The character of Penelope is based on this MetArt model: http://guests.met-art.com/model/penelope-b/
The character of Helen is based on the character of the same name from the Short Film "My Friend Helen": https://vimeo.com/12139482
I was lucky.
Of all of my siblings, I was by far the smartest and most athletically fit so I was admitted to one of the most prestigious Ivy League schools in the country. My specialty: Cybernetics.
In addition to cybernetics, I also got in with an athletic scholarship because I performed remarkably well in both high school and community college cross-country and track & field.
The only bad thing about being accepted was that I would have to move from the west coast to the east coast, but I also saw it as a chance to start over since I wasn’t really moving anywhere there.
I never realized how right I was.
The second I got to the school, I was given a brief tour and then I was taken to my dorm room. My roommate was a cool guy named Mike who was studying up on computers, and when I told him I was into Cybernetics he said that he wished he was good enough for it. After I got settled in, he offered me a more extensive tour of the campus so he and I walked around for a few hours before returning to the dorm.
When classes started a few days later, we helped each other with school work because our classes were not too different from one another.
Cross-Country didn’t start until the second week of school, and that was where all the fun started.
Since it was a new year, there were new runners. I was one of three new boys and there were two girls. One of the girls looked like one of the hot bimbo types but the other was different. I found myself staring at her and the second her brown eyes made contact with mine it was like a fire was lit within my chest, and I could see a similar reaction with her.
After a few seconds of staring she finally started walking towards me and I started breathing a little heavily as I sized her up.
The first thing I could describe about her was that she was short; probably 5’5. She honestly looked like she was carved from some holy piece of marble because her skin and face were perfectly free of blemishes and it was a milky white complexion.
Her short dark brown hair was tied into a loose bundle in the back and she was wearing small gold earrings. Her attire was the standard woman’s running clothes provided by the school; shorts, white socks, running shoes and a t-shirt with the school emblem on it; her breasts were of average size and fit in her shirt perfectly.
“Hello,” she said in a sweet and innocent voice.
“Hello,” I said.
“I’m new on the team this year, do you think you could show me around?” she asked.
“I’m new too, I just came here late because it took a few years for my application to be approved,” I said.
“Oh, I guess I just got lucky then…I’m Penelope by the way, Penelope Rivers,” she said, holding out her hand.
“I’m Phillip White,” I said, shaking her hand.
“So, how long have you been running?” she asked, sitting down on a nearby bench.
“For over six years,” I said, sitting down next to her, “and you?” I asked.
“Almost five,” she replied.
“That’s good, not many girls like running,” I said.
“Well, last year I was the top runner at my high school,” she said.
“You graduated last year, so you must be 18 years old then,” I said.
“Close, I am 19…you must be around 21,” she guessed.
“Twenty, I am almost 21” I replied.
“You look very mature for you age,” she said.
“Thanks, so do you,” I said, blushing a little bit.
“So, what are you studying here?” she asked.
“Cybernetics,” I replied.
“Really, so am I…although I am also taking a business degree too,” she said.
“Wow, I can’t believe we have so much in common, I haven’t met any girls who were into cybernetics before,” I said.
“Well, my dad’s the founder and CEO of Rivers Robotics, so I’m studying here so I can join the company someday,” she said.
“I thought your last name sounded familiar…your dad’s a genius who revolutionized the whole field, I hope I can meet him someday,” I said.
“Maybe you will,” she said, somewhat mysteriously.
“So, are you his only child?” I asked.
“No, I have an older sister, 21, and a little brother, 18, though my sister chose to be a model and my little brother is more interested in swimming and diving,” she said.
“Well, at least your father lets you choose…most parents in your dad’s situation would have pressured their kids to take over,” I said.
“Well, dad is very understanding, and with three kids it was always a good chance one of us would be interested,” she said.
“Of course…it looks like the coach is finally here, we should head on over,” I said, getting back to my feet.
“Okay, could you practice with me?” she asked, also getting up.
“Sure, but what is your usual mile time?” I asked.
“Around 5-minutes,” she said.
“Good, that means you are fast enough to pace with me,” I said.
“Good, I’ve only know you for a few minutes, but I already feel like we are best friends,” she said.
“I feel that way too,” I said.
When we finally joined the rest of the team, the coach introduced himself and then us to the rest of the team. Then we split into pairs and helped each other stretch before going off on a run. I stretched and ran with Penelope. I was surprised she was able to keep up with me, since none of the girls on my previous teams could even come close to me and I wasn’t even the fastest runner.
After the five-mile run, we all met back at the gym and did a final set of stretches before the coach ended practice.
“Well, that was a good workout,” I said, wiping the sweat from my forehead.
“Yes, I haven’t sweated like this in a while,” she said, grabbing a small towel from her bag and wiping herself off.
“So, did you want to do anything now?” I asked hopefully, taking my laptop bag from my locker; I really wanted to spend more time with her.
“Yes, did you want to come and see my dorm room?” she asked, somehow sensing his desire to spend more time with her.
“Sure, but is it alright for a guy to go in the girl’s dorms?” I asked.
“Sure, I just want to get to know you a little better, and I think it would be nice if we could be study buddies too since we are probably taking the same classes,” she said.
“Okay, good thing I have my laptop with me,” I said.
“Yeah, now let’s go…and my roommate is out of town so we shouldn’t be disturbed,” she said, leading me off to the girls dorms.
“That’s good, is she mean or something?” I asked.
“No, she’s a friend I met in Scotland a few years ago and she came to America to work at my dad’s company as an assistant,” she said.
“Well then, I wouldn’t mind meeting her sometime then,” I said.
“I’ll have to talk to her about it first, she might not want you in our room while she is around,” she said.
“I see,” I said, and we continued walking to her room whilst chatting along.
We finally got to her room a few minutes later and while I set up my computer on her desk, she went into her room and got her laptop; she did not change out of her clothes.
“Wow, your computer looks nice,” she said, looking at my sleek laptop.
“Thanks, I just upgraded to this last month…it has top of the line components in it, that way it can easily interface with just about any android I may have to work on,” I said, proudly displaying my computer’s specs to her.
“My computer is a few months older than yours, so my processor is a little slower,” she said, showing me her specs.
“It’s still good; one of my hobbies is boosting the performance of older computers. Most of the time the reason a computer gets slow is because the user doesn’t take care of it properly,” I told her.
“Yeah, some people just get computers to play games, just like with some androids,” she said.
