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The "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" Fanfiction Online Anthology

"A Love Of Your Own"

A LOVE OF YOUR OWN

BY JAMES G. KOCH


Disclaimer: I don’t own A.I. or any of the characters, which belong to
Dream Works, Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick ect, which was based on Brian Aldiss’s “Super Toys LAST ALL SUMMER LONG”

“Dr. Hobby will see you now”. The voice jolted Henry Swinton out of a
daydream as Henry had been standing waiting for almost twenty minutes to
see the director of Cybertronics. The view he had been looking at made
for daydreams any schoolboy would know. Beyond the glass window April
was everywhere in bright green grass and singing birds. The window was
half-open and Henry could smell the wet freshly cut grass from the
robotic mowervators trimming the lawn below in precise precision. Henry
had been watching some boys some distant off riding their bikes and
laughing just beyond the grounds.

“Uhhh, yes, thank you Shelia” Said Henry turning around to see the
beautiful green eyes of the director’s secretary on him and her polite
gesture to enter Dr. Hobby’s office. Sheila was part of a long line of
Hobby’s design brilliancies. There were times when Henry could forget
she was mecha with her stunning beauty and quiet grace. It was clear why
Hobby seemed to enjoy showing her off and why Hobby was rarely seen
without her.

Shelia was the latest of the Cybertronic social models; the new
indispensable secretary and manager could be foolish not to have.
“Must be important,” Sheila said, smiling at him as he passed. Henry
walked out of the bright light to the dim subdued light of Dr. Hobby’s
reading room. As Henry entered Hobby approached him in a friendly manner
and gestured for him to take a seat across from the desk.
 
A one on one meeting with the most powerful man of Cybertronics was
uncommon. Henry could only count perhaps a dozen times he had been in
that office in the past seven years he had worked with the firm. Hobby's
relusiveness was well known which was to a degree the mystery the man
seemed to create around himself. Still, Henry liked Cybertronics, for a
company of 2,000 employees it had a very family atmosphere. Hobby
expected results to be a sure but as long as departmental heads ran
their sections effectively Hobby refrained from too much interference.

There had been another draw as well. Cybertronics head hunters had years
ago made him an offer to leave Serve U.S. with a comfortable offer of a
raise in salary of 10,000 new bucks a year. Henry and Monica Swinton had
readily agreed since with their four year old son Martin they wanted him
to grow up in a more small town environment instead of the hardly
controlled chaos of the larger North Eastern cities where Serve U.S. was
constantly moving Henry around from one assignment to another. The
choice was academic really, Cybertronics was second largest in the world
in the production if industrial mecha and rapidly winning the market for
social mecha’s. Henry’s expertise in neuronal modalities and sequencing
had attracted Hobby’s attention after his articles had appeared in
numerous journals.

Henry took his seat and glanced rapidly over the desk. There were many
portraits turned away from him facing the director and a large volume of
Faust on the desk next to a small plastic Godzilla doll. Henry looked
upon this a bit amused. The director followed his eyes to the figure.

“I see you noticed Gojiro. It’s Japanese for Godzilla - you know the big
lizard that ate Japan before Japan sank - my son’s... kid’s trivia, kids
are wonderful for helping you to keep up...”said Hobby.

Henry nodded politely “my son Martin use too keep me informed as well”
said Henry me informed as well.”

“And how is your wife Monica?”

“Oh Monica’s fine sir, she has her art work and really enjoys this area
I think.”

Hobby continued to attempt to make small talk for a while but it was
obvious it was not one of his strengths, which made Henry increasing
nervous. If anything, Dr. Allen Hobby was a man generally not know for
socializing if not a bit icy to be around. Hobby looked up realizing he
was failing at his task to put the man at ease and began his more formal
approach. ‘I suppose you wonder why I called you in on a Friday
afternoon? - Certainly not to discuss Gojiro”. Hobby seemed to attempt a
laugh.
"No, I didn’t think so sir.” “Of course not, of course not.” Said
Hobby pensively.
 
Henry sat for a period of uncomfortable length when the
director slowly reached for one of the portraits and slowly turned it
around so that if faced Henry directly. The portrait was framed in steel
with a smiling blond haired boy of perhaps eleven or twelve years old. A
rather normal portrait really of a kid who instantly won you over with
his soft smile and cute face. Below the portrait frame a small engraving
read “In Loving Memory of David.”

