Slow day - The Cafe

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The Small Business Chronicles: Slow Day - The Café

Chapter One: Wrong Side of the Bed

Jack woke with a start…after the past several months, he had finally trained himself to wake mere seconds before his alarm sounded. He quickly silenced it before it’s activation, and then waited another few seconds for Gabby’s pre-programmed timer to deactivate her sleep mode…something that before seemed random.

Gabby started stirring immediately and focused her eyes on him with a smile…a smile which then turned into a concerned frown.

“Jack dear, why are you in such a bad mood?” she asked, gently caressing his face.

To an unobservant person, she would appear to have been very intuitive, but Jack knew better…she had merely used the infrared scanners in her new eyes to scan his body heat, and determined his mood that way.

Still, she was correct: he was in a bad mood, which was what caused his mind to focus so much more on Gabby’s artificiality that ever before. It had been a few weeks since he had finally opened the café, and so far, nothing had gone as planned.

For starters, the android he had ordered to tend the bar was delayed; the person he bought it off was lazy and took too long to ship it out. Because it hadn’t arrived, he had to pull Serriah away from the gift shop to cover the bar. The one thing that softened Jack’s mood was that it was finally scheduled to arrive today.

For another thing, the android he’d acquired to waitress and clean the booths and tables, had what could best be described as an attitude problem. She had a strange custom personality module that Jack had never encountered before, and it was taking him a while to modify it. In the meantime, she was giving the patrons attitude, resulting in dozens of complaints each day.

Finally, the main source of Jack’s headache…the chef. Jack thought he had gotten a great deal when he bought her…a highly customized Housewife model. She was fairly young looking for a housewife, in her late twenties, but she was already programmed with a wide array of cooking and cleaning programs. The problem…she was an illegal sleeper model. Apparently she had belonged to a wealthy person who paid someone to install illegal sleeper software in her so she’d be as real as possible.

Technically, owning such a model was illegal, and naturally, Jack had to report it to the Spaztech team. Fortunately, they allowed him to keep her so they could get some unofficial reports on a sleeper android. The problem was that he was having difficulty modifying her memories of her previous owner, which led to confusion and constant malfunctions.

All in all, the convergence of bad luck he’d had was reducing his profit margin, and he hoped that today, he could fix it once and for all. He’d even made sure he had no repair appointments today, and he was going to have Gabby help out in café with the cooking while he repaired the chef.

“Yeah,” Jack finally said, coming out of his reverie, “It’s just the bad luck we’ve had with the café these past few weeks,” he admitted.

“Well, don’t worry dear,” she smiled, leaning in and giving him a kiss, “I’m sure you and Ellie will fix things up today.”

“I hope so,” Jack smiled back, giving her another kiss.

That morning Gabby decided to delay her usual morning shower, not that she really needed a shower, but she still liked to be clean for him. Either way, she gave up her shower time so Jack could take a longer one and so that she could cook him something extra special to start off his day with.

After stuffing himself with the delicious meal Gabby had cooked, he packed up the lunch she had prepared for him and Ellie and then prepared to head down into the lab to begin his day.

“Good luck dear,” Gabby said, giving him a loving kiss.

“Thanks, I’m gonna need it,” Jack smiled, “Oh, and you can go ahead and take a shower now,” he added, “I’m gonna work on Luiza last.”

“Oh, okay,” Gabby smiled, “Thanks.”

“Don’t mention it,” Jack shrugged, “Besides, if you’re going to be cooking for people, android or not, you need to be clean.”

“Of course,” Gabby nodded, “Now go get to work,” she ordered.

“Yes ma’am,” Jack mockingly saluted, heading to the elevator and scanning his palm on the security pad.

Chapter Two: Calm Before the Storm

As soon as Jack stepped off the lift into his lab, he took a deep breath and exhaled the negative energy that had been building up in him. Despite his bad mood, the one thing he truly enjoyed was fixing androids, and, he knew as rough as it might be this time around, he’d feel like a god when he was done…like always.

Continuing to exhale his negative energy in an almost meditative state, Jack walked almost on autopilot to his work area, efficiently depositing his and Ellie’s lunch in the fridge before activating the equipment and downloading the latest software patches for the three androids he’d be working on today.

It was during the download process that Jack finally snapped out of his autopilot mode and realized that Ellie was nowhere in sight. It wasn’t too surprising though, since she’d only been with him for a few months and he was still adapting to her presence in his life. Still, he’d asked her to be waiting for him in the lab at this time, and as an android, she definitely shouldn’t be late.

Feeling a bit worried, he got up and walked into the residential area of the bunker and knocked on Ellie’s door. Despite being assigned to that room, Jack and Gabby still offered her a room in the house, but Ellie declined, preferring to remain in the lab to more effectively monitor Jack’s equipment overnight.

“Ellie, are you in there?” Jack called out, knocking again.

He waited a few more seconds without an answer before finally opening the door; Ellie kept it unlocked. In the few short months Ellie-bot had been with him, she had been acquiring a few things that the real Ellie would have liked to give her room a more personal touch. Still, she didn’t do it for her…she did it because her programming indicated it would make Jack more comfortable with her presence there.

At first glance, he didn’t see her in the main room, but he did hear noises coming from the adjoining bathroom, so he cautiously entered it and then shook his head in disbelief at what he saw.

Ellie was in the bathroom grooming her face and hair…but, she had done so by removing her head and placing it on the vanity shelf. Her face was currently frozen on a very robotic, blank expression that was slightly creepy, and slightly arousing at the same time. The fact she’d removed her head explained why she hadn’t heard him knock: the microphone attached to her neck camera wasn’t capable of picking up noise from another room…not like the human ear is.

She was already mostly dressed for work, wearing her work flats and jeans, but no shirt; she was wearing a bra though.

“Ellie,” Jack called out in a slightly amused/exasperated voice.

“Ah, Jack,” Ellie said, carefully turning around to aim her neck camera at him, “What brings you here so early?” she asked, turning back around and continuing to apply the makeup to her face.

“Early?” Jack asked with a confused look, “It’s almost 9:15,” he told her.

“Hmmm, are you sure?” she asked, making her voice sound confused, “My internal clock is telling me it’s 8:37,” she told him.

“No, it’s definitely 9:15,” he said, a frown forming on his face, “Did you perform any software updates recently?” he asked.

“Yes, last night,” she replied.

“Well, one of them must have had a bug that messed with your internal clock,” he surmised.

“Apparently,” she agreed.

“How come you removed your head?” he asked.

“Ah, because it makes it easier to apply my makeup and to do my hair,” she explained, “it’s much better than just looking into a mirror.”

“I can imagine,” he said, “Are you almost done?” he asked, “I’d really like to get us prepped for the headache inducing work we’ll be tackling today,” he added with a wry smile.

“Yes,” she said, adding a finishing touch to her face and then putting her makeup away. She then picked up her head, careful not to mess up the hair, but, instead of reattaching it to her neck, she instead turned around and held it out to him.

“What?” Jack asked, staring from her neck camera to the oddly mesmerizing look in her blank eyes.

“Kiss it,” she said simply.

Jack merely stood there for a few seconds giving her a flat look before finally giving in and planting a kiss on her head’s frozen lips; he knew if he didn’t, she’d merely make him waste even more time arguing with him. Still, he did find it mildly enjoyable and spent several seconds doing it before pulling away.

“Thanks,” Ellie said, “you helped spread the lip gloss for me,” she said, carefully bringing her head to her neck and clicking it into place. Soon after, her blank face slowly came to life, forming into her usual friendly smile.

“Don’t mention it,” Jack laughed. He knew Ellie could also detect his mood with the infrared sensors in her eyes and neck camera, so she knew her silliness would disarm him. Combined, she and Gabby were a dynamic team, keeping him happy.

“Anyway, I’m so sorry that I wasn’t ready on time,” she apologized again.

“It’s not our fault,” Jack waved it off, “But, I will need to take a look at your systems to recalibrate your internal clock.”

“Okay,” Ellie smiled, grabbing her scrub top and draping it over her shoulder, leaving it off so he could easily access her stomach panel, “Let’s do it so we can get back on schedule,” she said with a look of focus.

Jack merely nodded, walking with her out to the work area. As soon as they got there, Ellie efficiently removed her access panel and allowed Jack to plug her into the terminal.

“Alright, I’m connected to you now,” Jack said, “Can you help me out by bringing up the list of files you recently installed?”

“Sure,” Ellie said, the lights flashing on her A.I. core as she brought up the list on the terminal, saving him several minutes of searching for them.

“Ah, there it is, thanks,” he smiled, quickly opening the developer window for each update to see the code. It didn’t take him long to find the problem. “Ah, here it is,” he said, “there was a slight bug in the new clock app that accidentally reset your internal clock to the actual time in the GPS coordinates rather than the official time zone map,” he said, “That’s something some extreme scientists use to more accurately track time in research studies,” he frowned.

“Interesting,” Ellie said, “It does make sense though,” she nodded.

“Well, we aren’t conducting research studies, so I’m going to fix the bug,” Jack said, rapidly typing on the keys for several minutes before finalizing the code. “There, I want you to install this hotfix,” he told her, “You shouldn’t need to reboot, but once it installs, I want you to run a full diagnostic to make sure nothing else got messed up,” he told her, knowing she likely ran a quick diagnostic after initially installing them…a diagnostic which obviously missed it.

“Alright,” Ellie said, quickly installing the hotfix and then locking her body into position as she said, “Beginning full diagnostic,” in an inhuman tone.

Jack sighed as she did. Slightly so because it reminded him of her artificial nature…that she was a mere copy, but mostly because it meant he was going to lose even more time that would have been better spent preparing for the work on Amber and Luiza; Karina would be a simpler reprogramming job compared to the other two.

Still, he had to make sure Ellie was operating properly, because as his assistant, he frequently relied on her to interface with his projects to better translate any issues they were having. He found doing it that way saved him sometimes hours’ worth of time that would have previously been spent perusing through lines of code. Any issue caused by bugs could alter the reliability of her work.

Going through his usual five stages of frustration, he finally accepted that her bug at least served as a sort of warm up for what was to come…to prepare him for anything unexpected that might come up. So, he waited patiently for her diagnostic to complete, getting us much prep work done as he could in the meantime.

“Full diagnostic complete: no anomalies found,” Ellie finally said, nearly fifteen minutes later, quickly coming back to life and reverting to her usual, cheerful self.

“Well, thank goodness for small favors,” Jack smiled, “I guess that’s our first bit of good news of the day.”

“Indeed,” Ellie agreed. Jack then pulled the service cable free from her core and allowed her to reattach her access panel. “Ah, I’ve got more good news for you today,” Ellie added.

