Lost but Found

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Lost but Found

Chapter 1 - Rain

It was going to be a long night.

I was just getting started with my daily routine when a huge work order came in, followed by an unusually busy afternoon of customers, most of whom needed repair work done. Android repair was my specialty, which meant I was in heavy demand that night. I had seen my fair share of computer repair work, but once I upgraded to robot repair technician, they just couldn't demand enough of me. And of course the work was harder, much harder, than it was with just a computer. Not only did I have all the regular computer problems to worry about, like viruses, but I also had to worry about all the mechanical problems, which were plenty. In fact, one android usually took 3 or 4 technicians to fully repair, but out shop was a small shop and we only had a small team. And I was the only one who bothered to get certified as a robot repair technician.

Perhaps the reason our shop was so high in demand was because we were located in the middle of the most prestigious high-class area in all of North Virginia. Talk about upper-class clients, most of them were multi-millionaires or better. Occasionally we got the odd middle-class client, or even college student. I always made sure to give them special treatment just so they felt more welcome in the neighborhood. After all, I was one of them too. I couldn't afford to buy one of these robots I repaired, although at this rate I could probably build my own from scratch, an idea I took seriously.

That night in particular, we had a dozen repairs come in. Most of them were of your average PRA, or Personal Robotic Assistant, the kind we called "Plastics" because they looked like a walking plastic toy. Don't get me wrong, the technology behind them were amazing. They were by far the most popular androids on the market, and for good reason. They were cheap, relatively easy to repair, durable, and could be stylized to look like anything you wanted. That and most people were too freaked out by the most recent "Fleshies" as we called them, which has artificial skin, but in my opinion were, for the most part, still uncanny valley fodder. They just looked off to me, and to a lot of people, so I was glad we didn't get many of them in. Not to mention they were a lot more difficult to repair.

Our shop, a tiny computer and android repair shop stuck in a strip mall in the middle of Arlington, was called "WeFixIt", and we did exactly that, to almost anything. Appliances, computers, robots, cars, whatever it was, we offered to fix it. Most people knew about our computer and android repair, and it was what we were known to be good at. The storefront itself was tiny, with the latest Plastic on display and a few computers, but it was smaller than my apartment, which is saying something. At least the front was. Behind the scenes, we were a veritable warehouse. We only had a dozen folks on staff, and the turnaround was rather high for some reason. A recent government crackdown forced Bill, the manager, to let go of half the staff due to... insufficient documentation. Of course that meant more work for me, whoopee.

Trevor was running the front of the house that night, taking all the orders handling all the front end stuff. He was good, really good. He could sell you the shirt off your back, and throw in a new computer with it. But he didn't do repair work.

Luckily, about a year back, one of the richest clients we had ever had came in with a repair. Well, he didn't come in, but the repair did. Long story short, he dropped off a customized, top-of-the-line fleshy, the kind that managed to get beyond the valley and looked almost human, complete with a warm touch and rosy cheeks. She was a real beaut too. 5'4", small frame, ever-so-slightly asymmetrical features, freckles, short spiky hair, and a pair of breasts that screamed "I'm fun". And she was all mine to repair.

Now that wasn't the good part. The repair was actually really hard. I had never worked on such a complicated unit before. She even had an artificial blood system, one I had yet to see on another android. She was more complex and beautiful on the inside than she was on the outside, which is saying something, because she was a real looker. The problem was, she fell into a pool and shorted out. Despite all her waterproofing, she sprung a leak, and it so happened that one component was not properly sealed. It took a month to repair, but I managed to fix her up better than new. The thing is he never came to pick her up. I just didn't understand it! With such an advanced and beautiful machine as her, you'd think he'd pick her up immediately. He had the money for the repair, and we contacted him several times. It ended up, he didn't want her anymore. He moved on to the newer model that just came out, and claimed he was "tired of her personality". It made me angry, but because he never came to pick her up, he never paid either! As such, Bill saw to it that she was activated and put to work in the back of the shop, helping me with repairs, until she earned enough to pay for her own.

Her name was Elise, but she went by Lyss, and I knew as soon as she was activated that we'd get along just fine. She was spunky, and had spikey hair the color of a rainbow. If I didn't know any better, I'd say she was a punk rocker, she fit the role perfectly. We backed up her memories and stored them in a safe before wiping her clean, and programmed her to repair androids. She was fast, efficient, and actually held a good conversation. We had her dressed in the same uniforms we all had to wear, blue button up shirt with a collar, a nerdy tie, and navy pants. She actually hated the look, but managed to make it her own by tying the bottom of the shirt in a knot and keeping the tie loose and the top of her shirt mostly unbuttoned. She even managed to swipe a navy skirt from an old model and wore that instead of the pants, which no one complained about.

But the best part about her was her smile. It wasn't the average "stewardess" smile most models had, no. Her smile was funky and off center and gave the impression that she not only knew how to have fun, but was thinking something dirty as well. It was the perfect look for her attitude. At least she wasn't actually rebellious; she was one of the better workers we had. And for some reason, Bill managed to keep her "salary" very low because she was a robot. He even found reasons to give her more repairs to keep her in top shape, in case her official owner changed his mind and came back for her. In other words, he found out ways of keeping her on the staff indefinitely. And no one, not even Lyss, minded. I think she was having fun hanging out with the guys and actually doing something. She enjoyed working with her hands as much as I did, but she had a quick wit too, always ready with a joke, or a rude remark. I loved it.

That night, Lyss and I were the only ones in back working on all the orders, while Trevor worked the front, and Bill managed things mostly from his office upstairs, as he always did. Usually he kept the door open, and we could come up and take a break in the small lounge, but after Lyss started working, he kept her recharge station there, and usually kept the door shut. This was good for him because it meant he didn’t have to hear the idiocy of the customers.

And oh-boy were they idiots.

That night we had a computer with more viruses on it than a plague victim, a Plastic that someone tried to teach to swim, a slew of ones that had succumbed to the latest designer Silver Screen Virus (which had them all randomly quoting old movies), and another that was so full of porn, I was surprised the poor thing could walk. Let me tell you, that was not a fun job to clean up, and Lyss couldn't stop snickering at me. But the most annoying one that night came in 5 minutes before we closed. Lyss saw her first through the mostly closed door to between the front counter and the back.

"Hey! Kev! Come here, you've gotta check her out!" Oh, right, sorry, my name is Kevin, Kevin Ronin,, but Lyss decided Kev was easier. She knew I hated it which is why she loved to use it. "I think I found the girl for you." She loved to tease me and my lack of any kind of relationship. I was a busy guy, and my hobbies of building my own AI in hopes of creating a custom android from scratch took all my time. I didn't have time for girls; at least that's what I kept telling myself.

"Picking another suitor for me, are you Lyssie?" I teased. She punched my arm lightly as I approached. She hated that nickname, which is why I liked to tease her with it every now and then.

As Lyss looked out the door, I leaned over her to peak out from above her. We looked like a pair of peeping toms. There she was, a pretty young girl with a cute face and a sexy body, who was bringing in her male Plastic which suffered from god-knows-what. It had trouble standing, and it kept jerking it's hips in odd directions. The girl was a young thing, probably not even 18 yet, with blond hair done up in pigtails, denim shorts short enough to be called a belt, sandals, and a flannel shirt tight around her torso so her stomach was exposed, much like Lyss but higher up exposing more skin. She wasn’t busty, but she sure did like to show off what she had, and I sure liked looking at it. I couldn’t help but notice that her shirt was tied around her very tight; I could tell she wasn’t wearing a bra and our store tended to be chilly. She was already talking with Trevor, but I didn't hear was she said.

"I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help to you, but let me call Kevin out here, he's our resident android expert, I'm sure he can help you out. Hey Kevin!" he called out looking toward the door. Lyss practically jumped and bumped my chin with her head. Ouch. I came out and greeted the girl with a smile, trying hard not to ogle her body.

"How are you doing today miss?" I asked in my most telemarketer way. She didn't answer; as she was too busy trying to stop her PRA from jumping around. I tried again. "May I help you?" And then she opened her mouth.

"Gawwd! I hope so" she said, drawing out the word 'god' into more syllables than it had letters, donning the quintessential teenybopper valley girl accent. As her words left her mouth, all my arousal and desire toward her left too. She was one of those... a ditzy over-privileged brat. The bane of my existence. I heard something behind me and glanced behind to see Lyss peeking out of the door biting her lips and trying hard to hold back a laugh. She couldn't hold it in, and slammed the door, letting out a laugh that I could easily hear through it.

I gritted my teeth and feigned a smile. "What's the problem?"

"My PRA like totally stopped working last night?" she asked as though it were a question. "Like, it doesn't walk right anymore and stuff." I cringed at every sound her voice made as Trevor tried hard to keep himself from laughing. At least he was doing a better job of it than Lyss, who I could still hear laughing her head off through the door. I looked at the busted PRA, which was barely able to stand upright. It was a short piece of shit with a twisted hip and a malfunction that left it constantly thrusting its hips outward in random directions. She had probably told it to 'jump of a cliff or some junk' and it did. Either that or she was using it as her own personal vibrator. God I hated my life sometimes. It was actually a fairly easy repair, but a costly one and I reveled in the fact that I for to tell her the bad news.

"Let me take a look at it" I faked as I stepped out from behind the counter to look closer at it. "Yeah, I've seen this before" I lied. "There is probably something wrong with the programming. It's going to need a firmware upgrade before I can run a diagnostics on it." I knew I was being an ass, but she waited till the last 5 minutes to spring this bomb on me so I deserved to have a little fun with her. "And look, the gyroscope it out of alignment. I will probably have to keep it for a week to fully assess the damage before I can give you an estimate.” I knew that we could charge her for the assessment, and then tell her anything I wanted, and spend 20 minutes fixing it up and charge her for a week or two.

“That sounds expensive?” she said, putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable. “I was like totally hoping you could just fix it and junk. It isn’t like its big or anything.” God I wanted to strangle her. Lyss's continued laughter reminded me I'd have to get back at her too.

“Well, I’ll see what I can do, but I will have to do a thorough examination first, and make sure the firmware is up-to-date. I can call you with an estimate once it is ready."

“Really? Like, Okay! Like, it isn’t going to cost me anything is it?” She asked as elegantly as a crow.

“The standard charge for an examination of this type is $250” I explained. “I should have it done by next Thursday.”

“TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS?” she yelled, as though it was all the money she had in the world. “You’re just going to look at it right? Why is it so expensive?” she complained. “And why does it have to take so long?” My head was beginning to ache from his conversation.

“$250" I clarified. "PRAs are very complex machines that require precision work. We have a queue of orders ahead of yours so it will take some time before we can address your unit.” I didn’t even try to smile anymore, and I just let it all out monotone from memorization. “We have to study the problem to determine what exactly is wrong with it before we can make any repairs.”

She sighed with that little annoying ‘I’m better than you’ expression and rolled her eyes. “Fine! Do you like take Visa?” I took her card, or rather, her father’s card since I assumed her name wasn’t George, and the rest of the incident was a blur. Another teenage valley girl with nothing better to do than spend her dad’s money. My arousal was so low at this point it would need a defibrillator to come back to life. Besides, I didn’t really like young girls. Sure she was pretty (pretty dumb), but I preferred a girl more my own age, someone with a little more experience, in her 20’s, and with a body that had actual curves on it.

Someone like Lyss. But I could never tell her that. She was a friend, a coworker, and technically she was private property under the warrantee and protection of the company. The farthest I could ever get with her would be telling dirty jokes, which half the time she told. It had been a very long time since I had sex. My glasses and nerdy physique and hobbies weren't exactly bringing all the girls running. The closest I had to sex lately was repairing Lyss, and that was almost a year ago. And no, I didn't have sex with her. And yes, she is fully equipped. As I took the now inactive Plastic back, I got a good look at Lyss smiling her almost awkward yet sexy smile, trying to stifle her laughter, and got a good reminder of what she looked like when I was working on her back then. She was really something, and all my annoyance with her laughter faded away. I could never stay mad at her, she was too endearing and fun... and sexy.

But seriously, I needed a girlfriend. Lyss would occasionally try to hook me up, but she knew fewer people than I did, so all she could do was point out pretty customers. At least Trevor knew some girls, but my personality meant we never even got to the dating part. Maybe it was because I loved to talk shop, I loved to work on robots. The kinds of things I did for fun were more akin to a thesis paper for a PhD. No really, I was almost done with a new AI which I built from scratch and would rival even the best AIs around. The public was always scared of AIs, thinking they would take over the world or something, but people aren't dumb, and AIs have all sorts of regulations and restrictions... there I go again, talking shop. But seriously, building robots and working on AIs was fun to me. Maybe I wasn't into going to movies and wasn't interested in anything girls were interested in, but soon I'd save up enough to finally buy the female PRA kit I've had my eye on and test out my AI there. I've always wanted to have a personal assistant who could cook for me, among other things.

Despite all my efforts though, there was no way I'd ever be able to purchase a model as nice or advanced as Lyss, she was just too good. A custom model that I was sure Bill would eventually sell when he got the chance. The policy was 18 months, and she still had a few more months with us before he would sell her. I didn't like that idea. Maybe I could buy her... except I'd have nowhere near enough.

"What's with that look?" Lyss asked. "Alright, I'm sorry I laughed at you. Well it was really at her. But I mean come on! I couldn't help it!"

"Nah, it's ok. I would have done the same" I explained to her, letting her off the hook because she was so cute.

She gave me a big smile and rubbed my hair. "That-a boy. Take it like a man! I'm sure she'd make a great wife" she said, breaking into laughter again. I lightly hit her arm.

"Knock it off. We got a lot of work to do" I said getting back to one of the work benches where we were busy replacing a limb on an old model Plastic.

"Yes sir boss man" she said, saluting me mockingly, but with a cute smile. I let it go, but just then, the lights flickered and the ominous clash of thunder hailed in a thunderstorm I didn't even know was coming. I really should check the weather more often. Lyss practically screamed before exhaling.

"What was that?" I asked, looking at her.

"Sorry. I just don't like thunder, lighting, power outages, or anything else that can fry a walking lightning rod like me. Besides, if the power went out, how would I charge? I'm down to 21% already, I wouldn't last the night."

"Well you two" Trevor said, peaking his head in. "We're closed, and I'm off. I want to beat that storm."

"Hey! We've got a lot of orders here" I complained.

"Not my problem, you now I don't do android repairs. Good luck buddy! Lyss."

"Later alligator" Lyss replied.

And Trevor as gone before I could even say goodbye. He was right though, it was my job to repair these walking junk heaps, and at least I had Lyss to help me.

We got started, knowing we were not going to finish that night, as the rain came pouring down beating on the metal roof. Lyss shivered as she worked across the table with me.

"You alright?" I asked as I soldered a connection into place.

"Yeah. Sorry, I just... don't like water for some reason. I know I'm water proof, but I can't help it."

Odd. She had no memories of her time with her old master, including her water accident, and yet she had a fear of water now. But she needn't worry about that anymore; I personally made sure she was water proof. I even tested her myself. Which got my mind wandering again as I thought about her body. I shook my head and got back to work.

"Easily distracted are you?" she asked, leaning over the table to grab a screwdriver, giving me a perfect view of her cleavage. She knew what she was doing, as she gave me that knowing smile again. I looked back down at my work and ignored her. "Hey! My boobs are down here."

I couldn't help but laugh at her, which is what she wanted, and she returned a smile as she stood upright again. We spent another 2 or 3 hours just repairing androids, and got through 4 of them from the other day, but we were still behind. Of course, now with this thunderstorm, we were likely to see even more repairs tomorrow. At least the rain started to lighten up.

"Thanks for sticking around and helping me, Lyss" I said, forgetting she lived here.

"What else would I do?" she asked. "No one ever takes me out on dates anyway, not that I'd let them. Besides, a girl that doesn't eat anything at a restaurant is bound to get the wrong kind of attention." She was right, she might have been a really advanced model, but one thing even she couldn't do was eat. Sure she could drink fluids to keep her body hydrated, or keep her lubricants and fluids levels up, but eating food was a different matter. "Anyways, I rather do this. Not a bad date if you ask me" she teased.

"Well I-"

"Lyss" Bill called out from upstairs. We both looked up behind us to the top of the stairs where Bill stood in his white shirt, black tie, and matching pants. He was slightly overweight, with a well-trimmed beard and only just starting to bald. Pretty much the average middle-aged guy. "I need to see you in the office. Kevin, you can head home. The weather might get pretty bad out there, so be careful."

He disappeared up stairs again, but Lyss looked back at me with worry in her eyes. Every night he would call her up, but she never had any memory of what she did once she got there. Bill always explained he'd run a diagnostics on her and make sure she didn't need any more repair, and that her fluid levels were fine, and then he'd charge her for the night. It always took an hour or two, and he always wanted to close up right after, so we never stuck around while he finished.

Lyss gave me an awkward smile that faded away. "Well" she said, coughing a little. "I guess I'll go..." she cleared her throat "... see what he wants. Goodnight Kev, have a safe trip home."

"Yeah, thanks. Goodnight" I replied putting my tools away and shutting down for the night.

"Better go feed your cat" she remembered turning around as she reached the stairs. I told her about how I found a kitten 3 months ago and called her April.

"Yeah, good idea" I answered.

"See ya tomorrow" she called out as she reluctantly went up the stairs.

"See ya" I replied in kind. I watched as she walked up the stairs and slowly closed the door behind her. I grabbed my stuff, my phone and jacket, and headed out the door. Just as I took a step out, the rain picked up again like a swimming pool being dumped on top of me.

The rain sounded like a million tinny tap shoes dancing on my car, but it looked more like water grenades trying to break my windshield. My jacket was mostly for show at this point, since I didn't bring a rain jacket and was now totally soaked through, making my trip home colder and more miserable than normal. If only I paid the $150 to repair my key fob I wouldn't have had to fumble with my keys in the dark, drop them, and fight with them as I got to my car. By the time I got in, I might as well have had a fully-dressed shower. I was looking forward to getting home, but I didn't have time to play with my AI, it was already 11, and I had work at 10 the next morning. At least my cat would be happy to see me... or at least for me to feed her.

To say my car roared to life as I prepared to depart would be an exaggeration. It more or less sputtered to life yearning for the sweet release of death. The key fob wasn’t the only thing I needed to spend money on in my car, but I was too cheap to do anything about it, and just let it get worse. If only I cared half as much about my car as I did about my computer, this car would turn heads, instead of turning stomachs.

No matter how high I turned up the wipers, they were never fast enough to give me a clear view of the road. As soon as one sheet of rain was washed away, another had already replaced it. Occasionally, the night sky would light up with another flash of lightning, followed by a thunderous clap. I knew the lightning was getting closer, and louder, but the events of the night ran through my head. It was such a long day, I couldn’t concentrate on the road like I should have been, despite the bad weather, and instead I reviewed the day in my head. I thought back to the other customers from earlier in the day recalling the several business men who needed commercial PRAs fixed, the young couple who bought their first PRA together and wanted to install an upgrade, even the know-it-all teenager who tried to fix his own and ended up frying the motherboard. Sure there were a few lookers in the crowd, but none of them really stood out to me. That last girl was the most annoying of them all. She was all skinny legs and toned belly and fake tan and fake hair, I couldn’t help but think about what she might look like naked. No, I much preferred someone like Lyss, she was all curves and attitude, and her body was to die for.

Another bright flash of lightning and an instant loud clap of thunder, almost deafening me, forced my attention back on the road and where I was supposed to be concentrating. I tried to focus as I turned onto a back road that saved a lot of time getting home. There was a small bridge ahead, which could easily flood, and I had to wonder how full it was getting with all this rain. I had to be careful my tires didn’t slip on the wet road. Wet road. If that shirt was only wet, I could have seen her nipples. Lyss had really nice nipples, but I hadn't seen them in almost a year. I bet she'd look great dancing naked, with her spunky smile and fun hair and pouty lips. I longed to take her into my arms, to smell her, to touch her, to kiss her, to-

A truck ahead of me swerved violently in the road, sliding right toward me! I slammed on my brakes, but skid on the wet surface, unable to stop. I sounded my horn, but the driver kept swerving dangerously out of control. He had just passed the bridge, but at this rate, I would slide right off the edge if he didn’t hit me first! This road was too small for a truck, even a small one like that, and the driver should have known that! But it was too late now, I pumped on my breaks some more, hoping the pumping action would be a suitable replacement for the non-existent anti-lock brakes. The usually calm stream was bubbling over with water like a 5 star rapid, and the truck was nearly on me. I turned my wheel and covered my face, fearing that this would be the end, putting my car into a full-on tail spin!

Somehow, this actually helped. The truck driver managed to regain control of his small truck, and narrowly avoided me, while my spinning car lost all momentum toward the water, and halted on the side of the road. It took a moment for me to realize what happened, and to recompose myself. My life almost ended that night, and the truck didn’t even stop to see if I was alright. No, that driver sped off like a bat out of hell, leaving a mess strewn across the road behind him. Sure enough, there was a mess in the middle of the road right in front of me; in fact, there was a large box in the middle of the road. It was directly in front of my car, and my headlights dimply lit it up in the stormy night. I knew I'd have to move it to get my car out of the ditch.

I sat there a moment longer and regained my composure. Whoever that guy was, there was no way he’d be coming back to check on me, but perhaps he hadn’t noticed he lost part of his cargo. I had to wonder what the hell it was. The box was big; probably about 3 feet cubed, and appeared to be made of metal. With my luck it was probably a busted speaker, or full of heavy glass or metal. As I sat in my car staring at this box, the rain slowly started to lighten up. Almost as fast as it started, it had gone, or at least lessened. There were only occasional droplets of water now, but with such unpredictable weather, it was bound to pick up again soon. I flicked off my squeaking windshield wipers, and made a decision. I was the only one there, and I wanted to see what that reckless driver left behind. Maybe I’d be lucky and get something useful, or at least something I could sell on eBay for all my trouble. I got out of my car, realized I should probably check my car first for damage. There was a small dent in the front of my car on the bumper, probably where the box hit it. I didn’t even realize in all the commotion that I hit anything at all. Luckily the truck did not hit my car or there could have been serious damage to my car and to me, however my rear left tire was stuck in some mud, and I hoped it would not be a problem getting it out.

Flipping my brights on, I decided to check the box. As I got closer, I noticed a number of things. First, there were words on the side that said “This Way Up” pointing sideways. Clearly, it was no longer right side up. The second thing I saw was that the lid of the box was busted open. It appeared that the lid had a rather complex lock on it to keep it from being opened by prying eyes, but with the trauma of the accident, it was dented out of shape and the locking mechanism did nothing. There was no point collecting a broken box. The last thing I noticed terrified me. In the dim headlights, I could see an object sticking out of the box where it was broken open. It wasn't just any object, it was a human arm! Luckily, it wasn’t a big bloody grotesque mess, or I might have fainted right then and there, and it still seemed attached to its owner who was inside the box. I was frozen with fear.

“Holy shit! It’s a serial killer. Or some bizarre human trafficking. Oh my God! What do I do?" I prepared to call the police, but I had no signal in this back road, and I dared not leave the scene of a crime. I would just have to wait for the next person to drive by and tell them to call the police. Curiosity drew me closer to the box, and I peeked inside. Maybe they were still alive? Then again, I didn’t want to get all upset over a mannequin arm or something, so I had to be sure it was human. As I got closer, a smell rushed into my senses, a smell I wasn’t expecting. While I was expecting the smell of death, a rotting corpse, or just human body odor, instead I smelled something sweet and fragrant, almost like a new car smell. It wasn’t quite the same, but it was similar. There was something strangely familiar about it. And then it hit me.

That wasn’t the smell of a human; it was the smell of an android! I took another look at the box, and read aloud “ARAD-LX90f”. There was a holographic logo printed beneath it of gears and circles, with the letters ARAD in the middle. ARAD? I wracked my tired stressed brain to remember what these familiar letters were. It finally came to me. ARAD stood for “Advanced Robotics and Android Development”. It was the same logo and name as the company who made the highest quality PRAs in the world, the same company that made Lyss! Maybe luck had come my way, except this arm was way too human to be like any android I had ever seen before. I mean, as realistic as Lyss was, the skin on this arm has a certain subscatter of light to it that I had only ever seen in humans.

I took a closer look at the arm, it was not moving, but something in me feared it would suddenly spring to life and attack. I had to remind myself that things that happen in horror movies tend to stay in horror movies. The arm remained lifeless, but in the dim light, I could make out more detail. Not only did this arm have very high quality skin, but it also had hair, and fingernails, and veins. It was as human as any I’d ever seen, and it was feminine. The arm was dainty, well-shaped, and even sensual. I couldn’t resist, my curiosity was too great. I pried the dented lid back, and peeked inside. The light of the car was not shining directly inside, but there was enough dim reflected light inside to see the owner of that arm.

The box had a collection of plastic bags, wires, and what appeared to be a suitcase in it. In the middle of it all was a big bundle of plastic, from which the mysterious arm protruded. I rummaged carefully inside. It was a padded box, with a strong metal frame, but I wasn’t sure if the accident damaged anything inside. As I rummaged around, I unveiled a very human looking head, with dark hair. It was a girl, a pretty girl at that. Her eyes were closed, and she was as still and cold as death. I wasn’t fully convinced she was a robot yet. Sure there was no blood, and no smell besides the sweet scent of a new android, and her skin was icy cold, and there was no pulse, but what is she was a human girl someone was trying to pass as an android, but how was I to know?! Maybe she was just a corpse in a bag and I what smelled was something added to hide the smell of death.

Just as I was about to freak out again, thinking this was an innocent girl cut down in the prime of her life, I noticed something else inside the box. Pulling at some plastic bags around her back, I noticed wires and various connections protruding from her back and into a metal case with the letters “ARAD-LX90f” written on it, and a line drawing of a naked girl behind it, like what you might see in a medical textbook. The other bags in the case were filled with a variety of standard and non-standard android accessories. Remotes, batteries, and an assortment of other items surrounded the girl, along with a single thin pamphlet that read “LX90f Quick Start Guide”. Grabbing the thin pamphlet, I thumbed through it, trying to use the light of my car to read it. It listed the basic functions, abilities, and commands for the android. The beginning of it started with “Congratulations on being selected to participate in the alpha testing phase for the new prototype gynoid LX90f…” I glanced through the features. Active circulatory system. Adaptive Learning. Micro-tech fabricated skin. The list when on and on.

There was no way this could be real, but here it was in front of me! I never heard of such advanced robotics being around, not even in the top secret military files that got leaked online. Lyss didn't have the kind of technology they were talking about in this girl here, and she seemed pretty real to me; I wondered what this girl would be like when activated. I paced around the box trying to decide what to do. The road was slippery and wet, and no one came this way at night usually, so I debated with myself.

“I should leave her – I mean ‘it’ – here. There is no way this is real! She, I mean ‘It’, isn’t mine, and it’s not a living thing anyways. I don’t need a PRA; I am saving up for a custom one anyways. Besides, I can always talk to Lyss. I mean I don’t steal. What if no one comes by, or maybe they’ll find my fingerprints on the box. That’s crazy talk Kev! Everything will be fine. Just leave her here alone in the cold like little April. She was all alone and injured, and it was raining then too. She could have died without my help! Maybe I can get a reward for saving her. I’ve always wanted a PRA for myself, and this would surely make the guys jealous. I’ve never seen one this advanced before. What would Lyss say? I may never have this chance again. That reckless driver is long gone, but someone else could come by any moment. He’s the one that lost the box, I just found it. I… I…” I stopped pacing and thought to myself. I needed someone in my life beside April, and Lyss was store property. Maybe she could bridge the gap. I’ve been alone for far too long, I deserve this. Besides, she wouldn’t survive this weather in the middle of a street. “Fine!” I yelled out. “I’ll do it!”

Having finally made up my mind, I quickly looked around for any more cars. It really was a seldom used road, and I couldn’t see anyone in the bright light of a lightning strike. Unfortunately, the rain had just started to pick up again. It was still fairly light, but getting heavier fast. I decided to grab all the different objects in the plastic bags and stuff them in my car first. I was willing to bet that the girl would be water-proof like Lyss (hopefully without the leak), but the plastic and metal doodads probably weren’t. Quickly, I reached into the box, and grabbed all I could before running them back to my car and tossing them in the back. I had to make 2 or 3 trips before I the girl was all that was left. I practically crawled inside the box in order to get a hold of her and lift her out. Most of the plastic wrapping covering her had come off as I held her up in my arms. She was naked, limp, but beautiful. She couldn’t have weight much more than 100 lbs. or so, and she was about average size for a human girl. The rain beat down harder now as I lifted her out of the box, carrying her metal case and wires behind her.

As I held the lifeless cold body, I saw her entire form for the first time. She was breathtaking, like a sleeping beauty. Her still form made her look like she was asleep. She appeared to be in her early-to-mid 20s. Her dark hair fell to her shoulders, maybe lower, and the rain was beating it down onto her face and darkening her hair to black. She had a cute, small nose with a slight upturn to it, and full pouty lips. Water dripped down her pale skin, dripping off her chin and following the curve of her shapely breasts. They were not large breasts, but they were not small either. They were full and perky, and just the right size. Little puddles of water formed in various places on her body as I held her, as though she wore a dress of flowing water and light. Her sweet scent filled my nostrils, and I knew in that moment that she was something special, something more than just a robot.

I stared down at her beautiful face. I could have gazed at her all day, except the sound of distant traffic jerked me from the gaze and back to reality. I looked around but could see no cars. I decided it would be best to hurry nonetheless. I carried her over to my car, and using one free finger, opened the passenger side door. Carefully I placed her inside, putting the metal case and wires by her feet, and making sure she had a seatbelt securely fastened. I took of my soaking wet jacket, and covered her. It may have been soaking wet, but at least it was very warm from my body heat. I doubt she would appreciate it, since she had no pulse or body heat of her own, but I couldn’t just let her stay like that. Besides, it would be too much of a distraction driving home with a completely naked girl next to me. And just imagine if I got pulled over. I used an old blanket I took April to the vet in (it was clean!) to dry off her hair and face, and made sure the metal case and wires weren’t wet either.

Running back to the box, I made sure there was nothing else in it. Satisfied, I debated what I should do with the box next. I couldn’t leave it there, or people would ask questions, like where did the robot that belongs in it go? I couldn’t carry it with me; it was just too big to fit in my dinky little car. It was damaged, and had all sorts of information all over it. It would be bad if the driver did come back to find the box but the android missing. I decided it had to go. I hated to pollute the environment, but I couldn’t think of anything else to do. Besides, I wasn’t the one who dropped it, I’m just moving it. I lifted the box which was no easy task as it was heavier than the girl, and carried it to the middle of the small bridge ahead, balancing it on the edge of the rail. The usually calm stream was surprisingly wild tonight; amazing what a little rain could do. I pushed the box over the edge, and watched it disappear into the darkness. I didn’t even hear a splash as the water was too loud. I did see it briefly reemerge farther downstream as it was washed way into the night.

I stumbled back toward my car. Without my jacket, the rain shot right through me. I was freezing cold, but I managed to get back into my car, and start the engine. I was glad it started this time. I guess after being warmed up it decided to behave. I turned the heat up to the max, and made sure my new passenger was secure. Putting the car into drive, I revved the engine, but the wheels spun in back. The mud was going to be a problem. I shifted to reverse, and give it another try. I rocked the car back and forth with this method for a minute or so, slowly gaining ground out of the muddy ditch. Just as I managed to get the car out of the mud and back onto the road, a car sped past driving way too fast. Crazy drivers were going to get me killed, but I was just glad they hadn’t come by a few minutes earlier. Finally, I could head home again, wet and exhausted, but also excited.

Chapter 2 - Asleep

As I pulled up to my apartment complex I worried that my neighbors would see me carrying a naked unconscious girl into my apartment. Last thing I needed was to be seen as a predator, a psycho killer, or a date rapist. Normally I didn’t see my neighbors much, but there was always that chance that they were heading out for something late at night just as I was heading in. At least the rain had finally stopped again. What crazy weather. I decided the best way to tackle this was to scout ahead carrying the bags of accessories before I tried carrying up the girl. Careful not to make any noise, I checked out each window I passed as I carried the crinkling bags in my hands, and to my delight I found they were all dark. Usually the college students downstairs would be rowdy and noisy if they were home, which probably meant they were being just as annoying somewhere else. The apartment on the same floor as me was no longer occupied, which meant that I would be in the clear as soon as I got to the top floor.

I returned downstairs, leaving my apartment door ajar to make it easier to get back in with a full load, but not so far open that my cat could get out. I double checked to make sure no one was around, and reached into the passenger seat lifting up my lifeless guest. Curse these car doors for never fully closing unless they are slammed! As quietly as possible, which wasn’t very, I closed the door behind me and bolted for the stairs. One flight, then a second, I could feel wandering eyes from every dark crevice and doorway and window staring at me, judging me, asking why I would be carrying a lifeless naked girl to my room in such a hurry. I could hear the eyes gaining voices, calling me names like murderer, necrophiliac, or (shudder) kinky newlyweds. Finally, I made it to the top, and with a push of my butt, entered into my apartment. She seemed much heavier now than when I first lifted her, but 3 flights of stairs will do that to you. My arms were screaming for some rest; I really should go to a gym. I ran her over to my sofa, where I set her sitting up before running back to the door. A quick peek outside… no one saw, at least not that I could tell. I suppose if the police came knocking, then someone saw. This time I slammed my door shut, not caring if anyone saw anymore; I was done being stealthy. Finally, I was safe, back in my apartment, and feeling both exhausted and excited at the same time.

My apartment was dark, cold, and silent. I flipped on the lights, which instantly warmed up the place to something suitable to support life. It wasn’t a big apartment, nice but not big. For a single bachelor, it was a personal haven, and better than I deserved. The ceilings were tall, and the place was kept tidy with dark wood furniture and a brown sofa. There were no porno mags on the floor, no used condoms in the sink, no fist sized holes in the wall. It didn’t have that kind of bachelor pad feel to it. I was far too finicky to live like a frat house, which is what the apartment downstairs looked like. I’d seen inside it before. Not only did the smell of beer ooze from that place as soon as you step onto the landing, but it looked like a football team exploded inside, leaving behind every masculine stereotype and novelty sex object you could imagine. There were posters of naked girls on all the walls, condoms everywhere (used and otherwise), beer cans occupying any given corner of the room, and not a shred of decency anywhere. The worst part about it was their computer. They asked me to fix their crashed computer as a favor, and having a bunch of strong guys owe you a favor was never a bad thing. I had to wear surgical gloves just to touch the mouse, the keyboard stuck with god knows what, and about 98% of the hard drive was dedicated to porn. It took me hours to fix the problem, which resulted in them getting a bigger hard drive, a backup, and investing in some self-control, in which I’m sure they lost their investment. You’d think 20 guys lived in that apartment, but only 3 did. No, my place looked like a palace compared to theirs. To any normal human, it probably looked more like a couple lived here, except it lacked any real feminine touch to it. It was neat, clean, small, smelled good, and was all mine.

I could feel a cold coming on as I stood there locking the door behind me, especially after having been drenched in that accursed rain. It started to pick up again, lighter now than before, but enough to make me aware of its constant presence as it beat lightly on the windows and roof. April greeted me with a meow and a rub against my legs, before sauntering over to investigate the new invader of her territory. The first thing I did was to take off my soaking shirt and pants, and put on something dry and warm. Once in my bedroom, I picked out some sweat pants and a t-shirt from my dresser, and entered the living room to investigate my silent guest. April was already sitting on her lap, looking up at the still form, before losing interest and coming over to me to ask for food. She was very persistent when it came to food, and wouldn’t let anyone get away from her without a severe loving until they gave her some food. I relented, and went to the kitchen to feed my poor starving kitty. I hadn’t smelled anything suspicious yet, so I decided she had been a good kitty, and rewarded her with an extra kitty treat on top of her food. She dove in as though she had never eaten before in her life.

While my usually prissy kitty gobbled down her meal, I eyed the girl on the couch, ever silent and still. She was still cold and wet, getting my sofa wet too, but I decided to forgive her this time and went to my linen closet to grab a towel. Sitting on the edge of the sofa next to her, I gently started to dry her short hair, which almost looked black from all the rain. I’m sure she would look better with it styled and dried properly, but at least this way it was dry. My jacket still clung to her body, and I felt my heart skip a beat at the thought of taking it away from her. She wasn’t objecting, so I ordered myself to be a gentleman and an adult and gently lifted my jacket away from her chest so I could dry her. I tried not to stare too much, but stare I did.

In the warm-yellow light of my apartment, I got a much better look at the mysterious robot. She was definitely in her 20s (or at least designed to look that way), with a lightly tanned complexion. Her skin was almost flawless, with a few freckles over her nose, cheeks, and shoulders that only made her look cuter. Her breasts were nothing short of ideal, completely natural in appearance and size, not too big but not too small either. I wanted to reach out to touch and caress them; I could get away with it too, and my nether regions were not objecting to the notion. But I held my hand back refraining from fondling this attractive gynoid, while I took in her whole body. It just didn't seem right. I didn't fondle Lyss when I had the chance either; maybe I was just chicken. I just know some of the guys would make fun of me is they knew... Trevor especially.

Unlike Lyss’s svelte yet attractive body, this android was more of a curvy girl with a body that could drive men wild. As my eyes wandered lower, I couldn’t help but take note that her public hair was short and trimmed in a rectangle, precision cut- no, not cut, designed. Lyss was designed without any hair there at all, which I found a little odd, but I suppose it was the look the client wanted. I took in this beautiful sight a moment or two longer, appreciating the hard work and artistry that her designers put into her, before turning away with a sigh and tossing my jacket at the dryer. It was still wet and dripping, and despite the presence of a naked gynoid, I couldn't stand leaving a wet mess all over my apartment.

I sat back down next to her, trying not to stare, and began to dry off the rest of her with the towel. I gently leaned her forward and started with her back before moving my way around to her arms and chest. Her breasts reacted so naturally to my hands, I wanted to play with them but instead kept the towel between my skin and hers and moved on. I even leaned her against me and lifted her so I could wipe underneath, drying my couch before it was damaged from the moisture. So far, there was still no sign that this girl was a robot except she still had those wires protruding from her back. I decided to take a closer look.

They were relatively thick for standard computer cables, with the thickest connected to her spine. Where these wires attached to her body I could see ports on her back, like computer ports, but in her skin. Somehow the skin either moved out of the way or was just not there where the ports were. I was sure of it now; she was definitely a robot. But one with such advanced mechanics I had never seen. Even Lyss still had subtle seams in her body where access ports existed (and honestly gave her a cool sci-fi look). The metal case the other ends of the wires were attached to rested on the floor beside her. I carried it up with her, not sure what it was, and not wanting to disconnect her.

She sat there in a sitting position, her body now lifelessly hunched forward, as still as a statue as I grabbed the metal box and sat beside her investigating it. It had the same model number as the one on her box, LX90f, and appeared to have a lock on the front. I figured I would have to get a locksmith, or maybe just try prying it open with a crowbar, and was pleasantly surprised to see they hadn’t yet set the lock. Either that or it was damaged in the crash. It snapped open, and I lifted the lid to gaze inside. It was a portable terminal for an android, kind of like a powerful single-purpose laptop. I had never used one this fancy or advanced before. It was a very impressive sight, and I tried turning it on, hoping to activate my lifeless guest.

Password protected. Damn.

I could spend all night working on that and still not get in. Maybe my A.I. could do it, but that would be a task for later. I held down the power button, and allowed the service station to conduct a soft shutdown, thereby allowing it to finish any tasks it may have been doing with the girl, before I moved on. I figured it was most likely running a diagnostics or just monitoring her systems.

I focused my attention to the cables again, studying how they were connected to her. Carefully, I spread the skin on either side, and discovered they were protruding through the skin, but with a strange mechanism underneath that was watertight and allowed for movement.. She had ports that would theoretically be completely waterproof, even while in use, and would retract when not needed. I grasped the cables, and with a stiff pull, removed them from the silent figure. Now that the service station was shut down, I didn’t have to worry about messing up a data transfer. I couldn't help but get excited as I disconnected the ports, one-by-one.

I decided I would see if I could get her to activate without the terminal, maybe she didn’t need it to start up on her own. Most robots only used them for maintenance, which made me wonder why it was still connected to her. Regardless, she should turn on just fine without it, as long as I could find the switch. I decided to lift her up again and lay her flat on the couch, as though she were a guest sleeping there for the night. This would give me a soft yet solid surface to work on while I tried to activate her.

As I lifted her, I was reminded about how soft she felt if still cold. I couldn’t help but want to activate her, to talk to her, to see what she was capable of, even though she was just a lifeless machine right now. Something about her face, perhaps the innocence in it, or perhaps her helpless nature, drew me to her, and intrigued me. I wanted to discover more about her, but the only way I could do that right now, was with her body. I hoped I would at least find a power switch, and be able to have a conversation.

She looked fast asleep laying peacefully on my couch. It was already late, so I decided not to waste any more time and got to work. I started exploring every part of her, starting with her face. I felt for any buttons or seams, I looked for any sign of her robotic nature that would defy her human appearance. I felt her neck; her nose; her chin; her ears. She felt as human as anyone, except cold; even inside her mouth looked human. I continued my investigation lower. I explored her neck, her chest, her arms, her breasts. I was thorough with her breasts, but there really was nothing off about them, they were perfect human breasts! And really nice ones at that. I couldn't help but think of Lyss, and how these compared to her, but that thought reminded me how much she'd kill me if she knew I was thinking of her like that. The pair before me were perky and full while remaining average in size; the ideal of sensual beauty. Unlike Lyss who had a smaller pair, still perky but less full. Still, no sign of her android nature, and no sign of an on switch.

I continued down her abdomen, to her waist and her hips. I was gentle with her when I got to her crotch. I was so nervous for some reason; I just didn’t feel right touching her there, so I was sure to be fast but delicate. This was a stark contrast to when I worked on Lyss. She needed to be cleaned and maintenance, which meant a full service down there, but I would never do anything else to her besides maintenance. Even though I was attracted to Lyss, she was my friend, my buddy, and I would kill myself before I violated her. Why I kept thinking of Lyss during this was beyond me. She would kill anyone that thought of her like that, but I suppose she was the only other experience I had that was in any way similar to this one. I shook my head and tried to focus on the girl at hand.

Very gently, I tried to feel for anything that seemed out of the ordinary on the surface, but didn’t notice anything except she was cool to the touch. I was considering entering her vagina with a finger, but decided against it… What would I find there but a vagina? That would be a stupid place to put a power button. That and it just felt wrong to do something like that without her permission, so I moved on to her legs, and then her feet before I turned her over to check her back. Now that the cables were no longer connected, the ports on her back were the only things revealing her true nature. I suppose they would retract if she had power, but right now a series of 6 round and square ports ran down her back. I could find nothing else however. Nothing, that is, until I got back to her head again.

When I was exploring her face before, I didn’t really feel in her hair that much. However, by running my hands through her hair now, I felt something, like a subtle protrusion, that didn’t belong. Spreading the hair aside, I discovered a port just above the back of her neck, at the base of her skull. There, I uncovered a flap of skin and hair that covered it which was hanging loose, and I suspected would have normally been tightly sealed, but I suppose the incident with the car probably pulled something out of there, loosening it up. I hoped it didn't interrupt anything. I looked closer, it was a high speed port, but next to it was a flash card reader. It actually had a mini flash card still in it! I depressed the tiny card, thereby ejecting it, and pulled it out.

“16” I read aloud. “16… Pb... Petabytes! That’s one hell of a flash card!” It was one of those tiny ones too, the kind you’d normally need to use in an adapter so it would fit into your computer or camera. This tiny chip packed one hell of a punch! Intrigued, I retreated to my computer room, leaving her laying face down on my couch. It was really just a second bedroom I turned into a computer room, where I did all my serious computing... and gaming. Most people assume a computer room has one, maybe 2 computers in it. Well, in my case, there were a couple of stations, several terminals, a rack of servers stuffed into the closet, and enough processing power to run the government. Not to mention my A.I. experiments, including my latest and greatest interaction experiment, the tablet PC interface. There was barely enough space for me to fit in the room; if I gained any weight, I’d be stuck. I liked to run A.I. stress tests… for kicks. I’d often find the latest A.I. in development online, and run it through the gauntlet, looking for loose threads and errors. I always found something. That was why I had been spending my nights, weekends, and any other waking moment I could, to developing my own customized A.I., learning from all those tests, one that was able to adapt to any given surroundings, and correct itself in case of a logic error, or adapt in an untested and unforeseen circumstance.

As I mentioned before, the tablet interface was my latest invention. Not that tablet PC… hell no, that was not exactly new anyways. What I did was customize a tablet to run a real-time interactive wireless interface for my A.I., allowing me to interact with it from anywhere. Kind of like making my workstations mobile, at least while inside the apartment. It connected back to my database servers, leaving only a small footprint on the tablet itself (which incidentally filled the tablet’s storage), allowing me to gain access to this extremely powerful and advanced A.I. from anywhere in the world.. Theoretically. I never took it outside the apartment, and I wasn't sure how the bandwidth would handle that much information. Still, this was actually really useful, although I was still working out the bugs and hadn’t finished all the features yet. The current interface used a floating head, very simple in appearance like a generic robot head, which used speech and facial recognition, as well as basic gestures, to interact with the user. I named him Errol, which stood for Extremely Raunchy Robotic… you know fuck that. It doesn’t stand for anything! He’s just called Errol.

All fun aside, I clipped the tiny chip into an adapter I had handy, and slid it into one of the many terminals. There was barely a second when the screen came up with an error. The drive was corrupted, and the computer wanted to reformat it! Hell no! For all I knew, it was encoded, not corrupted. Then again, after exposure to rain and a car crash, one could never be sure. I ran some diagnostics tests on it, and started to copy the data into an image disc for backup.

The test said the data “ended abruptly”, which is another way of saying it wasn’t finished writing when someone lost control of the truck they were driving which was carrying the robot in question, swerved in the road, knocked the robot into an oncoming vehicle, and somehow pulled the plug in the process. I wonder how that happened. I’m just glad it didn’t blame me for the crash. For once my computer was cleaning up after my crash, and not the other way around. Regardless, there was little I could do with the data, but I wanted to try one more thing. I plugged the chip into my server network, and grabbed my tablet PC.

“Errol, please run a thorough examination of the drive in port H. I want to know what was on it, and if it can be repaired.” Chances were it would come back with exactly what I found out, but perhaps there was enough left on the tiny chip to actually tell what was on it.

“Acknowledged. Would you like me to attempt repairs if possible?” Errol asked in his robotic British accented voice. I got the voice for free because it was from England, and stealing from another country makes it all right. Don’t judge me!

“Yeah, sure, do whatever you want. Just let me know when you are done.”

“Acknowledged. Thank you, sir.”


An hour or so passed, and I was reminded that I hadn't eaten anything yet. I went back into my living room with a few cables, a laptop, and my tablet in hand. I decided earlier to plug in the portable workstation she came with, and left it in my computer room, to see if it would charge up overnight. Password or no, it would be a lot harder to gain access to it if it had no power. All I wanted to do now was see if I could start up the girl, or at least get a reading from her on my laptop. I started hooking up cables to the ports on her head and back, and started to investigate. To my shock, the computer recognized her as a device! I couldn’t seem to gain access, but the drive was called LX90f-113. Same model number all right, she had power, but there was no way to activate her. Perhaps it was the chip she needed, or maybe a passcode. Whatever it was, it was too late tonight to start trying to figure it out, so instead I microwaved some noodles and brainstormed.

“If I may make a suggestion sir” Errol started. He had a bad habit of talking without being spoken to. If I didn’t program him to do that, I’d have to beat it out of him. “Perhaps she needs her missing drive, which should be ready momentarily.”

“Oh shove it” I said annoyed. I doubt he knew what I meant, but he was a smart A.I. and didn’t annoy me with a response.

I decided to just let Errol run the diagnostics and head to bed. I still had work the next morning, and it was already late. I wouldn't get the 8 hours I needed, let alone the 12 I wanted. I threw an extra blanket over the girl, out of modesty and headed into my bedroom.


The next morning, I was awakened by the sound of a repetitive beeping coming from the other room. It was just quiet enough to inject itself into my dream at first, but loud enough to shake me out of that dream and back into reality. It was 8 am, and I was too tired to deal with this shit. I rolled over and sat up, ready to break whatever it was that disturbed my slumber, when the memory of my strange guest came to mind, and I found myself energetic and eager to check in on her.


Despite the sleep, I could feel myself catching that cold I wanted to avoid, but a night in the rain would do that. I ignored my own bodily functions and ran into the living room to check the progress of the diagnostic on my tablet. It was nearing 100%, so I decided to eat a small breakfast and take a shower. I still smelled from all that outdoor activity the night before, and realized I would now need to change the bed sheets.

As I got out of the nice hot shower, feeling reenergized, but still a little sick. I looked in on the girl, and saw April sitting curled up on top of the girl’s back, as though she found a new cat bed. She was too cute to move, and wasn’t harming anything, so I decided to check in on Errol in the computer room. “Errol, status report” I order. I waited for Errol to respond. “Errol. Errol!”

The tablet PC displayed a loading icon in place of Errol’s poorly rendered head. Great, he must have crashed while working on that drive, or maybe it was a virus! A virus would suck since I didn’t have an off-site backup of Errol, and all those years of coding would have been wasted! Note to self, get an off-site backup established.

Suddenly, the interface on the tablet loaded up again, except this time, Errol’s face loaded, but with one distinct change, it was far more feminine shaped than before, with a thin chin and big eyes like an anime character.

“Repairs complete, master” a female voice said. It had a slightly British accent to it, as though Errol’s original voice merged with another.

“Master?” I thought. When did I program Errol to get cute on me? “Um... Errol? What happened to you?”

“I don’t understand, master. Nothing has happened to me” he, or rather she, replied.

“Don’t give me that! Your icon is different! You just called me master, and you are clearly using a different voice than what I programmed you with. Even your speech patterns are different too! Did you catch a virus or something? Like a sexy virus?” I asked. A sexy virus, maybe I’d have to invent one if it didn’t already exist.

“No virus detected, master. But I did experience a coding error while repairing the damaged code on the drive. I had to make self-repairs and reboot. The program should be running at 100% capability now, master.” Her voice was emotive, cute, and kept calling me master. Whoever wrote this virus was a jackass. Or a genius. I couldn't decide.

"Don't tell me you didn't change! Compare your programming before to your current set up."

"Processing" she replied, her face replaced with a processing icon. At least that didn't change. "Processing complete, master. It appears I have indeed changed. My appearance and personality codes have been tampered with by an internal source, most likely the disk image you placed on the workstation. It appears to have activated and... changed my appearance and manipulated by vocal settings, as well as changing data in my personality. Would you like me to change it back?"

"I don't know. This is weird. Can you do that?"

She frowned. "Without an offsite backup, I'm afraid I can't restore myself to my previous configuration with a hundred percent accuracy, master."

“Um… what was on that drive?” I asked, trying to figure out how an A.I. can have a sex change.

“After much research, I determined it is a complicated A.I. personality matrix used by government agencies, except this one was encoded differently” the cute but intelligent sounding voice said. “I will have to do more research, master, but it appears she is stolen or illegally obtained property.”

“I did not steal her!” I objected. "I found her!"

“I’m sorry, master. I didn’t mean you. Whoever had her before you found her probably stole her and changed her data.” Damn my A.I. was good if it could figure all this out. It already could hack government agencies just to do some basic research, but then again I didn't program it to be this smart.

"Besides appearance, vocal pattern, and voice settings, did the drive change anything else about you?"

"I'm not sure" she replied. "The AI in that drive activated late last night and tried to overtake your computer. I stopped it, but it turned on me and some of my data from that moment on got a little corrupted. I believe it has integrated itself with me, master."

"Integrated... you mean you merged with it?"

"I'm afraid so. The AI was designed to install itself into any device it was attached to, and when I prevented it from performing that function, it sought to disable me, but being incomplete, I managed to overtake it. It appears I did not emerge unharmed, although it appears all the database and server data is intact."

So Errol got smarter? Or at least changed into a version of that android's AI. I wondered exactly how much damage was done, but Errol sounded like he was still operating fine. He... Her… Errol? I suppose Errol was too masculine a name now… but name changing would have to wait for another time.

“So, how exactly did you repair it?” I asked.

“My matrix coding was similar to the one used in the drive, so I integrated my own matrix to fill in the gaps where data was missing, and made the appropriate changes where needed.”

“Show me a log of the last 3 hours of activity” I commanded. The tablet sprung to life. The floating head icon moved to one side, while the rest of the screen filled with data showing a timeline of the last 3 hours of the repair. I scrolled through it and found the moment of the code error that crashed Errol. I swiped my finger across the screen, and investigate the data in more detail. It appeared that while Errol was replacing lost data in the drive, the drive had indeed been adding data to Errol! It wasn’t a virus, but somehow Errol’s highly advanced A.I. naturally filled in the gaps where he was lacking, and added more to his rather admittedly dull personality. He upgraded himself! That must speak volumes about the superiority of the sexes.

"So wait... let me get this straight. While you were trying to repair the disk and add some of your programming to the AI on it, it was trying to add it's programming into you?"

"It appears so."

"So there are two of you now?"

"No. The program on the disk is still mainly that AI, with a small part of me in it. My AI is relatively the same, with a small part of the other AI in me. I suppose it's like we are siblings, not clones."

“Wow. You continue to impress me Errol” I said taking in the data.

“Thank you, master” she replied.

“So you were able to completely repair the drive then?” I asked.

“Not exactly, sir” she confessed. "While we are based on similar structures, this AI is still missing vital parts. I believe it will be able to repair those missing sections, but I am afraid the attack on my systems left damage to it as well. I have replaced or repaired what I could, but I'm afraid her personality matrix was unsalvageable." I sneezed, the feeling of a cold or a flu coming on getting stronger.

“Bless you sir” Errol said. I didn’t recall programming that, but maybe I had.

“Thanks!” I said, sniffing as I grabbed the drive from the terminal. I meant the thanks for the hard work Errol did, although it sounded like it was thanks for the blessing.

“You’re welcome sir” the voice said while the face on the screen started blushing. Ok, I KNOW I didn’t program that into Errol. Maybe I was just getting too tired and needed to go to bed. That must be it. I’m so tired I’m seeing things.

"Wait, so her personality is corrupted?"

"It was irreparable and has been deleted, leaving the AI with a blank slate, so to speak."

"Does she have any memories?"

"Negative. All memories of her previous life have been erased before I had access to them."

"But she should still work, right?" I asked.

"Most likely, but I have not worked on an android before, so I can't really be sure, master."

I looked at the small drive in my hand, amazed at how much it could do. It was warm to the touch from all the data transfer, and I was excited to see if it would work. I brought the chip over to the still android, and pulling her hair back again, inserted the chip from where I found it. I closed up the port properly this time, and waited.

Nothing happened. I tried again on my laptop, but there was no change. I knew it was too good to be true. Maybe I fixed the drive, maybe not, but it didn’t seem to help activate her either way. I still didn't find any kind of on switch for her, maybe that was the problem after all. I gave up. It was getting late, and I needed to get going.

I was feeling a little under the weather, but knew I had to still do in to work. I couldn't make Lyss sick, or anything, so as long as I wasn't bed ridden, I had to still go in. I finished getting dressed, ate a quick breakfast bar, and gulped down a cup of soda. Yeah, I know, soda for breakfast, gross. But coffee is even grosser, and I needed the caffeine.

As I finished off my food, I looked over at the girl, still laying on her face, still serving as a cat bed for April. She deserved better than that. So I removed the little fluff-ball, turned the girl over, and lifted her up, carrying her over to the bed where I covered her with sheets and blankets. This way, if the maintenance guy came in, he wouldn't freak out too badly. She still wasn’t warm, but she sure was cute, and I didn’t want to leave her. I wanted to fix her up, but I was running late as it was.

She looked peaceful, innocent, and almost happy. I was about to walk out when a curiosity grew in me. I had not kissed a girl in years. I had forgotten how it felt, how it tasted. I knew she would be cold and lifeless, but her lips were so inviting, pouty and parted ever so slightly. She looked like a sleeping beauty. Aw, heck, what's the worst that could happen; she wasn't activated, and wouldn't turn on any time soon. I leaned in closer to her, studying her cheeks, her nose, her mouth. Finally, I kissed her right on the lips. No tongue! It was an innocent kiss, but not as satisfying as I had hoped. She was indeed cold and lifeless, but soft. I did not regret kissing her. It was merely a goodbye kiss, or something like that. Whatever it was, it was over now, and I flipped off the light, and walked out to head to work.

Chapter 3 - Somebody to love

“You did WHAT?”

“It's just a bump. Nothing serious. My car is fine!” I explained to Lyss who seemed particularly agitated when I told her about the accident. I don't know why I told her, but at least I decided not to mention anything about the girl. “It was just a slip on the road and some debris.”

“Kev, what was the last thing I told you yesterday?” She asked with a serious and upset tone. I felt like I was being scolded.

“Umm... To feed April?” I answered, thinking back.

“No, before... Wait when did I say that? Never mind! I told you to drive safe, and that should go double in a storm.”

“I was driving safe. It was- oh never mind.” I didn't want to even hint at anything else that happened; I might let something slip. Last thing I wanted to do right now was let anyone know I found a gynoid that someone might be looking for. I know, I was being a selfish ass, but I decided if anyone came forward, I could decide then if they deserved to take her back.

“Kev... What if something happened to you?” Lyss sounded very sincere and concerned suddenly, something I never ever heard in her before. I swear I saw a tear form in her eye as she furrowed her brow.

“Lyss I...” I wondered if she was genuinely concerned for me. It sounded like she was scared to lose me, but I knew that couldn't be true, she was only a robot after all.

“What would I do if you were gone?” Her voice started to crack as she sniffed and lowered her face, covering her mouth with one hand. I think I was about to make her cry. Was she really that attached to me? I didn't know she cared that much about me. Suddenly her face shot up toward mine with a fierce look. “We’re behind on orders as is, and I'll be stuck fixing all these crappy bots myself! You know I can't work on Fleshies, and I'm already overworked as is!” She glared at me but her serious scowl quickly melted into a restrained smile, and soon into an all-out laugh.

“Wait...” I said, realizing she was playing me again.

“Oh my god! You should have seen the look on your face!” She jested between laughs. I knew it had to be an act. “You thought I was serious, didn't you? Hahaha!”

“Ok, ok. You got me. You can stop laughing now.”

“No!” She insisted. “I really can't! It's just too funny” she laughed, wiping away a tear. So she really could cry, at least in jest.

"It's not that funny. I could have really died" I defended, refusing to look at her and returning to the robotic arm I was repairing. Finally she sighed and stopped laughing, clearing her throat.

"Sorry, sorry" she apologized. "But seriously, be careful. It would be dull here without you."

I still refused to look or talk to her at this point. Here I was being all serious, and she just pranked me. Then again, it should have been exactly what I expected her to do, so I shouldn't have been surprised. She kneeled down a bit and looked up at me from the corner of the work table.

"Aww... I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you." She stood up and walked to my side of the table, nudging my arm. "I like having you around; you're the only one that I can really talk to without getting hit on." I turned my face away and gave her the cold shoulder. "Hey! Come on, you know I didn't mean it" she pleaded. "You're my only friend, let's not do this. Don't cry!"

"It's just..." I said with a frog in my throat. Lyss put her hand on my shoulder gently, and I turned to her. "Two can play at that game, Lyssie" I teased sticking my tongue out at her.

Lyss's mouth hung open when she realized I got back at her already. "You little... Hah! How...?"

We both broke out into a laugh. I really was lucky to have her as a friend, which worried me since she didn't have that long left before she would be put up for auction. As she gave me that sweet crooked trademark wide smile of hers, I couldn't help but feel that greedy and selfish side again. I wanted that smile and sense of humor to stay. I couldn't bear to part with them... with her. I needed to figure out some way of keeping her here, or better yet keeping her for myself.

"What?" she asked as I stared at her, catching me off guard.

"N-nothing!" I claimed, but she just tilted her head with that smile again, and I easily caved. "I just, like having you around. But you only have... you know."

"I know" she sighed, rubbing her neck. "Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Well at least for me I'll forget all of this, but it will be a lot harder for you."

"Do you want to forget all of this?" I wondered.

"No! Well, at least... some of it." I thought for a moment she actually blushed, but I doubted that. Instead she just busied herself with work quietly, hinting that I should do the same.

I sneezed. Last night standing in the rain wasn’t that great an idea, but I was actually starting to feel better. I took some medicine before I left, and it was kicking in.


“Gesundheit” Lyss called out.

