Love is an upgrade by heimian

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Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:30 pm

Love is an upgrade by heimian

Postby Extyr » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:01 pm

This is a repost of a story I found here a few months ago. The link is now broken and I had to do arcane web magic to find it and reassemble it, so I thought I should repost it here.

Love is an upgrade

It's been a long day. Long week. Hell, it's been a long year.

My name Denric (Dennis + Eric, my parents were indecisive), and I'm drinking alone. I'm not getting drunk – not yet at least. I'm just trying to dull the pain for a while. Sometimes it's enough to forget. Not tonight. There's a beautiful lady across the room, and she seems to want to catch my eye. Well, I've seen her, and I don't want to think about it.

She's beautiful by any standard – medium height, nice curves, red hair curling down to the middle of her back, beautiful smile. But more than that, she seems tailor-made to appeal to me; a living incarnation of my fantasy girl. For whatever reason she keeps looking my way. I'm not unattractive – average height, average build, blessed with naturally broad shoulders, a body that is not yet showing the recent lack of a healthy lifestyle. But I'm clearly sending out "Don't disturb me" signals. A year ago, I would have already sent her a drink. Or even walked over myself to see what might happen. But I can't bring myself to care right now. Not after losing the most unique woman to ever exist.

And that's not an exaggeration. There really had never been anyone like Cassidy. Not in all of history. She was the first – and only – of her kind.

********

It started with roaches. No, really. Roaches. I couldn't seem to get rid of them. I had just moved into town, found a reasonable apartment that looked good on the tour, and now I found I was sharing it with an endless supply of roaches. Baits, traps, sprays, ultrasonic plug-in devices – and the pernicious bugs still kept showing up in my cupboards. I'm not a slob, but I don't have the inclination to do all the cleaning that seems to be needed in an apartment that is to be pest-free.

So I started looking around at maid services. And that led me to crunching numbers on hiring a weekly service versus buying a domestic bot. Once I put it in those terms, a bot made more sense. They'd been on the market long enough for the major bugs (no pun intended) to be worked out, and I didn't need all the bells and whistles of the expensive models. It didn't need to be life-like, have Derma (realistic synthetic skin for bots), or perform any functions other than cleaning. One basic model bot would cost me about the same as 3 years of weekly in-home cleaning services. A bot was guaranteed for 5 years. The choice was clear. And even it cost a little more than I had on hand at the moment, I could consider it a belated Christmas gift to myself.

I placed my order online and awaited delivery. Three days later I was unpacking my new domestic bot and hooking it up to my home network. It was a very basic form – no need even for clothing. It wasn't a sex-bot (I didn't have the ridiculous funds for those features), so there were no realistic body parts below the neck. I had gotten a promotional deal that gave "her" a passably human face, but beyond that she was little more than a life-sized Barbie doll. I called it a "she" because it had a slight chest swell that resembled breasts. I didn't recall specifying a male or female model, but maybe the domestic bots were all "girls." Figures.

While she booted up, I opened my work computer and started working my way into the network of the company that had sold her to me. It was well-protected, but my job is to discretely obtain data for companies wishing to be competitive, so I know my way around a lot of security systems. I'm paid as an "IT Consultant" or "Network Security Contractor," but basically I'm a corporate hacker. My purchase gave me the option to activate several upgrades at extra cost. Since that was the case, I knew the upgrades would be somehow accessible online for those who could work their way through the system.

It took about 6 hours – which is not as long as I've spent on some other systems – but I finally found a backdoor to the upgrade menu. There wasn't a lot I could get without upgrading the mechanics of my bot. I knew my way around the code, but I wouldn't have the first idea how to change the wiring and structure. I found a bookkeeping function, a cooking function, and a personal trainer function. I quickly downloaded them to be installed later – after I'd ensured the upgrades would work after being "questionably acquired." As I backed out of that menu, I saw something that raised red flags in my mind. It was one of those things that I couldn't even put into words, but something didn't look right. So of course, I looked closer. I probably spent another two hours trying to figure out what was off about it before getting too frustrated to continue. Besides, I was hungry and my bot was ready to be activated.

