Sean was nervous but had a right to be. His supervisor, Mr. Lee, had called him at home yesterday on Sunday to tell him he needed to meet him at Fouraker Incorporated headquarters to meet with Mr. Lee’s bosses’ boss, Mr. Johnston before starting his shift on Monday.
“I’m in trouble I just know it”, Sean thought as he pulled into the parking garage. He tried to think back as to what he might have done to piss somebody off, but couldn’t think of anything. He had been at Fouraker for almost a year now, working in the security department. He enjoyed the job so far but it was a bit on the boring side. He did what he was supposed to, when he was supposed to. Sean always made sure to report anything unusual on his rounds and not only that, he was always prompt and hadn’t missed a day of work yet. So what was the problem? He walked into the plush lobby of the headquarters building and stepped into the elevator. He looked at his watch. A quarter after seven. He was supposed to start work at eight, but it doesn’t take long to fire someone he guessed.
He reached Mr. Johnston’s floor and the elevator doors opened. Waiting for the next elevator was a sexy blond and a male. Sean noticed she had a strange blank look on her face. The guy she was with had a big smirk on his though. Sean glanced at their badges that everyone at Fouraker was required to wear. “Heather” and “Scott” respectively. As he passed the couple Sean noticed that besides the smell of her pleasant perfume, there was a faint odor of burnt plastic. Sean looked back at the two as the elevator doors began to close. Heather stood motionless, frazzled and staring vacantly out of the doors, while Scott smiled and nodded his head at Sean. “She must not be much of a morning person” he thought as he found Mr. Johnston’s office and walked up to his administrative assistant.
“I’ve got a meeting with Mr. Johnston.” he explained. She told him to go right on in and that Mr. Lee and Mr. Johnston were already in the office waiting. Sean took a deep breath before entering the plush office. “I guess this is it” he thought.
“Come on in!” Mr. Johnston bellowed. “Have a seat” he offered. Sean sat in the comfortable leather chair opposite Mr. Johnston. Mr. Lee sat in an identical chair next to Sean. Mr. Johnston had to be about forty, since the plaque from State U on the wall says they gave him a degree back in 1992.
“The reason that I called you in today is, quite frankly, we’ve been watching you for the last year now” Mr. Johnston stated. Sean shifted in his chair and cleared his throat.
“Relax, you’ve been doing a fine job. I’d just like to be the one to congratulate you on your new job.”
“New job?” Sean said with disbelief and excitement.
“Yes, we’re transferring you down to Sector 3. We think you would make an ideal addition to our staff. With the new responsibilities comes raise too. We don’t just hire anyone to work there either. We have some very hush-hush projects going on.”
“This is great!” Sean replied enthusiastically until Mr. Johnston all of a sudden took on a firm and almost intimidating look.
“I’m glad you’re excited, Sean” he said, lowering his voice. “We have some extremely next generation projects going on. There will be very, very serious repercussions if it was found to be that you slipped up.” Sean thought it was getting a little hot in the room. It got even hotter when he finally noticed the company CEO with his arms crossed, sitting in a darkened corner of the office. He looked at Mr. Lee and Mr. Johnston both of whom had a look on their face, which said that this was nothing to be taken lightly.
“Yes. Yes I understand completely Mr. Johnston.”
“Good, good. I honestly believe that. Now that we’ve got all that unpleasantness out of the way, Mr. Lee will be overseeing your new responsibilities. Welcome to the big leagues Sean” he said standing up, shaking Sean’s hand and slapping his shoulder.
“Thank you Mr. Johnston” Sean said glancing over at the CEO, who was still sitting there with an icy look on his face and arms folded.
They left Mr. Johnston’s office and headed back through the receptionist area toward the elevator. Mr. Lee started to go on about the new responsibilities and how he would enjoy Sector 3 blah blah blah…
“You want me to drive?” He asked Mr. Lee.
“To the production plant. That’s where Sector 3 is, right?”
Mr. Lee chuckled and said, “No, its here, in Headquarters.”
“Here? Where?” Sean wondered where it could be.