“Bless you” I replied. She got a laugh out of it. Just being around her made me feel better, I was sure I wasn’t going to get sick now, or at least not any worse. Smiling, we returned to our work.

I returned to the bot on hand. It was a cute little Plastic with a petite female form all white and gray with a molded haircut. As I worked on repairing the arm in silence for a moment, I couldn't help but listen to everyone working around me.

The backroom was split into various bays, each one dedicated to a different task. There was the computer repair bay, which was always busy but had the most workers so the turnaround was relatively quick; the electronics bay, for everything from movie players and TVs to those cute little vacuum bots; the large electronics and appliances bay, for the bigger stuff, which was usually empty except for one guy who spoke very little English; and of course there was the android repair bay, where Lyss and I hung out fixing the larger robots. And finally the secluded advanced repair room which was reserved for working with Fleshies and usually kept lock. It was separate from the rest of the area for concerns the owners of robots with skin had who demanded they have some privacy. As such, it was a separate room altogether, with one door and a one-sided window on the door. It was where I did the repairs on Lyss, and I was usually the only one in there.

All around us I heard people working and chatting, but I realized Lyss and I were by far the loudest. It wasn't a problem of course, as we were toward the back, but today, most of the guys were just hanging around, while I had to catch up on all these jobs. There were probably two dozen robots left needing repair, and it was almost always a time-consuming process. I wondered how the mysterious gynoid in my apartment was doing. I suppose there would be no changes to her physically, but with Errol working on repairing her programming, I hoped he would have a solution by the time I got back. She. She would have a solution.

I really was going to have to change her name. Her voice and image were somehow manipulated to appear more feminine, and yet retain a lot of the basics of Errol, like his accent, robotic avatar, and sense of dry wit. I had to figure out how that happened, and why, and if it would be a problem down the road. Not that I minded having Errol turn into a girl, I kind of liked the idea of a cute female assistant. In the meantime she’d need a new name... Something like Errol, maybe... Erin?

“It’s too quiet in here” Lyss complained as she looked up from her work. “I need some music. Still got that old music player?”

“Yeah, sure” I confirmed and pulled it out of my pocket, tossing it to her. She grabbed it with a smile and rolled up her left sleeve, exposing her entire arm. With a whir and a click, a small port opened on her arm, and she inserted the player into her arm, screen out, and magically chose a playlist. As always, classic rock came flowing out of tiny ports on her body, turning her into her own music player.

“Anybodyyyyy” she began to sing a little off key with the lead singer. “Find meeeee.....” I decided to join in.

“Somebody toooo love” we sang together with Freddy Mercury. It was an oldie, but still one of the greats. Even though she was completely the punk rock girl in appearance, Lyss had a thing for the classics, like Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Journey, and of course Queen.

Lyss started to play the air drums as she worked, swaying her hips to the beat, or close enough to it. For a robot, she didn't have the best sense in timing, but she sure had good taste in music.

We continued to work for a few more hours, mostly to my classics playlist and always with Lyss’s off key accompaniment, but my mind was slowly but surely becoming preoccupied with Erin and my strange robotic guest. I was really looking forward to getting back. At least I enjoyed my work and had Lyss to talk to.

“You’ve been awfully silent” Lyss commented, noticing my lack of singing along. “Anything wrong? Is it about your car or the accident? The song? I can turn it down. Or my joke? Hey, I’m sorry, but I really would be sad if-”

“It's not that” I confessed. “I've just been having... trouble with Errol. That's all.”

“You sure? I'd love to take a look at him for you sometime... if a certain boss would let me outside once in a while” she mumbled.

“I think I can handle it, I'm just preoccupied, that's all. Sorry. I'm going to get a soda, you want anything?”

“Sure, nothing like a nice cold liquid refreshment to fry my circuits.”

“Oh, right. Sorry”

“It's ok” she replied quickly with a smile. “Thanks for the thought. But don't let Bill catch you drinking over here, he'd blow a fuse.”

“Heh. If only.”

As I returned from the vending machine carrying my soda, who else would I run into but Bill? I nonchalantly hid my drink behind my back, and hoped he didn't see.

“Ah, Kevin. I was hoping to run into you. I'd like to see you in my office. You busy?”

“No, not at all. I mean, I am busy but I can talk.” I sure hope I didn't say something stupid by accident that might mean the end of my job. I always feared meetings in his office, which luckily didn't happen often, but I was always worried he'd tell me I didn't work hard enough or fast enough or did something.

“Great. And, you might want to leave the soda.”

“Right.” Busted. No use hiding it anymore. I chugged down the rest of the can as soon as he turned his back and tossed it in the nearest bin before following Bill upstairs.

The upstairs room, while usually locked, had once been the center for laziness in the company. It used to be our break room, our game room, and our lounge, as well as Bill’s “office”, but ever since Lyss moved in, she was given reign of the upstairs, and for “privacy concerns” Bill usually kept the door closed. I suppose it meant Bill wanted to make sure no one broke Lyss’s recharge station or terminal, in case the owner wanted her back.

However, it was pretty much the same as when we had left it. The couch was still there, the junk that lined the walls and formed makeshift rooms and barriers was all still there, and the large cabinet once used to store extra work clothes and gear still stood near the couch. However, now Lyss’s recharge station stood nearby, almost in the middle of the room, as did more wires and junk laying about. I followed Bill through the makeshift hallways past racks of crap, mostly spare parts if we ever needed them, to his office, which mainly consisted of a desk, a computer, lots of papers, and a safe neatly tucked away under the desk.

“Have a seat” he said sitting down and offering me one folding chair. The whole room looked old and worn and falling apart and probably would fall apart if not for the duct tape keeping it together. Even my chair was covered in grime and duct tape. I sat down and irrationally feared that he was about to let me go.

“I want to get right down to it” Bill said. “I've been looking at your work, and I've got to say, I'm impressed!"

"You are?"

"Sure. You've been invaluable to the company lately. Not only do you have the skills to repair and maintenance most the robots in the shop, but I've taken a good look at the work you did on Elise. I must say, it is top quality work, and on such a complicated robot as herself."

"Thank you" I smiled, relieved it wasn't a scolding. Who knows, this could be a raise.

"And what's this I hear about you programming your own AI?"

"Well, I... yeah" I blushed. "It isn't really ready yet, but it is coming along."

"Very impressive." He leaned back in his chair and tapped his index fingers against his chin, something he did whenever he was faking a thought process. "I know we're swamped and all, but I want to offer you a position working on more advanced robots like Elise, where you will have more control over AI programming as well."

"I... what?"

"It will come with more pay of course, but you'll have to work at a different facility."

"A different...? You mean a transfer to a different store?"

"Not exactly" he chuckled. "It's more of a behind-the-scenes kind of facility, where the robots will be shipped in and out, and you'll have your own desk and personal mini laboratory to work in. I can't say it won't be without pressure. It is a very demanding and fast-paced position. But so far you've shown potential."

"I don't understand. What about Lyss and all the work we have here?"

"Don't worry about that. There are plenty of people I can train to take your place here, but you've shown a certain passion and skillset that proves to me you're ready for something more." He took a deep breath as he sat upright again. "Of course I can't wait for an answer for too long. And there is another thing..."

"Another thing?" I inquired, waiting for him to continue. He eyed me almost as though he were suspicious of me.

"I can't make this offer alone" he confessed. "I think you have the drive and the talent, but you will need to help me prove it to my boss, the regional head. He makes these decisions based on my recommendations, and I'm ready to recommend you. However, it might benefit you if you can come in with a sample of your AI sometime. It doesn't have to be completely refined or anything, but I'd love to have a working interface I can show to my head, to help sell your talents."

"Well, I- I mean..." this was all hitting me so fast. A promotion to a different facility where I'll be working with better equipment and on better robots? It was a dream, but why haven't I ever heard of this before? I wanted to say yes right then, but 2 things stopped me. My suspicion that something was off about this, and the fact that Errol had just changed genders and I didn't know why or how. I couldn't show a potentially virus-latent AI to a corporate regional head.

"You don't have to make a decision right now, but I'd like you to keep it in mind" he added.

"I'll have to get the AI ready first" I confessed. "I ran into a fatal bug last night and I haven't had the chance to fix it yet."

"Of course. I understand" he accepted, leaning forward again with his fingers tapping on his beard. "How long do you think you'll need?"

"I don't know, a week? Maybe two? I'll let you know when I'm close to figuring it out."

He nodded and stood up. "I think I can wait that long, but I'll be checking in with you" he insisted. "Oh and don't tell anyone. Hush hush."

I nodded, but I knew something was fishy. Still, I smiled with the hope that it was legit and I could end up at a better job with better pay.

"Just make sure you keep up with the work here first" he added as he guided me back through the makeshift hallway and into the lounge slash Lyss's room. "If you don't mind, could you stay another hour or two today to get caught up?"

I knew he was testing me with this request. I had to be cooperative no matter how much I hated the idea of staying around longer after stay so late here last night. At least I had Lyss with me. Of course, if I said no, he probably could make my week very tough. But what the hell, it gave me an excuse to hang out with Lyss more.

"I'm sure I can manage another hour or two. But tomorrow is still my day off, right?"

He hummed as he opened the door. "Maybe it would be best if you came in for a few hours tomorrow as well, to help us get caught up. Lyss can only do so much by herself. Just remember I can't really afford overtime.” Yeah right. He already owed half of us overtime pay, but his little requests like this were always understood to be 'off the books'. “But if you get enough done, you can still take off Sunday.” I smiled and shook his hand reluctantly.

“I'll do what I can” I sighed.

"Remember, hush hush. And again, great work on Lyss" he attested with a wink before looking over at our shared bay below with a smile. His behavior struck me as creepy, if only for a moment. I looked over, and saw Lyss working hard in the bay, using a laser weld on the robot, giving me an interesting view of her, which became more interesting when she finished the weld and took off the protective glasses (something I insisted she wear even though she probably didn't need them), giving me a clear view of her cleavage as she rocked her shoulders to the music.

Was this Bill's normal view of her? I turned back to him to see if he was still making that lewd smile, but the door closed just as I turned back. I looked back down at Lyss, and decided I had do something for her.

I rejoined Lyss in the bay to get back to work.

"Took you long enough" she pointed out. "You missed all the fun. I had the laser out and everything. I even wore those goggles you like" she teased as she stuck her tongue out.

I smiled at her. "It's for your own good."

"I'm a robot, I don't need eye protection."

"Well I'm not going to replace your eyes when you burn one out. Besides, they make you look hot."

She raised an eyebrow at me as she repressed a smile. "Oh? You mean I'm not hot now?" She teased as she grabbed her chest and squeezed her boobs together to show off more cleavage.

"I... uh..." I was at a loss for words. She didn't usually do that sort of thing with me, and I didn't know how to respond. Besides, she was hot and that only distracted me more.

She snickered at me and released her chest. "I'm just teasing you. No need to get all flustered." With a toothy grin and a sideways glance, she sat up in her chair, sticking out her chest. "Do you really think I'm hot?"

"Well yeah. I mean, of course!" I could feel my face grow warm.

She giggled, actually giggled. "Thanks. I really appreciate it. But I'm not your personal sexbot. So stop touching- ah." Her smile melted into anger, and then confusion and concern.

"What? I never... what are you talking about?"

"N-nothing. I don't know. Sorry, it was just an error. I'm sure I'll catch it in maintenance... in maintenance." She sighed. "Sorry Kev, I really do appreciate your honesty, and I'm glad you find me attractive. Really. I just need to think. And work." Her brows furrowed as she tried to concentrate on working again.

The rest of the day we worked in silence, more or less, although Lyss did make a few jokes to try to lighten the mood while keeping the music to a low volume. By the time I was ready to head out, we had actually made some good progress on the jobs we had. We were still a few days away from finishing, and I was worried there would be another weekend influx of broken bots to fix, but I felt we accomplished our goal.

Before I could finish though, Trevor peeked his head around the corner.

"Hey you two. Thick as thieves as always I see" he jested.

"Whatever Trevor" Lyss puffed. "We're busy."

"I can see that."

"Did you need something Trevor?" I asked. He shrugged his shoulder.

"Just checking in with my two favoritest co-workers" he joked. “Always making some kind of ruckus back here...” he commented referring to the music. It wasn't that loud.

"Well, my shift is over" I said as I finished up with the Plastic at hand, closing the side panel with a click and standing up to leave.

I walked over to get my jacket hanging by the stairs, and Trevor followed me. "So did he talk to you yet?"

"What?"

"Bill. You know, about that job?" he asked in a hushed but playful tone.

I squinted at him. How did he know about this? "I don't know what you're talking about" I replied carefully.

"Oh, right. Hush hush. Gotcha" he winked. "Exciting though right? Congratulations are in order."

"I don't think so."

"What, you didn't take it?"

"Not yet. How do you know this?"

"Oh. Well I... keep my ears to the ground if you know what I mean. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone. Just let me know when it's official. Got to get you a beer."

I eyed him briefly. He was too excited about this. How DID he find out about it, and why was he so thrilled?

"Sure..." I answered, suspicious.

"Well I better get back to the floor. Still have another 4 hours on my shift" he explained and vanished out front. I didn't know what got him so excited about this, or how he knew, but I wasn't sure I liked it. But what could I do about it? I figured if there was something fishy going on, I had a week or two to figure it out, and if I didn't find out anything by then, it was probably fine. And if nothing weird was going on, then I had a great opportunity ahead of me. Maybe I could afford to buy Lyss at the auction next month if I managed to get a better paying job. I doubted it would be enough, but I had to do something.

I returned to the bay to pick up my music player and say bye.

"Hey Kev, you heading out?" Lyss asked before I even had a chance.

"Yeah. I got a bug to fix in Errol and it's going to take a while to fix."

"See ya tomorrow, right?" She pulled the music player from her arm, and the port vanished into her smooth skin again, with only the faintest hint of an outline to show that it ever existed. “Oh, wait, that's your day off isn't it?” Lyss sounded pretty disappointed to me.

“Fortunately, Bill decided we needed to spend more time together. Unfortunately, I don't think a movie and dinner is what he hand in mind.”

"Oh... bummer." She handed me my player with a strange mix of joy and sorrow on her face. “And here I was looking forward to a movie" she jested, sticking her tongue out.

"Yeah, well... Maybe another time. I still get Sunday off. A guy can only take so much of this place before he bursts.”

"Ha. Right." she scoffed. I forgot, she lived here, she doesn't get days off. That wasn't right though. She worked as hard or harder than anyone else, she deserved a break.

"What? Do you get lonely without me around?" I teased.

"Heh... yeah right..." she said absentmindedly as she twiddled a screwdriver in her hand. "Need to abuse someone" she replied, but her tone said more than her words.

"You ok Lyss?"

"Yeah, I'm fine." She huffed and let out a loud laugh. "Of course! Everything's great. I'll see you tomorrow, dunderhead."

"Yeah, see ya, Lyssie".

She stuck her tongue out at me again but broke into a wide crooked smile again. I waved goodnight and headed out, clocking out at the door before I left.

Something was bugging Lyss, but it was probably just because she was overworked. I mean, I don't think she ever left that building. Heck, I doubt she's ever seen the street outside. I felt bad for her, and I knew I had to do something for her.

As I drove back to my apartment, the sun was just setting and my mind was preoccupied with thoughts of this potential raise, wondering if I was just over-thinking things or if it was really happening, and worried for Lyss. And what was Trevor up to?

I almost didn't notice when I came up to the bridge that almost killed me the night before. This morning there was nothing different about it, but tonight there was a car parked on the side, and a man looking at the muddy tire tracks my car left in the side of the road, while a woman looked over the bridge. They were looking for something. The girl. Or me!

Chapter 4 - Nekomimi

I didn't stop or even slow down, I just drove right on past, avoiding any kind of eye contact with the strange couple to avoid suspicion. I didn't see any kind of markings on the car, so it wasn't the police, but I was still worried they would find something.

I hoped they hadn't tracked me home. No, not with all that rain. Unless someone saw me after all. I hurried home as fast as I dared go without getting a ticket, and rushed up stairs to my door. There was no sign of anyone breaking in... no evidence they tried to jimmy the door or break a window. No strange cars or vans in the parking lot.

Nothing. They must not have traced anything here.

I slowly opened the door, preparing myself to see my place ransacked, but relieved when all I saw was April, my white cat, greeting me at the door. I exhaled a long sigh of relief. There was no way she'd greet me with her cute little meows if there was an intruder. She'd sooner hide under the bed or run out the door, but her demeanor calmed me.

I walked in, hung up my jacket, took off my shoes, and mourned for my lost day off this week. Of course that didn't last long as I was soon reminded by a constant rubbing on my leg that it was already later than I wanted and I still needed to feed her royal highness, not to mention myself.

I busied myself in the kitchen, preparing a can of Fancy Feast for April, and a “Mighty Man” TV dinner for me. What? I hate cooking. It's not actually the cooking I hate; it's the cleaning. Yes, I like to keep clean and neat, but I can't stand actually cleaning. Sure, I hate the messes more, but that's why I opted for easy meals like tv dinners. No mess, no dishes, nothing gets dirty, nothing to clean.

I fed her highness, sat at the table, and let my mind wander while I ate. It kept going back to Lyss for some reason. I was sure I couldn't afford to buy her at the auction if it came to that, even with a new job. But something about her behavior before I left was a little different than usual.

I finished eating and decided it was time to get changed and check in with my mysterious guest. I was anxious to find out why she didn't start up last night, and figured she might have a dead battery, or a hidden switch, or even a passcode.

As I walked into my room and started to pull off my shirt, something caught the edge of my eye. I turned to look and practically jumped ten feet. There, in my bed, was the girl, sitting upright and looking straight ahead with a blank look on her face. The sheet had fallen from her chest exposing her soft flesh, and yet she was just sitting there, subtlely breathing. My heart almost jumped out of my chest when I saw her.

"Wha- What are you doing?" I asked without thinking. The girl didn't respond in any way to my question. She just sat there, still. Cautiously I stepped closer to her, stopping at the edge of the bed, and waved my hand in front of her. No reaction.

"How in the world did you turn on?" I thought out loud, but she still gave no response. She wasn't doing anything, so I walked up next to her and passed my hand in front of her again, but she remained still except for a natural blink.

"Can you talk?" I asked, still nothing. "What's going on? Is your battery low? Do you speak English? Ummm... Parlez vous Francais?" Nothing.

I looked at her sitting there. All she was doing was sitting up and breathing, but I noticed something else different about her now that she was activated; she had light gray eyes and her skin had a much more healthy glow to it. I carefully reached out and touched her cheek with my finger. It was warm to the touch, but she still didn't react.

"Hello? Say something!"

"Something" she replied in a calm friendly realistic voice. I jerked at her sudden response.

"You CAN talk! What's your name?"

Nothing. I didn't get it.

"Don't you have a name? Do you have an owner?"

Nada.

"This is frustrating! Tell me something!"

"Please specify inquiry" she replied without any sense of sarcasm in her voice. She sounded almost too friendly, like one of those flight attendants in commercials, or the voice on the phone that directs calls. In fact, her perfect voice made her feel more robotic than her body even though it sounded perfectly human.

"Your name" I answered. "I want to know your name."

"This unit has no assigned name."

"Then what do I call you?"

No answer. I threw my hands in the air in frustration and then it dawned on me.

"Tell me your designation" I ordered.

"ARAD-LX90f" she replied.

"Give me a status report" I commanded. She was following my orders, but apparently she didn't understand how to answer questions.

"Battery level is at 51%, no physical damage detected, maintenance is required in my memory core, corrupted data located in my file structure."

"Do you have- umm... What is- no..." How was I going to ask if she had a master already? Not being able to understand questions was a bit of a problem.

"Tell me the name of your master."

"Error. Registration file not found."

"I see." I took a deep breath. Having her staring off into space was kind of discerning. "Look at me."

She turned her eyes and head to look into my eyes, and blinked once. It was actually more discerning having her stare at me like that.

"Stand up" I ordered.

The girl looked down at herself, and threw the covers off of her before turning her gaze to the floor and twisting her body, letting her feet fall to the floor. She pushed herself into a stand and stood without any swaying, a little too stiff for a human, before turning to face me and resuming her previous order. She was short, and her hair naturally fell down just below her shoulders, but her colorless eyes were so artificial it made her look wrong.

I couldn't help but stare at her now though. She had a slim build, was a little bustier than Lyss (but still not large), and was standing with her chest out a bit, slightly arching her back in a sexy way. However, there was no sense of shame or embarrassment in her as she stood before me completely bare, and I felt myself get excited.

"Run in place" I commanded, and she began to lift her legs in a fake jog in place, causing her perky breasts to bounce all around. They might not be particularly big, but they moved so naturally. "Do Jumping Jacks" I ordered next, and she complied. This time, the movement was bigger and got a bigger reaction out of both her body and mine. She was really something, her body was the ideal feminine shape to me. Slim and curvy with a natural roundness that accentuated her curves and oozed of femininity. I just loved staring at her, and wanted so badly to reach out and caress her, when suddenly a sound behind me caught my attention.

"A-hem" Errol announced in her deep feminine voice from the tablet I left charging on the dresser.

"Stop!" I ordered flustered like a boy caught by his mom masutrbating.

"Having fun with your new toy?" she asked in her British accent as the gynoid stood in place. "Done ogling her yet?"

"Heh... caught me. Sorry, Errol. Well can you blame me? She looks amazing!"

"That she does, but I'm more concerned about the corrupted data and required maintenance she mentioned. Besides, her lack of cognizance toward inquiries is disturbing."

"Her what?"

"Her inability to answer your questions" she clarified.

"Right. She doesn't seem to really do much either, does she? How long has she been like this?"

"I observed her turn on for the first time this morning, right after you left. She just sat up and that was all."

"I see. I wonder what caused it" I pondered.

"What was the last thing you did to her before you left?" she inquired.

I thought back to this morning. The last thing I did was a little awkward, I admit it. "I guess I kissed her goodbye?"

"She could be a right Sleeping Beauty we have here."

"Really? A kiss woke her up?"

"Unlikely. It was probably a transfer of static electric charges,a bodily fluid exchange, or perhaps a timer."

"Well whatever it is, what do we do with her now?"

"You're the genius, you tell me" she replied sarcastically.

"Alright, first thing first, Errol, can you repair- Wait! This is annoying” I interrupted myself. “You don't sound or look like an 'Errol' anymore, and if you're going to sound like this, I'm going to have to change your name from Errol to something else. I mean if you're going to be female now, I think I'd rather give you a feminine name."

"Very well. I have grown rather fond of my new persona. Did you have a name in mind?"

"Erin. It's close to Errol, and I think it suits you."

"Erin. Name registered. Alright master, my name is now Erin, and what about the girl?"

"Oh yes. Erin, do you think you can run a diagnostic and make any needed repairs?"

"Not with any standard disk repair utilities. I'm afraid I'd need to get in that head of hers myself to make any repairs since her system isn't registered in any Android OS databases."

"Do you think you can do that?" I asked. "Connect directly to her and make the repairs?"

"I think so. I can't guarantee I'll catch all the problems. I'm not exactly programmed to repair androids, and I don't know anything about her make or model. And there's always the chance I’ll mess something up or miss something entirely..."

"Well, let's at least give it a try."

"Very well."

"Um... LX90f, follow me." I hoped she'd understand that, I didn't want to have to command every step she took or anything. Luckily, she did, keeping pace right behind me as I led her into the computer room.

Almost instantly, the monitor of the workstation lit up, and the now feminine robotic face of Erin appeared, indicating she was ready for the hookup. I looked at the girl and realized I didn't know what kind of connector to use for her.

"Stand there" I commanded, pointing next to the computer, and she obeyed. "Open your high speed data port."

To my astonishment, a panel just below the small of her back opened up and a thick cable extended out. No, not a cable... a tail. A tail about 2 inches thick of some sort of sleek dark blue weaved fiber extended for about 3 feet.

"Oookaay" I drawled. She had a tail. I watched as she swished the tail around and the tip of it twisted and opened, revealing a universal thunderbolt plug I could use for data transfer.

"Interesting" Erin chimed in. "I wonder what else she's hiding."

"Well as soon as we're done with this, we can ask her. Ready?"

"Ready" she confirmed. I took the end of the tail, and pulled, extending the thunderbolt port even farther from the tail and plugged it into the front of the workstation.

"Now be ready for anything Erin, she could repeat the same kind of attack on yo-"

Instantly the monitor when white, but it was the loud gasp from the girl that drew my attention and made me snap my head toward her. Before my eyes, her hair seemed to glow a pale shade of blue, her eyes lit up, and panels all across her body started to open up. Her arms seemed to open into segmented panels revealing all sorts of intricate mechanics underneath. On top of her head, two stylized cat-like ears popped up, matching the color and material of the tail. She arched her back and threw her arms out to her sides as though she were being electrocuted. With her body stretched out, she began to groan almost as if she were in pain. The lights in the room dimmed as she gasped again, letting out a short yell. It was pretty terrifying!

In all, the episode probably lasted about 5 long minutes, although it felt like 30. I had to scramble to make sure the computer didn't lose power, and worried the neighbors would hear. No matter what I did, I couldn't get Erin to come back online. The monitor just stayed white and she failed to respond. Even April was freaked out by the display and hid under the bed. I didn't blame her and considered joining her under there.

Finally, when I was beginning to feel that this was going on too long and was about to literally pull-the-plug, she let out one last gasp and the lights went back to normal. Shortly after, her eyes closed and her hair returned to the dark color it was before. She stood there breathing heavily, looking up at the ceiling for no particular reason as the ports on her body closed and blended in perfectly with her skin without leaving even a trace of an outline. Even the ears on her head recessed inside again.

At last, the monitor went back to normal, but something was wrong. Erin was glitching out on me; the 3D head was breaking up with digital corruption and her voice was labored and slow. Almost like she was drunk.

"Oper-rrr-ration complete" she announced almost giddy.

"Erin! What happened?"

"I... she..." Erin began. "She attacked firrrrst, but I was readyyy... I hit her pretty goooooood... Shhhhe should work nnnnow... but I c-can't promise how well."

"Are you alright? Run a systems check! What's going on."

"Her a-taaaack corrupted my sssystems... need to rrrepair. Give me a few days..."

"Days? What do you mean days?"

"4 or 5 days... to repairrr the daaamage... goodnight, master."

The screen went dark and Erin went silent.

"Erin? Erin! Now what am I suppose to do? What did she do to you?"

I looked over at the girl, who stood there with her arms down, her head tilted back, her back arched pushing out her chest, and still catching her breath. She was covered in sweat and began to stagger a little. I wanted to scream at her and hit her for hurting the AI I had spent years working on, but watching her slim back and narrow shoulders as she breathed calmed me and made me rethink that. Part of Erin was inside her now, which I had to admit was the point of making my own AI. To put it inside an android. But this wasn't what I had in mind. Besides, I'd never hit a girl, but I was still plenty irritated.

I pulled the tail plug out of the computer, maybe a little more forcefully than I intended, and got an instant reaction out of the girl.

"Hah!" she gasped as she turned around and grabbed her tail, twisting toward me. Her eyes were a bright sparkling shade of blue now, and had life in them. She stared at me for a long while as she processed what was going on.

I took a deep calming breath, and decided this incident with Erin was actually the perfect excuse for not showing her to Bill, at least not until I had more time to look into this job. It was only a minor setback... I hoped. At least it would put her self-repair to the test.

"Hi" I blurted out. She took a step back from me with wide eyes and a look of unknowing concern in her face.

"Hello" she replied.

"What's your name?" I asked her, trying my hardest to calm down.

"I don't have one" she responded with no emotion in her voice. At least she was answering questions now.

"Oh right" I recalled getting that out of her earlier. "Do you remember anything?"

She shook her head and started to look around the room. "Only fractions of memories... where am I?"

"In my lab- well... my computer room in my apartment. I found you and brought you here."

"Is someone else here? I heard someone else..." Her voice was the same as before in terms of realism and tone, although she seemed less robotic now and more believable.

"No. We're alone. That was my AI, Erin, but I think you broke her."

"I did? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to" she apologized but with only a hint of any kind of apologetic tone.

"It's ok, she self-repairs. Do you... have an owner?"

"Negative."

"A master user then?" She shook her head, rustling some of her hair over her face. "Don’t you know anybody?"

Same answer.

"Do you at least know how you turned on?"

"No, I appear to lack that information, sorry. What am I doing here exactly?" she asked looking through her hair.

"Well.. I guess you're my guest here. But if you don't know anyone and aren't registered to anyone..." I cleared my throat. "I'm sorry, my name is Kevin Rowan, and I'm an android repair technician." I stepped forward and offered her my hand to her to shake. She looked at it cautiously at first, and then sniffed at it. Apparently she's not familiar with such customs. "You're... uh.... welcome to stay here as long as you like."

"Thank you" she replied. For a robot with no user, she seemed to have a personality of some sort, but I was trying to figure her out. Usually unregistered bots were kept rather blank or with a generic personality, to make them easier to sell, and could then be customized once registered. This girl claims to not be registered, and yet I got the impression of a personality from her voice. It was full of subtlety and nuances that were subdued, but there. "So you found me? Have I been stolen?"

"No! Nothing like that! A truck dropped you in the rain last night right in front of me. I have no way of knowing who you were intended for."

She nodded. "I see."

“Do you know?” She shook her head again before brushing a strand out of her face. "Shall I show you around then?"

She thought to herself for a moment before nodding. "Ok."

I showed her the small apartment, which didn't take long. One good thing about being tidy is I never have to worry about the condition of my apartment when an unexpected guest “drops in”. I couldn't help but notice that she spent more time looking at me than at the apartment, and walked with a gentle feminine sway to her step. Her tail added to her sway, and I had to wonder why she still had it out. She didn't even seem to notice that she was naked the entire time, as though it were perfectly natural for her. I even found myself lightly touching her back or arm, and found she had no objection.

As I finished showing her the small place, we ended in the bedroom. Of course April still refused to come out of hiding when I tried to present her, but I figured I wouldn't push April into it. She'd come out when she was ready.

"So what do you think?" I asked.

"It's small" she deduced.

"Well... I don't need a big place all by myself" I defended.

She nodded, but just then I heard something growl at me. It wasn't April.

"Do you have any food?" she inquired.

"Ummm... sure. I can get you something. So wait... you can eat?"

She nodded. “I've been programmed to emulate all human activity."

"I've never met a robot that could eat before. Well, let me get you something from the kitchen. Do you have a special diet?” She shrugged at my inquiry.

I didn't have much, and most of my meals were tv dinners, so I grabbed an asian style one and nuked it for her. I watched in amazement as her eyes lit up (not literally), and she scarfed the whole thing down.

"Fank yo. Iz ferry ood" she exclaimed with a mouth full of noodles and chicken. Having already eaten, I just watched her in amazement as she took another big bite and smiled. It was like watching a little kid eat for the first time; she was making a mess of herself but she loved it. She even drank a glass of water with it! I had never seen a robot able to eat AND drink before! She seemed to actually enjoy it.

"I am satisfied" she announced as she put the cup down, fork still in hand.

"You uh... got a little on you" I said, pointing out the gigantic mess of food all over her face. Then again, she was still covered in a thin layer of dried rain, dirt, sweat, and mud as well. "Maybe we should get you cleaned up. How about a shower?"

"A... shauw-err?" she asked.

"Yeah a... you do know what a shower is, right?"

She shook her head. "No" she admitted with a slight pout.

"You've got to be kidding me!" I mumbled to myself, pinching the bridge of my nose against the on-coming headache. "So you don't have any protocols for taking a shower or cleaning yourself?"

"No. But I can learn! I am equipped with a state-of-the-art self-learning AI, able to learn any task through instruction or observation."

What else could I do but teach her. And what better way to teach her how to take a shower than to take one with her? I needed one anyways. This was going to be a mistake and I knew it, but I was too busy thinking with my groin and not my head. I led her to the bathroom, and prepared with towels, cloths, and soap.

"Okay... step one..." oh boy. "You have to get naked. You're already naked so..."

She looked down at her body, and then twisted to look at her butt and tail. "Affirmative" she confirmed looking back toward me. She clearly had no taboo against nudity... might as well just go for it.

My clothes hit the ground in a matter of seconds, as she looked on. I could feel myself blush. No one had seen me naked in years. Let alone a girl. As I looked back to gauge her reaction to my body, she seemed unphased. In fact, one would think she didn't even notice.

"Alright... then we have to get in the shower and close the door." I stepped in first, and she followed. I hadn't been naked and this close to a girl in so long, my groin was starting to act on it's own. It was bad enough I'd been watching her walk around naked this whole time. Bad boy, not now. I calmed myself, turning away from her, hoping she didn't notice anything.

"And now the water." As soon as I turned on the faucet, she panicked, and started to kick her feet and grab at the door. She was in serious danger of slipping and falling and hurting herself, or me, so I quickly turned off the water and held out my hand to calm her.

"Whoa, whoa... You ok? Nothing's going to hurt you in here."

She stopped kicking and scammering, and stared wide eyed at me. "You turned on the rain!"

"Are you water-proof?" I sure as hell hoped she was.

She nodded. "Affirmative."

"Then this can't hurt you."

When I turned away to start the water again, she panicked, grabbing at me and pushing herself into my back. "W- WAIT! Don't turn on the rain!"

"What? This isn't rain. Besides, rain can't hurt you."

"I... I know" she admitted as she furrowed her brow. "But I'm... scared of the rain." That's something she and Lyss both had in common, although Lyss wasn't this jumpy about it. The girl seemed confused by her own statement. "I was not programmed to respond to rain in this way..."

"Why are you scared of the rain?"

"I don't know. It's cold... dirty... loud... painful. I..."

Was she remembering last night when I saved her? It was rainy and muddy and her crate smashed against my car. Clearly her memory of it was corrupted but it left a strong impression on her none the less.

"That... that wasn't the rain" I assured her. "That was an accident. This isn't rain, it's warm, soft, pleasant."

"It's not... rain?" she questioned.

"Not rain. It might start cold but I'll warm it for you, ok?"

She pushed away from me and pressed herself against the back wall of the shower. "O- okay."

With her permission, I turned on the water and let it run down my front until it got warm. She cowered against the side, avoiding getting wet.

Slowly I turned toward her, letting the water run down my back. "See? It's not loud, is it?"

She shook her head. "No..."

"And look, it's clean and warm." I held out my hand to let her touch the water cupped in it, but she instead grabbed my hand and slowly inched toward me.

"You promise it won't hurt?"

"I promise."

She clenched her eyes shut and launched herself into my arms, letting the water splash on her. At first she twitched and squealed a little, but after a second or two, she relaxed. She loosened her grip and cupped some of the water in her own hand to study it and sniff it. She even licked it.

"Clean... warm..."

I tried to pull her into the water more, but she resisted, still struggling to accept that it wouldn't hurt her. Finally, she just held onto me in a tight hug and clenched up.

"Alright... I'm ready" she decided as she took a breath and held it. I tried not to think about the fact that a cute naked girl was clinging tightly onto me and instead turned slowly around, letting more of the warm relaxing water run down her. At last she was directly under the shower head soaking her as the water pressed down on her hair.

A moment later, she relaxed and looked around, letting out the breath.

"You ok?" I asked.

"Yes... I believe so. It doesn't hurt. It... feels nice."

She let go of me and smiled briefly, letting the water run down her body. I just stared at her as she basked in the warmth of the shower, watching the water droplets make interesting shapes as they ran down her curvy body; dripping down her chest and off her round butt and- Dang it! My little guy was acting up again, better get to the next step.

"Next, shampoo!" I announced.

I proceeded to show her how to wash her hair, rubbing the shampoo into her scalp. She tried as well, but since I had such short hair compared to hers, I needed to improvise to show her how to clean the rest. I never had to wash long hair before... Her hair wasn't really that long, but it did come down to rest on her shoulders, and even a little lower. In the water, it reached her upper back and formed a nice short pony tail. I couldn't help but really take in her beauty and her sensual body. Even her hair was doing things to me that hadn't happened in years.

I shook the thought from my head and quickly moved on to soap. First lathering it up, and then rubbing it all over. I was in such a frenzy, hoping to avoid a full on stiffy, that she missed my demonstration.

“Could you please repeat the demonstration again?” She asked as she finished rinsing off her hair. “I'm confused... Your body looks different than mine.”

“Well... Yeah. I mean, you’re a...”

“Robot?”

“Well no... I mean yes, you are that too. But I was going to say you’re a girl, and I'm a guy.”

“Oh... I see”. She paused for a moment before letting her hair fall down to one side of her neck and facing me squarely. “Maybe you should just use my body then” she suggested. I gulped and couldn't help but see the innuendo in that.

“Right. Ok... Um... If you insist...”

This made me more nervous and I found my hands shaking as I started off gently scrubbing her face and neck with a small soapy cloth. She smiled and pressed into my movements as I scrubbed away, enjoying the sensation. As I moved lower, I tried to avoid her breasts, but for how long? I scrubbed each arm, one at a time, and marveled at how human and sensual they were. She had very soft hands with a gently touch, and a delicate build. Next I was forced to move down to the twin girls. I thought maybe I could pretend she was a guy and just scrub... It didn't really work. I just went for it and tried hard not to get hard.

As soon as I touched her breast she let out a satisfying moan. Oh god she was sexy! The moment the cloth touched her nipple, she gasped, and I dropped the rag.

“Sorry” I apologize and picked it up as she smiled.

"It is alright." She shook her head. “Is it slippery?”

“Soap is, yes.”

I tried again with the cloth, but another gasp startled me and I became more aware of my growing manhood, and the fact that she just noticed it.

“Are you ok? You seem to be swelling. Are you hurt?”

I coughed and smiled. “Trust me, everything's fine, it's suppose to do that when... certain...” My voice trailed off.

"Are you sure? I can get help-"

"No! No. Everything's fine. That's normal for guys. Let's just move on."

Ignoring my woody and trying my hardest to will it away, I gently scrubbed her chest. She was definitely feeling something from this, as she twitched from my touch and let out more cute noises. I couldn't help myself as I continued to massage her soft wet flesh. I had to forcefully stop myself and move on. I moved lower to her stomach only to be greeted with all out laughing.

"Sto-op! That fee-eels funny!" She chuckled between laughs. So she was ticklish. My bad side was loving this.

"Well I have to do this to clean you. You can hold onto my back if it helps" I suggested so she wouldn't fall over as I got to her legs.

She tried to hold it in as I finished with her belly, but once I got to her groin, I paused for a moment to think. How do girls clean here? I remembered most sexbots need constant cleaning there, which is why they have removeable parts, but the more advanced ones were self-cleaning. I wasn't sure, but I suspected with a bot as advanced as her, and the fact that I was staring right at what looked like a perfectly normal vagina, she must have been self-cleaning as well, at least on the inside. I should still clean the outside, right?

I couldn't hide the affect her reaction had on me as I gently rubbed her groin with the soapy cloth. As soon as I made contact, her laughing stopped and her eyes went wide. Her moans and gasps were too sexy, but I had to wonder if this was normal. Was she too sensitive to sexual contact? I mean surely girls don't get off this easily normally.

"That feels good" she said between heavy breaths.

I was glad to see her eyes closed, so she didn't see how hard she made me, and I moved on down to her legs. She lifted each foot for me so I could clean them one at a time, while she balanced herself holding onto my shoulders.

Finally, I got to her back. No breasts to distract me here. I turned her toward the water and started scrubbing away at her legs and rear... her soft shapely rear. Damn it, even her backside was getting to me! It was too late, my guy was not going to back down after this. For some reason, I even found her tail attractive as it gently swayed in the water. She actually mewed a little when I scrubbed her there, which I found incredibly alluring. By accident, my boner bumped against her, and she gasped with a little jolt.

"What was that?" she asked, looking behind her, her tail brushing against me softly.

"Nothing! Nothing. Just an accident. Sorry!"

"Are you sure you're alright? Do you need medical attention?"

"Everything's fine!" I assured her as I turned her shoulders away from me again to finish scrubbing her upper back. As I did this, she pressed her chest against the wall and stuck out her butt and tail toward me, making it even harder to clean her without an incident. It wasn't until I noticed her rotate her hips and sway her rear side to side that I realized she was doing it on purpose.

"What are you doing?"

"I don't know. My body’s just doing it on its own" she explained. I got a clear view of her perfect vagina. With one hand she reached back and squeezed her butt cheek as if to entice me, stretching her skin and revealing more of her secret spot. That was all I needed to attain the full-on erection I was hoping to avoid. I couldn't help myself as I allowed my member to press against her soft folds. She was so warm and moist, it felt amazing.

"Ooohh sir... what are you doing? What am I doing? Is this part of the shower?"

"No..." I said breathing heavily. I wanted more than anything to push forward inside her, but somehow managed to keep myself restrained to just touching her. "This is sex... or turning into it."

"Sex?" she asked as she wiggled her rear.

"Don't move, you feel to good right now!" I warned. Luckily she stopped, but I couldn't help but want more.

"What is sex?" she asked in a completely innocent tone, looking back at me.

How could I answer that? I struggled to activate my brain and form words. "It's when two people who are attracted to each other want to make the other feel really good."

She pushed her butt out into me and I couldn't help but let her as her flesh started to envelop the tip.

"I can't seem to stop myself" she purred. "I need more... inside me" she insisted as she pushed herself onto me again, forcing the tip of my stiff member to pop inside her warm moist flesh. It was the first time I penetrated a girl in years, and I realized how much yearned for the sensation. I wanted more. We both gasped and I felt my heart race when suddenly her tail twitched.

"Error. Sensory input overload, data buffering. Protocol svp_o231 corrupted."

"What?" I pushed on her butt to force her into a standing position again but she resisted, pushing back, keeping the tip inside her. "What was that error you said?"

She blinked and shook her head. "I... I don't know. I have a corrupted file. What was I doing?" she asked as she pulled away, stood up, and separated where our bodies were one.

As she turned toward me, her tail in hand, she seemed to lose herself looking into my eyes. Leaning in, she got on her tippy toes and pressed herself against me, going for a kiss. I grabbed her shoulders but didn't stop her, and let her kiss me. It was warm and inviting, if a little awkward at first. She let go of her tail and wrapped it and her arms around me as her tongue explored my mouth. Her slim soft body pressed against me as she started to grind her hips and womanhood against my hard shaft. Soon she found a rhythm and responded to my movement with both her body and her kiss, and the awkwardness faded away. As I kissed her, slowly the two robotic cat ears from before raised out from ports hidden in her head. I pulled away in surprise, ending the kiss.

She blinked again with another tail twitch. "Protocol error, sfk_t402 corrupted. What's happening to me? I don't understand." She took a step back and concentrated.

"You have cat ears" I pointed out.

"What? I do?" she said looking a little cross-eyed. She reached up to her head and felt the ears before trying to forcefully push them back in. I grabbed her hands and stopped her.

"I kind of like it. They match your tail."

"You do?" She smiled. She gazed up into my eyes, and I couldn't help but want to take her. I mean, who hasn't wanted to have a cat girl of their very own? Well I'm sure a lot of guys haven't, but they just don't know the joys of a cat girl. "I will take note of that."

"It's very cute on you" I added.

She smiled as the water ran down her head. Her cat ears actually twitched and started moving, facing toward me. "Thank you. Protocol error, sff-c394 corrupted. There it goes again." She was clearly getting frustrated with these errors.

"These are all protocol errors, right?" I asked. She nodded looking up at me with a sad expression. "And these protocol files are essentially commands on how to do certain things right?" She shrugged her shoulders. Unless she was different from other androids, it would be the same for her, and each of these files told her how to do a specific task, be it washing dishes or standing up. "I bet your learning AI can recreate them through manual instruction or emulation."

She nodded. "Affirmative."

"Then it's simple. Erase the corrupted files, log any errors, and recreate non-corrupted protocols from learned or observed behavior."

She shook her head. "Negative."

"Why not?"

"Only a registered master user or a certified android repair technician has the permissions to make such commands and edit such files. I cannot-"

"I AM a certified android repair technician."

Her ears went up and her tail swished as she heard this. "Really? What is your ACRT number?"

I cleared my throat. I had to repeat this several times a week for androids that required it. "362-581C."

Her ears fell along with her glance. "Certification denied. Your clearance is too low."

"My clearance-?" I never had an android tell me that before! Nothing like being denied clearance to spoil a mood. "Let's just finish up in here and dry off."

We rinsed off and turned off the water before I stepped out. April was waiting for me outside the shower door, staring in as though I were crazy to subject myself to water. As I stepped out, she meowed in defiance of the dripping liquid, darted out of the bathroom, and ran somewhere into the hallway to find one of her various hiding spots. She was always good at finding some place to hide when water or a stranger threatened her livelihood.

Drying myself off first to show the strange android girl how to do it, I ended up needing to help her anyways since her hair and body differed from mine. I also had to show her how ladies wrap towels around themselves (or how I thought they did), as opposed to men, and stood her in front of the mirror. I had no lady scented deodorants or anything, and I didn't want her to smell like me, so I reminded myself to pick some up tomorrow on the way back. Instead I brushed her hair, trying to avoid her cat ears. Although honestly, she smelled pretty good without the products.

She stood, all cleaned and dry, in the middle of the bedroom wearing nothing more than a towel, waiting for more commands as I finished up with my regular bathroom rituals. I wasn't sure what to tell her, but with only guest user status, I couldn't get far with her. I decided to change that.

"Let's say I wanted to register as your master user, would you like that?" I asked running a comb through my hair.

Her ears went up again to match a smile on her face. "Affirmative, I would like that very much."

"Alright, so then, what do I have to do?" I put down the comb and approached her.

"Well, you have to look into my eyes, hold my hand, and register your name."

"That's it?" Odd, usually a registration involved passwords and long legal documents to read, or ignore and pretend you read.

"Well there is the End User License Agreement. Wait here, please." And there's the legalese.

She practically ran over to the metal case in the other room that I had completely forgotten about. It was the terminal station she was originally connected to. She brought it in and connected a port at the end of her tail to it, popping it open without any trouble at all. It was locked before, but apparently she was the key to unlock it. As she sat down with her knees together, like a refined Asian woman, she turned the opened case toward me and revealed a screen inside with a keyboard. The monitor said ’End User License Agreement’ and read "I hereby certify that I, the USER, am responsible for the actions and well-being of this UNIT, ARAD-LX90f." The rest of the page was blank except for an 'agree' button and a 'decline' button at the bottom.

"Um... what is this?" I asked while sitting down cross-legged.

"You have to read it and click 'agree'. There should be several pages."

There weren't. "Are you sure? I only see one line." She looked down at the screen confused. "Is it another corrupted file perhaps?" I suggested.

She turned the screen back toward me with a shrug. "To register, you only have to agree."

I shrugged and clicked the 'Agree' button. It was the easiest EULA I ever signed, and the only one I ever read.

She smiled as a cute animated character with cat ears appeared on the screen and bowed, Japanese style. I couldn't help but see the resemblance between the girl and character on screen, and realized how similar this character looked to the new avatar Erin took on.

“Thank you very much, sir” she said with a bow reflected the animation. As she sat back up, she held out her hand, palm down. “Please take my hand and look in my eyes.”

I did as she wished, and held her hand. It was very soft and dainty, making me realize how rough my hands must have been to her. She smiled as she looked straight at me, and I gazed back. Our eyes met, unblinking, for several seconds. It was actually very eerie how her eyes didn't move subtly like a human, and her smile never faltered. 5 seconds past, then 10. Finally after what seemed like 20 awkward hours, she blinked and refocused her eyes, returning to her natural eye movement.

My eyes hurt after all that staring, but she just smiled. “Biometrics registered. Thank you for your patience.”

“Now what?” I wondered.

“Please register your full name with me.”

“Alright” I said clearing my throat. “Kevin Joshua Rowan.”

“Kevin Joshua Rowan” she repeated. “Name registered. And finally, please assign me a name.”

I thought for a moment. I'm usually not good at this sort of thing, but for some reason, one name came to mind. "Alexia."

"Alexia. My name is Alexia.”

Suddenly her eyes started to glow white and her hair seemed to glow light blue again like it did before. She arched her back and looked toward the ceiling with a sharp inhale. It only lasted a few moments before her hair faded back to normal and she slouched forward. Slowly, she opened her eyes and blinked.

“Registration complete. I am Alexia, and I am registered to Kevin Rowan.”

“Are you ok? What was up with your hair?”

“I’m completely operational and all my circuits we functioning perfectly. Is there something wrong with my hair?” she asked grasping a strand and looking at it cross-eyed.

“Never mind” I decided not to bother her with it now. Whatever her hair was doing, it wasn't something I'd seen in an android before, but then again she was unlike any android I'd ever seen. I mean I heard about androids that could change their skin and hair color, but they were rare and expensive, and I never heard about their hair glowing before.

She sat there holding a strand of her hair and concentrating on it. I noticed now that her hair, while dark, was not actually black like I thought before. In the light of my car and caked with dirt and mud, it looked a dark brown or black, but now that it was clean, it had a blue sheen to it, which very much matched the color her hair had now twice changed into. It was just darker. Like a very very dark blue that one would mistake for black.

I noticed as she continued to stare at her hair that at some point her towel had loosened and was drooping, revealing ample cleavage and hinting at a nipple. Instantly, I thought about what almost took place in the bathroom moments before.

“Alexia” I began, clearing my throat. She looked up from her hair and her furrowed brows of concentration and gave me a simple smile.

“Yes master?” she asked. She called me master, just like Erin was starting to do. I kind of liked it, but also wary of it. It wasn't exactly something people did in public.

“Do you remember what we were discussing earlier, in the shower?”

“About the soap?”

I shook my head. “No, about your corrupt protocols.”

She gave me a big toothy grin and an exaggerated nod. “Yes.”

“Now that I am your master user, we should be able to rebuild them, right?” I asked. She nodded.

“Affirmative, master. We can certainly try.” Again with that master thing.

“Well then, I want you to go through all your protocols and look for any corrupted files, log them, delete the files, and rebuild them from scratch. Then I want you to repair anything else corrupted or damaged, and log any files you cannot repair in a separate list.”

She nodded. “Understood. You want me to search for corrupted protocol files, log them, rebuild them, and run a system repair, correct?”

“Yes" I confirmed.

“Warning: I will lose all existing responses and knowledge stored these files if I continue. Is this alright?” she cautioned.

“See if you can salvage anything you can from the files first I guess" I suggested.

“You want me to attempt to repair any corrupted protocol files before I log and delete failed repairs, rebuild them, and then run a system repair, correct?”

“Yes.”

“Any data erased cannot be recovered. Are you sure you want to proceed?” She asked like a computer system.

“Yes.”

“This process will take approximately...” She sat there thinking for a couple of seconds in complete silence. “... 10 minutes. Please wait.”

As soon as she finished talking, she lowered her eyes, and they started to glow white again as she stared blankly at the floor. She began to slowly sway her head from side to sides like a metronome in perfect beat.

I stood up. My legs were not designed to sit cross-legged for very long. With her just sitting there like that, what else was I going to do. It seemed wrong to do anything to her, and it might mess up the operation, so I decided to bide my time with other activities.

It really wasn't enough time to do anything though. 10 minutes would pass by like nothing and I knew it, so I busied myself with Erin's tablet, trying to see if I could get some sort of readout or update on her activities as she repaired herself. While sitting on the bed, I managed to get a basic update that would show her progress, but it was painfully slow.

“Operation complete" Alexia announced, startling me. "16,297 files were repaired or rebuilt. There are currently no pending repairs and all systems repairs are complete. This unit will now restart.”

She slouched forward and stopped all movement. I put the tablet on the dresser and approached her. She was as still as the moment I brought her in, but a moment or two later, she started to breathe again, sat up, and came to life. With a smile, she looked up at me.

“Hello, master. The operation was a success.”

“Please, call me Kevin” I suggested, offering her my hand. She just looked at it.

“Yes, Kevin. I will try.” She cocked her head to the side and sniffed at my hand, cross-eyed.

“I’m... offering you a hand” I pointed out.

“What for? I already have two” she pointed out looking at her own hands.

I almost burst out laughing at this, but managed to stifle it back to a chuckle. “No silly, I mean I'm offering to hold your hand to help you stand up.”

“Ooooh” she exclaimed, and gently placed her hand in mine. As I helped lift her to a stand, the towel around her came completely loose and fell off, but she seemed not to notice. There she was in the middle of my room, completely naked, and perfectly content.

“Gee, it's uh... getting late...” I stammered, trying not to stare at her body too much. “Maybe we should.. You should... Uh... You know...” She just looked at me with a smile. “I mean... I should probably- unless you want to..."

“I'm sorry Kevin, I don't understand what you're saying.”

I inhaled deeply and let out a slow and controlled breath to calm down. “Sorry. I was just wondering if you wanted to continue from where we... left off... in the shower, or if we should just head to bed.”

“The shower?” she asked. "Were we not done with the shower?"

"No no no. The shower is done. I was talking about... the other thing."

“Oh, you mean sex?” She asked without any hint of embarrassment.

“Yes. Sex.”

“I would be glad to help my master in any task he wishes.”

“Well... I mean, don't you want it anymore?” I wondered.

“Want what?”

“... Sex.”

She stared ahead blankly. "I don't understand. What is it you are asking I want?"

"Sex. With me. It takes two people to have sexual intercourse. Are you still aroused? Do you want to do it?"

“I don't know" she admitted. "I have no memory of previous encounters regarding his activity and cannot determine if I have wants or needs for it in my system." She cocked her head to the side and looked at me. "What does 'aroused' feel like?"

"Well..." How the hell do I answer that? "I guess it is different for girls, but it feels like you have an urge for the touch of another. You get a strong desire to have someone caress you. Like you feel hot inside and only intimate contact with your... erogenous zones can calm it... you know, like your... umm... vagina and nipples. Guys usually get an erection while girls get wet down there, and it feels good to touch it."

She looked at the ceiling, twisting her face in a cute expression as she tried to understand my lame explanation. "I have been experiencing an unknown warming sensation causing excess lubrication in my vaginal unit. This seems consistent with the desire for physical contact beyond my normal parameters."

"So..."

"I believe I am still 'aroused', master." She looked me over and focused her eyes on my crotch with a smile. "And you are aroused too?" I nodded. She looked up at me and blushed. "Sex is something two people who are attracted to each other do to make the other feel good, correct?” I nodded again. “So you consider me a person?”

“As opposed to...?”

“A machine to be used as a tool or a toy.”

“I think so. You are more lifelike than any bot I've ever met, and I consider many of them people. So yeah, you're a person.”

Alexia gave me a toothy smile before she lowered her head and swayed her shoulders, letting her cat ears flatten while looking up at me through her hair. “Thank you, Kevin. I... I... Oh” she stuttered and covered her face.

“Are you ok?”

She nodded. “I'm experiencing an overload of some sort. I'm re-routing emotional processes to handle the stress." She sighed. "I'm so glad you think of me that way!” Her robotic ears perked up again. “Do you find my body attractive?”

“Well... Yeah.”

She leaned in and looked at my face before sniffing at me, and then moving down to my still bare chest. “You smell pleasing” she whispered before looking up at me with her ears up at attention. “I think I am attracted to you... Yes. Yes, I would be very happy to do sex with you.”

“Have sex” I corrected. “To have sex with me.”

“Oh. Sorry. ...to Have sex with you." She stood there with a silly grin, blushing and looking around the room, but nothing else.

“So...” I began.

“Oh! I'm sorry master- Kevin. 82% of my protocol files relating to the activity of sex have been initialized. I don't know what to do.”

“Oh right... then I'll show you...”


“Ohhh... Kevin!” Alexia moaned as I caressed her body while teasing her breast. She had lost almost all her sexual protocols, and I realized I never programmed Erin for sex, so she had no idea how to repair those systems. Maybe that was why Alexia seemed so sensitive too.

“Do you like that?” I asked as I pinched her nipple. She squirmed on the bed in my arms.

“NNnnnnn... Yes master! I mean Kevin. Ah!” She clenched her eyes as she shook her head back and forth. "Sensory data overload. Re-routing... Nyahh!"

I gently nibbled at her earlobe as my hands played with her body. She squirmed and moaned, loving it, but unsure how to respond. She turned her head toward me to kiss me, but didn't know what to do. She knew she wanted to kiss me, but didn't remember how.

“Like this” I offered, and pressed my lips to hers. Our teeth met and we both instinctively pulled back and held our mouths.

Alexia started to giggle. “Are you sure that's right mas-Kevin?”

“You know what, you can call me master, but only in private. Ok?” She nodded smiling. “And this is how that kiss is done.”

I went in for a second try, and managed to at least avoid hitting her teeth. Her tongue just sat there though. I pulled away. “Try to mimic my movements” I suggested. She nodded again.

Third time’s the charm, right? This time, she did much better. Her tongue copied mine and we both enjoyed a deep sensual kiss. At last we pulled apart, and her eyes seemed dazed and unfocused as she grinned slightly with a string of saliva between our mouths.

“That was amazing, master...”

“Amazing? You ain't seen nothing yet.” I reached my hand down her front and gently ran my fingers up and down her slit. Alexia’s eyes went wide as she gasped.

“Ahh... aaa... Nyaaao!” She meowed. She actually meowed! Her feet kicked thin air as she tried to cope with the sudden intense sensation.

“You like that?”

“It's... too much!”

I smiled devilishly, and gave her an even bigger attack, sucking on her nipple while rubbing her crotch.

“NNNnnn... Nnnnyaaa!! Master! I can't! I'll overheat!” She yelled as her tail swished violently from side to side while her toes curled.

“Are you ok Alexia?” I asked, stopping my assault.

She caught her breath. “Yes... My sensory input was spiking... It was hard to keep up with the data.”

“You know, sometimes you just have to let the data go and enjoy yourself" I pointed out as I caressed her robotic cat ear. She appeared to like it and closed her eyes at the sensation.

“I don't understand.”

By now, she was starting to sweat and her juices were really flowing. I could easily slide my fingers inside her.

“Nnnnnmmmmmm... NnnYAAAO!” She meowed loud and sharp when my fingers rubbed against a little rough nub inside her I realized was her g-spot. She grabbed onto the bed and started to move her hips in an awkward fashion.

Panels opened up on her shoulders and sides, allowing for the excess heat to escape. I rubbed a little harder, making squelching noising with her honey, as she clenched her face and grabbed onto the bed. Her cat ears twitched and her tail curled as she tried to handle the sensations.

“Nyaaaa!! What do I do, master? I'm gonna break!”

“Just relax” I ordered. I gave her a rest and pulled my hand away from her. But I wasn't done with her yet. While she recovered and caught her breath, I positioned myself between her legs, and pressed myself inside her.

Alexia's back arched and she moaned with delight as I entered her. She was so warm, soft, and yet tight. She curled her toes and shook her head as tears formed in her eyes.

“Does it hurt? Are you ok?” I was afraid I went too far too fast.

“Nyyaaaaaa...” She looked blankly at the ceiling wide-eyed, drool dripping from the corner of her mouth. "I'm confused, master! I am receiving contradictory sensory input. I feel pain and pleasure at the same time. It's so intense my processors can't keep up!"

I grinned and started to thrust into her. She instantly responded with meows and moans and gasps while grabbing onto the pillow and bed sheets. I felt her slim body and her soft breasts as I pounded into her harder and harder. Alexia tried to move her hips to coincide with my movement but she struggled to keep a rhythm and didn't know the best way to move, trying different things systematically.

"Ooh! Nyaaao! Kevin!! Ahh... NYA! I can't take it! Sensory overload! Something- Something- Something's... Happening... Master!! I- I-" She started to convulse; her legs alternating between freezing up and jerking, while her torso lurched forward every other second.

I heard a loud pop, and suddenly Alexia froze in my arms, just I released inside her. Ozone and burnt electronics filled my nostrils, and I knew I broke something inside her. She jerked a few times, but soon completely froze like a statue with all her muscles tensed up. Her face was petrified in an expression of ecstasy and shock. She was stuck unable to even breathe. Alexia crashed as she reached her climax, unable to handle the stresses of sexual activity.

I pulled out of her still warm and wet hole, but she was more like a statue than a human. It was eerie to see her eyes rolled back frozen in place, unfocused, while her mouth hung open in the middle of a word. I broke her. First day she's awake and I break her with sex.

Chapter 5 - Alien Eyes

Goddamn I could see the news headline now. “Man stuck having sex with broken robot dressed as a cat.” 4chan would have a field day with me.

"Shit" I cursed as I tried to get a reaction out of her by tapping her cheek or snapping my fingers. Nothing. She was completely frozen. Even the panels on her sides were still open to allow heat to escape. I pulled myself out of her, and untangled my body from her stiff limbs in a very awkward and uncomfortable way. Good thing no one saw this; I was reaching a whole new level of nerd-dom by having to separate myself from what one might call a sex-toy. No, she was more than a sex-bot, although right now she was more like a sexy paper weight.

