From Mars, with Love.

She saw the guy standing near the bar counter with Alan. He was dressed in clothes that matched the “Streets of NY” theme of this party, but she preferred the navy blue three-piece straight from the vaults of Savile Row he was wearing last week, a rarity indeed. His clean-cut jawline & muscular build already had her attention, but what really stood out was his reaction when one of the patrons slipped on her pearly white dress & tore it in half, leaving her breasts hanging wide open. But instead of ogling at them, or sneering at her, he took her in his arms and covered her with his expensive coat, all in one graceful motion. While this settled the matter in hand, everyone had to keep a poker face when the two decided to make love right in the middle of the room.

“He’s hot,” Sandy spoke as she handed her the glass.

Her friend had the glassy eyes & pale skin of a person connected to the network. “We are in a club Sandy; can’t you stop working anywhere?”

Sandy twitched her lips & the color returned to her face disconnect the network, “Okay. I hear you. Happy?”

There was no point arguing with her. Sandy worked in the office of the Chief Electorate, de facto ruler of this small but highly developed colony on the fifth planet of a small star in the western sector of the Milky Way. She worked for the Department of Sustainability & was one of the most promising officers in the government. In a few decades, Sandy will probably become the head of the department, if not La Jefa herself.

“I’m sorry Gillian, I know I shouldn’t bring work outside the office…”, Sandy switched to a casual tone, “…it’s just that the new plans for terraforming outside our jurisdiction are just too….” She stopped midsentence.

“…evil” Gillian completed the sentence, just as Sandy wanted. She nodded in satisfaction, “I wouldn’t be so harsh, but deplorable nonetheless. They want to make a new city, a manufacturing & mining town mostly run by AI and some male labor. And all the other gals think it’s such a great idea. They are ready to pass it to the committee. Nobody cares about the destruction which it will bring. Stupid whores.”

Sandy truly cared about her job, unlike the other power-hungry pretenders to the throne. Her status as a no-nonsense official was on the rise, but calling your co-workers whores in public can damage reputations, even those built on a direct lineage to Terra. Gillian started singing loudly as soon as she realized what Sandy was gonna say and to her relief, nobody seemed to notice.

“Sandy, you fucking idiot”, Gillian snarled under her breath, squeezing her friend’s arm.

“Gillian, you’re hurting me.”

“Damn right I am. Do you want to end your career? Watch your tongue in the public”, Gillin took a deep breath, “Bitch”, she hissed.

Sandy smiled in return. She had realized her mistake too. “So, what about the guy? Why aren’t you making a move on him?”

Gillian shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s just….Alan is standing there with him & it will be just so….”

“Awkward?”

“Yeah, I guess.” Gillian shrugged, & Sandy stood still for a few seconds before launching into hysterical laughter. “Oh my god, you’re actually serious. Girl, girl, girrrlll. What will you do without me? Gilly, babe, he’s a fucking Android, both of them. So what if you slept with one last week? You know he’s memory wiped, right babe? Or did your head fall on the floor bitch?”

“Yes, I know that.” Gillian started nibbling at her nails. “But I just don’t feel like myself when I am around, you know, an Android.”

Sandy slapped her hand away. “Stop destroying the manicure. What do you mean you don’t feel yourself when you’re fucking an Android? Are you a lesbo Gill?” She rolled her eyes.

Sometimes Gillian wondered if her friend had what it took to be the top dog, with her casual racism & immaturity. If she had the balls, as the men used to say. She shrugged, “No, Sandy. I mean, there is this weird vibe, and I know you will not understand.….”

“Shut up!! You and your vibes. Goddamn it Gill, they are just toys to play with. Everyone does that, even the goths and fucking emo chicks.” She pointed to a group sitting at the corner table. “Look at those weirdos. But you know what Gill, right now you are sounding even more of a weirdo than them.”

“I don’t know Sandy. Sometimes I just want to see what happens after the sex. Spend a long time with someone, share memories… I mean whatever, you know.”

