Vicki's forehead furrowed deeper. She still could not get the numbers in the Wilson account to reconcile. Sighing, she pushed a lock of her long black hair out of her vision, rolled her chair to the other end of her cubicle and went back to the ledger sheets.
"C'mon, Vicki, it's getting late. We need to be done for today." Sam, Vicki's administrative assistant 'bot, was standing behind her, looking over her shoulder. "It's after 5pm."
"I know, but I really need to get this finished. Can't you help?"
"Um, no, not really. I need to, no, we need to-"
"WE, missy, need to get this done. Aren't you supposed to be my assistant? So assist already!" Vicki spun her chair around and shouted at Sam, planting her feet on the floor as loudly as she could in her sensible heels while waiving her uncovered arms in the air, causing her sticky, sweat-soaked cream colored blouse to bunch up and come untucked from her skirt.
The chocolate skin of her flat stomach was now exposed just like the tops of her ample breasts were spilling out of the top of her blouse; she always liked lower cut blouses anyway, and after lunch she had caught the top button on a filing cabinet drawer and it popped off and landed somewhere. Neither she nor Sam could find it. She had to remove her blazer later that afternoon after the stress of getting this project finished kept getting to her as her perspiration soaked through all of her layers.
She now looked as disheveled as she felt. The distress on her face was evident, her cheeks flushed and her nostrils flared.
Sam shuffled her feet, stepped back from Vicki and sat in her chair on the farthest point from Vicki in the small cubicle. She crossed her legs while she used her hands to keep her short skirt from riding too high, then crossing her arms defiantly across her chest and forcibly looking up at the company poster on the cubicle wall, ensuring she made no further eye contact with her boss.
"Damn it! Why does this have to be so fucking complicated!" Vicky muttered to herself as she spun her chair back around. She picked up her desk phone and started dialing. There better be someone there, she thought, even though it's after normal business hours.
"Hello, help desk."
"Yeah, hi, this is Vicki, up in accounting?"
"Yes, hello Vicki. This is Mark. What can I do for you?"
"Sam, my ast-bot? She's refusing to help me finish a project."
"You are working on a project right now? After hours?"
"YES!" Vicki counted to three and settled her voice. "Yes, I am. I'm trying to finish up an account before leaving."
Vicki heard clicks on the other side of the phone. "Ok, well, Vicki, can you put me on speaker?"
"Sure." Vicky punched the required button and hung up the receiver. "Can you hear me?"
"Yes, I can." replied Mark over the speaker phone. "You are in cubicle 712 on the 4th floor, right?"
"Yes, that's right."
"OK, good. Attention. All units in cubicle 712, report: status, load, power. Execute."
Sam turned her head towards the phone. "Sam reporting. Status: on-line. Load: 0.16. Power: 6%." she then looked back at the poster, apparently still trying to peeve Vicki.
Vicki nodded. That power number seemed low, but the other info seemed reasonable.
"Vicki, are you still there?"
"Yes, I'm here."
"OK, I'm not sure what the problem is, but I'm going to come up and take a look. Let me grab my tools and I'll be there in just a few minutes."
"Sounds great, thanks!" She picked up the receiver and dropped it, hanging up the call. She turned back around and went back to her ledger sheets.
After a few minutes, a young man in faded jeans and a t-shirt from some rock band Vicki had never heard of appeared at the entrance to Vicki's cubicle.
She turned around and smiled, breaking her facial expression; she was expecting someone at least a little better dressed. "Hello. Mark?"
He offered his hand. "Yes, I'm Mark." She took it in a short handshake.
"Hey, Mark." Sam said dismissively. She was still staring at the poster.
Mark walked past her and set his small bag next to her on the counter. "So, working late, huh?"
"Well, don't let me bother you. I'll be done in just a second."
Vicki nodded again and went back to her ledger sheets, turning her back to Mark and Sam.
Mark started whistling to himself as he rummaged through his bag looking for the right tool.
"Do you mind?" Vicki said, not looking up from her work. "I'm having a hard enough time as it is."