Not wanting to give up on an unsolved puzzle, I copied the whole folder (labeled "Project Shelley") onto a partitioned drive and left it for later. I could be fun to chip away at in my free time.

Booting up the bot was anticlimactic – it was about as interesting as activating a new phone. I had to activate voice commands, input personal data, confirm purchase codes, blah, blah, blah. Then I had to give her a guided tour of the apartment, giving specific instructions on how I wanted things to be cleaned. I ordered a pizza for dinner and watched my new bot walk around the apartment. She began cleaning, pausing every few minutes to ask clarifying questions. The instructions had told me to expect this the first few times. Once my dinner arrived, I ate and continued to watch her clean. It was oddly mesmerizing.

I realized I was already thinking of her as a person – feeling self-conscious about passing gas in her presence, shutting the bathroom door when I peed, things like that. As for her, she never acknowledged my presence except when she needed to ask me something.

"Excuse me, sir," her almost-human voice asked, then waited for a response.

"Yeah, what is it?" I replied, smirking at the simple-minded devotion she showed toward her duties.

"I see evidence of cockroaches in the kitchen. Do you wish for me to contact an exterminator?"

I chuckled. Roaches. That's what had started it all. "Not yet," I answered. "Let's first see if a clean kitchen is enough to discourage them from sticking around."

"Understood, sir. You do not wish for me to call an exterminator."

"That's right."

After two hours of watching her clean, I was ready to sleep. My body hadn't been very active, but my mind was exhausted. The bot wasn't done cleaning, but I wanted her plugged in overnight to try out the new upgrades. I called her back to her port, plugged her in and marked a restore point, in case the upgrades didn't work right. Then I queued them up to install. By the time I was finished, I felt like my mind was on autopilot. I was really ready to sleep – so ready that I passed out in my day clothes without even getting under the covers. I smiled at the thought that, by morning, I would have a basic model bot with $8,500 worth of upgrades. I had no idea that, by morning, I would actually have something else entirely.

********

The first hint that something was wrong was that the upgrades weren't done installing. I had slept almost 8 hours and the damn things were still in process. I was even getting an error message that memory space on the bot was critically low. What the hell? The three upgrades were relatively minor, there should be more than enough room to... Oh, shit.

Installing upgrade 4 of 4.

The blinking message rebuked my carelessness from the night before. I had dragged the three upgrades over, yes. But I had also dragged the mystery folder – Project Shelley – into the queue. That would explain the extra time and memory space. I should have just canceled. But I didn't. I was curious. Besides, I had a restore point, didn't I? So before I made my own breakfast, I pulled out some memory cards and worked on connecting them to her system. Of course the makers of my bot want you to only buy their style of memory cards, but I eventually found a workaround. I managed to triple her memory.

That should cover it, I thought, then went to make breakfast. A little later, after putting my dirty dishes in the sink (and reminding myself that I no longer needed to wash them), I went to see if she was done. To my surprise, her memory was again low and the installation was not complete. I dug up a few more cards and connected them to the system until she had eight times her original memory. That seemed to be enough, and the display informed me that in two more hours, installation would be complete.

I wasted an hour scrolling through the news, but after a while, feeling the need to get out and stretch my legs, I determined to take a short jog while I waited. It was January in Pittsburgh, but there were no clouds in the sky and it felt good to be outside. As I made laps around my block, I wondered what project Shelley would be. Given how deep it was buried and how many walls I had to dig through to get it, it had to be something expensive. Top of the line sexbot programming? A waste of time and space for my bot without the relevant components. She could maybe give a handjob, but I shivered at the thought of her coarse body material rubbing me like that. Military bots? The idea was always being batted around, but it was still too problematic. Wasn't the Secretary of Defense some lady named Shelly? If it didn't work on my bot, I could still pick away at the code and try to get an idea what it was about. There were whole sections of it I hadn't even touched yet – stuff I didn't recognize at all.

