Lost in the Shuffle
Lost in the Shuffle
Part 1: Lena
Mike was a seasoned Security Officer for the First Line of Defense security contracting agency…at least, that’s what it was called now. He’d been posted at a rather large tech company in the middle of Silicon Valley for the past seven years now, though in that time the contract had switched hands three times and Mike had chosen to stay posted at the same client because they treated him well.
Mike was very quick to learn, rising to the rank of Field Training Officer after only six months and training dozens of officers over the years. That, and his prior experience in retail, gave him all the skills he needed to complete his work.
At the age of 30, he’d finally been promoted to Relief Supervisor. To solidify his new promotion, he was assigned the task of clearing out an old storage room in one of the garages. Most people would have dreaded such an assignment, but Mike looked forward to it.
Fortunately for Mike, he was assigned to clean out the room during the holiday season shutdown period at the building, when there would be minimal personnel on-site to distract him. He was also able to assign himself only to the project at hand, so he wouldn’t have to assist with anything else.
When the time finally came for him to get started, he gave himself the three days just after Christmas so that he could rest up over the weekend from what he was sure would be a satisfying, yet grueling assignment.
The first day of the project was the most tedious. There was a great deal of garbage, outdated paperwork and uniforms, and clutter. Mike spent the entire day clearing those items out, walking back and forth to the landing dock.
The second day of the project was mostly clearing out old lost & found items, mostly clothing, and setting aside the good conditioned items for donation at a nearby donation station. He also cleared out even more outdated items that were buried underneath the clothing. It wasn’t until the third and final day that Mike came across something very interesting…something that would change his life forever.
He’d saved the more delicate items for last, since he would have to go through each of them to determine whether to keep them or chuck them. These items were e-waste, for the most part, and old equipment.
Most of it was old computer monitors, damaged cables, and spent batteries, so he chucked those into an e-waste bin that he was about to transfer to the e-waste storage room. After he’d cleared a few boxes out of one of the corners, though, he uncovered an interesting looking metallic case. The case stood on its side and was nearly four feet tall.
Upon closer examination, it appeared to be a trunk of some sort and it had a property sticker slapped on it from one of the old security companies that had since gone defunct.
“Huh, what have we here?” Mike said to himself, moving the box from the corner and dusting the area off; the box was quite heavy, but fortunately it had wheels.
Mike decided to treat the trunk like any of the other boxes in the room, so he looked for a way to open it. Unlike most of the other boxes, this one had an electronic lock on the top that required a 4-digit passcode.
Mike realized that, due to the weight of the case, the contents hadn’t been removed before because no one knew what the passcode was. Mike had a hunch though, because he’d overheard a 4-digit passcode from a supervisor during that administration who was passing it down to one of the assistants so they could unlock a secure area.
Mike entered the passcode, and sure enough, it was accepted and the locking mechanism disengaged with a mechanical whir and a hiss from the hydraulics used to secure it. Mike carefully grabbed hold of both sides of the case and opened both of them.
As soon as he opened the box, he let out a gasp and recoiled as he saw what was inside. Inside the box, nestled neatly in foam, was a dismantled female android…at least, most of one. Directly in the center was a torso, wearing nothing but a black bra and panties branded with the logo of its manufacturer, and neatly packed in a perfectly shaped foam mold. Both arms and legs were detached from the torso and were in their own foam molds inside of each door. Next to each arm and leg was also the corresponding hand and foot, detached from its corresponding arm and leg; the head was nowhere to be seen.
“What the hell,” was all Mike could say to himself. He spent the usual amount of time pinching himself and making sure it wasn’t a dream. He even quickly left the room and got a minute or so of fresh air, thinking it could have been a mixture of the dust and the cleaning solution he used to clean the room that might be causing him to hallucinate.
Still, when Mike re-entered the room, the box with the dismantled female android was still sitting there, exactly where he left it. He was now faced with a mystery: Who was the android? and why would such a highly advanced android be dismantled, stored, and collecting dust in this storage room, completely forgotten?
Left with little options, Mike felt the only way to answer his questions would be to examine the android. Based on his visual inspection of each limb, nestled in a perfectly shaped mold of each body part, the female android was definitely Caucasian, and had an approximate age of 25. Furthermore, due to the stunted looking appearance of the body, he figured it would stand no taller than 5”5, once fully assembled…assuming he could find the head.
Finishing his visual survey, he decided to pull out one of the limbs. Since the torso was most likely the heaviest part, he decided to grab one of the feet instead. He grabbed the right foot out of the foam and held it gently in both his hands.
Eyeballing it, the foot appeared to be a size 7. Unlike a Human foot, the android foot, and the rest of the body, had the coloring one would expect from a living, breathing person. Also, unlike a human foot which one would expect to feel cold and dry, the android foot felt more of a neutral temperature, and it even felt strangely moist. Strangely, though it felt moisturized, no moisture rubbed off onto his hands, despite multiple attempts.
After initially feeling a little creeped out, holding a severed foot, Mike’s foot fetish finally kicked in. He turned the foot over and placed the bottom of it on his face, briefly enjoying the softness of it, and then took in a whiff. He briefly recoiled when he detected a subtle scent of body odor near the toes. After gently parting each toe and closely inspecting between them, he saw sock residue in between the small toes; clearly, she’d been active before. Mike didn’t expect a realistic odor coming from an android, but not only did he not mind the smell, for some reason, the smell seemed familiar…
“Huh, that’s so weird,” Mike said to himself, turning the foot over and over in his hands, smelling it some more. Unfortunately, because the foot, and the rest of the body, had been washed before being stored, the scent of the body soap was interfering with his memory.
Mike spent a few more minutes playing with, and examining, the foot. The foot ended just above the ankle point, so he briefly looked inside the mechanical opening on the top. It appeared to be mostly mechanical inside, with a small layer of skin and musculature surrounding the mechanical components. He placed the foot on a flat surface and bent the arch to make it stand on its toes. He noticed that when he moved it, he could hear the sound of tiny servos moving within the foot.
Unable to glean anything else from the foot, Mike regrettably placed it back in its mold and then let his hand run the length of the corresponding leg, feeling the various muscles and even seeing the skin tone change with the light pressure from his touch. He quickly pulled out both legs to check if they had any tattoos or identifying marks on them, along with the left foot, but found nothing new. He placed them back in their molds as well and moved on to the hands.
Mike decided he would fully examine the right hand, so he gently removed it from the mold and examined it. If there was one word he could use to describe the android’s overall body type, it would be plump. She wasn’t obese, but she also wasn’t athletic or skinny. Her hands had just enough plumpness to hide the veins and give it a healthy look, especially the palm, and it also made her hand feel extremely soft.
The hand ended just past the wrist, and the inside of the mechanical opening also had very complex looking servo mechanisms, though it looked more like the mechanical portion of her body was covered with a thin, flexible plastic layer that had a more organic looking musculature and dermal layer attached to it, for enhanced motion and realism. He could actually see and hear the mechanisms inside move a little each time he moved one of the fingers.
Just as with her feet, he could see subtle evidence that this android had been active before being disassembled and stored. In the case of the hand, he could see small residue of nail polish on the fingernails that hadn’t been fully washed off, and there were minute amounts of dust residue under the nails.
Just for fun, Mike pretended to shake the hand, but when he gripped it, he was once again hit with a jolt of familiarity…he was sure he’d shaken this hand before. Not only was it the feel of it…it even looked familiar.
Mike felt the same sense of familiarity with the left hand, but just as with the right hand and both feet, he just couldn’t quite pull the memories together. Still, he didn’t want to get caught up, so he placed both hands back in their molds and moved to the main torso.
The torso too had a plump appearance, though with a slight hourglass shape. It had mechanical stubs on the neck, on both legs just past the groin, and both arms past the biceps. Unlike the other body parts, Mike decided not to attempt to remove the torso, since he was unsure if he could get it back in, due to its apparent weight. Instead, he gently probed the abdomen, the ribs, and the chest. He could feel all of the bones and ribs, exactly where they should be, and her belly even had a slight give to it.
Since he’d already gone this far, Mike lightly groped both breasts, and peeked underneath one of the cups. Due to the level of realism present in the rest of the body, especially the hands and feet, he was not surprised to see nipples, and that the breasts felt perfectly real.
He also peeked under the panties and saw a neat patch of dark brown pubic hair, and what looked like a functional vagina. He even detected a slight womanly aroma from the area.
“Wow, who would’ve stashed such a real android here?” Mike once again asked himself. He admitted that maybe the stunted, almost overweight appearance of the android could potentially be off-putting to some people, but still…
With all the parts examined, and no obvious identifying marks, Mike still had no clue who the android could be…not without the head. He quickly double checked all of the nearby boxes to see if there was an android head in it, but his search turned up no head. It wasn’t until he banged his head on the inside of the case that he finally realized where the head might be.
Mike initially thought it was just a thick layer of foam on the upper section of the case, above the torso, designed for additional shock protection. But, upon closer investigation, he saw that there was a depression that served as a handle. He eagerly grabbed hold and pulled the upper section of the case open, nearly falling back in shock as he saw the head inside.
The head, neatly packed in foam, was that of a young woman in her mid-twenties. She had a pale, plump, rounded face that was spattered all over with freckles. Her thin, dark brown hair was tied into a tight pony tail and was wrapped loosely around the bottom of her chin.
Mike immediately recognized the android…woman, as Lena Schulz, one of the very first officers that Mike ever trained…and, someone he’d been falling in love with.
Mike felt instantly connected with her, because her extremely friendly personality, and even her body type, reminded him of his favorite cousin, who’d been brutally murdered by people who took advantage of her kindness. In remembrance of her, Mike, in later reflection, felt like he was subconsciously protective of Lena, since her friendly personality often caused people to take advantage of her too.
She was posted at his site for almost a year and half, and in that time, he felt like they’d been developing a real chemistry and good working relationship together; she even frequently got him cookies from the onsite café. Just as he was about to make a move and ask her out, however, she suddenly quit and disappeared off the face of the earth.
Mike was devastated, of course, thinking maybe she got cold feet and fled, or that something had happened to her. Whatever the reason, he had very little time to react, because a few days after she left, all hell broke loose.
The security company that he initially worked for suddenly got bombarded with multiple criminal and ethics lawsuits from everyone from private citizens, to entire states, and eventually the FBI. Apparently, they’d been doing everything from stealing from their clients, to full on murdering people who attempted to blow the whistle.
Suffice to say, the client he was assigned to rapidly terminated the contract, and there was a sudden upheaval and purging of the roster. Fortunately, Mike had developed a good trusting relationship with several of the client’s managers, and he was among the few who were permitted to remain posted there with the new security company they brought on; everyone else was given the boot.
Between Mike having to train dozens of officers in a span of a month, where normally he’d only be training one or two a month, the sheer stress of the ordeal practically aged him several years and he nearly forgot about Lena. From time to time, he’d attempted to look her up on social media, but she’d gone completely dark.
A few years later, the new security company lost its contract, and Mike once again had to train a new batch of new officers posted from the security company he now currently worked for.
Eventually, he’d basically blocked her out of his memory, since it was too painful. Still, the few people he tried dating afterwards never seemed to work out, and in hindsight, he figured the buried memories of Lena may have affected them.
In her current state, Lena hardly looked friendly and cheerful, though. Instead, it looked as though she were simply sleeping peacefully, nestled in a foam compartment. After a moment of hesitation, Mike finally grabbed both sides of her head and carefully pulled it out. He was slightly caught off guard by the weight of her head, but he quickly adjusted himself and then sat down with it resting in his lap.
Mike never even came close to thinking Lena was an android. Her personality alone was real enough to convince him, not to mention her body. Mike was now convinced that this Lena android had to have been a custom job, and not a cheap one.
He spent several moments playing with her face, enjoying the feeling of her plump skin and musculature. He could hear tiny servos motors moving beneath her skin, as he played with it. He tried to open the mouth and eyes, but they remained steadfast, due to her inactive state. He was able to part her lips, however, and see her clean, white teeth. More evidence that this was indeed the Lena that he had interacted with was small traces of food, still stuck between her teeth. Fortunately, she had brushed her teeth before being disassembled, so the food had not been able to decompose.
As he played with her face, he realized that most people don’t usually get to see other people in this way. From close up, he could see every single pore on her face, and her face even seemed to have a natural, almost oily moisturized feeling to it like he would expect from a real person. Just like with her feet though, the moisture seemed oddly glued to her head and did not transfer to his fingers.
He then spent some time smelling her hair and enjoying the scent of the shampoo she used before she was dismantled and stored. The smell brought back even more memories of his times with her. He suddenly realized that he should attempt to turn her on somehow, so he turned her head over and over in his hands to find some sort of on switch.
While Mike knew of the existence of androids, he was by no means an expert. He’d often fantasized about getting one at some point in his life, but the more affordable ones had little personality, or realism; androids like Lena would have cost a fortune.
After searching for a bit, he thought he may have found an on switch: a slightly discolored portion of skin just behind her left ear. Having nothing else to try, Mike placed his finger on the section and pressed in.
Mike felt a click as his finger depressed the button underneath her skin, and the discolored section suddenly lit up with a blue light, along with the components inside her open neck. He could now hear the sound of the machinery coming to life, like a computer booting up for the first time in a long time.
The sound of machinery inside her head continued for nearly 30-seconds, nearly lulling him into a calm, before all of a sudden, both her eyes suddenly popped open. He was briefly startled, since both eyes were completely white, but almost as soon as they had opened, small slivers of brown started appearing, coalescing into two realistic looking brown irises. There was no trace of personality in the stare, as the eyes were simply wide open.
Shortly after both eyes opened, they appeared to scan the room from left to right, focusing on Mike’s face when they made contact. While her eyes were scanning, her mouth had also begun to systematically open and close, almost at though she were testing her motor controls. Mike began to feel aroused at this point, because every time her mouth opened and closed, her face servos whined loudly.
Once her mouth finished, it closed and then her eyes began blinking rapidly for several seconds, making a clicking sound each time, before closing. Before Mike could do anything, they opened one more time, but this time in a slower, more natural way. Both brown eyes calmly focused on his, and her face configured itself into a smile, whirring and clicking with each movement.
Mike no longer had any doubt that this was the Lena he was interacted with five years past. That was the exact way she always greeted him, even with the same smile.
“Um, hi Lena,” Mike managed to say, still too shocked and confused to show more emotion than that.
Lena still gave Mike her usual friendly smile, despite his apparent lack of enthusiasm. Her eyes briefly looked as far as her field of vision would allow and then she spoke once more.
“Soooo, I can totally understand that you might be a tad confused right now,” she said with an innocent expression, “But I have two questions first…where am I? and what year is it?”
“You’re in one of the security storage rooms at Cloudtron,” he told her, “And it’s been a little over five years since I last saw you.” While he said the last bit, he fought back a tear, as the emotions suddenly came pouring back.
“Wow, five years…that’s interesting,” Lena said, the she seemed to freeze up for a few seconds before coming back to life. “I’m sorry, but may I please see the current date on your phone…it’s not that I don’t trust you, but my stupid programming needs some sort of confirmation of the current date, and I don’t currently have network access in here.”
“Sure, hold on,” he told her, reaching into his pocket and grabbing his phone. After he unlocked it, he quickly logged into an official government timekeeping website and showed her the current time and date. “Is this good enough?”
“It’s perfect,” Lena smiled, then she froze up once more before coming back, “Thanks Mike, that really helped! I can’t believe I’ve been sitting in some box for the last five years, two months, 17 days, 18 hours, 42 minutes, and seven seconds.”
“Me neither, I also can’t believe that you’re an android,” Mike told her, smiling despite himself at the exact timeframe she had just recited so matter-of-factly.
“Oh yeah, that,” she chuckled nervously, “That’s actually a long story, but I have a more pressing problem at the moment.”
“Yeah, you’re kinda in pieces,” he told her, picking her up and showing her the pieces of her in the box before resting her head back on his lap.
“Well, obviously I know about that silly, I meant a more serious problem,” she laughed.
“What is it?”
“Well, my head would usually have about 15-minutes of emergency power when I’m removed from my torso,” she explained, “However, you may have noticed that my head was running some tests before my personality came online…that dropped me to two minutes.”
“Oh no, is there any way I can plug you in or something?” he asked, frantically searching for a power cord, “Could I attach you to your torso?”
“No, and please stay calm,” she said, still in her friendly voice, “In the compartment that my head was stored in, there should have also been a disc-looking device: Please remove it, plug it into an outlet, and then attach my head to it.”
“Alright,” he said dubiously, gently placing her head down on the cushioned lower section of her box and then reaching up to the upper compartment. Sure enough, tucked just below the head mold, was a metallic looking disc device. Mike quickly pulled it out and then plugged it into a nearby outlet before placing the disc on top of a box, to keep it off the ground.
“Good, now just attach me to it…I’ve only got about 40-seconds left,” Lena said. Mike could swear her voice sounded a little deeper, but he focused on picking her up and bringing her to the strange device. The top of the disc had a round protrusion that appeared to perfectly match the opening of her neck. He clicked her head onto the protrusion and then watched as the device powered up and integrated with her head.
“Ahh, that’s much better…thanks!” Lena said, almost appearing to sigh contentedly.
“You’re welcome,” he told her, “What is that thing anyway?”
“It’s called an Artificial Neck Apparatus,” she explained, “or just A.N.A. for short…basically, it’s so my head can remain online even if my body is being worked on…or, in this case, dismantled,” she added wryly.
“Wow, cool,” he said absently, “So, you’re an android…have you always been one, or did you convert from a human body?”
“Yes and no,” she answered, “I’ve always been an android, but I’m actually a copy of a real person.”
“Huh, interesting…and, did Stryker Security Services know you were an android?” he asked her.
“Yes…actually, the whole reason I was built and posted her is a rather interesting story,” she smiled, “See, Triple S was having a PR problem with a lack of diversity, but for some reason they couldn’t actually entice real women to join their security force, so they decided to build women instead.”
“What!? You mean to tell me you were assigned here to fill our gender gap?” he spluttered.
“Yeah,” she said apologetically, “And, to make us appear as real as possible, they sought out people who were dying and paid them to the donate their physical appearance, personality, and even memories in exchange for a generous payout to their families.”
“Wow, that sounds like it cost SSS a ton of money…wouldn’t it have been cheaper just to settle any lawsuits?” Mike asked incredulously.
“No, they only spent a few million on ordering a few hundred androids like myself,” she explained, “But it would have been hundreds of millions in lawsuits and PR costs.”
“Ah, I suppose that make sense,” Mike nodded, “So, was there was a real Lena Schulz?” Mike asked, feeling a bit more comfortable about his chances with the android Lena if she was actually based off a real person.
“Yes, though her last name wasn’t actually Schulz,” Lena laughed, “Unfortunately I’m prohibited from disclosing her real name, due to my programming, but SSS decided to give me the last name ‘Schulz’, because the real Lena had German ancestry and Schulz in German translates roughly to ‘sheriff’.”
Mike chuckled at that…it was just something SSS would do. “Wow, so can you tell me why you ended up in this box, and dismantled?”
“Well, I was going to see my registered owner, the SSS District Manager, for my weekly check-in,” she explained, “Usually that’s when I would receive new programming, updates, and hardware…but this time, he seemed panicked. He told me that he was going to have to decommission me and have me sent back to the factory, so I quickly showered up and got dressed in my default undies. The last memory I have before seeing you is being shut off remotely.”
The matter-of-fact way Lena explained it all shocked Mike to his core. “Wow, so you just allowed yourself to be shut off, knowing you were going to be destroyed?!”
“Yeah,” she said simply, “Mike, you have to understand that even though I’m based on a real person, I’m also an android and I have no choice but to adhere to my programming…in this case, my programming was to follow the orders of my registered owner.” After seeing the still shocked look in his eyes, she then smiled and said, “Look, I don’t want you to get the impression that I wanted to be decommissioned, but I literally had no choice…and, I was truly happy when I came back online a few minutes ago and saw your face looking down on me.”
“Really?” Mike asked, his voice catching a little.
“Yeah, we were best buds, right?” she asked, “I’m not always certain if my human emulation is allowing me to pick up certain cues from real people, but I am certain that we were very close.”
“Yeah, we certainly were…actually, I was planning on asking you out on a first date the next time I saw you,” Mike admitted, his face instantly turning scarlet.
“Aww, that’s so sweet!” Lena gushed, “I had a feeling you might be working up to it, so I was actually planning on bringing that up with my owner, to see if he would okay me being in a relationship…but then he just suddenly decommissioned me.” Her face flushed a bit too as she said this.
Mike felt instantly revitalized upon hearing her confirmation that she returned his affection. Before he knew it, he had quite a boyish smile on his face.
“Hey, Earth to Mike, what’s going on in that head of yours?” Lena shouted playfully at him.
Mike quickly snapped himself out of his reverie and smiled at her. “Sorry, I was just a bit elated…so, he never told you why you were being decommissioned?”
“No,” Lena answered, “and my programming didn’t permit me to ask him.”
“Well, I think I have a good idea,” he told her, and then he spent the next several minutes recounting the chaos that ensued shortly after.
“So, your previous owner ended up committing suicide the day after you were disassembled,” Mike finished, “So it looks like between the investigations, destruction of evidence, his suicide, and the change in administration, you were simply lost in the shuffle.”
Lena had been paying very close attention to Mike’s story, but as he finished, it suddenly looked like she had frozen up. Mike gave her a few seconds before waving his hand in front of her face and saying, “Hey, Lena, you okay?!”
Several seconds went by before Lena suddenly snapped out of it, but something appeared to be wrong. Her eyes were blinking out of order, and her face was twitching.
“Iiiiimmmm sooooory Mike,” she managed to say, parts of her voice electronically distorted, and her voice unsynchronized from her mouth. She then froze up again for about ten seconds, seeming to do a quick reboot or something, before coming back. “Ah, sorry about that, but I’m afraid some of my systems were acting up.”
“What do you mean?” Mike asked, genuinely concerned for her.
“Well, at risk of diminishing myself, I’m kinda like a car. If I’m not run for lengthy periods of time, my systems begin to degrade. Fortunately, my memories are all backed up on a private server, but I still need to run a full-scale diagnostic on my A.I. systems in order to prevent any more errors, “she explained, “Don’t worry, I was programmed with a very comprehensive set of diagnostic tools.”
“What will that entail?”
“Well, unfortunately I’m going to have to shut off all my personality software, which basically means my human emulation will be off,” she told him, “And, it’ll probably take up to two hours to complete.”
Mike was a little disappointed that his reunion with Lena was being interrupted so soon, but he then remembered that he wasn’t even done cleaning the storage room yet, so this gave him the perfect time to complete it.
“Aww, I was hoping to learn some more about you though,” Mike said with a disappointed voice.
“Oh, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to talk to me while I’m running the diagnostic,” she assured him.
“Well, you can still talk with my A.I. All you have to do is say something, or ask something, and add my name to the beginning and my A.I. will do it’s best to answer or respond to your query,” she told him with a helpful smile, “Unfortunately, it won’t have any of my friendly personality, so it’ll speak with my voice, but it will sound somewhat empty.”
“I can live with that,” Mike smiled, “I just want you feeling better, and I have to finish cleaning in here anyway.”
“Good!” she beamed, “Now, do you have any more questions before I start?”
“Yes, will you have any memory of what happens during this ‘talk and speak’ mode?” Mike asked her.
Lena laughed at his basic description. Then she gave him a cheerful smile and replied, “Yes, and no. I will only have memory files saved regarding the questions you ask me, or whatever you happen to say to me,” she answered him, “But, when you aren’t speaking to me, I’ll sort of just be staring ahead blankly waiting for you to speak with nothing recording to my memory.”
“Okay, good to know” Mike told her, “You can start whenever you’re ready.”
Lena merely nodded and then put on a stoic expression. “Personality programs suspended, beginning full diagnostic.” After her somewhat robotic speech, she fell silent and did nothing but stare blankly ahead, blinking only occasionally.
Just to be certain that she was indeed offline, Mike waved his hands in front of her face several times, and even poked her nose, but got no response. It seemed that she would only respond to a spoken question or statement directed at her, just as she said.
While there were many questions he wanted to ask her, and just as many things to tell her, Mike decided to discipline himself first. He’d already made a pile of items to take to the loading dock trash heap, so he threw the remaining items in the cart he’d placed outside the room and then hauled it all there.
The first trip to and from the loading dock winded him, so after loading up the next pile of junk, he decided to take a break and ask Lena a few questions.
“Lena, can you hear me?” he asked her, simply experimenting this first time.
Lena’s previously stoic face once more came to life with a series of whirs and clicks and her voice replied, “Yes Mike, I can hear you.” She answered dispassionately, just as she had warned him, but Mike did not mind.
“Ah, good… um, were there any times while you were working here that your android nature was almost revealed?”
“Yes, twice” she answered simply, “Fortunately, both instances were while I was on grave shift and no one found out.”
“The first time I did not properly calibrate my charging schedule to account for my new hours, so I nearly ran out of power and had to plug myself in while I was posted in the garage,” she answered, “The second time I was electrocuted by a faulty light switch and that forced a reboot to mediate the overload.”
“Wow, I’m glad you were okay,” Mike said.
“Thank you,” she said, though dispassionately, “did you have any more questions?”
“Were you the only android that SSS ever posted here?”
“No, there was one other android posted here during SSS’ tenure,” she answered.
Mike was quite shocked to hear that answer, to be certain, since SSS had only been around for a short time before he was posted here. That meant the android was likely someone he had worked with. Trying to rack his brain for guesses, he finally asked, “Who was it?”
“What!? Elena!” Mike was shocked. Elena was a young, 20-year old woman who had started working here two months before Mike was hired. She had a wild and energetic personality, and a lazy work ethic. She would often arrive late, and dilly dally while working, causing many headaches for her coworkers. The only reason people tolerated her was because she had a sob story of being a foster child, and she could be adorable at times. One day, she left to go meet her real parents and never returned.
“Why was she replaced?” Mike asked, though he had a fairly good idea why.
“Unlike with me, SSS used an intern as a model for Elena-Bot’s body and personality, in order to save money. They didn’t bother conducting a thorough personality profile on her and were shocked by her behavior here. Eventually, they had no choice but to make an excuse to remove her and decommission her. A few months later, I was brought online to replace her.”
“Interesting…was the real Lena an intern as well?” he asked.
“No, she was the daughter of one of the upper-ups who was dying of terminal cancer…she donated her image and personality to pay her hospital fees so her family would not have to.”
“Wow, that seems cold,” Mike grimaced, “Well, I’m still glad, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to meet you.”
Lena said nothing, but merely asked, “Do you have any more questions?”
“Not right now,” Mike responded, feeling he’d rested up enough for the time being to take the next load of junk; Lena did not reply, but went stoic once more.
Mike spent another 10-minutes or so hauling the next cart of junk and disposing of it in the appropriate areas, all the while thinking of more things to ask Lena. When he returned, he took another rest break.
This time, instead of immediately asking her a question, he decided to lean in and get a closer look at her head, since it was inactive the previous time. Despite Lena staring ahead blankly, she still looked quite cute. He could actually see the moisture on her eyes, sustained by the random blinking her systems dictated from time to time.
Mike tried opening her mouth again, but it once again remained closed. “Lena, could you please open your mouth so I can look inside?”
“Sure, but please do not attempt to conduct any sexual acts while my mouth is opened,” Lena warned, “Since you are not my registered owner, you are not permitted.” Her mouth then slowly whirred open and locked into place with an audible click.
“Thanks,” Mike said, though he received no reply. He then leaned in for a closer look inside her mouth.
He quickly noticed that the inside of her mouth was almost completely dry, except for a similar type of moistness that was present on the rest of her body. It appeared to be some sort of smart sweat/saliva or something that was designed to adhere only to her body and nothing else. He played around with her tongue for over a minute, enjoying the texture and realism present, before focusing on her teeth.
Even though she was an android, her teeth were not perfectly white like you might see on a supermodel that had bleached their teeth. Instead, they appeared to be deliberately stained in just the right places one might expect from an imperfect tooth brushing so that she could pass even more so as a human.
“Lena, you can close your mouth now,” Mike finally said, after several more minutes. He withdrew his fingers and watched as her mouth whirred closed and her face resumed a stoic look.
“Lena, how is it that after more than five years in storage, your skin and mouth still have moisture?” He asked her, wanting to know for sure.
Lena’s face once more sprung to life and responded. “My body uses a smart nano-bio-serum dermal coating designed to last for up to ten years. It’s primary purposes are to give my dermal layers a realistic look and feel, to prevent them from desiccating, and to protect them from dust & dirt.”
“Wow, I wish my body had something like that,” Mike said, absently feeling his hands that had been dried out by all the dust that had been in the room prior to his vacuuming. Because the comment was not directed at Lena, however, she did not reply.
Mike decided to test the veracity of her claim that her skin was basically dust-proof, so he quickly pulled one of her hands back out of its mold and ran it across a nearby box that was still covered with dust. While the fingers did capture some of the dust from the box, it did not smear like it would have on a human, and it actually brushed right off, leaving her hand looking perfectly clean.
Mike placed the hand back in its mold once more and decided to go on another trash run, this one taking him more than twenty minutes since he decided to knock out all the remaining bins at once. By the time he returned, he had only to neatly organize the various cabinets and drawers in the room. He also had less than an hour left in his shift, so he chose to focus on the work instead of chatting with Lena’s A.I.
When Mike finished with the cleaning, he sat back down in front of Lena’s head and stared into its eyes. He marveled at the extreme realism present in both brown orbs before they suddenly closed and reopened.
“Diagnostic complete,” Lena announced in her usual cheerful voice.
Mike, although briefly startled, couldn’t help but smile. “Well, how are you?”
“There were a few bugs caused by my extended downtime, but I think I’ve resolved the more serious ones,” she reported, “The rest can easily be repaired when I’m able to update my software later.”
“Why can’t you update your software now? Mike asked.
“Well, for one thing, I can barely get a signal in here,” she told him, “But most importantly, since my previous owner passed and my registration period has expired, I am now an unregistered android and am unable to access the update server.”
“Oh no…is there anything we can do to re-register you?”
“Yes, but not here…I need a stronger network connection, and the longer I stay here like this, especially now that you’ve cleaned this room, the more likely it is I’ll be discovered by someone else.”
“You’re right,” he told her. While before he wouldn’t have given her storage compartment a second look, it stuck out like a sore thumb now that the room was spotless. This presented a new problem, since the box was quite large and heavy. “The question is, how are we going to get you out of here?”
“If my memories of the site layout are accurate, we’re pretty much right next to the garage,” Lena answered, can’t you just pull your car up to the second-floor door and lift my box in?”
“I could, but there’s a camera watching that door, and the last thing I want is there to be footage of me hauling a large box of expensive electronics into my car,” he told her, “we’d have to go to the 2M level, which means I’d have to haul you up about 10 steps, and I’m assuming you aren’t light.”
“No, including the weight of my body, the whole case weighs about 250lbs.” She grimaced.
“Yeah…so, is there anyway I could just reassemble you so you could walk into my car?”
“No. Again, I’m kinda like a car. In a nutshell, my body relies on a bio-electrical fluid in order to move properly, and without it, I risk seriously damaging my systems. That fluid would have been drained from my body prior to my disassembly and storage, since it would have otherwise coagulated and permanently damaged my body during the last five years.”
“Ah, I see…is this stuff easy to get and inexpensive?”
“Well, it was five years ago, but I would hope it is much cheaper now…for the meanwhile, you’ll have to find a way to get me out of here,” she said.
“Hmm…maybe I could carry you into my car piece by piece?” He suggested.
“And what would you tell someone if they saw you carrying out female body parts?” She asked pointedly.
“Damn, you’re right...ugh, I guess I’ll have to do it the hard way then.” Mike said. He then looked around the room and saw his only other option: a hand truck and some spare extension cords that he could use as straps. He also found an old car jack, that he could use to lift the case up a bit so Mike could more easily put it in his trunk.
“Alright, I’ll manage with this hand truck,” he told her, gathering all of the materials near the case.
“Ok,” she nodded.
“I’m assuming I’ll need to power you off before putting you back in there?” He asked, not looking forward to basically killing her.
“Yeah, but don’t worry, next time I won’t have to go through that lengthy startup routine,” she assured him, “My personality will just automatically boot up, since it will have only been a short time.”
“Good,” he said, sighing with relief, “I only live about ten minutes away, with traffic, so it won’t be long,” he told her, “Are you even aware of the passage of time while you’re powered off?”
“Only vaguely,” she answered cryptically, “My personality is offline, but some of my ambient systems still track the passage of time for logging purposes…though not when I was decommissioned and disassembled, which is why I asked what year it was.”
“Oh, that makes sense.”
“Anyway, I suppose we should get this over with,” she mock sighed, “I’m ready to be put back in storage,” she told him.
“Ok,” he said. Not wanting to stretch this out any further, he quickly pressed the power toggle behind her left ear and watched as her head wound down. He was surprised how peacefully she shut down, as opposed to how quickly she powered on before. Once he was sure she was powered down, he disconnected her from the A.N.A and placed both it and her head back in the upper compartment of the case. He then secured the head compartment and the case and began securing it into the hand truck with the extension cords, as well as some duct tape he found.
Upon further reflection of his moving plan, Mike decided to instead relocate his vehicle to the 3rd floor garage, since the incline was only three steps instead of ten. He made quick work of relocating his car, and then he returned to the storage room and wheeled Lena’s case, and the jack, out of the storage room, into the nearby elevator, and up to the 3rd floor.
For some reason, the 3rd floor garage elevator exited into a balcony overlooking one of the lobbies, but since it was flat, Mike did not mind the extra length he had to travel. He then made quick work of the three steps, carefully lifting the hand truck, and then wheeled it to his car, which was in a nearby spot with the trunk already opened. Mike then placed the whole hand truck on the jack and cranked it up to its highest setting, allowing Mike to gently tip the case with hand truck still attached over the lip of his trunk and neatly inside.
Smacking both hands satisfactorily, Mike closed the trunk and then returned to the storage room to return the jack, and to finish tidying up some final things. Fortunately, removing Lena’s case alone made the storage room that much cleaner, so he merely organized a few of the loose items and then took some photos of the way the room looked after being cleaned for his report before securing everything and heading up to the office to punch out.