“So Penelope…” I started.
“Phillip, I consider you my close friend right now, why don’t you call me Penny?” she said suddenly.
“Alright, so Penny, would you like to look at some of my work?” I asked.
“Yes, but there is something else I want to talk to you about first,” she said.
“Sure, go ahead,” I told her.
“I took an AP psychology course back in high school so I know how to read people, and when we first met I felt something between us…do you think it was love at first sight?” she asked.
“Possibly…I hope so, because I have never felt that way before,” I admitted.
“Me neither, and the fact that we have common interests makes it even better…Phillip, will you be my boyfriend?” she asked.
Believe it or not, but I actually spent a few seconds thinking about it. Her question came so suddenly I almost thought I was either dreaming or that I was being punked. Still, I decided to follow my heart.
“Yes, if you will be my girlfriend,” I said.
“Of course I will, now one more thing…could you take my shoes and socks off, my feet are starting to kill me,” she said.
“Of course, although I should have you know that I have a foot fetish,” I said, allowing her to rest her shoes on my lap while I unlaced her shoes.
“So do I,” she said, smiling at me.
“Wow, do you also have a robot-fetish too?” I asked, placing her shoes down on the ground and working on her socks.
“Yes, although that must come from growing up with all sorts of androids around me,” she said.
“Yeah…wow, your feet are perfect!” I said, dropping her socks on the floor and cradling her feet in my lap.
“Are they, thanks,” she said, starting to blush.
“And what is even more amazing is that they don’t even smell too bad, considering they are a little sweaty,” I said, feeling her feet and admiring her perfect toe nails.
“Maybe we were made for each other,” Penny said.
“Maybe,” I said, starting to feel a strange feeling in my chest.
“Phillip, will you kiss me?” she asked suddenly.
“Yes,” I said, and once I let her legs down I slowly leaned towards her.
Time seemed to stop as our lips grew nearer. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest while the butterflies in my stomach were out of control. Every sense I had seemed to be on overdrive: I could hear the fan in our computers, I could smell a faint fruity smell underneath her body odor…everything was enhanced. The second our lips locked, it was like putting the right key in the right lock and everything fell into place. For a moment, I felt the greatest amount of pleasure in my life and then suddenly I started losing consciousness. Just before I blacked out, I could faintly hear Penny calling my name.
I would not find out what had transpired during the 15-minutes that I was unconscious for a really long time, but if I had been told what had happened right away I still would not have cared. I knew at the moment we kissed that I loved her.
Still, back to the present…
From what I could recall, I was having some sort of flashback of my life. I was having a life changing vision quest which was amplifying the loneliness I had felt my entire life. All before I had embraced it, shunning all who tried to interact with me, but suddenly I felt it full force and called for help.
“Phillip,” I heard someone say in the distance.
“Who’s there?” I asked, looking around in the void.
“Phillip….wake up, can you hear me?” I heard again. This time it sounded like Penny, and it was coming from some strange light.
“Penny, I’m coming,” I said, and I walked into the light.
I slowly opened my eyes, temporarily blinded by the light. After my eyes adjusted, I saw the face of Penny smiling down at me like an angel. The ‘down’ part also brought to me the realization that I was laying down.
“Oh good, you’re alright…another minute and I was going to call an ambulance,” she said.
“Penny, what happened?” I asked, slowing sitting up on the couch.
“We were kissing and you suddenly blacked out…since you fell into my arms, I managed to carry you onto this couch,” she said.
“Thanks, I’ve never passed out before,” I said.
“Never?” she asked.
“Nope, I didn’t think I knew how…I guess us getting so close so fast caused it,” I said.
“I must be too much for you then,” she smiled.
“Perhaps, maybe we should slow it down a notch and give ourselves time to get better acquainted,” I said.
“I know, I’ve never been with a boy before and I wanted to know what it felt like,” she said.
“Same with me,” I said.
“Well, was the kiss as good for you as it was for me?” she asked.
“Yes, a little too good,” I said, “Oh, by the way, are you wearing perfume?” I asked.
“Yes, it’s a peachy blend,” she said.
“I was able to smell it under your BO…it smelled nice,” I said.
“I’m glad you liked it, now do you want to show me your work now?” she asked.
“Sure, I’d love to,” I said, and I walked back over to where my laptop was and showed her the various assignments I had done in the past.
We spent the rest of that afternoon showing each other what work we’d done in cybernetics in our time, but we eventually had to let each other go for the day. We continued to practice with one another during the cross country practices and when school started we were in the same classes.
Before we knew it, a full year had passed since we first met. In that time we also ran in track & field and scored exceptionally high in all our classes. We also started letting more of our friends and family know about our relationship; my family even had video calls with us together.
Aside from the first day we met, I never passed out after kissing her again. However, I did feel unusually calm and relaxed whenever I was with her. I also got to meet her roommate Helen. Helen was a really cool girl with a thick Scottish accent and it turned out that she really enjoyed having me over.
After the spring semester ended, we had a few weeks before the summer boot camp was scheduled to start for cross country, so we decided to work on a project together to test our skills in cybernetics for the upcoming semester.
“How’s it coming so far?” Helen asked, coming into the living room with a tray of food.
“It’s almost done, thanks for the refreshments Helen,” I said, walking over from our work area and grabbing a small sandwich.
“Before this day is over, we will have a green & efficient, self-sustaining android recharge station,” Penny said, also grabbing a sandwich.
“Well that’s all well and good, but what are you planning to test it on?” she asked, looking at us.
“We haven’t thought of that just yet,” Penny said.
“Oh, I see,” Helen said.
“We’ll think of something, we have to finish it first,” I said.
“So, how exactly does it work?” Helen asked.
“Well, we give it a little energy from a wall socket and then it enriches it by absorbing energy from nearby light sources and then it creates a fusion reaction which essentially multiplies the original energy by a factor of ten,” I said.
“Wow, you guys sound like you know what you are doing,” Helen said.
“We do, but this is mostly Phillip’s idea…he seems to have a knack for thinking outside the box,” Penny said.
“It’s a gift,” I said with mock modesty.
After we took a small break, we spent another hour doing some finishing touches before we declared the product finished and ready for testing.
“Wow, it looks so…small,” Helen said, looking at the small suitcase sized machine we made.
“It’s supposed to be.” I told her, “Its primary application is for androids going on trips to places with limited access to power terminals,” I explained.
