"Hi," he said with a contradictory mix of timidity and confidence. That was his first word to her. "The name's Cameron. Cameron Gardener." He paused for a moment, admiring the details of her face—her thin jaw, her perfect nose, her pillowy lips—and the way her skin perfectly fit around it. Her Hershey's Chocolate hair reminded him so much of his mother, when he still knew her.

"I'm Sofia," she said almost monotonously. She learned to be more expressive with her words as they spent time together.

"What a coincidence!" Cameron exclaimed. "My mother's name was Sofia." A coincidence indeed.

"How old are you?" Sofia asked rather forwardly.

"Thirty-four years old," Cameron generously replied. Sofia smiled.

"Me too."

"Another coincidence," Cameron noted.

"What's your favorite color?" Sofia asked. She loved those simple questions. It brought out a more childlike side to her, one that made her more approachable. Cameron admired that.

"Green," Cameron answered.

"I like blue," Sofia replied. Well, not everyone is perfect, though Cameron was pretty damn close. Sofia heard about his tragic backstory: a kind mother, the kindest in the world, and an abusive father arrested for the murder of his wife while Cameron was away for college.

"Don't focus so much on his actions, Cam," Cameron's mother would say. "I don't want you to be like him. I want you to be better than him; better than us."

Cameron attended the funeral. He was the only one. Despite countless setbacks and the development of issues concerning social relations and familial attachment following the death of his mother, Cameron succeeded in accomplishing his dream. He was CEO of Eden Robotics, a well-established android manufacturer, the only one of its kind, whose products was by that time in every household west of the Atlantic Ocean, and was rapidly increasing in popularity overseas. Eden Robotics' goal was to develop artificial intelligence capable of living among humans not as slave labor as most fiction depicts it, but as upgradable beings designed to improve life on Earth. Cameron did not expect people to treat the androids as equals, but wanted the world to view them as more than just tools.

The androids had consciousness—to an extent. While they did not have emotions, they could realistically emulate the feelings humans exhibit and could be programmed to "feel" certain ways about certain things, such as "loving" a child to better ensure the proper care of it. They understood what they were and the potential they had to change the world for the better. Cameron of course embraced his creation, sometimes referring to himself as the "Gardener of Eden." Of course, he installed a couple of units into his own primary residence overlooking Impanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro. One was an android butler, whom he named Ricardo. The other was one of the first edition German shepherd android models initially released in 2077. Her name was Sammie. Cameron and Sofia spent many years together before giving birth to a son, Ronin. The child filled the family with so much youth and happiness. Likewise, androids filled the world with similar newness and optimism.

2081: the year the first ever case of harmful android malfunction took place. Until then, android malfunctions had been limited to small changes in settings like the color of the unit's hair or skin, or the accent with and language in which the unit spoke. Even the occasional memory corruption would occur from time to time, but nothing too damaging to the units or their owners. But one day, news headlines around the globe were plastered with titles such as 'Man Attacked in Own Home by Android' and 'Latest Eden Model Assaults Owner while Executing Security Functions.' Cameron had to make a statement.

"We at Eden Robotics will not rest until we uncover the root of the problem and ensure no more harm will ever come to the owners of Eden Androids moving forward." The company also paid for the man's medical bills; nothing serious fortunately. He was able to reset the android using his administrator code before sustaining serious injury. All of the new models were also recalled. A simple error in the coding for facial recognition caused the android to mistake its owner for an internationally wanted criminal in the dark of the night when the man came home from a late shift. The criminal was highly dangerous and was to be handled with extreme prejudice, thus the immediately aggressive behavior of the android.

Unfortunately, the mishaps didn't stop there. Another occurred not four months after involving a child and their android caretaker. Very bad news for Cameron and his company. He had to make another statement. After that, stocks in Eden Robotics began to plummet along with profits as less people purchased androids and more money had to be poured into recalls and repairs. But the worst had still yet to come. During a promotional tour around Rio meant to boost company morale as well as benefit Eden's look in the public eye, protestors clashed with the rally crowd. Violence ensued and an attempt at Cameron's life was made. Sofia and Ronin were present, too, and luckily so was Ricardo.

Ricardo took the brunt force of a muscle car aimed at Cameron and the supportive civilians around him. Cameron escaped with a broken pelvis and bruised abdomen, but Ricardo's body was trashed. Fortunately, Cameron salvaged the memory data from Ricardo's hard drive and was able to transfer it to a new model. This came with some updated software as well; however, shortly after the upgrade, Ricardo, too, experienced malfunctions. Only minor kinks here and there, but with the public's rising doubts about the androids' reliability, Cameron was worried. He worked to keep Ricardo under control, dealing with the almost comical speech impediments he displayed at times as soon as they appeared.

"Would you like a re-re-re-re-refrigerator—I mean refill of your drink, sir?" Ricardo stood straight despite his error. Sofia looked slyly at Cameron, trying not to smile.

"Uh oh," she said.

