I stared at my watch. I’ve been waiting for the interview for almost an hour. It was probably getting dark outside, too. Dammit, I’m wasting too much time for this!, I thought. I looked at the secretary for the umpteenth time this evening, since she was the only thing worth watching on - a beautiful, young red-haired girl. I tried to chat her up once or twice, but she brought me down, and told to wait. I wanted a distraction, since I get stressed easily on job interviews. I’m an engineer, I don’t have to be good with people! Well, that’s not true, but my social skills shouldn’t be more important...
“Ms Flowers will see you now.”, the redhead announced chippily. I got up, straightened my tie, nodded at the girl and walked into the spacious office.
The woman behind the desk was stunning. Big, lustrious blonde hair, shining blue eyes and fair, immaculate skin... and she was talking with someone on her cellphone. She gestured me to sit down. “No, no, you can’t. Eighteen is my last word! Fine, but we’ll cut some of the benefits. Then it’s a deal”. She switched off with a great big smile on her face... and it disappeared as her eyes focused on me.
“Mr. Yakovchenko, isn’t it? Let’s be brief then, the working hours are almost over.” She said with a nice, soothing southern accent. Some part of me rebelled - what, I’m waiting for an hour and I get no apologies? If she was the manager, I’d rather quit already... If she wasn’t so gorgeous.
“You’re an engineering graduate with experience in hydraulic engines. What made you apply for the position of a secretarial assistant?” She started out with the most obvious question. Not that I was unprepared.
“Well, It’s never too late to gain new skills”, i smiled. She did not smile back. “I’ve been interested in international business for years and I really want to try my strengths in this field.”
Ms Flowers stared at me somewhat blankly. “And where do you see yourself in five years?”
“I want to learn more about the international trade, perhaps becoming an export/import manager.” I lied smoothly.
Ms Flowers nodded wisely. “Mr Yakovchenko, my name is Susan Flowers. I’m a head of international trade department and a vp of the company. In normal conditions your application would never have gone past the HR...”
Oh what? I stood up. “Listen, lady. You did not apologize for setting the meeting on 4 PM nor for for forcing me to wait for an hour, and now you’re insulting me? I am not responsible for the economy! I am young, eager, educated, ready to work, and if you want to laugh at the guy who has no chances of getting the job then fine. But do it after work, on your own time, and don’t waste mine.”
Sheesh. I did it again. No wonder that I’ve been unemployed for seven months.
Ms Flowers looked at me, puzzled. “There is no need to be agressive, Mr. Yakovchenko.” She hesitated for a moment. “I do not often... I have no skills concerning HR and I find it difficult to obtain these. I apologize for my behavior.”
I looked at her briefly and extended my hand. Puzzled, she stared at it, and she visibly beamed when she realized that she should shake it. Was it something I done?
“As I was saying”, Ms Flowers swept her magnificent, blonde hair aside, “I asked to talk with you privately, outside the normal recruiting procedure, because I... hope, for the lack of better word, that you have skills necessary to the company.”
She stood up, presenting shapely long legs covered in grey stockings. “What you’re about to see is confidential. I must demand that you did not share this information with anyone.” She slid a paper - a waiver towards me.
“Will you hire me if I won’t?”
“You’re the only potential candidate that matched my profile, and you have high chances of getting hired.”
I didn’t hesitate. Having skimmed the document, I assumed that it was legal and signed it. Automatically, Ms Flowers pointed at the door. Her face momentarily froze in a weird expression, and I heard a quiet -click- of a locked... lock. Okay, a neat trick. Gesture activated. There had to be a camera somewhere, right?
“Mr. Yakovchenko, are you prepared to see this?” she asked, and started to undress. She took off her alluring red suit jacket and a white silk blouse underneath. Nervously, I started to look around, but I stopped when I saw this. She had a fantastic, flat stomach, and she grabbed it with both sides with her manicured hands. There was another clicking sound and the stomach plate came up, revealing mechanical innards. There were circuits and switches and some kind of pipes...
“Are... are you some kind of a robot?”
“I’m a Meli-3 series android, a property of the company. I’ve been programmed with knowledge of fifteen languages, business negotiations, necessary protocols and management.” she answered matter-of-factly.
I rose, and came to her slowly, and touched the wires.
“It’s real. This is real, Mr. Yakovchenko! This is not a trick. We... I need an engineer. I... I think I’m sorry to having you wait for so long, but I needed an empty office.”
“What about the secretary?”
“Sam is also an android, as advanced as myself. She was my only underling I could trust. If you take the job, you will maintain both me and her.”
Underling? I did not like the sound of this word. Even though it was her who was mechanical, some gears rattled in my brains, and a yellow lamp lighted up for a moment. She sat on the desk, crossing her long legs, and they distracted me for a moment.
“Wait, why it’s you that’s telling me of this? Surely, you were made for a purpose and there’s supposed to be someone maintaining you regularly. I mean, even a photocopier comes with a warranty. In fact, why not just post an ad for an engineer?”
She jumped down and closed down the stomach panel. “Because I want to fuck you, Jim.” she whispered in my ear.
She smirked. “Well, not you specifically. Anyone, really. I also need someone to maintain me and I can hire you as an administrative assistant, not as an engineer.”
“Because I think I need a lover.” She took her bra off, showing her large, rounded, beautiful breasts. “My existence is limited to ten hours by day, unless I go for a business trip. On my visit to France I... I’ve spent my whole existence in this office and then I went and saw how huge the world really is.”
“How old are you, anyway?” I tried to understand.
“I was commissioned four years ago. Most of that time was being turned off, and gathering dust. That’s not a rational use of an Artificial Intelligence.”
“So I want to rebel. And I need someone I could trust. Someone who will help me run away - whether for money or sexual services. A friend - a human friend who could reprogram me, fix me if I get broken. Will you help me, Jim?”, she stared at me brazenly.
I touched her abdomen and try to open the stomach panel again. It clicked again, revealing an incredibly complex device.
“Yes. Yes, Susan, I will help you.”.