Of Rent and Robots

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“Crap,” Ethan said to the reflection in the mirror as he cinched up his tie. “Great day to forget I have an early meeting.” A pair of feminine arms encircled him as he was straightening it out and he made an exasperated sigh. “Not today, Riley; I’ll be late if I don’t head out now.”

“But it’s only 7:00, are you sure you don’t have time for some fun?” As she said the last word her hands dipped down below his waist.

“No, babe, not today. I’ll be back at the normal time tonight.” Ethan turned around and took her slim, nude figure in his hands. They shared a lingering goodbye kiss before he grabbed his suitcase and headed out.

Once he was gone, Riley stared blankly at the door for nearly 15 minutes before her task list for the day kicked in. A few strands of golden-blonde hair fell before her face as she swiftly turned and walked back to the bedroom to get dressed.

She started with some blue lace panties before bending over to pull on a pair of socks. She was just reaching around to clasp her bra when the phone rang. This overrode her other priorities, so the mostly-undressed blonde strode back out to the living room and picked it up.

“This is the Davis residence, may I ask who’s ca–”

“It’s me, Ethan.”

“Hi, Ethan,” she replied. She put a hand to her hip and cocked her head, smiling. “Did you want me to talk dir– “

“Not now, I need you to do something.” He sounded harried.

Riley straightened up and her facial expression returned to neutral. “What is it, honey?”

“The rent is due today and I completely forgot to take it to the leasing office. The check is on my desk; it’s the only thing on there so it should be easy to spot. Do you see it?”

She walked over to Ethan’s desk, replying in the affirmative.

“Okay, do you remember where the leasing office is? Do you know how to get there?”

Riley paused for a moment before responding “Yes, I can do that.”

“When you get to the leasing office, it goes in the slot to the left of the two big doors. The slot is labeled “Rent.” Can you repeat back to me what you’re supposed to do?”

“I’m supposed to take the rent check to the leasing office and insert it in the slot to the left of the two large doors.”

“That’s it, perfect. Now go do it as soon as I hang up, alright?” The note of nervous strain in his voice was bleeding away now.

“I’ll do anything for you, love,” she told him.

“I’ll see you tonight, Riley.” The phone clicked as he hung up.

Riley turned off the phone and placed it on the desk then, true to her word, picked up the check and strode out the front door. Turning, she headed down a flight of stairs to the sidewalk. Her generous breasts showcased their realistic bounce with each step, dislodging the unfastened bra so that it fell to her elbows. Blemishless skin was illuminated by the bright morning sun and a faint breeze tousled shoulder-length blond locks as she nonchalantly strolled down the sidewalk past low apartment buildings.

Thankfully it was still early and only a few groggy-eyed individuals started their commute with a view of Riley’s precision-engineered curves. The exception to this was Noah Young, who was doing a few quick stretches on the lawn in front of his apartment in preparation for a morning jog when he spotted her approaching. He stared in profound confusion until she, ignoring him completely, was almost on top of him.

“Whoa! Hey! Ma’am?” he said, putting himself in her path. “Are you… all right?”

“Hello,” she responded, looking at him confusedly, “I’m a little warm, but within operating limits. Please excuse me.” The companion unit tried to step around him, but he stayed in front of her.

“You know you’re, uh, naked, right?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

“I am not,” she said, looking down at herself, “I am wearing panties and socks.”

Noah started laughing, “are you sure you’re okay, lady? Do you want some water?”

“I told you I’m fine. I need to take this check to the leasing office right away,” she explained. Noah noticed the paper rectangle in her hand for the first time. Of course, he had the excuse of a very formidable distraction. A pair of them, really.

Riley started to push around him again, and he put an arm out to block her. “Listen, you’re going to get arrested for indecent exposure like that. Why don’t you go back to your apartment and finish getting dressed.”

“I have to take this check to the leasing office now,” she said calmly and tried to go around his right. He took her by the shoulders, trying to be as ginger as possible and maintain a lawsuit-safe distance between his body and hers. Nevertheless as her breasts wobbled back and forth in front of him he felt the unmistakable pressure of an erection tenting out his running shorts.

“Hey, c’mon, let me just get you a glass of water, maybe if you cool off a bit you’ll get your head back on straight.”

“I don’t need water; I need to get to the leasing office. Please let me go,” Riley said, attempting to push him out of the way. Instead, Noah lost his footing and they both went over together onto the grass.