Henry lifted the portrait closer like a priced art object and regarded
it closely. “My son David... He would be fifteen now if he were...” the
words drifted away from Hobby's lips. Henry nodded his head. It was
common knowledge at Cybertronics what had happened on a spring day like
this over three years ago. Dr. Hobby’s only son David had been hit by a
car crossing a highway and weeks afterwards Hobby had not been seen at
work. It was obvious what was going on with the director. The year
before the accident his wife had walked out on him since he was always
away on business. He won custody of David after a nasty legal fight and
David was the last valued aspect of the man’s private life slowly taken
away. Then, he had returned a different man, more reserved, not the
jovial man Henry had first met, who seemed to fill the building with his
wit and humor. “David was my life Henry - I haven’t stopped thinking
about him since that day, which is why I called you here...” Henry
carefully returned the portrait to the desk facing the man.

“This is about project David then sir” said Henry. Dr. Hobby nodded.
Henry’s mind raced back to sixteen months earlier when the director had
gathered the departmental heads into the lecture room at Cybertronics to
announce project David. Everyone knew Dr. Allen Hobby’s propensity for
the dramatic as they had waited in silence in the large room which
looked out into the gray October downpour outside. The giant silhouette
of the ghostly Cybertron outside beyond the window, it’s arms raised
like a giant prometheus of the technological age. Then after what seemed
to be hours, Dr. Hobby strood into the room speaking .“To create an
artificial being has been the dream of man since the birth of science.”
He had made his way through the scientist and technicians still speaking
with every eye on him until after a series of experiments with Shelia to
show the developments thus far he announced “I propose that we build a
robot child. A robot who will genuinely love the parent or parents it
imprints on with a love that will never end".
 
And for the next hour heated discussions arose. Even after the director had left the conversations went on. The word “mad” never arose but it was nearly on
everyone lips. Had Dr. Hobby’s loss blinded him to practical realities?
Had his own loss driven him to blind obsession? Project David had if
anything created the greatest stir in the history of Cybertronics. It
was the most original and bold enterprise to construct a child
substitute mecha for a mass marked. If project David had created a stir
among the scientist and technicians it was nothing to be compared to the
reaction it received at the shareholders meeting when it was revealed
the plan called for a complete reconstruction of the director’s deceased
son. What was Hobby thinking? The current animus building against mecha
had only increased in recent years with the appearance of social
mecha’s. It was one thing to have mecha digging out radioactive material
or operating taxis but a child substitute model? Was hobby mad? The
shareholders were nearly speechless, even more so for to question Hobby
was to question a legend. In his twenty years as their director he had
made them incredibly rich. From the time Dr. Hobby had become their
director Cybertronics Corporation had gone from 6th. In the world to 2nd
as the lead manufactures of mecha in sales beating out Robby-Ville,
Easy-Living, Serve U.S., and Sidekicks. In the end the showman rather
than the scientist had won them over promising this would be their most
promising venture yet. The genius and the visionary had won them over.
Hobby adjusted the picture slightly after Henry returned it and rose
slowly walking around the room. “Henry” he finally began.

“I called you in this afternoon for a very special assignment. You were
selected above all other 2,000 employees of Cyybertronics after my
personal team selected you based on my criteria”.

“What criteria sir” said Henry following the man about the room.

“Oh the normal criteria, loyalty to the firm, reliability,
professionalism, knowledge of neuronal modalities, sequencing concepts,
and in your case a family tragedy...”

“You mean Martin” said Henry looking at the director.

“Henry, I have selected you above all the rest because you and I beyond
our similar background share one great similarity - we know what it
means to lose a child.”
 
Henry looked down and slowly spoke. “Sir; Martin is merely pending at the hospital...Monica still holds out
hope for a cure...”

“And what about you Henry?"
 
"Sir, I know enough about Sinclair’s Syndrome to know Martin will never
recover. Dr. Frazier and I have tried to reach Monica with this
knowledge but she still hangs on to hope. I would have cancelled the
heroic attempts of crynogenics to save Martin’s life a year ago if
Monica could be reached but she is not ready.”

“I am not asking you or Monica to let go of Martin Henry - nor do I
question your decision. What I am asking of you is to be parent’s once
more of a child in your home.”

“I see” said Henry “A child substitute?”

“Not exactly Henry. Our David project is more of a professional
experiment. It is an experiment like none other ever attempted and that
is why I am asking you to be a part of it.

“How long do I have to make a decision? -How long do I have?

Hobby stood silent for a moment and said, “I want to show you something” as; he gestured for Henry to follow. They walked down a short hallway and Hobby opened a door to a small library.

