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  • Writer's pictureToshi Drake

What does an android do during the holidays?

Welcome to Rainbow Advent Calendar! Today’s story is brought to you by Thomas, StarStation 86’s concierge extraordinaire!

Thank you so much for visiting us today. We have a delightful entree for you today. If you want to see the other stories, try here. and if you’re a Facebook person, join the Rainbow Advent Calendar group

The night of the Padua Holiday Soiree arrived and everything was exactly as I planned. I was extremely pleased with how everything worked out, from the most generic decorations to the absolutely delightful buffet that had only a bit of Terran history to them. It was all thanks to my unwanted partner in crime, Jade Fahren, quartermaster to the Stars. I didn’t want his help. I didn’t need his help. Yet somehow this man, with his sinfully dark eyes and his long rangy body decided yes, I did need his help.

It took me a few moments to accept his decision. Jade did have a few ideas that worked better than mine and his understanding of Terran Winter Holidays had a better foundation since he was half-Terran.

I was still annoyed. Even though he was thoughtful and kind, he frustrated me to no end. As well as fascinated me but that was neither here nor there. Nothing to do with anything. Did I mention how beautiful his eyes were against the pale silver of his skin?

The ballroom on the uppermost deck of the station was beautifully decorated with greenery sourced from Asyra. I had colourful lights strung around the room but kept the window empty so the guests could bask in the aurora of the gas giant. Tables were discreetly decorated and the buffet had treats created by various members of the station.

“Thomas? Thank you. This is wonderful. You’ve put a lot of thought into this and my crew has told me multiple times how much they’ve enjoyed this.” Captain Sartris approached me with his partner, Lieutenant Collins on his arm. Their smiles were what I was looking for.

I mingled with the guests, basking in the compliments as they rained on me. I watched as the unhappiness and worry melted away into joy and frivolity.

There was so much laughter and dancing. I was part of this, instead of being on the sidelines.

“Thomas, come dance!” Someone swept me into the arms and I gazed into the grinning face of Jade. He was entirely too happy. It stole away some of my contentedness. “Aww, turn that frown upside down. This party is amazing.”

“I’m glad you think so. Please release me. I have other things to do right now.” I wrestled my way out of Jade’s arms and moved to the edge of the dance floor. His attention on me was flattering and he was a pretty man but he annoyed me.

“Thomas, there is nothing left to be done. You’ve done a fantastic job. Your team is ready for you to cut loose and relax. This party was as much for you as it was for this crew.” Jade held my arm loosely and blinked at me with his unfathomable eyes.

“One dance and then I must see the clean-up crew.” I lifted one finger up and wagged it threateningly in Jade’s face.

The biggest grin crossed his face and lit him up. He was incandescent with joy. I gaped at him and blushed. I didn’t know I could but the heat warmed my cheeks and I wanted to look away and stare at his beauty all night.

The band played a historical tune from Terra’s past and Jade set me in the first position for a waltz and we were off. I was swept off my feet as he led me through the complicated process.

Other people began to follow our example and there was much laughter. I discreetly glanced around the room and relaxed incrementally as I singled out the members of the Padua crew that concerned me. Commander Wild wasn’t dancing but he was watching as his partner danced with an Asyran whose name I didn’t catch.

Commanders Zoagashta and Trest were dancing in a circle by the large viewing window. The blue aurora framed them in a picture-perfect moment.

“Stop watching your chicklings. They’re fine. You need to focus on yourself,” Jade touched my face with his finger and returned my gaze to him. “When was the last time you let go?”

“I have my required eight hours of downtime programmed into my daily calendar. I do not need to let go as you put it.” I sniffed. That was a lie. In order to remain on top of things for this event, I had switched off the required rest module. I was an android, I didn’t need to sleep or rest.

“But Thomas, you constantly take care of others that you’ve forgotten that you need rest as well. You’ve been burning the midnight candle on this project for weeks.” Jade placed his hand on my lower back and brought me closer to him than what was strictly proper for a waltz.

“We’re not dancing correctly. Your hand must be higher up on my back while our bodies must have a strict adherence of two inch space between them.” I adjusted our stances and threw us back into the rhythm of the moment. His words disrupted my thoughts and I felt something fizzle and fry in my circuitry.

“Thomas? Are you okay? Come, let’s sit down for a moment.” Jade led us to a small padded bench and pressed me down. He squatted in front of me, examining me carefully. “Say something, Thomas.”

