I opened the door eager to get my long-awaited order but my smile dropped when I saw two cyborgs in blue uniforms wheeling huge carton boxes. Sognare's logo printed in bold letters on the side, the cyborgs nodded at me I just stared at them speechless.
"Madame, sign here," said one taking out his led-pad. I looked up through my glasses at his blank faceplate.
"Mmh, this must be a mistake… I-I ordered only one," I whispered trying to clear the fog that surrounded my sleepy brain. The second cyborg stepped forward forcing me to step aside. He pulled the box inside making me squeezed to one side of the door while the other shoved the led-pad in my face. My mouth opened to protest but I couldn't muster the courage to argue with them. It was too early and I haven't had my caffeine shot yet. It was not even 5 am for crying out loud!
"Madame, sign please!" repeated the cyborg. I frowned at the text written in bright neon blue over the translucent material then back at the other cyborg pushing my blue couch in a corner to fit in the carton box. Wait, I was supposed to be ecstatic over this arrival so why I was angry and confused?
"Careful!" I shouted at the cyborg when he dumped in my vintage coffee table. The guy paused and shrugged his shoulders. The other one waited for my response while impatiently tapping his foot.
"Like I said you must have gotten the wrong address," I swapped my hand over my bracelet and scrolled to my emails to pull my order number. "Here, it's my order," with one movement of the hand the information appeared on the delivery guy's device. He shook his head then looked down at me. That cyborg was really tall. I pushed my glassed up and peeked at him.
"If you have complains contact Sognare's customer service. We only do delivery. We got the right address and the right order number," with that, the second box joined the first one in the middle of my living room. I sighed in exasperation.
"Madame if you don't sign, I'll make you pay the penalty fees for my lateness on my next delivery," threatened the cyborg. I gasped at his words. How dare him that damn machine. I hesitated but gave in when the second guy stood right behind me towering over me. Talk about intimidation.
"Don't come crying when I rate your service with one star," I glared at him as I swapped my bracelet over the device. It beeped confirming the delivery.
"Happy doing business with you," they both said in a flat voice, they bowed and exited. I collapsed against the wall feeling weak from the stress. My heart beat took a couple of minutes to get back to normal. I'm terrible dealing with others including artificial ones.
"In what mess has I got myself?" I whispered. My long awaited order that was supposed to change my life didn't make me happy at all. I ran a shaky hand in my messy bleached hair. My eyes roamed back to the two boxes taking most of the space in the cramped living room. My blue couch got shoved against the wall to squeeze them in. Those cyborgs were not the chatty kind.
I sighed pushing my black-rimmed glasses up my nose. This had to be a mistake. I paced back and forth trying hard not to knock in the low coffee table. I sighed again then sunk on the edge of the couch with my head in both hands. What I am going to do with those two? It's insane. Why did I have to order one to begin with? It was all Lyla's fault. She just had to move away with her new boyfriend to one moon of Jupiter of all places. I envied her. I've never thought of leaving everything behind, I liked my routine. Our girl's nights out and my VR life was enough to keep loneliness at bay. As I watched her shuttle rocketed in the night sky, I knew I had to act. I sighed and got to my feet. I wished I'd chosen real dating it would have been easier. I pushed the dark clouds hanging over my head. A flash from the happiness program hit me full force.
"Which one should I open first?" I whispered tapping my index on my chin. To me, they both looked the same. So I just knelt to the closest one on the right. The box, a big carton one had a red cord poking out with a tag saying 'pull to open'. On the side, in fat letters next to the logo screamed; FRAGILE PLEASE HANDLE WITH CARE.
I've never owned a robot before. Actually, I can't really use the word robot since it meant every from the fridge to my bracelet. It's tricky to use that word so we call artificial humanoid helper; companions. They offer a wide range of services. Mostly in caring for the elderly, heavy lifting, space exploration, and for the last five years as mates.
I pulled on the cord, it tore around the seams of the box. I slipped my fingers in the cutout handle to lift the cover. The content caused me to fall backward on my butt. I chuckled feeling a little stupid at my own reaction. My eyes roamed back at the inside of the glass pod where lay a man wearing only a black boxer. A muscular sin of a man with toned hairless chest and delicious abs. All in beautiful tan skin color. He was so handsome it was almost scary. He had moles on his forehands forming a triangle and one on his belly. My eyes wandered lower, my face instantly flushed making me avert my gaze. Shit, I thought hiding my smile with my hand. I couldn't believe the amount of details they put into making him look this realistic.
"No! No! No!" I pressed both of my hands over my mouth. I leaned closer to the glass. He had short black hair, a square jaw with a delicate nose and sinful lips. This couldn't be real! I placed my hand on the glass cover for support and the name of the series appeared along with other specifications. My eyes widened with surprise.
"Model Helios 4. Supernatural theme: Werewolf," I giggled as I read it. His name DEMOS. I couldn't look away. I squeaked and jumped. Then stopped to check if someone witnessed my crazy moment .
"Oh my god! Oh my god!" I sang with a stupid smile plastered on my face. I rushed to the other box and pulled the cord in haste. The box made a loud reaping sound I carelessly tossed the cord to the side. Then pulled the cover while laughing like a mad woman. Once it was out of the way my mouth hang opened and no sound came out.
