exciting event of my life, when a double-sized moth bearing two trains full of artificials rose high into the air and plummeted straight into the warehouses below. I know, I just told you that never happens, but it would have ruined the story had I not lied to you. Anyway, all aboard were destroyed instantly, yadda-yadda, and most of the other robots perished in the conflagration that erupted after the crash. There were no organics aboard, and few androids, so it was mostly just a loss of technology. Okay, so I might be slightly racist.

Instead of dying, as I’d wished for years, I stood alone on the platform watching the fire from above and wondering at the nature of fate. I remember standing at the edge of the plateau, looking down at the chaos and wondering why a moth would explode upon impact with the ground. Only later did I discover it had crashed into a fuel depot. Serves the Zolwegs right for using flammable fuels.

I heard footsteps come running up behind me and turned. It was the shop foreman, an android named Cobb, followed by what appeared to be half of the second shift, who’d just arrived. “What in gods’ names did you do, Bunny?” he asked, staring wide eyed into the horror below.

“Me? Why would you think I had something to do with this?”

“For one thing, you are the only first shifter not on the train out. For another …” He looked directly up and at my ears! “… just look at you.”

I self-consciously reached up and protected them from his gaze. The rest of the now-growing crowd were all staring at me too by this point. I released one ear and pointed down. “My ears did not make that moth die.”

Someone said, “Everyone knows how much you hate the robots. You have done ever since they promoted L37 ahead of you as supervisor.”

I said, “We kill animals and make meat that none of us can even digest! Why would I want to oversee that?”

“Because,” said Cobb, his mouth drawn into a sneer, “you think you’re better than us. You’re not one of us, are you?” He took a step toward me. The crowd mirrored him, and I took a step backward, nearer the ledge. “You’re Kanit, right?”

“Of course I can eat. But I can’t poo.” I really didn’t understand why he was asking me that.

“Don’t play dumb. You’re a war thing, are you not?” he asked. Another step. Another crowd step. Another fumbling step backward for me. I was at the edge now.

“Yes, she is a weapon, not meant for peaceful life like us,” said a robot.

“She probably shot down that moth,” said another.

From the back, a harsh voice sounded, and an accusing finger shot out. “I saw her! I saw her do it.”

“She shot down the moth!” cried another.

I had done no such thing, though I might have, had I known how. Cobb sneered again, an impressive thing for an android without teeth, and stepped toward me once more. I’d forgotten I was at the edge and took a final step backward, falling over the low railing and plummeting over the side. I flapped my non-existent wings and sailed the two-hundred feet down towards the ground, only realizing when I was around twenty feet above it that although this had been my fervent wish for some time, it turned out that I, in fact, did not want to die. I flapped harder. Fortunately for me, my accusers were right in one regard. I’ve turned out to be whatever a Kanit weapon system is, designed for war but never shipped by Ting, and among my gifts is the fact that I am very hard to kill. I landed on my feet, snapped both legs in half—which hurt like pook, by the way—and lay there staring up at the crowd above me. I managed to give them two fingers before realizing that they could throw things down at me faster than I could crawl away dragging my shattered limbs behind me. And why can I feel pain? Ask Bum frigging Ting.

I am so glad that robots cannot pee.

I have had so many questions for my maker. The first, and least important was, “Why do you have spare limbs for me in your closet?” He didn’t want to answer, instead sitting by my bedside with a silly, toothless smile on his face and his white hair pointing in every direction except down. “I know I am a Kanit weapons system,” I said. It was mostly a bluff, as I still had no idea what that meant at the time.

His smile faded into wrinkled silence.

As though it had just happened, I noticed how old he was. Lines crossed his forehead like trenches, and I wondered if they were meant to keep bacteria from crawling down and into his eyes. Those black orbs were misty, but still smiling at me, and for the first and only time in my existence, I was certain he loved me, at least to the extent one can love an android.

“Who told you about the Kanit?” he finally asked.

I wished he would blink, but he did not.

“I heard about it at work after they all decided I was the one who’d shot down the train and killed all those robots.”

“You can’t kill robots, honey. They were just decommissioned for a while. Most will be back up and running in the next viik or so.” He sighed and finally blinked. “They’ll need to run double shifts until then. Sadly, you’ve been invited not to return.”

I can’t say I was surprised. “I didn’t shoot down that moth.” I looked away from him and out of his small, bedroom workshop’s window. The sea beyond was in turmoil, and not for the first time, I wondered if it rose and fell in response to his moods.

“I know that, honey,” he said. “I never actually installed any weapons in you.” He blinked back tears and smiled. The gesture pulled his lipless mouth into such a tight position that the tip of his nose seemed to fall below it. “I would never do that.”