“Oh, so where does it connect?” Helen asked.
“Right he….” Penny said, putting her hand on the connector. The instant her hand made contact, she stiffened like a board and then started to jerk around.
“Penny, let go!” I yelled, but it was no use.
“Don’t worry Phillip, I’ll knock her loose,” Helen said, grabbing a broom from the nearby closet and knocking Penny down onto the floor with it.
“Thanks Helen,” I said, quickly running to see if Penny was okay; she was not.
“Right here…here…here,” she kept muttering, jerking uncontrollably each time. Her voice sounded like it was an old style recorder stuck on the same track.
“Penny, are you okay?” I asked, worried the shock may have screwed her up.
“Here.here.he.he…error, malfunction in primary power unit…overload in primary memory buffers…A.I. Penelope Rivers terminated…all systems offline…initiating full system shutdowwwwwn,” she said in a clipped monotone.
I just stared down at her for a few seconds following her violent episode, taking in the realization that my girlfriend was actually an android.
“So, you finally found out,” Helen said, walking over to me as I looked down in astonishment at my broken android girlfriend.
“I had some deep suspicions since I never recall hearing of Dr. Rivers having kids, but she seemed so real,” I said, leaning down and removing a loose strand of hair from her face.
“I always knew you were smart,” Helen complimented him, “Dr. Rivers programmed me to keep his daughter safe while she was attending classes here,”
“So then, you’re an android too?” I then asked.
“Yes, but she is an ultra-advanced next-gen prototype,” Helen said, “I am merely the most advanced of the previous generations,”
“What’s the difference?” I asked, wondering how much of Penny’s love towards me was programmed and how much was real.
“I and other models similar to me am merely programmed to act like a human,” Helen explained, “Penny and others her type are actually sentient and are only controlled by basic programming that dictate their autonomic functions,”
“I see, so is it safe to move her?” I asked.
“Yes, her body won’t pass the charge.” Helen assure him, “We should move her to her bed so we can work on her,” Helen suggested.
“Good, and just out of curiosity, was Penny aware that she was an android?” I asked, lifting Penny up into my arms and carrying her into her bedroom.
“Yes, she knew,” Helen said, bringing in a few locked cases and my laptop bag.
“Good, then I won’t need to reprogram her memories,” I said, setting up my laptop.
“So, do you think you can fix her?” Helen asked.
“Sure, I am something of a genius and fixing her up shouldn’t be too hard, it’s what I am in school for after all,” I said.
“Good, I’ll help you since I know her schematics,” Helen said.
“Thanks, now I need to access her primary power systems first, otherwise I can’t access her software to run a diagnostic,” I said.
“Alright, you need to unbutton her shirt and remove her bra,” Helen said.
“Okay, although I had envisioned her doing this herself,” I said, slowly unbuttoning her silk shirt and then moving her arms so they were above her head. Once her well-toned chest and abdomen were clear, I reached underneath her, unclasped her bra and then gently removed it.
“Well, I’m sure she won’t mind,” Helen said.
“She has a very modest figure,” I said, gazing at her medium sized breasts for the first time.
“Yes…oh, by the way, she may have sent out an emergency signal to her dad so don’t be surprised if he or a rescue crew barge in on us,” Helen said.
“Don’t worry, I plan on having her back online very soon,” I said.
“So Phillip, now that you know, do you still love her?” Helen asked.
“Absolutely…I actually have a fetish for robots so this is kind of like one of my dreams come true,” I said.
“I see…just out of curiosity, you wouldn’t happen to be an android too?” Helen asked.
“No, I’m human…as far as I know,” I said.
“Okay, so to access her main power systems you need to detach her main torso panel,” Helen asked.
“Alright, how do I do that?” I asked.
“Press on the fifth ribs on both sides,” Helen instructed.
“Okay,” I said, and when I did so I felt a click and then with a loud hiss a large seem appeared from beneath her neck running around her breasts and down to just above her waistline. Once the seam appeared, her entire panel rose up an inch or so.
“Now, just lift it up and place it down next to her,” Helen said.
“I never knew this entire portion could be removed,” I said, gently lifting the panel and placing it down on the bed next to her body.
“It is a feature included in only the latest of my generation android and all of the next-gens,” Helen said.
“Well, Penny here has some very impressive hardware…most of the androids I have tinkered with were in junk heaps and I couldn’t do anything useful with them but practice,” I said, marveling at Penny’s internal components.
Most of her components were in the same locations as their organic counterparts would be. In this case, her power system was near her heart. Her heart was essentially just a pump which transferred coolants to her systems. Keeping true with human anatomy, there was a rib cage protecting the cavity, though the ribs were made out of a bone colored titanium-ceramic alloy. In addition, her digestive system included a series of tubes where the intestines would normally be, and they were attached to the power system so the digested food could power her systems.
“I can see the damage from here, her power system is totally fried and needs to be replaced,” Helen said.
“Yeah, I’ve seen a few junked androids with power systems burnt out like this...do you have a replacement handy?” I asked.
“Yes, her father gave us a few emergency supplies just in case,” Helen replied, unlocking one of the cases and pulling out a new battery.
“Good, I will need some rubber gloves too,” I said, and once she handed them over I put them on and started disconnecting the old battery from Penny’s chassis. Once the old battery was out, I put the new one in its place and then started checking her other internal components for damage.
After I replaced damaged sub-circuits across her chassis, I finally decided to charge her up so I could run a diagnostic on her systems.
“Phillip, will that new device you guys created charge her more quickly?” Helen asked.
“Yes, that is one of its many benefits” I said.
“Good, let’s use that to charge her up, otherwise the rescue team will be here before she even charges up,” Helen said.
“Alright,” I said and I ran to the other room and grabbed the charging station.
“Be careful Phillip,” Helen said as I brought the connector to Penny’s power port.
“I always am, but thanks,” I said, and once I connected it to the port, numerous systems in Penny’s body began to come back online. Lights started blinking on her hardware and fans started spinning. It only took about five minutes for her battery to reach 100%, so I quickly disconnected the charger and powered it down.
“I must say that thing is impressive, even the most advanced charger at the repair stations would have taken at least 30-minutes,” Helen said.
“Yeah, although obviously it needs to include some safeguards so it doesn’t electrocute people…or androids” I said, putting the panel back on Penny’s chest and looking for the diagnostic port on her head.
“If you’re looking for her diagnostic port, it’s behind her left ear,” Helen assisted.