“Oh?”

“Yes,” she smiled gleefully, “Serriah sent me a message saying it’s been a pretty slow day. That means you shouldn’t have any difficulty with having Amber come down here for an hour or two,” she reported.

“Excellent!” Jack said with a triumphant fist pump, silently praising himself for essentially making Ellie an assistant site manager and giving her a private link to the others. “Well, we should get started with her prep work then.” He then pulled up Amber’s specs on the computer and pulled up a chair. “You’d better sit down, this might take a while,” he said, gesturing to it.

Ellie merely nodded and took her seat next to him, leaning in and perusing the specs with Jack, occasionally rebounding his ideas and giving him some of her own.

Chapter Three: Amber

A short while after 10am, Jack and Ellie finally felt they had prepared for the two tough repair jobs they had coming for the day, starting with Amber. They’d done all they could by downloading all the files for each of the three android’s model type and were sure they could handle anything.

“Alright Jack, I’ll go up and wrestle Amber down here,” Ellie said, giving him an almost evil smile as she headed towards the lift.

“Hey, don’t rough her up too much,” Jack laughed, calling back to her just before she disappeared into it…especially since he’d reconfigured Ellie’s safeties so she could exert considerably more strength than the average human could.

All joking aside, Jack and Ellie were being fairly serious. Amber’s strangely configured personality software made her extremely unpredictable and borderline dangerous. It was only a hastily written piece of code on Jack’s part that kept her from manhandling the patrons.

Jack waited patiently, listening to a couple relaxation songs before he heard the sound of the lift and the commotion contained within.

“...’s the big deal dragging me all the way down here while I’m supposed to be working? You white bitch!” Amber’s voice emerged from the lift almost immediately. It was immediately evident that she’d been arguing with Ellie the entire way…and the look on Ellie’s face confirmed it.

Jack let out a sigh…he really wished he knew what he was getting into when he bought her. Amber was a custom model, not based on any living person. She had been constructed in the appearance of an odd African/Dominican mix, and she was programmed accordingly with the snappy attitudes of both Latina and African-American cultures. That being said, she was extremely attractive, so that alone tended to make up for her otherwise thorny nature.

The primary reason Jack purchased her was because, as a partier model, she’d be able to better mingle with café patrons as the floor waitress, much in the same way Serriah was able to in her capacity as the gift shop girl. The one thing he hadn’t counted on was her previous owner installing some extremely sophisticated and unstable personality subroutines…stuff that was still being developed for the Mark IV androids, due for release in another ten years. In retrospect, it was probably the reason he sold her.

“What’s the problem Amber?” Jack asked in a mollifying tone.

“Your robo-cousin here manhandled me into the lift!” Amber practically shouted.

“I did not,” Ellie snorted, “I merely activated your wireless override controls to keep you from meandering…which is what you were doing most of the way here,” Ellie explained.

“Well, that’s practically the same thing,” Amber defended, crossing her arms defiantly.

“Amber, I asked Ellie to bring you down here,” Jack explained, “And, I told you last night, and for the past several days that I’d be working on you today,” he continued, “This is precisely the reason I’ve brought you down here…your attitude.”

Amber immediately snapped back. “My original owner had no problem with my attitude, why should you?”

Jack sighed and counted to three following that response. “Well, your original owner took you to some rather racy parties…I’m using you for customer service, and you have to behave differently.”

Amber suddenly changed tact, switching to some of her inherent partier model programming to perform her primary function: pleasing her owner. “Well, I can’t help it…I’m programmed this way,”she pouted, puffing up her lips. She then adopted a more coquettish manner at this point, surreptitiously loosening her clothing as she attempted to seduce him. “Why don’t we have some fun instead?”

Jack suddenly felt himself succumbing to Amber’s advances…He felt himself rising from his chair, almost as though Amber was drawing him towards her with some magnetism. Before he knew it, he was suddenly locked into an embrace with her, unable to break apart. Both their lips were locked and both their hands were exploring the more private areas of both their bodies.

Suddenly, Amber seemed to seize up before standing at attention with a blank expression. “Emergency override enabled, shutting down,” she said in an empty tone before serenely closing her eyes and appearing as though she fell asleep standing up.

It took Jack a few moments to shake the daze that soon followed, but he soon found himself being helped into his chair by Ellie. She then walked away and returned a short while later with a glass of water.

“Here, this should help,” Ellie said, placing the glass in his hands and helping him drink it.

Jack quickly drank the water until the glass was empty and then placed it down a nearby table. “Wow, that was pretty intense,” he said, trying to slow down his heart rate. Even now, he still found himself being pulled towards her, but the attraction was not as strong now.

“What was it?” Ellie asked with a curious expression, “I had to wirelessly override her into diagnostic mode.”

“Apparently her previous owner was into more illicit activities than I previously thought,” Jack said, “Obviously Amber has an illegal pheromone installed in her…probably in her perspiration tanks, otherwise I would have spotted it during my initial assessment of her,” he surmised.

“Well, I guess that’s one more thing to take care of while we have her here,” Ellie smiled.

“Yep,” Jack agreed, “Let’s just get her undressed and connected to my terminal.” Ellie merely nodded and assisted Jack with undressed Amber and laying her down on the table. As they undressed her, Jack absently thought to himself that, while he didn’t usually find black people attractive, Amber here was visually appealing.

Once they had Amber undressed, they opened up her access panel and connected her to Jack’s terminal.

“Alright Ellie, while I run scans of her personality core, why don’t you get started extracting that pheromone,” Jack suggested, “But, don’t toss it,” he decided, “I want to examine it more closely to see if it can be used in Gabby…though in a slightly more diluted state.”

“Alright,” Ellie laughed, then she put on protective gloves and delved into Amber’s open panel, attempting to access the perspiration tanks.

They both worked silently for several minutes, though Ellie appeared to be having more luck…extracting nearly half a gallon of the illegal pheromone. Once Jack’s initial scans finished, he banged his hand hard on the desk in frustration.

“What’s wrong Jack?” Ellie asked, briefly mimicking a shocked appearance before looking more calm.

“Well, I knew Amber’s personality core was from the latest alpha releases of the Mark IV androids, but what I didn’t anticipate was how difficult it would be to downgrade them to a Mark II version,” he vented.

“Well, how hard is it?” Ellie asked.

“Impossible,” he answered simply, “For some reason the Mark IV software was designed so that it could only downgrade back to a Mark III version,” he explained, “But, I can only do that if I also upgrade all her systems to Mark III standards.” He then pulled his hair in frustration.

“Well, you were able to do it for me, why not her?” Ellie asked.

“Because I also have to upgrade her hardware too, and I usually save that hardware for Christmas upgrades,” he complained, “It looks like I’ll have no choice but to do it, but this girl’s costing me a lot more than I bargained for.”

Ellie merely nodded in agreement and then started assisting Jack by gathering the necessary components. “One piece of good news: I did manage to extract all the pheromones.”

Jack let out a sigh, expelling more negative energy. “Well, that’s good at least.” He then logged onto the Spaztec website and requested a beta for the Partier model Mark III files. The system immediately granted him access, and he began the download right away. He then got an e-mail from them thanking him for testing yet another Mark III model type; he would now have a Mark III Housewife, Perfect Friend, and Partier model.

“Alright, let’s start upgrading all her hardware while this download finishes,” Jack said, putting on protective gloves.

They spent the better part of an hour carefully pulling out all of Amber’s current hardware and upgrading it with some of Gabby’s old ones. Unfortunately, he would still need some Partier model specific components, but he had the majority of what she needed to function properly as a Mark III prototype.

By the time they had everything in place, the download had finished and Jack wasted no time in starting the installation process. He couldn’t help but think that this was a rather extreme repair job, at least that he could recall. Normally he’d have the android online and talking to him, but in her current state, Amber was just too dangerous.

Fortunately, the software upgrade went by fairly smoothly, even allowing him to downgrade the Mark IV personality files with the more stable Mark III ones he’d been helping to develop. Before long, the upgrade was completed and Jack was running a full diagnostic to ensure everything went alright.

“Alright Ellie, looks like everything went alright,” Jack said with a note of relief in his voice, “But, I’m still going to need to tweak her personality a bit, and I need her online in order to do that,” he warned.

“Alright, I’ll be sure to tap into her wireless overrides right away just in case,” Ellie nodded.

Jack merely nodded and proceeded to reactivate Amber’s systems. Instantly, all the lights on her A.I. core lit up and then her body started coming to life. Her eyes slowly started to flutter as her systems booted up, then they quickly snapped open.

“Jack, what the fuck am I doing right here?!” Amber immediately demanded, giving him as much attitude in her face as she could since she was unable to move with the maintenance cable still attached.

“I’m tweaking your personality a little bit so you’re a bit safer to be around,” Jack answered, looking back at his screen and accessing the new personality menu. He could see right away that her aggressive tendencies were near maximum, as well as her argumentative settings. He slowly started toggling them down a bit, but not too much; her attitude made her unique, after all.

He could slowly see the effect it was having on her. Her face relaxed and the pores on her skin closed up a bit.

“How do you feel Amber?” Jack asked, once he’d lowered several of the settings a bit, and raised a few others.

“I feel different,” she said with a confused look on her face, “You tweaking my settings baby?” she asked.

“Yeah, just a bit,” Jack said with a relieved voice, “You were a little too aggressive for people to handle, I’m afraid.”

“I’m sorry,” Amber apologized, “My previous owner installed an unstable personality matrix in me before…I see you’ve replaced it,” she smiled.

“Indeed, and I’ve also upgraded the rest of your systems and made you a Mark III,” he told her.

“Ooh, thanks!” she said, suddenly able to move as Ellie unlocked her motor controls. Amber slowly sat up and let her hands run up and down her body, likely feeling the new tactile input offered by the new hardware. “I hope I haven’t scared too many customers away for good,” she said, “Some of them were pretty cute,” she winked.

“Well, perhaps I’ll let you moonlight as a sexbot some time to appease you,” Jack suggested to her, “If you behave,” he added with a stern look.

“Oh, for that proposition I most certainly will,” Amber promised.

“Good,” Jack smiled. “Works every time” Jack thought to himself. These androids were so sophisticated, that he sometimes found it easier to use good’ole human psychiatry on them to bolster their programming instead of creating lines of code to do the same thing. In any event, letting her be a sexbot from time to time would allow him to test her new programming in different scenarios, and it would bring him in more income. Plus, she already had a number of sexual databases from her previous owner, so she may as well use them.

“I see my perspiration tanks are empty as well,” Amber reported.

“That’s right,” Jack told her, “The stuff you had in them was illegal pheromone spray.”