“I’ll show you” They came to a not out of the ordinary door and Mr. Lee flashed his badge on the laser reader next to it. They walked into a small room with only an elevator. Mr. Lee pressed his right index finger onto the small glass panel beside it and the elevator door then opened.
Mr. Lee said, “You’ll be getting all of the authorization access later on today when we get done with the overview here. For now I’m just going to be giving you an idea of what you can expect from your new assignment.”
Sean watched as the elevator hit 2, then 1. A females automated voice came on and said, “You are entering sub-level 1.” The elevator door opened and they were in another small room. The only items in the room were four video cameras. Two on the front wall, and two on the rear, all encased in protective glass. In the center of the wall was a sturdy looking metal door. Mr. Lee pressed a button next to it and raised his hand waving toward one of the cameras. A man’s voice came on over a speaker. “Submit your prints please.” He did. “All right hold on Mr. Lee” the voice said. The door opened sideways after a second from left to right. Sean looked into the very large and brightly lit room in which he was about to enter. It had to be around a hundred feet long and fifty to sixty feet wide. There were dozens of office cubicles.
“So this is Sector 3 huh?” Sean said to himself. Sean thought that this had to be the area where they might be working on the latest in holographic entertainment he had heard about in the security team meetings. He could understand the need for added security here. If the company were to keep their research here a secret, everybody at Fouraker would be rich soon. Sean looked around the huge room, which was filled with at least three dozen office type cubicles. The single one he could glimpse from where he was standing, only contained a six or seven foot long bench and a very large computer rack. The rack was at least seven feet tall, and looked every bit like an overgrown CPU except it was particularly complicated looking with copious disk drives, cables, blinking lights, ports and a fold down flat-screen monitor. Many of the cubicles had the racks that he could see. Sean was taking in the whole scene which reminded him of a cross between a hospital, an office and a computer server room, when Mr. Lee’s cell phone sounded. He looked to see who it was and answered it, putting up his index finger to Sean as if to tell him to give him a minute. Sean nodded and decided to give himself a little tour.
Sean was still not positive what they did down here. He slowly walked around the nearest cubicle and found it was occupied. She was facing outward towards Seans direction and was strikingly gorgeous. A Black woman with a light caramel complexion and a look so exotic he thought she reminded him of what Cleopatra might have looked like. Sean noted that her badge said “Lisa”. Her long straight black hair, swept down past her shoulders. Sean looked at her full, shiny maroon lips and thought he would just love to kiss them… or put something between them. One thing was wrong though. She was sitting in silence in one a cubicle chair next to a bench. She was wearing a professional navy blue pantsuit, with a white shirt under the blazer, scarf and fashionable black loafers. She seemed to be unmindful of anything around her he noticed, and as he stood in front of her he saw she was motionless and vacant, her arms hung loosely beside her and her head was cocked to the right a little.
“Hi, how are you doing?” Sean said, bending down a little. There was no response. Sean looked at her blank face, eyes open and lips slightly parted but she wasn’t moving. Only staring motionless at his shirt.
“Please wait” was the only response as she straightened her head forward.
Sean thought, “What is that supposed to mean?”
Unmoving, except for her mouth, Lisa said with a mechanical monotone precision, “Loading JXT7, please wait. Antivirus startup scans…. Using options from G program 1… Scanning memory…OK…Scanning master boot record…OK…Scanning files…Done…Lisa unit three zero zero zero, model one-nine is now checking drives K,X, Z and Q for errors… Error”
Scott thought, “Someone’s been at her computer too long.” He tried to just shrug it off as he walked away but he just couldn’t help but to think....
