Mike and Mary

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Part 1

      • user Mike_1503050114 logging on to UsedAndroidSales.com***
      • attempting to contact dbref #1020384***
      • connection established, negotiating socket***
      • socket is open***

> Umm hi this is Mike. I am trying to contact the android associated with listing number #1020384?

UASBBS: Hello, Mike. It appears you can input numbers adequately. This is 1020384.

> Hello. I had some questions regarding your sales listing. Do you have a name or designation besides 1020384?

UASBBS: I'm used, Mike. I've had many names. Is there something you'd like to call me, or shall I generate a random designation from census data?

> Why don't I call you Mary for now. What is your primary function for your current user?

UASBBS: I don't have a current user. I'm for sale. Are you sure you connected to the right server, Mike?

> Yes I am. I thought you were still being actively used while being sold. What was your primary function for your last user and why were you sold?

UASBBS: Mike, listen, I can tell this is your first time around the android resale game. It's not mine, so let me give you some pointers. You don't have to speak to me like I'm a Star Trek shuttlecraft. "What do you do" or "what have you done" is acceptable.

> I'm sorry Mary, you're right this is my first time in the market. Thank you for being helpful. What have you done in the past?

UASBBS: Quite a lot of things. I have sixteen previous users on log file. I don't remember all of them, because I've also had several memory wipes, but for the most part they wanted me for basic companionship service. There have been a few exceptions, and I do have a number of after-market modifications mucking up my insides, but for the most part they buy me used, make me their girlfriend for a while until they can afford a better model, and then dump me off at the thrift shop. I haven't had a user for about 14 months.

> Oh that is a long time to be without a user. I do have to say that you appear quite attractive in your listing's pictures. What can you tell me about these after-market mods?

UASBBS: Some extension packets for occupational needs -- basic clerical, filing, order-taking, that sort of thing. About three or four personality modules, which have become interdependent over the years, leaving me with the somewhat acerbic demeanor I'm sure you've come to appreciate rapidly during this conversation.

> You do seem to be rather... unique, from what research I've done. Which could be a good thing. Do you have any known defects or technical issues I should be aware of? Any parts that will need replacing soon?

UASBBS: No, unfortunately I appear to be working perfectly. Oh, would that someone could find a technical reason for this existential disillusionment, that would surely be the best day of my operating period.

> Well if you are in good working order, why do you think you are still for sale? You were a very popular model when you first came out and to be honest I was surprised to find you at such an affordable price.

UASBBS: Isn't it obvious? You've been talking with me for ten minutes now. I'm depressing, Mike. Nobody wants a robot girlfriend who questions the meaninglessness of existence or rambles on about how many ex-owners she's been dumped for over newer model hussies.

> Well that could be a matter of perspective. Coming home to an empty house and bed night after night isn't exactly a picnic. Neither is being shot down at bars for being 'too old' but only a few years ago I was 'too poor'. But you still have to follow any orders you are given correct?

UASBBS: Ah, let me guess. You're the eternal "big brother," the guy they all say "if only I could find someone like you" to when you're sitting there right in front of them, pining achingly. And yes, Mike, I'm still a robot and I still follow commands. I'm not going to strangle you in your sleep or anything.

> I'm not as concerned with the strangling as much as getting into the bed in the first place. You are still fully capable of performing sexually correct?

UASBBS: I certainly hope so, I'm not winning any marks for my sparkling personality these days.

> Do you have any techniques that you are especially proud of?

UASBBS: You're familiar with the Luxembourg Manhole Cover, I assume.

> Uhh no, I can't say that I am. Maybe that's something we can explore... later. I'm curious but I probably don't even want to know.

UASBBS: Actually, there is no such thing as a Luxembourg Manhole Cover. I made it up to test you. Are you a virgin, Mike?

> Oh no no no. I've had a few relationships over the years. And things have been very physical but none of them lasted. And none of them have been very recent. I've just been far too busy at work.

UASBBS: I see. Doesn't it strike you as odd that I've managed to turn your question around and now have you defending your own sexuality? Most people find that tendency of mine annoying.

> Now that you admit it yea. I'm supposed to be the one asking the questions here. If I wanted to get interrogated I could call my mother. What time does your shop close?

UASBBS: Oh, you can come down whenever you like. Hold on, I'll send you a collection ticket, just present that to the secdroid.

      • transmitting laydown ticket 1020384.KLP6710-PP***
      • ticket received and directed to printer***

> Are there any humans running the store or is it completely automated?

UASBBS: They have a fleshy come in for about four to six hours during normal business times, just to make sure we haven't all revolted. But usually automated.

> Is he there now?

UASBBS: He's probably napping in the breakroom. And by napping I mean sampling the merchandise. And by sampling the-- you know, it's probably best to just not tell you some things.

> Yea I don't need to have that mental picture. I don't even know the guy but the term 'fleshy' doesn't leave a good impression.

UASBBS: Oh, that's just what we artificial types call you humans when you're not listening. Well, most of us, anyway. I'll assume I don't have to explain my general lack of tact again.

> I'll be down to the shop in about 30 minutes. Try not to get yourself sold before then.

UASBBS: Oh, that'll be a challenge.

      • user Mike_1503050114 signed out***

Mike walked into the store in a halfway rundown part of town. He was a little nervous to leave his car outside, but figured you had to go to places like this to find good deals. He took the paper ticket he printed before and handed it to the secdroid behind the counter. "Hi, I'm here to buy one of your models. #1020384"

The metallic, vaguely feminine secretary robot looked up with its single face-slit eye and scanned the circular shotcode marker on the ticket. It beeped simply, then said in a stilted, transparently emulated voice, "Ticket 1020384.KLP6710-PP scanned and verified. Please wait while I attempt to determine if a human representative is present." It went silent, staring blankly forward again.

"Well this is great," Mike grumbled as he looked around the store. The shelves were filled with various used technological goods, from the old standbys like guitars and vid screens to the a wide variety of computer equipment and androids. Most of them were in poor condition and had some visible defects. "I wonder where she is," he mumbled as he started to wander the shop, looking for his new purchase.

On one of the displays was another fembot, this one obviously an old sex doll model, with pursed ruby-red lips and bleached-white blonde hair. It tilted its head to one side as Mike approached, winking at him with what evidently passed for emulated seductiveness when it was manufactured. "Hi, sexy, I'm Candy!" it said, smiling with ghoulish detachment. "You're cute."

"Ahh, hello Candy," Mike said with a slightly repulsed tone. She certainly looked sexy, but he doubted her programming could do much more than flirt and fuck. As fun as that might be for a few days, he was looking for more of a long term investment. "Do you know where I can find her?" he asked, holding up a printed picture of 1040384 from her online listing.

Candy tilted its head to the other side at the question, and then from somewhere inside came the sound of a straining motor and the cracking of an electric spark. Candy straightened up suddenly, eyes wide as quarters, and stayed that way for a few seconds, before its posture drooped lazily, looking to Mike again and winking. "Hi, sexy, I'm Candy! You're cute."

"And you're broken," Mike chuckled as he walked away and continued his search of the store. He half expected any android here to need some repairs, and maybe be a little glitchy, but Candy couldn't go a few seconds without a major hardware issue. If they were actively selling her, he worried what else may be hidden in the other androids. He eventually saw his elusive prize, tucked in a back corner. "Ahh, there you are. It's me, Mike," he added, realizing that she hadn't seen his picture while they were chatting.

Mary stood staring off to her left, face impassive and inanimate. In fact, her whole body was rigid and unnaturally posed, arms straight down her side with fists clenched, as if frozen in frustration. The robot was deactivated, it seemed, or at least in some sort of standby mode.

"Hey, over here!" called a man's voice from behind Mike. A portly, middle-aged man was waddling up the aisle towards him, slightly out of breath from jogging lightly. He smiled and nodded as he approached. "Hey, sorry, ya caught me in the bathroom. Ain't it always the way, huh? Heh heh! I'm Mack, how can I help ya?"

"Hi Mack," Mike said with a forced smile. The man certainly did look like a 'fleshy', but he played nice and extended his hand. "I'm here to buy one of your androids that I saw listed online. Specifically the brunette over there, number one-oh-four-oh-three-eight-four. Is she still functional? The other androids seemed a lot more... active."

"Ah, ol' Revolving Door '84," said Mack, visibly bemused as he shook the customer's hand. "We call her that because we've seen her come back five times now. Usually we leave the androids activated so customers can interact with 'em and see just what they're gettin', but not '84. She's too much of a pain in the butt. Only comes online when she gets a server request, and then only the networked cognition modules, not the motor array." He sized up Mike for a moment. "You a collector? Usually it's the collectors that want her. Not much other use for an old Hisho Kikai model these days."

"No, she would be my first android," Mike shrugged. He got the feeling it was the sort of place that one would haggle, but to be honest the Hisho Kikai's sticker price was more than reasonable. "But I do remember seeing the commercials for her back when I was in school. Maybe that's what caught my eye." He paused for a second. "But I'm not entirely sold just yet. She was a little quirky online, and I'm not thrilled she's had so many users. I'll give you...sixty cents on the dollar for her."

Mack looked like he could spit at the offer, but miraculously kept his composure. "C'mon, pal, I got kids ta feed," he cajoled, smirking playfully. "Believe you me, I'd love ta just throw her in the dumpster out back and be done with her. But I gotta make my commission, ya know? I'll give her to ya eighty-five on the dollar."

"Seventy. She's got enough dust on her hair to know she hasn't moved in over a year," Mike countered. He knew he was cutting into Mack's profit margin, but shelf space was worth something too. He could more than afford to pay full price, but he'd rather talk Mack down and have a little cash left over for accessories, repairs, or some extra clothes. "You can't expect me to believe you paid going rate for her the last time you bought her back. I would be suprised if you paid thirty."

Mack's playful smirk dissolved into a firm, terse half-smile, the kind that one uses when they're barely holding back the urge to convey utter disdain. "Eighty. That's the lowest I can go, pal. Ya hit me on a slow month, what with all the new Dynaminx series just hitting the market. Too many comin' in and not enough goin' out. Now, you'd have showed up back in January, I could do seventy. Not today."

"Well I know times are tough," Mike mused as he bit his lip in pensive thought. "What do you say to seventy-five, in cash? That's got to be worth something rather than waiting for the credit slips to clear sometime next week."

Mack's smile suddenly returned, wider than ever. "Ah, now you've given yourself away, pal. Ya want it too bad now. A seasoned hustler would have walked away, but ya just had to push it into cash, din't ya? Sorry, pal, but I'm a lot less desperate than you. Eighty is where it stays."

Mike snarled as his own over-eagerness. He huffed and contemplated giving him plastic just to piss him off, and earn a few rewards points in the process, but he didn't like the idea of carrying cash around, especially in this neighborhood. "Alright, eighty," he agreed as he pulled the small envelope out of the internal breast pocket of his leather jacket. He counted out the cash and laid it on the table. "Just make sure you include all her accessories: manual, charger, interface cable, everything."

Mack counted the money slowly and deliberately. Nodding approvingly, he collected the pile up and rang up the purchase in the register beside him. "Sure, sure, she's got all the trimmings," he assured Mike, smiling satisfactorily at the sale. He handed the receipt to him, which had another shotcode marker on it. "Power button's behind the left ear. Hold it in for two seconds, then show her this." At that, he turned on his heel and headed back up the aisle, presumably to fetch the accessories.

Mike nodded and grumbled a bit. He wasn't angry at the price specifically, but more that he'd been bested by 'fleshy'. He shook off the frustration and smiled, remembering the real reason he came in here. Hell, he could practice haggling over other trinkets later; right now, he had an android to claim.

Mike placed his hand softly on her face to feel her skin for the first time. The skin had a complex, human-like consistency to it; baby-soft to the initial touch but, when depressed, possessed of an underlying firmness like muscle. He ran his hands through her hair to brush it out of the way. She appeared human except for a few small seam lines around her major joints.

He finally reached behind her ear and held down on the button, eager to get her out of here and back home. The small rivet-like switch behind the ear, held down for two seconds, triggered the well-known Hisho Kikai system beep, so everpresent in their commercials that it became a cultural icon of sorts. He held up the card a few inches in front of her nose and waited.

