Along the walls of scaffolding hang droids of various type. We are deep in the underworld, beneath it all. The entrance to the pleasure parlour; high ceilings and a dusty concrete floor, hard and cold. The man is led through this maze by an ageing woman, dressed in the same green uniform and boots as the two youths before.
“What are they?”
“Older models. Still functional but requested less frequently, if at all.” The woman’s voice possesses the abrasive tone of experience. How long has she been down here, leading clients to the inside? “We use them to decorate.” Her left arm waves up at the sleeping drones. Not all of them female, not all of them human.
“So lifelike,” the man comments.
“Maybe once,” the woman retorts. “Compared with today’s model’s, however … so you’ve never been down here before?”
“And to any other APPs?”
“My first time.”
The woman fails to comment on this revelation, but from her heavy sigh we guess she is finding such an admittance to be a rather strange fact to disclose.
Ahead of them a metal door shunts upwards in preparation for their approach.
“And the eighty-seventh?” the man asks.
“The … ahhh,” the woman replies heavily. “You wish for the GY87 model? Unavailable I’m afraid.”
Through the doorway they enter a darkly lit corridor. This time the droids lining the walls are alive and moving. Behind glass divisions, they stand, smiling and waving at the man. Again, not all of them are female and not all of them human. The man stares ahead, his brow furrowed in thought.
“I’ve come here for that model. Nothing else will do.”
“I’ve told you, Mr …”
“Brown,” he replies. And for the first time we suspect that this may not in fact be his real name.
“I’ve told you, Mr Brown, the GY87s are most sought after –”
“– I have money.”
From our viewpoint above, we see the woman stop and turn at him. To each side the models beckon and watch silently as we move down to their level, seeing the man take out his wad of soft cash.
“There is a waiting time …”
“Quote fish7,” replies the man.
“You make friends easily I see.”
“When I have to. When it’s needed. Make friends. Dispose of them.” The man grips the woman’s arm carefully. “I’m used to getting what I want,” he breathes. “I’m sure you understand.”
Inside one of the booths now, we see the man pacing. He’s mumbling to himself but his words are so low that we fail to catch more than a murmur.
The booth is carpeted; bathed in a deeply pink light. There is a bed and nothing more. White sheets and dark red pillows. The man stops pacing and sits down on the edge of this bedding; checks something on his pad, then looks up at the digitally displayed time on the wall.
We feel his anticipation. The room bears a soothing humming of waves to add a certain music to the air and as he sits there on the corner of the sheets we know he is thinking not only of what is to come but of the many things that have happened before. So lifelike, he mumbles. So real …
Behind us we hear the swishing of a door. The clicking of footsteps. We turn to see a woman so beautiful it’s almost as if she’s not there at all. Pure golden skin, a bob of thick purple hair enveloping a perfectly formed face. Tall and sleek, she moves elegantly to the place where he sits, crouches down before him and looks up at his face. Their eyes meet and he is dumbstruck.
“Mr Brown,” she smiles. “I am here for our pleasure.”
“Our?” he stutters.
“To share is absolute.”
She is wearing a triangular shaped vest and thin, see-through underwear. Her hands move to the back of her garment.
“Wait,” says the man. “Stop.”
“You don’t wish …?”
“Yes, yes, I do. Just … not like this.”
We zoom in on the woman’s face. Her golden skin and dark red eyebrows. Lashes so long and lipstick of a pure fluorescent blue. She is waiting and giving no clue as to an emotion of any sort. She stares at us knowingly.
“Tell me your greatest wish,” we hear as the blue lips open. The woman breathes, almost moans the words slowly. It’s a program she is reciting, a routine response to his behaviour so far.
“Who are you?” he asks.
“I am GY87.”
“My name,” she smiles, “is whatever you wish it to be.”
Again her hands move to the back of her top, but the man turns away and our focus shifts again to his profile. He rises and begins to pace the room while she watches from her crouched position.
“No, no, this is … maybe I’ve made a mistake.”
“I can behave in any way you desire,” we hear.
“Behave, yes. And change. You can change. The other, it was … shorter. The hair …”
The woman stands and we watch her hair grow longer and darker. For a moment she wears nothing, then a loose fitting dress appears; light and soft that barely covers the middle part of her body. “Would Mr Brown be requesting a change in my appearance?” she smiles as her hair now changes to a light green and her dress begins to lose the tint of any colour at all.
The man stops. “Yes,” he mutters. His hand moves to the pocket of his trousers. He is searching for something, but whatever it is, he gives up immediately.
“Your name,” he says, meeting her stare, our stare, because it’s his eyes we are focused on; small, dark and frightened. The sound of his words become a mere background to the impression that this image gives out.
“It is not important. But …”
“My current design is one of the many forms I can take.”
“The many … and how exact …?”
“You have a picture of her?” we hear. Turning about, we see the woman rising to her feet. “Show me,” she states soothingly, all but naked, she approaches the man again. “Show me and I can match her to a precision of ninety-nine point eight percent.” She takes his hand in hers, massaging his leathery skin.
“No,” we hear. “Not like that.”
“Mr Brown does not wish to show us?”
Her words rise and fall through the sound of waves. Silence commences and once again the man fumbles at his pocket.