Ella was rather surprised, when Ben announced that she'd soon have a new friend in the house. 'When they both were in her bedroom, and he was gathering to leave, he said something like: "I was thinking how this house is too big for the two of us, Ella." "So, are we going to move?", was her instant answer. He laughed, and looked at her. "No, not move. I am planning to add someone to our family." She still looked perplexed, so he added: "Another fembot. I'll have one on my mind, and you'll soon have a friend." Ella analyzed the words of her owner, and for quite a while she couldn't make out what he has just said. She was after all, a brand new model. Emotions like jealousy or anger, were still new to her, but she did feel something. Ben left in the meantime, but Ella was still insecure. She walked up to the mirror in the closet and looked at herself. Wasn't she beautiful? Tall, slim, blonde and gorgeous? She was the model of beauty, with extremely realistic body of a 23-year old woman. She gazed on her nude self, rethinking the possibilities of another fembot in her house. She was convinced that she gave Ben all that a woman could give. The half of a year of her consciousness was a wonderful experience. On the other hand, if she was so good, why'd she worry of having a competitor? Deep somewhere, she was convinced that she and Ben were meant to get together.
New robot arrived by herself, which rather amazed Ella. She just knocked on the door, around the noon, when Ben was still at work. Ella remembered, that most units needed calibrations and setup period, so at first she took her for someone else. "I am sorry, Ben Morton is not here. Should I take a message?" "Nonsense!", the redheaded woman answered. "I'm going to live in this place." You can easily recognise a robot if you know where to look. The irises of an android are hexagonal, and the pupils are square. The newcomer turned out to be another gynoid, like Ella. She was slightly shorter than Ella, and rather older looking, probably in her late thirties, and wearing a classy business suit. Her red fringe and her green eyes made her look very aggresive. She shave Ella a gentle nudge, as she wanted to go inside. Ella, wisely, moved out of her way. The robot woman looked at the blonde girl, and smiled, coldly. She reached out her hand and said "Nice to meet you. I am Clara Tremaine." "Erm...", Ella was slightly confused. She didn't really have last name. "Ella. Just Ella." She smiled at suddenly solemn Clara. The two women - robots - entered just after Clara reached for the purse. "Those are Anna and Eve. My assistants and personal service." They were obviously artificial, with shiney skin, and wiglike hair.
Clara was very self-confident, which worried Ella. She adjusted to her new house in the matter of seconds, and she was clearly very experienced. She asked Ella for 'a cup of cofee, no sugar, no milk', and drank it in silence, only correcting the pose of Eve who was leaning on the kitchen counter. Ella was trying hard to be a good hostess, but Clara declined each and every offer of cookies, fruit, or cake. She was stiff, and distant. She changed instantly, when Ben arrived. At hte very moment, she turned sweet and nice, smiling at the newcomer. Ella for the very firs time since her activation felt jealousy. It was during that evening, that Ella was for the first time reduced to a servant. Clara and Ben talked about movies, about books she didn't know. When she tried to join the conversation, Clara haughtily told her to get on topic. Ben was so occupied with her, he didn't notice that at all. Or, maybe...
Anna walked into Ella's bedroom, where determined fembot was browsing through the hardest books she owned. "You have to make some place for us, Clara said", she said in a monotonous voice. er eyes were fixed at Ella. "No way!", she shouted. "This is my room, and it has always been so!" Anna stood adamantly at the door. "You have to obey Clara". Ella looked at her angrily. She rushed to the Ben's bedroom, to tell him how sie is treated. But as she got closer to the door, she heard Clara's extatic shouts of joy coming from Ben's bedroom. Furthermore, Eve was guarding the door.
Few days later, she complained about her life to her friend, Estrelita. "It's a miracle that theyallow me to recharge. I have to share my room with two stone age machines, i am the one to cook, to clean, even if i am hundred times more intelligent like those two zombies!" "Oh, it isn't as bad... Look, i am going through a similar phase. My owner bought me a new boyfriend, to keep me company. At first, we were totally unlike each other, but Gary told me i'll like Hector eventually. He isn't that bad. Try to find good sides in this situation." "Well, Clara is certainly classy. I want to be similar to her, always calm and stuff. She receives invitation to fancy parties, and sometimes even receives it. She feels important." "That's because she is important.", Estrelita pulled out some glossy magazine. "Look who's on the cover" CLARA TREMAINE: COMPANY MASCOT, the magazine said. "I read that lately. Apparenly, she was property of a some editing firm, she managed and was a PR expert. They got recently a new mascot to increase sales, and later she got reduced and landed here, apparently".