“Goddamn, Gill. Look at you.” Sandy smiled like a snake, “Don’t tell me you are one of those Neo-suffragettes? Oh my god, Gillian, I swear I’ll ki…”

Gill cut her off immediately, “No, no, no. Are you crazy? No. No, no. Not those fanatics, never.”

Due to temperamental issues, the casualty rate for men traveling deep space is extremely high – so the initial male-to-female ratio of colonies was lopsided from the very start. One day, a data scientist in the research wing of an inter-planetary logistics firm realized that planets, where females constituted more than 67.54% of the population, were more peaceful, business-friendly, and profitable than the rest. It showed the analysis to their boss, who liked it enough to share it with their boss, and very soon the President of the Council for Interplanetary Peace & Harmony has mentioned it in their post. Soon, corporations & scientists started revolutionizing sperm cell & humanoid robots and in a few decades, the male population of core planets was reduced to less than 5% – necessary for tasks like nuclear labor, espionage & sports.

The obvious obstacle to this government-sanctioned genealogical genocide was coitus. And they resolved it by releasing a series of Androids built for providing sexual pleasure to women. A few years later, brothels, escorts, strip clubs, relationships – all happened through these synthetic models.

As predicted by every social scientist, this gender imbalance soon led to issues ranging from quarrels to suicidal depression. Crimes of passion, drug use & road rage reached all-time highs, and a group of people started feeling uncomfortable about this status quo. Ones in power were not ready to give up their iron hold on population control, so they started advocating the return of marriage, males, masculinity & patriarchy – “Let the Man in !!” became a battle cry, and neo-suffragettes evolved into either revolutionaries or terrorists, depending on who you asked.

Gillian sighed. “I am just, I don’t know. I think I am just tired of hunting for a sex partner every night. Sometimes you just want stability.”

Sandy looked at her the way a person looks at their pet when it knocks over the vase. “Gillian, girl, stability is for old ladies who have no-one left for company except some cats. We are young, this is the time of our lives. In a few years, you’ll get a girl to raise, and then all your time will be spend juggling between your job & being a mother. Have fun right now, times like these won’t come back. Come, let me help you.”

“No, thank you, Sandy. I think I can manage on my own”, the thought of Sandy scooping in and stealing away her thunder forced Gillian into action. No matter how deep their friendship was, Gillian never forgot that her friend was, after all, a selfish bureaucrat through & through.

Gillian walked towards the two men, trying to hide her tremors. “Hey, I’m Gillian.” Extending forward, she gave Alan a cursory glance and focused her attention on his companion.

“Vikas. Nice to meet you. By the way, you’re looking gorgeous in that dress.” His perfectly white teeth shined like pearls enclosed in a perfectly constructed face. His grip was firm, but the soft palms felt like those of a child. His eyes seemed green from the distance, but she could see splashes of blue twinging in there from up close. It matched nicely with the aquamarine hoodie he was wearing.

Gillian on the other hand was dressed in a brown oversized jacket & undersized shorts. She blushed at his comments and Alan, noticing this, made his excuses & left. Gillian grabbed the moment, “I saw you last week when you helped that woman. I have to say, it was a really brave act.”

Now it was Vikas’s turn to blush, “Oh, it was nothing. There was someone who needed help & I was present there for it. That’s it.”

‘Gosh, he is such a gentleman. And he’s even blushing. These new models are so…. human like’ – Gillian silently admired the tech, and then instantly decided to put it through the litmus test. “So, what’s your purpose in life?”

From her previous experiences, she knew that an android’s usual response to this query was a blabbering of words that seemed smart but meant nothing. The concept of purpose wasn’t hardwired in an Android’s circuit. You ask for their job and they’ll reply with every pro & con of being a doctor or a lawyer or an adman or an actor. But purpose? Just bullshit.

