It took a moment for Thesis to process where exactly she was that next morning as she booted up. Logically, she should have been back in her charging unit, ready to begin another day’s work. But instead here she was in Chares’ room, and in his own bed at that matter. For a time she simply lay on the mattress, running through her databanks in order to determine how she had gotten in there.
Her sensors had recorded that she had spent most if not all of the past few hours she had spent awake engaging in sexual activity with Chares, but they seemed almost too good to be true. And yet the information that was contained in those recordings was too vivid, too strong to be the byproduct of a mere fantasy.
That idea was quickly put to rest as she glimpsed the engineer lying next to her, clinging to her side. It hadn’t been a dream at all. She really had made love to him. And she regretted none of it.
The brief moment of reminiscence did not last long, however. A check of her internal clock revealed to Thesis that the day’s shift would begin within the hour, yet her partner still remained fast asleep. As justifiable as his desire to continue resting might be, it would be irresponsible nonetheless to let him remain asleep for much longer. Fortunately, she had an idea about how to wake him up.
“Hunh? Wha -oh, hello Thesis.”
The first couple of times Chares was able to sleep through the feeling of something soft meeting with his lips. Then the sensation grew stronger, and he felt something- no, someone- gently shaking him. Still somewhat groggy, he opened his eyes to see the green glow of Thesis’ optics right as her lips met his for a fourth time.
“Good morning, Chares. I hope you appreciated my wake-up call,” she teased. If she could blush, Thesis would have probably done so. “Command would frown on you sleeping in this late, you know.” She gestured to a nearby clock, and it dawned on him that it would soon be time for him to report for duty.
“Any longer and I would’ve been late for sure. Thanks,” he said, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.
“I was simply performing my duty to ensure you were productive. Especially since it was technically my fault you weren’t up sooner.” The gynoid’s sensors were still a little bit tingly from their earlier tryst, and as the engineer walked into the bathroom to wash himself she noted that he seemed to have a slight amount of difficulty walking. Whether that was due to the intensity of their earlier activity or simple fatigue, she could not be entirely certain.
As the door closed and the sound of a shower running came from the bathroom, Thesis took the time to download their orders for the day. She had hoped that there would be an opportunity for the two of them to continue working together, but to her dismay it appeared that they would be working separately this time. Disappointing as it was, there was little she or Chares could do about it. Orders were orders, after all. At least we’ll be able to have the evening all to ourselves, she mused. All the while, she was trying to resist the urge to snake a fiber-optic lead under the door to get one last look at her lover’s nude body.
Just as Thesis was about to succumb to the temptation, Chares walked back into the bedroom, fully dressed (to the gynoid’s slight disappointment) and ready to report for duty. Upon receiving a copy of the day’s orders from Thesis, his countenance grew sour quite quickly.
“Perfect. I’ve got another batch of rookies that need on-the-job training to babysit. Why doesn’t Command just make sure they know how to do their jobs before they come onboard for a change?” His voice was heavy with the sort of exasperation that came from years of attempting to instruct people on tasks that had long since become automatic for him. As far as he could remember, Thesis had been the only individual who actually knew what she was doing from the beginning.
“It is most likely to be a cost-cutting measure on Command’s part,” Thesis stated in reply. “I took some time looking through at your employment files earlier, and it seems that you were specifically selected for your expertise in engineering matters. Most likely, they assumed you would take on the position of a mentor figure for the other engineering staff.”
“You know, you could just ask me directly about that stuff next time instead of looking up personal details on your own. But that’s not important right now, we should report for duty.”
As luck would have it, Thesis had been assigned to patrol the maintenance tunnels again. This time around, her goal was to locate an air pump in the aft port side of the station that had worn out and replace any of its parts that had become damaged beyond repair. The sprawling mass of passageways and corridors had become more familiar to Thesis over the course of her time on Delphi, but it never quite lost its labyrinthine feel to her.
The particular section in which the air pump was located in seemed especially run-down, even by the low standards of the tunnels. Parts of the walls had begun to rust, the electrical wires were losing their insulated covering, and many of the lights had simply ceased to work. It was no surprise to Thesis that she had been assigned to take care of this particular issue. A human would most likely struggle simply not to get lost in the darkness. Thesis, on the other hand, could simply activate her night-vision functions and refer to the parts of the station’s blueprint that seemed to match the area best.