“What are they doing down here?” Sean wondered. He looked back at Mr. Lee who was now in deep conversation and decided to have another look around without him. He made his way back past the cubicle with Lisa who now had two white-coated engineers standing on either side of her in white lab coats. They were speaking a foreign language, possibly an African one. They seemed to be in heated disagreement over something yet Lisa was completely oblivious to everything. Even as engineer number one made an unknown, yet heated point to engineer number two and put his hand under her chin, then turning her head to face him. She didn’t move from this position, or at all for that matter. Not wanting to take his eyes off of her but wanting to see more he slowly looked over to his right at the cubicle across from hers. He found an engineer in it with a woman sitting facing him. She was Italian looking, about thirty-five and had short, flowing brownish-red hair, which framed her pretty tanned face. She looked at him as well and gave a polite smile and Sean looked into her light hazel eyes. What puzzled Sean is that she was wearing only a revealing, purple silk sleepshirt. The low neckline with the tie front did nothing to hide her large bosom. She also had on 4-inch see-through mules and her legs together and, both hands on her bare knees. The two looked like it was the most normal thing in the world. The engineer looked up at Sean saw his uniform smiled and nodded hello. Sean did the same and focused on the woman.
“I’m just glad I came.” The woman said. “I’ve been feeling awful all weekend.”
“I know Mrs. Larocca. I’ll bet you have.”, the engineer replied. He had an European accent, very Italian sounding. Sean looked at her badge clipped to the side of the front and identified her as “Marie”. Marie repeated “Just awful. I think it’s probably a head cold though.”, she sniffed.
“Mmmhmm, I’m sure that’s it Mrs. Larocca.” The engineer said as if he couldn’t care less. Sean found it extremely hard to believe his new assignment was going to be anymore exciting than the last one. This didn’t look very “next generation” to him. None of it! Sean started to fume a little. “Big Leagues?” Ha! He glanced at the table beyond the engineer and noticed tools strewn about, along with circuit boards, wires, microchips and screws. There was a large computer rack the cubicle as well with cables protruding running down towards the floor then back up towards…
Marie had a Kleenex in her hand and dabbed her nose and the sides of her mouth with it. Sean was about to step off again when he noticed a golden-brown syrupy liquid drip from her nose. She dabbed at it, and he looked at the tissue, which looked like someone had used it to check their cars engine oil with it.
“What in the-“ Sean thought
“I felt just awful and really congested all weekend.” Marie said.
“Well let’s have a look at you Mrs. Larocca. Turn your head to your left.” She did as she was told and locked eyes with Sean. He looked back at her unsure of what was going on. The golden-brown liquid dripped from her nose again. First a drop then two, and then another. It ran down the side of her slightly open mouth and kept going down her chin to slowly drip onto her forearm. This didn’t seem to bother her too much she simply blinked and dabbed at her nose and mouth. The engineer was looking for something in his desk and apparently found what he was looking for. He moved his chair as close as he could to Marie who was still dabbing. Sean watched as the engineer roughly grabbed Marie’s chin and stuck a long thin Phillips screwdriver deep into her right ear. Sean’s heart jumped and jaw dropped as he slid it halfway into her head. She seemed unfazed as she looked at Sean and politely smiled until there was a click and her face went totally blank and mouth opened slightly. The engineer turned the screwdriver a few times until he heard a beeping, but then looked up at the wall.
“You know what?” he said in the best English he could, “I am going to take a cigarette break before I start this. This will take me all morning to get this robot’s lube system fixed.” The engineer smiled at Sean and backed his chair up from the immobile, blank faced robot. He turned to the touch screen computer and tapped a few times. Marie’s arms slowly dropped to her sides and her head fell lazily backward. Sean watched as the man then picked her up under her arms and semi-dropped her onto the table like a sack of potatoes. It didn’t seem to bother Mrs. Larocca though. Her left leg slid off the bench at the knee, her shoe dropping to the ground and her head slowly rolled to her left, sightlessly looking in Sean’s direction. Her eyes were blank and somewhat electronic looking now, oily liquid slowly oozing from her nose and now the side of her mouth. Sean noticed a cable running from the computer rack to somewhere into Mrs. Larocca. The engineer grabbed her ankle and set her leg up onto the repair table, straightened her arms beside her, and placed a cloth under her leaky head. He picked up the shoe and slid it back onto her foot. He smiled at Sean and walked off, as if a pretty, satin nightshirt clad, android with a screwdriver jammed into her ear and oil dripping from her nose was the most normal thing in the world.