“Hahaha.” Vikas laughed, and Gillian was taken aback by the sincere, heartwarming sound. He smiled at her, “Gill, can I call you Gill? So, Gill, You want to know my purpose? Really? Madam, the first thing you should be asking is the reason this question even exists? Why do I, you, all of us need this thing called purpose in life? Isn’t the fun of existing in this world, this universe – which we have never truly understood – is the fact that literally, anything we do or we don’t do will ultimately never matter? Let’s stop worrying about bull shit like purpose & meaning of life & what happens after death. We don’t know & we’ll never do. So, let’s just live these fleeting moments of our life full of passion and love, enjoy them while they last. Because you never know when it will end, will you?”

They did it in the bathroom, against Vikas’s wishes. He wanted Gill to come to his penthouse in one of the high-rise apartments on the new side of the town, but Gillian hadn’t wanted anyone this bad since the Alan debacle, and she was in no mood to wait. As she pushed Vikas into the stall, she let loose a strap & winked at the cleaning lady, who have her a dirty look.

The size of the stall proved to be an issue, with Vikas’s hurting his head multiple times on the doorknob. But something else kept nagging at her from the start. Vikas wasn’t as proficient as the other models she has been with – clumsy movement, a disregard for her needs, and a strong sense of what she could only describe as lust. Though his libido was nowhere near Alan’s in girth – she felt more alive with him than she had been with anyone before. Never had she wanted someone to enter her so badly, but Vikas took his time. He knew how to please a woman, with his hands & tongue, and even the toes. This new model was really really good at his job, & Gill screamed in excitement more than anything when he finally went in. Wave after wave of ecstasy & pleasure send shudders into her body, and she jumped & screamed & swore like a bitch in the heat, trying to tell the world how amazing she felt. The feeling came & went in pulses, and she couldn’t help but notice the sinusoidal pattern of orgasmic happiness spreading through her body. Her lungs gave out just as she reached the pinnacle; and then the tsunami stopped, leaving her exhausted and drenched in sweat.

“That was rather quick,” Gillian spoke after catching her breath. By her estimates, this was the quickest sex she ever had, but it was also one of the most satisfying. All the peculiarities about Vikas, especially the ones she just witnessed, somehow made the whole experience better. So much better that she almost said ‘I love you’ in the middle of it. Now she was experiencing an overpowering desire to run away with Vikas to his imaginary downtown penthouse, an android who will have no memory of her after tonight. It was horrifying and dreamy at the same time.

She didn’t realize when Vikas had gotten dressed back and now he stood there with a wide grin on his face. Gillian wanted to grab his beautiful face and kiss him on the lips right there.  

“So?” he raised his eyebrows. “So……” Gillian was afraid of saying something inappropriate. Sandy had told her about the workers who collected all recordings before resetting the models & then sold the scandalous ones on the dark web to make some extra buck. She didn’t want to enter her office tomorrow to sounds of snickers and sneaky looks. When it dawned on Vikas that no answer was coming, he opened the door and left.

While he relieved himself (‘is it necessary to make robots excrete?’), she adjusted the makeup.

“Hey, Gill. Can I maybe ask you something?”

“Sure, go ahead.”

“It was about your friend, the one you were talking to just now?”

Gillian was told on her first visit to a brothel that Androids get a daily memory wipe. It’s a machine built solely for giving pleasure, so there is no point in adding complexities like love, which made sense from both economic and tech perspectives. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise when he enquired about Sandy. But the delirious joy she had experienced mere minutes ago had given her so many false hopes that Vikas’s words were like a hard punch in the gut. She tried to remain calm. “Oh yeah. Okay, what about her?”

“You think, like, could you maybe introduce her to me? You know….” He shrugged.

“No, I don’t”, she spoke in an icy way.

“I mean..”

She cut him off, “I know what you mean. You wanna fuck her? Go ahead, be my guest. But I’m not gonna be your matchmaker, stupid tin box.”

She could see the anger flowing out of his eyes. ‘Is he self-aware? Fuck, is he going to hit me?’ before fear could take hold of her, the door burst open.

