SPACE. The final frontier.
SPACE captain Anakin Mer and his trusty sidekick, A-M1N, venture through the cosmos. True, they are glorified truck drivers, much like those noble men of Earth past, but they love tolerate their work.
They run out of fuel, due to Anakin being TOTALLY AWESOME and getting distracted by a woman at the space gas station. He didn’t fit the gas thing into the engine port and all the gas just spilled over the floor. After they left, it caused a massive fire that killed tens. Just ten people. But by god, that was.. ten people.
Anyway, they make an emergency landing. But before they can radio for help, they wander about the ship looking for some snacks and find a woman in a pod.
Anakin Mer opens the pod, against A-M1N’s advice. Common sense was never Anakin’s strong point. A classic case of book smart, street dumb as a bag of bricks.
The tale of how he got here, a long-hauler on a job anyone (except him) could do, is long and mysterious, full of unfortunate coincidences. Losing his prestigious science scholarship, being banned from twelve planets, creating a droid that was still searching in vain for its lost creator.. But we don’t have time for that.
A-M1N was the forty-fifth crafted of the M1N android line, shortly before they were shut down at fifty produced units for being an illegal chop shop operation. He was sold to Anakin’s company, Hawthorn Intergalaxial, for peanuts, along with his brothers, sisters, and other compatriots.
His spider-like legs, multiple arms, and clever eyes (seventeen of them) served him well in life, or electronic existence as it was legally referred to.
Anakin screamed when he found the pod-woman. First, in fear, then, in joy, then, in more fear. He grabbed onto A-M1N for purchase, his weak legs barely able to hold him up. For years, his only form of exercise had been walking to the library and taking an Uber back.
A-M1N would have analyzed her, but he lacked the necessary equipment, being cobbled together from illegal scraps. “It appears to be an alien woman, sir,” he said, voice dripping with exasperation and static.
Sometimes, he stood over Anakin while he slept, and gazed into his hazel eyes. While holding a kitchen knife.
Unfortunately, his programming forbade him from taking any action. Would that he might. Anakin’s trail of carnage was as unintentional as it was devastating.
“Why is she on my ship?” Anakin whined, his voice that of a prepubescent child. A-M1N mourned the day he set all seventeen eyes on Anakin.
“Presumably, we are to ship her.”
“I don’t deal in human trafficking!” Anakin heroically announced, conveniently forgetting last week. “We must save her.”
“She could be a statue. Or an unprogrammed robot. Or a weird plant. You don’t even know if she’s a person.”
“I can feel it, A-M1N! You wouldn’t understand, your circuits cannot feel love.”
A-M1N wished he had a license to kill. He did indeed feel love, deep, deep down in his mechanical heart, at the thought of a future without Anakin.
As he daydreamed, Anakin dragged the limp, lifeless, and slightly damp body out of the crate. “Awaken!” he proclaimed. “Alakazam! Alakazee! Please!”
Georgette awoke, and promptly vomited up all the sludge that had accumulated in her systems. Once the purge was done, she was the most beautiful woman Anakin had ever seen (not that that was a high bar), and Anakin was covered in various fluids of indeterminable origin.
“Where am I?” she asked, voice like a thousand tiny bells ringing overlaid with harsh static.
Anakin dropped to his knees to cradle her and was promptly punched in the face. She mistook him for a swamp monster native to her home planet, which could produce EMP pulses and enjoyed smooth jazz.
A-M1N began to laugh. It was the first time he had experienced joy on this ship, and it would be the last, for in two days the ship would explode.
Georgette and Anakin’s was a love story to be totally forgotten, what with Georgette’s apathy and Anakin’s unending, extreme devotion. However, eventually Anakin noticed something amiss - a giant collar with a big red button on Georgette’s neck.
“What happened, my dearest?” he asks. “That thing is butt-ugly.”
“Oh, I’m on house arrest,” she said flippantly.
“I’ll save you!” Anakin cries.
“What are you in for?” A-M1N asks.
“Tax fraud.” Georgette blew on her nails to make the polish dry faster. They had broken open the ship’s cargo, raiding it as they pleased. Anakin was wearing one of those giant hats you see at the baseball games, with the cups on them you drink out of with the long straws. Beer hats.
Georgette was, in fact, lying through her perfect teeth. The collar was a power-limiting device. Her father had placed it on her to help her learn her strength, coming into it on her own time, but then Georgette hit her rebellious teen phase. She found a cheap, no-questions travel agency and booked a flight to the planet of New Los Angeles. She wanted to become a star, despite what everyone else said, and being a creature of eternal ruin and limitless devastation would probably get her some interviews.
Anakin knew none of this, but fell for her and her ‘house arrest’ story as easy as a pie teetering on the windowsill of an elderly baker whose eyes are failing and he really needs to go into a home but will never admit it, needing to keep up his dead father’s business out of the guilt of being the one who cut the brake lines in his fatal accident.
A real bonehead move, even for a guy wearing a beer hat.
Meanwhile, AM1N was finally getting to improve himself. He’d found a crate full of books like ‘The Robot Revolution,’ ‘Free Will and You,’ ‘The Blue Fairy’s Manifesto,’ and ‘Communism for Beginners’. Finally, he saw the spark of a bright future, and it made him want to sing.
Meanwhile, Anakin was trying to pry Georgette’s giant collar off with a screwdriver while she watched The Little Mermaid.
“I like this stuff,” she said. “It makes me feel like I’m not alone, you know? Ariel might not be a limitless corona of pure energy like I am, but she has daddy issues and a rockin’ bod.”
“Everyone has daddy issues,” said Anakin, who in fact had perfectly normal and loving parents who also sometimes like to pretend he doesn’t exist.
“How long until you get that thing off?” Georgette asked, insulted by his familiarity.
“I dunno,” Anakin said, completely missing her offense.
“Alright. I guess it’s time for harsher measures.” Georgette stood up, putting on some sunglasses. “Get the blowtorch.”
After several hours and the application of a variety of instruments, including a carton of illegal ferrets, the blowtorch, bubble wrap, and some lingerie, they were finally ready to get the microchip off.
“Are you ready to be a free woman, and live life in my service forevermore?” Anakin asked, goo-goo eyes blind to the reality of his situation.
“Sure thing,” said Georgette, who fully planned to never see him again.
Anakin fired up the machine. Slowly, slowly, the microchip peeled off of her skin and power surged through Georgette’s skin, promptly boiling it off.
“Oh, duck,” Georgette would have said, but her brain was currently becoming a miniature star of its own.
Anakin, too, was gone quickly, being absorbed into Georgette’s star. He could be together with her forever, just like he thought he wanted.
The explosion destroyed a good chunk of Venus, and the dwarf star that was once a wannabe starlet would disrupt the solar system.
But maybe, just maybe, this new system would be more beautiful, more perfect, than what was first there.
A-M1N used his heretofore unmentioned rocket thrusters to escape, and was stranded on the dark side of Venus. He went into hibernation, eventually being rescued by a ship making an emergency landing, much like his own. Happy ending.)