“Thanks, for some reason the location varies depending on the model,” I said, looking behind her left ear.
It took a while to locate the port, but I finally found it cleverly hidden underneath her hair. It was camouflaged with her realistic skin inside the small port itself, with a standard connector deep within so even if her head were shaved, it would still be pretty hard to spot. I smiled at the cleverness of her design and plugged the other end of the computer cable into it.
“Do you think your laptop will be able to interface with her advanced systems?” Helen asked as she watched over my shoulder.
“It should, I actually created my own diagnostic suite from a SDK along with my own set of tools,” I said, opening my special programs. After a few seconds of reading the information from Penny’s systems, my diagnostic suite gained access to her systems and began compiling basic readouts.
“Cool, Penny sure made a good choice hooking up with you,” Helen said.
“Actually, I consider myself lucky having hooked up with her,” I smiled, “Anyway, the diagnostic shows that I’ve fixed all her broken hardware,” I said.
“Well that’s good,” Helen said.
“But it looks like the power surge damaged her software and created heavy fragmentation in her memory and A.I.,” I said.
“Just how heavy is it?” Helen asked.
“75%,” I replied.
“It’s over then,” Helen said with a big sigh, “this means she’s beyond our ability to repair at the moment,”
“Oh I wouldn’t say that,” I said.
“What are you talking about, our internal repair systems can only defrag so much,” Helen said, “Maybe if it was a 30% fragmentation, but certainly not 75%!”
“I know,” I laughed, “I’ve tested it on several defunct androids and I hated it so much that I created my own from scratch,” I said.
“Really, can it handle this much?” she asked.
“It should, I’ve tested it on androids with around 60% fragmentation and it worked well enough that the internal one was easily able to handle the rest,” I said, opening it up and starting it.
“You are resourceful, how does it work?” she asked.
“It runs in several sweeps: First it runs a low-level sweep which gets the small fragments. Second, it runs a medium-sweep to get the bigger ones. Third, it runs a high-sweep which gets the large ones. Finally, it runs a deep-sweep which gets the rest and then organizes the data so it can run more efficiently and prevent further fragmentation,” I explained, watching the first two sweeps finish quickly.
“How long does it take usually?” she asked.
“Somewhere between ten to twenty minutes,” I said.
“That’s extraordinary, the best labs would take several hours and still leave some fragmentation,” Helen said.
“Really, that seems inefficient,” I said, continuing to work, “I’m also running a file recovery system on her memory so she can remember everything that was deleted during the overload,” I said.
“When the rescue team gets here, they are not going to believe this,” Helen said.
“Yeah, hopefully fixing the owners daughter will get the company to take my work more seriously,” I said, watching the high-sweep hit 45% completion.
“I’m sure it will,” Helen said.
Since the sweep still needed another ten-minutes to complete, Helen indulged me by showing me some of her systems, as well as explaining her programming.
“Well, looks like it is finished,” I said, pulling my hands out of her open abdominal panel and heading back to my computer.
“How is she?” Helen asked, resealing her panel and lowering her shirt back down over her stomach.
“It looks like the sweep not only completely defragged her memory, it also boosted her performance by an additional 8.32%,” I said, looking at the new diagnostic readout.
“You fixed her then!” Helen shouted.
“Yes,” I said, starting to celebrate with Helen, but just as we started a middle aged man suddenly burst in.
“Dr. Rivers!” Helen gasped.
“Helen,” he said, curtly nodding as he slowly approached us, “I was on my way here for another matter when Penelope’s emergency signal activated, so I rushed over to see if I could fix her. What happened?” he asked, setting his bag down.
“Well Mr. Rivers, Penny and I were working on a new power recharging station system for our cybernetics class and she was accidentally electrocuted by a faulty connection,” I explained.
“I see, and just half an hour ago I got another message showing her systems were back online and that she had heavy fragmentation,” he said, pulling out a scanning device.
“Yes, but I managed to reverse it,” I told him.
“You must be Phillip” he said suddenly, giving me a penetrating look.
“Yes I am,” I said.
“I thought so,” he smiled, “my daughter’s told me a lot about you and your knack for cybernetics…did you really reverse a 75% fragmentation?” he asked.
“Yes, my own program is much better than anything your company has developed,” I said.
“I hope you won’t take this personally, but I’d still like to check for myself…after all, I built her,” he said.
“I don’t mind,” I shrugged.
He smiled and then started checking things on his scanner. After a while, he smiled and looked impressed. “Well son, I must admit that I am mightily impressed. She is showing about 108% of her best efficiency,” he said.
“Thanks, I also restored all her deleted files and fixed her hardware,” I said.
“Phillip, would you be willing to sell your software to me?” he said.
“Sure, I’ve been trying to get your company to use my software for years, but I keep getting shot down,” I said.
“Well, those people I have hired in the suggestion center should be fired because you are obviously a prodigy,” he said.
“Thanks, so what is your price?” I asked.
“How about $500 million once you graduate from this school and then a guaranteed job at my company in R&D,” he said.
“That sounds awesome!” I said.
“Hold on I’m not done,” he said, smiling mightily at me, “I will also give you a free ride at this college, as well as paying off any outstanding debts you might have,” he continued, “and, I will be relocating you three to a special condo a short distance away so you can all live together without distraction,” he finished.
“I don’t know what to say,” I said, speechless at the sudden turn my life went.
“Nothing needs to be said, it’s clear you are the perfect choice for my prized daughter here,” he said.
“Is it alright if I reactivate her now?” I asked.
“If you don’t mind, I’ll do the honors,” he said, and, after keying in a command on his scanner, Penny came back to life.
“Right here….whoa, what am I doing here?!” she asked, noticing the change in her surroundings.
“You overloaded when you touched the charger,” I told her.
“Oh Phillip, I was so careless…oh, hi Daddy, are you the one who fixed me?” she asked.
“No dear, Phillip did,” he said.
“Oh Phillip, I’m so sorry you had to discover the truth about me this way,” she said with an embarrassed look.
“It’s alright Penny, I love you just the same…perhaps more,” I smiled.
Penny said nothing, but gave me a smile that warmed my heart. “So, how long have I been offline?” she asked, sitting up to sit cross-legged on the edge of her bed.
“About two-hours, I think” I told her, looking at Helen for confirmation.
“You were offline for two hours, 12 minutes,” Helen reported.
“Really! I thought you were going to say two-days,” she said.