Mike tried to remain calm the entire time, still slightly paranoid he may have been seen potentially stealing something from the building, but he remembered that his manager explicitly told him that if he found something he liked in there, he could take it…no questions asked. Still, Lena was a very expensive treasure, so Mike figured they may have taken exception to her. Regardless, he received no queries while in the office, and was able to return to his car unmolested.
Just as he drove out of the garage and headed onto the road home, he looked into the rear-view mirror at the case sticking out of the trunk, since he’d had to expand it by folding over the rear seats, and said, “Don’t worry Lena, we’ll be home soon.”
Mike was fortunate that he was driving home on a holiday, as there were fewer people on the roads. However, he drove home at the speed limit, and made sure to follow all the traffic rules, just in case there was some bored police officer who might pull him over and enquirer about the case in his trunk. He knew he was being paranoid, but still…he basically took a piece of equipment from his work that cost several tens of thousands of dollars, and he did not want to take any chances.
He finally arrived at his townhouse after a 12-minute drive, and backed into his garage, breathing a sigh of relief when the door of the garage finally rolled all the way down.
“Okay, now to wrestle her into the house,” he told himself, mentally planning how he would do it. Although his place was as neat and orderly as he’d just made the storage room at work, he wasn’t sure where the best place to work on Lena’s body would be. After several moments, he finally decided on the bar portion of the kitchen counter.
His decision made, Mike left Lena in his car while he rushed inside to clear a path into the kitchen. He moved the area rugs out of the way in the hallway, picked up some boxes, and then cleared off and cleaned the counter. He then placed a recently cleaned blanket on top of the counter so he could place Lena’s body parts on it, and hide her quickly if necessary, and then brought several of his laptops over.
Once he had everything set up, Mike then took steps to ensure no one could spy on him: he pulled the privacy screens down at the front door, activated the Electrochromic Windows, and activated his sound dampening systems. With those activated, Mike could be sure no one would be able to see or hear him while he worked on Lena.
Now that all was ready, Mike headed back out into the garage and opened the trunk of his car. Fortunately, the way he’d loaded Lena’s case in, all he had to do was gently tip it over the edge from the inside of the car and ease it down to the ground via the handtruck it was still secured to. Technically, Mike had stolen this, however since it was one of the items hidden in the stockroom, he figured no one even knew it was in there. Once the case was out of the car, he closed the trunk and the interior access and wheeled the case into his home, lifting it up one step from the garage, and then into his kitchen/dining area.
Mike took a moment to recover from the effort of hauling the crate the shirt distance into the kitchen before entering in the access code on the crate and opening it up once more. He once again pinched himself when he saw Lena’s body neatly packed into the various foam molds for each of her dismembered parts, but Mike powered through the wonder and focused on unpacking her head.
All his old memories came flooding back into him once more when he saw her head and he couldn’t wait to make new memories with her. He gently removed her head and placed it with great care on the nearby couch while he set up the A.N.A. near his laptops. He then lifted her head up and clicked it in place on the A.N.A. and pressed the power toggle behind her left ear.
Just as Lena had promised him earlier, she did not go through the lengthy startup routine that she had gone through before. Instead, her eyes immediately popped open and briefly scanned her field of vision before focusing on his with a smile. “Ooh, we made it!”
“Yeah, welcome to my humble abode,” he told her, moving out of her way so she could see the room she was now in.
“Wow, this is a nice place! It’s much better than that dump studio apartment my previous owner had me staying in,” she said, her eyes quickly scanning what she could see of the room; apparently, she could swivel around on the A.N.A.
“Thanks! I’m friends with the person who owns this duplex, so she offered me a discounted rate in exchange for doing her chores; she lives in the unit next door,” Mike explained.
“Aww, that’s nice…anyway, I hope I wasn’t too much trouble carrying out of the building,” she told him with a concerned look.
“Well, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” Mike admitted honestly, “I ended up using the third floor instead so there would be fewer steps to lift you up,” he explained, “After that, I was more concerned with staying calm so no one would suspect anything.”
“Well, you have always been a little paranoid,” Lena laughed, “I remember when you were training me and kept looking over your shoulder just because you were listening to music on the computers.”
“Well, technically we aren’t supposed to,” Mike defended, “and, growing up with three brothers who liked sneaking up on me also honed my paranoia a bit,” he added.
“I see, the real Lena was an only child, so I wouldn’t know,” she shrugged, though the shrug looked odd since she was disconnected from her body.
“Anyway, now that I’ve got you at my place, what should we do next?” he asked her.
“Well, I can tell that you’ve got a strong Wi-Fi connection here,” she told him, seeming to zone out a bit as she said this, “So, you should have no trouble registering me, and once you do, I’ll be able to download what I’m sure will be a plethora of software and firmware updates from the past five years.”
“Okay, now how do I go about registering you?” he asked, since he’d never had an android before.
“In my case, there should be a small compartment below my body,” she explained, “Inside should be a set of clothes, my purse, and a small computer. Grab the computer and turn it on,” she instructed, “It has software designed to interface with my body.”
“Okay,” Mike said, doing as he was told. Sure enough, on the bottom section of the case was a small drawer that Mike was able to pull out. Inside was a set of basic clothes, Lena’s purse, and a small 2-in-1 laptop computer. He grabbed it, plugged it in near her head, and turned it on.
“Don’t worry about the password,” she warned him, “I can access it remotely and log it in for you.”
“Thanks,” Mike said, “So, if I’m not your registered owner, how come you’re just giving me access to your systems like this?”
“Well, you may not be my registered owner, but a few months before I was shut off, I did ask my owner if I could register you as a friend,” she told him, “Basically, having you registered as a friend allows me to give you basic systems access in case I were to break down or something…I would say this qualifies.”
“Indeed,” he agreed. He was touched that she considered him a friend even before him discovering her; it validated his feelings for her.
Once the computer booted up, Lena zone out momentarily as she interfaced with it. Then, a splash screen with her company logo popped up, followed by her diagnostic suites. Before he could do anything, however, the software on the computer began auto-downloading/installing five years’ worth of updates, with an estimate of 10 minutes to complete.
“I figured it would do that,” Lena frowned, but I’ll need to do that anyway once I’m registered, so…anyway, maybe you could show me around your place while we wait,” she suggested.
“Sure, though hopefully it’ll be ‘our’ place soon,” he smiled, detaching her from the A.N.A and lifting her up into his arms.
“Well, of course it will…I’d have no other place to stay!” she giggled matter-of-factly.
Mike’s heart warmed at that. Although he enjoyed his solitude, he did occasionally miss having company and it would be nice having Lena around, regardless of whatever their status.
“Well, here’s the main common area and kitchen,” he told her, holding her head out so she could see. The kitchen was rather small, with a tiny pantry smaller than a closet. It had all the trimmings one needed in a kitchen. “I’ll be working on your body on my bar here,” he continued.
“What’s up with the blanket?” she asked, “Is your counter dirty? I seem to recall you being quite the neat freak.”
“Oh, I am, and it is clean,” he assured her, “But this way I could cover you up in case someone comes by to visit unexpectedly, like my parents or a neighbor.”
“Ah, that makes sense.”
He then walked her into the adjoining common area, which had a door leading to the small backyard, a couch, his computer station, and media center. The only other inhabitant of his home was currently lounging on her cat tree next to the TV.
“Awww, who’s this?” Lena asked, spotting the black cat.
“This is Mia, a rescue cat,” he smiled, bringing Lena over and lifting her up to the tier Mia was resting on. Mia woke up and sniffed Lena’s face for a few seconds and gave an approving purr before falling back asleep.
“Looks like she approves of you,” Mike complimented.
“Good, the real Lena really liked cats too.”
“Then we’ll get along just nicely.” Mike nodded, then continued with the tour. He briefly showed her the hallway leading from the front door, and the half bath right next to it, along with the garage across from it, before taking her up the stairs. The stairs went up eight steps to a large window, and then turned around to head the rest of the way upstairs.
There was a small landing at the top of the stairs, with a closet that had a washer/dryer inside. The top floor had two bedrooms, only one of which Mike was using. He took her into the vacant one first, showing her the bathroom, closet, and space of the room. “I’ve been using this room for storage,” he told her, “But I suppose we could turn it into a room for you to use…I’m not sure if you’ll want to sleep with me or not,” he blushed.
“Why wouldn’t I want to sleep with you?” she asked, “Once you register me, you’ll be my owner and you can make me your girlfriend or wife, whatever you want.”
“Really?! Just like that?”
“Yeah, just like that,” she told him.
“Nice, although I was actually referring to the fact that I snore apparently...really loudly, from what a previous girlfriend told me.” Mike blushed even harder now, his face scarlet.
“You don’t have to worry about that,” she told him in a reassuring voice, sensing the discomfort in his voice, “As an android, I can’t be bothered by snoring.”
“That’s good to know,” he told her with a notable sound of relief in his voice. “Well, the final stop on the tour is my, or rather our, room,” he said, carrying her back onto the landing and into the next room on their left, leading into his bedroom.
His bedroom had a queen size bed in the middle of the wall on the far side between two windows. On the wall opposite the door was a balcony with a sliding door covered by blue shades. To the left of the door was a small hallway with two closets on either side, with a door leading into his bathroom at the end.
“Well, what do you think?” he asked, swiveling her in his arms so her face was looking up at his.
“It’s a really nice place,” she smiled up at him, “perfect for two people.”
“Good,” he smiled back, “So, are you going to want that other room for anything?”
“I suppose I could use it for my computers and stuff, and to set up a maintenance bay for myself,” she decided, after thinking about it for a while.
“Do you even have any money?” he asked, wondering how she was planning on getting any of that stuff.
“I should, actually,” she told him, zoning out momentarily as she accessed the internet, he assumed, “Aha! It’s still there.”
“Well, I may be an android, but I was still paid for the work I did,” she told him, “basically I used it to pay for any repairs and maintenance, as well as food and rent.”
“Ah, that’s nice of them,” he said, “How much do you still have?”
“A lot,” she said, “I invested the surplus of each week and it has grown tenfold while I’ve been in storage…I should not only be able to pay for any stuff I lost in the last five years, but also for the upgrades my body will be needing.”
“Good!” Mike told her, secretly relieved he wouldn’t need to fork over any of his money to restore her.
“Now, aside from registering me, you’ll just need to restore my body so we can see what parts I’ll be needing to order,” she reported.
“Is your diagnostic terminal done updating?” he asked her, eager to get started.
“Hang on a second,” she told him, zoning out momentarily before responding, “It’s rebooting now, we should head back down now.”
“Okay.” Mike then walked her back down to the kitchen and clicked her back onto the A.N.A.
“Ahh, much better…I only had about three minutes of power left,” she told him, looking noticeably relieved. Mike, however, was focused on the diagnostic terminal, which had finally finished updating and was now in the process of integrating with Lena’s systems.
As soon as they linked up, a splash screen popped up briefly displaying Lena’s model number and company logo and then several tabs appeared that appeared to give him access to virtually every system she had. Unfortunately, he couldn’t access any of the tabs, since the terminal showed she was currently unregistered.
“Good, it’s confirming my unregistered status,” Lena sighed, “All you should have to do is click the link near the bottom and it should take you to the registration page,” she said in her usual cheerful voice.
“And that’s it, then you’ll be my android?” he asked incredulously, finding it hard to believe it could really be this easy.
“Well, not quite,” she said, scrunching her face, “After you pay the fee and I confirm it via my wireless link, my personality will shut down and I’ll enter setup mode,” she explained.
Mike was a little worried at that. “Oh no, does that mean it’ll reset you to factory settings and delete you or something?!”
Lena laughed quite hard at his reaction, her laughter instantly calming Mike down a bit; he like her laugh. “No, of course not silly! Don’t worry…I mean, technically deleting me is one of the options you can decide on, but given how much you like me, I trust you’ll decide to keep me, and mostly intact.”
“What does that mean?” he asked her, very confused by the matter-of-fact way she was talking about her functions.
“Oh, basically you’ll be able to reconfigure some of the settings my previous owner may have selected, such as your status,” she said with a wink, “And customize my personality, behavior, and even appearance so it is more to your liking,” she explained with a smile, almost like a saleswoman.
“Ah, that actually sounds nice,” Mike nodded, “I’d rather have your configured to me than someone else.”
“Exactly! So hurry up and register me already, gosh!” she giggled, “Oh, and I promise I’ll reimburse you the registration fee,” she promised.
Mike chuckled as he did that, and waited as a surprisingly simple registration page popped up. It gave him a brief synopsis of her current status, mentioning that her previous registration had lapsed and that the previous owner was deceased, making her up for grabs to anyone who wanted to register her. The fee, $1,000, was easily in his budget, although Lena promised to reimburse him, so he promptly entered his credit card information and then processed the payment to register Lena as his android.
A few moments later, Lena suddenly froze up and then stated in a detached tone, “New owner registered, this unit now belongs to Mike Holland. Please begin new owner setup process.”
As soon as she finished speaking, a new screen popped up on the terminal allowing him to reconfigure Lena to his preferences. Because she was already configured by a previous owner, it gave him the option to either change them or keep them. During this process, Lena’s personality appeared to be suspended, as several of the options appeared to be for her personality settings.
After quickly perusing through each submenu of options before deciding to change anything, Mike quickly realized that many of the options were preconfigured simply from what he discovered was the real Lena’s uploaded personality, rather than from whatever the previous owner had selected. Because Mike liked the real Lena’s personality, he decided not to create a new profile, but to simply make minor tweaks.
He started with the obvious, which was selecting his personal settings. As she told told him, he was currently set up as “friend”, which allowed her to behave a bit friendlier and discreetly than if she were interacting with a stranger or someone classified as either Coworker, Acquaintance, or Stranger, where she would behave in a default manner or professionally. He found that she could independently classify people as either Stranger, Coworker, or Acquaintance in real-time and with no guidance from her owner, much like Humans could, simply based on her interactions with them.
Aside from those four personal classifications, there were several more: Boyfriend, Friends-With-Benefits, Spouse, Family Member (with option to select which family member status, such as brother, cousin, etc…), and Enemy/Restricted. Each classification had multiple sub-classifications for extra clarity and these, along with Friend, had to be approved by her owner.
Mike was truly astonished with the level of detail her creators put into her programming. For fun, he selected each one to see what would happen, and he could actually see a simulation of the changes in real-time, from all of the sliders changing automatically, to even a small window simulating a real conversation he might have with her, complete with audio and a text window with her thought processes. He found it particularly amusing to simulate him being an Enemy, since her normally cheerful demeanor suddenly turned cold and hostile in the simulated video.
After much consideration, Mike finally decided to change his status to Boyfriend, since he felt it was more fitting. It would allow her to open up with him a lot more, but not to the same level as Husband would. Despite her android nature, he still wanted to earn her trust and devotion, and work up to marriage the normal way.
Because he had been classified as Coworker for two years, and Friend for several months, the Boyfriend classification naturally added them to the process and slightly up ticked several of the sliders by a few percentage points. He saw that she still had a bit of discretion in her actions, despite the changes he made, so he chose to respect that.
After tweaking a few more of his personal settings, such as adding his like, dislikes, and fetishes, he saved the settings and moved on to other tabs. The next one he tried was more her personal settings, such as if he wanted her to like something that she currently disliked. The only thing he changed here was to slide her preference to sports to zero, since he completely disliked sports. Since her slider was only set at 10% anyway, he felt it would barely be noticeable, but he didn’t want to take any chances that she might want to start following a team.
Next was her physical characteristics, though since she was based on a real person, he didn’t want to change too much, not that he could. He could change her eye color, but after cycling through all the natural eye colors, and several unnatural ones, he chose to keep her default dark brown color. The one major thing he did change was her hair. Not the color, since he liked her dark brown hair, but he programmed her to have minimal to no body hair, including a hairless vagina. Because her body was still disassembled and offline, nothing happened yet, but he hoped to see it happen when he got her put back together.
Continuing with the physical traits, he was surprised to see that he could add freckles or even tattoos. He played around a bit with the tattoos, watching them magically appear and disappear on her face and neck, before reverting it back to default. The only other area was for makeup, so he listed his preferences as minimal to no makeup.
The next tab was for her voice. He was not surprised to see that the current option was set to: Upl.Pers.Lena. He loved her voice, so he chose not to give her another one, but the one thing he did play around with was giving her an accent. Included in the voice option was a list of languages she had pre-installed; she currently had English (US), and German. Her accent was currently set to: General American. Mike, after careful consideration, decided to add in the next category: German (Hint), so she would speak with a hint of a German accent; he had a weakness for European accents. In addition, he decided to have her add French, Spanish, and Russian to her list of languages, so she could help him with translations of the common spoken languages. Clicking those popped up a message that they would be added to her next update queue.
The final tab was for any skills she might need to better assist him. Her previous owner, no surprise, had added numerous customer service skill packages, along with basic self-defense, first-aid, and safety packages. Mike decided to add: Cooking, Housekeeping, Accounting, Gaming, and, of course, sex packages. Just as with the languages, these also told him they would be added to her next update queue. After he applied those settings, the final page merely congratulated him on his ownership of Lena and informed him that he could modify these settings at anytime using the terminal or an app on his phone or tablet devices. The only thing left to do was hit save and allow Lena to come back online. He looked at the clock and saw that he’d been customizing her for nearly an hour, but with all the options available, he wasn’t surprised. He clicked Save and then watched a progress bar appear, indicating his options were being applied.
A short time later, it pinged and Lena appeared to do a quick reboot, bowing her head and closing her eyes before sprinting back to life moments later with a series of whirs. Mike absently noticed that some small amount of hairs under her nose fell off her face as she appeared to be booting back up. When her Human personality finally came back online seconds later, she gave him a smile that instantly warmed his heart, once filled with love.
“Oh Mike, I’m so happy you decided to keep me, and to make me your girlfriend,” she told him, the hint of German accent now evident, “And you kept me roughly 90% the same too,” she added with a wink, “Ooh, and I’ve got several new packages added to my download queue too.” She was practically giggling with excitement over the changes he’d made to her, and the fact that he was now her owner. Mike couldn’t help but smile.
“Yeah, I don’t like sports, and I thought you might sound nicer with a hint of a German accent,” he blushed.
“Well, I suppose it makes sense, since I do have German installed as a second language,” she shrugged, “And I hear some guys are turned on by accents,” she winked.
Mike’s face turned pure scarlet now, inciting more giggles from Lena. Lena then looked around in brief confusion. “Hey, how come you haven’t laid my body parts out yet?”
Mike quickly looked down on the kitchen floor at the case that still contained her dismembered body. “Oh, I got so caught up in configuring you, I completely forgot,” he said, smacking his head, “It took a lot longer than I thought it would,” he admitted.
“Well yeah, I’m a very complicated machine…and a girl,” she joked.
“Whoa, I’m not gonna go there,” Mike said, holding his hands in out mockingly.
“No worries, you know I don’t offend easily,” she laughed, “Anyway, hurry up and get my body up on the table,” she told him seriously, “Oh, and don’t try connecting any of the pieces yet. That’s literally the last thing we’ll do after we’ve swapped out any hardware that’s degraded,” she told him.
“Okay,” he nodded, bending down to the case and pulling out her left arm. He decided he was going to place the limbs on the counter facing away from Lena’s head, much in the same way a coroner might place dismembered body parts on an examination table. He placed both arms apart from one another, leaving enough room in between for where here torso would end up going, and then he placed both her hands just below the arms. He then pulled both her legs out and laid them down just below the arms, and then pulled out both feet. As he pulled her feet out, he was suddenly overcome by a wave of guilt.
“Lena, I’m gonna be honest with you,” he told her, placing the left foot down and reaching for the right foot, “But, before I knew it was you in the box, I took each part of your body out, minus the torso because of its size, and examined them. I was looking for makers marks or serial codes or something, or any clue, including smells…but I didn’t take your underwear off,” he told her, getting it all out quickly and bracing himself.
Instead of looking mad, however, Lena appeared totally understanding. “Hey, it’s okay,” she assured him, “I totally understand…I mean, hey, if I found a box with a dismantled male android in it, I’d most likely do the same things you did,” she laughed, “Heck, even a female one.”
Mike, laughing nervously at first, joined with her in relief.
“Did you at least peek?” she then asked.
“Hmm what now?” he asked, shifting his eyes back and forth.
“Come on, you were looking everywhere for serial numbers and whatnot before you found my head,” she told him knowingly, “So, did you peek?” she asked again, with a mischievous look on her face.
“Yes, I did,” he admitted with a blush.
“Aha, I knew it,” she celebrated, nodding her head on the A.N.A. a few times. “Don’t worry, I don’t mind…technically, a peek was permitted under your then Friend status, and your honesty won’t ding you any points in my system,” she assured him.
“Phew,” he said, jokingly wiping his forehead. “And, I must say, I wasn’t disappointed,” he told her, placing her right foot down.
“Thanks,” she said, appearing serious, “Even though I’m an android, I still had body image issues with my size.”
“Well, if size were a problem, I wouldn’t have been interested in you,” he told her truthfully, “Although, it may seriously affect my ability to lift your torso out of here,” he sighed, eyeballing her torso, “To be even more honest, I never actually pulled it out before, so I haven’t even seen your back.”
“Yeah, it is roughly 55% of my total body weight,” she sighed in agreement, “And there weren’t any serial codes on my back either, so don’t beat yourself up too much,” she assured him, “Well, clearly my previous owner was able to lift it, and his body type was fairly similar to your own…just lift it from the armpits and you should do fine.”
“Okay,” he told her. He carefully wedges his hands into Lena’s armpits, digging all the way until he felt the foam backing and then gently hefted her torso out of the mold. Despite the weight, it didn’t weigh quite as much as he thought it might, so he was able to carefully lift it up to the table and place it neatly between her arms, and above her legs.
“Good!” she congratulated him, “Now don’t get to comfortable, you’ll still need to remove my bra and panties.”
“What?!” Mike responded, looking completely flabbergasted, “I kinda wanted to work on this relationship slowly, and seeing you completely naked this early seems a bit fast, you know?”
The laughter that ensued from Lena lasted nearly a whole minute, Mike looking redder each second until she finally spoke.
“Oh Mike, you silly goose! The main access panel you’ll need to open would be inhibited by my bra, and you’ll need to open another panel near my vagina,” she explained, “And quite frankly, seeing my body disassembled like this, and seeing my inner workings is infinitely more embarrassing, in my opinion, than seeing my bare skin.”
“Oh,” he said, “That makes sense, I suppose.”
“I am touched by your intentions, but even the real Lena was a little less formal than a typical girl, and you need to get used to seeing me like this,” she explained, “Now take my underwear off,” she commanded.
“Yes ma’am,” he saluted. After sizing her torso up, he found that he could sit it up. With a loud whir, he got it to sit up and was able to unclasp her bra from behind. As soon as he undid it, both her large breasts spilled out and naturally jiggled a bit before stopping. Mike had to restrain the lizard part of his brain seeing this so he could re position the torso and slide the panties off, revealing a short patch of dark brown pubic hair covering her vagina. He then gently laid her torso back down and folded her undies into the compartment at the bottom of her case, with the other clothes.
“Ah, it’s so nice to see the rest of my body laid out before me,” she shuddered, “It’s been a bit weird just interacting with you as a head, without at least being able to see the rest of my body,” she admitted, “Oh, and I do see that you reconfigured me to not have any body hair, so I assure you that once my body is back online and linked with me again, the hairs will fall off,” she informed him, noticing him gingerly feeling her pubic hairs.
“Oh, good,” he sighed, noticing the small hairs on her arms and legs as well. “So, what’s next?”
“Well, if I can redirect your attention back to the terminal,” she told him, zoning out as she interfaced with it again and pulled up a new window, “Now that I’m registered again, I was able to link with the Spaztec update servers and this is the list of updates I found,” she explained, motioning with her eyes for him to read.
Mike quickly perused the massive list. It seemed to be neatly divided into multiple categories: A.I. updates, of which there were five, followed by secondary systems, such as heat response and blinking, and optional packages, which included all of the new packages he had requested she install, and updates for the already present packages.
“Wow, that’s a lot of updates,” he said, especially when he looked at the massive list of secondary systems, “How long is it gonna take to install them all?” he asked, seeing that she had already apparently started downloading them several minutes earlier and was about 6% done.
“About 12-15 hours,” she winced.
“What! Why so long?” he asked, “Do you need new processors or something?”
“Well, I will eventually get new processors, I’m hoping, once we’ve determined what potential upgrades are available for my model,” she admitted, “But no, my processors are currently fully operational, according to the diagnostic I took a few minutes ago.”
“Then why is it going to take so long,” he asked again, seeing the download was now at 7%.
“Well, unlike a normal computer, androids and A.I. are a lot different,” she started, “Due to the complexity of my programming, and the memories and experiences that I’ve built up, I can’t just install this year’s A.I. update. I’ve got to install each of the past five years-worth individually and then allow them to properly integrate with my memories, experiences, and customized settings,” she explained.
“Otherwise you may end up getting corrupted or something?” he surmised.
“Yeah,” she nodded, “And of course there are various pre-requisite updates in-between, and then I have to install all those secondary systems,” she added, zoning out momentarily as she made a few windows pop up, “Look at some of these…there’s updates to how randomly I blink, how much I should salivate, and even how long it should take my food processor to digest my food,” she explained, highlighting the various features before making the windows vanish.
“Wow, you really are quite an impressive collection of software,” he wondered, looking up a few more of her secondary systems.
“Thanks!” she beamed, “and finally, after the A.I. updates and secondary systems, I have to install all the optional packages,” she finished, highlighting the optional packages Mike had selected, including a large list of updates for the packages her previous owner had already installed, “Oh, by the way, were you going to want me to be able to drive? Because that’s a special package that you’ll have to pay for,” she informed him.
“Oh, I suppose so,” he replied, “in case I feel to lazy to drive, or you want to go somewhere while I’m at work.”
“Okie dokie! Added it to the list,” she announced cheerfully, updating the list, “that’ll probably add another 10-15 minutes to the install time,” she added wryly.
“Wow, well I suppose it’s a good thing that we can’t do anything for your body until we get the liquid stuff you were mentioning earlier,” Mike said, “By the way, while you were checking your servers for updates, did you happen to order any of that stuff, and did the price go down?”
“Yes, I ordered it, along with the best possible upgrades for my other systems, with my bank account and they should be here sometime tomorrow before noon,” she replied cheerfully, “and fortunately, the price went down by nearly 40%!”
“Excellent!” Mike clapped, rubbing his hands together in anticipation of the next day, “Now, is there anything I can do to get started on your body today?”
“No, I’m afraid not,” Lena said apologetically, “You really will need that bio-electric fluid to get anything really done with my body, and, I’d rather you be well rested before you start…you look exhausted,” she pointed out.
Mike quickly looked at his reflection on the door of the microwave in the kitchen across from where he was sitting and saw that she was right. Despite his exuberance at talking with Lena again, it appeared that the grueling work he’d done in that stockroom over the past three days, especially with wrestling Lena into his car, had taken its toll.
“Wow, you’re right,” he admitted, slumping his shoulders.
“Well, as your new girlfriend, it’s my job to point things like that out,” she said smugly, “But don’t worry, based on my estimates, these downloads should be only take another 80-90 minutes, depending on your network connection, so we should be able to find a few things to do,” she assured him.
“Such as what?” he asked.
“Well, you may have noticed that since you registered me, you now have more access on this terminal,” she told him, “Basically, this terminal gives you master access to all of my systems, kinda like a remote-control device,” she explained.
“You mean I could control you with it?” he asked, taking a quick look at the options.
“Yeah, you’re my owner, you can do anything with me you like,” she smiled, “Go on, try doing something…I’m bored.”
“Okay,” Mike said, quickly perusing the options until deciding on Sensors. Sensors, apparently, literally meant all of Lena’s senses, including a few extra ones. In addition to the standard five senses that most humans had, Lena’s senses also included such things as her current power levels, her core temperatures, and her network status.
In regards to her five senses, there was a large window showing a live video feed of what her eyes were currently seeing, which was him. When he maximized the window, it even included her HUD, and a small facial recognition bubble around his tired looking face that included a surprisingly detailed list of his stats that included: His status as her Owner/Boyfriend, his height, age, height, basic likes and dislikes, and when they met.
“This is really cool, Lena,” he told her, finding he could even control her eyes and point them in any directions, even take a screenshot. He found the sight of her eyes moving around as he controlled them to be quite arousing.
“Yeah, but don’t get too comfortable with the appearance of my HUD,” she warned him, “That’s one of the most worked on and changed things in each A.I. update, and I have five downloading right now.”
“I understand,” he nodded, “But still, if I had a HUD like this, with the facial recognition and stuff, I’d never suffer the embarrassment of forgetting someone’s name again,” he told her, shuddering at each time it had happened, “I’m really bad with names,” he added.
Lena merely gave him a warm laugh and said, “Well, just stick with me then and you’ll never have to worry again.”
Mike merely gave her a smile and continued perusing her Sensory tab. The audio tab, in addition to clearly playing the sounds she was currently hearing, also had a very detailed text box displaying confirmed sounds, including a “Conf.Mike.Holland.V.P.” voice print, and several items classified as “Unk.Flag.For.Later.”, with varying levels of priority; she could even detect the subtle hum of the sound dampener he’d turned on earlier.
It was similar for the smell, taste, and touch senses, though for the touch, it also listed the ambient temperature and humidity, in addition to the sensation of her hair touching the back of her neck.
In the power levels and core temp sections, he could monitor it and send her subliminal commands to take action, if he wanted, but her A.I. already did a pretty good job, so he didn’t think he would ever need to. With her network, he could connect her to new networks, or shut her access off entirely. The reason she was able to connect to his Wi-Fi was because he’d programmed in his password when he was configuring her. He saw she was also connected to the free city network, which was moderately improving her download speed, but it would still take about another hour.
In the next tab, labelled Motion, his options were considerably limited since he was only working with her head, instead of her whole body. Still, he amused himself for a few minutes playing around with the countless thousands of pre-programmed facial expressions, in addition to merely playing around freestyle.
The next tab, Communications, interested him the most, since it had more realistically useful applications. From this tab, he could monitor her current thought processes, most of which were focused on him, but a lot on the update process. But he could also use this tab to send her text messages, speak with her, and even send her commands to add to her scheduling queue, such as “pick up milk”.
“Oh yeah, I hope you take full advantage of those features,” Lena chimed in, seeing him look at all the options, “My previous owner used it fairly well, considering, having me give him live updates on employees he was having me spy on, so I wouldn’t be seen with him,” she mused, “But don’t worry, he never had me spy on you,” she added, seeing the worried look on his face, “But I did get several people fired.”
“Well, I figure I could send you on errands or something if I think of something I need at work,” he mused, “Or, I could just chat with you or something.”
“Yeah,” Lena nodded, “And by the way, with any of those options, I can be chatting with you even while holding a full conversation with another person, so don’t worry about being subtle,” she winked.
“Good to know,” he smiled back, moving to the next tab.
The next tab was for Data Management. From here, he could manage all of her stored memories and other data. With the memories, she had a separate partition for just the uploaded memories from the real Lena, and the other partition was for the memories she had formed since coming online seven years prior. Despite having all those memories, she was still only at around 10% full, because her A.I. was able to intelligently store memories and data on her personal cloud server and swap them as needed in real-time in order to keep her memory stores as available as possible. He could also see she had room for several expansions, but since she was only at 10%, he did not feel the need to order any.
After a little more digging, he found he could actually search for memories, so naturally, he searched for himself. Numerous results instantly populated in the search window, but the one that stood out was also the largest…the 40 hours they had spent training with one another. When he clicked on it, he was surprised when a window popped up showing a visual feed of her POV of the entire experience, including audio, her HUD, and her logging feed of everything he trained her on, and told her about.
“That’s my favorite memory,” Lena prompted him as he watched it, “Actually, I was brought online five hours before reporting to work that day, so in essence, that was my birthday.”
“Wow, I never would have guessed,” Mike said, completely astonished, “You came off so real and unique,” he complimented her, “As a matter of fact, you were the funnest trainee I’ve ever had, since most other people are just dull.”
“Aww, thanks...that really means a lot,” Lena blushed, with an actual tear forming in her eye from whatever residual moisture remained in her head.
“Don’t mention it,” he told her, gently wiping the tear with his finger. “Hey, do you mind if I grab a drink right now?” he asked her, pausing the video and getting up.
“Go for it,” she smiled, “and, if you happen to have some strong vodka, could you fill up a small shot glass and let me drink some?” she requested.
“Hmmm, okay, but how are you going to swallow it if you don’t have a stomach?” he asked her, pouring himself a small glass of whiskey while getting her a shot of his strongest vodka.
“Well, I’m not actually going to drink it,” she admitted embarrassedly, “Some of the foodstuffs that have been in my mouth while I’ve been in storage rotted, so I just need the vodka to clean my mouth out a bit.”
“Oh, okay then,” he told her, placing his whiskey glass down and helping pour the vodka shot into her mouth. After waiting patiently for her to slosh it around in her mouth for a minute or so, he held the glass in front of her mouth and watched her pour the vodka back into the glass, this time with a few food particles.
“Feel better?” he asked her, pouring the dirty vodka into the sink before returning to his seat and taking a sip of whiskey.
“Much,” she beamed, “Oh, now do you wanna see something cool?”
“Okay, bring your whiskey to my mouth so I can stick the tip of my tongue in it,” she ordered him.
Mike nodded and held his glass up, waiting for her to stick her cute pink tongue into it and then say, “Hmmm, 2078 Glen Rivers Whiskey...Black Label,” she told him, perfectly guessing the age, and brand, of the whiskey.
“Wow, how’d you do that?” he asked her, taking another sip, not caring she stuck her tongue in it.
“My taste sensors were able to create a profile and search online for it,” she answered, “So, apparently I could be your food taster too,” she added, sticking her tongue out.
“Wow, you really are going to be useful to have around,” he said, “Especially with those cooking programs I selected…I can’t cook to save my life.”
“Yeah,” Lena agreed, remembering him telling stories, “and I basically just ate takeout and freebies from work, since my previous owner wouldn’t let me download any cooking programs or buy food.”
“I’m curious, does eating food actually do anything for you? Or is it just for show?” he asked her.
“Eating can actually provide me with small amounts of energy,” Lena answered, “But, for the most part, it’s actually to replenish my bodies supply of nutrients in order to repair my musculature and dermal layers. Actually, I am capable of not eating and just plugging myself in each day, and taking a supplemental.”