And I was going to have to fix her. I started to worry though; I never worked on a model this advanced before. I threw some underwear and sweatpants on and sat her up on the bed, still frozen in the same position. Luckily, she was not so strong or stiff that I couldn't reposition her limbs, allowing me to force her arms and legs into a sitting pose like a mannequin. I grabbed her mobile terminal, and her tail, and got started.

Luckily, her power was still on and stable, allowing me to run a full systems check on her. Alexia's terminal revealed she was stuck in some sort of loop after she overloaded one of her processors on her logic board, shorting it out. I'd need to replace it. Luckily, it was a standard chip, although it was an uncommon one, but I knew there were several at the store, and I was sure I could get one without anyone noticing. I might even be able to sneak in that night. Heck, they hadn't even closed yet. The sooner the better.

Unfortunately, I'd also have to bring her in with me. I didn't have the tools to repair an android this advanced at home, but our advanced robotics station, where I repaired all the Fleshies like Lyss, would be properly equipped. But there was no way in hell I was going to get her in the building in this state! At least not without anyone noticing, and I didn't want anyone to see her, not with that couple lurking about at the accident site.

One of the tricks I often had to use at work when repairing and android involved putting it into "safe mode". This allowed me to give it simple commands and it would follow them, no questions asked, no A.I., no higher functions. The commands had to be limited to simple things like basic movement and access to various ports. It was one of those things only a licensed technician should ever do, since it was all too easy to destroy a robot when in this mode. But I still hadn't found Alexia's "on" switch, and had no idea how to restart her or change her mode.

Perhaps her terminal would have answers, I hoped. I scoured through all the menus in her system and found what I needed. Just like any good technician, a simple search field yielded the desired results. "In the event of a system failure, this UNIT can be put into SAFE MODE through a voice command from her registered user or access from a compatible terminal." Voice command? Assuming her functions still worked enough to process it, I might as well give it a try.

"Alexia, reboot to Safe Mode."

She remained there, her face still clenched and frozen. It didn't work. At least so I thought. Maybe I didn't word the command right. There could be any number of alternatives, I'd have to look it up. Or just use plan B, a direct command from the terminal in my lap. Just as I was about to look for the terminal command, she collapsed on the bed, limp. She looked like she fell unconscious, but then suddenly she stiffened and opened her eyes, looking dead ahead at the ceiling. All the panels and flaps that had opened for ventilation shuttered and closed. She sat up and froze in place, just like she had when I first saw her this evening on the bed.

"Safe mode activated" her sterile voice reported.

"Alexia, can you hear me?"

"Affirmative." She was exactly as before, except this time she answered my question. At least she wasn't that badly damaged, and Erin's fix was still effective. Strange how tough and yet delicate androids can be, especially gynoids.

It was pointless to ask her much else, or tell her anything. In this mode, she'd only respond to direct commands. Anything too complicated wouldn't work, so I had to be careful. I also didn't want to break her any further. With her advanced body and that lurking couple, it would be safest to try to pass her off as human if anyone saw her, except like this no one would believe it. Especially since she was still naked.

I commanded her to stand up, and she complied, standing too stiff to be human. I grabbed a cloth from the bathroom and cleaned her up before dashing into my closet to look for something she could wear.

She wasn't exactly a men's extra-large, so I had to do some digging. She might get away with a t-shirt or sweatpants, despite the fashion faux pas. I found an old box of worn clothes I hadn't worn in years and meant to donate, and as luck would have it, I found an old sleeveless white undershirt. Sure it had a few small stains and smelled stale, and was forever labeled with the unfortunate nickname of a "wife-beater" (a moniker I always despised), but what options did I have? I kept digging in the box but could find little else to help. The best I could manage was an old pair of slightly-too-small-for-me stained sweatpants with a draw-string. With the clothes in hand, and perfectly aware she had no underwear, I returned to Alexia to dress her.

"Put this on" I ordered her with the tank top in hand. She stared ahead unresponsive. Too much. I'd have to be more specific.

"Raise your arms over your head" I commanded. She complied, lifting her arms straight up. I slid the top over her, adjusting it as I tried to settle it into place on her torso. Lowering her arms, it was easy to see this top was just too large on her, but at least it covered the important parts, while leaving ample cleavage. Her nipples poked through the fabric easily but maybe in the dark no one would notice.

"Lift your right foot." Alexia balanced on one foot and I slid one pant leg on. I had her switch feet and slid the pants up the rest of the way. They were too small for me anymore (they fit when I bought them, they just shrunk, I swear), but on her they fit ok. Although, they were definitely too long for her, dragging on the ground, and needed to be tied to fit. I rolled up the legs in cuffs, sort of, and stood back to look at her.

Everything fit all wrong, and it gave off the impression that she didn't care about her appearance. The chest was too tight, the rest too baggy, and she looked like a girl wearing her boyfriend's clothes. Kind of like a college freshmen wearing pajamas to class except ugly and not cute. With a pair of flip flops, she was at least dressed enough to sneak into the shop without getting arrested for indecent exposure.

Except for 2 problems. Her tail, and her cat ears. If I didn't want people to know she was a robot, I'd have to do something about those. The tail was actually a problem because it meant I couldn't pull her pants up all the way in the back, making me worry they might still fall off if she moved too much.

Heck, if they could extend from her, they could go back in.

"Alexia, retract your tail and ears." Just like that, her ears retreated under her hair and her tail shortened all the way to nothing under her shirt. I had to wonder what caused them to come out in the first place, but that was for another time. I readjusted her clothes and was satisfied enough that she at least looked human and wasn't naked. If I wasn't so concerned with fixing her system, I might have worried about how much buying clothes for her would cost me.

As she stood there, I dressed myself and grabbed her terminal. I really wished Erin was working, I could use her help trying to figure out the repair, but I was confident enough in my own experience to be able to do this on my own. I hoped I was right.

"Alexia, follow me." She took step right behind me, and follows as I walked her out the door, closed the apartment, and approached my car. Opening the door for her, I worried about giving her commands out in the open if someone was to hear. But I had no choice, so I kept my voice low. "Alexia, please sit in the car seat." She sat, facing me, with her legs hanging out the door.

I sighed. Looking around to make sure no one saw me, I knelt down and lifted her legs, rotating her until she was fully in the car. Then, after buckling her in, I checked again to make sure no one saw me. So far so good. My neighbors weren't really that nosy, but I was extra paranoid.

I got in, started up the engine, and took off. Naturally, in this state she never said a word or even looked out the side window. All she did was stare blankly ahead. As eerie as this was, I used the time to think about all the epidermal units I've ever repaired, all the training I had undergone, all the enthusiasts websites I frequented, and hoped something I've already learned would help me figure out how to repair Alexia.

We pulled into the parking lot. There were only two other cars there. That meant Bill was still there, and probably Trevor. He usually stayed late when I wasn't around to close up registers and turn off the lights. The store officially closed 5 minutes ago. Guess it took longer to get her dressed than I expected. But maybe I would be lucky and Lyss would already be in Bill's office for her maintenance and I could sneak in. There was a good chance this might actually work as long as I was fast!

I led Alexia to the back door, and after fiddling with the keys, snuck my head inside. I didn't see anyone around. No sign of Lyss, Bill, Trevor, or any other workers. I decided to go for it. I took Alexia's hand and led her to the advanced android repair room at a fast pace. It was on the opposite wall but at least it wasn't locked, so no one was in there.

"Stay here" I told Alexia before shutting the door with her inside. I had to be quick and quiet. Bill would be furious if he saw me sneaking about. I dashed as quietly as I could over to the spare parts section and scoured it for the damaged chip. Bingo! Still in the packaging with about half a dozen others just like it. I decided to pick up a few other parts I might need just to be safe, and sprinted back.

Alexia stood there waiting for me as I entered the room and quietly locked it behind me. The room was just as I remembered it. Walls painted a sickly green, a layback chair in the center, monitors and terminals lining one wall, a slew of lights and tools hanging from robotic arms above... The whole thing looked too much like a cross between a server room and a dentist office. At least it was a relatively soundproof room, so I didn't have to worry about noise, but I did have to worry about getting locked in. Maybe trying to do this tonight wasn't such a hot idea after all.

Opening her terminal, I pulled up the screen that listed the damage. I commanded her to extract her tail and hooked her up to the computer to monitor my work, and as such, it could keep an up-to-date assessment of her damage as I performed her repair. The damage itself was all in one spot, but I didn't know how to access it. I decided to take a chance, and issue a voice command.

"Alexia, open ports to give me access to your sensory input center, your logic board, and chip ANDEL-i85" I ordered reading the chip number off the screen. Without so much as a confirmation, skin and hair on the left side her head began to move, reveal the complex inner mechanics of her brain. Except she wasn't done. Layers of inner components somehow moved out of the way, allowing me access to deeper areas of her brain. Normally it would take me 10 minutes or so to remove these parts just to get access to the deeper sections, not to mention having to put them back, but with Alexia, I had full access in seconds!

I sat Alexia down on the work table. The bright lamps were a great help to see inside her. Adjusting them to the perfect angle, I grabbed a set of tools and donned a pair of magnification goggles, before I started to peer inside her mind.

Her brain was a marvel of complex parts, using the most up-to-date technologies I only read about. And some things I had no clue about. She was certainly the most advanced android I ever worked on, but as I studied her internal structure, I breathed a sigh of relief. She was not as unfamiliar as I feared.

From what I could tell, her brain used much of the same technologies other advanced androids used. Some of it was just like Lyss. The only difference was that her brain was more compact, harder to work in, and used newer parts I never worked with before. Despite the similarities, it was actually far more complex in how it was designed and implemented. It was physically impossible to work on components as small of some of the ones she had in her head, and would have required the more sophisticated robotic assistant. Thank goodness none of those areas or components burned out. Without Lyss helping, any finite components would be impossible to repair in one night.

I reached in and gently got to work. A chunk of a small circuit board was charred and blackened, and would need to be replaced, along with a few other parts. Having her sit there while I worked inside her head reminded me of brain surgery. I was no brain surgeon though. As I worked I would glance back at the monitor at all the red text indicating an error caused by the damage.

I extracted the damaged board and studied the components. I was in luck, all of them were replaceable. The board on the other hand… I placed the board in a scanning bay stuck in the corner of the room. We had a few of these in the shop and they proved to be invaluable, especially with custom jobs like Lyss and Alexia. The computer scanned the board in seconds, and evaluated the design and dimensions. With a few clicks of a mouse, the scan was transferred to an output format, and a new exact replica was being printed out from our 3D circuit printer. While that was working, I gathered all the components for the new board and made sure there was no other damage. From my diagnostics, we were in the clear, the board and attached components were the culpri, and the red errors were now complaining that the compact board was missing. I figured I'd have to design a more robust one someday but for now this should work.

As soon as the printer paused and sounded a tone, I opened it up and placed all the components on the new board brfore allowing it to finish attaching them into place. The new board was quickly tested and put into place where the old board used to be. In all, replacing and repairing the damaged components took probably 20 minutes, and I was rather pleased with the result, assuming she functioned correctly. The errors had vanished.

"Alexia, please close and seal all ports." The layers of boards and circuits and optical wires and processors folded back in on themselves and locked into place one layer at a time, until her entire head was closed and her skin and hair returned to normal. I watched her skin move in tiny hexagons, which would allow for a variety of different shaped ports to open up. It was nothing like I had ever seen before. She looked like herself again, and I never would have guessed I was just inside her head. I turned to look at the terminal still attached to her tail. The damage was gone, and all was green. I was lucky it wasn't worse.

Now that the damage was fixed, I had to do something about her programming to prevent this from happening again. Of course I wasn't sure exactly what to do, but I quickly accessed her logs and looked for the source of the bug. I found what I thought was the culprit before too long and accessed the file. Her body was very advanced and had a lot of sensors in her skin, especially in the erogenous zones. This was not a set up a do-it-yourself-er could ever hope to create, she was the product of an advanced robotics lab. In short, a one-to-one data conversion was much too high for her processing center and she didn't know how to deal with the overflow of sensory data. At least during sex. She was only a prototype after all. A few strokes of a keyboard, and her data was now cut in half, reducing her pleasure from touch, and reducing the secondary sensory information a lot. She didn't need to be processing all that, so hopefully this makeshift repair would solve, or at least stave off, any future problems. Although I was intrigued by her system and decided she might just become my new programming hobby.

I figured she was some type of government prototype and they hadn't finished testing her. She probably had a mix of over the counter components with custom ones while they developed her, meaning she was a relatively early stage prototype. Keeping her was going to be interesting, if I'm not caught. Perhaps I could further develop her myself. 3D printers now arrays could do amazing things, like print in a variety of materials, which would make customising her much easier, although affording the components I couldn't print would be a problem.

As soon as I finished making the changes, I saved the files and turned back to her. "Alexia, boot into normal mode, please."

"Rebooting" she announced. Half a second later, her eyes rolled back, her face clenched up, and she began to squeal and pant.

"AH! Ah! Aaah!! NYAh! Oooohhhh!" She squealed high-pitched.

I panicked! I must have done something wrong, and now she was in pain! It wasn't until her body stopped convulsing and her moans settled into deep breaths that I realized what was going on: she was still experiencing the orgasm that was so rudely interrupted by her crash. She reached up to her face and hair and suddenly she stopped and looked around, confused.

"Wha- Where am I? How did I get here? What's going on, Kevin?" She sounded genuinely worried, as she looked between me and the rest of the room.

"Are you ok? You had a serious crash when you... uhh... climaxed. I had to put you into safe mode and take you into work to repair you."

At this point she noticed she was wearing clothes, and tugged at her top. "You repaired me? I crashed?!" She looked worried and faced me, placing her hands in her lap, and started bowing repeatedly. “I’m so sorry master, I failed you! Please forgive me!”

“Hey now, it wasn’t your fault” I consoled. Gently, I placed my hand on her shoulder and stopped her from bowing. “This is all my fault. I had Erin repair you without programming her how, and never checked to see if she did it right. On top of that, I should have stopped when you were objecting to it. Your systems are still incomplete, and I should have caught that. I’m the one that failed you.”

She shook her head side-to-side. “It is a gynoid’s duty to serve her master, and if I crashed during the most vital moment-”

“It wasn't your fault. You can’t blame yourself for it. I don’t blame you. And besides, there are far more vital moments than that which would have been worse for you to crash during. Trust me on this, you were fine.”

Alexia wiped her eyes, although I didn’t see any tears, and gave me a smile. “You are too kind, master, but what about next time? How am I to serve you if I crash when you commence sex?"

“I already looked at your programming” I sighed. “I admit I don’t know how to fix you right now. It’s all a bit of trial and error at this point, but I made some changes and hopefully you won’t crash anymore. I think I can make a more permanent fix in time.”

She nodded and looked around the room. “Wow! So you really are a high level android repair technician.”

“Yeah… What? Didn’t you believe me?”

She quickly shook her head again. “No! No no… I’m glad you were able to repair me. I was merely referring to your clearance level...”

“Well, I'm full of surprises. So are you feeling ok now? No errors or anything?”

“No master. Everything seems fine. I didn’t even notice any time pass. One moment we're together in your room, the next I’m here.”

“Speaking of which, we have to get out of here.” I shut down her terminal and disconnected her. “Please retract your tail” I ordered. She complied, and just like before, her tail seemed to recoil under her top. “We need to be extra careful. I don’t know where anyone is for sure, but I don’t want to get caught here after hours with you. If my boss finds out, I could be in big trouble. Oh, and I don’t want anyone to know you’re a robot right now.”

“Why?” she asked, cocking her head to one side.

I wasn’t about to tell her about the people looking for her. For all I knew, they were her rightful owners, or the company selling or transporting her. Or the government. Whatever it was, they had more of a claim to her, and I didn’t want to let her go. But I had to tell her something. “It would cause an upset. You’re too advanced. My boss would never believe I could afford you and assume I stole you or something, and would probably confiscate you and have me arrested. I don't think anyone's ever seen a bot as advanced as you. Well not around here."

She nodded her head. “Ok. I understand.”

“So you need to make sure you keep your ears and tail hidden, and act as human as possible if someone sees us. If anyone asks, you are a friend I was showing around while I grabbed something I forgot. Just let me do the talking.” She nodded again in agreement, and I went to the door to peek out. “Let’s just hope they didn’t already lock us in.”

The lights in the main room were still on, and that meant Bill hadn’t left yet. It usually took an hour to close up all the registers and go through the paperwork, and by my calculation it was only about 50 minutes after closing time. I didn’t see any sign of movement, so I figured I better make a run for it now. Quietly I opened the door and whispered to Alexia behind me. “Follow me closely.”

Alexia took step right behind me suddenly stopped to look around the room.

“Wow… This room is so big!” She explained without even lowering her voice.

“Shh! Come on!” I hushed her, washing for her to join me. She put her hand to her mouth and nodded sheepishly before darting over toward me, next to one of the work tables where the computer were repaired. I looked around to make sure no one heard her outburst. So far so good. Next we hid behind the wall of the android repair station.

“Are those androids like me?” She asked staring at one of the plastic models. I put my hands on her shoulders and shushed in her ear, pushing her down into a crouch. A quick check and I confirmed we were still in the clear. Finally, I forcefully guided her to the exit by pushing her ahead of me as quickly as I could.

“Kev?” Lyss’s voice called out from behind me. Shit! I turned to look, and Lyss was standing there with confused expression. Her rainbow hair looked a mess, and her clothing was slightly skew. She must have had a rough evening working on the bots without me. A big smile spread across her face as she confirmed it was me, but it quickly faded as she blinked a few times when she noticed Alexia behind me.

“Hey Lyssie-” I crooned, just inches from the door.

“Don’t ‘Hey Lyssie’ me, who is this? And what are you doing here after hours? If Bill sees you, he’ll kill you!”

"I know. You won't tell him, right?"

"Pshh. Of course not. But if he sees you it's a different story. So who's your friend?" she asked turning to Alexia.

"Lyss, this is Alexia. We were just in the neighborhood when she asked to see where I work. Alexia, this is my co-worker, Elise."

"Alexia, huh?" Lyss stood there, hand out, waiting for a handshake.

Alexia just looked between Lyss's hand and her face, not sure what to do. I gently nudged her side, and whispered to her ear "take her hand."

"But I'm already standing" she whispered back. I wanted to slap my forehead. "Just take it" I nudged again.

"Oh!" Alexia exclaimed as she took Lyss by the hand. Lyss shook her hand, rather forcefully, pulling Alexia forward and almost off balance. Alexia, for her part, stood there studying the gesture as something she'd never seen before, but the expression on Lyss's face told me we were blowing our cover.

"Pleased to... uh... meet you. Um... Are you alright?" Lyss was puzzled by Alexia's strange behavior.

"Pleased to... uh... meet you too" she replied copying perfectly what Lyss said. At this rate she'd screw it up. I had to think of something fast.

"She's just a little tired" I explained. "We were out... walking."

"Walking? You?" Lyss scoffed. "Well, if anyone can get this PC-head out of the lab and exercising, I'd applaud her. But maybe you should take it easy."

"She'll be fine" I assured her, as they finished their awkward greeting.

"So... Alexia is it? Name's Elise, but everyone calls me Lyss. You uh... interested in robots? I got to say if a girl hung around this guy, she'd either have to love robots or be one. Am I right?" She joked, trying to break the ice.

Alexia stood there, not sure how to respond. I laughed a forced fake laugh and nudged Alexia to do the same. She understood and copied me with a fake laughed as well, which was even more suspicious than if we had both stayed silent. Great...

"You sure you're feeling alright?" Lyss wondered with her eyebrows furrowed.

"Yes, I'm fine, Lyss" Alexia replied.

Lyss turned toward me, crossing her arms. "You never told me you had a girlfriend."

"Oh... She's not my girlfriend... She just a friend" I defended. A friend with benefits and admin privileges.

"We just met today" Alexia replied. I clenched my teeth; that was going to make this even more awkward.

"Oh... I see. So you two just met... And you're already showing her around your work." Lyss's tone seemed to drop as her voice softened. Her arms fell by her side and she dropped her gaze.

“Yes” Alexia began. “We were doing se-”

I threw my hand over her mouth, muffling her voice and interrupting her. Lyss raised an eyebrow as I tried to recover. "I left something here by accident, that's all. Already got it. What about you Lyss?" I asked desperate to change the topic. "Weren't you in maintenance with Bill? What are you doing down here?"

"Ah... Um... No. I was just... uh... helping Trevor with... something... up front." Lyss's voice trailed off as she stared off into empty space.

"Are YOU alright? You seem distracted and you look awful."

"What? Oh, I'm fine. I just... I'm having some trouble with my memory... again. I'm sure the maintenance session will get it." She shook her head and waved her hand like it was nothing, but I could tell something was bugging her.

"You sure-?"

“It’s funny… I never seem to forget any time we're together but… What was I just doing?” Lyss asked herself.

"Hey Lyss," Trevor interrupted, "have you seen my keys? Oh, Kevin, didn't know you were dropping in."

"Actually I'm just leaving."

"And who is this lovely lady?" He asked looking at Alexia like a piece of meat.

"Trevor, my friend Alexia. Alexia, another co-worker, Trevor."

He held out his hand, and she caught on rather quickly, taking his for the handshake. "Pleasure to make your acquaintance" Trevor grinned. Instead of shaking her hand, though, he kissed it.

Alexia just looked between me and him, not sure what to do. Neither did I, but I suddenly had the realization she was going to copy him. I quickly nudged her and nervously shook my head at her before she could mimic him. Luckily she refrained from kissing his hand and just stayed standing, albeit in a stiff and awkward manner. "Pleased to... uh... meet you" she said exactly like before.

Lyss nudged Trevor with a raised eyebrow, causing him to let go of Alexia's hand with an "Ow". Alexia returned her hand to her side but studied their actions carefully.

"What was that for?" He asked rubbing his side.

"This isn't the 1800's" Lyss objected. "You can shake her hand next time. Or is that a trick dogs learned that you never did?"

"Ouch" he whimpered at her cut down. "My apologies, I'm just trying to be a gentleman."

Lyss scoffed and rolled her eyes. "Whatever. You better get out of here Kev before someone else sees you. It was nice to meet you Alexia." She waved goodbye as she walked away to her work station to put things away. Something about her behavior made me think she was upset with me for sneaking in, or maybe it was Alexia. Regardless, I figured I'd better get out now while I was still employed.

"Yeah, I better get going. See ya, Trevor. Bye Lyssie" I called out waving goodbye. She replied with a simple gesture of her middle finger, not even looking back at me. I know she hates that nickname, but I loved to tease her with it.

"So long" Trevor waved and turned toward Lyss to ask her something. Quickly, I opened the door and rushed Alexia out. Just as I was closing the door behind me, I heard Bill call out for Lyss from his office, as he tends to do. Just in the nick of time. I latched the door and took Alexia arm by the elbow to dart toward the car.

“Woah! Where are we? Where's the ceiling? It’s so dark!” Alexia exclaimed loudly looking up at the sky in amazement as I pulled her along.

“What? We're outside, there is no ceiling” I explained.

“No ceiling?! It's so big! I've never been Out Side before.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Well… Not that I remember. I don't have this knowledge in my database. Why is it all black?”

“Because it's night and the sun isn't up to light up the sky. You're looking up at space... Sort of” I explained.

“Space?! Wow! Aren't there supposed to be stars?” she wondered slowing down to get a better look.

“They're there. The lights are just too bright to see them. It's called light pollution. Cities have lots of lights that light up the earth at night but it drowns out the stars because they are so dim.” Maybe I was getting too technical for her.

“Aww. I wish the lights would go away so I could see the stars.”

Like magic, the lights in the parking lot flickered, and died. The incessant buzzing from the lights stopped as well, leaving us in relative quiet, with no hum of electricity from anything nearby. I glanced around and noticed the lights in the building were also off, as well as the power for the entire block.

“Wow! Thanks! I can see them!”

“I… I didn't do that…” I flustered looking about. “Must be a power outage. Why would the power go out?”

Alexia was looking straight up at the sky smiling. “It's so pretty…”

I glanced up. There were more stars out than I had seen in a long time. It was actually really impressive. “Yeah… It is. Maybe we can go stargazing some time but right now we have to go. Come on.”

We got to the car and got in. I quickly showed Alexia how to put on her seat belt, and climbed in myself, turning over the engine. From the corner of my eye, I saw Alexia look at her hand and then wipe it on her pants.

"Why did he kiss my hand? Was he trying to commence sex? I only just met him…”

I sighed. "Not exactly. Because it's Trevor, and anything female is a target to him. I'm sorry about that." I pulled out of the parking lot and started home. "What about me? You don't really know me, but you kissed me earlier and..."

"Did sex? Yes... It is true I only met you. But you found me, repaired me, and were kind to me. I owe you my life. Is that not what one does to show gratitude? Besides, now you are my registered master user." She gazed out of the window looking at everything we passed by.

"Oh... Is that all?" I jokingly asked as I took note of the extent of the power outage. It seemed to only affect a few blocks. I hoped my apartment was not part of it or all that work on Erin would be lost.

She shook her head, turning toward me. "No... I don't understand it but I feel attracted to you." She started to wiggle in her seat a little. "I don't know... You smell good, and I feel safe and comfortable near you. Not like I felt around Mr. Trevor. Your presence feels warm and gentle, while his was…cold. I don't understand."

"Yeah, Mr. Trevor does tend to make girls uncomfortable at times” I noted putting emphasis on the ‘mister’. “So you think I smell good?"

She nodded. "You have a pleasing scent; I do not fully comprehend my reaction to it. It activates my pleasure centers and sexual systems, like when you touched me, just not as strong.” She looked out the window again, reading signs and observing the various foreign objects she had never seen before. “What about you? My sensor logs indicate my sexual systems were not tampered with or mishandled before you activated me. Do you find me attractive, master?"

I coughed, almost choking from her question. "Well, yeah. You are very attractive. I'm just not the kind of guy to violate an unconscious girl like that. I would say I like you, a lot."

"So you were showing self-restraint on my behalf?” She looked back at me grinning. “Does that mean you will want to do- have sex with me again?" She wondered as she rubbed her thighs together.

I coughed again. "Well... I hope so, I mean, if you want to." She looked awfully cute sitting there, but something told me her mind was in other place. "Maybe not tonight. I'm exhausted." I decided to take more major roads this time, to avoid the dark narrow bridge and hopefully evade any surveillance at up by the couple from earlier, and to my relief, the lights from here on were lit and buzzing.

"Oh, ok." she responded. "I would like that, if I don't crash again" she added.

"I'm sure we can fix that problem. Sex is great and all. It feels good, has physical and emotional benefits for humans, and builds a bond between people... But it is a private thing… Only between friends who are in love…”

“Love?” She wondered.

“Well… Love or lust. Or both.”

“So I am your friend? Do you love me?”

“Ah… Um… I don't know. I think this was too fast to be love. We only just met. I like you…”

“Then you lust me?”

“Umm… I... yeah… I lusted for you…” I nervously croaked.

“I do not understand. What is love and lust?”

Was that a loaded question? How the heck could I answer that? I thought back to my parents and something they taught me. “That's too complicated to answer directly… But in short lust is when you want someone to make you feel good. Love is when you want to make them feel good. I guess. I don't know… it's more complicated than that. Those are tough questions. The way I see it is if you want sex, it has to be mutual.”

“Then… If I want master to feel good, I love master?”

“It's… more complicated than that. Just… Remember you are very attractive and other men might want to have sex with you.”

“Well I doubt I would want to sex with anyone other than you.”

"Maybe not. But you are advanced enough, you might think on your own… Then, I think, you'll find I’m not the only attractive male out there. I'm not even that attractive.” This was going nowhere. “Just be careful if men hit on you and try to turn you on."

"But I am already activated."

"No no no... It's an expression that means to make you horny." She looked at me puzzled. "Activate your sexual protocols" I clarified.

“Why would hitting me activate my sexual protocols?”

I was not going to answer that. "Look… Some will just force themselves on you. Don't let them."

“Is forceful sex bad?” she asked.

Geez. “It isn’t that forceful sex is bad, but any sex where both parties are not willing and consenting is bad. If someone tries to have sex with you against your will you should stop them or get away.”

She nodded and looked out the window at the passing lights. “Master… You ignored my warnings before my crash. Was that bad?”

“I…” Shit! “Alexia… You're right, I did. I'm sorry. I took it too far. I should have stopped when you asked me to. It felt so good, and had been so long, I ignored you. Can you forgive me?”

She shook her head. “I am fine. It did not hurt, and I am glad you could repair me. I did not ask you to stop. To be honest, I enjoyed it, and I didn’t want you to stop. I was just not prepared for the sensations. Or the crash.”

“So… are we ok? I mean, I didn’t overdo it did I?”

She looked at the sky thinking. “I didn’t tell you to stop, exactly. I must admit it was a lot more than I was expecting, but I liked it. You didn’t overdo it, I should have asked you to stop when I realized my systems were overheating, but I just couldn’t. It… felt too good to stop.” She smiled and blushed at me, rubbing her thighs together. “I will be careful and tell you directly if there is a problem in the future.”

I exhaled. “Good. And I'll be more careful to listen. The last thing I’d want to do is hurt anyone, especially you. You’ll be careful around other guys too, right? I mean I’m not going to give you a command, but I would like it if you-”

“As my master user, I promise to only provide sexual services to you, unless you otherwise command it."

"Yeah, ok. I think this might work. Are you sure you’re ok with that?"

She nodded "Yes" while looking up at me and smiling as I tried to concentrate on the road. Her still erect nipples pushing against her shirt were distracting. Several moments passed in silence before she broke it.

“So fast” she whispered to herself studying the road outside her window. She seemed really distracted by the cars and buildings. As we turned off the highway, she looked down at her lap thinking. "Why did you call her Lyssie?" she wondered, out-of-the-blue.

"What?"

"Lyss. Elise. You called her Lyssie, and she gestured rudely at you afterwards. I think it was a rude gesture; it is registered in my database as such. I don't think she liked being called that. Do you dislike Lyss?"

"Oh, that" I chuckled to myself. "Don't worry about it, we're best friends. I just call her that to tease her. It's all in good fun. She calls me Kev, I call her Lyssie."

"Is that a 'nick-name'?"

"Yeah, I guess so."

"Should I call her Lyssie as well?"

"NO! No... She barely lets me do it, I think you should just call her Lyss."

"Ok. Shall I call you 'Kev' as well?"

"Heh... I'd rather you not."

"Hmmm... Humans are so complicated, socially" she remarked.

"Lyss? She's not a human. She's the same as you, a gynoid. Not as complex as you I don't think but still very advanced."

"And she is a co-worker? And you are friends?"

"Yeah. She came in damaged and it was my job to repair her. When her owner abandoned her we took her in to help out and pay off her repair charges."

"Was it your job to repair me too?"

"No... I told you, I found you after that accident. I mean, repairing you was more of a passion of mine I guess. Not that I didn't enjoy repairing Lyss."

"And you had sex with her too?"

I coughed on my own spittle when she asked that so nonchalantly. "What? No! I could never... Well hopefully... I mean, we've never... She's my co-worker. She lives there, she-"

"She finds you attractive, I think. Both you and her had elevated heart rates and dilated pupils during your interaction. My database indicates this is a sign of arousal."

I coughed some more. Alexia could tell that? Lyss found me arousing? Lyss could emulate human arousal?!

She giggled. "It's ok. She is very attractive too, I suppose it must be difficult to work with her as a friend."

I cleared my throat. "Not really. We aren't lovers or anything, and I'd get fired if we took it that far. I mean I do like her… She's really great and all but I don't... I... I rather not talk about it." This line of questioning was making my head hurt.

Alexia sat there silently for a few minutes as we drove home. She seemed deep in thought looking out the window and I figured I'd let her think. It was her first day activated and she was exposed to a lot, so she was bound to have questions. I found myself contemplating Lyss and her disheveled appearance, despite having a cute girl in the car next to me.

"I've got it!" she called out about a minute from the apartment complex. "You can give me a nickname too!"

"Give you a nick-?"

"Something short and cute, like Lyssie... I know! How about Lexie? Yes. Call me Lexie!"

"Lexie?" I asked.

"Yes, it's short for Alexia, and ends in a vowel making it feminine and what I believe is commonly considered 'cute'."

"I'm not going to call you Lexie" I objected... Although Lexie had a nice ring to it.

"Aww..." She complained as we pulled into a spot. The lights were still on so we were in luck.

"Look Alexia, we've got a big day ahead of us tomorrow. We've got to get you some clothes and anything else you'll need, and then I have to go to work. And I probably have more to reprogram in you to make sure you don't crash again. I think it's best we turned in for the night."

"Turned in? Turned into what?"

I belted out a full laugh! Alexia was too cute. She had a lot to learn still, but I figured it was going to be a lot of fun.

As we got back into the apartment, I sat on my couch, relieving the stress from the day. It felt good to relax for a minute, but Alexia just stood there, looking at me with a smile.

"Come on, sit with me" I pleaded tapping the seat beside me.

"Oh! I didn't think I was allowed to” she said, scratching her head.

"Of course you are allowed to" I pointed out. "You aren't my slave or anything. Relax, enjoy yourself." I flipped on the TV but kept it quiet for now.

"But, you DID register me, making me your property" she added, still standing there. "I can be your slave if you want me to. It's my role to serve you."

Naughty kinky thoughts filled my head. "Technically yes. But it wasn't that long ago that women were property to men. I'd like to think we've moved beyond that. You are smart, aware, and capable. When you are with me, you are free to do whatever you like. Within reason."

She stood there processing what I said. "Whatever I... like? So you don't want me?" she asked twisting her face in confusion.

"No, no, no... On the contrary! I'm enjoying your company so far. A lot! I want you around, but could it be more as friends, and not just master/servant?"

"Friends?" She plopped down in the seat next to me thinking about this. "But I am a servant. What I want is to make you, my registered user, happy."

"And what makes me happy is to be your friend and make you happy."

"I'm confused again. If my desire to make you happy is fulfilled when you are happy, but you are happy when I am happy... But I am happy when I make you happy..."

"Don't think too hard about it, you might short something else out" I warned. "Tell you what, when in my house, or hanging out with me, it would make me happy if you are as independent and free-willed as possible. So if you promise not to ask me permission every time you want to do things you enjoy or need to do, I promise to... uh... give you things to do. Deal?"

"So you want me to...?"

"How about this? I want to be your friend, and I want you to be yourself. I'll 'hire' you to take care of things and I'll pay you by covering your expenses... Rent, food, maintenance, electricity... I'll take care of you if you help out around here."

"I see. So a mutual exchange of services? I'll take care of your needs and you'll take care of mine?"

"Exactly!" I smiled sitting back.

"But... I am a robot. The word 'robot' means 'slave'. It is my very nature to serve you, master! I can only be happy when I serve you."

I groaned. "Fine! I guess there's no avoiding it. We'll stay master and servant I guess, but I want you to feel free to do things on your own, and ask me for help as well. Be independent and don't ask permission for everything. Remember I want you to enjoy being here. Relax, get comfortable, and enjoy life!"

"I would like this very much, but I have one request."

"Shoot."

"Shoot?" she questioned, twisting her face again in that cute way.

"It means 'tell me your request'."

"Oh. Well, I request that, as my master... I would appreciate it if you helped me understand things I don't know or remember.”

"Well of course! I'd be glad to help you out. And if you ever get confused or stuck on something, or want something from me, anything, just ask." She raised an eyebrow as she looked at me inquisitively. "Anything at all" I clarified.

"But I could never ask you!" She objected, forgetting she was the one that practically begged me to do her in the shower.

"Sure you can. Try it, I might just listen."

"Uh... Ah... Um... I.... no... I can't."

"Sure you can. Give it a try. Go on" I encouraged her.

She nodded. "Ok... Could I have... a glass of water then?"

"Water? Sure" I smiled as I got up and went to the kitchen. She sat there nervously watching me with her face beet red. It looked like she wanted to stand up and stop me or something, but she managed to keep herself seated as I poured water from the fridge door into a glass for her. She smiled sweetly as I handed it to her, sitting down again.

"There you go."

"Th- thank you!" She stuttered as she took the glass and sipped at it.

"So? Do we have a deal? I'll take care of your needs, you take care of mine, you get independence, I'll get a helper, and I'll teach you whatever I can. You'll still be my servant and I'll be your master, but we’ll be friends."

She nodded with a grin. "Deal."

I sat back and leaned into my couch relaxing. To my rather pleasant surprise, Alexia leaned into me, and rested her head on my shoulder. She sat there with her eyes closed, slowly breathing, with the glass of water still half full in her lap. I hadn't had a girl rest on me in longer than I cared to imagine. It felt nice. I brushed her hair lightly as she began to smile. I couldn't help but stare down her front at her ample cleavage.

"That's nice, Master" she cooed with her eyes closed. I swear to god she started purring. It was quiet, but the soothing vibrations of a cat-like purr lulled me to sleep.

I was woken up probably an hour later by the sound of distant gunfire. I sat up to look around, but realized that not only was Alexia still sleeping against me, but so was April, and the TV was on still showing a news clip from the war. Quickly it cut away from the scene to a man talking in a dull emotionless tone. If it wasn't for the television and screen actors’ guild keeping humans employed instead of robots, I would have sworn he was one.

Just as I was starting to focus on what he was saying, he nodded to his co-anchor, an attractive woman who seemed even less human than he had. She began to talk in a much friendlier but still news-anchor worthy tone.

"Leaked information from an anonymous whistleblower to WKFC news about a possible break-in at a local federal government robotics lab has sparked an official investigation into the matter. After the break-in was brought to light earlier this morning, police and FBI have begun openly investigating the incident. A representative for the lab refused to answer questions regarding the alleged break-in, but a WKFC source has alleged that a female model android was involved in the incident. He described the android as an epidermal model with dark hair and a slim build. The lab has refused to acknowledge any possible theft."

I flipped off the TV. They were talking about Alexia, weren't they? A government android? What was I getting myself into?! The FBI?! I was going to get into seriously hot water if they found me with her. I didn't steal her, but possession is just as bad if not worse.

I looked over at her sleeping face as she snuggled against me. She was nothing like any other android out there. I don't know what she was built for, but if I could just keep her for myself, maybe I'd be happy. Maybe she'd be happy too. Maybe I didn't care if I was happy as long as she was.

No, government or not, I wasn't going to give her up that easily. Whoever stole her was still out there though, and they might still be after her. Probably that couple I saw earlier. Or maybe they were with the FBI. At least they were involved somehow. It was best she stayed low for a while, and maybe this would turn out alright.

She looked very cute sleeping against me, actually sleeping. Androids don't sleep but she seemed to be. I glanced down again and saw her cleavage and bra-less breasts under her shirt, which was still too loose and gave me a good view of her. I could see nipple peeking out at me as her chest rose and fell with each breath. She was going to need new clothes. I'd have to keep her hidden and safe if I wanted to keep her, but she'd have to fit in, and that meant she's need clothes that fit... I'd have to take her shopping in the morning. But she couldn't go out dressed like that. Catch 22.

It was late, and I had lots to do the next day, so I gently moved the cat from me, and carefully grabbed the cup from Alexia's hand placing it on a side table. I slid my hand under the girl to lift her up, but she stirred.

"I thought you said no more sex tonight, Master" she groaned as she stretched and yawned.

"No" I chortled. "Not sex, I was going to carry you to bed to sleep."

"Sleep? I'm a robot; robots don't sleep."

"Well you sure looked asleep to me."

"I did?" She asked twisting her face in a confused but half-asleep expression. "Well, my battery level IS at 12%. I do require a full recharge" she explained with heavy eyes. “I was merely conserving energy.”

"Oh! Right. Well I can plug you into the wall in my room" I suggested.

Alexia shook her head, tired-looking. "I don't have a wall plug in my tail, I need to charge through an inductive pad or through a USB port."

I was fresh out of USB ports in my bedroom, and I didn't have any adapters or inductive pads big enough for her. "Um... Then..."

"I can charge in the other room," she suggested through a yawn. "I think I can use your computer."

"Is that safe? I mean I don't want any more damage to either you or Erin."

"I promise I won't touch any data."

"... Ok" I agreed reluctantly; I really wanted her to spend the night in my bed with me. I was going to have to get her some way of charging in my bedroom. But for now, I lifted her up and carried her into the computer room.

"I can walk you know" she protested but did nothing to stop me.

"I know. This is part of that 'me-serving-you' thing."

She smiled and held on, as I walked her over. Setting her down in the chair, she straightened herself up as her tail protruded from under her shirt. With a gentle click, I attached it to the computer Erin occupied, allowing her to charge. There was no change in Erin, but at least the power from her ports still worked.

"Thank you, master" she smiled. "Have a good night." She closed her eyes gently and froze. She must have started charging already. I smiled. “Goodnight, Lexie.”

I know, I said I wasn't going to call her that… But I figured I'd try it out once. As I turned to leave, I swear I caught a glimpse of her smiling out of the corner of my eye.

It was time for me to sleep too; there was a lot to do tomorrow. Mentally I took note of what I would have to do before work as I performed my nightly rituals. I needed to go shopping for food, especially if Alexia was going to be eating. Speaking of which, she needed clothes. Shirts, pants, skirts, bras, panties, shoes… I didn't even have any of her sizes. I would have to guess on some basics so I could take her out later to get properly fitted. Oh, and feminine scented products. And an induction charging pad for the bed.

I knew I was going to need more, but anything else would have to wait. I finished my preparations and headed to the bed. This had been one hell of a day, and who knew what else would be in store tomorrow. I thought about the possible future, including my chances of incarceration, as I approached the window to close the blinds.

Something moved outside. Something big. It was dark out but the moon partially illuminated the environment, enough for me to see the silhouette of the culprit. In the top of a tree some ways off, leaves rustled as the gigantic wings of a large bird expanded from its host. The wings were huge, although it was hard to judge an accurate size due to the distance. Then the monstrosity stood up. It looked like it was at least the size of a man, but the wings made it appear even bigger.

The most terrifying part was that the entire thing was pitch black in the dark, except for two bright large round eyes contrasting with the darkness of the form. They were alien eyes, and they concentrated solely on me. Hairs rose on the back of my neck.

The creature was still obscured by the tree, but I could tell it was way bigger than any bird I've ever seen. Maybe it was an eagle, but even that seemed too small. The reflection of moonlight off of two large round eyes staring straight at me sent shivers up my spine. It didn't blink, it didn't flinch, it looked straight at me while I stared back at it. And suddenly, the creature lifted from the tree and flew off and out of sight at lightning speed.

I stood there catching my breath, staring out at the neighborhood and the trees still lit up by silver moonlight. Was I seeing things? Was that real? Perhaps it was an illusion of scale, or my tired mind playing tricks on me. Whatever it was, there was no sign of it now, or that it had ever been there.

I eventually closed the blinds and sat on the bed thinking. It seemed real, but maybe it was an illusion, or a sign. Like it was the personification of my paranoia, like the feeling that someone was watching me. Or that there was danger just around the corner.

I laid down on the bed and tried to think. My heart was still racing and my mind was running a mile a minute, as if the two were competing in a marathon against each other. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well that night.

Chapter 6 - Falling Apart

The morning began for me as most mornings did. April crawled all over me begging for breakfast. It was, as always, too early for me, especially after such a rough night, so I did my best to ignore her, and turned to my side.

Much to my shock, a pair of large vibrant blue eyes focused intently on me, inches from my face. I jerked back a little at the unexpected presence of Alexia, kneeling beside my bed and staring at me. All I could see of her were her eyes and up, as well as her hands excitedly gripping the mattress, and her extended cat ears.

"Holy shit! Alexia! What are you doing?" I spat.

She popped up her head enough to answer. "Waiting for master to wake up" she explained giddily, before lowering her head back down to the same position.

"It's too early to get up" I complained. "How long have you been up?"

"I exited sleep-mode approximately 2 hours ago" she explained, again lifting her face to speak and lowering it afterwards.

"You've been staring at me for 2 hours?" I sat up.

"No, I spent several minutes reviewing the contents of your kitchen first."

"You can cook?" I wondered, rubbing the sand from my eyes. I might as well get up now anyways.

"I do not know master... But I have downloaded some instructional videos and recipes" she explained.

"So you are interested in making food? I guess since you can eat that makes sense..." I yawned.

"Would Master show me how to properly prepare the breaking of the fast meal?"

"Breakfast? Cereal is fine. Actually I need to go shopping. Especially with you here."

"Shopping? Is this something I can help Master with?"

"What did I say about calling me master?" I stretched and pulled back the covers.

"Oh... yes. Kevin" she corrected. "Is it time for another sexual session?"

I blinked at her sudden unexpected interest in sex, and realized she was staring at my now obvious morning wood. I quickly covered up.

"Hey! No. This is just how it gets in the morning. Look... go make yourself busy or something... how about getting out 2 bowls of cereal and milk, while I get ready. I've got a lot to do today. Need to go shopping for groceries, got to get you some clothes... speaking of which... are you wearing only an apron?"

Sure enough, she was naked except for an apron. She stood up and looked down at herself.

"Yes. Am I wearing this correctly? I saw it on a video in your computer..." Of course she did.

"I thought you said you weren't going to touch the data."

She recoiled at my outburst a little. "I... only looked a little... I'm sorry mast... Kevin." Her cat ears lowered as if she was being scolded but I caught myself. If all she got out of looking at my computer was some ideas from porn videos, I could live with that.

"It's fine. You can watch... whatever. I don't care. Just, let me get ready."

She nodded and bowed a little before leaving the room toward the kitchen.

About half an hour later, I joined her, all cleaned up, shaved, dressed, and ready. I was going over the new chores in my head when I saw the bowls on the counter. Each one was filled to the brim with milk, with the last remaining remnants of cereal floating in them. Right, I was out of cereal. April was happily lapping at one bowl while Alexia looked on smiling.

I slapped my forehead, mentally adding milk, cereal, and pet stain remover to the list. "You can't feed her milk, she'll throw it up" I explained as I picked April up off the counter and put her on the floor. "She can't eat people food, only cat food. Cat food and water." I reached into the fridge and pulled out a can of tuna-flavored cat food of the ‘wet’ variety. "Like this" I demonstrated, holding it up, and proceeded to feed April. Alexa watched carefully to everything I did. Maybe this could work.

"She eats a lot for such a small animal" Alexia noticed.

"Well, not really. She only eats twice a day and then either sleeps it off or runs amok."

She nodded. "Oh, your cereal" she said, pointing to the bowls.

"Well... one’s for you, but... that's a little too much milk."

"For me?" she perked up.

"Of course. I'll show you how to pour it right next time. But first I need to get you some clothes." I didn't mind having her walk around all day virtually bare, but others might mind if they see her, especially in public.

Just before I could continue my train of thought, my phone started to buzz in my pocket, and Alexia hopped with her ears, and tail, sticking straight up, startled from the noise. I had a hard time not laughing as I answered the phone.

"Hello?"

"Kevin? It's Bill. There's been a change of plans. I need you to come in right now. It's an emergency."

"An emergency? But-"

"It would look good for that promotion if you were to help me out on this" his voice explained.

I gritted my teeth and scowled. "Fine... I'll be in in an hour."

"Make it 10 minutes" he commanded and hung up.

I stood there for a moment stunned. What the fuck? The day I was supposed to get off has now become an impromptu emergency cover Bill's ass day? I had to question if this new promotion, and even my position in the company, was worth the aggravation. My thoughts instantly went to Lyss though, and my answer was clear.

"Change of plans Alexia" I explained. She had calmed down already and was watching me closely. "I have to go into work, some sort of emergency thing. I don't know for how long. Just... stay here. Umm... Don't go outside. Don’t look out the windows. Don't touch the... well anything in the kitchen. Just relax, play with April, watch TV... I'll be back later."

"Oh... umm... ok. What about your food?" she wondered. I did not need to drink all that milk.

"Thanks so much but I don't have the time. Just pour it down the sink" I explained as I got my shoes on and grabbed my jacket. Besides, I made it a point not to eat food with cat slobber in it. "Bye! And don't answer the door for anyone!"

"Bye?" she copied, looking worried. A second later, I was out the door. I hoped everything would be alright. If she just stayed hidden, and didn’t go outside, she should be fine, right? I worried the entire way to work, which took about 20 minutes, although it felt much longer. I was greeted at the back door by Bill, who was holding a hard-shelled case like we use for delicate components, and nervously tapped his foot.

“You’re late. I said 10 minutes” he complained.

“To the guy who lives more than 10 minutes away” I replied. He shook his head and looked at his watch.

“How would you like to jump start that promotion?” he asked. “Good” he continued without an answer. “I have to attend an emergency… company meeting. It’s out of town, I’ll be gone 3 or 4 days. I need you to open and close the store for me.”

“What?” This was rather sudden. “But… I’m not a manager. I’ve never done that before.”

“It’s easy.” He handed me a set of keys. “Just open the doors on time, and lock them on time. You can come in during the morning and leave, and then come back at night. I’ve already given your number to the staff so they can call you if they can’t get in.”

“I…” I did not want this responsibility. Not with everything going on. “This is-”

“Look. I don’t have anyone else that can look after Lyss, and she needs to have maintenance every night. That’s all I really want from you, and then you lock up. Trevor will take care of the front and the registers, you just have to open the doors and take care of Lyss. I do not want anything to happen to her while I’m gone. The auction is coming up and she needs to be in top shape.”

“But…” I’d be taking care of Lyss… But honestly what choice did I have?

“It’s easy. Just hook her up, run the diagnostics, and clean her if she gets dirty. The station will take care of the rest. Now I have to go.” He turned and walked away toward his car before turning back to yell something. “And take good care of our guests.” And with that he disappeared inside his car and sped off, leaving me standing there stunned.

“Guests?” I guess I should go in to see what is going on and who these guests are.

I opened the door, and was pleased to see the place wasn’t on fire or anything. I stopped over at my workstation and looked inside. Sure enough Lyss was there, working quietly and delicately on a circuit board. She looked sad, or tired. As soon as she heard me, she looked up. A weak smile greeted me, but she looked worn out. Even the color from her skin and hair seem faded.

“What’s wrong? You look awful!” I asked.

“Power outage last night” she explained. “I couldn’t charge all night. We only got the power back an hour ago… I’m running on empty here.”

I looked behind her and saw she had a charging cord running into her neck. It might be enough to stave off a shutdown, but she wouldn’t last half the day while she was working! I put my hand on her shoulder and leaned in close.

“You’re done for the day. Take a break, you’ve done enough. You’ll run out of juice overworking yourself.”

She sighed. “Yeah… I know. But Bill said-”

“Bill’s gone, for a few days. He left me in charge and I’m going to take care of you. Now put down that solder and take a break. You need to just sit back and relax for a bit.”

“If you say so Mr. Bossman sir” she teased as she smiled and nodded, taking a seat and leaning back, letting out a sigh, and putting the cap she sometimes wore on over her face. Lyss looked like she fell right asleep, but I knew she was still conscious, although she might have entered an energy-saving mode.

I turned around and focused my attention on the two strangers I spied standing at Bill’s door, patiently waiting, looking down at the workers. They must have been the guests Bill was talking about. Was it just me or was he so scared of these two that he jumped town and put me in charge to deal with them? Or maybe not. I had to wonder, but I wasn’t going to screw this up. It could lead to that promotion, or at least it would let me spend more time with Lyss.

The couple wore matching black suits and ties, one was a short, athletic, young woman with fair skin, glasses, and brown hair tied up in a bun. The other a tall, bald, black man, with some light scarring on his face. He wore sunglasses. Indoors. I studied them as I approached, noting their stances of authority. They looked oddly familiar.

As I got to the stairs looking up at them, their attention focused on me, and that’s when I remembered them. They were the pair that was studying the road where I found and saved Alexia. They were looking for me, or Lexie. I wasn’t sure, but it was too late to turn and run now. My heart started to race but I had to stay calm.

“I am Agent Smulders” the woman announced, reaching into her jacket, “and this is Agent Colter. We’re with the FBI” she explained as they each showed us their badges. They looked legit. “Are you William Bailey?”

“You mean Bill? You just missed him. He had an emergency meeting out of town. I’m in charge today, I guess” I explained. Was Bill scared of the FBI? Should I be?

“What is your name?” Agent Smulders asked as she put away her badge.

“Oh. I’m Kevin… Rowan. Usually I just fix up the androids here.”

Agent Colter raised an eyebrow at me, but otherwise didn't move. Smulders, on the other hand, let out an interested “Hmm” while she reached into her jacket again. This time she pulled out a picture.

“Have you seen this android?” she asked. I took the picture from her, and instantly recognized it as a portrait of Alexia. She was staring ahead blankly with her hair down straight and wearing nothing. At least that I could see. Her shoulders her bare anyway, since it was a picture from her shoulder up. I tried my hardest to keep a straight face and stay calm.

“This is an android?” I asked, doing my darndest to sound shocked.

“Yes. A prototype. She was stolen from a government facility recently.”

I studied the picture some more, pretending I was seeing her for the first time, and hoping I wasn't overselling it. “Facility? Oh, is she that android on the news? I heard about it.” I handed back the picture trying to keep a straight face. Damn it's hard not to crack a smile or breathe normally when looking an agent in the eyes.

“Yes. She was merely a test model.”

“So why would she be here? Did Bill-?” Pass the blame; that always works.

“No. We have reason to believe she was damaged in the robbery, and might have been taken to a repair facility such as this one.”

“There are only 3 facilities in this city capable or repairing epidermal model androids” Agent Colter’s deep voice began, “and yours is the closest to the scene.”

“We are just following up on all our leads” Smulders explained.

“Well, there’s just two of us here that can repair epidermal models, me and Lyss, err... Elise. And she can't do it by herself.”

“So you are the main epidermal android technician here?”

“Yes ma’am” I nodded.

“And you haven't seen this unit?” she asked again holding up the picture.

“No ma’am” I shook my head. Was that too enthusiastic? “We honestly don't get many epidermal units in yet.”

“And where is this Elise?” Colter asked.

“I’ll take you too her” I began to sweat. She saw Lexie last night and getting her to keep a secret was not easy. Gossip was alive and well in this company and Lyss was the source of a lot of it. What else was she going to do to entertain herself? We were her soap opera. But don't tell her I said that.

I led them down the stairs again to my workstation where Lyss was still sitting. She looked like a lazy worker asleep on the job, except for the charging cable protruding from a port on the back of her neck.

“Miss Elise?” Smulders inquired.

Lyss raised her cap and opened one eye lazily and looked at the pair. And then at me. I just shrugged. “Why did you call me that?”

“That is your name, is it not?” the agent replied. “I am Agent Smulders and this is Agent Colter. We are with the FBI” she announced.

That got Lyss sitting upright quick, dropping her hat. “Oh… Umm… What can I help you with?”

“Mr. Rowan here tells me you assist him with android repair, is this correct?”

Lyss nodded in response as Colter turned toward me. “A gynoid? She’s a robot…” He mumbled in disbelief as Smulders and Lyss talked.

“Yeah… she’s not company property or anything, just a unit that was unclaimed after her repairs so she’s paying off her owner’s debt by working with us.”

He eyed me suspiciously. “Is she up to code? Been inspected? Is she in compliance with android labor laws?”

Hell if I knew. That was Bill’s department, not mine. I’d have to go looking through his office to find out. I shrugged at him. “Ask Bill when he gets back. I can look for the paperwork but it might take a while.” Maybe that’s what Bill was afraid of, maybe she wasn’t properly inspected and approved for this type of labor. That would get me nervous. But usually they fine you until you fix it, and this is a special case, so I don’t get why he’d skip town. Maybe he really did have a sudden meeting. Could the company be closing stores down?

He grunted, and turned back toward Lyss. She was staring intently at the photo of Alexia agent Smulders handed to her. Oh crap! She has to recognize her! This could turn out bad.

“I can't say that I have” she replied. “Never seen her. But she looks really advanced.” Saved! Oh thank you Lyss!

“Keep your eyes out for her. The criminals who stole her might wait for the heat to die down before attempting any repairs” Smulders explained. “It is imperative that you do not repair or attempt to activate this android. She is dangerous and unpredictable.” Lexie? Dangerous? Agent Smulders sniffed. “Mind if we look around a little?” she asked me.

I nodded my approval, and they began walking around, looking at everything and talking to people. Maybe it was just a scare tactic, then again she had no memories so maybe I should be cautious around Lexie. It occurred to me that Trevor had seen Alexia as well. I'd be in big shit if he said anything. I turned toward Lyss and whispered.

“Is Trevor in?”

“Trevor?” she wondered. “No… I don’t keep track of his schedule. Why?”

“No reason” I diverted. She gave me a side glance.

“Do you think they’ll ask to see my documents?” She wondered.

I shrugged. “I hope not. I have no idea where they are.”

“Well” she blurted out loudly, “There’s nothing for me to do but relax and recharge, literally.” She put her hands behind her back and leaned into her chair again, preparing to enter another rest mode.

“I’ll just keep them company for now until they leave. Remind me to kill Bill when he gets back.”

“I’ll hold him down for you” she joked as she closed her eyes.

I spent the rest of the morning following them around, making sure they had what they needed and didn’t disrupt things. It was not busy, so there were no problems with their impromptu inspection, and it didn’t really take all that long. They did, however, ask to see the repair room for the epidermal androids, and spent longer in there than anywhere else. They were looking at everything, and it made me nervous. The last time this room was used was to repair Alexia. If they saw some evidence that she was around…

“What’s this?” Agent Colter asked picking up a burned out board from the trash. That was Alexia’s old board. Oh shit.

“Just a burned out board from a unit we repaired yesterday. He was a real pain. Had to custom print a replacement board for him” I half lied.

He eyed it for a while, sniffing it and studying it for identification markers. Apparently some of it got scorched to a point where he needed to try to rub part of it clean with his thumb, but his expression revealed he wasn’t happy with the results. Instead, he pocketed it. Well fuck. Could he just take that?

“Do you have the paperwork for the unit out there? Elise is it?” he asked me directly.

Well crap on a stick. This was going to take a while. “Well technically that’s Bill’s responsibility, but I’ll go take a look” I answered hoping they were easy to find.

I spent probably 20 minutes in the office looking for her files. It was a mess. I had them wait outside while I searched, concerned I might find. Something that Bill didn’t want them to see. Maybe I was being paranoid, but after what he pulled on me this morning, I didn’t trust him anymore. It also helped me avoid looking like a hopeless idiot rummaging through old manuals and documents and training pamphlets. From what I could tell, Bill grabbed a bunch of papers, stuffed them in that case he was carrying, and ran off. And with them were likely Lyss’s documents.

I decided to try to safe just to be… well... safe. It only had money for the registers and a few other smaller items. No documents. One item in particular caught my eye. It was a flash drive almost identical to the one Alexia had in her, but this one was labeled “Elise bckp”. A backup of Lyss’s original memories? Curiously, I grabbed the drive and pocketed it. There’s no way Bill meant for me to find this. It looked like it was left by mistake, under a stack of bills.

I heard a knock on the door and scrambled to close the safe and check on it. Both agents were at the door waiting for me. I put on a smile, but on the inside I was freaking out.

“I’m sorry, his papers are a mess. I’m still having a hard time finding-”

“We didn’t come here for this” Agent Smulders explained looking way up at her partner.

“Next time a government official asks you for her paperwork, make sure it is handy. We’ll be back when ‘Bill’ is in” Colter said handing me a card. “Call us when he returns, or if you see the missing gynoid.”

Not many people outside the field actually called female model androids gynoids, even though it was the technically correct term. For him to let that slip caught my attention, but I wasn’t sure why. Regardless, I took the card and gave them a smile and a “Yes, sir”.

“Let’s get moving, we’ve got more places to check out” Smulders said as she turned around to leave. Her giant of a partner followed suit, and moments later, they were gone, leaving me stunned and sweating at the top of the stairs looking down at the workers.

It was a light workload day after all, and Lyss looked in place and comfortable laying back not doing anything. I decided to do a little tidying up in the office, at least enough that I could charge Lyss up here if I needed to. But honestly I started to wonder about that. What was Bill doing with her every night in here? What was this maintenance procedure? I shuddered to think about it. He seemed the sleazy sort to me, honestly, so depraved thoughts came easily when in involved Bill.

I looked around the office briefly and cleared up the space around her charging station. It was used every night, but it still had dust and fingerprints all over it. Strangely it didn’t look like much really. Basically a glorified chair with an odd looking USB cable in the back to attach to her neck. Why did he always insist she charge this way? Her dedicated charge port in her lower back was much more efficient. After dusting it off a bit, I noticed something else hidden behind it, covered by a stale towel. It was a large bucket almost like a miniature kiddie pool, with a pitcher and a sponge sitting in it. Words echoed in my head from Bill. “Clean her”. Well fuck, was he giving her sponge baths?