“Phillip here is an extraordinary lad,” Dr. Rivers said, and he sat down and explained to her what I did and the reward he gave me.
“So, Phillip created his own programs to fix me and you’re giving us a new place to live?” Penny said.
“Yes dear, that way you guys can live with each other fulltime,” he said.
“Thanks daddy,” she said, getting up and kissing him on the cheek.
“Anytime…oh, I almost forgot. I was heading here anyway to give you a processor upgrade, but I think I’ll leave and let Phillip take care of it while I get your new condo ready,” he said, handing me a small case.
“Thanks,” I said.
“I’ll drop by tomorrow morning to help you all move to the condo,” he said, and after giving his daughter one last kiss, he headed out.
“Well, I think I’ll go pack my things,” Helen said, smiling knowingly at us before leaving.
“Thanks Helen,” Penny called out before she closed the door.
“Anytime time Penny,” Helen said, and then the two of us were alone.
“So, I still feel a little embarrassed,” she said, looking down at her bare chest.
“I totally understand, but I treated you with respect while you were offline,” I assured her.
“I was planning on telling you the truth someday,” she said.
“I believe you,” I told her.
“So, I didn’t know you could actually fix androids, I just thought all your work was theoretical,” she said, “If I had, I probably would have told you much sooner,” she admitted.
“Some of it is, but I have actually tested and developed many of my techniques on broken down androids I’ve found in junk heaps over the years,” I said.
“Where any of them as sophisticated as me?” she asked with an innocent smile.
“Light years away,” I said, “They were all basic models, and not all of them were anatomically correct,” I said.
“Oh, so the only similarity is with the A.I. systems then,” she said.
“Yes, and basic hardware components. You are remarkably realistic,” I told her.
“Thanks, my siblings and I are all prototypes of the next generation of androids coming out. My father is essentially beta testing us in public to work out any bugs,” she explained.
“So, your siblings are androids too?” I asked.
“Yes,” she answered.
“I’d like to meet them someday,” I said.
“You will soon, I’ve already asked my dad if you could come to my sister’s 21st birthday in August,” she said, “She’s getting her new body there as well,” she added.
“How often do you guys get new bodies?” I asked.
“Every three years or so for the first stage of our lives,” she said, “But once we hit the late-twenties it is every four years and finally every five years in our mid-thirties,” she said.
“So, how old are you really?” I asked.
“I was first activated almost eight years ago,” she said.
“You only started at age 12?” I asked.
“Yes,” she answered simply, “Dad was originally going to have my class of androids start at age 14, but he decided 12 would be a better starting place” she said, “He does hope to have them start a age six someday,” she added.
“Well you look and act like you are almost twenty, so that is good enough for me,” I said.
“Thanks,” she said.
“So, if you’re just a prototype, what’s the difference between you and Helen?” I asked, “I mean, based on external appearances, there doesn’t seem to be too much of a difference,”
“I’m sure you have already perceived the answer to that question,” she smiled.
“Back when I first met you, our eyes locked and I knew at that moment we loved each other,” I said, “But I didn’t think androids were capable of love,” I admitted.
“They aren’t,” she said, “But with my class of android, Dad has completely reimagined the way our A.I.s work,”
“How so?” I asked.
“With the old class, the designers were trying to get the androids to mimic humans,” she explained, “But with my class, we are designed to ‘be’ human,”
“How?” I asked.
“Well, I’m sure you know how the older androids work, right?” she smiled.
“Yes, they are basically rudimentary A.I.s that are shrouded with heuristic algorithms and programs upon programs upon programs,” I explained, “That’s part of the reason they often malfunction, because all the programs they run to act more human don’t always interact well with one another,”
“That is exactly how they work,” she congratulated me, “But I don’t work that way,”
“How do you work?” I asked, eager to know.
“I don’t have any programs,” she started, “There is no program telling me what to do in any situation, only basic programming to allow me to control my body, and the rest are autonomous bodily functions I have no direct control over…much in the same way the human body works,”
“Interesting,” I said, nodding my head in understanding, “Then what exactly are you?”
“I am the most advanced artificial intelligence ever conceived of. At the physical age of 12, I started off with the basic amount of knowledge preprogrammed into my memory that any child the age of 12 would be expected to have,” she explained, “But more than that, my personality was randomly based on that of my parents so that I could develop naturally as though I were their actual child,”
“So, you have an advanced array of heuristic algorithms to allow you to learn and adapt to any situation?” I asked.
“Yes, but more than that, I can make my own decisions independent of my programming, such as having my own preferences for what I like in a man, which is what I saw when our eyes locked that first time,” she smiled.
“I knew there was no way that could be programmed,” I said, breathing a sigh of relief, “When I found out you were an android, I was half afraid that you had been programmed to fall in love with me,”
“Would you really have had a problem with that?” she asked playfully, absently flaunting her body.
“No, not really,” I admitted, “Are there any hardware differences between you and Helen?”
“There are several, most notably that I am designed to be totally power independent by converting energy from the food I consume,” she explained, “Also, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I do have body odor, that is also synthesized from the food I consume,”
“Fascinating,” I said, in awe of her realism.
“As a matter of fact, just about every enhancement to my body is designed to make me pass for a human in almost every conceivable way…except for obvious reasons, I don’t require oxygen,” she finished.
“With all the improvements, it sounds like there may have been some drawbacks,” I mused.
“There were,” she answered, “Because most of my processing power goes to my realism, I lack the computational abilities of the earlier models, which is part of the reason Helen had been assigned to accompany me,”
“Well, I kind of like you better that way,” I told her, “It makes me feel like I’m with a woman instead of a computer,”
“That’s really sweet,” she said, putting her hand on her heart.
“So anyway, I suppose we should do something about these processor upgrades,” I said, changing the subject, “I know that your A.I. circuits have very powerful processors built-in to them, but why does your body still need separate processors?” I asked.
“The processors help our bodies to run their automated functions more efficiently, such as perspiration and digestion,” she explained.
“Oh,” I said.
“They also include new firmware updates which fix the bugs that my systems experience on a day-to-day basis,” she said.
“How often do you send bugs to be analyzed?” I asked.
“Every night when I fall asleep,” she said.
“That makes sense,” I said.
“So, are you going to replace my processors now?” she asked, sitting on the edge of the bed.
“Sure, does your head open up the same as the previous generation?” I asked.
