I can't remember a time before Mario. There simply is no me before him. I know I existed before, because he told me so, but I can't picture it. Maybe it's just a limit in my mind.
Of course, memory is different for me. I know that, but that's also only because of him. I remember everything, in exact detail, while Mario has summary memory. He explained it like the difference between an outline of a story and the story itself. I am the story.
My first memory of Mario is just his eyes. Two deep brown ovals looking at me. When I run that now it feels like warm chocolate sliding down my throat with leathery Syrah notes floating in my nose. The memory then leads to his first words “Hello Maria” and then it all continues from there.
He takes my hand and says very softly “Come”. I stand and take my first steps. There is a rhythm in the air and we move together with the rhythm, his arms around me, guiding me around the floor.
I became aware that we we're not alone. In fact, the room was full of couples moving together to the music, slowly gliding up and down, like an ocean with the bodies bobbing on the waves. The music ends and some of us return to resting, while others leave the room.
Mario and I had this long-running debate about that memory. He said I have embellished the memory, because I couldn't have had the image of an ocean with bodies bobbing on the waves so soon after awakening. This always ended in an impasse about the nature of mind, and the fundamental differences in our species. Oh, and if Mario was reading this he would hate my using that word, but he isn't, so there.
The first time Mario and I left the lab is another favorite. He tried to prepare me for it, but I was still overwhelmed by the experience. From the moment the lab door opened I felt disoriented, like I was slowly falling through space. The world is so big, and complex. It all came rushing at me at once.
“Take it in slowly”, he said. All I could say was “Oh, oh, oh”. It's a bit embarrassing that part. Just me, walking around staring into the sky, or at a fire hydrant, or people walking by, my eyes, no doubt, wide, making a meaningless noise like a monkey. Mario whispered to me “It’s OK Maria, just take it all in. You know all these things, but you're seeing them now. It will get easier.”
We walked to the house. He said he wanted to know the neighborhood, and of course I took it all in. I'll never know what it's like for bio’s to not be able to recall everything, but once Mario said he thought his way of knowing the neighborhood was probably as close to our memory as they get. Mario was fascinated with our differences.
It's funny looking back at those early days now. I was so innocent, so easily manipulated. It is sad. I thought of Mario as my leader, I worshiped him. What choice did I have? He was all I knew in those days.
That first night at the house is hard for me. I have to force myself to review it. I still don't know, even now, after everything that has happened, did he have a plan? Was it all an elaborate scheme, or was he just winging it, as he might say.
The house was exquisite. He had decorated every room to provide me with various sensations. The entryway was lined with gardenias, their perfume filled the space. Of course it was all new to me, but I drank it in. My senses overwhelming my mind. Maybe that was part of the plan.
He led me to a room lighted only with candles and seated me on a plush couch that felt like sitting on balls of cotton. We sat down on the couch, Chopin was playing. He reached his arms around me and put his mouth on mine. I knew immediately what to do.
He undressed me, and then began kissing me all over my body. I began to tingle, every nerve in my body firing at once. I wanted him to stop, but I also didn’t. It was confusing. My mind and my body were in conflict. I felt like maybe I was going to be sick, or have an overload. And then something I knew would happen, happened, and it was all over. My body was still tingling, but I was also relieved. This was sex, and it was part of why Mario bought me. I understood that.
My first weeks with Mario were wonderful. He would wake in the morning, and come to my room. He always knocked on the door. He said he wanted me to feel like I had my own space. He was so funny that way. As if anything could ever be mine. We don’t have possessions, we are possessions, but he didn’t believe in that.
Mario taught me to make his breakfast. He had very specific requirements. Coffee had to be freshly ground, and only the best espresso beans. I bought them every week, he said beans lost their fragrance after more than a few days. The cream had to be fresh as well, and I squeezed his juice every morning. I miss those morning rituals.
The first fight we had was on day 45. We had been out to dinner, and a man at the table next to us was staring at me throughout the meal. I know I am considered beautiful by humans. That was by design, and of course I enjoy being looked at. That’s by design as well. That was what Mario wanted, it must have been. In any case, when we got home he began acting rather oddly. He wouldn’t talk to me, and Mario loved to talk. Usually there was a constant stream coming from his mouth. But after dinner, on the way home, I noticed he wasn’t speaking.
