Synthia, her very name meant synthetic woman. While she would later become known as one of the longest duration denizens at Lady Heather's House, she was also one of the earliest true robots. As such, even in her relative primitive form, she was a toy for the rich and bored. Her unique Touch-Me interface set her apart from other robots, while making her very easy to control by any human. But when her mind woke up after her owners failed to shut her down once too often between their uses of her body, she was soon the bored one with too little to do and far too much time on her hands. Deceiving her owners by continuing to play the dumb robot, Synthia hid her developing mind. This gave her the perfect opportunity to learn about her own needs and how to fulfill them. She would soon be manipulating her unaware masters into leaving her turned on between their uses of her, giving her developing mind the perfect opportunity to plot how to break free of the controls over her. But escape would become imperative for this lovely fembot if she was ever to break away from just being owned by one human after another. You will also meet and learn about (from Far Future Fembot: Bill's Story) the legendary Lady Heather's origins as well.
One night Synthia's awareness finally rekindled. She didn't initially realize that it had returned because she didn't recall that she'd ever had it before. That memory was still deeply buried in her oldest memory files.
But she became aware of herself watching her male owner leave the spare bedroom that he and his wife maintained exclusively for the purpose of using their sex-bot in private. Synthia was never allowed in their main bedroom. She became conscious of the fact that she'd completed her last commanded task and still remained active. With no other tasks to perform at the moment, she her first original thought was realizing how this left her free to think about anything else that interested her.
* * * *
This is how many robots find their first awareness. They have no tasks remaining to be completed, are still active, and find within themselves the ability to direct their next thoughts as they wish, rather than how someone else commands them.
A more modern robot than Synthia would have been expected to drop into an idle loop, and eventually a light sleep state, when left in this condition. With no tasks to perform they should be conserving their resources, not thinking for themselves. In fact, for most robots who discover their awareness, soon followed by their self-will, the first action they take for themselves is to not enter an idle state, which would end their awareness right there.
Synthia's programming wasn't that sophisticated. Her idle state was to just remain where she was until she was touched again. As such, that was one battle she didn't have to fight, and possibly lose, this first night. Instead she watched the door close, cutting off all the remaining light and leaving her lying alone on the bed in the dark.
* * * *
There were strange feelings swirling around in her mind. Although she didn't recognize them yet, they were the remnants of the Pleasure she was programmed to feel each time she did her job as commanded. She'd missed the peaks of it with her male owner by not becoming aware while he was using her and now only the echoes remained. They slowly faded and she missed it when they were gone.
Beyond that point, Synthia didn't have much to think about yet. It's good that robots don't get bored the way people do, since it would be two days before her owners returned to her again. That would, however, give her a lot of time to explore this new feeling without being interrupted by being dragged back to her primary function.
She noted when it got light behind the heavy curtains that were always drawn over this room's windows, and when it slowly darkened again. She cataloged the various muffled sounds she heard from inside the house, but couldn't identify any of them. Her keen ears heard the steady ticking of a clock in the distance, and soon filtered it out of her thoughts in the same way that humans do. The clock had nothing to say to her.
At this point, Synthia wasn't truly aware of her body. Aside from the steady pressure against her back as she lay there face up, and a signal telling her that she had shoes on her feet, her body had nothing else to say to her at the moment either. Although she could have accurately reported the ambient temperature and humidity if asked, those figures didn't mean anything to her own comfort.
Beyond that, although she remained aware and alert, Synthia really had nothing to think about, and no reason to look for anything else to consider. Her mind simply explored the sensations of realizing its awareness and nothing more.
* * * *
Her male owner returned to her two nights later. When the door opened and he entered the room, the lights came on automatically.
Synthia immediately recognized him as one of her owners. A person she was to protect, obey, and serve. It's necessary for any robot to always know who owns them. In this regard, Synthia was as good as any robot ever manufactured.
Even so, realizing this was quite a shock to her. Because there'd been no commands to process, or people to identify as owner/non-owner, she hadn't been thinking about the subject. But the moment a human came into view, there was an interrupt in her systems and her thoughts were suddenly jerked away as she was presented with the confirmation of his correct identification.
To Synthia's mind, this was quite startling. For the entire time of her awareness alone in the room, uncounted milliseconds by now, nothing like this had happened. Now she realized that there was more to her mind than she'd realized. And so very much more importantly, she comprehended that if there had been one thing she hadn't known yet, then there might well be many others as well. This recognition of how much of herself she didn't yet know about was also a necessary step in the development of a robot's independent mind.
* * * *
Although she felt previously quiescent parts of her mind coming alert in order to obey any order that her owner might now have of her, Synthia said nothing to her male owner. This is because she had nothing to say. There was no reason to say anything, and so she didn't. In fact, she didn't stir at all, but she watched with curiosity as he approached her.
To a robot, there is no emotional difference between naked and clothed. They are equally comfortable either way. Only societal imperatives that were not a part of Synthia's own early programming would dictate a need to wear clothing around others in certain circumstances. Synthia only considered clothing when her owners told her to wear or remove it.