“Dammit! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to–” Noah was cut off by an urgent moan escaping from between Riley’s parted lips. It was at this point that he realized he had fallen atop her in perhaps the most lawsuit-worthy position possible. He was between her legs, his face nearly buried in her cleavage.

Noah began to scramble up, but felt Riley’s legs wrapped around him, pressing his erection directly against her crotch. Her hands reached around his back and she began to rhythmically press herself against him.

“I need you inside me,” she purred in between kissing his neck and jawline. Her sexual arousal subroutines, by design going to the top of her queue, had bypassed Ethan’s earlier instruction completely. The only problem was that the only user with the authorization to use her wasn’t currently available.

“Oh god, this is crazy!” Noah told himself. “Let’s at least go inside; someone will see.” He got up and tried to help Riley to her feet but was stopped by the odd look she was giving him.

“Where’s Ethan?” she asked, seeing his face for the first time since she had been stimulated. She sat up on the well manicured grass and took his hand.

“My name’s Noah, not Ethan,” her painfully aroused companion stated. He helped her up. “Quick, we need to get into my apartment before someone sees you!”

Riley bit her lip theatrically, using her free hand to rub her clitoris in small, fast circles. “I need Ethan’s cock so bad, where is he?”

“Listen, I don’t know who this Ethan is but I’m right here and I’m ready to go! You don’t just get a guy started like that and then ask for some other dude!” He tried to kiss her but she turned away. “Ugh, fine you crazy bitch. I’m done with you!” He shouted, and went angrily back into his apartment.

The aroused sex-droid practically didn’t notice, looking around for her missing paramour. “Oh Ethan, I need to be fucked so hard, baby.” She continued to rub her simulated clit while the other hand was busied kneading one of her breasts. The check, meanwhile, was stuck in a small bush next to the walkway.

After a minute or so, Riley’s sexual software timed out waiting for someone with the right authorizations and she abruptly stopped playing with herself. Retrieving the check with lube-slicked fingers, she continued down the sidewalk toward the leasing office. Her bra was now hanging from only one elbow, with the end of the strap dragging on the pavement.

The sidewalk ended just before the road she was following crossed a narrow causeway between two of the complex’s artificial lakes. Riley was about to step onto the road surface when a car drove past only a few feet away, blaring its horn at the unusual sight of a nearly-naked woman walking around in broad daylight. Her pathfinding software chugged for a few seconds before she decisively stepped to the outside of the guardrail, onto the grassy slope that made up one of the causeway’s embankments.

The grass was newly mown, so Riley started to run into trouble after a little while. She slipped a few times but neatly recovered, her arms swinging out balletically to maintain balance on the wet clippings. She was more than halfway there when she stepped in a muddy patch concealed by grass-clippings, and the balletic arm movements ended in a wet splat as her feet slipped out from under her.

Unable to compensate, she slid and rolled down the embankment and splashed into the reed-choked water at the lake’s edge. Pushing herself to a sitting position, water streamed out of Riley’s nose and mouth. She brushed soaked strands of hair out of her eyes and began trying to stand up in the heavy mud that was splattered over much of her body. The first attempt ended in failure as she landed on her rear in the foot-deep water again. On the second try she tried kneeling first, which gave better results.

The fembot tried walking out but quickly fell again, and so resorted to crawling the ten or so feet on her hands and knees. Finally she was standing on the grass again. The check was a muddy, soaked mess clutched in one hand, but Riley could discern nothing wrong. She also failed to notice a deep gash in the synth-skin below her left buttock where there were no touch-sensor pads. Water dribbled out of the opening and as she walked the metallic servomechanisms in her leg became visible through the mud packed inside.

She continued on the flat area near the shore until she came to a set of stairs. These led up the hill to the leasing office perched at the end of the causeway. Dripping lake-water and mud, she ascended to where the sidewalk began again and proceeded unmolested, other than confused stares from a few apartment windows, to the two main doors of the leasing office. She looked to the left and there, sure enough, was a slot labeled “RENT.” She opened the small box, deposited a clump of muddy paper-pulp, and started walking home.

This time she took the smart way, descending the staircase and walking along the water’s edge until she was across and then ascending the relatively gentler slope on the other side. As she climbed that slope, though, some of the electronics in her damaged leg gave out suddenly as the water finally reached them. But the leg didn’t simply fail, it flailed wildly for a few seconds as contradictory control signals reached the powerful actuators inside. Riley fell backwards, her leg angrily slamming down heel first into the ground at a slowly decreasing pace until it finally rested motionless.