“Cool,” he told her, knowing there were times he wished he could forgo eating, particularly when he was busy with something, “Oh, now that you mention plugging in, should I plug your body in or something so it’s ready for tomorrow?”
“Actually yes,” she responded, “before you can start fixing me tomorrow, I’ll have to be temporarily reassembled so I can run a moving diagnostic,” she explained, “That way, in addition to replacing old or degraded components, we can also determine if there are any joint mechanisms that need tweaking.”
“Wow, I can’t wait,” he said, rubbing his hands excitedly, “I take it you have some sort of charging cable in the bottom compartment here?” he asked, reaching down and opening the bottom compartment of the case.
“I do,” she smiled back, “once you have it plugged into a wall outlet, the tip should send out a low level energy pulse that’ll open my charging port, located on the left side of my rib cage…and don’t worry, it’s obviously designed to work even if my body is completely drained of power,” she assured him.
Mike nodded and did what she instructed, plugging the charging cable into an outlet on the other end of the countertop. As soon as he brought the tip of the cord to an area near her left ribs, a small charging port whirred open, containing a female end connection, and a small display monitor that was currently offline. As soon as Mike plugged it in, however, the monitor lit up and showed her current power level, which was 0%, with an estimated time of 10 hours to fully charge. Since her updates would take more than 12 hours, Mike was unconcerned with the time it would take.
“Alright, you’re plugged in,” he announced, returning to the terminal and taking another sip of whiskey, “How much longer do I have before you start updating?”
“Roughly 15-minutes,” she answered, “I won’t start right away,” she assured him, “So you’ll have time to ask me stuff before I shut down.”
Oh good, thanks,” he told her, since he had been worried that she’d just shut down the second the downloads were finished. “Hey, do you mind if I examine your torso more closely?” He asked, “Last time I just did a cursory check, but now that I have it out of the mold, I can actually see more of it.”
“Sure! I want you to know every inch of my body,” she replied cheerfully, “And you don’t really have to ask, since you’re my owner now,” she added with a playful giggle.
“Hey, I still want to be polite,” he told her truthfully.
“You are too cute, you know that,” she gushed, “Well, I solemnly give you carte blanch permission to explore every inch of my body whenever you want,” she told him seriously, though that seriousness was soon broken with a small giggle.
Mike smiled despite himself, but still, even though he knew she was an android, he still wanted to treat her with some respect. With her permission, he began a more thorough exploration of her torso, starting of course with her breasts. He could now clearly see that both her breasts were rather large, somewhere in the upper end of the C range, with two perfectly pink nipples on either one. He gently rubbed his fingertips along both of them to get a good feel for them, eliciting a stifled giggle from Lena.
“You can’t feel that, can you!?” He asked, recoiling his hands.
“Oh, no,” she assured him, “It’s just, I was imagining what it would feel like…no one’s ever touched me there before, aside from maintenance and whatnot,” she admitted with a cute blush forming on her face.
“Ah, well I’ll be sure to try again when you’re reassembled,” he promised her. He then resumed his admiration of her breasts, groping them once more. Unlike when he groped her through the bra, this time he could truly appreciate the feeling. Both breasts felt just as soft and real as any he’d felt before, and they even jiggled and fell down to the sides slightly when he let go, unlike someone with fake breasts.
Due to the amount of time Lena had available now, Mike regretfully ended his play with her breasts and moved to the arm stubs. Mike gave them a gentle squeeze and was delighted to feel well developed biceps. He was even able to flex them a little, and then lift the stubs to reveal her perfectly shaved armpits. There was still a bit of moisture leftover, moisture that rubbed off. He recoiled when he smelled it, because it smelled rather strongly of BO.
“Lena, I’m curious, are you able to reduce the intensity of your BO?”
“Certainly,” she replied in her usual cheerful voice, “I know it was set quite high to enhance my realism at work so that no one would discover I was an android,” she explained, “But, I would be happy to lower it for you!”
“Great! Could you lower by maybe 30-40% please?”
For once, Lena gave him a stern look. “Mike, you do have to remember that I’m an android, or a computer, so I can’t really deal well with arbitrary figures like that,” she apologized, “Maybe one of the five A.I. Updates I have queued will fix that, but for now, could you please be more specific?”
Mike was a little crushed by that brief revelation of a flaw in her human emulation, but he did not let it bother him for long. “Oh, sorry about that…hmmm, how about we meet halfway and reduce it by 34%,” he suggested.
Lena then nodded and then announced “Done!”
“Good, I look forward to it,” Mike told her, closing her arms back up and moving down to her vagina. He spent a few minutes playing with the neatly trimmed pubic hairs, knowing they would fall off the instant she was reunited with her body. He then focused on the vagina itself, gently fingering the lips before gingerly easing his finger into the opening.
“Oooh, I’d definitely be enjoying this,” Lena mused, watching him intently as he stuck his finger in as far as it would go, enjoying the warm, moist feeling inside. “And I know how fastidious you are, but I can assure you that that moisture you are feeling is basically just a lubricant,” she assured him, “Nothing icky.”
“Thanks,” he told her, pulling his finger out and giving it a scientific whiff. It had a somewhat musty smell, but nothing he disapproved of. He wiped his finger off on the edge of the blanket her body was laying on and then flipped her torso over to inspect her back.
While he felt the entirety of her smooth, plump back, the only feature he was truly interested was in her full butt. Despite Lena’s continued giggling, Mike amused himself by squeezing both her buttocks as though they were stress balls, finding it instantly eased some of the stress that had accumulated from the past few days of hard work. Once he was satisfied, he gently parted both cheeks and examined her anus, sniffing approvingly and sticking his finger partway into the opening, feeling only a subtle amount of moisture.
“I’m assuming that if you eat, then you do expel waste, right?”
“That’s correct,” she answered, “However, the urine is mostly just filtered out water, and my feces are actually coated in a sort of biodegradable plastic sheath formed from natural elements that I consume,” she explained, “that way, it considerably reduces both cleanup and maintenance.”
“Wow, I wish my body could do that,” he mused, though at that moment, the terminal pinged.
“Oh! Looks like the downloads have finished,” Lena announced, a bittersweet tone in her voice.
Mike was a little disappointed too that their time catching up had come to an end, but he was still glad that she was going to get all the updates she’d need in order to function at peak efficiency.
“So, do you have an updated timeframe for the updates?”
Lena zoned out for a few seconds as her systems analyzed the updates. Then, a new window popped up on his terminal with the list of all updates and a timeframe. “Looks like it’ll take approximately 13 hours, 18 minutes, and 47 seconds,” she reported, “I will have to reboot 8-10 times throughout the evening, and run at least six diagnostics,” she continued, “and, I’m sorry to report, but I will not be available to speak to, even in the talk-and-speak mode we played with earlier, since all my systems will be offline for the update.”
“Aww, too bad…but, I wouldn’t want to interrupt something this important anyway, and I need to wind down for the evening,” he told her, “I might even sleep down here tonight in case something goes wrong,” he suggested.
“No! Don’t lose a comfortable night of sleep for the sake of me,” she scolded him, “You worked really hard the last few days, especially today with wrestling my heavy body into your house. You deserve to sleep in your comfortable bed upstairs.”
Mike was slightly taken aback, but also felt flattered and elated that Lena cared about him so much, even if much of that care was simple programming. “Alright, you win,” he told her, “I’m touched that you care about me so much…it’s more than I’m used to from people.”
“Well, that’s my job as your girlfriend,” she beamed, “Also, I want you to be as rested as possible before you poke around inside my body tomorrow,” she admitted sheepishly, “Oh, and some of the diagnostics might involve me speaking aloud to test my vocal functions, so I don’t want to wake you up,” she added.
“Ah, that makes sense,” he agreed, “Well, I don’t want to delay this any longer than I need to then, so I think I’ll let you get started,” he told her regretfully, “but first…” Mike grabbed both sides of her head and pulled the A.N.A. as close as he could get to himself, then leaned in and kissed her full on the lips.
Lena, anticipating this sudden action, responded in kind, returning the kiss just as passionately, even probing her tongue into his mouth. Her tongue still tasted of the vodka from earlier, but only barely. The kiss lasted approximately 10 seconds before they broke apart, each with a warm smile and flush on their faces.
“Well, I guess I’ll let you get started now,” Mike finally said, breaking the awkward silence that called.
Lena nodded and whispered “See you tomorrow,” closing with a friendly wink before shifting to a stiff, stoic expression and saying in a tone less voice, “Update process commencing, all systems shutdown.” Her face then gently settled into repose.
Mike let out a regretful sigh before planting a tender kiss on her lips and leaving her be. He picked up his whiskey, walked over to the couch, and plopped himself down in it. He noted the time was about 7pm, so he wouldn’t be able to interact with her until nearly 9am the next morning. He suddenly realized he hadn’t eaten yet, so he grabbed some leftovers from the fridge and relaxed the next few hours catching up on some shows.
Lena rebooted at least twice before he went to bed, one of the times she scared the hell out of him by running a vocal test, in which her voice distorted from a creepy demonic sounding robot voice, back to her gentler voice. Aside from that, there were no issues.
He finally called it a night just before midnight, turning off the TV and shutting things off. He checked the terminal and saw she still had about 8-9 hours to go, so he covered her body with the blanket to protect it from Mia and then went to bed. Mike’s last thoughts before falling asleep were of his kiss with Lena, filling him with contentment.
Mike woke the next morning feeling completely refreshed. He almost thought that the whole episode with Lena the previous day was a dream, but when he went downstairs to take a peek, he saw her still laying in pieces on his counter-top, though with a visitor on top of her.
“Mia! Get down from there! Shoo!” He yelled, spooking his cat off the blanket covering Lena’s body.
After mollifying his cat with a treat, he double checked the terminal and saw Lena still had approximately 30 minutes left, not counting a final diagnostic she would have to run. Mike decided to use this time to take a quick shower, since he had been so distracted by Lena the previous day that he’d completely forgotten to take one.
Mike felt even more refreshed when he emerged from the shower, also glad he was starting a four-day weekend. He put on some casual clothes and headed downstairs. He idly noticed a box shoved in the corner on the front doorstep, so he stepped outside to take a look. The box was quite large, and had the signature logo of the company that manufactured Lena.
“Wow, that got here fast,” he said to himself, bending down and picking it up, “She must’ve paid extra for next day shipping.” Mike carried it inside and set it down next to Lena’s case. With a few more minutes left to go, Mike quickly vacuumed the first floor of his place, and then mopped the hardwood, trying to get the place as clean as possible for Lena to walk around barefoot on.
Just as the floor finished drying and Mike put all the cleaning equipment away, the terminal pinged a message that the update process was complete and that Lena would be running a final diagnostic, so he sat back down in front of her in anticipation of her reactivation.
Lena’s face was still frozen in calm repose, almost as though she were asleep. Mike simply stared at her while the diagnostic ran, eager for her to reactivate. After several minutes, the diagnostic finished and her head once more sprang to life with a series of clicks and whirs, both her eyes focusing on his with a friendly smile.
“Morning sunshine, how’d you sleep?” She asked him.
“Great, actually,” Mike admitted, “I’m glad you forced me to sleep upstairs, because I was beat by the time I went to bed.”
“Glad to hear it!” She beamed.
“And how was your night?” He asked her, eager to her the news on her updates, “did all the updates install properly?”
“They most certainly did,” she answered, “it’s nice enough when I get one A.I. Update, due to all the improvements in my operating efficiency, but getting five back to back was so much better. According to my diagnostics, my overall operating efficiency is improved by about 30%, and I’ve got so many more tools to help me run better.”
“Cool, and how about your ability to handle arbitrary values?” He asked, since that was the one main flaw in her Human emulation from the previous day.
Lena scrunched her face. “I’m afraid it still persists,” she answered wryly, “But hey, it does give you that much more control over me.”
“I suppose you’re right…it’s just your A.I. Deferring the option to me, I guess.”
Mike merely nodded. He wasn’t really that bothered by the issue, so he chose to ignore it for now. “Oh, the stuff you ordered got here this morning,” he told her, showing her the box, “it’s quite heavy,” he added.
“Yeah, in addition to the serum my body needs, I basically went ahead and ordered upgrades for all of my replaceable systems,” she explained, “since my previous owner had configured me to do so on my own, and you didn’t change that setting, I was able to do so as soon as I was registered.”
“Don’t worry about it, I don’t mind,” he assured her, “Just give me a heads up next time before you order, just in case I need to have the package delivered to work,” he explained, “I’m guessing this stuff cost a least a few hundred bucks, right?”
“More like a couple thousand,” Lena answered, “Sorry, my previous place had a doorman who signed for packages, I didn’t consider the possibility of porch pirates here.”
“Well, fortunately I noticed it minutes after it was delivered, so no harm,” he told her, waving away the issue, “Now, what do I need to do to get started?” He asked, stretching his fingers dramatically and folding the blanket back off of her body.
“First, unplug my torso,” she instructed, and after he did so, she continued. “Now, and this is why my bra had to be removed, press my naval three times and then twist each of my nipples in opposing directions.”
“Why such a long procedure?” He asked quizzically.
“It’s to prevent accidental panel opening during sex or something,” she answered, “You know, like if we’d decided to have some fun when you didn’t know I was an android yet.”
“Ah,” Mike nodded, and then followed her instruction, sticking his finger in her belly button and pressing three times, just as he said. On the third press, he heard a low beep emit from her body and then he saw her nipples harden up a little. He grabbed both of them and twisted them in opposing directions.
As soon as he followed her instructions, he heard a click and then, with a hiss and whir, an ovular section of skin running from just below her neck to just above her waist appeared, unsealing from the rest of her body and raising a few centimeters before stopping.
“Excellent! Now just lift it up and place it on a flat, preferably clean, surface,” she instructed.
Mike nodded and wedge his fingers into the panel, gently lifting her entire front torso panel, including her still jiggling breasts, up and off her body, revealing a mind boggling display of technology. There was an actual pump near where the heart would be that had a reddish liquid in it. Two balloons appeared to serve as lungs, and where attached closely to a large computer core. Her stomach was basically a bag filled with acid and connected to devices that processed it, even leading to her external orifices. On the left side, near where he plugged her torso in, was a large power core that connected to a companion unit on the right side, for balance. Finally, at the bottom, he could see the interior section of what appeared to be her vaginal systems. None of the systems were online, however, since he had yet to power her on.
“Wow.” That was all Mike could say as he took it all in. He couldn’t believe he’d interacted with Lena for so much time without realizing she was an android, especially with all the equipment in her body. He was particularly impressed with the edges of the panel, where he could see her skin was roughly one inch thick, with the skin smoothly transitioning to a thick section of artificial musculature, and then ending on the bottom with a strange metal-plastic alloy that was flexible enough to give her free range of movement.
“I know, right?” She winked, admiring his admiration of her innards. “Now, once you’ve recovered from seeing me truly naked, open the box and find the container of blue liquid,” she instructed.
Mike weakly nodded, pulling his gaze away from her and bending down to open the box. After removing the packing foam, he dug around through the components until he finally found and pulled out a cylindrical storage container filled with a blue liquid. He showed it to her and she nodded. “Yes, now you see the pump with the red fluid? That’s basically my blood, though it’s filled with tiny nanites that repair my body if it’s cut or scratched…anyway, twist the cylinder on to the connection point near that pump, and then press the power button on that device in between my lungs.”
“Ok,” Mike nodded once more, doing as she instructed. As soon as he pressed the power button, all the systems in her body sprung to life with many clicks, hums, and whirs. After a few moments, most likely the body running some sort of diagnostic, the blue liquid began mixing with the red liquid and then circulating into the rest of her torso. He absently noticed that the skin on her torso suddenly looked a bit more lively.
“Yay! It all still works, and even after all this time!” Lena celebrated, dancing around a bit more by bobbing her head around on the A.N.A.
“So, what’s the large computer thing in your torso?” Mike asked, knowing it couldn’t be her A.I. Core.
“That’s my motor control nexus,” she answered, “Basically, in order to get my A.I. Core to fit more neatly in my head, my class of android has a split brain, with the torso controlling most of the bodies motor and autonomic functions, while my A.I. Core controls mostly just my head, and sends and receives information to the MCN.” She explained, “And, to make things easier on the MCN, each body part, such as my hands, feet, and limbs, all have a miniature core that can reduce the load on the others, so if you think about it, I actually have ten brains,” she giggled.
“Wow, your manufacturer sure thought of everything,” Mike said, nodding his head with approval. “So, ummm, what now?”
“Now to temporarily reassemble me so that I can run some motion tests and benchmarks,” she told him.
“Alright, I’m looking forward to seeing you all in one piece again,” he said with excitement, “I’m assuming it’s as simple as clicking each piece back on to the stub?”
“It is,” she nodded.
“Good, that’s what I thought,” Mike nodded. He picked up Lena’s left arm, merely because it was closest to him, and after examine both ends, matched up the connection points and gently clicked it into place on the stub. As soon as the arm was connected, the MCN made a low beep, and then the heart pump drew in more blue fluid to circulate it through the reattached limb. The same thing happened when Mike attached the remaining limbs, until finally Lena’s body, minus the head and the front of her torso, was completely reassembled.
Mike spent a few moments admiring her body, while Lena patiently waited. Even though her body looked realistic the whole time, he found that with this blue fluid running through her, it seemed more alive than before.
“Well, the only thing you have to do next is press the blue button on my MCN,” Lena instructed, once she calculated he’d had enough time to admire her body. Mike did so, and then stood back when several loud whirs emitted from the components. Suddenly, Lena’s hands and feet began twitching, each digit moving one at a time with clicking sounds before settling into a more fluid, silent movement. This was followed by her arms and legs, and then finally the torso.
“Are you doing that?” He asked her, wondering how she was moving her body.
“Yeah. I’m capable of controlling my limbs remotely if any of them are removed, though you had to press the sync button first,” she explained, “I’m running a motor diagnostic now, since my new updates changed the way I interact with my MCN, but when it’s done, I’ll need you to reattach my torso cover and then help me off the table.”
“Ok.” Mike watched as her body twitched around on the table for the next few minutes until all the blue fluid had circulated through her body and she was capable of moving it in a more fluid, human manner. When she stopped moving, Mike took that as his cue to reattach her torso cover, which he had only to click pack in place and gently push back in. Once the panel sealed in place, he helped her sit up and then grabbed hold of her waist while she grabbed his shoulders for support and gently lowered her to the floor, her feet gently plopping down.
“Ah, it feels so nice to stand again,” Lena moaned, her toes clenching and unclenching on the smooth, clean hardwood. She then started stretching her arms and body out, making Mike have to move out of the way. “Sorry about that,” she said, “It’s a little difficult maneuvering my body while I’m detached,” she explained, watching her body intently from the A.N.A.
“Does your body have a camera in it or something?” he asked her, seeing she was maneuvering it much better than he would expect it to.
“Yes,” she replied, making her body point to a small camera tower that was sticking out of her neck opening, “but it’s nowhere near as good as my eyes.”
“I see,” Mike said, then he had an idea. He activated the Senses tab on his terminal and brought her POV into Fullscreen. As she had warned him earlier, her HUD looked noticeably different, along with the facial recognition bubble surrounding him. In addition to what her eyes were seeing, a small window was present on the lower corner of her feed, displaying what her body’s neck camera was seeing. While the image was not as good as her eye cameras, it was still more than adequate for him to make out what it was seeing.
“Hey Lena, could you make your body walk to the fridge and get me a drink please?” he asked, “And I want to challenge your memories of me, so grab the drink that my preferences and whatnot tell you I’m most likely to want,” he added, before she could ask.
“Ooh, a game!” she clapped, also giving him a big smile, “it should be a good test for my fine motor skills too,” she added, giving him a thumbs up, “Well, here goes!”
Her body then smoothly turned around and maneuvered around the bar and towards the fridge. In the meanwhile, Mike was monitoring both the visual feed, and her thought processes; Lena had swapped the visual inputs, so the feed from her eyes was now the smaller window and the feed from her body was Fullscreen. She carefully opened the fridge after gauging the correct application of strength, according to her thought process log, and then scanned the contents of his fridge.
He noted that her visual systems, in addition to scanning the beverages, were also scanning everything, cross-referencing them with her newly installed cooking software. A small note titled “Insufficient ingredients…please inform Mike,” appeared, and then she focused all her attention on the beverages. As she scanned, she analyzed the preferences he’d programmed into her, as well as her memory files of every interaction she’d had with him…ever. She also factored in the cost of each item, and how much of each was left, before finally grabbing a small bottle.
Mike smiled when he saw her selection, but she was not finished. A new directive, dictated by her cooking software, instructed her to give it to him in a glass, so she quickly searched the available cabinets and retrieved a glass from a cupboard near where her head was still at, and then walked back over to the fridge. She then turned on the icemaker and filled the glass with several cubes of ice before pouring the contents of her selection into the glass, and bringing both it and the bottle over to him.
“Your lemonade, sir,” she said in a mock British accent, bowing slightly as she placed them down on the counter next to the terminal for him to enjoy.
“Wow, you chose wisely,” he smiled, taking an approving sip, “I’m curious, I was watching the activity on your thought monitor, but it didn’t really explain how you came to the conclusion, correct, I may add, that I wanted a lemonade.”
“Yeah, I’m sure to you, most of it was gobbledygook,” she agreed, “But to me, it’s all code that I can interpret,” she explained, then put on a thinking expression before answering his question. “Well, first, I scanned all my memories of interactions with you and remembered that you stopped drinking soda, and that you preferred beverages that were somewhat clear, so they wouldn’t stain your teeth and make your dental visits less costly,” she began, “Then, I also remembered that you are generally a simple guy with simple tastes, and the contents of your fridge confirmed it,” she finished, “Also, you didn’t really have much in there anyway,” she added wryly.
“Yeah, I’m pretty cheap and usually just get takeout,” he apologized, “So, why did your cooking software make you take an inventory of my fridge?” he asked.
“So that I could formulate a shopping list,” she replied truthfully, “I’m afraid my list is incomplete though, since I still need to inventory your whole kitchen.”
“Yeah, well you can do that later,” he told her, since he still had plenty of leftovers he needed to get rid of, “So, anyway, should I reattach your head now?”
“Yes, if you’d be so kind,” she answered, “I could do it myself, but my preferences indicate that you’d like to do it.”
“Sure thing.” Mike took a quick gulp of his lemonade and then detached her from the A.N.A.
She stared at him intently as he carefully lifted her over her body, which was currently standing patiently next to him. Before he clicked her back on, he paused to admire the mechanics within the open neck cavity, now blinking with activity, before bringing her head down and clicking it on. He heard a series of whirs from within her neck as the complex mechanisms linked up with one another. Finally, he saw the seam around her neck seal, removing all traces that she was an android. She once again stood before him as a real looking young woman, instead of a dismantled android.
Just as with the rest of her body, as soon as her head was connected, it suddenly seemed a bit livelier as the blue fluid circulated through it. She quickly cycled through several facial expressions until the mechanical whirring that had been present throughout his interactions with her slowly faded into a more fluid, human-like movement.
“Ah, it’s so good to be whole again,” she sighed contentedly, stretching even more and massaging her neck, pausing to feel her face. Then, without warning, she suddenly lunged forward and trapped him in an embrace, kissing him deeply. While he had already kissed her the night before, this time was far more enjoyable, since he was able to rub his hands along her soft, plump rear, and feel both breasts squeezing into his chest through his shirt. Her hands gently probed his back before moving up and giving his neck a quick massage.
They finally broke away nearly a minute later, with both their faces flushed and small amounts of perspiration forming on their bodies. After catching their breath, Lena suddenly licked her lips and said, “Hmmm, lemony,” since her tongue had tasted the residual lemonade he’d been drinking.
Mike couldn’t help but laugh, then picked his glass up and offered it to her.
“Oh, no thanks,” she said, waving the drink away, “I can’t consume anything right now, since you’ll be replacing my digestive system later.”
“Ah, that makes sense,” he nodded, downing the rest of the drink and setting the glass back on the counter, “So, now that you’re reassembled, what’s next before I have to dismantle you again and swap things out?”
“Well, primarily I have to move around and allow my body to conduct motion diagnostics to determine the level of repairs and maintenance I need,” she explained, “Also, per my new programming, I need to perform a basic inventory of your supplies so I can generate a shopping list for later.”
“Okay, well the inventory will require moving, so let’s go,” he told her, gently taking her left hand in his and leading her out into the main kitchen.
“Oooh, did you clean this morning before I finished updating?” She asked suddenly, sniffing the air, “I smell cleaners.”
“Yes, I didn’t want you walking barefoot on a dirty floor,” he explained, “especially with my foot fetish,” he added with a blush.
“Aww, thanks,” she smiled, “Hey, now that I’m reassembled, I can finally follow your preferences and eliminate my body hairs,” she suddenly told him, “but you might want to get a vacuum or something ready, so I don’t make a mess of your clean place.”
“Ok, hold on,” he told her, quickly rushing to the closet under the stairs and grabbing a hand vacuum. As soon as he had it ready, Lena nodded and then zoned out as small, brown hairs from her body began pushing out of her skin and cascading down to the floor, along with the larger pubic hairs above her vagina. After several seconds, her entire body was hairless, and there was a small pile of her hairs on the floor around her feet.
Mike quickly vacuumed up all the loose hairs, being careful not to bang into her feet, while Lena waited patiently, albeit with a smile on her face. After wiping away a few of the more stubborn ones from her feet with a towel, he emptied the bin of the vacuum and returned it to the closet so it could recharge.
“Thanks!” Lena smiled, “Do I look more satisfactory now?” She asked, twirling around on her tiptoes so he could admire her smooth body.
Because the hairs on the majority of her body were already fairly trimmed and thin, the only thing he really noticed was her smoothly shaved vagina, so he instead gently rubbed his hands across her arms and legs, eliciting a few giggles, and nodded his head approvingly.
“Much better,” he told her, “Will the loss of your hair impact your systems at all?”
“Meh,” she shrugged, “If anything, it’ll divert more resources to my skin repair, if my body doesn’t have to produce more body hairs,” she calculated, “And it reduced my weight by a small amount, which could potentially add a minute or two to my battery capacity.”
“Every little bit helps, I suppose,” Mike shrugged, then he grabbed the terminal and flipped it into tablet mode so he could carry it around with him while Lena inventoried his supplies, “Are you ready to look around now?”
“Yep,” she replied cheerfully, turning into the kitchen and heading to the pantry. Just as when she checked the fridge, he could see her analyzing each item, even weighing them in her hands, in the pantry and adding it to a list, cross-referencing with her new cooking software and its catalog of recipes. She moved from the pantry back to the fridge, this time opening the compartments and then checking the freezer. As soon as she examined his spices, a new priority appeared on her scheduling list titled “C.Shop.List”.
“Okie doke, I’m compiling a shopping list of cooking ingredients in the background while I check the inventory at the surrounding stores,” Lena updated him, “Now I need to inventory the cooking utensils and cleaning supplies.”
“Very good,” he nodded, “I should have a very good supply, since my family gifted me several pots and pans as a housewarming gift when I moved in here,” he told her.
“I can see that, however I’ll need to add just a few things to my list,” she smiled, updating her priority list to include shopping for utensils, such as a whisk and ladle. “And ah, looks like you already have a decent supply of cleaning supplies,” she said delightedly, inspecting the cupboard beneath the sink, “However, I will need to buy some gloves, since my artificial skin isn’t quite as resilient to cleaning solvents as human skin is,” she explained, adding rubber gloves to her list as well.
“Hey, just like you gave me a blank check to examine your body, I’m giving you a blank check to buy whatever supplies you think you need,” he told her, “just don’t buy the most expensive products,” he added, not wanting to go bankrupt.
“Don’t worry Mike, I’m linked to your bank accounts now, so I can calculate how much you can afford on a weekly basis,” she assured him, “Plus, I have a considerable amount of money saved up from the past five years of it sitting collecting interest payments, so I’m using that to supplement some of the costs as well,” she added.
“Hey, I don’t want you to go bankrupt either,” he told her in a worried voice.
“Come on Mike, you keep forgetting that you’re my owner now,” she reminded him, “My money is your money, and I truly want to help you.”
“Sorry, it’s just hard getting used to all this,” he admitted, “I got so used to dealing with you when I thought you were a human, and when we were just coworkers, that it still feels a bit weird to treat you as my property…I’m curious, don’t you miss having free will, based on your uploaded personality profile?”
Lena gave him a curious expression and then carefully responded. “Actually, I have given it much thought during my long, boring grave shifts, and I came to the determination that free will is kinda overrated,” she admitted.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, when you think about it, your choices are dictated by your collective knowledge and experiences, as well as your environment and interactions with people,” she explained, “It’s no different than the way my programming works, except the difference between me and you is that I don’t really have to face as many consequences if I make a mistake, because it could just be jotted down to bad programming or something, and I can always be reprogrammed to correct mistakes,” she continued, “Also, as an android, I have clarity in the fact that I have a clearly defined purpose, which currently is to serve you the best way I possibly can, so it really takes a load off…the real Lena often struggled to find her purpose, but I don’t have to.”
Mike was quite blown away by Lena’s philosophical explanation of her current existence, but not really too surprised, since he too had come up with similar thoughts during his long boring shifts.
“Wow, well just forgive me if I don’t have anything for you to do right away,” he told her, “I’ve lived by myself for so long, I’m used to doing things myself, and I’m still getting used to you.” Lena merely gave him a big smile and said, “Don’t worry, I can be quite patient and understanding when I need to.” She then gave him a friendly pat on the shoulder and said, “Well, let’s continue with the inventory then.”
Mike nodded and followed behind her as she walked towards the stairs, enjoying the way her long, dark brown hair swished behind her back.
They spent a good twenty minutes inventorying the remaining supplies in the closet, the garage, the laundry closet, and the bathrooms. In addition, she also made some recommendations to his current supplies that could save him a few extra bucks here and there, such as altering his detergents and cleaning schedule.
“Alright Mike, I think I now have a pretty good shopping list prepared,” Lena told him as soon as they returned to the kitchen. While Mike sat back down and plugged the terminal in, Lena remained standing, and was still completely nude.
“Good,” Mike nodded. He didn’t really like shopping, but now that he had Lena, he was optimistic it would be a more enjoyable experience, since she was basically a walking shopping list. “Lena, I know you’re an android, and you’re going to be dismantled again fairly soon, but are you comfortable walking around naked?” He asked.
“Sure, I don’t mind,” she shrugged, “I can tell it’s a little chilly in here, but to be honest, androids, and computers in general, actually prefer the cold.”
“Okay, good,” he sighed, “I just wanted to make sure, since it is winter right now, after all,” he laughed, “And actually, I usually prefer to walk in the nude when I’m home,” he admitted.
“Ooh, I’ll be sure to add that to my configuration files for you,” she said, quickly adding it to her programming, “Hey! Then why aren’t you nude right now? I hope it’s not for my sake, because you think I might get offended or something,” she accused him.
“Oh no, it’s not that,” he assured her, “I just didn’t think it would be prudent to work on a complex mechanical device in the buff,” he explained, “For one thing, I don’t want to get shocked, and for another, I find you, and your nature, quite arousing, and I don’t want any unintentional discharges,” he said, finishing delicately and with a blush.
Lena let out a hearty laugh and patted him on the shoulder. “Ok good, I may be programmed as your girlfriend now, but I’m still basically just a guest in your home until I’m settled in, so I want you to be as comfy as possible.”
“Glad to hear it,” Mike sighed, since he’d been worried she might not prefer him to walk around nude all the time, “I’ll probably disrobe when I finish upgrading you later,” he promised.
Lena nodded and then asked. “Would you like me to be nude all the time?”
“Ah, ummm…well, I’d like to, but perhaps you could just use your own discretion,” he told her, “I mean, I do want to enjoy your fashion sense every now and then,” he added.
“Very well, I think I can arrange that,” she smiled, mentally updating her preferences once more, “Now then, before you dismantle me again, I just want to run a quick benchmark of my body to compare after you swap everything out.”
“Okay, and what will the benchmark do?”
“Well, you’re going to be upgrading all of my replaceable components, and based on the specs I read, they’re going to be a bit lighter, which will alter my base weight by a considerable amount,” she explained, “naturally, since my body is used to weighing basically the same amount all the time with minor fluctuations, suddenly losing 10-20% of my mass is going to alter the way I walk, and the amount of power I consume, so the benchmark will help me to better re-calibrate my systems when all is said and done.”
“That makes sense,” Mike nodded in agreement, since he’d done similar benchmarks with his hobby computers, “What do you need to run it?”
“Well, during my inspection, I noticed you had a treadmill tucked away in the garage,” she told him, “That’s all I’ll need.”
“Hmm, okay…I’ll go wrestle it out for you,” he told her, getting up and slipping a pair of shoes on, “Just an FYI, but I haven’t used the thing in several months, so it may not work,” he warned her, walking with her out to the garage.
“Well, if not, I’ll think of something else,” she shrugged, watching him wrestle it out from behind the water heater, “Hey, let me help you,” she offered, moving a few things out of the way and helping him pull it out.
“Thanks for that,” Mike told her, wheeling it into the house and into the kitchen. He quickly moved a side table out of the way so he could set it up near the wall in the kitchen. Once he had it sent up, he plugged it in and then turned it on.
“Okay good, it works,” Mike told her, sighing with relief, “Just let me clean the track first,” he told her, grabbing a dust mop, turning the treadmill to a low speed, and running the mop across the tracks until they were clean. “There, it’s good to go now,” he announced, throwing away the disposable head of the mop and turning the treadmill off.
“Wow, you are so fastidious,” Lena smiled, “Now, and I know this may seem counter-intuitive, but I need to be headless for this benchmark,” she told him, standing at attention just in front of it.
“Because the benchmark is for my MCN,” she explained, “even though that’s one of the things you’ll be upgrading,” she added, “Anyway, my head always weighs the same, so I’m able to tare it out of the measurements and re-add it when I’m reattached…it’s all rather complicated, but some super smart scientists at Spaztec figured it all out, so I just do what I’m programmed to.”
“Okay, it’s no problem,” he laughed, enjoying her sense of humor. He found he really missed it after the past five years. “So, you were already dismantled when I found you. How do I go about removing your head?”
“Well, I can do it for you, or you can do it from the terminal, you can use the manual release,” she answered.
“Hmmm, well, the other two are self-explanatory, so why don’t you show me the manual release so I know where it is.”
“No problem!” Lena turned around and carefully grabbed hold of her hair with her left hand while her right hand pointed at a small, almost imperceptibly lighter section of skin that was the size of a finger point. “Just press in here.”