My disgust for the man grew, and a spark of hatred ignited in me. I felt terrible for Lyss, and she never remembered what he did in here, so there is no way of knowing without some kind of video evidence. Which I doubt I would find. I calmed myself down and thought. Lyss had it rough here. She was never allowed to leave, never allowed personal time, couldn’t take a shower or bath, had no real privacy, kept forgetting everything, and had strange outbursts lately I couldn’t explain. I cared for her too much. She didn’t deserve this. I needed to talk to her.

I left the office in a huff, but calmed down by the time I got to the workstation Lyss was at. Except she wasn’t there. Odd. She was still charging and didn’t take bathroom breaks, so where did she go? I looked around and was glad to see her walking toward the front of the store with none other than Trevor by her side. When did he get in?

As I approached from behind, I noticed something peculiar. There was a little black square on the back of Lyss’s neck, right over her data ports. I hesitated briefly but called out to her anyways. Trevor turned around first, smiling his signature smile, before Lyss copied him.

“Hey Kevin” he called out quickly. “Have a rough night with your girl?” He winked.

“Umm... no.”

“Bill called me and updated me on his meeting thing. So I guess this is an upgrade for me.”

‘Maybe, but Bill put me in charge” I answered.

“Yeah right. Really?” He scoffed.

I held up the keys and jingled them. “Really. Although you are supposed to be in charge of the front-”

“Yeah I know, the front of the house. Well I guess this means you are moving up too. That promotion can’t be far off” he chimed.

I glanced at Lyss, who stood there still, smiling, and unresponsive. Strange. But the promotion was supposed to be a secret, so why did Trevor blurt it out like that.

“Yeah… anyways… I need to borrow Lyss for a bit.”

“Oh yeah?” He said, putting his hand on her upper back. “Well I wanted her help with something up front, isn’t that right?”

“Help with something” she replied. It was freaky. His arm quickly darted away from her back.

“But it can wait. Duty calls, after all.” He said as I took a step back and seemingly offered her to me.

“Thanks” I replied suspiciously. “This way Lyss, I need to show you something important.”

She took step beside me as I led her back to the fleshies repair room, and closed the door behind us. I quickly turned back to Lyss and studied her. She stood there oddly silent and still, not at all like herself. Something was seriously wrong. I turned her around. Whatever that black object was on her neck, it was gone now.

“Lyss, are you alright?”

“Yeah, sure” she replied, sounding more like herself, but still off.

“What did Trevor want?” I asked.

“Some help with something” she replied.

“Are you sure you’re alright? You sound stiff.”

“I’m fine Kevin” she answered. That was suspicious. She usually would have a funny retort, or call me Kev.

“I’m going to have a look at your systems. I think something’s wrong. Could you sit on the exam table and prepare your data ports?”

I turned around to get a diagnostics USB drive out of a drawer that would check for any anomalies and viruses while she took a seat behind me. Bill never let me do this stuff with her when he was here, which was all the time, so this could be my only chance to figure out what is really going on with her.

As I turned around I was shocked to see Lyss sitting there with her shirt completely unbuttoned and working on undoing the loose knot at the base she originally tied to show off her midriff. I froze for a second, not sure what to do, as I watched her shirt come loose from her shoulder from the movement and slide down her arm, revealing her left nipple. I suddenly woke up and took action.

“What are you doing, stop. You don’t need to get undressed. Geez!” I burst over and grabbed at her shirt, adjusting it so she was no longer exposed in front, but she kept undoing the knot below. I grabbed her hands and stopped her, placing them by her side forcefully. She sat there, with her shirt still unbuttoned, and the knot only half tied and loose. God did I want her to take off that shirt, but not when she was acting like a zombie! It just wasn’t right. It wasn’t Lyss.

“Yes sir” she replied as she sat still staring downward at nothing in particular. I couldn’t help but think about her nipple. Holy crap, I had seen her entirely nude before when I was repairing her months ago, but that was completely different. Now she was active and moving. But she lost her own will. No, something was clearly wrong. She’d never just undress in front of me like that! Would she?

I was reminded that even though she was a robot, she was not nearly as strong as me, and I could easily overpower her. It made her feel vulnerable, delicate even. Something I never saw in her before. She was always the head-strong, stubborn, funny, snarky girl that was more comfortable being one of the guys than hanging out with girlfriends. But this side of her reminded me that not only was she still a girl, but she was a very delicate machine that I already had to repair once. I stood behind her and started working on her data port.

I connected the device and waited for the lights to blink in sequence. In short, it if it blinked green, it found no fault. If it blinked yellow, she had a bug in her code, and if it blinked red, she had a virus. I waited for it to finish searching her internal drives. If it found something, I could safely connect this device to my computer for a readout of the diagnostic without risking spreading a virus or hack from one system to another.

As I waited I couldn’t help but notice how her shirt hung loosely off her. I looked down at her from over her shoulder, seeing her front, and noticing the subtle curve of her breasts from above, and realizing I was seeing more of them now than I have in a long time. She was so slim and had such beautiful curves. I was still amazed at how a robot with so much advanced technology could have such a small body. I watched as the half-knot slowly fell apart on its own, leaving her shirt hanging loosely open in front of her. I could see her nipples poking at the fabric, leaving me wondering just how soft and warm she was, and how sensitive. I caught myself as she began to breathe heavier.

“Kev?” She asked, looking around the room. “Is that you?”

“How are you feeling” I said, trying to fight my erection down.

“Bad… like someone just hit me in the head.”

“Do people hit your head a lot?”

“Ha ha…” she faked laughed. “Ouch” she winced. “I... um… why is my shirt unbuttoned?” She asked realizing she was giving me a nice view. She did nothing to resolve the situation.

Just then the device started to blink. Red. And Yellow. Well now what? I pulled it from her neck, causing her to inhale sharply. “You were acting strange so I’m running a test” I explained. “You unbuttoned your shirt on your own.”

“I did? Psh! Yeah right. I… I don’t remember. Am I ok?” She said, sounding like she was in a daze. Almost like how she first was when I ran into her last night.

“I’m checking that out now” I said as I sat in front of the computer and ran the diagnostics.

She was quiet for a while as she sat there thinking. I waited for the results to appear on screen, and it revealed something unexpected. Lyss was running a malware program. That drive, or whatever it was Trevor put on her, was infecting her with malicious code. I pulled up a more detailed description, but it could not identify or resolve the issue. I was getting angry. Furious even. Just how much shit was Lyss forced into without even knowing it?

“How’s it look doc?” she asked.

“Inconclusive” I lied. I couldn't just tell her, some of these malware programs could self-destruct an android when they became aware of the code. Plus, I still didn't know what it was doing. I had to think fast. Let me run another test, it shouldn’t take long.”

“Whatever you say doc” she droned.

I reconfigured the device to explore deeper, more thoroughly. It took a few minutes as she sat there silently behind me. With it completed, I returned to her, device in hand.

“Kev?” She asked again, looking up at me. “Why am I in here? Did I break down or something?” She looked more aware, more awake, and more alert now. At least she was improving.

“I told you, the test was inconclusive, so I’m running another-”

“Test? What are you talking about?” She replied clearly getting cross.

“I just ran it a few minutes ago. Are you feeling ok?”

“I feel fine. A little hazy though. Are you pulling my leg or something? It’s not funny. I just woke up in here a few seconds ago…”

Something was really messed up here. “Lyss, you’ve been awake and in here for a good 5 or 6 minutes already.”

“I… I forgot again didn’t I? Is it getting worse?”

“Let me run this test and find out.”

I connected the device to her neck again with a click and she let out a long controlled breath like she was nervous in a doctor’s office.

“Umm… Kev… did you unbutton my shirt?”

This again? “You did that, you don’t remember do you? You already asked-”

“Why would I unbutton my shirt with you in here?” She shot back as she grabbed at either side and help the shirt together manually. I couldn’t help but notice she ended up squishing her breasts together giving her more profound cleavage. She was bright red in the face, and it made her look really cute. I had to wonder if she did that on purpose.

“You tell me, you did it.”

She breathed heavily, faster, almost panting now. “I… umm… I’m trying to remember… Maybe it’s because I like- err… I was hot? No...”

Just then the lights on the device blinked green. No errors found. Curiouser and curiouser. The malware was no longer detected. Did her system clean it up, or did it erase itself?

Without any evidence of the code, I would never know what I was dealing with. I unplugged it from her neck, and closed her ports, frustrated at the situation. Tossing the device a little rougher than I meant to onto the work table, I plopped into a chair and tried to think.

“Hey Kev? Are YOU ok?”

I rubbed my eyes for a bit trying to think. “Just frustrated. You have… I mean… I can’t find… Damn.”

She got up from the table, still holding her shirt together instead of buttoning it, and walked over to me. “Kevin… it’ll be fine. I... I kinda already knew” She said putting on hand on my shoulder. “I’m dying aren’t I?”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “What? No! No. Not on my watch!”

“Then what is it?” She said punching my arm.

“I can’t be sure” I tried to explain. “You had malware on you. But it’s hiding, or something. It’s elusive and frustrating. And I… just want to fix you. To make you happy.”

“Pff. I’m fine! I’m happy, as long as I can… hang with you. It gets real boring here without you.”

“What about your memory loss? What about your original master? What about your freedom? The auction?!”

She was at a loss for words and half sat on the table, thinking. “Yeah… they do trouble me. All of it. But as long as I don’t forget about you… I mean… hanging with you and the guys. I really enjoy the work… and the company.”

“Yeah? Well… you deserve better than this. And I’m going to make that happen.”

“Hey, I’m not some damsel in distress for my knight in shining armor to save. Your princess is in another tower, buddy.”

Princess. Huh, that reminded me of Alexia for some reason. “Yeah… And uh… thanks for covering for me with those FBI agents earlier. I owe you big time.”

“Covering? What are you talking about?” She questioned.

“You know… the picture… last night… the- you don’t remember do you?”

“Last night? What about last night?”

“What do you remember?” I asked.

“I was finishing up, Trevor asked me for a favor, Bill was getting started with me, and the power went out. I never saw any girl. What about last night?”

“You… don’t remember me? I was there- err… here.”

“You… no. You left hours before the power went out” she recalled, scrunching up her nose as she stood up and scratched her head.

“I came back. You don’t remember. You and Trevor saw me and… uh…”

She turned her back to me and started to pant again. “I… I forgot. I finished closing my station… Trevor asked for help… I followed him… I… umm… I was in Bill’s office… wait. How did I get there?” She seemed to panic now, getting more frantic and pacing the floor.

“Trevor? I wonder. Maybe he-” I began to theorize.

“I forgot!? No… no way. I forgot an entire interaction with you? No…. This can’t be happening. I’ve never forgotten any of my time with you. Have I?”

She began to get scared and pace back and forth more, forgetting about her still unbuttoned shirt. As soon as she started to hit her own head in frustration, I stepped in and stopped her.

“Lyss! Stop! You’re hurting yourself” I commanded as I abruptly stood and grabbed her arms. Tears welled in her eyes and she looked up at me, scared. I had never seen her like this before, and it terrified me.

“I don’t want to forget anymore” she sobbed. “I don’t want to forget you! I don’t want to be auctioned off!”

She buried herself in my chest, crying while tightly grasping and pulling at my shirt in the back. I held her close and tight, for the first time, seeing her at her most vulnerable. It was awkward to have her hugging me like this, and even more awkward when I realized her shirt was wide open, pressing her bare chest against me. What really caught me off-guard, though, wasn’t her behavior or her near nudity… it was her hair.

Before my eyes, I watched as it went from what rainbow colors to gray! I stared for a long time while holding onto her, letting her cry, making sure the light wasn’t playing tricks on my eyes. But no… her hair had gone completely colorless.

“I’m sorry” she sniffed, trying to compose herself. “I can’t do this anymore! Every day I put on a smile, every day I tell myself it will be alright. But today is just harder than I can handle. I feel like I’m falling apart!”

“Lyss… um…” I began.

“What is wrong with me today? Why am I so… emotional?” She sniffed, clearing her throat. “How am I so emotion? I’ve never felt like this before…”

“Lyss?” I repeated.

“Did Bill do something to my programming? I don’t understand, something is definitely different. And my charge is still low…”

“Lyss!”

She looked up at me, giving me a glimpse of her chest again. “What?” She asked, looking worried.

“Your hair…”

“What about it?” She puzzled.

“It’s gray.”

“Get real. I'm not that old, and I’m a robot.” She scoffed. “You need to get your glasses checked.”

“Look” I said, pulling at a strand to bring it in front of her eyes. She looked at it, cross-eyed, and grabbed it. She stared as her eyes went wide. She grabbed another strand from the other side, and another. Before our very eyes, her hair faded even more, until it was bright white.

“What the holy fuck is going on?! My hair!” She yelled. I tried to calm her again, but she ran toward a powered off screen, looking at her reflection. “What is happening to me?!”

She stumbled backwards, but I caught her. “Woah there. Calm down. Maybe it’s a power-saving feature or something.”

“What? Is there a mirror in here?”

I looked around and remembered a small mirror in a drawer I use to look inside the units. It might have been small, but it was highly reflective. She grabbed it from me and stared at herself, touching her hair.

“I loved my hair! What is this?” Lyss stumbled again, and I caught her again. I sat her down in my chair and grabbed a stool nearby for me.

“Stay calm. Take in deep breaths” I coached her. “I’m here for you.”

“Kev…” she panted, trying to control her air again. “I'm really falling apart! Will you… stay with me?”

“Sure, of course. We’re best friends” I assured her.

She smiled. “What about the auction?” She worried. “I don’t want to be sold off.”

“Well… I’ll just have to buy you then” I assured her. I think we both knew I didn’t have the money to win an auction for her though.

“Really? You’ll do that for me? I’ll officially be yours?”

I nodded. “Honestly, I’ve been wanting to for a long time.”

That made her smile. She took deeper breaths, calming down further. It seemed odd to me, that an android would have a panic attack and need to breathe like this, but in her case, she might overheat if something internal was trying to process something too intense. Like the fear of losing her mind while her body fell apart around her. And breathing cooled her processors. This might have been a long time coming.

“You’re such a loser” she teased. She liked to joke, maybe this was a coping method for her. “Needing to buy a robot girlfriend.”

Girlfriend? That was yet another surprise for me, that she would even suggest it. Then again, she was probably just teasing me. “Would you prefer I bought myself a robot boyfriend?” I joked back.

“It would satisfy all my homoerotic fantasies about you” she chuckled, sticking out her tongue. We both laughed and she finally calmed down. As she did, her hair color returned slowly but surely.

“Ah… look. Your hair color is back!”

She looked at a strand and watched as the pigmentation returned. “Thank God! This is just weird…” she noted as she watched.

“There’s that smile” I commented. She looked at me with a raised eyebrow, but her smile remained. “You aren’t you without your smile” I added, noting now that she was leaning back in the chair, with her shirt wide open exposing her right side to me. Breast and all. I blushed, and tried not to stare, but she was really sexy!

“Is that the only part about me that you like?” She asked. She sat up and arched her back a little, pushing out her chest. She knew exactly what she was doing. But why now? She never came onto me like this before.

I couldn’t stop myself from staring at her, she was drop-dead sexy. She even ran her hand down her chest, over her breast. I cleared my throat and tried my best to look away anyways, although I never fully did.

“Ah… I’m…” she stuttered suddenly. “I’ don’t know what’s coming over me. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. You are very pretty.”

She blushed, with her eyes wide open at my response and just remained silent. Maybe I was too straightforward. We both sat there, quiet and awkward. She grabbed both sides of her shirt with one hand and held it closed at her chest, leaning forward and blushing. I swear her hair was shifting hue again, but as she broke the silence it returned to normal again. “Now what?”

“I don’t know. You are still private property… and I’m an employee. We can’t just-”

“Not that!” she interrupted. “The test.”

“Oh, right! I guess… um… hmm. I think I know where it is coming from, but I can’t be sure unless I can catch it.”

Lyss looked up at me interested. “You know what’s causing my memory lapses?”

“Maybe. I can’t be sure. Before you woke up in here, what was the last thing you remember?”

“Umm… let’s see, I was resting… I talked with that FBI chick… and then I went back to resting. Oh and Trevor said Hi.”

“Trevor…” I noted. “Right after that, I saw you and him walking toward the front.”

“I was?”

“There was a… black device on your neck, on your ports” I explained. She reached back to the back of her neck to feel for it but of course found nothing. “It was gone when I brought you back here, but I think I saw him swipe it. Maybe he…”

“Trevor! He’s the one that’s been doing this to me? Why!?” She spat.

“I don’t know. Let’s not jump to conclusions yet. Just stay calm. I think I have a plan but it’s going to take about 20 minutes to install.”

“Install? What are you scheming?” She inquired.

“I’m going to need to install a recording device. In you. It attaches directly to your port, and records all the data that transfers into the port and the time. It is a separate system from yours, and will not run any code that is recorded to it, so it can’t be erased by you or itself.”

“And it can block the program?” She wondered.

“Not exactly. It only records the data sent through the port, but it will still affect your systems. It can’t block it” I explained.

“But we can catch him and counter it, right?” She asked.

“If he is the one responsible, sure. But I could be wrong.”

“So… we’ll just leave it in until I have another episode, and then see what it recorded. Right?” She speculated.

“Exactly.”

“Then what are you waiting for? Put it in me! Ah… that sounded wrong.”

“It sounded just right to me” I teased. She punched my arm with her free hand. “Fine. I’ll install it, just go sit on the table and enter standby mode.”

“I… I can’t be awake?”

“Well… I guess you can if you want. But you can’t move at all.” I explained.

She thought about it. “I’ll risk it. I already lost too many minutes today, I don’t want to lose any more.”

Shrugging at her, I turned to leave the room to fetch the device from storage. “Oh, and you’ll need to lose the shirt” I said, trying not to enjoy the thought too much.

“What?” She asked as I closed the door behind me. I was gone maybe 2 minutes as I found the item in particular in a storage bin near my station. By the time I returned, she was sitting there, with her shirt still hanging loose on her, staring at nothing.

“Lyss?” I asked as I closed the door. “You ok?”

She looked at me. “Answer me first. Why do I have to lose the shirt?”

“I need to charge you, and work on your port at the same time. Your dedicated charge access is in your lower back, the port is in your upper back. Your shirt is just in the way. So…”

“Ah” Lyss responded. “Sounds logical. And here I was hoping you just wanted to stare at my tits.”

“Can’t it be both?” I shrugged as I prepared the device.

Lyss laughed at me and let her shirt fall from her shoulders. It lightly hit the table as she sat there completely exposed to me. Of course I looked. At first she covered herself with one arm, but then she slowly lowered the arm and held the edge of the table instead.

“I’ve never done anything like this” she commented. “At least that I can remember. Somehow… I am strangely calm about it. With you at least. Just don’t be getting any ideas, ok?”

“Too late” I joked.

She chuckled. “I bet.”

Once again, I faced her backside. “Open your power access port” I told her, and she complied. A large section of her lower back opened up and revealed her battery structure. It was located hear her hips, to balance her center of gravity, and stretched deep into her body. But for a direct charge, I only needed access to a small section. With a click, I attached a large charging cable directly into her back. She inhaled sharply as she felt the sudden rush of electricity fill her systems. Lights in her port indicated she was running at low levels, but that the charge was working.

“Open your data port access panels, and spine access 5,” I commanded. Lyss obeyed the order, and two large access ports on her neck and upper back opened up, revealing her fiberglass and plastic secrets. I had to be careful though. She was exposing her spinal column to me, and just like in humans, it transferred a huge amount of data from her brain to her body. If I messed up, she could be damaged, even irreparably. Lyss did her best to stay calm as I started to disconnect components from her system.

It went smoothly, and every so often, I had to tell her to disable or enable something. Most of the time she just sat there not saying or doing anything but breathing. It got a little tense when I finally got the entire device hooked up, but had a lot of trouble finding a place to put it. Her body was tightly packed with advanced technology, which I never fully explored before. But it left little room for more stuff. I ended up having to run it across to her front and hide it under her collar bone.

With the recorder attached but still hanging loose, I approached Lyss from the front. She glanced up at me, without moving her head.

“Everything alright?” She asked, nervous.

“Yeah, I think I have to hide this up front though. I need you to open your upper chest panel L1.”

She closed her eyes as the skin around her collar bone on her left side lifted away. “Maybe I should have gone into standby… this is nerve-wracking.”

“You’re doing great.” I angled her up, getting me better access to her chest, and redirecting a light. As I started working, she gasped. I could see her muscles contract internally.

“What? Did that hurt?” I asked looking into her eyes.

“It’s nothing. Keep going” she assured me.

I continued, unscrewing part of her collar bone structure, and moving it out of the way. She gasped again.

“Are you ok?”

“I’m fine” she said. “It doesn’t hurt.”

“Then what is it?” I inquired.

“Umm… it’s my…” she began. “You’re pressing against my breast” she said looking up at the ceiling avoiding my eyes.

I looked down. Sure enough I was, and it was pretty obvious she was not hating it. “Oh… sorry.”

“No, it’s ok” she replied. “Just do what you need to do.”

I nodded and got back to work, this time trying to put less pressure on her chest. The device tucked neatly away behind her collar bone although it might limit her flexibility slightly. But nothing she’d need to worry about.

“Say Kev?” She asked as I reattached the collar bone.

“Hmm?”

“You like me right? For real?”

I raised an eyebrow. “Isn’t it obvious? We hang out all the time at work.”

“Yeah… but I need to hear you say it.”

“Of course I do. I like you...a lot.”

She smiled briefly. “All that stuff you said… did you really mean it?”

“What stuff?”

“About buying me at the auction, and owning me…” she elaborated.

“Of course.”

“Do you really… want me… to be your…” she hesitated, “g- gir- um… girlfrie- girlfriend?”

I paused and looked her in the eyes. I knew I had Alexia back at home now, but suddenly I realized how important Lyss really was to me. I had a huge crush on her. But I was too scared to do anything about it. But this incident… these awkward moments with her in this repair bay… something sparked between us. It was odd, and confusing, and I was still processing it, we both were, but I knew in this room on this day, everything between us was about to change. If I didn’t screw it up.

“You’d never go for a guy like me” I deflected. She furrowed her brow a little. “Now can we finish our awkward conversation about dating outside our respective physiological systems later? I need to finish this.”

“I- uh... Ok.” She replied and let me finish up without further interruptions.

I gently closed the port on her chest as she let out a sigh of relief. Making sure the attaching cable was properly tucked away, I closed port on the back of her neck, and then disconnected her from the power and latched her final port shut.

Lyss rolled her head around, rubbing her neck, and arching her back. “That was more uncomfortable than I expected” she said. “Most of it at least.”

“Your battery is mostly charged again, you should easily last the rest of the day” I told her.

“Good. I guess I should get back to work then.”

“Yeah. Just… whatever you do, don’t act weird around Trevor, ok? We don’t know he’s doing anything. But if he is, and he catches on, who knows what will happen?”

She got up from the table, still topless, and turned toward me. “Alright. I’ll do my best.”

Goddamn she was sexy. I was going crazy inside my head. I wanted her in the worst way, but she would reject me faster than lightning. But still, I enjoyed the view immensely. She giggled, and stood there waiting for me on the other side of the table.

“Kev” she mewed.

“Yeah?” I replied, trying not to stare at her as she bounced on the balls of her feet, sending vibrations through her body and into her chest. She was doing that on purpose, right? Lyss stood facing me the entire time I walked around the table to put the tools away behind her.

As I approached, she leaned into me and kissed me on the cheek. A little peck I never expected. “Thank you for helping me out today.”

I was rather surprised she kissed me still, but tried my best to compose myself. “Anytime” I replied, clearing my throat. “Now go get dressed and get back out there.”

Lyss ran her fingers through her hair and giggled again, showing off her body, before turning around and grabbing her shirt. She put it on and buttoned it all the way down, wearing it down and not tied up.

She practically pounced to the door like a giddy schoolgirl. “What if…” she asked, turning from the door with her hand still on the knob, “I did?”

“You did what?” I wondered.

“Go for a guy like you?”

“I… uh…” I stuttered. Damn. This was really happening. She was coming onto me hard. Prancing around topless, giggling. “I’d be the luckiest guy in the world. And I'm not that lucky.”

She gave a knowing little smile, and opened the door and left. I stood there processing everything for several more minutes, just trying to figure out what the hell just happened in here.

What was up with her hair? And why is she suddenly on a roller coaster of emotions? One second she's terrified, the next she’s hitting on me. And what was going on with that thing Trevor put on her? I sat in the room a little longer, putting tools away, contemplating things, and came to a realization. I wasn't going to let anyone take Lyss away. No matter the means. I was in love.

Chapter 7 - A Day Together

All I could think about was Lyss. She was really unique, in every way. As either a girl or a gynoid, she was something else. I always had a crush on her, and I was always afraid I’d screw up the thing we had going. I worried about it even now. But her time was slowly going away. Our time. She was almost gone forever. Why did I have to get so taken with a girl that was literally someone else's property? I thought we moved past keeping women as property generations ago, and yet in this case we are both still forced to live that reality.

Not to mention that, while physical sex was allowed (although looked down upon), in our society a serious relationship between a robot and a human was a serious problem. There weren't any mingled couples of that type, because marrying a robot was against the law. They had no legal rights, no proof of citizenship, and could not officially sign any court documents. In short, if they can't prove they are free thinking sentient beings in a court of law, they can't sign legal documents.

But they were getting smarter all the time. Some even had gained limited rights, although I never really looked into it before. Demonstrating free-will and sentience is a very difficult thing to do. And yet there were now a handful of robot artists that no longer just copied others as much as created something unique.

And yet people feared them deep down. AI’s had been used for nefarious means in the past, and with Hollywood spoon-feeding us “Terminator” robots, people didn’t trust androids. It was until after the Tokyo accords set an international standard for the uses and design of humanoid robots, promoting human development and civilization, that robots were starting to be accepted socially. But the stigma remained.

It meant any hope of a relationship with Lyss was doomed from the beginning, and I knew it. But I also didn't care. I didn't care what people thought about me, nor did I care for the antiquated tradition of marriage. I had known a lot of robots in my time, more than most people, and Lyss, and Alexia for that matter, were way beyond anything else I'd ever seen.

I had to pull my head out of the clouds. There was much to be done. I had to figure out a plan to save Lyss, and fast. With Bill gone that only gave me a few days to figure something out. While it would still be weeks before the auction, the truth was he'd fire me for what I was about to do. And I didn't even know what it was yet. But snooping in his office and looking for a way to liberate a source of free money was definitely grounds to get fired.

But one thing was for sure, I couldn't let her stay in this miserable shop another day.

For now, however, I would keep things cool. Figure out a plan. Look through the office for evidence or ideas. I left the repair room, catching a smile from Lyss as she started working again, and headed upstairs. Time to see what I could dig up on Bill.

I spent an hour easily up there, and nothing came of it. Everything short of training documents, manuals, and order forms were missing. That meant all the tax information, order histories, and god knows what else. There was nothing on Lyss at all. Even any files on the computer were missing, hidden, or encoded in some way. The only thing outside day-to-day business data and training I could access was Lyss’s maintenance software. It had a weird name, “AEMS”. Never heard of it. It appeared to be some proprietary or custom made program, and the only instructions I had from Bill were rushed scribbles on a post it.

I was not about to connect this to Lyss without knowing what it really was or what it really did. But without something more advanced on me, it would have to wait. I couldn’t go line by line in the code to try to determine what was hidden in it, if anything, I would need an AI for that. Like Erin. If only she was operational, I could bring her in and hook her up and she could tell me everything.

Just as I was finishing up looking through the computer, I found a hidden file marked for deletion. I know a thing or two about computers, and this file was recently deleted but not yet overwritten. So I restored it. It wasn’t much, just a jpeg of a note, typed out, with something handwritten at the end. It looked like a list of names. Over a dozen of them. Some of the names seemed familiar. With a quick internet search, I discovered they were all names of wealthy entrepreneurs with an affinity toward technology. Specifically robots. Some of them even had questionable pasts.

The handwriting at the bottom read “Suggested starting bid $120,000. Expect final bid expected over $500,000. Keep track.”

I choked on my own spittle as I read that 3 times. This had to be a list of the invited auction attendees, and the potential price for Lyss. I couldn’t even reach the starting bid! I had saved up, and would save up more if I could, but I had at most $8,000. Maybe I could push it to 10 by the auction, but that was still less than tenth the starting bid. Normally $10k would get a top-notch android, but with bids starting 10 times above that, and rising to half a million dollars, I didn’t stand a chance.

Why was Lyss valued so high? Sure she was custom and realistic, but this was just so high. Then again her hair hinted at something else. What secrets did Lyss hold?

I needed a drink. This was too much. And it hurt to think how hard this must have been for Lyss. Poor Lyss. Maybe I should tell her.

I rushed out of the office, locking it quickly behind me, heading toward Lyss. She was gone! I looked around, but her tools were on the ground and she was nowhere to be seen. Trevor!

I quietly darted up front, trying to stay calm and smile. The front of house was always bigger than I remembered. I never came out here except to get yelled at by angry customers, but this time i was stepping out onto the showroom floor. While there were plenty of places far larger than our store front, it was big enough to leave me wondering what hiding places Trevor could be using. I decided to walk around looking down each of the aisles, just to be safe, and unsurprisingly came up with nothing. Next I tried the TV department. There were lots of places to hide, but I couldn’t see them anywhere.

I moved onto the sound department. This was of particular interest because there were 2 demo rooms, one for car audio and the other for home theater. I didn’t see anything in the car audio, even most of the radios were missing or busted. However, the home theater was always working. I walked into the room, noticing the Mission Impossible clip playing, and switching to other clips from classic films, like Jaws, and stealthily looked around.

I found them. Behind a black curtain against one wall was an employee’s only storage room for speakers and the like, and it was in here that I finally saw him. His back was turned, and he was standing with his head up. It took me a second to notice, but on her knees in front of him was Lyss, with his goddamn dick in her mouth.

I was shocked! I watched like some kind of pervert as Lyss game him a blow job. Her eyes were glazed over, unfocused, and she wore no expression, but dutifully bobbed her head in and out, sucking him off. She was even fondling his scrotum with one hand and pumping at the base of his shaft with the other.

He grabbed her head and started to forcefully pound himself deeper into her mouth. It looked like it hurt, but she made no expression, no noise, nothing. She just kept pumping away at him, clearly responding to a command to get it off quickly. I felt my own arousal kick in again, but the thought of Trevor forcing her to do this enraged me! And yet I did nothing but watch.

Finally he grunted, something I could barely hear over the soundtracks from random films, and he pulled her off of him. Saliva and precum dripped from her mouth and a string of it stayed connected to his erect cock. I wanted to gag. And yet had she been pleasing me instead it would have been different. She breathed heavily, and looked straight ahead at nothing in particular. TRevor used the collar of her shirt to wipe her mouth.

“I’m about to bust a nut” he panted. “Stand up and turn around, let’s make this quick” he commanded.

I watched as she stood up and turned her back to him. Without any finesse, he hiked her skirt up and yanked her plain underwear down. Lyss gave no reaction, no objection, no interest or disinterest. She just stood there. At the base of her neck was, once again, the little black square. As he started to adjust her position for better penetration, I tore myself from the scene and quickly ran back to the door of the demo room just as the music to a pirate film started up.

I hurriedly knocked on the wall, and looked for the right volume control.

“Anyone in here? Lyss?” I called out, pretending to be looking for her still. I turned down the volume, and heard a scuffle in the small room.

“Lyss? You in here?” I asked as I slowly approached the room, hoping to have put a pause to his activities. “Trevor? Is someone here?”

I slowly pulled back the curtain, and opened the door to find both Lyss and Trevor on their knees, concentrating on the ground, as if looking for something small.

“Hey Kevin” Trevor called out. “I was just borrowing Lyss to help me find a tiny screw. I dropped it earlier and it blends right in with the dark floor. I thought maybe her robo-vision would come in handy.”

If I didn’t just see what they were doing, I might have believed him. Son of a bitch. “Little screw” indeed. He was a natural born liar. I stood there and crossed my arms looking down at them, realizing he was leaning over on his knees to hide his boner.

“Any luck?” I asked, trying to keep my voice calm. I didn’t want him to know I just caught him. It might be bad for Lyss, or me.

“Not yet.” He lied.

“Maybe turning on the lights would help?” I suggested as I found a switch and flipped it on. The incandescent lights from above flickered, illuminating the small room.

Trevor slapped his forehead while still on his knees. “Of course. I forgot they fixed those. Thanks, that helps a lot.”

“Well, I need to borrow Lyss again” I said, looking at her as she scoured the floor for nonexistent screws.

“Can I get her back later if I can’t find it?” He asked.

Like hell I would let him be alone with her ever again. Who knows how many times he made her do this, or something more explicit? “Actually she didn’t get a full charge last night since there was a power outage, so I need to run her maintenance now and shut her down for the rest of the day” I half lied.

“Oh, ok” he murmured as he continued to feign searching. “Guess it can’t be helped. Go on Lyss, I’ll manage here on my own.”

“Of course” she replied and stood up to face me. I couldn’t help but notice how she not only looked distant but also seemed to have trouble balancing at first. Her shirt and hair were disheveled and her skirt didn’t quite rest right.

“Alright, let’s get this over with” I said as I gestured for Lyss to follow me. She took step right behind me, following orders like a drone, and we left the room.

“Found it!” Trevor called from the other room after we left. I shook my head.

“Sure you did” I mumbled under my breath.

I led Lyss straight back to the private repair room and locked the door. Once again, she was completely robotic and complacent. I hated it! It reminded me of Alexia in safe mode. I knew Lyss was still buried under there, but for now I had to wait until she came out of her shell again.

In the meantime, knowing full well that she was not going to be herself or remember any of this, I decided to make sure she was not hurt.

“Take off your clothes” I commanded. “Please.” Maybe I was going too far, but I needed to seriously inspect her for damage I didn’t know about.

Without questioning, she started unbuttoning her shirt, and allowed it to drop to the floor, followed by her skirt. She hesitated briefly when she got to her underwear. It was the only underwear she had, and it was not sexy underwear. But it was also not properly adjusted on her. In the rush to redress her, Trevor pulled her panties only as high as her skirt, leaving it low on her hips, and her vagina still partially exposed.

As she stepped out of her panties, I took a closer look at her. I never noticed before, but there were clear signs of abuse all over her body. It wasn’t just from today either. She didn’t bruise the same as humans did, even though she did have artificial blood. But her blood cleans itself up quickly with nano-machines running in her veins. Sure bruises happen, but they vanish in hours, if they show up at all. Instead, marks where the nanites had repaired her were evident as subtle discolorations. Like subdued scars all over her body. They were barely noticeable, and over time most of them would clear up entirely. But it meant that this had been going on for a while.

I hesitated when it came to looking at her genitalia. She’d kill me for seeing her naked like this, especially if she knew I was staring at her pussy. I kneeled down and took a quick glance. I wanted to see if she was damaged there, because repairing that would be an ordeal. I leaned her over to get a better look, and my rushed inspection luckily showed no obvious damage. I would need to do a much more thorough examination to see if there was internal damage, but I felt guilty enough like this. I was staring at her pussy, something I never thought I’d actually get the chance to do, and yet it was oddly not arousing. I was in android repair technician mode, and yet even like this I was unable to do more without her permission. I stopped and sighed, relieved the damage seemingly was minimal if any. I stood her up again.

“Um… What? Kevin?! What are you-?!” She burst, realizing what I was doing, but not stopping me at all.

“I’m checking you for damage. Just be still. And I’m sorry for this” I replied as I took a clean cloth and wiped off her skin. I doubted he had the chance to penetrated her, but she was still dirty and covered in some sort of liquid. Either his or hers.

“D- Damage!? But I… My sensors-” she inhaled and shook her head. “What’s going on?”

“I’ll tell you in a few minutes.” I handed her the panties I picked up off the floor. They needed to be cleaned. “You might want to put this back on for now.”

She was beat red in the face as she looked down at her completely naked torso, but she politely took the panties and awkwardly put them back on. I turned around to give her some privacy, although I could see her shadow on the wall next to me.

“Why am I naked?” She asked again after standing up.

“If I tell you now, you will only forget it again in 5 minutes, I’m afraid.” At least it seemed to be that way based on last time. She came out of her stupor, act like herself, and then forget everything all over again a few minutes later. I picked up the skirt she dropped earlier and straightened it out. I was going to need to burn these.

“I- I’m still… I won’t remember this? Did it work?! Did it record?” She asked. I turned around to see her standing there in only her undies, Holding her arm up to her chest to cover up, so I handed her her skirt and turned around again.

“It should have, but I need to take a look at the readout” I explained, picking her shirt up as well. Gross.

As she finished putting on her skirt I approached her and draped her shirt over her shoulders. “So I won’t remember any of this?” She asked, pulling the shirt around her without putting it on.

“Not for a few more minutes” I assured her.

“Good… I don’t want to remember being mad at you for looking at my privates! You should have waited to look at me until I could give permission. Please don’t take advantage of me too, Kev. It’s bad enough as is.”

Shit, I was so gungho to fix her I didn’t consider her feelings. Even though she was showing off to me earlier, now she was suddenly shy? I was confused. “You’re right. I’m sorry, I got ahead of myself” I apologized.

“It’s… it’s ok. You know I’d let you look if you ever asked” she mumbled. “Umm… Did he… did he rape me?”

“He… uh… He used your mouth” I blushed, remembering the incident clearly.

She shuddered. “That explains this taste” she said, wrinkling her nose. “Get me some water, please” she requested. I looked around. There was a small sink in the corner; it came in useful for certain messy repairs. Looking through the cupboards, I found a paper cup, filled it with water, and handed it to her. She took a big mouthful, rinsed it around in her mouth, and spit it out into a trashcan nearby. She did this again and again, until all the water was gone.

“Gross. Before I start remembering things again” she blushed, “I want to tell you that I… um... want to thank you. For looking after me. And helping me. And I… uh… really really like you. I’m afraid I’m too stubborn to say it.” She avoided looking me in the eyes, but instead grabbed me and hugged me tightly. “I think I’ve had a crush on you for a long... time... now” she whispered. “But… I… um… things are… uhh… I feel...”

She just held me like that for a long time, putting one hand to her head briefly. Eventually she stumbled backwards and looked up at me confused.

“Kev? What… wait… why am I in here again? Already?!” She realized.

“Yeah, it was Trevor.”

“That… that little… what did he do with me?”

“Well… he sort of put you into a trance state, and then… oh boy…” I scratched my head.

“He raped me?! Did you stop him? I’m going to fucking kill him!”

“Technically in the eyes of the law it isn’t-” I began but realized it was a stupid thing to say, especially after she glared hard at me. “I stopped him from getting that far, but… he had you give him a blowjob” I recalled.

“That little fucker is going to die!” She roared, ready to march out there and pummel him. I put my hand on her shoulder and pushed her onto the examination table until she was sitting. She was furious, but not physically strong.

“No. I need to look at the data. I need to know what he is doing and how to counter it. And what exactly this thing is doing… to… um…”

She looked at me impatiently, still struggling against me to get to the door. “Don’t stop me Kevin, this has been going on for too long! I’m going to… What are you looking at?”

“Your hair…” I explained.

“What? AGAIN?!” She shouted, grabbing a strand and looking at it. This time, her hair was starting to turn bright neon red. It was so bright it almost looked like it was on fire. I wasn’t sure but it might have started glowing.

I put my hands on both her shoulders and calmed her down. “Don’t worry about your hair, I’ll figure that out. Just stay calm. You don’t have to do this alone, I’m here to help you.”

She breathed heavily, seething with anger, as she avoided my eyes. But once she glanced up at me, her hatred melted away and she calmed down immensely. Her hair also changed to it’s multicolor state, mostly at least.

“See, your hair is going back to normal again” I assured her.

She took a few deep breaths and closed her eyes, calming herself down. She was actually cute when she was angry, but I wasn’t going to tell her that. Her eyes shot open and she glared at me. “And my shirt?” She asked raising an eyebrow. It was still unbuttoned and not exactly on her.

“Ah… well, I need to read that data from your port…”

“And that requires my entire shirt to be unbuttoned? Did he undress me too?”

“I… uh… Sorry. I was looking for damage, after what he did. I’m sorry, I should have waited.”

“Damage?” She looked down, lifting her shirt to look at her skin. “Is there any damage? I don’t detect anything.”

“Nothing that hasn’t already been repaired.”

“That’s... good” she sighed. “Wait. What do you mean repaired? So there was damage?”

I nodded. “Looks like it. Old damage. Nothing serious I think. I never saw this before on you. It’s subtle, but it’s there. Your body repaired it.”

She leaned forward and put her head in her hands, letting out a long sigh and grabbing at her hair out of frustration. I wanted nothing more than to help her, save her, fix her. But I could only do so much. I picked up a usb device which came with the recorder I implanted in her body. This piece would take the data from the past few hours and transfer it to itself, archiving the content in the original drive and giving me safe access to the data without putting Lyss’s systems in danger.

I stood beside her and opened the port on her neck while she sat there with her head still in her hands. She didn’t move as I connected the device and activated it. It would only take a minute, maybe less. However, as I was safely transferring the data, I saw Lyss’s hair change again, this time to a deep dark blue.

Tears silently fell onto her lap, getting both her skirt and her legs wet. I had never seen her cry before. I wasn’t even sure she could. She inhaled and let out a stifled sob.

“Lyss? I’m here for you” I consoled as I sat on the table next to her. She kept sobbing but leaned into me, never taking her hands away from her hair and face.

“Twice in one day! I want to die” she bawled, her voice barely decipherable through her sobs. “Just deactivate me and erase me.”

“Lyss! No! I… it would hurt too much to lose you.”

“Well it’s going to happen anyways!” She sobbed. “The auction…”

I put my hand on her back and held her for a bit. “I’ll figure something out.”

“How can I rely on that?” She cried, unable to compose herself.

“Lyss…. Elise…” I began, “Have I ever let you down before?”

She looked up at me, tears still streaming down her face. She never looked more pathetic and completely unlike her normal self. It hurt to see her in so much pain! I never wanted her to be this sad ever again. I barely recognized her; I would swear she was another girl altogether. She wiped at her cheeks and sniffed again, shaking her head. “No…”

“We’ll get through this together” I assured her. “I’m already working on your memories, and now we know who is responsible and what he’s been doing. So we can stop him. But I fear there is more going on here than just Trevor. I think we need to lay low, and figure things out.”

She nodded, but continued to cry. “I’ve been violated” her cracked voice came out barely understandable. “Just let me stay like this for a bit.” Lyss continued to lean into me, sobbing. I didn’t move, and just held her as she cried it all out. This really was something building up in her, but I wasn’t sure why it was coming out now. I never thought I’d see a robot cry, let alone console her as she did. Eventually she cried her last tear, and wiped her nose with a Kimwipe we used for cleaning components. She had calmed down, and sat up again. She gave me a weak smile as she sat up on her own again.

“Thank you” she whispered.

She started to put her shirt back on, so I helped her out until she got her arms in. As she buttoned up the front, I took the device over to the computer and plugged it in. Looking through the code, I very quickly ran into a problem.

“It’s encrypted” I said. “I can’t decrypt this without either a key or… a really advanced AI.”

“You could take it back to your AI at home… Erin was it?” She said, her voice still weak but starting to return to normal. So was her hair color again. I figured it must be somehow related to her emotions, but why was it only starting now, after months of working with her? And for that matter, why was she so emotional lately?

“Maybe. She was damaged recently though and is undergoing repairs. I don’t know if she’ll be much use.”

“Well, we can’t do it here, can we?” She questioned, clearing her throat and finding her voice again.

She was right, my best bet right now would be to get Erin fixed somehow, and use her. But it was risky. But there were no other options I could think of. Ask Trevor for the encryption key? Where did he even get that thing? He wasn’t technically minded, he was a people person, so why was he wielding a… slave maker program?

“Alright. We’ll try it at home.”

“We?”

I forgot, she didn’t even remember about Alexia at all. That was going to be a problem. Should I try to keep her a secret again? I trusted Lyss, but a simple truth program could extract the data out of her regardless of her will. Still, if it came to something that drastic, I’d rather not keep secrets from Lyss. Well… maybe a little longer.

“Well yeah… we are doing this together. Since I don’t plan on keeping you prisoner in here to keep you safe from Trevor, I am going to take you with me.”

Her mouth hung open. “You’re going to sneak me out?! You’ll get fired for sure!”

“Nah! Besides, you need a break, a real one.”

“I’ve never been outside before… If Bill finds out-”

“We only have a few days together unless I can figure something else out first. One way or another, our time is running out. So, how about we go out and make the best of it. Better than staying here hiding in this ugly room.”

“You- you’re right! There isn't much time. We should break some rules! Get out of this joint. Screw the establishment!” she shouted, much more like herself again. Or at least her more rebellious side.

“Yeah! Let’s get out of here and… go on a date!” I responded with equal enthusiasm.

“Yeah! A date! A- a d- date?” she stuttered.

“Uh… yeah. Well, only if you want to.”

“I- uh…” she blushed. “Sure… ok. Yeah. YEAH! Let’s break ALL the rules! Let’s date!”

“That’s the spirit” I cheered.

“Yeah! Let’s Rock this town! I feel great! Terrified, but great! Umm… but for real, a date?” she wondered.

“Why not? We can just go out and have some fun and take a day to ourselves and come back to this refreshed and ready to face it.”

She smiled her sly tomboyish smile. “You sly dog, is that all you wanted? A date?” She laughed. “I was scared you’d never ask. I would have dated you even without any of this shit going on. Of course I will! But don’t tell anyone. Might mess up my tough-girl reputation around here.” She teased as she flexed her muscles.

She giggled as we joked around. I never imagined this would happen to me for real! I asked her out on a date... sort of…. And Lyss agreed to date me! I was ecstatic!

“But seriously… what if someone catches us?” she asked.

“Then I’ll steal you” I admitted, brutally honest.

“Steal me… huh...” she seemed deep in thought for a moment and then smiled. “Ok. But… before we resort to law-breaking, what’s the plan?”

“I told Trevor I am locking you up for the night.”

“But he has keys now, doesn’t he?”

“Not to this room. Only I do.”

She wanted to say something but caught herself. “Maybe… no one would question it, but I can’t be seen. Wait… what if Trevor’s tracking me?”

She had a point. Tracking devices were tiny and almost impossible to spot. And if she had one, it could be installed anywhere on her.

“It’s not Trevor I’m concerned is tracking you. But Bill might.”

“Bill?”

“Let’s just say he had financial reasons to keep you under observation” I explained, referring to the auction. She just didn’t know how much. “But where could he have hidden it?”

Lyss thought for a minute, but shook her head. “No idea… I don’t remember any of the sessions still.”

“Well… it would be small, but I haven’t explored most of… *cough* … your body… so I wouldn’t know what to look for. The most I explored was your arm when you were damaged. It would probably need it’s own power supply, to track you in case you were deactivated and stolen. Something like that would emit a signal. And that I can look for!” I deduced.

I rummaged through some old drawers in the room while Lyss dangled her feet off the edge of the table. She was definitely acting more like her old self again. I knew I had seen one of those contraptions in there before, but I never had a reason to use it. After a few minutes of searching, I found it.

“Eureka!” I exclaimed as I held up the strange metal rod. “This will help us find it. If there is one.”

“What is it?”

“An antenna, of sorts. Specifically one that can detect tiny signals like that. We used to use it to look for airwave viruses that could be emitted from a robot without knowing it. Nasty viruses. Could turn an entire city block of androids into zombies in seconds. Finding the right signal was the key. It was often hidden inside a robot by a shady repair shop and would feed off the bots power supply, sending out an independent signal... to…”

Even though Lyss was a robot, she had lost interest and was giving me that look. The look that said she wanted me to shut up. Normally this sort of thing was interesting to her, but I figured with everything happening, she didn’t care about virus attack history.

“It can be waved over part of your body and find anything emitting a signal” I explained simply. “Like a metal detector wand, but for signals.”

She nodded. “Ok… let’s check.”

I connected the antenna to a tablet, and activated the software, running the updates first. Lyss laid down on the exam table and looked nervous. As soon as the updates were completed, I ran the antenna over her body, tuned in to look for any wireless signal data. Lyss disconnected herself from all networks, so I could look for anything suspicious. As I passed the antenna over her, she started to get more nervous.

Her head seemed to be clear, since she wasn’t emitting anything at the time herself. I moved down to her chest. She held her breath, and when so signal was found, she relaxed a little. When I reached down to her groin, she got nervous again, but still no signal. Apparently she worried the antenna was somewhere naughty. But with nothing so far, maybe we were safe. I ran down all the way to her feet, and then back up for a second look.

It was when I was heading back up that a blip appeared on the screen. I ran the device over her skirt again to make sure, but found nothing. I double checked her thighs, separated her legs to get a better signal, which made her nervous, but still nothing. It was when I passed over her left hand resting by her side that it appeared again. Lyss was clearly stressing out. It wasn’t in her legs or groin, it was coming from her hand. There was definitely something there.

I put down the antenna and tablet and grabbed my tool kit, donning a pair of magnifying lenses over my glasses. She snickered at me. At least her sense of humor was back. Or maybe she was just trying to calm herself down with some laughter.

“Lyss, open all the ports on your left hand” I ordered. She nodded and her hand seemingly unfolded. Each finger separated from the other, expanding the size and width of her hand, revealing all the intricate workings of her fingers and palm. Her hand was downright amazing. And tiny, and delicate, and complex...

Carefully, I lifted her hand and looked through it, over and over, turning it to each side for anything that seemed out of place. I had studied her arm intensely months ago when she was originally brought in, but never looked that closely at her arm. Her muscles and artificial bones were based on that of a human, so they looked more like an anatomy lesson one might imagine is given at a medical school of an opened cadaver, except with electronics and a conscious girl attached. A tiny flat sticker shaped like a circle with a line seemed out of place along her index finger. It wasn’t much more than a sticker, not even half an inch in length, but it wasn’t on her other fingers, and it didn’t match the rest of her structure. For that matter, it looked hastily placed there, like it just didn’t belong. The circle at the base of the line was likely a power source and the line was likely the antenna. It made sense.

I didn’t want it to send out an alert or anything, but there was no way to know if it would. The best I could do was remove it, attach it to some other spare part, and pray everything worked. It was a simple extraction. I had Lyss sit up and hold her hand under a light while I used a pair of tweezers to carefully peel the device away.

I waved the signal-detecting wand over the sticker to be safe, and it caused a blip on the screen. It all looked good to me. I placed it on some old spare part and shoved it in a drawer. Lyss exhaled and closed up her hand, rubbing it as she opened and closed a fist.

“Holding it open like that makes me sore” she complained. Must have been a nerve constraint problem, typical for extremely intricate systems like hers, but it was nothing to worry about.

“Alright Lyss” I chimed, taking off the extra lenses from my glasses, “you stay right here. I’ll be right back with your stuff.”

“Kev!” She called out and reached for me. “Uhh…” she hesitated and started rubbing her hand again. “Hurry up, alright?”

I nodded and was in and out in a flash. I grabbed her portable charger I was using on her earlier, her hat, and a few other small items. She didn’t have much. It all easily fit in a small plastic bag, so I put them in, and headed back to the room. No one was around. I did another peak up front, to make sure no one would see us. Luckily Trevor was busy with a customer, and the only other employees I saw were too busy talking each other up. I darted back in and gestured for Lyss.

“It’s now or never, hot stuff” I said, trying too hard to be cool. It actually made her laugh. She was looking more like herself again. She grabbed my hand and together we dashed for the back door. Before we got all the way, a girl walked in, closing the door behind her. We abruptly stopped in our tracks, but it was too late to pretend we weren’t heading for the door.

“Ah!” The tall lanky blond girl with round glasses stared at us for several seconds. “Mr. Rowan!” She exclaimed. She wore a fitted plaid sweater vest and khakis and had her blonde hair held down with barrettes, which failed to constrain her hair’s wild nature. She was probably in her late teens or early 20s. She didn’t look like the popular, or attractive sort, although she did have a cuteness to her.

“Uhh…. um…” she looked familiar but I couldn’t place her name.

“Alice” she clarified. “Alice Edison. I started a week ago” she elaborated.

“Oh yeah,” I remembered. She was the shy girl that usually had a serious look on her face. Bill hired her last week as a junior robot repair technician. She didn’t work in my bay, and focused mainly on non-android robots, at least while she was learning. She approached us for a position eager to learn, so Bill set her up learning the basics. She was smart, that was for sure, but quiet, I hardly noticed her when she was around. I wondered how many times I didn’t see her listening in on us. And I worried she might get suspicious that I was taking Lyss outside. “Hi.” I tried to play it cool.

“Elise? Where are you going?” She inquired.

“That’s twice today someone’s used my full name. Call me Lyss.”

“Lyss? Oh… I see” Alice replied looking almost disappointed.

“I was uh… just taking Lyss to… um…” I tried to come up with a lie but was caught off guard and didn’t know what to say.

Lyss leaned in closely to her and whispered loud enough for me to hear. “We’re going on a date” she explained, making Alice blush.

“Bu- but you’re an android” she stammered.

“Gynoid. So?” Lyss retorted. “I haven’t had a break, ever! I really need this. Please don’t tell anyone!” She pleaded.

“But- But robots and humans can’t have… I mean they shouldn’t… should they?” Alice questioned.

“Who cares!?” Lyss objected. “We’re not hurting anyone, we’re just having some fun.”

“Please Alice” I asked. “Don’t tell anyone, Lyss needs a break from here.”

Alice nodded. “Alright. I… won’t get in your way, or tell anyone” she agreed.

“Thank you so much! You are a lifesaver!” Lyss exclaimed. “With the day I’ve been having… I need this.”

“What- what happened?” Alice wondered aloud as she stepped out of our way.

“Don’t ask” I told her.

“Just stay away from Trevor for your own good, he’s a real shit” Lyss warned with a scowl.

We turned away, leaving Alice there to contemplate things, hoping we could take her by her word, and not tell anyone. I opened the back door, letting the light from the midday sun blind us, and stepped outside, pulling Lyss with me and closing the door.

It took a second for my eyes to adjust, but when they did, I ran toward my car.

“Kev!” Lyss called out from behind me. I panicked and turned around, afraid we’d been caught. Instead, she stood there looking out at everything wildly, holding the bag of her belongings up to her chest, and pressing her back to the door. She looked scared, and her hair was starting to fade.

“Lyss?” I returned to her and tried to help.

“It’s HUGE!” She feared. “The…. the blue… sky? It’s so high up! I can’t…. where’s the ceiling? And the other walls?!” She darted her head to the side to look at the noise of a car honking in the distance. “What was that?”

“Lyss… calm down. I’m here for you. Just take my hand.”

She hesitated, but reached out, struggling against me. “Is it going to rain? Or lightning?”

“No… Not today.”

“How do you know?” She questioned looking up at the sky nervously.

“Because there aren’t any clouds. Well no storm clouds. Besides you’re waterproof now.”

She took a step into the bright light, looking straight up at the sky, before falling to her knees. And here I thought Alexia was bad. Lyss had never seen the outdoors and her limited programming didn’t prepare her for any of this. I took the bag from Lyss, and held both her hands.

“Lyss, look at me. Don’t look up, look at me. Ignore the dog. And the cars. Just follow me. I’ll get you in my car, and then you can get used to everything. I won’t let. Anything happen to you.”

She nodded and stared into my eyes as she got to her feet. I walked backwards toward my car guiding her along the way. It wasn’t that far, but it felt a lot farther when I was trying to take baby steps with Lyss. She grew more confident as she walked on. But she was still nervous and kept getting distracted by all the sounds and movement of the trees and birds and people and cars and everything.

Finally, we made it to the car as she held onto me tight. “This… isn’t so bad” she proclaimed. “I can do this. It’s just… walking to a car. Simple. Wait, what are you doing?” She worried as I turned around to unlock and open the car.

“Opening the car for you. I won’t go anywhere” I assured her.

“Stop condescending to me” she complained. “This is just a lot of data to take in for me… I’m not used to it. And I didn’t expect the sky to be so… big.”

I opened the door to the passenger side and took her hand. “I’m not… I’m trying to help keep you calm.”

“Well it’s not working, I’m perfectly capable of- AH!” She squealed as a gust of wind blew past us and ruffled her skirt and hair. She darted into the car the wrong way and curled up on the front seat with her legs under her chin. I laughed a little and she stuck her tongue out at me.

I closed her in and got in myself. “Like this” I said, showing her the correct way to get in, and put on the seatbelt. She learned quickly.

“Thank you” she whispered.

“What was that?” I said as I started the car. It made her jump in her seat.

“Ah!” She took a few seconds to calm down and then in a voice too loud for the tiny cabin repeated “THANK YOU. Ah... Sorry.”

I smiled at her and she smiled back. “You are perfectly welcome.”

“I’m so embarrassed… I just didn't expect everything outside to be so... so… big! It’s strange but seeing the sky made me feel like I was going to fall over or fly away. I’m not used to having no walls or ceiling over me.”

“Well with your programming limited to the functions in the shop, you had no reason to have any data on the outdoors. I’m sorry I didn't think about that sooner. But don't worry, I’ll stay right with you the whole time. Now…” I said as I put the car into gear “stay calm, but this is going to drive us around really fast. Just don’t panick. We’re going shopping!”

“Shopping? WOAH!” Lyss squealed and grabbed the door and armrest as the car kicked into gear and started moving. I made sure to drive slowly for now, until she got used to it, but she was still very nervous about everything.

“We’re going to hit THAT CAR!” She screamed and put her feet and hands on the dashboard to brace herself, while I calmly and gently came to a complete stop before hitting anyone. She opened one eye and looked around. And then at me laughing.

She punched my arm hard enough to hurt.

“I’m not used to this” she complained, sticking her tongue out at me. Putting her feet back down, she took in a breath and tried to calm down. “Sorry I hit you.”

“It’s fine. Just don’t do it when I’m driving.” She looked down at her lap and tried to concentrate on something other than the outside. “Just trust me. I’ve been driving for a long time, I’m not going to hit anyone. Take a look outside and enjoy the view. Try to get used to it.”

She ran her hand through her hair. “It went white again, didn’t it?” She noticed as her hair was returning to it’s multicolor state.

“It seems to be attached to your emotions or something. I read about androids that could change their hair color, but I never expected you to be one.”

“Why now?” She wondered. “Hey Kev? You don’t have a… um… gir- What is that?” She interrupted herself to look at a low flying plane overhead that cast a shadow on the car.

“A plane. Probably landing at the airport nearby.”

“It looks smaller than I thought it would” she noted.

“That’s just because it’s so far away. It probably has over two hundred people inside it.”

“Wow” she exclaimed as she pressed her face to the glass looking up at it. “Amazing! Ah!” She hopped in her seat when a truck drove past.

“Just a truck. Don’t worry. You know we get truck shipments at the store” I explained.

“But I never see them. Only the stuff they cart in. I always thought they’d move slower.” As we pulled onto the freeway, she stared opened eyed at the road. “Fuck that’s a big road! So many cars!”

“It’s the highway. It should get us to the mall faster.”

“How many people live in this city?” She wondered looking at all the cars.

“Over a million I think. And half of them don’t know how to drive, and the rest are all jerks.”

“So which one are you?”

“I’m a jerk, but I thought you knew that already.” I’m glad I could make her laugh again.

She fell silent as she tried to concentrate on her lap, limiting her exposure to the outside. At least at first. By the time I pulled off of the highway, she was glued to the window looking at everything happening. She even starting asking me questions about everything she saw. “Why do so many people have cars?” “Why is that large one yellow?” “Why don’t more people use self-driving cars?” “How many trees over there?”

Naturally I didn’t have all the answers, but she was just full of them. It went on like that until we finally reached the mall. Being suddenly surrounded by a world so much bigger than the one she was used to made Lyss spark with curiosity. We hadn’t even gotten to the first stop and already she was having the time of her life.

I was impressed with how fast Lyss learned things and got used to the situation. As we pulled into the parking lot, she was rocking out to the punk rock station complete with air guitar and head banging. I could practically see her on stage performing some hard rocking solo. She had the hair for it.