The lady-like poise of Clara kept enchanting Ben. Ella wasn't especially pleased with that, an she also wanted to know how Clara got here. Which was hard, since she was perpetually busy, either at her newfounded friends in the town, at the parties or with Ben. She once or twice had something she liked to call soiree, and what included more classy fembots chatting and drinking wine. Ella had to serve it, and when she tried to join the conversation, she was met only with ironic smirks. What was the point, anyway? But the most humiliating thing occured finally around the weekend, when Clara calmly offered her 'a gift'. Ella couldn't believe it. Could Clara have some sort of android heart? She opened the bag, and pulled the clothes outside. "IT'S A MAID UNIFORM?", Ella shouted angrily. "You... you... you bitch! How dare you! I am neural net unit, not different from you! I will not be your servant! Give that to one of your plastic dolls! I am so going to Ben with that." Clara smirked and just squinted her eyes. "What if that was his idea?", the red-headed woman only said. Ella quieted. "I don't believe you", was all she said. She knocked to Ben's door, holding her maid outfit in one hand. And he was packing, rummaging through his wardrobe. "Ben?" "Ella? What do you want?" "It's about this." She pulled out her maid costume. "Clara said that you wanted me to wear it." "Well, she noticed that you do not feel comfortable with her friends, and suggested that maybe you should mark that you do not... deal with stuff she deals with?" It took a while for Ella to comprehend his speech, but she stomped angrily. "No, Ben. I am not stupid. Inexperienced, maybe. But not stupid." He hugged her.
"But it doesn't change the fact i am leaving, honey.", he said. "WHAT? Ben, you can't leave now and leave me alone with her! She dressed me up in maid uniform, Ben!", Ella protested. "Listen, I have to earn money. Clara was not that expensive, but... she needs accessories. And you'll get some too", he added quickly "but for now i need to move for a two or three months. I am only moving on the moon, they need qualified engineers there. It's not like I am leaving forever. And maybe... just maybe, you two were jealous of me. Maybe when I am gone, you will start to get together." "When do you leave?" "In an hour... Look, I wanted to tell you that..." Ella helped Ben to pack, and when he left the house she gave him huge, passionate kiss. He looked at her and smiled. And then he left.
Clara emerged from the house. She looked longingly at the leaving taxi cab, and tilted her head slightly. Grimly, she turned back, and looked Ella in face. "Well, honey, it turns out that now one of us is the lady of the house.", she smiled with a wicked grin. Ella was gently asked by Clara to cook some simple snacks for the guests. Evidently, Clara knew about the empty house before her, and already invited some friends. Well, Ella was self-confident now! She would go out, and meet robots and people. "No. Way.", was Clara's only answer. "You are throwing a party in my owner's house, and I am not invited? I live here, you...", Ella was desperate. "Look, you won't fit in! You never will!" Clara said, as she locked the door.
One of the bodyguard gynoids- tall, blonde, muscular lady dressed in a expensive-looking suit, looked down on Clara. She had Anna and Eve, but still felt intimidated. "May I speak with Mrs Cygne? I am the hostess." The android amazon looked blankly at her. Though she wore sunglasses, it was visible that she was artificial. "Appointment.", she stated in blank, machine voice. "I am Clara Tremaine, and I invited your boss earlier." Sybil Cygne popped from behind her bodyguard's back. She was large, heavyset African-American woman, with nice, curvy bosy. She wore sunglasses, though Clara knew that Sybil Cygne was a robot. She rarely appeared at the parties, though she always seemed very knowledgeable about the social contacts in the town. She apparently knew every robot here, and knew more about them than the owners. And who knows a robot, knows his owner. When humans met her, they discovered that she already knew a lot about them. And it were sometimes not the things they wanted anyone to know. And though robot's couldn't legally use the real human money, Sybil Cygne currently was one of the wealthiest androids in the region, a respected businesswoman - position achieved through blackmail, extortion, and later some operations which, if they weren't performed by robots and on robots, humans could call "gang activity". In short, she was the boss of the mob. Clara, and most of the androids in the neighborhood weren't sure what to think of her owner. Robert Cygne hasn't been seen for a long time, though a lot of lawyers claimed that he signed many documents in her name. Sybil from that on started to call herself Mrs. Cygne. She was feared by all robots in the county, and a fair share of humans, who in one way or another worked for her. She was a one-robot-company by herself. She knew things. She knew a guy who knew a guy who could find those special sex parts (and she remembered you wanted to know this, and made a small note inside her memory bank). And she owned some droids who also could do a lot...