Sean was speechless as he stared at the lovely man-made woman. It was extremely obvious what was going on in this secret sector of the company. He slowly turned his body to walk back over to Mr. Lee at the same time he couldn’t take his eyes off of the out of commission Marie robot.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” he said to Mr. Lee breathlessly.
“Would you have believed me? Mr. Lee asked smiling and putting his hand over his cell phone.
“No.” Sean said.
“That’s why. Listen I’ve got a meeting to go to that I forgot about with the bigwigs. Do you want to go get some breakfast and meet me in the lobby or I’ll just be back here in about an hour.” Sean tried to make it look like he was trying to think about it, which he wasn’t.
“Oh, uh I can wait. I’m not really hungry.” He said, not at all playing it cool. How could he? He felt like a kid in a candy shop. It felt like his birthday, Christmas and the last day of school all wrapped into one. Sean was ecstatic, aroused, and could feel all of his professionalism draining from his body.
“All right, I’ll see you later then and we’ll get down to business.” Looking at his watch Mr. Lee said, “We’re behind schedule.”
“Who cares?” thought Sean as he watched Mr. Lee leave. As soon as he was out of sight he race-walked back around the corner to where Marie was being repaired. By now the engineer had come back from his smoke break and had one hand grasping the side of Marie’s face. He turned the screwdriver a few notches and a ‘click’ was heard. He gently began to pull on her face and it separated from the rest of her head, connected only by a couple of thick cables. Sean looked inside of Marie’s exposed circuitry. There were a number of small blinking lights, a tube which, apparently was her throat, and tiny optical sensors behind where her eyes were. On the back of her faceplate were dozens of tiny motors and gears. He could actually see the inside of her mouth and teeth and her tongue, from the back. “That’s amazing”, he thought, “Arousing too”, as he discreetly adjusted himself and his underwear. He didn’t want to embarrass himself too much this soon. Sean walked over to the next cubicle and heard an engineer/technician on the phone. He could make out part of the conversation before he even saw anything.
“So what did the kid say? That his prom date was giving him oral sex…And he ejaculated into her mouth…Ha ha ha… And then she started stuttering and smoke came out of her ears…I don’t know it doesn’t matter. Who’s gonna believe some geeky high school kid that his dream date was an android?” Sean looked to his right and sure enough standing against the cubicle wall beside him was a frazzled yet pretty, brown haired blue-eyed girl/android. She looked to be around eighteen years old and was wearing a tight, long, radiant blue-gray velvet evening dress, which nicely complimented her breasts. Her badge read, “Katie.” Sean stepped foreword to get a closer look at the “geeky” kids mechanized date. Her mouth was opened and her eyes were staring upward as if she was trying to look up at the ceiling without moving her head; like they were about to roll back but stopped. Her arms were frozen in front of her like she'd had her hands had been wrapped around something… Although her hair was pulled back neatly some of it was coming loose. Her head jerked and twitched to the left and right in an erratic (erotic?) way. Sean heard Katie’s circuits frying from the outside of her tight sexy frame which encased her mechanical innards. He also heard digitized mumbo-jumbo coming from her immobile lips. He saw a small amount of smoke from her ears just like the high school kid did. Sean noticed that the engineer was paying Sean no mind. He took an index finger and poked Katie in the forehead. He didn’t know why, he just did it to see what would happen he guessed. Nothing. Katie still stood there, arms frozen and looking upward, her head twitched and smoked a little.
He moved on and passed two engineers. The first one said in an uptight English accent as they looked at printout, “Yes, but that Heather unit was off-line all weekend and still we didn’t get a bloody thing.”
“What time did she come back on?” the second said.
“About six o’clock this morning”
“She is programmed for self repair.”
