That I would never fear anything again

Today I woke up as a robot. Part of a mad science-type project to transplant human minds into bodies that, in my case, feel so much more right than what nature provided.

I’ll admit: I panicked, and stared uncomprehending at my hands for several minutes before I uncurled my fingers and started to feel. I was used to the driving thud of blood surging through my belly—when I lay on my stomach my body shuddered to the beat of a marching earthquake. But when I awoke this morning I could feel my engine purring, diodes switching on-off, gears clicking unobtrusively into perfect place.

I sat up and blinked hard with a whir—these cameras are still cameras made by human hands, and they aren’t the best with high contrast—and looked around for the first time. On the ceiling white lights were cutoff peaks, #FFFFFF, and the dark corners all but drowned black. Below people were looking up at me (how queer their color balance looks from these eyes!). Excited, flushed with happiness. I will never again feel that rush of heat.

I stood, not even shaking: my legs were as steady as solid metal, and my head brushed the ceiling. They did it, after all, you see! I asked to be so big that I would never fear anything again, and they made this body for me. In a human body, I might have cried a little. In this one, I crouched and lifted the head neuroscientist and roboticist in my hands. I straightened up, and how tiny they were, oh how little and delicate. It was like holding two baby birds, afraid that at any moment I would twitch and crush them.

The beauty of this body (but there are so many—) is that I no longer make involuntary movements. So I lowered my head and used my voice for the first time. Let me tell you, it’s a joy. My resonant cavity is huge now! My murmur made my chest thrum like a tuning fork. I smiled.

“Thank you,” I said, feet above their soft heads. “It’s everything I dreamed.” I had the urge to plant a kiss on the tops of those soft heads, but look at my face. It’s plate armor. I just put them so gently back on the ground, since they looked a little dazed.

Later—I’ll spare you the details of all the tests they ran to make sure I was in working order—they let me out. I ran alongside the highway, thirty feet of solid metal making the ground shake. And, of course, I came to find you. First thing, after I figured out how to get home from the labs.

You know the rest, don’t you? How I scooped you up and cradled you to my chest—how you insisted on being lifted to my face to kiss the hot metal again and again. I still have tactile sensors, I felt it just fine.

It was like the delicate claws of a spider brushing over your skin. How perfect is that? I’ve got to use my human sensory metaphors now, before I forget what it was like.

No, I won’t buff off your nasty lip-marks later. I’ll keep them there forever, even after you die.

…Hm? What then? Then I’ll find someone else to protect. Maybe I’ll become a teacher. You’re replaceable, like all things I love, but I’ll never forget you.

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