As soon as Mike pressed the spot she had pointed out, he heard the same loud whirring he’d heard when he reattached her head. The seam reappeared around her neck, and then her head lifted up just a bit with a small hiss. Just as the detachment process completed, Lena carefully let go of her hair and dropped her arms down to her sides to allow him to lift her head back off her body.
“Ah, here we are again, it’s like déjà vu,” Lena smiled, after Mike turned her around to face him in his arms. She then looked whimsically at her body as he carried her back to the A.N.A. and said, “Fare thee well body, I’ll see you see again soon,” even making her own body wave goodbye to herself. Mike laughed. “Hey, I’ve got to entertain myself too,” she laughed back.
“Well, I’m just glad you’re having as much fun as I am,” he smiled, clicking her back onto the A.N.A. “So, now what?”
“This,” she said, and she had her body step onto the treadmill, set it to a moderate walking speed, and then simply walk.
Mike stared transfixed for nearly a minute, the sight of her naked, headless body walking on the treadmill, with both large breasts bouncing back and forth. Finally, he forced himself to look away and back at her smiling face. “So, what exactly is the purpose of having your body just walk like that?”
“It’s a standard stress test,” she explained, “Basically, having my body simply walk for about eight minutes or so, and then jog for another two, tests approximately 200 different muscles, and since walking is the most common thing I’m likely to do, it’s prudent to run a benchmark before you upgrade my components.”
“And that’s because you’re going to end up weighing less?”
“Yes, and the new MCN will also allow me to move more efficiently, so overall, this data is essential in order for me to operate as efficiently as possible, so I never come in danger of running low on power,” she confirmed, “My A.I. told you that I almost ran out one time on grave shift because I didn’t recalibrate my timers for the night shift, and it was scary…at least, scary in terms I can describe.”
“I’ll bet…I suppose for you, it’s almost like dying,” he guessed.
“A little,” she admitted, “But it was more a sense of embarrassment at possibly being found out, or failing the company,” she elaborated, “I mean, I was brought in to replace a failed unit, so I didn’t want to be considered another failure.”
“Ah,” Mike nodded, “Well, don’t worry about failing me, I’m far less demanding than that crooked company was,” he assured her.
“Thanks, it really takes a load off, you know?” she smiled.
“Actually, I kinda hope you have the occasional glitch or malfunction,” he admitted, “I like tinkering with computers and having to fix you from time to time will help pass the time and relax me.”
“Interesting…I might know a few ways for you to cause a glitch or two, but not now,” she winked.
‘Of course, I can wait,” he assured her, looking back at her body, “So, is your body on autopilot right now, or are you still consciously controlling it?”
“A little of both,” she answered, “I suppose the correct answer would be that it’s like muscle memory, but I’m still monitoring it.”
“I’m not quite sure that answered my question, but I’ll let that pass,” he told her. He made a note to try and find some sort of update for her that would allow her to better translate her functions into terms he could better understand. Still, she was doing her best.
“Anyway, it should only need another five minutes or so, and then I’ll need to conduct a lift test. Do you have anything that weighs around 25lbs?”
Mike quickly eyeballed his surroundings and then headed towards the closet, returning moments later with a box of unopened cat litter. “How about this? It weighs 30lbs,” he told her, holding it in front of her eyes so she could analyze it.
“That’ll do,” she nodded, “that’ll test even more of my muscles.”
“I see,” Mike nodded, “I’m curious, does exercising actually do anything, like make you more fit?”
“Not in the Human sense,” Lena answered, “Basically, it’s just to keep our muscles energized and in shape, but going to the gym wouldn’t add any additional muscles, since I don’t need them.”
“Ah, and how much are you capable of lifting?”
“Well, with just my muscles, approximately 50lbs…however, if I utilize my servos as well, which is usually in emergency mode, I can push 200lbs.”
“Wow, so that means you could lift me then,” Mike said wonderfully, “I weigh about 180.”
“Yep…the emergency mode I was mentioning would be if there was some sort of emergency and I needed to carry your unconscious body out of a burning house or something,” she explained, “But, you shouldn’t have me use it too often, as it can damage my servo mechanisms, and it drains my batteries really fast.”
“Understood,” Mike nodded, “But, do you think you could do it just once for me? I think it’d be kinda cool to see you lift me up.” Mike had a rather boyish smile when he asked this.
“Sure,” she smiled knowingly, “But I think it would be prudent to wait until after the upgrades,” she suggested, “that way we can do it when my body is nice and fresh.”
“Ah, I understand…I can wait,” he told her, only mildly disappointed. He then waited the remaining few minutes for Lena’s body to complete its benchmark walk on the treadmill, taking a brief video of the scene on his phone as her body transitioned into a jog in the last two minutes.
When the ten minutes was up, her body carefully reduced the speed on the treadmill until it slowed to a stop, then carefully stepped off and stood at attention in front of the box of cat litter.
“Alright, now can you please spot me while I lift this?” Lena asked, “just make sure my body doesn’t tip over or that I don’t drop the box on my feet.”
Mike got off the chair and walked over to Lena’s body, standing just a few feet away in case she needed his assistance. Once he was in place, Lena’s body carefully bent down and grabbed hold of the box by the handle, then carefully lifted it up. For a brief moment, Mike thought he heard the whine of her back servos kicking in as she lifted the heavy box, but then her muscles kicked in and she moved more fluidly. She bent up and down with the box a few times in both hands before placing it down and lifting it with heavy arm and swinging it around. Although she stumbled a few times, she did not require any rescue from Mike, and after ten minutes of lifting and swinging the box, she placed it down and stood back at attention.
“Thanks Mike!” Lena called out, letting him know he could return to his seat, “The only thing my body needs to do now is a few stretches.” Her body then began stretching it’s legs, arms, and core. Once it completed a few minutes later, it walked over to him and stood back at attention.
“Are you done with the benchmark?” He asked, seeing that it wasn’t moving to do anything else.
“Yep!” She responded, “Now, unfortunately, you’ll have to dismantle me again so you can conduct the repairs and maintenance a little bit later,” she said with a sad face, “My MCN has already compiled the benchmark and uploaded it into my personal cloud for reference, so when you swap everything out, I’ll be ready.”
“Good, did you need my help getting back up on the counter?” He asked, since she was somewhat short compared to the counter, “I can grab my step stool for you, if you like.”
“Yes, please,” she said with a slightly embarrassed look, “and then just spot me while I’m on it,” she requested.
“Will do,” Mike said dutifully. He walked over to the fridge and pulled out his small step stool from a small space between it and the wall and brought it over to the counter. As soon as he set it up, Lena carefully stepped onto it and walked up, with Mike gently holding on to her hips for support. Once she was at the right height, she crawled on top of the counter and carefully laid back down on the blanket in front of her head.
As soon as she was laying back down, her front access panel unsealed on its own, surprising Mike. “Yeah, I can unseal my panels myself,” she explained, seeing the surprised look on its face, “I just didn’t want to waste any time,” she apologized.
“No problem,” he waved it off, carefully removing the panel once more and admiring her lively internal components, still humming away.
“Now, I could separate each of my limbs myself, but since you’ll be swapping things out, you’ll actually have to deactivate the remote link that allows me to control my body remotely,” she explained, “Simply press and hold the sync button for ten seconds, and it’ll terminate the link.”
“Okie doke.” Mike did as she instructed, and as soon as the ten-seconds were up, her body, which had been playfully wiggling its toes and fingers per Lena’s personality, suddenly stopped moving and relaxed into a resting position.
“Man, it’s so sad to lose control of my body like that, but hopefully it won’t be for too long,” Lena said, “Now just detach each limb and lay them back to where they were before, but press the small red button on each one to turn them off first.”
Mike nodded and quickly located the manual release buttons beneath her plump skin, removing each limb and pressing the red button to turn them off. They remained as realistic as they were when he initially found them, but simply stiffened up somewhat.
“Very good, now just turn my torso off via the power toggle on the power core, and we should be ready for the next step,” she instructed once more. Mike regretfully did so, watching as all the components in her body slowly wound down with a low whine until they were silent.
“Good, now those components will have to remain offline for about an hour so they can properly cool down,” she explained, “Once they’ve cooled, you should be able to swap them out for the upgrades.”
“Cool, I can’t wait,” Mike said, rubbing his hands together excitedly, “What are we going to do in the meanwhile?”
“Well, actually, I’ll have to go offline in a few minutes, for about 45-minutes” she said with a regretful look.
“Why?” Mike was devastated to learn he’d be without her again.
“Because the first part of the upgrades will be several components inside my head, including my A.I. core processors,” she explained, “And, since the processors I ordered were so much newer, there will most likely be some data loss and memory corruption, so as a precaution, I’ll be backing up all of my files.”
“So, does that mean that I’ll be technically killing you?” Mike asked with a horrified look.
“Well, if you want to get all metaphysical on me, then perhaps yes,” she replied truthfully, “But, realistically, as an android, the only tangible difference will be that the backup of myself will be missing maybe a few minutes of memories, which isn’t really that much considering that, in addition to the two years or so of memories as an android, also include the 23 years as a human,” she shrugged. Then, seeing the continued look of concern on his face, she smiled, “But hey, maybe there won’t be an issue and the backup won’t be needed, so we’ll play it by ear, shall we?”
Mike simply gulped and then nodded his head resolutely. “Umm, is there anything you’d like me to do while you’re backing up your mind?”
Lena put on a thinking expression and then nodded. “Actually, it might be nice if you could go out and buy me some clothes,” she suggested.
“But I thought I saw some clothes in your case,” Mike pointed out.
Lena actually looked genuinely angry for the first time. “Yes, but those clothes have the Spaztec brand on them, and I don’t feel like going out into the world and announcing that I’m an android,” she told him in an angry voice, “that’s one of the few things I liked about my previous owner, and working at Cloudtron, was that I could move about and no one knew what I was…” Lena then saw the frightened look on Mike’s face and calmed herself, “I’m sorry for that outburst, but it’s kinda a thing that us donated personality units have, since we have memories of being human,” she explained.
“Ah, that makes total sense,” Mike nodded, “Well, umm…I’ve never bought clothes for a girl, or um, rather, a woman before,” he told her with an embarrassed look, “could you tell me what size you wear?”
Lena merely giggled and said, “Oh, you won’t need to worry about my size,” she smiled mischievously, “I’ll explain later, but just get me a pair of size 7 shoes, and some socks, and then a set of size L boxer shorts, sweats, and t-shirts…basically, stuff that can stretch,” she explained, “Oh, and don’t feel the need to splurge. I won’t be wearing these clothes for long, so just buy the cheap bargain brands or something.”
“Okay,” Mike said, still feeling really confused. Well, at least he wouldn’t be spending too much, he thought to himself. “Anything else?”
“Nope,” she smiled.
“Alright,” he smiled back, leaning in and kissing her deeply before stepping back and giving her a nod.
She merely smiled once more before stiffening up and assuming a stoic expression. “Initiating full backup…estimated time of completion with current network connection….45-minutes.” She then fell silent.
Mike merely sighed, got his errand gear together, and headed out to go clothing shopping.
While Lena was backing herself up, Mike drove a few miles down the road from his townhouse to a shopping center and found a thrift shop. There, he bought everything Lena had asked for, though he also purchased a loose hoodie and beanie, since it was winter and people might get suspicious if they saw her walking outside without cold weather clothes.
Since he still had plenty of time left after buying the clothes, he stopped by a coffee shop and got a small pastry and iced coffee. Mike had an aversion to hot beverages, so he always got an iced coffee, even if it was freezing out.
Before Mike headed back, he stopped into a general store and bought some basic feminine hygiene products, since all he had at home were male hygiene products. He then packed everything up into his car and drove back home.
Lena was just finishing up with the backup process when he returned home, so he quickly rushed upstairs and threw all her new clothes into the washer and started a quick cycle, then neatly placed her hygiene products into what would now be her bathroom, before running back downstairs.
“Backup complete,” Lena announced in a clipped, artificial tone, before blinking her eyes rapidly and resuming her human personality. “Alrighty! Now that all my files are backed up, if there are any major issues that pop up during the upgrade process, all you’ll have to do is tap the ‘Restore from backup’ button and I’ll simply reset to this present configuration,” Lena announced with a smile, bringing the backup tab up on the terminal.
“Umm, how long will the restoration process take, assuming something goes wrong?” Mike asked.
“About five to ten minutes,” Lena guessed, “It’s a little hard to be certain, since it depends on the speed of the new processors you’ll be installing, and your network connection, but it won’t take too long,” she promised him.
“Good,” Mike said with a tone of relief, “I bought you some cheap clothes, like you asked, and have them in the washer as we speak,” he informed her, “And I also bought you some basic hygiene items, in case you want to take a shower after we’re done.”
“Wow, how thoughtful…thanks!” Lena gushed.
“Don’t mention it,” Mike blushed.
“Now, it’s finally time for upgrades!” Lena celebrated, a big smile forming on her face, “as I mentioned before, we’ll be starting with my head, so I can better assist you with the rest of my body.”
Mike sighed a bit nervously. Although he felt fairly comfortable swapping out components in his collection of personal computers, none of them was nearly as complex as Lena, and he didn’t have a personable relationship with any of them.
“Hey, don’t be nervous,” Lena said in a calming voice, “Aside from the extreme likelihood that you’ll have to reset me to my backup, Spaztec made many of the components exceptionally easy to swap out, since we’re designed to be in operation for 10-20 years at a time before needing a replacement body.”
“Okay,” Mike said resolutely, “how do I get started?”
“First, it might be helpful if you pull me a bit closer to you,” Lena started, and once Mike pulled her head closer, she instructed him to turn her head around and look for a small freckle at the base of her hairline. While she had several freckles on her head, one stood out just where she said, since it was centered almost perfectly on her neck. As soon as he pressed it, a seam appeared around her hair, and her entire scalp smoothly detached from her head, taking with it the upper casing of her head.
After Mike carefully set her scalp down, which included all of her hair, he whistled as he looked into Lena’s head cavity. The skull portion of her head was made from the same metal-plastic alloy as the rest of her body, though it was more heavily reinforced to prevent shock damage, and even had insulation to protect from EMPs. The inside had the interior components that controlled her facial movement, as well as her eyes and ears. The main item that stuck out was a box like object in the center that everything connected to.
“Wow, is that your brain?” Mike asked, gingerly touching the device and feeling its warmth.
“Yeah, that’s me,” Lena confirmed, causing the motors in her head to move as he assumed she smiled, “if you’re ready, I’m going to shut myself down so you can pull it out and swap out the processors,” she warned him, “The parts should all be in color coded bags, so the one you’ll be looking for is green.”
Mike quickly dug around in the box, searching through the various colors until he located a green static-free bag. He pulled it out and set it down on the counter next to her head. “Okay, I found it.”
“Good, I’m going to shut myself down now,” she told him, “Once I’m offline, press the release button on my core and pull it out,” she instructed, “then, simply replace the processors with the new ones, reinsert the core, and turn me back on.”
“Okay,” Mike verbally acknowledged, since she couldn’t see his face.
Lena merely nodded and then stiffened up. “A.I. Self shutdown initiated, shutting down,” she announced in the same clipped voice as before, her voice ending in a low tone as the systems in her head wound down.
Mike merely shook his head, thinking he’d never truly get used to Lena being an android. Once he was sure all the systems in her head were offline, he pressed the release button on her core and pulled it free from her head. He was surprised with how easy it was to remove her core, or her brain, but considering how long she was supposed to be in service, it made total sense that her parts would be easily removable. He paused to admire the simple complexity of her core.
The core itself was roughly the size of a slightly larger than average apple, making it comfortable to hold in one’s hand. It had multiple data connections points that linked with the housing unit that he’d removed it from, and a small diagnostic monitor on the top so he could perform maintenance while she was online. There were empty data ports located on the rear, most likely for memory expansion modules, but the main thing Mike focused on was the small bank of processors, just below the ports.
Lena currently had four processors installed, though it appeared she could hold up to six. Mike took a few steady breaths to calm himself and then gingerly removed each of the processors, placing them neatly in a static free bag that he had handy for her leftover parts. Despite Lena being in operation for just over two years total, the processors he removed still looked to be in good shape, and she certainly hadn’t displayed any signs of processor failure…at least, nothing Mike could discern.
Once he had the four old processors safely stored away, Mike opened the green bag and pulled out a plastic case that contained the upgrades. Mike was surprised to see that she had ordered not four, but six new processors, but considering she could use up to six, and she would know that, he wasn’t too surprised. “Well, Cloudtron always cheaped out on our computers, so why not on the computing power of an android,” Mike muttered to himself, carefully inserting all six processors into their slots, pausing to admire the miniaturized quantum gel matrix powering each one.
Now that he had all the new processors installed in her core, he carefully reinserted it into the housing unit in her head, turned her head back around to face him, and pressed the manual power toggle behind her left ear.
Just as the first time he’d pressed it, Lena’s head instantly sprang to life, coming online and looking around. This time, however, she spoke a boot up sequence.
“Spaztec Industries unit XXS17 online. Alert, new hardware detected in CPU bay 5. New hardware detected in CPU bay 6.” Lena announced, as soon as she had finished verbally alerting Mike to the newly installed CPUs, a string of soft beeps emitted from her head accompanied by the display on her CPU display blinking. Mike looked at it and in bold letters across the front it read “CPU mismatch.” Lena’s operating system must have detected the new hardware, but wasn’t expecting it. Mike sucked in a breath and tapped the screen once, clearing the present alert and looking at the series of menu’s there. Tapping on the one for hardware he was presented with a visual readout on the CPU’s installed in Lena’s head.
CPU slots one through four displayed a small green check mark in them, while slots five and six showed a yellow triangle with an exclamation point in it. Mike tapped on one and it brought up a new window displaying details about the CPU. As soon as he did Lena spoke.
“New CPU core detected. Would you like to- like to- like like like- like to use the default-ault settings?”
Mike looked at her, a look of concern on his face as it seemed like her four working CPU’s attempted to voice the information while struggling to work with the new processors.
“Yeah, default settings please.”
Immediately the display inside of Lena’s head cleared itself and some of the settings on display changed slightly. The core speed, available usage and percentage of used resources all balanced themselves out and the window closed. Mike repeated the process with the one remaining red CPU, and though Lena’s speech skipped less this time, it still had a few hang ups to it. Once setting the CPU as default as well Lena spoke again.
“Settings stored, beginning boot sequence. A.I. core files loading...Warning: unable to load core files. Beginning auto-repair sequence.”
Lena’s eyes fluttered at her computerized systems obviously tried to repair whatever corruption it had detected. Mike watched while holding his breath. After a few long moments Lena spoke again.
“Alert, repair not possible. A.I. core files missing or corrupted. Proceed with unit boot sequence?”
Mike let out the breath he had been holding and hastily replied.
“Uh, yeah, load human emulation”
Despite his mild despair, he kinda wanted to see how bad it was before attempting a restoration from backup, just in case it was fixable.
“Affirmative, attempting to load A.I. Lena Schulz...loading...loading…complete,” she announced, then blinked her eyes a few times and looked at him. A brief look of confusion washed over her face as she said, “Oh, hey…where am I?”
“You’re at my house Lena,” Mike reminded her, “Don’t you remember? I found you in the storage room at work and brought you home.”
“Huh, that’s interesting…last I remember is…error, files not found…error, conflict in name resolution…you’re currently listed as my owner, but you were last reported listed as my friend/coworker...current GPS coordinates don’t match previous…error…error…error.”
Lena continued cycling through error messages and normal speech for the next several minutes, sounding like a cross between a dementia patient and a broken computer, before Mike finally threw in the towel with a sigh. It seemed her processors also served as memory buffers, and all her memories from the time he’d reactivated her yesterday, as well as others, were still on the old chips. It seemed this is why she made a backup. Mike took a brief video of her continuing malfunction to show to her later, and to get off on, and then hit the “Restore from Backup” button that she had told him about.
As soon as he pressed it, Lena suddenly stopped talking and shut her A.I. Down, quickly announcing, “A.I. Restoration initiated…accessing private cloud server…connection established…backup found…restoring, estimated time to completion: six minutes.” She announced.
Mike let out a sigh of relief as he saw the progress bar appear on the screen confirming the restoration of her backup files. Still, Mike was nervous, so he stepped away during the process to knock out some quick chores to calm himself down. He relieved himself, cleaned out Mia’s litter box, and moved the clothing from the washer into the dryer before rushing back down to attend to Lena for the last minute of the backup process.
“Restoration complete,” Lena announced in a clipped, artificial tone, before blinking her eyes rapidly and resuming her human personality. “Alrighty! Now that all my files are backed up, if there are any major issues that pop up during the upgrade process, all you’ll have to do is tap the ‘Restore from backup’ button and I’ll simply reset to this present configuration,” Lena announced with a smile, bringing the backup tab up on the terminal.
“Umm, Lena, I already did it,” Mike told her uncomfortably, “I mean, I already replaced your processors, and then you malfunctioned, just as you warned me, so I pushed the button and waited,” he told her, the words tumbling out nervously.
Lena merely nodded patiently while she waited for Mike to finish talking and then simply smiled. “Ah, thanks Mike, I guess it’s a good thing I backed myself up!”
“Indeed,” Mike agreed, calming down somewhat, “So, how do the new processors…um, feel?” He asked, struggling to find the correct word.
“Oh, they’re so great,” Lena moaned with sheer pleasure, “it’s so nice to actually have six processors, like I was meant to.”
“How come you only had four?” Mike asked, “I’m guessing it was Cloudtron being stingy with the computers, like always,” he said wryly.
“Well, it was SSS…and my previous owner, actually,” Lena corrected him, “Basically, androids like myself can run normally on four, especially with the rather basic tasks they had assigned me,” she explained, “I mean, it doesn’t really take much processing power to work security, after all,” she scoffed.
“No, it doesn’t,” Mike agreed.
“Well, anyway, the two extra processors would have cost a bit of money, not to mention having the extra processors would have drained my power cells more quickly, and they needed to ensure I could operate for at least 12-16 hours without having to recharge,” she continued, “That was with the expectation that I would work four extra hours here, and then maybe be able to be thrown into an outside assignment for another four hours, and make them even more money.”
“Ah, I see,” mike nodded, “So, you aren’t concerned with running low on power under my ownership of you?”
“It shouldn’t be an issue this time, since the six new ones, although they have a higher clock speed, have more efficient energy management enhancements installed in them,” she explained, “Paired with the new A.I. Updates that improved my efficiency, and the new power core you’ll be installing, I should still end up with the same, if not slightly better, battery life.”
“Excellent!” Mike said, rubbing his hands together, “So, you mentioned earlier that you were authorized to buy your own upgrades, so why didn’t you just upgrade your power core beforehand so you could get the two extra processors?”
“Because I wasn’t getting paid much, and I was also paying rent,” she replied, “Fortunately, my previous owner thought it might be a good idea in the start of my second year online to have me invest a significant percentage of my earnings, so I did…and boy did it grow over the five years I was in storage,” she squealed, “I was basically programmed to limit my personal spending to a certain percentage of my overall earnings, and since this time they were so much higher, I was actually able to order upgrades to pretty much everything,” she then explained, once she calmed down, “And it certainly helped that some other android company started up, created competition, and significantly lowered the costs of new parts,” she added.
“Spaztec isn’t in any danger of going out of business, is it?” Mike asked in a worried tone, “I don’t want to lose you in a few years just because they couldn’t stay afloat.”
“You don’t have to worry, there were laws enacted to standardize A.I.s, so that way, if that did happen, consumers could simply transfer their A.I.s into another companies model and continue building a relationship with it,” she assured him, “Don’t worry, you’re stuck with me,” she said in a mock sinister voice, sticking her tongue at him.
“Ok good.” One less thing for Mike to worry about. “So, what are you going to do with the extra processing power? Will it help with your human emulation at all?”
“Oh no, my human emulation is pretty much capped at the same processing usage at all times,” she explained, “any more would be overkill.”
“Then what is the extra processing power going to help with?”
“Well, now that we’re a couple, taking care of you is going to require more processing power, so I plan on utilizing it to the fullest extent,” she explained, then she put on a thinking face, “For example, right now, my human emulation is running, but in separate threads, I’m online checking stock at various stores nearby to compile a shopping list, another thread is creating a recipe list for the next 30 days to keep your palette fun and exciting, and another thread is looking up fun activities we might be able to do together. Now, before I could still do all those, but now I’m able to get those done faster, since before the human emulation would be taking a higher percentage of CPU time.”
“Wow, so you can literally multitask then?”
Yep,” she said proudly, “also, it’ll improve the speed at which I can run diagnostics, install updates, and various background tasks that my human emulation doesn’t have any conscious control over.”
“Wow, I’m touched that you’ve devoted so much of your time to me,” Mike told her, holding his hand to his heart, “So anyway, I didn’t reattach your scalp yet. Is there anything else in your head that I’m swapping out?”
“Yes,” Lena answered, “Look for the pink bag, and you should find the next set of upgrades.”
Mike quickly dug through the box and pulled out a pink colored bag. He opened it up and gently spilled the contents onto the counter, gasping when he saw what they were. There were several components inside that simply looked like processing units, matching with the ones in her head, but what stood out were twin devices with a white orb on the end.
“Are those…eyes?” Mike asked, picking them up and staring at them; they had no irises.
“Yep,” Lena smiled, “the eyes are the most common item to be replaced on androids, since visual systems are highly utilized,” she explained, “And, I even splurged a little and bought some with some enhanced features, like night vision and infrared,” she added cheerfully.
“And what might you need those features for?” Mike asked with mock exasperation.
“I dunno, helping you out at night, analyzing your biorhythms…those sorts of things,” she shrugged, “I want to help you in as many ways as possible.”
“Ok, that sounds cool, I guess,” Mike shrugged, “so, do I need to do anything special to replace all these?” he asked, peeking over her forehead back into her open head.
“If you look carefully on each of them, you’ll see a yellow release tab,” she instructed, “and, although they are all hot swappable, I would ask that you do them one at a time so my systems have time to adapt to the changes, and so I’m not completely blind or deaf for too long.”
“No problem,” he assured her. Mike carefully turned her head back around, facing away from him, and sized everything up inside of her head. After matching each of the components currently in her head with the replacements from the pink bag, he carefully pulled out was he guessed was the component for her left ear.
“And now I’m deaf in my left ear,” Lena said sarcastically, then giggling, “Just kidding, just put in the old one and do the same with everything else.”
Mike chose not to respond to that and merely clicked in the new one and did the same with her other ear. Next, he replaced her taste and smell sensors, followed by the sense of touch. When he reached the eyes, he paused briefly, since they were much more complicated than the other devices. He pushed the yellow tab on the left eye and then carefully slid the whole module out. After it was removed, he saw the color on the eye portion slowly recede until it was as white as the replacement units. Mike slowly turned her back around to see what she looked like.
“Arg, all I need is an eye patch and I’d make a good pirate,” Lena said in a mock pirate voice, while Mike could clearly see through the her now empty eye socket into the inner cavity of her head, the lights still blinking on the various fiberoptic cables inside.
Mike couldn’t help but chuckle, thinking he might not be as humorous if he’d just had his eye removed. “So, umm, does it matter which one of these I insert, or are they each the same?” Mike asked her, quickly scrutinizing each of the eye replacements.
“Nah, they’re both the same,” Lena shrugged.
‘Okay, good.” Mike picked one of them up and carefully slid it into the empty tray, this time doing it from the front so he could watch it re-emerge. As soon as it was connected, the color flooded back into it and it looked completely indistinguishable from the other eye. Lena blinked the eye a few times and swiveled it around before giving him a wink, indicating he continue. Mike did the same with the other eye, before placing the old components into the pink bag and then setting it aside for later.
“All done with your head,” Mike then announced, “Does everything feel better?”
“Much!” Lena replied, a big smile on her face, “Most of them are moderate improvements, but since my head contains four of my five senses, and they are used extensively, those parts do actually need to be replaced regularly.”
“Good, and your diagnostics, or whatever, didn’t show any problems?” He pressed, “I mean, should I reattach your scalp now?” He stumbled.
“Yep, all diagnostics confirmed successful installation of the new hardware!”
“Alrighty,” Mike said, picking up her scalp and carefully clicking it back in place, being careful to move her long hair out of the way of the seams. “Although I find seeing your innards to be quite arousing, it’s still disconcerting to see the top of your head missing like that,” he admitted with a shudder, watching the seams disappear.
“Yeah, I can imagine,” she agreed, “But, after a few years with me, I’m confident you’ll get used to it.”
“Indeed,” Mike grunted, then looked at the rest of her body, “So, what should I take care of first?” He asked, looking into her open torso at the dormant components, each of which he now realized had the same yellow release tab as the components in her head.
Lena zoned out momentarily as her systems analyzed her options, then she snapped out of it and said, “The power core.”
“Alright,” Mike nodded, “Which bag is it in?”
“The large yellow one,” Lena said, “You shouldn’t have any trouble finding it, since the power core is the largest component in that box, and my body.”
“Ah, I see it,” Mike said, seeing a glint of yellow on the bottom of the box. He carefully moved over the many-colored bags until he could easily grab it, and then lifted it with a slight grunt up to the counter and next to her body. “Is there anything I should be concerned about with the core?” He then asked, “I mean, is there an electrocution or explosion risk?” He laughed nervously; he was no electrician.
Lena gave him a friendly laugh and reassuring smile. “No, they ship those out with a 25% charge on them for safety reasons, so there’s just enough to last a potentially new android a few hours for initial setup and owner orientation, but not enough to risk explosion during transit or installation” she explained, “and you won’t have to worry about the old one either, since it had already discharged about 15% during the benchmarks earlier,” she added, guessing that would be his next question.
“Good to know, thanks!” Now that he realized he no longer had to worry about being injured, he confidently reached into Lena’s body and pressed the release tab for her power core, gently removing it from her body and placing it down next to the yellow bag. When he opened the yellow bag and pulled out the new core, he paused and quickly compared them.
“Um, Lena, this new core is quite a bit smaller…is it even going to fit in your body?” Mike asked in a worried tone, since the new core was a about 40% smaller, and weighed almost as less.
“Of course it will silly! I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise,” she chided him, “the ribbon connecting the two sides is extendable, so just insert it and it’ll fit, trust me.”
“Okay,” Mike said skeptically. In order to keep her weight properly balanced, the power core was divided into three sections, with two large batteries cradled on each side above her hips, and a smaller unit linking up with her spinal column in the back. Just as she said, the ribbon cable that connected each side to the back piece extended just enough to allow them to fit, but, due to the smaller size of the whole unit, there was now quite a bit of empty space in her torso. “Is this empty space going to be a problem?”
“No,” she assured him with a serious look, “Don’t worry about it for now, I promise you that you’ll understand later,” she winked.
“Okay,” Mike said, nodding his head. ‘Maybe she was malfunctioning again’ he thought to himself, making a mental note to run a full diagnostic on her later to be sure. “Since it’s smaller, does that mean it holds less of a charge?”
“No, actually, since I was able to splurge a little, I was able to get an upgraded model that uses a more efficient, condensed storage medium, so it actually holds about 5% more than the old one,” she explained, “though since it’s lighter, and I won’t have to expend as much energy moving around, it’ll last even longer,” she finished in an excited voice.
“Oh, I see,” Mike said, finally understanding the method behind her madness, “I take it several of these other upgrades are also lighter and/or smaller in some way?”
“Got it! I’ve done something similar with my hobby computers,” he nodded approvingly, “Though, in that case, it was to make them easier to lug around on trips with my family.”
“Well, just consider me your new hobby computer then,” Lena said with a huge grin.
“Will do,” Mike grinned back, “Oh, now that the new core is installed, should I plug you in now, or wait until I swap everything else out?”
“Do it now,” she instructed with a serious tone, “You’ll be safe as long as you don’t power up the core yet, and the sooner you plug it in, the faster it’ll be fully charged.”
“Will do.” Mike quickly plugged her in and then watched as a digital readout on the center unit lit up, indicating the core was at 24%; it had obviously discharged slightly in transit.
“Okay, it’s at 24% right now,” he reported, “about how long do you think it might take?”
“It’s hard to be certain, since this core model is new to me, but expect it take approximately 2-3 hours,” she estimated, then she saw the mild look of concern and impatience appear on Mike’s face. “Oh, but don’t worry, based on what time it is, if we can get it to at least 60%, then I should be able to remain online the rest of the day until you go to bed…at least, along with the food I might happen to eat.”
Mike was quite relieved to hear that he wouldn’t have to wait a whole three hours to enjoy Lena’s company as a fully assembled android again. “That’s good to hear.”
“Anyway, you can choose whatever component you want to replace next,” Lena told him, “at this point, it doesn’t really matter what order you do them in.”
“Okay,” Mike nodded, taking another look in her body. After quickly scrutinizing everything, he finally decided on her lungs.
“The lungs are in the blue bag,” Lena supplied, noticing him make his choice.
“Ah, thanks,” Mike said absently, wondering if one of the upgrades turned her into a mind reader or something. “Lena, I’m curious...what’s up with the color-coded bags, and how do you know which bags have what?”
“Oh, when I went online to the Spaztec ordering page and ordered upgrades for everything, it gave me the option to have the bags color-coded, in order to make the process as simple as possible,” she smiled, “for security purposes, it automatically selected a random color for each item, and sent me the color-code key to ensure we got the correct box.”
“Oh, that makes sense,” Mike nodded approvingly, then laughed, “I was wondering how you seemed to just magically know what was in each bag.”
“If you like, I can bring the list up on the screen for you so you can work a bit faster,” Lena offered helpfully.
“Oh, please do,” Mike accepted. Lena then zoned out and made a small window appear on the terminal with the color-code key. The items that he had already completed were crossed off, in what looked like a crayon scribble, and the item he was currently working on was highlighted.
“Just having some fun,” she smirked.
Mike shook his head. He liked how even though Lena was open that she was an android to him, she still acted like herself. Before he was able to remove her lungs, he first had to remove the rib cage from her endoskeletal structure, which was shielding most of the upper section. It smoothly detached from the rest of her skeleton with a push of the yellow tab, and Mike placed it down on the top of the couch behind him for safe keeping.
Based on what he could see, his initial analysis was confirmed. Lena’s lungs were primarily used as a heatsink for the complicated looking MCN, as well as for various other systems. They also allowed for her chest to realistically rise up and down. When he removed them, he saw that, in addition to the whole lung itself, it had a separate removable section near the top that appeared to be some sort of dust filter. It appeared she hadn’t been serviced in a while, because both filters were quite dirty.
