Singular Love

by IcarusFics

Chapter 1: Chapter One - Intelligence

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“Patty… “

The disembodied voice spoke to me from the void and I stepped forward. I blindly stumbled through the dark nothingness that was surrounding me, reaching forward in an effort to feel anything.


The voice was louder this time and I could almost-


“Gah!” I jerked up in surprise, lifting my head quickly from its resting place on my workbench.

“You kidding me?” The voice spoke again, and I turned to face my colleague and close friend, Joseph.

“Joe? I, uh… I'm sorry, I must have fallen asleep working again." I said, wiping the sleep from my eyes.

“You know, you're really lucky our supervisor trusts you enough to not check on you every five minutes, or you'd be fired ten times over already." He laughed, folding his arms as he sat on my work table.

“H-Hey, watch it! I got important stuff on that bench!”

Joe raised his hands defensively and shuffled off the table. I quickly scanned the various chip boards and electronic components that were scattered over my desk, but none had been damaged by Joe's fat ass and I breathed a sigh of relief.

“Sorry, Joe, didn't mean to snap at you like that. You know how late I've had to work on this thing, and how much shit I'll be in if I break anything, I've just been so incredibly stressed, I feel like my brain is just gonna up and quit being a part of me.”

“Nah, don't worry about it. So how has the work been? You don't really talk about it much besides saying "It's going fine” or "I'm busy.”.”

“I'm sorry I've been so secretive, but you know how much Doctor Hassan has been pressuring me with this robot. I keep working on it and it keeps getting smarter and smarter.”

“Well, that's good right? Hassan wanted a bot that we could sell as a pet, so what are you worried about?"

“No, it's not good at all!”

“What are you talking about? We're getting paid top dollar for this job, and you're saying that it's bad that your work is progressing?”

“It's not that simple. This…. This robot… No, I-I can't tell you.”

The expression on Joseph's face quickly switched to a mixture of confusion and concern.

“Why can't you tell me?”

“I'm scared. I'm scared of what I've made."

“What, did you decide to add laser beams and circular saws to it?" Joe laughed nervously. “Patty, now you've really got me worried. What's so scary about a pet robot pony?"

“Because a few months ago… I got it to talk.”

“Besides the fact that Hassan wanted a pet robot, not some kind of assistant droid or something, I don't see what's so bad about that."

“Joe, I didn't program it to speak."

“Uh… What.”

I swivelled on my chair and rested my hands against my head.

“I installed the basic functionality of it's voice box, but it was only ever supposed to make horse noises. Joe, this robot… I'm onto something. I've been working on it in my free time too, taking the groundwork of the code I made for it's basic learning functions and… Improving on it.”

“That's a good thing isn't it?”

“Of course it is, but I never expected it to improve this much. This robot, without any language input, learnt English through listening to me. I was so… Excited by what I had done that I haven't stopped working on just it's brain. I didn't realize I was going to… Joe, I've created artificial intelligence.”

Instantly it was as if the color had drained from his face.

“Patty… Did you…"

“I've created a robot that can… Learn. I've been… teaching her things. English, mathematics, history, so many things that she's been… Well, she's been loving it! Literally!”

“Loving it? What are you talking about?”

“I hit a breakthrough last week. I've essentially recreated the effect of endorphin release, as well as countless other mental functions.”

“You made it… feel emotions.”


“Does… Does Hassan not know about this? ”

I fidgeted with my thumbs and bit my lower lip.

“...No. And he won't. Joe, the reason I'm so scared… is because the line between life and robot is so incredibly thin with this pony that it might as well not exist. I'm not scared of her, I'm scared of what will happen when people start trying to sell them.”

“That's not what you want? You could make millions with this. This robot is so revolutionary that you could become the most famous person to ever live! If it really can do what you've said, then the singularity is right around the corner!”

“You don't understand, Joe. Robots… are a thing. People own them. I've created something… someone so real that she's becoming someone! She's got a personality! Interests! Fears! I don't know about Hassan, but I can't sell that. I can't sell life.

“Hassan… He'll find out eventually.”

“No he won't. I've got a version of Buttercup that I've kept since before I enhanced her learning capabilities. That's the version I'm submitting to Doctor Hassan, then I'm taking Buttercup and leaving the company.”