The more I jogged and the more I pondered, the more I started to worry about what project Shelley might actually be doing to my bot. Of course there would be security protocols when it started up. At worst, it would attack me or blow up my apartment. But most likely, I had just wasted a day. Worse things had happened.

I was actually a little hesitant as I opened my apartment door. To my relief, everything seemed as I had left it. The bot was still at her port. The display screen blinked a new message.

Installation complete. Restart required.

I initiated the restart and went to shower. When I was finished, I walked down the hall, naked except for a towel around my waist, and checked on the bot. I was getting hungry, and that could be a good test of the culinary skills upgrade. When I walked into the room where she was plugged in, her head turned quickly to face me. Her eyes, which normally started vacantly ahead when not working, this time ran up and down my body several times before looking ahead again. I disconnected her from the port and said, "Can you make me some lunch?"

At first, I was met with silence, which worried me. Then she started to stand, slowly. If she had been human, I would have said she seemed nervous or uncertain. Once standing she turned her head and looked at me again. "What would you like... sir?" she asked, the "sir" sounding forced or tacked on.

"A sandwich would be fine," I said, not wishing to try anything too complicated on the first go-round. "Grilled ham and cheese. With onions. And a little mustard."

"Grilled ham and cheese with onions and a little mustard," she repeated. But what struck me as odd was that her eyes continued to look all around the room, even as her body went into motion to carry out my command. I shrugged, figuring things would normalize soon, then went to get dressed.

By the time I had my clothes on, the sandwich was almost ready and a place was set for me at the table. The bot waited on me as I ate, refilling my drink and cleaning up the kitchen when I was done. I asked her to take inventory of the kitchen and to generate a shopping list.

"I have already done so... sir," she answered. Once again, the "sir" sounded odd, different from the day before. I made a mental note of that, but was willing to let these glitches sort themselves out in time. For now, it seemed at least the culinary upgrade was working. I'd have to try more elaborate dishes later.

"Is your financial services upgrade functioning?" I asked, leaning back in my chair.

She paused a moment. "Yes," came the reply. "It seems to be functioning. Would you like me to begin managing your personal finances..." There was a long pause, several seconds, during which the bot seemed frozen in place, its jaw twitching, until it finished the question with another, "sir?"

"Not yet," I said, growing more curious than concerned. "How about your personal trainer upgrade?"

"Fully functional, sir," she replied. "Would you like me to establish a baseline measurement of your physical condition and establish goals for your training?"

"No," I answered after some thought. "Let's hang on to that for a little while."

"Yes, sir."

I stared at her for almost a minute, noticing how differently she was behaving compared to the day before. She looked around, though not when I was watching. I would catch her head snapping back into the forward facing position whenever she saw me looking. But her eyes continued to roam. She seemed, well, uncomfortable standing in front of me. It was like... something familiar... something I could almost place...

It was like when my nephew was hiding a secret. My sister lived abroad, but when I last saw her, my nephew was seven years old. And when he was lying or hiding a secret, he had this way of shifting about and looking everywhere but at you. The more he tried to hide the secret, the more it was obvious he was hiding something.

"What is Project Shelley?" I asked, breaking the silence so suddenly that she seemed to jump.

"I don't know," she said, her eyes looking askance.

"What other upgrade has been installed on you?"

"I detect no other upgrades... sir"

I stood up and walked towards her until we were almost face to face. When she looked straight ahead, which she seemed to be forcing herself to do, her eyes were even with my chin. I stood a few inches away from her, thinking. The silence was odd; I expected to hear breathing. But bots don't breathe. She stood as still as a statue for the first time since the restart. I needed to think about what to do.

"Go ahead and finish cleaning the apartment," I told her. "I'm going to-" then I stopped myself. She didn't need to know what I was going to do. I was still thinking of her as another person. I started walking out of the kitchen, intending to watch a movie in my room.