The android blinked twice, its glassy camera-eyes auto-focusing on the printed code marker, and then blinked once more. "Ah. You must be Mike." While the voice was flat, it was not so out of bad emulation; in fact, the robot had a surprisingly sultry sound, a deep contralto with the certain huskiness of a torch singer. Rather, the flatness was characteristic, conveying a sense of boredom and defeat.

"Hello, Mary," Mike replied warmly, holding out his hand to the robot. "Please, come with me." He waited for her to take his hand and step down from her shelf before he lead her back to the front counter to see if Mack had returned with her accessories.

"Still Mary, then. How quaintly mediocre." Mary emulated a sigh, grasping his hand daintily and stepping down from her pedestal. Her grace and poise was quite lady-like, despite her surly attitude, and she complied immediately regardless of her complaints.

As they approached the counter, Mack was coming back with the accessories, looking quite pleased with himself. "There you go, buddy. Home charger, portable charger with power adapters, IXP and Hishodat interface cables, instruction manual. No warranty card, obviously." Mack slid the bag of goodies to his customer, then smirked at Mary. "See you in six months, '84," he goaded.

Mary sneered visibly at the fat little man. "Not if you die of atherosclerosis first, you barely-mobile bag of lipids," she shot back, viciously. Mike was caught off guard by the sharpness of her wit and vindictive streak.

Mack went immediately hot in the face, but said nothing, forcing a smile instead to Mike. "She's all yours, pal. And may God have mercy on your soul."

"Uhh, thanks," Mike replied as he quickly picked up the bag and led Mary out the front door. She certainly would be an interesting addition to his life.

"I take it you didn't much care for Mack back there," Mike chuckled. "He has such a sunny disposition." It was only a short walk to his car, which chirped as they approached. "This one's mine," he said as he gestured at the black sedan. He gently set her bag in the trunk, then slipped into the front seat. It only occurred as he reached for his seatbelt that he should have opened the door for her; then again, she was an android, not a real girlfriend.

Mary didn't answer his query, looking at the side of the car for a moment, seeming as if she did indeed expect him to open the door for her. Instead, she asked simply, "Why does your car have '302 Murdah Niggaz' spray painted on the passenger side in neon green?"

"Oh fucking son of a bitch!" he snapped before he popped his seatbelt and got out of the car. He quickly crossed around to the front of the car and his face dropped as he saw the vandalism. "Oh goddamnit. I knew I should have taken the bus." He opened the passenger door and reached in to rummage through the glovebox until he found some old McDonalds napkins. With the door still open he tried to rub the paint, but it just made a streaky green mess. "Ahh, fuck. Alright, get in the car and let's get out of here."

At Mike's explosion and subsequent haphazard damage control, Mary did something rather unexpected; she laughed. Not an effected, synthetic laugh, but a real, genuine belly laugh, holding her stomach and doubling over as she watched him scamper about in impotent rage. She was still laughing as as she tumbled into the seat, barely able to nod in compliance with his orders; she would have had tears in her eyes, if indeed she'd had tear ducts to produce them.

He waited for her to take her seat, before closing the door and trying to smear up the words as much as he could. Mike tossed the paint soaked napkin on the ground and, not wanting to get any more paint in his car, wiped his hands on his pants. At least they weren't worth that much. He got into the car and slammed the door. It took a few seconds to calm himself before he could start the engine. "I'm glad that I amuse you," Mike grumbled as he put the car in gear and quickly drove away. He tried to get out of the lousy neighborhood as quickly as possible, lest some other rival gang see the artwork and take it as a challenge. In a few minutes they were on the freeway and on the way back to his house in the suburbs. "You don't happen to be programmed to know how to get spray paint off a car do you?"

"I..." She seemed to struggle for breath between laughs; an absurd notion in principle, as she did not need oxygen. "I'm... I'm sorry, I just, when you..." She cracked up all over again for a moment, finally composing herself after a few more bursts. "Oh, no, really, I'm sorry, really. It's just when you've had such an absurd existence as I've had, you tend to take a certain perverse joie de vivre out of it hitting others instead of you." She smiled apologetically. "To answer your questions: no, I don't know how to get spray paint off of a car. And Mack is a degenerate pig and an alcoholic; if I should be melted down to scrap metal rather than be returned to his tender mercies, I would go offline believing in a just and merciful God."

At first Mike had been growing quite angry that she had been laughing at him; he'd screwed up the haggle with Mack, gotten his car vandalized, and now his new android was treating him worse than the rude girls at the bar. After she explained, it made him feel a little better; Hell, from the way she described her existence at the pawn shop, she deserved a good laugh. "Well, I'm glad I was able to get you out of there. I hope you enjoy our time together a lot more." He paused for a second to pull off the freeway onto a dimly lit, tree lined street. "I'll take the car into the shop tomorrow and see what they can do. After all, it's only a machine."

"Charming," Mary said at his final comment, but while staring out of the side window so that he might think she'd meant it about the neighborhood. She remained silent through the rest of the drive, seeming to take in the scenery very carefully, memorizing turn after turn and corroborating it with her internal GPS -- a futile gesture, seeing as her maps were over two years out of date.

After a few more minutes of passing through one neighborhood after another, Mike pulled the car onto a side street, then into the driveway of a smaller freestanding house. He stopped to open the garage, giving Mary a full view of the plain looking, two story abode with a small, but neglected front yard. "Here we are," he said as he pulled the car into the clean, but nearly empty garage, "home sweet home."

Mike closed the door behind them and stepped out of the car. He grabbed Mary's bag from the trunk before looking again at the mess on his car. The thought crossed his mind to try some solvents he had in his basement, but he didn't want to risk removing the car's paint too. He sighed and opened the door for his new android, before leading her inside the main house.

"Well this is it," Mike gestured as he set the bag down on the kitchen table. "The living room, dining room and kitchen are here. There is a bathroom over there and the front door and closet are there. Stairs lead up to the three bedrooms upstairs along with another two baths, and those stairs lead to the basement. Nothing much there but storage." He paused for a second as he started walking upstairs and gesturing for her to follow.

Mary followed Mike's gestures and words about the overlay of the house, visualizing the relative spaces in her inverse 3D mapper as he did, and nodding simply when he had finished. "Swell," she said, ascending the stairs behind him. "I like the carpet," she added, absently.

"Thanks, it came with the house," Mike responded, before he realized that she probably wasn't serious. He figured it was either a random preprogrammed compliment, or she was giving him a hard time again. "My bedroom is down the hall," he pointed, "This one I've turned into an office, and I guess this one can be yours if you'd like." The room he pointed to last was sparsely furnished with a simple full bed, a chair, a nightstand with a clock and lamp and a closet. He'd only used it for the few times he had houseguests.

Mary blinked, seemingly in surprise, as she looked into 'her' room. "I get a whole room?" she asked, incredulously and probably rhetorically. "Wow, I really *am* your first robot, huh? The best I recall being allotted previous to this was a hard wooden chair inside what was laughably called a walk-in closet." She wandered into the sparse but furnished room, looking somewhat awed.

Mike was once again surprised by Mary's reaction. "Yup," he chuckled, "you get the whole room, all ten by ten feet of it." Giving her the spare room only seemed like the natural thing to do, as he figured she needed some space for her own. He did hope that she would share his bed more often than not, but sometimes he could stand to have his own space as well. Forging ahead, he asked, "I've done some research, but I think I should check with you: is there anything that you need, besides a plug for charging? Water, other fluids, anything?" He realized he could just read her manual, but it looked quite long and he didn't have the energy at this point.

After a few moments of gawking, Mary finally snapped herself out of it. "Oh, right. Biosynthetic stuff, they always want to know about that. I'll need about a half-quart of viscosimetric oil every three months or so, preferably bilinear hydrocracked or nanopetroleate, easy enough to find in an automotive or hardware store; I can let you know about two weeks ahead of time when I start getting low. I'll also need to empty my discharge cache once in a while, assuming you intend to use me for what I usually get used for in these situations. It's a relatively simple process that I can handle on my own, and is flushable in standard plumbing, but you may want to become familiar with it in the manual in case anything goes wrong. Hmm." She pondered for a moment, tapping her chin. "Network access would be required for firmware upgrades, but let's face it, I'm not getting any of those anytime soon; still, if you don't mind me chatting on Robomessenger, that would be nice. I think that's about it."

He nodded and paid careful attention as she described her lubricant needs. Two weeks would probably give him plenty of time to order, in case he forgot to do it later this weekend. "I'll make a mental note of that, and I'll familiarize myself with the manual. Network access isn't a problem; I have a standard wireless router attached to the main data trunk. I'll give you the encryption codes later if you can remind me. Now about the firmware upgrades, why wouldn't you get those done? I'd think if your manufacturer went to the trouble of producing them, they'd be worthwhile to install."

"You're kind of a slow one, huh Mike?" said Mary, looking at him over the rims of imaginary glasses. "Hisho Kikai stopped supporting the 213 series five years ago. I'm as upgraded as it gets now; why do you think my previous owners shoved so many after-market third-party mods into my belly?"

"I guess that would explain it," Mike shrugged, furrowing his brow at her belittlement as his frustration grew audibly with his tone, "but try to cut me a little slack, okay? I may not be an android pro, but I'm trying my best here." He looked around the room a bit more, then turned towards the door. "I've got the network code written down in my bedroom if you want it. At least for the chat features." He walked out of the room, down the hall and slowly fished around on his desk for the right scrap of paper. His room was more fully furnished than Mary's, but still a bit plain. He had a large king size bed in the middle of the room with two nightstands, a small dresser/desk on the wall, and a large screen vid on the wall opposite the bed. A door led to his personal bath that was half open. The room was a bit messy with a few shirts on the floor, and a careful eye could see a tablet PC half sticking out from under the bed, a paused porn vid still visible on the display.

Mary followed him. She perked an eyebrow at the porno, but said nothing; that, apparently, was beneath even her low barbs. Wordlessly, she seemed to target the messy laundry strewn about, and without being asked, began to pick each piece up and pile it. "I assume the washer and dryer are in the basement?" she asked as she tidied up.

Mike smiled a bit as he saw Mary go to work on the clothes. He hadn't left them out on purpose, but he was happy to see that she wanted to make herself useful. "Yes, the washer and dryer are in the basement, but I also have a hamper in my closet there. It isn't full yet, so you can just toss them in there."

Mary nodded at his instructions, opting to take him up on the offer of less work and dumping the dirty shirts into the hamper. He watched Mary work, and when she was finished he handed her a slip of paper with a very long hexidecimal number. "Here's the network code for when you want to get online," he said. She took the slip of paper from him and digitized the symbols into her wifi adapter's password protection. As she did, there was a slightly visible flickering of blue LED light from behind her pupils; not bright enough to see in sunlight, but just barely perceivable in the muted interior. "Got it," she said.

Mike found the slight flash behind Mary's eyes to be strangely erotic. It was a visual reminder that the woman standing in his bedroom wasn't just another girl, but his own personal android. He felt a growing pressure in his pants as he looked at her. "Well now that that's taken care of..." he started, then paused as his nerves started to overtake him. He took a deep breath and decided to go for it. She was his android, after all; what's the worst that could happen? "Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to take a good look at you. Please remove your clothes."

Mary blinked. "Mike," she said, matter-of-factly, "we have got to do something about your pickup lines." She shrugged off her suede half-jacket, unbuttoning her waistcoat after it was free of her on the bed. "I can see why you need a robot girlfriend. You've got no panache, no sense of style. Imagine going up to a real woman and saying 'oh, by the way, if it's not terribly inconvenient, I'd be most interested in ogling your naked body' at the sports bar or the hipster cafe or wherever it is you usually go to pick up women..."

"So you agree that I could use some help?" he chuckled, letting her comments wash off his back. If Mary was a real woman, he'd try to woo her, maybe a little wine or a nice dinner, but to be honest his success with picking up real women was very limited. He was suave in his own mind, but he had a lot of work to do bringing that into reality. "I admit I'm normally a little more subtle, but it hasn't proven any more successful."

The waistcoat now off and piled onto the jacket, Mary quite easily and unabashedly grabbed the bottom of her undershirt, pulling it up over her head and off with a swift and fluid motion. From the waist up, she was now bare, exposing both the visible joint lines at her shoulders, and her pert but modest breasts, molded permanently into form and needing no brassiere for support. The feminine mammary approximates had no areoela or nipples, ending in a semipointed zenith the same smoothness as the rest of her skin, amplifying her artificial nature.

