In order to tell the story I want to tell I am finding that I have to continually challenge myself to draw new things, which is good--new poses, new backgrounds, new scene blocking, and so on. Megumi's Diary is not just letting me tell a story; it's helping me learn to draw, too.
* * *
"Start reciter," I said.
"Verify navigational system."
"Navigational system is on-line and operating within acceptable limits."
The Meido-san stood up; she seemed to weave a bit after straightening, but then steadied. "Error detected in auto-stabilizer," she said. "System was not shut down properly. Recover or ignore?"
"Recovering. Recovery complete. Auto-stabilizer must be re-calibrated." She lay down on the programming couch again. "Auto-stabilizer calibration is complete. Awaiting instructions."
She stood up again, this time without a hitch. I pointed at her clothing--female undergarments, pants, socks, shoes, and a shirt--and said, "Get dressed."
I watched the machine put the clothes on. Everything went fine; and shortly she was dressed. "Awaiting instructions."
I said, "Encode. Your name is Alyssa. Complete power-on self-tests and interactive diagnostics, and exit service mode. Decode."
She blinked, then said, "My name is Alyssa. Service mode exit complete. Awaiting instructions."
"Encode. Start normal mode. Decode."
She blinked again, and then said, "Start normal mode." Her eyes closed for a few moments; and when they opened, she was completely different.
"Hello; my name is Alyssa," she said with a bright smile. "Who are you?"
"I am your owner, Daniel Watson."
"Registered owner, Daniel Watson," she said. "By what name and/or honorific shall I call you?"
"'Dan' is fine."
"Dan. Very well, Dan." She looked around the shop. "This is not a domicile, is it? What are my duties?"
The basic Meido-san had been provided with enough intelligence to schedule cleaning tasks itself. It would give your house a thorough cleaning, and then monitor its general cleanliness thereafter. This new software was smarter than that; it made them capable of doing other tasks.
"This is my workshop," I told her. "Generally, you will not be expected to do anything here."
"This way to the house," I said, pulling on my coat and heading towards the door.
She walked, unblinking, into the driving rain, which had worsened while I finished powering her up, I realized tardily. She seemed utterly unaffected by the miserable weather, though, and walked dripping into the mudroom. She stopped before entering the kitchen.
"I am wet," she said. "I require dry clothing and a towel."
"What if I refuse?" I asked her.
She looked at me, thinking about that; finally she said, "A hazardous condition will exist. Wet floors can be dangerously slippery."
Damn! I thought. That was a convincing simulation of cognition and cause/effect pairing; it had taken the thing a few seconds but it had come up with just the right answer.
"Point taken," I told her. "I have no other clothes which will fit you. However, there are towels in that cupboard behind you."
Her eyes scanned the room; then she began to undress. Everything but her shoes went into the dryer, which she set, but did not activate; then she pulled out a towel and dried herself before adding it to the contents of the dryer and closing the door--and only then did she turn the dryer on.
By now I had hung up my coat; I said, "Follow me," and led her into my bedroom. I handed her a tee shirt and a pair of sweat pants which were only approximately too huge for her--but at least they covered her body. The original software for the Meido-san had had no body modesty, and I had not programmed any or installed any modules for this iteration--but I just didn't like making her pad around in her synthetic skin until her clothes were dry.
Without being instructed to, she dressed; then she scanned the room.
"This room requires cleaning," she told me.
"Please show me where the cleaning supplies and equipment are kept."
I led her to the supply closet in the kitchen. "This is also where I have placed your docking station. Everything you need to do your job is in here."
"I understand," she said, her eyes taking inventory of the closet. Finally she selected a dust mop and asked, "Which room do you wish cleaned first?"
"Go ahead and do my bedroom first."
I lay on the bed and watched her work. The synthetic skin, covered with cloth, muted the servomotors and transmissions more than I'd thought it would. Her movements were smooth and realistic, accompanied by the oddly harmonious whining of motors and gears.
She worked on the cobwebs first, and not one escaped her. Then she began to dust; and after a brief time out to resupply, she began to clean the windows, the mirror, and all the little bric-a-brac I had on my shelves. Next she picked up the clothing on the floor and transported it to the mudroom, sorted it, and began washing clothes; and while the first load was in the washer she got out the vacuum cleaner and did the floor.
"Do you wish to set a priority listing for room cleaning?" She asked me once the room was clean. It had taken less time than I'd thought it would.
"No, I'll leave that up to you," I told her.
"Very well," she said.