A Place to Stay

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A Place to Stay By BA

This ‘suite’ would be Abigail West’s home for the next nine months at the Agency training facility. She was less than impressed with her “comfortable and stylish accommodation suite” which was apparently “designed with the aspiring young professional in mind” in the “state of the art new facility”. She tossed the glossy recruiting pamphlet onto her desk in disgust.

Technically it was a suite: there was a tiny cleansing cubicle with a shower and basin (no toilet she noted), a spacious study area with a long desk, shelves and all the work facilities she could imagine and a ‘personal area’ through a small alcove. It was a far cry from the spacious two-bed apartment downtown she’d left behind for this job. She swept up her bag and strode back through the maze of spacious airy corridors to the reception desk.

“Hi! I’ve just checked in to the Agency induction program but I seem to have a cadet room or something...”

“Oh, dear! Just let me see ma’am... what’s your name?”

Abby’s indignance faded somewhat as the reception android (she was pretty but far too immaculate to be real) treated her with the respect she felt her new position deserved.

“Okay.... Ms West, I have you listed as an android trainee, is that correct?”

“Sure, but I am an Agent Candidate: I should be allocated a full suite, I can’t really live out of a study for nine months can I?”

“I see. Androids are usually happy to be allocated more functional accommodation; you’ll find you have a maintenance slab for downtime, work desk and full service facilities as well as an area to clean yourself. Of course you won’t need a bed but I can arrange to exchange one of the wardrobes for a stand-up charging booth if you require one...”

Abby was taken aback, in this day and age she was unaccustomed to the ‘appliance’ mentality. “That may well be the way you choose to function but I am a highly advanced unit and prefer to interact as realistically as possible. I would like a suite with a bed and chairs just like a human candidate if that’s not too much trouble!” After all a bed wasn’t just for sleeping in...

“Oh...” The pretty woman was not at all phased by Abby’s stern attitude, “I can’t authorize that myself but a request can be submitted, would you log in here please?” She indicated the flat glass ADOI panel on the counter top.

“Sure”, Abby sighed, come to think of it some human ablutions would be pretty essential too if she expected any social company. Her design met Agency specifications with ease; one of the many specific requirements for employment was an ADOI 44.62 port, pretty common on human appearance units for several years now. The ‘Android Discrete Optical Interface’ allowed the increasing number of human-real or near-human-real robots to interface with optic ports in public without causing an embarrassing scene; sadly the days of otherwise glamorous women with their clothes and panels hanging open to hook up to data in hotel lobbies, banks and offices were coming to a close.

The android woman placed her left hand flat on the black glass and felt a coded ghost pass through her system as the facility computer logged into her CPU thanks to the access codes she had surrendered to her new employer. The optical data link was situated under the ring on her third finger (she had been designed as a dual role spouse / executive unit although only ever operated in her primary role so far). It was almost invisible but was an all powerful portal into her core programming and file systems for anyone with the necessary rights.

She noted that the system had logged on as an administrator which seemed strange for a mundane enquiry. Although she stood relaxed and easy, she may as well have been welded to the glass for all her ability to pull away. She thought to make a comment to the android girl seated across the counter, “Hey, what’s going on?” or words to that effect, but found that the inertia of simply standing patiently was overwhelming.

The pretty administrative robot tapped efficiently away a her keypad behind the counter and Abby felt the sensation of several core files being altered: micro personality pre-sets being delicately activated and blocked. She was completely aware of the process but only mildly curious to find that she felt no anger or distress whatsoever as she underwent involuntary reprogramming to better suit her employer’s policy.

Abby smiled and withdrew her manicured fingers from the smooth glass as the other unit logged out of her system.

“Thank thank thank jerrrrrrrr” Abby’s head and shoulders jerked with an almost audible click as she reset. “Thank you for your help.”

“No problem Ms West! Just page admin if you need any further support. Have a nice day!”

Abby walked more calmly back to her tiny cubicle. She had no need of home comforts, any unpleasantness from reclining uncovered on the cold, hard slab to charge was nothing more than programming for the benefit of observers, of which there were none in her room. She was simply a machine and, on her return, carefully hung up her clothes and lay back naked on the cold plastic to gaze blankly at the ceiling. After a short while her features hardened subtly as her CPU entered standby and she ceased to be until her internal clock re-started her for the next timetabled event.

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