Half a dozen figures, clad in all black entered the room with tranquilizers from all sides – the door, the janitor’s closet, even the sky view above the stall she had occupied. Vikas lunged towards her with a vicious look on his face. She froze on spot, unable to avoid him, and saw in slow motion as his face twisted, went blank, and his body turned limp mid-air as he crashed on the hard tiles like a sack of potatoes in slow motion.

She turned towards the black figure closest to her. It winked, “CD6-500, the newest model. Sends you to a long sleep in microseconds. Isn’t it cool or what?”

Before she could answer, Sandy stormed in. “Gill, oh thank god you’re safe. You can never be sure when there are black ops involved.” She gave black-figure the figure an accusatory look.

“Look Sandy, that was one time. And it was 20 fucking years ago. Let go of it. There’s not a single unit capable of carrying out a complex op like that with zero mistakes. Learn to give us some respect, huh?” The black-op waved their hands in the air, “Chop, chop babes. Let’s get some vodka with sushi. Fuck these politicians”, and they were gone as quick as they had entered.

Gill felt her knees go weak, “Sandy, I think I am having a panic attack.”


“What do you mean he was a spy? Like James Bond & shit?”

Gillian was sitting on the hospital bed of St. Judes. It was a large room, with a VR set to keep her entertained while the doctors kept her under observation.

“Yes, an assassin to be more specific. Most definitely sent by one of the neo-suffragette groups, probably one of the majors. Our intelligence tells us that I was their intended target.” Gillian tried to speak but was cut-off. “He had been trained in an academy on Mars, in the old solar system. They have so many men that many choose to become an assassin, and he was one of the best. I was only informed once you went inside the powder-room with him. We intervened asap, and thank god he hadn’t done anything till then or I swear Gillian I was so freaking worried……” Sandy started crying and Gillian could do nothing but sit awkwardly with her casted leg while she calmed herself and wiped her eyes.

“So that’s that.” Sandy tried to smile. “But don’t you worry Gill, I can be a vindictive bitch when I want to. These fucking terrorists have no idea what is coming for them. I am going to bleed those whores dry.” Gillian was afraid her friend’s vein would pop anytime; her face had turned beetroot in anger.

“Sandy”, Gillian tried to calm her, “It’s okay. You are a big personality. Of course, they hate you, because you are on the rise. It’s just that……”

“Don’t worry”, Sandy held her hands, “I am going to put you up with the best private security. On me. And don’t you say no.” Gill had never planned to, but she did show fake humility.

“Okay now, I need to leave. Work you know. I’ll come to visit you in the evening.” Sandy threw her a flying kiss & started to leave, but turned back at the door.

“One last thing Gill.”

“Yeah.”

“Did you guys never started when we entered or was it already over?”

Gill shrugged.

“Wtf. That quick !! Gill, didn’t I tell you?”

Gill stared at her friend for some time before speaking. “Yeah. You were right. The worst sex I ever had.”

Sandy winked, “I am always right”, and closed the door.

Gill kept staring at the door for a long time after her friend left. Finally, she turned on her assistant and asked for a secure line. Once there, she dialed a number from her memory & put the call on autodelete.

“Hello.” She spoke.

“Is it safe?” the voice on the other end was gruff.

“Yes.”

“Did it go as per the plan?”

“Yes. She trusts me completely now.”

“Good. We need you to stay with her, as long as it is useful.”

“Understood. One more thing.”

“Speak.”

“There will be a lot of heat on you guys. Soon. So go underground.”

“Got it.”

“And sorry you had to waste an operator.”

“Short term sacrifices for the long term strategy. We do it all the time. Don’t sweat it.”

“Okay.”

“Take care, stay safe. Let’s bring the man back.”

“You too….” the call disconnected.

Gill turned her assistant off and opened the windows. It was a beautiful bloody dusk sky, with the oceanic winds blowing the sweet smell of freshly blossoming begonias in the air. It was a good day, and she smiled at the setting sun as memories of a dead assassin put her to gentle sleep.

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