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Beating Hearts Algorithm

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“Is this your first time?”

 

He’s pretty, Baekhyun notes, as said android undresses. Yet, he’s not just pretty, Baekhyun’s trained eyes manage to see. The android is fleshy and lifelike, delicate biomechanics finely tuned to minute details, almost too perfect to be true. There’s still something that’s not quite there, as it’s always the case when it comes to synthetic servants. They don’t feel, not the way humans can, and it’s out of despair that they seek the services of entertainers such as himself.

 

Baekhyun doesn’t recognise the model exactly, but he’s pretty sure this is an expensive custom piece, given how the spectators are usually rich enough to escape their subhuman condition. Judging by the face alone, he’s probably some sort of high-end companion droid. They never bother to make them that realistic unless they’re meant to satisfy emotional and sexual needs.

 

Well. Takes a whore to know one, Baekhyun figures. He smiles.

 

“No,” he says, and he’s telling the truth. “But I can pretend it is if you want.”

 

The android doesn’t blink, and he dismisses Baekhyun’s suggestive tone without even voicing it out loud.

 

“Have you ever been with an android before?”

 

The synthetic voice is of high quality, Baekhyung notes right away as he sits down on the bed to look at his client next to him.

 

“I have,” he answers simply with a soft, pleasant smile.

 

Baekhyun is good at this, at being pleasant. He’s not lying either. It’s far from his first client of the sort. Androids seeking sexual services from humans is nowhere as rare as most people would like to believe. Baekhyun, in fact, likes robot clients the most, often far more than his human customers. They’re, by definition, harmless.

 

They require a different kind of service, too, Baekhyun had come to realize. They want him because he might just be able to make something spark in that cold, cold circuitry of them.

 

“What’s your name?” he asks, pressing his hands on the android’s shoulders, straddling his hips.

 

They’re naked. This time, the android blinks.

 

He’s pretty, Baekhyun notes again, with wide eyes and full lips, and he seems to be equiped with a fine-tuned expression software. The machines that can afford Baekhyun’s services usually all are of a higher caliber, with AI that justifies earning salaries linked to more technical occupations, or a range of interpersonal care services that make them worth the expense.

 

Baekhyun’s guessing that this is one from the later category, is pretty sure of it now that he’s touched him. They never bother manufacturing skin that’s this realistic on anything else than pleasure bots.

 

“I am of the model DK500,” the robot says slowly, still as the captors in his pupils seem to scan over Baekhyun’s expression.

 

“I know what model you are,” Baekhyun teases, caressing the android’s face softly. His skin is almost too perfect, it’s unsettling, a little bit.

 

There’s a reason why he allows himself to be like this with android clients, whereas he would never dare to be this casual with humans he services. Androids are, by definition, rendered completely harmless by their pre-installed safety features. This one’s shut down button is easy to spot, located at the base of his neck. One push, and the android would be set back to factory settings, memory wiped clean. Baekhyun’s hand skirts next to it, and the android closes his eyes.

 

“My owner calls me D.O,” he says, unmoving, but there’s something there, Baekhyun can see it in the curve of his pretty mouth.

 

“Do you want me to call you by that name?” Baekhyun asks, as he positions himself closer, initiating this slowly.

 

This is the way he knows he has to go with clients like this. He also know that some AI can come to a level of consciousness elevated enough to name themselves. Baekhyun guesses that it makes the knowledge of their own existence, their own destiny as android, more bearable. An agency of sort, Yixing had told him over food once, during one of their dates. Baekhyun isn’t sure he fully understands, but it doesn’t matter.

 

“I’d like you to call me Kyungsoo.”

 

Baekhyun smiles, nods, repeats.

 

“Kyungsoo.”

 

Something perks almost imperceptibly in the android’s demeanour, in his eyes, in his face.

 

“I’m here to make you feel good, Kyungsoo,” Baekhyun continues, hands pressing on his cheeks now, foreheads pressing against one another as they speak. “Do you want me to make you feel good?”

 

Kyungsoo doesn’t answer right away, as his hands skirt upwards, cuping Baekhyun’s face. A thumb traces the line of Baekhyun’s bottom lips, testing. The fingertip is soft, unnaturally so. Baekhyun’s sure the android is a pleasure bot, now.

 

“I would like you to pretend that I am human,” he says quietly, and there’s this edge to his words, wide eyes taking in and analyzing Baekhyun’s facial expressions.

 

Baekhyun knows he can fool lower-end models by simply messing up with the algorithm’s input, but he’s fairly sure Kyungsoo’s AI is far too advanced, and has already collected far too much data for that. He nods in acknowledgement. It’s a fairly common request for his android clients, and it’s easy to see why.

