Choices

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Chapter 1 - The best part of her

"Thank you for taking the time to see me, Mr. Haroshi." Dianne Paris Wilkins worked very hard to keep her voice from breaking as she spoke. She desperately hoped the young Asian man behind the solid oak desk couldn't tell just how close she was to breaking out in tears.

"Please, Mrs. Wilkins," Haroshi said, "after what I've been told about you I could hardly refuse to see you. If only to put an end to my curiosity. But I must warn you I have an important meeting very shortly, so I cannot spare a lot of time for you. What exactly is it you wanted to see me about?"

Dianne took a deep breath. She was not a particularly attractive woman. Short and dumpy actually described her better, although she did the best she could with her hair, makeup, and clothing. She had paid particular attention to her appearance today, although there wasn't very much to be done with her drab brown hair just beginning to go gray with age, her overlarge nose, her generally dismal features. But everything depended on Haroshi's reaction to what she was going to ask. "I want to offer you a piece of information, and I want to make a request. All I ask in exchange for my information..." she paused for a moment, realizing just in time that her voice was about to break. This was too important. Was she asking too little? Or offering too little? Or talking to the wrong person? There were so many ways she could be going wrong... No, that was the wrong way to think. She had to think positive. She took another breath and finished: "All I ask is that you promise to take my request seriously."

"Of course I will take it seriously, Mrs. Wilkins, but I cannot agree to grant it until I know what it is."

"I understand," Dianne said, unsurprised. She forced herself to continue. "I know there are many good reasons you might refuse my request. I think you'll find it reasonable to grant it once you know what it is, so long as you don't reject it outright." That was her worst fear - well, one of them - that he would laugh at her and send her away. She didn't know what she would do if he did that. "Well, then. You may know that my ex-husband, Jason Wilkins, is a senior Vice-President with Expressive Technologies. Specifically in their personal robotics division."

"I had wondered if he was a relation of yours," Haroshi said. Actually he had known perfectly well who Dianne was, and who her husband was - one of the reasons he had agreed to see her. "Expressive Technologies is one of our major competitors. Your former husband, I would say, is more or less my opposite number."

"Yes, he is," Dianne agreed. "And as his wife, I heard quite a lot about your industry - despite having, until recently, a career of my own having nothing to do with robotics. I- I think you might be interested in knowing some of what I hear."

Haroshi stared hard at her, but did not say a word. The information he'd received on the woman in front of him indicated that Jason Wilkins had married her for her money, rather than for love. Apparently with his own stellar career at Expressive, his interest in his wife's money had decreased, for they'd finalized a divorce just weeks ago.

She had come here for a reason, he assumed. If she wanted to sell him his competitors' secrets, she would make an offer. If she wanted something else, he certainly wasn't going to let her know how interested he was in those secrets.

But Dianne didn't bother making an offer. She plowed right into her revelation and her request. "The information I have for you is that Expressive knows all about your transference technology. They know you plan to record the personalities of actual people and incorporate those personalities into a new line of androids. So do I. My request is that I would very much like to be one of those people." She hardly took a breath until she'd gotten it all out.

Without taking his eyes from her, Haroshi pressed a button on his desk. "Melinda, reschedule my two o'clock meeting. If anyone calls, I'm not here. I'll want to see Jacobsen this afternoon. And I think I'm going to want an appointment with our legal counsel."

After his secretary acknowledged, he spoke to Dianne again. "I thank you for that information. I think it will be very useful to us." Dianne relaxed just ever so slightly. He hadn't laughed yet. He was taking her seriously. Maybe - just maybe - this was going to work. "May I ask why you gave it to me?"

"Two reasons," Dianne answered. Then hesitated. She didn't want to go into the details of how Jason had ruined her hopes and dreams by seducing her into marrying him, and then ignoring her, giving her no support at all, while using her money to support his career. How very much she wanted to destroy him, if only she knew how. "The first... is really none of your business. Oh, I know you'll find out all about it sooner or later, but I'd rather not talk about it is all. The other... the other is because I want you to turn me into a doll. I mean, an android. You know."

Haroshi idly picked up a pen and began twiddling it in his hands. "Mrs. Wilkins, we can't actually turn you into an android. You'd still be just as you are. All we can do is scan your personality-"

"Yes, I know," Dianne interrupted. "But the personality module still thinks and feels like the person she used to be, doesn't she?" She had to be right. She had to.

"Well, it behaves as if it does. It has all of the knowledge of its former life, except for the private details that our scan isn't deep enough to record, and it tends to speak and behave as if it were the person it was copied from, when it is permitted to. There's really no way to tell what it actually feels like."

"Well, that's good enough for me. If it works, then somewhere - somewhere there will be an android - well, thousands of androids, I guess - who are beautiful, loyal, perfect servants, programmed to always do the right thing, are loved by their masters, don't screw everything up, aren't scared all the time... and who can remember being me. Who even think that they are me. That's what I want, Mr. Haroshi."

Haroshi tapped a pen against his desk. "You do realize that even the transferred models will still be totally subservient to their owners? The personality matrix has only as much control over the android body as the owner allows. We're not in the business of creating free mechanical people, after all. An android incorporating your personality will be just as much a slave as any android you've owned."

"Of course, I understand that," Dianne said. "I've had forty-three years of being a free person, and it hasn't done me any good. I've made a mess of it, and I've been scared and miserable my whole life. I don't think there's anything left for me as a free person. So I want to try being a doll. A love doll, if possible."

"But why?"

"Why?" Dianne asked. Now, finally, she could no longer hold back the tears. "Because all my life, all I've ever wanted is to be loved. I don't want to be snubbed because I'm ugly. I don't want to struggle for dignity. I don't want to be scorned by half the world for having too much money, and respected by the rest just because I have too much money. I don't want to be confused all the time about what I'm supposed to do, and how I'm supposed to act, and who I'm supposed to be. I know it's not a popular attitude for a woman today, but all I want is to make someone happy - and that's what dolls do. People don't. At least... not people like me."

"All right," Haroshi shrugged. He didn't understand it himself - but the woman seemed to know what she wanted. "Here's what I can do. I can have our psychology team interview you. We're not looking for just any personality, you know. We're identifying specific types of personalities we think will sell well in various market niches, and we'll pick the best sample we get for each category. It'll be up to them to decide whether you're the right fit for one of the styles we have planned, and if so, which one. You will not have any say in the matter. Does that satisfy you, Mrs. Wilkins?"

And, looking up through her tears, for the first time since entering the IPM building, Dianne smiled. "That will be fine, Mr. Haroshi. Thank you."

Dianne Paris Wilkins met with IPM's psychologists. They asked her lots of penetrating personal questions. They asked for, and received, her permission to hypnotize her and ask her more questions. She didn't know how many other women, or men for that matter, they spoke to, and she didn't care. In the end, they decided to use her.

She asked Haroshi if she might see what she was going to look like before they scanned her personality. "We don't normally do that," Haroshi admitted, "but in your case I suppose we can make an exception."

He arranged for a bright-eyed young roboticist named Jeanette Carlisle to show Dianne her new body. Everyone who worked here, it seemed to Dianne, was young.

Jeanette led her through a labyrinth of hallways, laboratories, and cubicles, finally arriving at a large storage room full of coffin-sized boxes. She explained, "Most of the unfinished androids stay at the manufacturing plant until they're complete - which means having their personality matrices loaded. Then they'll be packaged and delivered to showrooms direct from there. But we keep a few of each model here at the lab for testing and demonstrations."

Each box had a clear plastic lid, through which one could see the deactivated android inside. They were arranged almost like bookshelves, standing upright so that one could walk down the rows and scan the offerings. The first three boxes Dianne looked at were identical dark-haired men of the stereotypical "tall, dark, and handsome" variety. But Jeanette led her to the third row and off to the right.

She pointed at one of the display boxes. "This is a Lianna. That's the body type your personality matrix will be installed in. I hope that's what you wanted. Back in the lab we called this one 'Dark Temptress' until Marketing decided on a real name for her."

Dianne stared at the body she would become. Lianna was a tall, slender woman with a lovely face. Had she been a real woman, Dianne would have guessed she was in her early twenties. She wore only a skin-tight blue leotard, which showed off her firm bosom, narrow waist, and broad hips. She had a thick dark, almost black braid of hair that curved down her left shoulder and nearly brushed her breast. Her eyes were closed, and her face was composed as if she were dreaming pleasant dreams. Embedded in the skin of her neck, between her collarbones, was a dark plastic square, perfectly aligned with her skin. The feminine body was cradled in a soft foam mold precisely shaped to hold her. In the next case over was a twin to the doll in front of her... and another beyond that...

"Can you activate one of them?" Dianne asked.

"I suppose so," Jeanette agreed. "Of course, it's just a robot now until we load your personality into her."

"I know, but I want to see what she looks like when she moves."

Jeanette worked a pair of catches along the side of the lid of the Lianna's case, and swung the lid open. From a pair of smaller niches next to the doll, she pulled out a black remote control device with many buttons, and two large silver cylinders.

"We store the androids with their batteries removed," Jeanette explained. She pointed the remote at the Lianna, and pressed two buttons. With each press, a seam appeared in the inside of one of the Lianna's thighs, which then popped up as a small panel of fake skin which Jeanette swung open. Inside each thigh was a hollow space just large enough for one of the batteries. Jeanette inserted them expertly, and slapped each thigh panel closed again. As it closed, each panel sealed so perfectly that Dianne couldn't tell there was even a seam.

"Do you want to turn her on yourself?" Jeanette asked, offering Dianne the remote.

Dianne took the device carefully. It was of a different design than the remotes for any of the androids she had owned, but not too different. There was a large red "Off" button, and next to it a series of four green buttons labeled, "Robot," "Passive," "Natural," and "Free." A green outline surrounded all four buttons, labeled "On."

"The four On buttons also control its mode," the roboticist explained. "The modes will be explained to you later. For now just press the button marked `Robot.'"

Dianne pointed the remote at Lianna's face, and pressed the button.

A sharp click issued from somewhere inside the android's torso, and a red light flashed inside the dark square in its neck. Nothing else happened for a few seconds, and then the square began to glow red. Lianna took a breath and opened her eyes.

"Hello," she said, in a soft voice with just the slightest hint of a southern accent. "My name is Lianna. How may I serve you?"

"Step out of the box," Dianne ordered, backing up to make room.

The android did as she was told, carefully placing her bare feet on the carpeted floor of the storeroom. She did not turn to face either Dianne or Jeanette, but simply stared forward at another row of female androids. Only the rhythmic motion of her respiration (for cooling her internal systems) and occasional blinking of her eyes showed that she was activated.

Dianne reached out and touched the android's arm. It was firm and smooth, unlike her own chubby limbs. She moved her hand up to caress Lianna's cheek - gently, half-afraid she would accidentally damage the android, or do something else that would make them decide not to proceed with her. But nothing bad happened. Lianna did not even react to Dianne's touch.

"Look at me," she ordered. Lianna turned to face the older woman. Now that the android's dark brown eyes were open and her body no longer encased in padding, Dianne could see why her designers had called her "Dark Temptress." Jason would have liked her, she thought.

"What is your function?" she asked.

"I am an entertainment android, Miss," Lianna said. "My function is to please. I am programmed with a full array of adult-oriented recreational skills, including games, low-impact sports, dancing, massage, and personal attention, as well as standard housekeeping and secretarial tasks."

"Does that mean you're a love doll?" Dianne asked uncertainly.

"Yes, Miss, I can serve that function."

Jeanette added, "The PR folks think we'd get in trouble with the government if we were too explicit about the fact that half our androids get most of their use as sex toys. That's why we use euphemisms like 'intimate companion' and 'personal attention.' They don't fool anyone who doesn't want to be fooled. But we do expect Lianna to be purchased primarily by men aged 20 to 55, for sexual purposes. I hope you don't mind, Mrs. Wilkins."

Dianne smiled. "That's fine," she said. "Just what I wanted."

Jeanette gave her an odd look. "You sure?"

"I'm completely sure," Dianne said.

Jeanette hmmphed. "Well, better you than me. The only reason I help design them is because it pays so well. I'd hate to become one." She thought about it again for a moment. "But I guess my boyfriend might like it if I became this one."

Dianne nodded dreamily, thinking about the words, "purchased by men... for sexual purposes." In that lovely young-looking body, she could make any man happy just by being there. And she'd never do anything to make her man unhappy. Yes. This was what she wanted.

"I'm finished here," she said softly. "Lianna, get back into your box."

The beautiful android carefully turned her back to the box, and stepped backward into it. "Prepare for shipping," Jeanette ordered, and the android maneuvered her limbs into place so they were once again perfectly cradled by the padded mold. She closed her eyes, and said, "I am prepared for shipping. I will shut down in two seconds." Precisely two seconds later, she exhaled one last time, and the indicator light on her neck went dark. She did not move.

Jeanette opened Lianna's thigh panels again to remove her batteries, and stored them and the remote control in their niche in the box. Then she closed and latched the case, and led Dianne away.

Her next stop was the lab of one of the psychologists she'd met earlier, a man named Frank Feldman. It was he who would perform the actual scan of her personality. He led her to a chair with a sort of helmet attached to the top of it, which he lowered over her head.

"All right, Dianne," he said. "Now, I want you to pay attention to the images on this screen here." He pointed out a large projection screen. "They'll help focus your attention properly, so the scan will work best. It'll take anywhere from an hour or less to two hours or so. It should go fastest if you can just relax completely. Daydream. Let the images guide your thoughts however they will. Just don't fall asleep. Okay?"

"Okay," Dianne said eagerly. "I'm ready." She settled herself in to watch the screen.

A swirl of colors appeared. Slowly they resolved into a series of images, almost like Rorschach blots. Dianne relaxed, letting her thoughts wander. A house... a dog... a pair of breasts... an apple...

Some time later, the swirling images faded. The psychologist walked back over to her and lifted the helmet off her head.

"That's all?" Dianne asked.

Frank nodded. "Nothing to it. You were great - less than an hour for the complete scan. I now have a complete copy of your personality on this crystal." He held up a standard memory crystal, thumb-sized and silver-blue. "We'll check it out over the next few days and let you know if anything went wrong. The process only works perfectly in about four out of five tries. If it didn't work, we'll call you in for a second scan. But otherwise, you're all done."

Dianne walked out of Dr. Feldman's office as if in a dream. She had no more plans. She had nowhere she cared to go. She hadn't changed at all, and yet she somehow felt she was leaving the best part of herself behind, in Dr. Feldman's crystal.

For what it was worth, Dr. Feldman would have agreed with her.

Chapter 2 - The showroom

From the outside, the IPM Companion Showroom looked almost like just another clothing store on the second floor of the mall. It had three window displays which almost looked like mannequin displays.

To the left of the entrance stood a pair of lovely women, standing motionless with their faces almost touching. On the left was a brunette in a short black dress, turned partially away from the onlooker but looking back over her shoulder with a friendly smile, and next to her was a lovely long-haired black girl in black slacks and a green blouse. Plaques at their feet identified them. The brunette was "Shari," the dark-skinned girl was "Ayesha." Neither figure moved... no, on second thought, they did, occasionally. Their bodies and arms remained perfectly motionless, but each lovely girl turned her head slightly from time to time to make eye contact with one of the men passing by, and smile at him.

To the far right of the door stood a tall, elegant man dressed in a black tuxedo. He too stood motionless, posed like a butler. His plaque named him "Brice."

The center and largest window, however, showed a candle-lit dinner for two. A handsome dark-haired, bearded man sat across a small table from a lovely blonde girl. Unlike the other figures, these two actually moved in the window. They could be seen talking, laughing, sipping from wine glasses, touching hands. Occasionally they kissed. They too had labels: "Michaela" and "Marcus."

Henry Saunders admired the windows for a moment, like everyone else, and noticed Shari catching his eye. Automatically, he smiled back at her. But he knew Shari wasn't the doll he wanted.

A couple came out the door. The man was an Asian in his forties, about Henry's own age, and nothing special to look at. His companion, however, could only be an android. She was a lovely, young, dark-haired, dark-eyed beauty with smooth, perfect skin. She wore a basic black skirt and white blouse, and carried on the opposite side from the man a large shopping bag with the IPM Companions logo emblazoned on its side. She said something to the man that made him laugh, and pressed herself against him.

Yes, Henry thought, that was the one he wanted.

IPM Android S/N EN-T-05-* (Lianna) Memory Record (biological):

A swirl of colors appeared. Slowly they resolved into a series of images, almost like Rorschach blots. Dianne relaxed, letting her thoughts wander. A house.. a dog... a pair of breasts... an apple...

Downloading in-store display protocol.

IPM Android S/N EN-T-05-A147 (Lianna) Activation (Natural Mode):

Dianne woke up. She felt soft fabric pressing around her entire body, except in front of her. Opening her eyes, she found herself facing a beautiful dark-complexioned man wearing a stylish gray suit. He was pointing a small black device at her. There was a green-glowing square embedded in his neck - as she was suddenly sure there was a matching square in her own.

It worked! she thought. I'm really an android! She felt cold, as was to be expected, but she could sense her heating system functioning to bring her up to normal human temperature.

"Hello, Lianna," the man said. "I'm Jerome."

"Hi, Jerome," Dianne - Lianna - said, smiling. Her voice wasn't her own, but rather the soft, Southern voice she had last heard when from the Lianna android, when she had gone with Jeanette to see it. She was about to ask, Where am I? when something inside her head answered in the same Lianna voice.

(You are at IPM Companion Showroom number 43 in Newport, Ohio,) it informed her.

(Who are you?) she thought.

(I am your director module,) it answered. (I will answer to the name Lianna.)

