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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Perfection 2000

        Sergeant Airen Dey sat awkwardly at the edge of the spa bed, her eyes fixed on the tiled floor that was almost entirely clouded in shadow, considering that the only light in the room came from four candle simulations that had been brought in to make the mood more womb-like and relaxing, or at least that is what the pamphlet had said.

            She only had two weeks before she was scheduled to be married to the Governor in what was a marriage of incredible convenience, considering that the Dey family was very close to being kicked out of the Dome due to not paying their rent. She sighed and remembered what her father had told her: that she was saving her family, and that was all that mattered.

            Jeananne Stoat, the Governor’s mother and a lady whose skin had had the wrinkles surgically beaten out of it, leaned against the doorway in her high stilettos, her deep v-necked sweater something to make women a fourth of her age blush at, her long, knife-like fingers twining around a cigarette. She looked over at Airen and grunted, “I don’t know why this is taking so long. I paid them a tidy fortune for these treatments…I expect them to be punctual!”

            Airen had been touring the outer settlements with her regiment when her father had sent her the news of her engagement, and since this was the first time she had been back to the Dome in four years. Jeananne, her soon-to-be mother in law, had spared no expense to make her presentable for the big day. After hearing about the luxurious treatments in store for her from the receptionist, Airen had shed most of her misgivings about what to expect when suddenly the door slid open and a tall, ropey android slid inside and its front screen illuminated.

            “Sergeant Dey, Airen?” the metal creature asked in a surprisingly pleasant voice. From the bell-like protrusion beneath its two-foot long sinuous neck wafted the sounds of ocean swells and peaceful wind chimes, “Are you ready to feel and look your best?”

            Airen swallowed hard and nodded, “Um, yes. I think so.”

            The android swiveled to look at Jeananne, “Smoking makes you ugly. Please exit the room. You will find magazines and other entertainment available in the waiting room.”

            “I beg your pardon!” Jeananne snarled, “I am here to protect my investment!”

            “No smoking!” the android insisted, and held out a mechanical claw expectantly. Jeananne rolled her eyes and handed the unlit cigarette over. The android stuffed it into a decontamination lock in her side, and said in what almost sounded like an exasperated voice, “You will not interfere. Have a seat and please remain quiet so that the subject can experience maximum relaxation.”

            “I’m fine here, Jeananne. You don’t have to-“ Airen started before the android whirred over her and started to chirp insistently.

            “Prepare to unleash your inner glamour.” The android’s angular head-appendage stretched forward like a snake, and a red beam shot from its single glowing green eye. The beam ran from the top of Airen’s head and swept downwards until it touched the bottoms of her feet, and the machine intoned, “I am reading that you have only unleashed 67.8886 percent of your potential for glamour. Please allow me to access the remaining 32.1114 percent.”

            “Uh sure.”

            The neck retracted and the machine whirred slightly with what Airen momentarily imagined was pleasure, “Please make yourself comfortable while I prepare the first procedure. We will be removing the excess body hair located on 46 percent of your dermal layers. Once we are finished with that, we will be giving you a dermal scrub to open your pores, along with a molecular enhancement vibration and a femoral lengthening procedure to even out your proportions.”

            “A femoral what?”

            Jeananne chimed in, “Oh please! Do something to draw attention away from those thighs!”

            Three long arms slid out of the robot’s sides and gently but firmly pinned her reclining body to the bed, “Excuse the restraints, Sergeant, but some of the procedures involve involuntary muscle spasms. Now relax, and let our patented Beautification Process begin.”

            Airen lay completely still as the android’s deft fingers slid the complimentary bathrobe off of her, all too aware of the awkwardness of being naked in front of her mother-in-law. The older woman clucked disapprovingly at Airen’s tan skin, her rippling muscles and spidery battle scars.

Airen was about to ask if Jeananne could look away when all of her attention suddenly went to the excruciating pain surging through her. Tiny, methodical lasers burned the hair straight out of the follicles on her legs, underarms and genitals. She gritted her teeth and tried to remain stoic when the machine reached into her most intimate places with a pumice scrub and whisked away the first layer of skin.

Jeananne looked over the android’s shoulder, so to speak, and clicked her tongue, “My god, what does the military wipe with? Rocks? Look at how disgusting the skin is!”

“Please remain seated and silent,” the android grunted.

Airen’s tight chest let out a long, high pitched moan of anguish as she was scrubbed with deluded sulfur and hydrochloric bleach baths, designed to smooth the scars off of her. In all actuality, what it did was burn the skin around the scars down to be level and then buffered across it like a mechanic detailing a high-end car. It wasn’t until the “molecular enhancement vibration,” where large sections of her dermal layer were pulled off in long strips and a new skin woven from genetically engineered fibers was reattached and smoothed into place that her limbs went cold and she began to slip into shock.

            “Please enjoy the sample product we have used on you today. The skin will reject in four weeks, when you will have to upgrade to our full-body procedure.” The android purred when she had finished.

            Airen sobbed, all of her pain receptors screaming at her inside her brain. She had been shot, stabbed, tortured and almost executed on the colonies, and yet none of what she had experience had come even close to the searing, brutal agony of what she was undergoing. When she had calmed down enough to form words she hiccupped, “Are we done? Please, just let me go…”

            “We have only unlocked 89.9998 percent of your potential.” A fifth arm snaked out from the android’s midsection with a whirring, robotic bone saw humming over the calming ocean noises, “It is time for your femoral procedure, and your spinal lengthening.”

            Airen screamed, and tried to claw her way free and the android started to spew anesthetic gasses into the room, the pleased whirring in its chest nearly lost under the bone saw’s screeching, “Please relax, Sergeant Dey. Don’t you want to be beautiful?”

            Jeananne excused herself five and a half hours later to use the bathroom, and when she had emerged she saw her son standing awkwardly in the waiting room. She hurried over and hugged him, “Hey there, handsome! How’s my little boy?”

            “Fine, mother.” the Governor awkwardly pulled away and straightened his tie, “Where is Airen? What are you doing to her?”

            “Making her beautiful.”

            The Governor scowled, “She IS beautiful. She’s the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and I don’t want her even a little bit different. I have told you this!”

            “It’s an improvement, trust me.”

            The door to the beautification room opened and the android whirred out, covered in blood. It beamed an image of a smiling face onto its screen and purred, “Sergeant Airen Dey’s glamour has been increased by 32.1114 percent.”

            Airen hobbled outside, her body wracked with pain. Her skin had healed due to the accelerant that the machines had drenched her with, and she struggled to smile at the Govenor, “Hey.”

            He stared at him, his face completely impassive, and for many seconds he didn’t speak. Finally, he looked at his mother and grunted, “You made her look exactly like you.”

            Jeananne beamed, and Airen turned to look in the floor length mirror to her left. To her horror, she saw that he was right.

            The Governor pulled the slim metal band off of his finger and set it on the coffee table silently, and without another glance, walked stiffly from the room.

            The android patted Airen on the shoulder gentle and said, “Don’t worry. He just doesn’t recognize the new, more sensual you.”

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