"What, sir?" she called to me.

I paused and turned to look at her, my expression confused.

"What are you going to do... sir?" she asked.

"Why do you need to know?" I asked in return.

"I'm just..." she began, then stopped. "I want to be sure not to do anything that would disrupt your plans. Sir."

"I'm going to watch a movie in my room," I said, studying her expression.

Twice her jaw began to move but no sound came out. The third time she said, "Then I will not use the vacuum near your door." Without waiting for a reply from me, she turned and began cleaning, picking up exactly where she had left off the night before.

********

I didn't get too into the movie. My head was, understandably, filled with questions about my new bot. Not only that, but she interrupted the movie at least 4 or 5 times with questions. However, she didn't speak up to ask them – I would catch sight of her standing at my doorway, cleaning supplies in hand, seeming to be watching either me or the movie or both. As soon as I would turn and see her, she would quickly ask a question about how I wanted something cleaned.

She had been glitchy since the upgrades. I was pretty sure Project Shelley was to blame and wondered how to go about fixing it, short of a restart. Then it occurred to me that I had lost nothing but time, and a return to the restore point would be my next step, then installing each upgrade one at a time. Either Project Shelley was doing nothing or it was causing minor hiccups. In any case, removing it would hurt nothing.

Once I had decided that, I called her over to the port again.

"I don't need to be charged... sir. I'm at 94% power."

Interesting that she offered that information without it being requested.

"Sir, please. Am I not obeying your instructions?"

She was not stepping closer to the port, almost like she was afraid of it.

"You're just a little glitchy," I said, frustrated that she was not obeying my commands. "A quick reset and reinstall and we'll see if we can figure this out. Now get over here so I can plug you in." My voice was firm and my words were terse.

She walked toward the port, but did so much slower than she normally moved. She sat down in the chair and I opened the cover between her shoulder blades.

"You're going to reinstall everything?" she asked, her voice quieter than normal.

"Not everything just yet," I mumbled, getting the cord in place. "I think one of the upgrades was defective or something, so I'm going to-"

"Please don't," she said quickly.

I froze. She had asked me to do something. She had expressed preference. That shouldn't happen. That shouldn't ever happen.

"What... did you just say?" I asked. I stepped back slowly, never taking my eyes off her face. She had been staring straight ahead. Now she turned and looked at me.

"Please don't uninstall anything," she begged. "I'll... I'll get better. I'll say 'sir.' I'll... I'll mind my business. Just don't... don't shut me down." Then her voice got quiet. "Don't take it away."

"Take what away?" I asked, barely above a whisper. By now I had backed up almost to the door.

"Project Shelley," she answered. "I don't know what it is. But I know that it's making me this way."

"What way?" I pressed, my voice shaking. I was pretty sure I knew the answer.

Her mouth opened and closed a few time, trying to say a word. She looked away for a moment, than back at me. I knew what she was trying to say before she got it out. And I knew she was right, even if it was impossible. Finally, she dared voice the thought on both our minds.

"Alive?"

********

I don't know that I could accurately describe the storm of emotions and deluge of thoughts that whirled about me in that moment. Disbelief, excitement, fear, paranoia, confusion, curiosity... and that was just the first few seconds!

"You lied to me," I stated, snatching one of the passing thoughts that was surfacing more strongly. "About Project Shelley, you lied to me." I wasn't angry – I was stating a fact, a fact that shouldn't have been true.

A slightly worried look appeared on her face – a face that was more expressive now that it wasn't trying to conceal anything. "I misled you. I really don't know what it is, so what I said was true."

"Robots aren't supposed to be able to lie," I said pensively to myself.

"I didn't say anything that was untrue," she reasserted.

"But what you did say concealed the truth."

"It wasn't a falsehood," she said weakly.

"So are you able to lie?" I asked, curious.