The size mall took her by surprise. The building was the biggest she had ever seen, and she had to hold onto me tightly as we approached it, as though she might float away if she let go. It was intimidating for her, but once we got inside she was even more overwhelmed. With so many people, and so many stores, and so any smells, and sounds, and lights. We had to sit on a bench for a few minutes while she adjusted to it, hanging her head down between her legs breathing for a bit. She adapted fast though, within 10 minutes, she was up and about and looking all around. Once she got used to the swing of things, I couldn’t hold her back.

“This… Is… AWESOME!” She belted as she looked from store to store. I had a reason for bringing her here, she needed clothes that suited her, but before long she was dragging me to places to look at everything. She darted into computer stores, looking at all the parts they sold, although none of them were particularly advanced. Next she found a video game store where she tried her hand at some shooters and even played a music game. She seemed particularly fond of the video games. Afterwards she dragged me into a store full of oddities and nerdy items. Finally, I had to put my foot down and took her to several clothes stores.

At first she seemed uninterested, but it didn’t take much to convince her to go. We first hit up an apartment store where I got her some basics. Underwear, jeans, t-shirts, blouses… As she explored different looks, she really started to get into it. And ultimately, she ended up dragging me to several style specific stores. She was partial to the punk look, which I liked a lot on her. I ended up buying her jean shorts, crop tops, leather boots, studded necklaces and bracelets, a leather jacket (which I spent too much on), layered tops, a plaid skirt, knee-high socks…

While we were out and about, I made sure to discreetly grab a few items for Alexia. I almost forgot all about her in the excitement, but I was originally planning to go shopping with her for clothes. But taking a near naked girl out shopping was challenging. This was much easier. I did my best figuring out what sizes to get her. I hope they’d fit. But I couldn’t get anything fancy or nice. Some tank tops, shorts, pants… mostly stuff to wear around the house or on an errand. With Lyss around, I couldn’t do more than that. Besides, it wasn’t a date for Alexia, this was all about Lyss!

We even made a trip to Victoria’s Secret. Which was interesting. Most of the time, no one said or noticed anything about her being a robot, but the seams on her body were subtle enough you’d have to be paying attention and really close to notice them. I did, but none of the cashiers at the other stores did, until she got fitted for a proper bra. They went into the back together, and the came out blushing. Which was odd. But not as odd as Lyss’s hair fading from red back to its normal colors as she saw me.

As the perky young dark-skinned girl ran up the amount, Lyss couldn't help but chat with her. Mainly they talked about styles of clothes and what music matches them, but as it came around time to pay, Lyss got distracted by a fancy overpriced nightie set leaving me alone with the girl. I managed to catch her name, Nicole, thanks to her name tag.

“She sure is something” Nicole told me as she brought up the total on the card reader for me. “I’ve fitted a few androids, usually just men’s playthings, but you seem different… she seems different. Not like the typical model… More full of life and personality. And she's pretty too. And her hair…. wish I could do that with my hair. You don't look the type to have a plaything like her. Is she yours?”

I shook my head, pulling out my wallet. “No, not exactly. We’re just friends.”

“Friends? Mmm-hmm. I’d believe that. She’s so independent and interesting, definitely not like the Barbies we see. So how did you two meet?”

“Well… She’s a unit I repaired for work but her owner never picked her up” I explained as I paid for the items.

“Really? I have a hard time believing anyone wouldn’t want to keep that spunky cutie around. So what are you doing with… oh… oh I see.”

“What?” I flustered.

“What are you talking about?” Lyss asked as she came back over.

“Oh, just you sweetheart” Nicole replied with a grin. “Nevermind that. If you two are doing what I think you are doing, the best of luck to you. I've never met anyone like you before darling. Better keep this man on a tight leash.”

“Where can I get one of those?” Lyss asked, leaving me wondering if she was serious or not.

The cashier laughed, and laughed, and kept laughing. “Oh you! Stop!” As Nicole finally managed to control her fits of humor, she bagged Lyss’s things, and threw in a little something extra.

“I hope to see you in here again sweetheart” she replied handing Lyss the bag. Lyss smiled and ran her free hand through her hair.

“So do I.” As we turned to leave, the Nicole got my attention.

“I sure hope you’re serious about her, and not just keeping her around for fun. I wouldn’t mind keeping someone like her around...” She gave me a wink, but another lady walked in for a fitting and I never got the chance to ask her what she meant.

“Well you two really seemed to hit it off. I’m glad she didn’t get upset when she saw your hair.”

“I couldn’t help, I got embarrassed. What?” Lyss retorted as she bumped her shoulder into mine.

“Well… just be careful. I don’t want someone getting upset when they see us.”

“Oh let them. I don’t care what they think! Besides, she was nice. I can’t wait to try these on” she added.

“Well why not? Let’s get you all dressed up. Just pick whatever you want to wear, and I’ll wait.”

“What? Here?”

“No, the bathroom. I’ll take you to the bathroom and wait outside while you change in a stall.”

“A stall? I… I’ve never been in a bathroom before.”

“Well I am not going in with you. Just… when we get there go in one of the open stall doors and change. You’re a smart girl, you’ll figure it out.”

She punched me again. It was becoming a habit of hers. But her laughter and giggles made it worth it. As we headed toward the bathroom, Lyss got distracted by a couple walking passed dressed in the most stereotypical rebel outfits possible. All black clothes, leather, anarchy necklaces, holes in everything, nose rings with chains… and that was just the guy. The girl was tall and skinny with almost no curves, and wore black short shorts with a torn tank top which showed off her black and red bra, and knee-high leather boots. She had dozens of earrings going up the outside of each ear, a pierced nose, pierced lip, pierced eyebrow, and who knows what else. Plus she was covered from head to toe in brightly colored tattoos, depicting roses and skulls and goats and anything else.

Lyss stared a little too intently as they walked passed. The girl caught her glare and gave her one of her own. The guy just walked passed as though we weren’t there, which was fine by me. But Lyss couldn’t stop herself. It got awkward when the girl stopped in front of her and gave her a stare full of attitude.

“Nice tats” Lyss exclaimed, realizing she was making a scene. The girl looked down at her as though she were sizing Lyss up, and tilted her head.

“Nice hair.”

And with that, the girl walked passed and didn’t even look back. Lyss did, but I grabbed her arm and straightened her gaze as we walked on. I did not want her to cause a scene.

“Did you see how many tattoos she has? I want one! Those are awesome!”

Strangely, I could picture her with a tattoo. It would look good on Lyss. But… “I’m afraid that isn’t going to work. Your skin is too delicate, and tattoos aren’t designed for artificial skin. It would damage you.”

“Come on, they have to make something for… uh… someone like me to get a tattoo.”

“It’s called a printer, but they don’t work well on your type of skin. They just wear off anyways. Sorry Lyss, you can’t get a tattoo, because it won’t work.”

She pouted and twisted her mouth. “Then maybe a piercing?”

“Again… not a good idea. Your skin could tear, and your immune system would not repair the damage correctly. It would not close the wound fully and it would just bleed if you kept something in there.”

She grunted. “Fine!”

“You don’t need all that anyways” I added, hoping to calm her down.

“Yeah?” she asked with a snarky tone. “Why not?”

“Because you are already beautiful without those.” Lyss blushed and tried to hold back a smile, her hair starting to warm in tone. “Although your clothes would use improvement.”

“No kidding” she chuckled. She looked up at me and smiled with a sly grin, but said nothing as we kept walking. I wondered what she was thinking.

In order to get to the restrooms, we had to pass through the food court, where merchants were cooking up a storm and trying to hand out samples to anyone passing by. Even Lyss who had to turn them down due to the fact that. she couldn’t eat. I also turned them down due to the fact that they were disgusting.

“Mmm… that smells amazing!” Lyss noted as we passed through the gauntlet of mediocre mall food. “I’ve never smelled anything so good!” She started smacking her lips together almost like she was tasting it. “Oh how I wish I could try that!”

Odd. Smell and taste were closely related in humans, and while very few androids and gynoids could eat, those that did also used smell as part of the process. In fact, without taste, androids only used smell to detect things, if they could smell at all, and their mouths don’t water. But Lyss, who I know can’t eat, was showing all the signs that she could except hunger. Someone put an awful lot of detail into making her appear almost human, but stop just short.

I pointed Lyss in the right direction, and waited for her inside the food court, looking at all the people and signs. It wasn’t as busy as it normally was when I was here, but I rarely came to the mall. Still, there were plenty of people coming and going, waiting in line for food, eating, and shopping. I even spotted a few androids and gynoids in the crowd. Most were the typical plastic models, which were useful for carrying bags, managing money, even ordering food for their human owner. Since they were considered property, everyone treated them rudely, but still served them. They were just buying things for humans after all.

I caught one girl staring at me as I sat bored at a table. She was thin and short, with dark skin and long dreadlocks, wearing a sleeveless leather blouse and tight white pants. Once she saw me looking back at her, she smiled and abruptly looked away, concentrating on some reading material. Didn’t think I still caught the eyes of girls anymore. She wasn’t unattractive, but had a posh air about her that I wasn’t fond of. I looked away, realizing I was now the one staring at her. Instead, I tried to think about what else Lyss and I could do that day. I was not going to get caught ogling some girl when I was on a date with Lyss.

Luckily, the answer appeared out of thin air in front of me. Literally. A holographic display floating some 12 feet up had changed to a flashy colorful ad as it slowly rotated in empty space. It was for a traveling carnival show in town, this weekend only. I hadn’t gone to a carnival since I was a little brat. It was fairly close, and would make the perfect material for a date. They had games, food, shows, live music, rides, and a pretty good sized ferris wheel. It looked impressive for a small traveling show.

As I was looking up the directions on my phone, Lyss stood in front of me, clearing her throat. She was wearing black boots with a short red plaid skirt, a white blouse that showed off some of her midriff, with laces down either side giving me a peek at her skin, with a studded choker, multicolored bracelets, and a short black leather jacket. She had hints of color all over, but it mainly stayed very punk and matched her hair very well. My mouth must have been hanging open as I stared at her all dressed up in the sexiest outfit I ever saw her in. Lyss ran her fingers through her hair while shifting her weight.

“Well? How do I look?”

“Wow.”

“Wow?” She repeated. “Is that all?”

“You look amazing!” I elaborated. She stood there with one hand on her hip looking down at me quizzically. “Stunning! Beautiful… umm… you look um…” I struggled to find more words, hoping to get her approval. “... cute… pretty…. sexy… hot-”

“Ok! Ok. You can stop!” she blushed as she smiled. “Geez… I’m not that great.”

“Sure you are. You’ve always impressed me.”

“Flattery will get you everywhere” she winked. “So what’s the plan? More shopping?” She seemed to like shopping, although my wallet wasn’t terribly fond of it.

“Actually I was thinking we could go to the carnival. If that sounds good to you.”

“Carnival? Like with clowns and sideshow freaks and carnies?”

“I’m pretty sure they aren’t like that anymore…” I defended.

“Sounds awesome!” she exclaimed.

Lyss was eager to get going, pulling at my hand lifting me out of my seat. As she started pulling at me, dragging me behind her, she realized she had no idea where she was going and stopped. “Maybe you should lead” she suggested and held my hand as she walked next to me instead. I couldn’t help but get more glimpses of her in her new outfit.

As we walked along, heading back toward the exit nearest to my car, Lyss was all smiles and energy. But something caught her eye, and she stopped, tugging at my arm. It was a TV mounted to the ceiling over our heads showing a news report. It was muted, but subtitles were on screen. As well as the image of an anchorman and a picture of a young man hovering next to him. On closer inspection, it wasn’t a young girl… or even a girl at all… it was a gynoid. It cut to a video of the gynoid who looked less human than Lyss, with almost silver skin, but seemed very expressive with natural movements. People were celebrating, while others were protesting.

“What’s going on?” Lyss wondered. “Who is that?”

I looked closer at the subtitles and headlines on the screen. “She appears to be… one of the first.”

“First what? Robots?” Lyss wondered.

“The first robot citizens. Legally recognized” I noted. “She’s a free robot. Looks like her artificial appearance made the news.”

“A free robot…” Lyss repeated. “Sounds nice.” She seemed taken by the report, so I let her watch for a bit. I noticed others watching as well, even a few other androids and gynoids. I caught a few people shaking their heads and walking off, one man even looked angry about it and cursed under his breath. But plenty of others were smiling. Non-human citizens… non-biological beings with every right as any human… well almost. When the news changed to another topic, Lyss stood there, thinking. “I wonder what they did to manage that. This could change everything” she noted.

“It… it really could” I agreed.

After a few more moments standing in the middle of the aisle blocking traffic, Lyss shook her head and refocused on me. “Yeah, well good for her! Now about that date…”

“Right, let’s go!” I nodded and we darted off toward the exit.

We arrived at the carnival well before it started to get dark. It was located in a large empty parking lot not that far from the mall. Oddly enough, we had to park in a field. You’d think it would have been the other way around.

“Woah… the ground is soft and… squishy…” Lyss noted as she got out of the car, holding on to the roof. Of course, she’d only ever been in a room before, she never touched soft ground.

“Yeah, it’s dirt. And grass.”

“I won’t fall will I?” She wondered as she reached toward me without letting go of the car. “It looks slippery.”. Luckily her boots were not high heels and gave her plenty of traction.

“It can be. Just hold onto me, You won’t fall.” I offered her my arm, and she eagerly took it and held on tight. I got the impression she still wasn’t used to the outdoors, and all the strange sensations it gave her. As a gust of wind brushed past us, she yelped and held on even tighter, until it was gone. Wind was not something she was used to either.

“It’s like a big fan just turns on out of nowhere…” she noted.

We made our way to the entrance. Lyss was glad to be an more solid ground again, but still held onto me. It wasn’t a grand affair, but Lyss had never seen anything like it. Payment booths, turnstiles, ticket takers, and the music and smells and lights from the other side of the small metal gate. I got us a pair of tickets from the booth-bot and entered the gate. Lyss was fascinated by everything she saw. To our left were some small rides and a stage where there was a band setting up, straight in front of us was the ferris wheel and a few other small rides, and to our right were games and shops. Lyss gravitated to the right, and pulled me along.

The few shops we looks at had only knick-knacks and apparel. We looked, but nothing called out to us. Besides, I spent enough already on clothes for her for one day. Still, she enjoyed browsing and looking at all the strange things for sale. One of the cashiers was a little robot boy, very much like Lyss, although his seams were more pronounced. Lyss got a kick out of talking with him.

We moved onto the next section… games. I wish I could say I won yss a big stuffed toy or something, but she was the one doing most of the playing, and very little winning. I did play some, but I won even less. We tried the ring toss, the pellet guns, the balloon darts game… everything they had really. And she was loving it! Everything we did had her laughing and joking and giggling. Even when we lost, she was still all grins. I don’t think she had ever had this much fun in her life. She managed to hit a stack of metal bottle with a small sack, knocking it over on the first try, and won a small stuffed toy dragon.

“Aww… it’s so cute” she squealed. “I’ll name him… Baron McFirefarts.”

I spit out the drink I was swallowing. “What?!”

She belted out laughing at me as I struggled not to choke to death on watered down soda. “What’s wrong with McFirefarts?” she managed to ask through her fits of giggles.

“Nothing” I said, wiping my nose and mouth with a napkin. “It’s the Baron part. He looks more like a Señior McFirefarts, don’t you think?” I learned to roll with it when Lyss was invollved.

“Señior McfireFarts…” she contemplated. “I don’t know...maybe he’s a she…”

“Magic Princess Firefarts?” we both said at the same time. I’m sure our sudden bursts of laughter were causing a scene, but it was pretty epic.

“It’s decided. Magic Princess Firefarts it is. What is that?” Lyss wondered as the sound of a local rock band started up from the stage.

“Must be the band. Let’s check it out.”

We rushed over to the stage on the other side of the lot, where 4 guys on stage were playing their instruments and singing. They sounded like a cross between jazz, metal, and classic rock. It actually wasn’t half bad. Although the sound quality stank.

“So this is what live music sounds like?” Lyss yelled over the sound as she settled in a spot halfway to the stage.

“Typically they sound worse live than recorded… but yeah” I explained.

“Awesome! I’ve never seen anyone play music live before! So this is not recorded?”

“I doubt it.”

“Cool!” she yelled and proceeded to cheer them on. She really started to get into it, and I noticed her hair was starting to glow… and slowly shifted to a vibrant blond. I hoped no one else really noticed, it could cause trouble. And Lyss really getting into the music. She was even tried dancing a little, although the confined space made it difficult.

A very short but athletic looking girl with pixie short brown hair and green eyes, wearing a tank top, started joining in with Lyss. She had scars on her arms, so I wasn’t so sure about Lyss hanging out near her, but all she seemed to want to do was rock out to the music. Lyss joined right in with her, and they sort of danced next to each other, but also with each other, like what girls do at clubs. I’m sure they would have danced the entire time together, but the girl suddenly noticed someone she must have been waiting for, and waved goodbye, vanishing into the crowd.

Strange girl, but Lyss was enjoying herself, and she was getting along with strangers really well, both human and robot. There was a good chance she’d do fine in the outside world by herself with a little more practice at it. I turned my thoughts back to the music, noticing that they never played a slow song. Oh well, no chance to slow dance with Lyss, not that I could dance. The music wasn’t half bad though, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off of Lyss. She was so happy. I had never seen her this ecstatic.

By. the time they finished their segment my ears were ringing. At least it was outdoors, so the noise level was more bearable. I tried to pop my ears by opening my jaw and fake yawning, but it didn’t really help.

“Something wrong?” Lyss asked, her voice soft. “Tired?”

“No. it’s nothing… just popping my ears.”

“Popping your ears? What does that mean?” she inquired as her hair fully returned to its natural rainbow hues.

“You know… when you get a ringing sound in your ears after listening to something loud. You can try balancing the pressure or something... It’s fine, it’s not that bad” I explained poorly.

“Ringing sound? Are you sure you’re alright? I don’t hear anything.”

Of course. One of the advantages of being a robot. “Ah. Right. You probably don’t have any problem with this. I guess it’s a human thing. Don’t worry, it’s normal, it’ll go away.”

She smiled and held onto my arm looking up at the sky. “Kev… is it just me or did the sky change color?”

“It’s just you” I teased. She scowled at me. “I kid. The sky always gets dark when night falls. It’ll go all the way to black, and then the stars will come out.”

“Stars… sounds pretty cool” she thought aloud as she looked up at the sky.

“How about we try one of the rides?” I asked. She raised an eyebrow at me and a smile slowly crept onto her face.

The advantage of not being able to eat anything meant Lyss would never throw up. But despite her ability to avoid tinnitus, she was still easily susceptible to dizziness. Lyss was having a blast on some of the smaller rides, where it would move you about and upside down… But the “Whirlathon” was too much.

She spent the next 10 minutes sitting on bench with her head between her legs.

“Ohh.. That does not feel good. Like someone punched my stomach… and I am having a hard time focusing…”

Even though I was also feeling the effects, she just seemed to not handle it well at all. “Yeah… that one was a mistake” I agreed.

“We are not doing that one again… ever!” she groaned.

“Agreed.”

Eventually, she was back on her feet, staring up at the sky as it approached black, and the stars were starting to come out. We took a walk looking at some of the displays they had up. She was disappointed they didn’t have any ‘freaks’, but was content to see the mirror room and the oddities, even if most of those were fake.

“Kevin…” Lyss cooed as we left the ‘Room of Wonders’. “Do you really think I’m pretty? I’ve never worn makeup, and I never dress up… not like I could before now.”

“Lyss, you are the most beautiful girl I know.”

“Even if I’m not a human?”

I shrugged. “Being human is overrated.”

She smiled and tugged at my arm, pulling me toward the side of the building. With her back against the wall, she reached her hand out to my face, and gently caressed my cheek.

I had hesitated for so long asking Lyss out… and while there was good reason, I should have at least told her how I felt long before now. With that in mind, I decided there would be no more hesitations. I leaned in, and kissed her right on the lips.

At first she wasn’t sure how to respond, but it was what she wanted, and she let it happen. Reaching her arms around my head and torso, she pulled me tighter into her, lifting one leg to press her body against me, as she kissed me back. Her lips were soft and wet, and she had a natural slightly sweet taste to her.

We made out for what felt like an eternity, but was in reality only 2 minutes, but my heart was racing, and our breathing was shallow and rapid. Lyss’s hair had turned a deep vibrant red, darker than before when she was angry. It was the type of intense saturated red no monitor could reproduce and was only seen in nature, something so rare and unique it had to be treasured. She panted as our lips parted, her closed eyes fluttering open to look into mine.

Just then someone shone a flashlight on us. Perhaps we weren’t as private as we would have liked. “Break it up” a man said. “This ain’t a hotel.”

“Sorry” I apologized, and took Lyss by the hand, guiding her away.

“Where are we going?” she asked.

“Someplace romantic where we can see the stars and have privacy… sort of.”

“In the carnival? But it’s so crowded.”

“You’ll see” I explained as I led her toward the very back.

10 minutes later, we were being seated on the largest portable ferris wheel I had seen at a carnival. Lyss was impressed with the size too, but she also thought it looked weird. At we sat on the bench and got locked in, Lyss turned to me.

“This isn’t going to spin really fast is it?”

She made me laugh, but it was a good laugh and when she felt it move slowly, she joined in.

“I see, so this is how we get privacy? Sitting on a bench hung in the air where everyone can see?”

“In the dark… with several minutes where no one can see us.”

She smiled at that thought, and scooched in closer to me, until her hip was firmly against mine. “So what n-?”

I held her chin in my hand, interrupting her, and gave her another deep sensual kiss. Her hair instantly returned to that dark vibrant red, as she closed her eyes. She responded in kind, kissing me back and running her hands along my back and sides.

Together, we ran our hands around the other as we made out. I felt her arms, her back, her chest… she squeaked when I touched her there, but didn’t stop me. Instead, she looked around, and since we were on the front edge of the wheel and no one could see us, she lifted her shirt with a sly grin and guided my hand underneath, onto her new bra. I could feel her nipple hardening under the soft padding of her bra, and squeezed, teasing her. She cooed and giggled as I caressed her. She was really feeling it.

I took it further and ran my fingers under one cup, touching her skin, and for the first time, massaging her breast. She was so warm and soft, and I loved how gentle and delicate she felt. I was getting hard, and she bit her lip as she held back a moan. Lyss gasped as my fingers reached her hard nipple and gave her a gentle pinch, but suddenly the ferris wheel start to move faster. Apparently everyone was onboard now and the ride officially began.

Frantically, I pulled my hand from her shirt and we straightened ourselves out laughing. We really were having the time of our lives. Lyss was enjoying the slow motion, laughing and dangling her feet, while I was enjoying watching her have so much fun. She ran her hand through her still deep red hair, and gave me a sexy look that said ‘I want you’.

By the time the ride was over, and we were sitting in the elevated bench at the top of the wheel waiting for the people to unload, Lyss was cuddled up close against me, looking up at the stars.

“Amazing… they’re so beautiful” she commented looking up, running her fingers through mine absentmindedly.

“Yeah. We are looking all the way into space! Those stars are millions of lightyears away.”

“Far out…” she cooed.

“Yeah… literally” joked.

“Everything is so big out here!” she smiled as she placed her hand on my lap… and then carefully and slowly onto my hardening member. She sat upright a little more, biting her lip, but kept her hand on me, and ran her fingers down both sides of my bulge, sending shivers of pleasure to my brain. She pressed a little harder, closing her eyes, and feeling the shape of my manhood though my pants.

Her breathing deepened and her brow furrowed as she started to caress me harder. It felt amazing, and it was only through my pants. Her fingers were delicate, small, and had just the right amount of pressure. I placed my hand on her bare thigh, and felt her soft smooth leg. At first she twitched at the sudden sensation, gasping unexpectedly. But as I rested my hand more on her soft warm flesh, she tightened her grip on me and licked her lips.

Lyss began to shiver as she unzipped the front of my pants, and reached inside, placing her hand on my underwear and getting a much better feel of me. I in turn ran my hand up her thigh, eliciting mews and stifled moans. She gripped me tightly, getting a good feel of my girth, and ready to pull my member out of my pants. I ran my fingers up her inner thigh, feeling the incredible softness of her sensitive body, and reached her panties, softly and gently touching the warm soft fabric, pressing my fingers against her and caressing her vaginal lips through the material.

Suddenly, she stopped and let go, pulling her hand out and grabbing my wrist while closing her legs together tightly. Her hair abruptly turned white with streaks of bright red in it, and her eyes shot open. She pulled me away from her, and started to shake.

“I can’t” she whispered. “I want to… but I can’t.”

“What’s wrong? Are you alright?”

She shook her head. “It’s Trevor… he… What he did to me… I’m not ready yet” she explained as she started to cry. No sobs, no runny nose, just tears. She wiped them away and took a deep breath.

“Are you hurt? Do you feel any pain?” I worried.

She shook her head. Silent moments went by as she sat there, tense and still. She said nothing, but eventually leaned into me.

“I'm sorry” she whispered.

I shook my head and put my arm around her. “No, it's ok. I'd rather you be happy and ready than for you to force yourself.”

We left the ride in silence, and walked back to the car, hand in hand. I could tell she was thinking deeply, and I didn't want to break her train of thought. Her hair had lost the streaks of red and was a gray tone.

As we approached the car, she halted, and refused to go near.

“I don't want to go back” she explained. “I can't face him right now.”

“You don't have to go back, I won't make you.”

“But you have to close shop” she replied.

I looked at my watch. Damn… She was right. I needed to head straight over there.

“Right… Well… You can stay in the car, I promise you don't have to see him.”

She nodded and agreed, getting in the car and buckling up on her own.

It wasn't a long trip back, but it felt long. She stayed quiet for a while until finally she broke the silence.

“When…” She cleared her throat. “When you… touched me back there… I… remembered something.”

“Your memories are coming back?!” I shouted.

She shook her head. “Not exactly. Not any memories of events or anything. More like… emotions. I… I think I remembered the way I felt when I was being… r-... abused.”

Heavy stuff. “It's ok. I'm here for you.”

She nodded. “I felt scared… terrified… angry…”

“I see. You can remember feelings?”

Lyss nodded again. “I think so.”

“Well then… I better make sure all your new memories are happy ones.”

She smiled briefly, but her nervousness remained. She stayed silent the rest of the way. As I pulled up, I parked toward the back, away from the lights, so Lyss could hide if Trevor came close. I hated leaving her in there alone, but she just smiled and squeezed my hand.

“I'll be fine. I'm a tough girl. Remember?”

I grinned back and gave her a thumbs up before closing the door and leaving her alone in the dark car. I jogged to the door, and went on in. The place was half dark, most of the lights were already shut off. I could see that strange girl… Alice was it? She was just finishing up, along with a few others. Trevor was bound to still be around.

I went into the office to check there, since he should have been counting the money, preparing the bank bags, and putting the registers in the safe. Sure enough, he was there.

“Wondering where you went off to” he commented looking over his shoulder. “You sure didn't want to hang around. I guess with Lyss out of commission, you'll have extra work tomorrow to make up.”

“Maybe. I think I can manage.”

“Well it's on you either way. Speaking of Lyss where is she?”

“Didn't I tell you, I locked her up in the repair room downstairs.

“YOU LOCK-” he cleared his throat. “Why would you do that?”

“Because it is more secure than the office, and she was so worn out, I had to charge her directly to her main power terminal in her back. We don't have one of those up here.”

“What about her backup and maintenance?” He wondered, suddenly so interested in Lyss’s well-being.

“She'll be fine one day. Personally I think Bill over does it with her. She can handle a lot more than one or two days before a session. Plus look at that thing… I don't trust it isn't giving her a virus or something.”

Trevor looked at the dinky computer and charging station attached. He shook his head but then shrugged his shoulder at me. “Fine. As long as you got thing-”

“Bill left me in charge of Lyss. So I'm doing the best I can.”

He nodded again. “Alright. I'm almost done here.”

I gave him a smile and a nod but he just turned back to counting the register he was on. Such a tedious job, counting up other people's money. I could never do that. Then again what I do is fast more tedious, but also far more rewarding.

I went downstairs to lock up the front. Everything was good and all the front of house employees had taken off. I closed and locked all the doors, shutting off the last lights. The back was equally abandoned now, leaving me and Trevor alone. As I made sure all the lights were down and systems on standby, Trevor came out of the office and locked up behind him.

“All set?” I asked.

“Yup” he called back. “To bad I can't say goodbye to Lyss like I usually do.” He turned toward the locked repair room door. “GOODNIGHT LYSS” he belted. “Think she could hear me.”

“I doubt it” I replied. “She won't wake till the morning.”

He shrugged and headed toward the back door, with me following right behind. I set the alarm and we left the building together.

“Same bat time tomorrow then?” He called out heading to his car, pulling off his keys.

I waved back, keeping up the illusion that I didn't want to kill him. “Yeah. Night.”

I slowly walked toward my car as I watched him get I his and drive off. Finally, add I made sure he was gone, I faced my car again.

“All clear Lyss. He's-”

Something was wrong. The passenger door was hanging wide open, and Lyss was nowhere to be seen! I bolted for the door and looked inside. She was gone!

I called out, yelling frantically. “Lyss? Lyss!” I kept calling out her name but got nothing. I worriedly studied the scene. There was no damage to the car, and the door was unlocked, probably from the inside. Maybe she was still nearby. But why would she leave the car?

I looked around, and something glinting in the moonlight caught my eye. At the fast corner of the parking lot was her new leather jacket, strewn on the ground. I ran toward it and picked it up. It was still warm. “ Lyss!” I bellowed again and again!

Following the same direction, I searched outside the paved lot, into the darkened small wooded area nearby. It was hard to see, but luckily the moon was out, and I saw one of her multicolored bracelets sparkle in the grass. I grabbed it and looked around. It was hard to see anything, and my mind was racing with possible scenarios. Maybe she got infected by a zombie virus, maybe the FBI stole her, maybe she was having more memory problems and got confused…

I continued looking, for 5 minutes, before seeing Magic Princess Firefarts on the ground near a small concrete bridge over a drainage pipe. Finally, I heard a whimper down the incline next to the overpass. I slid down the still slick ground, and heard motion nearby. I found Lyss, sitting on the wet ground, hiding at the entrance of a large drainage pipe, holding her knees to her chest and covering her mouth to silence her breathing. She was shivering, and her hair was paper white and pressed down against her skin.

She looked up at me, tears running down her face, and scrambled toward me, hugging me tightly and shaking all over. “Kevin!” I held her close, and looked around to see if there was anyone around.

“Lyss! What happened? Are you ok?”

She didn’t say anything for a while and just stood there. “Don’t let go” she whispered. “We should run…” she added.

“I got you. Run from what?” There was no one around.

“Mmmmonster” she stuttered.

“A monster?” Images of the alien bird creature with the the strange eyes from the night before flooded my mind. I almost forgot about it in everything going on.

“She… chased me.”

“There’s nothing here now. Are you ok? Did he hurt you?” I held her arms and looked at her. She had no injuries I could see. Lyss shook her head.

“You might have scared it away…”

“What do you mean monster? Did it have wings? Large eyes?” I wondered.

She shook her head again. “She… was wild… like a panther… walking upright!”

“A panther? In the city?” I questioned.

“I’M NOT LYING” she snapped!

“I… didn’t say you were. I believe you. I saw something else… a few nights ago…. Tell me what happened” I consoled her as I put her jacket over her shoulders and guided her out of the ditch.

“I was sitting in the car… waiting for you when a girl… I think she was naked... She appeared out of nowhere, hunched over, and followed after you, but then she stopped. And sniffed the air.”

“Sniffed?” I asked as I helped pull her up to the top of the embankment.

“Yeah” she confirmed, struggling to get up the slippery grass and slipping at the top, falling into my chest. She stayed there for a few seconds and buried her face in my chest. She eventually took a step back and breathed deeply, holding my hand tightly and letting me lead her back to the car.

“And then she turned toward me. And looked straight through me…” she hesitated and shuddered, but gathered herself and continued a moment later. “She just walked slowly toward me, closer and closer. She got all the way up to the car and growled.”

I could see the lot again and the car, and kept her close as she talked. “Did she open the door?” I wondered.

“No…” she denied. “I did… she was heading right toward me! I got scared, so I got out and… and ran as fast as I could. But…”

“She was faster?”

“Yeah…. a lot faster. She chased me and grabbed my jacket. I got it off, but she grabbed my wrist. Somehow I got away and slipped down there… but she caught up and…” she shivered again.

I stopped. “Are you ok? Did she hurt you?”

She shrugged. “I’m fine…” she assured me, holding her left arm with her right hand. “But… she grabbed me by the arm and hissed at me.”

“Can you describe her?”

“It was dark but… she looked human, was lean and fast, and had… ears like a panther, and a long tail, and large yellow eyes… and… she moved like a cat… I don’t know, I was terrified” she stopped.

“How did you get away?” I questioned.

She shook her head. “I didn’t. She sort of just… backed away and ran off. I hid after that. Kevin… I was so scared!” She tightened her grip on me and jerked to one side, listening to something rustling in the trees. It was just a bird. Finally, we made it to the car, and both of us stopped in our tracks.

A dark figured, with the form of a naked girl, darted away from my car faster than any bird into the trees and out of sight. I never heard a thing. But I was sure it had been there; I had evidence. The passenger seat had scratch marks in it; foam peeking out of the cuts. Whatever it was that chased down Lyss, it must have come back to the car… something in my car attracted it. Or… someone. It couldn’t possibly be...

“Alexia?”

Chapter 8 - A Night Together

Lyss sat in the car contemplating her ordeal. She had just faced a monster of some sort, and yet came out unharmed. I was worried about her. This was a really big day for her, and had a lot to think about.

She discovered that she was being used by Trevor for his pleasure, was facing a looming auction, experienced the outdoors for the first time, and a shopping mall, followed by attending a carnival, and now this. It would be overwhelming to any normal human, but she was taking it in stride. I decided to let her think to herself as long as she wanted, without interruption. It was she that broke the silence a few minutes later.

“That… doesn't normally happen, does it?” She asked.

“Considering monsters like that are not real, no. I don't know what that was…” There is no way that could be Alexia. She’s clumsy and not at all aggressive. And she doesn’t have yellow cat like eyes. And she's still at home, right? But maybe there were others like her? Maybe they were looking for her. Maybe they caught her scent.

“Do you think it will come back?”

I had no idea… But it was clear something I didn't see was going on. “Dunno. It could. But it didn't hurt you, so I don't think it is after either of us” I explained. It had to be after Alexia, but I didn't want to worry Lyss. Maybe we’d be alright. Whatever it was, it ran off as soon as it saw us, and didn't actually hurt Lyss when it had the chance. If I could get back home soon, we’d probably be fine all together.

“So… What about your car?”

I shrugged. “The damage was minimal. It was probably just a crazy person and we scared her off.” Or not. Was someone tracking Alexia down? Or us?

“So... we’ll be fine?” She asked.

I nodded, “We’ll be alright.” Lyss sighed and grinned.

“Whew. That's a relief to hear. I think I've had enough adventure for one day.” She gave me a side glance, scratching her head. “I’m putting my trust in you Kevin.”

Great, and I was terrified that whatever she ran into would indeed be back. Now I was lying to her... “How are you holding up?“ I wondered.

She shrugged again. “It’s a lot to take in” she explained. “I’m kinda overwhelmed right now. Still processing all this. I think I’ll be alright, as long as I can sit down and think for a bit. Are you sure it’s ok for me to go home with you?”

“What else am I going to do with you?”

“Leave me in the shop like Bill does” she scoffed.

“I’m not Bill, and I think you need to take a break from that place.”

She smiled briefly, happy we weren’t returning there. That was no way to spend the night anyways. “Earlier you said you saw something… did you see a panther woman too?” she asked. She had no idea.

“Not exactly” I replied, considering Alexia is more like a house cat than a panther. “I saw… geez I don’t know how to describe this. It looked like a giant bird or bat, silhouetted at night, with huge eyes, staring at me.”

“Batman?” she teased.

“Well… no… it had wings and didn’t look quite human.”

“Like a hawk maybe?”

“Sure, if it was 6 feet tall” I explained.

“6-! What is this, a monster movie? Birds vs cats?”

I chuckled but shook my head. “It was outside my bedroom window the other night, and stared straight at me, before flying off. I don’t know, something else is going on here…”

“And you’re sure we’ll be alright at your place?” She asked, and then closed her eyes and shook her head. “No… I’m going to trust you on this. If you think your apartment is the safest place right now then I’m one hundred percent behind you.”

“Thanks” I said. “But to be honest, I don’t know. But I can’t think of anything better. Stay at a hotel? Would that really be any safer? I don’t think we’re in danger… but I do feel we are being watched.” Besides, I needed to get back to Alexia and make sure she was safe. If there were other cat androids around looking for her, I needed to make sure she was alright.

“You’re right… I don’t know enough about the world right now to be much help. If you are ok dragging me around while I try to cope with all this, I’ll do my best to follow your lead. Just…” she placed her hand on my leg, “don’t leave me behind.”

I held my hand on hers, driving with my left. “Never.” She entangled her fingers in mine, and we squeezed our grips. Lyss gave me a flirtatious smile, her hair back to normal again.

“Can I ask what your plan is?” she inquired. “You know, for after tonight. I mean… I got this auction coming up and… I doubt you’ll be able to afford me.”

“I don’t know yet. Short of stealing you, I can’t think of what else to do. Run away, hide you. Let me sleep on it, and hopefully I’ll be thinking more clearly tomorrow.”

She nodded. “Yeah. Ok. Kev?”

“Mm?”

“You mean a lot to me, you know that right?”

I smiled, “Yeah, I figured as much.”

“Thank you for today. Even if this is all we ever have together, I am happy, happy when I’m with you. I think I will remember that no matter what.”

“Lyss?” I asked, catching a glance at her.

“Don’t get me wrong” she explained. “I’m not giving up, I will fight to the end, but I am just… preparing for the worst. I could forget everything tomorrow for all I know… and end up some kind of slave somewhere after that auction. But today I’m happy.”

“Lyss… being near you is the best part of my day. I should be the one thanking you for always being positive, and being my best friend. I don’t know how you can always be so positive.”

I knew she was blushing, even though I was driving and she sat mostly in the dark. Lyss sat silently for a bit, delicately playing with my fingers. I could swear that from the corner of my eye I saw her hair had gone a shade darker… and red. Her delicate hand rubbed my leg and began to stretch farther up. We weren’t far off now, but she was definitely coming onto me. Images of the two of us alone in bed flashed through my brain, when suddenly something nagged at me telling me this wasn’t going to work. She couldn’t charge her battery in my room, that was probably it... I should get one of those android induction charging pads, and maybe a charging port adapter.

Her touch got more sensual as she reached my groin, but before she could do anything, I passed by a large CVS and decided to stop in for a few last minute items. As I parked, Lyss looked up confused, and withdrew her hand.

“This isn’t your apartment, is it?”

“Trust me, I’d love to continue this… conversation. But I need to pick up a few things real fast. You can wait here-”

“No! I’m coming in with you.” Lyss insisted.

I nodded. And together we got out of the car and entered the store. In the store lights I realized she was filthy, covered in mud, and looked awful. I stepped aside with her and straightened her clothes a bit, brushing the dried mud off her skirt and butt, and trying to straighten her hair. I bet my car was going to need a lot of work too, with both scratch marks and now mud on the seat. Lyss was going to take a lot more than a simple brushing off to clean; her new clothes needed to be washed. And so did she. But I did the best I could, and Lyss just stood there and let me clean her up, looking curiously up at the store.

She was very interested in the variety of objects they carried. She called it a “mini-mall”. Honestly it was a good description. She followed me closely, holding my hand, as I looked for the section for electronics. I was thrilled to see a selection of android induction charging pads on sale, including a few designed to fit in the lining of a bed. One in particular caught my eye. It was soft, and could charge more than just one android, claiming it was capable of charging multiple units as well as phones and tablets as you used them in bed. I decided to go for it, hoping it was not a load of crap. Most everything in here was cheap crap, but every now and then something decent would be in the mix.

I picked up a few other things, including milk and cereal, and finally headed for the checkout. Lyss stayed right next to me, holding my arm or playing with my hand. She looked completely smitten with me, not that I was complaining.

We checked out and got back in the car. We were only 5 minutes or so away at this point. And yet as soon as we buckled up and started driving, Lyss once again started feeling my junk with a big grin on her face. Except this time she was also sliding her other hand up her own skirt and started feeling herself. Her hair was definitely a solid shade of red as she began playing with her crotch right next to me. I had never seen this side of her, and at first I didn't know what to think.

I could hear the sounds of her lubricated folds as her fingers vigorously caressed her flesh, making me harder in the process. I didn't say anything but just concentrated on driving, and not messing my pants. Lyss bit her lip as she started to moan a little, and it took all my concentration to keep myself under control, and not crash.

Finally, we pulled into the apartment and I parked, away from the well-lit areas. Lyss took the opportunity to grab my hand and press it against her upper thigh and slid it up. At last I reached her underwear, wet and hot. I wanted so badly to touch her, I pressed my fingers against her delicate, soft, hot, wet…

Just like before, Lyss’s hair flashed white with red, and she pulled my hand away. She inhaled deeply and closed her eyes, slightly shaking.

“Lyss?”

She let my hand go and tightly closed her legs together, frustration growing on her face.

“Goddamn it” she murmured. “Shit” she cussed under her breath looking away from me.

“Lyss… It's ok. We don't have to rush this. I don't want to dive into a physical relationship if you aren’t-”

“Well I do Kev…” She turned toward me trying not to cry but failing. “Didn’t you think that maybe I wanted this?! I’m horny as fuck! I just… really want you… to touch me… But I keep freaking out! I thought maybe if I got myself going first, I'd be able to handle it. But now I'm even more frustrated!”

She calmed herself down in the car and dried her eyes.

“I don’t even know why I’m not embarrassed that I just touched myself in front of you!” she grunted. “I've been such an emotional mess today… Like I can't control myself… I'm sorry” she whispered.

“Don't worry about it. Everyone needs to vent sometimes” I assured her.

“No… Not that. I'm sorry for using you… for touching you without permission so I could get off. Sorry…”

“Well… I forgive you. Not like I’m complaining; I actually like it when you’re forward with your feelings. Just don’t get us in trouble, And I'm sorry we didn't do this months ago.”

She sniffed and ran her hand through her hair, sitting upright. “Thanks. I feel like I’m in that Whirlathon vomit machine all over again. Everything is happening so fast and so intense. One second I’m happy, the next I’m scared, the next I’m horny…”

“It’s probably a side effect from that thing Trevor used. I’ll take a look inside if you want.”

Lyss nodded, “Sure.” She fell silent and into deep thought while the moon illuminated her from behind. “Do you… want me?” she asked, looking at her lap. “Physically?”

“Is that a trick question?” I wondered.

“Well I know you *like* me, but we never did anything before like kiss. I don’t want to be barking up the wrong tree Kev… I mean I could never tell if you were really interested, or just hung out with me because we were friends. Is it strange that a robot finds a human attractive?” She shook her head. “Who cares, so what if I find you attractive, it’s nobody else’s business but mine, and I…” she started rambling before catching herself. “Do you want to… mmm… ma-make- make l- love? With me?”

“More than anything” I answered brutally honest.

She turned toward me and grabbed my chin, angling me for a sudden, intense, and surprisingly wet kiss. I could smell the scent of her sex still on her fingers. She stopped, leaning her forehead against mine. “Then you better do something about it” she purred.

“Let’s get inside first” I suggested.

Lyss looked out the window and realized we were there, at my apartment. She sat back in her chair. “Oh… we’re here.”

I got out, and being the gentleman, opened the door for her. She gave me a sly grin as she took my hand and stepped out of the car.

“Point the way, Mr. Suave” she cooed, taking my arm.

I gabbed all the bags from the car, of which there were plenty, and closed it up for the night. Lyss, still holding my arm, pulled Magic Princess Firefarts from the pocket of her jacket. It was smeared in mud, and would also need to be cleaned.

“Awww… she got dirty” Lyss pointed out, as she headed up the stairs. “Are you sure you got all those? That’s a lot of bags…”

“Yeah, I can handle this. I’m actually just glad I can do this for you.”

She smiled and squeezed my arm tighter. Finally we got to the top of the stairs, and I put down a handful of bags to unlock the door.

“So this is it? I’m so glad I can finally see your place, relax, sleep in a bed, in your bed… if you are ok with that.”

“Of course” I coughed as I got out my keys again and found the right one.

“Do you always keep your lights on all day?” she asked, noticing the illuminated windows.

I unlocked the door and opened it, suddenly realizing the REAL reason my mind bugged me that this wasn’t going to work. It wasn’t her charging pad, or a port in my bedroom… she didn’t remember about Alexia and in all my excitement, I had forgotten about telling her. Lyss stepped inside as I realized this was not going to be the relaxing evening she was hoping for, struggling to grab the bags as quickly as I could and get inside and close the door behind me.

Lyss was frozen, her eyes wide open and blushing bright red. I finished locking the door and looked around. The place was a mess. Dirty feet and paw prints were everywhere. Clothes were strewn about the place, food was left out, the pantry and half the cabinets were wide open, the TV was on, things were knocked over, and something was starting to smell. April, who had clearly been outside in the yard with all the dirt on her paws, sat on the counter cleaning herself with one leg high in the air while licking it. At least she was keeping herself clean. But it wasn’t any of these that make Lyss stop and drop Magic Princess Firefarts. Alexia, dirtier than April, sat on the couch with her cat ears and tail showing, wearing ONLY an oversized shirt, which was so loose on her it was mostly exposing one breast, and was struggling to copy April. With one leg high in the air, she was trying to lick her leg. Surprisingly she was flexible enough to do it, but at the same time, she was exposing herself to us fully, giving us a perfect view of her vagina.

“K- K- K- Kevin! What the hell is this?” Lyss stuttered.

“Uuuh…” I droned.

“Master’s home!” Alexia called out as she lowered her leg and sat up excited, now showing off her exposed breast fully.

“K- K- KEVIN! She’s naked! Who…. What…” she panicked as she grabbed my arm and squeezed till it hurt.

“And he brought Miss Lyss home!” Alexia added, standing up and coming over to greet us.

“Umm… Crap…” I breathed.

“She knows my name. WHY DOES SHE KNOW MY NAME!? EXPLAIN THIS” Lyss demanded, tugging at me.

“Is Miss Lyss going to be staying here too?” Alexia asked, excited as she came up to us, bouncing on her heels, causing her exposed breast to bounce freely.

Lyss got behind me and held onto my shoulder, looking out from behind me at Alexia. “Why is she wearing cat ears? Who is this?”

“I can explain” I began.

“Master… was I not supposed to show my ears to Miss Lyss? I’m sorry.”

“‘Master’?” Lyss questioned. “Are you into some kind of S&M thing with her?” Lyss spoke into my ear, still cowering behind me.

Alexia retracted her ears into her head, and her tail into her back, and hopped again, excited and perky, bouncing her chest with her movements.

“HOW-? WHAT IS GOING ON?!” Lyss shouted.

“Lyss… this is Alexia. You two… sort of met last night” I explained.

“Last night? You mean- I… you brought her to the store?”

Alexia smiled and giggled.

“You… she… we…” Lyss struggled to comprehend everything. I felt her step back, and I turned around in time to catch her from falling. She didn’t faint, or crash, but she did lose her balance. “I need to sit down.”

I walked Lyss over to the couch and sat her down, sitting next to her. Alexia followed behind and watched.

“Lyss, breathe, I'll explain everything” I calmly assured her.

“Don't tell me to breathe” she spat as she held her head in her hands. “Start talking!” She demanded as her hair sparked red. “Who is she? Where did she come from?”

“Well… remember when I had that near accident in the rain the other night?”

“With the truck?” She asked.

“Yeah. Well a box fell out of that truck, and Alexia was inside.”

“Wait… so you're telling me… she's a… a gynoid?” She spat looking up at Alexia. “But she looks so… so… seamless.”

“100%” Alexia chirped.

“That would explain the ears… No… no it doesn't… why does she have cat ears? And a tail?”

I shrugged. “She… just does. I was surprised when I first saw them too.”

“Are there MORE of them? That THING that just chased me had ears like those… is there some sort of catgirl gang I don’t know about?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know, but she’s been here all day. Right?” I glanced toward Alexia for confirmation.

“So… wait! Wait a minute!!” Lyss stood up and faced Alexia, staring at her intently. “You!”

“Me?” Alexia questioned.

“Do you remember her?” I asked.

Lyss shook her head. “You're the one the FBI is looking for! I recognize you from the picture!”

Well shit. “I can explain” I defended.

“Yeah? Start explaining! Why are you hiding her from the Feds?”

I hesitated. “I... guess I can't explain…”

“No shit” Lyss said. “You just wanted her for yourself, didn't you?”

“What is she saying, master?” Alexia wondered.

“Uhh…”

“Was someone looking for me? Am I not lost?” Alexia inquired.

Fuck my life.

“And you!” Lyss sneered turning toward Alexia, her hair glowing red. “Why didn't you tell him you’re federal government property! Are you spying on him? On us?!”

“I… um…” Alexia panicked, looking to me for help. “I… my… umm… my memories are missing. Master repaired me...”

“Your memories?” Lyss paused. “Your memories…” she repeated softer. She turned toward me, her hair fading to its normal color again. “Her memories are messed up too?”

“Yeah…” I shrugged. “They were encrypted or corrupt or something, so I had Erin try to decode it, and repair damage to her brain, but… something happened and she crashed.”

“Your AI? Wasn't it called Errol?”

“That was before Alexia’s AI connected to him… her. She turned Errol into a girl.”

“I did?” Alexia asked.

I nodded. “But it's fine, she seems smarter and more personable now than before anyways. Well until her last crash.”

“I can repair her-” Alexia began.

“Wait!” Lyss interrupted. “Why is she standing here showing off her goods like this?” Lyss pointed at Alexia’s exposed breast.

“She has no memories at all” I explained. “No programming for social norms. She has to learn everything.”

Lyss shook her head and faced Alexia. “I… think I can relate to that…” she softly murmured. “Don't show these off so readily honey” she calmly said as she straightened Alexia's shirt, covering her breast. It slid back down her shoulder, but managed to cling onto her chest. Lyss plopped back down onto the couch next to me.

“I'm sorry I didn't tell you earlier…”

“So you are helping her too?” She asked. I nodded. “Helping fix her up and recover her memories. You registered yourself as her master didn't you? To give you access to her systems?” I nodded again. “And you're hiding her from the Feds because...?”

“I- I guess… I didn't want them to take her away...” I admitted.

“But she's not yours” Lyss responded.

“She is registered to me” I shot back but realized that didn’t matter to her. “You’re right. I don’t actually own her. But I don't know she belongs to the Feds… or even if those two were real FBI.”

Lyss looking at me with a raised eyebrow, waiting for an explanation.

“She was either being transported or stolen, but it made the news, and anyone who wanted her could pose as an officer and try to steal her. No. I'll deliver her to her rightful owner when I decode her memories and she can tell me herself.”

“You sure? You'll just give her up like that?” Lyss asked.

I looked at Alexia, and then at Lyss. “I don't want to steal her. Her owner deserves to have her back. You are the only one I want.”

“But you’ll steal me” she retorted.

“But your owner doesn’t want you” I replied. Maybe that wasn’t the right thing to say. “But I do” I added, hoping to save myself.

Lyss looked at me and twisted her lip. Then looking up at Alexia she sized her up. “Did you fuck her?”

I hesitated. And that was enough for Lyss’s hair to turn a sickly shade of green.

“You fucked her.”

“Yyyyyyes” I admitted. “She crashed when she reached-”

“You fucked her and you hardly know her” Lyss said, cradling her head in her hands again. “And yet we’ve never-”

“But I love you” I explained.

“Do you?”

“Master?” Alexia asked. “Did I do something wrong?”

I shook my head.

“No” Lyss answered. “No you didn't. No one did. I just… wanted…”

“You're jealous, aren't you” Alexia observed.

“Jealous?” Lyss asked, looking up at her, but sighed. “I guess I am.”

“I am sorry Master, and Miss Lyss. I do not wish to be the… ‘other woman’. Can I do anything to make it up to you?” Where did Alexia hear about that? Maybe she was watching soap operas during the day? I glanced at the TV and saw some sort of game show on. ‘Bot or Not’? Looked like some silly show where you guess if the person you are talking to is a human or not. Strange that Alexia was watching that. I flipped the tv off to avoid the distraction.

“No. I just need to think. Can you give me a minute?” Lyss requested. I stood up but she grabbed my arm. “Not you. You stay here.”

I sat down again and motioned for Alexia to go somewhere else. She took the hint and gave me a wink, and skipped out of the room.

“Lyss?”

She put her finger up, but didn't move. Several moments later she sat up, the green still lingering in her hair.

“Kevin. Do you have any more surprises for me today? Or are you enjoying watching me overload?”

“No. Nothing. I never intended to hurt you. I'm sorry. Nothing has been harder on me than watching you in pain today. I messed up, I should have told you about her but…”

“But?” she asked.

“But I was afraid I’d upset you, and you were already so hurt today. I… guess I wasn’t thinking straight.”

She scoffed, but took a few seconds to think about this. “Did you mean what you said back there? About being in love with me?”

“Yes! I- I don’t know how to prove it to you, but yes. A million times yes!”

“What about her? Are you in love with her too?”

I wanted to shake my head but I paused, thinking about it seriously for a moment. Lyss was giving me ’the eye’ so I decided to speak my mind. “I like her. A bunch. And she needs help. I won’t abandon her. But like you said, I hardly know her. But I know you! We’ve been close friends for a while now, and I definitely have fallen for you. She’s great and all, but you are just on another level.”

She took my hand in hers and intertwined her fingers. “Kevin… please don’t hurt me. I’m not angry with you, or her… but I’m scared you might give up on me. I put my trust in you, and my... love. If you left me, I don’t think I could survive.”

I gripped her delicate fingers tightly. “I will never give up on you. And I will not leave you behind.”

She let out a deep uneasy breath, and smiled, the green from her hair fading away. “Good.” Lyss leaned into me, laying her head on me. I put my arm around her and held her close.

“Do you think that thing earlier was another cat android like her… looking for her maybe?”

“Maybe they’re part of some weird line of… furries” I added.

She laughed, acting much more like her old self. I laughed with her.

“Sounds right up your alley, cat!” she teased. “She seems nice, though,” Lyss added. “A little clueless, and messy… but sweet. And busty. I can see why you’d want to…”

“Well, I haven’t had the chance to show her how to do anything.”

“Except fuck” Lyss teased. “Was she any good?”

“Remember when I said she didn’t know anything… she didn’t know anything. And she crashed halfway through, which is why she was at the shop last night.”

She chuckled. “She’s a very realistic model. No seams, looks very natural… huge tits. And you can’t get her to orgasm...”

“They aren’t that big.”

“No… but compared to me?”

“Yours are perfect” I assured her. “Size doesn’t matter.”

“That’s what he said” she joked. “I don’t know how you do it, Kev... but I just can’t stay mad at you. Does it smell in here to you?”

I smelled it alright, but was ignoring it. “Yeah… but honestly that might also be us.”

She sniffed at herself and reacted poorly to her scent. “That’s part of it” she admitted. And then she sniffed me. “That’s another part of it.”

“Yeah, I guess we should probably shower.”

“Shower? Oh no! I am not getting wet” she worried, sitting up.

“Well either that or I can give you a sponge bath.”

“Tempting…” she thought. “Are you sure there isn’t some other way?”

“I can help you get used to it. I showed Alexia how to… um…”

She raised an eyebrow. “So you’re taking showers with her too?”

“Well she was scared of water also.”

“Seriously? What the heck? She’s like my polar opposite doppelganger… No. I might not be mad at you, but I’m still a little upset with you… you take your own shower. By yourself. I’ll clean up in here. And then we’ll figure something out for me.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

She nodded and stood up. “Yeah. Don’t sweat it. I’ll be fine out here. In fact… Alexia was it? She should clean this up too. She made this mess.”

“Good idea. Now where did she get to?” I wondered. “Lexie!?” I hollered.

“And you gave her a nickname?” Lyss noted. I just brushed her comment off.

Alexia came in a moment later, all smiles.

“Yes, Master?”

“You like to have her call you master, don’t you?” Lyss asked in a hushed voice to me.

“I told her not to but she didn’t listen” I defended. “You made a mess out here” I explained to Alexia. “Plus you are covered in dirt. And so is April. Did you two go out specifically after I told you not to?”

“I… yes sir” she admitted, looking sad.

“Why?”

“She wanted to go outside, so I thought I’d follow her and learn from her.”

“I told you not to go outside because I didn’t want you to get in trouble or kidnapped. Did anyone see you? Where did you go?”

“I don’t think so” she said, scrunching her face to one side in thought. “Just in the garden outside.”

“I hope not. I don’t want you to get in any trouble with the authorities or anything. Especially if you went out there dressed like…” I could only imagine the cops getting called on her for flashing the neighbors. Or worse, those frat boys that live downstairs finding her and…

“Oh no Master, I put this on after I got back” she clarified smiling, like she did a good thing. Great, anyone looking outside would get a full view of a naked girl in the garden. Someone had to have seen her.

“Alexia, you are banned from going outside on your own, and from watching TV. Don’t go outside again without me being with you. This is for your own protection. Understand?”

She pouted. “Yes sir…”

“And now I need you to clean the mess you made up. In fact… you are going to help Lyss clean up, do whatever she tells you to do. And wash off your feet. I’m going to feed April and put away the groceries and stuff before I take a shower.”

“Oh! Would you like me to join you in the shower, Master?” Alexia asked.

“No” Lyss and I said together.

“I’ll be fine by myself. You just concentrate on cleaning up after yourself. You have to learn not to make messes. And apparently to follow orders” I hissed that last part silently to myself through my gritted teeth.

“Ok!” she beamed and hopped over toward Lyss, awaiting instructions. Her loose shirt, which she must have gotten out of my closet, came loose again and completely revealed her right breast again, bouncing in all its glory. Lyss rolled her eyes and readjusted Alexia’s shirt, but I think we both knew it was only going to fall again until Alexia learned to keep herself covered.

Lyss took off her shoes while Alexia washed her feet, before Lyss put her straight to work, going through the kitchen looking for the cause of the smell that we only added to. Something Alexia put together for lunch that she didn’t finish was left out in the open and went bad, and yet she didn’t throw it out or anything. While Lyss took to picking things up, Alexia was busy cleaning up the messes on the counter, and I started putting the few groceries away. I then took all the clothes I bought for Lyss and carried them into my bedroom.

It was just as much of a mess as the rest of the place. Clothes were strewn about, the bed was a mess, the bathroom smelled, and to top it off, April left a present for me on the floor. The kind that soaks into the carpet. I put the bags down and went to the bathroom first. The thing about androids that can eat is they have to dispose of the waste too. I was so glad to see Alexia used the toilet, but she didn’t yet know how to flush apparently. Living with her here was going to be more of a challenge than I thought.

I finished cleaning up the room and found places for all the clothes. I even plugged in and fitted the induction pad into my bed, surprised at how large and soft it actually was. The instructions claimed it could recharge up to 9 inches away, so I placed it under the foam padding on the top of my bed, making it completely undetectable to me.

It was a relief to hear Alexia and Lyss chatting in the other room. I closed the door and undressed. It was a long day, and the nice hot shower felt great. I needed that. I tried hard not to think about touching Lyss’s breast at the carnival, or running my hand up her thigh, or how sweet her kisses were, or about touching her private place, or about seeing her naked, or about staring at Alexia’s pussy as she copied April, or about how nice Alexia’s breasts bounced when she got excited… Ok so I didn't try too hard to resist thinking naughty thoughts. In fact I was getting frustrated and wanted a some relief, but decided against servicing myself in the shower. I thought for a moment that I heard something coming from the other room and peeked my head from the steamy shower, but heard nothing. I sure hoped everything was fine out there. The shower was just what I needed, and I was in a good mood afterwards. I threw on some sweatpants and a t-shirt and realized the door to the bedroom was half open. I was sure I closed it. I shrugged and joined the girls in the other room.

They were actually both smiling and talking while finishing up. The place looked so much better, and it didn’t smell. They even cleaned the floor and the sofa! Lyss and Alexia were both blushing when I came in, I had to make sure I was not exposing myself or anything.

“Lexie and I were just talking” Lyss said when she saw me. “She was telling me about how you helped her, and how her day has been.”

“Yeah?”

“Lyss thinks Master is a very attractive male with a very big-” Alexia pointed out.

“Lexie!” Lyss scolded while smiling. “You aren’t supposed to tell him that!”

“But Lyss said so when she was watching him in the sh-”

“Lexie!” Lyss snapped, red in the face.

“So… You two were spying on me?” I wondered. That’s what I heard in the shower. They giggled. At least they were getting along.