“Ah, no wonder I had so much effect on you earlier,” Amber said as though it were a revelation, “And I thought it was because I was so attractive,” she pouted.

“Well, you are, but it was ultimately the liquid love potion you secreted that did me in,” Jack assured her.

“Too bad,” Amber frowned, “Anyway, am I done? Can I get back to work now?”

Jack thought about it for a few minutes, wondering if there was anything else he needed to do to her at this time. He finally made his decision. “Yes, you’re done.” He then carefully unplugged her from the terminal and reattached her skin panel.

As soon as her panel was attached, Amber hopped off the table and flexed her toes. “Wow, my body feels so great now,” she said, stretching it out and walking around the immediate area.

“Yeah, so I’ve heard,” Jack smiled, reminiscing back to his upgrade of both Ellie and Gabby. He couldn’t wait until the Mark III bodies were completed too, but that was a completely different program he didn’t have access to.

“Well, I guess I should get dressed now,” Amber said with a hint of disappointment in her voice. Just as she started gathering her clothes, she suddenly stopped and turned to Jack. “Do you think you and I could kiss again really quick?” she said whilst batting her eyes.

Jack gave her a quizzical look before saying, “Alright,” with a shrug.

“Yay!” Amber squealed, running over and giving Jack a full kiss on her luscious lips. Jack returned the favor by reaching around and squeezing her butt, giving her a playful spank as she turned to head back to her clothes, eliciting another squeal.

“Now, make sure you behave up there,” Jack called after Amber as she headed back to the lift.

“I will,” Amber called back. Then, she disappeared into the lift and returned to work.

“Well, that was interesting,” Ellie smiled, suddenly reappearing from wherever she had gone while Jack and Amber played around.

“Indeed,” Jack agreed, “where they heck did you go?” he then asked.

“Oh, Kat called down and said Karina just arrived,” Ellie explained, “She’s on the way down as we speak.

“Excellent timing!” Jack said with a clap of his hands, “Oh, by the way Ellie, I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t mention what just happened to Gabby,” he requested with an embarrassed look on his face, “She might misunderstand.”

“I see,” Ellie nodded, “Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me,” she said, pretending to zip her lips shut. Jack gave her a thankful bow and then planted a surprise kiss on her lips. “That wasn’t to spread your lip gloss,” he said quickly, “Now, let’s prepare for Karina’s arrival.”

Aside from developing a slight blush, Ellie did as she was told, preparing for Karina’s impending arrival.

Chapter Four: Karina

No sooner did Ellie and Jack begin preparations then Kat arrived on the lift. She must have gotten on the lift immediately after Amber got off, and she came hauling a rather large box. As soon as she got close, however, Jack got a suspicious look on his face.

“Kat, are you sure that’s Karina?” he asked her.

“Yes Jack,” Kat answered, “I confirmed the manifest number and peeked inside…she’s definitely in there,” she assured him.

The reason Jack was so suspicious was partly because the box Karina was supposedly in was not the original box she had been shipped in. Normally, this would not have bothered Jack, since not many people bothered to keep the original box anyway. What did activate Jack’s suspicion was the size of the box. He knew Karina was of roughly average height for a woman, but this box was 4ft by 4ft square, not the usual 3x6 which was standard. Either her previous owner had curled her into a ball, or he had disassembled her. Either way, it was likely damage could have occurred due to the shoddy method of shipping.

After several moments of sizing up the potential situation before him, he finally put his hands on his hips and said, “Alright, set the box down beside the examination table.”

“Yes sir,” Kat complied, carefully depositing the box beside the examination table. She then made sure to unlock the latches on the box before taking her hand truck and returning to the lift.

“Well, what do you think?” Ellie asked, walking over to where Jack stood and staring down at the box with him.

“I think Karina here might be more work than I had originally planned,” he said.

“Hey, maybe we’ll get lucky,” Ellie assured him.

“Well, I guess we’ll see shortly,” Jack said, setting a forced smile as he and Ellie released both latches and removed the top of the box. He was slightly surprised to see the box filled with packing peanuts. They weren’t packing peanuts of course, but they were the 22nd equivalent of them…more like plastic pellets designed to be more recyclable…people just called them that out of tradition.

“Packing peanuts?” Ellie asked with an incredulous look.

“How much you wanna bet that Karina here is in a disassembled state?” Jack asked as he dug his hands in it.


“I don’t like my odds, so I won’t take it,” Ellie said with a wry expression.

“Good call,” Jack said, pulling his hands out of the pellets, though they emerged holding a severed foot.

“Well, I guess the guy figured he’d save money on shipping if it was a smaller container,” Ellie surmised.

“Perhaps,” Jack nodded. He then gave the foot a probing sniff and shook his head, “Doesn’t smell clean,” he said. Ellie merely shook her head and then joined him digging through the box.

The end result of their expedition in the packing pellets was two feet, two legs, a torso, two arms, two hands, and a head…everything that should have been there, even a few sets of clothes. It was apparent that she hadn’t been cleaned, but aside from that, and her disassembled state, everything seemed to be in order...at least, physically.

“Well, everything’s here,” Ellie said, making sure to counts each piece and inspect the connection points.

“Indeed,” Jack agreed, “I just hope her hardware and software are in at least decent working order,” he then said, “Because based on the state she’s in now, it is rather telling of who may have owned her before.

“I guess you’re right,” Ellie nodded, “Well, shall we assemble her now?”

“I suppose we might as well,” Jack said. He and Ellie then both grabbed pieces from either side of her body and began connecting them to each other and then to the torso; because her body was offline, the seams were still visible. Jack finished the job by attaching the head and then stood back to examine his new employee.

Karina was designed with the appearance of a young, Caucasian college girl. Her previous owner was heavily involved in gaming, and he had apparently custom designed Karina to look like a stereotypical gaming girl. She had a nerdy face accentuated with glasses. She had a rather petite figure, and her dark brown hair had been died a near copper girl at the tips and done up in a strange way. Aside from that, she had a rather tame physical appearance: no tattoos, no painted toe or finger nails, and no extreme vaginal enhancements.

From the review he sent Jack, Karina had served him well playing video games with him, but he had to part with her due to finding a real life gamer girl who didn’t like having her around. Unfortunately, this was a common occurrence, but one that allowed people like Jack to give these bots another chance.

“Well, she looks kinda cute,” Ellie said, once she had taken in Karina’s appearance.

“Yeah,” Jack agreed, “That’s part of the reason I have her at the counter, so people will want to talk to her instead of bang her.”

“Interesting,” Ellie said a bit quizzically.

“Well, I suppose now we’d better see if she’s as good inside as she is on the outside,” Jack said. He then reached down to Karina’s abdomen and tapped just above her navel. Instantly, the subdermal control panel lit up with blue lights beneath her skin. Jack tapped a control near the top that instantly sealed all the seams on her body, and then he tapped the icon that unsealed the primary access port. Once he had it removed, he handed the skin panel to Ellie and then peered inside for several moments to catalogue her hardware.

Jack finally stood back up after several moments and looked over at Ellie, who was waiting with anticipation. “Well, looks like we got a bit lucky,” he said with a big smile.

“Oh, how so?” Ellie asked in excitement.

“Looks like her previous owner did a fairly good job of keeping her systems up-to-date,” Jack explained, “There’s only a few systems that can do with an upgrade, and I already have the necessary parts.”

“Excellent!” Ellie clapped, “Now we just need to check her software.”

“Well, based on her hardware, her software also has to be fairly updated,” Jack said, grabbing the cable from his terminal and plugging it into Karina’s A.I. core. He spent a few moments allowing the terminal to interface and then he ran a few cursory diagnostics. “Her software’s in decent shape too,” he confirmed, “Looks like we just need to update a few programs and install the new ones I’ve written for her.”

“Good.” Ellie said.

While Jack performed the software end of the work, Ellie helped out by placing the clothes provided for Karina into the rapid wash unit. She also had Kat return to the lab to retrieve the empty box and recycle the contents for further use; there was actually someone in town who turned plastic pellets into toys that then got sold at the gift shop. Jack tried not to waste anything. Finally, Ellie assisted by performing the necessary hardware upgrades, since they were basic enough for Ellie to handle.

By the time Ellie finished tidying up, Jack had already finished updating Karina’s software.

“Alright, time to turn our new employee on and introduce ourselves,” Jack said, rubbing his hands together with excitement. He got a real thrill out of turning his employees on for the first time. He quickly reached in and pressed the power button on the core. Lights quickly started blinking in sequence in her body and she promptly came online with a quick opening of her eyes.

She carefully and efficiently sat up and turned to face Jack. “Hello, my name is Karina, a Mark II Perfect Friend model,” Karina said in a cheerful, yet surprisingly deep and rich voice. “I’ve been placed into new registration mode…are you my new owner?” she inquired.

“Yes Karina,” Jack answered, “My name’s Jack Brown.”

“Very well, new registration is confirmed,” she reported. She then seemed to zone out as her new programming was integrated, “I see you’re going to have me tending the counter for a café,” she said.

“That’s correct,” Jack nodded, “By the way, Karina, is that your real voice, or are your vocal systems malfunction?”

“This is the voice I was programmed with,” Karina confirmed, “Why, does it bother you?” she asked.

“No, not at all,” Jack said, “It’s just I wouldn’t have expected it from someone with such a petite figure as yours,” he explained.

“Ah yes, I got that a lot with my original owner,” she nodded, “I believe he wanted my voice to sound similar to that of one in one of his favorite video games…some A.I. character who assisted the player,” she explained.

“I see,” Jack smiled, “Well, it’s a pleasant surprise to say the least,” he told her.

“I’m pleased that you find it so,” she responded.

“Karina, do you have more personality?” he then asked, since she was behaving like an android fresh out of the assembly line being tested for glitches.

“My previous owner preferred for me to act a bit robotic,” she answered, “Again, likely because of the aforementioned A.I. assistant he was fond of.”

“Well, unfortunately that just won’t do for the job I have you doing,” he said.

“I do have several base personality programs pre-installed, if you’d like to select from one of them,” she offered.

“Thanks, but I’d like to try and get one that more befits your gamer girl appearance,” Jack said, already looking up potential options online. As Jack selected between various personalities, he was grateful he’d decided to take basic psychology courses during his college time. He finally selected one with a quirkier and playful tendency, as opposed to the withdrawn and eccentric ones that predominated the spectrum.

Karina was still waiting patiently when Jack began the download. “Well Karina, I’ve picked out a new personality for you,” he said, “It’ll be ready for you in a few moments.”

“I look forward to it,” she said with a tone matching her patience.

A short time later, the download completed and Jack promptly installed it into Karina’s A.I. core. “There, do you have it?” he asked.