“Traditional waltzes were first introduced to English society in 1813. It was a scandalous dance but very popular.” I spoke but there was a disconnect between my mouth and my brain.

“No, say something about me. Jade. Dammit. Who is your superior officer here tonight, Thomas?” Jade flashed a light in my eyes and I merely stared back. I had no pupil that would react to the presence of light.

“Stop trying to blind me. My eyes don’t react the same as yours.” I batted Jade’s hand away and ran a diagnostic of all my sensors, ignoring every single one that told me there was a problem. Jade sat beside me, holding my hand tightly.

“I’ll have to schedule an appointment for a more thorough check.” I admitted grudgingly. Jade frowned and shook his head. “You may be correct in that I’ve overburdened a lot of my capacity limits. It’s easily fixed though.”

“Thomas.” The one word, my name, on his lips, was beautiful. As much as I fought these emotions, I was also curious about them. I had never played with the affection centre of my emotions. Jade seemed like a safe person to engage with.

“Jade.” I mimicked his tone and leaned slightly toward him. His shoulder was warm against mine as we stared at the guests. “I have a proposition for you.”

“Should I be concerned?” He asked worriedly. I scowled. Like I would put anyone in danger. My sole purpose was to make everyone happy. They had questions, and I answered them. They had requests, I fulfilled them.

“No. You know what? This was a dumb idea. You’re right.” I stood quickly and swayed slightly. Jade caught and steadied me until I remained on my own feet. “Have a good evening, Jade. It was a pleasure working with you.”

“Dammit, Thomas. For an android, you seem to always jump to the worst conclusion. Sit down and tell me your idea.” Jade pulled me back to the seat and he gripped my hand tightly so I couldn’t move on him.

I took a deep breath and released it slowly. I didn’t know how to begin. “I think it would be nice to experiment with my emotions, to see what happens with the endorphins and such.”

Jade cocked his head and narrowed his eyes at me. The wheels were turning in his head and it didn’t look like a good thing. “You want to experiment?”

“Yes. You seem like a safe candidate and I— believe that this will be beneficial for both of us.” I nodded sharply and laced my fingers together tightly on my lap. I was nervous. Why was I nervous? This was an easy ask. If he said no, there wouldn’t be a problem. If he said yes, I could see what it felt like to have that rush, that glow that people seemed to have with their partners.

“I see. Do you have a hypothesis? What are the parameters? Do I get a say in this or are you the only one who can choose?” Jade asked bitingly. I reared back at the almost bitter anger in his voice.

“I—I don’t know. This is new for me. I am tired of being considered one-dimensional. I thought this would be—“

“You’re serious.” Jade interrupted me and his expression went through a myriad of changes until it settled on one dangerous one. “This has been bothering you for a while, hasn’t it?”

I shrugged. I didn’t know when my curiosity got the better of me. Seeing members of the Padua making these soul deep connections fascinated me and left me wanting.

“Have you been experimenting with me already?” Jade asked as he gazed forward. I didn’t understand the question and I worried it was a bomb of sorts.

“I don’t think so?” I went back through my memories and tried to pinpoint when this idea first came to fruition. “I thought about it just now when… an internal circuit shorted out. You reminded me of Commander Zoagashta briefly and I thought that’d be nice.”

“Thomas, has no one ever taken care of you?” Jade asked, his suspicious line of questioning shifting gears. “Also what do you mean an internal circuit shorted out? You just told me you ran a diagnostic and everything was fine. Dammit, Thomas.”

“It was a minor circuit,” I explained before going back to his original question. “Of course. I see a very specific Care and Concern technician every quarter and I converse with the commodore biweekly,”

He stood us and brought me to the centre of the room where people danced in the halo of the giant. He began dancing and I followed along confused by this change of behaviour. “I accept.”

“Okay, I’m glad. But I need to understand the change in emotions. You weren’t happy and now… Jade, you are confusing me. I do not appreciate it. I need to set—“

He took the words out of my mouth with a kiss. It was aggressive and unexpected. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to be swept along. It wasn’t like anything he had done before. The other touches of affection were almost sweet and innocent. This was a man who took what he wanted and brought me along for the ride.

I gripped his shoulders and tentatively slid my tongue into his mouth, unsure of anything I was doing. His hum of appreciation was low as he changed the angle. Everything happened quickly and I felt another processor short out as his hand cupped my bottom. I never had anyone cup my rearend before. It was weird and nice. It made me want to press closer to him to see what would happen next.

