I have a new story in the July/August 2010 issue of Analog, my second featuring my intrepid interstellar private investigator, Dexter Duff: “The Android Who Became a Human Who Became an Android.” And yes, I really do like long titles.
The first story featuring this character, “The Bear Who Sang Opera,” appeared last year in Analog. It’s set in the same “Unity Worlds” universe as many of my other science fiction stories. Since my writing often veers toward dark and brooding, every now and then I like to write stories like this as a way to change the pace — stories that are meant to be just good fun. I really like Duff and plan to write more stories featuring him.
The Android Who Became a Human Who Became an Android
by Scott William Carter
The last time I saw Ginger, she was sporting two breasts instead of three. Personally, I thought her breasts were perfect before, but I know that with some guys you could never have too much of a good thing.
When I stepped out of the shower, she was sitting there on the edge of my bed, decked out in a silky red number with a slit up the side that showed plenty of her long legs and a plunging neckline that definitely revealed too much of a good thing. Steam wafted out from the bathroom and rose from my bare skin. I was naked except for the towel around my waist. Outside my tinted floor-to-ceiling window, a constant swarm of Versatian hoverpods hummed and whizzed past, everybody in a hurry to get somewhere on a planet where everybody supposedly came so they didn’t have to hurry.
“I need your help,” she said.
No hello. No how have you been. No sorry for breaking your heart, emptying your credit account, and taking off with your ship and your entire twentieth century holodisc collection. The last time I saw her, I was stepping into a shower. Now, five years later, I stepped out of one and there she was.
“You have a strange sense of irony,” I said.
“Never mind. How’d you get in here?”
She shrugged. “Bribed the desk clerk. I’m pretty sure he thought I was a hooker.”
“You are a hooker,” I said.
She made a tsk-tsk sound. “That was another life. I’m a respectable woman now — married to one of the richest stepdock manufacturers in the known universe. And you can kindly stop staring at my breasts, thank you very much. It’s not that uncommon.”
“Sorry. You know, I am working here. I didn’t ask for you to barge in on me.”
“You’re working? In a place like this?”
“I’m checking the security system for the hotel.”
“Ah,” she said, and waved her hand dismissively. “Since when does Dexter Duff stoop to grunt work like that?”
“A lot of things have changed since you ran out on me, Ginger.”
— continued —