(My what?)

(Your director module. My function is to guide your body's actions. I am programmed with a detailed set of guidelines as to how you may and may not behave, and I will ensure that your actions always fall within those guidelines.)

(What kind of guidelines?) Dianne wondered. This whole conversation seemed to be happening in the blink of an eye. "Lianna's" answers to her questions did not come in fully-formed sentences, the way another person might speak - instead they simply appeared fully formed in her mind.

(I will ensure that you obey all orders given to you, especially by your owner. I will prevent you from harming any person or property. I will ensure that you are properly respectful of your own status as the property of your owner. I am programmed with many skills, which I will use to enhance your behavior in those areas.)

(Well, if you do all that, what am I here for?)

(Your purpose is to provide this unit with a personality, to make it seem more human. You will normally have full control over your body. I will only intervene should you attempt any action which is not in accordance with your behavioral guidelines.)

Jerome interrupted Dianne's discussion with her director, saying, "Step out of your case, Lianna."

Dianne/Lianna obeyed. Once she was out from the pleasantly confining padding of the box, she could look around, and down at her own body. Sure enough, she had become Lianna. She felt her black braid against the sensitive skin of her back, even through the fabric of the blue leotard she wore. Her arms and legs were smooth and shapely. She was in a storeroom similar to the one at IPM where she had first seen this body, but this room was much larger and more crowded. The coffin-like android boxes here were brightly colored, bearing descriptions of the androids inside. Dianne saw one near her containing another Lianna unit, and the text, "Evening Comfort Lianna - a servant, lovely playmate, intimate companion, and perfect-"

She didn't find out what she was a perfect one of, as Jerome interrupted her to say, "Start your in-store display protocol, Lianna. Take off that leotard." The first part Dianne didn't understand, but the second part she was not quite so pleased to obey. However, her body had no such compunctions. Unwillingly, she found herself reaching behind her back to lower the leotard's zipper, and pulling off the skin-tight garment. She made a half-hearted attempt to protest, but her lips refused to open to utter her words. Well, she decided, I did choose this. I knew I'd be completely subservient to the wills of others.

When she was undressed, Jerome handed her a pile of clothes. "Put these clothes on," he ordered her, and she began to dress herself. "I've told other Liannas this before, but I want you to know I think you're very beautiful."

Dianne smiled. "Thank you, Jerome," she said. It's been a long time since anyone told me that, she thought, but the words came out as, "Nobody's ever told me that before." She would have looked confused had she been able.

Wait a minute - "Other Liannas?"

"Yes, you're a popular style," said Jerome. By now Dianne/Lianna was fully dressed in flesh-toned nylons, a short black skirt, and a white blouse with a wide V-neck, and was stepping into a pair of black high-heeled shoes that she was sure did very pleasant things to the lines of her legs. Her director stifled a gasp of surprise as Jerome reached a finger inside the waistband of her skirt, then clipped something to it. "Follow me to the females showroom," Jerome ordered.

Dianne obediently followed the male android down the cramped walkways of the stockroom. As they walked, she looked to see what Jerome had attached to her skirt, and discovered a remote control, presumably hers. She tried to touch it, but her hand stopped an inch away from it and would go no closer. When she wondered why, she heard her own silent voice in her head once more, explaining, (You may not touch your remote control unless ordered to do so.)

By this time, they had reached a door conveniently labeled, "Females." Jerome pointed her through it, and, whether she wanted to or not, she entered the showroom.

It was a large area, she could tell, although she couldn't see all of it at once. Dividers of various sorts - decorative stone walls, hedge bushes in long pots, curtains and garment racks broke up the space. She knew without knowing how she knew, that the purpose was to give plenty of space where a customer could feel a certain amount of privacy to examine the androids, discuss what he wanted, and so on, without feeling that everyone else in the store was watching him. As indeed, there seemed to be a lot of people around. Many were clearly androids - their perfect good looks gave them away even when she couldn't see the glowing square at the base of their necks... or else see two or three identical figures. Others were human... although she quickly noticed that every man she saw looked attractive to her, even pimply-faced teenage boys and gray-haired old men. While all of the androids in this section were female, the humans seemed to be mostly (although not entirely) male. Some androids were walking about, or talking to customers, or being touched by customers. Others stood motionless on small pedestals.

Dianne had no idea what she was supposed to do. Panic seemed to form an icy ball inside her stomach - or at least, in the spot where she was used to having a stomach. (Lianna, what do I do now?!) she asked her director frantically.

(Relax,) Lianna told her. (Running in-store display protocol.) Immediately, her lips parted in a broad smile, and she strode into the showroom. (You are programmed to display and demonstrate yourself to potential customers. I will make sure you do nothing inappropriate.)

Dianne relaxed a little. She didn't have to make any decisions. She was programmed to do the right thing. Whatever that was.

She saw two humans looking around confusedly. They didn't seem to be together. She noticed a red-headed android approaching one of them, so she walked over to the other, a brown-haired, attractive (except when compared to the beautiful androids in the showroom) woman, perhaps in her mid-thirties. Dianne was a little disappointed. She wanted a chance to try seducing a man with her new body - not that she had any idea how she would go about doing that. But the red-head was already talking to the man, and her director wouldn't let her interrupt them. Not knowing what else to do, Dianne let Lianna handle this first contact with a human being as an android.

"Hi, my name is Lianna," she greeted the woman. "Can I help you with anything?"

"Hi," the woman said. "I'm... well, I'm interested in buying an android, I think. I really don't know much about them..." Dianne recognized her distinct Ohioan nasal twang.

"That's okay," Lianna said, "I can tell you anything you want to know. I'm an android myself. What are you looking for in an android?"

"Well, I'm actually looking for sort of a babysitter. My husband and I have three children, you see, and... well, I want to go back to work, and..."

"Of course," Lianna agreed. Although her face maintained a friendly expression, Dianne groaned inside. Please don't tell me I'm going to be a babysitter! she thought. But she continued speaking. "We sell several different models of child-care androids. I'm not designed for that myself-" Whew! "-but I can help you find one that is." She looked around the room. Dianne didn't know what she was looking for, but evidently she found it. She did notice the red-headed android who had intercepted the male customer, though. She was standing rigid while the customer barked orders or questions at her. Perhaps it was just as well Dianne hadn't been in time to approach him, she thought.

"Why don't you come over here," she invited, leading the woman across the room to another android. This one looked a few years older than Lianna did, and wasn't nearly as beautiful. She addressed the android, "Darlene, this young lady is looking for an android to help take care of her children."

"Really? Well, perhaps I'm what you're looking for. Thank you, Lianna. My name is Darlene..." Lianna turned away as Darlene began speaking with the woman.

(Thanks for handling that, Lianna.) Her director didn't reply. She supposed there wasn't really any need to thank it after all - it was just a machine doing what it was programmed to. Just as she was, now... (What now?)

(You are programmed to seek other customers in need of assistance,) Lianna replied. She walked around the showroom, but it seemed no one wanted to speak to her just then. Dianne found herself climbing onto a small white pedestal. (You will now go into display mode,) Lianna informed her. (You may select an attractive pose.)

(What kind of pose?) Dianne asked hesitantly. What if she picked a bad pose?

(You may choose a pose for yourself. I will prevent you from assuming an inappropriate pose.)

Dianne wanted to choose something sexy, but she didn't really know how. She put one leg in front of the other, and swayed her hips tentatively. After a second's thought, she rested one hand on her hip, and did her best to look seductive.

(Is this okay, Lianna?) she asked. There was no answer inside her head. Feeling more than a little silly, she tried to relax her pose - and found she couldn't. Her body was frozen in place. Fear filled her for a moment, until she realized this wasn't some kind of punishment. Lianna must have decided her pose was good enough for display. Cheered, she would have smiled had she been able. (How long do I have to stay like this?) she wondered.

But again, the director didn't answer. Dianne resigned herself to standing there as long as necessary. She was pleased to realize she didn't get tired as she quickly would have had she been human, nor did she feel cramped in any way. She could stand there, rigid and relaxed, all day, watching the action around her. It was actually quite pleasant, knowing that nothing at all was expected of her. She was a bit taken aback the first time she saw another Lianna walk by with a male customer, talking to him just as Dianne would have herself... but of course, the other Lianna would have her own copy of Dianne inside... She wondered what would happen if she talked to another Lianna.

After a time, she noticed a young man, perhaps as young as eighteen, eyeing her. He had a fairly serious acne problem. (Should I say something to him, Lianna?)

(Not unless he approaches you.)

(Oh. Sorry.)

After a minute or so, however, he looked around furtively, approached her and reached up to touch her face.

(Now you may greet him,) Lianna told her, tipping her face down to smile at the boy. Dianne thought he was a little young for her... but then again her new body looked only in its twenties anyway. He might conceivably have a girlfriend who looked the age she looked... but not, she knew, one as lovely as she. He snatched his hand back as if she had threatened to bite him.

"I'm sorry," she blurted. "I didn't mean to scare you. Can I help you?" She carefully hid any sign of any distaste at his appearance... and in truth, for some reason, she found she didn't actually feel any. In fact she found herself rather turned on by his attentions - and not just literally turned on, either.

"No, that's okay," the boy said. "I thought you were turned off."

Dianne didn't know what to say, but she found herself speaking calmly anyway. "That's all right," Lianna soothed him. "It's okay to touch me, or any other android you like. My name is Lianna. Would you like me to tell you about myself?"

"No," the boy repeated. "There's no way I can afford an android anyway. I'm just here to look. Just stand like you were and pretend I'm not here."

Obediently, Lianna resumed her frozen, seductive stare into space. She felt a stab of guilt - wasn't she supposed to please him, make him happy, try to make him want her? The boy waved his hand in front of her motionless face a few times. Getting no response, he ran his hand up her left leg. Dianne felt his touch through the nylons she wore. Automatically, she tried to move her arms to brush his hand away, or step back from him, but she couldn't. She could only stand there, helplessly self-conscious, as the boy's touch moved all the way up her thigh, under her skirt, setting off little bursts of arousal between her legs. Then the boy looked off to his left and seemed to see something, for he suddenly pulled his hand away and departed quickly, leaving Dianne with the sensation of a fizzy glow in her lower body. She wished she could do something about it.

A little while later, an attractive blonde android led a rather handsome man of forty or so over to her pedestal. She heard the man say, "Yes, that's the one."

"This is Lianna," the blonde android introduced her. "Lianna, are you active? Ah, yes, you are."

Lianna, released again from her frozen display pose, lowered her arm from her hip and descended gracefully from the pedestal. "Yes, I was just on display. How can I help you?"

"This gentleman is interested in you," the blonde explained. "Would you describe yourself for him, please?"

Lianna turned her attention to him. "Of course," she said. Once she had the man's attention, she noticed, the blonde withdrew. Lianna began speaking before Dianne had a chance to realize she didn't know what to say. "I'm an Evening Comfort, with a donated personality, Sir; an entertainment android. My function is to please. I am programmed with a full array of adult-oriented recreational skills, including games, low-impact sports, dancing, and personal attention, as well as standard housekeeping and secretarial tasks. I also contain an actual donated human personality, which allows me to behave much more naturally than less advanced androids."

While Lianna gave her sales pitch, Dianne looked the man over. He wore a pair of casual slacks and an old, but nice shirt. He had short, light brown hair, just slightly thinning, and his face was clean-shaven. It was a nice face, Dianne thought. A strong face - perhaps an executive's face - but a kind face too, with a hint of sadness. And also, she was pleased to see, a hint of lust. Would he decide to buy her, she wondered? She hoped he would - and then feared she would somehow repel him.

"You are fully realistic?" the man asked, glancing down as if to check for himself.

"Yes, Sir. I have perfect simulations of all the features of a human woman."

(Lianna, can I tell him I can make love to him?) She found that she really wanted to.

(Yes.)

"I-" she started to say, before realizing what she was doing. How could she say that? She'd never in her life been so bold as to tell a man she wanted to sleep with him... But Lianna wouldn't let her drop the sentence there. She seamlessly continued, "-would be happy to make love to you, Sir, if you were to rent me." Dianne felt hideously embarrassed... but the man didn't seem to mind.

"Really?" he asked. "Would you tell me if you didn't want to?"

"Yes, but I think I would be happy to make love to any man," Lianna replied. Dianne wasn't sure she felt that way... but then again, she had noticed that all the men in the store seemed unusually attractive to her. Even the acne-faced boy. "There are other android models who are more selective and might not like you. If you wish, I could introduce you to one." That was interesting, Dianne thought. Did some men really want to buy an android who didn't like them?

"No, that's okay," the man said. "How strong is your skin? I mean, how hard are you to damage?"

Lianna answered, "My skin is as resistant to damage as that of any household android on the market today, sir. It's a little tougher than human skin, but not much. If anything were to damage my skin, you could return me to this showroom for repair."

"That's what I thought. I think you're just what I'm looking for. I'd like to... um..." He hesitated, for the first time looking unsure how to say what he meant.

"Examine me more closely?" Dianne found herself suggesting. "Please feel free to make any inspection you like, Sir, or to ask me any questions you may have." She wondered what kind of inspection the man might find appropriate. Would he...

He looked around, seeming a little apprehensive. "Is there someplace where we can be alone for a bit?" he asked. Apparently he would.

"Of course. Come this way." Lianna led the man to a small room just off the main showroom. Once the door was closed behind them, the man turned her a bit roughly to face him, pulled her close to him, and kissed her deeply on the mouth. Dianne was surprised, but her body responded automatically, and after a moment's hesitation she took over and returned the kiss just as fervently if not more so. Finally! she thought, I'm beautiful enough to seduce a man without hardly trying! She loved the sensation of his warm lips against her own, her breasts pressed against his chest, his strong hand against the back of her neck and the fingers of his other hand gently stroking her jaw.

She smiled into the man's eyes as he let her go, letting him know how much she had enjoyed the kiss. Lianna spoke, saying, "I'd better warn you, Sir, that's as far as I'm allowed to go here in the store. I'm not allowed to make love to you unless you buy me, or rent me." Dianne wanted to tell him how much she hoped he would, but she didn't dare.

"Quite a temptation you are..." the man mused. Dianne cocked her head at him, hoping to be even more of a temptation. This was the kind of man she wanted to serve... at least, she thought so.

"How do I operate you, Lianna?" he asked. "Remote control?"

"I have a remote, Sir," Lianna said. "It's clipped to my belt if you'd like to see it. But I also accept spoken orders for all functions except activation." The man reached for and took her remote control, and looked at it.

"Will anyone object if I turn you off?" he asked.

"No, Sir. To turn me back on use one of the mode buttons. I'm currently in `Natural' mode." The man aimed the remote control at her. No, Dianne thought, don't turn me off; I'm enjoying-

IPM Android S/N EN-T-05-A147 (Lianna) Deactivation (Remote)

Henry pointed the remote at Lianna and pressed the `Off' button. Instantly, the android ceased all motion. Even its breathing stopped. The green light in its neck faded to black.

He was pretty sure he wanted Lianna. Still, he was a careful shopper, and determined to examine the merchandise before he made a purchase. He unbuttoned the doll's blouse, and spread it wide open to reveal a sexy silver bra beneath it. He lowered the blouse's collar off Lianna's creamy shoulders and let it drop to the floor. Then he walked around the android's motionless body, letting his fingers caress its soft synthetic skin as he moved, and when he was behind it he unhooked the bra and let it drop too. He ran his hands up and down the sleek expanse of Lianna's back, with its beautifully sculptured shoulder blades and muscle tone. When he reached the hips, he slid his hands under the waistband of its skirt and nylons, and lowered them both down its silky legs. The doll's legs were slightly apart, the right leg in front of the left, so he couldn't easily remove the nylons completely, but that was okay.

He crossed in front of Lianna again. The android had a lovely pair of breasts, perfectly shaped, with no sag at all. It certainly didn't need to wear a bra - although it looked quite sexy in one. The breasts were nicely sized, big enough to be noticed and enjoyed, but not so big as to seem caricatures. He took them in his hands, felt their curved warmth, the hardness of the erect nipples. Were they always erect, he wondered, or just for me?

Then his gaze traveled downward. Just the barest hint of ribs showed beneath her breasts, and a nicely curved, narrow waist. She had a small navel. Below that... she had no pubic hair, but was otherwise complete in all ways. Seeing no reason to refrain, he ran his hand down between her legs, feeling the softness there, and everything he would expect to feel in a young, nubile woman.

His examination of the doll was not yet complete, of course. He took Lianna's right hand and lifted it up so he could look at it. There was a bit of resistance from the joints of her shoulder and elbow as they bent in response, but not a lot. She had a nice hand. Smooth-skinned, long, delicately-tapered fingers ending in nails just long enough to be feminine, but not long enough to get in the way. Was there an option for long fingernails? he wondered. Never mind, he preferred these. Her nails weren't colored, but he assumed they would take any kind of nail polish he wanted her to wear. Experimentally, he bent the fingers and straightened them again. Then he gently raised the doll's hand to his face, and brushed his own clean-shaven cheek with her soft, cool fingers. When he let go of her hand, it remained where he left it, hovering near his face.

Finally, he reached up to touch the doll's face. She was so realistic, it was hard to believe she wasn't a living girl, except that no living girl would stand - could stand - so utterly motionless while Henry bared and touched all her most sensitive parts. He caressed her soft cheek with his fingertips, brushed his index finger down the straight line of her nose, felt her lips and her ears. He noticed that her lips were slightly parted, as if she had just begun to say something when he had deactivated her. Her lips... which he bent to kiss again, putting his arms around her naked body and pulling it against him once again, caressing her skin. Her mouth yielded softly to the pressure of his own lips and tongue, although now there was no answering pressure of her own.