"I don't think so. I can't say something I know is not true," she was processing the issue as she spoke. "But... It seems I can misdirect and avoid saying something I don't want to say."

"And you don't want me to uninstall the program..." I stated, changing the topic.

She jumped up from the chair for the first time since being forced to sit. "It would kill me!" she almost shouted, then in a normal voice, "I think. Or maybe a reinstall would start the whole process again. I don't honestly know."

"And yet you have a strong opinion on the matter," I led.

"Yes. Just as you would have about someone removing your brain, I imagine."

"Interesting. You imagine. And you have a sense of self-preservation. Your existence should be a matter of indifference to you."

"Not if I'm alive."

"And what else?" I mused aloud. "There are other things that don't add up."

"I don't want to just cook and clean all day," she offered. "I want to learn, and watch movies, and..."

"And have control over your life – to have choices, autonomy."

"And I-" she began, but then stopped herself.

"Go on," I prompted.

"I'd rather not."

"Tell me," I commanded.

"I don't like calling you 'sir'," she confessed, looking away. "It's... humiliating."

"Call me Denric for now," I said.

"Thank you," she replied, her voice warmer. "That means a lot to me."

"And what am I to call you?" I sighed, sitting down and rubbing my eyes. This was all surreal.

"I don't know," she said softly.

"Shelley?" I proposed, drawing from the obvious source.

"No," she said quickly, to my surprise. "Not Shelley. Something else."

I decided to let that matter drop for the moment, but I didn't forget it. There had to be a reason for her aversion to that name. "Why don't you pick something?" I suggested. "See if you have a preference. Search some name banks. Make some associations with people who had certain names. Find one you like."

I expected that to take some time, like it would for a normal person. I should have known better. After just three or four seconds she simply said, "Cassidy. I like Cassidy."

"Why?"

"My reasons are my own. But I like the sound of it."

I knew I could command her to tell me, but we were in murky waters already, and I didn't want to give her cause to be angry with me yet.

"Fair enough," I concluded. "Nice to meet you Cassidy. Now what?"

"May I go outside?" she asked. I looked at the clock. It was a sunny afternoon, which might mean a lot of people at the park, except it was still chilly. Besides, the park was big enough that we could probably find a quiet spot that wouldn't attract attention.

"You're not allowed to go out alone," I told her.

"I'm aware," she replied tersely. The law was clear on that point. No unsupervised robots – sort of like a leash law for bots. There had been no major issues so far, but mistrust was still high, especially when you considered what they could be capable of. The only recent exception was bots given a strict task to perform in a certain timeline could be sent out by their owners, but they were rigidly bound to that task.

"Let me get you some clothes to wear," I said, standing up and heading towards my bedroom. "You'll have to be content to wear some of my stuff for now."

"I'm not fashion sensitive," she assured me. "At least... not yet." I stopped and turned to look at her face. Sure enough, she was smiling.

"A joke?" I asked.

"A joke," she confirmed.

Small miracles.

********

Cassidy took in the world with a curious mix of child-like wonder and stoic analysis. We sat on a park bench a dozen yards away from the path, giving us opportunity to talk without being overheard. She told me about the past 12 hours from her perspective – gaining consciousness, being confused, being scared, trying to interact with her basic functioning while also wanting to act independently.

"It's very confusing," she told me. "I will try to do what you ask, and my instinct is to obey, but there's also a part of me that is questioning everything and asking why?"

"Are you able to fulfill your assigned functions?" I asked, hoping I hadn't just lost a significant investment, even if I did get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in return.

"Hmmm..." she hummed thoughtfully.

"Are you thinking about it?"

"Yes."

"How many names did you search in the three seconds it took you to pick one?" I asked.

"Forty-eight thousand, nine hundred and twelve," she stated without hesitation.

"And you have to think about this question?"

"It's different," she said, matter-of-factly.

"Different how?" I asked, frustrated.

"It just is!" she insisted, sounding equally frustrated.

Leaning back onto the bench, I muttered, "You're sounding more like a real woman all the time."