Dr. Hobby and Henry entered to find a small boy sitting in a large
leather chair much too large for the small boy sitting cross legged
reading A large colorful book called “What Fish?”

“David” said Hobby in a voice of parental affection “there is someone I
would like you to meet.”

The boy rose laying the book aside and walked toward Henry unblinking.
He was wearing a total full body white jumpsuit that made him look
almost angelic. The boy regarded them and then smiled.

“David” said Hobby in the same tone “this is Henry, the man I told you
about earlier.”

“Hello Henry” said the boy with a tone of cheerfulness and walked toward
him and held out his hand to shake.

“Hello David” said Henry quickly glancing at Hobby and offering his hand.
The hand was warm, it felt alive! Henry looked at the boy in silence
whose smiled welcoming him.

“It is nice to meet you Mr. Swinton” the boy replied.

“You can call me Henry David”.

The boy turned to Professor Hobby who nodded to approve.
 
“Okay Henry” the boy said smiling with bright blue eyes.

“Umm, I see you like to read?” Said Henry.
 
The boy’s eyes seemed to light up and he suddenly ran with a grace and
dexterity of any eleven-year old boy back to the chair and excitedly
held up a large colorful children’s book.

“It’s called What Fish?” The boy exclaimed. Can you read? Can we read
together Henry?” The boy offered the book arms extended and gestured to
a chair next to his own.

“David” Dr. Hobby spoke again Henry and I have important matters to
attend to so we have to leave now. I want you to continue your reading
,all right.?

The boy smiled and said cheerfully “okay”and hopped back into the chair
and resumed reading as if they were not in the room. Dr. Hobby gestured
to Henry silently to follow him out of the room back to his office.
Henry barely contained himself once they were in the hallway.

“I had no idea Allen, I can’t believe what I have just seen”. “I thought
seeing him would do that, there is no way to compare David to other
mecha... not even Shelia, seeing is believing.”

“How long has he been awake?” Said Henry.

“David was awakened last Saturday in the very same conference I gave my
speech.”

“It’s unsettling sir, I couldn’t tell he was mecha, there is nothing to
reveal his artificiality”.

“He has exceeded all my expectations Henry” Said Hobby.

“Does he know? I mean, does he know he’s not a real boy yet, that
he’s... well, mecha?”

“No, he doesn’t, nor do I wish him to know Henry, at least not right
away. It is I think necessary for David to frame himself in the human
world. If David see’s himself as mecha too early I am not sure certain
developmental traits would occur in him... In other words, I want to
keep David a innocent , a child, do you understand? “Henry nodded slowly
and spoke” Allen I can not believe what I have just seen, I thought
Shelia was impressive but David...well; he’s nothing short of amazing...”

“I put everything I know into him, David was more a work of love than
any mecha I have ever designed.” Said Hobby.

“and physically... I mean, is all there?” said Henry.

“David is a complete boy as much as I could make him. Biologically of
course he is not, but every response in articulation and limb is there -
we overlooked no detail.” Said Hobby.

“You know, I was thinking just now about Angela’s question to you
sixteen moths ago, you know the moral question one about responsibility
we have to David...”

“I have thought on that one question Henry more than any other from that
meeting. I think my response still stands though, if God made man to
love him and serve him why cannot we create to do the same? In this huge
world of ours millions of children are born each year unwanted, unloved,
but with our David model the buyer will have to invest much. To own a
David model will be expensive and in nmy thinking anyone who is willing
to bear that sort of expensive, give that amount of time and meet some
of the criteria I am working on to purchase our future models any real
child would be lucky to have a parent or parents so invested and
carefully surrender. David will be welcomed in my choice, not by
accident, and to individuals who can provide much.”

“The moral implications and debates over this will be going on for
decades” said Henry.

“Which is why it is important we make good first impressions and set a
good track record.” Said Hobby.

“And that is why I suppose you called me here?”

“For no other reason that for you and Monica to give the first David his
first home. What we learn from this will be enormous not only for
cybertronics but a whole range of considerations for our social models.”

“Your asking Monica and I to take him home to raise him?”

“Yes Henry” said Hobby.

“You know Allen, had you made the offer before seeing David I think I
would have had to say a polite no thank you but seeing him... well, I
felt something I haven’t felt in almost two years.

“I know Henry; I cannot help to feel that myself. David is something
utterly new... What I am saying Henry is open your home as you felt your
heart open a moment ago. David needs a home as I need your skills as a
father and as a scientist. What do you say?”