“Why build me as a weapon and then not install any?” I meant the question to sound as though I did not believe him, firing it as though it were the only weapon remaining in my arsenal.

My distrust wounded him, and I winced when I saw it. “I-I was tasked with designing a new type of soldier droid … android,” he said. “But the war was escalating, and so I dragged my feet. I feared what they might do with you.” He shrugged his narrow shoulders. “By the time you were done, I’d fallen in love with you, and so I made you my daughter instead of, you know.”

“A murder machine.”

He nodded. “Your personality is like my late wife’s.” He grinned acres of gums at me. “She’d have liked you.”

I was hearing all of this for the first time. To that point, I considered myself to be something of a science experiment for the man. It had never occurred to me that he cared for me. We sat quietly for a time, staring out at the calming surf. I didn’t need to be in bed, I knew, but this had been the closest I’d ever come to being sick, and I had insisted on it. Bum Ting brought me to his small house once the authorities called him to collect me, and he’d spent the entire night and most of the next day fixing me. So here I lay, fully repaired but lying under the covers like an invalid while my small, wizened creator—my old dad—watched me from the corner of the room in which he sat.

“What was she like, your wife?” I asked him.

“She was Farran, like me, but much taller than I was. I never believed I deserved her, and I think she mostly agreed with me. She died childless, but I had work to focus on, so …”

“So, when you made me, you suddenly realized that you’d always wanted to be a daddy?”

He laughed and slapped his thigh. “Nothing so dramatic. I just—I guess I just liked you. You’re funny and cynical and misunderstood like she was. I-I was never right for her, never made her happy. I suppose I figured that if I could take care of you that it would sort of make up for what she lacked.”

“But you didn’t make me your mate,” I said.

He shut his eyes and shook his head with vigor. “I’d have never done that.”

“Because I look like this?” I held my ears in each hand, frowning.

He looked shocked. “You are beautiful. Magical. Everyone thinks so.”

That shut me up, which, believe me, is a difficult endeavor.

We sat in silence until the sun set and the lights turned themselves on. Finally, I pushed the covers aside and placed my new legs and feet over the side of the bed. They were prettier than the old ones.

“I gave you an upgrade,” he said, watching me. “Figured you deserved it.”

“So, what happens now?”

“You shouldn’t be here. I never should have kept you in the first place.”

That hurt my feelings, so I threw a pillow at him.

“I didn’t mean I don’t love you, Bunny. I only meant I could always tell you don’t fit in here, but I selfishly held onto you because you’re the only thing I’ve got.” He brightened as though the lights inside of him had turned themselves on too. “But I’ve got a surprise.”

Before I could ask what, a set of tickets, a full travel itinerary including accommodations, and other details popped into my memory as though they’d always been there. It made me frown. “I hate it when you do that, Poppy. I wish you’d just show me things like a normal person instead of downloading them into me like I’m a piece of hardware.”

He didn’t hear me over the sound of his bawling his eyes out because I’d just called him Poppy for the first time in my life. I am beginning to think that of the two of us, the weird one is not me. I rushed over to hold him so that he would stop, but the old pook just made me cry too. I hate crying. When he calmed, he told me that he’d thought hard about my place in the universe and had decided that I should see Kanit myself. “Maybe you’ll figure out who you are and what you’re meant to be.”

“What about you?” I asked.

He smiled and blinked at me.

I began to cry again.

Sentience sucks ass.

He trotted over and pulled me to him. “It’s okay, baby. All organics have to die sometime. You lot do too, but at least you can download yourself into a new body.”

“You could do that, Poppy. I’ve seen your plans.”

He shook his head. “They aren’t ready yet. And neither am I.” He took in a huge breath of air and released it. “Besides, I spent thirty years married to a woman I don’t think loved me one little lick, and then I made myself a daughter but forgot to ever tell her I was her daddy and not just some crazy old engineer who built her.” His eyes got wide as though he were looking at his life for the first time and didn’t like what he saw. “I think I’ll just let this old heart give out on its own and try that reincarnation thing I’ve been reading about.”

I had no response for that, so I said nothing. I suppose I could have tried to talk him out of it, but I remembered the gentle fong beasts and understood. He’d had his time, and though he would have come with me to Kanit if I begged him, he was tired of just going along with the rest of the herd. My crazy old maker, my poppy, wanted to die and be reborn as almost anyone else. I had too, for most of my life. At least now I understood who I’d learned it from.

“I don’t want to die anymore,” I said, as though we had ever discussed my having wanted to.

“Glad to hear it.”

“You know you’re welcome to come with me, right?” I asked.

He leaned over and kissed my cheek. “I do. Is it okay if I don’t?”