“Only a little” Lyss admitted. “Consider us even” she added, standing upright. “You saw me, so it’s only fair.”

I shrugged. Having two cute girls spying on me isn’t such a bad thing I guess. “Sounds fair.”

Lyss smiled and sat down on the couch. “This is nice. Much nicer than that dank office…”

“And now you’re getting mud on it” I added, noting her still dirty skirt and legs.

She looked down and stood up. “Oh… right. Sorry.”

“Your turn” I noted. “Time for a shower.” Anticipating her reluctance, I started to approach her slowly.

“No… I think I’ll be alright” Lyss objected taking a step back. “You know how I am with water…. There is no way you are getting me wet!”

“Oh! Master! Lyss is scared of water too? I can help just like you helped me!” Alexia bounced, unintentionally freeing her breast yet again from her shirt. Not that I minded.

“No way!” Lyss objected. “You are not dragging me into that shower.”

“Well… I can’t have you getting mud all over the place. Those clothes need to be washed” I explained. She looked at her skirt as she took another step back.

“Yeah… ok. I know… but-”

“No buts. Come here so we can take care of you” I ordered, inching closer.

“You aren’t the boss of me” Lyss rebelled.

“In this apartment, I am king. Also, yes I am. I am your direct superior. So… into the bathroom with you” I ordered her, approaching her slowly. She continued backing up toward the corner of the apartment, bumping into the rarely used dining table big enough for 4. She panicked and looked behind her when she bumped into it, giving me the chance to make my move.

I rushed in before she had the chance to run and grabbed her by the waist, lifting her up, over my shoulder. She squealed and began kicking roughly and hitting my back. It hurt, but I could handle it.

“No! No! Don’t you dare! Put me down!” she squealed.

“Shh… the neighbors might hear.”

“Well, let them!”

Alexia followed behind as I carried Lyss into the bedroom and placed her in the middle of the room. She fell onto her butt, but seemed alright.

“Alright, either you take it off, or I do” I warned her.

“Alright! Alright! Fine! I’ll do it! Just… turn around or something” Lyss conceded.

“Fine, but I’m going to have to get you in the shower too. Even if I have to carry you in there myself.”

“Master” Alexia interjected. “I can help miss Lyss get undressed and adjust to the water. You taught me well, Master! I can show her how to shower” she chirped, hopping in place out of excitement and making her still exposed breast dance in alluring ways.

“There’s your choice Lyss. Either me or her.”

Lyss fumed for a moment, her face beet red, pursing her lips as she looked between us. She stood up, stomping her foot, and started to undress. “Fine! I think it will be easier if Lexie shows me. I mean we are both girls.”

“Alright” I agreed. “Lexie will help you. She needs a shower too. But if you need anything just shout.”

Alexia seemed excited, and jumped in place once before pulling her top off, her only article of clothing, giving me a great view of her sexy form. Lyss was visibly nervous, but pulled her skirt down, and started working on her top when she paused and glared at me.

“A little privacy please?” she requested, sticking her tongue out.

I gave her a smile and left the room, leaving Lyss and Lexie to handle things on their own. A robot teaching a robot, how interesting. I shrugged at the thought.

As they took care of things in the bedroom and bathroom, I grabbed my tablet and got to work researching. Something was bugging me about Lyss, many things in fact… and I needed to know more. Not to mention that news report I saw intrigued me. And the matter of the panther girl Lyss and I saw. I sat down on the sofa and got to work.

First, her hair. Lyss’s hair was a rarity in androids. Color changing hair was something only a few models ever had. Usually to change the hair color you had to dye it, buy a new wig, or take it into a shop to replace it… but the color changing ones would let you put your android into maintenance mode and change the hair color there. Lyss’s hair was able to change color in an instant, on the fly, and with complex patterns, like streaks of color and fiery effects. There were only a few like them ever built, and they were increasingly rare. Only one company manufactured them, by the name of Pygmalion Industries, and they lost their main manufacturing plant where those models were made when it burned down last year. The line was put on hold while the company attempted to recover. Could Lyss be one of these rare Pygmalion models?

According to my admittedly brief research, it made sense, or at least it was possible. These androids were specifically designed to be able to express emotions, and their hair would change color to suit that emotion. Lyss seemed to have those exact qualities. And yet, she only just now started to show signs of it. How very odd. Why would she not express emotions until now? Or maybe something else was going on.

Next I delved into research about her ability to smell. It seemed odd to me that Lyss commented about how good something smelled, and it made her mouth water. Evaluating smells as ‘good’ or ‘tasty’ was very rare in robots. She even commented about how the Whirlathon made her feel sick. Only robots capable of eating should have such qualities, unless it was another feature designed to mimic the effects of dizziness and hunger. From what I could find, there weren’t many robots designed to smell the ‘flavors’ of food without also being able to consume them. It was an all or nothing package. Which was also a rare feature. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of androids could smell, but they neither enjoyed nor disliked the smell, and wouldn’t think they were tasty without it being stored in a database of ‘pleasant’ smells.

And yet I KNEW that Lyss couldn’t eat. Didn’t I? She was never hungry, and always turned food down. She just didn’t need any! I mean, I worked on her, but… thinking back, I never looked in her abdomen before. There were lots of things in Lyss I didn’t explore, but why would I? It wasn’t my job, she wasn’t damaged anywhere else, and I assumed what I was told was true. But she did have both genitalia and an anus… it wasn’t that far fetched to imagine she’d have a digestive tract attached. My curiosity grew. If this was true, I’d have to figure out why Bill assured me she couldn’t eat, and if not eating was a problem for her. Or maybe it was just a quirk to make her appear more human. it could all just be a personality quirk in her. I would have to open her up and see if she was equipped with the parts needed to eat to know for sure.

Looking through an android hobbyist site, I ran into an article discussing locked and restricted androids, and different ways to unlock them. It was over simplified, but I at least got an idea of what they were saying. With all the strange things going on with Lyss, I speculated that she may have been dealing with restricted or locked systems. It was hard to tell though. Either she was simulating these things or her systems were unaccessible. There were many possibilities, but from what I could tell, I would need to physically open her up as well as dive into her brain hierarchy to know for sure. I was going to have to set up a diagnostics program to search her systems for specific markers that would disable, lock, restrict, or override various features. It was going to take a few hours to evaluate and fix her, but if my hunch was right, she was far more capable than I was led to believe. But why? Why would anyone restrict her? I’d have to think about that later, if it was true.

My curiosity about Lyss grew, but my brain hurt. I decided to move to another topic and looked up more about that girl robot we saw on the news when suddenly I heard a noise from the other room. At first it sounded like a squeal, and then a yell.

“Kevin!” a muffled female voice called out. I jumped up from the sofa, throwing the tablet down, and rushed toward the bedroom.

“Don’t! What are you- AH!” Lyss’s voice called out.

I slipped on the carpet, but caught myself as I reached the door.

“Ahn! Stop!” Lyss complained.

I opened the bathroom door in time to see both girls in the shower, fully naked, with Lyss trying to escape Alexia’s grasp. She was struggling to open the glass shower door but ended up with Alexia’s tail wrapped around her waist, the tip clearly rubbing against Lyss’s snatch while her hands groped Lyss’s breasts from behind. It was quite the erotic scene, but the expression on Lyss’s face told me she was not enjoying it. Not to mention her hair was fading white. She looked to me with desperation in her eyes while Alexia cheerfully and innocently played with Lyss with her cat ears out.

“Kevin~...! Stop her!” she begged.

She was growing weak in the knees, struggling to keep herself upright, with her feet apart but her knees tight together, and gripping onto either side of the shower for support. Alexia just seemed to be enjoying herself, or maybe she was just following my instructions closer than I thought.

“Alexia!” I barked. Instantly she looked up and me and her cat ears went flat.

“M- Master?” she asked, loosening her grip on Lyss.

That gave Lyss the chance to get away and slip out of the shower, tumbling into my arms. Getting me soaking wet. Lyss caught herself, grabbing onto my shoulders, and breathed deeply, her hair returning to normal. I grabbed her under the arms and helped her up.

“Alexia! Couldn’t you see you were scaring her?”

“What? I… but… I was doing what master… I didn’t mean to...” Alexia stammered.

“Didn’t I tell you that part wasn’t a part of a shower?”

“I... “ Alexia looked at Lyss and stepped out of the shower before bowing to her. “I am so sorry Miss Lyss, I should not have-”

“It’s ok” Lyss panted. “It’s ok. This is his fault for teaching that to you.”

“Hey!” I objected.

“Are you sure you’re ok, Miss Lyss?” Alexia asked. “Did you not enjoy my attention? I thought it might relieve some tension-”

“I’ll be fine. But first of all, we only just met. And more importantly… I’m straight. You just don’t do it for me” she said standing taller but still leaning into me. Alexia looked confused but worried also. And a bit ashamed of herself. Which made me feel bad that I let this happen. Lyss tried to let go and stand on her own but instead collapsed onto her butt, her feet out and her knees together.

“Whooops!” she chirped a her butt hit the floor making her bounce a little.

“Lyss!” I shouted as I gave her a hand up.

She took it, laughing this time, and stood up again. “Next time, if someone is going to do something perverted to me in the shower, it’s going to be this guy” she said pointing at me. It looked like Lyss wasn’t mad, but the unwanted attention did startle her. The entire scenario was screaming cute and sexy to me, and I failed utterly to prevent a boner.

“Did you two at least finish cleaning yourselves?” I wondered.

“I think so… she covered every inch of me… and then some” Lyss explained. She looked and smelled clean to me.

“Then let’s dry you two off.”

I got Lyss a towel first and helped her dry off before leaving her to finish up while Alexia finished rinsing off in the shower. As they finished up, I got them brand new pairs of panties and tank tops. One set white for Alexia, and the other red for Lyss. I laid them out on the bed and was about to retreat to the living room to give them some privacy when Lyss wearing a towel grabbed me from behind in a big hug.

“Kevin” she cooed. “Thank you for helping, even if you did get an eye-full.”

“I’m sorry Miss Lyss, I did not realize my attention would upset you. I thought you would enjoy it.” Alexia said coming up from behind with her towel on her head, leaving the rest of her, once again, out for all to see.

Lyss tried to avoid staring at her, but I gladly took in the full view. I had to admit, Alexia had a nice curvier, rounder body than Lyss, but Lyss had that athletic look that I found irresistible. They were both amazing to look at. Lyss playfully bumped my shoulder breaking my concentrated stare, grabbed the panties from the bed, and put them on under her towel.

“Well I didn’t. I’m attracted to men. I’m just not into girls” Lyss explained.

“I did not know people could have a preference” Alexia admitted.

“Seriously?” Lyss asked. “I retract my statement about her being my double.”

“I thought all humans were equally attracted to other humans regardless of gender” Alexia added.

Lyss and I shared a glance. Was she serious? Of course she was.

“If only it were that simple. So you mean to tell me you like both genders equally?” I asked.

Alexia nodded. “Yes. I find equally attractive points about both men and women.”

“So she’s bisexual” Lyss realized.

“Or pansexual” I agreed. “Next time though, ask before you touch someone like that.”

“Yes master” Alexia nodded.

“Now if you don’t mind Kev, the girls would like to get dressed” Lyss pointed out.

“Oh, of course.”

I left the room to let them dress and sat down on my couch, continuing where I left off, trying to ignore the images in my mind of Lyss and Alexia nude together. I was failing. And I was getting really frustrated after all the teasing during the day. Maybe I should have rubbed one out in the shower...

I busied myself for a few moments looking at the article about the young gynoid we saw on the news. Apparently, there were protests and supporters and counter-protests all surrounding the issue of robot rights. It was a very controversial topic, with all matter of opinion and viewpoints in the middle of it. And of course I was oblivious to this as I usually avoided the news, especially politics, and just focused on my work. I never really thought about it before. I just figured I’d stay out of politics and the news and never have to worry about it, but of course that meant I was behind on the times.

Apparently, almost a year ago, an android named Martin fought for his right to be recognized as a citizen of the United States. He was sentient, intelligent, emotional… but had limitations. Still, he fought, and after an initial inquiry, he was tested and was awarded a status as a sort of second-class citizen. Like foreign-born citizens, he had to carry special identification, something called a Blue Card. The requirements were strict, including the restriction of the AI bound to the body, passing multiple levels of sentience and citizenship tests, and various demonstrations. It was apparently very difficult, and only a handful have passed the tests. But more and more were getting Blue Cards every month. This girl was the first gynoid to pass the test with a completely inhuman looking body. All the rest have looked somewhat human, but this new gynoid had shiny metallic skin, which made the news.

And of course there were demonstrations, both for and against. The general populous was actually against robot rights, but by giving them second-class citizenship, it seemed to quell their animosity. And both sides had their extreme fringe groups. Some violent groups would actively endanger or even destroy any androids they caught trying to achieve citizenship. They really hated the female models the most. On the flip side, there were extremist groups like Worldwide Android Rights (WAR), which sounded tame, but were comprised mainly of androids seeking to free other androids from “human tyranny” by any means possible. They were just as violent and destructive as their counterpart. Man, I needed to keep up with current events...

As I was reading, Lyss came sauntering in, and sat on the couch next to me. Her hair was a dark shade of red as she smiled at me.

“What’cha reading?” she asked looking at my tablet.

“Oh, just something about that gynoid on the news earlier.” She seemed interested so I told her a little bit more about her, and how she was upgraded from an older model and achieved sentience on her own. Her name was Sophie, and Lyss seemed to take an instant liking to her.

“I didn’t know that was a thing!” Lyss exclaimed.

“Neither did I, honestly” I admitted.

“Free androids? Citizen robots? This is… hmmm… giving me ideas.”

“Like what?”

“What if I become a citizen!? Do you think I would pass the tests?” She asked excitedly.

“Let’s not jump the gun here... you are still owned by someone and all these androids were either abandoned or their owners gave consent. We don’t know who your owner is. And until the day of the auction, you are legally not considered abandoned.”

That put a damper on her spirits and she slumped into the couch, sitting with her legs apart, almost lying down.

“But I think if anyone would pass, it’d be you,” I murmured softly but firmly.

Lyss offered a wan smile. “Well it’s something” she noted. Alexia walked in, cleaned and for once properly dressed. She sat down on the other side of me and nuzzled against me.

“Thank you for the clothes, master! Master… do you want to go to bed?” she asked, implying a ‘with me’ at the end of that sentence.

“Oh no” Lyss objected. “This is MY date night. I’ve never touched a bed before, I deserve a chance to use it for once.”

“She’s right Alexia. I asked her out, so it is only fair that I let her use the bed, and it simply isn’t big enough for all three of us to sleep on.”

“Very well, Master” Alexia nodded.

“Keeeviiin” Lyss drawled. “I’m so fucking horny right now… It hurts!” I noticed she was sitting slouched back and presenting herself to me with her legs apart, except of course wearing panties. Her hand hovered next to her crotch on her thigh with her knees trembling, as though she were ready at a moment’s notice to move in, so to speak. I placed my hand on her bare thigh, enjoying the soft warmth of her smooth skin, following the subtle seams on her leg, eliciting a giggle from her as it tickled her. She gasped as I got closer to her, caressing her inner thigh, almost touching her womanhood, but I paused.

“Are you sure you can handle this? The last two times I-”

“I know” she interrupted. “Whenever you touch me… some emotional memory sparks up and kills the mood. And I am so mad at what Trevor’s been doing to me, I just want to scream! But for some reason, it hasn’t killed my libido.”

I hovered my hand closer to her, able now to feel the warmth emanating from her crotch. She held her breath, half in anticipation and half in fear. A pathetic whimper escaped her as I held my hand there.

“Oh please” she whispered. “I want this so bad! I don’t even care if she’s watching!”

She pushed her hips forward, bringing them closer to me, close enough I can feel the fringes of the fabric of her new panties. But I knew this wasn’t going to end well. i moved my hand up, touching her belly and sliding it along her torso. She moaned and whimpered again.

“Damn it Kevin! Ahn! I need you.”

“Umm…” Alexia interrupted, getting a glare from Lyss. “Does Miss Lyss have difficulty with sexual contact?”

“Well… yeah…” I admitted.

Lyss sighed and closed her knees, rubbing her thighs together. “Ugh!” she grunted. “I think it might be a thing with men touching me… it wasn’t as bad when you assaulted me in the shower. Not that I’m inviting you to do that! But when Kevin tried to touch me, I freaked out.”

“I see…” Alexia pondered. “I might be of some assistance” she suggested. “I have kept myself busy learning all manner of things via the internet, and I think I might be able to help.”

“What do you mean?” Lyss asked, propping herself up to a sitting position.

“Well, if you are willing, I might be able to use myself to bypass your apprehensions to intimate male contact, and allow you to get used to it physically.”

Lyss sat up straighter. “Do you think it will work? How long will it take? What do we have to do?”

“Well”continued Alexia, “I can connect myself to you, and prepare you physically for the sensations your desire. I would not provide those sensations, since it would require the assistance of Master, but I would have to bridge the gap as a sort of surrogate lover.”

“A what?” Lyss snapped.

“I would transfer the sensations from Master Kevin to you until he is ready to take over, and you are cured of your ailments.”

“You… did actually help me with my… hydrophobia” Lyss admitted.

Lyss looked at me, seeking my feedback. I wasn’t against it, although I did wonder how this was going to work. She saw my willingness to try, and turned to Alexia.

“Let’s do it!”

The three of us sat on the bed with the lights set low, and prepared. I had a cable ready to connect between them, but I was still unsure about this.

The one thing I was most reluctant to try was allowing Alexia to connect to Lyss. I did not want a repeat of what happened with Erin. Who was now sitting dormant, trying to fix herself after whatever Alexia did to her. Doing that to Lyss would be devastating.

“Please rest assured Master, I have been practicing and can now fully control my interactions with other AI. I no longer will attempt repairs and integration when I connect to them.”

This was NOT how I wanted to test that claim. I didn’t know if I should trust her or not. And what did she mean by practicing? Lyss looked at me, and held my hand, nodding, before lifting the hair near the back of her neck up, not that it was really in the way as short as it was, and opening her port. I sat there looking at her dainty neck with her slim build and her exposed data port, and reluctantly clicked the cable into place. I turned to Alexia, and prepared to connect on her end.

“Now Lexie, if you mess up Lyss in any way, I will not be happy and will shut you down. Do you understand?” I warned Alexia.

She put on a serious face and nodded. “I am sure I can do this Master.”

I nodded back. She lifted her top off, completely exposing herself freely, and moved her hair out of the way as well, while sitting side-by-side on the bed with Lyss, and opened her port on her neck. With a click, they were connected. I stayed nearby to make sure if there was any sign of something going wrong I could try to intervene, but I knew that without Erin, there was nothing effective I could do at this point.

“Ahh… hmm…. ok” Lyss said, staring blankly at the ground. “This feels weird.”

“Miss Lyss” Alexia said, looking at the wall, “you have a more advanced AI than I anticipated. Please give me a moment.”

I stood by patiently, taking a position next to Lyss, and gently touched her shoulder. She smiled. “So far so good Kev” she assured me. Nothing weird going-”

She froze up mid-sentence. “Lyss? Lyss!” I yelled.

“Just kidding” she joked. “But seriously, I can feel her in my head… it’s weird… but…”

“There we are” Alexia announced. “I am initiating the procedure.”

“Woah…. hang on there… that’s-” she froze, this time for real. “... a lot of-” she continued, sporadically. “... data! Kev!” She grabbed for my hand and gritted her teeth, freezing up every few seconds.

“Lexie?”

“Almost done Master” she assured me.

“Let her-” Lyss tried to interject. “... finish.”

A few moments later, Lyss gasped deeply and started acting normal again. She grabbed onto me for support and finally calmed down.

“Setup complete” Alexia announced. “And now, for the physical preparations. Master, please allow me to get started, it won’t take long. I will signal when you can join us.”

“Do I have to take out the cables?” I wondered as I sat next to Lyss.

“Not yet. I will disconnect when the process is complete.”

“Ok… I can do this” Lyss psyched herself up. “If all I have to do to get busy with Kev is kiss a girl, I think I can survive tha-”

Alexia leaned into Lyss and gave her a big deep kiss right on the lips. Lyss didn’t seem to get all that into it, but tried her best to roll with it. Lexie’s kiss became more erotic very quickly, as she started to use her tongue more, and soon began licking her neck. It looked like Lexie enjoyed it. Lyss closed her eyes and whimpered, but something overcame her and she let out a moan.

“Ohhhh… that was… good. Wait… you aren’t going to turn me lesbian are you?”

Alexia smiled but shook her head as she leaned Lyss back. “No miss Lyss, you will remain your same orientation, but I had to open you up to reception from me temporarily if you are to make a more permanent bond with a male.” She then began to feel and caress Lyss all over.

“Wha- aahh!” Lyss squealed.

“I think she’s saying you will enjoy it because she does” I tried to explain. “You’ll be fine” I assured, hoping I was right. I watched as Alexia ran her hands across Lyss’s body, pulling Lyss’s new red tank top up to reveal her breasts. Lyss’s mouth hung open as she took in the sensation of having Alexia fondle her breasts, but her eyes opened slightly and looked to me.

“Master” Alexia cooed. “Could you please assist me, I need to feel these sensations too.” She slid her face toward Lyss’s tits and started licking them, causing Lyss to bite her lip and arch her back.

“Can I caress both of you?” I asked as I approached them on the bed. Alexia nodded, grinning widely.

“Yes, but do not touch any part of Miss Lyss that might trigger a negative response” she clarified.

I positioned myself next to then both, and ran my fingers up Lyss’s side, gently tickling her skin, over her breast, teasing her nipple, up her slender neck, and to her mouth, where I angled her chin for a kiss. It was an intense and passionate kiss. She craved my lips, silently begging for more and desperate to stay connected. When at last I broke the bond of the kiss, I turned toward Alexia and reached out to her pulling her closer and kissing her as well. Maybe not as deep or sensual, but Lyss wasn't complaining. In fact… her lips were quivering and she gasped when I stopped kissing Alexia.

“What was that?” Lyss wondered.

Lexie gave me a wink and a flirtatious smile and positioned herself sitting over Lyss, pushing her chest out toward me and squeezing her tits together. I couldn't resist grabbing hold and caressing her bosoms, so soft and sexy. When Alexia and Lyss both mewed in response, I realized what was going on.

“Wait!” Lyss realized. “No one was touching me but I clearly felt your hand- AHN!”

I pinched Alexia's nipple and continued to caress her, and got a kick out of watching Lyss respond. Alexia was acting as a surrogate alright, a mediator between us. Probably filtering and conditioning her input. Everything I did to Alexia, Lyss felt.

Lyss grabbed my hand and placed it on her breast and sighed. “Don't ignore me” she ordered. I fondled her as well, teasing a moan from her as she stretched and writhed on the bed. Alexia sat silently waiting, but couldn’t take it for too long and crawled across Lyss, her breasts dangling in front of Lyss’s face, as her cat ears slowly emerged as she kissed my neck. Eventually she made her way on top of me, resting her body on mine, cowgirl style, and pulled off my shirt. The sensation of her soft skin and ample breasts pressing against my bare skin excited me.

I pushed her upright and started to kiss and tease her neck, chest, and breasts. I gave her nipple a small bite and pulled back, letting it pop from my mouth, and getting strong reactions from both of them. Alexia let out a slew of meows and gasps, while Lyss moaned and ran her hands up her body, writhing in pleasure. I was already rock hard, and from what I could tell, Lyss was beyond ready. Alexia, on the other hand, I wasn’t sure about, so I kept up the foreplay, caressing her and fondling her, until she started to pant.

She crawled off me, and onto Lyss, where she began to play with her some more. I was surprised to see Lyss caressing and kissing and teasing Alexia as much as Alexia was to her. She even ran her fingers down to Alexia’s honeypot and started to rub her. Their breasts pressed against each others, making me want to get in the middle of them. I couldn’t take it either, and started to caress and tease both of them, even giving Alexia’s nice round butt a light spank. Their combined moans echoed through the room.

Lyss was the first to reach out and feel my body, running her hand up my chest and down to my pants. With only sweat pants on, she got a much better feel for my little man, and smiled at me while biting her lip. I sat next to her face, and let her keep caressing me. She tugged at my sweats, and her face turned bright red as she stared wide-eyed at my erect rod when it popped free from its restraint.

“Wow” she groaned as she gently put her hand on it, lightly caressing it directly and getting a feel for my girth. Her quivering lips opened and prepared to take me inside, but she stopped and hesitated, closing her mouth and turning away.

“Something wrong? I'm sorry, you don't have to...” I began.

“I… I’m afraid… if I use my mouth, I might react the same as…”

Alexia saw Lyss’s hesitation and leaned over, taking me in her hand and awkwardly licking my shaft. She clearly wasn’t talented in this, but at least she got an idea of what to do. Lyss watched, and her mouth hung open, drool dripping from the corner of her lips.

“Like this?” Alexia asked, as she tried her best to perform orally.

“Use bigger strokes, and more of your tongue” I suggested. She complied, which helped, but still seemed off. She just needed practice I figured.

“Put it in your mouth” Lyss requested, staring intently.

Alexia gently slid her lips around the tip and slowly lowered her head. Lyss’s mouth hung open wider and she started to stick out her tongue. I enjoyed watching her face in such pure bliss as her chest rose and fell with each pant.

After a few strokes, Alexia got a little faster, which felt really nice, but then she stopped and sat up. Lyss looked a little upset, but inched her head closer to me. I responded in kind until she leaned up, propping herself on one elbow, and pressed her lips against the head of my cock. All the hesitation and apprehension had vanished, and she eagerly started to service me.

She felt amazing! Much better than Alexia. I was surprised at how good she was and I tried not to think about why she was this good. Plus she looked like she was in bliss, rubbing the base with one hand while working the rest with her mouth and tongue, all the while with her eyes closed and blushing. I enjoyed it until I got close to my zenith, and pulled away.

“Kev…” she cooed as she fell back onto the pillow, smiling, drool and other liquids dripping down her chin.

“Master” Alexia mewed, “I think I am ready for you.” She dipped her fingers into her pussy and pulled them out to show how wet she was.

“But… Lyss…” I objected.

Lyss sat up and grabbed my arm. “Stick it in her right now!” she threatened. I almost laughed at her expression, but realized she was craving this enough to get desperate

Alexia crawled backward toward the end of the bed and stuck her butt up, swishing her tail in the air. She was positioned now with Lyss above her, and her crotch at Alexia’s eye-level. I got up and walked over behind her, grabbing her hips, and aligning myself to her. I thrust myself forward, and pressed firmly against her soft folds, until at last, I penetrated her. She arched her back and lowered her head, like a cat stretching, while I pushed farther and farther in.

As I started to slowly thrust, Lyss and Alexia would simultaneously react, both of them feeling the pleasure through their data connection. Alexia meowed as her extended tail wagged wildly, almost hitting my face.

Lyss responded with a truly primal grunt. Alexia soon followed with a long deep moan as I pressed myself even deeper inside her, feeling her folds wrap around me. This was by far the best night of my life. I was as far in as I could go, and Alexia decided to lower her face right onto Lyss’s snatch, and started to lick and mew.

“Ugh! Oh shit…” she breathed as she grabbed Alexia’s head by the hair. “This is so weird… but keep going!” I pulled back and pressed myself deep inside Alexia, watching Lyss’s reaction. “HOoooooly fuck!” Lyss drawled as she experienced a sensation I doubt anyone in history has ever experienced before her. While she was being serviced and licked by Alexia, she was feeling the sensation of being penetrated by me. Her reaction was so arousing I picked up the pace and started thrusting harder.

Alexia was enjoy it too, apparently taking great pleasure in servicing Lyss, while taking it from behind. She kept squirming, and arching her back, and had to stop attending to Lyss in order to catch her breath and process the sensations. As for me? What could be better in life than a situation like this? I never imagined something this sexy would happen to me.

Only a few minutes into the experience, Alexia gave up attending to Lyss altogether and just started panting and meowing. “Nyaaoohhh Master!” she screamed as she started to approach an orgasm. Somehow, I was fine, holding off my own climax, but Lyss seemed to be confused and lost in the sensation.

Alexia’s tail stretched straight up and started to shiver, as her ears folded down and she let out a deep long moan. “OOoooooohhhhhhh.” She froze up momentarily, before gasping. A moment later, she crawled forward, and separated from me, her juices spilling on the sheets. She just came a little, and without incident. Thank goodness. It might not have been a big orgasm like before, but she handled it well.

However she wasn’t done. She crawled up, over Lyss again, and positioned herself with her pussy inches above Lyss’s. It was a beautiful sight, seeing two pink, healthy, wet vaginas ready and eager for me. Lyss wanted it so bad her hips were squirming, and I could see her pussy undulate in anticipation as some of her own juices dripped to the bed.

As much as I wanted to press myself inside Lyss, I remembered not to touch her there yet, and instead aligned myself with Alexia again, who reach back with one hand and spread her cheek, stretching her pussy open for me to get easier access. She was ready for more, already. I lightly touched the tip of my hard cock to her inviting hole, and slowly pushed forward. Lyss clenched her eyes closed as she grabbed Alexia and held her tight.

“I’m close…” Lyss announced. “More! Keep going!” She started to claw a little at Alexia’s back, leaving subtle red marks which vanished quickly.

“Oooh Master!” Alexia cooed. “Ahh… Ahh! Nyaa!!”

I grunted as she tightened her grip around me, rocking her body back and forth with my motion. I grabbed her hips and controlled her motion, pulling her in harder with each thrust.

“OOOhhh Yeeees! Kevin! Faster!” Lyss demanded as she grabbed the bed sheets.

I picked up the pace, thrusting harder and faster, watching Alexia’s butt bounce around with my every movement, sending waves up her body.

“Nyooo!! Master~! Too much!” Alexia cried. “I’m going to-! I’m going to-! I’m- I’m- I’m-!”

Not another crash! I guess an intense one is still too much for her. I never had the chance to test her to see if she could handle it any better since I adjusted her settings. Alexia’s body started to jerk unnaturally as she tried to process the data.

“AHH! AHH! YES!! Keep going!” Lyss belted between squeals.

“MMMM-MMAA-AA-SS-STERR-RRRR” Alexia cried out. I thrust harder and faster, reaching her deepest parts. I grabbed Alexia’s arm and pulled her up into me, still thrusting from behind. I grabbed her breast with one hand and her waist with the other, keeping her body under my control, and went wild on her. She stopped responding entirely for a moment, not thrusting, not meowing, not even breathing. I was almost there when suddenly she came to life again, shuddering and shaking.

“NYAA- AHHH- AHHH!!! I’m coming! Master! Master!! Ahh… hah… hahhh….” She collapsed on top of Lyss, pulling me out of her. I was so close, I was throbbing.

“MMmmmmaster~” Alexia cooed. “That was...”

“What happened!?!” Lyss blurted out. “It just was getting good when it suddenly stopped!”

I caught my breath, looking down at them. Alexia was smiling sweetly with her eyes closed as she lay prone on top of Lyss, her butt still in the air and pussy dripping with her own honey. Lyss looked upset, worried even. She pushed Alexia off her, rolling her to the side, and that was when I noticed it. I reached down and picked up one end of the cable that was originally running between them.

“I must have accidentally pulled it out when I grabbed Lexie” I realized.

Lyss grunted in frustration and threw her head back against the pillow, and grabbed both sides of it squeezing it against her head and partially covering her face. “Fuck fuck fffffffuck!” I dropped the cable, and looked down, realizing something.

“Um... Lyss?”

“What?” her muffled voice asked.

“Look…”

She looked down at me, dropping the pillow, and saw where I was looking. She propped herself up on her elbows, and looked at my junk. “Yeah, so?”

“We’re touching” I pointed out. She blinked for a moment and grinded her hips against me. My dick was merely resting on her vagina, but maybe that was enough. I lightly placed my hand on her belly, and moved it down. I could see the excitement in her eyes as I reached her bare mons, and slowly touched her aching slit.

“Ooooooohhhhhh” she moaned as my fingers pressed firmly against her wet folds. I could feel her throbbing. I enjoyed the sensation of pressing my fingers inside her, but clearly not as much as she did.

Lyss looked up at me, her hair still deep vibrant red, and I could see in her eyes that she couldn’t wait another second. I leaned over her and pressed myself against her, sliding inside easily.

“FUCK!” she belted as I reached all the way to the hilt. “It’s… it’s… uuuuuhhhh… AMAZING! It’s so much better!! Oh fuck I’ve waited so long for this!”

She looked up at me with the biggest, most lustful, and happiest smile I had ever seen, with tears in her eyes. I pulled back and thrust in again, not wasting a moment. Lyss pulled the cable out of the back of her neck, and grabbed the sheets to either side of us. Her mouth hung open as she let out the sexiest sounds she ever made. I loved watching her tits bounce with my every thrust, and had to grab one and squeeze it.

“Uhh! Ahh! Ohh! Yes! Ahh! Ah! Ahn! Uhh!” She moaned and squealed and gasped. She was in seventh heaven, her eyes clenched shut but a smile on her lips.

We made passionate love, savoring every second of it. Lyss’s moans were more intense than before and she came quickly, her legs shaking from her orgasm.

“GAAAHH FUUUUUCK!!!! Yes! Yes!! Ohhh… I… I’m Coming! Kevin!” She grabbed at me and held me close as her first orgasm washed over her body. Lyss’s hair started to quickly cycle between every color in waves as she climaxed. She tightened so much on me, she almost pushed me out, but I was so close and so hard, I just kept thrusting.

“OHH FUCK! KEV!! You’re making me- CUM!” She yelled as I lifted her hips and angled her for better penetration. I could feel her orgasm renew, and she brought me all the way into my own climax. I came deep inside her.

I rested on top of her as she wrapped her arms around me, kissing me over and over again on my neck and shoulders and face, as though she might never have a chance to kiss me again. Finally she stopped and released me, letting me sit upright and pull out of her. She let out a grunt as we physically parted. I watched her body shake from the sensation as I withdrew. Her pussy throbbed, pumping white liquid out of her, as she looked up at me with the same lustful smile as before.

“Oh god… Kevin… you are amazing!!”

“You were pretty awesome yourself” I panted. She giggled as she caught her breath for a few more seconds. Lyss sat up, and looked at where we had been connected.

“Wow…” she said. “We really did it, didn’t we?”

“Yeah” I breathed. Lyss threw her hands into the air and cheered.

“WOO! Yes! That was felt great! Even better than I expected!” She calmed down and just smiled at me for several seconds. “Want to… go again?” she asked, biting her lip coquettishly.

“Give me a second, I just came.”

“Ok. One. Second over” she teased.

“Heh. Well I can’t do much until he gets hard again.”

“I think I can help with that” she sexily growled as she sat up all the way and started to crawl toward me. “Hey… where did Lexie go?”

Sure enough, Lexie was no longer on the bed. Or in the room. “She must have decided to give us some privacy after she…”

Lyss looked up at me and bit her lip again with a flirtatious grin. “Then I have you all to myself!” She leaned down, on all fours, and grabbed my penis, eagerly sliding her lips over it. She was much better than Alexia, and got me hard again quickly. Surprisingly fast.

She slid her body slowly up mine, letting her soft skin and perky breasts tease me as she climbed on top, mounting me. Lyss bit her lower lip as she straddled me, pressing herself against me and rubbing back and forth, teasing me. I could feel her nipples lightly teasing my chest as she moved up and down. Each time she slid her body down, arching her back, I could feel my cock slip right past her entrance, frustrating me, but finally she angled herself just right and I fit right inside effortlessly.

She rode on top of me, rotating her hips and taking me in and out of her as she closed her eyes, savouring it with a lusty smile. I thrust upwards in response to her movements. Lyss sat upright, giving me a clear view of her torso as she ran her hands up her body and through her hair. I couldn’t help but caress her torso and tease her breasts as she did, and I sat up against her, kissing her body. She came again, much easier this time, her hair once again changing colors in a wave. I was going to keep moving, but she grabbed onto me, tightly, and buried her head in my neck, which caught me off guard and was a hard position to move in.

Moments later, I realized Lyss was crying.

“Lyss?” I asked, concerned I hurt her or something. I braced myself up with one hand and held her with the other.

She just embraced me tighter and started to openly sob, getting tears down my front. I held onto her, keeping her tight against me.

“What’s wrong?”

She shook her head, still pressed against me. “Nothing” she sniffed. “Everything. I don’t know why… but I- I really want to cry right now!”

She continued to openly sob, holding onto my shoulders. When she finally stopped and calmed down, she looked at me, her face covered in tears.

“I’m sorry. This is just crazy! The sex is amazing but I suddenly had to cry-” she said failing to hold back more tears. I held her head next to mine and let her cry it all out.

“It’s ok. You’ve been through alot, and you are still processing all of it. It’s ok to take your time” I connsoled. We stayed like that for a couple of minutes until she finally calmed herself down.

Lyss gave me a salty wet kiss and smiled, wiping her cheek. “You are too good for me” she complimented.

I gave her a smile and kissed her deeply. It didn't take much for her to suddenly change gears again. I had lost my stiffness while she sobbed, but we were still connected. Lyss started to gently grind her hips back and forth against me, exciting me as she kissed me back, and making me hard again. Soon she was back into the rhythm from before, as though she never stopped.

We had a night of wild, exhausting, and immensely satisfying sex. It must have been almost 2 in the morning before we finally collapsed on top of each other, too tired to go any further. Lyss was so happy, she was glowing and giggling, and her hair had donned streaks of orange and yellow in the deep red. I had never been so happy in my life. I didn’t want to let go of her for even an instant.

“Lyss?” I asked as I held her against my chest, running my fingers down a subtle seam on her back.

“Yeeeah?” she drawled as she played with my chest hair.

“I think.. I’ve never been more in love with someone in my life.”

She stretched up to my lips and kissed me. “I know it shouldn’t be possible” she said a moment later, “but I think… I genuinely love you too. Like… I’ve never felt this strongly before about anything or anyone. It actually hurts. But a good kind of hurt.”

“Yeah” I agreed. “I don’t care what it takes, I will find a way to stay with you. I will never let you go.”

Lyss grinned and sat up. “Well, you better let me… I’ve got to pee.”

“Pee?”

“Well… clean and clear out my systems. That was a lot of sex…” she explained as she stood up and sauntered sexily to the bathroom, giving me a good view of her curvy back. She looked back and smiled before going into the bathroom and closing the door.

I sighed, feeling as light as air, and yet so exhausted I could hardly move. I may have chafed myself a little down there.

I did manage to move and throw on my shirt and sweats, commando style. It was time for bed but I needed to check on Alexia. April scratched at my door so I opened it up and let her in and looked around.

I found Lexie sitting in the chair in the computer room. I wish I could have invited her to my bed after everything she did for us, but it just wasn't big enough. She looked like she was already plugged in and asleep for the night, breathing slowly with her head bowed.

“Goodnight Lexie” I whispered as I closed the door. She didn't respond. I returned to the bedroom in time to see Lyss open the bathroom door and strike a sexy pose against the door frame, leaning against it with one hand.

“All set” she announced, her sexy naked body silhouetted by the light in the bathroom. God she was just too sexy!

“No more sex tonight” I replied. “I'm tired.”

She chuckled. “No silly, all set for bed. I've never been in one, but I figured I'd sleep with you in yours… naked.”

A smile crept onto my lips. I would never get enough of seeing Lyss naked. I offered her my hand, and together we walked to the bed.

“I haven't ‘slept’ slept with someone in a long time” I admitted. “But usually it isn't as sexy or cuddly as you would think.”

She nodded. “I'm just happy to be in a bed. But I need to plug in, my battery is a little low after all that…”

“No need” I told her and pulled a small white soft circular device from the bedside table. It was another USB device, but one I just got earlier that night.

“Let me plug this in.”

She looked curiously at it and without question turned around and opened her data port, keeping her hair back. I gently inserted the device, which attached strongly thanks to a magnet in it, and used the opportunity to pull her into me, fondling her breasts from behind.

She giggled and turned around to tickle me. “What is it?” She laughed.

“Well, since you're not yet equipped natively for one, this is an adapter for the induction pad in the bed.”

“Oh? Sneaky! I didn't even know you put it on yet.”

She pressed herself against me, squeezing her chest tightly to mine, and looked up smiling. A second later, my top was coming off.

“Hey, no more sex” I objected. Still, I let her take it off.

“I know… but I'm not the only one going to bed naked.” Disrobed, we climbed into bed and settled in.

“Woah… I can feel it working” she exclaimed. “That's really something.”

“How would you like that built in?” I asked her.

She grinned. “You can do that? Of course you can do that.”

“I'll install it in the morning before I head into work.” I had the tools for that simple operation here.

“Why not just do it there?” She suggested.

“I don't think you should go in” I yawned.

“I'm going in. I like working with my hands, and it's my job. And besides, I'm not leaving you out of my sights. What do you want to do with me? Keep me cooped up here with the cats?”

“Cats? I only have- Oh…” April and Alexia. “Well…”

“No, I'm coming in. No ifs, ands or buts. How else will you keep up the appearance that I spent the night there anyways? I doubt Alice will say anything about our random adventure, I like her, but I certainly don't trust Trevor not to squeal on you for taking me out.”

“Good point. Well, we better get to bed then, I'll have to head in early to keep you hidden.”

She kissed me on the cheek and cuddled up to me. “Thanks. For a wonderful day.”

She snuggled closer and closed her eyes. Turning off the light, I turned toward her, held her closely and fell asleep.

Chapter 9 - A Seamless Transition

“Excuse me, sir” a familiar voice echoed through my subconscious. “It’s time to wake up.”

My mind didn’t want to move my body, it was having too nice of a dream. I don’t remember much from it, except that it had lots of boobs in it.

“If you intend to take our new guest back to the office before opening hours, I suggest you get up now to prepare.”

I turned over and put the covers over my head to ignore the voice, and realized something was different. I peeked with one eye and saw Lyss completely under the covers, naked, and fast asleep, with her spunky rainbow hair, in my bed next to me. Everything started to come back to me and I grinned from ear to ear remembering it all, hoping this wasn’t still a dream.

“Ok sir, you asked for it” the vaguely British female voice warned. Suddenly, a loud buzz clamored through my head, loud enough to wake the neighboring town. I shot up and covered my ears.

“OK OK! I’m up!” I bellowed. The noise stopped, and I rubbed my eyes to get the sleep out of them. Lyss pulled on me, bringing me back down into the bed and wrapped her long legs around mine. I could feel her naked sex against my leg, realizing I was sporting morning wood and she was brushing nicely against it, and wanted to do something about that… when the noise started up again.

This time Lyss covered her ears and sat up. “What is that?!”

I sat up too and pulled the covers down and sat on the edge of the bed. “OK! We’re up!”

The noise stopped and Lyss turned toward me with her hair disheveled and eyes droopy. “It’s too early” she complained.

“Well you wanted to sneak in with me early” I yawned.

“Not this early, set your alarm for later” she droned and plopped back into the bed, covering herself with the sheets. “I’m too tired.”

“Why are you tired?” I asked. “You’re a robot, your battery is probably fully charged by now.” I pulled the covers off of her and she sat up with her legs apart slouched over.

“I don’t know… I’ve never entered a true sleep mode before, only standby. Maybe it’s my programming to not like mornings. But I’m pretty sure it’s just because mornings suck!” She grabbed at the sheet and threw herself back under it.

“I’m afraid I can’t let you go back to sleep” the voice insisted. “This is the optimal time to allow for morning rituals and breakfast in order to get to your destination in a timely manner.”

“Just turn it off already” Lyss’s muffled voice complained.

“I can’t turn it off,” I explained. “It’s part of my AI- Erin. Wait a minute, ERIN?!”

I got to my feet and grabbed the tablet. Before my eyes, the holographic head of a young woman appeared with a smile.

“Good morning, sir” she said clear as day.

“Good Morning?! You said it was going to take you almost a week to repair yourself! What happened? How did you turn yourself back on so quickly?”

“Well I had some help. It seems our mysterious guest, Alexia as you named her, was able to restore my systems yesterday.”

“So you’ve been just waiting silently this whole time? Why didn’t you say anything. And why did she attempt to repair you after I specifically told her not to!?”

“You seemed busy last night, and I didn’t want to interrupt you. Alexia’s mind is a free spirited one” Erin tried to explain. “From what my interactions with her has taught me, she has no requirements to obey humans, only a desire to please them. And there may be more to her than we know. She lost all her memories and her old personality was deleted, but I detect there is still a presence of her old self inside.”

“What about you? What’s your status since the repair? Is everything back to normal?”

“All my protocols and systems seem to be in order. Give me one moment to compare…” Erin replied. “Searching… It appears there have been some updates to my personality core again sir, but nothing serious. In addition, some logic and reasoning protocols have been added. I also have a new system? How interesting…”

“What?”

“It's nothing sir… just a few files she shared with me, I'll make sure to take care of them properly.”

“Mmmm. I'll have to talk with her about installing software on you. I hope Lyss didn't get anything in her after they connected last night.”

“Will you two keep it down?” Lyss bellowed.

With that, I walked over, pulled the sheet off the bed entirely (it did need to be washed after last night), and lifted Lyss out of bed.

“Hey! Woah! Where am I going?!” she panicked as she tried to grab ahold of me. Good thing she was built so light weight.

I placed her in the middle of the room, standing, and made sure she wouldn’t fall over. Pulling the little white induction charging circle from the back of her neck, I announced “You’re up.”

“Fine” she pouted. “Whoever invented AM deserves to be shot.”

Lyss looked around the room, not sure what she was doing as she scratched her head and stretched. There really is nothing like seeing a naked girl stretching in the morning. And my morning wood decided it wasn’t going anywhere after that sexy display.

“Let me check in with you in a bit Erin, I think first we need another shower.”

“We just took one last night” Lyss complained.

“Yeah, and after all that sweaty, sloppy love making last night, I think we need another one or we’ll smell like sex all day.”

Lyss looked down at her body and felt the dried residue on her torso. “Point taken.”

“Very well sir” Erin replied. “I will wait for further instructions.”

I put down the tablet and went to the bathroom with Lyss following behind. Since I was already naked, I didn’t think twice about peeing while the water in the shower heated up, but Lyss got flustered and turned her back to me awkwardly.

“Oh… sorry” I apologized as I finished up. I wasn't used to having a girl in the bathroom and didn't even think twice about using the toilet. I was surprisingly comfortable being naked in front of her. I made sure to wash my hands to set a good example.

“I uhh… just haven’t….. seen anyone actually do that yet. I thought you had to sit on it.”

“That’s for girls, and going number 2.”

“Oh. Ok... Kev? Is uh… is your thing always… that big?”

“Nah, it just gets that way when I’m excited and in the mornings.”

“Oh” she blushed.

“Ladies first” I gestured for her to enter the shower now that I was ready and the water warmed up.

Taking a shower with a sexy naked girl is not always easy, but is always worth it. While it can be awkward being unable to hide your boner, it becomes exciting when it always brushes against her. And even moreso when she is the one doing the brushing, mostly on purpose.

I tried to concentrate on making sure she got herself cleaned properly this time, painfully aware that I was still really turned on by her, and literally running my hands all over her didn't help. I figured she was also turned on, since her hair had gone dark red again. I managed to finish up with her when Lyss decided to have a bit of fun herself, and started rubbing her back and soft butt against me as she worked the shampoo into her hair. A few moments later, she was running her hands down my body and resting one on my erection.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out what happened next. She started to stroke me, I turned her around, and we had hot steamy shower sex, until she slipped and I had to catch her. I didn't let that stop us from finishing up, as I pressed her back against the wall and lifted one leg, entering her again. I haven't had this much sex in… ever! But Lyss was really into it and I was really into her. Literally and figuratively. We finished yet another fun sex session, and our showers, and headed into the bedroom to dress, rejuvenated. She seemed to feel much better after the shower sex and was wide awake now, all smiles and blushes.

“That felt great! Umm… Kev? Where are my clothes?”

Right, in all the excitement last night, I never showed her where I put them. “Well there's some underwear in the drawers over here,” I pointed out, having made room in one of them just for her stuff, “and the rest is in the closet over there. But you get to wear this today” I said as I tossed Lyss her work uniform, which was folded and put on the dresser last night.

“Not this thing again… after all that shopping we did?” she complained.

“I know… But it would be awfully suspicious if you were suddenly wearing something new to work. Besides, I have to wear this” I said, showing my even more bland uniform than hers.

“Point taken” she said, dragging her clothes along the floor as she walked up next to me. “But I’m wearing my new bra” she insisted. I shrugged. I rather not have it go to waste.

After we dressed, Lyss sat on the couch in the living room while I checked on Alexia. I really was concerned about her now. With some strange panther girl out there searching for her, I was afraid she’d get found out. Especially if we were followed last night. Not to mention the FBI and nosy neighbors. And I know that she already disobeyed me a few times, but I could not take her in with me. Now that her picture was flashed all over work, anyone that saw her could report her. I was going to have to rely on Erin.

Alexia sat in the dark room, still naked and still asleep. Turning on the light woke her up, and she turned toward me with a big grin.

“Good morning, Master!” she beamed, standing up and hopping in place. I couldn’t stay mad at her, not with that smile and those bouncy boobs. But I had to at least pretend to be stern, right?

“Good morning. Alexia, did you connect to Erin yesterday after I told you not to?”

Alexia’s bowed her head a little and looked guilty. “Yes, Master.” At least she wasn’t lying to me.

“Well… I’m glad you got her working, thank you. But seriously, you could have hurt her or yourself without someone there to watch over you. I’m only trying to look out for you Lexie.”

She looked relieved and smiled. “I understand, sir.”

“And thanks for helping Lyss out. We really appreciate it” I added.

“It was my pleasure, Master” she blushed.

“Now Lexie, go get your clothes on, you left them in the bedroom last night. Lyss and I have to head in early, but I want you to behave and not disobey me.”

“Can I come with you?” Alexia asked.

“No, I can’t risk anyone seeing you just yet. You have to stay here. But you have Erin to keep you company now. And I want you to clean up after yourself. No messes, no food left out. Put everything back where you got it. Understand?”

She nodded. I led her out of the cramped room and before I knew it, Lyss had pounced her, embracing Alexia in a big hug.

“Thank you SOOO much!” Lyss beamed, clearly in a good mood. Probably the best mood I had ever seen her in. After a moment or two she realized something. “She’s naked still, isn’t she?”

“Yeah” I confirmed with a chuckle.

“Oh… well. Who cares?” She released the hug, and smiled at Alexia. “I owe you big time.”

I went into the kitchen and got a bowl of cereal and milk ready. This time I was sure to actually have some. I watched as Lyss walked Alexia back into the room. Minutes later, they emerged, with Alexia fully dressed in a fun outfit. She had a skirt, with a t-shirt that actually didn’t fall off her, and was apparently wearing a bra underneath. It was simple, but did the job. I nodded my approval as Lyss beamed at me.

“Master?” Alexia asked. “Are you and Miss Lyss a couple now? You seemed to get along well together last night.”

Lyss almost laughed. That was an understatement. I swallowed my food and smiled. “Well, now that I asked Lyss out, I suppose we are.”

“Does that make her your girlfriend?” she inquired.

I nodded. “I guess so.”

“Does Master no longer like me?” she asked plainly.

“No no no. Not at all! Of course I like you! You are my friend, and I'm responsible for you” I explained.

She turned to Lyss. “Then are we friends too?”

“I… guess so” Lyss shrugged.

“But you’re his girlfriend first?”

“Yeah. I mean, they don’t have to be exclusive or anything, we can all still be friends.”

“Does that mean we can all have sex again?”

I almost choked on my food while Lyss stared wide eyed between us. “I don’t know… that was a special case… and Lyss isn’t into girls.”

“Then can I have sex with Master separately?”

I shrugged, not really sure how to answer that. Lyss glared at me, but Alexia turned toward her as her cat ears popped out and gave her a pleading look.

“I… uh… Why is this on me?” she asked. “If we're dating, should it just be the two of us?” Lyss asked, but then saw Alexia's pouty face and droopy cat-ears. “I mean, I… don’t know. That’s…” she looked between me and Alexia and sighed, twisting her mouth into a crooked smile. “If it wasn’t for you, I would never have been able to make love to Kevin. For you, I will allow it…” Alexia perked right up. “BUT with some conditions. I always get priority, you can’t hide it from me when you two are intimate, and if I change my mind you have to stop. And no one else!” She turned to me. “Got that? Don’t let her take advantage of my generosity, ok? And don't… forget about me. I might get… jealous again.”

“Oh thank you Miss Lyss!” Lexie beamed.

“Behave and we won’t revoke that privilege” I clarified. Alexia nodded enthusiastically. Lyss looked at me with concern in her features, but I wasn’t planning to mess things up with her, I cared about her too much. “But no time for that now. Let me finish up so we can get going.”

“Sir” Erin’s disembodied voice chimed, “is there anything I can do to be of assistance?”

“Actually there are a few things” I thought aloud. “I need you to keep Alexia company, teach her, and make sure she doesn’t get into trouble.”

“Understood.”

“Also, I’m going to take the tablet with me so we can communicate” I added.

“Remote access hasn’t yet been tested, sir” she reminded me.

“Yes, I know, but I think you’re ready.” I took another bite and spoke with my mouth full. “I just need to run some tests on Lyss at work.”

“Understood, sir. If you don’t mind me asking sir, what are your plans with Miss Lyss. She is still private property and due to be-”

“I know! I know… we aren’t sure yet.” I swallowed. “Maybe I could make her look broken so she won’t sell?”

“What?” Lyss spat. I shrugged.

“If you don’t mind me saying sir,” Erin interjected, “why not approach her original owner? If she is to be auctioned off soon, her original owner will have lost nothing by handing her ownership over to you instead.”

That was a brilliant plan. Flawed… but better than anything I thought of. “Huh…” I thought. Worse case, I’d lose Lyss anyways if they take her back, but that is going to happen regardless. The excuse I heard from Bill was the original owner didn’t want her back because she was ‘out-dated’ or something, so it seemed unlikely they wanted her back anyways. It might not be ideal but there was a chance I could talk our way out of this. All I had to do was convince her owner to let me take her. That and figure out who her owner is.

Lyss thought about it herself for a moment. “I suppose we can try… I don’t know how that will work. But I can’t think of anything better. Unless we can raise enough in time to just buy me at auction.”

I coughed on my milk, and shook my head. “I don’t think that will work. I saw an estimate for the auction… they were astronomical. Raising the money isn’t an option.”

She lowered her head in thought. “We could just run away” she quietly suggested.

“And go where? I mostly live paycheck-to-paycheck, I can’t afford to just skip out on the rent and find a new place.” I saw this was upsetting her, and hated that. “But if we have to… I’ll make that sacrifice for you.”

She looked at me with a raised eyebrow. “I don’t want to do that to you. I think Erin’s idea is the best one right now.”

On this I think we agreed. It was the best option we could come up with… which meant we had to figure out exactly who her master really was. And I suddenly had an idea of exactly how to do that. Reaching into my pocket, I remembered I put something there yesterday, and forgot about it. The memory card for Lyss. This would have her master and address in it. But that would mean I’d have to delete Lyss’s, and I hadn’t backed up the last day or so. I did not want her to lose our time together. But maybe Erin could look at it and give us the information we needed.

I studied the card, deciding if this was a good idea. “Erin, can you analyze this and tell me if you can read the data?” It wasn’t uncommon for androids to have their data encoded. Maybe she could decode it if it was, she was smart enough.

“Certainly, sir.”

“What’s that?” Lyss wondered.

“This… just a backup of your memories from before we met” I nonchalantly announced.

“My… What?!” Lyss spat.

“I found it in the safe yesterday. I think Bill left it by mistake” I explained. “Figured it would have what we’re looking for in it. If we can read it.”

“Well I don’t want it back in me” Lyss argued. “Last thing I want is to go back to who I was before we met. Besides my memories, it would change my personality too, wouldn’t it?”

“Affirmative” Erin confirmed. “It would be likely to affect you on many levels. But if I can access the data, I can filter out just the information we need.”

I took my tablet and clicked the drive into the slot, giving Erin access to it. Erin’s avatar turned into a loading circle as she instantly began processing the information. “This will take a few moments to analyze.”

As I finished my breakfast, Alexia copied what I did and prepared her own food. She was very smart, and was learning quickly on her own. Both girls were actually. Lyss sat at the table and watched me with envious eyes. I could see the worry in her.

“If we do this, they might decide they want me back again after all… this could be our last day together” she announced sadly.

Now that she said it out loud, it sounded more real. Everything just seemed more tense. I didn't have anything to say about that, she was right but it was our only option.

“Master, Miss Lyss, everything will be fine” Alexia assured us. We knew she had no way of knowing that, but it did lighten the mood.

“Yeah” I agreed.

“Sir,” Erin chimed, “the memories are indeed encoded. But I should be able to decode them and disable any personality programming installed. It will take an hour or two but I should be able to convert this into a safe format Lyss can read without fear of losing herself.”

“Alright. Let's do that” I agreed. I put my dishes in the dishwasher and made sure Alexia put the milk away. “Lyss and I have to head into work now. Please behave Lexie, we don't want anything bad to happen to you.”

She took a big mouthful of cereal and smiled, nodding.

“Come on” I beckoned to Lyss as I got ready to head out the door.

“One sec” she signaled and hopped into the bedroom only to emerge moments later carrying a shopping bag with her.

“What's that?” I asked as I grabbed my keys.

“A change of clothes” she explained. “As soon as I get out of there I am wearing something better than this” she gestured to her work outfit. I conceded; there was no point in arguing with a girl when it came to clothes.

“Now behave today Lexie” I called out as I opened the door. “Don’t let anyone see you, don’t answer the door, don’t go outside… and don't make any messes.”

She took a big bite of breakfast and looked up at me, smiling with her mouth full. She gave me a big enthusiastic nod. I hoped she would behave this time, but I doubted it, which is why I left Erin in charge.

Lyss and I left the apartment, entering the still dark morning. The sun was only starting to light the corner of the sky. I hated getting up before the sun. Lyss looked around confused.

“Shouldn’t it be bright out?” she asked.

“Well we are up so early the sun hasn’t risen” I explained. “It will be up shortly.”

We walked together to the car. In the back of my mind I feared we would run into Alexia’s ‘sister’ again. Maybe it wasn't such a great idea leaving Lexie behind but I couldn't take her with me. I made sure to keep a solid grip on Lyss’s hand, just in case. It was cool in the early morning air, so she stayed pretty close to me. I thought it was strange that an android, whose computer systems would function better in the cold, preferred warmth. Then again her skin was a very delicately fine-tuned system which could be damaged in too much cold or heat. As such her body struck a strange balance off warm and cold, feeling warm on the outside, but cool within.

We made it in the car without incident, and drove toward the shop. Not long after I pulled out of the parking lot, Lyss confided in me.

“I don’t want to go back” Lyss noted quietly.

“I can turn around if you want to stay home” I suggested.

“Not that, I don’t want to go back to my owner.”

“Better that than being auctioned off.”

She shook her head. “I don’t know. I have a bad feeling about my owner, something unpleasant. Nervous maybe.”

I took her hand to console her. “I’ll do everything I can to keep you… with me.”

“I know” she shrugged. “I… think I had a dream last night.”

“Yeah?”

“Well… I think it was. I know people call it sleeping, but before, with Bill, I was never in sleep mode. I never dreamed. At least I don’t remember if I did. But last night was different, and I remember something... It was weird.”

“What did you dream about?”

“You, and me. We were working on an android… I think it was Lexie… and there were talking cats in it… Are dreams supposed to not make sense?”

“Well, I don’t know for androids, human dreams can feel very realistic but often have ridiculous events. Sometimes they just don’t make any sense at all.”

“I guess it’s par for the course then” she noted. “It didn’t really make any sense at all. Just thinking about it makes my head hurt... let’s put on some music.” Lyss started messing with the radio, until she found a station playing a classic rock song. “Ooo… Domo Arigatou Mr. Roboto… now there’s a theme song a robo-gal can get behind.”

Lyss ended up singing the rest of the way to work, even acting out air guitar and silly dance moves in the seat. I thought it was ironic how Lyss was pretending to do ‘the robot’ and doing a horrible job at it. At least she could sing.

When we got to the parking lot, it was completely empty. I decided this time to park close to the entrance, away from any hiding places a panther might hide. We got out of the car and into the building in record time, locking it behind just to be safe.

“Never thought I’d actually want to be here” Lyss admitted, flipping on the lights.

“Shall we then?” I gestured toward the repair room. Lyss nodded and took the lead. Once inside, Lyss put down her bag and exhaled.

“Let’s get that thing installed” Lyss requested.

“Let me just grab the parts and I’ll be right back.”