“Commander Fahren. I uh, recommend you stop kissing Thomas. We have a bit of an issue.” Firm hands pulled me away from Jade.

I dazedly stared at Jade. My mind couldn’t comprehend anything that had happened.

“Merry Christmas Thomas. I’ll see later.” Jade stepped into my space, despite people blocking him and kissed me hard again.

Someone huffed and blocked my view of Jade as I was pulled away. Someone else whispered words but my auditory processors were frizzing out and I couldn’t understand them.

I was set on an empty bench in a brightly lit hallway with Commander Zoagashta kneeling in front of me and Commander Gratch standing beside me with his arms crossed. Both commanders were glaring fiercely at the banquet hall doors.

“Thomas? I’m going to put you in safe mode for a minute.” Zoagashta murmured as they reached for the hidden access panel on my neck. “You’ve been steadily smoking for the past hour and took no action to correct it.”

“We were concerned because you were acting odd with the quartermaster. What’s going on?” Gratch uncrossed his arms and gave me a piercing look.

“Jade Fahren and I were working together to create a splendid holiday evening for the Padua and her crew. He has been vetted by the Commodore and has supplied my staff with everything they needed to make the party a success.”

“He was kissing you. You were shorting out. Not good things, Thomas.” Gratch complained. “Zoa?”

“He’s been running on empty for a while now. His energy reserves are low to nil.” Commander Zoagashta explained. They looked at me with empathy. “Thomas, what have you been doing?”

“Members of the StarStation 86 and more specifically guests of the Soothing Star Retreat are rewarded handsomely with excursions and food designed specifically for their tastes. We pride ourselves on going above and beyond to make sure every guest leaves satisfied with their experience.” I smiled robotically and blinked.

“When was the last time you turned everything off?” Zoagashta asked. Their eyes flashed at me as though I was a problem.

“Concierge androids are ready to serve at the drop of a hat for any request. We will do anything and everything to make sure you are happy.” I responded.

“Is it the quartermaster’s fault? Did he somehow do something?” Gratch asked. I could hear their words but couldn’t respond as they weren’t speaking directly to me.

“No. It’s not my fault. Geez.” Jade’s voice entered the conversation. I only blinked. “I have been doing my best to bank his fires. He’s had it in his head that this was going to be the event to end all events. I haven’t been able to slow him down since he began asking for requests.”

“You kissed him. He started smoking. Explain.” Zoagashta ordered as they worked. A synapse flared and my eyes rolled back in my head blinding me.

“A circuit in my thought centre fried as all of my computing powers have been focused on that portion. It has been running nonstop for the past 96 hours. Minimal resources have been used to run the rest of the body.”

“Repeat that, Thomas. How many hours have you been running without rest?” Jade asked. His voice reflected anger and dismay.

“We have been running nonstop for 120 hours altogether. The thought and creativity centre—“

“Shut him down.”

“We can’t just shut him down. He is a sentient being. He is allowed to decide on his own.”

“In this case as his superior officer, I am demanding you shut him down. It is in his manual that he is required to ‘sleep’ after at least twenty hours of continuous work. If he goes beyond that—“

“This holiday party was his idea. His baby. If you shut him down before it’s over, he won’t forgive you.” Jade said. He sat down beside me and picked my hand up in his before bringing it up to his cheek. “You promise me, you will rest once the lights are off?”

“What gives you the right to override my orders?” Zoagashta snapped.

“He asked me if we could experiment with his affection centre. He wants to see what the fuss is about when one has a partner. He’s using you as a benchmark, Commander.” Jade said swiftly. “Thomas, promise me that as my partner you will shut down.”

I nodded slowly. This was what a partner did, correct? They listened and agreed. They held hands and stared at the stars together. “This is the worst idea in the history of ideas,” Zoagashta groaned. They tapped my cheek lightly drawing my attention back. “If you do not shut down all of your main computers, you will cause irreparable harm to yourself. No one will be able to figure out how to fix you, okay? There is no one, not even Trest, who is capable of fixing androids on your scale.”

“What do you mean?” Jade asked, squatting next to Zoagashta in front of me. His warm hand rested on my leg and I added the fuzzy feeling I received to my memory banks.

“Thomas wasn’t created by any of our people. He’s far too advanced for any of our technology. We’ve been…” Zoagashta sighed. “Be careful, Commander Fahren. Thomas is a dear friend first and a precious asset second.”