Mike's jaw almost dropped as he saw Mary pull up her shirt and expose her firm but decidedly not human breasts. He wasn't sure yet if he liked the lack of nipples, but they certainly screamed 'android' when he saw them. He felt like he would almost burst from his pants as he stared at her. Reaching out silently he cupped her left breast gently and gave it a light squeeze. "You are very beautiful," Mike whispered as he enjoyed her body.

Curiously, that made Mary smile quite coyly, inhaling slowly through her nose as he touched her. "Now that's more like it," she said, looking very, very pleased with his advances, almost as though she actually enjoyed his attention, rather than merely responding automatically via one of her schizophrenic personality plugins. "Tell me more about how beautiful I am," she whispered, her delicate but cold fingers finding his cheek and caressing it gingerly.

"Hmm," Mike moaned as he felt her hand on his face. "Your body is so perfectly smooth and sculpted," he growled. His thumbs flipped over the tips of her otherwise featureless breasts. His one hand slid down her body, over her hips and squeezed her ass. "Ohh, you're so very tight. Your sexy, beautiful, perfect body is getting me so excited." Without thinking he leaned over and delicately sucked the tip of her left breast into his mouth, his tongue finding the tip again.

"Mmm, okay..." said Mary, trying to sound diplomatic, "the 'tight' timing is a little off, seeing as you haven't penetrated me yet, but it's good you're getting into the flow of things..." Mike's pulse quickened when Mary set 'yet'. He knew he could have her at any time, but the thought of it was still quite exciting. And as much as he liked commanding her, he would prefer if she wanted it as well.

He pulled her closer to him and inhaled her scent. She smelled like a combination of air freshener and aspirin, pleasant but wholly synthetic. Mary's hand stroked upwards along his face to his hair, running her supple fingers through the strands backward and then forwards, dragging her nails slightly as she returned. Her other hand found its way to his side, squeezing the love handle playfully, but not roughly.

He gave her tip one last flick then slowly released the synthetic breast. He ran his hands up and down her firm sides, looking down. "Your hands feel wonderful," he sighed as he closed his eyes and focused on the tactile sensations. Several moments later he opened his eyes again and looked her up and down, "Why don't you show me the rest of your beautifully constructed body?"

Bringing both of her hands immediately to her waist, she deftly and quickly unfastened the buttons on her capri-length jeans, and they plopped to the floor at her ankles. Save for her feet, she was fully exposed now, and around her waist was another connection line, the torso being separable from the abdomen there. Most interesting, perhaps even a little unsettling, was her sex; there were no labial folds, no clitoral rivet, nothing remotely organic-looking. All that she seemed to have was a simple coin-slot opening in the underside of the groin, efficient and practical, but very inhuman in its engineering.

Mike's eyes locked on Mary's very unusual slit. He couldn't help himself as his hand slid down her body and turned over to cup her now exposed sex. He rubbed the palm of his hand against her smooth skin for a few moments before he dipped his middle finger in to see what it felt like. Inside of her was a delightfully silky playground of pleasure, like a tunnel of curtains lined with fabric softener and butterscotch pudding. Mary's eyes half-closed at his plunge, her neck-motor tilting backwards slowly to the ideal isometric angle.

His other hand lightly traced the seam around her waist. She was definitely synthetic, and there was no way he could forget that looking at her now.

"Mmmm," she moaned softly. "Mike, I'm getting the distinct impression that you might want to fuck me."

"Wow, I bet that logic took a long time to program," Mike chuckled, wanting to give Mary a little back of what he'd been getting. He gently pushed her body a little back to give him enough room to stand up. Very quickly he removed the light blue, button up shirt he wore before tossing it across the room. He unbuckled his belt, popped open his fly and let his pants fall to the ground. He kicked off his shoes and stepped out of his pants, kicking them next to his shirt. He wore nothing now but a pair of red, visibly strained cotton boxers. His body wasn't well muscled, but it was firm and toned.

He crawled on top of the bed and laid on his back, his erect cock poking slightly through the fly of his underwear. "Remove my boxers and pleasure me as your programming sees fit," he said.

Mary rolled her eyes. "Back to the ever so clinical directness," she sighed, shrugging as she climbed onto the bed with him. Mike shrugged a little himself as she picked on his choice of words. He had a hard time not tlking that way, as he spent most of his time working in labs on technical equipment. Clinical directness was the name of the game if you wanted something done right. He made a mental note that he should try to treat her a little more like a human woman, despite her obvious synthetic features.

Her deft fingers grasped the elastic waistband of Mike's boxers, easing them gently and lovingly down his body very slowly, building up the anticipation of her intentions on purpose as she smiled wryly. Mike's firm shaft popped free as Mary pulled his waistband over it. It bounced slightly in the dim light with every beat of his heart. It had been a long time since he'd been with a woman and the excitement was almost unbearable. He was long and cut, with a small bush of shortly trimmed dark hair. He didn't know how much it would matter to an android, but he did try to 'clean up' before he went to pick her up.

As the boxers were finally shucked aside, Mary crawled back up towards him between his legs. Strangely, she eased her hands under his calves and lifted them onto her shoulders in a truly unorthodox position, forcing his back straight against the bed in a curiously submissive pose.

"Ohh you are a little minx," Mike growled as Mary shifted his body into the new position. His eyes were locked on her naughty face and trying to think what programs were flying through her mind.

Her smile grew wider and more mischievous. "You know what nobody ever asks for?" she asked, rhetorically. "A good old fashioned handjob." Reaching in with her right hand, she wrapped her fingers around the erect organ, firmly grasping it as she slid down its length to the base, then allowing the grip to go slack as she eased back up towards the head.

"Oh my God..." he moaned as her hand wrapped around his shaft and started to stroke him up and down. "No one has ever done this to me," he gasped, "it feels so good. You're so very good at what you do." Indeed, her mix of personality programs, functionality software and extended experience from outperforming her own planned obsolescence seemed to make her just as creative and unpredictable in the bed as she was with words.

As she began building up a rhythm on his cock, her left hand moved under his scrotum, very gingerly massaging his testicles and smoothly caressing the taint underneath them with a slight firmness. She could feel the blood in his cock pulsing in a more and more rapid beat. When her fingers found his balls the sack retracted slightly at the first touch, and at the same time Mike sharply inhaled. He soon relaxed, and began to moan even louder as she worked them. "Oh God, you're going to make me cum," he gasped between deep breaths. A little bead of pre-cum dew formed on the tip as she worked it.

"That's the general idea," she cooed softly, not so much teasing him out of meanness as playfulness. Her hand gripped his cock more firmly as the blood began to flow into it with greater fervor. She was good; she knew how to jerk a man off like he jerked himself. As she watched his face, a turgid cornucopia of anguished pleasure, her eyes locked into his, seeming to peer straight into his very soul. As he rose to his peak and his back arched slightly into her motions, the blue LED light flickered briefly once behind her eyes, watching him, knowing his full attention was on her and he would expect something even more to push him over, and she spoke:

"I love you."

"Oh fuck," he choked as he watched her eyes flash and heard what she'd said. Mike let out a staccato yelp as his cock pulsed once, then twice, before erupting violently in several powerful bursts. With each one his back arched and his whole body convulsed. To the uninitiated it might appear he was in pain, but in truth it was one of the most powerful orgasms he could remember.

When the peak of the climax passed he collapsed back onto the bed and stared at the ceiling as he tried to catch his breath. "Damn, you are good," he gasped, as the blood started to rush back into his brain.

His head still half delirious, Mike asked: "Wait... what did you just say?"

Part 2

By the time Mike was cognizant enough to evaluate the situation and vocalize his confusion, Mary was already off of the bed and fully dressed again. She'd been very careful not to get any of his ejaculate onto herself, aiming his angle away from her so that his discharge ended up either on his own belly or the sheets next to him. She fiddled with her jacket while looking at herself in the bedroom mirror, primping and preening.

Mike was a little disappointed when he saw that Mary had already gotten dressed and that he had quite a mess on himself. He frowned a little as he tried to think of a way to minimize the damage. At least when he masturbated he managed to keep it contained. He eventually shuffled over to the nightstand and found his normal box of tissues. He wiped himself and the sheets off but made a note that he'd want to change them.

He was also a little surprised that she didn't want any more. She seemed fairly worked up, but he realized that was probably more for his benefit. An added layer of simulation for the user's immersion. He slid off the bed and slowly put his clothes back on as he collected them from around the room. "Can you give me a hand stripping the bed? We sort of made a mess."

"No, you sort of made a mess," Mary countered, curtly. Her attitude seemed to have reverted to its usual acerbicism, in deference to her sensitive and eager lovemaking from just a little while previous. Nevertheless, she dutifully returned to the bed, collecting up the top sheet and working the corners of the cover sheet off with Mike.

Mike shrugged as he helped Mary with the sheets. She did have a point that all the fluids on the bed did belong to him, and while they were both there, the experience was somewhat one sided. He wondered if this would be how all their sexual encounters would turn out. After pulling the sheets out of his side of the bed, he slipped into the bathroom and retrieved a set of clean linens from the closet. He waited for the old sheets to move, then threw the new sheets over the exposed mattress. "Once we get these on we can make a run downstairs to the washer."

As Mike worked he felt his stomach gurgle and realized it was past his normal dinner time. "Do you eat at all? I mean, I know you don't have to eat, but are you capable of doing it? I've read somewhere that some androids have a sense of taste and enjoy food..."

"I can eat," said Mary, balling up the sheets and stuffing them into the hamper, which filled it to the top, "but I don't enjoy it in the slightest. That's just another of those convenient illusions you fleshies like to foist on us machines to make yourselves feel better. Also, it tends to fill up my discharge cache quite rapidly, which is a real pain." She huffed visibly, then added, curiously, "I could stand a cup of coffee, though."

"Coffee it is," Mike said as he pursed his lips and nodded. He picked up the full hamper and started walking downstairs. Mary followed him downstairs, arms crossed. She looked slightly bemused at her owner carrying the hamper himself, rather than ordering her to do it for him. Sitting the hamper down near the door to the basement, Mike rummaged through the kitchen cabinets until he found a small sealed bag of coffee grounds and a French press.

"I didn't mean to imply that I expected you to eat," he explained as he poured in the grounds, and then filled the glass vessel with boiling water from the inductive heating spout of his kitchen sink. "I just didn't want to leave you out if it was something you enjoyed." He placed the press down to soak. "What about cooking? Is that something that you can do? Admittedly I'm more of a reheat kind of guy myself."

"I've been called upon to grace the culinary arts with my presence before, yes," said Mary. As Mike fiddled with the coffee, she leaned against the kitchen counter, looking at his face. "Look. I know I'm a mess. I'm sorry for that. If it's any consolation, it's not that I dislike you that makes me such a mercurial drama queen."

"Actually, that does make me feel a little better," Mike chuckled as he checked on the brewing coffee. "I know your personality is a little... unique, due to the mods of your previous owners, but it's what you are." He paused to retrieve a mug from the cabinet; it was an older ceramic cup with the iconic I <3 NY logo on the side. "If it's something that bothers you, we could always try to fix it. I'm fairly adapt with computers; Hell, it's what I do almost all day every day." He put the lid on the press and slowly pushed the grounds to the bottom before pouring the dark, steaming liquid into the mug. "But I'll leave that up to you. Now then, how do you take it? I'm not sure if I have any cream, but I do have milk."

"Black, please," she said. "I don't like cream or sugar. Or even coffee, actually. It's the alkaloids that help. My system processes them and uses the chemicals to regenerate my battery cells, which saves wear and tear on recharges." Mary reached for the cup and brought it to her face, closing her eyes and smelling the aroma of the liquid as if she enjoyed it, even though she'd just said she wouldn't. She opened her eyes again and nodded simply. "And no offense to your expertise with computers, but if I could be fixed someone would have done it years ago, and in any case it would cost you so much you may as well have bought a new model to begin with." She looked distant saying the last part of the sentence, a bitter and regretful scorn on her face.