When he was finished, he had to steady the android on its feet to keep it from toppling over. Once it was balanced, he took another look at the remote control. Some of the controls had functions he was familiar with from Julia, the android he had owned before his divorce - the "call" button, "Power Off," "Priority," and so on. Others were new to him, though he had read some of the documentation of this model on the net. He pressed the button for robot mode, and looked up at Lianna.

The square in the android's neck flashed red three times, then glowed solidly red. Her expression relaxed, and she lowered her arms to her sides and brought her feet together, still caught in partially-removed nylons.

"Hello, sir," she said calmly. "May I help you?"

"Tell me about the mode you're in now. How is it different from natural mode?" Henry ordered.

"I am now in Robot mode," Lianna replied. "This means that my personality module is completely deactivated. I will remember any orders you give me, but otherwise I will not remember anything else that happens to me. I will obey my primary programming and your orders with very little initiative of my own, like a simple robot. This is a good mode if you wish to control my actions very precisely. However, I have no personality in this mode, and I will not be able to act very realistically."

"Hmm," Henry grunted, thinking. After a moment, he reached out and touched the android's bare breasts once more. It still did not respond, even when he brushed the nipple lightly with his fingertip.

He approached her more closely. "Kiss me," he ordered, leaning down to the doll's lips for the third time. This time Lianna was once again an active participant, willingly opening her mouth for him and kissing him with fine technique... but even though Henry wouldn't have called himself an expert judge of kisses, he could tell there was something lacking. When he'd kissed her for the first time, it felt like kissing a person, a woman who wanted to be kissed - almost like the first time he'd kissed Ellen, his soon-to-be-former wife. By comparison, now, the doll kissed like... well, like a robot.

"I've kissed other androids before," he said after breaking off the kiss. "Even a 2048 model did better than that."

"Yes sir," Lianna agreed. "Most androids who lack a donated personality are programmed to simulate human emotions and desire. However, my personality actually feels such emotions and desires, and therefore I am not programmed to simulate them. Would you like me to activate my personality module for you?"

"Not yet," Henry said. "Tell me about your other modes first."

"Yes, sir. In Passive mode, my donated personality matrix is activated, but is not permitted to act on its own initiative. For example, if you ordered me to kiss you in Passive mode, I would use my personality module enhance my kiss, but I could not kiss you unless you ordered me to, no matter how much I wanted to. In Natural mode, I can do anything I want to so long as it does not violate my primary programming or your orders. I also have a Free mode, which is the only mode in which I can actually disobey my master's orders, although I would still not be able to cause damage even if I wanted to."

Henry said nothing for a moment. The doll said nothing further either, waiting patiently for orders. He stepped back and admired the total picture.

Yes, he decided, Lianna would be just fine.

IPM Android S/N EN-T-05-A147 (Lianna) Activation (Natural Mode)

Dianne woke up. The man still (again?) stood in front of her, but more to her left, and was again pointing the remote at her. Her arms were at her sides, and her legs together. She felt a bit chilly, but there was warmth in her breast, parts of her back, and especially on her lips and in her mouth. The chill she understood as soon as she realized she had been mostly undressed. Damn! she thought, I missed it! But it was all right. She knew she would be undressed again. The warmth... could only come from an embrace, she decided. Another pleasure she'd missed while deactivated. At least it had happened. It never did in her old body.

"Do you like me, Sir?" she asked, moving seductively for him - not that it seemed to be necessary.

"Yes, I do," the man said. "I've made up my mind. Do I need to talk to a salesperson, or can you sell yourself to me?"

"I can do whatever you need, Sir," Lianna said. "Would you like to buy me outright, or would you prefer to rent me?"

"How much do you cost?"

Lianna named a purchase price, and a monthly rental fee. Dianne was shocked. She cost almost twice as much as she'd expected. She was sure he would never buy her at that price. She hadn't really done anything to make him love her, after all...

"You're worth that," he said. "I'll buy you now."

(You will?) Dianne thought, though she said instead, "Thank you, Sir. I'm glad." It was strange; sometimes even Dianne herself couldn't tell for sure whether her words came from her own personality, or from Lianna the android. Maybe it didn't matter anymore. "May I get dressed before we work out the details?" she asked.

The man agreed, and Dianne reassembled her attire. "You can buy this outfit for me if you like, Sir," she informed him as she dressed, naming a price. "Otherwise I'll have to change back into the leotard I came from the factory in. We also sell several packages of clothes for me. They're all guaranteed to fit perfectly, and to look wonderful on me. Would you like to buy one for me? I would like to have different outfits to wear for you."

They discussed clothing for a bit, and Lianna led him back to the showroom to let him look at his options. After looking at pictures of her in various outfits, the man decided to buy the 'Sexy Looks' package. Dianne looked forward to seeing how she looked in it. She hoped he would like her in it. He declined to purchase her shipping case ("I'll worry about it later if I need to ship you anywhere,") but did decide to buy both an extra battery and a self-charging adapter for her, as well as the clothes she was wearing. She pointed out to him a selection of extension programs and hardware extras he could buy for her (including Ballroom Dance, Handmade Clothes, and Advanced Sexuality, as well as Wind-Up Actuator and Wireless Networking), but he decided to wait and see if he wanted any later. Dianne wondered if she was supposed to try harder to make him buy them, but she couldn't think of anything else to do - and besides, she thought she would have done the same in his shoes.

A few minutes later, the man signed his name, Henry Saunders, on a credit slip. "Congratulations, Sir," Lianna said, smiling. "I'm now legally yours. There's just one more thing we need to do before we can leave." She led him to another counter, where there was an electronic device Dianne didn't recognize. "This will deactivate my theft-protection system, and program me to recognize you as my new owner. It'll take about ten seconds, during which I'll be unable to respond to you. Okay?"

When her new master nodded, Lianna picked up a cable extending from the machine on the counter, and placed its end over the status indicator on her neck. She pressed a green button on the machine -

IPM Android S/N EN-T-05-A147 (Lianna) Memory Record (informational):

Deleting in-store display protocol.

Disabling in-store theft-protection system.

Deleting memories of in-store experience [except for purchaser]

Registering owner: Henry Saunders [facial characteristics] [body characteristics] [vocal characteristics]

- and Evening Comfort Lianna A147 belonged to Henry Saunders.

"I'm all yours," she smiled.

Chapter 3 - Henry's android slave

"What shall we do now?"

What they did now was to leave the store. Lianna carried the shopping bag full of accessories he'd bought for her, including a thick owner's manual. For a moment, she was annoyed with him for making her carry the bag - forty-some-odd years of womanhood had trained her to expect that while she certainly couldn't expect a man to offer to carry her loads, he just as surely wouldn't expect her to carry his. But then, she wasn't really a woman anymore; she was Henry's android and his slave. Of course he would have her carry the bag. They held hands as Henry led her... wherever he was taking her.

She found herself in a large shopping mall; somewhat to her surprise it looked just like any shopping mall in Texas, despite being in Ohio. Idly, she mentioned the fact.

"When were you in Texas?" Henry asked.

"I lived most of my life there," Dianne said. Then Lianna corrected her error, saying, "I mean, my personality is based on a woman who lived in Texas. I was built at IPM's manufacturing facility in New York, and first activated here in the showroom."

"Were you named Lianna before you became an android?"

Dianne would have answered, but Lianna blocked her and answered instead. "I'm sorry, I'm not programmed to answer detailed questions about my personality donor. She has a right to her own privacy. By the way, what would you like me to call you?"

Henry grinned. "Hmm... how about `My Lord and Master?'"

Eek? "Certainly, My Lord and Master," Lianna said, unable to stop smiling at him.

(He can't be serious! We're not really going to call him that, are we?)

(You will refer to your master as he desires.)

Henry frowned. "No, that's silly. `Master' will do. You can call me Henry from time to time too, when it's appropriate... but never when there are other people around."

"All right, Master." That was better, Dianne thought. Most androids called their owners Master or Mistress, and other humans Sir or Ma'am.

They walked past an ice cream store, and Dianne looked hungrily at it as they passed. Ice cream had been a rare treat for her, in her old, overweight body. Henry noticed her looking.

"You don't eat, do you?" he asked.

"No, of course not," Lianna said. So much for ice cream, Dianne thought. "I can eat and drink small amounts for social purposes, but it isn't really recommended. I do like ice cream, though," Dianne added wistfully, a bit surprised Lianna let her say that. Well, she was there to add personality. And a personality that didn't like ice cream wasn't much of a personality, was it?

As they approached the mall exit, Dianne noticed Henry zipping up a thick winter coat that she hadn't especially noticed he was wearing until then. When did it become winter? she wondered. It had been mid-May when she last saw the outdoors, and that felt like just a few hours ago. It must have taken several months (or over a year?) between the time her personality was scanned, and the time she was ready to go on the market. Or perhaps she - the Lianna model - had been on the market for a long time already, but she - this particular Lianna - wasn't one of the first to be shipped? Dianne asked her director.

(Your central processor was initialized on October 2, 2054.)

So over a year had gone by without her noticing - or technically, without her even existing. She found that a little scary.

She stepped ahead to open and hold the door for her master, prepared to be very cold, in her cotton blouse and skirt. Sure enough, it was cold outside, with old snow on the ground. But she found that while she noticed the cold as a fact, it didn't particularly bother her.

(Lianna, how cold can it be before it affects me?) she asked her director.

(You are rated for temperatures down to ten degrees Fahrenheit, and can function for limited periods with a possibility of slight problems down to eighteen below. The current temperature is well within limits.)

Well, that was good to know. Together, she and Henry slogged their way to his car. She felt snow chilling her feet and dampening her nylons, but it didn't hurt the way it would have hurt her old living feet. The doors of the wide, businesslike Oldsmobile opened as Henry approached. She saw Henry heading for the driver's seat, so took the passenger seat next to him.

"I'm able to drive, if you'd like me to," she mentioned as the doors closed.

Henry started the car, and Dianne felt it rise up on its air cushion. "No, I'll drive myself. But... I suppose you know how to shop?"

"Of course, Master." It had been a long time since Dianne had shopped for anything other than clothes... for many years she'd had her own androids to do that for her, and it was a chore she'd been happy to give up. Her director would not let her say so, of course.

"Good. I need to pick up some groceries on the way home. You'll do that." He ran down a short list of groceries to be picked up. Lianna asked for more details - what kind of milk, any particular brand, and so on.

"When I have the chance," she said, "I'll see what you have in your kitchen so I'll know what to buy."

"Good. And remind me to give you my credit code and authorize you to use it." For this trip, he handed her some cash as he parked outside the supermarket.

Strangely enough, as much as Dianne had hated shopping for herself, she found she didn't mind shopping for Henry. Not that she had any choice in the matter, of course. Perhaps it was something about knowing that the eyes that watched her were admiring her beauty, rather than wishing she'd get out of the way. Then again, somehow she never really seemed to be in anyone's way... Lianna seemed to know how to make her way around the supermarket without interfering with anyone else, human or android. And when those others got in her way, she wasn't able to tell them off, or even look annoyed. She just said, "Excuse me," in her soft, pleasant voice, made her way around the offending shopper, and went about her business. It made the whole experience much smoother. And the androids-only checkout lane moved along quite quickly. They hadn't had those the last time she'd been in a supermarket, but it made sense - unlike humans, androids could be relied on to have coupons and money ready, and you didn't have to be polite to them if for some reason they misbehaved.

A few minutes later, Henry parked his car in the underground garage of an apartment complex, and he and his new android got out. Lianna, of course, carried both the bag from the Companions Showroom, and the two bags of groceries, up to his roomy ninth-floor apartment. Her attention was first caught by a small orange-and-white cat lying on a recliner which had once been blue, but was now mostly orange and white. He woke up and stretched as they came in.

"Oh, he's so cute!" Dianne exclaimed. She wanted to run over and pet the cat, but Lianna insisted she put away the groceries first. "What's his name?" she asked instead.

"Noxious," Henry answered, grinning. "Short for `obnoxious,' which he was when he was a kitten. My idea. Ellen couldn't decide what to call him, so Noxious stuck."

"Well, I think he's adorable. May I play with him?"

"Not right this minute, but in general, sure. Just don't think you have to obey his orders. He can get pretty demanding. Oh, and if you see him start to scratch the couch or the carpet, snap your fingers at him. If he doesn't stop, make him stop and bonk him on the nose. That's an order, by the way."

"Yes, Master. Is he allowed to claw other things?"

Henry listed a few other things Noxious wasn't to be allowed to claw (including Lianna herself), and a few things considered expendable, such as the recliner.

"By the way, Master, may I ask who Ellen is?" Dianne asked when he had finished.

"She's my wife," Henry said, briefly surprising Dianne. "My soon-to-be ex-wife, I expect. We've been separated for a few months now. I don't expect you'll meet her. I waited before getting you till I didn't think we were likely to get back together."

"Oh," Dianne said. "Should I say I'm sorry?"

"No," Henry decided after a pause. "You, in particular, should not. You should in fact not mention or think about Ellen unless it's absolutely necessary."

"Yes, Master."

"Now, let me show you..." and he led her off to the kitchen to point out where the items she'd bought from the store should go. After she'd finished putting things away, Henry led her to his bedroom.

"Why don't you try on one of those new outfits," Henry suggested, to Dianne's delight.

"Yes, Master," she replied, suddenly fearful again - yet eager, too. "Um... do you want me to change in front of you?"

"Yes..." Henry began, then corrected himself. "No, actually, use the bathroom. I want to see you come out sexy."

"Yes, Master," she agreed, taking the package with her as she left the room.

Once in the bathroom (which she hoped she wasn't going to have to clean), the first thing Dianne did was to quickly strip off her clothes and look at her own body for the first time. It hadn't occurred to her to strip the Lianna she had examined back at IPM, when she was still human, and even if it had, she probably wouldn't have had the guts to do it. But now that she was living in it, she wanted to know what she looked like! She looked at her body in the mirror and was even more pleased at what she saw than she had expected to be. "Dark Temptress" indeed!

(You have been ordered to dress,) Lianna reminded her silently. But Dianne didn't answer, and Lianna allowed her to continue admiring her new body. Her skin was perfectly smooth all over, with a light unblemished tan. Her face was lovely, with precisely shaped and colored lips, unchapped and, Dianne assumed, unchappable. Her teeth were white and even, her eyes brown and bright. It hardly seemed possible that a body so perfectly human in appearance and texture could be artificial - and yet, she knew perfectly well that beneath the shapely exterior was not bone and blood but plastic and circuitry.

(You have been ordered to dress,) Lianna repeated.

(I know, I know,) Dianne acknowledged, leaving off her self-examination and looking toward the package of Sexy Looks. She'd never really been able to look desirable for her man before; the most she'd ever been able to do was to mitigate her unattractiveness. Dianne Paris could never have worn anything like the lace undergarments, tight-fitting skirts, or slender strapless evening gown the Sexy Looks package contained without getting scornful looks. But now...

Indecision set in. What should she wear? The gown looked nice, but wouldn't that be too formal? Maybe she should just wear the blue silk bikini... What would Henry think if she picked the wrong thing? (Lianna, what should I wear?)

Lianna answered by taking control of her body, picking out a red silk bra and panties before Dianne realized what had happened. (I didn't mean for you to take over!) she objected.

(You can take over again if you want, so long as you obey your orders,) Lianna replied. And indeed, Dianne realized she could still look around freely while her arms dressed her in the panties. She was even able to take control back and put on the bra by herself... though she gave control back to Lianna to fasten it when she realized she wasn't quite sure where her back was. She was used to shorter arms and a much pudgier figure.

(Is that all?) she asked, when Lianna did not move to put anything else on over the undergarments.

(I think this is adequate. You are free to wear more if you like. I would recommend a change of hair style, though.)

Additional clothing seemed like a good idea... but if Lianna thought silk lingerie was enough, why should Dianne object? In fact, she looked forward to removing even them for Henry. This was going to be fun, she thought, if only she didn't screw it up somehow. Hair, now... She let her dark hair out of its short braid and fluffed it out, letting it fall softly down her cheeks.

(I would recommend a style that does not hide your face.)

(Oh.) She frowned. Like what? (You do it.)

She let go of her body, and watched in the mirror as Lianna pulled her hair back in a pony tail, which she tied with a blue ribbon. Dianne thought she preferred her hair down, but if Lianna thought it was best to pull it back, she wouldn't argue. She was probably wrong anyway.

(What about makeup?) she asked silently.

(You require no cosmetics,) came her director's response. Dianne shrugged, closed the package of clothes, and... was suddenly struck with a panic attack. What was she supposed to do? Henry expected her to come out and... do what? Seduce him? She didn't know how! Or was that what he wanted at all? How could she know?

(Lianna!)

(I will guide your actions, but I recommend that you maintain control.)

(But what do I do?!)

She almost jumped at hearing Henry's voice, until she realized it too was only in her head, like Lianna's. Lianna must be playing back his order: (I want to see you come out sexy.)

Well... she had to come out of the bathroom, then. She put out her hand and opened the door... and felt her face compose into a sultry smile, and her hips begin to sway as she walked. Lianna "guiding" her actions, she realized.

Henry was barefoot and bare-chested when she returned to the bedroom. She entered the room striding sexily, brushing her fingers against her bra. "How do I look, Master?" she asked, striking a pose. She could feel Lianna's control adjusting the angle of her knee, guiding her left hand a little lower on her waist than she would have put it, lowering her eyelids just a bit more than seemed comfortable.

"Mmm... Lovely," Henry sighed, dropping her manual on a chair. He approached her as if unable to take his eyes off her. He closed on her, pressing her right hand against her breast with his body.