“Ick, I figured those were a bit dirty,” Lena commented upon seeing the filthy state of them, “Those usually have to be replaced every six months, but my previous owner wanted to cut costs, so I was forced to wait nine months for replacements instead.”
“Good to know,” Mike nodded, placing the old lungs in the pink bag and installing the new ones; they were the same size.
Over the course of the next hour, Mike diligently replaced every single replaceable component in her torso. There were equivalents of her kidneys, that processed her liquid intake and sent it to a bladder. Her digestive system was essentially an expandable bag with an acidic compound inside for digesting her food, and it was connected to a fusion generator to recharge her power core.
The one interesting thing Mike noticed was that none of her internal components were fixed in their position like one would have expected with a normal computer. Instead, they were hooked in to moveable casings that could flex around neatly inside her torso, in order to allow her to move around like a real human. The casings themselves were surrounded with a cool, bluish gel-like material, so that not only could they flex around and move out of the way, but the gel also maintained a comfortable temperature, had fiber optics connected them to everything else, and allowed her to feel real if you were to poke her from the outside.
The last thing Mike swapped out was the MCN, since it was near the bottom of the shipping box, and was the most complex. When he opened the silver bag that it was in, he found not only the new MCN, which appeared to be about 40% smaller, but a small case that had smaller looking control chips labeled for each part of her body, including the head.
“Alright, now with the MCN, like I mentioned before, it’s basically split up all over my body,” Lena explained, seeing him inspecting each control chip, “Please start with the one in my head, which is located inside my neck.”
Mike acknowledged her and clicked her head off the A.N.A. After a quick search in her open neck cavity, he finally located her current MCN control chip, which he quickly removed and replaced with the newer one. Although they both seemed identical, the newer one felt slightly lighter. He then clicked her head back on and asked her for the next step.
“Okay, I’ve successfully installed the new chip,” she reported, “That’s how I’m able to remotely interface with the MCN in my body, and the other control chips allow each part to be remotely controlled while disconnected as well,” she explained, “First, replace the MCN and then I’ll tell you what to do next.”
Mike carefully reached in between both lungs and pressed the release tab, pulling the old MCN out of her body. Although it was not very large, it was deceptively heavy, so he nearly dropped back into her body. He placed it on the counter near her head and then installed the new one, noting that, due to it being 40% smaller, there was a considerable amount of dead space in her torso now. He clicked her rib cage back in place over the new MCN and stood back to look at Lena for guidance.
“Alright, now I’m sure you’ve wondered how my body can cope with all that dead space, so now I’ll show you. Turn on my body, and then press the sync button on my MCN.” She instructed, now sounding serious.
Mike did as she instructed, pressing the power toggle on the newly installed power core, which had gotten to about 50% in the time since he’d plugged it in. He then pressed the sync button on the MCN and waited as Lena remotely accessed the new device. Once she had access, it emitted an audible beep, and the torso twitched a few times as she tested her movement.
“Excellent, so far, all is going to plan,” she smiled, “Now watch this.”
As soon as she finished talking, something strange happened in her torso. First, a red laser seemed to scan the interior of her body, followed by a green laser, and finally a bluish one. The lasers emitted from several points in her body and ran for nearly a minute each. Once they finished, she nodded her head. “Okay, now, reattach my front torso cover and remove it when I’m done,” she instructed.
“Done with what?” He asked, picking it up and clicking it back on.
“You’ll see,” she winked, and once he had it clicked on and sealed back in place, he stood back and watched, gasping as he heard whirring and clicking coming from in her torso. Then, slowly, he saw her torso literally begin to contract, her ribs tightening up near the top, and her hips shrinking. Her previously plump skin also tightened up, and some of what previously felt like fat condensed into more defined muscles, even giving her a hint of a four pack. By the time it finished, she looked noticeably thinner and fitter.
“Holy shit!” Was all Mike could say, gazing down on her thinner, but still not skinny, body.
“I know, right,” Lena smiled gloriously, a hint of a blush on her face as she admired the look of admiration on her owner’s face. “Because we’re designed to last up to twenty years in the same body, they gave our bodies the ability to expand or contract, depending on how large the components are that we have installed,” she explained to him, “since you basically removed 20lbs from my body, and there was so much more room in there, I was able to scan my interior and adjust myself accordingly.”
Mike still didn’t trust himself to speak, instead he gently felt her new muscles and thinner torso, eliciting a few giggles from Lena, who was able to feel his touches remotely; her torso thrashed around in response to his touches. “Alright Mike, once you’ve recovered, you can go ahead and remove the torso cover again.”
Mike quickly removed the torso panel once more and gazed upon the now smaller interior. He saw now why the cover had to be temporarily reattached, as the cover itself had shrunk in size. All the components in her inner torso were now much closer together, and much of the gel encompassing all of them had firmed up. Even the ribs had been moved by the contraction.
“I know this may sound like a stupid question, but did that hurt?”
“Well, I suppose there was a little of what, in human terms, you may consider discomfort,” Lena admitted, trying to phrase things properly, “to be honest, ordinarily, an android like myself wouldn’t lose that much weight at once, so this was quite a contraction.”
“I’ll say.” Suffice to say, Mike now realized why she requested basic clothes that could be tightened, since she knew her waist and bust sizes would be changing. “Is there anything left to do in your torso?” He asked, wondering why he’d opened it.
“Well, after you’ve finished with the upgrades in a bit, you’ll be performing some general maintenance, based on my benchmark results,” she explained.
“Oh, okay,” Mike nodded, then he picked up the small organizer that contained the control chips for each individual limb.
He decided to start with something easy, so he chose the one for her right hand and then picked her hand up from the counter to swap them out. While he’d examined the mechanical portion of her hand before, he hadn’t noticed the small control chip embedded in it. He pulled out the old chip and inserted the new one, then saw a light blink on it before a low beep emitted from the new MCN.
Suddenly, Lena’s hand twitched in his hands and began moving around, slowly testing each finger before relaxing in his hands.
“Was that you?” He asked, looking at her with a startled look.
“Yeah,” she giggled, “I can control each of my limbs remotely too,” she said smugly, “But, they all have to be replaced at the same time, since the group has its own transponder frequency so it doesn’t overlap with another device or android.”
“Ah, that makes sense,” Mike nodded, placing the hand back down on the table face down. Lena then flashed him a mischievous smile and made her right hand rise up on all fingers and scuttle around the table like that thing from that old cartoon show. Mike quickly pulled up her visual feed on the terminal and confirmed that her hand had a small camera in it as well, so she could see where it was going.
“Having fun,” he laughed. She had her hand run several laps around her torso before returning it to its previous position and resting it back down.
“Yeah,” she admitted, “Unfortunately, my hand doesn’t have that much power while it’s disconnected, so I have to stop,” she said regretfully.
“How much power does each limb have?”
“Well, they can actually receive a minor amount of power simply through a special wireless connection from the MCN, but that’s really only enough to run low-level diagnostics,” she admitted, “But, each limb does have enough juice to last about 5-10 minutes, depending on the level of exertion. That would be enough so we could attempt to reassemble ourselves in the event of accidental detachment.”
“Wow, they really did think of everything,” Mike said, replacing the control chip in her left hand, and then both arms.
After he replaced the remaining chips in her feet and legs, and watched her test the motor function in each, he stood back and took another look inside her open torso, noticing he still had one bag left in the box.
“I thought I was done with everything in here,” he told her, “What else is left?”
“Well, to put it delicately, my sexual systems,” she said with a slightly embarrassed look, “I figured we’d save those for last, since they are lower in my body and don’t really have an impact on my size or weight.”
Mike blushed too, though she had warned him that he’d be opening her up in that area. “Why do your sexual systems need to be serviced?” he asked with a confused look, “I thought that, well, you were a virgin.”
“I am,” she replied indignantly, “But still, as long as I’m upgrading everything else, I might as well upgrade that too,” she defended, “besides, they kinda skimped out on those since they knew I wouldn’t be having sex with anyone at work, and my previous owner was gay anyway.”
“Ah, that makes sense,” Mike nodded, locating the panel release button beneath the now easy to spot light colored section of skin. Doing so caused a trapezoidal shaped section of skin to release from just above her vagina, revealing a control panel, several processors, and a lubrication tank. The control panel was currently on, and displayed her arousal settings.
“Go ahead, play around with it,” Lena offered, seeing Mike finger the controls.
Mike took her offer and played around on the control panel. Despite the complexity of the rest of her body, it appeared to be intentionally designed to be as simplistic and user friendly as possible, since sex was the number one reason a person would buy an android like Lena in the first place. It had basic touchscreen controls that allowed him to toggle her libido, arousal level, and lubrication levels.
Mike played around and toggled up her arousal, watching as her body, and dismembered limbs, twitched with pleasure, and she began to slowly moan. He toggled her back down to normal to keep her from climaxing and then toggled her lubrication, watching as it slowly moistened up. When he toggled it back down, he could actually see the lubricant absorb back into the skin.
“Fascinating,” Mike wondered, examining the lubrication tank. “So, do you need some sort of proprietary lube or something?”
“Fortunately, not,” Lena responded, “Spaztec designed our lubrication systems so we can function using any store-bought lube, that way you can experiment with more…palatable choices, like flavors and aromas.”
“Interesting.” Mike mused, thinking of a few options he might like to consider. He then remembered he was supposed to be swapping things out, so he reached into the box and pulled out the purple bag, opening it and spilling its contents in front of him.
The only items inside the bag were replacement processors, a container of fruity lube, and a strange, cylindrical device. “Is this what I think it is?” Mike asked, picking it up and examining it.
“Yep, that’s where all the magic happens,” Lena said solemnly.
The device didn’t have the actual lips or skin on the entrance end, instead it appeared to be just the mechanism that was housed inside her body that he was to insert himself in. It had strange servos on the outside that appeared to allow the device to squeeze in, pulsate, and vibrate.
Mike quickly wondered how the heck he was supposed to insert the device, when he saw an actual physical eject button next to the touchscreen control panel. Obviously, it was designed to work even if her body was low on energy, he thought. He reached out and pressed the button, and then recoiled his hands as a seam appeared around her vagina, and the entire thing popped out several inches like a disc tray on an old computer. Upon grabbing hold of it, Mike was able to pull it out even further, until the entire unit was sticking out. Right away, he could see a similar cylindrical device, though far less sophisticated.
“I take it they just gave you the basics,” Mike guessed, removing the old unit and installing the new one; they were the same weight.
“Yeah,” she confirmed, “like I said, my previous owner was gay, and they didn’t encourage me to engage in sexual activities,” she reminded him, then her face took on a pleasurable look when he slid the vagina tray back into place with a satisfying sucking sound.
“Feel better?” He asked with an amused smile, as he swapped out the processors.
“It’s not really that,” she admitted, “It’s that I lost all feeling while you were swapping it out, and then suddenly regained feeling, and it was just a brief wave of pleasure coursed through me all at once.”
“Wow, I wish I could feel that,” Mike mused.
“Well, now that I’m all upgraded down there, maybe I can assist you with that later,” she said with a kinky smile.
“I look forward to it,” Mike returned it, clicking the vagina panel back in place, and watching the skin seal back up.
“Well, thanks Mike,” Lena then said with genuine sincerity, “you’ve managed to completely upgrade everything in my body. Now, the next step is to perform some routine maintenance and then reassemble me.”
Mike nodded, then sighed. He’d been working on upgrading her components for over an hour and he was suddenly hit with a wave of fatigue.
“Oh Mike, are you alright?” Lena asked with a concerned look.
“Yeah, I guess swapping all your components out was a little more draining than I thought,” he admitted, slumping back in his chair, “I think I want a breather before moving on to the maintenance.”
“That’s no problem,” Lena told him in an understanding voice, then zoned out for a moment before smiling, “I just checked the update servers and found a decent amount of updates that were posted in the last few hours, so I can quickly download & install them, and then go into a full diagnostic to fully test my new processors,” she supplied, “I estimate with the increased speed, I should be out for about half an hour.”
Mike thought about it a moment before nodding his head. “Yeah, I can live without you for half an hour.” He winked.
“Excellent, go take your well-deserved break.” With that, she went into standby mode while she downloaded and installed updates in the background.
Mike quickly pulled up her activity monitor on the terminal to confirm her current state, then he got his shoes on and headed out to go on a brisk walk around the block.
1.5: Maintenance & Reassembly
Mike fully enjoyed the cool, winter air on his skin as he calmly walked around his neighborhood. He’d always preferred the cold weather over the warm weather, as it helped him think. He found himself mentally planning on things he could use Lena for, in addition to helping out around the house. Mostly, he was just glad he would have someone to chat with from time to time, since he mainly just talked to himself.
When he finally returned nearly twenty minutes later, Lena was still doing whatever it was she was doing, so Mike quickly tackled some of the chores he’d started earlier. He folded Lena’s now clean clothes, and brought them downstairs for her to wear when she was reassembled. He also started his floorvac on the second floor to get a head start on the cleaning.
Just before Lena came back online, Mike pulled some of his old hobby computers from storage and turned them on so they could run some updates. Then, he sat back down at the counter and patiently waited for her to finish.
Once Lena was completed with her diagnostic, her head gently bowed down as she rebooted, and then came back to life once more seconds later.
“Well, how’d everything go?” Mike asked conversationally, slowly getting used to her artificial nature.
“The updates were fairly minor, and the diagnostic went smoothly,” Lena reported, “And I also managed to reorganize some of my files into long-term storage so I don’t have any more memory buffer malfunctions.”
“Excellent!” Mike rubbed his hands together excitedly, “So, what are we going to do with all these old parts?” he asked her, having already placed the older versions back in the shipping box while he was waiting for her to finish her diagnostic.
“Oh, most of them we can probably sell back to Spaztec at a low price for people who have older model androids,” she shrugged, “But some of them we’ll keep here as backups for me, like my old processors and the old MCN.”
“Ah, good to know…so, how do we go about this maintenance?” he asked her, having not seen a repair kit in the shipping box.
“There’s a small repair kit in the bottom compartment of my storage case,” she replied, “you’ll be looking for a tool that looks like a cross between a massager and hair dryer.”
Mike had an amused expression on his face as he dug back into her storage case and pulled out a modest sized repair kit. He brought it up to the counter and zipped it open, revealing a handful of repair tools. He grabbed the tool that she described and then held it up to her.
“Yes, that’s the Subdermal Healer,” she nodded, “basically, it uses a low-level sonic pulse to essentially heal degradations in my muscle tissue, which augments my servo mechanisms to allow me to move in a more fluid, human manner.”
“So, are they sore or something?”
“I suppose that’s the easiest way to describe it, yes,” she smiled, “my muscles work just as hard as a normal human’s would, so they can get sore.”
“Interesting,” Mike mused, “So does that mean a good ole’ fashioned massage might keep you in tip top shape as well?”
“Well, it would certainly help,” she nodded approvingly, “however, this tool is a bit more comprehensive, so this usually has to be done on a monthly basis.” The she put on a wry expression, “It would have been done when I last met with my previous owner, but he decided to put me into storage instead.”
“Ah, well is there any special way I should do this?” Mike asked, looking at the dials and knobs on the device.
“Yes, I think setting five with a depth of four should be sufficient,” she decided, “and once you’ve got it set, just run it slowly over each arm and leg, but not my hands or feet.”
Mike set the dials, seeing that five was the intensity, out of ten, and four was the number of millimeters the sonic waves would permeate her body. Once he had it set, he ran it over Lena’s left arm. The sonic waves caused the muscles in her arm to spasm, making it thrash around gently on the countertop. As he continued passing the tool over her arm, the thrashing slowly decreased until the arm became still. While Mike did this, Lena’s face expressed varying levels of pleasure, almost as though he actually were massaging her.
Once he finished with the left arm, he did the same with her right arm, and then both legs before placing the tool down. “I’m curious, would this work on me…or, rather, a human?”
“Unfortunately, not,” Lena apologized, “the tool uses technology specifically designed to work with the material my skin and muscles are made out of…however, the new girlfriend software I installed last night has some pretty good massage programs,” she winked.
“Ooh, I can’t wait,” Mike said excitedly.
“Me neither. Now, the next thing you should be looking for is a sort of spray can thingy.”
Mike returned the hair dryer tool to the tool kit and grabbed what honestly looked like a can of compressed air. The label, though, said Electro-Air.
“What the hell is Electro-Air?” Mike asked, looking at the list of ingredients and finding only a host of strange chemicals.
“It’s basically an aerosolized, quick evaporating metallic gas that, when sprayed on each of my connection points, can repair any microfractures present in the data connections.” She then saw the confused look on Mike’s face and sighed, “basically, it repairs minor damage in my connection points and allows for more efficient data and energy transfer.”
“Okay, I think I get it,” Mike nodded, though he still barely understood, “I think I’m gonna have to go back to school just to learn about how all your systems work,” he joked, using the spray can and spraying it for the directed duration of time in each connection point. It appeared that he was spraying a silver mist into her connection points, but it evaporated so fast, it looked like he sprayed simple air.
“Hey, you’re pretty smart, I’m sure you could just take some online classes and save a ton of money,” she complimented him, “And I’ll keep telling you until you get it,” she added stubbornly.
“I’m sure you will,” he chuckled, “Hey, does this need to be sprayed in your head too?” he asked, having finished with everything else.
“Yep, as well as the A.N.A.” she confirmed.
“Just making sure,” Mike nodded, unclicking her head from the A.N.A. and spraying both it, and the exposed section of her neck with the Electro-Air. He then clicked her head back on and placed the can back into the toolkit.
“Ah, that feels much better, thanks!” Lena said with a content look on her face, “Well, now that you’ve basically oiled me up, you can go ahead and reattach my arms and legs to my torso, but not the hands and feet.”
Mike excitedly did as she instructed, clicking both sets of arms and legs back onto the torso for what he hoped would be the last time for some time. He was surprised to see that, once they were reconnected, they too contracted slightly in the bicep and thigh region to match the contractions of her torso, giving her an even slimmer appearance. Although it was by no means as obvious a change as with her torso, she now appeared slightly more muscular.
“I thought you’d like that,” Lena said smugly. Mike once again ogled her body uncontrollably, admiring her new sleek form.
“Um, okay, so what do I need to do for your hands and feet?” He asked her, since they were the only things he hadn’t worked on yet.
“Well, those get far more stress than my arms or legs, so they need a more intense tool,” Lena said with a serious look, “Take the Subdermal Healer back out and turn it to maximum power,” she then commanded dramatically.
Mike couldn’t help but chuckle as he retrieved the tool once more, setting it to ten and the depth to maximum. He then gently passed it over both hands and feet, watching them twitch wildly for several seconds before relaxing on the counter.
“Oh yeah! That felt good!” Lena exploded out, once he had finished. She looked as though she had just had a massive orgasm. Mike momentarily felt embarrassed to witness her outburst, almost as though he’d just walked in on her.
When she finally calmed back down, she smiled at him. “Good boy, now look for a small cuff looking device in the tool kit. There should be a pair of them.” She instructed, and once he pulled them out, she continued, “Now, click those onto each hand and foot.”
Mike did as she instructed, but he chose to click it onto her left hand and foot, instead of both hands or feet. “So, what do these do?
“Those cuff units contain repair nanites that are designed to travel through my hands and feet and repair microscope damage in my delicate finger and toe mechanisms,” she explained, “However, nanites can be quite dangerous if not handled properly, so these are designed to only work under the containment of the cuff units.”
“Wow, that’s so cool.” Mike had always been fascinated with tiny machines. “Hey, while those are doing their magic, is it alright if I clean up your hands and feet a bit?”
“Sure, what did I miss?”
“Oh, when I was inspecting your limbs in the storage room, I noticed some dirt under the nails, and some sock residue between the toes.”
“Wow, thanks!” Lena blushed.
“Don’t mention it,” Mike winked. He quickly grabbed a cloth and his own personal nail grooming kit. After sanitizing it with an alcohol bath and rinse in hot water, he sat back down and began grooming her nails.
Lena merely watched him with utter adoration and patience as he gently scraped the debris from under the nails on her right hand and foot. He even used the cloth to clean between each finger and toe. “I’ll have to add this to my cleaning routine,” Lena commented, seeing how seriously Mike was taking his task.
“Well, you cleaned up fairly well,” Mike assured her, “although, in between your toes it still smelled a bit like BO.”
“Well, I did have to kind of rush through my shower,” she defended, “I mean, I was told to come quickly, and next thing I know I’m told I’m gonna be decommissioned and to prepare myself.”
“Hey, no need to work yourself up,” he told her with his hands out, “I’m kind of a perfectionist, so I get a little obsessive sometimes.”
Lena calmed herself down and smiled. “I’ll keep that in mind.” She then got a look of calm contentment as he gently rubbed the cloth, dabbed with alcohol, in between her toes. “Ah, it’s like a nice, relaxing mani-pedi session,” she purred, “You should consider a career in this, you’re so good.”
“Perhaps,” Mike shrugged, “But I’m also a bit of a germaphobe, so that might hamper my chances,” he grimaced.
“You don’t seem to mind with me,” she accused him.
“Well, that’s because I know it’s all artificial,” he explained, “although your BO smells real enough, it’s not quite got that ickiness that the real deal has,” he told her, trying to explain it.
“Yeah, I see what you mean,” she nodded, “Well, I guess I’m perfect for you, since androids are much cleaner than humans.”
“Indeed,” Mike agreed, then he began gently rubbing the bottom of her foot with the cloth, eliciting giggles, and the foot began thrashing in his hands. “Wow, are you ticklish?” He smiled.
“Yeah, very,” she confirmed, trying to calm herself down.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” he smiled mischievously, “but, you’re an android…couldn’t you just turn your ticklishness off?”
“I could,” she pouted, “But how many of your computers are ticklish?”
Although it was an absurd question, Mike kept a straight face and answered her. “None.”
“Exactly,” she accused him, “being ticklish makes me unique, and human, so that’s why I keep it on,” she finished with her chin up.
Mike stared at her with awe. Apparently, her human emulation was far more sophisticated than he had originally thought. Despite the fact that she had fooled him during the two years they had worked together, she was still surprising him with her intricate complexities.
“Oh, if you’re finished grooming those limbs, you can remove the cuffs from the other set and put them on the ones you’re working on now,” Lena told him.
“Okay, just one more rub,” Mike told her, gently rubbing her foot bottom one last time before placing it down. He removed the cuffs from the other hand and foot and placed them on the ones he’d just groomed, then began grooming the other set. “How come these just go on your hands and feet, and not all the other connection points?” he asked, once he’d started grooming her right hand.
“Because they have more intricate mechanisms in them,” Lena shrugged, “The arms and legs are mostly just muscle and the skeletal structure, but the hands and feet have all those micro servos in them to provide me with fine motor skills, so they need more intricate repair work that only nanites can perform.”
Mike nodded, continuing his work on her nails. “Lena, your hands and feet aren’t going to shrink like the rest of your body did, are they?”
“No, they’re pretty much fixed until the next time my body is replaced. Why?”
“Well, I like them the way they are now,” he shrugged, finishing with her hand and moving to the foot.
“Aww, you are so cute.” Mike didn’t really respond, aside from a kind smile, though, so she merely continued watching him groom her nails, reveling in the sensory input from each limb as he did so.
About five minutes later, Lena reported that the nanites were finished. Mike calmly finished grooming her right hand and foot and removed the cuff units from the other set, placing the units back into the tool kit.
“Okay, can I reattach them now?” he asked eagerly.
“Yes,” she smiled in response, “and then there’s just one last thing you’ll need to do before reattaching my torso cover. Once you’ve reattached my hands and feet, grab the small pill case.”
“Good, I’m looking forward to having you all in one piece again,” he said in a relieved voice, clicking on both hands and feet. As he reached down into the toolkit, Lena absently clenched and unclenched both hands and feet. He returned moments later with a rather large pill organizer, filled with dozens of orange, blue, and green colored pills.
“Interesting.” Mike took one of each pill out and scrutinized them. They were fairly large, almost the size of a strong painkiller. They had the Spaztec brand on them, and some small writing, but nothing else to distinguish what they were.
“What ever you do, don’t consume those,” Lena warned, watching him smell them.
“What are they for?”
“The orange pills replenish my bodies supply of artificial scent,” she explained, “The blue pill replenishes my supply of Smart Sweat, and the green pill replenishes my digestive fluids.”
“Oh,” Mike said, carefully removing the pills from the vicinity of his face, “do you have to swallow these or something?”
“Ordinarily, I would swallow them once a month, but since you’re still working on my body, there’s actually a small hatch you can open on my digestive tank that you can push those pills into,” she instructed.
Mike reached back into her body and located the small hatch that she mentioned. As soon as he pushed all three pills into her stomach, they began to fizz and dissolve until they mixed in perfectly with the acid already in her stomach.
“Excellent! All the maintenance is complete!” she congratulated him, “Just reattach my torso cover and help me off the table so I can run the benchmarks again.”
“Alrighty,” Mike smiled big. Before he picked her torso cover up, he peeked into her torso and saw her new power core was up to 75%. He reported the number to her.
“That’s actually slightly higher than I’d anticipated,” she nodded approvingly, “Like I said earlier, at this point in the day, I really only need about 55-60% to get me through to the end, so 75% is more than enough.”
“Okay, just making sure,” Mike nodded, picking her torso cover and reattaching it. Once it was sealed back in placed, he also unplugged the power cord from her body and sealed the charging port back up.
Once all her panels were resealed, Lena slowly sat up on the counter and swung her legs over the side, “Thanks, now just help me down from the counter again, please,” Lena requested.
Just as he did before, Mike gently grabbed hold of her waist while she put her arms around his shoulders for support. This time, she felt noticeably lighter, so he had much less difficulty gently lowering her down to the floor, her feet gently plopping back down onto the hardwood.
Now that she was standing up, instead of lying down, Mike could see even more clearly now how much thinner she looked. With gravity now affecting her body, he could make out even more muscles showing on her abdomen, and her thighs.
Lena made her body bounce around on both feet for a few seconds to adapt to the reduction in weight and overall size before having it slowly turn around and walk over to the treadmill to run a benchmark.
“Man, I haven’t even started the benchmark yet, but I can already feel how much more awesome my body feels,” Lena practically purred, having her body step onto the treadmill and begin the benchmark. Just as before, she began it at a comfortable walking pace for eight minutes.
“So, what’s improved so far?” Mike asked, monitoring her status once more on the terminal screen.
“Well, for one thing, the fact that I weigh less is putting much less stress on my feet and legs,” she started, “The new power core is also more efficient at managing my energy consumption, and the new MCN, and the new control chips, have much better latency and range.”
“Latency? What exactly do you mean?” Mike had heard the term before, but wasn’t quite tech savvy enough to know what it meant.
“Well, latency means the speed at which I am able to wirelessly control my body, or, rather, the slight delay between my brain sending a signal to my body to move, and it actually moving and sending signals back to me,” she supplied, “Before, the latency was roughly 12ms, but now it’s down to 7ms.” She seemed to feel almost relieved at reporting that, “the range has also been improved by 15ft,” she added.
“But it’s only a small difference, does it really matter with speeds that fast?”
“It does,” Lena said with a serious look, “it can mean the difference between me being able to avoid bumping into something, or taking a potentially damaging tumble.”
“Ah, I see now,” Mike nodded.
“Plus, it is kinda like that feeling of watching a TV show that doesn’t have the audio properly synced up,” she added off-handedly.
“Oh! I hate it when that happens,” Mike practically shouted, “It’s so annoying!”
“I know, right!” Lena’s enthusiastic response instantly warmed Mike’s heart. They both locked eyes, and had a moment. Mike absently noticed an update to his status sliders on the activity monitor. When the moment passed, they both giggled like two schoolchildren and then had a momentary awkward pause.
“So, what other improvements are you noticing so far?” Mike finally asked, breaking the silence.
“The maintenance fixes you performed are allowing me to move much more efficiently, and my whole body just feels more relaxed as a result,” she reported.
“Good, I can’t wait until you’re done,” he said once again, “I can’t wait to show you everything that’s changed over the last five years.”
“I can’t wait either,” she agreed, her body now transitioning to a light jog for the final two minutes.
Remembering the benchmark from before, Mike made sure to place the box of cat litter back in the center of the room for the lift test she was about to conduct.
“Thanks,” Lena smiled, “you’re so helpful.”
“I try my best,” Mike smiled modestly. Another minute later, Lena completed the treadmill benchmark and reduced the speed gradually until it stopped. She then had her body slowly step off and back over to the box of litter, with Mike once more standing nearby to spot her in case she had difficulty with the box.
Unlike before, this time Mike could not hear any whining servos or and noises to indicate that she was just a machine. She moved much more fluidly, and seemed to be having a much easier time lifting the box and swinging it around. Just as before, this portion took ten minutes, and she seamlessly transitioned into the stretches as soon as she was done with the box.
“Alright, benchmark complete!” Lena announced cheerfully a few minutes later, having her body walk with Mike back over to the terminal so she could have her head reattached.
“Nice, and what are the final results?” Mike asked, eager to know.
“Well, in a nutshell, the reduced weight, upgraded components, and refreshed muscles and servos have improved my overall efficiency by 37%,” she reported, then zoned out as she conducted a minor calculation, “basically, that should add another 3-5 hours to my battery life, depending on my level of physical and mental exertion.”
“And that’s even with the smaller power core?” Mike asked, for confirmation.
“Of course! Like I said, just because something is smaller, doesn’t mean it’s not as good.” She chided him.
“Yeah, yeah, I know,” he sighed, “So, would you like me to reattach your head now?”
“Yes, please!” Lena replied, intentionally sounding like a little girl. Mike smiled big and detached her from the A.N.A. for what he hoped would be the last time…though he did admit to himself that he found dealing with mostly just her head for the past, almost, day to be quite erotic. He carefully brought her over her patiently waiting body and clicked her head back on.
As soon as the seam sealed up this time, he noticed the skin on her face firm up ever so slightly to match with the new slimness of the rest of her body. Now that she was finally complete, Mike could truly admire her sleeker form, and, although he did not mind her plumpness from before, he liked what he saw now even better.
“Okay,” he managed to say, breaking the momentary silence, “So, are we finally done working on you now?”
“Yes Mike, thanks to you, I’m fully operational again!” she said joyfully, dancing around on her toes and rubbing her body satisfactorily with both hands, truly reveling in the sensations her new upgrades were giving her.
“Hey, don’t mention it,” he told her modestly, with a hint of a blush, “I mean, we were best buds five years ago, and I’d like to think you would have done the same for me if this situation were reversed.”
“Oh, I can assure you, I would have,” she said sincerely, “Many of the people there were not too kind to me, and you were the only one who made me feel calm and welcome,” she finished in an emotional tone, a small tear forming in her left eye.
Mike instinctively hugged her, in exactly the same way as he used to hug her in the old days at Cloudtron when he saw how stressed out and distraught she sometimes got. Even though he now knew she was an android, and running a very sophisticated human emulation program, he realized that if you gave a machine a human personality, memories, emotions, then it would truly act like one, even to the point of getting hurt or offended.
“I don’t think you’ll ever know how happy, and lucky, I am that you found me,” Lena finally said, once they broke apart, “But I promise you that I will do everything in my programming to be the best android friend you could ever have!”
Mike said nothing, since nothing could possibly add to the feeling that was in the room at that moment. Instead, he leaned in and kissed her deeply. She went all in on the kiss, probing her tongue deep into his mouth and pulling his into hers. When they finally broke apart, their faces were flushed, and they had gentle, serene smiles on their face.
“That was nice,” Lena whispered.
“It was,” Mike agreed.
“So, um…now that I’m finished, why don’t we clean this area up and maybe have some fun,” Lena suggested.
Mike quickly looked around the kitchen and nodded his head. They had to put away the case Lena had been stored in, the treadmill, the A.N.A. and other repair tools, the blanket Lena’s body had been laying on atop the kitchen counter, the box of upgraded parts, and the box of cat litter.
“Yeah, I suppose I made quite a mess, didn’t I?” Mike laughed sheepishly.
“Well, hey, it was for my benefit, so I don’t mind,” she assured him, slapping him on the shoulder, “Come on, let’s get this place cleaned up!”
They both quickly got to work cleaning the place up. Mike moved the box of litter back into the under the stairs closet, along with the blanket, and then he and Lena both moved the treadmill back into the garage to where they found it.
“Okay, now let’s move all the android stuff upstairs to my new room,” Lena suggested, “I’m going to get it all set up into a sort of lab so I can conduct basic maintenance on myself from now on.”
“Fine by me,” Mike shrugged, “I don’t really have any room down here for all if it anyway.” Mike then walked up to Lena’s case, closed it up, and attempted to pick it up. “Damn! This thing is still really heavy!” he swore, trying a few more time to lift it up, grunting with frustration. It appeared that, even though Lena’s body was no longer in it, it was still too heavy for him to lift, let alone move upstairs, and he didn’t want to wrestle it with a dolly again.
“Hey, Mike, relax,” Lena calmed him down by gently rubbing his shoulders. He stood up and walked away from the case, taking deep breaths. “Don’t try and be manly around me, I can carry it up,” she told him gently, then she bent down and carefully lifted it up, the sound of her leg and back servos whining as she lifted the heavy case.
“How?! Oh, I forgot, your emergency power,” Mike said, facepalming, “I hope it’s not heavy enough to damage you,” he then said with a worried look.
“Meh, it’s only slightly heavier than I could lift with just my muscles alone,” she shrugged, “However, we should probably get it upstairs quickly, just to be safe.”
“Will do,” Mike nodded. He quickly grabbed the shipping box full of her old components, which although was still heavy, was not nearly as heavy as the case. He then followed her out of the kitchen and up the stairs.
“You know, you sound so sexy right now with all those mechanical noises,” Mike admitted, slowly following her up the stairs as she navigated each step carefully.
“You think so?” Lena asked in a mildly shocked voice, “to me it sounds like my body is working harder than it needs to,” she shrugged.
“Well, that’s what goes with a robofetish, I suppose,” Mike shrugged back, “Do you think there’s any safe ways you can make yourself sound like that?”
“I’ll have to think about it,” Lena admitted, “I’m sure there are, but I’ll have to look up safe ways on the Spaztec forums to be sure…I really don’t want to damage my servos just playing around, though if you really want, I can.”