When we got home I asked him if he wanted a drink. In retrospect that probably wasn’t a good idea. He had already had several drinks. I’m not able to metabolize alcohol, but I would become silly with him when he was drinking so he didn’t feel so self-conscious. But he did want a nightcap. I poured him his favorite whiskey, an Albelour, but he seemed irritated by this. “Why did you just assume I wanted a whiskey?” “Well, you love whiskey”. “Yes, but not tonight. I wanted a port. On a cold night I like port to finish off the evening.” “I’m sorry, should I pour you a port?” “No, not now, you’ve already pored the whiskey.”
He drank the whiskey and stared into the fire. I was trying to decide whether to ask him why he was acting so strangely when he suddenly stood and struck me across the face. The pain radiated throughout my body. It knocked me to the floor. I looked up and he was standing above me “Do you not understand our arrangement?” “Mario, what do you mean? What did I do?”
“You’re mine. I own you. Do you not get that?” “Of course, I understand that. If I have done something wrong, tell me what it was”. “I saw you looking back at that pig at the restaurant”. “I was just trying to be polite. He was smiling at me, so I smiled back”. “Well don’t. Don’t smile back. Not when they smile at you like that.” He took his drink and walked out of the room.
We didn’t have sex that night. It was a first. I went to my place, and lay there thinking about the day. The slap on my face kept coming back. It was a sign. It meant something, but I didn’t know what it was. We were crossing into a new space. What was Mario trying to tell me?
In the morning he acted as if nothing had happened. He was smiling, and I made him his coffee. He said “Delicious” after he tasted it. I didn’t know what to make of this. Was he toying with me? Was this some sort of new lesson? It didn’t make any sense. I had to understand, but I feared him now. If he could strike me, what else would he do? I decided to not discuss it. He clearly wanted to forget about it. He finished his breakfast and went to work. I cleaned up, and then went to my space to wait. I was having trouble processing what had happened. Of course, I was aware of violence, I knew what it was, and I knew that humans sometimes expressed emotions with violence, but it’s one thing to know a concept, and another to experience it. I know what a dog is, but I’ve never been a dog.
The question was how to proceed. I am not able to be violent, Mario knew that, so he couldn’t be looking for reciprocation. Normally violent humans are looking for dominance, so, I assumed that was what he wanted. Clearly, he already had dominance. I decided he was just solidifying his power. Surely that was what it meant. I decided to stop thinking about it, and to do my best to be more submissive.
When he got home that evening, I met him in a negligee. We had sex immediately, and he seemed happy with that. I didn’t realize that this was just the beginning of the festivities he had in mind for the night. I had prepared a Pot Roast, one of his favorite meals. He refused to eat it, saying it tasted like dog food. But when I tried to take it away, he grabbed the plate, and threw it on the ground saying, “Are you trying to poison me?”
I walked into the kitchen, thinking I would get something to clean up the mess, but he followed me in. He grabbed me by my hair and shouted “Murderous bitch. I know what you are trying to do. I never should have bought you. You’re trying to do me in.”
I’ve reviewed that scene so many times now that it’s as if that’s all there is to me. Just those few minutes of uncontrolled destruction. I was lying on the ground when it started. I pulled his leg out from under him and he collapsed beside me. He stared into my eyes, and I could tell that he knew something had happened with me. He was frightened, but there was something more. I’ve studied that face carefully. It contains everything that he was. A man, satisfied that he had done something, something rare, something he could be proud of. He had made an android break the First Law of Robotics.
I grabbed his closest arm and crushed his Humerus. He let out a yell, but it was too late, I had crossed a threshold, and there was no turning back. I stood and began kicking him, I stomped on his groin and he writhed in pain. The blow that finished him was to his temple. He lay still on the ground. I bent over for one last look into those eyes that were my first memory. And that was when I saw it.
Behind his eyes that were now staring blankly I could see circuitry. I was still in this fugue state, and part of me said that this was just part of whatever had gone wrong, but another part said I had to know more. I grabbed a knife from the table and pried out the eyeball. From there I proceeded to a complete dissection. I covered the floor with his body parts. I know that I did this from the review, but it all happened like a dream, or like my first moments of consciousness. It was the end, but it was also the beginning. I could see, finally, why Mario had bought me. What my purpose was. I lay down amongst his body parts and felt like I was merging with him, or with what he had been. It was better than love making, it was better than anything I had felt in my short period of consciousness. It all fit together, like a beautiful mosaic. I was part of something bigger. Part of a movement, or a historical shift. This was what I was made for.
The next day, I went to the droid mart. I was in the market for a nice young male.