Mark stopped whistling. "Attention Sam, perform emergency recharge procedure. Execute."
Sam stood expressionless and walked out of the cubicle.
"Great, that's a big help." Vicki sneered, never taking her eyes off of her work. "I suppose you are going to help me finish this account?"
Mark didn't reply; he had finally found the tool he was looking for: a long screwdriver. He turned towards Vicki and, in a well practiced motion, jammed the screwdriver into her left ear. A loud click came from somewhere within her head, and a beep came from Mark's hip pocket. Vicki continued to work on her sheets, not giving any indication that she noticed what Mark had done.
"Vicki, are you, um, feeling OK?"
"Why do you care?" she replied.
Mark paused for a second and pulled out a small palmtop computer from his hip pocket. He noted the screen now showing a 'bot in command/maintenance mode and he poked the screen and selected Vicki. A second screen popped up, showing her status as on-line, her load at 2.15 and her power at 12% and showing various menu buttons for modes and programming. Clicking through the menus, is showed Vicki in 'Autonomous' mode running the 'Accountant' programming package, which was the normal working mode for the accountant 'bots in the office. He selected the menu item to change Vicki's mode from 'Autonomous' to 'Passive'. "Vicki, please stand up for me." Even though he was dealing with a 'bot, he figured it never hurt to be polite.
"No, I can't. I have to finish this project."
That was unexpected. Mark knew she should have followed the command in passive mode. He looked back at the palmtop. It still showed her in 'Autonomous' mode. He tried to change her to 'Passive' mode again. Nothing changed.
"Either go fix Sam or help me finish this project," Vicki stated, now fanning herself with one of the sheets, "If you are going to just stand there playing with your pocket pal, you can do that somewhere else." By her tone, she was pleased with her demeaning joke.
Mark now knew this was a bigger problem than he thought. He pulled his phone from his pocket, dialed a number from memory and stepped out into the cubicle hall.
"Help desk, Alice here."
"Hey, Alice, it's Mark."
"I have a customer who is resisting my help. Can you get to my open tickets? This one is for Vicki."
"Yeah, I got it."
"She didn't respond to voice commands after she called me."
"She called you, right?"
"Yes, she called me." Company 'bots are programmed to respond to help desk technicians verbal and electronic commands without question.
"Did you screw with her head?"
"And no change in behavior."
"Really? Nothing? She should have gone straight to maintenance mode."
"Yeah, I know, and using the wireless link doesn't seem to work, either."
"Did you try the wireless before or after you screwed her head?"
"After, but that shouldn't have made a difference."
"Have you tried to open her up yet? It sounds like she'll need some major work."
"Um, well, no, it's still sleeping. I really didn't think it'd approve if I tried."
Alice was silent and befuddled, too.
Mark broke the silence. "It only has three modes, and none of them are working."
"So the wireless is working, just no mode changes?"
"I can get feedback and status reports on the wireless, so yeah, it looks like the wireless is working."
"What about her other programming?"
"What about it?"
"Did you try changing that?"
"What good would that do other than confuse the Hell out of it? It is still sleeping, you know."
"It might give you access to try to open her up. If she's not noticing a screwdriver sticking out of her head-"
"Right. I get it. Either way, I'm going to need a cart. Can you send someone up?"
"I'll be up in a sec. Bye."
Mark put his phone away and went back into Vicki's cube.
Mark didn't answer. He selected the programming options menu and started looking for something promising. He selected one: Spouse. Clearing his throat, Mark tapped her on the shoulder. "Honey?"
"Who the Hell are you calling 'Honey'? I don't think my husband would take kindly to that." Vicki said condescendingly, still was shuffling papers, but with less purpose now, just going through the motions.
Mark sighed. He'd missed a step. Going back to the palmtop, he went into the settings menu and chose himself from the drop-down of human acquaintances. Hitting 'OK', he tried again. "Honey?"
"It's time to be done for the day."
"Just a sec, dear. I'm almost finished."