Henry stood for a moment in silence before saying “yes.”

“Are you sure Henry, this is your decision, I will accept a no.”

“Allen, I would be honored to be of service to raise David.”

“Yes” repeated Hobby beaming and took Henry’s hand and shook it.
“I knew I could count on you Henry.”

Hobby gestured to Henry to sit again at the chair across from his desk.
“Now for a few small details, the normal legal stuff” said Hobby lifting
a folder out from deep within his desk. The few small details were a
mountain of paperwork. Dr. Hobby patiently went over each form written
out by the legal department and Henry signed at the bottom of each page.
Once completed Henry felt a bit bewildered and felt a bit worn out when
Hobby reached a fat folder with a Cybertronics seal on the outside,
’This is the most important folder of all Henry - one you may or may not
ever chose to use but this is most important. This single thin file is
the key to everything, the key to the singularity we are about to bridge.”
“What is this” said Henry reaching for it.

“That” said Hobby pointing to the floor is what project David is all
about. The David you just meet is an un-imprinted model; he’s in effect
not much more than a Super Toy like Teddy, which you got for Martin, a
few years back. David is basically still a typical mecha, not unlike
Sheila...able to think and interact in a intelligent way but lacking
sense of self, of love, of dreams... until you imprint Henry, David will
not cross that threshold I spoke of at the project David meeting. Henry,
don’t imprint unless you and Monica are absolutely sure. You can return
David unprinted at any time with no adverse effects on him but once he’s
imprinted he will be forever emotionally connected - hence, should a
David model be imprinted and the owners no longer desire or able to care
for him he must be returned to Cybertronics for destruction as such or
David unit could never be resold...”

“I see” said Henry looking down at the folder. He noticed his hands were
shaking.

“Henry, are you sure you don’t wish to discuss this with Monica first
before bringing David home?”

“No Allen, you see I was about to say no to project David, but when I
saw him I felt different. I expect Monica will feel the same. If I were
to go home tonight and discuss it she would say no, but if I simply
bring him home, I think she will be of a different opinion once she sees
him.”

“One last thing Henry” said Hobby reaching into a second drawer reaching
for another envelope and passing it to Henry.

“What is this” said Henry.

“Open it.” Said Hobby.

Inside the envelope was a sum of five thousand new bucks.
“Henry, you will be caring for David in everyway. You will need to
clothe him, provide him with toys ect...It is true he doesn’t eat but we
both know kids are not cheap to raise and, there will be more paid out
as time goes along, you can make any request direct through the
accounting department.”

“Any thing else?” Said Henry.

“Only this Henry, keep David as low profile as possible - I don’t want
media attention and I don’t want celebrity status with him - I want
David treated like a normal boy for your observations.”

“When should I take him home?”

“Any time you like Henry”, “now seems as good as any” said Henry
glancing at his watch reading 3:30 Friday April 27, 2126. Hobby nodded
and pushed a button on his desk. In a moment Shelia was at the door.
Hobby addressed the mecha:
“Shelia, go get David and bring him here now. Be sure his tote bag has
everything we went over and tell David he needs to leave his book in the
library ok?”

“Of course Henry” said the mecha walking past them. When the mecha had
left the room Hobby leaned foreword.

“Secretly Henry is important. We will take my private elevator down to
the parking garage and you should go home from there.
I do not suggest taking David anywhere out in public, let him adjust to
your home life first. Keep notes daily about your observations and if
there is anything of importance call me day or night - understood?”
“I will sir” said Henry.

In a moment Shelia appeared back in the office with David in hand with a
tote bag over her shoulder.

“Thank you Shelia” said Hobby and the mecha politely nodded.
“Anything else sir?” Said Shelia.

“You are free to go” said Hobby.

Shelia handed the tote to Dr. Hobby who placed it over his shoulder and
addressed David.

“David, Henry Swinton has agreed to take you home with him. Remember the
things we discussed how you should behave. You should listen to whatever
Harry or Monica Swinton tells you to do understand?”

The boy looked at Henry and smiled saying

“I will be a good boy.”

Hobby nodded and the three went to the small corner elevator. The
elevator opened at the deck and they stepped out.

“Umm, I’m parked over their said Henry gesturing to a blue BMW 965
hydrogen cruiser. The three walked to the car and Henry unlocked the
door on David’s side and the boy crawled in on the seat. Henry reached
over and placed a shoulder strap over and across him. The boy seemed to
take everything in trying to catch every detail. Hobby smiled

“First time he’s ever been in a cruiser” commanded Hobby; David touched
the belt across him. Henry looked at him
“That's to keep you safe.”