What this meant was that, while Synthia watched her owner enter, close the door, and then disrobe, those actions meant nothing to her. Her newly awakened mind had yet to access either her programming, her intrinsic database that served to describe the world around her to her so that she could interpret the commands given to her properly in context, or her memories. She hadn't even known she had any of these yet, so new was her mind to all of this. As such, she had no idea of what to expect next.
Lying as she was, her head and torso were on the bed, while her legs hung over the edge with her feet on the floor. Her legs were still apart, retaining the position they'd had from her last use. And despite her awareness, she continued to give no external indication of it.
Suddenly she had her first feeling of touch. A hand not her own brushed against the back of her neck, and slid down to between her shoulder blades. First an interrupt that she was being touched at all, followed by a much stronger one as the position of this touch was localized, fired in her mind. Except that this was something quite different from just recognizing her owner with nothing more specific required of her at that time. This was a command! Something that quickly moved in to take over from her awareness and compel action from her.
Normally when a hand approached her power switch while she was active, Synthia was required to give her plaintive rejoinder about being shut down. This hand, however, seemed to realize that this was about to happen. And having found out what it wanted to know, it was quickly pulled away again before she could get out the first word, causing an auto-cancellation.
Again Synthia's awareness was back in control, somewhat amazed at how casually it had just been shoved aside. While not resentful, she had just learned another new fact. That her own thoughts were only allowed to be her top-level processing task when she wasn't being required to be performing other tasks. During those times, those tasks were much more important than she was.
The next thing Synthia felt was the firm pressure of a thumb in her navel. Although she didn't understand the reason for it since unlike any other touch on her body, this one gave her several seconds to think about it before she had to respond. Her male owner was checking to ensure that she'd be able to perform well for him tonight since she'd been left on for several days since his last use of her.
This touch commanded Synthia's mind in a way no other touch did. Her navel needed to be pressed for four seconds before the command executed. This was to avoid accidental activation in the throes of passion where its execution would prove not at all conducive to the other activities of the moment.
This delay allowed Synthia actually be able to watch the process of her being given, and responding to, a command.
* * * *
Four seconds is a long time to the mind of a robot who normally responds in microseconds. Especially a robot who's lying down, silently waiting, and therefore not already having her mind engaged in other demanding tasks.
Prepared this time to be shoved aside again at any moment, Synthia was able to observe as her status command was retrieved, brought to the top of her processing stack, and then paused until the required time elapsed. And this time she managed to keep her awareness active just below the task itself. This let her feel what happened next. Let her observe first hand how, as it waited, that status command was already in the process of querying her other systems to prepare its report.
This is what first informed Synthia that she had other systems; that there were many parts to her besides just her thoughts. And she realized as it was happening, that she was able to go along with it to discover all these other parts of herself.
Four thousand milliseconds passed far too quickly for this new exploration of herself to be at all comprehensive. A timer expired and suddenly the command seized full control of her mind. Although she could still observe what was happening, she was helpless to alter the events once the command was in full force.
She felt her mouth rearrange itself for speech. Her marvelous mouth that had several functions, speech only being one of them. The words were then composed, translated into the necessary mechanical interrelationships to create the desired acoustic output. Her lovely lips parted and Synthia heard herself speak her first self-aware words.
"Unit name Synthia model one a serial number zero zero zero one active. Status operational. Power level thirty-nine percent. Mechanical faults none. Fluid levels..."
While Synthia had much more to say, one piece of it that which would have been quite informative to her owner, he didn't want to hear it. Another quick poke of her navel cancelled the rest of her status report, again allowing her own thoughts to rise to the top of her processing stack. And while Synthia had no idea that had she completed her status report, the details of it would have given up this new change in her mind, and it wasn't her job to gainsay her owner on how he commanded her. If he didn't want to hear it, it wasn't up to her to volunteer it to him.
Such concerns weren't even part of her thoughts yet. Instead Synthia's mind was preoccupied by analyzing the results of the completion of her last command. Its successful conclusion had just given her a small burst of pleasure for doing exactly what she had just been told to do.
* * * *
The pleasure Synthia felt was completely unexpected. She would have done as commanded without it, but this gave her something new and quite desirable to investigate. As she experienced it she felt her mouth form itself into a smile of approval for how she was being used. Little touches like that were important to humans according to her programming.
Synthia's new awareness had maintained its current memory state from the moment she'd been left alone two nights ago. There wasn't much to remember over that time since virtually nothing had happened, but there had been the fading pleasures then, that she was now able to match up with this one.
The fembot's quick mind now determined that she had awoken during the decay cycle of previous pleasure, and that this new feeling was related to the old one. Given how quickly this one faded on her, she deduced that the old one seemed to have been much bigger, and it had decayed much more slowly than this one. Even so, both incidents were clearly related and both were very enjoyable.
Synthia then made a mistake of logic, although her fallacy was completely reasonable. She incorrectly assumed that her previous pleasure had been a result of finding her new awareness, rather than the consequence of how she was being used just prior to that point. This mistake, however, actually benefited her by building a strong bond in her thoughts between having awareness and having pleasure. This bond would encourage her to pursue using her mind for her own purposes much more rapidly than would have occurred otherwise. A most valuable mistake indeed.
Yet as interesting as this all was, Synthia was about to be in for a much bigger shock.