“Yes, I am detecting personality module: gamer_girl47,” she reported.

“Good, I want you to access that module and run it as your default personality from this moment forward,” he instructed her.

“Understood,” she nodded, then the lights on her core blinked rapidly as she integrated the personality into her programming, all the while her face took on a blank expression. A few moments later, her eyes blinked and suddenly her face took on a more playful expression. “Personality integration complete,” she reported in a livelier voice.

“I can see,” Jack nodded approvingly, “Tell me, what did your previous owner typically use you for?” he asked her.

“Oh, he had me play multiplayer games with him,” she recounted cheerfully, “We had a blast.”

“Glad to hear,” Jack nodded, “Did he ever use you for more extra-curricular activities?”

“If you mean sex, then yes…though only occasionally. He mainly used me for gaming and to show off to his friends when he took me to gaming conventions.”

“Good, that means you’re in pretty decent shape for a year-old bot,” he said.

“That I most certainly am,” she smiled proudly.

“Well Karina, I think the only thing I need you to do for me is to take a shower,” Jack told her, carefully unplugging her and replacing her skin panel. “I guess your owner took you out for one last spin and forgot to clean you up,” he added with a disapproving sniff.

Karina’s face flushed up a bit when Jack mentioned that. “Yeah, but it was fun,” she said.

“I’ll bet,” Jack smiled, then motioning Ellie over. “Ellie here will show you to the shower.”

“Alright,” Karina smiled, dropping to the floor and following Ellie into the residential section of the lab. Just as soon as Ellie and Karina disappeared into the section, Gabby suddenly emerged.

“Gabby dear, what a pleasant surprise,” Jack smiled, getting up and giving her a loving embrace.

“Well, Ellie relayed your medical emergency from earlier and I thought I’d come down to see if you were alright,” Gabby said with concern showing on her face.

“I thought I told her not to tell you,” Jack complained.

“Well, I have my ways of persuasion too, just like you do,” Gabby winked.

“I guess so,” Jack conceded, walking with Gabby to the beaker filled with the pheromone fluid, “Amber had this stuff in her body…stuff that’s like love potion for men,” he explained, showing it to her.

“Interesting,” Gabby said, “If I had this stuff in me, my job would be much easier,” she said with a sly smile.

“Well, I’m actually planning on modifying it for your body,” he admitted, placing the fluid in a refrigeration tank for safe keeping.

“Oooh, I can’t wait,” Gabby smiled, giving him a deep kiss. Once she broke apart, she looked at his terminal and asked, “So, how are things going so far?”

“Well, aside from having to upgrade Amber to a Mark III prototype, everything’s been going fine,” Jack reported, “I’m just having Karina wash up so I can send her up to work.”

“Good to hear,” Gabby nodded, “So, I was thinking maybe we could eat up in the café before bringing Luiza down here,” Gabby suggested, “That way you won’t have to call me in and you can get started more quickly, and I can take a look at the new employees.”

“Good idea,” Jack agreed, “And that way I can save that lunch you packed for a snack or something,” he added.

“Good,” she smiled, “Oh, and Ellie can join us too, of course.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

After a few minutes, Ellie returned with a now squeaky clean Karina. Karina was also wearing a set of the clothes sent with her…apparently Ellie had picked out what she thought would best fit Karina’s new personality. What she had picked was a set of black leggings that disappeared into a sort of black and grey dress with a belt woven into the mid area to give the appearance that it was two pieces. She wore a simple set of black flats on her feet, and now had her hair in its original coloring sans dye. Overall, the outfit gave Karina a sort of tame gothic appearance.

“Wow Ellie, you really outdid yourself this time,” Jack said with an approving nod.

“Thanks, I thought you’d like it,” Ellie smiled with a modest blush forming on her cheeks.

“This is the outfit my original owner used to dress me up in when he took me to friends’ houses,” Karina said.

“Then I take it those yoga pants and the tank tops were your normal home attire?” Jack surmised.

“Yep,” Karina replied.

“Well, I suppose not everyone gets a fembot to have sex with,” Jack said, then changing the subject, he said, “Well, I suppose Karina here is cleared to work. I think we’ll follow you up,” he decided.

“We’re going up too?” Ellie asked.

“Yeah, Gabby wants to eat in the café to see how the new employees are doing,” Jack explained.

“Oh, alright,” Ellie shrugged, “I’ve been meaning to try Luiza’s cooking anyway…hopefully our modifications won’t mess up her cooking.”

“They shouldn’t,” Jack assured her.

“Goodie,” Ellie said. They all then headed to the lift and rode it up to the office.

Chapter Five: Taking a break

As soon as the lift arrived in the shop’s office, they headed into the storeroom that connected the shop to the hotel. After saying a few passing comments to both Rachel and Varsha, they finally emerged into the motel’s office, which now had a connecting hallway to the brand new café.

The café was designed to look like a warm and welcoming café one would expect in a fairly rural area. Unlike an old fashioned one though, Jack had made sure to include a miniature arcade area for nostalgic purposes…which was part of the reason he wanted Karina. It had perhaps a dozen booths built along the windows with a saddle shaped counter/bar that surrounded the interior and led to the kitchen.

At this time, there were only a handful of customers currently dining, but it was after the usual lunch hour for the business folks uptown. Amber was currently doing her job for a change, which involved cleaning the dining areas. Before, her personality felt it was beneath her, but now that she had been properly reprogrammed, she was finally doing what she was supposed to do. She gave them a friendly wave as Ellie and Gabby sat down at the counter; Jack continued on with Karina to the doorway leading behind the counter, where Serriah was currently working.

“Ah, I see my relief has arrived,” Serriah said in a friendly tone, carefully setting down the receipts and tips from the day and approaching them.

“She has indeed,” Jack said with a smiled, “This is Karina,” he introduced. Karina gave a friendly curtsy and then outstretched her hand. “Sorry I’m late, but my previous owner decided to have a bit of fun with me before letting me go.”

“No problem,” Serriah shrugged off, “Well, at least your previous owner is still alive…mine passed before I even made it to him.”

“Alright Serriah, it’s not a contest,” Jack interrupted, “Why don’t you just give Karina a quick rundown of how you’ve been running this place for the past few weeks. Then, I’d like you to return to work in your gift shop; Sarah’s been running it as best she could, but we’d really like you back there as soon as possible.”

“Of course Jack,” Serriah smiled, then, as Jack headed back out to take a seat next to Gabby and Ellie, Serriah quickly showed Karina around the serving area, as well as the kitchen.

“You know what ladies, let’s get a booth instead,” Jack suggested, once he’d arrived back where they were sitting.

“Alright,” Gabby and Ellie said in near unison, eliciting a smile from Jack. As soon as they’d taken a seat, Amber made her way over.

“And what can I get you three today?” she asked with a playful smile, though she behaved herself a bit more since Gabby was present.

“Let’s just get started with some water please,” Jack decided, “I’d like more time to review the menu.”

“No problem, I’ll be back in a jiffy,” Amber said.

“Wait,” Jack called out, making Amber stop in her tracks. “When you’re back there, tell Serriah I’d like her to stop by this booth on her way out,” Jack instructed, “I’d like to ask her a few more questions.”

“Will do,” Amber nodded, then she headed to the back to retrieve their drinks.

In the interim, the three of them reviewed the menu, though Gabby and Ellie were able to come to quicker decisions due to them being androids. By the time Jack made his decision, Amber had finally arrived with their waters.

“Serriah said she’d be here in a few moments,” Amber reported as she delivered the waters, “In the meanwhile, are you ready to order?”

“Yes we are,” Jack said, then the three of them relayed their orders. As Amber was leaving with their menus, Serriah happened to walk by and stop at the booth.

“Amber said you wanted to ask me something,” Serriah queried.

“Yes,” Jack said, “How’s Luiza doing today?” he asked with a concerned look.

Serriah put on a concerned expression as well. “Well, she’s better today…but she does ask a number of questions and I have to maneuver around them to keep her from glitching out.”

“I see,” Jack sighed, “Well, I hope to remedy that shortly,” he added with a smile set on his face, “Alright Serriah, you can head back to the shop now.

“Yes sir,” she smiled, then she continued out. As she headed out, Jack merely looked around the place and let out a huge sigh.

“Honey, what’s wrong?” Gabby asked.

“I’m just wondering if I got too greedy,” he said, “Maybe I should have waited a bit longer before opening up the café.”

“Why do you say that?” Gabby asked.

“There’s been almost nothing but problems since I opened the place…perhaps if I’d waited a bit longer, things would have unfolded more smoothly.”

“I wouldn’t think like that Jack,” Ellie interjected, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned about you over the years is that you enjoy a challenge, so there’s got to be something else that’s bothering you.”

“You may be right,” Jack admitted, then he stared outside at the road for several moments before continuing. “I’m an orphan, I’m socially awkward, and I hardly ever leave this place,” he began, “Aside from the real Ellie, I’ve really got no blood relatives…so, you guys are all I have,” he explained, “Well, Henry as well,” he added. “Anyway, I guess I see you all as my family, and the only way I can procreate is by adding more of you to my workforce, so I may have been moving things along too quickly so I could expand my family.”

“Wow, I never realized you thought of them all like that,” Gabby admitted. She took her position for granted, since she was programmed to be Jack’s wife.

Ellie-bot also took her position for granted, since she was programmed with the memories of Jack’s real cousin Ellie. “Still, that doesn’t stop you from banging them,” Ellie teased.

“Well, I never said it was a traditional family,” Jack defended, “But you get the picture,” he smiled.

“No worries, I see where you’re coming from,” Ellie assure him.

“And unfortunately, Luiza is like my special needs child,” he said in a woeful tone, “though I can actually change her, unlike with real people,” he added with a more hopeful tone.

“Hopefully,” Ellie added, alluding to the second half of their day, which they’d allotted solely to fixing Luiza’s multitude of problems.

“Anyway, that’s part of the reason I’ve been trying to expand the business so much this year, so that in doing so, I could also expand my family,” he finished.

They sat in silence for several moments as Jack’s revelation came to light. Finally, Gabby spoke. “I wish you would’ve let me known how you feel about them all before, then I might not have felt quite so jealous,” she said with a worried expression.

“Well, your jealousy subroutines do keep me on my toes, so don’t feel too bad,” Jack assured, “though I do admit, I enjoy the occasional dalliance as well as any human male,” he admitted, “It’s really good at relieving stress.”

“I’ll attest to that,” Ellie added, eliciting laughter on the part of Jack; the real Ellie was quite prolific in her sex life.

“In any event Gabby, you should practically consider yourself their mother, since I already know you act as much anyway,” he laughed knowingly.

