AJ-1 held the baby close as it sheltered behind the broken wall, the warbot was getting closer but was unable to detect the android, its stealth circuits doing the job they were designed to.
The android waited until the machine had trudged away then set off south towards its destination, the android had been tasked with the mission just before the machines of the Alphamind smashed their way into the underground laboratory. The robot knew there was no way back as all the humans who had sheltered within would now be dead and the Tower, a massive fortress and last bastion of humanity was over a hundred miles distant, the baby had barely enough supplies for the journey, it might be necessary to scavenge at some point.
AJ-1 carefully examined its fragile package and the infant stirred slightly regarding the android with her blue eyes, the robot made a cooing noise as it had been programmed to then stroked the baby’s face saying in a soothing tone. “Don’t worry Milly, AJ will get you to safety.”
They were a mere twenty miles from the Tower when the Alphamind’s servants finally tracked them down, three of the giant machines had followed their trail to the ruined town they were sheltering in and one got a visual on the small metal figure dashing from building to building with its precious bundle. The giant war machine could not use radar to acquire its target accurately as AJ-1’s stealth circuits were still functioning perfectly and its first burst missed allowing the android to take cover behind a lorry that was little more than scrap.
The metal monster lumbered by unable to detect the fugitives and all would have been well if Tilly had not took it into her head to start bawling. “Please my love, stop crying.” AJ-1 rocked the baby but the warbot had heard and now loomed menacingly over the wrecked vehicle.
The android was armed with a pulse rifle and calculated that a shot into the vision port might disable the warbot but knew to fire it would mean putting down Milly, the terrifying machine had visually sighted them again and was bringing it’s chain gun to bear when the baby looked directly at it and smiled, the mechanized killer lowered its weapons and stopped dead. Realising the infant had something to do with this AJ-1 began to slowly edge away then froze upon hearing a new sound as an armoured vehicle clanked along the road into town. Upon seeing this one of the warbots clumped towards its target only to be incapacitated by a missile, another tank, unseen in the skeleton of a large shopping arcade had hit it. The remaining active war machine moved cautiously behind cover to wait in ambush for the approaching vehicle.
AJ-1 knew that there would be humans aboard and struggled with its inbuilt directives, its duty was to save them but Tilly must be protected at all costs. AJ-1’s electronic brain raced through the possibilities then rapidly arriving at a decision and carefully placed Milly in the cab of the lorry before running out in full view firing the pulse rifle ineffectively against the giant machines’ armour, at this the warbot charged out of cover towards the android giving the tank’s crew time to launch a missile which blew apart the machine’s head, it flailed around briefly before crashing to the ground.
Several armed men emerged from the vehicle. “Are you AJ-1?” the nearest soldier asked.
Before the android had chance to answer it was cut down in a hail of bullets, the third warbot, now free of whatever influence the baby had on it came to its electronic senses and targeted the small metal figure. Both tanks fired and the last of the trio was destroyed.
“Save the baby… save the baby… save the baby.” AJ-1 was lying ruined on the pavement it’s circuits dying.
“I’ve found her, she was in the cab!” shouted a soldier and upon hearing this AJ-1 felt a strange sense of relief before going offline.
“Come on guys, we have to go, the radar’s picked up a dozen of the bastards heading towards us.” called the tank commander.
“We’re on our way!” replied the sergeant, who was carrying the baby in his arms. “Grant, what the hell are you doing?”
The soldier was knelt by the wreck of AJ-1 prising off its skullcap. “Sir, after what this robot did it doesn’t deserve to lay here and rot, if I can retrieve the chip we might be able to do something with it.”
“No, we go now soldier!”
“But sir, it sounded just like a human being.”
The sergeant paused. “Bloody well hurry soldier, a horde of the damn things will be on us soon…”
AJ-1 came online lying on a cot and could feel pressure against it’s back, the robot was calculating how to define this new sensation when a noise attracted its attention and raising its head saw a smiling face, a face that could only belong to a much older Milly.
“Hello AJ, I’m so glad to meet you at last,” said the girl and a strange warm feeling registered on AJ-1’s sensors.
“My, how you have grown.” said AJ-1 in a voice it did not recognise.
“Yes I’m seven years old now, I don’t remember you but daddy told me you saved me from the bad machines?”
“Yes Milly that is correct.” answered AJ-1.
The girl looked to her side. “Daddy wants to talk to you now, see you later AJ.”
A man came into view as the girl left. “Hello AJ I’m very pleased to meet you, let me introduce myself, I’m Professor John Davis the husband of your old mistress.”
“Yes she spoke often of you, you are a specialist in robotics. I’m very pleased to meet you too sir, is this the Tower?”
“We’re in one of the levels deep below ground, we made some advances against the Alphamind while you were offline but there is still a long way to go before we can reclaim the world.”
“It is good that your daughter is safe and well Professor Davis.” there was that warm feeling again?
“Well AJ, you see Milly isn’t actually my daughter but has become like one to me in the past seven years, I can’t thank you enough for looking after her so well.”
“It was this unit’s programming sir, your wife instructed this unit that the baby was to be protected at all costs.”
“Nevertheless, that trick you pulled with the warbot at risk to your own existence is to be commended.”
“AJ-1 was expendable sir, the humans were not.” The android ran through its memory. “This unit sustained 87% damage before going offline, why has it been reactivated?”
“You’re a little bit more than just reactivated AJ. I couldn’t let you cease to be after all your effort, tell me, do you feel any different?”
“Sensory circuitry has been significantly improved, running temperature is higher than usual and many other anomalies are present that as yet cannot be identified.”
“Sit up and look at yourself in this mirror,” ordered Davis.
AJ-1 regarded its reflection and a beautiful dark haired young woman looked back. “You have made this unit look like the professor… your wife, why?” the robot held up its right hand and examined it.
“A soldier recovered your memory chip and when it was examined we found far more there than was expected, my wife worked in experimental genetics and had downloaded all of her work into your brain.”
AJ-1’s mind sprang to a conclusion. “You grew this body using the data recovered?”
The man smiled. “My, you are quick on the uptake, what equated to your mind now inhabits a cloned body gestated in a vat. It took us quite a while to achieve the process but using the recovered information we were able to accelerate your growth to equal that of a twenty year old in just five years, my wife’s first attempt only produced a new-born.”
“Milly!” exclaimed the android in realisation.
“Again you are quite correct, she was grown from my wife’s DNA and you were grown from a sample of hers and like her you are very special. You see, to beat the Alphamind and its heinous creations we needed a new type of human, one who can control robots with their mind. Milly can do this to a degree and will be able to control it better as she grows but you who, were once a robot, should be able to achieve this much sooner.”
“Once a robot… Then I am I a human being now, I am alive?” asked AJ-1, tears welling unbidden in blue eyes.
“Very much alive and more than human AJ, there is much for you learn but it will keep for now, go and find your sister.”