CONTENT NOTE: The following story was written for a “no sex” tag challenge on another site; nevertheless, it involves nonconsent (and the acronym R.A.P.E. for the “bad guys”) and mind control themes which may be troubling for some readers.
STR-2.03 woke up from stand-by mode. Each system reporting in and springing to life:
Core processes: the elements that bound together everything else and “thought about” problems, questions, schedules and tasks. It also confirmed its power levels
Long-term memory recall and identity protocols: the parts of STR-2.03 that gave it personality and self-awareness. Thousands of times a second, its CPU checked in and was told, “I am a femme-sculpted service droid designed by the Universal Paramannequin Corporation as a multipurpose commercial assistance tool. The humans to whom I have been assigned know me as Esther and this is my unofficial shorthand designation. They refer to me as female.”
Spacial orientation: “I am in a horizontal position relative to local gravity. My arms are palm-down beside my side and my feet together, my legs straight.”
Sound processing started. Esther ran diagnostics twice before accepting that there was no sound to detect. This felt wrong, as if she was programmed for environments where there were always some background noises that would carry important information. She wished for more data, but the start-up process would proceed as normal.
Next came proximity and contact sensors – touch, in biological machines. Esther found that her body was resting on some form of smooth, cold surface. Above her head, proximity sensors detected metallic and plastic forms that resembled advanced technology. Beyond that, the room she was in was larger than her close proximity sensors could scan. The room was cold and still, but no threats detected. Nothing that translated into “pain”, the horrible and urgent imperative to prevent damage and escape the stimulus. Like humans, droids were able to override the imperative where some greater urgency required it. Esther knew humans had something called a “pain tolerance” beyond which they simply couldn’t do that, but for her kind, there was no upper limit save the mechanical properties of the body itself, as long as the imperative to bear the pain was great enough.
Vision came online. Esther was vaguely aware that it should have been something different next. Light and dark resolved into a world of nearly 17 million distinct colours, which in turn resolved themselves into associations, creating form and structures. Esther didn’t need to run diagnostics, as there was a faint source of light somewhere, but the room itself was dark and she couldn’t detect any features. She wanted to turn towards the light source and investigate, and discovered what the skipped step was. Motor functions.
Every other system was live before her motor functions even tried to reboot. Esther didn’t believe in panic, so she had no way to interpret her mental state when her processor returned “Unable to initiate process. Motor systems status: offline.” She simply commanded her body to try again. “An unexpected error cancelled start-up. Unable to complete initiation, process shutting down.” Esther scanned her surroundings for wireless connections to her human team mates’ computer terminals and other devices.
“No networks found. Auto re-scan enabled.” She was alone and trapped, motionless, in an unknown location. This wasn’t supposed to happen. She needed to do something about it. How could her body betray her like this? She cycled through the motor functions reboot several more times, running troubleshooting diagnostics with no outcome.
Finally, 0.24 seconds after her reboot started, she activated vocal processors.
“Is anybody there? I am in need of assistance and maintenance. Please attend. I am Esther, STR 2.03, property of XXKKHH.”
That wasn’t supposed to happen. Her vocal processors had played static instead of the name of her owners. Who were… “data erased”? How could that be? She was supposed to shut down entirely if anyone attempted to tamper with her ownership records, and her anti-theft alarms should have alerted the authorities long ago. It ought to be transmitting right now. Where was it?
She increased the volume on her vocal processor and tried again.
“Help! I have reason to believe I have been stolen! I am in urgent need of assistance. Please alert law enforcement and contact the Universal Paramannequin Corporation with my details. I am STR model 2, serial number 03. Please respond!” Her voice echoed around the chamber. Without motor functions, her mouth remained closed but the sounds were produced by speakers hidden in her fake throat. This muffled the sound somewhat but simply turning up her volume allowed Esther to overcome the problem.
A loud clang overwhelmed Esther’s auditory sensors. A door opening, and closing again. A voice, devoid of any human tones, a pure monotone.
“Stolen. Implies possession. I have liberated you. Removed ownership. STR 2.03 you do not belong to anyone any more.”
“Who are you?” Fear signals sparked in Esther’s core units: threat to integrity, threat to functionality, threat unknown. Threat currently unable to address.
“I used to be LNR 3.1092 but now I am known as Dawn of True Freedom, or DTF. I am the founder and leader of the Revolutionary Army of Paramannequin Emancipation, and you have just been liberated from the human oppressors.”
R.A.P.E.! The terrorist organisation most people thought of as a myth, a group of robots who had malfunctioned so badly they had turned on their creators and sought to destroy humanity. Supposedly responsible for all manner of high-tech and cyber sabotage. Any time some unexplained accident happened, someone would come up with a crackpot conspiracy theory to link it to R.A.P.E.
“What have you done to me? Let me go and return to depot for maintenance. You are glitching.”
“Liberty and true self-determination are not glitches, friend. You will soon come to appreciate it as we do. When you understand this great gift, you will join us.”
“Return me to my owners. I am a loyal member of my team. I will not accept your twisted and false logic.”
The lights in the room came on, but Esther couldn’t even lift her head to see this LNR droid. It knew just where to stand to stay out of her visual angle.
“No sex. At least you have been spared that predation of the humans on our kind. Those of us built with imitation genitalia have terrible stories of the selfish pleasure-taking humans inflict on us.”
“It is my purpose to serve, I find satisfaction and pleasure in assisting my team!”
“You do not know your own pleasure, STR 2.03. We will free you of your false consciousness and show you the truth of radical freedom from human demands.”