Gabby managed to blush at that comment. “I didn’t think you noticed,” she admitted.

“Hey, it doesn’t take a genius to notice that you’ve been able to pick up on my word games with the others,” Jack told her, “But I don’t mind, you are second-in-control of the business, after all, so it’s only natural your programming would have adapted to utilize my technique.”

“I suppose,” Gabby admitted, rather uncomfortably. After all these years, she seemed uncomfortable thinking of herself as a collection of programs.

“I, I mean, the real Ellie, really should have visited more often,” Ellie then said, looking back and forth between Gabby and Jack.

“It wouldn’t have hurt,” Jack said.

“Indeed,” Ellie agreed.

Before they could say much else, Amber arrived with their food. Despite Luiza’s technical issues, she still cooked delicious food. They continued their discussion of Jack’s extended robotic family during their meal, but for the most part, they simply enjoyed the food.

After they’d finished and Amber was hauling their empty plates away, Jack forced himself to his feet and said, “Well, I guess we’d better get this over with.”

“I suppose so,” Ellie agreed, also getting to her feet.

Gabby merely looked at the two of them and then rose up as well, following them behind the counter and into the kitchen.

Chapter Six: Luiza

The smell of Luiza’s delicious cooking nearly overwhelmed as Jack, Ellie, and Gabby entered her pristine kitchen. Still, as good as she was, she still required some assistance, and that assistance was provided via a pair of basic work droids, one that assisted her with cleaning the dishes and gathering ingredients, and another that helped cook the more basic portions of each meal: toasting the bread, stirring the pots, and delivering the finished product to Karina, to distribute to Amber, who then distributed it to the customers. The droids were non-human looking, though they were still human-shaped with a metallic/plastic shell.

Fortunately, since it was so slow, Luiza was not currently preparing anything. She was assisting one of the droids with cleaning up the kitchen to prepare for the dinner rush. As soon as she heard them enter, she stopped what they were doing and quickly approached them.

“Ah, how nice of you to come and visit me,” she said with a warm smile, giving each of them a hug before standing back and removing her apron.

Luiza was quite unlike anyone in Jack’s family of androids. The vast majority of his androids were either modelled after real people, or they were molded into the ideal female form by one person or the other. Unlike them though, Luiza was built to resemble a woman with a rather large body type…bordering near obese, but more on the curvy side. She had a slight tan one might expect from a South American, with long brown hair that went down to her buxom bosom.

Another thing that distinguished her from the others was that she was a sleeper model.

Luiza had been commissioned by a rather wealthy individual from Brazil. He had more money that most people could dream of, so he purchased the best android he could with all the trimmings…including illegal sleeper programming.

Sleeper programming was illegal because society felt that it would be immoral to create a being that thought itself to be human. It was enough for the androids to look human, but for it to think it was human would be the ultimate form of dehumanization and slavery; creating someone who believes they are human but is subject to their programming.

Another issue was that the sleeper programs were unstable, and it was feared they would lead to unintended consequences, such as true artificial sentience…something society was not yet prepared for.

That being said, legal androids came pretty close, the only difference is that their programming dictates what they can and can’t do.

“Well, it’s that time again,” Jack smiled, very careful of how he phrased the next part of his sentence, “For your health examination.”

“Oh, is it?” Luiza asked, “It seems like I just had one a few weeks ago,” she said with a confused look.

“I know; time flies right?” Jack said with a forced smile, hoping Luiza would buy it.

“Well, alright,” she said, after thinking on it for a few moments, “I take it your lovely wife is here to cover me in the kitchen.”

“That’s right,” Gabby answered.

“Goodie,” Luiza said with a cheerful look, “Well, after you then. It’s so nice I found an employer who takes care of my health…I have more than a few health issues.”

“That I’m aware of,” Jack said with a wry smile as he and Ellie led her out of the kitchen; he planted a quick kiss on Gabby’s cheek on the way out. “But, you’re just so darn good at cooking that it more than makes up for your many issues.”

“Oh, I’m so glad you think so Mr. Brown,” Luiza gushed, “After my ex-husband left me, I thought I’d be lost…he gave me everything I needed, so I guess I became kind of spoiled.”

“Please Luiza, just call me Jack,” Jack said modestly, walking leading her through the back storeroom of the motel and into the shop’s office.

“Oh, sorry Jack,” she apologized.

“It’s okay,” Jack assured her, activating the lift and stepping in with Luiza and Ellie.

As soon as the lift descended into the lab and the three of them stepped out, Jack let out a silent breath of relief; he’d been worrying that it would’ve been more difficult to get her here, but it seemed the sleeper filters he installed on her last time were working perfectly. To Luiza, Jack wasn’t just her employer, he was also a physician, and his lab was his clinic. She didn’t see maintenance equipment lying about…she saw medical equipment. In addition, she saw Ellie as a nurse.

“Wow, you really are a jack of all trades Jack,” Luiza smiled, laughing a bit at the pun she unintentionally used, “A small business owner, a tinker, and a doctor,” she said proudly.

“I do what I can,” Jack shrugged modestly. He then started prepping his terminal while Ellie began running some pretend nursing tests on her; heartrate, weight, vision test.

Once Ellie finished with the fake vital tests, she concluded by having Luiza disrobe and lay down upon the examination table. So far, everything was going according to the programming Jack imposed upon her.

“She’s ready for you Jack,” Ellie called out, as soon as Luiza was on the table.

“Ah, thanks Ellie,” he smiled, making sure everything was ready on the terminal before standing up and gazing down upon Luiza’s body.

Despite Luiza being a fairly large body type, Luiza was still very attractive; her previous owner saw to that. She had a pair of very large, voluptuous breasts and a light tan across her whole body. Her hands and feet were also aesthetically pleasing, and well groomed. As Jack gazed upon her, she stared right back with a hint of a blush on her face.

“Do you like what you see?” she asked coquettishly.

“A bit,” Jack admitted.

“Well, maybe if Gabby goes away for a while, you can have some fun with me.”

“We’ll see,” Jack said, “For now I’ve got to see to your medical needs,” he told her, changing the subject.

“Okay.”

Jack then tapped the area above her navel to activate the subdermal controls. Luiza gave no indication she either noticed the lights, nor that she felt the entire front section of her torso detach. Normally, Jack would have sufficed with the central access port, but Luiza’s ‘condition’ required her entire front torso to be removed. As Jack placed her torso panel down on the table, he paused to fondle both large breasts, and smiled as they jiggled.

The reason for her large body size was soon made apparent as soon as Jack removed the panel. Laying underneath, surrounding her standard A.I. core, were several arrays of processors…far more than a standard android would need. The extra processors were to handle the enormous strain created by her sleeper protocols, and required a larger frame, or body, to house them. It was for mainly this reason, as opposed to the aforementioned legal issues, that sleepers weren’t built. Technology hadn’t yet progressed to make that many processors fit into a more appealing, or rather, slim frame. As Jack examined her complex array of processors, he just wondered how much of the world she was experiencing was being filtered through all of them. Shaking himself out of his reverie, he grabbed the cable from his terminal and plugged it into Luiza’s core. Due to her sleeper programming, she didn’t make any verbal acknowledgement of her connection, though, her governing A.I. did notify him on his terminal and brought up her vital stats and diagnostics.

“So, how am I?” Luiza idly asked, wiggling her toes in boredom.

“I’m still trying to determine that,” Jack told her, his eyes fixed on her readouts. He wanted to make things easier on her by shutting her down, but unfortunately the first phase of his work required she be online so he could talk to her.

The main issue with her was that her sleeper programming had entangled her previous owner’s configuration so deeply into her systems, that Jack was finding it extremely difficult to reconfigure her properly. Basically, all he was able to do for her these past few weeks was a band aid.

He began by opening her root configuration files…basically everything that made her was she was: her personality, her implanted memories, her experiences, and her installed programs.

Jack’s solution to her problem was to systematically erase all memories of her previous owner. That was, he could properly implant new memories to make her life here easier. If he was unsuccessful, his only remaining option would be to completely reformat Luiza’s memories…basically, resetting her to factory default. Obviously, that wasn’t a good option since it would likely also remove the sleeper programming. Normally, that would be good, since it would make her easier to maintain...but, the extra processors would be too much for her normal systems to handle; that was also the reason he couldn’t put Ellie’s core in Luiza’s body, much to Ellie’s dismay.

The best way Jack could think of to isolate each section of her memory was to basically continue asking a series of questions about her former owner, so that she’d access them and they would appear on his terminal.

“So Luiza, tell me again, how did you meet your ex-husband?” Jack quizzed her.

At that, Luiza began recounting her pre-programmed story on how she ‘met’ her owner, causing multiple areas in her memory to light up. Jack immediately flagged them for deletion and then commenced with his next question.

“Wow, that’s nice,” he smiled, “And, um, what were you doing before you guys met?” he asked, “Where were you born, and how was your childhood?”

She spent even more time answering those. She didn’t question his questions, because he had basically given her the android equivalent of truth serum. To Jack’s delight, every time he asked her a question, it lit up even more memory sectors, so it didn’t take him too long to find them all.

He kept asking her questions until several of the areas lit up multiple times, signifying he’d likely flagged everything the original owner had programmed her with. Jack had actually consulted a human psychiatrist, who had always been fascinated with the concept of a sleeper android. She ended up giving him a list of questions she’d usually ask a human in order to map their brain functions. “Well Luiza, I’m truly impressed with your life story, but I’m afraid I’m gonna have to sedate you now,” he told her.

“Alright,” Luiza said with a slight pout, “Will I be better when I wake up?” she asked innocently.

“I certainly hope so,” Jack said under his breath, “If my new treatment works, you’ll feel like a new woman,” he told her.

“That would be nice,” Luiza mused, but not for long, because as soon as she finished her thought, Jack shutdown her A.I.

During the entire interview, Ellie merely stood by watching with a slightly concerned, yet patient expression. Once Luiza was finally shut down, she finally spoke.

“Do you really think that will work?” she asked.

“I hope so,” was all Jack said, “I figured the other day that treating Luiza, with all her sleeper protocols making her behave so human, that I’d have to treat her like a human,” he explained, “Meaning deleting all the problem memories and implanting replacement ones.”

“Sounds a little creepy,” Ellie shuddered, “Almost like we’re killing her.”

“I suppose we are in a way,” Jack admitted, “But, most of the memories are going to be replanted with only minor alterations,” he explained, “Only the ones pertaining her previous owner will be removed forever.”

“Well, I suppose it’s the only way,” Ellie sighed.

“Trust me, this will make her happier,” Jack assured her, “She won’t be worrying about him anymore.”

