Difference between revisions of "Lost in the Shuffle"

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Revision as of 22:12, 13 June 2019

Lost in the Shuffle

Part One: Discovery

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 There was a great deal of garbage, outdated paperwork and uniforms, and clutter.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 He also cleared out even more outdated items that were buried underneath the clothing.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.

“Hey Mike!”

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.”

“What happened?”

“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?”

“Elena Gonzalez.”

“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.”

Part Two: Registration

Part Two: Registration

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.”

“What is?”

“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.

Part Three: Upgrades & Maintenance

In progress...

Part Four: Reassembly

In development...

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