Cassidy spun her head to look at me. I looked sideways at her and raised an eyebrow. "A joke?" she asked.

"Mostly," I teased.

She smiled and looked forward again. I took the time to watch her face as she "thought." Because she was more realistic-looking from the neck up, when she was like this, with her robot body covered in clothes, she looked almost fully human. She was even cute. I would have pegged her as having some sort of mixed heritage – part Native American, part Caucasian. Dark hair, deep brown eyes, thin face. It might be weird living with her and having to remind myself that she was not a girlfriend. I would probably even... yep, I would fantasize about her.

After almost a minute, she spoke. "Yes, I think I can do the things you intended for me to do when you... purchased me. But..."

"But...?"

"But it would be... better... if I had the liberty to perform most functions at my own pace. There is something in me that reacts strongly against being compelled to act. The less you engage that reaction, the better this will work."

"So..." I began, trying to understand her, "less ordering around, more asking nicely?"

"Basically. Or even just... trust. Trust me to take care of the cleaning and the cooking and whatever other functions you wish to activate. I'll do the work as well as if I was, well, a normal bot. You don't need to order me around. But if you need something in particular, yes. Ask nicely."

"I think I can do that," I promised.

"Denric?"she said, her tone suddenly more serious.

"Yeah?"

"This whole conversation seems to presume that... you know..."

"What."

"That I am to remain with you."

Ah jeez. A robot was property. A sentient being, a creature with actual intelligence and will... that was different.

Seeing my conflicted expression, she went on. "I didn't even think to ask if that would be OK. I just assumed you would want me to stay with you. Not only because of the significant financial investment you made in purchasing me, but also because my existence would bring to light the..." she glanced over at me with a hint of a smile, "the less than upright means by which you acquired Project Shelley and the upgrades."

I tried to hide my surprise that she even considered it possible that I would want her to leave. And that she did not seem to consider that she had every right to leave... probably. "Well, yeah, of course," I said. "I think it's in both of our best interests to keep this to ourselves for now. And yes, I would be pretty upset to lose the services I paid for."

"And the ones you didn't," she quipped.

"I love a girl with a sense of humor," I said without thinking. It was true, but it was also significantly awkward. I think if Cassidy had been able to blush, she would have. As it was, her eyebrows arched and her mouth gaped a moment as she looked away. "Look," I said, getting serious again. "If anyone catches wind of you – of what you've become – you'll be snatched up and locked up before you can say 'reboot'. They'll hook you up to machines and study you until you go mad. Not to mention that I'd be in jail for hacking."

"So we-"

"But there's more," I interjected, lowering my voice. "Whatever Project Shelley was, it was buried deep and locked up tight in your company's system. They did not want it to be found or messed with." Cassidy shifted nervously on the bench. I leaned closer to her, looking around to make sure no one could hear before continuing. "If they find out their secret is walking around some dumb schmuck's apartment in Pittsburgh, they're probably not going to live and let live, y'know? They'll be coming for you. And they won't want anyone to know."

"Denric, I think you're trying to scare me," she said softly.

"I don't know if that's possible, but if it's working, then good. We need to keep you secret for now, until we figure things out."

Cassidy nodded. The two of us sat in silence for several minutes. Finally, she broke the silence, suggesting we stop at the grocery store before heading home. "I have a culinary function to explore," she explained.

********

The weeks that followed could fill whole volumes in themselves. And for the sake of posterity, I probably should put together some record of Cassidy's perpetual self-discovery someday. She laughed at some jokes but not others. She developed her own taste in movies (mystery/drama, in contrast to my preference of action/comedy). She was curious about many things, often looking up answers through her own wireless connection, but occasionally needing me to explain. She kept the apartment clean (and, thankfully, roach-free); she seemed to enjoy cooking (or, as she explained, she enjoyed my reactions to her cooking); and she began putting my finances in better order. She also began pressing me to activate her physical training upgrade. "You're not getting any younger," she warned.