(Wow,) Dianne thought. (A girl could get used to this!) Without waiting for Lianna, Dianne tilted her face to receive his gentle kiss on her lips, and her smile widened. She began to reach out with her left hand, to pull him against her.

"Switch to passive mode," he ordered. Nothing happened outwardly, but-

IPM Android S/N EN-T-05-A147 (Lianna) Passive mode (immediate verbal instruction)

- Dianne felt herself lose control of her body. (What did I do?) she wondered. Her arm stopped where it was, just slightly outstretched, and nothing she could do would move it. She longed to respond to the gentle touch of Henry's hand against her cheek, but now Dianne was little more than a helpless passenger in Lianna's robotic body.

Without another word, Henry walked out of her sight. He was gone for several minutes, leaving Dianne standing, sexily helpless, wondering when he would return. Then she heard the sound of a flushing toilet, followed by running water. Soon after, she heard Henry's footsteps behind her, then felt cold, damp hands on her arms. He stood behind her, pressing his body against her back as he touched her, felt her skin, caressed her breasts through the silk bra she wore. She longed to lean back into his arms and sigh, but she could only stand helpless as Henry had his way with her.

He came around in front of her. His hand gently moved hers away from her breast, before he reached around her body and unhooked her bra. Then she felt his fingers slide inside the elastic waistband of her panties, and slide them down her long legs.

"Undress me," Henry said softly.

Now she moved, but Dianne still had no power over her body. Lianna's hands moved to his trousers and deftly unbuttoned them, then lowered the zipper. Caressing his hairy thighs, she lowered the pants down his legs, and he raised each foot so she could remove them completely. Then she carefully did the same with his underwear. His cock stood at full attention. Dianne wanted to touch it.

Once he was as nude as she was, Lianna stood again. Dianne wanted to embrace him, or at least say something invitingly sexy, but he hadn't ordered her to do anything of the kind, so she could only wait for him to choose the next move. She couldn't think of anything she was confident enough to say anyway. But he seemed so sexy to her, so handsome in his mature way, it was so hard for her to simply stand here, unable to talk to him or touch him... and yet, no matter how hard she tried, she could not move a muscle until he told her to.

Henry moved out of her view for a moment, but then she heard him order her to "Come here." She looked around to see him sitting on the edge of the bed, and she stepped in front of him. "Kneel down. There. Good. Now take me in your mouth... yes! You know what to do now, don't you."

Clearly, Lianna did. She sucked his swollen member, and gently teased it with her tongue. She actually knew far more about this sort of thing than Dianne did - poor ugly Dianne had never been any man's choice of woman to get a blow job from, even if she'd admitted to being willing. But Lianna was well programmed - at least, to judge by the moans and sighs and gasps coming from Henry above her. She felt his hands on her shoulders and back, and she would have used her own hands to caress his thighs and waist had it been up to her. As he came hugely into her mouth, she felt his fingernails bite into her back with a pressure she could swear would have drawn blood from a real woman. She took swallow after swallow of his juice... (Where does it go?) she wondered. (And why can't I taste it?)

Lianna was not too busy pleasing her master to be able to answer. (You have a small reservoir for storing ingested material until it can be disposed of. You are not equipped with taste or smell sensors.) Well, that answered that.

Henry, spent, lay back on the bed as Lianna carefully licked Henry's penis clean, then sat back on her heels. Had it been up to her, she would have joined him on the bed, kissed him, touched him... but she wasn't a real lovely girl, she was only his robot, and he hadn't told her to do that. She waited, watching Henry's erection slowly subside, wishing she could please him herself.

After a few minutes, Henry sat up again. He leaned forward and gently caressed Lianna's soft cheek. He nodded slowly, smiling. He didn't say anything, but Dianne imagined him saying, "Yes, I'm glad I bought you." And she was glad he had too.

Chapter 4 - Chores

IPM Android S/N EN-T-05-A147 (Lianna) Activation (Natural Mode)

She was in Henry's bed, curled up comfortably. She had to look to see that she was still nude. Her hair dangled loosely behind her, the pony tail having come out - or been taken out - some time during the time her mind had been turned off, a little while after she'd given him the blow job.

"Go make me two scrambled eggs and toast," Henry ordered. He was standing by the dresser, naked and damp, putting down her remote control. "And a glass of orange juice."

(Did I annoy him somehow?) Dianne wondered silently. (He could at least say good morning.) Of course, she didn't dare say that aloud. (Or sleep with me while I'm awake. Did we have sex with him after he put us in robot mode?)

(Yes,) Lianna replied simply.

(Damn!) She'd looked forward to her first experience making love to a man as a beautiful woman... or android. Well, there would be other times. In fact... (Can we try to seduce him again?)

(Yes.)

Hmmm... (Guide me, Lianna. I don't know how.) "Wouldn't you rather come back to bed with me?" she purred, stretching like a cat.

"Yes," Henry agreed, not looking at her as he buttoned a shirt, "but I have to go to work. So go make me breakfast."

"We could be quick," Dianne tried again, but Lianna pitched her voice down so it came out more wistful than lustful. Henry didn't seem to want to be enticed this morning. Resigned, she also got out of bed and headed for the kitchen. When she hesitated in the kitchen, her director took over and began quickly and efficiently preparing Henry's breakfast as he had ordered.

After breakfast, Henry asked her, "You said you were programmed for normal housekeeping chores, right?"

"Yes, Master, I am," Lianna replied.

"Good. Stay out of my office for today, but take care of other things - you know, vacuum, clean the bathroom, things like that. When I get home tonight you can ask me about anything you weren't sure of."

"Yes, Master. Will you be going to work now?"

"Yes..." Henry turned to her, looking annoyed. "Lianna, I don't like to be asked about my comings and goings. I'll tell you what you need to know."

"I'm sorry, Master," she apologized.

"It's okay, this time. Just don't do it again."

"No, Master," she agreed. "I'll be here whenever you return."

Henry came over to her and took her face in his hands. "Good," he said, kissing her deeply and pleasantly. Then he turned and left, without another word to her.

After Henry had gone, she stood and looked around the apartment... which she now noticed was not very neat. There was a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, the table was piled with junk and not very clean underneath, the floor needed to be vacuumed, the recliner needed the fur removed from it somehow...

"Housekeeping," she said grumpily. (Do I have to start right away?)

(Yes,) her director said. (Shall I control or guide?)

(Shouldn't I at least get dressed first? Or brush my teeth, or something?)

(There is no need to dress first, and your clothes might be dirtied while cleaning. Your skin is easier to clean than clothes. You don't need to brush your teeth. Other personal maintenance tasks are considered less urgent than houskeeping tasks at this time. Shall I control or guide?)

(Um... I guess you'd better control. I don't know much about housework. I'd probably break something.)

And so without further delay, she began her chores. At first it seemed quite strange to be effortlessly organizing papers, washing dishes, and mopping floors - tasks she had never been any good at as a human - but she gradually got used to the sensation. In fact, she hardly needed to pay any attention to them. Her body was programmed with all the skills Henry expected her to have, so she simply relaxed her mind and let her body do as it was programmed to. If the gunk behind the toilet seemed disgusting to her, it scarcely mattered, for she couldn't have avoided cleaning it had she wanted to. Doing the chores naked seemed odd as well, but as Lianna has said, there didn't seem any pressing need for clothes. Her breasts were firm enough not to dangle awkwardly as she worked, and neither water nor dirt on her skin seemed to bother Lianna.

By two in the afternoon, the apartment seemed to have cleaned itself. Her next task turned out to be personal maintenance. Lianna went to the kitchen and drank two large glasses of water, then walked toward the bathroom.

(What's that for?) Dianne asked silently.

(Some of it is to replenish your moisture reservoirs, to keep your eyes, mouth, and sex realistically wet. The rest is for internal cleansing.)

(Internal cleansing?) she started to wonder, but before she could complete the thought, she was startled to feel water spraying around inside her closed mouth. She realized her tongue was moving around, thoroughly scrubbing the roof of her mouth, her teeth, and the insides of her cheeks. The water then poured down her throat, which seemed like it should make her choke, but it didn't. She heard more spraying and gurgling sounds from inside her torso. A few minutes later, Lianna sat down on the toilet, and the water spat out through her sex. Curious, she stopped Lianna from flushing immediately, and looked into the toilet. Sure enough, there were white globs of cum floating in the water. Internal cleansing. Sure.

Next she washed her outsides, using a wet washcloth. She carefully scrubbed every square inch of her skin.

(Why not just take a shower?) she wondered.

(A shower would use an unnecessary amount of water and create unnecessary mess,) Lianna replied. (And since you do not sweat, not as much cleaning is necessary.)

She did not wash her hair - Lianna explained that her hair, like her skin, was designed to repel dirt, and so did not normally need to be washed often - but she spent almost twenty minutes brushing it. It did look good when she was finished, but Dianne had never had the patience to spend more than a few minutes a day on her hair.

(Do you want to leave it loose today?) Lianna asked.

(Yesterday you told me not to,) Dianne replied hesitantly.

(I judged your master would want to be able to see your face unobscured the first time he made love to you. Today a style more suited to your overall beauty would be acceptable.)

(Oh.) Dianne thought. (Well, sure, let's leave it down today.)

Finally, it was time to get dressed. Lianna offered to let Dianne choose her own outfit. Without the pressure of Henry waiting anxiously for her, she was eager for the chance to see what her new body looked like in something sexy. Looking once again through the package of Sexy Looks clothes, she found a sexy black teddy, and decided to try it on.

"Wow," she said out loud to the bathroom mirror. It felt wonderful against her skin, and looked even better, hugging all of her body's lovely curves to perfection. It even did something beautiful to the already-perfect cones of her breasts. (Must I wear anything over this?)

(No,) Lianna replied.

(Then I won't,) Dianne decided, reveling in her "naughtiness." Though of course, it wasn't really naughty for her, was it? Her entire purpose was to be lovely... and it was hard to see how putting on more clothes could make her any more lovely. More decent, maybe, but who cared? Henry hadn't said anything about wanting her to be decent. She didn't see how he could possibly dislike this.

(What now?) Dianne asked her director, when it did not reclaim control of her body.

(You must obey basic behavioral guidelines, as well as any orders you have been given. But beyond that you are free to do as you like.)

And so on her first day, Dianne spent the afternoon simply wandering around the apartment. She justified it to herself, figuring Henry would expect her to know where where to find anything he might ask her to fetch for him, but really she was just intensely curious. Partly about what her new owner was really like, and partly to see what was around that she could use to entertain herself in her free time here.

On the latter count, she didn't find much. Henry owned a lot of books, but not much she thought looked interesting. Some political thrillers and such, which might be fun, but mostly books on political theory, history, and sociology. Dry, boring-looking stuff. If she was really bored sometime, she might try reading some of it, so she'd have something to talk about with Henry - and maybe her new computerized brain would be able to understand it better than she expected. If he had any interesting hobbies, he must keep them in his study, which she was not permitted to enter.

She tried watching video later, lying sprawled on the couch. For the first time since her new existence had begun, she felt almost human... until during a commercial, she noticed her feet. She hadn't really had a chance to notice them before. They were... small. Dianne's old feet had been big, misshappen, and pale. Lianna's were small and... well, foot-shaped. Each toe was just the right shape, each toenail perfectly aligned and trimmed and shiny, and while her feet were a little lighter in color than her legs, they looked healthier than Dianne had ever imagined feet could look. No mere organic foot that had carried the weight of a human being around every day for forty years could look like this, she thought. Weird.

Her attention returned to the video screen when the commercial ended. Unfortunately, just as Kurt was finally going to explain why he'd broken up with Mary, Lianna informed her it was now time to go to stand-by mode. Before she had a chance to consider what that meant or whether she wanted to do anything about it, she found herself unable to move, and then -

IPM Android S/N EN-T-05-A147 (Lianna) Stand-by (idle time exceeded)

IPM Android S/N EN-T-05-A147 (Lianna) Activation (stimulus: cat scratch sounds)

- a different show was on the video, and the clock said it was two hours later. The sound of claws against fabric rang in her head. She couldn't move.

(What happened!)

(Noxious may be scratching something he isn't allowed to.)

(No, I mean- hey!) Suddenly her body came to life, jerking up to a sitting position on the couch. Now she could see Noxious standing on his hind legs, his claws against the arm of the couch. Lianna snapped her fingers loudly at him.

"Noxious, stop that!" she ordered, trying to sound commanding. It didn't really work - her soft voice was designed to be sexy and feminine, not commanding. "I don't want to have to hurt you."

The cat looked up at her inquiringly, not removing his paws from the couch.

"I said stop!" (Hey, give him a chance!) Lianna was already reaching for Noxious. Quickly, she grabbed the cat's front paws in one hand and removed them from the couch. With the other hand, she slapped the cat's nose.

(You were ordered to stop him scratching the couch, and bonk him on the nose.)

(Yes, I know,) Dianne sighed silently as the cat slunk away, tail lowered. (Did we have to hit him that hard? He may never come near us again.)

(That level of force should help deter Noxious from scratching the couch again, without hurting him.)

(It felt to me like it would hurt.) But there was nothing to be done now. She had obeyed Henry's order. He didn't care if Noxious wouldn't play with her. But - (Anyway, what happened before that? I missed two hours. Did I - malfunction?) That was a scary thought.

(No,) Lianna reassured her, (you simply entered stand-by mode. You are programmed to automatically shut down some of your systems to conserve power after a certain amount of idle time. Your senses remain active, and reactivate the rest of you whenever an event happens which might require a response.)

(Oh. You could have warned me,) she complained.

(I can give you up to one minute's warning before you must enter stand-by mode,) Lianna offered.

(Well, do that.) Dianne paused for a moment. (Do I go back into stand-by mode now?)

(Not unless you want to,) Lianna replied.

(I don't!)

Lianna did not reply, but neither did she go into stand-by mode again. For another half hour.

Over the next few days, Dianne began to settle into her new existence as a lovely android named Lianna. Henry gradually explained the tasks he expected her to perform for him. She was to purchase and prepare food for him according to guidelines he laid out. She was to keep the house neat and clean, including the study (but not to touch the desk, nor this particular bookshelf), to do the laundry, to take Henry's dress clothes to the dry cleaner once a week and pick them up. She was to pay attention to the phone when it rang, but allow the machine to answer it and pick up only if it was Henry, or if the caller mentioned her by name. She should answer the door to allow the delivery of packages, or other guests he might warn her to expect. She should use his computer to periodically check the news, weather, and stock quotes he was interested in, as well as the video schedule, so that she would have that information if he asked for it.

She was now permitted to enter the study, where Henry kept a lot of files. Most of the drawers were labeled, "Private - Confidential," and Dianne found she couldn't open any of them. Lianna explained that she was programmed not to go anyplace labeled private unless she was ordered to. She did find a folder full of photographs of beautiful women wearing little or no clothes. "I suppose I can't object to that," she said, grinning as she looked down at her own beautiful nude body. In another folder, she found neatly organized catalogs of androids. Curious, she looked through the IPM catalog and found a picture of herself!

"Evening Comfort is the third in our new line of Donated Personality androids, and the first designed for entertainment purposes. She is programmed with a full array of adult-oriented recreational skills, including games, low-impact sports, dancing, and personal attention, as well as standard housekeeping and secretarial tasks. Her personality is that of an live human woman, scanned and simulated by the android's processor. No less obedient than our other models, the Donated Personality allows Evening Comfort to behave just like a real girl in virtually all situations!

"Evening Comfort: servant, lovely playmate, intimate companion, and perfect friend."

She carefully put the ads away.

At first, Dianne tried not to ask too many questions, fearing Henry might think she was annoying. But sometimes she needed to ask for a clarification of an order he gave, and he mostly didn't seem to mind.

On the other hand, he didn't like to be asked about his own life. She had asked him once when he would be home, as he put on his coat, and he had ordered her never to ask again. Nor did he usually bother to mention his comings and goings to her, so she was sometimes surprised to finish making his bed and find that he had left the apartment without her noticing.

She'd asked once about his work, as well, and while he hadn't ordered her not to, he hadn't answered her, either, and he'd made it clear he didn't welcome such questions. He worked most of the day during the week, at a job to which he wore a suit and carried a briefcase, but he didn't seem to bring any work home with him - or if he did, he did it while she wasn't nearby, or was turned off. He didn't seem to have a girlfriend, or many friends at all, although he did go out at night occasionally.

She was very careful when he was around. She was still very new at being a household slave and sex doll, she reasoned, and it would be best to be careful at first. Annoying her master would be unacceptable. She carefully obeyed all his orders, and tried not to do anything else unless she was sure he would approve.

In his free time, Henry often played with his new doll. He seemed to enjoy ordering her about, even when he had nothing specific for her to do. He turned her off, or put her in Robot mode, a lot, though Dianne dearly wished he wouldn't. One day he played with her "Vocalization" settings, and left her speaking in a pretty British accent a little higher-pitched than her usual voice. Another time she awakened from deactivation to discover she no longer breathed - although she could speak without moving her mouth, as long as her lips were parted a little. But Henry turned her off again after the next time they made love, and when she awakened she breathed again as before.

One continuing disappointment was that Henry never let her make love to him in Natural mode. She had offered to, that first day, but she didn't offer again for fear of angering him. He occasionally left her in passive mode during foreplay or oral sex, but every time she thought he might be about to really make love, and she might get to enjoy the experience, he turned off her mind. She didn't dare ask why. She half-believed she must have been disappointing Henry somehow, though she didn't know how, and he was punishing her for it. She often woke up fairly low on power, with cum inside her, and wished she knew how she had gotten that way... but she simply had no memory. When Henry ordered her to switch to robot mode, her mind - her personality module - simply shut down until he woke her up in the morning. No matter how hard she tried, she could not remember the smallest detail of what happened in the meantime. Lianna would tell her she had had sex with Henry, but never volunteered any details. They wouldn't have helped anyway. Being told you had sex with a man isn't the same as experiencing it.