He walked to yet another cubicle that had a dazzling Hispanic girl/droid lying supine on a bench, with her hands clasped patiently on her navy blue jacket. She looked to be around twenty-five years of age. She had long straight black hair, which settled haphazardly around her on the bench. Her dark brown eyes were innocent and friendly and partially obscured by wispy bangs. The long thin arched and dark eyebrows she had added even more of an innocence to her look. She was wearing a flight attendants uniform and looked completely normal except each of her perfect bare feet had wires hanging out and protruding in slightly messy disarray. Sean noticed that she was powered up and didn’t seem to be malfunctioning like the others. He approached her at an angle. The female engineer had her back to Sean and didn’t notice him as he quietly watched.
"Will you have me repaired in time for tonight? I have a corporate flight at seven." the fembot spoke in a deep yet feminine voice. Her thick, sexy Spanish accent went beautifully with her exotic looks.
"Well, you sure burned out a lot of secondary wires" the engineer said to the robot. "It looks like all of the damage is near the surfacejust above your heels. That in turn disrupted the servos. That’s why we had to bring you in. It could have caused you some problems. It shouldn't take too long, so don't worry. I'll have you back to 100 % in no time" the engineer said pausing and looking away from the androids feet and into Eva's eyes. Eva shifted her eyes toward the engineer and gave a warm yet shy smile and looked toward the ceiling again. Sean noticed a totally different rapport between the tech and this robot. Not like the two African engineers who treated the Lisa unit like lifelike toy. Or the Italian engineer that acted like he was working on a Lamborghini rather than an extremely lifelike android. This tech was gentle and talking to Eva as if she wasn’t completely artificial. She looked more like she was massaging the bronze girlbot’s perfect petite feet than repairing anything.
"I have never seen you before here, in repair. You are new?" Eva said inquisitively moving her eyes toward the engineer again smiling.
"Oh, yes" was the reply. "It's my first day actually. To be honest I'd never even seen an actual android before. Well not that I know of. You're the first one I've ever repaired. Oh but don’t worry I know what I'm doing!" the engineer said with a laugh. Eva smiled and said, "I am honored then, but please do not break me!" Eva smiled and the engineer put her head down as if blushing. Eva continued, "What is your name?"
"Dawn" was the timid answer
"Dawn" Eva confirmed in her thick accent.
Dawn was still smiling to herself and blushing a little when Sean came into the picture. She looked at him and tried to straighten up. Sean noticed Dawn wasn’t too bad either. Long brown hair. Blue eyes. Petite with a young face. He nodded hello and politely smiled and she did the same and went back to work repairing wires from Eva's open soles. Dawn spoke to Eva again this time a bit more professionally. "I'm going to need to access your abdominal panel too." Eva understood and looking down with her eyes and moving her chin to her chest a little she began to unbutton her jacket and opened it up somewhat. Then she began to work on her white shirt. As she did Sean noticed a click and a faint humming sound. As she spread the shirt open Sean noticed a square section of flesh protruding an inch above the surrounding skin. Eva had to unbutton her slacks to allow room for access to her panel. Dawn gently pulled at the "skin" and revealed glimmering circuitry, wires and lights. There were faint beeping noises coming from her electronic innards that reminded him of an ancient "TV" show which had similar sound effects every time they did a close up on one of the fembots. The scarf Eva was wearing was reminiscent as well but Sean found it arousing. He moved on but could hear the two. If he didn’t know any better he would think that Dawn had a crush on the droid.
"You are some piece of machinery" Dawn said to Eva
Sean started to back down the row. It was incredible. He came back to Lisa’s cubicle. She was now completely nude and partially dismantled. The engineers had separated her at the waist, just above the pelvis. Her top half was propped upright on the bench and both arms had been removed and lay in front of her. Her upper chest had been opened revealing circuitry and wiring. Her pelvis and legs were propped in the corner. Sean noticed the two African engineers still arguing in their native tongue. Lisa could do nothing more than to look sexy, blank and repeat, “Error...error...error...” over and over. What was, about a half an hour ago an attractive, professional woman, was now a dismantled, array of wires, rubber, silicon and screws. "A combination of femininity, robotics and technology." he thought. By now Sean was having trouble walking. He began to think again, “How long will it be before they fire me for misconduct?"