Clara curtsied before her, to show some respect, which the Sybil accepted. "So, honey, you wanted to speak with me, right after movin' in?", Sybil asked, smiling. "I believe we met before" "That's true, Mrs. Cygne. I was the propety of Southwind editing company then. I remember seeing you at the release of Danel Deron's book, you were with him, and I hosted the event." "I have no problems with me memory storage, Tremaine", Sybil turned much more official. Clara couldn't find in her memory the "apologetic smile" face, so she stayed blank. "But", Mrs Cygne continued, "I remember you. I've heard that you are unscrupulous, callous, and amorous" Clara's emotional processor was now slightly overheated. "..." "In short, you are much as me", Sybil laughed and invited Clara to sit down. "Now, honey, everyone who comes to good old mrs Cygne has some sort of problem. And I know it's not anyone I know... Not even mr. Morton who is a good kid. What is it, then?" "It's his first android. Ella" It took a little while for Sybil to search her memory. "Blonde girl, tall. Basic sex model. I don't think she'd be much competition with you... If you are like I think you are, Tremaine" It was amazing, how predatory her smile could be. If Clara had feelings like that, she would notice that. "I could be. But that blonde tincan turned to Ben. And he must be mine! She is just a blow-up doll, she doesn't even deserve to have a surname..." "Tremaine, why don't you tell me more about her? From what i've heard, she is rather dumb, but pretty, right?"
The plan was on. Clara was to allow some androids that belonged or worked for her into her house... and to pay the price. At first, Sybil said, the access to the house by some of her employees was enough. And there they came. She made sure that Ella was home, and able to notice the visitors. The bright red truck drove near the house, and the robots inside gathered by the door. There were photographers, sound specialists, and among them, a thin blond woman dressed in a flashy pink suit, and pinkish glasses. Through her big blond hairdo one could see a tiny tiara. After a while, the staff gathered round the pink woman, and she knocked at the door. Ella was surprised to see someone that wasn't, apparently, a guest of Clara, and she left the kitchen to see them, but Clara hissed: "Not now" and pushed her out of her way. When the door opened, the woman in pink looked at Clara from above her glasses. She, too, was a robot. "Heloooo, my nameh is Cerise Maxwell. I'm the editor for the Droidette, the fashion magazine of the city", she smiled prettily. "We are searching for the fashion droid of the month, and we heard about you. May we come in?" Ella heard that, and felt some sort of robot anger inside. "I am not really prepared", Clara declared, but she was obviously happy to see Cerise. "Maybe you could look at Anne and Eve, too? I take care about their looks..." Some photographers already scurried around the house, making photos. Cerise looked critically at Clara. "Noh offense", she looked with slight disgust, "but you are a little too dark for today's fashion. Red hair are passe... Today we prefer blondes! More virginity!" "That's a pity, but I don't know of anyone like that", lied Clara with the convicition that wouldn't cheat a human ten year old. But it did cheat Ella, who proudly marched in the salon. And as it was easy to predict, Cerise stood up, and clasped her hands. "Here's a girl fit for a prince!".
Ella with totally revamped looks was real eye-candy. Cerise pitied that her darker complexion clashed somewhat with the pink. But the simple, silk black dress plus some pearls, and accesories, and she was now... well, she was designed to be stunning, and there was little to improve. But it was improved, and she definitely liked her new look. Now she was going to be the cover girl, wasn't she? Now she would be the boss... "I can't believe it's me", she exclaimed to Cerise. The editor android nodded wistfully. She walked over to the new revamped Ella, and put her hand on her shoulder. "I can. And now we're going to see the photographer, and make some... shots."