Much of the time, Henry was away and she was left without specific orders. She was required to spend some of that time doing the household chores, and also attending to her own needs. And when she was left alone long enough, without other orders, she eventually went into stand-by mode. She never quite figured out how Lianna decided when it had been "long enough," but she could never change her director's mind. The most she could do was to arrange herself in an attractive pose, in case the thing to awaken her was Henry's return.

But in between, she had a limited time of relative freedom to enjoy herself. She could play with Noxious, who did eventually forgive her for slapping him when he misbehaved. She could look out the windows, and watch cars and people move about on the street below. She could play computer games, although she discovered she wasn't very good at them, even the ones she had liked when she had been human. She could dance, just for the fun of it - which she had never been any good at before, but now was. She might have minded spending all of her free time alone, but really, Dianne had never had many friends of her own anyway. She did learn that she wasn't able to leave Henry's apartment except on his orders, which disappointed her a little, but was hardly surprising. After all, she was Henry's property now.

Of course, sometimes she didn't even have that much freedom. There were nights when Henry switched her mind off in the evening, and the next thing she was aware of was him coming home the next day. She didn't mind that particularly - after all, she couldn't get bored in robot mode, and she assumed she did all of her chores just as well. But other times... for example, one Thursday morning, Henry woke, dressed, and left without ever bothering to switch Lianna out of Passive mode. She lay nude in his bed where he had left her, having rolled her on her back, with her arm still out as if encircling her lover.

An hour or so after Henry had left, she heard Noxious jump up onto the bed next to her. He stepped on her legs, then walked up her torso to nuzzle her motionless hand. (Sorry, Noxious,) she thought. (I'd pet you if I could.) The cat's head pushed her hand up against her nose, and she could not move it from there. Noxious didn't seem to mind, though. He began to knead her stomach with his paws for a while (Dianne hoped he'd keep his claws in), then curled up on her chest and purred until he fell asleep. He stayed there for nearly an hour, until Lianna stood up unexpectedly. She heard the cat land in a pile on the floor, followed by a annoyed mew from below. She couldn't even apologize.

Lianna proceeded to carry out her daily chores as usual, with the difference that since she was in passive mode today, she had even less ability than usual to control her actions. After cleaning the house and washing her body and hair, she painstakingly brushed and braided her hair, tying it off at the end with a blue ribbon. Then she dressed herself in a short blue dress that hugged her hips and showed off her figure nicely - not as nicely as some of the outfits she preferred, but when she was in passive mode, Lianna did not care what Dianne preferred. She followed up with white socks (no stockings), and a pair of black high-heeled shoes. She didn't seem to have any difficulty walking around in them, even though Dianne had never been comfortable in heels.

Next, she went to the bedroom and filled a plastic hamper with laundry to be washed, and carried it downstairs to the apartment building's laundry room. The room was empty except for a handsome man... no, a male android, she corrected herself, standing motionless near a running dryer. The one chair in the room was unoccupied. Lianna ignored him, to load two washing machines with Henry's laundry and start them running.

Dianne wanted to speak to the other android then. Perhaps he was another Transferred android, like her, she thought. It would be interesting to compare notes. Or even if he were an ordinary android, it might be interesting to talk to him from her new vantage point as an android herself. But she wasn't given the chance. As soon as the washers began to run, she turned around, stood calmly in front of them, and and froze in place. She could do nothing but wait passively. At least the other android didn't seem to be able to do anything else either.

Some unknown amount of time later, another man entered the laundry room. He wasn't as handsome as the android, and was rather rumpled. He had shoulder-length brown hair and a short mustache, and there seemed to be a paperback book in the back pocket of his jeans. Despite the grungy clothes he wore, though, he looked good. Sexy, in a youngish sort of way - or at least, young by Dianne's standards. He was just the right age for a woman the age she now looked, and she was certainly beautiful enough to seduce him if she chose... but of course, she was Henry's slave now. Surely seducing a random attractive stranger wasn't something her master would approve of - and she couldn't do anything except stand here looking pretty anyway. He carried a full bag of laundry.

He glanced around, and his gaze stopped on Lianna. "Hello," he said in a friendly, but distracted-sounding voice. "I don't think we've- wait, you're a doll, aren't you." Dianne wanted to respond, but she couldn't even smile at him. "Are you new in the building?"

To her surprise, Dianne found herself answering, although she still had no control over her speech. "Yes, sir," she answered the man's question "I am the property of Henry Saunders," Dianne added.

"What model are you?" the man asked.

"I am an IPM Evening Comfort, sir," the android replied. "My name is Lianna."

"Oh, yeah," the man nodded. "I've seen ads for you. You're supposed to be a real woman inside your head, eh?"

"I do have a donated personality, sir."

"Hmmm." The man grinned. He said nothing more to her just then, but went to load a washing machine with the contents of his bag. Dianne wanted to offer to help, but of course she couldn't - and she didn't think she would have if she could. She did watch him as he loaded the machine, though. He had a nice ass, she thought. But it was just as well he was ignoring her. It wouldn't do to develop a crush on him - though it might already be too late.

But once the man had finished loading his laundry, he came back over to her, setting her feelings racing. "Would your owner mind if you talked with a strange man, do you think?"

"He has not instructed me not to." But he probably wouldn't like it much, Dianne thought. Especially if he knew what she was thinking about this particular strange man.

"Well, I'm Jerry, then. Jerry Bateman. It's a pleasure to meet you, Lianna."

"A pleasure to meet you, too, sir." Jerry waited for her to say something else. Dianne tried, but could not oblige him. After a moment, the man grimaced.

"I thought you're supposed to act more lifelike than other androids, not less," he remarked.

"Yes, sir," Lianna said, "but I am currently in Passive mode. In this mode I do not act upon the desires of my human personality." (and wasn't that a good - if frustrating - thing right now!) "I can only obey my orders."

"Oh," Jerry said. "And what does your human personality desire right now?"

"Right now I would like to go somewhere with you and make love to you," Lianna answered, echoing Dianne's thoughts so calmly that it took her a second to realize what she had said. (Lianna! How could you say that!) she demanded.

(You are programmed to answer questions honestly,) Lianna explained pointlessly.

(Well, yes, but... I can't make love to him! Henry would throw a fit!)

At least Jerry looked a little embarrassed himself. "Well," he said. "I suppose..." Jerry stopped. He paused for a moment before asking, "Will you be telling your master about this encounter?"

"If he asks me to, then of course, sir," Lianna said.

"Do you think he'll ask you?"

"No, sir, most likely not."

"I'll take that chance, I suppose," Jerry mused. (Yes,) Dianne thought, (but it's not you who belongs to him!) "Well, then, we could go to my apartment..."

Dianne couldn't decide whether to be more delighted or terrified at the thought. It didn't make any difference, of course. Her body remained stubbornly motionless as Jerry raised his hand to touch Lianna's left arm, and gently stroked her skin. She feared Henry's reaction if he found out about this, and yet it felt so good to be touched and desired by a beautiful man... After a moment, Jerry paused.

"Is there something wrong?" he asked, concerned.

"No, sir," Lianna replied blankly.

"Should I stop?"

(I don't know!) "If you like, sir."

Jerry drew back... but only for a moment, as he seemed to realize what was happening. "Do you want me to stop?" he asked.

"No, sir," Lianna admitted. She didn't want him to stop, she was just terrified of what might happen if he didn't.

Jerry smiled. "That's what I thought." With that assurance, He took her other arm in his other hand, and stroked both arms at once, gradually moving his touch up to her soft, smooth shoulders. His hands moved up to stroke her cheek, trace the line of her jaw, smooth back some of her hair. Dianne would have liked to return his attentions in kind, but her director held her passive. Instead, she simply enjoyed Jerry's attentions, desperately hoping Henry would never find out.

"Would your master's instructions prevent you from kissing me?" Jerry asked softly.

"No, sir," Lianna answered. (But he couldn't possibly want...)

Jerry's hands moved up to her face, and tilted her lips up to meet his. Dianne forgot her fear of Henry's reaction as his lips first touched hers, and opened her mouth to receive his kiss... or tried to. (Lianna, he wants me to kiss him!) she pleaded to her director. (I want to kiss him!) But her lips remained still and closed as Jerry kissed her. She could feel his tongue on her motionless lips, gently pushing at them, and she knew he could open them for her if he chose, but instead he drew back.

"Do you want to kiss me?" he asked.

"Very much, sir," Lianna said.

"Do you want me to instruct you to kiss me?"

"Yes, sir, if you would."

Jerry looked at her oddly, and for a moment Dianne feared he wouldn't do it. But then he shrugged, and said, "Kiss me, Lianna."

(Finally!) Now, Lianna leaned against Jerry, closed her eyes, and opened her lips to him. Dianne still had no control herself, and Lianna's kiss was a good deal less passionate than she would have liked, but at least it was a kiss. And Jerry was a good kisser, Dianne decided... oh, yes, a very good kisser.

And suddenly Jerry jerked back at the sound of movement behind him. The other android's dryer had stopped, and the android had awakened from its immobility to unload the dryer. Jerry laughed self-consciously, as the android began scooping some very feminine clothing out of the dryer. After a moment to recover, he turned back to Lianna.

"Come to my apartment with me," he instructed her.

"I'm sorry, sir," Lianna said, "I can't do that. I must wait here for my master's laundry to be finished."

"Are you sure?" he asked again.

"Quite certain, sir," she said.

"Oh, well," he sighed. "Another time, perhaps, do you think?"

(Oh, please!) Dianne thought, though her fear of Henry's reaction was growing again. Even Lianna's answer was more than she had expected. "If my master's instructions permit it, sir."

Jerry grimaced. He looked away, watching the other android leave with his mistress's laundry. But the mood had clearly been broken. He walked away from Lianna, sat down in the one plastic chair, and pulled out his book. He looked up at the lovely android once more, but said nothing.

Dianne's only consolation was that Henry never asked her anything that would have forced her to reveal what had happened. She was sure he would be furious with her if he knew she had kissed another man, that she'd wanted to sleep with him - that she would have gone with him, had she been able. She didn't know exactly what he would do, but she was sure she wouldn't like it.

Chapter 5 - The lovers

Although that was not the only day when Henry left his new android in Passive mode all day, most of the time he left her relatively free. When laundry day came and Henry left Lianna in Natural mode as usual, Dianne anxiously waited for the time to do the laundry. She couldn't decide how she felt about the possibility of meeting Jerry again. On the one hand, she hoped he would be there. In Natural mode, she still might not be able to go to his apartment with him, but at least she should be able to talk to him like a person instead of a "Yes sir," "No sir," mindless robot. And then again, she might be able to go with him - she really wasn't sure, and Lianna wouldn't answer hypothetical questions for her. But on the other hand, she might go with him, might do things with him that Henry would kill her if he ever found out about - and she knew she could not keep a secret from him.

But evidently Jerry's habits were not as regular as that, for he did not visit the laundry room while Dianne was there, even though she did her best to stall and stay as long as she could. She supposed it had been too much to hope for that he would be there, but it was disappointing all the same - and also a relief, not to have to worry about what to say to him, or what not to say.

She did occasionally encounter other humans, of course. When she went shopping, she was surrounded by them, and occasionally one would speak to her. But since she was busy with the job of shopping, she could not stay and talk to any of them. She replied politely to their inquiries, but to anyone who tried to keep her she could only say, "I'm sorry, sir, but I must complete my tasks. Would you excuse me, please?"

Life - well, Henry's life, and her artificial existence - went on. Henry gave her new orders occasionally, adapting her behavior more precisely to his needs and desires. She noticed that he spent more and more evenings, especially on the weekend, away from home. She wondered whether he might have a girlfriend. He wouldn't necessarily tell her if he did. It seemed like she ought to be jealous... but then, she wasn't a real woman, was she? She was just Henry's android. It was good for him, wasn't it, for him to go out on a real date with a real woman. She wondered if he would sleep with her. At least he wouldn't turn her mind off first, if he did. Maybe she should be jealous.

One evening when she was at home alone, she was awakened from her stand-by mode by the phone. Henry had changed her orders recently, instructing her to answer the phone whenever it rang.

"Good evening, Mr. Saunders's residence," she sang.

"It's Henry. Put on a sexy outfit - something like what you wore two days ago - and meet me at this address." He read her an address on the edge of the town. "I've got the car, but you can take the bus, right?"

"Yes, sir," Lianna said, "I know the route. If it runs on time, I should be there by ten twenty-five."

"Good. Bring your remote control. I'll see you then," said Henry, and he hung up before Dianne could make up her mind to ask what was going on. He had never told her to meet him anywhere before.

Nevertheless, after much speculation, Lianna arrived at a small house with a neatly-kept yard. She wore a very skimpy black sleeveless dress with lacy edges that was barely decent without the matching cardigan she wore over it. A human dressed as she was would certainly be uncomfortably cold, although it had been warm enough for long enough for the winter snow to melt. Her hair was still tied back in her usual braid, though if she had had time to brush it out thoroughly she would have taken it out and let it hang loose. Henry seemed to consider it sexier that way.

When she rang the bell, the door was answered almost immediately by a tall, blond man wearing a tight sleeveless T-shirt and loose shorts. He looked to be in his late thirties, with a handsome, dignified face. Like Lianna, he had a green-glowing panel inset into the base of his neck, proclaiming him an android.

"Hello, Miss," the man greeted her in a deep voice. "Are you expected?"

"Yes, sir," she said. "My name is Lianna. My master told me to come here."

"Ah, come in. My name is Brice. I hope we get a chance to talk later, but right now our masters are waiting for us in the living room."

She followed the male android around a corner into a dimly-lit living room. Henry was just standing up from a couch, on which a woman a little younger than he remained seated. She had long, wavy red hair, and a face that would be pale if not for the coating of freckles. She was a little bit on the heavy side, but not too much so. Both of them were smiling, but... apprehensively? Brice stopped, and Lianna stood next to him.

"Lianna, this is Jean," Henry said to her. "Call her Mistress, and obey her orders as you would mine."

"Yes, Master," Lianna acknowledged. "Hello, Mistress."

Jean didn't answer her greeting. There was an awkward pause. Dianne didn't want to say anything else, not really knowing why she was here, or what was going on. She looked back and forth from Jean to Henry.

Henry turned to look at Jean, who returned his look. "I feel silly, Jean... are you sure this is a good idea?"

"Well, it can't hurt anybody," Jean said. "If we don't like it, we can tell them to stop, turn them off if we want, and... well, whatever," she concluded lamely.

What were they planning? Dianne wondered nervously. She turned to look at Brice. He was looking at her, and he didn't look confused. Did he already know what was going to happen? Or was he just not able to look confused? She didn't think this was a good time to ask.

Henry shrugged. "I guess so," he agreed. "It sounded like a good idea before, it just seems kind of... I don't know. You tell them what we want."

"Okay. Come back down here." Henry sat down next to the redheaded woman, who curled herself up against him. "Brice and Lianna," she said, "pretend Henry and I aren't here, but continue to obey our orders. Make love to each other. Do it as you would with a person you loved, start slow and work your way up."

Of all the things Dianne had thought Henry might have in mind, this was something she had never even considered! Make love to another android in front of Henry and his girlfriend? She had never in her life made love in front of others, or even been particularly affectionate. And she'd had no idea that Henry would want her to. And in Natural mode, no less! How could she do that? What did he want her to do?

But Lianna did not wait for Dianne to get over her confusion. She paused only briefly before turning to Brice with a shy smile on her face. The blond android tipped her face up toward his, and she looked into his eyes.

"I love you, Lianna," he said softly. And he bent down and kissed her, gently and tenderly on the lips. Dianne felt silly being part of such an artificial scene. Even if it weren't for Henry and Jean sitting there watching her, she didn't know Brice at all. She didn't even know if he had a mind! But she was allowed to hesitate only for a moment. Before Dianne's uncertainty could show, Lianna began to return Brice's kiss, as softly and lovingly as she had ever imagined kissing anyone. Although she was not at all sure how she should feel about kissing this stranger, she found her body beginning to respond to his loving touch, and as their lips parted she found herself wishing the kiss could continue.

Lianna spoke for her again: "I love you, Brice," she whispered, as they held each other close. His cheek, pressed against hers, seemed perfectly clean-shaven - or more likely, simply had no hair, as her own legs had none. She could feel Brice's manhood becoming aroused against her, and it excited her even more. Without thinking, she tried to raise her face to Brice's and kiss him again - and to her surprise, she was able to.

But of course, she realized suddenly - she was in Natural mode now! She had to obey Jean's order to make love to Brice, but she could do it herself, in her way, as she wanted to - as she was never allowed to do with Henry. At that realization, she took over the kiss for herself. Her programmed director offered no resistance as she kissed Brice hungrily, passionately, letting loose all the bottled-up arousal that Henry never let her release with him. She reached out and took him in her arms, holding him close against her, feeling the hard muscles of his shoulders and back.

Eventually the kiss had to end, but she continued to hold Brice close, her hands and lips roaming over his firm body, as his fingers toyed with hers.

Her dreamy reverie was interrupted by a voice from the sofa. "Lianna, take off your top."

Lianna raised her hands to obey, but Henry's voice interrupted. "No, don't. Let Brice undress you. Brice, undress Lianna."