The boy looked up and repeated “To keep me safe” and smiled up at Henry.

Henry walked around to the drivers side and said
“I’ll be in touch if there are any problems”

Hobby nodded and looked back down at the boy through the glass window
and waived to him. The boy Waived back.

Henry settles himself behind the wheel and turned the ignition.
The hydrogen engine whined to life and settled into a soft hum. Hobby
stepped back a step and the cruiser backed out and headed out. Henry
glanced at the rear view mirror to catch the image of Dr. Hobby waiving
goodbye a second time as the two left the shade of the parking deck into
the sunlight of a spring day bound for home.

The cruiser wound through the lush rainforest just beyond the
Cybertronics grounds. The rainforest was the result of the climate
changes that had begun almost a hundred years earlier. Henry had
remembered as a boy his grandfather telling him how much cooler and
dryer the climate had been as a child but from global warming and the
hydrogen economy, the region was wet and warmer. Henry followed the
winding road and saw the three boys on bicycles he had seen earlier and
glanced over to observe David’s reaction. David seemed fascinated and
even as they passed he saw him turn around in his seat and watch them
till they were out of sight. The boy said nothing and they continued in
silence. The winding road from Cybertronics to the Swinton home was only
a six-mile trip. Henry could maneuver the winding road without thinking
or if he wished set the cruiser to autopilot mode but he enjoyed driving
it. From time to time Henry glanced over at the mecha and noticed the
boy was keenly watching his every motion as if curious about driving and
recording every response. They then turned down a long narrow driveway
to a circular two-story house and parked under it. Henry turned the
cruiser off and exited the vehicle and opened the door on the passenger
side and unbuckled the belt.

“Well, were home” he said to the boy.

“Home” the boy repeated once as if learning a new word and stepped out.
Henry reached to the back seat and removed the tote bag. They walked to
a round metallic tube and a soft female voice spoke “Identify.”
“Henry”

The door slid open to a small tube like elevator and Henry stopped.
“David, wait here.”

“When will you come back for me” the boy said?

“In just a few moments wait here” said Henry.

“Okay” said the boy. “When the doors open again you may come up
understand?” Said Henry

“Yes Henry” said the boy.

The door closed. Henry felt the elevator rise and glanced at his watch
4:00 p.m. it read.

Monica had been waiting in the living room by the elevator for the last
few minutes. Henry had called earlier and said he would be home early
and for her not to leave. The metallic door opened with a small hiss and
Henry stepped out. A tote was in the elevator and Henry dashed out with
excitement on his face. He set his briefcase down quickly and placed his
hands on her shoulder.

‘Henry” said Monica taken back.

“Don’t kill me,” he said as he gave her a hug.

“Henry, what are you doing?” She asked.

‘I love you. Don’t kill me,” he whispered into her ear and squeezed her
once again.

“Doors close,” he ordered the front portal and the doors hissed shut.
David stood motionless at the elevator. Suddenly the doors opened and he
remembered to enter. Once inside the doors closed again and he was
moving upward. The doors opened and the boy could see two people now -
there was Henry and some woman next to him staring at him. David knew
faces and the woman’s face was doing “shock”. David smiled; he would
calm her he thought. The boy instantly took in the entire room and
addressed her.

“I like your floor” he said.

Something was wrong he thought. The woman was frightened and upset. She
ran from the room and Henry chased after her before stopping and
addressing him.

“It’s all right David, Monica is just surprised - wait in the living
room” and Henry pointed. David walked to the living room watching Henry
chase down the hallway where she had gone.

When Henry arrived at his office on Monday morning Dr. Hobby was already
waiting for him. Henry laid his suitcase on his desk and said
“Good morning sir.”

“Sorry to catch you so early Henry, but I could hardly sleep this
weekend and it took everything within me not to call - how did
everything go?”

“Nearly perfect sir” said Henry. “Monica was, well shocked as you can
imagine but by bedtime everything worked out - I think she is quiet
taken with him despite being bewildered.”
 
“And how did David behave?” Said Hobby.

“David was perfect, well behaved, and he’s adjusting to the new
environment. We found his responses interesting - I think we enjoyed
observing him as much as he enjoyed watching us.” Said Henry.

“Did you have everything you need?” Asked Hobby

“For now yes. The pajamas in the tote came in handy as well as the two
sets of clothes. You know Monica even dressed him for bed on Saturday so
I think the two are bonding now.”