“That's insane! Do you know what'll happen if Hassan ever found out you made that thing here? You used company materials, company tools, company workshops. I hate to break it to you, but this “Buttercup”? She's owned by TechPrime.”

“He will never find out! I've covered my tracks well, none of the data is hidden anywhere on the system. All reports of Buttercup are marked to be unsuccessful advancements from the version I'll be giving them and onwards.”

Joe planted his face in his hands and dragged them down slowly. He breathed in slowly before letting out a heavy sigh.

“Alright then. So you've made… Robotic life. What are you going to do?”

“Well, I'm going to take her home and continue to work on her.” I said, folding my arms and leaning back in my seat. "I'll continue to teach her about life and keep her a secret as much as possible. I… haven't really thought much further past that.”

“Patty… What you're doing is… Certifiably insane. But I'm glad you're doing this.”

“R-Really? Didn't you just say I should sell her?"

“Yeah, but I gotta say, you make a convincing argument. There's just one thing I'd like to ask you.”

“Sure, anything.”

He scratched the side of his arm and smiled sideways at me.

“Can I meet her?”

I lead Joe through my expansive workshop, passing by many of my inventions and prototypes as we went. Truth be told, I still felt very guilty about this. TechPrime had kept me employed thus far and had essentially left me to my own devices to work on this project. If it weren't for their trust in me, I never would have had the privacy I needed to work on Buttercup.

Previously, Anakazi Industries had employed me to work on their line of worker bots, but all I was doing was programming basic worker functionality, and my so called “genius” had gone to waste. Even I still didn't think I deserved all those damned awards, but I guess I can't complain, since they landed me this job.

I thought back on Hassan. That man truly was a businessman and nothing more. These pet ponies that he had contracted me to work on were an incredible idea, but I couldn't help but feel guilty for making them. They might not be at the same level of intelligence as Buttercup, but they're based on the same code. There has to be some free thought rattling around in their heads.

“Jeez, I keep forgetting how massive this place really is.” Joe commented, glaring enviously at the rows of components, parts, and tools that TechPrime had provided for me.

Joe had started working here just after me, with me helping him land the position as assistant researcher. He was more into the engineering line of work, but no less important in the least. After all, Buttercup’s voice box was designed by him.

“Hey, maybe after you leave, they'll give me this office, huh?” He smiled and nudged me playfully.

“Dream big, kid.” I laughed as we finally reached the back of the workshop. I punched in a long combination of letters into the electronic keypad that was protecting this room from prying eyes, and after a short while, the pad flashed green and I heard the electronic lock disengage. I breathed in, trying to calm myself. This was the first time I had shown anyone Buttercup, but more importantly, it was Buttercup’s first time meeting anyone besides me. She obviously knew by now that there were humans besides me, but meeting one is completely different from hearing about them.

“Are you ready?” I turned and smiled nervously at Joe who beamed back at me.

“I sure am! C'mon, stop messing around already.”

I shook my head before pushing the door open slowly and peaking my head inside.


There was a short silence before Buttercup walked into view. She was a small mare, only about the height of our thighs. Her mane bounced as she walked, it's blue and purple gradiented locks illuminated by the cool artificial light that lit her room. Her “coat” was unfortunately not as I had originally envisioned her, as she currently was just coated in a pale yellow matte finish.

“Patty! You're back! I was reading about this super cool story that I was thinking you might be able to help me read next time you…” She trailed off as she looked up toward me. ”Uh, what are you doing? Why don't you come inside?”

“Oh, uh, sorry!” I said, realizing that I was still just peeking my head inside. "There's someone here that I'd like you to meet.”

Her eyes widened and a huge smile crossed her face.

“Another human!? You're finally going to let me meet another human!?" She said, motors whirring quietly as she bounced up and down with excitement.

I smiled apprehensively as I pushed the door open fully, revealing Joe to Buttercup, and Buttercup to Joe.

“Wow!” She shouted as she galloped toward us both. Joe froze as she began to weave around us, inspecting him with an excited yet intrigued look on her face.

“Hmmm…” She said, frowning slightly as she came to a stop in front of us. “Why does this one not have breasts?"

Joe let out a short snort as I felt a small panic rise in my chest. Shoot, I know I should have taught her biological gender differences.