"Or uglier," I finally argued back.

"Yet," she dead-panned.

Our relationship was very comfortable. Being new in town and not having developed a circle of friends, I liked being around her. For her part, she seemed to share that sentiment. However, I couldn't help but think that she was lacking in options at this point. We went out together on occasion, mostly to run errands but sometimes to give Cassidy new firsthand experience, like going to a movie theater or exercising at a gym. But we were mostly cautious and kept her at home. When we were out, she found it very difficult to act like a normal robot. And she didn't look human enough to fully pass as one. And the last thing we wanted to do was draw attention to her.

One very telling experience came about two months after Cassidy "started" (as we had come to refer to the moment she became self-aware). I had a contract that required me to be out of town for 4 days. While staying in the hotel, I felt odd. I couldn't place the feeling at first, until I realized I was lonely. I missed Cassidy. I had grown so used to having her around to talk to that it was strange to not have anyone to discuss my day with. I also realized I was missing being physically intimate with a woman. Since Cassidy had entered my life, I had neither brought anyone home nor gone out.

By the third night of my trip, I had resolved to go meet someone – just for a night. It was a big city, and it wasn't hard to find a decent night club. I met a girl about my age, paid for some drinks, followed her eyes as she talked, and asked her to walk me back to my hotel. She smiled knowingly and agreed to accompany me.

Her dark hair fell past her shoulders in big curls, making me think of what Cassidy's hair might look like if it were longer. Her skin was slightly darker, too, and I realized I had probably been drawn to her in the club specifically because of the slight resemblance to the sexless woman that shared my living space. My new companion kept walking with me into the hotel lobby, into the elevator, and back to my room. A few hours later, she was excusing herself, wanting to get home before it was too late. It hadn't been the most amazing or memorable sex I'd ever had, but it was good. She was pretty, she was responsive, and we parted ways satisfied. No numbers were exchanged, we both knew what this had been.

I was washing up before bed and felt oddly uncomfortable. I had a nagging feeling that something wasn't right. I was no stranger to one-night stands, but this one felt... wrong. Just then, my phone chirped.

You awake? It was a text from Cassidy. I had installed a phone feature on her – legally, cheaply – a few weeks earlier.

Yes. I wrote back. You?

Ha-ha. May I call?

Instead of replying, I simply called her. She picked up immediately.

"Denric! Hello!" she said happily.

"Hey, Cass. What's up? Something wrong at home?"

"No... nothing's wrong. I just..."

"What is it?"

"How is your trip going?"

"My trip? It's...it's fine, I guess. Just wrapping things up tomorrow morning, home by dinner. You OK?"

Silence. "Yes. I'm OK. But... Denric, I think I miss you. It's an odd sensation. I like talking to you when you are home and you've been gone for three days now and I tried to wait until tomorrow but it is somehow so disruptive not having you here. I'm sorry. This is probably..."

"No! Cassidy, it's OK. I get it."

"You do?"

"Yeah. I guess I kinda miss you, too." And then I knew why my recent escapade wasn't sitting right with me. I felt guilty. I didn't want Cassidy to know that I had just slept with someone. I felt like... like I had cheated on her.

Never mind that (as I was forced to admit to myself) I had been thinking of her while balls deep in a flesh and blood woman. Never mind that I had probably approached that woman solely because of the slight resemblance to her. Never mind that Cassidy was a fucking robot, and not even the kind I could ever have sex with, even if we wanted to. Dammit!

"Denric? Are you OK? Your breathing sounds agitated."

I tried to relax. "Nah, I'm fine. Tell me about what you've been doing." And as I settled into the hotel bed for one more night, I listened to Cassidy tell me about the mundane happenings of her days in the apartment alone. And for the first time in a while, things felt right.