Thesis’s old theory that the crew had been altering the station against regulations didn’t seem as plausible as it used to be. If anything, Thesis began to notice that the tunnels consistently used equipment designs that had to have predated the standard models she was used to seeing by decades, at the very least. This made no sense- if the modifications were done by the crew to make it more convenient for them, then surely they would have at least been able to use up-to-date equipment and materials to do so. At the very least, it would be expected that they keep it all in an adequate condition.
On top of that, Command seemed oddly unconcerned with her reports that the station needed a new floor plan as well. Rather than simply creating a new floor plan that compensated for the apparent inconsistencies in the design, they had sent only a message claiming that the floor plan was meant to refer exclusively to “active and inhabited portions of the station built since its acquisition by Oracle Prospecting Solutions, Inc.”. Once this might have baffled her to the point that she would have needed to ask Chares about it, but now the implications of the message were as clear as day. The station itself had been a retrofit, built onto an existing installation of a much earlier design.
Naturally, the answer to this question only opened up even more questions on Thesis’ end. For a start, if this meant that the tunnels were the oldest part of the station and that the bulk of the station was only constructed later, what could have been the reason for preserving the tunnels as they were instead of decommissioning them? A retrofit might end up being expensive, but it would be far from impossible to implement and would ultimately benefit the station’s infrastructure and crew alike. Perhaps it was simply a cost-cutting measure, but that alone couldn’t explain why Command had been so evasive about it.
Such things were disconcerting, but for the time being Thesis had more pressing things to do than allow her neural network to waste processing power over mysteries like that. She would have to ask Aether about it the next time she encountered it, whenever that might be. Lately the AI had been acting as if something had been occupying much of its time. Given how powerful she knew its processing power had to be, she could only assume that it was a task of monolithic proportions indeed.
The pump replacement itself was a trivial task, requiring no more than a few minutes to replace all the failing components. As the gynoid left the derelict tunnels for the station proper, she made a note to herself to try and modernize as much of the area as she could on her next trip. The age of the tunnels would only create more issues in the future, and it would save time and resources for both herself and Delphi if she addressed the root cause of the mechanical failures endemic to the area. Chares would probably think the same way if she was to inform him about it.
While Thesis was lost in thought over the origins of Delphi Station and what Aether was up to, Chares found himself attending to far more mundane concerns. Namely, how to keep himself from completely losing his patience with the new hire.
“So, what was I supposed to do here? I forgot.”
Chares groaned. This had to have been the fifth time in a row that he was explaining how to perform what should have been a simple fix of a short circuit. The new engineer, a somewhat rotund fellow by the name of Epimetheus, seemed to have the amazing ability to forget even the most basic of instructions in mere minutes. At this point, he was almost hoping that the rookie would just electrocute himself so he could do something productive with his time instead.
“I already told you. You first have to use your multitool to find where the short is. It’s not always apparent just by looking.” “Uh...but which button am I supposed to use to turn it on again?”
It was taking all of Chares’ willpower to keep himself from snapping at Epimetheus at this point. How could anyone even miss the big green button labeled “POWER” on it? When the engineer pointed this out to the trainee, the younger man seemed to be utterly astonished. Mercifully, he seemed to be able to figure out how to use the multitool on his own from there.
“Okay, we can see that this wire here’s fraying pretty badly. Now what do you think we should do now?” Chares asked, trying to keep the frustration out of his voice and failing rather badly.
For once, Epimetheus seemed to know what to do. Or at least, he thought he knew what to do. “Oh, this is easy!” He exclaimed. “You cut the bad wire out and put in a new one! I’ve got this!”
Only Chares’ swift reactions kept his student from starting an electrical fire. “I did something wrong, didn’t I?” the rookie asked, with a face that suggested that he was aware that he did something wrong but couldn’t figure out what it might be. But when Chares pointed out that the power had to be off before replacing the wire, the younger man didn’t need to be told twice about how bad the situation could have gotten. “Guess I still have a lot to learn about this, don’t I?”
“Yes, yes you do,” Chares retorted. “But at least you’re on the right track now if nothing else. Now pass me the extra cable, I’m going to show you how to attach the new wire…” Maybe this new guy isn’t a completely hopeless case after all, he thought to himself. By the end of the shift, Epimetheus had managed to fix the short with no further difficulties and had been guided through most of the other basic procedures he would need to know how to do. As the two left for their bunks, Chares couldn’t help but feel a twinge of pride over whipping the newcomer into shape.