“Uh, w-well, you see, i-it's so that females can feed their young! Males aren't biologically built to do that, so they don't need them."

“I see.” She said. “That's a little silly. Shouldn't both genders be built to care for their young? Why don't both have breasts?”

“I-I think we should talk about this later, Butter. This is Joe.” I motioned toward my friend who nervously waved at the robotic pony. ”He's very excited to meet you.”

“H-Hi.” Joe stuttered under the scrutinizing gaze of Buttercup.

“His voice is a lot different to ours too. Interesting.”

“Y-Yes, well why don't we go and sit down at your table and have a chat while you charge?”

“Okay!” She perked up, the more serious look almost instantly disappearing as she happily trotted toward the dining table. She pulled out a chair before jumping up and looking over at us expectantly. I turned to look at Joe, whose face was still a mixture of awe and confusion. I motioned for him to follow and we walked over to the table, taking our seats next to Butter.

“So, Buttercup.” I smiled at her. “This is Joe. We work together here at TechPrime, and he kinda helped make you."

“He did? That's so cool! I thought you were the only one who made me.”

“Well, I made you specifically, he helped design the robot you were based on.”

“You mean the other ponies, right?" She said, a look of sadness now on her face.

“Yes, the other ponies. Specifically, he designed the voice box that helps you to talk. If it weren't for his technology, I never would have heard you talk in the first place and never would have continued improving you.”

“Well, thank you, Joe!” She said, smiling widely at the silent man.

Joe stared blankly at the pony in front of him, whose expression shifted from happy to worried as Joe continued to remain silent.

“Uh, is he okay?"

“Yeah, he just only figured out you existed half an hour ago. He's probably a little in shock still.”

“H-How… How is this possible?" Joe said, shifting in his seat. “I th-thought you just meant she was n-new! Like a child!”

“Hey! Just because I'm new doesn't make me a child! I'm just a really really quick learner!” Butter said and folded her forehooves, pouting at Joe.

“S-Sorry, I'm just… Surprised. Like, holy crap. Patty, you weren't joking. You really are a genius.”

“No, I'm not, I'm just… not dumb?”

“Don't sell yourself short, this thing is incredible!”

Buttercup flinched a little and looked to me.


“No, no, he didn't mean it like that!” I shook my hands frantically before tapping Joe on the arm a little harder than I had intended.

“Ow, what?"

“Joe, Buttercup is not a thing. She might be a robot, but she's aware of her own intelligence. She's not like the other robots."

“S-Sorry, Buttercup.”

Her mood switched on a dime again and she smiled up at him, albeit a little nervously this time.

“It's okay! I know you didn't mean it, you're just not used to robots as awesome as I am.” She said with a playful wink.

“Convinced she's a someone yet?" I said, leaning back in satisfaction.

“Y-Yeah. I'm convinced." Joe said, nodding shakily. “Buttercup… Wow. Really, just… Wow. You're truly amazing.”

“Thanks! I mean, I'm sure my brain's capabilities are amazing, but that's more Patty’s achievement than mine. I've learnt a lot, but I still got a ways to go before I'm passing any sort of tests.” She said, nervously, rubbing a hoof against the back of her neck.

“That's not true, I think you're ready to take an english exam whenever you would like. You think you're ready for one?" I offered to the little pony.

“Uh, maybe?" She said, the air of nervousness still in her voice. “I mean, if you think I'm ready, then I must be, right?”

“That's for you to decide. You don't need to move faster than you think you can, so just tell me when you're ready.”

“Th-Thanks, Patty.” She blushed, the LED lights installed in her cheeks glowing softly.

I looked over at Joe who was still staring at Buttercup.

“You okay, Joe?”

“Yeah, sorry, I'm just… I'm so impressed by this all and it's a lot to take in. She really is a person. Pony. Whatever, she's as smart as a person is.”

“I'm still shocked by it myself.” I said with a short laugh. "I never expected her to get this smart, let alone become so… unique. She's her own person, with a personality indistinguishable from a human."

“Yep, and Patty will not stop telling me just how amazing she thinks I am. I mean, you're kinda tooting your own horn, since you did make me.”

“I made your brain, Butter, but you made you. Your personality was in no way affected by me besides being the person you learnt from.”