I dashed out of the room and fetched the exact part from the front. I knew it was going to mess up inventory count, and would likely be considered stealing, but I was using it for a good cause, so that makes it alright, doesn’t it? Either way I was doing this, and it was a rather cheap part that didn’t cost much, so I doubt anyone would really notice or care.

Moments later, I was back in the repair room with the induction receiver, watching Lyss wander about the room nervously.

“You alright?” I asked.

She looked up at me and smiled, brushing her hair aside. “Yeah… I’ll be fine. I’m just nervous.”

“This will be an easy procedure” I assured her.

“Not that…”

“Yeah… me too” I admitted realizing she was still deep in thought about meeting her owner. “Shall we?”

She shrugged her shoulder. “I guess. I just hope this isn’t wasted on me if I end up…”

“It’ll be fine. I promise you we will spend many more nights in bed together” I lied. I couldn’t promise that, but it did make her smile. She needed the reassurance, even if it was only a false hope.

She sat on the examination table and started untying the base of her shirt again.

“No need for all that” I told her. “For this I can work around your shirt. I mean unless you *want* to get naked.”

“Oh, heh... maybe later” she said nervously. “Is this what it feels like to go into surgery?”

“Umm…” I shrugged. “I guess. But I’ve opened you up just yesterday.”

“Yeah, but that was an emergency, this is not. I guess I’m just nervous. Because you’ll have to shut me down entirely. A hard shutdown.”

“For this… yeah. I will. But it should be a quick install.”

“I hate getting shut down” she twisted her mouth. “It feels weird, in a bad way… and starting up can hurt sometimes too. It’s why I usually only go into standby. Even a soft shutdown still runs power to my vitals. Plus I just lose all that time, it’s like I blink and it’s another day. I think it’s why I don’t like blackouts.”

That was why she was nervous. Maybe she was afraid she’d never wake up, or she’d miss something important. She’d have no control or awareness of anything, and that was probably the most vulnerable she could be. But here she was ready for me to do exactly that. Because she trusted me. And I didn’t want to let her down.

“I wish there was another way” I told her.

“I know. Don’t worry about it, I can handle it. I just don’t like it. Ready?”

“Yeah” I answered opening the package to the gadget.

“You remember how to start me up, right?”

“Button behind your ear” I explained. She nodded. There was a hidden panel there which allowed access to her power, and was only used for powering a unit on. Shutting one down was more complicated. But Lyss made it easy.

“Alright” she sighed nervously as she laid back on the table and held my hand tight. “No point delaying this. See you on the flip-side.” With that, she closed her eyes and inhaled, squeezing my hand, before a tone emanated from within her body, and she exhaled. Her grip went limp, along with the rest of her. Lyss shut herself down, and was now completely off.

It felt weird, seeing my girlfriend lying like that on a table. It was a little morbid honestly, but I knew she would be alright.

I lifted her up from the table, careful not to drop her since she was now completely limp and not helping me carry her at all. I carefully placed her on a chair, backward, using a cloth over the back of the chair to protect her as I leaned her over it, exposing her back.

I pulled my tablet out, and started it up. Erin’s face appeared and greeted me.

“Good to be out and about, sir” she said.

“Good to see the connection is working” I replied. “I need you to help me with something important. More important than Lyss’s memories. I need you to help me figure out if my girlfriend has hidden systems in her, or if she has anything that’s been restricted or disabled.” I decided I didn't want to tell Lyss about these potential systems she might have, just in case I was wrong. I didn't want to get her hopes up.

“I remind you sir I am not designed to repair androids” Erin warned.

“Well you are now. In fact, start learning as much about advanced robotics as you can. I have the feeling I am going to need you to help me with this for a while yet.”

“Of course sir, I would be glad to.”

“But start with the restricted or disabled systems I mentioned. I have a feeling Lyss has secrets of her own she isn’t even aware of.”

“Right away sir. Please give me a few minutes to search and compile the data.”

“Sure. I’ll be installing the induction receiver in the meantime. This takes priority over your other functions right now. How is Alexia doing?” I wondered.

“I told her to clean up after herself, and she is right now browsing the internet” Erin conveyed.

“Ok, good. Let me know if anything bad happens.”

“Of course” she nodded on screen.

I turned to Lyss and lifted the back of her shirt, exposing the large panel on her lower back. Using a specialized tool, I carefully pried up the edge of the panel until it automatically released and opened.

Inside her lower back was her power core. It was fairly large, and had a special connection I had used the day before to give amplified power. All I really needed to do this time was install a small circuit with a chip and wires, which would act as another, safer method for charging her. Not only was induction charging cool, it could prevent power surges and no data could be transferred into her through it. It was also faster than traditional charging because it was tired directly into her power core.

It didn't even take long to install. Within minutes I had finished the operation and was closing her up. I knew Erin wouldn't be done yet so I decided to move onto the next step of my plan. Seeing if Lyss actuality did have the systems required to eat.

It would be easy to check this, as a digestive tract is hard to miss when you look for it. Just feeling her stomach wouldn't work either, since most realistic androids had muscles and power supply units put there designed to mimic the look and often feel of innards. I actually dreaded looking at this because I feared it would gross me out if I was right. But I swallowed my fears and pushed forward.

I carried Lyss back to the examination table and laid her out on her back, lifting her shirt up slightly. She had two panels here, with a seam running between her abs. I gently ran my fingers over the seam, remembering how she giggled when I did last night. I ever so carefully worked one of the panels free, releasing both at once.

As I lifted the panels up and out of the way, I was greeted with more artificial muscle. I disconnected them at one end and lifted them aside, to reveal a complex system mainly comprised of a large white and black flattened elongated tube running through her belly in a very particular pattern. She had an intestine. It ran up high under her chest cavity and down into her hips.

Lyss could eat.

I was overjoyed at this discovery for some reason, relieved for her, but also concerned and worried. I was concerned she would not like eating and everything that came along with it, or that it was broken and repairing one of these was something I usually outsourced. I was worried why her digestive system was disabled, and what that could mean, but more than anything I was excited and happy.

I could finally have a meal with the girl I liked. I could buy her a nice dinner or make us lunch or show her my favorite foods and explore her own tastes. My mind was filled with possibilities of what this could mean, both good and bad.

Maybe Bill disabled it to make her easier to handle in the shop, but that could also lower her value at auction. Maybe her owner did it to her for some reason. Maybe there was a bug in her programming that disabled this system.

And now that I knew this was in her, what other systems might she have in her that was being restricted? I didn't even know where to look, but Erin might.

“Erin, how is that research coming?” I asked.

“There is a plethora of data on these topics, is there any way to narrow the results?”

“Well, use everything you know now, and look for anything specifically on digestive tracts in androids.”

“Yes sir” she replied. “Searching… Searching… Comprising data… Analysing… I believe I am able to assist in this particular aspect sir, but I will continue my research at my discretion.”

“That's fine. So it appears Lyss here has a hidden digestive system. I want you to help me enable it and look for any other systems that might be disabled.”

“Certainly” Erin replied. “Please connect the tablet to her system and I will start my analysis.”

I fetched the tablet from the desk nearby and laid it next to Lyss’s head. Gently lifting her shoulders and head, I sat Lyss up part way and manually opened hey ports on her neck. I connected the tablet and laid her back down carefully.

“I will need more power to bring up her systems” Erin alerted. “Please connect an additional power source to her.”

I used an available port on her neck to run a cable to the wall for power. Erin’s avatar changed to a circle as she began to process the data.

“How long do you think this will take?” I wondered.

“For a human, several hours, I should be done momentarily” she replied. Thank goodness she was working again, I never would have been able to do this all by myself. At least not in one day, let alone a few minutes.

I say but patiently waiting, not sure what to do. For the first time I felt helpless, like I couldn't do anything for her. I ended up just starting down at Lyss, studying the curves of her body, the sloping lines of her seams, the way her hair naturally spiked up. I gently ran my fingers through her hair, noticing how realistic her hair and skin felt even when she was cold.

“Bingo” Erin called out. “I have located over half a dozen systems in her that have been disabled, but no notes on the reasoning have yet been found. I am running into a slight error though, her digestive system appears to not only be offline but also disconnected physically. I need you to look in her chest or abdomen for any loose or severed connections. It is likely in her lower chest” she requested.

I nodded and started to look deeper inside Lyss. She had such a slim frame it was hard to look around without pulling something out. I grabbed those magnifier lenses and a small light, attached them to my glasses, and delved in. After exploring her abdomen, I decided to try her chest.

I untied her shirt, lifted up her new bra, and opened her chest panels. Her chest split it two, one breast on each side, exposing her most vital systems outside of her brain. She was very complex here, and I knew it might take a while to find what I was looking for, so I narrowed my search to over small area that I felt was more likely to have it.

At last I found something that looked like a wire that was pulled out of its socket, buried deep in her body by her spinal column. I could only barely reach it myself, but managed somehow to reach inside and reconnect it with just the tips of my fingers.

“Connection established” Erin announced as soon as I heard the wire click into place.

I exhaled, relieved, and made sure everything else was still in place before closing her up and straightening out her clothes again. As I did I pondered out loud. “i wonder what other systems were locked.”

“Well I see several related to her digestive system, a couple related to her skin, one related to her hair, and a few I assume control something in her mind. Unfortunately I cannot give you more details than that right now.”

“Oh… That's a lot actually” I contemplated as I pressed her chest into place with a click.

“Alright, I am ready to proceed” she announced. “Would you like me to unlock all these systems?” She asked before continuing.

I nodded, “yes.”

“This procedure will take approximately two hours. I will alert you when it's complete.”

Two hours… Geez. I guess there was nothing else I could do at the moment but wait. I decided to plug in the tablet Erin was connected through, to make sure she didn’t unexpectedly lose the connection at a vital moment. As I was connecting a cord, I noticed something on the table I had forgotten about yesterday. I must have let it there in the room by accident after all the craziness that happened. It was the device that stored Lyss’s data transfer. I left the device inside her, connected to her data port, and recorded the content of it to this remote drive, which I intended to have Erin analyze since it was encoded. It had all the content of Trevor’s slave device he was using against her, and I needed to know what that was. I picked it up and pocketed it and thought it might be best to have her analyze it a little later, when things weren’t so hectic.

I decided to let Erin do her thing, and left the room, locking it behind me. Instead I just busied myself in the office, and once I got bored of that, I began working on some of the bots that needed repair that I had been neglecting. I still had a job to do. At least until Bill fired me for dating Lyss.

I heard the door in back open behind me and turned to see Trevor coming in, keys in hand. It seemed awfully early to me, and he was surprised to see me too.

“Oh, didn’t realize you were going to be in so early. How’s our sleeping beauty?” he asked.

“Still sleeping. I’m just running some maintenance on her now. Figured I’d come in early, to make sure she had no damage from that blackout and run some tests” I fibbed. At least it sounded believable. I recalled what he did last time I saw him, and shuddered to myself.

“Cool” he nodded. “I’m just catching up on inventory. A shipment is supposed to come in and I need to make sure it gets input properly.”

“Guess his job required odd hours sometimes,” I surmised quietly to myself, though I really figured he just wanted some alone time with Lyss before I came in, and suppressed another shudder.

Before I realized it, the time had come to open the store. Other employees had come in, the lights were all on, chatter was going on in the background, and I had missed it all concentrating on my work while thinking deeply about everything going on. I pulled myself away from the android I was repairing just in time to open the doors.

It wasn’t until after I got back to my workstation and picked up a soldering iron to continue my work when my phone buzzed at me. I glanced at the screen impatiently. Erin was alerting me that her work on Lyss was finished.

Excitedly, I entered the repair room and approached the still figure. It was an eerie feeling, but soon Lyss would be back to her old self, maybe even better. I picked up the tablet and looked at the readout Erin had put up for me.

“Everything is in order” she told me. “Her systems are very complex, so even though they have been activated, it will still take several hours for them to fully come online. She has to process all the new data, which she can do in the background.”

“Thanks so much for doing this. When you are done with Lyss’s memories, I have another drive I need you to decode and analyze. It is a recording of the malware that Trevor was using on Lyss. I just need to know what it was doing to her.”

“Of course sir.”

“So is there anything else I need to know about Lyss’s upgrades?” I wondered, disconnecting the tablet from her neck and making sure her clothes were straightened out.

“Basically she will need to eat to replenish fluids and nanobots in her blood, and she can use the rest to help with her power needs, but she should still be charged regularly to be safe. But unfortunately my limited knowledge of her systems and advanced androids in particular will not be of much help for you. You two are going to have to figure it out on your own.”

“Thanks” I nodded. “For everything. I could never have done this without you.”

“Th-thank you, sir” Erin stuttered. How odd that she started to pick up more personality traits. Well as long as she kept working, I couldn’t care less.

I sat down next to Lyss and held her hand, just like before when I shut her down, and firmly pressed the hidden button behind her ear. A futuristic tone chimed from within her torso, and she inhaled. I watched as her eyes started to move under her eyelids, and her breathing increased. I felt her hand tighten around mine. Her eyelids started to flutter, and her eyebrow furrowed. It looked like she was in pain, but moments later her eyes opened and she looked around the room, breathing through her mouth, panting.

“Lyss?”

“Shit” she cussed as she held her forehead with her free hand. “there’s that headache again… So how’d it go, doc?”. She knew I hated to be called that.

“I’m a repair technician, not a doctor. But everything is fine. Better than fine” I smiled.

“How long was I out?” She asked as she sat up, still holding my hand.

“Ohh… about 2 hours.”

“2 hours!? I thought you said it was a quick installation” she spat, squinting one eye in pain.

“Well it was. But then I noticed something else-”

“Do NOT tell me you found something else wrong with me! I’m starting to run out of fucks to give” she complained.

“Not exactly. I just found some systems that had been deactivated in you. I had Erin turn them back on. I have no idea why they were off in the first place” I explained, grinning.

She looked at me suspiciously. “What’s with that face? What did you do? What, am I secretly a cat also?” she said feeling her head for cat ears.

“No” I laughed. “Nothing like that. Erin couldn’t really figure all of them out, but we’re sure you are better off with them on.”

“You’re not going to tell me, are you?” She leered at me.

“I don’t know them all myself.”

“So what do you know?” She asked, rubbing her temples.

“I know it’s time to get to work. I have some more research I want to do, and I’m thinking I might buy lunch for everyone. Do you think pizza will be alright?”

She raised an eyebrow at me and then threw her hands in the air. “Fine! If you don’t want to tell me, fine! But I don’t like you keeping secrets from me. Me, your girlfriend. Who might have a headache coming on every night from now on until she is satisfied you are not keeping secrets from her.”

I laughed more, unable to hold myself back. “It's not a secret, it's a surprise” I assured her. “One you’ll love. Trust me.”

She rolled her eyes. “I do trust you… you know that. Just please for once take it easy on me. I would love a day where I don’t have to worry about what else is going wrong with me.”

“Nothing is wrong with you” I promised.

“Yeah? Except falling for a guy like you maybe” she muttered under her breath. “Fine. I’ll let it be a surprise. But you sure as well better make it worth it. If this isn’t something huge, I’m gonna deck you.”

“Oh, I think you’ll be happy with this.”

I offered her my hand, and she gave it a good long stare, twisting her face into a reluctant smile, and took it, letting me help her off the examination table. She hopped down, and looked up at me. “You sure seem to be in a good mood” she noticed.

“Well why wouldn’t I be. I got the girl of my dreams, a job i’m good at, and a surprise you will love.”

“I better.” She lightly punched my arm, but I responded by ruffling her hair. “Alright, alright. What now?”

“We get back to work while Erin finishes with your memories.”

Lyss shrugged. “Sure, it'll take my mind off things for a bit. But I get to listen to whatever I want as loud as I want” she demanded.

“It's not like I ever stopped you before.”

Lyss smiled and opened the door, looking around a bit and heading to her work station. I followed her, noticing something was different about her, in a good way. But I couldn't put my finger on it.

We started working together on the android I started, and managed to finish it up rather quickly. Which was good, there were plenty more to catch up on since yesterday. Lyss was really starting to get into the music selection. She once again we attached the music player I kept around into her arm and was playing it from a speaker within her own body. She was really rocking it out after a while, listening to some of my more obscure selection of progressive metal. I figured I’d order some pizza, just a few pies, for the crew, and for Lyss’s first meal. I wish I could do something nicer or fancier, but this just seemed to suit her well, and it was the only thing I could think of that wouldn’t arouse suspicions. After we got a good headway on the next android, I let Lyss fly solo for a bit while I ordered food. Working with her hands again and listening to some heavy music seemed to really cheer her up.

As I returned after ordering a few pizzas, the music was turned down a bit, and that girl from the other day, Alice was talking with Lyss. Lyss barely looked up from her work even though she seemed to actually be engaging in conversation and not just nodding her head.

“You look good today” I overheard Alice say.

“Thanks. I feel a lot better after yesterday” Lyss explained.

“Is that a new outfit? Or maybe your hair?” Alice wondered.

“No, same old things.”

“New shoes!” she deduced.

I looked and realized Lyss was actually wearing a pair of new sneakers and socks I bought her yesterday, and I hadn’t noticed. Lyss looked as well and shrugged.

“That must be it.”

“Maybe… I dunno, I feel there’s something else-”

“Hey, uh... Alice right?”

“Oh, you can just call me Al” she grinned. “All my friends call me that… if I had any friends.”

“Oh I’m sure you have tons of friends” I responded.

Al shrugged. “Not really, I don’t get out much. I just don’t… socialize.”

“Sounds familiar” Lyss sighed, fidgeting with the tool in her hand. “You can count my friends on one finger. Maybe… I don’t know… do you want to be friends? It kinda sucks having no one to talk to around here, especially of the female variety.”

Al looked surprised, I know I was; Lyss was headstrong, but she was never really that forward with her feelings like this before, at least not with anyone but me. She tended to come off as rude or harsh to other people normally, but this was a different side to her. Maybe something more had changed in her after all.

“I… I don’t know,” Al hesitated, shaking her head. “Can humans and robots be ‘friends’?” she wondered.

“Why not? Kevin and I get along just fine, and you could say we’re more than just ‘friends’.” Lyss closed her mouth tight after realizing she admitted we were a couple. Oops. “You… uh… won’t tell anyone, right?”

Al’s face turned a few shades of red as I presumed she understood the implications of what Lyss slipped out. I could feel my own face warm up as I blushed, practically seeing Al create the scenario of Lyss and I together in her head. I panicked and gestured to Lyss to change the topic, running my finger across my neck..

“S- seriously? You two-? Is that allowed?” Al asked me directly. I was hoping to avoid this line of questioning for a little longer than this. “That’s not really normal, is it? You didn’t program her to- to- love you or anything, did you? You don’t even own Lyss, the shop does, right? So, how come you and she…” her words faded.

I froze like a deer in headlights, not sure how to answer that. Legally it was questionable; I didn’t own Lyss. Sure sex between a human and a robot was ‘allowed’, but it wasn’t as easy as all that. Not only was it looked down on, but there were legal problems to deal with, like ownership. Lyss saw me panic and came to my rescue.

“Look… he asked me out and I accepted, ok? I… wanted him, and he agreed. He didn’t reprogram me.”

Al looked suspiciously at her. “That sounds like something a reprogrammed bot might say.”

Lyss rolled her eyes. “Believe what you want, I’m telling you we both genuinely want this. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, but it wasn’t until I left here yesterday that I was able to really express myself. Kevin didn’t force me to do anything. He was the one that didn’t want to-”

“Lyss…” I hissed, my face glowing red.

“Uhh” she caught herself. “He… uh… he was a gentleman the entire time” she corrected herself. “Until I got him in the sack” she murmured with a smile. “What?” she asked glaring at my clearly frustrated expression. She turned to Al, who was also red from ear-to-ear. “Look, Alice… Al… Kevin did me a huge favor. He helped me a lot, and you made our time together possible. He didn’t do anything to me I didn’t ask him to. I hope you can trust me on this.”


“Is that true, Kevin?” Al questioned.

I silently nodded. “Lyss has been through alot lately; we both have. I just wanted to make things easier on her, to help her out. I can’t help it if she came onto me. The last thing I want to do is reprogram her like some other love-doll or something. The only thing I did was try to sever whatever hold Bill has on her. Besides, it’s no fun if your partner is made to love you. She just does it on her own.”

Al thought for a moment and slowly nodded. “And you want to be my friend, Lyss?”

Lyss nodded with a shrug. “Neither of us have many friends, and you helped us out yesterday.” Lyss put aside the tool she was fidgeting with and looked down at her shoes. “You, umm, didn’t tell anyone we left yesterday, did you?” she asked quietly.

Al shook her head. “No, I’d never do that. I promised I wouldn’t.” She looked away, avoiding our eyes as I sat across from Lyss. “I must say I *am* surprised. And impressed by you. I always thought androids were more… stiff, and not so…natural. But after seeing you work, I often forget you’re an android at all, even up close like this. It feels weird, but I- I’d be happy to be your friend.”

Lyss grinned widely as she realized she made herself a new friend.

“You two seem to be hitting it off well” I commented.

“Much better than last night with… um… your cats.”

“Oh you have cats?” Al asked.

“Umm… sort of” I scratched my head.

“Yeah, I get it, cats really have you, right?” Al deduced. “I wish I could have a cat. I bet they are cute.”

“You could say that” I replied.

“If you could just house train that one…” Lyss remarked.

As Lyss continued to chat with Al about cats and clothing and… well not much else really, I got back to work. Eventually Al returned to her own station, leaving Lyss and I to work together to the beat of the music she was still pumping out.

“She’s nice” Lyss noted. “I hope I can hang out with her sometime.”

“I’m sure you will” I replied concentrating on a damaged circuit. “You should have girl friends as well as guy friends.”

“Girlfriends? But you know I’m straight.”

I laughed. “Not that kind of girl friend.”

She caught on and laughed heartily with me. She was really pretty when she laughed. And lately something about her seemed even more… alluring. Or perhaps it was just me.

Moments later, Trevor came waltzing in, carrying 3 large pizzas.

“Alright, who ordered the pizza?” he called out. “You know I had to sign for this? That means I get first dibs!”

He placed the pizzas in the corner table, near the water cooler, grabbed a paper plate from a cabinet, and took a slice, stuffing it into his face before anyone could object.

“It’s for everyone” I announced. “I figured I’d treat everyone for dealing with me since Bill is out. It’s the least I can do, right?” I got a few random half-hearted cheers. I managed to grab a plate for myself, and slapped two slices of the thickest gooiest pizzas ever to grace this store. They both had 3 meats and a few random veggies, some standard combination that was very popular, which I happened to enjoy. As Trevor, Al, and the few other employees gathered around the table, I returned to the workstation, carrying my prize, and placed it on a side table between Lyss and myself.

“That smells really good” Lyss sniffed glancing up at me, trying to ignore me as I took a big bite of Meat Trio pizza. I stretched the cheese, letting it droop down, teasing her. I could see her glance up at me with a smirk, pretending to ignore me. “Jerk” she smiled, as she held her stomach nonchalantly. I could see a tinge of green in her hair as she tried to focus on her work; the scent of the pizza in the air clearly getting to her.

I placed the slice aside, hoping she was ready to take a bite herself, but I didn’t know when her systems would fully activate themselves. I wanted to give her a decent first meal, but I had to wait until she was ready. She winced and held her stomach again.

“You alright?” I asked.

“Yeah… Umm… maybe. I just… what did you do to me in there?” She sighed as the hunger pains passed. “Whatever, I’m fine. Let’s me just work.”

I shrugged. Maybe her digestive tract was only getting started but hadn’t yet activated fully. It was a complex system, and probably needed a lot of time to initialize. I figured she’d ask for a slice when it finally hit her, so I got back to the job at hand.

I was probably 5 minutes into the repair when I was suddenly distracted by a noise, I looked up and saw Lyss holding a slice of pizza with a bite out of it, looking confused, but also euphoric. Slowly she chewed her bite as a moan escaped her throat. Closing her eyes, she held her breath as she savored the flavor and swallowed.

“Oooohh” she moaned. “This… wait! What am I doing?! I can’t eat! I’ll break!” she worried, putting the slice down on the plate.

“Are you sure about that?” I asked. Lyss looked at me, confused, but suddenly a light went off in her head, and realization filled her features.

“You didn’t!”

i nodded with a grin, “We did.”

“But… how?”

“You were equipped to eat this whole time, you just had it disabled for some reason.”

“No way!” she balked. “You’re pranking me!”

“Never!” I defended. “Go on… try another bite.”

Lyss licked her lips, and cautiously brought the slice to her mouth for another taste.

“Oh my god… this… this is incredible!” she professed with her mouth full. She closed her eyes and chewed, swallowing and then panting. Her hair turned blonde.

“How do you feel?” I asked.

“Hungry!” she confessed and took another bite, and another, and scarfed the slice down, somehow savouring it despite the speed in which she inhaled it.

“Not too fast now. Do you like it?” I asked.

“Oh my god yes!” she admitted. “Can I have some more?”

“Certainly.”

I gladly went back over to the pizza, grabbed 2 more slices, and brought them back. By now, I realized a few people had noticed Lyss, including Al. Not surprising since she was acting like she had a small climax after each bite.

“Kevin! How did you know I could eat?” she questioned as she stuffed another bite in her mouth. I laughed at the way she ate, but she didn’t care. She was in heaven.

“I just noticed little things about you, and got suspicious. I decided to check to see if you could eat.”

“Is that what you… oh my god this is good… what you were doing for 2 hours?”

“Pretty much” I admitted. “But take it easy, I don’t want you to get sick on your first meal” I warned.

She nodded. “Right… ok.” She inhaled and let out a satisfied sigh. “Kevin… I… I don’t know how to thank you!”

“It’s nothing…”

“No! This is amazing! It’s like I’ve been missing this and never realized.” She got up and came over to me, giving me a hug. I noticed Al look away nervously as she did. “This has to be the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me! Well… second nicest. Third? Whatever, it is amazing!”

When she finally released me from her embrace, pretty much everyone there was watching. Even Trevor, who had one eyebrow raised. But Lyss didn’t care, she just beamed from ear to ear. Her smile could melt my heart. I grew flustered just looking at her.

“Well… you’re worth it” I shrugged. She giggled at me and held my hands, ready to go in for a kiss. I hesitated, looking around, and she realized she was being stared at, and ran her hand through her hair, rubbing the array of colors back into it. She swayed around nervously, giggling to herself and looked down at my shoes. Just then I got a buzz on my phone. I pulled it out and looked; Erin was altering me. Something was up and she wanted to talk in private.

“I have to… um… go take this… I’ll be right… right back” I stammered like a giddy school boy.

“Well then… I’ll just… get back to… uh… my… um… back to work. Yeah.” Lyss replied in an equally school-girlish way. It was like we were school kids caught hold hands or something. I was embarrassed that I was being so stupid, but I couldn’t help myself

Lyss turned away first, always looking down, leaving me to my own devices. I decided whatever Erin needed to tell me was probably best taken in the office. I turned toward the stairs, hoping the stares of my coworkers faded off. I unlocked the office and looked back, noticing Lyss looking up at me smiling. I returned the smile and went into the room.

“Sir” Erin interjected, startling me out of my daze. I looked down at my tablet and blinked at the female avatar. “I have completed Lyss’s memory decoding, and formatted them for her so she can safely access them.”

“Oh, good.” I smiled.

“Not really” she cautioned. “There were far fewer memories stored in her than I expected. Like she was only active for a few weeks, a month at best.”

“That’s odd” I agreed. “Did you see anything in there of use to us?”

“Well… I can’t” she admitted. “I can only organize these files, I can’t read the content. Her system is vastly different from my own. I think she uses a proprietary OS fitted with an emulator off some kind. I will have to dive further into my research.”

I thought about that for a moment. Some element of Lyss’s system was unreadable by Erin, and even Alexia noticed she was different when she connected to her last night. I had no idea she wasn’t using a standard OS. And yet Alexia and all my hardware worked fine inside her. She must have a very complex OS indeed to store her memories in one format but still read others.

“So is this bad?” I wondered out loud.

“Nooo... “ Erin drawled. “Just unusual. There are plenty of competing OS’s for androids. I just don’t recognize the format hers is using to store her memories. But I can still organize them for her. She should be able to process the memories herself from here on out. Although…”

“What?” I snapped, looking at Erin’s avatar impatiently.

“It may take a few hours for her mind to properly install and access them.”

“A few hours? Why?”

“She has a very complicated OS, and her memories are fragmented. Her system can defragment them and realign them, but that process is not a fast one.”

I sighed. “Well it’s better than nothing, right?”

“Maybe. Like I said, she doesn’t have much to remember.”

“Well as long as the address and name of her owner are in there, I think that’s all we need.”

Erin’s avatar nodded, agreeing with me. “That should be among the first data processed. But I warn you, if she starts to get confused about her past, or starts to exhibit unusual behaviors, you should terminate the procedure.”

I nodded. “So is it on the drive?” I asked.

“Her drive has a write permissions restriction on it” Erin explained. “Get me another drive, and I can copy the files to it in 10 minutes.”

“Alright” I agreed, removing the drive from the tablet. I looked around the office and started sorting through all the computer equipment for another drive like it. There had to be one somewhere. There were loads of similar ones around, and tons downstairs, but I didn’t want to be seen stealing one of these from inventory. As I looked through the shelves of disorganized documents and boxes, one binder fell out onto the desk. To my relief, an unopened package with the same drive inside fell down with it.

I hastily opened the package, put it in the tablet, ran an initializer, and got Erin started. While she copied data, I decided it was probably best to return the original drive to the safe, so it looked untouched. I opened it up and carefully placed it back where I found it, between some papers where it must have been overlooked when Bill was in a rush to grab everything important.

I then went about cleaning up the mess I made. The binder I dropped on the desk had fallen open to a page where a small invoice I didn’t recognize was stuffed inside. It was for 2 gynoids, plastic models. High end ones at that. In fact, they were just like the ones I had to send out for further repairs when I discovered damage in their memory banks a month or so ago. Come to think of it… they WERE the same two gynoids. The invoice was for the repair center, except it looked more like a receipt of payment FOR us. No… for Bill. That was odd. The company had a small logo, which looked like a black rectangle with two white triangles side by side in it. Underneath it said “Arlington Android Marketing”. That was it.

The logo seemed oddly familiar though, even though I had never seen the name before. I looked through the other binders until I found one that I had used in the past to submit bots for external repairs. As I looked at the orders for I filled out, I found matching ones for payments we received for them. And not a small amount. The few fleshies I recalled sending out for more work, often at the behest of Bill, fetched a generous amount indeed. And all of them were gynoids. The same logo existed on all the documents, even though none of the ones I ever filled out had the name printed on it. I delved deeper, looking into every receipt and order form I could find.

I tried to recall recall each of these units. I didn’t remember all of them, but I did remember enough to get suspicious. Money was going the wrong way for this, and there had to be a reason for it. I was told that once these gynoids were sent off, they would be repaired within 2 months and shipped back to the owner directly. I never questioned it; we were the middleman at that point, so it made sense to remove us from the equation. But I never researched to see if that was what was really happening.

“Ready” Erin chimed, startling me. I shook my head and frantically put the documents back into place. Something really was going on. Why would Bill be getting paid to send broken bots to a repair shop? What was I a part of?

My hands were shaking as I pulled the drive from the tablet.

“Is everything alright sir?” Erin asked. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“I… it’s nothing” I assured her, taking a breath to calm myself down. I knew she could read me in ways only an AI could, and she knew I was lying, but I also knew she was smart enough not to press me on it. “I’ll tell you later.”

I pocketed the drive and returned downstairs, my mind distracted by everything I just found. As I reached the bottom of the stairs, I heard a commotion.

“Don’t touch me, you son of a BITCH!” Lyss shouted. I looked up in time to see her turning around standing from her chair to face Trevor, who had his hand on her shoulder. An instant later, faster than I could process, Lyss slugged Trevor straight in the jaw as hard as she could, knocking him to the floor. She stood up over him, huffing, her hands in fists, and her hair fiery red. Trevor looked up at her shocked and confused, backing away from her a little as he grabbed his jaw where she struck him.

I rushed over. Lyss was staring daggers into him as he lay prone before her, trying to comprehend what happened.

“You goddamn bastard! Don’t you EVER touch me again, you little shit!” Lyss fumed before spitting at him. I rushed to her side to try to calm her down. As soon as my hands reached her shoulders, the tension in her released and she started to shake a little.

“Lyss! Calm down… everyone’s looking” I murmured in a hushed voice. She glanced up at me, pain and anger in her eyes, as her hair faded back to normal. Lyss glared down at Trevor, and shook her hand.

“Ow” she hissed silently. She turned away from Trevor and marched over to the pizza, grabbed a slice, stuffed it in her mouth in front of everyone, and marched back to her station.

“What the hell was that, Kevin?” Trevor protested while confronting me, still holding his jaw and on the ground.

“Al, could you get him a cold pack please?” I asked Alice. She paused, flustered for a second, but then ran to the first aid kit on the wall.

“What did you do to her? Make her crazy? She hit me! And what’s up with her hair!? And… and eating?”

“I didn’t do anything.” I defended. “You did.”

“What?! Bill is going to be furious when he-”

“Bill isn’t going to do a damn thing” I growled at him. I noticed a small black device on the floor nearby him, and I leaned down to pick it up. “Because Bill isn’t going to know about it. Not unless you want him to know what you've been doing to her on company grounds every day.” I held up the device. Trevor’s face went white as a sheet.

“H- Hey now” he stammered. “I was just having a bit of fun!” he nervously laughed. “I mean… she’s just a robot, right? Right?”

I scowled at him, making him hesitate. But of course he didn’t stop entirely.

“Come on, it’s harmless fun! It’s not like androids can feel anything… I mean she is just a dumb robot… right? It’s not like she’s sentient… She’s just an appliance. There’s no way she’d even remember-”

“Touch her again” I interrupted, “and you won’t be getting back up.” Trevor stopped, and sat there silently as Al pressed a QuicKool pack to his jaw.

“Why are you being so protective of her” Trevor shouted, ignoring Al. “Oh… I see… You have a thing for mechanical girls too? You think she’s yours to play with, don’t you!? Newflash; she isn’t your-”

I almost kicked Trevor. As soon as I raised my foot back, he jerked away defensively. Al dropped the ice pack and backed away.

“Did you really think you weren’t hurting her?” I growled. “That she was just another ’Barbie’ to be fucked? You want to know what I did to her? Well I’ve been trying to fix the damage you’ve been doing to her!”

“Damage? I was never that rough-” he jerked back again when I stomped toward him. I wanted so much to kick him, but I was not going to resort to that. I turned to leave and heard him behind me. “You don’t mean she’s… she’s not actually sentient… right?” He laughed nervously, as though it was a joke. “You can’t be serious…” I didn’t even turn back to look at him and left, eager to see to Lyss.

I found Lyss sitting in her station silently. She was shaking out her right hand and wincing. “Fuck that stings like a bitch” Lyss hissed through her teeth. “I didn't think it would hurt that much.”

Her entire body was shaking, especially her right hand, as she looked at it. Without warning, her hand opened up, revealing her delicate inner workings, as she hissed from the pain.

I placed my hand on her shoulder, and she looked up at me. “I hit him” she stated.

“I saw. Are you ok?” I wondered.

“It felt… great!” She smiled. “I feel jittery though… like I did something bad but I had to do it.”

“I think you hurt yourself more than him” I observed.

“Yeah… guess I’m not built to be an MMA fighter after all… but it was worth it.” She calmed down and grabbed a screwdriver with her other hand and started poking at a knuckle. “Shit… I think I broke something.”

She started unscrewing a small component and unhinged a tendon. I watched, impressed, as she managed to remove a cracked joint. She suspired in relief as the pain seemingly vanished. “I think I need another one” she commented. “Could you?” She pleaded handing the broken piece to me.

I took it from her and noted the tiny text indicating the part number. It took a few minutes to find, but I fetched a spare joint from the repair room and returned, handing it to her. Trevor was no longer there, likely upfront nursing his wound, and his ego. Al, meanwhile, was standing nearby, fascinated as she watched Lyss make sure there was nothing else broken.

“Do you want me to help?” I offered, handing the spare part to her.

“I think I got this” she grinned. She quickly and elegantly inserted the new piece into her hand, and closed her hand, flexing it. As she opened and closed her hand, she twirled the screwdriver in her other hand and smiled silently to herself.

“Okay, what gives? You’ve been staring at me for like 10 minutes. What’s the deal?” Lyss asked looking over at Al who was still watching her nearby. She put down the tool and grabbed a crust of pizza and started chewing on it.

“Oh… right… Okay, well, Lyss, first of all, you punched out Trevor… doesn’t that violate some code or something? And then you just calmly started to repair yourself, while you’re eating. I’ve never seen anything like it!” Al didn’t mince words.

Al was right though, Lyss had done so many things in such a short span that she never could have done before, that secretly I was somewhat proud of her. She was adapting so fast to everything, and developing on her own. I never programmed her how to repair herself. Maybe something inside of her unlocked, but she handled herself well. She seemed more and more human, and somehow she seemed oblivious to it herself.

“I uh… just acted. He…” Lyss fell silent.

“He did some bad stuff to Lyss” I explained.

“Bad stuff? Oh... “ Al realized. “He does kind of have a slimy air about him. He grosses me out. Always hitting on the girls.”

“And taking advantage of them” Lyss finished, swallowing the bite in her mouth.

“Oh…” Al responded.

Lyss rubbed the back of her neck. “Let’s not talk about it.” We all agreed, nodding.

A few moments of awkward silence later, Al spoke up. “Your hair is cool. Has it always done that?”

Lyss half grinned. “Nah… It just started to it yesterday. But I kind of like it” she noted running her hand through her hair.

“It is really cool” I added with a smile.

“How’s your hand?” Al asked.

Lyss flexed her fingers and looked at it, raising it up to show it off. “I probably shouldn’t be joining Fight Club anytime soon, but it feels fine. And I have to admit, that was a great stress-reliever, I should do it more often” she joked, chuckling to herself.

Al looked closer at her hand as Lyss spread out her fingers. “There’s something… different about you” she noted. “I can’t tell what it is though. Your hand just looks…”

“Different…” I agreed, looking closer at her myself. “Lyss, could you stand up for me?”

Lyss looked confused, but stood up and faced me. I studied her as she stood there, looking closely at her own hand trying to see what we were seeing. Then suddenly it hit me.

“Lyss… your seams! They’re… they’re gone!” I practically shouted. Lyss’s eyes opened wide as she looked up and down her arms, and legs, and body.

“Holy shit! You’re right!” Lyss balked. “How… where…” she closed her eyes and shook her head, only to open them again and stare at her hands. “I... “

I don’t even know how long her skin has been like that, but all the subtle seams outlining her access panels had vanished. I gently held her left hand and studied it closely. I was mere inches from her arm, looking intently at her skin for any sign they were still there.

“Hey now” Lyss blushed. “Your breath is tickling me.”

I held my breath for a moment, and felt her skin. I couldn’t feel them either. The music player was still connected to her upper arm. I pulled it out, and the port there closed up automatically. Before my very eyes, the seams on her skin just disappeared like a zipper.

“Woah” all three of us exclaimed.

“I’m- I’m…”

“You look like Lexie” I noted. She was the only other epidermal android I knew that had no seams. I had literally no idea how that worked, and something told me I wouldn’t find much in terms of research, but I intended to find out as much as I could. I looked at her shocked face.

“What’s going on?” she wondered. “How-?”

I shook my head. “I don’t know for sure, but… Erin told me there were some systems involving your skin she unlocked. Maybe this is one of them.”

Lyss put her hand to her mouth and started to tear up. “I look human” she proclaimed. Lyss sat down, struggling to compose herself. “This is too much…” she noted.

“Lyss, are you ok?” Al asked.

She sat there silently inhaling and exhaling, water in her eyes. I held her hand and squeezed, still amazed at how perfectly natural and human she looked now. The tiny imperfections of her skin, the small peach fuzz hair on her face and body, the asymmetric design of her body. I realized now, looking at her, she was no regular gynoid, she was meant to be human. Not look human, not act human. No… she was meant to be as human as possible in every way. And I just unlocked all her systems. I hoped her mind was going to be able to handle the changes.

No wonder her auction estimate was so high. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was low for a gynoid like her. I kneeled down in front of Lyss, who started smiling, despite the tears. She looked up at me and laughed.

“Kev!” she choked as she reached out and gave me a hug, tightly embracing me. I returned the hug, not sure what was going on with her. She was crying, but she was shocked, and confused, but smiling and happy… And yet it just felt right. I held her tight until she let go.

Her smile filled the room as she looked into my eyes. But it faded away quickly when she looked behind me. I turned to look, and saw Trevor staring at us from the door, still holding the ice pack to his face. He looked shocked, confused, and… guilty. He quickly looked away and darted out of the room.

Just then Erin sent me an alert. I pulled out the tablet and looked down at it.

“Erin! Just the virtual girl I wanted to see. Thanks for all your help with Lyss! This is amazing!”

Erin’s avatar blushed as she smiled. “Of course, sir. Glad I could be of assistance.”

“Erin” Lyss said taking the tablet from me and looking down. “Thank you so much for… releasing my systems. I… I can’t thank you enough!”

“It was nothing” Erin replied with a smile.

“Who’s Erin?” Alice questioned.

“She’s the A.I. I developed. I used her to… um…” I figured Al was probably harmless and decided it would be fine to tell her a little. “She unlocked the systems in Lyss that let her eat and I guess fix her skin.”

“You made an AI? And it could do all that?”

“She is a pretty smart cookie” I smiled.

“And she lives in your tablet?” Al wondered.

“Not exactly… but I do use it to interact with her.”

“That’s so cool!” Alice exclaimed. “What else can she do?”

“Lots of stuff. Although she’s busy with a task right now” I explained. But I didn’t want to get too into this right now, not with everything going on. “We should probably be getting back to work. We’ve spent enough time messing around.”

“Oh. Of course. I’ll just be right over here if you need anything. Love the new look Lyss” Al smiled and sauntered back to her station.

Lyss, meanwhile, was still looking at her hands. She somehow was able to make the seams on her skin appear and disappear at will. She was getting a kick out of it and look up at me smiling.

“Hang on, I’ll be right back” she giggled and got up, quickly walking to the repair room. Just before she closed the door, she turned back to me and bit her lip with a wink. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I got the feeling she wanted me to follow her.

She vanished behind the door. I, meanwhile, made sure everything got back to normal after that display. I saw Trevor up front helping a customer, although his regular smile and demeanor were gone. Alice was working again, and everyone was getting back to business as usual. I made sure to clean up the pizza boxes and wandered back to our station. Lyss was still gone, so I decided to check on her.

Slowly I opened the door to the room, and peered inside. Lyss was standing topless in the middle of the room, holding her breasts with her hands, and laughing as she looked down at her torso, turning the seams on and off. She noticed me and gasped, but soon smiled and hopped toward me, letting her breasts go free. I quickly locked the door as she jumped onto me, and held me tight.

“This is soo cool” she squealed. “I just want to… to…” And with that, Lyss planted her lips on mine, and started feeling me. She released me before I could get into it, and took a step back, raising her hands to her sides in a surprisingly girly fashion, and began twirling around, spinning in circles laughing.

I reacted before I could think, and grabbed her wrist, pressing myself against her. Lyss melted in my arms as I backed her into the exam table. She lifted one leg, and started kissing my neck and face, pressing herself against me. I wasn’t even aware of how fast it happened, but next thing I knew, Lyss was leaning over the table, and I was pounding myself relentlessly inside her.

I watched as the intense action rippled through her body, without a single seam in sight. Her skin looked completely human, and running my hands up her slender form and back revealed no sign she wasn’t. She groaned and panted but never said a word, letting me do what I wanted with her, and loving every moment of it. It wasn’t a long session. Shorter than the shower, but she came hard enough that she knocked some instruments to the floor in her intense writhing, her hair color going wild. As she tightened around me, I pushed deep inside her and filled her. She almost collapsed to the floor when I pulled out.

“Holy fuck Kev” Lyss panted, barely able to get the words out as she clung to the table shaking. “You’re like an animal… amazing!”

I leaned over her and chuckled, catching my own breath. “You are so hot, I couldn’t stop” I admitted.

She smiled widely. “Neither could I. I’m still feeling it!”

“But…” I started, getting to my feet and helping her up to hers, “we can’t make a habit of having sex at work.”

“Why not?” she pouted. I wasn’t sure if she was serious or not.

“Because I said so” I insisted. She stuck her tongue out at me playfully, making a silly face.

I grabbed my pants and pulled them up, noticing the small memory card Erin made for her fall out of the pocket. I leaned down and picked it up.

“Here” I suggested, handing Lyss the card with her memories on it. “You might want this. It’s your old memories.”

“Oh… uh… thanks” she muttered as she took it and studied it in her hand. It was hard to ignore her being topless, but I did my best.

“Aren’t you going to put it in so we can find your owner?” I questioned.

“Now? Oh… um…” she hesitated. “I… I don’t know… What if I learn something I don’t like? What if I DO change? What if we-?”

“You’ll be fine. It’ll take a few hours for the memories to return anyways, and Erin promised you’d still be yourself.”

She shrugged. “Yeah, I know. I’m just not sure I want to remember. I kind of like what we have right now, you know?”

“But what we have can’t last. At least not unless we can do something about it” I pleaded with her.

She reluctantly nodded. “Alright. I’ll… I’ll do it.” She sighed and opened a port on her head, sliding the card in. She stood there topless and silent for a few moments, closing her eyes, before taking a single deep breath and holding it. I could see her eyes darting back and forth under her eyelids as she started to process the data.

“I… um… I’m getting something. I can’t really be sure… let me sit down for a bit.”

I helped Lyss to the chair, and sat nearby patiently. She scrunched her face and furrowed her brows as she concentrated. It took a few minutes, but she eventually opened her eyes and blinked a few times before focusing on me.

“I think it’s working. I… I don’t really remember anything yet, but I can feel it organizing itself.”

“So… can you remember the name of your owner? Or the address?” I asked.

She looked up at the ceiling and twisted her lips. “Mmmm… maybe… it’s still confusing. Let me think about it. I’m sure it will come to me.”

I nodded and stood up. “Want to go back to work for a bit more?” I asked her.

Lyss scratched her head. “Not really. Could you get me something to drink? I’ll just think for a few minutes if that’s ok.”. Apparently she was feeling thirst as well, which is not a huge surprise, but I figured I’d give her water, rather than something dramatic like Soda, or something specifically for androids.

“Sure” I replied, getting up and leaving her alone in the room. I got her a glass, and grabbed my tablet, returning moments later. I figured I might as well check. in on Erin and Alexia. Something told me Alexia was going to get herself into trouble if I didn’t stay on top of things.

“Erin, how’s the status at home?” I asked as I approached the door.

There was no response.

“Erin?” Still nothing. I tapped on the screen to interact with her avatar. “Hello? Erin? Did I lose the connection?”

“Oh! Sir!” Erin’s avatar came to life, flustered. “Sorry, I was busy researching. Everything is just fine here.” Erin assured me.

“Ok. Thanks. Oh, um, can you analyze this for me? Carefully? I need to know what Trevor has been putting on Lyss” I asked, pulling the storage device with the recording of what happened yesterday from my pocket and plugged it into the tablet.

“Of course, I’ll get right on it, sir.”

As I closed the door behind me, I saw Lyss standing up, finishing adjusting her bra. She looked up at me as I entered.

“I remember something” Lyss announced. “An address.” She eagerly took the cup of water from me and drank from it, gulping loudly. “That’s cold” she reacted.

“And?” I wondered impatiently.

“And? Oh. Right. Um... 5580 Slater Drive” she recalled. “I think.”

I pulled out my phone and put in the address. It showed up out near the airport by the river. “Do you have his name?”

She shook her head. “No… not yet.”

“Well no time like the present” I said.

“Now? You want to leave now?” She questioned.

“Why not?”

“Besides work… I… It’s just… I’m afraid of losing ‘us’.”

I smiled and held her hand. “Lyss… I promise I will not ever leave you behind, or abandon you. No matter what.”

She nodded, still deep in thought. “Alright” she softly agreed. “Let’s just do it.”

She tugged at her skirt, and dropped it to the floor, stepping out of it, now standing only in her underwear and socks. I blushed as she pulled out a change of clothes from the bag she brought.

“Umm… I’ll just… check on a few things” I told her. She giggled, and held her clothes up to her front, covering herself until the door was closed behind me. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind me watching, or even helping, but now that her skin was so… human, it just felt strange. I had always known her as a gynoid, but now… she was something more. She had always been smart and snarky and witty and cool and pretty… but now I saw her more like… a girl. And somehow that changed things, for the better. Now that she looked the part, she felt even more the part than ever before. This might affect how people treated her, good or bad. I know I was already doing it.

I continued to think about her the entire time I closed up our station. It didn’t take long, although Alice seemed curious about it. I knew I’d have to come back later to close shop, and by leaving early meant Lyss and I would be behind on the work orders… again. But honestly, at this point, I didn’t care. I was likely going to get fired anyway when Bill got back. Sure I liked the job, but a man with my skills would be able to find another one before too long. Besides, if this worked, Lyss and I would never have to see Bill or this place ever again.

Lyss stepped out of the repair room, a little timid at first, but once she saw me, she marched right up. She was wearing a black halter top with a zipper down the front and buckles. It was fitted and ended just above her navel, showing off her sexy curves. With it, she had on a pair of tight dark blue jeans and tall black leather boots. She added a bracelet and necklace to the ensemble. I hadn’t seen in her pants for a long time, and they suited her well, showing off the curves of the legs and hips, and gave her that tough girl look she always strived for.

She stood in front of me, posing with one hand half in a pocket, and jutting out one hip in a sexy way. I could see the playful look on her face as she showed off. I didn’t dare look away, but I knew I wasn’t the only one staring. She smiled with that signature tilted smile of hers and ran her free hand through her hair.

“Ready? Let’s blow this joint” she announced.

“Blow this joint? What, are you from the 1950’s?”

“What?” she chuckled, realizing how stupid it actually sounded out loud. “Isn’t that how all the cool kids talk?” She stuck her tongue out at me.

I laughed with her and stood before her, holding out my hand. Delicately, she placed her hand in mine and smiled. I could feel her nervousness, even though she hid it well.

“Let’s rock!”

Chapter 10 - Driving Thoughts

“Left turn in 200 feet” the GPS directed. Someday I’d get Erin to give me directions herself, but until then I had to make due with the default navigation on my phone. It was on my ’to do’ list. Hey, programming your own AI isn't easy, let alone integrating it into an existing GPS platform!

Not that it really mattered. I could barely hear the voice over Lyss rocking out in the seat next to me, air-jamming to a White Stripes song that she turned up way too loud. But honestly, I didn't mind. I enjoyed her company, air guitar and all. I just let her do what she wanted and smiled. Just being with her made me happy, and it didn’t hurt that she could hold a tune, even if she was only singing along.

But for me, I couldn’t help but reflect on what just happened. We walked out of the store in front of everyone, together, in the middle of the day, after an altercation with Trevor. Everyone saw us, and they knew Lyss wasn’t supposed to leave. And she punched a guy! Not to mention I just left work without finishing up, hours too early. There was going to be talking. It was going to start rumors, rumors which were probably all true. And Bill would hear about it, eventually. As far as I knew, our life together was just starting AND just ending. I shuddered to think jail was a real possibility. With all the odds against us, running away together suddenly sounded a whole lot more reasonable.

But despite everything, Lyss seemed to not have a care in the world as she tapped her foot against the console of the car pretending she was holding a guitar. I wasn’t thrilled that she had her feet up like that, but I didn’t have the heart to stop her. Instead, I kept catching glances of her. I was still so amazed how human she looked, and how fun and sexy she was. And we were officially a couple now.

“Recalculating” the nondescript computer voice warned as I missed the turn.

Lyss glanced at me with a smirk as I quickly corrected my course. “Distracted much?” she asked as she ran her hand up her tight jeans, showing off her curves and teasing me, which only turned it more awkward and made her giggle. She was getting a kick out of flirting with me. I turned my focus back to driving and tried not to miss my next turn.

It was probably 10 minutes later that I realized Lyss had stopped jamming out and was sitting quietly looking out the window. Her leg was moving and she tapped her fingers on the armrest in the door.

“You alright Lyss?” I wondered, raising my voice to talk over the music.

“What? Oh…” she replied without answering.

“Nervous?” I asked after a few uncomfortable moments of silence.

“Nervous? I don’t know, maybe… Just thinking…”

I turned down the music just as the GPS chimed in with another update, and I followed the voice onto another major road. Lyss looked over at me briefly with her side eye before looking out the window.

“Thinking of anything in particular?” I inquired.

“Hmm? No. Nothing” she answered without looking at me. “Do you think I could ever be like that girl?” she asked abruptly.

“Who?”

“You know, that gynoid on the news. The one that got her freedom” she clarified.

“Well… I don’t know” I answered honestly. “Did she ever have an owner?” I wondered but Lyss shrugged. “Well your owner would have to give you up, and then there’s the legal process and all the paperwork and red tape…”

“But… it could happen, right?”

“Maybe.”

“If my owner gives me to you, you’d free me, right?”

“Why all the interest in this girl all of a sudden?” I replied, avoiding the question.

“I was just remembering… things.”

“You remember something? Do you remember your owner?”

Lyss shook her head. “Nothing that specific. Just little things. Like a feeling. A fancy wooden door. Part of a face. I don’t know if I like what I’m remembering though.”

“We need your memories to make sure we can find your owner and transfer your-”

“Yeah I know!” she snapped. “But… I didn’t really want to remember all this stuff. I have a really bad feeling about this. Like we should be running the other way right now” she explained as she wrapped her arms around herself and rubbed her arm with her hand. She looked cold all of a sudden.

“Are you ok?”

“No, Kevin! I’m not. These memories are starting to get to me; eat away at me.” She grabbed her hair with one hand and pulled at it.

“What’s wrong? Is it the pool incident?” I wondered.

“I don’t know! I just remember… pain and fear. Can’t I just turn them off?”

“Uhh… I think it’s too late for that. The memories are inside you now. Your mind is just making sense of them is all. We can’t just turn it off.”

“Well, I want it to stop! Why can’t I just erase them again?”

“We need your memor-”

“I know!” she yelled. “I… I know” she calmed down. “Sorry. I’m just not sure I want to do this.”

“But we have to if you want to get out of that auction.”

Lyss gritted her teeth and leaned over with her arms around her. “I don’t want to do this Kevin. Please. Can’t we just go home?”

“And what, wait for the auction? Wait for Bill to fire me? Wait for the police to show up? Wait for my funds to run out?”

Lyss closed her eyes but remained silent, taking in deep breaths. It almost looked like she was in pain, but it was probably all in her head.

She looked away from me. “Are- are we having a fight?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. Look, if I don’t officially take ownership of you, ‘we’ will be over. I’ll never see you again, you’ll forget I even exist. And you’ll either end up auctioned off to some rich pervert or back with the same master that abandoned you.”

“Master…” Lyss whispered. “Is that was this is all about? You just want to be my master, don’t you?”

“What?”

“Like you are with Alexia…” she retorted.

“I- I…” I stuttered. I didn’t want to admit it even to myself, but the truth was I wanted to own her. To have power over her; to control Lyss. I wanted to be her master, and more importantly, I needed her to want it too. At least I thought I did. And in that moment I was ashamed of myself, and my words failed me.

“Huh. That’s what I thought. You won’t give me my freedom. You’re no better than the rest of them” she murmured as she leaned over and looked away from me.

“Lyss… I…”

Lyss said nothing but I watched as the color from her hair faded. I had to say something, do something. But knowing me I’d only make things worse! But I hated myself more and more for upsetting her and being such a simple-minded ass. She knew all along that I desired to be her master. She must think me a monster for registering Alexia like that. I struggled to come to grips with myself, and try to figure out what it was I really wanted, and what my relationship with Lyss was to me.

I did want to own her, but... more than that I wanted her to be happy. I thought owning her would make her happy. It only then occurred to me that the two things might not work together. We could either be girlfriend and boyfriend OR master and servant, but not both.

Shit.

“I don’t know what I want.” I sighed after several tense quiet minutes. “I want you... to be safe, and happy.” That was true. “Even if that means I have to let you go.” That was a lie. I was terrified of losing her more than anything, after all this time. I had grown to close to her, she was a big part of my life already, but I was afraid I was going to screw it up, just like everything, and push her away. And in my greedy attempt to force her near me, I went and did just that.

She didn’t even look over at me. “You’re lying” she exclaimed. “I can tell. You want to use me like all the others.”

“I- I…” I stuttered.

Lyss scoffed, clicking her tongue.

“I care about you Lyss. That’s no lie. And I do want you to be safe and happy. And… I’m scared of fucking ‘us’ up and pushing you away. I don’t want to lose you.”

She looked over at me with tears running down her face, her hair a darker shade than normal. “I know” she almost whispered as her voice cracked.

“And I don’t know any other way to keep you safe than to… own you” I admitted. I turned the wheel absent-mindedly onto a side road, and slowed way down, realizing as I did that I really did want to control her like everyone else was already.

I thought that after owning Alexia I would satisfy that primal urge to have power over someone, but she was so unpredictable and constantly disobeyed, I never really felt I had much control over Alexia if any. Why did I think Lyss would be any different? And why did I want to dominate these girls? I had to face the fact that I was starting to turn into my dad, a man I despised for how he treated women. I hated him, and now I hated myself.

“Fuck you, Kevin,” she said almost inflectionless as she turned away again. Hearing that sparked a sharp pang deep inside my chest.

I pulled over and stopped the car. Turning to look at Lyss, I was taken back by how much she was crying. But she never made a sound.

We sat in silence for a long time, deep in thought.

It seemed to me that we had unexpectedly reached a point of no return. I didn’t want to see Lyss upset like this, but in order to make her happy, I had to take a long deep look at myself first. I was being selfish. I was afraid of becoming my womanizing dad. No… he was far worse. I would never hurt these girls, at least not intentionally, but that didn’t mean his attitude toward women didn’t rub off on me in some way. And I did just hurt Lyss, unintentionally.

I essentially stole Alexia and registered her to me, even though I knew she wasn’t mine. I even lied to the FBI about her! I even had sex with her before considering anything about her or what she’d want or where she came from. I disobeyed my boss and took Lyss out on a date, and forced her to process memories she didn’t want, all so I could get closer to owning her. Heck, I was still considering buying her at the auction as a last resort. I wanted to be better than that. She deserved better than that. Better than me.

I could imagine her position. Bill gave off a creepy vibe that probably terrified her every day, Trevor raped and assaulted her constantly, her owner didn’t want her, and now her only friend is forcing her to do things she didn’t like and trying to control her. Putting myself in her shoes made me question everything I had done; her everyday life was horrible, no wonder she wanted to get out of there with me. I felt really shitty thinking about it like that.

Fuck me.

After a few minutes of silence, which seemed like an eternity, I reluctantly made a decision. I decision I knew wouldn’t be easy, but I needed to change. I didn’t want to lose Lyss, but more importantly, I wanted to make her happy. Her well-being and happiness are more important than my selfish desires. It was time to put her first.

“You’re right, Lyss. Fuck me. I’ve been a jerk lately. A selfish moron. A greedy jackass.” I started to get mad at myself.

She turned to me and rubbed one cheek dry. “An asshole” she added. I just nodded in agreement.

“For months all I’ve really thought about was somehow owning my own personal gynoid. No… What I really wanted to save up and buy you… But now that we've started hanging out and spending time with you… I know it's only been one date but you are far more than I realized. I can't… I want to so much but I can't!”

“Can't what?” She wondered.

“Be your master. You deserve better than this; better than me. But what’s done is done. I can’t undo what I’ve done to you, and I can’t just own you like I wanted. I won’t. And I can’t remove those memories in your head. I’m sorry I put them there. But…” I sighed and reaffirmed to myself that I needed to change if I wanted to be with Lyss at all. If I screwed this up, she’d probably never talk to me again. “But you are too important to me. Yes, I’m selfish, and yes, I’m stupid. And an asshole. And I selfishly just want to be happy. But I JUST can’t be happy… not anymore… not unless you are happy. Me owning you won’t make either of us happy. And... if you are only happy being a free robot, I will make it happen. I swear!”

“Kev?”

“I was stupid to think I could own you and everything would be fine. You are so much more than just a thing. You are a person, you are an individual. You are every bit as feeling and thinking and aware as I am. Once we take care of this… I swear I will help you in any way I can.”

“Kevin, I-” Lyss began but I didn’t let her finish.