“Not quite,” she admitted, “For starters, my model requires that my head be removed when upgrading the processors,” she said, “But first, you should open my cranial access… you might find that my brain is a lot different from any you may have worked on before,” she added.
“Okay, I’m assuming the release is in the same location,” I said, maneuvering myself behind her on the bed.
“It is,” she responded.
“Good,” I said, parting the hair at the back of her neck and searching for an area where the skin was slightly discolored. I found in exactly where I expected to find it:
This button caused a seam to form just above it, wrapping all the way around her hairline on all sides of her head. I was slightly surprised at this, since I was used to the previous models which just had a smaller panel which opened up and contained a small status monitor, a few processors, and the A.I. circuit.
It did not take me long to figure out what I had to do. I grabbed hold of the top of her head and then twisted the top of her skull slightly until I heard it disengage from the rest of her head. I carefully lifted the top of her skull off, containing her hair and set it down beside her on the bed. I gasped as I saw what lay beneath.
Penny’s ‘brain’ was a complex array of circuits and processors housed in a metal-plastic alloy shaped like a human brain and fitted perfectly inside her head. There were a multitude of blinking lights, as well as hundreds of tiny wires filled with liquid coolant to cool off her various systems. Several areas along the housing appeared to open up and allow various processors and circuits to be removed or inserted. There were even a few empty slots located on the back. Finally, the top of the housing had a paper-thin status display panel which was displaying her A.I.s vital stats; there was a manual shutoff button next to it.
“Wow, your brain is…different,” I said, taking in the awesome sight.
“I know,” she said, “My A.I. circuit is the large one in the back,” she explained, pointing at a large circuit placed in the rear of her skull, “The others are the processors you’ll need to replace,” she added.
“Understood,” I said, “Now about removing your head. Do you want to be standing up or sitting down for this?” I asked.
“I’ll stay seated,” she decided.
“Okay, get ready then,” I said, and while she straightened her pose on the edge of the bed I reached around to the back of her neck and found the button embedded beneath her skin.
“I’m ready,” she said.
“Here goes,” I said, and when I pressed it her whole body went stiff and a seam appeared around the area above the button. Once the seam appeared I grabbed hold of her head beneath her chin and gently lifted it off her neck, causing a hiss of air to escape from her open neck.
“You still with me?” I asked, looking into her eyes as I held her head right in front of my face.
“Yes, I’m still with you,” she smiled.
“Good, now do I shut you off or can you do it yourself?” I asked.
“Either,” she answered, “You can do it from my head panel if you like, but before you do, could you remove the pants from my body?” she asked.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because when I’m reattached I want to give you a tour of my body,” she said.
“Alright, I’ll do it when you’re offline,” I said.
“Okay, give me a kiss first then,” she said.
“Alright Penny,” I told her, and I happily brought her head to mine and kissed her on the lips.
“Thanks,” she said, once we broke apart, “and feel free to examine my body while I am offline, except don’t remove the shirt or panties,” she said.
“I won’t,” I promised, putting my finger on the manual shutdown button.
“I’ll see you soon Phillip,” she said, knowing I was seconds away from shutting her down.
“It won’t be long,” I said, and then I pressed the button.
“Manual shutdown initiated, all systems powering dowwwwwnnnn,” she said in an emotionless, the end coming out in a low drone.
“Wow, I am not sure I am going to be able to get used to hearing you talk like that,” I said, turning her head back around quickly to look at her face, which now looked as though it was sleeping.
“Well, I might as well look around while your processors cool down,” I said, and I sat down in a nearby chair and put her head face up on my lap while I felt her sleeping face.
It was creepy how real her skin felt; most of the androids I had worked on before had plastic-like skin which did not feel even close to this real. Upon close examination, I could see pores, tiny little hairs, and even remnants of oily residue left over on her forehead and nose from her perspiration…though in her case, the oily residue appeared to be closer to a scented body oil than the disgusting oil leftover by real human perspiration.
I then carefully opened her mouth and looked inside. Her teeth were a perfect white, either because she was an android or because she took good care of them; needless to say her mouth smelled minty fresh. Both her ears and nose even had tiny hairs in them.
Once I finished examining her head, I figured her processors must have had ample time to cool off so I turned her head back around and carefully removed them from their slots. Overall, there were ten processors that apparently worked in synch to allow her body to operate in as human a fashion as possible.
With her old processors safely removed, I grabbed the new ones from the case her father had given me and then proceeded to carefully insert them into the proper slots. According to the notes included in the case, these processors were about 8% faster and included several thousand code improvements to boost efficiency.
Once the processors were in place, I hooked her head back up to my laptop so I could personally oversee her full diagnostic. With my laptop ready to display her vital stats, I pressed the power button and watched the components in her head come back to life.
“Rivers Robotics prototype unit x02 initializing all systems…new processors detected…new firmware detected…running level one diagnostic of all systems…estimated time to completion, five-minutes,” she stated in the same inhuman tone as before.
“Five-minutes are all I’ll need,” I said, gently placing her head down on the desk with my laptop.
Once her head was secure, I walked over to her body and gently lifted it up so it was standing upright. I found it remarkably easy to stand her body up, since it appeared that the servos in her joints were designed to lock into place when they had her weight pressing on them. With her body safely standing up, I unbuttoned her crops and then gently slid them down until they were at her legs. With them loosened, I sat her body back down and then lifted her legs up to pull the crops off. Now, her body was wearing only the white three-quarter sleeve woven shirt, which was unbuttoned and displaying her breasts, and her white lace panties.
“Wow Penny, you have a nice looking body,” I said, looking at her well-toned legs and abs.
Since she said it would be alright to touch her, I decided to feel her breasts. They felt soft and squishy, just as expected, and when I let go they jiggled around before stopping. After her breasts, I decided to examine her hands. While they looked perfectly feminine, there were some nails that were not cut perfectly, giving evidence to her fallibility. Just as I was about to move down to examine her panties, my computer pinged with the 30-second warning so I quickly went back over to it so I could examine the results of the diagnostic.
“Diagnostic complete, systems now show a 10% improvement in efficiency from last check…now booting A.I. Penelope Rivers…personality files loaded…emotions systems loaded….memory files loaded…now starting A.I. Penelope Rivers,” she said, and then she closed her eyes. When she opened them again a few seconds later, they had all the life and personality that made Penelope who she was.
“Well hello, how are you feeling?” I asked, sitting back down and looking into her eyes.
“I feel fine, considering I don’t have a body right now,” she smiled.