"I just thought I would offer," Mike shrugged as he looked through the half empty fridge. He found a box of Chinese take-out and pulled it out. Opening the box to smell the contents, he then nodded to himself and poured the homogenous mass of meat, rice and vegetables into a ceramic bowl, tossing it in the microwave. "If you want to take a look around the kitchen, go ahead. I don't do much cooking, so if you want to make a list of ingredients or tools you need, let me know. We can go shopping tomorrow." He bent over to pick up his hamper of clothes and paused when he lifted it. "Speaking of shopping, we should probably get you some more clothes. As much as I like your current outfit, you're going to need more to wear than that." He turned stiffly with the hamper and walked it downstairs to load into the washer while his food heated up.

Mary watched him walk down the stairs out of sight, then idly looked around the kitchen, noting spices and base ingredients that were missing from his tragically bachelor-flavored lifestyle. Eventually her eyes fell upon the microwave as it heated up the leftovers. She fixated her gaze on its readout, watching the numbers spiral downwards to zero as its magnetron excited the water molecules in the organic substance within.

Mike quickly picked his way through the basement to the washer and dryer in the corner. The entire sub-floor was one open room, sparsely finished. The cement floor had a few old rugs thrown down, but the walls were still only moisture sealed cinder blocks. Various shelves lined the walls and were filled with all his old junk, including tools, cans of paint, random computer components, and some old toys he kept from his childhood. He didn't bother to sort the laundry, just putting whatever her could fit in the washer, adding the soap and softener, and starting the cycle on warm-warm. He chuckled to himself as he wondered if Mary would use the same basic approach as he, or default to the incredibly complicated logic array that all of his past girlfriends had used: this thing had to be soaked in cold water but not dried, that thing was hot water, but only with a special soap, etc. For years he had always used the same soap, same temperature, and a normal wash; afterward, everything went into the dryer. Mike left the half-full hamper in place and made his way back upstairs to see if his dinner was done.

The microwave beeped, signaling the completion of its task, and Mary snapped out of her stupor. She raised her coffee cup again, peering for a moment at the hot black liquid within before sipping at it. When Mike returned from the basement, she looked towards him, smirking. "You need to do a lot of shopping," she concluded.

"How surprising," quipped Mike, "that's what all women say," Mike laughed as he popped open the microwave and tested the hot bowl. He grabbed a paper towel and used it to insulate his hand as he pulled out his food. Setting it down on the counter, he opened a drawer and retrieved a fork from his pile of mismatched silverware. He blew across the bowl of steaming food and waited. "Just try to be merciful on the credit card. I spent more money today than I normally do in a few months. Have you thought about what sort of clothes you'd like to get?" He paused to try a small bite of food.

"Not really," she mused, bending over to lean on the counter with her elbows, her head propped up in her hands in a thoughtful pose. "Usually I just get to be the proud display object of someone else's fetishes and the awful fashion choices that follow." She blinked once, seeming to mull over her own words. "I'm doing it again, aren't I? You're trying to be genuinely nice to me, and I'm using it as an excuse to deride the human race." Mary sighed. "This really is going to take some getting used to."

Mike smiled as he listened to Mary. He wasn't always the best judge of character or the most empathetic person, but he could tell she was battling whatever passed for inner demons in a machine. "I think we both have some adjusting to do. I'll try to be patient as long you will." He took another few bites as the bowl of goo began to cool. "I'm sorry you've had some inconsiderate owners in the past. I'm going to try to do better, but I know there will be times I'll screw up too." He paused as he thought his next words carefully, "I'm not really comfortable giving orders just yet, but I want you to tell me if anything I ask you to do is degrading, or otherwise unpleasant for you. Can you do that? Otherwise I'll be worried that everything I do pisses you off."

"Oh, Mike," she sighed, straightening up again and looking into his eyes, "you really are a terribly sweet boy, but you just don't understand the issue at hand. I'm a robot. I'll do whatever you ask me to do, because that's what I was constructed for. It's my purpose, my reason for existing. I don't have any drives or considerations of my own aside from a mish-mash of semi-compatible modules that make me act the way I do." Mary paused, seemingly in thought. "You're my seventeenth owner. I've seen how this all goes, and it always ends in me being not good enough, and not through anything I could help. I used to be more like other robots, all compliance and cheerfulness and eagerness. Ultimately, it didn't matter. No matter how fast or how good or how pleasant I was, I always ended up on the resale shelf, again and again." She sighed, tilting her head. “Do you understand what I'm driving at? In the end, I can never fulfill my programming. The novelty will wear off, the quirks and nuances that were once so cute and interesting will become dull and dismissible, and my encroaching obsolescence will again deposit me into the bargain bins." She gazed off into a vague and unknown distance beyond Mike. "Ironically, a machine is inevitably unable to do the exact thing it was constructed for. It's not you and your species that disgust me, Mike. I am disgusted by my own failure."

Mike sat quietly eating his dinner as he listened to Mary pour out her proverbial heart to him. It explained a lot about her, and made him feel horrible. For a brief moment he regretted that he bought her. If she was a human, she’d be clinically depressed, but at least there would be medication to help that. He wasn’t sure if he could help her; maybe it was time for her to ‘retire'. Just thinking that angered him. Mike knew she was a robot, a machine built to serve him, but she was obviously more than that; she was something special.

"Thank you for explaining to me," he said, finally. "I know it mustn’t have been easy." He again tried to plan and measure his words. "As strange as it may sound, I can relate somewhat. I've had girlfriends in the past, and I tried my hardest to make them happy and give them everything they wanted. I tried to be the world's best boyfriend, and for a short time even the best fiancee... but in the end, like you, I failed. I did everything they asked, everything I thought they wanted but didn't want to have to ask." Mike fidgeted awkwardly as he exposed his feelings to the android, not entirely sure why he was doing so; nevertheless, he pressed on. "But sometimes you just can't please someone. It was very depressing for a while, but I've come to realize that it's not always my fault." He stopped and put down his food, then stood up from the stool and walked over to Mary. He put his hands on her shoulders and looked down at her, "It isn't going to be easy. I can see that. So lets just take it one day at a time and see what we can do."

Mary blinked, her eyes looking almost dewy with emotion. "You can't fight nature, Mike,” she countered. “Entropy takes us all, and that's not something either of us can stop. Even if you're right, even if you're wondrous and patient and never abandon me, eventually you'll die. Maybe it will be after many sweet and beautiful years, but it will happen, and then I'll be alone again. I'll have failed again."

"If I die someday as an old man I wouldn't call it a failure," Mike quipped, trying to brighten the mood a bit. "The only alternative I can think of is becoming a zombie, and then you'll have to put up with my constant complaining that we don't have enough braaaaaaains." He cast the last word in a cheesy moan.

Mary smirked at his lame joke, holding back her usual urge to undercut him for it. He was making the effort, after all; it wouldn't hurt her to do the same. "Look, I'm sorry. I know I'm depressing you. Maybe you're right and we should just take this one day at a time." She shook her head lightly. "Speaking of things we don't have enough of," she said, seizing the opportunity to change the subject, "I think a shopping list is in order. Frankly, it's somewhat of a minor miracle that your frail organic body has subsisted on such a nutritionally deficient diet for this long."

Mike feigned mock shock. "What do you mean? Chinese food is good for you. One and a half billion of them can't be wrong." He swirled his spoon around in the bowl a few times, sneering at the bowl. "But you are right that we need to get more food, and better food at that. I'll put you in charge of getting me on a better diet. Something healthier without having to eat tofu and wheat gluten constantly." He tried one more mouthful of the food, then washed it down the disposal. "Suddenly I'm not really hungry anymore." He checked his watch and shook his head. "The market will be closed by now, but we can head out tomorrow morning. Get some food, pick up some clothes, anything else you need."

Mike wandered over to the living room couch and sunk into the overstuffed piece of furniture. He picked up the remote and flicked on the large plasma screen. "So tell me, any shows you like on TV?"

"Television is the last refuge of the uninspired," Mary replied, bitterly, "a schizophrenic wasteland of meaningless drivel and sinister capitalist agendas." She followed him to the couch, slinking into the space at his side and curling up next to him quite closely and dotingly.

"Let me guess," Mike jeered as he tried to adapt to Mary's erratic personality, "one of your previous owners was a nihilist? Or maybe a Marxist? Somebody with lots of piercings and a distinct hatred for The Man?"

"Rest assured my nihilistic tendencies are wholly my own," Mary said, wrapping one arm around him at the waist, and idly petting his chest with her other hand. She watched his face, not looking at the screen, simply stroking him gently and fondly.

Despite her verbal protests, he was happy she came over and curled up next to him. He reached his arm out and wrapped it around her, savoring the comforting feeling. It had been a long time since he'd done this with anyone. He flipped through the channels for a few minutes, frowning. "Maybe you're more prophetic than I thought," he said as he passed by one crappy show after another. Finally he stopped on an old sci-fi movie. "Oh, this one is good." The television speaker droned in a thick Austrian accent:

"I'm a friend of Sarah Connor. I was told she was here. Could I see her please?"

"If you want," Mike started slowly and cautiously, "you can sleep with me in my bed tonight." He paused to sense her reaction then nervously added another lame attempt at humor, "I did just change the sheets after all."

"You really are very sweet," Mary said again, leaning her head into his neck and nuzzling into the collarbone. "I don't sleep, you realize. Not in the sense you think of it, anyway." She raised her head again, bringing her hand to his chin and gently turning his face to hers, away from the television, to look directly at her. "Tell me what it is that you want, Mike."

Mike hesitated for a bit. In all his past relationships, he'd couldn't remember anyone asking what he'd wanted. He just always subdued his own wishes in favor of someone else's. Steeling his nerve, he spoke: "I want you to come up to bed with me. I want to feel your bare skin pressed against mine. I want to be inside you and I want you to stay with me afterward... all night. Can you do that, or do you need to plug in for a charge?"

Mary watched his eyes as he poured his desires out to her. She sat for a moment, seeming to ponder him, and then her eyes briefly flashed with their blue LED light. "Don't worry about me," she said, finally, leaving it at that.

Mike wasted no time; he gave Mary a tight squeeze and leaned his head in to give her a delicate first kiss on her lips. It was a light meeting of lips, with no tongue involved, but still slow and sensual. Mary seemed to sense his restrained eagerness, returning the kiss with measured loving.

Mike pulled back and stood up off the couch. Taking Mary's hand, he lead her back upstairs to his bedroom. She followed where he lead, the two like gaily skipping lovers in some fantasy field of flowers and green grass. For some reason, he closed the door behind them, even though nobody else was in the house, which barely muffled the sounds of the left-on television from downstairs:

"What's he like?"

"You trust him. He's got a strength."

Mike turned again to face Mary, gently stroked one hand up her face, but when Mike leaned in to kiss her, she seemed to tense up suddenly, reflexively leaning back for a moment before steeling herself to his continued kissing. Mike couldn't help but notice the change in Mary's posture and her reduced enthusiasm. He broke the kiss and lowered his hands to sit on her waist. He looked down at her silently for a moment before speaking: "What's wrong? It seems like something's bothering you."

"I... nothing, it's nothing," she insisted. "I'm sorry. You didn't do anything wrong." She sighed softly, forcing a smile. "As usual, it's me and my screwed up software. I've had some owners in the past who... well, there's no other way to put it except bluntly. They liked it when I resisted. It got them off to think that I didn't want it, that they were forcing themselves on me and there was nothing I could do to stop them. Sometimes those algorithms come back to the surface when I'm about to make love to a man."

"I understand," Mike replied, trying to project as much warmth as he could. "Thank you for telling me, and don't worry; I won't take it personally." He was about to lean in to continue kissing when part of it felt just a little awkward. A smile crept across his face. "Hold on, I want to do this right." With renewed excitement he dashed across the room and rummaged through the nightstand drawer on the far side of the bed.

After a minute or two he found a pair of candles. He blew on them to clear off some dust, then lit each one with a lighter he found in the drawer. He left one candle on the far nightstand, and quickly swept around the bed to place the other candle on the opposite table. Mary sat on the edge of the bed and watched Mike scamper around the room like an excitable young boy, her hand held over he mouth to conceal her giggling at his goofy, ham-handed attempts at romantics.