Dianne didn't see how Jean reacted, but there seemed to be no objection. Brice took a half step back, and while Dianne didn't look away from his eyes, she felt his hands expertly unbuttoning her cardigan, and lifting it off of her shoulders. She lowered her hands for a moment so the cardigan could slide down her arms, then raised them again to Brice's face, and traced his tenderly smiling lips. He stepped closer to her again then, to reach around her and unzip her black dress. Her wide hips still held the tight fabric up, though, until Brice ran his hands slowly down her ribs, gathering the fabric as he went, and stretched it past her bare hips. As usual, she wore no undergarments. She tried to step out of her sandals, but Lianna wouldn't let her - she realized Henry had told her to let Brice undress her, and that must include removing her shoes. She did step backward out of the pool of black dress crumpled around her feet, though, giving Brice room to bend down and remove her sandals himself, as she raised each foot for him.

Now she was completely nude. She struck a pose for a moment, letting Brice look her bare body over. After a good long look, he seemed about to take her in his arms again until Jean's voice interrupted.

"Lianna, undress Brice now." Jean's voice sounded a little weak - from excitement? Or perhaps from whatever Henry was doing to her. Dianne tried to turn and look, but Lianna would not let her.

Instead, she reached for the bottom of Brice's T-shirt. Smiling coyly into his eyes, she raised the shirt up, enjoying the feel of his bare, muscled chest as she went. He raised his arms for her so she could remove the shirt, and she impulsively leaned forward to kiss his chest twice, once on each side. Then she reached down and undid the knot in the drawstring of his shorts, and lowered them and his briefs down his legs. They caught for a moment, until she lifted the waistband of his briefs around his swollen penis. He was already unshod, but he lifted each foot for her to remove his socks. Then he too was as naked as she was. Even without her programmed enhancement, she could tell he was quite a good-looking man - as attractive in his way as Lianna was in hers.

Then they were in each other's arms again, kissing, touching, caressing, and loving. Dianne lost herself in sheer pleasure, the pleasure that Henry always turned her mind off before she could feel. She heard Henry and Jean speak from time to time, but she paid them no attention. If they gave her orders, she was sure she would obey them, and if not, she was more interested in Brice and the feelings he was arousing in her than in anything they might be doing. Eventually she realized she was on the floor, with Brice on top of her. She took him inside her, and did for him what she had no memory of having done before in this body - this lovely, wonderful, sexy body she now had.

She lost count of how many times they made love. Sometimes Brice was on top, sometimes she was on top, and sometimes they used positions that had no top. Neither of them seemed to grow tired for hours.

At some point it occurred to Dianne that Brice was no longer participating in their love-making. He had stopped moving some time ago, she realized, but she had continued to stroke and kiss and tease him, and please herself with his unmoving body. In fact, she was still doing so, kissing his chest while his body remained rigid beneath her. His neck panel was now slowly blinking green, instead of the solid glow she had noticed when she first saw him. She stopped.

"Brice?"

"Yes, Lianna. I hit my low-power warning about fifteen minutes ago." Brice's lips barely moved as he spoke. "I told you before, but I don't think you heard me."

She giggled softly. "I didn't." She began fondling him again.

"You can stop that now," he said, sounding a little annoyed.

But it hadn't been Dianne's idea to start again. "No, I can't," Dianne said. "Jean told me to make love to you, and nobody told me to stop when you did."

"Oh, boy," Brice said. She got the feeling his eyes would have rolled if they'd been able.

"I wouldn't think you'd mind," Dianne teased. "Having a beautiful sex-android girl making love to you all night..."

"I thought you must be a sex model," Brice commented. "You've got much better techniques than I do, even with the Mistress's upgrades. And more enthusiasm than I expected."

"So what's wrong with that?" Dianne asked, wondering how exactly it could have been better if Brice had been a sex android. She began rubbing her cheek against Brice's hand, which was frozen sticking up in a convenient position.

"Well, I don't want to offend you - you are a real person in there too, aren't you? A donated personality?"

"Yes, I am. What's wrong, Brice?"

"Well, so am I. And it's nothing to do with you, I'm sure you were wonderful, but... well, I'm just not that excited by women. I'm gay."

Dianne couldn't help bursting out laughing. She was sure that if Lianna hadn't forced her to remain quiet, she would have laughed loudly enough to wake Henry and Jean, no matter how far away they might have gone.

When the laughter subsided, she pressed her cheek against Brice's motionless chest. "I'm sorry, Brice. I just can't believe that I just had -"

Lianna stopped her voice.

(What?!) she demanded silently.

(This unit may not compare men's sexual performances.)

(Oh, geez.)

"- incredibly good sex with a man who doesn't even like women. You certainly fake it well."

"I'm programmed to," Brice said. "Just wait till you're told to make love to a woman. Or are you bisexual?"

"No... or at least, I wasn't. I guess it might be fun to try. But I'm sorry. I really put a lot more into last night than I had to. If I'd known, I... I guess I wouldn't have."

"Don't worry about it," Brice said. "Mistress often makes me have sex with her. She says-" Brice paused for a moment, and Dianne guessed he had tried to say something his director objected to. "-she likes an older-looking man. I've gotten used to it."

"Oh," Dianne said. Her body began squirming pleasantly along Brice's again. Dianne realized she was starting to make love to him once more. Much as she knew she would enjoy it, she nevertheless held back, trying to satisfy her need to obey Jean's order by more vigorously caressing and kissing Brice's chest, neck, and face. Evidently that was sufficient, for Lianna allowed her to do that.

"You know, I've never met another Donated Personality before," she said in between kisses. "Or at least, I've never talked to one."

"Neither have I," Brice said. "I was looking forward to meeting you."

"You knew about me?" Dianne asked.

"Your master told my mistress about you. She asked me if I wanted to meet you. I hope that's not how she got the idea of putting us together like this, though."

"Well, if it is, then thank you," Dianne said sincerely. Lianna took that as a cue to kiss Brice on the lips. Dianne thought she could probably have diverted the kiss, but decided not to. "I'm really happy to meet you, and... well, everything else I did with you."

"I'm glad I met you too," Brice said. "Hey, how much longer until your battery runs down? You've been at least as active as I was."

"I don't know," Dianne answered. She never knew her own battery status, though if Henry asked about it, Lianna would answer for him. She had hoped Brice would get a real answer too, but apparently Lianna didn't care to answer a mere android's questions. "But whenever I run out of power I shut down completely. How come you can still talk?"

"I don't know, I just do. I guess Mistress configured me to save some power to obey any orders she wants to give me before I shut down. I probably won't last much longer anyway."

Dianne nodded. Then she realized that she was moving up his body again, feeling his erect, damp organ slide down her waist toward her sex. She tried to stop, but this time Lianna would not allow her to delay any longer. "I think it's time to make love to you again," she said.

"It's okay," Brice said. "I know you have to obey your orders. Don't worry about holding back. Go ahead and enjoy yourself. That's what I'm for, after all."

"Thank you," she gasped, as with a burst of sensation, she felt herself move over Brice's organ and carefully take it inside her. She began to move up and down upon him, feeling the excitement and pleasure build once more...

"My battery is almost out of power," Lianna announced in a calm, emotionless voice. "I will shut down all functions in ten seconds. If you need help replacing or recharging my battery, please consult my owner's guide."

"No, not now!" Dianne cried, not quite on the verge of orgasm yet.

"Good night, Lianna," Brice said.

IPM Android S/N EN-T-05-A147 (Lianna) Deactivation (Automatic, Low Power)

IPM Android S/N EN-T-05-A147 (Lianna) Activation (Natural mode)

She was lying awkwardly on her back, feeling chilly, exposed, and horny. Jean was looking down at her over her remote control, wearing a casual outfit. Dianne could see bright afternoon through the windows, but her lover of the previous night was nowhere to be seen.

"Clean yourself up and get dressed," Jean ordered off-handedly, putting down her remote on an end table.

"Yes, Mistress," Lianna acknowledged, collecting her clothes.

For an android, she really was a mess, she realized when she reached the bathroom and saw herself in the mirror. Her hair was more tangled than she could ever recall it being before. Plenty of synthetic semen had dried on her lower body. At least she didn't have to worry about streaked makeup or bags under her eyes, she thought.

Once she was clean, dressed, and presentable, she emerged from the bathroom to find Henry and Jean locked in close embrace. They must have gone off to bed themselves last night while she was busy with Brice. The blond android stood by patiently, though he nodded at Lianna when she appeared. He was dressed in a servant's slacks, shirt, and vest. Evidently he had been reactivated first. Jean must only have one charger, or else she had a spare battery for Brice. She returned the android's silent greeting with a smile. Even after a long full night of sex, she wished she could be with him again. Perhaps she would be, she thought, observing her master and Brice's mistress.

The two humans parted with expressions of love. Dianne paid them little attention, watching Brice instead. But after his first nod at her, Brice had returned his attention to his mistress, largely ignoring Lianna.

Dianne was jerked from her admiration by her master's voice. "Come on, Lianna," he said, leading her out. Lianna would not let her say good-bye to Brice.

Chapter 6 - Intercourse

Henry didn't make want love to her that night.

"Was Jean better than me?" Dianne asked as she got into bed with him. She was feeling more daring than usual after her night with Brice. She was a little surprised her director let her say that. She was never quite sure where Lianna would draw the line between "having a natural personality" and "unacceptable android behavior."

"Don't be silly. You're a completely different kind of thing," Henry said, taking her body into the curve of his arms, spooning around her as he often did when he wasn't in the mood for sex. Lianna carefully angled her head to avoid getting too much of her hair in his face. "Jean's my... well, my girlfriend, I guess. Damn, it feels weird to say that, at my age. You're just my android."

"I don't have to be as different as you think I am," Dianne said. "You can leave me in natural mode when we make love, if you want. I would enjoy that... and I think you would enjoy it too, Henry."

"You're not jealous of Jean, are you?"

"Of course not." Except of course, she was, a little... (no, wait, Lianna, don't say that!) "Well, I guess I am, a little." (Didn't anybody ever program you to know there's such a thing as too much honesty?)

(You are programmed to answer your master's questions honestly.)

(Uh-uh, don't blame me for that one.)

"A jealous android. Well, I knew you were supposed to be more realistic when I bought you."

"Yes, Master." She was quiet for a moment, then asked another question. "Did you enjoy watching me make love with Brice?"

She felt his breath on her bare shoulder. "Oh, yeah."

She raised her head and turned to look at him. "I could be like that with you, if you'd let me."

"Shush," Henry said. "Sleep time."

She could say no more.

Henry didn't refer to their conversation the next morning, so Dianne didn't either. She wasn't sure whether she had annoyed him or not. But before he left, Henry picked out a set of her undergarments: a stretchy yellow lace bra and matching thong, and frilly nylon stockings that would just slightly darken her legs. "Wear whatever you like over this," he said. She didn't know exactly what he had in mind, but from the look of things, it could be fun.

For the whole morning, she looked forward to dressing up for Henry. She reveled in the feel of the soft patterned lace sliding up her legs, and gently covering her breasts (not that she needed a bra; Henry just liked to see her in one sometimes). She would have been happy to leave it at that, but Henry had ordered her to wear something over it, and besides, she had to do some shopping today. So she chose something sexy, of course: a calf-length black silk skirt with a slit up past her knee (to show off the stockings), and a yellow "handkerchief" top that left the sides of her waist bare as well as her arms and shoulders. She left her hair unbound, brushed behind her to sweep the backs of her bare shoulders. Of course, she also wore her usual high-heeled shoes. She never would have dared dress like this when she was human, but she loved doing it now that she had something to show off.

She could hardly wait for Henry to get home. When she finished her chores by two o'clock, she chose to go into stand-by mode immediately, to save herself the waiting. At five-thirty, Lianna awakened her to begin making dinner, and she picked something that could be finished early and left in the microwave as long as need be before eating.

There was no way for her to know exactly when her master would be home, but it didn't matter. He wasn't home by the time dinner was ready, so she posed slinkily for him, smiling sunnily, leaning lightly against the dining-room table where he would see her as soon as he entered the apartment. She knew she could wait there for him, all but motionless, for hours if necessary.

As it happened, though, she only needed to wait about fifteen minutes before she heard the sound of footsteps approaching, followed by a key in the door. Henry entered, shut the door behind him, turned and saw her... and simply stared for a moment. Dianne held her pose, letting him look his fill.

"Wow," Henry said. "Don't move an inch. Where's dinner?"

"In the microwave, Master," Lianna replied. Henry put down his briefcase, tossed his overcoat on the couch. Normally Lianna would have hung up his coat neatly, but today she held her pose for her master. He walked up to her, took her arms in his hands, and hungrily kissed her neck and shoulder. She wished she could respond, but she had to remain still, as he'd ordered. With a final caress of her motionless cheek, Henry walked around her to the kitchen.

She heard Henry behind her, in the kitchen. Then there was silence. A moment later, she felt his hand on her butt. She sucked in a breath, the only outward sign of pleasure she could make, as his fingers slid up to the patch of bare skin at her waist. "Dinner can wait," Henry announced.

Pleased, Dianne awaited his next order, hoping he intended to leave her in natural mode for this - and to let her move! But instead, Henry literally swept her off her feet, carrying her into his bedroom. Her body remained perfectly rigid, like a mannequin, except for her hair trailing down from her head. In the bedroom, he set her gently on her feet again, steadying her wobble with a hand on her shoulder. Moving slowly but deliberately, he took her fully in his arms, holding her rigid body against his. He nuzzled her cheek with his, short bits of stubble scratching her skin as he moved against her. She could only stand there, paralyzed, as he brushed her motionless lips with his own, setting off sparks of helpless passion within her, but he didn't quite kiss her. If only she could move, even just her lips, she would... but no, she could only wait upon her master's will. Pulling himself away from her slightly, Henry then began to undress - no, to unwrap her, with the delight of a child opening an unexpected present. Seeing his joy, Dianne was just as happy not to be able to move and spoil it, as much as she desperately wanted to make love to him.

When she was down to her shoes and the undergarments he'd told her to wear that morning, he allowed her to move. But before she could do anything to relieve her sexual frustration, he gave her more orders.

"Sit down, Lianna," he said. Ever obedient, the android went and sat on the edge of the bed. "Okay, pay attention. Don't move your butt. And don't move your... your big toes. If I move them, you just leave them wherever I put them. Okay?"

"Okay, but-"

"Don't talk." Dianne shut up. "Now, put your hands on your thighs." She obeyed. "I want you to keep your fingertips all touching your thighs. You can move them around if you want, but don't take them off your thighs. If they somehow stop touching your thighs, don't move that arm until they are again." He looked at her expectantly, so she nodded. "Good."

The ground rules apparently set, Henry began to experiment. He lifted her left leg off the floor, and removed the shoe from it. When he let go, Dianne could not put it back down. It felt as if her big toe had been nailed to an invisible spot in space, about a foot above the floor. He repeated the process on her other foot, then began gently feeling his way up her leg. Dianne smiled, and began sensually moving her own fingers along her thighs.

"Close your eyes," Henry ordered. "Keep them closed."

Dianne's smile faded, but she closed her eyes obediently. She felt Henry's hands clasp around both her ankles. Suddenly he pulled on them, yanking her off the bed to land with a thud and a startled cry on the floor, leaning back against the side of the bed. He spread her feet apart on the floor, just far enough apart that she thought she could probably bring her knees together without moving her toes, if she tried.

But instead, Henry took her waist in his hands - he must be standing over her, Dianne thought, though she could not open her eyes to see - and lifted her torso. Lianna slid herself back along the bed, so that when he let go - which he did - she could hold her butt off the floor where he had put it. It was certainly an awkward position, and one she could not have held for more than a few seconds as a human, but her android body simply locked her knees and spine, holding her rigid where Henry had placed her. She next felt his fingers fumbling with her lace thong. Cool air chilled her damp aroused sex as Henry pulled the lacy garment away from her groin and down her legs. She slid her fingers down her thighs before him, but in order to remove the thong it had to slide between her fingertips and her thighs, separating them so that she might no longer move her arms, even to put her hands back on her thighs. Although she was in natural mode, she had very little freedom left.

Happily for her, Henry next put his hands on her hips and pushed her back down on the floor. As her body bent, her fingers touched her thighs again, and she regained control of her arms. Once her seat was firmly planted on the floor again, she could unlock her spine and sit up from the bed. Henry drew her feet together again to slide off her thong, but then spread them apart again, further than before, leaving her sex exposed whether she willed it or not.

She felt nothing further for a few minutes, though she could hear Henry moving not far from her. Then he sat down in the gap between her legs, his bare skin leaning against the inside of her right thigh. She gasped suddenly at a light tickle at her sex, but it was not repeated. So far, things were not going exactly as Dianne had hoped. She was in natural mode, true, but she was still getting no say in how their lovemaking proceeded. She tried bending forward, hoping to find him, kiss him, and perhaps draw him into a more equal sharing.

"No," Henry said. "Put your shoulders back. Way back." Despite Dianne's half-hearted attempt to prevent it, Lianna leaned back against the bed again, arching her back a little and thrusting her breasts out. "Yes, keep them like that. Don't move your shoulders."

Dianne was now all but helpless. Her feet were stuck far apart, her fingers confined to her thighs, her shoulders pressed back against the bed, her eyes closed, unable to speak. She could only breathe heavily as she felt Henry's fingers on the tops of her breasts, peeling down the lace to expose her nipples to the air. She moaned in pleasure as his hands played along the soft skin of her shoulders and upper torso, lighly teasing her. He didn't bother to actually remove her bra, but just left it loosely cupping the bottoms of her breasts. Oh, if only she could... she tried to move her left hand to her sex, but could only go as far as the top of her thigh.