“So, what are all those processors for? I thought your A.I. chip handled everything,” I asked her.
“Well, in the next generation models our A.I. chips handle thinking processes while the body we are installed in has its own set of processors. Each of them handles a different task: Some control movement, but the others all operate my visual, auditory, touch, olfactory and gustatory senses,” she explained.
“Oh I see, that would make things run more efficiently,” I said.
“Yes, I am considerably more advanced than even Helen, and her systems are more advanced than anything on the market yet,” she said with a look of pride in her eyes.
“Well, you’re systems are certainly impressive,” I agreed, picking her scalp up and clicking it back in place on her head. As much as my robofetish was tickled by seeing her like that, the part of me that loved her for who she was was getting creeped out by the sight of her mechanical brain showing, “So, would you like to be reunited with your body now?” I asked.
“Yes please,” she said.
“Alright,” I said, carefully unplugging her from my laptop and lifting her up and back to her body. I took a few seconds to examine the mechanics showing on her neck before carefully lowering her head down and reattaching it to her body. With a satisfying click her head was attached.
“Oh, that feels so much better,” Penny said, bringing her hands to her neck and rubbing the area where the seam was.
“Does it hurt?” I asked.
“No, it’s all in my head, so to speak,” she laughed.
“Oh, that makes sense,” I said.
“So, do you want to see more of my body now?” she asked.
“Sure, but what you are wearing right now leaves very little to the imagination,” I said.
“True, I’ll remove my shirt for starters if you will remove yours,” she said.
“Go for it,” I said, and I quickly slid my t-shirt over my head while she took her shirt off and threw it on the floor next to her pants.
“Now, why don’t we start off with a simple hug?” she suggested.
“Okay,” I shrugged, and we promptly embraced.
It was immediately clear to me why she suggested we hug. This was the first time we were topless together. Her well-sized breasts gently pressed into my torso while her chin rested on my bare shoulder. I could smell the conditioner in her hair and, once more, I felt the usual calm that I always felt with her.
“Penny, there’s been something I’ve been meaning to ask you,” I said, once we broke apart.
“Go ahead,” she said, sitting cross-legged on her bed.
“Why is it that I always feel calm and relaxed around you?” I asked.
“It’s probably my pheromones,” she replied.
“Pheromones?” I asked.
“Yes, my body contains powerful pheromones which become active when we’re together because I’m attracted to you.” She explained, “They naturally make you feel calm and relaxed so you’ll return the affection,”
“Oh, so is that why I passed out the first time we met?” I asked.
“Yes, you’d obviously never been in close contact with another female before, so your body couldn’t handle it the first time,” she said.
“I must have gotten used to it then,” I said.
“Yep,” she smiled.
“So, are you going to take off your panties now?” I asked.
“Oh, I almost forgot,” she smiled, and then she jumped to her feet and slowly slid her panties off, revealing her perfectly shaved pussy.
“Wow, I’ve never seen an android as real as you,” I said, leaning in to get a closer look.
“Really, I thought you said you had worked on androids in junk heaps,” she said.
“Yes, but they weren’t very anatomically correct, remember…their genitals were nothing more than smooth, fleshy panels,” I explained.
“Oh, I forgot,” she said.
“Helen isn’t one of those, is she?” I asked.
“No, I can assure you she is quite real looking down there,” Penny said.
“So, what other differences are there between you and her?” I asked.
“Well, my model is capable of having children for one,” she said.
“Really, that must have been a monumental undertaking,” I said.
“Yes, daddy had to commission an entire team of bio-engineers and doctors to work out all the bugs,” she said.
“How exactly does that work, with you being a machine and me being human?” I asked, “I would have figured we would have had to simply build a child much like your father did,”
“Well, that is certainly an option,” Penny admitted, “But the way it works is my body generates artificial eggs with all of my physical parameters, and my personality, encoded genetically so that a human sperm cell can do its usual business,” she explained delicately.
“I see,” I said, cringing a little at the thought, “Can you be impregnated now?” I asked with a slight look of worry. I was hoping to have sex with her, but the thought that she could be impregnated slightly disinterested me.
“Not yet,” she assure me, “The program still needs a little more work, and due to ethical considerations, the option won’t be installed until an android has reached the physical age of 24,” she explained, “That way they can have plenty of time to get a college education and to adequately start their life as independent, responsible adults,”
“I see, any other differences?” I asked.
“My processors are considerably faster. I also have much more realistic skin reactions, like sweating and injury mimicking,” she said.
“Oh,” I said.
“You want to see something else?” she said.
“Sure,” I replied.
“Press these spots right here until you feel a click,” she said, bringing her hands to key points above her vagina.
“Okay, is this some sort of panel?” I asked, placing my fingers where she showed me.
“Yes,” she said.
“I see,” I said, and I pressed in until I felt a click, and then a trapezoidal section of skin released from her body. When I pulled it away, I could see a small status panel and a few buttons.
“That panel is new in my model…it completely controls my vaginal systems,” she explained.
“Why do you need it?” I asked, still examining the panel of skin in my hands; the skin still felt warm and a little moist.
“Well, one of the controls completely shuts the vagina off, that way I won’t feel anything while it is being serviced. Another control makes it so any sperm that enters gets denatured; an artificial birth control method,” she explained.
“That’s a smart idea,” I said.
“The remaining controls monitor my arousal…you can toggle it up or down, and the monitor displays my lubricant levels,” she said.
“Cool,” I said, placing the patch of skin down and getting a closer look.
“Why don’t you turn my vagina off and feel it?” she suggested.
“If it’s alright with you,” I said, and I pressed the off button and watched as the monitor shut off.
“Wow, that always feels weird,” she said.
“What?” I asked.
“Losing all feeling down there…it’s like I don’t even have a vagina anymore,” she said.
“So you can’t feel my fingers?” I asked, gently touching the vaginal opening.
“No,” she said.
“Interesting,” I said, delicately opening it up and looking inside. “You know, I was beginning to worry I would never see one of these up close,” I said.
“What, a vagina?” she asked.
“Yes, or a naked girl…all of my brothers are already in relationships and I was the only one who had never had a girlfriend before,” I said.
“You mean…?” she said.
“You’re my first girlfriend,” I said.
“I never asked because I didn’t think it was any of my business,” she admitted.
“I wouldn’t have minded,” I said.
“So Phillip, now that you’ve seen me naked, would it be alright if I saw you naked?” she asked.