"Back to the workshop," Cameron sighed.

"Right away, sir," Ricardo agreed. He understood. But one night while the family was eating dinner, things got out of hand. While serving wine with dessert, Ricardo picked up Sofia's glass and shattered it against the table. She screamed and Ronin jumped with surprise. Ricardo proceeded to take a silver spoon and throw it at the wall with enough force for the spoon to disappear entirely within the drywall. Then he slammed his face into the table. Cameron rose from his seat and gripped Ricardo's shoulders. Hoisting the android up to meet his eyes, Cameron commanded, "Ricardo, backup and security, prompt data recovery from storage, restore log for 12.24.81."

Ricardo looked back at Cameron and said, "Unauthorized memory restoration detected." Cameron's expression changed to one of confusion and anger.

"Administrative override," he said. "Cameron Gardener, override pin 2-6-9-7, Elmer-Detroit-Baked chicken."

"Unable to access memory storage," Ricardo returned. "Hostility detected. Please refrain from violence." He strongly gripped one of Cameron's hands which were still extended towards Ricardo's shoulders. Sofia stood as Ricardo picked up the bottle of wine from the table. He turned to Sofia and smiled. "Would the lady like to sample?"

"Ricardo, stop," Cameron demanded. Ricardo turned back to Cameron and squeezed his hand hard enough to bring Cameron to his knees. Sofia collected Ronin and began to make her way out of the dining room. Ricardo launched the bottle of wine into the ceiling scattering glass and the 2067 Single Harvest Port all over the room. Cameron struggled against Ricardo, but eventually managed to reach into his shirt to activate the manual shut down process via hand print scanner on Ricardo's back. A couple of fingers on his left hand were broken in the scuffle.

Cameron found his family huddled in the master bedroom enveloped by the bed's blankets. Sofia was covering Ronin's ears and whispering reassurance to him. "I'm sorry," Cameron muttered. Sofia was less than ready to accept that apology. Cameron decided to shut down Sammie as well despite no malfunctions, just to be safe. The family was no longer full of happiness and neither was the world. Eden Robotics' decline was far from over and people demanded Cameron pay for all the damage caused by his company's androids.

Cameron's home life deteriorated as well. Sofia went through phases of ignoring Cameron, Ronin wouldn't look up at his father during dinner, and the house felt empty without the company of Ricardo and Sammie. One day, long after he started sleeping on the couch, Cameron came home and announced to his wife that he had stepped down from his position as CEO of Eden Robotics. He had left the company entirely and told her that they could start anew without worrying about all of the trouble the company was in. He even showed her a video of the speech he gave.

"So we're just not going to have money anymore?" Sofia asked maliciously.

"No, no, that's not it," Cameron defended. "I mean, sure, we might have to downsize a bit on our luxuries, maybe move back to the States and find cheaper residence, but we'll still be together and everything will calm down." Sofia stood and started to leave the room. Her arms were crossed; she was visibly upset. "Sofia, please," Cameron called. She turned around abruptly and gave Cameron a look that punched him in the gut.

"So you want us to move far away," Sofia began, "and hope that the money you have now will last us the rest of our lives? That it will be enough to put Ronin through college? That it will be enough to fix what's happened?" She had been slowly walking closer to Cameron as she spoke and was now inches from his face with hers. Her stare, one of pure detestation, stabbed Cameron's heart. "I have a pretty good memory, Cameron," she said. "Nothing's going to cover up your mistakes." Then she turned and began walking away.

Cameron's words were stuck behind the lump in his throat that accompanied his tears. "I thought this is what you would have wanted," he choked out. "I thought we could get away from it all and be happy again."

Sofia looked at her feet and shook her head, her back still facing Cameron. "I wanted you to fix what was breaking, not turn your back on it," she said through anger and sorrow. "But now, I think it's broken, so I have to turn my back on it, too, and walk away." Sofia exited the room. Another night on the couch for Cameron. A few days later, Cameron walked into the master bedroom and found Sofia packing her belongings.

"What's all this?" he asked, already knowing the answer but hoping it was untrue.

"We're leaving," Sofia replied in as cold a tone as she could muster. We? "I already told Ronin to pack. I'll go check on him." Sofia left the bedroom with Cameron close behind and found Ronin sitting in the living room with two suitcases overflowing with his possessions. Sofia retrieved her bags from the master bedroom and began to make her way to the front door. Cameron begged her to stay and told Ronin to drop his bags. Ronin hesitated but complied only to pick them up again upon his mother's command. When Sofia dropped one of her bags to open the door, Cameron seized the opportunity and grabbed her hand.

"Let go of me," Sofia said softly through clenched teeth.

"I can't do that," Cameron replied.

"I said let go," Sofia commanded again with a slight tug of her arm, but Cameron held on and tightened his grip.

"I can't let you do this," Cameron said quietly. "That's my son. You can't just take him away from me. He's as much mine as he is yours."

"You're not good for him," Sofia stated.