In the second glass casket, lied a slim guy with pale skin and wavy brown curls surrounded a delicate face. Tiny freckles sprinkled on his cheeks and nose. He seemed quite the opposite of the guy sleeping in the preview box. A different kind of handsome. Still, they both were way out of my league. I was dull and plain compare to those two super models.
"This definitely is a mistake," I said, my voice a mere whisper. I placed my hand on the glass cover and just like with the other, it displayed his series and other information on the surface. Model Helios 2. Fantasy theme: Elf. His Name: GRANT. I couldn't help smiling at his pretty face. I don't remember telling Sognare that I wanted a werewolf and an elf as mates.
"This is crazy." The survey only had psychological kind of questions about what I like and how I would react to certain events. I did allow them to access my personal brain wave connector which provided data about to my preferences. What I had in front of me was way out of proportion. I frowned at both boxes. What I am going to do now? I swapped my bracelet over Demos' pod and the logo of Sognare pop up in front of me.
"Please read and agree to our terms and conditions," said a generic male voice as a fat chunk of text appeared. I quickly went through the first two paragraphs then got bored and scrolled further. The safety warranty paragraph made me slowed down. But it was the usual stuff like don't misuse the unit or else it doesn't fall under the warranty. Boring stuff. I scrolled again to the 'I agree' button.
After clicking it a quick user guide explained that I had to plug the pod to an E3 socket, switch them on then do a voice control verification. I knew the apartment supported E3 devices. It was in the contract when I moved in. I got up and went along the walls to find it. After a couple of minutes, I found it near the fridge. I scratched my head a little annoyed when I found only one socket.
"Damn it," I cursed. "Quick access utilities," I said as I hit my house logo on my bracelet. It listed all the appliances, different plugs, sockets, electricity grid, and networks. "E3 socket," the search bar opened and a loading circle appeared. A second went by and the only socket flashed before my eyes. "Options," I said and an options button popped up on the side. The name of my service provider came up. Caltel Energies.
"Email Caltel Energies. Subject: options for a second E3 socket. Message: Can I get a second E3 socket installed for a Helios 2 pod in a Type 6 B apartment? How much will it cost for installation and how long will it take to install? Do I need a new energy subscription? Because I'll plug two Helios pods from the company Sognare. End message. Send," the message folded in half and flew to the right. I sighed. This won't be cheap.
"Call Sognare," the tiny screen flashed the company's logo, and the call connected.
"Hello, Sognare customer service. Making your every dream come true. How can I help you?" sang a jolly female voice. It caught me by surprise and I had to take a second to remember that I am angry.
"Hi, there's a mistake with my order," my gaze roamed back to the boxes.
"How so?" the woman stretched on the words making her sound fake.
"Well, I have two huge boxes in my living room. Clearly, one of them isn't mine," the woman took a second.
"What is your order number please?" I swapped through my last messages and found the order I've placed one year ago. It seemed so long that when the delivery arrived at five in the morning I thought I was still asleep. However, it surprised me, even more, when the second box came it. I clicked the icon on my bracelet the 16 digits order code transferred to her.
"Wait a minute while I process," said the woman in a business tone. I sighed turning back to my window overlooking the street, 30 floors below. It was still dark even at seven in the morning. The neon lights gave the lower building a strange red taint. My favorite Chinese restaurant stood on the other side of the road on the eleventh floor. My stomach groaned just thinking about it. I don't have the best morning habits. I can eat about anything for breakfast. The extra kilos piling on my hips was a clear reminder.
"Miss Kerry, I see no mistake here. I have your survey before me. You ticked too many options to fit in one unit. Sognare will always fulfill your wildest dreams," I gasped at her response was she crazy? I filled that form like a year ago, how would I recall what options I clicked?
"But I can't afford 2… units" I insisted feeling uncomfortable calling… my future boyfriend a unit. I knew this was too good to be true when, Timi, Lyla's new boyfriend send me the company's website.
"You're to pay 200 credits for 74 months. That's already a discounted price for two Elios models. We can only extend your warranty as an apology. We at Sognare never make mistakes. It is our strongest point," smiled the voice like it was the best news ever. I remembered taking the longest payment plan however, it was for one, not two of them.
"Wait, I don't need more warranty. I can't keep both," I hated AI phone services. Clever programmers design them to confuse customers. They always find a way to fuck people up.
"Everything seemed all right with your file. Sognare has a 0.001% chance of making a mistake on delivery. We are a five stars rated company with satisfied clients," She went on.
"But…" I was going nowhere with this senseless AI.
"Did you inspect the product? Is it flawed?" her question caught me off guard.
"Mmh, n-no I didn't open it yet," I murmured.
"Sognare manufactures first-grade units. If you find any anomalies with your mates please contact us again," she added in haste.
"Have a good day," and she hanged up before I could finish my sentence.
"Hold on!" I shouted at the projection in front of me. What a terrible service I'll totally give them a one-star rating. Will my job as a lab technician be enough to afford this expensive eccentricity? I blinked at the clock on the far right of my field of vision. It said 7:34 am. Shit, I'll be late for work.
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