0156 - Additional services - 2020.09.28



Ah, one of my joyful moments as a writer - a character casually mentioning a big piece of backstory that they think of as perfectly normal.

Yes, of course there are people who would be willing to pay to beat the shit out of something that looks like Zoa. I mean, it'd be disturbing and a giant red flag if Zoa legally resembled a human being, but fortunately it doesn't! Y'know, like how zombies or mutants or men in uniforms with opaque visors don't.

...and, y'know what, I'm not actually being entirely sarcastic. People enjoy action and horror movies. People enjoy violent video games. As long as no one's actually being injured or experiencing pain, indulging one's violent appetites via a safe and responsible outlet can be a very healthy and normal thing to do.

Lee (and, I expect, most of the audience) is uncomfortable with the mental image of Zoa being punched in the face, having its head slammed up against a wall, having its eye popped out with a screwdriver, having a finger clipped off with a pair of garden shears, or being burned with a soldering iron (all while it puts on a very convincing show of crying and screaming and begging for mercy, of course) but this is because of the context in which you initially met Zoa. Zoa presented itself as a blowjob-bot initially, then as a bot that can simulate social interaction, then as an emotional support aid. If Lee's initial ad had been for a biped they could beat with a baseball bat, Zoa would have introduced itself very differently.

There's also the issue that Zoa appears cosmetically feminine. It has long eyelashes and plump lips and breasts. If its dialogue and actions had been completely the same up until this point, but it looked like C-3PO or Bender or a Roomba, would you feel the same way about it getting beaten up? Would you feel the same way if it solely offered punching bag services, instead of being a combo punching bag and Fleshlight? Would you feel the same way if you knew that these violent clients, in agreeing to pay for any necessary repairs, are the primary way that Zoa sources replacement parts?


0156 - 2167/07/06/16:04 - Lee Caldavera's apartment, living room.
Zoa: You say what you want, sweetheart, but you still have to go to school.
Zoa: Okay... and... are you going to hit me, now? Because I do have to charge for that.
LC (immediately breaking character): W-what?
Zoa: Yeah. That's like, the other main thing I charge for. Lotta people got issues they want to work out. Better on me than on a human being, right?
LC: I... what... no! No no no I don't want to hurt you, Zoa!
Zoa: It's fine, Lee, I don't feel physical pain, remember? I mean, I can act like I do, but I don't. You can beat the shit out of me for as long as you want.
Zoa: I mean, not that there is actual shit inside me...
Zoa: And you basically have no chance of actually damaging my chassis, unless you go get a knife or a socket wrench or something.
Zoa: Which you can also do, if you really want, but I'd have to charge you for replacement parts, obv-
LC (hugging Zoa from the floor): no no no no no no no never no mommy no please no
Doc [data connection]: You'd better not be charging them for this.
Zoa [data connection]: They're squeezing my knees pretty hard, but it's technically not hitting...