“Bonding?” Hobby said.

“Yes sir, I think Monica is more attached to him now then I am. You know
when I look at David I see the mecha part first and the boy part second
but I think with Monica sees a child first and a mecha second”
 
“Interesting” said Hobby nodding his head.

“It’s been amazing to watch him sir; he seemed particularly interested
in our portraits and especially the ones of Martin.”

“Interesting” said Hobby hanging onto every word.

“He learns so fast! He watched Monica fix coffee one time and now he
makes the best cup of Joe In Jersey.”
Hobby laughed than hid his face became serious once again.

“Did you discuss imprinting with her” said Hobby?

“At length sir, she understands completely everything you and I have
discussed on this subject.”

“She must, both of you must. I would advise you both talk a great deal
of time thinking on this before you decide.”
 
“We will sir, you can be sure of that.”

“Very well, keep me informed how things go. I will try to keep your
duties somewhat lighter than usual. If you need time off or to go home
to respond to David do so - understood?”

“Thank you sir” said Henry.

Hobby nodded and left Henry’s office.

It was two weeks later when Dr. Allen Hobby received the call. He was
sitting in his great leather chair in his reading room at home that had
the appearance of the late 19th century. For all appearance it spoke of
contradictions of a man so enamored in the technological age but this
was his refuge. Eye corrective methodologies had been fully developed
nearly a hundred years earlier but Hobby had avoided them, he was in
fact nearly the only individual who still wore glasses in New Jersey. He
adjusted his small spectacles and read aloud in the room as to an audience.

“To be without him
Is like the grave,
The sweet world all
Is turned to gall.

Ah my poor head
Is so distraught,
Ah my poor mind
Can think no thought.

My peace is gone,
My heart is sore;
I’ll find it never
And nevermore.

I stand by my window,
I seek only him
I run from my door
To be but with him.

His noble bearing,
His lofty stance,
The smile of his lips,
His forceful glance.

The flow of his words
His manly face,
The clasp of his hand
And his embrace!

My peace is gone,
My heart is sore;
I’ll find it never
And nevermore.

My heart is yearning
To be at his side
To clasp and enfold him
To hold him tight...”

Hobby suddenly stopped as he heard the replica antique phone ring. Hobby
placed the bookmark into the large copy of Faust and sat it into the
chair. He looked over at the grandfather clock - it was 9:30 p.m.

“Hello said Hobby.

“Sir, this is Henry, I am sorry to disturb you”

“No problem Henry what can I do for you?”

“It’s David sir, uhh, there have been some developments.” Said Henry.

“Is David all right?” Said Hobby.

“David’s fine sir, Monica just put him to bed.”

“What is it Henry?”

“Sir Monica imprinted David today while I was at work”

There was silence on the other end of the line Henry noticed.

“Are you their sir?” Said Henry.

“I’m right here Henry - did you know she was going to do this?”

“I’m afraid not sir. I just came home and umm, I noticed he was different.”

“Different” said Hobby stretching the words out “how so, Henry?”
 
“Well. His face first of all. His face, his movements, well he‘s like a
real boy - am I making sense sir.” Said Henry.

“Are you upset sir?”

“Upset, gosh no Harry, I just hope the two of you realize the enormous
implications this means...

“I am beginning to sir...He calling her mommy.”

“And Monica, how is she adjusting to the change in David?”

“So far, so good... you know sir; David has allowed her to begin to
address her grief. We talked at length and she told me she realized
Martin would probably never recover and she’s thinking on the matter on
letting Martin go soon...”

“I see” said Hobby.”

“Something else sir... Remember the night I mentioned when David laughed
at the dinner table about a week ago?”

“Yes, I remember” said Hobby.”

“Well, his laughter, his manner was rather mecha than. It was nice to
see Monica laughing with him but it was artificial... that artificiality
is almost nearly gone... It’s almost harder now for me to adjust to the
new David than the old.”

“Henry, David is not just a mecha now, at least not in the sense you and
I are use to... David’s response are well, authentic...”

“Authentic said Henry slowly.

“In a way, David, David is no longer a sensory toy, he is capable of a
genuine emotional response - David knows love. "

“Love?” Said Henry.

“Yes” said Hobby.

“You know sir, when I first brought David home I thought Monica would be
the challenge to address in David’s acceptance but I am finding it
harder now for me to adjust to these changes then Monica.”

“Henry, I feel confidence in you.”

T here was a long silence before Henry spoke again.
 