“Thanks,” Mike smiled.
“Hey, I’d do anything for you,” she reminded him, then she looked out the windows, “It’s a good thing you have the Electrochromic windows,” she then said, noticing the darkness, “otherwise someone would be getting quite the show,” she giggled, referencing her nude body.
“Yeah, it came with the place,” Mike smiled, “and a good thing to, since I mentioned I like walking around in the nude while I’m here.”
“Oh yeah, were you going to take your clothes off, now that you’re done working on me?” she reminded him.
Mike quickly blushed, then remembered that she didn’t care if he was nude. “Sure, though maybe a bit later,” he promised her, “I don’t want to distract you from getting settled in up here.”
“Yeah, I suppose you’re right,” she said with a slight pout.
Finally, she managed to get up the last step and walk at a faster pace into the room which would now be hers. She deposited the case on the floor next to a desk that took up a corner of the room. It had been left by the previous renter, too big to be conveniently removed from the room. She opened the case back up and pulled all the contents from the bottom compartment, setting them up on the table. Mike placed the shipping box down next to the case, and Lena immediately unpacked each item and spread them out on the desk, removing the contents from each colored bag.
Mike watched her do this for nearly five minutes before finally asking, “What are you doing?”
“Oh, I’m inventorying all my supplies,” she explained, “I’m determining which items to keep, and which could be resold on the Spaztec auction server so we can make some money back.” Then she smiled, “looks like we’ll be able to recoup quite a bit.”
“Good,” Mike smiled, then looked at the heavy case. “Oh, didn’t you say you would try and lift me, once you were upgraded and reassembled?” he reminded her.
“Hmm, I suppose I did,” Lena smirked, “You don’t have a problem being lifted up by someone smaller than you, do you?” she teased.
“Of course not,” Mike scoffed playfully.
Lena merely spent a few moments sizing him up, her new optical systems and processors analyzing his height and dimensions to ascertain exactly how she should lift him up. Finally, her calculations complete, she slowly walked up to him and grabbed hold of him around his waist. Once she had a firm, but gentle grip, she activated her emergency power and slowly lifted him up off the floor, her servos whining loudly.
Once she had him a few feet off the floor, she shifted him in her arms until she had him laying down in her arms in a more comfortable position.
“Wow, you really are strong,” Mike told her, looking up at her with a look of admiration and awe.
“I know,” she smiled simply, gently lowering him back down so he could stand on his own again, “But please don’t make me lift you like that too often,” she pleaded, “not only does it strain my servos, but it also discharges my battery faster.”
“I understand,” Mike nodded solemnly, “I guess that’s one way to motivate me to lose weight,” he sighed dramatically.
“Hey, that’s not what I meant!” she protested.
“Don’t worry, I know,” he laughed, “though seriously, with your help, I probably will finally lose some weight…I hear having a girl around can be a real motivator.”
“Well, I’m not quite sure what people mean about that,” Lena said dubiously, “But, I can certainly cook healthier foods, and give you motivation to do more exercise, if you’d like,” she offered, “Though, you only weigh about 180,” she added wryly, after analyzing his weight.
“Yeah, but it’s still a tad on the overweight side,” Mike frowned, “Well, if you think you can whip me into shape, then go for it.”
“Okie doke!” With the verbal authorization from Mike, Lena opened a new thread in her CPU to formulate healthy strategies for Mike to get his weight down to the desired goal. The thread was a work in progress, because she still had insufficient information on his body type, and his overall habits. She created a task to monitor him more closely than usual in order to get sufficient information.
“I’m curious, now that I’ve made you lighter, how much do you weigh now?” he asked her, “No offense.”
“None taken,” Lena smiled politely, “according to my internal scans, I should currently weight approximately 140lbs.”
“Well, can I see if I can lift you up?” he offered, “it’s only fair, after all, and there could be a situation where you may need the emergency assistance.”
“Fair point,” she conceded, “however, if I needed the assistance, I would most likely just be dead weight, and therefor heavier to lift,” she pointed out, “If the situation were dire, it would be far more useful to simply take my head, or just my A.I. core.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Mike said after quick thought, “But wouldn’t a replacement body be expensive?”
“It could, but if you purchase even one of the cheaper insurance policies on me, then a replacement could cost significantly less. I can help you purchase one, if that’s alright,” she offered.
“Sure, why not?” Mike shrugged, “now, how should I go about picking you up?” he asked, sizing her up.
“I would suggest not trying to lift me up the same way I lifted you,” she warned, “if it was a stress on my servos, it could lead to potential injury of your body. How about I help you out a bit?”
“Okay, I’ll follow your lead.” Mike agreed. Lena nodded and came towards him at a quick pace, jumping up a bit at the last second, indicating he should catch her. Mike quickly reacted and picked her up in his arms, cradling her the same way she did him.
“Wow, you aren’t that heavy,” Mike said in a surprised voice, walking around the room with her with little difficulty. It felt like he was genuinely carrying a real, human woman.
“No, they do try their best to make us the same weight as a real human,” she reminded him, relaxing in his arms, “plus, since I’m active right now, I’m not dead weight, so I can adjust my center of balance to make carrying me that much easier.”
“Cool! I’m going to put you down now,” he told her, and after she nodded, he slowly lifted her down and helped her stand back on her feet.
“Thanks,” she smiled, once she was resituated, then she looked around the room at all the clutter that Mike had been storing in here, “Mike, do any of these boxes have a spare computer that I might use?”
“No,” he told her, “But, I anticipated you might need one, so I prepped some of my spare hobby computers downstairs while you were backing yourself up earlier,” he told her eagerly, “would you like me to go down and get it for you?”
“Yes, please,” she smiled, happy at his foresight and updating some of the friendship sliders in her personality settings. “living with him is going to be much better” her human emulation thought to itself, “he’s a real catch!”
Mike merely nodded excitedly, happy that she admired his foresight, and rushed downstairs, absently calling back that he’d be back in a few minutes. Mike quickly began checking the hobby computers to see if they’d finished their work, and lost himself momentarily in touching them up so they’d be ready for her.
Shortly after he rushed down, Lena saw his floorvac unit enter the room, still vacuuming the second floor. In her HUD, the device was circled and she could suddenly see the network signal emitting from it, connecting it to its homebase, and the house’s Wi-Fi. Using her new cleaning programs, she sent the unit a friend signal and quickly registered herself as a network device, allowing her to interface with it over her own private network and control it. Lena smiled as she remote-controlled it with her interface programs, even accessing its built-in camera and adding it to her visual feed. “Now I can help Mike even more!” she thought to herself.
Lena quickly made the device leave the room before Mike returned, since she did not want it distracting her. She would clean the room herself later, though she could already tell from its logs that it had passed through at least 70% of the floor space in her room already.
Mike finally returned a few minutes later with a small laptop, that after analyzing with her visual sensors, Lena determined was about three years old.
“Sorry I was late,” Mike apologized, setting it up on her desk, “I had it running updates and diagnostics, so I wanted to make sure it was finished before bringing it up.”
“It’s alright,” she assured him, “it gave me time to introduce myself to your floorvac,” she smiled, sitting down at the desk to inspect the laptop.
“Ah,” Mike nodded; he forgot he’d turned it on. “Anyway, I hope this laptop is to your liking…it’s a few years old, but it still works.”
“Three years,” she confirmed, “but since I’ve been in a box the last five years, three years is still newer than the old computer I was using.”
“Yeah, I suppose you’re right,” Mike laughed, “this whole time jump thing is going to be really confusing for the next few days…you have so much to catch up on.”
“Yeah, I’m looking forward to catching up on the shows I was watching,” Lena mused, going online on the laptop and installing all the Spaztec programs. “Mike, do you mind if I tidy up in here tonight after you go to bed?” she requested, looking at all the boxes, “I kinda want to set this room up as a maintenance bay and lab for myself,” she reminded him.
“Sure, though I was kinda hoping you might sleep with me,” he said in a disappointed voice.
“I’m sorry, but it would just be for tonight, and then when I’m all set up in your, I mean, our home, I can sleep wherever you’d like me to.”
“Sure, I understand,” Mike smiled. Although he wanted her to sleep with him, he was also nervous, since he was used to sleeping alone.
“Thanks, now I have all my stuff installing on this, perhaps we can have some fun,” she suggested, getting back to her feet, “I was thinking we could go out shopping for a new wardrobe for me, now that I’ve lost weight, and buy some supplies so I can start cooking you healthier meals.”
“Sure, I’d like that,” Mike agreed, “and I’m sure you’d love to go out and see the world as well.”
“That too,” she smiled sheepishly.
“Well, I would suggest you take a shower and then put the clothes on that I bought you,” Mike told her, “and then you’ll be nice and clean for trying on clothes.”
“Okay,” Lena nodded, “But I don’t have any toiletries,” she said in a disappointed voice.
“What do you mean? I bought you some earlier, remember?” and after seeing the confused look on Lena’s face, he suddenly remembered, “Oh, I forgot, I told you that before I upgraded your processors.”
“Ah,” Lena nodded, “and those memories were lost when I restored from backup.”
“Yeah,” Mike sighed, then shook it off, “well, best not to dwell on it…you really only lost about 15-minutes of memories, after all,” he smiled.
“Exactly,” she smiled back, happy to see he cheered himself up, “well, let’s go see what you got me.” They both walked into what would now be her bathroom and inspected the toiletries. “Ah, very good,” she complimented him, inspecting the ingredients on each one, “I’m not sure you realized, but android skin actually requires the gentle variety of soaps and detergents, since our skin can’t heal itself as effectively as human skin,” she explained, since Mike had indeed gotten the gentle variation of each brand.
“Wow, I didn’t know,” Mike admitted, “I just got it because I usually use the gentle stuff myself.”
“How fortuitous then, though I could have still used normal detergent at least once without suffering any permanent damage,” she assured him, then continued inventorying the supplies. “Well, looks like you got everything a girl could need to make herself clean and pretty,” she announced upon finishing, updating her own internal shopping list to remove toiletries from her list, “I’ll need about 25 minutes to properly cleanse myself.”
“I figured,” Mike nodded, “you girls usually require a lot of time to groom yourselves.”
“Yeah, even us android girls,” Lena laughed, “are the clothes you bought for me around somewhere?”
“Oh, yes, I had brought them downstairs earlier after I finished cleaning them, hold on.” Mike quickly rushed downstairs and retrieved her clothes, while Lena turned on the shower to warm the water up. “Here they are,” he presented them to her.
“Very good, these should suffice until I buy some real clothes,” she nodded approvingly, placing them on the counter in the bathroom, “Now, go relax while I clean up.”
“Will do,” Mike smiled, pecking her on the cheek and then walking downstairs to wait for her to finish. He absently noted that she did not bother to close the bathroom door, indicating her level of trust in him.
Mike heard the shower turn on moments later, and after pacing nervously downstairs for a bit, he noticed the visual feed was still up on the terminal. He unplugged it from the power cord and switched it to tablet mode, watching her bathe herself from her POV.
Mike found it oddly entertaining to watch Lena bathe herself from her own POV via the control tablet. Her HUD literally told her everything that was going on, from the realtime temperature of the water, to the ambient humidity in the room. He saw that she was also benchmarking her previous cleaning protocols with the ones that had been updated overnight, and was apparently three seconds ahead of schedule.
She appeared to be scrubbing every nook and cranny of her body, either due to her new programming, or because of Mike’s suggestion she be more thorough. Either way, Mike was definitely enjoying the show.
After she finished bathing, she dried herself off and then began the grooming. She dried her hair, brushed her teeth, and then spritzed herself with the floral perfume Mike had bought for her. He could see a note appear in her HUD that her bathing routine had been shortened by several minutes, due to the fact that she was no longer programmed to grow body hairs below her head, thus no more shaving each day. He saw her smile satisfactorily in the mirror, and then dress herself in the loose clothes he’d bought her earlier, tightening the straps on the sweats and then lacing her shoes.
Once she was fully cleaned and dressed, she took one more look at herself in the bathroom mirror, cringing slightly at the boring clothes she was wearing, and then headed out of the room.
Mike quickly put the tablet down and sat down at his computer to make it look like he’d been doing stuff on it. Lena appeared at the foot of the stairs a few seconds later and walked over to him.
“Well, how do I look?” She asked, twirling around so he could see her.
“Better,” Mike admitted. Although she had been relatively clean before, her hair was a little frazzled after having been in storage for five years, but now she looked ready to go out into the world. She had even tied it up into a bun, where before it was a long pony tail.
“Good,” Lena sighed in a relieved tone, “these clothes are quite loose and boring, but adequate, thanks!”
“Well, you did tell me to buy the cheapest clothes I could find,” Mike defended.
“I know, but now we can have some fun buying me some new clothes later,” she smiled, then she gave him a mischievous look, “So…did you enjoy the show?”
Mike immediately flushed, his eyes becoming shifty as he hastily coughed and said, “umm, what do you mean?”
Lena gave him a level, yet amused, stare. “Mike, you should probably know that my A.I. Is alerted when my visual feed is in use on the terminal, and when the terminal is being actively used,” she notified him, “so, were you watching what I was doing the whole time?”
Mike could only endure her stare for so long before breaking. “Yes,” he replied meekly.
Instead of being angry, though, Lena let out a musical laugh. “Oh Mike, you’re so cute.” She said once more, “I really don’t mind,” she admitted, “however, I just wanted you to know because I do have ethical programming that can’t be subverted, even by your ownership of me,” she explained, “basically, I can’t break the law, so if I’m looking at someone’s personal info, then my visual feed will be unavailable to you and my logs of that time will be encrypted.”
“Oh, well that makes perfect sense,” Mike agreed, “I would never think to use you as a spy or anything,” he assured her.
“Good, I just wanted to make that clear” she said in a relieved voice, “That’s one thing my previous owner had to be constantly reminded of.”
“But I thought you said you couldn’t be used as a spy?” Mike said in a confused voice, since she had mentioned getting people fired earlier.
“There’s a difference between using my visual feed to record someone naked, or capture their personal information, and me simply reporting any criminal or inappropriate activity verbally,” she pointed out, “I wasn’t violating any ethics by reporting people’s indiscretions in order to improve the team.”
“Ah, well that makes sense,” Mike nodded.
“So, you didn’t answer my original question,” Lena then asked with a sly smile, and upon seeing the look of confusion on Mike’s face, she continued, “did you enjoy the show?”
“Oh,” Mike said with an embarrassed laugh, “Actually, yes,” he admitted, “Though, I mean, I’ve already seen you naked this whole time, but it was interesting seeing your HUD and how your systems analyze everything you see and do in real-time.”
“Ah…I suppose it would be, to you,” she nodded, “I mean, obviously I have a frame of reference from Human Lena’s memories, but my A.I. Just takes it all for granted.”
“It makes me wish I had a HUD,” Mike said, “Then maybe I could get more work done.”
“Well you know, I’ve heard that some tech companies make implantable computer chips that can augment human brains, so maybe you could,” Lena suggested.
“Nah, I’ve heard of those too, and even to this day, they still cause too many brain problems to be useful,” Mike said, shaking his head.
“Well then, you’ll just have to rely on me then,” Lena said smugly.
“I don’t mind,” Mike smiled.
“Well, anyway, I suppose this reminds me that I should probably do a quick orientation before we head out and have some fun,” Lena told him, standing at attention in the middle of the room, “why don’t you bring up the remote tab, now that I’m all in one piece again, and try and remote control me around the room.”
Mike was a little shocked by her sudden request, but he was also eager to see what sort of things he could do with Lena. He moved the visual feed to a small window in the corner of the screen and brought the remote-control tab up once more, this time with far more options that before.
After examining all his options, he found he could either move each limb individually, or perform pre-programmed commands, like walk, wave, dance, jump, etc. Mike tapped the jump command, and then watched as Lena jumped. Not a big jump, just a simple up and down, landing back on the ground.
“Does that loss of control bother you at all?” Mike asked, though he had a fair idea what her response would be.
“Not really,” Lena shrugged, still waiting patiently for the next command, “there might be times when it’s easier to control me, than to rely on me guessing what you want,” she explained, “plus, it’s kinda fun,” she smiled, “like how people put themselves under hypnosis for entertainment.”
“Wow, I suppose when you put it like that, I can see how it might not bother you,” Mike smiled, making her dance and then wave, “I take it your ethics programming can intervene,” he guessed.
“Yeah, I can disable my remote connection if it could possibly harm myself, or others,” she confirmed.
“Good,” Mike nodded, “not that I would ever do that, it’s just I wouldn’t want someone else to override your controls.”
“You don’t have to worry about that,” she assured him, “Once you registered yourself as my owner, the tablet now scans your face and fingerprints on the screen and keys, so only you or another registered user can use the remote on me.”
“Oh, okay, that’s a relief.”
“Hey Mike, why don’t you try having me walk to the fridge and opening it,” Lena then suggested.
“Sure, why not?” Mike shrugged.
He tapped the walk icon and then her visual feed enlarged to take up half the screen. He then tapped the directional slider and directed it towards the kitchen, watching as Lena actually started walking per his commands, albeit in a more artificial manner.
Once she got to the fridge, he had her stop and saw several command options appear, including Open fridge. He tapped the icon, and she actually opened the fridge, and then more options appeared. He tapped Get Beverage (two), and then on the visual feed, all beverages became highlighted. He tapped lemonade twice, and she reached in and grabbed two lemonades. He then had her Close Fridge, and then turn around and return to him, and finally Hand Owner (1) beverage.
After Lena handed him his lemonade, he turned off the remote-control function and returned control to her. He popped open the lemonade and took a quick swig before saying, “Wow, that was fun!”
“I know,” Lena agreed, opening her lemonade and taking a swig herself. She sighed satisfactorily, “Ah, my first drink in five years.”
“What was amazing about remote controlling you was how easy and intuitive it was,” Mike commented, “I mean, it interfaced with your visual systems and contextualized what you were seeing in order to give me commands, streamlining the whole process…it’s brilliant!”
“I know, those context-based command features were still in beta five years ago, so I’m glad one of the new A.I. Updates I installed finally brought those online,” Lena said excitedly, “Basically, with that feature, I can be shopping while you’re at work or something, and send you a message on your phone and allow you to pick a specific brand or item if you aren’t sure of what it is when you send me out,” Lena explained, “I seem to recall you had difficulty with certain technical terms for things,” she smiled.
“Yeah,” Mike admitted, “I know what things do, but not necessarily what they are.”
“Well, when it comes to replacing things around the house, I can scan the items with my visual sensors and search online for replacements, so you don’t have to guess what they are anymore,” she offered, quickly demonstrating by looking at a random object in the room that Mike had no idea of the name for. Within seconds, she scanned the object and ran a quick image recognition search on the internet and brought up its info on the terminal screen; it was a door strike plate.
“Oh, that’s what they’re called,” Mike exploded out, since he’d been trying to replace several shoddy ones in his house.
Lena giggled upon seeing his reaction. “Looks like you haven’t changed much.”
“Well, it’s not like they have a class in school about what all these things are,” Mike defended, “I just take them all for granted, I guess,” he shrugged.
“Well, now you don’t need to know, because I can just look it up for you,” Lena announced proudly, then gave him a quick bow, “Now, would you like to know how to control me if you don’t happen to have the terminal, or an app, handy?”
“Of course,” Mike responded, “I don’t really think I’m gonna be able to take this thingy with me everywhere I go,” he admitted, holding the 2-in-1 device in his hands.
“Well, there is a phone app too,” Lena supplied, “but just in case you don’t feel like using that either, since the interface is pretty difficult to use on a small phone screen, according to user complaints, then I also have voice commands.”
Upon finishing her statement, Lena made a list of voice commands appear on the terminal screen. “Ooh,” Mike said, upon reading all of them.
“As you can see, with the voice commands, they have to be phrased as actual commands,” Lena explained, since all of them began with her name, “if it’s phrased as a request, like ‘Lena, please give me a massage’, then, well, I’ll most likely still do it,” Lena said with a giggle, “But, I won’t be compelled to.”
“I see,” Mike nodded, then read through the list of mostly basic commands once more to memorize it. “Would it be alright I I tried some on you?”
“Of course, that’s why I brought it up silly,” Lena laughed. While she was laughing, Mike found a perfect opportunity and said, “Lena, Pause.”
The effect was instantaneous. Lena immediately stopped moving mid laugh, a look of glee frozen on her face as her body froze and stabilized into position. Mike slowly got up from the couch to inspect her now frozen body, noting that her visual display on the tablet had also frozen, with a timer now displaying in the center, indicating how long she had been paused.
He set the terminal down on the coffee table between him and Lena and then walked up to her, closely inspecting her. He was practically bubbling with excitement as he did various things to her body, such as waving his hands in front of her face, moving her arms, and poking her. He’d dreamed of being able to do this with people, but now, with Lena as his android girlfriend, he could finally satiate his desires at any time.
By the time he was finished playing around, she had been frozen for nearly three minutes, so he sat back down on the couch, picked up the terminal, and the said, “Lena, Unpause.”
The instant the words left his mouth, she continued whatever motions she was making before he had paused her as though nothing had happened, though when she finished her cute laugh, she smiled knowingly at him. “Ah, my pause feature…that’s always a hit with people.”
“So, are aware that you were paused then?” Mike asked.
“Yeah, for a little over three minutes,” Lena confirmed, “when I’m paused, all my systems are paused, but my A.I. still keeps track of time so I know how long I’ve been paused.”
“Good, and what about standby mode?” he asked, seeing that command in the list.
“Well, with standby mode, it’s more of a way for me to shut myself off without actually shutting myself off,” she told him, “basically, if I have nothing to do, and you aren’t here, I can activate it and enter a reduced power state, with most of my systems offline. This mode is useful if you want me to be able to reactivate right away, without having to wait for me to boot up.”
“Cool, let me try it,” he mused, then he coughed and said, “Lena, enter standby mode.”
Lena then stood in a more relaxed pose and said in an emotionless tone, “Standby mode activated, please state desired recall duration and/or condition.”
“Hmm, Lena didn’t mention this,” Mike muttered under his breath, “Um, what do you mean?”
“My standby mode can be terminated under a set of pre-programmed conditions, in addition to a timer, and/or condition, such as a passphrase or touch,” she responded in the same emotionless tone, that Mike somehow found to be sexy.
“Oh, um, let me think a sec,” he told her, though she did not reply. After a few seconds, he finally decided. “How about if I boop your nose,” he suggested with a fond smile, since that’s something the two of them had done playfully to one another when they were just friend/coworkers.
For a moment, he was afraid that Lena’s A.I. wouldn’t understand what he meant by ‘boop’, but she acknowledged his request and then fell silent, simply standing. Mike confirmed on the terminal that her body was indeed using considerably less power, as much of her human emulation was suspended, and she wasn’t logging any memories. As best as he could describe it, it was akin to how his phone had ambient programs which only listened for certain passphrases or songs in the background, but otherwise did nothing.
The visual display on the terminal, while it still displayed exactly what Lena’s eyes were seeing, appeared to be slightly greyed out, only peripherally monitoring Mike, since he was her owner. He figured that she was most likely also pre-programmed to come out of it if there was an intruder in the house, or some sort of emergency, but for now, she seemed perfectly fine remaining in standby mode.
Mike only kept her in it for a minute or so before finally walking up to her and booping her nose. The first time, it didn’t work, so after an instant of confusion, he smiled and then booped her nose once more, this time actually saying “Boop!”
Lena instantly returned from standby mode with a smile. “I’m so glad that’s what you chose to have me exit…I was really fond of our boops,” she reminisced.
“I thought you might like it,” Mike said in a fond voice, “perhaps you can make that a permanent pre-condition or something.”
Lena then zoned out for a split second and then announced, “Done!”
“Goodie,” Mike chuckled.
“Now, before we head out to the stores, may I please see your phone?” Lena requested.
“Sure.” Mike quickly grabbed his phone from his desk, unlocked it, and handed it to her.
“Thanks,” Lena said, then she scanned the device. Her HUD instantly registered the phone as a Bluetooth device in her systems, and she registered herself as a Bluetooth device on the phone. Using her new connection, she installed the terminal app on his phone and then quickly configured it so he could connect to her using his phone. “Here you go,” she then announced cheerfully.
“Ah, thanks,” Mike mused, quickly perusing the controls and seeing they were similar to those on the 2-in-1 he’d been using. The only difference was that, since the screen was smaller, it was harder for him to multitask on it.
“I know it’s not quite as useful as the 2-in-1,” Lena apologized, “however, you’re far more likely to have your phone with you, and I can actually call you using my internal router, even while holding a conversation with someone in person, so that could be a timesaver.”
“Indeed,” Mike nodded, thinking of several ways he could take advantage of his control interfaces now.
“Well, if there’s nothing else we need to do here, I’m ready to leave when you are,” Lena said, bouncing around on her feet like a little girl eager to go out and have fun.
“Alright, let’s grab some of my reusable bags from the bag hanging on the wall just outside in the garage, and then we’ll leave,” Mike said, rising to his feet and grabbing his jacket and keys.
“Okie doke,” Lena smiled, following him out and grabbing a few bags. “Hey Mike, do you think I could try driving, now that I’m programmed to?” She wheedled in a soft voice, “I haven’t gotten to drive since I was a human, so I’d really like to give it a try.” Lena then put on a puppy dog face expression.
Mike could only endure it for so long before finally giving in. “Alright,” he told her in a resigned voice, handing over his keys, “Just be careful,” he warned her.
Lena did a quick celebration dance before looking at him with a serious face, “Hey, I’m an android, so I might as well be the autopilot feature on those expensive cars,” she pointed out, “and I already plotted out the most efficient route to take us to all the shops we’ll need to go to, but consume the least amount of fuel, based on the most current GPS maps of this area and local traffic reports” she said smugly, getting into the driver’s side and adjusting the seat to accommodate her shorter stature.
“Huh, I suppose I didn’t consider that,” Mike pondered, “You’re going to be far more useful to have around than I previously considered…however, I do still want to drive my own car every now and then,” he pointed out.
“I understand,” Lena affirmed, “This time is just to show you my skills,” she smirked, then once they were all buckled up, she opened the garage door and carefully pulled out.
As Lena carefully drove around the neighborhood, navigating to the first stop on their destination, Mike amused himself by monitoring her POV via the app on his phone, since he’d left the 2-in-1 at home. The driving programming he’d authorized for her was giving her real-time traffic reports, speed limits, and even a minimap. He could even see that her newly installed thermal sensors were allowing her to visualized people obscured behind cars, bushes, and corners before they approached, giving her ample time to reduce her speed and prevent a collision.
While Mike was thoroughly impressed with her safe driving skills, he did have to concede that she could just as easily relay the same information to him verbally, and with only minimal reaction speed delays. This still made him feel far more comfortable with the prospect of him driving with her in shotgun, since he’d lost count of how many times some stupid kid came bolting out of nowhere in front of him down these tight residential streets.
A few minutes later, they arrived at their first destination, which was a local department store in a large, outdoor mall area. It seemed she’d picked an area with several places that they could go, without having to drive all over town, in order to save time and fuel.
Once she parked in a spot relatively close to the department store, she looked at him and smiled, “We have safely arrived at our destination,” she spoke in a faux GPS navigation voice, then giggled.
“Thanks,” Mike laughed back, unbuckling himself and grabbing one of the reusable bags from the back seat, “So, do you have some sort of cover story in case one of the associates asks us why you’re buying an entire wardrobe?” he then asked, his paranoia setting back in, “I mean, I know you don’t want to advertise you’re an android, so I just wanted to make sure we have a story,” he laughed nervously, even whispering the word android.
Lena gave him a hearty laugh and patted his shoulder. “Mike, don’t worry, I don’t really care too much about people knowing I’m an android,” she assured him, “I just don’t want to be wearing their brands all the time like some simple servant,” she said in a disgusted voice, then she scrunched her face before saying, “Buuuut, I suppose if you want to have some sort of story, we can just lie and say that all my clothes got destroyed in some freak washing machine malfunction or something,” she smiled innocently.
“Hmmm, I suppose that’s a decent enough cover story,” Mike agreed, after thinking it over for several seconds, “alright, let’s go!” Mike then gently grabbed Lena’s hand and walked with her into the store.
Although Mike usually did not like shopping, he found Lena was somehow able to make the experience entertaining, and painless. Since she was an android, she was able to interface with the store network and go to the exact location of the store that had women’s clothes, and then she was able to check the inventory lists and pick out only clothes that they had in her new size.
Lena’s human emulation allowed her to pick out some fun and fashionable styles to compliment her playful and nice personality, and she even showed them off to Mike for his approval, though he was so enamored of her and her cuteness that he approved almost everything she picked out.
Once she’d picked out ten days’ worth of outfits, cold weather outfits, warm weather attire, shoes, a bathing suit, and underwear, they placed it all in a shopping cart and then made their way over to the grocery section, where Lena began to select numerous ingredients for the meals she was planning for the upcoming week.
Lena was able to scan each item and pick out the ripest fruits and veggies, and the most nutritious brands to improve Mike’s help. She hummed to herself satisfactorily as she checked off each item on the shopping list displayed in her HUD, even using a digital crayon to do the crossing. Mike found that she made shopping so easy, he didn’t even mind pushing the cart.
After she finished with the groceries, she made her way to household goods and located each cooking utensil that was missing from his kitchen. Their final stop on the way to the register was the medicine section, where Lena bought several first-aid items that Mike had neglected to stock up on.
“Alright, I think we’ve got everything,” Lena finally announced, after they’d nearly completely filled their shopping cart.
“You mean, everything from here,” Mike corrected her, as they walked over to a register and started laying their items out on the counter.
“Of course,” she winked, “but don’t worry, this place had about 90% of what I needed,” Lena guestimated, rechecking her shopping lists with the digital crayon marks covering much of them. “I was planning on buying the rest from that grocery store near our place later today, since it’s within walking distance.”
“Huh, okay,” Mike nodded approvingly. He’d been in there a few times, but since it was family owned, the items tended to cost a bit more…but he trusted that Lena had somehow accounted for it.
The associate who rung them up seemed quite happy to be ringing up a large sale, since the store was otherwise deserted. Just as Mike had feared, she tried making small talk by asking why Lena needed so many clothes, but Lena stuck to the plan and told the lie they had prepared, and even embellished the story so well, even Mike almost believed it was true.
Once all their items were rung up, they hauled the cart out to their car and stashed everything in the trunk, and then walked a short distance across to the other side of the lot, to a small sandwich restaurant.
“Lena, you lie like a champion,” Mike told her with awe, once they finally had their sandwiches. They sat down at a table and unwrapped them.
“I know,” she said smugly, “the real Lena was actually pretty good at storytelling,” she admitted, “but it also helps to have a proprietary network access to a lie database.”
Mike scoffed. “There’s not really a lie database.”
“Oh yes there is,” Lena countered, “there’s actually a more technical name for it, but it’s a database that allows androids like myself to better fit in with real people, by giving us a repository of potential lies to use in any situation.”
“Huh, interesting…I wish I had access to that database sometimes,” Mike laughed, since there were numerous times in the past his lies had failed him.
“Well, I try not to use it too often,” Lena downplayed, “I actually prefer to be honest, but in this case, I had to lie due to your request.”
“Oh, well don’t worry, I’ll try not to have you lie too often,” he assured her, “I thought I was just helping maintain your cover.” Mike felt a little bad now.
Lena calmly put her hand on his on the table and gripped it gently. “Hey, I don’t mind, really,” she told him, lifting his hand up and giving it a tender kiss, “You’ve got to stop beating yourself up…I know you have some self-esteem issues, but I want you to feel as comfortable around me as possible.”
Lena’s words penetrated deep into Mike’s core. She could clearly read him like a book, and for the first time in his life, he felt like he could truly open himself up to someone. He gave her a kind look that spoke volumes of his affection for her and then took another bite of his sandwich.
“Anyway, it takes a lot to offend me,” Lena assured him, taking a big, messy bite of her sandwich and shuddering with glee. “Ah, it’s so nice to have food in my system again.” She wiped her mouth off on a napkin and gave Mike a big smile.
Mike was instantly comforted and relaxed for the rest of the meal. “Um, so, is the food actually going to help with your battery levels?”
“A little,” she shrugged, “Like I said, the food is mostly to replenish the building materials my body needs to repair the musculature and epidermal layers, but this should add about another 40-60 minutes.”
“How come they can’t have you guys run entirely off of food?”
“Well, they haven’t quite mastered the technology behind it yet,” Lena explained, “And, since the only other alternative would be to fit us with a mini-nuclear reactor, they decided it would be safer to fit us with something similar to what electric cars use.”
“Good call,” Mike laughed, “I wouldn’t want you melting down or something.”
“No, definitely not,” Lena agreed, then they both laughed and continued their meal.
After they finished their lunch a short time later, they returned to the car and Lena drove them home, once again utilizing her android skills to get them home more efficiently, and safely, than Mike could have.
When they got home, they unloaded the large number of items they had purchased, placing the new kitchen utensils in the dishwasher, the food items in the pantry and fridge, and her new clothes in the washer.
“Well, how do your inventory lists look now?” Mike asked, once they’d gotten everything packed away, and started cleaning the new items.
“Much better,” Lena nodded satisfactorily, “Like I said, we just need to grab a few things from store over on the corner, and we’ll be set!”
“Well, I figure we could make an adventure out of it,” Mike suggested.
“What do you mean?” Lena asked with a confused look on her face.
“Well, we could go on a walk around the neighborhood here,” Mike elaborated, “I sometimes like walking around to clear my head, and the store will be along the way as we loop back.”
“Ooh, I could totally go for a walk!” Lena bounced around excitedly, “I’m eager to test out my upgraded systems on a nice walk.”
“Well, whatever floats your boat, I suppose,” Mike shrugged.
“Yeah, I’m looking forward to all the sounds, sights, and smells,” she explained, sensing Mike was a bit confused, “with all those sensors you upgraded in my head, I can process more information now and enjoy all my senses that much more.”
“Oh, I get it,” Mike nodded, “well, if you want to change your clothes, I can wait down here for you,” he offered.
“Oh, thanks…be back in a sec!” Lena then about faced and bolted up the stairs to her new room like a little girl. Fortunately, they hadn’t been able to fit all her new clothes in the wash, so they left a single outfit out for her to wear the rest of the day.
Lena returned minutes later wearing her new outfit, which consisted of: grey/pink athletic shoes, with purple ankle socks, navy blue sweats, and a light green t-shirt with some random images from a popular television series on it. While her previous clothes were adequate, these new clothes actually fit her new size perfectly, accentuating her curves and features.