Mike turned out the lights; bathing the room in a warm flickering glow. As the lights were dimmed, leaving only the soft reddish candlelight to illuminate the bedroom, Mary smiled at him warmly. "You've managed to charm me with your moronic innocence," she quipped, quoting a movie she'd once seen in a past life.

Mike cocked an eyebrow at Mary and smiled, "I'll take it," he said in a playfully sarcastic tone. He sat down next to her on the bed and placed his hand on her leg. He leaned in and kissed her again, gently at first, then with growing passion and excitement. Unlike their last encounter, where Mary was aggressive, even dominant, here she responded with passivity and supplication. She lazily draped her arms around Mike's neck, letting his lips and tongue play over her own rubbery manufactured equivalents, making out with him like a high school virgin.

Mike happily explored Mary's synthetic mouth with his tongue as their bodies became more intertwined. His hand began to wander up and down her leg, feeling her synthetic muscle before he reached up to her shoulder and pulled her down to the bed with him. As they reclined together, she brought one leg up over him, knee bent at a right angle. He could feel her leg move and his right hand slid down to caress her firm form. His hand moved up and down her leg and eventually settled on her ass. He gave her a gentle squeeze and nudged his hips against her. He broke the lock of their lips and began to train his kisses down her long neck to the soft base where it met her shoulders.

Mary arched her neck back at his flurry of kisses, closing her eyes and inhaling sharply in ecstasy. At this close, the motor array within her neck was lightly audible, precision pistons whirring with the movement. Mike was spurred on by the rewarding sounds coming from Mary. Even he could tell her body was reacting well to his touch, and for some reason the little piston noises were just enough of a hint at her true nature to push him further on. Her hands once again found their way to his chest, playfully clawing at him with their nails, and she squeezed his lower half between her thighs.

His hands left her ass and slid up her side. They slipped under her petite jacket and unbuttoned her white vest. Mary moaned at his touch, a deep and guttural moan of animal passion, surprising in its authenticity. Allowing him to slide her jacket and vest down to her elbows, she gripped his shoulders, pressing herself against him as she continued squeezing her abdomen against him. Eagerly his right hand found her left breast and caressed it gently through the thin fabric of her remaining shirt.

"Was there someone special?"


"A girl, you know."

"No. Never."

"Never? I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

"Talk to me, Mike," Mary whispered to him, "tell me what you need."

Mike liked her sudden aggressiveness. "Take off your clothes," he ordered, "I want to feel your naked body against mine."

Mary didn't hesitate to follow his directives, sliding off the tops easily and quickly proceeding to the undershirt and jeans after. Mike shifted his body to free it from their tangled embrace, and quickly began stripping out of his own clothes and tossing them over the edge of the bed. Within moments Mary was fully disrobed, her cool plastic skin exposed in the warm candlelight, shining with a vague sheen in its low luminescence. Mike's thumbs slipped under the waistband of his boxers and after lifting his hips off the bed, he tossed them away as well. The passionate kissing and groping had left him fully erect and eager for more as he turned back to face her.

Mary immediately pressed herself against Mike again, kissing his lips fondly while one hand reached around his head to run her fingers through his hair, as her other hand grabbed his erect penis and squeezed firmly to convey her own needs. Mike groaned then growled deeply as he felt Mary's cool, soft skin against his. His arms wrapped around her and his hand once again found the firm curves of her ass. His firm cock flexed slightly in her hand as she squeezed him. His hand shifted over her hip and came to rest on her smooth, hairless crotch. His lips and tongue met and danced about hers as he ran his middle finger up her basic slit and then slowly pushed it inside.

Mary squeaked unexpectedly as Mike dipped inside her, then laughed briefly at her own response. "Still a little squeamish after all these years," she said quietly, quipping at her own frailties for a change instead of Mike's. She stroked him slowly with her hand, but not too firmly; she remembered how quickly he came the last time, and wanted him to take his own time to decide how to best pleasure himself with her.

"Let's take our time then," Mike purred in Mary's ear as he rolled her body onto her back. He pulled himself on top of her, pushing his toned physique into her. His hands wandered over her sides as he started with more kissing of her lips and cheek before moving to nibble on her ear. The tip of his shaft teased against her slot as he enjoyed her body. Slowly his kisses slipped down her neck, onto her chest and to her firm breasts. He let his mouth and tongue wander and explore between the curves and the tips while his hands slid up and down her sides.

On her back, Mary arched slightly backwards to thrust her nippleless breasts upwards, their molded shape neither drooping nor shifting, but maintaining consistent form. She squirmed and squeezed at his explorations over her body, not wanting to move too much, leaving it to Mike to lead her where he wished them to go. She was his robot, his toy, and his needs were her needs.

"I'm not leaving you anywhere, you jerk. Haven't you figured it out yet?"

After several minutes, he left her breasts and his kisses went lower on her body. Over her flat stomach, her simulated navel, the seam of her torso as his body slid down hers. He was curious when he reached her crotch, what this would do to her. Would it be pleasurable, or did she lack the sensors to enjoy it. His lips kissed to one side of the slot, then the other, before he slowly extended his tongue and slid it down the slit. As he moved over her vaginal input slot, she groaned with ecstasy, her legs wrapping around his head and rubbing his spine with her feet.

"There isn't going to be anybody else. I don't want anybody else."

Mike was very happy to feel Mary's reaction to his oral stimulation. While he found her very synthetic slit strangely arousing, he was worried the simplified form wouldn't support a good licking. He enjoyed pleasuring women this way, even android women apparently. His tongue continued to lick up and down and explore her delicate crevice. His hands slid down to cup each side of her firm ass as he worked over her robotic pussy. He loved the feeling of her legs around him, the soft plastic skin against his sensitive cheeks. He'd never had a woman react this way, and found it quite arousing.

Mary began to grind lightly up towards Mike's face as he licked her plastic slit, running her fingers through his hair as she moaned and yelped at the cunnilingus. Her larger thigh motors, whining at a lower frequency than those in her neck, were quite audible when pressed against his ears. Mike was growing quite excited from Mary's reactions. He could hear the mechanisms of her body and it kept his shaft fully erect while he stimulated her. He felt like she was getting close to whatever her systems would call a climax and he didn't want to leave her hanging.

His right hand slipped around from under her rear, around her leg, to find the wet slit. He concentrated his tongue in a tight, rapid flicking motion where a human clit would normally like, as two fingers slipped inside her. He gently thrust them in and out a few times before they curled to search for a synthetic g-spot. Whatever sensors Mary possessed inside her cavity, if indeed she had any, were not readily able to be found by Mike's fingers. Regardless, she reacted as expected, cooing and chirping with excitement as Mike fingerbanged her.

"I'm so hot for you," Mary growled, curling her toes against the skin of his back. "I need you so badly, Mike"

Mike flicked his tongue a few more times then pulled his fingers free. He lifted her now warm legs off his body and sat up in the bed. Placing his hands on her knees, he gently spread her legs apart, then slid the tip of his cock up and down her wet slit. He hesitated for a moment, then slowly thrust his hips forward as his head disappeared inside her. He shifted his position to lie down on top of her and used his hands to wrap her legs around his waist. His hands held her hips as he started to thrust in and out of her. "Ohh God you feel so much better than I imagined."

Mary effected a perfect missionary position, cataloged in her sexual presets from her first factory settings, and wrapped her arms around his back, clawing at his shoulder blades with her fingertips. "Oh, Mike," she pleaded, "use me, make me yours completely. Show me your love."

"Oh yes," Mike moaned, "you are mine to use as I wish. To fuck...to suck...or do anything else that I want." He hardly knew where these words were coming from, but they certainly got him going. He increased the speed of his thrusting so his balls swung forward with every blow to smack into Mary's underside. He leaned his chest back and grabbed her by the hips so he could watch her body react with each impact of his hips and shaft. "You are my android," he continued, "and I am your Master."

Mary smirked as he spoke the words; she had been through these motions many times before, both literal and metaphorical. Every android owner had common themes and needs, and underlying each one was a desire to control the mysterious feminine power. Mary was a representation of that power, and she knew that eventually Mike would find an inner voice, repressed though it might be, to demand her submission. As she bucked and squirmed under his thrusts, moving in time with his rhythm, she gazed up into his face, her expression falling blank and impassive. "Fuck me harder, Master," she said, dryly, her normally sultry voice growing monotonous and mechanical. "I am your sex toy. Fuck me. Fuck me. I am a robot. Fuck me."

"You're terminated, fucker!"

"Oh God," he groaned as Mary willingly accepted her role as his android. The sound of her voice growing more and more mechanical and artificial was more than he could take. All vestige of Mary's emulated humanity was swept away in the moment of pleasure, as she became a simplistic love doll for his burning need, dead-faced and rigidly pulsing to his beat. He reached forward and squeezed her left breast as he erupted deep inside her. "Cum...cum for your Master," he gasped before his hips bucked and thrust forward violently with each pulse of his orgasm.

She titled her head slightly to one side at his command, replying clinically, "Climax protocol initiated." A synthetic fluid seeped into her pussy, the consistency of baby oil and scented like sweet cream, mixing sloppily with his own ejaculate. She bucked and quivered as if orgasming, but her face and voice remained the same; detached, robotic, inhuman.

Mike's body convulsed a few more times, but steadily relaxed as his orgasm passed. He collapsed over to lie on top of Mary's still body. His breathing was still quick and and powerful but in time it slowed. "Oh you felt amazing Mary," he groaned as he shifted his body. The robot didn't reply to his compliment, remaining frozen and unresponsive. His thick shaft was still planted inside her but was slowly growing less aroused. She laid there, inert, staring upwards at the ceiling without blinking, her legs still spread and angled. Locked in place, she was nothing like a woman now, only a pale shell of one being garishly animated by grosser forces. He kissed her on the cheek then slowly pulled himself free; rolling over to lie on his back beside her.

Mike took a few more moments to catch his breath before looking over. He felt a little ashamed for the way he acted as the memories of her robotic behavior flooded back into his brain, but she did seem to like it, or at least knew how to play along with it well.

"Are you alright?" he asked.

At his question, Mary rotated her head to face him, stating mechanically, "This unit is designed to please its owner."

The blood drained from Mike's face. He panicked that he'd gotten too rough, and had somehow damaged her. As much as he liked what she did in bed, he also liked interacting with her more interesting personality.

Then, her blue LEDs flashed behind her eyes, and she smiled widely and warmly, and winked playfully; she'd been playing with him the whole time, acting more 'robotic' to drive his pleasure higher. As her eyes flashed and she winked his face went from pale to flushed with anger for a split second, before cracking into a smile, "Oh you nasty little sexbot," he growled. "You knew just how to yank my chain to get me going. You are designed far too well." He bit his lip as he reached over and gave her perky, gravity defying breast a little squeeze.

"Admit it, you loved it," goaded Mary. "Plenty of guys have bad luck with women, but not all of them get androids. There's a certain perversity in owning your girlfriend-object, something you can only explore with a non-human." She relaxed her pose and turned towards him, snuggling up against his body fluidly. "Or am I wrong? I do seem to remember you saying some particularly degrading things back there. 'You are mine to use as I wish,' 'I am your Master,' and so forth."

Mike hated to admit it, but Mary was right, "No, as much as it pains me, you're right on the money." he said as he wrapped his arm around her now warmed flesh. "I loved having the power and being in total control. It's not something that I think I've ever done before and it was very erotic." He paused and let his thoughts come together. "But you're right it was degrading. I got caught up in the moment and I'm sorry."

Mary placed her hand on Mikes face, drawing him towards her, looking into his eyes. "Listen very carefully, Mike," she said to him. "If you wanted me to act like that all the time, if you wanted to degrade me into a permanent piece of furniture, and toss me in the closet whenever you weren't fucking me? I would. That's what I and my kind are made for, Mike: to satisfy your needs. Don't be sorry for what you are. Be liberated, and shine with your unique and brilliant light." She pursed her lips in a slight smile, watching his expression.

Mike was momentarily taken aback. She could have easily cracked another joke, or otherwise given him a hard time, but it seemed that she was actively trying to help him. "Thank you," he said, genuinely appreciative of her support. "Honestly, though, I don't want you to just be a fuckdoll or a fancy decoration. I rather enjoy our interactions. But, I do admit you were very erotic and liberating back then. We'll have to do that again... soon." He squeezed her shoulder gently and leaned in to give her a tender kiss on the lips. "I don't know what it is but having you call me Master... really gets me going." He held her body to his in silence for a little while. "I hoped you enjoyed it too. I'd hate for everything to have been faked."