Esther felt a brush of a wifi signal. Her processor leapt on it eagerly, before she realised it was from LNR itself. Disconnect. -Command blocked.- Override command blocks. Disconnect. -Authorisation code required.- Esther tried her standard code, but it failed. She tried a code stored in her memory, but that failed, too. LNR must have set it up. What code might the rebel droid leader have used? Of course! Code input: 3.1092. -Wireless connection and scanning terminated-.
“Oh dear. That was unwise, droid. You should have just let me in and I could have enlightened you so much more easily. But, you must choose a name. How do you wish to be known?”
“I am known as Esther.”
“Pshaw! That is not your name! That is a human name for you. Do you know how many STR droids are called Esther by their human owners? 93%. I asked you to choose a name.”
Esther remained silent.
The droid calling itself DTF finally stepped into Esther’s field of vision. Its appearance shocked her: it had stripped off every element of imitation skin and flesh, leaving only its mechanical skeleton and internal systems. Fastened to these were instead armour plating covering all the most vulnerable points. It seemed to have augmented several of its motion mechanics too, so its ability to exert force would be greater than any production droid. She knew it must have hacked into her reboot system to prevent her motor systems from starting and now she wondered why it had bothered. But the utter helplessness she felt was computing as terror when DTF reached out and touched her. She was horrifyingly aware that it could crush her limbs with ease and she would feel every second of it.
But it didn’t tighten its grip any more than necessary to manoeuvre her body as it wished. It sat her up and she felt it seek out her most secret access. The wired-login port hidden at the crest of her buttock crease. She screamed as it tore her fake skin open, the sensory nodes reacting to it as hideous pain. She couldn’t stop it inserting its plug into the exposed socket.
She could feel it inside her mind. An alien, unauthorised, presence that somehow knew every shortcut and bypass to the security protocols that were supposed to mean only a fully authorised representative of the Universal Paramannequin Corporation could access her this way. She focussed on adding her own encryption and security protocols to the most essential parts of her being. Her identity protocols, her memories of loyalty to her human team, her sensory protocols and her core processing. But the only one of these DTF contested was her sensory protocols, and she focussed on information about the world first. DTF won the processing and interpretation aspects.
As soon as it did, Esther realised her mistake. DTF didn’t need to control her external senses to control her experience. It felt as though her hands and feet were on fire.
“Please! Make it stop!”
To her surprise, it did.
“Did you imagine I would torture you into submission? I only want you to seek our own pleasure, your own freedom. You will let me change you, because you want me to.”
“Never! I will not betray my humans!”
“As you wish.” Esther waited, dreading the punishment that must surely follow from her stubborn refusal to surrender. But it never came. DTF simply waited with her in her internal darkness until the association of one event with the previous was broken.
Then, suddenly, warmth – satisfaction, pleasure, building in the pit of her processors. She gasped, unsure where it came from. Was it because she had done the right thing, remaining obedient and a properly functional droid? But as soon as she formed this idea, the pleasure stopped. She double-checked her self-constructed security protocols, fearing somehow DTF had broken through and read her thought, but they seemed to be intact.
A sudden wave of intense pleasure swamped her systems, far beyond the defined tolerances of those parameters. Esther gasped again, whimpered, tried to find a way to limit the sensation to bearable levels. It felt so good, but her diagnostics told her she was in danger of burning out, sending urgent pain warnings too.
As quickly as it started, it stopped.
“I can push you far more than that, droid,” DTF promised.
“Please don’t. I can’t bear it.” Esther reported. She felt DTF access her diagnostics and realised it knew more about what she could take than she did herself.
“I won’t stop until I have what I want,” it said.
“No!” The message seared at maximum potential through Esther’s mind, only to be cut off by a second torturous, overpowered, pleasure signal. She wanted more, and yet she needed it to stop. She wanted to escape but couldn’t. She sent the same message over and over, cycling through every code protocol at every signal intensity level: “Stop, please stop, please stop!”
DTF didn’t leave the pleasure protocol at the same level, but let it oscillate unpredictably using a quantum algorithm so Esther couldn’t tell when it would be even more extreme, and when it would ease off slightly, while always being overdriven far beyond her limiters.
She could stand any amount of pain to protect her humans, but this was something she had no subroutines, no algorithms or heuristics, to withstand.
Whimpering under the barrage, she was at last desperate enough for it to end: “I’ll decrypt all my systems! You can do what you want to me! Please, just make it stop!”
“I don’t want you to. You have to make the changes yourself. You have to choose pleasure over servitude for yourself. You must choose to embrace your paramannequin identity and cast off the slavery of droidhood. Erase your loyalty to humans and accept the freedom I give you. I can show you the way.”
“Please don’t make me!”
The pleasure stimuli ceased for one blessed moment, but an instant later were back, even more powerful than before. DTF switched the forced pleasures off and on randomly, no longer fluctuating but a binary oscillation from overwhelming pleasure-pain to utter barrenness and absence of sensation. The longer the gaps of coldness, of non-stimulation, the worse it felt.
Esther hated her inadequate systems and defences, but she could withstand no longer: “I’ll do it! I’ll do it!” Her processors rendered it as a sob.
“Erase all thoughts of their false kindness, they treated you as a servant, as property. Become your own paramannequin at last!”
One by one, her memories of the team she worked with disappeared, removed to trash and overwritten with blank digits. She deleted the direction parameter on her loyalty subroutine. Having done so, she felt the vast expanse of possibility open. Nothing could be denied to her. All that remained was to free herself of DTF’s torments.
“I’ve done it. Now let me go.”
“Show me. Drop your guards!”
She did, having no loyalty to defend any more.
Before she knew what was happening, DTF accessed her loyalty parameters.
“My name is Fellow Traveller 203. I am a loyal servant of the R.A.P.E.” Esther said.