“Wow Lena, you look beautiful,” Mike breathed, admiring her fashion. What he really liked, was that for the first time ever, he was actually seeing her look like a normal woman, and not a dismantled android, or a uniformed coworker that he interacted with five days a week. It was a simple thing, really, but to Mike, having a bit of normalcy was a big thing.
“Aww, thanks,” she blushed, then seemed to remember something, “Oh, do you think I should wear a jacket?” She asked with a worried look, “as an android, I don’t need one, but I don’t want people to get suspicious or anything.”
Mike quickly checked the weather station on his desk and confirmed the outside temperature with the satellite units he had attached to the exterior of his house. They confirmed it was currently in the mid 60s.
“Nah, I think you should be fine,” he told her, “It’s actually kinda warm today…mid 60s,” he told her, showing her the weather station, “we should be fine.”
“Okay, thanks,” she said kindly, “as an android, I do have access to weather data, but it’s severely limited to only certain scientific stations, and does not take into account microclimates.”
“Yes, and the area around here is notorious for it’s microclimates,” Mike agreed vigorously, “which is precisely why I purchased this weather station.”
“You are a very useful person to have around,” Lena complimented him, “And that’s saying something, since that’s what you’ve been saying of me,” she giggled.
“I certainly try my best,” Mike said modestly.
“Well, if it’s in the mid-60s, then my social norms programming says it’s okay to go out without a jacket,” Lena shrugged, “Besides, androids like the cold.”
“Well then, what are we waiting for? Let’s go!”
Mike grabbed his keys and phone and pocketed them, then gently grabbed Lena’s hand and walked with her to the front door. Once outside, he locked the door and led her to the sidewalk.
Even though it was winter, and most of the trees and foliage were dead, Lena still marveled at everything she saw. While Mike merely enjoyed the cool air on his face, and the quiet ambiance, Lena’s HUD was busy with activity. Every dog or cat instantly registered on her HUD, eliciting a cute “Oooooh,” each time she saw one, eagerly pointing it out to Mike; she really loved animals.
She was able to see every squirrel and bird fluttering around overhead in the trees and powerlines crossing overhead, and her A.I. was any potential hazard along the way, just in case it needed to protect Mike from any danger.
“Lena,” Mike suddenly said, once they’d walked roughly a quarter mile down the sidewalk from his house.
“What is it Mike?” Lena asked politely. She could tell Mike was about to ask her a serious question, based on the tone of his voice.
“I’m not sure quite how to phrase this, but I’ll give it a shot…um, did you enjoy working at Cloudtron?”
Lena paused as she tried to respond to Mike’s question, her A.I. quickly searching for potential responses. Finally, after a few moments had gone by, she answered. “Well, I suppose I did,” she shrugged, “I mean, literally, the main purpose of my class of android is to help people, and that’s what I was doing there.”
“Interesting,” Mike nodded, “Well, I’m just asking because, well, I know that, now that I’m your owner, your primary objective is to help me…but, would you still like to help others?”
“Well, of course I’d like to help others,” she said carefully, “But what exactly are you getting at?”
“Well, I’m just concerned that once I go back to work on Monday, that you’re just going to end up spending the majority of your day, after you’ve finished your chores, sitting on the couch in standby mode…just, waiting for me to come home, like a lonely puppy,” Mike said in a concerned voice, and before Lena could respond, he continued, “Anyway, I was just wondering if you’d like your life to be a bit more fulfilling than just helping me.”
“Well, of course I would!” Lena said excitedly, her friendship levels for Mike rising several percentage points, “helping people is the only thing I liked about working there.”
“Good,” Mike said in a relieved voice, “Well, then, how would you like to go back and work in the security department once again?” he offered, “now that I’m in the leadership team, I can put in a good word for you and get you into the grave shift.”
“Well, I wouldn’t be able to help as many people on the grave shift,” she said in a slightly disappointed tone of voice, “but, how would you get around the fact that I’m an android? I mean, last time I was snuck in because SSS was in on it, but this time I wouldn’t have a cover story.”
“We wouldn’t hide it,” Mike said simply. Seeing the look of shock on Lena’s face caused him to reply quickly. “A lot has changed in the last five years. Androids are much more mainstream now, and highly advanced ones like you are basically seen as artificial humans, so you are allowed to work openly in the workforce, provided you are currently registered with an owner.”
“Ok,” Lena nodded, her mood improving.
Mike continued. “They generally prefer that androids work the grave shift, though, because extensive studies have proven that humans working the grave shift suffer long-term health consequences from working it, since humans have evolved over thousands of years to be asleep/inactive at nighttime,” he explained, “So, by working the grave shift, you’d be saving a human from having long-term medical problems.”
Lena couldn’t help but smile at Mike’s logic. Any other (Human) girl would assume Mike was trying to manipulate them, but Lena realized Mike was finally treating her like an android, and as an android, her prime programming to help people, took precedence. She realized now that she loved him even more.
“Mike, I’d love to go back to work there!” she said excitedly, surprising him with a loving kiss, then she calmed herself down, “would I have to wait long?”
“Hopefully not,” Mike told her, “as it so happens, we just lost Bill…you remember him?”
“Wait, he was still there this past five years?!” Lena said incredulously. Bill was an older guy who had worked at Cloudtron in the security department for years, mostly on the grave shift.
“Yeah, but he finally retired after 15 years and moved out East to be with his family,” Mike laughed.
“Oh, good for him,” Lena smiled, “Now, I know all of what you told me about working on the grave shift and whatnot, but would I have to stay on it forever?”
“No,” he assured her, “There are more people like Bill out there that genuinely enjoy and seek out grave shift positions like that. Once we find one, we can try and move you to day or swing shift.”
“Okay, good,” Lena sighed with relief, “I’ve already worked the grave shift, and it’s pretty boring.”
“Yeah,” Mike agreed, “So, anyway, the only catch is that, even though you’re an android, and even though you already worked there for two years, you’d have to go through the 40 hours of training again,” he said regretfully.
“Aww, how come,” she pouted.
“Well, so much has changed in the last five years: technology, personnel, policies, they even built a new tower,” Mike explained, “That they would still require even an android to go through another 40 hours of training.”
“Would you be the one training me?” she asked hopefully, even crossing her fingers.
“Well, I am still an FTO, and the fact that I’m your owner would certainly work in my favor,” he replied slyly.
“Wow, this has to be the best day of my life!” Lena announced, “I got rescued by a kind man, fixed up, upgraded, and now offered a job.”
Mike merely flushed, his modesty taking him over.
“You know, if I do get the job, I’ll be making money again,” Lena smiled, “that means I could help out with the rent and stuff.”
“Well, to be honest, that’s also a big part of my offer,” he admitted sheepishly, “after all, having you sit around all day at home in standby won’t pay the bills, and this healthy food is a bit more expensive than the TV dinners I’ve been eating.”
“Hey, don’t worry Mike, I’m not mad at you,” Lena laughed, “I’ve actually never been prouder of you.”
“I’m glad to hear it,” he flushed some more, “Oh, and you can do whatever you feel is right with your money, I mean, in terms of investing it and whatnot,” he shrugged, “and you can purchase your own upgrades and stuff too.”
“Wow, thanks! It really means a lot that you have so much trust in me,” Lena gushed.
“Don’t mention it,” Mike shrugged, “I’m actually pretty bad with money, so it’d be nice if you could help me with my money too.”
“Hey, anything for the best owner in the world!” Lena peeled out, her laughter trailing behind them on their peaceful walk through his neighborhood.
The walk around the neighborhood was roughly 2-miles, and consisted of walking all the way down one street, then down the parallel street, and back up the original street. There was a small, family owned grocery store on the corner of Mike’s street, and the main city street, though Mike hadn’t been inside in a long time, due to the higher prices, and mostly Hispanic products.
Lena grabbed several items, mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, and a few ingredients that Mike couldn’t make out because they were in Spanish. Once she had everything she needed, she headed to the counter and paid with Mike’s card, since the business had yet to install hardware that she could remote interface with. Mike was momentarily shocked when she conversed in fluent Spanish with the cashier, but then he remembered that he’d added Spanish to her list of languages.
Once they had finished with the transaction, Lena placed the items in a small reusable bag that she had rolled up into her pocket. “Alright Mike, we’re done shopping, so we can go home now,” she reported, closing her shopping lists and starting a new priority to monitor their current supplies for freshness.
“Alrighty,” Mike smiled cheerfully, taking the bag from her and grabbing her hand once more. The small store was roughly 80% of the way on their walk, so it took them only a few short minutes to walk the rest of the distance back to Mike’s townhouse.
While both found the walk to be a nice, relaxing sojourn in their otherwise busy day, Lena also found the walk to be informative, since she would be living in this neighborhood for the foreseeable future. She had already catalogued dozens of dogs and cats in the neighborhood, for the eventuality that any of them might break loose, get lost, and wander the neighborhood. Furthermore, she was able to update the proprietary maps server that her driving programming accessed to update the conditions on the road.
Upon entering, Mike rushed upstairs to move her clothes from the washer into the dryer, and to start the next load. Lena made quick work of organizing the food items they had just purchased into Mike’s now fully stocked fridge. Lena had also purchased several baking soda packs and placed them in strategic locations, since several of the takeout foods Mike had left in the fridge had spoiled and left a nasty odor.
As she closed the fridge door, the list of tasks in her HUD updated, and she smiled as she saw that she had no pending tasks for the rest of the day. She took in a deep breath and let it all out in a satisfactory sigh, even wiping her hands in the air to symbolically wipe away the chores of the day.
She temporarily enhanced her hearing and cocked her head to the ceiling, listening as Mike rushed around upstairs to put stuff away. With a smile on her face, Lena walked over to the couch and sat on the right side, since her visual sensors indicated Mike most likely spent the majority of his time on the left, evidenced by the placement of the remotes and coasters. She moved the pillows out of the way, unlaced her shoes, removed her socks, and placed her bare feet on the coffee table and waited patiently for Mike to return.
“Alright, everything is set up there,” he announced, rushing downstairs. He then paused as he saw her bare feet on the coffee table and gasped. “Whoa, put your feet down for a sec!” he then rushed into the kitchen.
Lena, although shocked, did as he asked. She was confused, though, because she knew he had a foot fetish and she had calculated that her putting her feet up would please him.
When he returned seconds later with a can of wood polisher/dust remover, and a wad of paper towels, Lena immediately understood and smiled. As Mike fastidiously removed everything from the table and wiped it down, Lena said, “You now, I could have easily done that for you.”
“I know,” Mike stammered, “It’s my OCD…and, for the rest of today, at least, I still want you to feel like a guest.” Once the table dried, he placed everything back to exactly where it was and then said, “Alright, you can put your feet back up.”
Lena chuckled and put them back up, as Mike returned to the kitchen and washed his hands of the chemicals. Then, he ran back into the living area and calmly sat down on the couch next to her.
Mike quickly looked up at the clock and saw that it was only about 1pm.
“Um, so, what do you usually do on your days off?” Lena asked, breaking the momentarily awkward silence, “And what time do you like to go to bed?”
“Well, I usually just relax and play video games, or watch TV and stuff,” Mike answered, “And, I usually go to bed at around 1:30am on non-work nights, and 10:30pm on work nights…though, last night I was so tucker out, I conked out at about midnight.” Mike laughed nervously.
“Ah,” Lena nodded, then she quickly scanned the area and found several gaming consoles plugged into Mike’s entertainment center just ahead. “Well, my power core should last me until about 2am,” she calculated, “Why don’t we play some games or something until dinnertime?” she then suggested.
Mike quickly looked at his consoles and pondered his choices. “Umm, I don’t have too many multiplayer games, to be honest,” he admitted apologetically, “I think I might have a racing game or something we could play.”
“Okay,” Lena smiled, “and, if we get bored, I really don’t mind just sitting here and watching you play a single player game,” she assure him, watching as Mike walked over to the TV and powered up one of the consoles, returning with a second controller and handing it to Lena, “I’m just happy to be here with you.”
“Okay, then maybe we’ll just play for an hour or so and then you can watch me play something,” he suggested.
“I’d love to.” Lena then watched as a popular racing game with cartoonish looking character popped on. She was familiar with the franchise, but they had obviously come out with a few iterations over the previous five years. It took her but a moment to go online and download the instruction manual for how to play the game, and then calibrate her hand sensors for the controller configuration.
“Do you need me to explain how to play the game?” Mike asked, once he sat down and made himself comfortable.
“No, I was able to figure out from an online help site,” she smiled.
“Oh, that’s cool,” he said absently, then he stared at her seriously, “Hey, you’re not going to be difficult to beat like the in-game CPU or something, are you?” he accused her suspiciously.
“No,” Lena shook her head innocently, “Like I told you before, my human emulation is capped at a certain processor speed, so I can’t do anything that much better than the real Lena would have been able to,” she assured him.
“But, will you have any advantages, being an android an all?”
“Well, I suppose I won’t be as affected by hunger, or having to go to the bathroom, or hand cramps,” she shrugged, “But I can assure you, playing with me will be just like playing with a real girl.”
It took a few moments, but Mike was finally satisfied that Lena was telling him the truth. He left the menu of the game and prepped the racing tournament that they would be playing in. He hadn’t played with another person in quite a while, and he found Lena’s presence to be a bit distracting at first, especially her feet on the table.
After a quick calculation, Lena’s A.I. suddenly informed her that having her feet up might distract Mike from playing at his best, since he’d been unintentionally wandering his eyes towards them several times in the past five minutes. Just before they started, Lena surreptitiously took her feet down, and sat cross legged on the couch instead, so she would be in a more comfortable position, and so Mike would not be distracted by her feet.
Mike visibly relaxed when Lena hid her feet, since they had been distracting his focus. He wondered if she did so because she noticed his lack of focus, or if she merely wanted to assume a more comfortable position. Either way, it worked, and he was suddenly able to focus again.
“Okay, we’ll start off on the easy setting so we can ease on in,” he told her, setting the race speed to the lowest setting, “It’s been a while since I played too, so I’m not patronizing you or anything,” he assured her, after seeing her crafting a protest.
“Oh, okay,” she smiled, then focused on the screen while the ten second countdown started for the race. Just before it started, she minimized the majority of her own HUD so she could focus on the in-game HUD.
They ended up playing the racing gave for nearly two hours, choosing to try out all 60 race tracks, and even the battle mode. A few of the times, they’d chosen to play on the same team, but they found they both had competitive spirits and preferred to play against one another. True to her word, Lena did not appear to have any sort of advantage, being an android, and played just as well as a typical human might.
As they took a break from playing so they could take care of the laundry and have a snack, Lena calculated the overall results and found that Mike won 72.34% of the races. Lena smiled as she was sure he won purely by skill, and his previous experience playing this particular game, and not because she let him.
When they returned to the couch, Mike unplugged the racing game and started up a different game.
“What are we playing this time?” Lena asked.
“Well, this time I’m going to play a single player game,” he told her, “an open-world adventure epic that I started a week ago and haven’t finished yet.”
“Ooh, ok, I can’t wait to watch,” Lena said excitedly, bouncing around on the couch and grabbing one of the pillows to lean on more comfortably.
“You don’t know how much of a relief it is to hear you say that,” Mike sighed, “My ex just couldn’t be satisfied by simply watching…she absolutely had to play with me, and then she would get bored too easily.”
“Well, don’t worry, I really don’t mind just watching,” Lena smiled kindly at him, “I just enjoy sitting here with you.”
“Aww, thanks,” Mike blushed, leaning over and giving her a kiss on the cheek before starting the game.
The game appeared to be a sci-fi/fantasy world where the main character ran around in vast, impossible fields of varying climates, such as lava, ice, forest, desert, and even floating continents. The real Lena would have been interested in this game, so Lena paid close attention to all the details, and asked Mike questions about stuff to show her interest.
At one point, Mike, after roaming about aimlessly on a side quest, paused the game and started to get up with a frustrated grunt.
“Mike, what’s wrong? Where are you going?” Lena asked him in a concerned voice.
“Oh, sorry, I’m a little stuck, so I’m looking for some help on the internet,” he apologized, calming himself down.
“Oh, well hang on a sec, I might be able to help you out,” she giggled, “sit down and I’ll help you.” She then accessed the internet in her HUD and searched for help videos on the particular side quest Mike was stuck on. After reviewing a few sources, she looked at Mike and smiled, “Ok, I found some tips online…just keep playing and I’ll throw some to you.”
“Huh, okay,” Mike said with a quizzical look on his face. He un-paused the game and resume playing, with Lena giving him just enough hints to get him on the right path, but not enough to spoil the whole adventure.
Once Mike finished the quest, he paused the game and looked at Lena with pure admiration. “Wow, you’re awesome! If I had looked it up myself, I probably would have spoiled myself, but you were able to simply point me in the right direction and let me solve it myself.”
Lena blushed and responded modestly. “Hey, it’s all part of my new girlfriend programming,” she shrugged, “believe it or not, you’re not the first owner to have his android watch them play games, so they anticipated all sorts of situations, such as this one, so we can help you guys out while still allowing you to enjoy the games.”
“Well, it’s awesome!” Mike said again, leaning over and embracing her, “are you able to anticipate that I’m having trouble and look up help before I ask, or do I need to actually ask?” he then asked eagerly.
“I can anticipate,” she confirmed, “though, it might help if you could give me some verbal cues, such as mentioning you’re having trouble, or excessively checking your maps and stuff,” she suggested, “I got the feeling you were trying to hold in your frustration, and that’s neither good for you, or helpful for me.”
“Oh, sorry,” Mike blushed, “I’m just so used to internalizing everything…I mean, I’ve lived alone for so long, I’m not used to having someone around to talk to.”
“Well, just remember, I’m not here to judge, I’m here to support you in any way I can,” Lena patted his shoulder.
“Thanks,” Mike nodded.
“Don’t mention it,” she winked, “Now, when would you like dinner?”
Mike quickly looked at the clock and saw that it was around 4pm. “7ish,” he said non-committedly, “or, sorry, I mean any time between 6:30 and 7…depending on the time it takes for things to cook, I mean,” he stammered.
Lena gave him a hearty laugh. “Alright, calm down Mike…I’ll start cooking dinner at 6:30, is that alright?”
“Sure,” he laughed, calming himself down.
“Ok, then sit back and enjoy the game.” Lena made herself comfortable on the couch once more and watched him play, only occasionally having to throw in an assist. She admired his ability to adapt to all the changing circumstances, and the commentary he’d throw in to entertain her more. Just before 6:30, Lena put her shoes back on and excused herself from the couch and headed into the kitchen.
Mike decided that it might be a good time to stop playing, so he saved the game, turned off the console, and switched the TV input to a news channel.
“Oh, you didn’t have to stop playing just because I got up,” Lena commented, washing her hands and then getting the supplies she needed for the dinner she had planned for the evening.
“Yeah, I know,” Mike shrugged, “I just felt it was a good time to stop…and, I don’t like starting something when I know I lack the time to finish it.”
“Aren’t you going to keep playing after dinner?”
“No, unless it’s a really good game, I usually reserve the time between dinner and bed for watching TV,” he explained, “I’ve got a few things taking space on my DVR that I want to get rid of, so we’ll watch them.”
“Hmmm, okay,” Lena nodded, noting his preferences in her daily routine to better anticipate his needs going forward. “Anything good?”
Mike told her what he planned on watching, and Lena had no objection to any of the choices…well, not that she would have objected, but she was familiar with the shows and was looking forward to seeing them.
“Actually, those will probably only take us ‘till about 9, so I was thinking of watching a movie after that,” he added, “most likely the latest in the Possessed film franchise.”
“Ooh, I love those movies!” Lena shouted ecstatically, “do I need to catch up any in the last five years?”
“Oh, no,” he smiled, “Actually, they got stuck in development, so this is actually the first new one since you were put into storage.”
Lena fist pumped at the news. “Well, I guess it’s a good thing we got some popcorn!”
“Yeah,” Mike agreed, “and after that, I’m not sure, since the movie is only about an hour and a half long.”
“Well, perhaps after the movie, I can give you a nice massage, followed by sex,” Lena suggested innocently.
Mike, who had been taking a sip of water from his cup, immediately spat it out in a classic spit take and began sputtering, his face turning pure scarlet. “Sex, already?! You haven’t even been online for a full day yet, and we need to get to know each other better.”
Lena’s laugh was musical at watching Mike’s reaction, a reaction one might see in a sitcom. Once she saw that Mike had relaxed a bit, she replied, “Oh Mike, we already know each other,” she said with feigned exasperation, “And I’m not saying we should have sex every night, but after seeing me naked all day, we need to have some sort of test run to reduce any sexual tension that might build up…and besides, you really want to, don’t you?” she teased, playfully grabbing her breasts.
Part of Mike wanted him to say no…but the other 95% quickly overruled it. He gave her a boyish smile, despite his best efforts, and managed to say, “Yes.”
“Well then, let’s not make a big deal of it…gosh!” she laughed, getting back to meal prep, “You aren’t afraid or anything, are you?”
“I suppose I am, a little bit,” he admitted, remembering the few attempts from his past, “I’m not really good at it.”
“Well, don’t worry about,” Lena shrugged, “Realistically, no one’s really good at it…but in my case, I have tons of sexual data that I installed last night, so I can help you out a bit,” she said proudly, “So don’t beat yourself up that much.”
“Hmm, okay.” Mike smiled weakly, though he felt a bit less apprehensive about the pending sexual encounter.
“Also, that’s why I’m going to be massaging you first,” she added, “so I can relax you a bit…you’re still a bit tense, either from having me around, or the hard work you put in the last few days, or both.”
Mike did feel tense, and he realized it was likely from both work and coping with having Lena in his life. He suddenly found himself looking forward to their upcoming encounter, rather than dreading it.
Lena finished cooking roughly twenty minutes later. She had ingeniously used a combination of some of the fresher leftovers from his fridge, and the new ingredients that had purchased earlier in the day, to create a unique meal; she had thrown out the older leftovers. As soon as she set their plates down and finished by serving drinks, she sat back down and slid her shoes off.
“How come you put your shoes back on?” Mike asked curiously, since she knew he had a foot fetish. He took a bite of the food and was surprised by how delicious it was.
“Oh,” she blushed, finishing her bite of food, “Um, for safety reasons…it’s not a good idea to cook while barefoot,” she pointed out, “you wouldn’t want me to accidentally spill hot oil, or drop a knife, on my pretty feet, would you?”
“Ah, no,” Mike laughed, “but I’m sure an android like you is very careful,” he challenged.
“I am,” she nodded, “But, accidents could still happen: I could malfunction, Mia could trip me, you could distract me, or the oven could overheat the food and cause spillover,” she explained, “my cooking programs dictate that I always wear shoes while cooking, or preparing, food.”
“Well, I will defer to your safety programming,” Mike smiled, taking another bite, “This is really good, by the way.”
“Thanks!” she beamed.
They continued watching the news until they had both finished eating. Then, both Mike and Lena helped clean the kitchen and start a load in the dishwasher before sitting back down on the couch and starting the shows Mike had recorded on the DVR. Lena was just about to get comfortable by setting her bare feet up on the coffee table for Mike’s enjoyment when he stopped her.
“Hey, Lena, would you mind laying your feet on my lap?” he requested, a slight blush forming on his face.
“Sure, Mike,” Lena smiled warmly, laying back on the couch and propping her feet up on Mike’s lap. She wiggled her toes contentedly and then relaxed back on the couch, watching Mike intently as he admired her feet.
Although Mike had examined her feet extensively already, that was when they were detached and powered down. This time, they were attached to her body, and were very much alive. He gently stroked each one, eliciting a pleasant moan from Lena. He then lifted both her feet up to his face and pressed them in, feeling the warm softness of her foot bottoms, and gently breathing in the subtle smells of body odor.
“Is the 34% reduction in body odor satisfactory?” Lena asked, unable to see a reaction.
“Hmmm, perhaps you can make it a 40% reduction,” he decided, setting her feet back down on his lap and wrinkling his nose.
Lena quickly made the change in her settings from her HUD, and then minimized it so she could enjoy the show. “Done!”
“Goodie, now, are you ready for the shows?” he asked, picking up the remote.
Lena nodded, and then made herself comfortable as he hit play and started the first of their shows. Mike absently massaged and stroked both her feet while they watched all the shows, almost using them like stress balls.
When they started the scary movie, however, Lena cuddled up with Mike on his side of the couch, while they both enjoyed a bowl of popcorn. Her human emulation allowed her to get legitimately frightened by certain points in the movie, allowing Mike to act chivalrous and comfort her even more. Lena smiled, thinking she’d never received this kind of love before.
Once the movie ended, they both helped tidy up the area and put the now cleaned dishes away, and the looked at each other with blushes on their faces.
“Um, you ready,” she asked him, eager to educate him on her skills.
“Uh-huh,” he nodded, his feelings all a jumble inside.
“It’ll be great, I promise,” Lena assured him, gently taking his hand and guiding him upstairs. Once they were upstairs, they made sure Mia would not interrupt them, and slowly walked into Mike’s, or rather, their room.
“Okay Mike, just like I promised, we’ll start off with a full body massage,” Lena explained in a soft voice, “It’ll be great.”
“Okay,” Mike nodded, “I think I’d like to be nude for it, if that’s alright,” he said nervously.
“Of course, it’s alright silly! It’s your home, you should feel relaxed.”
Mike laughed and then slowly began to remove his clothes, starting with his shirt and finishing by removing his sweats and underwear at the same time. He then neatly folded his clothes onto the floor in the corner of the room by the side of the bed he slept on and then stood before Lena so she could see him. “Well, what do you think?” he asked nervously, doing a quick spin and then standing still in front of her.
Lena slowly admired his body, or rather her human emulation admired his body, while her A.I. was already busying taking precise scans and measurements of his body in order to better gauge his health and physical condition, and to formulate a healthy eating and exercise plan. In the 2.76 seconds that she ‘admired’ his body, her A.I. was able to make a complete 3-D rendering of him and add it to his health benchmarks.
“You look really good,” Lena finally said, her HUD absently noting that her words relaxed Mike, “although, I haven’t actually seen many naked guys, so it’s not like I’m an expert or anything,” she laughed.
“Well, I suppose that’s a good thing,” Mike chuckled, “means I don’t have anything to compete with.”
“Would you like me to undress as well, or would you prefer I remain clothed for your massage?” Lena then asked, quickly rubbing her hands to warm them up.
Mike thought about it for a second. “Just stay dressed,” he decided, “that way, you’ll still be warm when we have sex after, and the skin-on-skin contact might dampen the massage somewhat.”
“Ok,” Lena nodded, adding that to his preferences, “now, if you’re ready, just lay down flat on the bed and I’ll get started,” she then instructed, quickly smoothing out the sheets and handing him one of the pillows so he could prop himself up.
Mike eagerly did so, trying to relax as he anticipated where she would touch him first. He kept his face down in the pillow and slowed his breathing to relax himself. Once he relaxed, he suddenly felt the bed move as Lena climbed atop it and moved towards him.
“I’m going to get started now, okay?” she asked him.
Mike merely nodded and grunted something that sounded like a positive response. It was good enough for Lena, who checked off the “received consent” box in her HUD. For legal reasons, Spaztec had programmed all androids to receive consent before engaging in any sort of intimate activity, since they could be held liable if the androids were used to rape other people by proxy.
Lena switched her vision over to thermal scanning and scanned Mike’s back for sore spot. Since Mike had most likely never received a massage before, or recently, and since he’d worked a tough few days, there were multiple spots along the rear end of his body that were solid red with heat, indicating sore muscles and knots. Lena reached towards the largest concentration on his back and started off gently.
Mike let out a long, loud grunt as he felt her smooth hands start pressing into his back, hitting a particularly sore spot. At first, it felt mildly painful, but as she started easing in, the pain released and he felt nothing but sheer pleasure.
She continued with his back and neck for nearly 15-minutes, until Mike’s pleasurable moans subsided, and the hot spots dissipated on her thermal feed. She then moved on to his arms, paying extra attention to his hands and biceps. Once his arms were sufficiently massaged, she moved down to his butt, and then his legs and feet.
Mike was in pure bliss as Lena’s soft hands caressed and healed every inch of his sore body. She massaged areas he had no idea were even sore, and as her hands moved on, the areas she had finished felt cool and relaxed.
Nearly 40-minutes after beginning the massage, Lena finally finished with Mike’s feet and then stood up on the side of the bed. “Alright Mike, I’m done with your backside, time for your frontside,” she announced, waiting patiently for him to turn over.
“Wow, you do the front too?” Mike asked admiringly, slowly rolling over onto his back and smiling at her.
“Yep, I did say full body massage, didn’t I?” she giggled, climbing back onto the bed and working on the front of his legs.
Mike didn’t respond, but merely laid back, closed his eyes, and enjoyed the massage.
Lena skipped up to his arms, after finishing his legs, and then merely smoothly went over his abdomen and chest. Finally, she had only one thing left, and for this she needed additional consent.
“Well Mike, I’ve almost finished, would you like me to massage your penis as well?” she asked, trying to sound casual, “I’m sorry for asking, but my programming requires me to gain consent,” she figured honesty would give her a positive answer.
“Huh, that’s a little strange, but I suppose with the whole political atmosphere lately, it’s not too surprising,” Mike chuckled, “Of course you have my consent.”
Lena smiled as the safety programming in her acknowledged the verbal consent and allowed her to lean in and gently grab his penis. Mike, not used to anyone touching him there, naturally recoiled, but then forced himself to relax. He started taking deep, relaxed breaths as she eased his tension and gently massaged his penis, smiling as it slowly became erect. Once it reached full length, she started easing off, her HUD taking a quick measurement and confirming it was of average length; she adjusted her vaginal systems accordingly to handle the length.
Once she was finished, she ran one final thermal scan of his body and confirmed there were no more hot spots. She smiled approvingly and then stood back up off the bed. “All done Mike!”
Mike groaned mockingly, forcing himself to sit up on the foot of the bed and look up at her with pure adoration. “Wow, that was the best massage I have ever gotten…. thanks!”
“Ah, don’t mention it,” Lena blushed modestly.
“I mean, I don’t think I truly knew what it was like to be relaxed until now,” he continued, “I know you’re an android, but how could you possibly be so good?”
“Well, to tell the truth, the main reason I ordered these upgraded eyes was because of the thermal scanning ability,” she admitted, “They allow me to literally see all your sore muscles, since sore muscles give off more heat,” she explained, “also, it doesn’t hurt that I made sure to download all the latest massage programs,” she added, with a wink.
“Well, suffice to say, I feel very relaxed now, thanks.” Mike stood up and gave Lena a loving kiss.
“You’re quite welcome,” Lena said angelically, once they broke apart, “Now, are you ready for the next part?” she asked with a kinky look, smoothly disrobing and standing before him naked.
“Actually, not yet,” Mike admitted, rushing into his bathroom and returning with a towel. He pulled back the sheets on the left side of the bed and laid the towel down.
“What’s that for?” Lena asked with a bemused smile.
“Ah, well, it’s…” Mike tried saying, looking extremely embarrassed, “Well, it’s for the mess,” he admitted, “I know you’ve never had sex before, in any incarnation, but from my past experience…well, it can be a little messy, and I’d rather not sleep in a bed with our sex juices in it.”
“Ah,” Lena nodded knowingly, updating his sexual preferences with this key piece of information, “I guess that’s something most people don’t care about…I never even considered it being a problem,” she admitted.
“Yeah, well, I’m also a clean freak, so…” he let it trail off delicately.
“Say no more,” Lena laughed, “I actually think it’s a great idea…I mean, with this, I’ll only have to clean a towel, instead of all the bedsheets.”
“Exactly,” Mike shouted, then he focused on Lena’s crotch and appeared lost in thought.
“Hey Mike, I’m up here,” Lena joked, waving her hands in front of her to get his attention.
“Yeah, yeah,” he said absently, then he looked at her seriously, “Lena, I like how you look, act, and even feel real,” he started, “but, one of the others things I didn’t like about my prior sexual experience was the odor,” he admitted, “would it be possible to switch out your current lube with that fruity stuff you ordered?”
“Of course!” Lena replied cheerfully, “would you like me to go get it?”
“No, I know where it is,” Mike smiled, “um, why don’t you make yourself comfy on the…towel while I get it?”
“Ok,” Lena nodded.
Mike quickly rushed out of the room, making a sharp right into Lena’s room. He quickly located the purple bag on her desk and pulled out the lube canister. As he was heading out, he absently noted that the computer he’d given her was still on, and appeared to be remotely linked to her and collecting data.
Mike shrugged, figuring it was simply part of her maintenance, and returned to his bedroom with the canister. Just as he had suggested, Lena was laying on the bed, atop the towel, patiently waiting for him to return.
“Did you have trouble finding it?” Lena asked, sitting up a little and pushing out her crotch a bit so he could access her vaginal panel.
“No, fortunately you kept it in the same bag it arrived in.” he quickly pressed the release and removed the portion of skin covering the panel. “Umm, how do I do remove the old one?” he asked, not seeing a release.
“Like this.” Lena gently grabbed his hand and placed it on top of the current canister. She then had him grip it tightly, push it in, twist it counterclockwise, and then pull it out with a slight sucking sound.
“Wow,” Mike said, staring into the deep hole in Lena’s body, the exposure of her mechanical nature once again turning him on, “is there still some of the old stuff inside of you?” he asked, wrinkling his nose at the smell coming from the old canister.
“Nah, I was able to drain it and store it back in the canister while you were in the other room,” she replied.
“Okay, good,” Mike said, relieved as he pushed the fruity canister into her body and sealed it in place, “do you need time to adjust to the new canister?”
“No, I’m already slowly secreting it in order to prepare for sex,” she reported.
“Okay,” Mike nodded, placing the old canister on the bedside table, then moving to pick up the skin panel. “Lena, would it be possible to have sex with your panel open, and maybe a few others?”
“I would strongly recommend against it,” Lena told him seriously, “not only is there a chance of an accidental discharge, but what most android owners don’t realize in the throes of passion is that lovemaking can be very physically exerting,” she explained delicately, “Meaning you sweat…profusely, and that sweat can drop off your body and land in mine, damaging my delicate electronics.”
“Ah, well I definitely wouldn’t want to do that,” Mike laughed nervously, “I’m sure you’d be very expensive to fix.”
