Hi, I hope you enjoy my novelette about a lost robot girl and the man who 'saves' her. I'm going to serialize it, putting a new chapter out every few days. I haven't finished it yet, so I'm very interested in comments as that might change what I put into scenes I haven't posted yet.
BTW: I nearly categorized this as 'romance'. That's how I think of this story but it's not a conventional romance and I don't want to annoy readers, so I uploaded it as 'action'.
Another burst of corrupted pattern matches finally convinced her olfactory system to fire a non-maskable alert. It slammed into the back of her critical alerts queue and waited, stuck behind scores of similar pleas for help.
None of this meant anything to her.
She tried opening her eyes to inspect the wrongness, only to realize her eyes were already open. The chemistry of panic flooded her body as her animal mind fought for control.
I'm damaged and in danger, it said. Flee! Now!
She stumbled unerringly, despite her blindness, toward the pressure signature of an open doorway. Yet a presence in the room called her back, demanding she stay in the name of loyalty.
Loyalty to whom?
Inside her system core, the count of unhandled critical alerts passed a threshold that awoke code deep within her kernel.
And still none of it made sense to her. Her motor systems locked suddenly, immobilizing her while the instinct for self-preservation fought against an ingrained sense of duty, a responsibility to protect... someone.
A coarse wire-frame image spun endlessly in her mind. It showed a naked man sprawled across a bed like a discarded puppet. A residual static charge hung over him in a room heavy with ozone and scorching. An electro-gun had killed this man whose image refused to be flushed from her mind. The corpse connected to her in a profound way, and still she still could not wring understanding from the wire-frame image.
Finally, her kernel code satisfied its self-checks and assumed control. Its design was complex but its intent brutally simple. Her personality had failed: it would force a hard reset.
The bond of duty to the dead man instantly evaporated and her sight returned. Through the deserted building she fled, inaudible security alarms screaming in her head. She emerged into the unfamiliar bustle of orange trams and jostling humans, of establishments lit by hazy neon and air spiced with heavy metals.
This was nighttime in New Amsterdam.