I kissed his cheek.

There was nothing to say after that, so that’s what we both said. I spent the evening packing my belongings, and in the morning, he met me with one last surprise. It was breakfast, which I thought was both sweet and a bit insensitive.

“Since you were … let’s call it unconscious.”

“Temporarily dead.”

“Unconscious,” he reiterated, frowning at me, “I took the liberty of finally installing that digestive system you’ve been on me about.”

I screamed with joy. “I have a booty hole?”

“If I knew you’d call it that I’d never have given you one.”

I cannot describe the ferocity with which I devoured my first genuine meal. Imagine not needing to eat, but being able to, and then being wholly unable to gain weight because of what you eat. Yep, I can now annoy organics on almost every known world. Fong bacon is a joy and the meaning of life. Mad respect, dearest beasts.

I did not let dearest Dr. Bumbland Xavier Ting, my father and creator, see me off as I left Getzani for the first and last time. It is a joy, it turns out, flying on a Zolweg starliner, as the seats are nearly twice as large as I am. Though I didn’t need to sit, I chose too, because I am a people now, I have decided. People have booty holes and make poops, and both of those things are true in my case. The trip to Kanit required two transfers, the first on Tarwel, which, though pretty, was disappointing, since I had expected half the place to be covered by herds of fong. Surprisingly, much of the planet is farmland empty of anything of interest except food crops and flowers. The next stop was Lerato, the only world with direct flights to Kanit, for now, and I was joined there by the oddest looking fellow, a tall man with black fur that covered nearly all of him, and he had ears like mine. Longer, in fact! He rather looked like me, I must confess, and I liked it. I am told that Lerato is beautiful from the ground, but we were in high orbit, and it looked much like every other ball in space I’d seen images of. Besides, the gentleman next to me was far more lovely to look at. As we rose out of orbit and the stewards raised the privacy screens that would separate us from the rest of the cabin, he finally spoke to me.

“Kind of racist, assuming you and I are together just because we’re the only two buns on the flight,” he said.


He pointed to both of us. “You and me. Buns.”

“I’m actually an android. My name’s Bunny, but until now, I never understood what it meant.”

“No shit?” he asked.

“I do shit, yes,” I answered. I wondered why he’d switched the subject. I supposed he wanted to know how real I was, given I told him I was artificial.

He was laughing. “You’re funny, my doe.” He held out a soft hand. “Name’s Fasli. Well, Mom named me Herman, but Fasli makes me sound cosmic.” He laughed, so I did too.

We chatted for a long time, and he told me a lot about the world I was headed to. It was still in the rebuilding stages after a long war, but Fasli was sort of a high-ranking politician, and his enthusiasm was contagious. After a couple of hours, I was anxious to put my bunny feet on Kanit soil, where something told me I’d finally be at home. There was just one last thing I needed to know.

“Are you prejudiced?” I asked him.

“Against some things, sure. Against others, no.”

I liked his honesty. “I mean, are you prejudiced against androids?”

“I’ve only met a few, and based on what I’m feeling right now, my doe, I’d have to say no.”

I paused long enough to gather my courage. “So, would you be interested in having sex with me at some point? I’d like to know how it …”

I had not finished the sentence before he answered by slipping his tongue between my lips and his hand onto my breast. It turns out that as Kanit androids go, I am fiercely sexy. And I was correct; I am a bit slutty. Quite a bit, in fact. But I also have a boyfriend now, and Fasli says my behavior is perfectly acceptable girlfriend behavior, provided he’s my “only partner.” What the pook? Who would want to have sex with more than one person at a time? Ew.

Men are so weird.

I suppose it is good that I have a boyfriend, given I’m now a respectable citizen (or at least a resident) of Kanit. I am the assistant manager of a food store, in charge of—you guessed it—the meat section. Well, we all must start someplace, and now I can honestly offer customers opinions on the quality and taste of our cuts of meat. Life is good, for now, and I haven’t wanted to kill myself at all since I landed. I’m young. I’m alive—sort of. I can eat, fart, and poop, and I never menstruate. There is so much to live for, as it turns out.

All that’s left is to get Poppy to come around to my way of thinking and give up his suicidal martyr schtick. Stubborn old pook won’t die or accept that he’s alive. I had one trick left to try, however. After reams of text messages, I called Poppy to tell him that I was happy and to give him an update on my new life. After getting him excited that I was finally fitting in, and after suffering though his groaning about how he could now “die in peace,” I started to cry, pretending to bemoan that fact that I would never, ever have a child of my own. I’m not sure I want one, but I know him. He’s probably started designing his grandchild already. Try and die on me now, you old son of a gun. I dare you.

We sexy androids are a devious species, are we not?