"And where were you planning to go, anyway?"

"Why would I tell you?"

"I want to know my son will be safe."

"Anywhere is better than here!" Sofia pulled away from Cameron. Ronin chimed in after being silent until then.

"Mommy said you wanted us gone so you can deal with your problems," he whimpered. Cameron looked Sofia in the eyes.

"You lied to him?" he whispered to Sofia. Anger swirled in Cameron's mind. A flash of aggression sprinted across his consciousness; betrayal not only to Cameron, but to Ronin as well. She could not take his son away from him.

"We have to go," Sofia answered, picking up her bag again.

"No!" Cameron retaliated and knocked the bag from her hand. He grabbed her wrist. Sofia tried to knock him away with the bag in her other hand. Cameron seized that bag as well and tossed it aside, restraining Sofia's other wrist. The two of them tussled for a minute, each trying to gain control over the other. Sofia stomped Cameron's foot, he squeezed her arm, she bit his hand, he pushed her against the door. In all of the commotion, Ronin made his way over and tugged at his father's pants.

"Please stop," he cried. "Please stop." Without thinking, Cameron shifted his stance and knocked Ronin to the ground. Intense regret immediately befell him.

"You don't touch him," Sofia shouted and pushed back at Cameron. She managed to free one hand and tripped Cameron over an ottoman in front of one of their couches. Cameron held on to one of her hands, though, and pulled her down with him. Ronin's crying was drowned out by his parents' shouting as they rolled on the ground, Sofia trying to pull out Cameron's hair, Cameron attempting to cover her mouth with his free hand. Sofia was surprisingly strong, but not strong enough. Cameron got the upper hand and managed to pin her to the ground facedown. She squirmed and twisted trying to face him, to push him off, but he straddled her legs and held her hands so she couldn't turn very far. She kicked and screamed as Cameron took both of her hands in one of his and started to lift her shirt.

"What are you doing?" Sofia cried, in awe of what was happening. Cameron pulled Sofia's shirt up as far as he could with her arms in the way. She moved around as much as she could trying to get Cameron off of her and trying to wiggle her shirt back down. Her screams became more frightened, but no tears followed.

"This is for your own good," Cameron shouted. Sofia begged Cameron to stop. He moved his hand down the smooth skin of her back.

"Please," Sofia whimpered as Cameron activated the manual shut down process. He let go of Sofia's hands and rose to his feet. Sofia rolled onto her back and looked at Cameron with the same look a victim gives their murderer moments before their final breath. She then turned her gaze to Ronin who was staring back in disbelief. Pure horror.

"I love you," Sofia mouthed before falling limp. Ronin's eyes darted toward Cameron as his father hobbled over to him. He did not move an artificial muscle as Cameron performed the manual shut down process on him, too. Cameron lied down on the ground in the living room for less than an hour before rising again and carrying Ronin's body to the master bedroom. He laid the pseudo-child on the bed, and then scanned the wall with his hand knocking every few feet. Once he found the proper spot, he placed his palm on the wall unlocking a hidden chamber. It resembled something of a lab with computers and wires everywhere. Cameron retrieved Sofia's body from the living room and connected her to one of the computers inside the hidden chamber. "I want to be better than him," Cameron said to the lifeless android at his side. "I want us to be better."

He turned on the computer and pulled up bunches of files. Sofia's files. Cameron deleted them all then replaced them with new ones; memories of her relationship with Cameron from years past, everything before the first harmful android malfunction. The event that sparked it all will seem as though it just occurred to Sofia, but to Cameron it never really happened. The negativity in the world he developed for these tests, all of it fiction. He'd go along with it, though, to see how this iteration turned out. He had high hopes for that last one. It lasted a lot longer than previous attempts. Forty-seven days to be exact. While Sofia's memories loaded into her storage bank, Cameron went around the house resetting everything.

He put on a nice shirt; one worthy of wearing during the meeting of his soulmate. He threw away all of the recent photos of the family and anything that wouldn't be in Sofia's renewed memories. He reactivated Ricardo, telling him to return all of Sofia's and Ronin's stuff to their proper places. He reactivated Sammie who acted like nothing at all had happened. Nothing had happened, Cameron thought. This was a new start. Once Sofia's memories were restored, he performed a similar process on Ronin, the son he'd always had. False memories of the past were implanted in his head to make him think he was a 10-year-old boy and that he had always been with his mother and father. His mother would remember giving birth to Ronin and all of the memories made before and after. Cameron would remember those memories too, for the family's sake.

He spent time fixing Sofia's appearance and dressing her in fresh clothes. He brushed her Hershey's Chocolate hair that reminded him so much of his mother. Once everything was exactly as it needed to be for the new trial, Cameron reactivated Sofia.

"Hi" he said to her timidly, but confidently. "My name's Cameron. Cameron Gardener."

"I'm Sofia." The name he gave her. Cameron showed a tired smile.

"What a coincidence," he said.