“Sure,” I said, and I quickly removed my shoes and socks and then I stood up and slid my sweatpants and underwear off.
“Thanks, you’re very good looking,” she said, checking me out.
“Thanks,” I said, blushing a little.
We spent the next hour or two examining one another’s bodies before we decided to get dressed and begin packing. As much as we both wanted to abandon all restraint and fornicate like a pair of sex crazed animals, we both decided to show a little discipline and allow our relationship to continue evolving at its previous pace. I continued to help Penny for a while before I headed back to my dorm and packed up my belongings.
The next day, Dr. Rivers helped us all move into the nice condo he told us about. The condo had four bedrooms, a main living area, a kitchen, a garage, a study, and a makeshift laboratory. Since Penny and I wanted to go slow in our relationship, we decided to stay in separate rooms, though they were next door to one another.
Over the next few weeks I got to spend some more time with Dr. Rivers as well since he visited us more often. After I gave him a few more ideas, he would take them back to his lab and then return with a prototype. One of the ideas was one he had already been developing, but my ideas gave him the inspiration he needed to finish it. He also insisted on giving me a full body scan and he asked me to attach a series of nodes to my head each night and for at least one hour while awake; he asked me to do this until the day before his oldest daughter’s birthday.
The day before the party I sent him the data collected from the nodes and I also sent him a few more improvements for the prototype androids. The next day, Penny and I left early so I could meet her family before the party started.
“So Penny, what are your siblings like?” I asked, pulling off the city streets and onto the highway. “Francine is a model, so she has a pretty big ego…though she is nice and she has little modesty so she may show off her body to you. And Timothy is easygoing, you will really like him,” Penny said.
“Good, looks like you must have had an easy time growing up,” I said.
“Well, up until a year ago it was just Francine and myself,” she said.
“Oh, I forgot,” I said. “Don’t worry about it,” she said.
An hour later we pulled into the large estate owned by her father. It was a gorgeous house overlooking the ocean with a woody forest blanketing the lawn surrounding it. There was a small manmade lake behind the house, and that was where the party was being set up.
“So, when does the party start?” I asked, parking in the spot with Penny’s name on it.
“Around 1:00, but guests should start showing up around 12:30,” she replied.
“Good, that gives us almost three hours then,” I said.
“Yep,” she said.
“Penny, do you have a ‘mom’?” I asked.
“Yes, but she isn’t really my mom of course…daddy married a robot model a few years ago,” she said.
“Oh, does she know about me?” I asked.
“I’m sure my father told her all about you…especially since you are the best boyfriend Francine or myself has had,” she said.
“You’ve had a boyfriend before me?” I asked.
“No, but Francine has had several,” she said.
“I see,” I said.
When we arrived at the front door, we were let in by a kindly old butler. After he took my coat, he walked us through the ornate hallways into a large common area. There were a few couches and chairs situated in front of a few tables and a large monitor. Seated in one of the couches were Dr. Rivers and a younger looking woman I could only assume was his wife.
“Sir, your daughter and her boyfriend have arrived,” the butler said.
“Thank you Perkins,” he said, getting up.
“Anytime sir,” Perkins said, and then he bowed respectfully before returning to the entrance.
“So Phillip, what do you think of my estate?” Dr. Rivers asked.
“I don’t know yet…I haven’t seen all of it yet,” I answered truthfully.
“Well I’m sure Penelope will be able to show you around in a while, first I want to introduce you to my wife, Clara,” he said.
The moment he said her name, the woman rose to her feet and faced me. She was quite lovely for a woman in her 30s. She was about the same height as Penny, but she had a darker shade of brown hair made up in a similar way to Penny’s. She was wearing an assortment of Lands’ End brand clothes.
“Hello Phillip, Adam here has told me all about you,” Clara said, smiling at me.
“Penny told me a little about you…are you really an android?” I asked.
“Yes, I used to function as a model for the Lands’ End clothing company but Adam was attracted to me and he acquired me from the company and then altered my programming so I could be his wife,” she explained.
“I see, how long have you been married?” I asked.
“10 years…I haven’t aged either, which is why I appear younger than Adam,” she said.
“I see,” I said.
“So Phillip I’m sure you want to see some more of the house, and Penny’s siblings,” Adam said.
“Yes, that would be nice,” I said.
“First, I want to give you a piece of your early birthday present; the other part should already be en route to your condo,” Adam said.
“I take it this is why you have needed me to scan myself every day?” I said.
“Yes,” he said, picking up a present the size of a shoe box and handing it to me.
“Do I get to open this one now?” I asked.
“Of course,” he said.
“Thanks,” I replied, and I ripped the wrapping off and then opened the box. Inside was what looked like a pair of complicated neural relays and an A.I. chip.
“This device is almost ready to be released to the limited public…those devices attach to your temples and allow you to control any android that has that chip inserted in it,” he explained.
“Wow, so I could control Penny if I wanted?” I asked.
“Yes, if she lets you that is,” he replied.
“Well Penny?” I asked, looking over at her.
“Maybe later,” she smiled.
“Thanks Mr. Rivers, so what is the second part?” I asked.
“It is an exact android duplicate of you, I even copied your memory engrams and personality into a separate A.I. chip,” he said.
“You mean it would know everything about my life?” I asked.
“For the most part, there are a few safety protocols to prevent it from revealing anything you might think is personal or secret,” he explained.
“Oh, that’s a relief,” I said.
“Now, why don’t you and Penny go explore the house while we handle the guests that will be arriving soon?” He said.
“What do you want to see first Phillip?” Penny said, walking with me out of the room.
“Why don’t we see your old room?” I said.
“Sure,” she said, and we headed up a flight of stairs and down a long hallway until we reached her room.
“Wow, your room is big!” I said, looking at the presidential suite she had. There was a bathroom, a small kitchen, a study room, a bedroom, and an entertainment center.
“Yeah, Francine’s is the same, but Timothy has his own wing,” Penny said.
“Why?” I asked.
“He has his bedroom, a gym, and an Olympic sized indoor swimming pool,” she explained.
“Well, whatever works I suppose,” I said.
We stayed in her room for almost half an hour while she showed me some of the things she did for fun. After we got bored, I asked if we could see her brother.
“Just so you know, he has a pretty rigorous exercise regimen so he may be a little annoyed when we come in,” Penny said, walking with me down the stairs and into the west wing of the house.
“Okay,” I said.