When he decided to create an alternate version of the first prototype, he didn't expect it to be quite this complicated. It was as though he had spontaneously unlearned every innovation that he had placed into the first model, as though the entire ocean had suddenly dribbled out of his ears.
Nevertheless, it was too late for him to stop. The Mark 1 lay on its back in the middle of the artificial turf, its systems temporarily in sleep mode and the front panel on its abdomen gaping open. The soon-to-be Mark 2 — and it was a softer, rounder, more advanced Mark 2 at that — lay on the grass a little ways off. There was a spare cardial infarctor in his left hand, a Class B2 spanner in his right, and some very serious doubts creeping into his head.
Just why had he decided to go this far, anyway? He only intended to build the closed environment up to the landscaping, but he had somehow gone as far as putting together a couple of techno-organic units as an aside. He knew perfectly well that he had a problem with going too far at times — he was intense like that — but this was just... too far.
He screwed the new infarctor in place, then switched on the stimulant generators and watched as it began its rhythmic operation. That was good, at least. He had wondered if it needed to be placed in a different area of the main chassis, perhaps two inches lower to compensate for the slimmer cage, but in the end he just put together some rough calculations and went for it.
Then he tried the pulmonary receptors and was relieved to find that they were working as well. At that point, he had to admit that he must have remembered everything by heart. He had only taken seven days to plan out the first prototype, after all — seven days of bad drawings and blueprints and environmental measures to make sure that it would work the way he wanted.
Wasn't that going to be nice? He had long pondered the feasibility of independent cognition against the question of external control for some time. Now he could see if he could put his theories into place. Even if it failed — and something inside him desperately hoped that it would not fail — he could try to stimulate success by adding a bunch of new variables into the metaphysical system.
That was it, really. He reclocked the sleep settings on the Version Two prototype, sealed the last of the open panels, and left it to its own devices. It would emerge from torpor in about ten minutes, which was just enough time to complete his developments on the first one.
For a moment he glanced at the open panel on Version One, and contemplated the possibility of trashing the less sophisticated model. Eventually, however, he decided that if he was going to have to stop somewhere, then this was the perfect place. It was time to take a step back, perhaps see if everything was as self-sufficient as he had programmed. His personal reputation was on the line here.
He shut the panel on the original prototype and sealed it in place, but not before resetting the sleep program. Behind him, the second model was beginning to wake from its own slumber.
When the Mark 1 was fully awake, it was to the sight of a fellow animate with a strange and familiar resemblance. It seemed confused at first, however, so some explanation was in order.
"A partner," he said, "For you. You can name her, if you wish."
The Mark 1 prototype seemed interested at this, for it spoke in response: "This, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman, for she was taken from Man."
He made a note of that — the Mark 1 was remarkably long-winded for a model of its design. He estimated that it would probably take a couple of generations to work this out of its system.
Somehow, he got the feeling that this entire experiment was going to cause him quite a few regrets in the long run. But the dawn was already breaking, and the fatigue of creation had finally caught up to him.
It was about time he got some rest.