Bubble, bubble: What to do when there’s no chemistry?

Posted on | January 21, 2009

Damn. So, I had what I thought was a great idea for a story, salvaged out of the back of my brain with no real thought for the characters involved. It seemed simple enough, inspired by the absolutely ridiculous PS2 game Interceptor Robot Hoi-Hoi San: what happens when an archaic sex ‘droid awakens to find herself in a minuscule robot only 18 inches tall?

I created a setting: a cold corner of Discovery, the once-lovely world now turned into a post-apocalyptic mess by the sudden worldwide crash of its computational infrastructure.   A few AIs are left, and everyone’s trying to figure out how to reboot the planet without causing the crash a second time.  I had characters: the bitter but geekily brilliant Chelle, fourteen when the crash happened, now eighteen, who’s digging around in the most obscure places for defensively obsolecent technology that can be used to reboot small corners of the planet without risking another runaway.  Her best friend, The Nooj, a bit of a dork but loyal to Chelle.   A few other characters in a tight-knit group of “survivors” who have no idea how good they’ve got it compared to truly primitive people without heat or electricity.  Cy, one of the last few AIs, cold-hearted although he doesn’t mean to be.  It’s his lack of romantic emotionalism that saved him from the runaway.

The Corridor is standing off, afraid that what happened on Discovery is infectious: the very first Singularity Runaway in Pendorian history.  Everyone knew it was coming.  Discovery seemed like the last place it would happen.   Nobody knows what to do.

The basic plot is this: Chelle finds a Hunda Pest-Control Robot from the 25th century Terran CE while rooting around in a warehouse no one’s visited in centuries.  It’s made by the same company that made the “nursing unit” shells like Linia.  She also digs up an ancient drive case which contains a backup of Linia made shortly after she was deactivated but before she was crated up for shipment to Indigo 161-4.  (I have not yet found a credible excuse for how the backup made its way from Terra to Discovery.)  A little bit of playing and technogeekery and Chelle manages to find a blank robot brain that will emulate the full-sized Hunda OS, fit in the tiny doll body, and maybe work.

It doesn’t seem to, so she and Nooj leave to go find their friends and share a meal.

Linia wakes up.  Chelle and Nooj come back, find Linia walking around on the table, and hilarity ensues.

Only, it doesn’t. There’s no chemistry between Linia, Chelle and Nooj.  What Chelle wants is to get the world working; love is the last thing on her mind.  The Nooj wants Chelle’s body, but he doesn’t really quite understand why, being, y’know, barely out of his teens.  And Linia is in no physical condition to be a lover to either one of them.

Getting any two of these characters falling madly into bed is gonna be hard.

I even looked up the legal term that could be applied to Linia falling into Chelle’s hands: bona vacantia, or possibly thesaurus inventus, although the latter implies that Linia’s mind was left deliberately for someone to find.

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