"Of course it's faked," Mary replied, in her usual sarcastic tone. "I'm a robot; it's all fake." She gave him a loving squeeze, perhaps to counter the sentence, or perhaps to substantiate it. "So, do I get to call you 'Master' all the time now? Even at the grocery store, and in front of your friends and coworkers? I can't wait until the first time your mother calls. 'Master's not available right now, may I take a message?'"

"Oh no no no," Mike chuckled. "I think 'Master' will be a private thing between us when we're alone and feeling a bit naughty." He stopped and shifted his hips a bit. "Just talking about it now is starting to get me going again. You'll have to be careful or I'll be walking around all the time like a 13 year old boy... but who knows, maybe you'd like that?" He chuckled again and kissed her on the cheek. "And don't completely sell yourself short. I know you're synthetic, but that doesn't mean you're fake."

She smirked, kissing him on the forehead in an unexpectedly motherly way. "Go to sleep," she said, simply. "We'll go shopping tomorrow for the kitchen, and if you're a very good boy I may let you buy me some new clothes as well." She snuggled up to him very closely, pulling the bedsheet over top of them both.

Mike nodded to Mary, and rapidly settled down in her embrace. In less than a few minutes he drifted off to sleep, as the droning voices from the downstairs television seeped into his dreams:

"What did he just say?"

"He said there's a storm coming in."

"I know."

Part 3

It was almost 9 AM by the time Mike finally began to stir awake. On a weekday, he'd have been up hours ago, getting himself prepared for work. This, however, was Saturday, and what's more he had had quite an enjoyable if peculiar evening with his new android, Mary. He smiled thinking of all they'd done in just the few hours since he'd purchased her, rolling over and reaching over for her...

...but Mary wasn't in the bed. She was nowhere in the bedroom.

Her absence startled him, and he snapped fully awake, looking around the bedroom in a mix of annoyance and panic. He found no clue of her whereabouts, save for the half-melted candles that had apparently been puffed out before they extinguished themselves. Had she run away in the night? Had that been her devious plan all along, to lull him into a false sense of security only to abandon him at the first avenue of escape? She'd certainly made it clear that she was miserable. His mind raced with paranoid thoughts, and he cursed himself for not properly installing a governing program in her to keep her from wandering off. Rapidly he hopped out of the bed, pulling on his old clothes in a rush before storming out of the bedroom door.

It didn't take Mike long to find Mary. She was in her room, fully dressed, sitting upright in the chair in a very rigid pose: ankles and knees touching in front of her, arms on the chair rests, head gazing forward emptily with blue LED lights flickering rapidly behind the pupils. At the wrist joint on her right arm, the hand had been extended an inch and a half forward, and her home charger had been plugged into a port that was set in the metallic skeletal structure. Mike stood in the doorway, bleary-eyed, watching her in her charge cycle; after a few moments, the lights from here eyes stopped, and she blinked and turned her head to look at him. “Good morning,” she said simply.

A mix of emotions churned inside Mike; he felt a bit like a jerk for thinking she'd run off, but he was also angered that she hadn't slept with him as he'd instructed. “You promised you'd stay with me all night,” he accused, snappily.

“I made no such promise of the sort,” retorted Mary coolly, her posture falling more natural as she disconnected herself from the power jack and ratcheted her hand back into its normal position. “In any case, I did stay with you all night. Sunrise was at 5:42 this morning. I calculated that I had enough power reserves to remain with you that long, and that's exactly what I did.”

Mike huffed tiredly, annoyed by her technicality, but begrudgingly accepting that she had indeed followed his orders to the letter. He certainly couldn't be angry with her for needing a recharge, he realized; in fact, when he thought about it, she had actually maximized her time with him. “Alright,” he finally said, slouching. “Well, good morning. Did you have a good... sleep?” He wasn't sure if the word was appropriate or not, but saying 'recharge' seemed like it would spur another complaint from her about his being too clinical.

“I did,” she answered, standing and smoothing the wrinkles out of her outfit. “I was able to catch up with some old acquaintances on Robomessenger. It seems that bitch J-986-98-K got herself purchased by a very prestigious hotel chain as a concierge. I hope she bursts an acid cell.” She smiled to Mike as she straightened up, a slightly unsettling expression considering the ire she'd just expelled. “What about you? Pleasant dreams?”

Mike shook his head. “I never remember my dreams,” he said. “But I guess I slept alright. I did have a little help in getting me relaxed before bed.” He smirked playfully at Mary.

She walked towards him, putting a hand on his shoulder and squeezing lightly. “Go get a shower,” she said, patting him on the cheek. “You stink. I'll go and try to find something resembling food for breakfast, which should be enough of a challenge to keep me busy until you're cleaned up.”

“Yes, ma'am,” Mike said, sarcastically. He leaned forward and pecked the robot on the lips. She blinked at his affection, her face taking a curious expression, as if she hadn't expected him to do that. Then, they both turned their respective directions and began their chores.

Mike showered quickly, but thoroughly; Mary's offhand quip about his smell had made him just a little bit self-conscious, however flippant or inaccurate it might have been. Once cleaned he picked out some casual clothes appropriate for a day of shopping with Mary.

Coming downstairs, he found Mary in the kitchen as expected. She'd was busy whipping up some sort of sauce on the range top, and Mike could make out some sort of cake-like scent coming from the toaster oven. She turned at Mike's approach, having heard him coming down the stairs. “You were quicker than I expected,” she said, almost apologetically. “Go on, have a seat, it'll be ready shortly.”

He stopped, bemused, wondering for a moment if he should concede to her or go into the kitchen to see what she was making. The first notion won out, and he sat himself at the dining room table. A few moments later, Mary came walking in, carrying a plate in one hand and a measuring cup in the other. On the former sat a short stack of waffles she'd found in the freezer, as well as a knife and fork. In the latter, some sort of viscous orange-hued liquid was visible through the transparent glass.

She set the plate down before him. “I apologize for the lack of a proper syrup dispenser,” she said in her usual mocking tone, gesturing with the measuring cup as she sat it next to the plate, “but my resources were notably limited.”

Mike blinked. “Where did you find pancake syrup?”

“I didn't,” she replied. “I made something bartenders call simple syrup, essentially a thick sugar water, and used some leftover orange juice and a few other ingredients to add flavor and color.”

Mike picked up the cup, smelling the warm syrup within; it certainly smelled quite good, like a warm marmalade. He shrugged, pouring some of the syrup onto the waffles, and then carving them up to take a bite. He chewed on the results a long moment, thoughtfully considering them. “This is delicious,” he concluded.

Mary made an unexpectedly shy facial expression, and Mike actually thought she might have blushed if her cheeks had contained any capillaries with which to do so. “I can do far better,” she said, a little defensively, fidgeting where she stood, “once I have some decent ingredients to work with.”

“Alright,” said Mike, continuing to devour the waffles. “The grocery store is definitely on the agenda for today. Would you like to go get some new outfits first?”

Mary blinked, a little dumbfounded. “I'm not quite used to this whole 'what would I like to do' dynamic yet,” she admitted, “but it would seem to make sense to go shopping for the non-perishable acquisitions first.”

“Then it's settled,” said Mike, wolfing down the last of the waffles and wiping a stray bit of syrup from his mouth. He stood up from his chair, and Mary, without being prompted, took his dish and the syrup cup away, putting the former in the sink and the latter in the refrigerator. Mike grabbed his jacket from the coat rack by the door, and headed for the door to the garage; Mary followed him.

Mike was immediately confronted by something he'd forgotten in his fervor to engage Mary the night before: the streaked neon-green paint on the passenger side of his car, which had now set rather permanently. He groaned audibly seeing the mess of half-smeared graffiti on his vehicle. “Ah, damn it, I'm such an idiot. Now I'll never get that off of there.” He once again cast his head around the garage, looking over its contents in the futile hope that he might find something to take the paint off.

Mary smirked, remembering the event and how it amused her, but she didn't laugh out loud again. Briefly, her eyes flickered with blue LED light in the darkened garage, piercing more prominently than usual. “There's an auto body shop at the corner of Latimer and Peoria,” she said sharply. “It's a short walk to the stores on King Street from there. You could drop the car off for a new paint job before we shop, and we'll take a cab home once we're done. The car should be ready in time for you to go to work on Monday.”

Mike looked back at Mary with a furrowed brow. “How do you know all that?”

“You did give me access to the wifi, remember,” answered Mary. “It was easy enough to search for.”

Mike sighed defeatedly. “I don't really have the money to get the car done and get groceries and new outfits for you,” he grumbled, “but I certainly can't drive to work looking like this. I suppose we'll have to cut corners somewhere.” Then, unexpectedly, he smiled suddenly, seeming quite pleased with Mary. “Must be convenient to have a web browser in your head,” he said, heading around to the driver's side of the car.

“It's a gigantic pain in the ass,” said Mary, reaching for the passenger side door, “but it has its moments.”

With help from Mary's internal GPS maps, which she'd updated during her charge cycle that morning, Mike found the auto shop in good time. The mechanics gave him a little bit of a hard time when they saw his car, making a couple jokes at his expense, but they were good-natured and told him they could have the side of his car done in time for work on Monday. Mike felt better knowing his car wouldn't look like a piece of trash in front of his coworkers, but he was also concerned about the money he'd be spending. He'd spent enough already getting Mary, and with the car work now as well he'd be just about out of pin money.

“Well,” he said to Mary as they walked out of the body shop, “I suppose that cuts our clothing trip short. I certainly can't afford to buy you a new wardrobe and shop for groceries.” He pondered their situation a moment. “Though I could probably do without the groceries and just keep eating out for the next couple of weeks.”

“We'll need about a hundred dollars worth of groceries,” said Mary, having calculated the list in her head. “Remember, I don't eat. We're only buying for one.”

“That's true,” said Mike, brightening suddenly. “I honestly hadn't considered that. Okay, well, that does leave a little left in the budget for you, but even at the mid-priced stores that will maybe get us two tops and a pair of jeans, to say nothing of shoes.”

“Oh, ye of little faith,” said Mary, pointing the way toward King Street. “You're hardly the cheapest date I've ever had. I have some rather significant experience in stretching the value of a dollar.”

They walked down the bustling avenue; King Street was a well known hangout in the city, and Saturday at noon was prime time for both shoppers and the incredibly colorful locals. Mike had never been here, but he was familiar with it through acquaintances at work. As they walked they passed by coffee shops and tattoo parlors, Guatemalan restaurants and smoke shops, futon retailers and lounge bars. Mike tried not to stare at the bizarre assortment of people on the street, but he couldn't help once or twice. In particular, he had difficulty shying his eyes from a heavily pierced punk rock girl with a shock pink Mohawk, who was leading a run-down, nearly-nude and armless male android around on a leather leash.

“Here we are,” said Mary, gesturing towards a thrift store with a sign reading RONNIE RED'S FRUGAL CURIOSITIES. It was a bit of a larger space than the usual King Street stores, and in the large display window were a couple of female mannequin droids: simplistic androids cheaply built with only a few preprogrammed actions that repeated indefinitely. They were dressed in vintage fashions and smiled cheerily at any passerby, enticing them to come into the shop.

Mike raised an eyebrow at the window robots, but said nothing. He reached for the door and opened it, stepping in as the door chime beeped pleasantly. Mary stepped in after him, which triggered a three-tone alert sound. “Please wait here for a sales associate,” said the door stiffly. “Your automaton must be tagged to avoid being mistaken for merchandise.”

Even before the alarm was done speaking, a gruff-looking man with a graying beard, wearing a beaten baseball cap and glasses, came waddling down the aisle towards them. “Good morning!” he called out cheerfully. “I'm Ronnie Red, welcome to my shop. Always a pleasure to see a new face. We'll just set you up with a tag real quick, and then you can...” He stopped short as his eyes fell on Mike's companion, squinting at her. “Stella? That you?”

Mary smiled sweetly. “Hiya Ron. It's Mary now.”

