In this science fiction short story, for as long as she can remember, Christa has hated androids. The texture of plastiflesh skin and the non-smell of the animate machines jars her senses. Don’t even get her started on robots, or worse — the andys that look human. Her job as a corporate spy for the android maker Innersoul puts her in touch with the creatures every day, but also lets her judge them. When she runs into Humancopy Progress Rep Tom Karellys, she can’t believe her luck. Using a cover identity, Christa shares dinner with him, and the two discuss andys. It soon becomes apparent Tom is not what he seems, and Christa must decide whether he’s a trustworthy human, or merely… Human Perfect.
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Excerpt Human Perfect
Terran Crescent, Earth
Lunar Spaceport Earthside Shuttle Concourse D
Christa kicked her leather-bound suitcase. “I hate waiting in lines.”
“So do I.” The blond young man across from her in the other security check line looked her way. His eyes glowed with the same soft blue as Earth’s northern sky before the sun rose too high. “Huge waste of time.”
“I’ll say. And then if you’re traveling back here from outside the Crescent…? Ugh! They treat you like you’re diseased, or some horrible spy or terrorist.”
“Try going to Ylyptya after being on Earth.” He inched ahead, his robotic suitcase keeping pace beside him. “It takes two hours of waiting in medical quarantine while they process you. God forbid you should bring in a germ.” He held up his hands. “Oh, sorry. I hope I didn’t put you off if that’s where you’re headed.”
“No, New Earth for business.” Christa dragged her manual bag forward. “Are you vacationing?”
“On Ylyptya? Hardly.” His smile showed a flash of perfect teeth. “No. It’s home. I was on Earth for business.”
“What do you do?”
“Tom Karellys.” He offered her his hand. “Progress Rep for Humancopy. Ever heard of us?”
“No.” Christa released his hand at once, and rubbed hers against her jacket. Who hadn’t heard of them? Makers of the galaxy’s most ‘Human Perfect’ androids. Too perfect, some said. You couldn’t tell their plastiflesh from real flesh. Still, a rep for Humancopy… if she could get him talking… “What does Humancopy do?”
“We make andys.” Tom draped his coat over his suitcase. “Androids. The Human Perfect type. And you?”
The line moved another two steps and ground to a halt. “I’m a travel agent. Name’s Christa.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“So, Tom, what does a Progress Rep do?”
“I gauge how well the competition’s andys are keeping up with ours.” The line nudged forward a few steps. “My flight doesn’t leave for hours. What about yours?”
“Same.” With one foot, she nudged her bag to catch up with the line. She turned her shoulder to him and powered up the book she’d been reading, waiting to see if he’d pursue the conversation.
“I think they opened another lane.” Tom stood on his toes to peer at the line of people ahead of him. “If we get through this checkpoint sometime this year, would you like to have dinner?” A brilliant flash of smile melted any resistance. “It’d be nice not to wait alone.”
She put away her book. “Why not?”