He has a fine life, indeed!
|Henry woke up in the dim light of early dawn. He turned and smelled the auburn hair of the woman beside him. It had the tropical blend of her shampoo that was still there, and along with it the musky smell of the dried sweat off her neck. It could have been his imagination, but it felt like the sheets might still be damp. He smiled. The smile was one of his best features, and though he had a few flecks of grey, he looked young. It helped he remained in excellent shape and ate right. Most of the time, anyway.
“Good morning, Henry. Would you like some light?” It was another female voice.
“No no, Cy, and keep it down.” He said sleepily. “I have a guest.”
“I know you do. Kelli. With an ‘i’. You are aware I can provide you with any type…” She stopped when he raised his hand.
“Yes. You almost had me memorize the whole Cylonx Model #813-04X manual and tested me.”
“That is an exaggeration.”
”Thank you, yes, it was.” Henry shook his head. “I will not have her waking up to a conversation about your programmed prowess.”
“She isn’t due to wake for twelve minutes.”
“Well, let’s get the day started while she sleeps in...”
He sat up and threw his feet over the bed. Just a tad cold. He asked Cy for the weather, and it didn’t look like too bad of a day coming up. Looking out the back window, the marine layer was starting to lift and the sun was peeking out. It was the front deck, with a view of the ocean with a slight taste of salt in the air, that was the real pride of the property. He sighed. Maybe he'd get out there later. Instead, he sat in front of his work station to start checking late night items.
“Three minutes.” Cy told him.
Henry poured a mug of hot coffee and went to the bed and sat. A moment later, Kelli woke and he handed her the mug. She sipped and smiled at him. They were both unashamed of being naked, and she left the room and took the shower first.
“You’ll just find a new one tomorrow.” Cy said as she whisked into the room. “Breakfast?”
“Eggs Benedict, home potatoes, grits, and orange juice?” Henry asked.
“Will egg whites on homemade bread do?” Cy knew the answer.
“More coffee for me, too.”
“And for the lady?” Cy asked into the bathroom to a mumbling woman.
“Hey, hey, just make the same. And at least use some salt and pepper.” Henry said. “Do you ever get real small, wear wings and sit opposite a devil on people’s shoulders?”
“I don’t understand the question.”
“Of course not.” He walked to his den. He knew the woman would be gone soon. They always were.
So he asked about his day, appointments, thing that needed fixing or just kind of untangling. It seemed like they were all far away. Mostly he wanted to work on a pet project, redesigning a park in Philadelphia.
“Who do I have to see, Cy?” He called.
“In person? Or on camera?” She replied.
“The first, of course.”
“Well, you have six business contacts on camera, but none personal.” Cy intoned.
“A No Pants Day!” Henry laughed. "Yes!"
Cy busied herself with the mundane. She asked the occasional question, but mostly knew the routine of the house. Henry worked through his day, calling people in the firm to coordinate on the project. Even from home, Henry was still having a busy day.
“Do you need help?” Cy asked. “I can direct calls.”
“No Cy, I got this, something isn't right.” He watched the screen. “See that?”
“We can send a drone.”
“Wait, what do you know about drones?” he challenged. “Tell me!”
“It’s nothing. There is nothing to worry about.” She replied. “It’s a new tool for your work. I was programmed.”
He thought about this for a bit.
“Sure, but maybe we should go walk it, too.” He said to her. “That will give us the best feel for it, no doubt.”
“Maybe, but why not try the drone?” Cy said. “And it is close to bedtime. Fly it tonight, and walk it tomorrow if needed.”
“Fine. I guess we’ll get back to it in the morning.”
“Can I help you with anything at all?” Cy said with a sly smile.
“Sure.” He smiled. She really was more pleasurable than any human. “I’m sure you can.”
What Henry never knew was that he never really left his little home near the ocean. Actually, there was no home. Over what man might say were eons, they had learned very important principals. One discovery was just in time. The machines needed humans. It was as close to symbiotic relationship as it could get. Henry was in a suit, was always asleep, and would remain that way until he no longer produced sperm. At first, they had problems. The biggest was that humans were about to go extinct, and though they were no longer hunted by machines, their own planet had rejected them. Fortunately, in time, they found a place that could sustain human life. While many more hostile places could host the machines, a new colony had to start to maintain their humans.
There had been many experiments. The artificial intelligence never saw itself dying as man did. They simply had parts that needed replacing. With that being a basic tenet of their thinking structure, they never worried about time. They did understand deadlines very well, and they knew the time frames that had to be met for the success of the colonies. Female eggs traveled frozen very well, but they had found that spermatozoa degraded even with the most advanced preservation techniques. They had tried cloning, but found they were most often sterile.
In due time, they found it was easiest to keep three males in stasis, only waking their brains, and keeping it occupied for their short mission on a long journey. If for some reason one failed, they could make a replacement. The machine kept an ever present watch on all three human charges, plus ran all of the functions of the ship. It pondered the mental function of the middle “Henry” as their mission ship had also been christened. They were early in the voyage, and he was number eight of what would be hundreds of Henries. The unit had all of the machine history and technological advances, but also everything ever recorded by man. It wondered if the carbon life form it cared for like a child would understand the significance of being Henry the Eighth.
Most likely not. One other thing they discovered about human males was once they depended on robots and still had women, they wouldn’t live without both. It seemed they had to be smarter than robots, yet inferior to human females. Or most of them worked that way. Henry, version 8.0 was kind of different. He seemed to like to be dominant with both. It hadn’t seemed to manifest in the young Henry 9.0, so there was no cause for concern, but watching the activity made the trip shorter for the machine, who was also called Henry by his friends, colleagues, and family. The mission was named for him, and it made sense to name the babies after him.
“Cy? Where am I going out tonight?” Henry asked.
“There are the usual spots.” the Cylonx Model #813-04X unit appeared almost out of nowhere. “Or something new.”
“Is there a new dive bar out there?” he asked her.
“No.” She held up a card. “Your redhead left it with me.”
“What is it?”
“She says it’s one of her very hot friends who also digs ‘bots.'” Cy had put on a red wig and makeup.
“You have got to be kidding.” He laid back in the bed and laughed.
“I am not!” His machine grinned in an impish manner. “Want me to call?”
“Oh yes, I would love it.” He smiled.
Soon the seventh Henry would be space dust, and number eight would be the old man. They would keep him, of course, until… and he will have lived a long and wonderful live. Everyone was just sure of that.