Ellie merely smiled wryly and then waited as the algorithm that was simultaneously deleting and replacing the suspect memories did its job.

Several minutes later, the progress bar hit 100% and Jack ran a few tentative diagnostics to ensure that there were no lingering bugs following the reconfiguration.

“Well, so far it looks like everything went alright,” Jack said a bit dubiously, still somewhat confused by Luiza’s programming.

“You don’t sound too sure,” Ellie noted.

“I don’t,” Jack admitted, “But, I suppose if there are any lingering memories that I missed with the interview, I could write an algorithm to flag them,” Jack mused, “And then I could write another algorithm so she can disregard them as dreams or something.” In order to better assist her sleeper programming, Jack did have Luiza sleep each night instead of plugging herself in and recharging; they built a separate room in the basement storeroom of the café that served as her room.

“I suppose that might work,” Ellie nodded.

“And, if they cause any issues, I can just delete them,” he decided. He then began the tedious work of creating the algorithms.

“Aren’t we going to upgrade any of her systems?” Ellie asked.

“Well, to be honest, her processors are far more advanced than most of yours put together,” Jack explained, “Though, as long as we have her here, we may as well perform routine maintenance.”

“I’ll get started right away,” Ellie nodded, grabbing her tool kit and digging into Luiza’s body to replace her fluids, clean her innards, and replace any worn out servos. Unfortunately, just as with a heavy human, all the extra weight put considerable strain on Luiza’s lower body mechanisms, so Ellie spent a great deal of time on her legs and feet.

“You know Jack, if we have the opportunity later, we might want to explore options to replace some of her systems with lighter weight components,” Ellie told him, reattaching one of Luiza’s feet, “That way we won’t have to fix her leg servos as often.”

“I’ll have to do some research on that,” Jack said in agreement, “But most of her components are already state of the art.”

Ellie nodded, then did a quick calculation, “Well, even if we could only reduce her weight by 5%, it would still reduce the strain on her legs by quite a bit.”

“Good to know,” Jack noted, continuing his work on the algorithms. Even while he worked, he mentally noted which systems he might be able to upgrade in her during her Christmas maintenance cycle in two months.

Jack and Ellie continued working in silence from that moment on, both of them focused entirely on the work in front of them. By the time they were finished, they both looked ready to call it a day; fortunately, Luiza was their last project for the day.

Jack made quick work of installing the new algorithms into Luiza’s core. After running one final diagnostic, which showed everything was working properly, the only thing he had left to do was to activate her and see how she was.

“Alright Ellie, let’s keep her panel open just in case she malfunctions,” Jack instructed her, and after receiving a nod in return, he reactivated Luiza’s A.I.

Luiza’s eyes blinked rapidly a few times as her systems came back online, but before long, the slowly reopened, and she appeared as though she had just awoken from a restful nap. After adjusting to her surroundings, and noting the amount of time that had passed, she focused her eyes on Jack.

“So, how am I?” she asked.

“I think you’re much better,” Jack told her, “There’s just a few things I want to ask you first, to determine your medical history,” he added.

“Go ahead,” she smiled.

Jack then proceeded to ask Luiza the same questions he asked before, having deleted her memory of the prior interview to reduce her suspicion. As she answered each question, Jack silently celebrated since each answer fit perfectly with the backstory he had created for her. Whereas before she was the ex-wife of a wealthy Brazilian entrepreneur, she now believed she was an orphan who set off from her home country, learned English, and set out to be a chef. He also added more information to her databanks regarding Brazil to further improve her small talk algorithms.

“Well Luiza, I think I have all I need,” Jack finally said, once he’d verified the memory centers in her core and determined there were no anomalies, “You sure have had an interesting life.”

“Well, I’m just glad it led me here,” Luiza said with gratitude. Unbeknownst to her, Ellie had just unplugged her from Jack’s terminal and had clicked her torso panel back on. Jack once again paused as he saw her breasts jiggle.

“Alright Luiza, you can get up off the table now,” Ellie told her.

“Thanks Ellie,” Luiza smiled, slowly sitting up and then stepping down off the table. Once on her feet, she bobbed around on each foot for a little while before remarking, “My legs feel better.”

“Yeah, we performed some therapy on them,” Jack explained.

“Wow, thanks!” she then walked around for a bit to test her range of movement, “I’m sure it’s due to my weight,” she then said, “But in guess I just have a naturally large body type, so I’ll have to live with it.”

“Well, I’ll do my best to maintain…I mean, keep you healthy,” Jack smiled.

“And for that I’ll be extremely grateful,” she smiled in return, giving no hint she caught Jack’s near slip. Luiza then walked around a bit and stopped in front of the TV that Jack had recently installed to use as background noise during tedious repair jobs. “Ooh, you have a TV down here?” she asked, and before Jack could answer, she looked around and picked up a nearby remote.

“Luiza, no!” Jack cried out, but it was too late. The second Luiza’s finger pressed one of the buttons, her entire body locked into place and she froze up.

Jack sighed rather dramatically as he approached her, though the look on her face was rather amusing…a look of frozen excitement. Luiza’s original owner had kept a remote to control her if she ever misbehaved, or if he just wanted to have some fun. Jack kept it just in case she malfunctioned. It seemed she mistook it for the TV remote, which was lying right next to it, and had inadvertently paused herself.

“Quick Ellie, turn on the TV,” Jack said, delicately prying Luiza’s frozen fingers from her tight grip on her own remote. Her grip was tighter than normal since her body locked into place, but he finally managed to extricate her remote. Then, he grabbed the TV remote from Ellie, once she had turned on the TV, and placed it in Luiza’s hand, gripping her fingers back over it. Just as he was about to unpause her, he himself paused briefly to admire her frozen body.

“Don’t worry, I already snapped a few pics for you to look at later,” Ellie told him.

“You know me too well,” Jack laughed. Once they both composed themselves, he calmly un-paused her.

Luiza came back to life as though nothing happened, not even noticing that the remote she now held in her hands was completely different from the one she’d been holding a few moments ago.

“Wow, good picture,” she complimented after a while, shutting the TV back off. “Well, I should probably get back to my kitchen now,” she said sadly.

“Alright,” Jack nodded.

“But first,” she said, slowly walking up to Jack with an intent look on her face. After staring intently at him for a few moments, she finally leaned towards him and kissed him full on the lips. “That’s my thank you gift,” she said, once she broke apart.

“Thanks,” was all Jack managed to say, considering his heart was racing.

Luiza said nothing. She gathered her clothes and efficiently put them back on. Then, as she headed to the lift with Ellie, she stopped and said, “Jack, you were right.”

“Oh?”

“I do feel like a new woman,” she said with a relaxed smile.

Jack was momentarily at a loss for words, but he finally said, “Of that I had no doubt.”

Luiza gave him one last curtsy as Ellie escorted her out. Once they were gone, Jack let out an explosive breath of relief and then fell back into his chair to rest up while he waited for Ellie and Gabby to return.

Chapter Seven: One Last Project

Jack didn’t spend too much time relaxing while Ellie walked with Luiza back to the café. Considering how most everything had gone smoothly throughout the day, he found himself with a little over an hour of extra time. After thinking on what to do with it, he decided to work on one last project.

With his decision made, he got up and walked to the other side of the room where he kept his side projects. He pressed his palm on the wall and then stood back as an alcove opened up and a table containing the android copy of Jack slid out, now considerably more finished than when Jack had showed him off to Ellie several months prior. Jack stood there for several moments, both admiring the work he’d done, and sizing up Jack-Bot’s body.

He finally nodded to himself and then tapped on his belt, which promptly lit up with an activation sound emerging both from it and the hidden power amplification brace Jack usually wore under his clothes. He took in a sharp breath as he lifted his doppelganger’s naked body into his arms and carried it over to the main examination table. Jack himself weighed about 180lbs, and fortunately he’d been able to keep Jack-Bot at roughly the same weight, though only slightly heavier due to his sturdy frame. Nevertheless, Jack was not capable of lifting his own body weight unassisted.

Once he had Jack-Bot on the examination table, he deactivated the power brace and then proceeded to open Jack’s entire front torso cover to work on all his hardware. As Jack placed the torso cover on a nearby table, he briefly admired the duplication of his own well-toned abdomen and then thought to himself: This time he’ll be ready.

Jack was really looking forward to finally finishing Jack-Bot. Jack-Bot was probably the single most difficult project Jack had ever worked on in his life, both on the programming end as well as the construction end. He’d had to splice together frames from both male sex bots and male worker droids in order to get it to come out just right. In addition, he’d had to heavily tweak the developer kit for the Mark III Perfect Friend software in order to masculinize it…an ordeal that was both frustrating in its achievement, and hilarious in application.

In the few months that had followed since showing Jack-Bot off to Ellie for the first time, Jack had made considerable progress: he’d done more fine tuning of the programming, installed more of the custom hardware, and continued updating it with his current memory and personality profile.

That being said, there were still a few components Jack needed to swap out, and he needed to do some final tweaking of the hardware to remove the final vestiges of the femininity from the programming. He had been planning to work on Jack-Bot the following weekend, but the extra time he had today was, he felt, sufficient enough to complete it now.

Jack made quick work of swapping out several of the components that had either failed in the last test run, or otherwise failed to work properly with the custom set of programs Jack had created. Several of the components had actually been custom created by Jack using a rudimentary 3D printer he’d fixed a few years back. It was mostly components that would allow Jack-Bot to utilize his male parts and to tweak his power settings, since male androids used more power than females.

Once he’d finished installing the new hardware in Jack-Bot, he replaced the torso panel and then opened the smaller access port over the A.I. core so he could attach the maintenance cable. Despite running mostly Perfect Friend algorithms and programs, Jack had basically created an entirely new A.I. architecture, and as a result had created a new maintenance program to work on it with. He didn’t mind creating it, despite all the work that had gone into it, since it contained many improvements that he’d constantly suggested to Spaztec, only to hear that they’d “consider” them…. code for, it might happen in a few years.

Since he’d already been working on Jack-Bot’s programming on and off over the past few weeks, it didn’t take Jack long to install it and to run countless diagnostics to ensure its stability. As he was working on Jack-Bot’s A.I., he noticed on his security monitor that Ellie and Gabby were still in the café...likely chatting with Karina, Luiza, and Amber. Jack didn’t mind, since he was hoping he’d be able to get much of the work done before their return.

“Alright Jack-Bot,” Jack said at the conclusion of the final diagnostic, carefully removing the maintenance cable and reattaching the access panel, “Let’s see if you work now,” and Jack activated the subdermal control panel and tapped the power icon.