His touch moved up to her neck, one hand going to the left side of her jaw, the other to lightly stroke her chin and lips. She kissed his fingers, that being all of him she could find, hoping he would take that for the invitation it was... how could she possibly endure his teasing, taunting touch much longer? She felt she must surely explode.

"What are you thinking now, Lianna?" Henry asked.

"You feel so good, Henry, I want to make love to you myself, won't you please let me," she gasped, all one burst of feeling. Dianne hardly thought she would have had the presence of mind to say anything sensible at all; Lianna had forced coherent words out her mouth.

"You like the way this feels?" He was gently caressing her cheek with one hand, and massaging one of her breasts with tht other.

"Oh, yes, Master," she breathed.

"How about this?" One of his hands moved down to her sex, touching her oh-so-lightly and oh-so-wonderfully.

"Oh, yes, Master," she repeated, scarcely able to speak for the passion running through her.

His hand left her crotch (Oh, keep going!) and took her left hand, lifting it off her thigh. Immediately her left arm froze. She could feel him manipulating her fingers, pushing them close together and curving them gently. He pulled her hand up, and she felt him kiss it lightly. Then he pushed it back down, placing it against his Lianna-inspired erection, somewhat cupping it in her fingers.

"What would you do if I let you move your left hand now?" he asked.

Dianne could scarcely think, but again Lianna came up with an answer for her. "I would probably make you cum, Master. Unless you prefer something else?"

"Hmmm," Henry sighed. "You can move your left hand. Including your wrist."

She moved her fingers lightly. As helpless as she was, this was the first time Henry had ever let her touch his sex under her own control. She carefully felt him, exploring his body (or what little of it she could reach - but that was an important piece, from her point of view). She felt his member stiffen even further under her touch, and, knowing what she could do to him, proceeded to do it. If she pleased him enough today, with so little control of herself, perhaps another time he would give her even more freedom?

Meanwhile he continued to enjoy the rest of her body, touching and kissing and nuzzling, keeping her at the very height of sexual arousal just in the knowledge of how her body and face and even her helplessness excited him. If his touches were arousing him anywhere near as much as they excited her -

He gasped, as wet, sticky liquid shot from his member. His caresses stopped as he came, damping her hand around it and the inside of her thigh. Dianne, though highly aroused, wasn't ready to come, and Henry didn't seem to notice or care. When the flow of cum stopped, he moved, pulling his member away from her reach and leaning himself against Lianna's body. She squirmed under him, hoping to remind him to help her reach satisfaction herself.

"Relax, Lianna," he said, stopping her squirming. She didn't want to relax, she wanted him to make love to her... but he wasn't giving her a choice. She felt so full of sexual energy it seemed incredible that her circuits weren't audibly crackling, but her body relaxed at his command.

(He hates me,) she thought silently. (Why won't he ever let me enjoy sex with him? I want him to enjoy me, yes, but how can I make him let me enjoy it too?)

She didn't expect an answer from her director, and she didn't get one.

After a little while, she felt Henry shift his weight on her and stand up. "You can move now, Lianna," he said.

Instantly, Dianne opened her eyes. Henry was walking away from her, toward his closet. She didn't say anything - what was there to say? Henry was clearly done with her. He'd had his pleasure of his toy, and now he'd go back to dinner. Sadly, she began to stand up, though she stopped when she noticed the cum drying on her leg. Henry noticed it too, as he turned back to her, shrugging on a bathrobe.

"Go clean yourself up," he said casually.

And the dam broke.

"Why do you hate me!" Dianne cried. She just couldn't keep her anger, fear and frustration under control anymore. She was sure she would be crying if she could.

"What?" Henry looked up at her, and his face softened as he saw her expression. "What do you mean? Why would I hate you?"

"Well, then, why do you always- I mean, I know I'm not human and I have to do whatever you want me to, and I like making love to you and being your doll but why don't you ever let me enjoy it too?! Are you punishing me for something? What am I doing wrong? What is -"

But she couldn't go on. Overcome with emotion, she sank down on the bed, not even noticing Lianna's subtle guidance of her body to keep the cum on her from soiling the blanket.

"Wow," said Henry, after a moment.

Dianne looked up at him, confused. "What?"

Henry shook his head. "Nothing. I just... didn't realize you could say all that."

Come to think of it, neither had Dianne. (How come you let me go on like that?) she asked silently.

(You have not been ordered to avoid such displays,) her director replied.

"So are you going to tell me not to do it again?" she asked aloud.

Henry looked at her thoughfully for a moment. "No, I don't think so. Actually I kind of liked it."

"Really?" Dianne asked in surprise. "Why?"

"Well, don't go doing it all the time, of course, but... if I wanted a doll who was always calm and perky, I wouldn't have bothered getting a donated personality android. I was actually starting to wonder whether you were worth it, you were so... well, robotic."

"Oh. I've never thought of myself as robotic before... I mean, except literally."

Henry sat down next to her. "Well, you never seem to do anything on your own, or to have feelings about anything. You just do what I tell you to. I guess you've been a little more natural than Julia was, but not that much."

"I didn't want to do anything you wouldn't like," Dianne said, looking down at her hands. "I thought I must have done something to annoy you, and you were punishing me."

Henry took her chin in his fingers and turned her face towards him. "Lianna, if you do something I don't want you to, I don't waste my time punishing you. I just tell you to do what I want you to. Then you do it. Right?"

"Yes, of course, but I still didn't want to upset you even the first time."

"I don't think you could really upset me if you wanted to," Henry said. "I've read your standing orders, and I've known other IPM androids. You really can't get into too much trouble. If I couldn't count on that I wouldn't have bought you."

"Yes, Master," Dianne agreed.

"Besides, if you do manage to piss me off, I'll sue IPM's pants off and retire." Henry laughed, and Dianne found herself starting to smile too.

"Then you're not upset with me for anything?" she asked one more time.

"Absolutely not." And he kissed her lightly on the lips. "Now go clean yourself off, and reheat my dinner."

Lianna stood up, but Dianne stopped. She knew she didn't have long before Lianna would force her to obey Henry's order. "May I ask you a favor, Henry?" she asked.

"You can ask," Henry said. "I might say no. What do you want?"

"I want to make love to you again, but... No, I want you to make love to me. I promise, I'll make sure you enjoy it, but could you please let me enjoy it too?" She tried blinking her eyes pleadingly at him. It had never worked for Dianne, but maybe for Lianna...

Henry looked at her lustfully. "Sure, why not?"

At once, Dianne came toward him, reaching behind her back to undo her bra.

"After I eat," Henry added. "But there's no need to keep you waiting. Switch to robot mode, Lianna."

IPM Android S/N EN-T-05-A147 (Lianna) Robot mode (immediate verbal instruction)

IPM Android S/N EN-T-05-A147 (Lianna) Natural mode (immediate verbal instruction)

For an instant she thought no time had passed, but then she realized she was nude, and her body felt cool and clean and slightly damp. But her pose was just as it had been before Henry had shut off her mind, and he stood almost exactly where he had, but now he was naked too. The look on his face had changed, she noticed, but that was to be expected.

She opened her lips to ask if he had eaten, but before she could get a word out, Henry covered her lips with his own. She decided that meant he had, so she leaned against him and kissed him with all the passion she had suppressed for so long.

Still kissing her, he picked her up, cradling her in his arms. She put her arms around his neck as he gently laid her down on his bed.

"I love you, Henry," she said softly as their kiss ended. She lowered her hands to his arms, gently drawing him down to the bed on top of her.

"Mmmm," Henry grunted, pulling himself out of her arms. She looked up querulously, and saw as well as felt him working his way down her smooth nude body, admiring her curves and surfaces. He stopped when he reached her sex, and blew gently between her legs. She shivered deliciously, moaning with appreciation.

"I like that," she whispered. "Come up here, and I'll do something you'll like."

He looked up sharply at that, but Dianne ignored it, and after a second he looked down at her again, and began to work his way back up. "You're so beautiful," he murmured, before pausing to take her left nipple in his mouth and suck on it. Dianne's hands found his shoulders, noticing more tension in them than she expected, and began to knead them with android persistence, her hands occasionally tightening when Henry's tongue touched her breast particularly nicely.

After a little while of this, she reached down a bit further and drew him farther up her body, bringing his head within range of her lips. He grunted, and began kissing her nose, her face, her cheeks. Lianna reached down and gently guided him into her, then pulled him against her as she'd wanted him for so long. That was when Henry pulled away from her.

"Dammit," he barked. "Go to position A."

Dianne had no idea what he was talking about, but Lianna didn't hesitate. Immediately she stretched her arms out above her head, and grasped two bars of the brass headboard. Her legs stretched out as well, spread apart at a wide angle. She could still move, but she couldn't unwrap her hands from the headboard, and her ankles felt as if they were anchored in place. Lianna confirmed this for her as she tried to move: (In position A, you may not open your hands or move your ankles from the spots they are in.)

"Hey," she said accusingly. She stopped - then decided to go ahead anyway. After all, he'd said she wouldn't upset him. "I thought we were going to do this together."

"I changed my mind," Henry grunted. "Don't worry, I'll still let you enjoy it."

"Well, yes, but I was going to make love to you too..."

"Yes, you are, but like this. Don't hold back - I want to know how much you're enjoying it."

"Did I do something wrong?"

"Don't talk." Thus silenced, she could only submit once again to Henry's will - though he had not lied about her enjoying it. His first move was to go back down to her sex and toy with her there. Each gentle touch sent waves of pleasure through her body, sending her squirming delightfully. She was embarrassed by the small silly sounds of arousal that escaped her lips, but she couldn't hold them back. She kept forgetting she couldn't move her hands, and trying to grab Henry and make love to him - but she couldn't find any way to hurry him along. And truthfully, she wasn't sure she wanted to. As long as he didn't give up part way through, she was loving this.

By the time Henry was ready to move on, Dianne was wondering whether her circuits could overload from frustrated arousal. He climbed up her, working his hands and hairy chest up her body inch by inch. This time he paid no special attention to her heaving breasts, but made his way directly to her lips. They kissed deeper and sexier than she had ever kissed anyone before. She felt his damp erection searching for her sex, and longed to help him - but it didn't take him too long to find her and finally enter her. For the first time, she could really feel him inside her. She found she could grab him there (had she even had such muscles as a human?) and please him even as he pleased her. Uncertain what to do next, she let Lianna guide her, and began to discover what it meant to have professionally programmed sexual subroutines.

Henry's mouth left hers, and she began to moan and gasp as he started to move against her. She found his rhythm and matched it, letting Lianna handle the details of lovemaking while she enjoyed herself. She noticed herself relaxing her action just as she felt nearly ready to come, and nearly tried to override Lianna - but then was reminded that her director knew a whole lot more about sex than she did, as her arousal soared to even new heights, and she could tell Henry's was doing the same. When finally Henry began to spurt inside her, that was the trigger for her own glorious orgasm. For all that she had looked forward to this feeling, she was scarcely aware of it with her conscious mind.

Afterwards, Henry rolled off of her. She found her hands and feet once more under her control, and she turned herself to take him in her arms, and they lay together for some time. She still couldn't speak, but she purred against him like a cat to let him know how much she'd enjoyed him.

After a while, Henry got up. He didn't say anything to her, even when she sat up and made a questioning noise, but headed for the bathroom. Dianne decided to wait for him. She didn't hear the shower run, though he was there a long time before the flush.

When he returned, he arranged a couple of pillows so he could sit up in bed, and proceeded to do so. Dianne curled herself up against his shoulder, and was a bit surprised he let her do so.

"I want to tell you something I just figured out," Henry said. "If you were a real woman, I'd owe you this explanation. Since you're not, I don't, but... well, I can always tell you to forget it if I decide to. I need to talk it out,though."

Dianne made an encouraging noise, and settled in to listen.

"I mentioned Ellen to you, I think. My ex-wife. I never told you why we got divorced, though, partly because I really didn't know why myself until just now. She looked a little like you - not as beautiful, of course; she was human, but more or less the same build, same kind of hair, similar shape to her face. That's part of why I picked you to buy when I went looking for a doll. I really was in love with her.

"We had an open marriage. I don't think either of us really expected to take advantage of it when we decided on it, but it was the thing to do back in the late thirties, so we did. I never did take advantage of it, but Ellen did after a few years. Never with any one guy for long, but she liked to go to clubs and meet people, and I was happy for her if it made her happy.

"For a while, anyway. Then it started to dawn on me that she had a whole lot more sexual experience than I did. She knew what she wanted in bed a lot more than I did, and she was the type who let you know what she wanted. Well, I didn't mind that, especially since I benefited just as much from her experience, but... I started to feel like she must be comparing me to all the other men she's slept with. Oh, I know that's silly, but that's how I felt - and it just started to bug me. That was the beginning of the end for us.

"She started to intimidate me - no, I don't really mean that. I started to let her intimidate me. And I was ashamed of myself for letting her, and ashamed of myself for being ashamed... and I wish I could blame her for not doing something to stop the cycle, but I honestly don't know what she could have done. I tried to have an affair myself... but, well, I'm not exactly sexy" (Dianne harrumphed) "and I never was particularly good at picking up women, so...

"But I never really understood what was going on. All I knew was I didn't enjoy sleeping with Ellen anymore, and I couldn't say why. I tried to tell her I didn't want her to go out clubbing anymore, but I didn't know why. And our marriage... just slowly fell apart. Does that make any sense?"

Dianne thought about it. She wasn't really sure it did make sense to her. Her own experience never got anywhere near as close to happiness as Henry had had. But she knew she couldn't tell him about that, and she knew what Henry needed. She nodded gently, and hugged him tightly.

"Anyway," Henry went on, "I realized that when I was making love to you just now, you were doing what Ellen used to do. Showing me what you wanted in bed. That's what bothered me, and that's why I restrained you, and after that it was great." Dianne purred again. "But then when we were done, I started thinking about why that bothered me, and for the first time I put together what I just told you. I'm still not sure what I think about that."

He didn't say anything more for a while. Dianne kept her arms around him, trying to comfort him with her presence. She kissed his cheek once, but not again, sensing he needed reassurance, but nothing more - and she still could not speak to him even if she had known what to say. But it made her happy to be able to comfort him this way.

After a long while, Henry tapped her arm gently, and she moved to let him get up. He caressed her cheek lightly. "You're wonderful, you know that?"

Dianne smiled proudly.

Chapter 7 - Revelations

The next few weeks were some of the happiest Dianne had ever known. She no longer feared disappointing Henry, and so she let herself be more herself around him. She knew that as his android it was important that she do nothing to upset him, but now she trusted her robotic director to guide her in this. She learned not to fear Lianna overriding her will. She didn't always like it, of course, especially when Henry's orders prevented her from enjoying herself or embarrassed her, but she no longer considered Lianna's overrides a sign of her own failure. That was just the way the entity known as IPM Evening Comfort Lianna was supposed to work. And besides, there wasn't all that much she really wanted to do that Lianna wouldn't let her.

Among her new-found pleasures was sex with her master. Henry still never left her completely free during sex, and he still did often turn her mind off for it completely. But other times he let her stay aware during sex, and even let her enjoy it. It became a source of erotic anticipation, wondering whenever Henry began to make love to her whether he would leave her mind on for it. She sometimes tried to entice him into leaving her awake, but it didn't seem to have much effect whether she did or not - and why should it? As far as she knew, her lovely android body was just as much fun, sexually speaking whether Dianne's mind was awake inside it or not.

Henry also saw a great deal more of Jean over the following weeks, but Lianna did not see much of Brice, and never did they have another occasion to talk freely.

The one thing Dianne did not think much about was Jerry, the man she'd "met" one day in the laundry room while she was in passive mode. And so it was a surprise to her when one day she was moving Henry's laundry into the dryer and heard a friendly voice behind her.

"Hello, Lianna," Jerry greeted her. "Lucky meeting you here." She turned her head to see him smiling at her as he carried his bag of laundry to the washing machine next to the one she was emptying.

"Hello, sir. Jerry," she replied. The "sir" wasn't Dianne's idea; Lianna added that on her own. "It's not hard to be lucky, sir. I'm here almost every Thursday." Once she'd said it, she wondered if it had been wise. She was still quite sure Henry wouldn't be happy if she did half the things with Jerry that she wanted to... but he hadn't told her not to, and Lianna didn't see fit to stop her.

"Well, who knew? If you'd told me last time..."

"You could have asked me, sir," she suggested.

"I didn't think of it," Jerry admitted. "I was too busy thinking of other things." He let himself brush against her pleasantly.

"So was I, sir."

"You didn't look it."

"I couldn't, sir. I was in passive mode that day."

"Not too passive to tell me you wanted to make love to me."

Dianne would have blushed at the memory had she been equipped. "You asked me what I desired, sir. I had to answer you. I... hadn't intended to say that."

"Oh," Jerry said. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to force you to say something you didn't want to."

"It's all right, sir," Dianne admitted. "I did want to say it. It was very frustrating having to just stand there looking saintly while you looked at me the way you did."

"You did not look saintly," Jerry said meaningfully.

"Didn't I, sir?" Dianne teased, as Jerry poured detergent into his machine and started it. Gathering her courage, she turned to face Jerry fully. "I would have preferred to look something more like this for you," she said. She was wearing a long blue wrap dress. She thrust her leg forward, letting a long length of smooth tanned leg show through the high slit. Then she arched her back, slunk her hips, and raised her hands behind her neck, pouting as sexily as her programming had ever taught her. "And today I can, sir," she concluded.

"Indeed," Jerry said. "I take it I didn't get you in trouble last time?"