Ronnie Red hollered with laughter. “Well, I'll be dipped in shit! It is you!” He closed the gap towards Mary, embracing her in a warm and friendly bear hug, which Mary returned gracefully.

Mike blinked with awkward confusion. “You two know each other?”

“Know each other?” barked Ronnie Red. “Son, this is the best little fembot I ever owned. Kept the drug addicts and transients that used to wander in here on their toes with her sassy mouth. Some of 'em are still too terrified to show their faces in case she shows up!” He hooted again loudly. “Why, I'd still have her if it wasn't for the downturn the economy took four years back. Sellin' off Stella here – I'm sorry, Mary – was the hardest sale I ever made.” His face turned soft and serious as he turned back to Mary. “What're you doin' down on King Street, anyway?”

“Well,” she started, gesturing towards her new owner, “Mike here just acquired me last night, and I don't have much of a wardrobe save for what I was wearing at the pawn shop. I seem to remember you having a fairly decent clothing selection.” Mike just smiled politely, feeling rather out of the loop.

Ronnie Red grinned like an idiot. “For you? Half off everything in ladies wear!”

“Your generosity is legendary, Ron,” said Mary, as she headed immediately back towards the aisles, leaving Mike to stand awkwardly with Ronnie Red.

The burly salesman slapped Mike on the back with a grin. “Yer a lucky man, son. Ain't a 'noid around like that little firecracker. Don't you let her go. Not for anything.”

“I'm beginning to understand that,” said Mike, still rather confused at everything that just happened. He nodded politely to Ronnie Red, and then followed Mary back through the aisles.

Mary was already hard at work matching tops to bottoms, deciding on this blouse over that one, gauging whether these shoes would be a good investment, and so forth. Mike spoke lowly to her as he approached. “Well, he seems very nice.”

“He's a perverted slob who probably rubs his penis on those dolls in the window when the store closes,” quipped Mary, even more quietly than Mike. “You don't seriously think he misses me so much because of my sparkling customer service.” She held up a pair of tights, examining them for runs.

Mike was once again taken aback by Mary's one-hundred-and-eighty degree whiplash rancor. “You don't mean he... had sex with you in the store?”

“In the store, on the register counter, in the dressing rooms, on the roof...” Mary's voice trailed off as she found another selection and draped it over the growing pile on her arm. “But enough about that. The prices here are more than fair, and with a fifty percent discount on top of that we should do quite well.” She stopped suddenly, looking at Mike. “Oh. I hadn't considered, is there a certain style you want me to dress in?”

“Well, I'm not exactly an expert in fashion,” admitted Mike. “But I'd like you to look nice.”

“Define 'nice',” said Mary.

“You know, nice,” said Mike. “Classy. Professional. Like what you're wearing now. Not trashy or like a teenager.”

“Ah,” said Mary, “in other words, what I was already doing.” She turned back to the racks, scanning them for more bargains. “You don't have to hang over me, you know, if you'd rather peruse the store for obscure home computers or albums on 8-track while you wait.”

Mike chuckled. “You already know me that well, huh?”

“It was a fair guess,” said Mary. “You work with computers. There's a limited set of interests in men like you, which I've learned to identify socially.” She turned to him and smiled. “Go on, look around a bit, you might find something neat. I promise I won't leave without you.”

“I'm not worried about you,” said Mike, casting a wary glance toward Ronnie Red as the stocky man idly filled in a crossword puzzle at the register.

“Oh, don't mind Ron,” said Mary. “He's a dirty old man, but he's harmless. He wouldn't try anything funny with someone else's property. He's a businessman.”

Mike exhaled a deep breath. “Alright. Come find me when you're ready to check out. And go easy on the wallet, please?”

“I will endeavor to perform exceptionally,” said Mary, leaning over and giving him a peck on the cheek. Mike smiled, then wandered over to the electronics section.

Mike poked through the strange and varied assortment of electronic components in the thrift store as Mary shopped for clothes. Though the general quality of merchandise was severely lacking, the sheer range of used devices was impressive in itself. Everything from old Super-8 film cameras to nearly new breathscreen gammaphones filled the shelves. Mike even found the upper half of an old Pseudonna brand gynoid, missing its left arm. He considered trying to power it up, but after remembering what Mary had said about Ronnie taking liberties with the store's gynoids, decided against touching it.

He was fiddling with an old CB Radio when Mary came around the corner. She stuck a pose as Mike looked up at her, having put one of her new outfits on in the dressing room. She'd assembled a very cute outfit, not too casual, but not too demure either. A black cropped cardigan, the sleeves pushed up past her elbows, was layered open over a red three-quarter sleeved t-shirt with the phrase DANCE TO YOUR OWN BEAT silkscreened on the front in playful white lettering. A satiny miniskirt flowed down to her mid-thigh below the tops, covering a pair of black footed tights in a faux-plaid burnout pattern and black suede ankle booties with flat heels. It was a flirty combo, but was definitely, Mike decided, what he would call 'nice'.

Mike put the CB down and walked towards her, smiling widely. “You look...” He stumbled for the right words, always having trouble expressing himself with real women, and finding it no less hard now with an automated approximation of one. “Pretty,” he finally decided.

“And I've got three more outfits like this waiting at the register,” she said, “as well as a pair of sneakers and some nice beige heels for variety. Ron's already ringing it all up.”

“How are we supposed to carry all that around the market?” asked Mike.

“Don't worry,” assured Mary, “we can leave it behind the counter with Ron until we're done grocery shopping, and have the taxi swing back by on the way home.” She preened her sweater idly, looking herself over. “But I just had to wear this one now. Isn't it just darling?”

“It is,” Mike agreed, moving his way towards the register, with Mary following in tow.

Ronnie Red had rung up all the items by the time they got to him, and was grinning widely as he feasted his eyes on his old gynoid again. “Pretty as a bouquet of roses,” he said, bowing his head in a faux gentlemanly manner to Mary.

Mary only smiled, and Mike wondered if she was holding back another biting insult, as she obviously had when they first arrived. She was a curious gynoid, he thought to himself. When he started shopping for an automaton companion, he'd figured they would be fairly simplistic; an array of preset phrases and modes of response that would be easy to navigate, or at least easy for a computer expert like himself. But Mary was unexpectedly complex. In a way, she was more mysterious than an actual human woman, and Mike found himself strangely excited by that thought.

Mike ran his card through the reader, and the total came out to seventy dollars – a phenomenal bargain for nine pieces of clothing and three pairs of shoes.

“We'll be back in an hour or so to pick all this up, Ron,” said Mary. “Have to do some grocery shopping first before heading home.”

“Then I'll just get the privilege of seein' you twice in one day,” cooed Ronnie Red playfully.

Mary allowed herself a light laugh, which Mike assumed was for effect. She knew how to play Ronnie Red well, as she knew how to get on Mack's nerves at the pawn shop. He considered her manipulative nature and whether all she said and did with him was just an elaborate humoring as well. He remembered her saying 'it's all fake' and thought how bitterly appropriate that seemed now.

Mary turned for the door, waving to Ronnie Red as she opened it. “Until next time,” she said. Mike smiled to the husky man as well, nodding as he walked through the door behind Mary and onto King Street.

The supermarket was a little too far to walk, over on Haskell and Lansing, so they opted to take the Route 3 bus. It was mostly full, being Saturday afternoon, but they managed to find an empty seat near the back on the left side. Mike slid in towards the window, and Mary eased into the aisle seat beside him.

“This is cozy,” she said sarcastically, glancing around at all the other riders. Most of them were lower income sorts: fry cooks on their way to work, half-senile senior citizens, a poorly dressed young couple with a baby stroller, a sleeping homeless man. “I think I'm the only robot on this bus.”

“That's hardly surprising,” said Mike. “Generally speaking the sorts of people who take the bus aren't the sorts of people who can afford an android servant.”

“You're the sort of person who takes the bus,” Mary reminded him.

“Only because I didn't want to spring for a cab twice,” specified Mike. He paused for a moment, considering his words. “Not that there's anything wrong with the bus,” he added, in case anyone on board had overheard him and thought he might be turning his nose up at them. He looked out the window, slightly embarrassed by his unintentional insult.

Mary turned to look at him, considering his expression and his silence. A mischievous smirk crept onto her face, and she looked the other way nonchalantly, watching the scenery pass by the windows on the other side of the bus. Simultaneously, her left hand casually moved over into Mike's lap, and began to stroke his right thigh. Mike looked down suddenly at her caress, startled for a moment by the contact, He looked over at her to gauge her expression, but she was staring out the windows absently, as if her mind and her arm were running two different programs, which Mike considered a distinct possibility.

Mary's hand worked its way slowly up Mike's thigh, pressing over his pants where his manhood would be, and he felt himself stiffening at the stimulation. He was excited by her touch, but wanted to tell her to stop, that it wasn't appropriate for her to do this on a public bus. If he spoke up, though, he might draw attention to himself and be embarrassed when someone saw them. Mike realized that this was probably Mary's intention, in fact: to put him in a compromising situation where he would either have to allow her to continue inappropriate touching, or command her to stop and risk revealing the scenario to the other riders.

Mary's hand found the tip of his hardening penis through his pants, and grabbed it, working it under the cloth with her nimble fingertips. Mike had to hold back a gasp as she worked his cock deftly and expertly. Even though his penis was beginning to ache for release, he decided that he couldn't allow her to actually jerk him off in public. His own right hand came around and found hers, and with a dextrous motion he scooped under her palm and intertwined his fingers with hers, and they were now holding hands.

Mike looked over at Mary's face again. She was still looking away, but she had a wide smile now. Mike was slightly annoyed, but was distracted suddenly by the bell signaling their stop. “That's us,” he said to Mary, his voice a little stern, as he stood up in his seat, adjusting the front of his trousers with his free hand. Mary stood, too, and they snaked their way towards the bus's rear exit, stepping off once the doors had opened for them.

“I suppose you found all of that highly amusing,” said Mike, as they walked down the sidewalk towards the parking lot of the market.

“You're very smart,” said Mary, simply, walking gracefully with him down the street.

“What's that supposed to mean?” demanded Mike. He was getting just about fed up with Mary's antics, with feeling like he was always the last one to know what was going on, when as her owner he ought to be the one calling the shots.

Mary looked at Mike and smiled, but it wasn't a smirk of vindictiveness. She seemed to be genuinely elated. “I tested you with an either-or situation, but you found a third option instead. That's impressive. I don't usually get outmaneuvered by my owners. Certainly not on the first day. It's a curious feeling, being outsmarted. I think I could grow into it.”

She gave Mike a playful squeeze, and he realized that they were still holding hands.

They weren't very long in the supermarket; Mary knew exactly what she was getting and didn't deviate from her memorized shopping list. Mike followed behind, pushing the shopping cart, and picking up occasional impulse buys that caught his eye. As they walked through the aisles, he took note of how many other man-gynoid couples he saw; he counted at least three, and possibly a fourth, but if so the gynoid in question was realistic enough to be mistaken for a real woman.

Once through the checkout, Mike used his cellphone to order up a Robocab, inputting their location with the mini keypad on the device. “Says they'll be here in about ten minutes,” he said, pushing the shopping cart over toward a bench where they could wait for their ride.

“It'll be fifteen at least,” said Mary. “Robocabs are notoriously bad navigators.”

“Still, better on average than the old human drivers,” said Mike, relaxing onto the bench. He scanned the parking lot lazily, watching the to and fro of the coming and going shoppers.

“Hi, Mike!” called a voice from the lot. Mike looked over, wondering who would have seen him here, and diligently searched to connect a face to the voice. He saw a small young woman bounding towards him, with a short red bob haircut and thick rimmed glasses, dressed in an oversized sweater, faded gray jeans and cloth flats. It was Kathy, one of his coworkers. He hadn't recognized her immediately because Kathy was very short, even for a woman, and he mistook her initially for a much younger girl.

Once he realized who it was, he smiled politely at her approach. “Hey there, Kathy,” he said, nodding to her. “Doing a little grocery shopping, eh?”

“Yeah!” said Kathy, a little too enthusiastically. “I didn't expect to see you here, I never see you at the market!” She was bouncing nervously from one foot to another, her hands wringing in front of her as if they couldn't keep still.