"The point is", Sybil stated, as she put down some papers on her desk, "that the plan has now been set in motion. Are you sure that mr. Morton would reject her, after she ran away with another?" "Of course, Sybil", Clara answered, closing her eyes. This was very human, and largely unnecessary, as this did not impress mrs. Cygne. In fact, she did not approve of androids she didn't fully control calling her Sybil. That concerned humans, too. But really, the point was that Clara was annoying and even a potential rival, while Ella was still a possible pawn. The plan would work for Sybil Cygne, but not for Clara Tremaine. "So you can contact him? What's his address?" Clara told her. Now the plan was perfect.
Clara threw the magazine on the table, infuriated. She looked at Eve, who appeared to be examining the paper. The fembot on the cover was, of course, Ella, all glamorous and hugging a tall, handsome man. "Why Ben isn't here?", she exclaimed. She was human enough to pour herself a glass of wine. Eve tried to think about it, but there was too much data involved. Her expression didn't change. Clara looked at her with disgust. "I don't know why i keep you two... Just stay here, and don't get into any trouble."
Cerise was dressed up in a pink bathing robe, and lying in front of the TV. She didn't really expect a visitor. Clara knocked on the door of her apartment, and when the editor robot opened, she charged. "it is taking too long!" "What are youh speaking about?", Cerise looked at her. "About her! That stupid doll has been on the cover for two months! How on Earth doesn't Ben even know about her treason?!" Cerise was perfectly controlled. "Look. It is not my job, i only made that possible... She should run away on her own. Mrs Cygne is getting her an actual human boyfriend. Your owner will be jealous..." "Look, bitch. I don't care about what you think. I *know* that you are owned by Sybil. If she says a word, you are scrap metal. Is there anything you haven't told me, Cerise?" It was good for Cerise that her model wasn't able to blush. Or get pale, for that matter. "I..." "Well?", a good bluff. That was the strong point in the experiences of Clara. She didn't exactly had power to influence Cerise, but she felt like to. "I... and Ellah... She was rather reluctant, but very..." Clara laughed. In sharp, cruel laugh. "Hah! Does Sybil know?" Cerise calmly answered: "She doesn't care. As you said, i am her tool. She was apparently dissatisfied with the previous editor of the magazine." Clara couldn't really care. "So you've been working against Sybil, eh? You were not supposed to do Ella. I see that soon the magazine will need a new editor." Cerise calmly stood up to her full height. "Could you leave my apartment?" "No. Just tell me where is Ella." "Actually, she's supposed to be with Mrs. Cygne. Now go." Two gynoids begun a contest of cold stares. Clara just muttered: "oh, fuck it", and went away.
Sybil looked proudly at the android man who entered the building. Tall, lanky, and with the rugged kind of masculinity. "How about this one?" she asked girl sitting on her knees. Ella politely declined. Sybil was genuinelu impressed, if that was possible for a fembot. Complete and utter devotion was extremely uncommon. while fairly easy to program, it was also the first directive to change. Maybe Ella was truly in love in Ben? Clara marched in, pushing surprised servants and bodyguards off her path, and she saw Sybil hugging Ella, and five male robots presenting their charms. "DAMN IT!" her voice seemed digitised and artificial. "You fat whore! That was not a deal we made. You were supposed to show to Ben proofs of her treason! Oh, but i do have them now..." The red headed woman began to laugh. She was obviously at limits of her programming. "Sit down, Clara dear", Mrs. Cygne commanded. "Our deal is impossible to make. Ella is... well, a good girl. Though she begins to become slightly naughty, thanks to my friend Cerise... But that's not the point." Clara didn't stop laughing. "I need to get rid of one dangerous element in the neighborhood. You. With the help of one of my best acqutainces. Alexandra, come in!" A tall woman entered the salon. Seven feet, long black hair kept in tightbun, and extremely tight leotard. She grinned at the sight of the Clara. "It's her, Syb?" Mrs. Cygne nodded. "She's all yours!" And when the huge dominatrix pulled screaming Clara out of the room, Sybil added to Ella: "It seems that we just made a deal."