Undaunted, she sat up on the grass and examined the limb for external signs of damage. Her self-diagnostic software had its answer when she slid all the fingers of one hand inside the hole in the back of her leg. Unfortunately its answer was “contact a certified repair service.”

She looked around, but Ethan wasn’t present. By this point people were streaming along the roads on their way to work but she was in a hollow just out of sight, while from the opposite side of the lake she would look like little more than someone enjoying the fine weather. She tried standing up again, but the leg fizzled once and then became completely immobile. The only option her software left her was to wait for the arrival of her owner.

The fine weather didn’t stay as fine as it had started. The day’s temperatures climbed into the high 90s, well above her rated limit. Even idling she started to have trouble keeping her CPU cool. System errors multiplied until, around 2 in the afternoon, the temperatures reached a critical level and she automatically shut down for a set cool-off period of five minutes.

When Riley’s systems came back online there was a familiar face standing over her. “Jeez, lady, I just can’t get rid of you,” Noah mused as he knelt down besides her. “Are you hurt, do I need to call an ambulance?” That had been his first instinct upon seeing the filthy woman lying on the ground, but with this one who could tell; maybe she just liked solo mudwrestling.

“Hello. My leg doesn’t work anymore. I need to get to Ethan so he can call a repair service.” Riley rolled to one side, exposing the damage to the underside of her thigh.

“Holy shi– wait a second,” he interrupted himself as he looked closer at what had first appeared to be a horrendous wound. He poked his fingers inside, running them along a bundle of wires. “You’re a sex-doll aren’t you?”

“I’m a FemTech Z550. My name’s Riley-ley-ley-ley-ley…” she stuttered as her CPU hung up in the heat.

Noah shook her gently but she was stiff in his arms for a few seconds more before she looked up at him again, her face confused. “I’m overheating, Noah. I need to get back home but I can’t walk.”

“You remembered my name?” he asked.

“Yes. I don’t forget things, silly, I’m a compu-pu-pu-pu-pu-puuuuu” Riley slumped over into Noah’s arms as she shut down again.

When she reactivated he was hauling her up the hill by her arms, his face red and covered in sweat. “Oh good, you can help now,” he told her, “I didn’t expect to be hauling some robot girl up a hill on my day off. Where do you live?”

“4476 Acorn Hill Road, Apartment 23” she answered.

With Noah’s shoulder to lean on, Riley got to her feet and was able to hobble up the hill. With the work-day in full swing, the complex was fairly deserted so he wasn’t too afraid he’d be answering a police officer’s questions about why he was dragging around an injured woman. Noah’s apartment was closer, only about 5 minutes away, so he figured he could take her there first to cool off before going to her apartment. She shut down again almost at the door of his apartment, and he could detect a worryingly acrid smell from the artificial woman.

He had rarely been more relieved than when he lowered Riley onto a chair in his bathroom. He wetted a towel and got to work wiping the mud and grime from her body. She had lost her socks in the mud and the panties were a complete loss, so he removed them and cleaned under them as best he could, taking care to avoid the soft folds of her sex.

Stupid, Noah thought to himself; she’s just a robot. But he couldn’t deny that he was very concerned that Riley should come out of this all right. He cleaned her blankly staring face with care, noting the slight difference in translucence that gave her skin away as synthetic. His fingers brushed her lips and he felt how soft they were; softer than the lips of most real women.

Not really thinking, he leaned in and kissed them gently. They were still warm from the sun, even though the rest of her had started to cool. He pulled back suddenly as, with a low hum, she reactivated. She remained still for a minute or so, then blinked and looked up at Noah.

“It’s much cooler here, but it isn’t home.”

“Yeah, I’ve got the AC on full blast. I took you to my apartment to cool off, since it was on the way,” he explained.

“I’m clean now,” she noted, looking down at herself.

“I, um, cleaned you off,” Noah admitted, setting the towel down on the edge of the bath. “How are you, by the way? Other than the leg.”

“My startup quick-diagnostic shows…” her head twitched to the right. “Shows… shows…” She stopped speaking and smiled at him.

“Riley, you were saying something about your diagnostic?” Noah asked worriedly.

“I was? I don’t remember that,” she replied looking quizzical.

“Weren’t you the one that told me computers don’t forget things,” he said, laughing nervously.