 

Baekhyun smiles, presses a kiss against Kyungsoo’s fingertip.

 

“I’ll pretend you’re my love, if you want,” he whispers, hand coming to pick up Kyungsoo’s hand from his face, angling it so he can more his lips across his palm, on the side of his wrist.

 

There’s another blink from the android as he takes in the stimuli, breathes in, breathes out. It makes Baekhyun smile, and he takes his time, eyes on Kyungsoo’s face.

 

An imperceptible hum of machinery seems to animate Kyungsoo under his synthetic skin, and Baekhyun wonders how expensive the android must be. He’s a custom made piece, obviously, and there’s a spark of excitement at the novelty of it all. Baekhyun can’t help it. He leans closer to Kyungsoo, whispering in his ear.

 

“I really want to kiss you,” Baekhyun says, and, once again, he isn’t lying. “Can I?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo answers right away, voice equal, stable, robotic.

 

Baekhyun does as he’s promise, and Kyungsoo’s lips are just as soft as they look. There’s a moment during which Kyungsoo doesn’t respond, and Baekhyun knows what’s going on in the android’s mind, how his circuits light up in new, unknown pathways.

 

Kyungsoo probably has a dozen protocols built in to please Baekhyun, to entertain humans, to cater to their physical, emotional and sexual needs. He doesn’t have anything for a situation like this, however, most likely, and so it takes him time to adjust.

 

It takes him time to figure out what he likes for himself.

 

Kyungsoo kisses back softly, plush lips and eyes closed, deceptively natural. The android is still processing, still going with familiar information pathways and building on that, bit by bit. He’s probably collecting data from Baekhyun’s body, his vitals, his temperature, the chemical composition of his saliva. Machines like Kyungsoo, they can’t help it, Baekhyun knows that.

 

Machines like Kyungsoo are built to please, but not to be pleased.

 

They spend more time kissing, and Baekhyun allows himself to giggle through it, whisper sweet sweet nothings that don’t mean anything in the android’s ear. Their hands explore each other’s bodies, and Baekhyun hums like he means it, like they’re in love.

 

It’s a common fantasy, to be human, to feel, for androids. Baekhyun wonders if it’s inevitable, for creations such as Kyungsoo to so desperately wish to be as their makers. He wonders if he’d be the same, had their places been switches, if Baekhyun had been the one made out of synthetic skin and organs, and Kyungsoo the one born of flesh and blood.

 

“You’re so beautiful, Kyungsoo,” Baekhyun says, whispers, soft, soft, soft.

 

He moves his lips down, on Kyungsoo’s throat, on Kyungsoo’s chest. Hands skim over smooth skin, brush against bed sheets, pull, hungry.

 

“This arouses you,” Kyungsoo observes, tone unmoved, but Baekhyun knows it’s more than that from the simple fact that the android voiced it out loud.

 

“Do you like it too?” Baekhyuns smirks back, hand brushing over the slight softness at the bottom of Kyungsoo’s stomach suggestively.

 

He ponders, very briefly, about the kind of owner that would have Kyungsoo custom made the way he is, pretty and yet with a stern expression on his face, nowhere near the usual exaggerated features most pleasure bots come equipped with. Someone desperate, probably, desperate for something to, at last, feel true.

 

It’s the most life-like android client Baekhyun’s ever had, he realises as their bodies start moving together. Kyungsoo’s still also so obviously not human. It’s puzzling.

 

Baekhyun gets to his knees at some point, fumbling with the slightly worn jeans Kyungsoo’s wearing. Second-hand, obviously. Maybe that’s part of the illusion whoever made this has tried to maintain. Baekhyun doesn’t dwell on it, looking up at the android over heavy lashes.

 

“Has anyone ever done this for you?” Baekhyun asks, and Kyungsoo shakes his head negatively.

 

It’s typical. Pleasure bots, Baekhyun has found out with experience. The visual of having a human like Baekhyun, real skin and bones and blood and soul, on his knees for them, usually does the trick. It’s so unnatural, so against their respective nature, perhaps. Still, Baekhyun understand why. There’s something deliciously forbidden about it for him too.

 

“Can I?” he whispers against the erect flesh of Kyungsoo’s prosthetic penis, feeling it flutter under his lips, briefly.

 

Kyungsoo nods, giving him permisssion, and Baekhyun’s tongue peaks out, to touch, to tease. It’s interesting, intoxicating, a little bit, how the android watches him like this, unblinking, almost feeling.