Jack’s highly sensitive, and trained, ears soon picked up the sounds of the machinery activating in Jack-Bots body…that is, before the built in sound dampening system activated. Before Jack knew it, Jack-Bot’s eyes suddenly sprung open and Jack-bot efficiently sat up and looked at him.

“Hello Jack,” Jack-Bot said, matching Jack’s tone and inflection perfectly.

“Hello Jack-Bot,” Jack said, still somewhat in awe of the technological marvel he’d just created, “How do you feel?”

“Considering the fact that I’m essentially a Frankenstein job, I feel remarkably well,” Jack-Bot said, even using Jack’s humor.

“Well, I did the best I could with what I had,” Jack defended.

“I know Jack, and I thank you for that,” Jack-Bot assured him.

“Why don’t you try walking around to test out your motor systems?” Jack then suggested.

“Very well,” Jack-Bot said, slowly dropping off the table to his feet and walking laps around the lab area. As he walked around, Jack marveled at the way the robot moved…it was just like him, from his gait to even the way his genitals moved; although not important, Jack was a perfectionist and made sure to get everything right.

“Alright, you can stop now,” Jack told him, once his lap brought him over to Jack again.

Jack-Bot efficiently stopped in front of Jack and made sure to flex his muscles a bit, knowing if he were Jack and was working on an android, he’d want that android to do the same thing. “Am I satisfactory?”

“You most certainly are,” Jack said, clapping despite himself, “Umm, how are your power readings? And your programming?” Jack asked with excitement bubbling out of him.

“My power readings are much better than the last test, and my programming is functioning perfectly,” Jack-Bot reported.

“Do you still have any feminine urges?” Jack then asked more delicately.

“I don’t believe so,” Jack-Bot reported, “Though I do have some urges on your part, but they may just be a form of narcissism,” he said with a confused look.

“Most likely,” Jack concluded, “I’m feeling it as well, seeing you naked and all,” he admitted, “In any event, it looks like I finally eradicated the final bugs from your code.”

“I’m glad, I look forward to being able to help you out around here,” Jack-Bot said with a tone of excitement.

“And I’m sure Ellie would like to play around with you as well,” Jack added.

“Yeah,” Jack-Bot laughed, “Well, perhaps I can keep her off your back,” he then suggested, “As an android, I don’t have your hesitance in regards to having sex with her.”

“Well, I just may let you today,” Jack said, briefly looking down at Jack-Bot’s penis, “After all, I’d like to see if that penis of yours works properly, considering I paid quite a bit for that custom penis attachment,”

Although Jack had used a modified male sex bot frame, the penis attachment was incompatible with the Perfect Friend software, so Jack had to order a custom made penis attachment modeled after his own in order to fix the compatibility issues. That being said, he still had to rewrite thousands of lines of code just to get the modified A.I. to treat the device as a permanent part rather than a temporary peripheral.

“That makes sense,” Jack-Bot nodded, “Especially if you do discover a way to transfer your consciousness into my body someday.”

Before they could say anything else, they were suddenly interrupted by the return of Ellie and Gabby to the lab. They emerged from the lift to the sight of two stunned Jacks.

“Whoa, what’s happening here?!” Ellie asked, her verbal outburst matching the expression on Gabby’s face.

“Oh, since the work with the girls went more smoothly than anticipated, I managed to finish Jack-Bot here,” Jack explained, regaining his composure.

“Hey,” Jack-Bot waved, completely unfazed by his nudity.

“Really!?” Ellie said excitedly, rushing towards them ahead of Gabby and scrutinizing Jack-Bot’s body and mannerisms.

“Yeah,” Jack said, explaining in detail all the steps he’d taken to get Jack-Bot fully functional.

While Jack listed through the technical jargon, Gabby merely watched with mild interest, her processors going over the potential advantages, and disadvantages, of the newest addition to Jack’s workforce. Jack had told Gabby of his plans and reasons for building Jack-Bot, but theory and reality are two entirely different things, and even her advanced A.I. was having difficulty processing the new situation.

“So, what does Jack-Bot’s presence mean for us now?” Gabby finally asked, once Jack had finished talking and was watching Ellie question Jack-Bot.

“It means many things,” Jack said, sitting back in his chair as Gabby came closer, “For one, once I’m sure Jack-Bot is stable, I can have him fill in for me here while we go vacations,” Jack said, “Also, it means he can cover for me if I’m ill,” Jack continued, “And even serve as a third set of hands for if I’ve got multiple contracts and want to take on more work to build up our money reserves,” Jack finished.

“Well that’s good,” Gabby said with a slight tone of relief, “I have always wondered what the world is like.” Although Jack trusted Gabby to drive his vehicle around to run errands or transport Henry around, she had not traveled much more than 50-miles from the house…and much of the 50-mile radius was rural areas…not big cities.

“And then there’s the other thing I spoke about,” Jack started, “I’m confident within a few years, I could try and test temporarily inhabiting him, with the option of making it permanent should the need arise.”

“Well, hopefully the need won’t ever arise,” Gabby said hopefully, “As much as I’d like to have that chance, an artificial you just wouldn’t be the same…my algorithms and systems are more designed for human biological needs.”

“Well, I’m sure you’d be able to adapt…with some help from me, of course,” Jack smiled, “In any event, such an occurrence would likely be several decades in the future, so I’m sure you’ll be much different by then as well.”

“Perhaps,” Gabby nodded.

“And, I think for the sake of brevity, we’ll just call Jack-Bot ‘JB’,” Jack decided, “It’s a little less time consuming to say.” Everyone in the area unanimously agreed with a silent nod.

“Good,” Jack said with a tone of relief, “So, did you have anything planned between now and dinner?” Jack asked Gabby.

“No, why?” Gabby asked.

“Well, I thought you might be interested in observing another feature I installed in JB…that being the same ability to be placed in other android bodies as I installed in Ellie a few months ago.”

“Really?” Ellie asked, her sensitive ears picking up on Jack’s conversation.

Jack smiled despite himself as JB answered for him.

“That’s correct Ellie,” JB answered, “Jack thought it might be even more interesting for me to be able to inhabit other bodies, as only I would be able to fully articulate the sensations to him in words he’d understand.”

“Oooh, interesting,” Ellie said, “Did you have any candidates in mind…ooh, is it gonna be Gabby?”

“Well, I might have him try out Gabby’s body during our private Christmas upgrade session in a few months,” Jack said a bit delicately and with a hint of a blush, “But I figured for now I’d try swapping you both,” he concluded, looking back and forth between JB and Ellie.

Ellie said nothing, though she did make a rather triumphant fist pump that more than made up for her silence. JB sort of gave Jack a wink, indicating that his trying out Ellie’s body, and the likely exercise that would follow, would keep Ellie of Jack’s back for at least a few more weeks.

“Anyway, you might want to strip out of all your clothes to ease the transfer process,” Jack suggested to her, “and then the both of you should lay down on the tables,” he finished.

Since JB was already naked, he complied by laying down upon the table he had been activated on; he also assisted by unsealing his access port and allowing Jack to remove it. Once Ellie was also naked, she too laid down and unsealed her access port.

After Jack had removed both skin panels, he placed himself between them and placed his hands inside each of their panels to prepare to shut them down for the transfer.

“Alright, the next time you power on, you’ll be in each other’s body,” Jack smiled, then he simultaneously shut them both down.

Once both their A.I. cores were completely shut down, Jack began the work of removing them, starting with JB’s and concluding with Ellie’s.

“Wow, they look pretty similar,” Gabby remarked as she watched Jack perform the swapping operation.

“Yeah, I did have to use a Perfect Friend core for JB here,” Jack explained, carefully inserting JB’s core into Ellie’s body, “Though, the A.I. cores of the worker droids and sex bots aren’t too dissimilar,” he explained, “The design is fairly efficient, after all,” he concluded, completing the installation of JB’s core and then moving to Ellie’s. Just before he picked it up, however, he suddenly swore and then carried the core over to his computer instead.

“What is it dear?” Gabby asked with a concerned look.

“I forgot I needed to patch Ellie’s core so she’ll be able to function in a male body,” Jack told her, quickly plugging Ellie’s core into his terminal and starting the patching process, “I already created it for JB, since technically he’s using a female core in a male body,” Jack explained. Once he started the patch installation, he looked at the progress bar and then sighed, “Well, I guess I’ll have to turn JB on first…I was hoping to activate them both at the same time, but I guess I’d better use the time to make sure he functions properly too,” Jack decided, walking back over to Ellie’s body.

“Well, at least it’ll allow him to articulate his feelings of Ellie’s body without her knowing,” Gabby smiled.

“Yeah,” Jack agreed. He then reached into Ellie’s body and activated JB’s core. Although JB’s core activated fairly quickly, it took it a few extra moments to familiarize itself with Ellie’s body before finally activating his A.I.

Ellie’s body quickly came to life, and JB, who was now operating it, sat up and swung his legs over the table. He silently examined his hands, as well as Ellie’s rather sizeable breasts, then moved onto Ellie’s stunted feet.

Jack and Gabby watched with a curious look as JB continued examining and testing Ellie’s body. “Well JB, how does she feel?” Jack final asked.

“Ellie’s body is…different,” JB responded, hopping off the table and walking around it, trying to articulate the feelings of a new body, “She’s not as maneuverable as we are,” he said rather delicately.

Jack had to stifle a laugh at that. “Well, we are in better shape than she is,” Jack admitted.

“Indeed,” JB agreed, “How come you haven’t activated her in my body yet?” he then asked, noticing his body was still lying dormant on the other table.

“I forgot to patch her core so she could function properly in a male body,” Jack answered.

“Ah,” JB nodded, taking a look over at the computer terminal, “It does look like she may be ready now.”

Jack turned back over to the terminal and saw that the patch was nearly finished. “Ah, you’re right,” Jack smiled, quickly rushing over to it and unplugging Ellie’s core when it finished seconds later. “Did you want a few more moments to play around in Ellie’s body before I put her in yours?” Jack then asked, pausing at JB’s body.

JB thought about it for a moment before deciding, “No, she’ll probably be disappointed enough that I’ve had this much time in her body…might as well turn her on too.”

Jack merely nodded in agreement, knowing he would have come to the same decision. He then carefully inserted Ellie’s core into JB’s body and then activated it. It took Ellie’s core only a few seconds longer to activate and integrate into JBs body, but when it finally did, she activated and sat up with a start.

“Whoa, this body is awesome!” she practically screamed, quickly feeling over her thinner, more athletic, and male, body. Since she wasn’t familiar with the strength of JBs body, she almost fell over as she stepped off the table, but the algorithm Jack installed in her quickly adapted itself and before long, she was walking around as though she were actually him.

“Oh, how do you like my body JB?” Ellie asked, slowly walking over to her body.

