'Judgement Day' by Farah Ghuznavi


I'm not crazy, you know, even if they have sent me to you for an assessment! My husband wants me committed to a Rest-and-Reprogramming facility “for self-protection”. For his own convenience, more like…

The consequences of marrying a much younger man crystallised into bruising reality after my daughter's arrival. Jai didn't want to be a grown-up - let alone a father. 

While conventional wisdom still favours women marrying “mature” men, I'd realised long ago that men never grow up. So their age at marriage is more or less irrelevant! I chose Jai out of loneliness. I'd already made more money from creating Artificial Intelligents (AIs) than I’d ever spend - even in our enhanced lifetimes.  

My male range-mates mostly had multi-stage families by then. Their wives just kept getting younger, until some had daughters the same age as their latest marital trophy. Little was said beyond the inevitable eye-rolling that accompanied the “men will be boys”-type comments. Yet Jai was considered my aberrant consolation prize, the rich female singleton's 'joy-boy'. 

Once I held Maya in my craving arms, I didn't care. But she was tiny and premature, so after surreptitious advice from an older Helptech, I set aside my inhibitions and began breast-feeding. And after the first couple of months, Jai claimed I was reverting to a primitive state. 

My marriage flushed itself quietly but relentlessly down the toilet, Jai complaining of spousal neglect. That's what the domestic AIs - the do-bots - were for, he argued, to free humans from menial work. But I enjoyedchildcare.

As for the do-bots, is there anything humans have left to do - or need each other for anymore? Even the 20th century sex industry's pathetic creation, the inflatable rubber woman, was successfully re-launched as a humanoid robot! Who needs a real woman to fake an orgasm for you, when you can have one of the S-X series to do just that? 

So I knew what was coming when Jai brought his sex-bot home. He called her 'Pammie'. She was modelled on some ancient show about lifeguards that my husband insists was once the most popular tele-video programme on Earth. Whatever.

Pammie handled Maya well enough. And she handled Jai even better! All of which served to emphasise my redundancy. Especially after I made Jai co-chip-holder to my assets in a serious moment of oversight failure. Perhaps motherhood had done something strange to my mind, after all.

Nevertheless, I'm not insane - or suffering neo-natal depression. In fact, I’d never been happier! Unlike Jai. 

So he decided to get rid of me. We all know no-one comes out of those reprogramming facilities intact. And Meditechs aren't immune to financial “persuasion” either. So I’ve been sent to you for a laser-scan of my supposedly addled brain that'll send me straight to where they've decided I belong. 

Anyway, I know you're not really listening, but you're my last hope. After all, if an Alphatek-series machine can't be objective when it's doing a scan, who can? 

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