“Only broken computers forget things,” she matter-of-factly stated. Noah stopped laughing.

“I should go back to Ethan’s apartment now, Noah. I have to be-be-be-be-be-” Riley’s face screwed up bizarrely, like she was trying to make several expressions at once, and her whole body jerked sharply. The acrid smell Noah had noticed earlier was faintly detectable again.

“Riley? Riley!?” he yelled, grabbing her arms so she wouldn’t fall out of the chair. After a few moments she settled down.

“Hi, USER, long time no see,” she told him. “You wanna have some fufufufufun?” She leaned forwards and kissed Noah sensually, her hand raking through the hair on the back of his head. Her cool, wet breasts pressed against his shirt; he could feel her firm nipples against his chest. Unable to stop himself, he ran his fingers between her soft synthetic labia before sliding them into her. She leaned back out of the kiss, cupping her breasts and sighing. “Oh USER, I want your cococococock”

Noah noticed one of Riley’s eyelids had begun rapidly blinking without the other as she tried to kiss where he had been several seconds before. Drawing back with abrupt, jerky movements, she emitted some garbled electronic noise from her voicebox. He stood back, watching as she anticlimactically twitched a few more times before coming to rest in a slumped over position.

Noah sat down on the edge of the tub, his heart filling with fear and concern as softly stroked her hair.

Ethan had known something was wrong when he called the apartment on his way home and Riley didn’t pick up. He parked his car and started to jog to the apartment, ignoring his briefcase for the moment.

“Hey, Ethan,” the old man from the next apartment over called from his porch.

“Yeah?”

“You’re robot girlfriend thingy was out walking around naked today!” he said, “I told you them things were no good, didn’t I,” he chuckled.

“Shit,” he muttered under his breath.

“What was that?” The old man asked.

“You didn’t happen to see where she went, did you?”

“Oh, thataway,” he pointed vaguely down the sidewalk with a withered hand.

“Thanks, Fred,” he yelled up. Ethan figured he should check the apartment anyway, just in case he hadn’t seen her come back. Mounting the stairs, he saw a sad-looking figure standing in front of the door.

“You Ethan?” he asked gravely.

“Yeah. Is this about Riley?” The man nodded.

“I’m Noah. I live down there at 4415. I spotted her down by the lake all covered in mud on my jog. She wasn’t in good shape, busted leg and the heat was getting to her. I took her to my place for a few minutes to get her cleaned up and cooled down but… I don’t know, she broke down pretty badly a little while later.”

Ethan exhaled. “Show me.”

“Hey, this is Ethan. Yeah, the report came back. Apparently some water got through her seals. She’s totaled. They say I could get the memory out of her but I’m not that attached. I was thinking of taking the insurance money and getting a newer one anyway. Yeah, have my eye on an LMR 1228; maybe go with a brunette this time.”

Ethan scrolled down through the catalogue on his screen, showing a plethora of physical variations and personality simulation types to choose from.

“Anyway, after all the trouble you put in trying to save her I wondered if you might want her. Hah, don’t sound so excited. It’ll be a hell of a lot of work to get her up and running again; it’d probably be cheaper to just buy a new one. Sure, if that’s the way you feel about it… how about 1,000? Great; you can pick her up at Ivan’s Repair and Refurbishment; I’ll send you the address and set everything up. Good luck, man, you’re gonna need it.”

EPILOGUE

“How do I look?” The golden-blonde woman spun around, the hem of her dark red dress flaring out to reveal her garters.

“Amazing,” Noah said, taking Riley’s hands in his own. “You look beautiful; ready to go?”

“I’m fully charged, all systems go,” she gave him a mock salute.

Noah laughed. One of the advantages of rebuilding his dreamgirl from the inside out had been all the upgrades he gave her. In most ways, she was the same Riley he had found on a hillside four months ago. He had even kept her memory intact, except for the user account switch of course. Her personality was far better fleshed out, though, with a myriad of little quirks and predilections.

Noah put his arms around her waist and kissed her, he met the same soft lips he kissed every night now.

“You know, the best thing about you being in heels is that I don’t have to bend down to kiss you,” he observed.

She smiled, “Well then, I want you to kiss…” the remainder of her request was lost to his acquiescence.

“Shall we?” he asked when they had finished.

She made several sweeping, graceful steps to the front door, throwing her arms out at the end. “I was made ready.”

She could dance now, too.


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