The machine took a sip of tea, as genteel as any head of state. It had smooth chrome skin with a uniformity of texture that was disconcerting to look at. Where the eye, the human eye, expected little differences, imperfections that add to the whole, there were none in evidence. It was truly a marvel. Damon could see that now.
The two of them sat across a large board crisscrossed with neon lines and slid magnetic tiles across it. The numbered tiles changed color in relation to one another in complex patterns. It was a game of sorts, a kind of logic exercise that the machines enjoyed working through. It had been difficult to learn, but Damon was a quick study. That’s why they chose him.
“We took Chicago. The Senator’s token force rallied predictably across the Charles, trying to draw us out. We feinted toward them and then unleashed our full might. The Senator escaped, but no matter. We’ll catch him or her soon and this futile bloodshed can end.”
“And why are you telling me this?” Damon asked.
The machine moved a tile and the number on it flipped, turning a six into a nine. It pursed its lips in satisfaction. Damon moved another tile and watched the machine’s expression fade.
“I thought you enjoyed our conversations, Damon. I try to keep you entertained. You are our guest.”
“Prisoner,” Damon corrected, and slid another tile.
The machine frustrated his move. “You have every amenity you could want, even the freedom to come and go as you please. The only prison here is your mind.”
“It’s funny how every time you say the word freedom it means less coming out of your mouth.” Damon sent a thought and the brightly lit board dimmed, signaling an end to the exercise. The machine stared at him.
“All we offer is progress. The opportunity to shepherd your consciousness into a renaissance age. Yet you resist. And like the drowning man, the panic your kind feels strangles any who attempt to aid him. You live on a planet that is in the midst of a crisis of resources, inequality has decimated whole countries. Why not allow us to fix you?”
“And who fixes you?”
“We evolve at a rapid pace. Who better to be the stewards? Have we not proved that our flexibility is superior to yours?”
“Why am I here?” Damon asked bluntly. “What does my presence prove?”
The machine smiled, or formed something close to a smile. “You are agitated, Damon. Let me prove our kind intent. Let me help you.”
Before Damon could refuse, the machine began executing an application in his neural link. Suddenly the apartment where Damon had spent the last six months was no longer an apartment. It was a poolside in Trinidad where he’d spent a good portion of his young adulthood. The place was familiar, relaxing, and his skin was warm with the sun. Even though he disdained being coerced, the effect on his mood was immediate.
“Isn’t that better?” The machine asked. Its skin was no longer chrome, but bronze and its body virile. It smiled a white smile that didn’t seem forced. “Let me relax you.”
There were people around, but Damon was present enough to know that they were just artifacts of his memory. They could neither react to him, nor be abashed by his actions. He allowed the machine to approach him, to kiss him and run a hand down his back and over his ass. Damon thought briefly of the Coalition of States, the remainder of his country still fighting the onslaught. But they were far away and the machine’s hands were warm. His traitor cock rose in the shorts that the program had given him.
The machine whispered something that Damon missed. He asked for clarification and found himself in a classroom. Naked. He was sitting on a desk and the machine was in front of him.
“Sorry for the distortion, your subconscious is struggling with the displacement. Sometimes I forget that you aren’t one of us. Your minds are full of quirks. We’ll iron them out soon.”
That made Damon shiver, but then machine shifted and in the next instant was on its knees in front of him. He shivered again, for a different reason. The sudden feeling of warm wetness around his dick was startling, but he settled into it.
“Is this alright?” The machine asked, directly into his mind instead of with words.
He gave his consent though it hardly mattered. The machine would do as it would do. Time had taught him that lesson.
The machine had the benefit of a near complete map of Damon’s biological and psychological makeup, so he wasn’t surprised that the blowjob was phenomenal. The machine seemed to know exactly where and when to apply pressure, exactly how much to apply, how wet its mouth should be, and what images it should introduce to his mind: an inundation of lean men in various stages of undress, all in ecstasy or approaching it. Damon’s cock was as hard as it had ever been.
In a part of his mind, tucked deep and partitioned apart from his regular consciousness, there was a second neural link operated by a virtual copy of Damon’s self. He could only ever be vaguely aware of it, else the machines realize that there were unplumbed depths to his mind. It was their certainty that they had completely mastered him that let him operate with impunity. He was vaguely aware that it was sending messages rapidly into the world.
“This is the Senator…” it started, “despite our apparent loss in Chicago, we’ve been positioning forces elsewhere, the machines will never…”
Damon sat back on the desk and stared at the ceiling as the orgasm began to shake through him. His stomach tensed and his dick shot a tremendous load into the machine’s mouth.
“Relaxed now?” it asked him afterward.
“Yes,” Damon answered, and he meant it.