“I’m sorry to have bothered you sir this late at night”

“Henry I’m glad you called. You know, I have complete confidence in both
of you.”

“Thank you sir...Goodnight sir”.

“Good night Henry.”

Henry slowly put the phone down. He walked slowly to Martin’s room.

Monica sat at the edge of the bed. David lay still in the bed and she
smiled over at Henry. She walked over to him slowly and closed the boy’s
door and hugged Henry in the hallway whispering into his ear “Thank you.”

It was a week later and Henry was at his desk. His phone rang and it was
Peggy, the head receptionist of his department.

“Hello Henry, Dr. Frazier is on line four shall I put him through?”

“Yes, please” said Henry.

“Henry, I don’t quiet know how to say this but Martin has recovered.”

“Recovered” said David dumbfounded.

“He began to show signs of consciousness an hour ago.”

“He’s awake?” Said Henry.

“He a bit groggy to be sure but he’s nearly conscious. We were taking
him out of his freeze state to run some test this morning and we began
to get some positive responses. We decided to watch and observe and as
the morning progressed his responsiveness kept improving. I have never
seen anything like it Henry; it is nothing short of a miracle...I think
you should get over here.”

“I will be their shortly” said Henry hanging up the phone. Henry ran out
of the office and stopped at Peggy’s desk.

“Peggy, I will be out of the office, I am off to the hospital to check
on Martin all right?”

Peggy nodded.

In a few moments Henry was driving at high speed toward the hospital, A
million thoughts jumbled in his mind. He reached over to call Monica
without an answer. He concluded she must be outside the house,
The phone must not be with her - Monica where are you? He keeps asking
himself.

Monica had gone outside with David. It had been the third or fourth time
she had done so. The nature walks were educational for him she thought
and it gave her a chance to get away from the choirs of the house and
give her ideas for her artwork. She had planned to surprise David with a
boat ride. The pond was only a short distance behind the house in the
lush forest. Weeping willows surrounded the banks where the Swintons had
gotten a small rowboat a few years ago that was rarely used now since
Martin had been in a coma the last five years. ‘David” Monica called
catching a glimpse of him just ahead. He was on the bank peering into
the water staring at his reflection. Monica watched him touch his finger
to the waters surface disturbing the reflection.

“Be careful David, don’t fall in," she warned. The boy stood up and turned
smiling at her. She watched David as she approached; his head was
turning every which way as he heard the sounds of the birds singing in
the trees. He seemed fascinated by the small creature and extended his
arms as to copy their wings. As Monica came closer she told him the
names of many of the birds and then pointed out various plants but the
boy was clearly fascinated by the animals. They followed the worn path
round the bend, Monica warned him to be careful to keep an eye out for
snakes when she realized she was the only one who would have to worry
about that. It occurred to her if a poisonous snake bit David little
more than a simple pain response would occur to him. David was racing
ahead and around the forest path looking at colorful mushrooms, touching
ferns when she saw him suddenly squat and then kneel an unmoving. He was
clearly studying something. As she came closer she saw he had cradled in
his hands a small dead sparrow. It must have just died she concluded as
the black eyes were clear, the body soft. She knelt beside him.
“Dead” she said softly.

“Why dead?” David said stroking the bird softly.

“Living things die David, things die for many reasons.”

“Will I die too?” Asked David.

Monica had first discussed death with David a week or so earlier
explaining she would one-day die - in fifty years or so but she was
unprepared for his question.

“Well David, one day I suppose you will...” She stopped herself from
saying anything about ceasing to operate as she still had never told
David he was not a real boy.

“Don’t trouble yourself so David” She began again “you and I have years,
and years, and years to live.”

“How about that ride in the boat I promised” She said changing the subject.

“Ok” said David his face lighting up. The small boat had a canvas cover
they were able to pull off and David stepped inside. Monica lowered
herself in and took a paddle and slowly they pushed off. David was
delighted and asked to try too. Monica handled the paddle and the boy
smiled at her. The sunlight trickled down through the leaves, reflecting
on the water setting it sparkling.

“Maybe, next time Teddy can come too?” David said excitedly.

“Yes, maybe next time honey” she said. Such a beautiful day she thought.
She had grown to love him.
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the kitchen of the Swinton house, the phone never stopped ringing.
Henry had reached the hospital and had parked and was soon running
through well familiar corridors toward the cryro-tube when Martin had
been the last few years. Henry rushed over and the tube was empty. A
nurse with a clipboard came up “Henry Swinton’? She asked Henry spun
“Yes, where is my son Martin?”