It had been a long day for both the engineer and the gynoid, and they were both equally glad to be back in Chares’ workshop. Chares for one seemed to be particularly exhausted, if the way he practically slumped into his chair was any indication. “You seem to be quite fatigued. Did they assign you and the new engineer to an especially difficult project?” Thesis queried.
The engineer wearily shook his head. “Not really. The guy they assigned me to was just someone with a little more enthusiasm about his work than he had common sense.. Would’ve thought that they’d at least be provided with instructions on how to use their own tools, but apparently not. Seemed like a good enough guy to me, if a little bit on the dense side. With luck he’ll get the hang of things well enough to work on his own. ”
As Chares continued his explanation, Thesis simply sat and listened. When she had previously looked up the details of their scheduled activities, she had assumed that the new engineer that Chares had been assigned to would at least be aware of how to perform routine tasks. Command’s protocol in regards to employee training was clearly much more lax than the information she had first been programmed with had suggested.
“At the very least, your vigilance has at least assured that his inexperience did not have detrimental effects to the station or to yourself. ” Thesis couldn’t say if she’d be as vexed with Epimetheus as Chares would, but she was certainly confused as to how hiring someone with such minimal training could be productive for Delphi. It was a dilemma that she would have to puzzle out in her own time.
“That’s one way of looking at it, I suppose.” Chares shrugged. “I must seem like a real sourpuss, doing nothing but grumble on and on. So, what about you then?”
“First, I know you well enough to say that your self-assessment is incorrect on at least one count. Second, I can report that all scheduled maintenance tasks I was assigned were completed successfully and uneventfully.” A thoughtful look crossed Thesis’ face for a moment as she considered how best to inform Chares about her discoveries.
This did not go unnoticed. “You’ve got something on your mind, haven’t you? Go ahead, say it.”
“Well, I analyzed some of the structures within the tunnels, and I noticed that their age was disproportionately older than much of the station’s other infrastructure.”
“And that means...what, exactly?” Something about Thesis’ tone made it clear to Chares that she considered this important, but he couldn’t figure out exactly how so from the information she had given him alone.
“I am uncertain myself,” Thesis stated. “My current hypothesis is that Delphi was built in part over a much older structure, whose components have since been integrated into the station proper. Unfortunately, I do not have the information required to make a conjecture as to what kind of structure it may have been, or even a precise estimate of its age.”
Chares merely shrugged; the implications of what exactly they had been built over didn’t matter much to him now. “Well, I guess it explains why we need to keep this place fixed up so often. Must be another one of Command’s “cost-cutting” measures, I guess.” Given everything else that Command had done thus far in the name of minimizing expenses, it wouldn’t be surprising to Chares if it turned out that they had also cut corners in constructing the station itself. “I swear, our jobs would be so much easier if the people in charge were willing to put the station’s welfare before the bottom line every now and then.” His voice was heavy with resignation as he spoke- at this point it was just one point of annoyance on top of everything he had to put up with that day.
“You sound stressed,” Thesis stated in the blunt way that only a machine like herself was capable of.
“That’s because I am stressed, Thesis. You would be too if you had to go through half the shit I put up with,” Chares snapped. Almost as soon as the words left his mouth, he mentally kicked himself for lashing out at her over nothing. Fortunately for him, she didn’t seem to take offense at him over the outburst- she seemed to be concentrating intently on something else.
Only the sudden sensation of coolness that washed over his torso made him realize what it was that Thesis had been concentrating on. She had been unbuttoning his shirt and was at that very moment slowly tracing circles around his chest. The feeling of his hair had always intrigued her- its texture was so bristly, so different from the rest of him. Sometimes she felt as if she could stroke it endlessly without it losing its novelty.
At the moment his eyes met her optics, an impish grin crossed the gynoid’s face. “Allow me to help with that stress of yours, then. I think I have an idea or two about what might fix it.” She slowly made her way back to the engineer’s bedroom, being sure to let him see her hips swaying as she walked through the doorway.
Chares had a feeling that he knew what Thesis was hinting at. And the thought of it was already raising his spirits, among other things.
By the time he was prepared and ready, Thesis had made herself comfortable on his bed. Her pelvic cover was already disengaged, and the lubricant running down her thighs gave them a brighter shine than usual. Her fingers were lazily darting around her clit, but when she noticed that Chares had entered she got up with a start.
“There you are, I was waiting for you.” The gynoid gestured to a spot on the bed next to her, and Chares sat down. “Just stay right there, and let me sit on your lap,” Thesis whispered into his ear. Before he knew it, he felt a familiar slick wetness surrounding his member as her optics locked onto his eyes. It spoke volumes about the strange intimacy that had grown between Chares and Thesis that her unblinking stare had become comforting, in its own way.