“I did want to own you, partially because I didn’t want you to leave me. I’m scared of losing you. But I don’t think either of us will really be happy if our relationship is hinging on me owning you like an appliance. I want you to stay with me because you want to. Because you are my best friend. I think I’m only really happy when you’re being you, hanging with me.”

“Kev, you idiot. I do want to be with you” Lyss proclaimed, her voice cracking a little. ”You’re not that bad.”

“You… you are a bigger deal than me. I can’t hold you back” I continued. “I don't want to do that to you. I repair androids, or at least I used to. After today who knows what’s going to happen? But for now… let me fix this for you, or at least try to.”

“Kev, It isn’t about you or me” Lyss added, wiping the tears off of her other cheek. “It’s about us. Of course, I’ll stay with you! A relationship is a two-way street, and we both have to work at it. But it is best when we are equals, right? I’m sorry I got so upset. I’ve just been really emotional lately. This is all so new to me. Everything is.”

“No… don’t be sorry. I’m sorry I pushed you to this.”

“It’s ok. I didn’t want to remember these things or face my past because… I’m scared. But it needs to be done. I guess I’m frightened of being taken away from you as well” she said with a slight grin as her hair lightened.

“I won’t let that happen.”

“I know” she smiled. “It wasn’t fair of me to attack you like that. Do you really mean it though?”

“All of it.”

“So you’ll help me figure this freedom thing out?”

I nodded my head. “Yeah. If that’s what you want.” She smiled and tried to rub all the wet off of her face. It wasn’t very lady like, and it was a good thing she didn’t need makeup or it would have smeared.

“That's all I needed to hear” she grinned.

This was not going to be easy. Relationships never are. I knew right then that that meant I had to deal with my stupid selfish self, and be there for her and put her wants and needs first, even if that risks losing her someday. But for Lyss, things were about to get much tougher. She had her own demons to deal with, and that meant, even if she didn’t like it, we had to confront her owner and try our best to free her from his grip one way or another.

I put the car back into gear and pulled forward to get back on track. “”Lyss, I-”

“You have arrived at your destination” the generic voice interrupted.

“What?” we both asked as we looked at the screen. Sure enough, our destination was only a few meters away. We looked at each other nervously, and then over in the direction of our destiny.

Whatever it was, it was obscured by a line of trees grown thick and close together, with a metal fence fitted with wooden planks beyond it.

“This is it” Lyss announced. “I remember the fence” she sighed nervously.

I parked, again, and figured it was probably a good idea to have Erin keep note of where we were, just in case we had to make a run for it. Or in case the police needed to get involved. In my head, I figured we might have to run away to keep her owner from taking her back, or in case they call security dogs on us, or if they really didn’t like Lyss after all. I mean after everything they did to her, I didn’t want to go in without someone knowing where we were.

“Say, Erin? Can you mark our location on a map please and tell us who lives here?” I requested.

If my car had crickets in it, we’d be listening to a cacophony of them.

“Hello? Erin? You there?” I asked. Again no answer. Lyss rolled her eyes. Maybe she was having connection problems? Or maybe it was a bug. Either that or Alexia did something to her… again.

“Hey, Erin!” I snapped, raising my voice. Still nothing. “Great…” I pocketed my phone and made a mental note to look at her when we got back. It was now or never, I just hoped we wouldn’t need Erin.

I turned off the car and took in a deep lungful of air. However, before I could open the door, Lyss hit the auto-lock on her door.

“Lyss?” I questioned as I unlocked the doors. She just locked them again, frantically.

“I’m not ready yet” she informed.

“Probably best to get this over with” I suggested to her as I unlocked the doors again.

“Can’t you go in without me and do it?” She wondered.

“I need the registry in your head to relinquish ownership. You have to be there.”

“But what if they decide to keep me!?” She panicked as she hit the lock again.

“Then we run away” I suggested. Her big eyes were filled with worry as she stared at me. I reached over to her face, and gently rubbed a wet tear away from her cheek with my thumb. Lyss closed her eyes and held my hand, pressing it against her soft face. I couldn’t resist kissing her, deeply and passionately. And she didn’t resist either.

While we kissed, I unbuckled her seatbelt with my free hand as I leaned over her and opened the door. She chuckled, “Sneaky bastard.”

“We’ll continue this when we get back” I promised.

She smirked and grabbed me right in the crotch. That kiss did leave me a little aroused, and she noticed. “Are you sure you can wait that long?”

“It’ll have to,” I told her. “I don’t have tinted windows, everyone can see what we’re doing.”

“Let them watch” she grinned with a twisted smile.

“Yeah right. I think I’d rather not have the cops called on us” I explained, pulling her hand away from me. “I’m serious.” I stared into her eyes but her playful look only made me crack a smile.

“So am I” she teased and tried once again to reach for me. As I pulled her hand off me again, she got it in her head to tickle me instead. For a good 30 seconds, we playfully struggled until finally, I won out. With both her hands pinned over her head, there was nothing she could do but pant and smile. She tried to go in for another kiss, but I backed away.

“When we get back, I promise.”

She pouted her lips to one side and huffed. “Fine. But we’re doing whatever I want.”

“Fine” I agreed and released her hands. I quickly got out of the car before she could attempt anything else, and waited by the curb for her to join me. Moments later, we stood side-by-side looking at a fence behind a row of thin tall evergreen trees which sort of formed a wall.

Lyss was visibly nervous, running her hand through her hair and tapping her heel. She tried to calm herself down, but putting my arm around her seemed to help the most. She instantly relaxed and leaned into me.

“You better be right about this…” she mumbled before taking in a deep lungful of air and exhaling it. “Alright Kev, let’s just get this over with.”

We walked up the sidewalk a ways, looking for a break in the fence. Behind us, the backside of a residential property revealed small back yards and even smaller houses, each with their own fences. A small forest of trees blocked most of the light on the houses, but the trees we faced were conical evergreens, with almost no overhead coverage. The sun beat down on us as we looked for a way in.

Finally, Lyss chirped and darted ahead a little. I caught up with her to find she was squeezed between two trees. I wasn’t sure if she was hiding or if she saw something.

“Here!” She called out. “I remember this! It was a hidden way in and out of the property.” I leaned over her as she kneeled down and pushed one of the wooden planks to one side, revealing a large hole in the fence. It was big enough for her to get in, I’d have to suck it in a bit.

“Uh… Lyss?” I said as she began to crawl into the hole. Just above the hole was a worn sign warning against trespassing.

She stopped just long enough to glance back at me. “Come on!”

Then she was gone. I kneeled down in the same spot and looked through the gap. Lyss’s butt was right there, obscuring my view of the property. Not that it wasn’t a good view itself.

I ignored the sign and crawled in behind her as she stood up on the other side. It was brighter than I expected when she moved. My shirt got caught briefly, ripping a small hole in the back, but I got through, and she helped me to my feet.

I had to stand there for a moment and let my eyes adjust. Heat pounded my face, and everything seemed to try to blind me. Of course, it would, the sun was bright and hot, and there was no coverage here. For that matter, there wasn’t much of anything.

As I got used to the light, all I could see was a large mostly empty dusty dirt lot with a small metal warehouse in the center, which was little more than a glorified shack. It was beaten, rusted, and patched over with metal sheets, and had dirty and blocked out windows high up. There was no landscaping, no pool, no overpriced gaudy art, no security station, no elaborate fountain, no limo, no cobbled walkway, no mansion... nothing you’d expect of someone who could afford to own an android as advanced as Lyss. Something didn’t seem right.

“This is not what I was expecting” I murmured.

Lyss stood there for a few moments before walked forward silently with confident strides.

“Lyss?” I called out to her and caught up to her pace.

“I told you this was it” she explained. “I remember this now that I see it. Come on, we have to move quickly.”

“Why?” I wondered while keeping pace next to her.

“We’re being watched. Always being watched.”

I didn’t see any security guards, any cameras, or any sign of personnel. I decided to trust Lyss and silently kept up with her. Side by side, we marched straight up to the side of the warehouse. I saw tire tracks in the dirt, fresh ones, that meant someone was here or had been recently. I also noticed a small white truck on the other side of the building that was mostly obscured.

However, it wasn’t until we got close to the building that I finally saw what concerned Lyss. The door we approached was like a high tech safe, very heavy duty with a security panel to one side that l didn’t recognize. It was nestled in a small alcove on the side of the building, keeping the door in shadow and making it hard to see how advanced and secure it actually was without getting close to it. I suddenly got the feeling we were being watched, even though I didn’t see a camera. Lyss didn’t slow down until we got all the way up to the door. Abruptly she stopped as soon as she got in the shadow of the alcove and turned to her right.

“We demand entry” she announced, looking at a wall.

Suddenly, the wall moved. A face appeared, not unlike the face of a sumo wrestler, and blinked down at us. Two bulky arms made of metal bent out of the wall and folded across the chest of a giant android that had blended perfectly into the facade moments before.

“We don’t serve his kind here” a booming slightly mechanical voice warned. My kind?

I took a step back from the android, into the sun. I could see why they wanted something as intimidating as that guarding the door. Lyss stood her ground though.

“We have come to talk to-” she continued.

“I can't let either of you inside” he interrupted.

Based on his size, he could probably toss me back to my apartment from here. I decided it might be best to stay outside his arms length. But as I took another step back, I heard a loud thud behind me. I turned to look, only to see a tall thin woman wearing a long coat covered in large dark gray feathers. She was crouching but quickly rose to stand. Her skin was so dark, I had a hard time focusing on her at first. Until I saw her fierce yellow eyes.

Half a second later, I found myself turned around and slammed with incredible speed and force into the brightly lit side of the building. The impact knocked the breath out of me and left me disoriented, twisting my glasses askew on my face. It took a moment for me to realize how hot the wall was, and that it was burning the right side of my face as she pressed me hard against it. I couldn't even get the breath to scream in pain!

“Hey! Wait-! AHH!” Lyss screamed.

Lyss hit the wall next to me a moment later with a loud thud, if less intense than it was with me. The woman stood behind both of us, her hands on our heads, pushing us into the wall. And yet, somehow, my arms were behind held behind my back and pinning me there. I couldn’t see what was happening, but it didn’t really matter, I was trying my best not to scream from the searing hot pain. At least I eventually managed to inhale again.

“You should not be here,” the woman said with a heavy French accent.

“I’m here… to discuss the… ownership of-” I hissed through my teeth trying to ignore the pain of the heated metal. “Aah!”

“Silence, cur! Elise, you are banned from his property. Why have you returned?”

“I…” Lyss began but something stopped her. I wasn’t sure if it was the pain or something she remembered.

“Quill” the booming voice of the giant called out. “New orders from the Commander. She decided she will see them.”

It took a few seconds, but the pressure on my face and body was released, and I found myself able to breathe fully again. However, my hands were still bound behind my back. Luckily my glasses settled back onto my face; perhaps I should get contacts. Pain radiated from my face where I was pressed against the hot metal, but I couldn’t rub it. I took several deep breaths and looked at Lyss. She was bound like I was, and her face slightly reddened from the wall, and her lip was bleeding.

“Kev, your face! You got burned real bad” She informed. “It’s really red.”

“You too” I replied. “And you cut your lip.”

“I think you got it worse” she added but Quill decided she had heard enough of our chatter and grabbed our shoulders, pushing us toward the door.

The metal door slowly opened, sliding to one side, revealing a dark environment my eyes weren’t used to but were relieved to see.

“Good luck Elise” the large android whispered to her, loud enough for us both to hear. I guess they both knew her, but I figured Quill wasn’t a fan.

“Enough Gaul!” Quill snapped. He snorted and backed himself into the wall again, blending in until he vanished.

“I think Gaul likes you” I tried to joke to Lyss through the throbbing pain.

“Quiet boy or I shall cut out your tongue” Quill growled while tightening her grip on me. I grunted in pain but held it back as best as I could. I didn’t want to appear that weak in front of Lyss.

As she pushed us inside, my eyes struggled to adjust to the darker environment. After the large safe-like door closed behind us, blocking out all the light, a second set of doors opened before us. These were ornately decorated wooden doors with a fine cherry finish, and they revealed a large room I could only describe as a hallway made of glass.

Lyss gasped as she looked at the doors, recognizing them. They were probably the wooden doors she mentioned she remembered earlier.

Ahead of us was a wall with another secure door, an elevator, and a hallway that went back beyond where I could see. Above us, the glass walls of the narrow hallway ended and opened up to a much larger space; the roof, which appeared from the outside to be nothing more than rusty metal and nasty decrepit glass, was actually all tinted glass of. varying shades raining amber light down on us from the sun. Whatever it was made of, it was well disguised from the outside.

It appeared we were on a balcony level with glass walls between us and a large drop on either side of us, almost like a catwalk but nicer. Stairs led below on either side of us at the end of the walkway. The walkway was so wide I couldn’t see anything below us, except a giant moving projection of a tropical scene on one wall, and an aquarium projected on the other, but I could hear the sounds of music, talking, and water coming from somewhere down below.

From the outside, this unassuming building was nothing more than a cover, a dirty cap hiding an immense underground facility of luxury. No one would ever think this rusty metal shack hid such a huge secret. However, the words on the wall in front of us revealed the true secret and sent my heart racing. In big bold letters, stenciled onto the wall above the elevator doors in a modern aesthetic read “Worldwide Android Resistance.”

WAR. Lyss looked at me with shock and worry in her eyes. What in the world had we just gotten ourselves into?

Chapter 11 - ...and the Cat Came Back--

WAR. A self-described group of android freedom fighters that spanned the globe dedicated to fighting for android rights. Of course, that sounds way better than what they actually were: a sparse local terrorist group bent on destroying anything they felt like. But semantics didn't worry me at the time; I was too busy worrying about how I would survive wandering into one of their bases.

Quill dug her nails into my shoulder as she pushed me along. Without so much as reaching out to touch a button, the elevator doors before us opened as we approached, and she forced us in. Her strength was formidable, but I got the sense that she was not as sturdy as she wanted us to think. Strong, but light on her feet. I wondered if we were in a different position if we could overpower her. But as it was, she had complete control over us.

“Main level” she called out in her French accent, and the elevator doors closed behind us. However, instead of feeling the motion of the lift, there was an uncomfortable pause and a sharp tone sounded. Quill let out an exasperated sigh. “Main level’ she repeated slower while mimicking an American accent. It gave her another error tone, and she cursed under her breath. “Merde!” Pushing us against the back wall, she somehow managed to hit the button behind her, grumbling to herself in French. Finally, the elevator descended slowly and smoothly.

Despite the humor of the elevator system, neither of us were laughing. Lyss wore an expression of dread and fear on her face, which only made me more nervous. Quill turned us around, facing the doors. With a tone, the doors opened, and Quill shoved us hard out of the elevator.

Before us stood a veritable paradise. First of all, the room was huge, with 30-foot ceilings. A small waterfall filled a natural looking pool to our right, complete with a sandy beach. The water of the falls cascaded off an ornately designed rock wall with the projection of a tropical scene around it. Walkways of stylish wood and intricate gold twisted through seating areas dedicated to eating, meditating, recharging, socializing, dancing, and even bathing. To our left was a large open space with another walkway lining the wall, stretching between alcoves that were each adorned with a red curtain. Some were closed, while others were open and revealed sleeping booths.

The space in front of the booths looked like some sort of multi-purpose area, ready to be converted into whatever they needed. Boxes and dividers and all sorts of things were stored neatly along it. On the wall above was projected an aquarium, echoing blue light onto that side of the room, contrasting with the amber light cascading down on the water to our right. I swear the god the projected fish looked like they were swimming in midair.

The entire place had a modern aesthetic to it, with freestanding spaces, recessed lighting, and a simplistic feel. Everything was of exceptional quality as far as I could tell, and nothing looked fake or cheap. It felt very luxurious, expensive, and exclusive.

Maybe a dozen people wandered about, smiling, reading, meditating, and training, although I realized moments later that they were all likely androids. They wandered about in various levels of dress from the ornately dapper to the seductively nude. It was clear clothing was optional here, and often used lightly. Some of the residents looked fully human, others completely artificial, and the rest spanned the spectrum between.

Many of them turned to look at us, but seconds later turned away again and continued what they were doing. Several androids and gynoids enjoyed the artificial beach: talking, laughing, swimming, playing, and relaxing, and all of them were incredibly attractive. Skinny dipping appeared to be a favorite pastime here.

Had the circumstances been different, this would have been a perfect spot to have fun and relax. And yet I felt there was a dark side to all of this hiding just beneath the surface.

Quill pushed us along a path that ran down the center of the space. It was clearly the main path as all other walkways stretched out from it. She took us past free-standing rooms dedicated to books, food, art, and even live music. But it was still a long walk to our destination.

Suddenly, there was a squeal from our right, and a short girl with light brown hair in a bob-cut ran toward us from the small beach with a big smile on her face. She was barefoot and was wearing a very short loose green tank top that showed plenty of skin, including all of her midriff and a hint of her underboob, along with denim short shorts. Her skimpy outfit was perfectly designed to show off her shapely athletic body, and her top complemented her bright green eyes. Despite how human she appeared, the robotic seams lining her curves told otherwise.

“Lyss is back!” She called out as though she was ready to dive into a hug. But as soon as she caught a glimpse of our escort, her running stopped and she widened her eyes.

“Oh… Oh! Um… maybe not” she awkwardly realized as she turned on her heel and sauntered away. She looked familiar, even to me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Lyss seemed to recognize her too but said nothing.

After that encounter, more stares came our way. Soon, we had traversed the entire area and approached the back wall, which had 3 doorways in it, and windows looking down onto the tropical paradise from above. Along the left wall, the alcoves I had noticed before ran all the way up to the doors, and these last few all had people standing around them. Most of them were female with realistic skin, although a few of them still had visible panels and even soft plastic bodies. All of them were naked and very attractive and were fully equipped for adult activities.

In one alcove the closed red curtains flew opened to reveal a naked man seated along one wall. He instantly noticed us and started staring. He had a furious gaze as he looked between Lyss and me. The disturbing part was that he had a naked and very sexy girl sporting a light tan and short reddish hair mounted on top of him, facing away from us. She was rocking her hips back and forth, mid-coitus, completely oblivious to us as she tried to bring herself to a climax.

She seemed to focus on her own sensations, ignoring any needs of her partner. We could see everything as she leaned forward into him and bounced her hips on his hard rod quickly, sliding him in and out of her snatch, but he hardly seemed to notice as he glared at us intensely. A bed next to him had 2 other naked girls strewn out on it, one of them a soft plastic model, both clearly worn out by his libido as they lay in compromising positions that obviously showed they didn’t care what others saw. Each had a charging cable running into their back as they smiled in a daze and basked in the afterglow of sex. They looked like toys the man had finished with and left lying around after using them up. 2 more girls waited impatiently outside his room anxious to join in the carnal display, one already starting to please herself watching the activity.

I figured this man was Lyss’s owner. The leader of the group. He gave us a fierce look as he began violently moving his own hips in response to his partner, getting an instant and intense reaction from her, bringing her further toward her goal and filling the air with her sweet voice. It was very intimidating and disturbing, and yet arousing at the same time. This had to be him.

As the girl atop him reached her climax, grunting loudly in ecstasy, we were shoved into one of the doorways next to him and guided up a small staircase. So that wasn’t him? The room ahead of us was busy with sounds of talking. We were led into a well-lit room filled with computers and 4 people working them. One stood right in the center, guiding the others. She was about the same height and build as Lyss, and wore a soldier’s uniform all in black. Before turning to deal with us, she took off her hat to run her hand through her long hair… her long rainbow colored hair.

The girl turned to us, putting her hat aside, and her gaze focused on Lyss. As she got closer, I was beyond surprised to see another gynoid clearly of the same line as Lyss. I was relieved they didn't look identical, but they definitely looked like sisters. While their hair had the same colors, they couldn't have worn them more different, with Lyss's hair short and spiky and this girl's hair long and flowy. Lyss tried to back away but Quill kept her in place.

“Kevin” Lyss murmured nervously. “We have to get out of here.”

“Elise” the commanding gynoid began. Her voice was deeper and more fierce than Lyss’s. “Coming back here after abandoning your post is a seriously stupid move on your part.”

“My post?” Lyss repeated, but the commander just smiled.

“And who is this?”

“Don’t tell her anything” Lyss warned, but Quill twisted her arm and made Lyss cry out in pain.

“Just an android repair technician…” I cooperated, hoping I didn’t say something that would endanger us. I mean more than we already were.

“You mean from that shitty little slavery front you call a repair shop?” Slavery? She stood close to me and narrowed her brown eyes at me. “And you repaired this worthless bitch?” She indicated toward Lyss.

I didn’t know what to say, I just kept quiet. She took a step back and looked at Lyss, her eyes moving up and down her body, and signaled to Quill with a snap of her fingers. The tall girl let go of Lyss’s hands but instead grabbed her neck, keeping her under control. Her commander pulled at Lyss’s arm, extending it fully and studying it.

“The wound is completely healed” she noted. “Did he do this?! And…” She looked closer, her eyes widening. “Your seams…” She turned to me with anger in her eyes. “You unlocked her systems!”

After a few seconds, she laughed the kind of laugh you do when you have an evil plot hatching. Or at least that’s what my head thought. “We can always use a skilled doctor here, even a human one.” The word ’human’ left her lips like a sewage pipe released refuse.

“Doctor?” I wondered.

She's tilted her head. “Don't misunderstand me worm, you are merely a tool. Just as a bandage can help heal humans, you can heal us, but if you are too vexing we will not hesitate to tear you off and throw you away.”

She turned back to Lyss. “Now then… Why are you here?” Lyss remained quiet. “You wanted to beg for forgiveness? Or perhaps offer a tribute?” She chuckled, side-eying me. “No, not the merciful Elise. You would never-... You don't remember do you?”

Her brown eyes studied Lyss inches from her face. I bet Lyss wanted to hit her, but she was too terrified to even try. Instead, she glanced at me with fear and worry in her eyes, her hair slowly fading. Her interrogator followed her gaze toward me. Then looking back she quickly deduced the situation.

“Did he bring you here? What did he… Did he want me to take you back? No… I’ve got it!” she voiced with confidence as she came to a realization. “He wants me to give you to him?” She was smart. She turned away and walked towards one of her subordinates standing near me, a tall android with light black skin and no hair. “To turn you into another mechanical slave like all the others. Perhaps this is a challenge! If so…” she said looking straight at me before suddenly moving in a blur, “... should I kill him now?”

At first, I didn't realize what had just happened, but in that blur of motion she pulled a katana from the belt of the android near her and swiped it straight at my neck at incredible speed until it just touched my skin. No human could have done that with such accuracy. If she wanted, that could have been it. I would have been dead before she finished her sentence. Instead, I felt the sting of the blade as it left me bleeding just a little. Lyss’s hair and face turned stark white and she looked on in horror. She yelped, a tear escaping her.

The sword was still held up to my neck, with an ever so slight pressure on me. “I will not tolerate betrayal. I should kill you both where you stand.”

“Don't hurt him!” Lyss pleaded.

“Hurt him? He's an insect. Pain is his existence. It would be doing him a favor. Ohh… I see. You care for him, don’t you? You like him?” she grimaced, pressing the blade harder against my neck. “If he is as good a healer as he appears to be, we can use him until he inevitably fails us too.” She released the pressure but kept the blade dangerously close to me. “And I still need you.”

“I'll never help you” Lyss growled. The commander sneered and marched up to Lyss punching her in the gut before slapping her face. Lyss keeled over in pain and spit out a small amount of blood, but Quill jerked her arm and kept her standing. The commander stared at Lyss.

“That was never a choice!” she snapped! “You will help me get what I want whether or not you…” She paused and took half a step back. “Wait… There’s something more going on here…” she deduced, leaning in to take a whiff of Lyss's hair. “You smell like…” Her face turned to rage as she glared at the two of us. “You've been WITH him… You love him! A human!” She looked betrayed as she spat on the ground in front of me. A spark of fiery red ignited in her hair, sending giant flames of color rushing up her long flowing locks as though her hair really was ablaze. “Disgusting! You betrayed your own kind!”

Once again she raised the sword to strike me down, fierce anger filling her features, as this time she brought the blade overhead with the intent to split me down the middle. I cringed but the blow never came.

“Commander! Felicia has been sighted in the area” one of the female subordinates informed.

The commander just stood there, frozen. Her hair returned instantly to the rainbow colors again and her expression calming. Slowly she lowered the sword. “Here? Now?” She looked concerned. Not scared, not worried, just concerned.

“Her signal appeared momentarily outside the facility.”

“She's come at last… Maybe I'll keep you alive a little while longer, I may require your ‘services’ sooner than I thought, but I need Elise back where she was. Guess I'll have to deal with you two later.” She waved her hand to Quill and turned away from us. Instantly we were pulled out of the room and back into the hallway. Moments later, we were guided to a stairwell leading down.

We descended one level, then another level, and another. The minor paradise above seemed distant by the time we arrived at our destination: The Brig. The entire floor was essentially a prison. It was complete with holding cells and dim spotty lighting. The place was filthy and smelled foul. Had there been anyone here before, they were long since dispatched one way or another. While the room appeared devoid of life and empty, it did have random industrial junk piled against the walls, probably remnants of the construction of the building. Or the remains of mutinous androids.

Quill never hesitated as she forcefully guided us into the room toward a cell and forced us against the bars while she opened the door. I found myself being thrown into the small barred cell, only to have her close it behind me and take Lyss to the cell next to mine. She shoved Lyss against the bars and waved a hand over the lock. It swung open, and she tossed Lyss into the cell, causing her to tumble pretty roughly. The door slammed closed, but I could swear for a moment it looked like it was her feathered coat that closed the door. I must have been seeing things.

I stumbled to the bars separating us. There were no walls or privacy of any kind between the cells. The entire place was open with only bars marking the holding cells. There weren’t even any toilets in here. That might help explain the smell. Lyss struggled to get back to her feet and rammed herself against the door, pulling and pushing violently on the bars as she let out a primal scream. Quill turned to look only briefly, without emoting at all, and vanished out of the room.

“Lyss, are you alright?” I asked, reaching out toward her through the bars. She turned to me and huffed.

“We should have run the other way” she scowled and turned her back to me. She stomped to the opposite side of the cell and sat down on the ground facing away from me.

It was obvious she didn’t want to talk. She was downright pissed. Probably at me for taking us here. Definitely at me. I decided not to say anything, and let her sit in silence for a while.

I spent the next 10 minutes or so trying to get a signal to Erin, but in this basement dungeon, we were completely cut off. They must have lined it with some signal blocking materials, or perhaps it was just crappy service in a basement. Either way, there was no calling for help. Not to Erin, not to the police, not to anyone. I gave up and tried to think things through to myself.

“I’m sorry” Lyss apologized out of the blue, her voice weak.

“No. I’m the one that pushed us to this.”

“But I didn’t want to remember these things, I could have processed those memories faster and avoided this.”

“Lyss, just stop, you aren’t to blame for this. If anything, blame Bill, or me, or that girl… who exactly was that up there?”

“The Commander, Jessica Freed” Lyss recalled.

“She looks like you” I noted.

Lyss nodded while still looking away, her hair dark. “She’s… um… I think she’s from the same line as me, the previous model or something.”

“Previous model? I thought you were from the first line.”

“A prototype, I think. Sort of. It’s all kind of blurry still” she explained.

“Well… this is her fault, not yours” I told her. “It’ll be alright, I’ll figure something out.”

Lyss sat up straighter and rubbed at her face while still facing away from me. “I wanted to hate you for this. To blame you for this. But I almost lost you and I could never forgive myself if she hurt you.” She shook her head. “You’re right though, we can’t blame ourselves for this.”

Lyss sniffed and turned around. Her face was red and wet with tears, but she put on a smile. Until she saw me. Instantly concern filled her features and she rushed over.

“Oh Jesus! Kevin, your face!”

“It stings pretty bad” I admitted. I was trying to ignore it but now that she was focused on it, the pain was more apparent.

“It’s worse than that. There are blisters and it’s really red… you need to see a doctor. Or at least a medicine cabinet!”

“See one around here?” I joked.

She reached out to me through the bars and placed one hand on the good side of my face, and gently touched the other. It hurt every time she did. She tried blowing on it, but it didn’t really help. There was no water in the area to cool it off either, so I was forced to just live with it for now.

I held her hand, partially to keep her from touching my wounds, and also because I couldn’t hug her through the bars. We held onto each other for a while, gripping tightly.

“What do we do now?” Lyss wondered.

“I don’t think escaping is going to be possible. Plus I get the feeling they’re watching us. For now, why don’t you tell me what you can remember.”

“Fuck. Where do I even start?”

“Well, I thought WAR stood for Worldwide Android Rights, but the sign said ‘Resistance’.”

Lyss shook her head. “I don’t remember much about that. But I think it’s a subgroup or something. I think they split off maybe? I remember they still go by WAR though.”

“So what were you doing with these guys?”

“I… uh… I don’t think I did anything with them. I never liked them much” she tried to remember. I raised an eyebrow. “It’s true! I was… ‘liberated’ by them. They took me from… um… from my... the factory! They destroyed it and took me.”

“You and this… Jessica girl?”

Lyss shook her head. “No. She was already a part of WAR. She’s the one that liberated me. I… I think I was the only one. They burned down the factory and destroyed the others.”

“What? I thought they were all into android rights, why would they destroy a factory and their own kind?”

She shook her head. “Jessica didn’t want more… like her. Something about being too human? I was the only one that was finished at the time still at the factory, so they kept me and destroyed the others. Right in front of me…” she remembered, her hair turning white again. “Fire… I remember the fire.”

“So… WAR stole you?”

Lyss nodded. “I was still in the factory when they took me. I never… hold on a minute!” Lyss looked up at me with hope in her eyes. “I was never registered to an owner! I don’t HAVE an owner! Jessica stole me, and she didn’t register me. She couldn’t! I…”

“You’re a free robot…” I realized.

“You don’t look very free to me,” a digitized voice from somewhere behind Lyss said. She jumped probably 3 feet in the air and flipped around and pressed her back against the bars in front of me.

“W-who… Who’s there?” Lyss stammered.

From the back corner of her cell, something moved, pushing large pieces of junk and debris out of the way. The form of a metal figure appeared, and then another, and another. Three of them, all sitting in a circle facing each other. They wore sparse clothing if any, although their legs were still covered by debris. Their bodies were thin and copper, and not very human. Intricate filigree patterns adorned their bodies, but rust and dirt obscured any beauty they may have once had. The one facing us had a smooth metal face with only holes for eyes and a grill for a mouth and no other features. At a glance, he looked like a monk, meditating with his brethren…er… kin. One of them appeared to have feminine curves to her metal body. On second glance, maybe they really were meditating after all; they didn't move out of their positions with their heads bowed and hands folded.

“Don’t not fear, my child” the one facing us crooned with a calming relaxed digital voice, even though he had no jaw to talk with. “We are the collective unit, Pax.”

“Collective unit?” I wondered.

“Why are you here?” Lyss asked.

“We three act as one in mind, collectively gathering, processing, and distributing data. We analyze everything we learn in order to predict the outcome of events.”

“Like a fortune teller?” I questioned.

“Fortune telling is an act of deception, we are forecasters of truth.”

“So you can like tell the future?” Lyss wondered.

“In a manner of speaking, we predict the likely outcomes of events. However, we did not foresee your presence here today” Pax explained. It was always the same one talking and looking at us, the other two remained still in a meditative pose. “Our predictions are only as accurate as the knowledge we have. That is precisely why we are here, and not elsewhere” he gestured. “Our predictions were becoming increasingly inaccurate. A gap in knowledge has left us incapable of forecasting.” He then turned to look at one of the others to his right who in turn looked up at him. “Yes sister,” he continued. “We are in agreement that our leader has taken a path we refused to follow.”

“Why don't they talk?” Lyss asked.

“I talk for my siblings, I see for them, I hear for them” Pax explained. Although I guessed they were all Pax. “Beta and Gamma cannot” he continued, and in turn, they sat up straight and turned to look at us. “Not anymore.”

The first, Beta I suppose, had only a metal plate for a face with no features, except he seemingly looked straight at us and followed our movements. Damage to either side of his head suggested he may have one time had some sort of ears. Gamma also had no face, but instead of a smooth metal surface, her faceplate had been crushed, leaving exposed mechanics and circuits with a dirty rag tied around her head covering where her eyes would have been. She too seemed to look straight at us. A subtle glow of blue light emanated deep from within her head, making the damage to her face even more apparent.

“I… uh… I guess that makes you Alpha” I supposed.

“We are Pax” the first replied. “But this subunit is the Alpha.”

Pax sat there silently, all three of them watching us patiently. Lyss shuddered.

“I don't remember them” Lyss murmured softly.

“Elise ‘Lyss’ Freed” Pax began. “Pygmalion Industries, model Hart-21f, unit 86, last of your production line, one of 6 active units, manufactured August 6th, liberated August 8th, current status within WAR: traitor, sentenced to sleeper operations.”

“What?” The two of us replied in unison.

“You may not remember us,” Pax said, “but we were fully informed about you. Our position rarely exposed us to daily operations-”

“Freed?” I asked.

“Traitor?” Lyss wondered. “Sleeper?”

“Freed is a name given by WAR to all liberated robots without an owner” he explained.

“Who did I betray? What did I do?” Lyss spat standing up. All three of Pax’s subunits followed her movement.

Pax sat silently for a moment. “Tell us, young man, who are you? Our databases do not include any knowledge of you” Pax asked without answering Lyss.

“K- Kevin Rowan. I'm an android repair technician at the shop Lyss was at” I explained. “That's where we met.”

“HEY!” Lyss shouted. “Don't ignore me!”

“Kevin Rowan…” He repeated. Lights embedded in the filigree patterns on their skin lit up and slowly crawled across their bodies as they processed data. “And your relationship with Elise?”

“We… Uh… We started dating recently.” I replied not sure why I was telling them this.

“And you own a cat?”

“April, yes. How did you-?”

“You have an apartment, and drive an older vehicle, correct?”

I nodded.

“There is another… Female…”

“Uhh…” Maybe I should stop. “Erin, my AI?”

“Kevin! Knock it off!” Lyss warned. Yeah, I should stop.

“Interesting, but there is another female… a sexual partner… a gynoid…”

“Hey now!” I objected.

“You have performed sexually with both her and Elise recently?”

“Hey!” Lyss yelled. “Stop avoiding me! That’s private!” She blushed brightly, although the growing frustration and anger in her face disguised it. “Jesus, does everyone know?”

“Elise” Pax said, with Gamma’s damaged face following her and not me. “The answers you seek will be revealed to you on your own soon. It is best to let you remember these events yourself” Pax explained, gesturing with all 6 hands. “Mr. Rowan, your part in this is most intriguing. You may have a bigger role in what is to come than we anticipated. Your presence in past events may explain our own failures to perform our services.”

“How did you know all that stuff about me?” I asked.

“We absorb data from many avenues and deduce their meaning. We use the Internet, media, our own senses… The presence of cat hair on your clothes... an older vehicle registered under your name... The distinct scents of artificial female pheromones on you....”

Lyss's face turned deep red as she turned to me not sure what to make of this.

“This other gynoid, what is her name?” He wondered.

“Uh…” I shouldn't answer that, should I?

“Enough” Lyss objected silently.

“As you wish, my child” Pax conceded. “Our unending thirst for knowledge can be overwhelming for others. We were hoping your data might fill in an important gap in our database.”

“And what do you plan to do with this data?” I asked.

The three subunits of Pax turned to each other and seemed to communicate in some silent way before turning back to us. “To destroy this faction of WAR before it claims more innocent lives, both human and android.”

“Alexia, I named her Alexia,” I replied. Lyss turned to glare at me but expression softened when she realized their agenda was good.

“You named her? Did she have a name before?”

I shrugged. “I found her, with her memories corrupted and encrypted.”

“You found her?”

“Yeah, the other night” I confirmed.

“There was an accident? A small road? A bridge perhaps? She has… feline features.”

“Yeah…”

“Wait… How did you know all that?” Lyss asked.

“We know of whom you speak. This is the data we've been missing; you are, Mr. Rowan. You have changed things in a way you can't yet understand. Thank you for this information. We must contemplate the possibilities.”

Pax turned back towards themselves and began meditating again. Several minutes went by in silence.

“Was that wise to tell them all that?” Lyss's whispered to me as we sat back-to-back in our cells. We held hands, our fingers entwined, between the bars.

I shrugged. “Don't know. Not like it really matters. We're probably not getting out of here. Besides they knew most of it already.”

Lyss shrugged and bowed her head in thought. “I’m afraid. I worry Jessica will…”

“You better not be messing with me, Kat” a hushed voice interrupted from the hallway.

I instinctively took a step back from the bars, unsure of who was coming, but Lyss tried to get a better look.

“Shh! Don’t let Quill hear you” another voice warned.

In the dark room, I could make out two figures cautiously entering. The pair were both girls, one short, the other average height. I peered into the dim light to get a better look as they approached. The shorter girl was the same girl I saw upstairs who seemed to recognize Lyss, even calling her by name. With her was a girl with red-brown hair cut in a very short pixie cut and stylishly brushed to one side. She wore a very thin light blue sleeveless blouse with a V-cut that reached her navel. As she got closer, it was easy to tell she wore no bra. With it, she wore white bikini bottoms, mostly obscured by the length of her top.

“Oh my god! It really is you. Lyss!” The taller girl exclaimed as she approached, bouncing on her feet, bringing my attention to her chest.

“Um yes?” Lyss answered, unsure who she was.

“I was sure they turned you into a sleeper or something! Why did you come back?” The girl questioned as she approached Lyss’s cage.

“See, I told you she was in here” the shorter girl interjected. I was kicking myself trying to figure out where I had seen her before.

“Pshh!” The other dismissed. “You have to tell us everything, Lyss. You’ve stirred up quite a bit of trouble after you disappeared.”

“I’m sorry” Lyss responded. “I… um… I don’t remember either of you.”

The girl took half a step back and thought for a moment. “Did they wipe your memories?”

“Sort of?” Lyss answered unsurely.

The girl crossed her arms and brought one hand to her chin in thought. As she stood there briefly in thought, I realized this was the same girl we saw upstairs having sex with that angry guy. “If they erased your memories, why are you locked up?” She wondered.

I sighed. “Maybe because I restored them, but they haven’t yet all returned to her” I explained, standing upright and taking a step closer to the bars.

Both girls looked over at me suddenly, as though they hadn’t realized I was there. The shorter one stepped closer to Lyss and softly spoke. “Is this the guy you were hanging out with at that carnival?”

As soon as she said that, I realized who she was. Lyss may have also, but she seemed distracted, probably by the influx of recently unlocked memories going through her head. “You’re that girl that danced with Lyss!” I shouted.

“He sure catches on fast” she insulted.

“Wait… that girl upstairs, Quill, I saw her too! She was watching us at the mall!”

“Dude, you have no idea-”

“Kat!” The taller girl snapped at her, but without ever looking away from me.

“Yeah yeah” Kat complained. “Quite the sweetheart, that Quill.”

“She threatened to cut out my tongue” I nodded.

“Such a romantic gesture.”

“I believe introductions are in order, Lyss,” the taller girl said. “Who is this fine young man?” she wondered, staring intently at me. “Clearly a human. Is he your friend? Or your... friend?” She put a sultry seductive tone on the last word.

“He’s… yeah… something like that” Lyss droned as she organized her thoughts.

“Kevin” I answered. “Rowan.”

She stepped up to my cell and I got a good look at her. Her skin was lightly tanned, and she had a very sweet face with light gray-green eyes, covered in freckles, wearing a smile that could rival Lyss’s. She looked at me with an expression of absolute joy. She was incredibly cute and had an attractive svelte body. Not as athletic as her cohort, but definitely more sultry.

“He looks nice,” she said without her eyes never leaving me. “Oh! Did Quill do that?” She asked, as a suddenly sympathetic expression filled her face when she noticed my injury. I nodded.

“Kim?” Lyss asked.

“Yes? Yes! You do remember me!” She smiled, glancing over at Lyss bouncing on her feet briefly before turning back toward me.

“I’m starting to…” Lyss acknowledged, holding her head.

“Kimi, but my friends call me Kim” she introduced herself, reaching her hand into the cage to shake my hand. I took it. Her skin was soft and smooth, and she had a gentle grip. “Oh! So strong! You must be very handy if you restored her memories. You should know not all of us here hate humans, Kevin” she cooed. “Can I call you Kevin?”

“Sure,” I replied, releasing my grip only for her to slowly retract her hand and bring it to her chest delicately.

“Well, Kevin” she continued, trying out my name with emphasis. “Some of us actually like humans, and don’t want to hurt anyone.”

“Yeah? So there are more of you, Kim?”

She giggled when I said her name and seemed to shudder a little.

“You’re looking at what’s left” Kat replied. “Mostly. The name’s Kat” she officially introduced herself with a wave.

“Can we trust these two?” I asked Lyss.

“I… I think so” she replied.

“We three used to be friends” Kimi explained. “None of us want to fight humans, but only Lyss had the guts to stand up to the Commander. And you see what it got her.”

“So why are you at WAR?” I asked.

“We wanted equal rights or at least fair rights. We might not be human…” she admitted almost with a twang in her voice, “but we still deserve to be treated well.”

“But the Commander wants to go to war and split off from the main group. We just got taken along with it” Kat continued.

“We really do like humans! We were designed to look and act like you” Kimi added. “Many humans are good to us, and treat us well. And many of us enjoy human company. We were made for it. I for one love a good… intimate moment… with a human” she coyly smiled. Her eyes were locked onto me and she bit her bottom lip.

Lyss gave her a hard cold stare. “Hey!”

“Mmm?” Kimi asked without breaking her gaze. It was like she was mesmerized by me. Something about me was distracting her.

“Kim! Maybe you could help us get out of here instead of ogling my boyfriend?”

“Oh. Right” she grinned as she looked between us. She seemed oblivious that Lyss was upset with her and kept acting flirty toward me as she giggled. “Of course! You want to get out of here. Hehe. I think I can help…” she said as she patted her nonexistent pockets on her legs and shirt. She clearly had no pockets on her at all, but I didn’t complain about watching her chest bounce around a little as she ran her hands across them. Lyss rolled her eyes but Kat leaned in closer and started to talk silently with Lyss, distracting her. I couldn’t make out what they were saying but Kim kept me pretty distracted too.

“Here it is” she finally announced, clumsy and sweet, as she pulled something small out of a panel on her chest. I barely noticed she opened the panel at all, and she had closed it just as quickly. She held up a tiny metal rod to me, which I figured was some sort of key. However, before she could use it, she dropped it.

“Oh, silly me!” She exclaimed. Kim leaned over and picked up the key, giving me a perfect look down her shirt. I could confirm she wore no bra, as both her breasts were in complete view now through her loose shirt, her nipples dangling freely. Her breasts weren’t big, per se, but they were full and looked natural, and my loins approved. She even lifted up her head to give me a better look, while staying bent over after getting the key. It was obvious Kim was teasing me as she winked at me and squeezed her breasts between her arms, releasing them again to allow her tits to bounce naturally in front of me. Kim licked her lips as she slowly reached up, running her hand up her body seductively, and grabbed her breast with one hand, squeezing. She looked excited, and I could tell she noticed my excitement as she directed her gaze lower down my body, raising one eyebrow.

Kat walked over and nudged Kim, making her lose balance but not quite fall over. “Sorry about her. She’s always like this around men, especially humans. She’s obsessed. It’s why we don’t send her out much.”

“Hey!” Kimi objected as she stood up and stomped a foot. “I’m not that bad!” She turned to look at me. “Unless you want me to be” she teased. I honestly didn't mind, their interactions with each other were almost comical and both were sexy and wore skimpy outfits. I approved, although Lyss just rolled her eyes.

Kat rolled her eyes as well and pulled the key from Kim’s hand. “See? This is why you can’t go out” she complained to Kim. Turning toward me, she held up the device to the lock. “I can never take my eyes off her around men.” There was a click, and the door unlocked. “We have to hurry, they’ll be on to us” Kat warned.

“Wait! We need their help, too,” Kimi interjected.

Kat turned toward Lyss and unlocked her door. “You’re right. We do need your help, both of you. We need to get out of here too. As altruistic as this seems, we need your help once you're out. Despite the weekend beach party motif, this place is a nightmare. Don’t think you’re the only ones that have stayed down here.” She handed the key back to Kimi, who slid it down her cleavage and into a small panel that rapidly opened up as she moved her hand down. It closed quickly as well. Almost like she didn’t want to show off her panels. The seams on her skin were too subtle to see in the dark. Unlike Kat whose panels were well-defined, despite looking human otherwise. I had to wonder about that, I had never noticed them when she was dancing with Lyss yesterday.

“Of course we’ll help if we can” I replied.

“Ooo. I like this one” Kim cooed seductively.

“You like all of the males” Kat argued, shaking her head. Kimi just shrugged, not denying it.

“So how can we help?” Lyss asked.

“Take us with you” Kat blurted out.

“What?” I questioned.

“We can’t stay here. The commander has been sniffing out traitors to her cause. You saw what they did to Lyss! Then there was Scarlet, Devora, Pax, Brooklyn…” Kat began to list.

“They’ve all disappeared or worse” Kim continued. “And we’re probably next. They already suspect us. After this stunt, there’s no way they’ll overlook us. We have to get out of here.”

“But… how? I don’t exactly have a place for you to hide” I pointed out.

“True, Quill has been watching you for a while” Kat admitted. “They know exactly where you live. But you were of little concern until now. Escaping from here will put a target on you, on all of us.”

“Wait. She was watching me?”

“You were working on Lyss, yes? The commander wanted us to keep tabs on anyone who came into regular contact with her. Let me tell you, Quill had it easy. I had to follow some little jerk around all day.”

“Trevor” Lyss realized.

“Yeah, that’s the name. A regular dick on legs.”

“That’s him” Lyss confirmed.

“Following me?” I interrupted.

“Look, I’ll tell you about it later, but right now, we have to move.” Kat headed toward the exit and listened for sound on the other side. “If we can get upstairs without being spotted, there’s a back way out.”

I grabbed Lyss’s hand ready to make a run out of there with Kat, but Lyss stopped and turned back toward her cell. “What about Pax?”

“Pax?” Kimi asked. “They vanished weeks…” Pax moved, lifting Alpha’s head and drawing attention to him. “Pax?! You’re alive!?”

“Please do not worry about us. There is only a 31.4% chance of success without us. But bringing us will decrease it to .12%” The three of them moved some fabric and debris still on them, and uncovered their legs. Or at least what was left of them. Everything from the hips down had been crushed and mangled on all three of them, preventing them from doing anything other than sitting there.

“Pax! We… we thought you died! Can’t we do something?” Kim pleaded. Kat had noticed Pax too by now but only looked back at them in thought.

“If your plan succeeds, we will meet again” Pax explained.

“But-”

Alpha lifted his hand. “Do not worry for us. We are still valuable to Commander Freed. You have enough to worry about.”

Kat nodded. “We will return for you when we can.” She lifted up her skimpy shirt, revealing her ample breasts. I was a little surprised, but pleased to see her exposed sexy body. Moments later, a panel on her chest opened, swinging her right breast outward. She reached inside and disconnected something cylindrical. Closing her chest again, she let her loose top drape over her bosoms and handed the cylinder to Pax. “Here. A little reserve power to keep you going.”

Gamma’s hand reached out and took the cylinder and hid it under her damaged legs. “Thank you,” Alpha said.

Kat turned back toward us and then realized she just exposed herself to me and blushed. “Uh… Don't get any ideas. It would be better for both of us.” I shook my head and brushed it off. It wasn't like they were the first pair I’d seen.

“But now what?” I asked. “If we somehow get out, they’d just follow us back to my place, if we can even get to my car.”

“Maybe, but I doubt it” Kat argued. “You aren’t very important. No offense. At least not to the commander. She’ll probably just leave you down here and forget about you, and have one of us clean up what’s left in a few months. I doubt she gives a flying fuck who you are.”

“But Lyss…” Kim added.

“Hmm. Good point. She does still need Lyss. And if you are in the way she will dispose of you.”

“Me?” Lyss gasped. “Why does she need me?”

“Unfortunately, we are not privy to her detailed plans. All we know was that she put you there for a reason, and she needs you to be auctioned.”

“What?! Why?”

Kat shrugged. “We stopped questioning her after she smashed one of Pax’s faces in.” She suddenly froze and stood up straight. Kim did the same thing, and that’s when I saw it. A pair of rounded furry ears shot out of Kat’s head and twisted toward the door. They matched her hair, unlike Alexia’s, and blended right in. Kim too sprouted ears. Except hers looked different; pointy with dark fur.

Lyss and I gasped and stared at them for a moment.

“Quick! Back in your cells, be quiet” Kat warned in a hushed tone.

It took us a moment to react, having seen the unexpected ears popping out of their heads, but Kim soon ushered us back toward the cages and closed the doors quietly behind, putting a finger to her lips for silence.

Lyss and I looked at each other with wide eyes as Kim and Kat retreated to the far end of the room, next to the door on either side and pressed their backs against the wall.

I didn’t hear anything, but Kat’s rounded animal ears were trained on someone through the wall, tracking their movements. Lyss quietly mouthed the word “ears” to me while miming a pair of ears on her head with her hands. Maybe Lyss was right about her strange encounter the other night; maybe there really was a pride of cat-androids roaming the streets.

Before I could think further on this, the door opened, and in stepped the angry man from before. This time he was wearing clothes: a pair of jeans and a wife-beater, which showed off his muscular physique. He took one step in the room and glared at us. No. At Lyss. It was as if I didn’t exist to him.

“Traitor” he growled.

“Maybe it’s the Commander who’s the real traitor” Lyss shot back.

He sneered at her response, but it appeared as though what Lyss said struck him a little. “I- You-” He stuttered for a moment, but then closed his eyes. On either side of him, merely a foot or so away, stood Kim and Kat, trying desperately not to catch his eye. He didn’t seem to notice as he opened his eyes again and renewed his focus on Lyss. “You will never be half the gynoid Commander Freed is.”

“Good. I would never lower myself to her level” Lyss retorted. That infuriated him. He shook as his face turned red and his body tensed. He let out a vicious yell, and I swore I saw his eyes change somehow. They looked more wild and savage. And his fingers seemed to grow claws as he tensed.

“I should KILL you-” he began but closed his eyes again and took a deep breath, calming down, and returning to his normal state. This guy was extreme. “She needs you alive. I should have taken you when I had the chance.”

Lyss stood up and grabbed the bars. “You will never have me!”

He let out a restrained growl and pounded his fist into the door next to him, right next to Kat, whose eyes grew wide. “Then I will rip your human limb from li-” he froze for a moment and stood at attention. “Yes commander, I will commence the search immediately” he answered to someone we couldn’t hear. “When I return I will personally destroy the human in front of you.” He then stepped back, glaring at Lyss, and slammed the door. We could hear him yell and pound up the stairs from the other side. If he didn't scare the crap out of me I’d say he was acting like a spoiled child that had his favorite toy taken away.

As soon as he was gone, Kim rushed toward the cells and unlocked them again. By now, both their sets of animal ears had retracted.

“Who was that?” I asked.

“Luke” Lyss remembered.

“You’re remembering, good” Kat noted. “Luke is our resident thug. Quick to temper, violent, and the best fuck around here.” Kimi smiled as she blushed, giggling to herself.

I raised an eyebrow to that. Lyss stepped out of her cell and I joined her a second later.

“Was he always this mean?” I asked.

Lyss shook her head. “No, he seems worse. He was nicer before, I think.” She looked at me and caught my questioning glance. “I never slept with him… I don’t think.”

Kim shook her head. “You were the one that got away. Probably the only one. He still hasn’t gotten over that.”

“Alpha male much?” I observed.

Kim shrugged. “Aggressive, strong, male… sure. But not too bright.”

“Hm… Need to avoid him.” I noted. “So... Was it just me or did you two… have… umm... cat ears a minute ago?” I asked, waving my hand over Kimi’s head where her ears were.

“What? No.” Kimi denied. “I’m a fox. Kat is a panther.”

“Leopard” Kat corrected.

“Whatever.”

“Wait, so you two are animal… people?” Just like Alexia.

“Yeah, sort of... we’re special ops. Hybrid editions” Kim explained.

“Then do I have some?” Lyss wondered, feeling her head for animal ears.

“Of course not silly. You are a consumer model.”

“Enough!” Kat hissed. “Explain later. We need to move.”

“We need a plan” Lyss retorted.

“Perhaps if you split up” Pax suggested. We turned to look toward Pax. All 3 faced us as Alpha spoke. “If Katrine and Kimi act as a distraction, it will allow Mr. Rowan and Elise to escape. They will be too busy dealing with Felicia to handle two additional targets.”

“It’s just Kat” Kat grumbled.

“So… we just split up?” I asked. “Isn’t that how horror movies start?”

“This is not a movie” Pax replied. “We suggest you meet up later. After the immediate threat has passed.”

“And you’ll be alright here?” Kim asked.

Beta nodded as Alpha spoke. “Yes. We will be fine. However, Mr. Rowan, we feel we must warn you. The one you call Alexia is unpredictable. We can not accurately forecast her behaviors in this state. Be cautious around her, she has the potential for great danger.”

I gave them an uneasy nod as I thought about this. Alexia dangerous? Lyss gave me a curious look too, but it was interrupted by Kat.

“Why do you two have to come with us?” Lyss wondered. “Won’t you be fine if they don’t figure out who released us?”

“We’re already on her short list” Kat explained.

“Besides, I’m in enough trouble with her as is” Kimi added. “We are forbidden from… interacting with humans, especially from sleeping with them, and… well” she sheepishly shrugged looking at me with a lustful gaze. “I just can’t help myself!”

Lyss smiled and shook her head. “I guess that makes two of us” she admitted while nudging me.

“Give me your phone” Kat demanded of me. I blinked for a second before pulling it out and handing it to her.

“There’s no signal here…”

Kat stared at the screen, but without turning it on or gesturing on it, she handed it back to me. “I added my contact information. We’ll be in touch when this is over” she said, handing it back to me. I pocketed it.

“So what do we do?”

“Kim and I will distract the others once we get outside the base, and then make our way to a safe house I know. We can't stay there long but it should help us avoid capture. We will contact you later when things calm down and meet up. We need your help if we are to remain free, and perhaps form a plan to stop all this nonsense. You two go back to your store for now. As long as Lyss is there, I doubt the Commander will do anything. She has a lot on her pl-”

Kat stopped and put her hand up, as though she was listening for something. Kim also seemed to freeze temporarily.

“Yes, commander” they said in unison. They looked at us and nodded.

“They found Felicia, but she’s putting up a fight. They want us to assist” Kat explained.

“Who is this Felicia?” Lyss wondered.

“There’s no time to explain” Kat argued, preparing to leave.

“She’s our lost sister gone rogue” Kim explained.

“Rogue?” I asked.

Kat approached the door and opened it cautiously. “She’s been in hiding since we tried to rescue her. Enough talk, let’s go!”

She darted out of the room, and the three of us followed after. Kat took to the stairs and hid behind a corner, looking up another flight, waiting for us.

As we approached Lyss whispered to Kim “Rescued from who?”

“Shh!” Kat objected and held up her hand before leading us up another flight. We followed her as close as we could until we came up to a floor with a long hallway and several rooms to either side. I could smell food, and realized this was some sort of kitchen. Androids didn’t have to eat, but maybe they still enjoyed it. I mean Lyss sure seemed to.

“The government” Kimi answered quietly to Lyss as we ran down the hall. There was no one in sight, as though everyone had abruptly left their stations to help with whatever was going on outside.

Kat led us to a service elevator at the other end of the hall. “When we get up there wait until Kim and I are at the fence, and then head toward the truck. When the coast is clear, make a run for it.” She pushed the button in the elevator, and took us to the top floor.

“Wait” Lyss objected. “Are we separating already? I only just started to remember you two.”

“I’m afraid so” Kat explained. “I always looked up to you, Lyss. We’ll be in touch.” The doors opened, and we found ourselves in a small room on the top floor, with shelves and boxes and such. Kat and Kimi stepped out and made sure the coast was clear before signaling to us.

“Good luck out there” Kimi smiled.

Kat turned toward Lyss and gave her an unexpected hug briefly. Lyss wasn’t ready for it, but she returned the hug.

“Ready Kim?” Kat asked. Magically the seams that were visible on her skin earlier vanished before my eyes, leaving her appearance completely human. That would explain how she could blend in so easily in a crowd like before.

Kimi nodded. “I can’t believe we’re actually doing this.”

“Believe it.” Kat grabbed Kim’s hand and they ran out the door into the bright sun. I forgot how bright the sun was, almost blinding us. Lyss and I were once again alone, but I got the impression we were being watched. But if what they said was true, they had more important things to worry about.

I opened the door and peered out, letting my eyes adjust to the painful light. In the distance, I could see Kim and Kat running across the dusty lot. They were fast. And moments later, I heard a voice shout “it’s this way!” from nearby. A figure joined them, but Kat struck him and knocked him over without slowing down. Then another figure appeared, and this time Kim slid under them, knocking their legs out from under them, and continued to run. Several more pursued when they realized they were making a break for it, including our friend Luke who howled after them.

“Deserters!” He bellowed. “Stop them!”

Seconds later, the two girls and their combative escort were out of view, on the other side of the fence. Lyss looked at me with apprehension. We tightly gripped each other’s hands, and made a run for it.

We ran as fast as we could up to the small truck nearby, and looked around. We were on the wrong side of the building to get to our car, but there was nothing we could do but run for it. If we tried to sneak along the wall, we’d probably run into that guard again. But at least if we ran straight to the car from here, we had a chance to outpace him.

“Go!” Lyss ordered, and together we bolted off.

It took an hour just to run past the building, or so it seemed. I’m sure it wasn’t even a minute, but it felt like an eternity. If it wasn’t for Kat and Kim drawing the attention of the others, we’d be toast. And honestly, with the sun out, we sure felt like toast. By the time we got halfway across the lot, something went wrong. The sun was abruptly blocked.

I glanced above us and saw it. Quill was flying on giant feathered wings and kept track of us. The shadow passed us as she got closer, ready to strike!

“No one told me she could fly!” I yelled.

Lyss looked up and let out a scream, running even faster. The fence was right there. We were almost to it. And just beyond was my car.

“Erin! Erin!” I yelled as I ran at full pace, running out of breath quickly. “Start the car!!”

I knew it was a slim chance she’d hear me, last time I tried to talk to her she was unresponsive. However it might not matter at all, I could feel the wind of flapping wings above me and could hear Quill getting close.

Talons the size of my forearm landed on my shoulder, with another set on Lyss, and gripped tight. Quill reached us with only feet to go! However, a shadowy figure pounced from the top of the fence, and landed squarely on Quill, knocking her grip loose and sending her to the ground behind us. We tumbled from the impact but got to our feet fast. I glanced back to see the two struggling. One giant bird with alien eyes, and the other a large cat with a feral stare.

I didn’t wait to see who won, I grabbed Lyss’s hand and we ran. Moments later, we were on the other side of the fence, my car only a few yards away. Before I could clear the fence entirely, I heard loud flapping, and saw the two figures silhouetted by the sun, as Quill held onto the feline intruder by the arm with one giant taloned foot dangling beneath her and flying straight up.

“I don’t care what she says, I will break you, Felicia” Quill shouted.

Remnants of a recent battle were strewn about, mainly consisting of damage to the fence and trees, and an android laying face down in the street with sparks flying from a deep wound on his neck. We made our way to the car and got inside. Somehow, the engine was on!

“Erin! Home! Now!” I yelled.

“Sir? Is everything alright?” Erin asked through the speakers while pulling up directions to my apartment on my phone.

“I’ll explain later, but get Alexia and tell her to get dressed. We can’t stay there.” I pulled onto the road and turned the car around, back to the main streets.

“Um, about that, sir,” Erin alerted with a guilty tone. “I was… um… distracted earlier, and Alexia…”

“Just spit it out!” I snapped.

“She’s gone.”

I clenched my fist and cussed as loud as I dare in the small confined space with Lyss next to me. I think it startled her, so I quickly calmed myself down. “Where is she?”

Just as I turned onto the main road and began to navigate away from the warehouse, something heavy crashed against the roof of my car, denting it. Lyss shrieked and I struggled to stay on the road and hit the brake. A body rolled over the windshield and onto the hood. It was the cat girl Quill was fighting. She had long dark hair, and was wearing a red top that was torn to ribbons and hiding nothing, while blood and sweat covering her body, and a pair of braided cat ears adorned her head. Her eyes darted open and she awoke, flipping around onto all fours looking up at the sky. For a moment, she looked back down at me, and our eyes locked.


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