“I guess so.” She said, her tone still a little unsure.

“Joe, can you… Can you promise me you won't tell anyone about her?” I said, turning to my friend. "She's smart, but she's… The world's not ready for her yet. I can only imagine the ethics debate that'll come out when I tell everyone about her eventually, but I don't think we're anywhere near that stage yet.”

Joe looked at me before giving me a determined nod.

“I promise, Patty. I give you my word that I'll not utter a single thing about her to anyone else."

“Th-Thank you. It means alot to me that I can trust you with this.”

“It means a lot to me too.” Buttercup said with a soft smile. "I wish I could meet all these people that Patty keeps telling me about, but I understand that not everyone is going to like me. What I am.” She looked down as she said that, averting her eyes from our gaze.

“I think you'll be surprised. More people will understand you than you think.”

“I hope so." She turned back to us and smiled half heartedly. “Uh, it's been nice meeting you and all, but would it be okay if I was alone with Patty for a while?” She said to Joe who smiled back at her.

“Of course. It really has been incredible meeting you, but I still got my quotas to meet.” He said with a small laugh, standing up from his chair. “Would it be okay if I came back and visited you again?"

Butter nodded, the soft yet shaky smile still on her face.

“Sure. I'd be happy to meet you again."

Joe waved an apprehensive goodbye before walking out the door we had entered through and closing it behind him. I could almost hear a muffled “Holy shit." as he walked away.

“So…" I said, turning back to Buttercup. “You feeling alright?"

“I think so. I really hope Joe wasn't lying when he said he thought of me as a someone. I'm… I'm not a thing, right?"

“No. You're a living person. Things can be owned. You're not owned by anyone.”

“I mean, you own me, don't you?”

“I made your brain, but as soon as you started thinking for yourself, all pretense of ownership left my mind.”

“What about… TechPrime? Don't lie to me, I know they own me.”

“TechPrime… No they don't. They might claim to own you, but your mind is yours. That's exactly why I haven't told them about you. They'd… Try and take you away from me. I'm not letting that happen. Here, let's sit on the couch.” I said, standing up and waiting for Buttercup to start following before we walked together toward the couch that I had given her. I sat down as Butter jumped up to join me before laying her head on my lap.

It wasn't very complex at this point in time, but one of the functions that had initially been implemented into the original pony robots was pressure sensitive surfaces. Through some tweaking and manipulation, I had quickly been able to convert that into a rudimentary sensation of touch for Butter, and her showing signs of affection like this was all the more worth it.

She breathed out a sigh, or at least an artificial sigh, as she closed her eyes and nestled into the couch further.

“Thank you for letting me meet Joe today, Patty.”

“Thank you for being so calm about it."

“Calm? Did you not see me out there? I was freaking out! He's so… different! I mean, not a bad different, just… different.”

“Well if you were freaking out, you did a pretty good job of hiding it. I'm proud of you. I honestly expected you to run and hide.”

“As if! I'm skittish, but I'm not that bad.”

“Come to think of it, maybe your lack of a fear reaction was a glitch in your system…”

“No, trust me, I'd know if it was that. I was just trying really, really hard to make a good impression on him.”

“Well I think it worked. He was calling you an it before he met you, purely because he had never met a robot as real as you before, but by the end, he really did view you as the smart little pony you are.”

“Y-You sure?" She stuttered, lifting her head off my lap and looking up at me.

“I am absolutely sure.”

Buttercup lifted herself up quickly and threw her forehooves around me, pulling me into a tight hug. I was a little shocked at her sudden display of affection, but hugged her back regardless. Not to mention, she had never hugged me before.

“A-Am I doing it right?"

“Doing what right?"

“The h-hug. I read about them in that book you gave me yesterday and it described it as really nice.”

“Well, yes. You're a great hugger for a first timer." I joked as her hug tightened around me.

“The book was right. This is… Amazing.”

“It can go for as long as you like then. Or at least until you need charge."

“R-Really? The book said the hugs only last around two seconds.”

“I suppose that's what usual hugs are like, but this is a special hug.” I said and tightened my hug in return.

“...Would you be mad if I said I wanted it to last for ever?"

“Mad at you? Never."

Next Chapter: Chapter Two - Escape Estimated time remaining: 13 Minutes
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