The couple embraced each other without further ado, with Thesis wrapping her legs behind the engineer’s back to steady herself as she rode him. The gynoid sighed with delight each time she felt Chares hilt himself within her. Every burst of activity from her pelvic sensors felt like an electric shock through her processors, and the slight tickle of Chares’ chest hair rubbing against her breasts made it all the more arousing to her.
Thesis’ body was a bit cooler than that of a human’s, but Chares paid it no heed as the gynoid slowly swayed back and forth upon his lap letting out a slight “ah” with every thrust he made. The feeling of the smooth metal against his hands was a stark contrast to the warm softness enveloping his member, and one which only made it seem all the more erotic as a result. Even during that first time, there had been something so very novel about the fact that he had been making love to a machine that wasn’t even supposed to be sentient, let alone have the ability to feel sexual desire. Since then, that novelty had faded away only to be replaced with something more...significant, for lack of a better word.
It wasn’t long before the engineer and the gynoid established a rhythm for themselves, with her thrusts meeting his own in near-perfect harmony. Her folds quivered and pulsed along his shaft, the sensors going wild as Chares’ length filled her up with each thrust. With every touch, every kiss, Thesis thought she might lose her mind as the growing pleasure in her loins filled her more and more. She was practically pushing her chest into his at this point, and if she had fingernails she would have been scratching his back hard enough to leave a mark.
In fact, she had become so absorbed in her own pleasure that she had barely noticed Chares’ increasing pace as he neared his own climax. The only warning she had of his orgasm was a low grunt on his part followed by that intoxicating feeling of liquid heat pooling up within her core. Part of her was almost sad that the moment had ended as quickly as it had, but as she came down from her own brief climax she realized that she was more interested in simply continuing to make love with him just a little bit longer.
She didn’t remain sad about it for too long, however, As she got off his lap, Thesis noted to her delight that Chares’ member still seemed to be as erect as it had been when they had started.
“You still seem a little bit stressed. Perhaps you’d like another round?” Thesis asked in the most seductive tone she could muster.
“I can tell you’re asking for yourself more than me. You’re insatiable, you know that?”
“Only because it’s you, Chares. I wouldn’t even imagine doing this with anyone else.” She lazily turned over onto her side and spread open her lower lips for him. “Now, shall we?”
Thesis’ question was quickly answered by the feeling of fullness in her abdomen swelling up once more as Chares re-entered her. Despite every one of her circuits buzzing with the urge to ride him until she came, the gynoid instead decided to let him set the pace. It was ostensibly for his benefit that she had suggested this, after all.
Fortunately, where Chares’ current pace lacked in speed it more than compensated in depth and intimacy. The new angle triggered wholly new patterns of stimulation as he moved in and out of her, and every so often he would pause to nip on the synth-skin of her neck, or give her a moment to twist her head far enough for her lips to meet with his. All the while, he spent careful effort massaging her chest in just the right way, eliciting a contented hum from the gynoid.
But while Thesis wasn’t restricted by such petty things such as fatigue, Chares was not so lucky. His pace continued to slow further, until he simply hilted himself within her and remained still. For a moment, the engineer feared he might have disappointed her in some way. But the sly grin she gave him suggested something else entirely.
Sure enough, he could feel the gynoid’s inner walls suddenly begin to clench rhythmically around his shaft. Sometimes, they felt as if they were sucking him in deeper, only for them to suddenly push it back out just long enough to pull his length back inside once more. Chares considered asking how Thesis had managed to do it, but the rapid quivering of her folds around him drove out any such thoughts from his head. All he knew was that it felt absolutely incredible for him, and judging by the smile Thesis was giving him the feeling was mutual.
After Chares had spent what felt like an eternity in Thesis’ embrace, she suddenly let out a cry as her passage shuddered and spasmed around him more violently than ever before. The subsequent orgasm that this produced in Chares only seemed to amplify it further, and soon the two of them were moaning into each others’ mouths as the moment seemed to become a single prolonged climax for them both. By the time it finally ended, Chares felt as if he had been completely drained of his seed and Thesis was just barely staving off a sensory overload.
Thoroughly exhausted, Chares drifted off to sleep and Thesis followed suit, both of them satisfied. As always, the next day would mean new work and new challenges. And as ever, they’d be ready for them.