“I am a Pisces,” the woman says as if that explains everything.
“You’re kidding me. So am I.” I laugh.
“When were you made?” the Pisces girl asks with a tilt of her head.
“I was born February twenty first. I just missed being an Aquarius by two days,” I tell her. Not that I believe in all that mumbo jumbo, but it’s always bothered me that I was a Pisces. I mean Scorpios are supposed to be the worst I think, but whenever I see a description of Pisces it seems like the most wishy washy of signs. Worse, it fits me pretty good in some places.
The girl closes her eyes and turns her head back and forth in three movements. “You are not a Pisces in the way that I am a Pisces.” She opened her eyes. “I was ordered to kill you. In the event of my failure, I was ordered to tell you that your services are requested by Baxter Eklund and to take you to his base of operations. Would you like me to repeat the message?”
“Who is Baxter Eklund?”
“He is my guardian.”
“Oh.Did you grow up in a mental institution or something? That would explain a lot.”
The girl looks down and rubs her right wrist with the thumb of her left hand. “The AI of my prosthetic cortex was developed in an institution of learning, a laboratory. Also, I have been training with my optogenetic interface for three years in the same environment. In this sense it can be said that I grew up in a mental institution. However, I did not grow up in a mental institution in the derogatory sense you seem to suggest.”
Although she doesn’t have a discernable accent, she says all the syllables of the word “laboratory.” La-bo-ra-to-ry. It’s kind of cute and creepy at the same time. Like a levitating puppy.
“Are you supposed to be a robot or something?”
“I told you. I am a Pisces.” She’s taken to rubbing her other wrist now.
I rub the bridge of my nose. “Just so we’re clear, you don’t mean Pisces as in the astrological sign, you mean something else?”
“I am a human female, partially controlled by computer through an optogenetic interface. I am distinguished from other human females from my programming, which requires me to answer any question truthfully and to follow any order that I can physically obey. Humans with this programming are called Pisces.”
I don’t know what an “optogenetic” interface is, but there are things I’m more concerned about at the moment.“Okay. So you aren’t going to kill me if I turn my back to you or something?”
“Not unless you want me to,” the Pisces girl releases her blades and tilts her head.
“Thanks, but no. I think I’ll pass.” I look around my apartment, trying to think of what to do now. I should probably phone the police, but, well look at it another way, I’ve got a beautiful girl in my apartment. Sure she’s a psychotic nutjob who might kill me anyway no matter what she says, but that kind of adds to her mystique. “So, uh what’s your name?”
“Janis” She says, retracting her blades once again into her smooth, lightly tanned wrists.
That’s a neat trick she’s got. “Janus? As in the two faced Roman god of doorways and financial fortune?”
“No. My name is Janis because Janis Joplin’s name was Janis. I admire the passion she exhibits in her music, perhaps because I do not understand it. I hope to someday.”
I nod and get up from the floor. “Nice to meet you, Janis.” I hold out my hand. “My name is Ethan. Ethan Yates.”
She extends her hand and grasps mine. Her hand is unexpectedly warm. Almost too warm. Her grip is firm for a woman, but not unnaturally so. I release her hand and she seems to look me over. “You are attracted to me, yes?”
I feel a little heat rise to my cheeks. “Yeah…uh sorry.”
“Please do not attempt to have sex with me.”