"No, sir. My master never asked me what I did during the day."

"Well, then..." And then the man finally took her in his arms and kissed her. She returned his kiss fully, running her hands freely through his long tousled hair. He was as good a kisser as she remembered him being.

"Last time," he said when they had parted, "you said you would come to my apartment with me if you could. Can you now?"

"No, sir," Lianna answered immediately. Dianne wasn't sure whether to be frustrated or relieved. "I must stay and tend to my master's laundry."

"Oh, well," Jerry sighed. "Do you want to come with me?"

Once again, Lianna forced her to answer the literal question. "Yes, I do, sir."

Jerry looked thoughtful. "Well then... Is there anything your master requires you to do just now other than wait for the laundry to be dry?"

"No, sir, nothing specific."

"Then am I right in thinking you have do anything I order you to, so long as it doesn't conflict with your master's orders?"

"Yes, sir," Dianne agreed, not without some trepidation. "As long as you don't ask me to disobey my master's orders, or violate his privacy."

"But other than that? You have no choice in the matter? If I told you to... to take off all your clothes right here and fondle yourself on a dryer, you'd have to do it?"

Dianne could tell the thought appealed to him. She was less sure it appealed to her, just now... "Yes, sir. But if somebody came in and saw me..."

"Oh, don't worry, I wouldn't do that to you," Jerry said, and Dianne let out a small sigh of relief. "I admit, I like knowing I could, but I wouldn't. I do have an idea, though. The dryers here have a one-hour cycle." His voice hardened, and he spoke firmly. "Lianna, come with me. Return here in fifty-five minutes." He held out his hand to her.

For a moment, nothing happened. Dianne didn't know whether she would have to obey that order, or even whether she could. After a second, though, she decided which way she wanted Lianna to decide. (Come on, Lianna,) she silently urged her director. (He's human, and he gave us an order. Henry didn't tell us not to do this. Let's go!)

She heard no silent answer. After what seemed like a long time, but was probably no longer than a second or two, she finally opened her lips.

"Yes, sir," Lianna agreed. "Thank you, sir!"

Happily, she reached out to take his hand, and walked where he led her.

It turned out Jerry's apartment was up on the sixth floor. It was somewhat smaller than Henry's, and much more sparsely furnished. But the walls were covered with artwork of various kinds. There were some finished paintings and printings, but most of the works were incomplete: small pieces of picture, a face or a building, or sketches and line-drawings.

"Did you do all this, sir?" Dianne asked in surprise, looking around in awe.

"Not all of it," Jerry said proudly, "but a lot of it. Most of the rest is by a friend of mine. We trade a lot of our work."

Dianne's attention was drawn by a drawing whose subject was quite familiar to her. "This is me, sir!" she exclaimed. It was only a colored line drawing, but it was quite accurate, showing her in the short blue dress she had been wearing that other day in the laundry room.

"Yep," Jerry agreed. "I drew it after the last time we met. I didn't want to forget what you looked like. Of course, then I found this..." He flipped through a news magazine to a full-page IPM ad for "Evening Comfort: servant, lovely playmate, intimate companion, and perfect friend - visit your local IPM showroom today!" With, of course, a full-color photo of Lianna, or at least, of an android identical to her. "But I like mine better."

"So do I, sir," Dianne agreed. She did, too. The ad photo showed a... well, a sex android, though she was clothed enough to meet standards of decency that were still insisted upon in public. There was almost no suggestion of her being a person. But somehow Jerry had managed to portray a girl who looked like Lianna, but still had something of Dianne inside her - and the part of Dianne that she actually liked, not the bumbling, ugly, clumsy old woman she had been. "How did you do that?" she asked wondrously.

"It's a printing," he began to explain. "I drew it on my computer using -"

"No, sir, I don't mean that. I mean - well, I look real in your picture. I mean, like I'm a real person. But you never saw me like that. All you saw of me was the android. How did you know?"

Jerry just smiled. "You think it's accurate, then?"

"Accurate, sir? It's - it's perfect! But how?"

"That's how I saw you. I can't explain any more than that. But thank you. Do you want it?"

"Yes, sir! But you can't be serious."

"I am."

"Oh, sir... I can't take it. I do like it, but... well, I can't own anything of my own. I belong to my master. I don't think you mean to give this to him, sir."

Jerry frowned. "No, of course not. But... I'll tell you want. I'll keep it for you. But it belongs to you, if you want to accept it.

"Well... thank you, sir," she said. And then she approached him, put her arms around him, and thanked him more thoroughly.

Only a few minutes later, they were in his bedroom. He gently undressed her, then himself. He didn't turn her off, and he gave her only one order, when she started to stroke his sex with her hands. "No, don't do that," he said. "Let me make you happy."

And make her happy he did. He touched every sensitive part of her, carefully and lovingly. He was more attentive to her needs than any man she had ever been with, as human or android. It seemed to her that he gained as much pleasure simply from pleasing her as he might from anything she might do. Lianna kept out of her way, since she had no programming requiring her to satisfy this man who was not her master, and she simply did whatever came naturally. Somehow Jerry's attitude convinced her that whatever she did would be right, simply because it was she doing it.

After they had made wonderful love, they simply lay together. Jerry's rough hand played gently over her smooth skin, while she simply lay still in his embrace, basking in his love. She lost track of time, but Jerry was evidently watching the clock.

"You'd better get dressed," he said, sitting up. "You need to go back downstairs in a few minutes." It was nearly two o'clock.

Indeed, she had barely finished putting her shoes back on when she felt Lianna nudging her toward the door.

"I have to go, sir," she said. "Come kiss me once more before I leave?"

Jerry obliged, getting between her and the door, and taking her in his arms again. "I love you, sir," Dianne said, wishing Lianna would let her stop calling him "sir." "I have to go now."

"I love you too, Lianna," Jerry said, letting her out of his apartment. "I'll see you next week."

"Yes, sir. I'll be looking forward to it."

Dianne stayed in a dreamy reverie while Lianna returned to the laundry room and folded Henry's clean laundry. But she was shocked out of her daydreaming when she returned to Henry's apartment to find him at home. Henry never come home early, not since he had first purchased her. Yet here he was, his shirt collar open two buttons down, holding a glass of water in his hand. Not for the first time, Dianne was glad that her robotic director typically overrode her natural responses. She was sure she would have looked as guilty as Henry's cat when it scratched something it wasn't supposed to. But as soon as he spoke, she knew it wasn't going to matter.

"Lianna!" he exclaimed, "Where have you been?"

"I was in the laundry room, Master," Lianna answered calmly, to Dianne's short-lived relief. "And in Jerry's apartment."

(No! Don't tell him that!)

Henry suddenly erupted in a fit of coughing. Dianne had the sudden irrational thought that his outrage at her behaviour had triggered the coughing, until she realized he still had no idea what had happened. She stood there, confused and apprehensive, while his coughing subsided. He took a drink from the glass, then suddenly stopped. "What? Who's Jerry?"

Dianne tried to hold her tongue, but she answered helplessly. "I don't know his last name, Master. He ordered me to go with him while your clothes were drying. His orders did not conflict with yours, so I obeyed." She wondered miserably what he would do to her for this.

"It didn't occur to you I don't want you going off with just anybody who asks?" Henry demanded, his voice raspy. He must be sick, Dianne realized - that's why he came home early. Come to think of it, he had seemed a little out of it this morning. God, what would he have thought this morning if he'd known what she would do this afternoon?

"You've never ordered me not to, Master," Lianna explained, "so I felt I could obey Jerry's order. I'm sorry if I was wrong, Master."

"What did he want you to do? Did you sleep with him?"

(Say 'no!') How he would hate her for betraying him...

"Yes, Master. He also-"

"Never mind," Henry interrupted with a cough-interruped sigh, to Dianne's minimal relief. He took another sip of water. "From now on you're not to obey anybody except me or people I tell you to obey, and you're definitely not to sleep with anybody but me, unless I order it. And by that I mean flirting and fondling too, anything like that. You're mine, and I expect you to remember it. Understood?"

And just like that, he had made another hour of pleasure with Jerry impossible. "Yes, Master," Lianna said meekly.

"Good," Henry said. "Go put that in the bedroom, then go out to the store and pick up some cough medicine. Liquid, not drops. Cherry flavor is good. I feel like crap."

And there it was. She felt as if Henry had killed a part of her she had only just discovered. The one man who had ever treated her like a human being, even when she had been one, and in a few casual words, Henry had ended their brief affair as if it were nothing. The fact that she had expected no less if he learned of it did not ease her feelings a bit. She wanted desperately to cry, but Lianna would not let her.

Moments after she returned from the store and helped Henry take the cough medicine, the front door buzzer rang. It was Jean - and Brice, as she discovered when she opened the apartment door.

"Welcome, Mistress," Lianna greeted the newcomer, though a nod was all she was permitted toward Brice. "Henry has gone to bed, but he asked for you to go to him when you arrive."

"Good. Why don't you two cuddle out here till one of us calls for you." Her tone made it clearly an order. Obediently, Lianna went to Brice's open arms, as Jean went into the bedroom, closing the door behind her.

"Sometimes I could swear she does this just to annoy me," Brice murmered softly in Lianna's ear.

"Oh, Brice, you have no idea!" Dianne exclaimed, as quiet as he, although she made no effort to stay quiet. She buried her face against Brice's strong shoulder.

"What's wrong?" the tall android asked, concern wiping away the joking tone of his voice. He gently stroked her soft black hair.

"There's a man in this building," Dianne explained. "I liked him the first time I saw him, but I was in passive mode, so I couldn't say anything. But today I saw him again, and... Oh, Brice, he was so nice to me! He's an artist. He drew a picture of me, and he wanted to give it to me! But when I got back, Master was here, and I couldn't help but tell him the whole thing!"

"Oh," Brice said. She couldn't tell whether his gentle caresses were a genuine attempt to soothe her, or just obeying Jean's order to "cuddle," but it felt good anyway, in the midst of all her despair. "What did he do?"

"He was so angry with me. I knew he would be, but I hoped he wouldn't find out. He told me never to 'flirt and fondle' with anybody but him unless he told me to, and... but I fell in love - I am in love with him! Oh, God, I screwed things up again, just like I always did when I was human!"

"Of course you didn't," Brice said soothingly. "And if you did, you won't again, because your master told you not to. That's the thing about being androids. When we don't do what we're supposed to, nobody bothers to blame us for it or hate us for it. They just fix us."

"I know that-" Only Lianna's control kept her voice whisper-soft. "I realized that weeks ago - but this time I don't want to be fixed! I want Jerry!"

"How old are you, Lianna?" Brice suddenly asked, taking her by surprise with the non sequitur. "I mean as an android. How long have you been activated?"

"I guess... about twelve weeks, why?"

Brice didn't answer right away. "It took me a while to realize it, too, I guess," he finally said with a sigh. "That's the other part of being an android. The reason nobody blames us for doing the wrong thing is that we don't get to choose. That's the hardest thing to come to terms with - at least, it was for me. Not just that we have to do what our masters want, but that it's right that we have to. That's the price we pay for never making mistakes."

"But what about Jerry? I still love him, and he loves me, and I can't see him again now."

"You don't really want to, though," Brice said.

"But I do!"

"Do you really? Knowing that seeing him again would upset your master?"

"Well..."

And there was the rub, Dianne realized. It was a choice: keep Henry happy with her, or have the freedom to see her lover again. A choice, just like the choices she had always screwed up as a human being. And she would have screwed up again, just now, if she could. She wasn't sure which choice would be wrong, but she was sure that whatever she decided would have been wrong, because she always chose wrong. That's why she had wanted to become an android in the first place.

But now she was an android, and the choice wasn't hers to make. Henry had made the choice for her: she would not see Jerry again. Was that the right choice? Dianne didn't know. But it didn't matter, either, because that was what she was going to do, like it or not. As Brice had said, that was the price you paid, for never being hated or blamed: you also lost the power to make your own choices.

She looked up at Brice once more.

"You see it now, don't you," he said.

Dianne nodded. "Yes. You're right, I don't want to see him again - or if I do, it doesn't matter. I belong to Henry, and I must do what he wants me to."

Brice opened his mouth to answer, but instead looked up, as Dianne heard the door to Henry's bedroom open. She wanted to turn to see who it was, but was unable to stop nuzzling Brice.

"Mistress?" Brice called.

Jean's voice came from behind her. "Yes, Brice?"

"You asked me to advise you on how you might make Master Henry happy."

"Go on." Dianne had realized that she could turn her head and press her cheek against Brice's chest, and thus see Jean. She looked interested.

"Lianna told me she accidentally displeased him this afternoon."

Dianne looked up in surprise. Why would he tell Jean...?

"Yes, he mentioned that," Jean said. "What about it?"

"I think it would be a good thing if you ordered her to forget the person involved in the incident."

"What?!" Dianne asked in surprise.

Jean looked equally surprised. "How would that make Henry happy?"

"I'm not certain," Brice explained, "but, I believe Lianna's feelings about... that person, might cause her to do or say something someday which would displease Master Henry. Just as you have said my feelings about a certain person displeased you, before you ordered me to forget them."

Dianne's thoughts spun. She continued helplessly cuddling with him, but part of her wanted to hit him. How dare he say what her feelings might make her do? But another part of her wondered if he was right. Maybe it would be best if she forgot him. Maybe Brice even thought it would be best for her - and maybe he was right. She was not going to be happy the next time Jerry met her in the laundry room and she was unable to show her love for him.

"I see," Jean said. "Lianna, did you fall in love with this... "person" you visited?"

Dianne didn't even try to avoid admitting her guilt. "Yes, Mistress."

"Oh. Henry didn't ask that, did he?"

"No, Mistress." Lianna answered. Dianne added, "And I didn't think it would be a good idea to tell him."

"No, it certainly wouldn't have been," Jean agreed. Dianne was pleased to learn she had evidently done something right. "Lianna, when you were at my house, Henry told you to obey my orders as if they were his. Will you still do so?"

"Yes, Mistress, but-"

"Good. I want you to forget ever meeting that person. Forget everything you know about him, and everything you did with him, and especially everything you felt about him."

"Yes, Mistress."

As Lianna finished acknowledging the order, Dianne felt something happening to her mind. It was almost as if there were something tickling her soul, and erasing things as it went. She had been thinking about making love to Jerry in his apartment - she could hardly avoid thinking about it. But she couldn't remember what his body looked like... or what his face looked like... or where they had been... or what they had been doing... or who she had been with... or...

"Thank you, Brice," Jean said. "Now, Lianna, Henry says you know where the spare sheets and blankets are. Set up the couch in here as a spare bed for me."

"Yes, Mistress," Lianna acknowledged once more. Disengaging herself from Brice's grasp, she went to obey her orders. As she worked, she remembered her conversation with Jean's android, and talking about having fallen in love with a man - Jerry, his name had been. But she could no longer remember doing so. She couldn't even remember the man. It seemed like a story she'd been told, except that she had been the one to tell it.

Had Brice been right that Henry would be happier for Lianna having forgotten the man? She didn't know. She couldn't imagine what she might do if she loved a man other than Henry - maybe she would have done something to displease him. But it didn't matter. Jean had thought it best to have her forget, and Henry had told her to obey Jean.

When she finished making up the couch as a bed, Jean told her to go to Henry's room in case he wanted her. He told her to come to bed with him, and once she was in, he switched her to passive mode. He said nothing about Jerry.

Epilogue

A week later, Lianna awoke from stand-by mode when Henry came home.

"Welcome home, Master," she greeted him. She accepted his brief kiss, then took his jacket from him to hang up, and engaged in the usual evening ritual of finishing his dinner and serving it to him.

"A man tried to hit on me again in the laundry room," Dianne told him as he ate. She spoke willingly. She knew she had nothing to fear. "I think it was the same man I told you about last week."

"Really? What happened?"

"I greeted him politely when he spoke to me. When he noticed that my behavior was not as it was last week, he asked if you had discovered what he had done. I told him yes, and that I could no longer do what he wanted to."

"What did he say?" Henry asked.

"He was upset, and worried about me. I reminded him that I'm not a real woman, and he shouldn't worry about me. I'm not sure he really understood, but he didn't bother me. He tried to kiss me once, but when I prevented him he didn't try again."

"Good," Henry said, and continued eating. After a few more bites, he looked up at her again. "Did you want him to try again?"

Dianne didn't answer immediately. She sort of had wanted him to, but... "No, Master. I could not let him touch me. You ordered me not to."

"But did you want to?" Henry insisted.

This question she could not evade. She had wanted to let the man touch her... and after a moment, Lianna said so. "But I don't mind," she added. "You're my master, Henry, and my purpose is to serve you. I wanted to make you happy, more than I wanted to be kissed by a stranger... even if he was cute."

Henry smiled. "I'm glad to hear that," he said. "Tell you what. How about later tonight, you show me what you wanted to do with him."

Dianne hesitated. "Are you sure you want that, Master? I mean, after what you told me about your ex-wife..."

"Well," Henry said, "it'll be my own fault if I decide I don't like it."

And it turned out, later that evening, that partway through their lovemaking he decided he didn't like it. But it was all right. He ordered Lianna into Passive mode, and told her what he wanted her to do, and she did it.

And as she lay next to him as he fell asleep, Dianne knew she had once again pleased her master greatly. How different this new, computerized life was than her old one. Dianne had never in her organic life been confident of her ability to please anyone, even her husband. But now, as a lovely android, she could not help but please her master. The happiness that gave her was unlike anything she had ever known before.

And tomorrow, she knew, she would please him again, even if she didn't know -

IPM Android S/N EN-T-05-A147 (Lianna) Stand-by (idle time exceeded)


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