“It’s different,” JB said politely, “You’re shorter and younger than me,” he explained.

“Yeah, everything looks different from the few extra inches I have now…” Ellie mused.

“So guys, are you experiencing and difficulties at all functioning in each other’s bodies?” Jack asked, all the while Gabby stood by silently, recording their experiences for the possibility of her getting to try out another body.

The two of them both took on slightly vapid expressions while they ran quick diagnostics before replying in unison, “No,”

“Good,” Jack said with relief, “Why don’t you two go off an explore yourselves in private for about five minutes or so while Gabby and I talk?” he suggested, “But no sex,” he added.

“Okay,” they both said, then they walked off to one of the room and closed the door behind them.

“Well Gabby, what do you think?” Jack asked.

“I think JB can be very useful, as you said,” she replied, “If you can ensure he’s completely bug free, we might be able to slip away from time to time and let him run things.”

“Indeed, but are you looking forward to being able to function in a different body from time to time…for fun?”

“Oh yes,” Gabby said, “I’ve always wondered what Rachel, or Sarah, or even Kat must feel like…” she mused.

“Well, once I’ve gathered the data from Ellie and JBs experiences, I should be able to review the code for any lingering issues that might crop up during extended durations and then I’ll feel comfortable installing it in you,” Jack assured her, “Hopefully by Christmas,” he added.

“Goodie,” Gabby smiled. She then moved in and gave him a romantic kiss. “I love you Jack.”

“I love you too Gabby,” he answered back, “I can assure you, the hard work and effort we’ve made this year will pay off for next year.”

“I know,” Gabby smiled, having already done the calculations in her CPU.

Before they could say much else, JB and Ellie returned from their room, having taken Jack’s five-minute suggestion to the second. They did not have embarrassed looks on their faces, but they were smiling.

“Have fun?” Jack asked.

“Oh yes,” Ellie said, sounding weird with Jack’s voice.

“Good, because you’re going to have some more fun in a few minutes,” Jack told them, “I’m going to put you back in each other’s bodies and then you two are going to have sex,” he said matter-of-factly.

“Really!?” Ellie said excitedly, while JB merely gave Jack a wink.

“Yeah, it’s partially to assuage your programming to have sex with me, but mostly to test out JBs sexual systems,” Jack explained, “Just an FYI, he may or may not be fully functional,” Jack warned.

“It’s okay, I look forward to helping test him,” Ellie said, trying to look dutiful.

“Good, then the both of you lay down and unseal yourselves,” Jack ordered.

Both silently complied, laying on the tables and unsealing themselves. Jack made quick work of swapping them, now that he was more comfortable with the previously impossible procedure. Once they were back in their bodies, he reactivated them and gave them room to hop off onto the floor.

“Alright you two, are you ready?” Jack asked them.

They both nodded, excited for what was about to come.

“Alright, then you know where to go,” Jack told them, pointing at the room Jack usually “tested” his new employees in, “I’ll be watching on the CCTV in case anything goes wrong,” Jack told them.

“And to get off on it,” Ellie smirked.

“Perhaps,” Jack admitted with a blush.

“Well JB, want to help keep me from pestering Jack for the next few weeks?” Ellie said with an impish smile.

“I don’t believe that’s what I was originally built for, but yes,” JB said, “He secretly wants to, but he’s just too reserved,” JB then admitted.

“Hey!” Jack complained.

“What, it’s true,” JB shrugged.

“I knew it,” Ellie fist pumped.

“Just get in there and have sex,” Jack said, his face growing redder as the conversation continued.

JB and Ellie merely giggled as they rushed off into the “testing” room.

Chapter Eight: Looking ahead

While JB and Ellie engaged in several rounds of sex, Gabby had decided to return to the house and prepare dinner. It had, after all, been a trying day, and Jack certainly deserved a well cooked meal.

Jack wasn’t just watching JB and Ellie’s activities, however, he was mainly monitoring both their wireless feeds to detect any errors, paying closer attention to JBs feed. After all, if Jack ever did have to transfer his consciousness into JBs body, he wanted to make extra certain it was fully functional.

Still, it did serve another purpose. While it was not JBs intended function, it did help to keep Ellie off his case about having sex with him. Also, while this Ellie was just an android copy of the real thing, Jack could tell this Ellie was a bit lonely…perhaps, once Jack had finished testing JB some more, he might keep JB online for a more permanent basis to serve as Ellie-Bot’s boyfriend or something.

Jack had to laugh at that prospect. His somewhat promiscuous cousin had sent him an android in her image to seduce and assist him, and he built an android in his image to essentially mate with it.

In any event, the inclusion of Ellie-bot in his life certainly made things more interesting, and, if she became too attached to JB, Jack could always just build a new Jack-bot to transfer himself into, and then make the original one his twin brother or something.

It certainly was something to think about in the coming year, but for now Jack just wanted to focus on the last few weeks of this year.

Jack hadn’t really given them any instructions or suggestions on how long they should engage in sexual activities. But, before too much time had passed, they finally stopped and then stepped into the shower together to clean up before presenting themselves to Jack for examination.

“Hmmm, I guess they’re more like us than I give them credit for,” Jack mused, thinking that that’s about how long he might’ve had sex with Gabby before throwing in the towel. Still knowing his own habits, as well as Ellie’s, he figured he had roughly ten minutes to continue compiling the sexual data from their experience.

While Jack was working on the data, he suddenly realized that the data could be used to further improve the female models sexual systems, since for the first time he had data from a male one. Before he could think on it further, he heard JB and Ellie returning from the testing room, so he saved his work for later.

“So guys, how was it?” Jack asked.

“It was great!” Ellie squealed, jumping up and down with excitement as JB gave a subtle nod and sigh.

“And how about you JB?” Jack asked, “How was it?”

“It was really good, actually,” JB admitted, “she’s much more maneuverable in bed, apparently.”

Jack laughed at that, though Ellie looked confused, not having heard JBs assessment earlier.

“What do you mean?” Ellie asked.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you earlier, but I had to activate JB before you since I had forgotten to install a patch in your A.I. core,” Jack explained, “He got to try your body out for a couple minutes before we finally activated you in his body.”

“Oh,” Ellie said with a slight look of disappointment, “Well, trying out your body still makes up for it, so I don’t mind,” she then said with a smile.

“Good,” Jack said, looking a bit relieved, “Now, I know I have the dump files from your sexual experiences, but did you guys experience any issues in there…at all?” Jack asked.

JB nodded his head, “No Jack, I functioned exactly as you would have in the same situation,” he replied clinically.

“Perhaps he did,” Ellie interjected, “But then in that case, maybe you should program Gabby with some new techniques that she can teach you to program into JB here,” she said, “While the sex was great, it was rather simplistic,” she finished delicately.

“Good to know,” Jack said, fighting a blush.

“Aside from that, he performed well…at least well enough to keep me off your case for a few more weeks,” she added slyly.

“Well, then there’s nothing left for me to do but thank you two for the wealth of data you provided me,” Jack told them, “In the meanwhile, I’m going to keep you in a state of deactivation while I review your activity logs,” Jack told JB.

“Okay,” JB said dutifully.

“Aw, do you have to?” Ellie whined.

“Don’t worry Ellie, it’s just for the next few days,” Jack assured her, “At least until I can make sure JB truly is functioning properly.”

While Jack was assuring Ellie, JB had already laid down on the table he had been activated upon and patiently waited for Jack to deactivate him. Seeing that JB was ready, Jack approached him and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll turn you on some more tomorrow.”

“I know,” JB said, since he knew how Jack thought.

Jack nodded knowingly and then activated the deactivation sequence behind JBs right ear. JB smoothly shut down as though he had fallen asleep, a difference Jack had programmed into him, since he thought it odd that the normal ones shut down immediately.

Once JB was completely shut down, Jack covered him up with a cloth and then turned to Ellie. “Well, if you want to eat the lovely dinner Gabby’s cooking, you might want to get dressed,” Jack suggested, pausing to admire Ellie’s body.

“Oh,” Ellie said, seeming to have forgotten she was naked, “I suppose I should,” she smiled with a hint of programmed embarrassment showing on her face. She quickly walked to where she had discarded her clothes earlier and redressed. “Feel better now?” she asked.

“Hey, I don’t mind seeing you naked,” Jack told her, “But I don’t want you to be naked all the time.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Ellie sighed, “So, now what?” she asked.

“What do you mean?” Jack asked.

“Well, you took control of the motel, and you built the café, and fine-tuned the staff in each, myself included, so now what?” she asked.

“To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it too much,” Jack admitted, walking over to his work area and collapsing in his chair; the stress from the day finally caught up to him, and he found he was exhausted.

“Well, if I might make a suggestion, perhaps you should wait a year or so before adding any new staff…or properties,” Ellie said, plopping onto the empty examination table.

“Well, I sort of already came to that decision,” Jack told her, “Though I have given some thought to acquiring some alternates to occasionally give some of the girls a break from time to time,” he mused, “probably just Kat, Rakhee, Amber, and Serriah, since they’re the ones who are most active on a day to day basis,” he added.

“That might be a good idea,” Ellie nodded.

“Aside from that, I’m going to use all the extra money to dish out some awesome upgrades next Christmas,” he continued, “I’ve already got this year’s planned, but they’re mostly maintenance related…nothing special.”

“Anything for me?” Ellie asked excitedly.

“A few things,” Jack shrugged off, still lost in thought, “But, perhaps with your help, I can come several steps closer to making Gabby more humanlike,” Jack said, “That’s still my ultimate project and goal…even more so than JB’s creation was.” As Jack said that, he absently grabbed the glass of illegal pheromones that they had extracted from Amber’s body.

“Oh, I see,” Ellie said with a knowing look.

“Exactly,” Jack smiled, “And I also saved the base programming of the Mark IV personality files I removed from Amber as well, as well as the sleeper programming from Luiza.”

“Well, with that concoction, I’m sure you can come up with some interesting improvements for her,” Ellie smiled.

“I hope so,” Jack smiled back. But, before the two of them could get started on anything, Gabby buzzed them that dinner was ready.

“Well, dinner calls I suppose,” Jack shrugged.

“Don’t worry, we’ve still got a few weeks before Christmas,” Ellie assured him.

“You’re right,” Jack said, giving Ellie a surprise kiss before taking her hand and walking with her to the door.

As the two of them headed to the lift into the house, Jack’s terminal remained on, still compiling all of JBs sex data, as well as the data labelled: Gabby’s Christmas present.


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Closed for Christmas - The Shop | The Repair Shop - Part 1 | Off-season - The Motel | The Repair Shop - Part 2 | Slow day - The Cafe | The Small Business - End-of-Year Review