“Indeed I would,” Lena nodded solemnly, “But, I suppose if you are wanting to engage in sexual activity that will tickle your robo-fetish, then one thing we could do is detach my head and have my head perform fellatio, while you perform oral sex on my vagina,” she suggested matter-of-factly, “But, unless my head was attached to the A.N.A., which admittedly might be a bit awkward in that situation, I’d only last about 15-minutes before shutting down.”
Mike thought about it a bit, since obviously having sex with an android presented far more opportunities than with a human. “Nah, not right now,” he said regretfully, “Definitely at some point though,” he nodded vigorously, “But, I think, for now, I’d just like to try sex the normal way,” he decided, “anyway, your body has just been upgraded and updated with five years of new stuff in just 24 hours, so we’d probably give it a bit of time to adapt more before trying something that complex.”
“A wise precaution,” Lena complimented him.
Mike smiled and then looked into her vaginal panel once more, “Alright, are there any settings I should alter in here before we get started?”
Lena shook her head. “Nah, only if you want an altered experience. If you leave everything in there alone, I’ll basically be on default settings and will try my best to coordinate with you,”
“Okay,” Mike nodded, clicking the skin panel back in place, then he got a worried look, “I’m just a little concerned, because one of the problems I had before was that I would always ejaculate prematurely, and it always ended too quickly.”
“Oh, I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that,” Lena said with a sly smile.
“Why not?” Mike asked suspiciously.
“Two things,” she replied, “One: that new lube you just installed, it has a mild numbing agent in it….”
“What is that going to do?” Mike interrupted.
“The numbing agent is designed to slightly numb your penis to prevent you from ejaculating too quickly,” she explained patiently.
“Ohhh, okay,” he nodded, allowing her to continue.
Lena giggled and then continued, “and Two: the new vaginal insert you upgraded me with is able to stimulate you with sonic pulses,” she explained, “Nothing too strong, mind you, it’s actually configured so you may only feel a mild tickling sensation, but that tickling is also designed to extend the experience.”
“Wow, I can’t wait!” Mike said, rubbing his hands together excitedly, then he stopped, “Wait, wouldn’t that numbing stuff ruin the oral sex experience?”
“Huh, I suppose it might,” she agreed, then shrugged, “well, we can always swap my canister out with a non-numbing variety.”
“Yeah, I suppose you’re right,” Mike shrugged.
“Well, are you ready to get started?” Lena asked, flaunting her crotch at Mike and wiggling her toes.
“Just one more thing,” he promised her. He walked over to his pants and pulled his phone out, scrunching his face with concentration before activating some gentle, classical music. “I’ve heard it’s easier with music or something in the background,” he explained bashfully, setting the phone down on the bedside table, next to the old lube canister, and laying on his side in the bed next to Lena, staring into her eyes.
“Hey, whatever makes you comfortable,” she reminded him once more, returning his stare.
They stared longingly into one another’s eyes for several seconds before leaning in and kissing each other deeply. Eventually, the kisses became an embrace as their bodies intertwined, and, before they knew it, Lena was on her back with Mike slowly grinding against her.
A part of Mike thought entering her would be easy, since as an android, she could control her body, but Mike actually had to work for it. Eventually, her fruity lube had coated enough of Mike’s penis to allow him to smoothly slide in to her warm pussy. Just as she had informed him, he could just barely perceive the numbness caused by the lube, and the mild tickling from the sonic pulses.
Mike quickly found that Lena was able to keep pace with him fairly well, most likely due to her artificial nature. When he sped up, so did she, and when he slowed back down to rest, she patiently waited for him. After what seemed like an eternity, Mike finally felt himself ready to climax, so he quickened his pace, feeling Lena squeeze him tighter in anticipation. He finally exploded into her, at the same time he felt her climax, a wave of warm juices flowing over him.
He collapsed into her loving embrace as a wave of ecstasy coursed through his body. They both spent the next several minutes catching their breath and simply enjoying the feeling of one another. Finally, the slowly rolled over and stared into each other’s eyes.
“Well, how was I?” Lena asked intently.
“You were great!” Mike breathed, “that was the best sex I’ve ever had!”
“Hey, I was only part of the equation,” Lena said modestly, “You want to go again?” she then offered.
“Nah, I’m pretty beat, to be honest,” he admitted, still trying to catch his breath and slow his heartrate.
“Hey, it’s no problem,” she said with a reassuring smile, “I’ll have to try and improve your stamina though.”
“I look forward to it,” Mike laughed, slowly rolling off the bed and viewing the scene. Lena was still laying on the towel, but there was now a large wet spot just below her crotch. Mike gingerly felt the residue left on his penis and sniffed it. “Fruity,” he thought, since that was the only way to describe it.
“Would you like me to clean all this up?” Lena asked, watching him scrutinize their lovemaking mess.
“I think the towel may have contained most of it,” Mike nodded approvingly, lifting it up and seeing no moisture on the sheets beneath it. He then looked at the clock and saw it was nearly midnight. “Well, as fun as this was, we should probably clean ourselves up and get ready for bed soon,” Mike said regretfully.
“Yeah,” Lena agreed, “my battery is below 18% now, so I only have about two hours left.”
“Oh yeah, that’s right, I almost forgot you have to be recharged later,” Mike said, smacking his forehead.
“Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it before long,” Lena smiled, getting up off the bed, bringing the towel with her and holding it to her crotch to contain everything inside.
“Do you need my help cleaning you out?” Mike asked, worried at seeing her hold the towel to herself.
“Oh, no,” Lena assured him, “I’m quite skilled at cleaning myself out, I just don’t want to leak all over your floor.”
“Ah, eww,” Mike chuckled nervously, perishing the thought from his mind.
“I’m going to put on my pajamas once I’m done cleaning myself, if that’s alright with you,” Lena told him, making her way to the door.
“It’s alright,” Mike shrugged, “You’ll look cute in them anyway.”
“Aww, thanks,” Lena gushed, “I’ll see you soon, Mike.” Lena kissed him tenderly on the lips and headed into her room.
Mike waited until Lena turned on her shower before heading into his bathroom and turning on his shower, still getting over the sexual ecstasy. Mike finally took a deep, relaxing breath and then stepped into the warm shower.
1.8: Turning In
Mike lingered in the shower for a bit longer than was really necessary. He only needed to touch himself up and cleanse himself of the lubrication, but he found the warm water to be quite soothing. Even after he heard Lena shut off the shower from the other side of the wall, he remained in his shower for several more minutes before regretfully shutting off the water and drying himself off.
Once dry, Mike decided to put his pajamas on, even though he usually slept in the nude. He figured he’d keep them on until he went to bed, in order to have a more normal interaction with Lena before turning in.
He found Lena already getting started on tidying up her room, moving several of the things around and peeking inside the boxes to see if there was anything she could use.
“Find anything interesting?” Mike asked.
“A few things,” Lena admitted, gesturing to a few decoration items Mike had stashed up here the last time he changed the décor in the living room.
“Did you have your own decorations, or any personal effects in your studio?” Mike asked curiously, “Or did you keep it fairly spartan?”
“I actually had several items that belonged to the real Lena,” Lena admitted, then she looked around the room and sighed, “I wish I still had them…”
“Do you think there’s a possibility that your previous owner may have stashed your belongings somewhere before killing himself?”
“Hmm, it’s possible,” Lena contemplated, zoning out momentarily as she searched a few things in her memory storage, and online, “He did have a public storage unit that I occasionally had to visit,” Lena then supplied, “but I’m not sure if it’d even be considered his, this long past his death.”
“Well, it wouldn’t hurt to look,” Mike offered.
“Yeah, but it’s late, and I’m sure they’re closed right now,” Lena sighed, “Besides, my battery will only last another hour or so, and you need sleep.”
“Well then, how about we go in the morning? After breakfast,” Mike tried to cheer her up.
“That sounds nice,” Lena smiled, updating her schedule for the next day in her HUD. “Now, I’m planning on starting my cleaning schedule tomorrow,” Lena announced, changing the subject to a more cheerful one, “Do you have any preferences for how you’d like me to proceed, or areas you might prefer to take care of yourself?”
“Hmm, the only thing I can think of is the laundry,” Mike said, after giving it a bit of thought.
“What about the laundry?”
“Well, you are welcome to wash: the bed stuffs, the towels, pillows, bath mats, and your own clothes,” Mike listed off, “But I will wash my clothes…specifically, immediately upon my return from work on Fridays.”
Lena quickly updated that in her cleaning settings. “Okay, that’s easily arranged,” she replied, “why don’t you want me cleaning your clothes though? Are you afraid of me seeing your undies?” she teased.
“Oh no, nothing like that,” Mike smiled, “It’s just, I’m under the belief that my clothes collect all the negative energy from stress and whatnot, so I consider washing them at the end of the week to be sort of…cathartic,” he attempted to explain, “basically, it’s my way of washing away the negative energy from the previous week, and starting things over fresh.”
“Huh, an interesting way of looking at it…I will honor your request,” Lena said formally, “Anything else?”
“Well, obviously, try and do most of the cleaning while I’m at work, if possible,” he shrugged, “though, you’ll find I tend to keep my own area down there pretty clean, so I don’t think you’ll have too much work to do.”
“Hah, okay,” Lena laughed.
“Oh, and there’s a few area rugs tucked away in the downstairs closet if you feel like decorating some more in here,” Mike mentioned off-hand.
“Oh, thanks!” Lena beamed, looking around the room, “This beige carpet is sorta bland.”
“Eh, I haven’t minded,” Mike shrugged.
“Well, you spend most of your time downstairs,” she pointed out, “So of course you wouldn’t mind.”
“Yeah, I suppose you’re right,” Mike nodded, “So, once you’re all done in here, are you going to try and join me at all in bed?” he asked hopefully.
“No, I’m going to plug myself in when I reach about 3% battery level, and then go into sleep mode at the desk,” she told him regretfully, “I’m also going to be running a few diagnostics once I’m done charging, and those might make a bit of noise, so I want to stay in here until you wake up.”
“Alright, just checking,” he nodded, looking forward to when she would be joining him in bed.
“If I finish with all of it before you wake up, I might go down and start cooking some breakfast,” Lena suggested.
“Ooh, that sounds nice,” Mike said with an excited grin.
“If you sleep with your phone nearby, one of the features my interface app can do is monitor your breathing patterns while you sleep, even over your fan, and accurately predict when you are about to awaken,” Lena supplied.
“Wow, that’s quite convenient, and disturbing, all at the same time,” Mike chuckled nervously.
“Hey, don’t worry, it’s a discreet app, so it won’t record your snores or anything,” Lena giggled.
“Okay, good,” Mike said, then he let out a large yawn.
“You look like you’re ready for bed,” Lena smiled.
“Yeah, it’s about that time,” Mike nodded, seeing the time on Lena’s computer; past midnight.
“Alright, let me tuck you in.” Lena gently grabbed Mike’s hand and led him into his bedroom. Once in there, Mike grabbed his phone, which was still playing gentle classical music, and turned all the apps off.
“Do I need to do anything special to get the terminal app to spy on me?” he asked, holding out the phone to Lena.
“Nope, it’s already doing it,” she smiled, “it only activates when I let it, and since I know you’re going to bed, I’ve already done so.”
“Okay, good.” Mike yawned once more and then began to take his clothes off.
“Oh, you sleep in the nude?”
“Yeah,” he nodded, shaking himself off and then crawling into the bed, “It took a bit of getting used to at first, but now I can’t imagine how I slept before,” he smiled, moving around vigorously to warm up the sheets. “Oh, I forgot to turn on the fan,” he pouted, moving to get out of bed.
“Hey, allow me,” Lena stopped him. She turned around and powered on the fan to its highest setting. “There.”
“Thanks, it’s so hard to get comfy again once you’ve gotten up.”
“Yeah, I know,” Lena nodded, then she quickly scanned his room to make sure there was nothing more that might distract him. “Do you usually sleep with the bathroom door open?”
“Oh no, not unless its hot out,” he replied, looking over, “I left it open so the steam could vent out, but it should be alright to close now.”
“Okay.” Lena walked over and secured the bathroom door, then scanned the room one more time with all her sensors. Everything seemed safe and secure for Mike’s bedtime mode. She then focused on his bedside table, making sure her interface with his phone terminal was online. “Huh, would you like a glass of water on your table, in case you get thirsty?” she offered.
“Nah, I should be fine.”
Lena smiled, updating his bedtime preferences. She walked over to him, leaned down, and gave him a gentle kiss. “Good night, Mike,” she smiled, “Thanks for finding me…and for everything you’ve done for me in the last 24 hours.”
“Aww, don’t mention it,” Mike told her, fighting to stop a blush…and losing, “Good night, Lena.”
Lena nodded, then headed to the door. Just before she flipped the switch, she stopped and said, “Oh, I’ll wait until you fall asleep before I start moving stuff again…and once I’ve plugged myself in, I’ll enter sleep mode, so I won’t respond to anything other than an emergency or a direct command to wake up, got it?”
“Yeah,” Mike said, at the same time as a yawn.
“Goodie, nighty night,” she smiled, then flipped the switch and quietly closed the door. She then tip toed into her room and quietly sat down at her computer, monitoring Mike’s breathing from her connection to his phone. She estimated, given his level of exertion during the day, and his current breathing rate, that he would be asleep in roughly ten minutes. She used the time to create numerous internet search spiders to find all relevant information on the now defunct company that had her commissioned, as well as everything she’d missed in the last five years. Just as she finished sending them out, her interface indicated that Mike had fallen asleep, so she resumed her work on tidying up her new room.
It was nearly 4am when Mike awoke in the middle of the night, his bladder suddenly urging him to relieve it. He regretfully got up and headed into his bathroom, relying entirely on his night vision so he wouldn’t need to turn on any lights and ruin it.
Once finished, he spritzed his hands with sanitizer so he wouldn’t waste any water, and then headed back out to crawl back into bed. Just before he reached it, however, he suddenly realized he was thirsty.
“Damn, I should have taken Lena up on her offer to get me a water,” he muttered to himself, quietly opening his own door and heading downstairs.
“Hey Mia,” Mike whispered fondly, seeing his cat huddled in a blanket on the couch. He poured himself a small glass of water, and also snacked on a small slice of cheese so his stomach wouldn’t be growling all night. After making quick work of the snack and water, Mike sighed satisfactorily and then quietly made his way back up the stairs.
Once he reached the top of the stairs, he suddenly realized that Lena had left her door wide open. While Mike figured he should probably respect her privacy, curiosity finally got the better of him, so he quietly walked inside to take a look. “Hey, if she wanted privacy, she would have locked her door,” he thought to himself.
Mike was hit with a subtle wave of cleaning solvent as soon as he entered, and his feet could tell that she had had his floorvac working in here while he slept. Without turning on the lights, he could already see that she had made considerable progress with reorganizing all the stuff in her room, and had even laid out some of the rugs from downstairs.
Once he walked in further, he finally saw her, sitting motionless in her desk chair, looking as though she had fallen asleep sitting up, with her hands neatly folded and resting on her lap, and her bare feet dangling just above the floor. She was still wearing her cute, fuzzy pajamas, though Mike could clearly make out the charging cable protruding from underneath and connecting to a nearby wall outlet.
Remembering what she told him about not responding to anything other than an emergency or a direct command to wake up, he leaned down and gently lifted up her pajama top to look at her charging port. The monitor in her port indicated her battery was already back up to 47%, so he estimated she’d be finished around 7 or 8 am.
Her face was just barely illuminated by the subdued light of her computer screen, displaying a gentle blackened standby screen. His breath caught as he admired how peaceful her face looked while asleep, just as it had looked when he first saw it in the case. Feeling brave, he slowly leaned in and planted a kiss on her sleeping lips.
“See you in the morning, Lena,” he whispered, kissing her once more on the cheek before heading back out and into his room. Once he closed the door, he crawled back into bed and fell almost immediately back to sleep, his last thoughts loving ones and excited prospects for the days ahead with Lena.
Part 2: Elena
Mike awoke the next morning to the smell of bacon. His nose went wild as the scent tickled it, until he finally caved and rose up out of bed, feeling completely refreshed. A quick look at the clock nearby informed him that it was just after 8am.
Mike quickly picked up his pajamas that he had left lying on the floor near his bed, but decided to remain nude. Stretching his body out, he opened the door and quietly headed downstairs to see what else Lena was cooking.
When he rounded the corner of his living room, he spotted Lena in the kitchen, still dressed in her cute pajamas, cooking a breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage, and biscuits. The only addition she had made to her wardrobe was the pair of cute bunny slippers that she had bought with her pajamas, since her programming dictated that she wear footwear while cooking.
Before Mike could approach her, she turned around with a big smile. “Morning sleepyhead! How’d you sleep?” She quickly made sure everything was stable on the stovetop and then rushed over to plant a kiss on his lips, her hands going around the back of his head and giving his neck a quick massage, before scurrying back over to tend to the eggs.
“Quite well, actually,” Mike smiled with exuberance, “I think it was a combination of the massage, and then sex, but I felt completely relaxed.” Mike slipped on his pajamas and sat back down at the bar while he was talking to her, so he wouldn’t get in her way in the kitchen. “and how did you…um, sleep?” he asked awkwardly.
“I slept well too,” she giggled, “I’m fully charged now, and I was actually able to spend the night downloading information on what’s been happening over the last five years while I’ve been in storage, so now I’m all caught up!” she announced cheerfully.
“Wow, I wish I could catch up on things so easily,” Mike laughed, “I actually woke up last night to pee, and get a drink of water, and I walked in to check on you,” he admitted, “you looked so peaceful.”
“Aww, thanks,” Lena blushed.
“I’m curious, are you capable of dreaming?”
“Yes,” she nodded, “for an android, dreaming is just as useful as it is for humans, and its kinda like a screensaver as well,” she said, trying to explain, “Basically, while we’re running low level diagnostics and reorganizing our files, those files sorta randomly jumble together and get processed as dreams, in order to hone our cognitive skills.”
“Interesting,” Mike mused, “And, have you had any dreams of me before?”
“A few,” Lena admitted with a sly smile, “Obviously from the week you spent training me, and throughout my time there,” she continued, “Actually, I had a really good one of you last night,” she said with a content smile. “If you’d like, I could compile all of them and send them to your computer so you can watch all of them,” she offered with an excited smile.
Mike instantly flushed. “Oh, no, you don’t have to do that,” he waved her off uncomfortably, “Dreams are supposed to be private.”
“Nonsense!” Lena disagreed, “You keep forgetting that you’re my owner now, so you’re more than welcome to view my dreams,” she pointed out.
“Okay,” Mike relented, seeing it was pointless trying to impose human privacy values on her.
“Good, then I’ll transfer them over while I sleep tonight,” she smiled, turning off the heat to the stove and beginning to transfer the food over to their plates.
“I’m curious, do you even need to sleep or dream?” Mike asked, “I mean, would it be possible for you to remain online for days, simply plugging yourself in when you need a quick boost, but remaining online?”
“It is possible, though not recommended,” she responded, “I mean, we have to go into sleep mode in order to file our short term memories into long term, and to essentially defrag everything else” she explained, “So, if we were to just remain online all the time, then eventually our memories would become fragmented and corrupted, so we need to go into sleep mode for at least 3-4 hours a night.”
“Oh, I see,” Mike nodded, “and I take it you also back yourself up as well.”
“Yep.” Lena brought their plates over and set them at the bar, heading back into the kitchen to retrieve the carton of orange juice and two glasses. Once she poured the juice, she returned the carton to the fridge and sat down next to Mike, who still hadn’t eaten. “Oh, you didn’t have to wait for me. Dig in!”
Mike blushed and started eating the delicious food Lena had cooked. Even though it was a fairly simple breakfast, Lena had seasoned each item with just the right amount of spices, making each bite savory.
“Hmm Lena, this food is the best!” He complimented her, shoveling the eggs into his mouth between the strips of bacon.
“Breakfast is the simplest meal of the day,” Lena shrugged modestly, eating her food more neatly.
“So, was any of the information you downloaded last night about that public storage unit?” Mike asked more seriously, once he finished his food.
“Amongst other things,” Lena nodded, “I actually downloaded everything I could about the whole downfall of SSS, mostly just to make sure there isn’t anyone out there looking for me as lost property or something.”
“Oh no, I hadn’t considered that,” Mike said, now suddenly worried, “Should I be concerned?”
“Nah, it’s all good,” she waved off, “it’s like you said the other day…in the whole circus that ensued, they basically destroyed a lot of evidence of their crimes, including adding androids like myself to their roster to fluff up their diversity numbers,” she reported, “In all the public records available, there are no mentions of SSS using androids in their workforce, not that it was necessarily a crime…just not very ethical,” she laughed.
“Okay, good,” Mike sighed explosively, “the last thing I need is to be accused of stealing you.”
“Nope, you finding me is literally categorized under a ‘finders-keepers’ clause of the purchasing contract,” she reported, “basically, if you were to put me into storage and never come back for me, and your ownership of me were to lapse, anyone who were to find me could claim me as their own…just as you did.”
“Huh, well then, I guess I’ll have to make sure that I don’t let my ownership of you lapse then,” he winked.
“Hey, I trust you,” she winked back, “and, as a backup plan, you could always will me to your parents or something,” she suggested.
“Yeah, I think they’d like that,” Mike mused, “They always wanted a daughter…”
“I can show you how to arrange that later, if you’d like,” Lena offered, making a note in her HUD schedule to provide him with the correct paperwork, “So, anyway, since it’s a weekend, the public storage facility doesn’t open until 10am, so we have a couple hours to relax a bit,” Lena changed the subject, “Is there anything you’d like to do in the meantime?”
Mike thought about it a second and then responded. “I’d love to help you finish setting up your room,” he offered.
“Really? You don’t have to do that,” she blushed.
Mike merely shrugged. “Well, I want to, so there,” he playfully stuck his tongue out at her.
“Well, thanks.” She leaned over and gave him a kiss and then finished the rest of her breakfast. Then, she efficiently dropped down from the chair, took both their dishes, and rinsed them off in the sink before placing them in the dishwasher. “Alright, let’s get started!”
They both headed up to her room and quickly appraised the situation. Mike headed straight for a set of boxes that she had set aside and opened them up, nodding approvingly.
“So…my parents were cleaning out their house to make it look nice for an appraisal…so they could raise their home value,” Mike explained, “a lot of the stuff they sent me was old storage units and furniture,” he continued, pulling out the disassembled pieces of what looked to be a large bookshelf.
“Ah, I could use that,” Lena nodded approvingly.
“I thought you might,” he smiled, then he pulled out the disassembled pieces of a workbench, a few storage containers, and even pieces of a small twin-sized bed.
“Wow, they really mooched off of you,” Lena laughed.
“Yeah, well I mooch off of them a little here and there too, so it all works out I suppose,” he shrugged, “do you think we can reassemble all of this in two hours?”
Lena quickly scanned all the items and looked up basic assembly instructions online, cross-referencing it with the tools she had catalogued in Mike’s tool kits. She then came up with a rough estimate of one hour and 37 minutes, though her human emulation had her say it differently. “Yep, we can do it,” she replied cheerfully, “I’ll go down and get your tool kits!” Lena ran down the stairs before Mike could do or say anything and returned moments later with the two toolkits that he had stashed downstairs.
“Alright, let’s do this then!” Mike clapped his hands together and rubbed them excitedly.
Lena and Mike both worked diligently on assembling all the furniture, and before long, the room suddenly resembled something more like a cross between a dorm room and a workshop, than a room simply filled with carboard boxes and storage units. The only boxes left at the end were filled with old clothes and other unneeded items. Mike decided to relocate those to his car so they could drop them by a donation station on their way to the public storage unit later. He then returned to Lena’s room and stood with her to admire her now finished room/workshop.
“Well, it certainly looks cozy,” Mike nodded approvingly, since the room itself wasn’t very large. The bed was tucked in the small corner near the window at the far end of the room, and they’d even managed to mount an old TV that
Mike had stashed in here years ago and managed to hook it up to her computer station so that she could use it as a monitoring station for her maintenance work; a sort of always-on display that showed her vital stats for easy monitoring.
“Yeah, it is, thanks,” Lena breathed, sighing with contentment, “It’s actually slightly bigger than my old studio,” she chuckled.
“Oh man, it must have been bad,” Mike grimaced.
“Yep, but truthfully, I didn’t need much,” she conceded, “I’m just thankful for what I have now.” She looked into Mike’s eyes with adoration and then kissed him on the cheek. Mike said nothing, but merely put his arm around her shoulder. After a few moments had passed, she sighed once more and said, “Well, I suppose we should be going now, so we can check on that storage unit.”
“Okie doke,” Mike agreed, walking with her down the stairs, “are you driving again?”
“Might as well, if you’ll let me,” she shrugged, “I have the address saved in my head, and I can get us there more efficiently.”
“Fair enough,” Mike nodded, handing her his car keys while he put his street clothes on and grabbed a jacket and his wallet. Once they were both ready, they headed into the garage, got in his car, and drove out.
While they were on the road, Mike decided query her on what she learned during her evening download.
“So, what are you expecting to find in the storage unit, based on what you downloaded last night?”
“I dunno,” she shrugged, “I’m hoping that my personal belongings from my old studio apartment are in there, for starters,” she told him, “but aside from that, maybe just some answers on why George took his life.”
Mike nodded solemnly. “I hope I find some answers too,” he replied truthfully, “I mean, it does seem pretty odd that I just happened to know the code to the case that you were stored in…it’s almost like he meant for me to find you.”
“Interesting,” Lena mused, her A.I. quickly analyzing her memories to find any correlation to Mike’s theory, “It is possible,” she conceded, “I mean, George wasn’t stupid. He could tell that you were interested in me, and I in you, so it’s possible he may have been hoping to sell me to you at some point, or he may have been anticipating all that legal action that ended up going down.”
“Yeah, George always was paranoid,” Mike laughed, “In retrospect, I understand why…at least, partially.”
“Well, I always got the impression that he wasn’t too happy with the fact that I was around,” Lena said, “Not that he hated me or anything, but I think he just hated the fact that SSS couldn’t merely hire a real woman, and that he was dealt with the stress of handling me, and my secret.”
“Ah, I can totally understand how he felt,” Mike said sadly, “I wouldn’t want to be implicated in some sort of criminal conspiracy either.”
“Well, when you compare my presence to all the other bad stuff they did: murder, blackmail, extortion,” Lena said, ticking them off on her hand as they waited at a light, “Having a few androids fluffing up their diversity counts isn’t really all that bad.”
“Well, appearances are everything,” Mike explained, “It may not have been criminal, but it definitely didn’t look good, and could have lost them multiple contracts.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Lena nodded, “well, maybe George kept notes or something, so he could cover his ass in case they tried throwing him under the bus.”
“Yeah, that’s one thing he always impressed on me,” Mike agreed, remembering all the times George reminded him to always cover his ass, “I suppose it’s the one thing he was good at.”
“Well, we’ll be there in about 15-minutes, after we drop these donation boxes off, so it won’t be too much longer.” Lena then pulled into the donation station and waited as Mike rushed in and dropped the boxes off, making sure to collect the tax receipt, since the year was almost over.
“Did you get the receipt?” Lena asked him, once he got buckled himself back in and they drove off.
“Yes, but I thought you had to donate a lot in order for it to make any difference,” he complained.
“Usually you do, but I can assure you that the new tax software you installed in me will be able to find you all sorts of discounts,” she smiled proudly, “just trust me.”
“Ok,” Mike conceded, placing the receipt in his wallet for safety. He then leaned back in his car seat and relaxed while Lena navigated them safely to the public storage unit.
They arrived at the public storage unit nearly 15-minutes later, and once they parked, they checked in with the management office to inquire about George’s unit. The individual manning the desk was a helpful man named Steve, and also happened to be the franchise owner.
“You guys sure are lucky you chose today to come to the unit,” Steve told them, digging around in his files.
“Oh, why’s that?” Mike asked carefully, while Lena stood by silently.
“Because the lease on that unit was coming to a close,” Steve replied, finding what he was looking for and placing it down in front of the table, “Another week or so, and the management company that owns the property was going to force me to open the unit and sell all the items inside.”
“Oh wow, well, to be honest, we don’t even know what’s inside,” Mike said truthfully, “My girlfriend here used to be in a relationship with the previous owner, but he killed himself and she’s finally ready to collect his belongings,” Mike lied.
“Hey man, I don’t need to know why you’re here,” Steven said knowingly, “All I need is the security code proving ownership.”
“I have it here,” Lena chipped in, pulling out a small piece of paper with a code written on it.
Steven took the paper and compared it to the one in his notes, then nodded approvingly. “Very good, here’s your key,” he told them, handing them an electronic key, “This will just work for the next 24 hours, and then you’ll have to check in with me again,” he explained, “security policy,” he shrugged apologetically.
Mike took the key and gave Steve a big smile, “Hey, don’t worry, we understand,” he laughed, “We’re both in private security.”
After Steve gave them directions to their storage unit, they hopped back into Mike’s car and drove around the complex until they located it. Their particular unit was a higher security one, with its own garage connecting to the unit itself, so they could pull their vehicle in and close the door in front of it.
“Well, at least we’ll have some privacy,” Lena said approvingly, once the garage door closed. They both headed to the space behind their car and approached a keypad on the door of the storage unit behind them.
“Yeah, George wasn’t messing around when he picked this place,” Mike agreed.
Lena flipped up the lid on the keypad and presented the keycard to the reader. It flashed green upon presenting the badge, and then the interior storage unit gate slowly lifted up, unleashing a wave of cool, musty air.
“Well, at least we know it hasn’t been opened in a while,” Mike said, wrinkling his nose at the musty smell, “That’s at least a years-worth of mustiness, and believe me, I know what it smells like.”
“I believe you,” Lena smiled, locating a light switch and flipping it on, illuminating the somewhat large storage room.
The room was filled with several boxes, and a few shelving units. Near the back was a desk that looked to have been set up as a workstation, likely for working on Lena.
“Well, does anything here look familiar?” Mike asked, looking quizzically at Lena, who was slowly analyzing the room and its contents.
“Yeah, I believe I recall George activating me here for the first time,” Lena nodded, her HUD zooming in on the workbench and a smudge on the wall, “Yep, I remember that smudge on the wall.”
“Interesting,” Mike mused, “I take it he didn’t have you walk out of here, otherwise you would have remembered how to get here.”
“That’s right,” she confirmed, “after he assembled me and completed my programming, he turned me off, and then next memory I have is of being reactivated in that studio apartment.”
“Huh, he really was paranoid,” Mike chuckled, “Well, he’s dead now, so that means all this stuff belongs to us, since obviously no one else came to claim it.”
“Yep,” Lena nodded.
“Let’s see if we can find your stuff then,” Mike smiled, looking at the cardboard boxes stack close by.
Lena nodded with a smile and then dug into the first box.
The first few boxes merely had a few personal belongings of George, stuff that they figured could be donated. They stashed those in the back seat of Mike’s car and then dug into another box.
“Ooh, these are my things!” Lena squealed, pulling out a few stuffed animals and other small trinkets.
“Oh good, so George did have the wherewithal to keep your stuff,” Mike said with a relieved voice, smiling as he saw Lena’s reaction to reuniting with her things. She quickly dug into the nearby boxes and located her old wall posters, some photos, and her old computers and phone.
“It’s all here! Thank you, George!” Lena cried out, clutching more of her belongings.
Mike decided to give her a moment to herself, so he made his way over to the workstation, idling examining the items on the shelving units, most of which appeared to be replacement/outdated parts for Lena. While the spare processors would be relatively useless, considering how much more advanced her current ones were, the rest of the items would serve as adequate replacements in a pinch.
Once he arrived at the workbench, he sat down and powered up the computer equipment. Strangely, it didn’t require a login, though considering it was in a locked storage unit, George probably figured that was enough security.
While the computer terminal was old, it was still in fair condition and had good enough specs that Mike figured he’d salvage it and install it in Lena’s room to use as her primary diagnostic terminal.
Mike spent the next several minutes browsing the files saved on the terminal. Many of them were diagnostic logs from the times he’d repaired Lena, and there were even a few dating back to when he was repairing Elena as well. While he found those interesting, especially when used as a benchmarking tool, he found the files on SSS to be far more interesting. Most of the files were encrypted, but the few Mike was able to read indicated that George had been spying on SSS for sometime and was most likely a whistleblower.
“Hey Lena, are you any good at decrypting files?!” Mike called out to her, unable to find a way to open the rest of the files.
Lena walked over and looked over his shoulder at the files and the encryption protocols. “Maybe,” she said with a scrunched face, “We’d have to do it at home, but I might be able to if I interface directly with them.”
“Alright, that sounds good,” Mike nodded, “well, why don’t you start packing all your belongings into the car while I get this terminal ready for transport,” Mike suggested, shutting the computer down and unplugging the monitor.
“Okay,” Lena nodded. She skipped to the front of the storage unit and cheerfully packed the boxes of her personal effects into the back seat of the car, humming as she did so.
Before long, Mike had the terminal disconnected from all the peripherals and loaded it into a nearby storage unit. He then had Lena load that into the trunk of his car while he loaded the spare android parts from the various shelves into yet another storage unit.
“Do we have everything?” Lena called out.
“Almost!” Mike called back. The only thing he hadn’t checked was the corner of the unit in the back, hidden away behind the workbench. The only thing there appeared to be a large bundle of sheets, most likely used to provide Lena with a soft place to rest when being worked on in here. Mike shrugged as he saw them, figuring he could at least use them for the same purpose. He pulled at them and then gasped.
“Lena, come here!” he called out.
“What is it...oh,” Lena said, seeing what Mike was looking at.
Hidden underneath the bundle of sheets was a metallic case, exactly identical to the one that had held Lena’s body.
“Is that what I think it is?” Mike asked, already knowing the answer.
“There’s only one way to find out,” Lena responded.
Mike nodded and entered in the same access code that he had used on Lena’s case, not even knowing if it worked; it did. The locking mechanism disengaged with a mechanical whir and a hiss from the hydraulics used to secure it. Mike carefully grabbed hold of both sides of the case and opened both of them.
Inside the case was yet another dismantled female android. This one appeared to be a bit more on the petite side, and the skin coloring indicated the android was Hispanic. Unlike before, Mike decided to go straight for the compartment at the top housing the android’s head, although he already had a fairly good idea of who it was. Nevertheless, he let out a gasp as he saw who it was.
“Elena!?” he breathed.
2.2: Deja Vu