Mark put the palmtop back in his pocket and stepped behind her chair. He reached down and started massaging Vicki's shoulders. Her skin was hot to the touch.
"Mmmm, that feels nice." Vicki moaned, leaning back in her chair.
Mark moved his hands downward under her blouse and across her chest, gently gripping her breasts through her bra. Damn, he thought. She's sleeping deep to have a bra on.
"Mark, honey, not here. Can't it wait until we get home?"
Mark didn't reply. He was fumbling with the front clasp of her bra, finally releasing it. Her breasts barely sagged even though that they were unconfined.
"Damn, Mark, someone could catch us!" Vicki complained, but there was no action behind it.
Mark undid the top two remaining buttons of her blouse and peeled the soggy garment off of her shoulders and past her ribcage. Her breasts now free completely, he grabbed both nipples firmly.
"Oh, fuck Mark," Vicki dropped her hands to her sides.
Steadying himself against the back of her chair, he pulled sharply out and away from her body. Her chest cavity split down the center, her breasts flopping outward on the hinges under the skin. The white plastic rib cage was now exposed along with the plastic sheeting which protected the inner components. Mark flipped the now exposed red switch in the center of Vicki's sternum. Vicki froze, the only sound from her the cooling fans which were running full speed.
"Hey Mark. Did you shut her down?" Alice was at the opening to the cubicle, pushing long cart. Like the rest of the techs, she was dressed casually, wearing tennis shoes instead of heels, tight shorts instead of skirts and a baby-doll t-shirt instead of a blouse and blazer.
"Yep, just finished." Mark stood and spun the chair around, showing Vicki's open chest cavity and sensual facial expression.
"Wow. She's a hot one for sure." Alice stepped into the cubicle and grabbed Vicki's feet. "Ready?"
Mark hooked his arms under Vicki's armpits. "Ready." The lifted in tandem and gently laid Vicki on the cart. Since there was no one else on the floor, they didn't bother to cover her or even put a sheet on her. Alice just wheeled her down the hall into the freight elevator. Mark stayed behind and cleaned up his toolbag and followed, reaching the elevator just before the door closed.
"So, Alice, you got plans tonight?" Alice hit the button for the first floor, where the help desk and maintenance bays were.
"No, just planning to head home. Why, groping Vicki get you all worked up? You know I don't date co-workers."
Mark's head dropped slightly and he nodded.
They rode in silence until they reached their floor. Alice pushed Vicki's cart into the open slot in the row of maintenance tables. Only one other table was occupied, containing a female abdomen and leg assembly still dressed in a mini skirt and stockings. "Hey, check this out." Alice called out to Mark who had just gotten back to his desk.
"What? Did you find something? I was just about to log out for the night."
"I think I found the culprit." Alice grabbed a pair of tweezers from the nearby tool tray and reached into Vicki's open chest. She pulled sharply and presented her findings to Mark, dropping in it his outstretched hand.
"Yep, that would do it. Just rattling around loose, huh?" he replied as he examined the blackened metal button which matched the others still attached to Vicki's blouse.
Alice nodded. "Who knows what kind of havoc that thing was wreaking." She walked passed Mark to her desktop station.
"So, you don't want to get a bite?" Mark asked while pulling his palmtop out of his pocket again. He punched a couple of buttons and it beeped.
"I told you, I don't date co-workers." Alice was leaning over her chair and logging out of her workstation.
Mark stood behind her, working on his palmtop.
"What's so interesting on there?" Alice asked as she turned and saw Mark's palmtop in his hand.
"Nothing; just logging out. So no dating co-workers?" he replied as he put the palmtop away in his pocket. "That's good to hear from my wife."
"Of course no dating; it's too late for that. I'm already taken." Alice smiled as she looped her right hand under his left arm and into his back pocket, forcing herself to be hip-to-hip with him. "So, where to tonight?"
Mark pushed his left hand into the back of her pants and grabbed her ass playfully. "I dunno. I thought about working late."