I can’t help but jokingly think of this as “Beauty and the Beast with robots”.
This is still massively underdeveloped, of course, but I find it to be a thoroughly fascinating idea.
Aurora’s eyes closed, and for a moment she drifted into sleep before she snapped herself back into consciousness. The horizon was growing lighter, and he still hadn’t appeared. While she was doing her best to maintain the vigil, it was difficult to feel a sense of urgency when the fate of humanity rested on someone who was now hours late.
“He’s not coming,” Talon murmured, closing his hand around Aurora’s. His skin felt burning hot over her cold fingers, so she snuggled up against his side to soak in his warmth.
“He has to,” she replied quietly.
“As soon as the first sun rays appear, we’re out of time.” Talon motioned to the frozen mecha that stood some yards away, still poised in mid-attack. “The artifacts won’t hold it after daybreak.”
“He’ll be here,” Aurora weakly insisted. “He’s the only one who can stop it.”
“We need to leave before we get killed.” Talon stood then pulled on her. “Come on.”
“But what about the artifacts?”
“They’ll probably be destroyed. We’ll have to worry about that later.”
Aurora reluctantly followed Talon, but she couldn’t stop herself from looking back. Recovering the three golden artifacts had been a long and difficult process, and activating them to imprison the mecha had cost them the life of a friend. The thought of being abandoned by CR1515 at the last minute was too much to bear.
“Let’s go find him,” she suggested hopefully.
“If Robot Boy was coming, he would have been here hours ago,” Talon snapped, using the derogatory nickname for CR1515. Even though he was humanity’s protector, there were many people who resented and feared his abilities, and consequently sought to drag him down in petty ways. Despite the intended disrespect, CR1515 had never given any indication of noticing the nickname or the negative attitudes towards him … until his failure to appear that night.
“The Gate isn’t far from here. Let’s just go see if we can contact him, at the very least.” Aurora hated the thought of giving up, and even though she knew her idea sounded silly and irrational, it was far better than doing nothing.
“You go then, if it will make you happy. I need to tell the others what’s happened.” Talon stopped and turned to Aurora, put his arms around her waist, then kissed her lips. “Don’t risk waiting around, though,” he whispered. “If he doesn’t answer in two minutes, get underground.”
“I promise I will.” Aurora closed her eyes as they kissed farewell again, then continued to the Gate alone. She approached the metal door, standing in the middle of an empty lot free from any buildings or walls, and pushed the small button next to it. Silently, she began to count the seconds, feeling the weight of fatigue build with every number.
At 64, the door swung open.
She hesitated, then stepped through.
Aurora was no longer in the empty lot with solid earth beneath her feet. She was inside a large room with windows on every side, looking out at a dark sky that was speckled with innumerable stars, and her breath caught in her throat at the realization that she was no longer on the planet, but far above it in space.
Metallic footsteps came towards her, and she turned to face CR1515. It hurt to find him home, staring at her with his expressionless face, and she couldn’t stop herself from crying out, “How could you?”
He stopped. “Have you never questioned whether or not you are worthy of my help?”
“Aren’t … we?” Aurora was lost for words. The truth was, through all the hard work and sacrifices that they had made to reach their goal, it never once occurred to her to wonder what CR1515 thought of them – she had assumed that he would assist the moment he was needed, because he always had before.
“I have grown tired of humanity. Save yourselves.” He turned to walk away, but Aurora jumped forward and caught hold of his back, pressing herself against him as she begged,
“Please. Please. We’ve done everything we can, but that mecha is … a lot of people will die if you don’t do something right now!”
“No,” came his harsh reply.
“I swear that I’ll do anything you ask, if only you’ll kill that thing!”
“You swear?” CR1515’s metal hands pressed down over her wrists, holding her in place with her arms around him.
“I want what your species takes for granted.” He thrust Aurora’s arms away from him and once again turned to face her. “I want to touch, and to love.”
She stood, numbed by the words, unable to stop the thought, He’s a robot, from repeating itself over and over in her mind. CR1515 possessed the likeness of a human, but he was undoubtedly made of hard metal. How could he touch?
“Will you be mine?” he asked.
“But …” Aurora’s voice faded.
“Those are my terms. If you won’t accept, then begone.”
“…Yes.” Her lower lip trembled, and she wondered if she should try to take back the word despite having said it.