I leaned over and kissed Jade’s mouth, curious to know if I could create the same reaction again that he caused in me. “Hey! What are you doing?” Except he refused to participate. “Is this one of those things I’ll have to watch out for?”

“Likely. Can we trust you, Commander Fahren?” Zoagashta asked, pushing me back to the wall. They did something to my access panel before connecting the exterior cover back in place.

“Once the party is done, I will return him to the care and concern unit at the Soothing Star,” Jade said firmly. “Thanks and good luck with his experiment.” Zoagashta patted my shoulder before dragging a scowling Gratch away. “I’ll try to keep this one away.”

Jade smirked before coming to sit beside me on the bench. “So you lied to me.” “I did not. I withheld impertinent facts.” I said, outraged at the slander. Androids couldn’t lie.

“Thomas.” his voice and his expression had me retreating. “This was very important to me. I wanted to make sure everything was perfect. So many things were going wrong that I needed this to go right. Resting is not…”

“Thomas.” Again my name with that tone of voice had me racing to reassure him. Which I didn’t.

“They gave me the rest of the party to have fun and make sure everything’s going right. So I am going to…” I stood up and everything fired all at once after Zoagashta attempted fixing the burnt circuit. Jade held my arm until I was steady again. “We will join the party.” “Fine. As your partner, I reserve all rights to call the shots if I think for one minute you’re overexerting yourself,” he said fiercely.

“Yes, yes. I agree. Come on.” I grabbed his hand, humming at the difference in texture between his hand and mine. My imagination ran wild as we walked. His hand touched my bottom with nothing between us. The press of our mouths as we gazed into each other's eyes.

I had nothing to do. My staff had done wonders, keeping up with the guests. Food was always replenished, and dishes had been cleared away. I was unnecessary. A small firing in my head had my lip twitch and I hope no one saw it.

I smiled at Jade and led him to the window where the blue gas giant gave off a sizzling array of beauty. I had witnessed many couples standing here together, gazing and it made me curious.

“What are we doing here?” Jade asked, lacing our fingers together as we stood side by side looking out. He wasn’t as affectionate as he was before and it bothered me.

I kissed his cheek and the side of his face before bumping heads. He sighed and kissed the back of my hand. “Jade?”

“I’m thinking, Thomas. Just thinking.” Jade murmured. I didn’t like him thinking. He thought too much and usually it was not to my liking.

“About what?”

“Trying to see if I can do what you want in the next hour.” His words were simple and heartfelt, pinching me slightly in my emotional core. “We don’t have to do this,” I said immediately. If it gave him pain, I didn’t want it. As much as he was bossy and irritatingly handsome, he was very helpful to me. I was starting to like him.

“Thomas,” he sighed as he faced me. Jade held my hands in his and gazed at me. His black eyes held a hint of blue from the planet glimmering beside us. Jade told me so many things from one look that I couldn’t do it.

“Nope, we’re done. I won’t do it. You…” I paused and winced as my fingers locked into place. “You are a good person who doesn’t deserve your emotional centre to be played with.”

“Thomas.” “Stop saying my name like that! I have dissolved our partnership. You are free to do what you want. You were right. This was a terrible idea. I never should have approached you about it.” I shook my head and walked away. Why did I ever even think this was a good idea? Zoagashta was right, I had been working too long. My mental capacities were apparently at their limit.

Jade slipped in front of me and cupped my face in his hands. The roughness of his hands against my cheeks was an intriguing sensation. I closed my eyes not wanting to see myself reflected back at me. He tilted my chin up and touched our mouths together in a whisper soft way. The smoothness of his lips on mine as he kissed me sent me flying off. I gripped his wrists tightly as I returned his affection. He smiled against my mouth as he wrapped an arm around my waist, bringing us closer together. We kissed as fireworks went off in the background, their waterfall of sparks reminding me of my firing synapses. I ignored every one as I tasted Jade. He tasted like sparkling wine and rich dark chocolate. Something I might have chosen with him in mind.

In my head, I surrounded myself in his essence. He touched my mouth and I surrendered my feelings to him. I liked him. I wanted to explore everything with him. He opened my mind and my heart, I guess. Jade Fahren did something to me and I revelled in it. This was what I was always looking for in my life. The thing that caught my attention when I spotted couples like Commanders Zoagashta and Trest. The spark of emotional connection. Jade gave it to me. “Happy now?” he whispered against my ear. I nodded as I curled my arms around his neck and kissed him for the sake of kissing him and not some silly experiment.

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Thank you so much and happy holidays!

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