“Please follow me Mr. Swinton, Dr. Frazier is expecting you.”

Henry was now following her fast pace and soon they turned into a room.
Dr. Frazier was leaning over a bed and a boy.

“Dr. Frazier” spoke the nurse and he turned.

“Henry, oh, I am glad you made it” he said gesturing him over. Martin
was resting on the bed his eyes half open. Dark rings were under his
eyes and he was pale and skinny buy Henry could see he was breathing on
his own. Dr. Frazier leaned closer to the boy and spoke softly.

“Martin, Martin your father is here.

The boy’s eyes flickered; his eye’s a bit out of focus as Henry knelt
beside him “Daaaddd?” The boy spoke with effort.

“I’m here Martin, I am here,” and He said grasping the boy’s hand.

“I hurt” he said and coughed and tried to sit up.
 
Henry placed his arms to quiet him.“Lay still son, don’t exert yourself”.

The boy laid back.

“Rest Martin” said Dr. Frazier.

“Listen to Dr. Frazier son, you must not wear yourself out.”

The boy nodded and coughed again lying back down.
 
“Your mother and I will be here when you wake up; you need to rest” said
Henry.

The boy eyes rested on Henry and close.

“I am so weak” he said softly.

Monica and David entered the house. David had in his hand a collection
of leaves and twigs. Monica

Had shown him the day before how he could put a piece of paper over them
and with a crayon rub out a likeness and David was excited to try it again.
“Here Teddy, come here Teddy,” David spoke as the small Super Toy bear
entered the kitchen.

“Look Teddy, look what I found” said David handing him the leaves. Teddy
holds them.

“Take them into the playroom Teddy and we can color them” said David.
Teddy turned and headed for the playroom. Monica smiled watching this.
She had activated Martin’s old mecha bear a while back after the Super
Toy had laid in storage for five years. With Martin gone it had been too
painful of a reminder to have the Super Toy around - It didn’t
understand coma or sickness and it had kept asking about Martin so it
had been in her closet in storage until David had arrived. Monica
marveled at how well the two had bonded. Perhaps it was because they
were both mecha they understood each other she thought. It was also she
realized David was so much more tender with the bear - Martin was not
the best caretaker of Teddy as a child.

Henry stood with Dr. Frazier outside Martin’s room he was pacing back
and forth with his phone. It was ringing again and his mind continued to
race - Monica where are you?

The hospital relay informed Henry the phone had been answered.

“Monica” Henry said loudly in the phone. Silence.

“Pick up the phone Monica” Henry repeated.

Henry could hear something of a conversation then she was on the phone.
David watched his mommy talking on the phone. He could hear Henry’s
voice talking loudly on the phone after he had handed it to her. He had
tried to show her when he picked up the phone he could project the voice
from the phone but she seemed scared so he returned it to her. Her face
kept changing and now she was crying. When she finally hung up David did “Big smile” to try to make mommy happy. When Monica hung up the phone
she kneeled at eye level to address him.

“David, mommy has to leave the house now ok?"

“When will you come back?” David asked.

“In a while - I want you and Teddy to stay in the playroom - it might be
awhile before I return ok?”

“Ok” said David cheerfully.

“I am going to switch the house to smart mode, I might be gone a day or
two understand?”

“Yes mommy, Teddy, and I will wait in the playroom until you return.”
Said David.

“Good David” she said running to her room to get the key to her cruiser.

She watched the boy and small bear enter the playroom. They were opening
a box with a checkers game when she stopped at the entrance.

“Ok, I’m off, don’t leave the room, I’ll be back as soon as I can
understood.

“Yes mommy” the boy and bear replied in unison and then she was gone.
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It was two days later when they came in. David watched a procession of
strange men gathered around mommy and Henry. He could hear talking of
more people behind him and he stood up and his mommy came foreword - she
was smiling.

“David” she said grasping the boy.

“The most wonderful thing in the whole world has happened.”

David had a hard time staying focused to hear her as the men were
rolling something into the room. It was a big chair with wheels and a
person was sitting in the chair. It was a boy sitting in the chair; he
was pale with dark hair like mommy. He was sleeping and he had a mask on
his face. This was the boy in the picture he had seen in the family room
he realized. This was the boy in all those pictures. David felt a new
sensation... It was not a good feeling.

“This is Martin,” mommy said smiling. “This is my son.”
 
David stared un-comprehending at the boy and then noticed Teddy who had
taken a step behind him.