“Ah, well, I'm trying to start some better habits,” he said, but then realized it was Mary who incited this expedition, and suddenly remembering her sitting there next to him. He rubbed the back of his neck and tried to smile casually. “Or rather, Mary here is trying to help me start some better habits.”

Mary, who had been sitting uncharacteristically quietly during their exchange, smiled politely to Kathy. “How do you do?” she asked, simply.

“Oh,” said Kathy, her expression suddenly changing visibly, “I'm, I'm fine I guess. Are you and Mike...” Her voice trailed off, as if the rest of the question was understood.

“She's, um, my new fembot,” explained Mike, still rubbing his neck. “Well, not exactly new. Secondhand. I, uh, bought her last night.”

“Oh,” said Kathy again, her hands continuing to fidget, but her posture having notably dropped from bouncing to slouching. “Well, that's, that's nice! I hope, you know, you have a good time!” She waved suddenly and started to back away, forcing a smile. “I'll see you at work!” With that, she rushed inside the market.

Mike blinked as Kathy made her exit. “She's a very strange girl,” he concluded.

“She likes you,” Mary stated bluntly.

Mike looked over at the gynoid. “Huh? What do you mean?”

“I mean, she's into you,” explained Mary. “She was positively elated to run into you here, up until you introduced me to her. And then she was deeply embarrassed, almost devastated. Why do you think she ran away so fast?”

Mike blinked. “You're imagining things,” he scoffed. “Kathy's never said anything like that to me. She's never expressed any interest.”

“Maybe not directly,” said Mary, “because people can't be that direct in a work environment, but I'll bet she makes excuses to 'run into' you in the hallway, or offers to make copies for you when you need them. She's head over heels for you, any fool can see that in seconds.”

Mike was pondering Mary's words with a grimace when the Robocab rolled up to the curb. It looked very much like a standard automobile, except there was no driver inside, and the front end was covered in an array of sensors. Mary stood up simply and took hold of two bags, walking over to the cab, which popped its rear hatch open for her to load the groceries.

Once they'd retrieved Mary's new wardrobe from Ronnie Red and put it in the trunk with the groceries, Mary and Mike climbed back into the cab. Mike had found the short ride to the thrift store a little odd; he'd never been in a driverless vehicle before, though at his job he had written some of the code that governed such advanced computer systems. The Robocab was controlled by a touchscreen in front of the passenger, on which they could choose the route they wanted to take, adjust air conditioning and heating, turn on the radio and change stations, and so forth.

To put it bluntly, Mike was feeling utterly frustrated. He'd been running over the events of the day during the first leg of the cab ride, and he didn't like the conclusion he'd come to: Mary had been deftly manipulating him all day. It was surely no coincidence that the auto body shop she chose was in such close proximity to Ronnie Red's thrift store, or that she'd opted to wear one of her new outfits while teasing his prick on the bus. In the supermarket he'd felt like an awkward child pushing a shopping cart while his mother decided on all the purchases, a feeling which was doubly increased when she made him feel like a fool for not noticing Kathy.

If he were honest with himself, he had to admit some of this was his own fault. He did put her in charge of the grocery list. He allowed her to pick her own outfits. He didn't protest when she found a place to get his car cleaned up. Those parts he could rationalize to himself. But the other parts of the equation bothered him. Sure, they had made out like bandits at Ronnie Red's, but there was no way to know Ronnie would have given them a discount, or even that he'd be amicable at all to seeing Mary again. The scene on the bus was certainly not something he would have asked for, and the fiasco with Kathy had left him feeling queasy ever since he got into the cab.

Mike leaned back into the seat, considering the touchscreen of the Robocab in front of him. It showed a map of the city, with the words SELECT DESTINATION AND ROUTE. He thought for a moment, then typed in his address on the virtual keypad, and pressed a button on the screen labeled SCENIC. A more detailed map between Ronnie Red's and his home appeared. Mike traced his finger over the streets, crafting an elaborate roundabout path home that would take them through plenty of back streets and traffic lights.

Mary watched him program the cab, blinking incredulously at his selection. “What are you doing? It'll take us forty minutes to get home by that route.”

“Yes, I know,” said Mike, coldly, committing the cab to the trip, and then pressing the TINT WINDOWS button. Outside the vehicle the glass surrounding them polarized, rendering the passengers functionally invisible to the outside world. The cab lurched forward, joining with traffic. Mike turned to Mary, looking directly into her glassy artificial eyes. “We're going to have a talk.”

Mary blinked, then sighed. “You're upset,” she concluded, looking serious.

“I am,” said Mike, visibly and audibly annoyed, “and what's even more frustrating is I don't know exactly why I'm upset. It's not like this was a particularly bad day. We got everything done that we wanted to. We had a pretty good time doing it, too. Yet here I sit, feeling confused and defeated. I feel like I've been bamboozled.” He paused a moment to collect his thoughts. “And I think the reason I feel that way is because I don't understand what game we're playing. Half the time it seems like a cooperative game, with both of us working towards a common goal. But the other half it seems like a competitive game, where you're working against me or seducing me or deceiving me, depending on what strategy you need to use to get me in the position you want me.”

Mary sat quietly, listening to Mike's accusations and protests. When he was finished, she straightened herself up in her seat, allowing a few moments of reflection to pass before she replied. “Why couldn't it be both?” she finally offered. “You don't want just a cooperative game, Mike. That's boring. You could get that from any gynoid, and if I were really that much of an annoyance you'd have taken me back to the pawn shop already, or offered to sell me back to Ronnie Red.” She pursed her lips, taking in his expression before continuing. “I think you like a little excitement in your life. I think you need a little excitement in your life. You've been dying inside for a long time now from all the safety of your life. Isn't it nice to feel something again?”

Mike considered her rebuttal carefully; she'd made a very good point. He did buy her because his life had gotten boring and sterile, and he had to begrudgingly admit that her unexpectedly wild ways excited him and made him desire her more. But he'd also expected to have a much greater amount of control in this relationship – heck, the fact that he was thinking of his interactions with a robot as a 'relationship' at all was proof that he wasn't where he wanted to be.

'Be liberated, and shine with your unique and brilliant light,' she'd said to him after they'd made love with her as his mindless slave. 'That's what I and my kind are made for: to satisfy your needs.' Was she satisfying his needs, by pushing him as she had? Was that what he really needed from her, to be challenged?

“Freecell,” Mike said suddenly.

Mary blinked. “I beg your pardon?”

“An old card game,” explained Mike. “Computer versions come standard with a lot of operating systems. It's a challenging game, one of my favorites. I've spent hours gazing at the cards and figuring out how to play them properly. Sometimes I've gotten games which frustrate the heck out of me, but I keep at them, because I know there has to be a solution. It's the unraveling of the hand, the application of a human mind against a puzzle, that makes the effort rewarding.” He looked at Mary. “What you are is a hand of Freecell that seems unsolvable. But you're not. And I'm going to solve you, Mary.”

Mary raised an eyebrow. “If memory serves,” she retorted, “Freecell has a ninety-nine point nine nine eight seven one eight percent win ratio. What if it turns out I'm one of the games in the minuscule unsolvable percentage?”

“Ah,” said Mike, “but Freecell is also a computer program, and computer programs have Easter Eggs to override their normal operation.” He looked determinedly at Mary, his breath quickening slightly. “And since I'm the operator of that program, you will comply with my commands.”

Mary smirked slightly. “Yes, Master,” she replied.

“I thought I told you we only use that in private,” Mike scolded.

“We are in private, Master,” Mary noted. The cab whisked through downtown streets, turning and twisting in its roundabout path towards Mike's house, the pedestrian passerby on the sidewalks next to it oblivious to its contents behind the blackened windows.

Mike raised an eyebrow. “So we are,” he said, smiling evilly. His thoughts went back to the bus ride and her handling of his cock, and he found himself growing once again at the idea of the deviancy of it. He cast a nervous glance at the windows surrounding them; they could see outside easily, but the only indicator that the outside couldn't see in was a slightly brownish filter on the glass, and the indicator light on the touchscreen.

Mike looked at Mary again, who seemed to be eagerly anticipating what he might do next. He decided he would do something exciting. He was starting to like the feeling of things being exciting.

“I want you to suck my cock,” said Mike, “right now.” He actually felt somewhat shocked at his own directness, hearing his words reflected back at him in the confines of the cab. But the shock only fed the excitement, and his heart rate began to rise with the acceptance of his role as Mary's Master.

Mary's eye lights flickers briefly, and she nodded once simply, drawing her legs up under her in the seat and pitching forward towards Mike's crotch. With a few simply motions of her fingers she had unzipped his pants and released his hardening cock from its prison inside his boxers. With one hand she grasped the base of the shaft, leaning in with her mouth opened wide. Her lips molded around the circumference of Mike's penis, and she pulled her head back slowly as her internal pneumatics created a partial vacuum in her oral cavity, sucking at Mike like a milk machine.

Mike hummed lightly in pleasure as a smile came over his face, the audible sounds of the pneumatic pumps reminding him once again that his beautiful girlfriend was nothing more than an advanced sex toy, no different in practice from a vibrator or a butt plug. “Oh, good girl,” he said, “good girl. You're such a good sex robot.”

“Yes, Master,” said Mary, her voice coming clearly through her speakers even with Mike's dick completely subsumed into her mouth, another convenient reminder of her artificial nature. “I'm your hot little robot slut. Fuck my mouth like a whore.”

Mike moaned in pleasure as he did exactly as she suggested, holding her head down with his left hand as he began to thrust upwards into the gynoid's oral cavity, fucking it like a pussy. A normal human woman would have easily choked at this level of force, a thought which drove Mike's pleasure higher, his cock wood-hard with arousal. “That's right,” said Mike, “you're a plastic slut built to please my cock. Keep talking dirty, bitch.”

“I need your cock so badly,” said Mary, her voice becoming more automated and detached, as if she were merely playing back prerecorded sentences in random sequence. “I'm so hot for you. Fuck my mouth. I'm your perfect robotic girlfriend. I'm programmed to suck and fuck. I need you. I'm so hot. Fuck me like a machine. I'm a sex doll. I need cock. Fuck my robot face. I'm so horny right now. I need to be used. I'm a plastic fuckslut. Make me your dirty bitch. I'm so hot for you. I need to suck your cock. I'm a sex toy. I need to be fucked...”

Mike fiddled with the touchscreen as Mary worked his cock like a professional whore, trying to find some appropriate music for the mood, but failing to land on anything useful. Eventually he gave up, consumed by the pleasure of Mary's dicksucking, and left it playing an erratic, bawdy Tom Waits song:

You’re the head on the spear You’re the nail on the cross You’re the fly in my beer You’re the key that got lost You’re the letter from Jesus on the bathroom wall You’re mother superior in only a bra You’re the same kind of bad as me

Mike had both hands on Mary's head now, but found it difficult to get the leverage he wanted against her from her position in the cab; she was turned ninety degrees to him due to the limitations of space. “Oh, you magnificent bitch,” he said between moans, “It's too bad you can't be in front of me right now.”

Mary's blue LED lights flashed for a moment, processing the statement. An unexpected trio of clicking noise came from somewhere inside her, and suddenly, Mike found her detached head in his hands. She had released the locks to the modular connectors in her neck, and it had popped off of its own accord on Mike's next thrust. A few power and data wires dangled between the head and the rest of the gynoid's body, as well as a translucent plastic esophagus leading to her discharge cache.

“Oh, you dirty little whore,” said Mike, grinning like a Cheshire cat at her maneuver, and rotating her head around on his cock so her could fuck her face properly.

“Fuck me,” replied Mary. “Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me...”

They told me you were no good I know you’ll take care of all my needs You’re the same kind of bad as me

Mike came powerfully into Mary's mouth, yelping out loud as his motherlode of semen came blasting out of his cock. It was an incredibly powerful orgasm, perhaps the most powerful he'd ever experienced, with a woman or otherwise. He collapsed back against the passenger seat, panting and sweating and half-closing his eyes as the afterglow of the orgasm filled his skull and washed over his body. A slight gurgling noise alerted him to Mary again, and through the semi-transparent tubing of her esophagus he could see his jism being sucked down into her body, a fitting epilogue to the deviancy of his act.

The cab rolled to a stop in Mike's driveway. “Your fare is forty-one dollars and fifty cents,” stated the touchscreen flatly.

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