 

Maybe Baekhyun gets something out of this, too, he thinks idly as he tongues Kyungsoo’s dick, swallows him whole. There’s this satisfaction in his mind that comes from the fact that he knows how good he looks, how good he is at what he does.

 

There’s a satisfaction at rewiring machines with his mouth, his lips, his hands, his cock.



It only hits him once they’re done, how lifelike Kyungsoo is in all the wrong ways. Baekhyun’s curled to his side in the pod. He toys with the jet black hair that’s cut into a severe short cut on the android’s head.

 

There’s this plastic quality to his brow, to his lips, but the devil is all in the details, in the slightly bushy aspect of his eyebrows, the hint of a wrinkle at the corner of his eyes.

 

It’s messed up, to make machines that look so much like humans. There are even laws that regulate such things. Baekhyun wonders again what kind of person would get a pleasure bot like this, that’s so real yet not quite there, almost.

 

Baekhyun’s always been too curious for his own good.

 

“Can you tell me about your owner?” he asks.

 

It breaks the spell, the feeling magic he’d created that Kyungsoo panting against Baekhyun’s neck as he fucked him, mimicking human desire maybe just well enough to feel it himself. It makes all the sweet nothings Baekhyun gasped out like if Kyungsoo was real, like if they’d been in love, shatter silently between them.

 

Maybe Kyungsoo can feel it, the magic wearing off. Maybe it makes him upset. Baekhyun can’t know, but there’s a mean, bitter part of him that wishes so. He’s jealous, in a way. Pleasure bots like Kyungsoo don’t get to feel used the way he does, sometimes, most probably.

 

“I can’t,” Kyungsoo says, his hand tracing the line of Baekhyun’s neck.

 

It’s funny, or maybe it isn’t. Baekhyun knows that physically speaking, clients like Kyungsoo could easily destroy him, rip him to shreds, yet they won’t, they can’t. There’s this safety chip in Kyungsoo’s head ready to self destruct at the push of a button on his neck, at the activation of a protection protocol.

 

Baekhyun closes his eyes, wonders what it would feel like to choke under the weight of the android’s strong hands.

 

“Can you tell me if she’s good to you?” Baekhyun continues, curling into the touch.

 

There’s a hint of mayb tiredness in Kyungsoo’s demeanour as he lies next to the human, still caressing Baekhyun the way a lover would.

 

“He is. He’s good to me.” There’s a pause. Kyungsoo’s processing. “He loved the human I was modeled from, afterall.”

 

It hits him like a brick, and it makes so much sense, now. Kyungsoo gets out of bed, sits naked at the window, looks at the city bellow. Neon lights flash underneath him, making his synthetic skin take blue and purple hues. The android is gorgeous in a way that’s too natural, to lifelike.

 

The fact that Baekhyun hasn’t figured it out earlier baffles him, now.

 

Of course. Kyungsoo isn’t just a pleasure bot. He’s a replacement android. He’s been modelled after a human, by someone who couldn’t bear the idea of losing his lover forever.

 

Replacement androids from live or deceased humans are illegal to own and operate, but just as Baekhyun’s main source of income is technically outlawed, enforcement is hardly effective when it comes to humanity’s most primal desires.

 

“I see,” Baekhyun says, and he does, he really does. “His name was Kyungsoo, wasn’t it?”

 

The android nods. It makes sense. It makes so much sense.

 

They’re in the same business, he realises now, in the business of pretending of being someone they’re not. Of loving someone they don’t. It’s a tricky thing to discuss, something Baekhyun doesn’t want to discuss, not really, not ever.

 

But unlike Baekhyun, the replacement bot isn’t good enough to maintain an illusion that isn’t real. He isn’t quite human enough, no matter how hard he tries.

 

Baekhyun gets up, follows to press his body against the android once more. The resentment has vanished, now, because there’s pity, now, in the way he molds himself to synthetic skin, kisses synthetic lips because this is what he’s paid to do, yet not what he was built for.

 

Later that night, the android will be back to his owner, back to being a not quite perfect copy of someone who will never come back. Baekhyun will be home, will be laying in bed, looking at the ceiling, and he’ll check his holopad briefly, always too curious for his own good. He’ll enter the name into the search bar, scroll through results. Unravel the tragedy of how anyone would try so, so, so hard to build himself a replacement for a loved one now long gone.

 

The light shines on Baekhyun’s face, and his eyes feel heavy from the night’s work.

 

His name is Kyungsoo indeed. Do Kyungsoo.

 

Oh.

 

Oh...