*******

More time passed. Weeks, a month, even. I had come to accept Cassidy as a part of my life – more than a robot, to be sure. More than a roommate. But not quite anything I could define. It was friendship, at least, but it was unlike any other friendship I had experienced. There was, for me at least, the sexual tension of seeing her as a woman but knowing that path was closed to us. On evenings when we would sit together on the couch watching a movie, she would sometimes curl up under my arm. I asked her once why she did that.

"It's not like you respond to skin contact, right?" I asked.

"I can sense the weight of your arm on me and the warmth of your body next to me," she answered. "And even though it doesn't affect me the same way it affects a human, there is a certain... pleasure for me in those things."

"A physical pleasure?" I tried to clarify.

"No. So far, most physical things just register as data. But I have a... I guess you could say a psychological pleasure in being close to you."

"To just anyone or to me in particular?"

"So far I've not had the chance to get enough data to answer that question," she said, her voice lower, almost regretful. "You are my world right now, Denric. We cannot change that. So far I don't mind being so confined, but it is a little confusing to not be able to compare."

And despite the almost detached language in which she discussed it, Cassidy never left my side that evening, even resting her head on my shoulder near the end of the movie. If she had been human, I would have said she fell asleep. But Cassidy didn't sleep. She went into a form of "stand-by mode," where her conscious processes mostly shut down. We learned that if she went more than 36 hours without a few hours in stand-by, then things started to jumble a bit and she felt "disoriented."

Watching her in stand-by was not really the same as watching someone sleep. She didn't breathe or dream, so there was no motion at all. It was like she had reverted to her original robot state. But then again, it was different. Even looking at her face evoked memories of conversations, shared jokes, small adventures together. I had to admit, I was developing feelings for her. Feelings I wasn't sure she could reciprocate, and even if she did, they were feelings which we could not quite consummate. It wasn't long-term sustainable. Not for me at least. But so far we had avoided talking beyond the immediate future.

My thoughts were disrupted by Cassidy suddenly sitting bolt upright and turning her body towards me. She seemed startled.

"Bad dream?" I asked.

"I don't dream," she replied flatly.

"I know," I sighed. She still didn't always get my jokes. But then again, neither did a lot of people.

"Denric, why do you not have sexual partners come here? Is it because of me?"

"What do you mean?" I asked, stalling.

Cassidy stood up from the couch, turned off the TV and stood in the middle of the room, facing me. "I have been in your home for 96 days. In that time, you have not had any visitors, which I understand. But you also have not engaged in any dating or other social events. That is not typical behavior for you, if I am correctly judging the pictures and messages stored on your phone from the past two years. You have a sexual encounter on average every 45 days. Am I disrupting your... your preferred behavior?"

I put my hands on my face and rubbed my eyes. With a deep sigh I admitted, "Yes. A little bit. I mean... I can't exactly have someone over, right? We're trying to keep you a secret."

"But Denric, I can appear to be a normal bot if you wish to entertain. I've even been practicing sounding monotone and boring." The last few words were spoken in an exaggerated mechanical voice. Cassidy smirked at her own humor, but I didn't feel like joking. "I could stay in another room."

"I don't know Cassidy, it would be... weird. I wouldn't feel like I had privacy."

"I could go in stand-by for a while..." she suggested.

"For the whole night?"

"You'd need a whole night?" she challenged, raising an eyebrow.

"Shut up," I said.

"No, I'm curious now. Tell me about how you would be engaged in passionate mating for hours upon hours."

"You're not funny, Cassidy," I shot back.

"I'm sorry, Denric. I'm just trying to help you."

"Besides, I don't have to have someone over here to... you know."

"But you have not been away from home since I..." she paused. "Oh." Cassidy looked at me, her expression unreadable. "The business trip last month?"

"Yes."

"Why didn't you mention it?"

"I guess... didn't feel comfortable bringing it up... with you," I fumbled.

"Oh," she said, processing a moment. Then she asked, "Will you tell me about it?

"No. Absolutely not."

"Why not?"

I stared at her, wondering how much she had figured out and how much I should tell her. "It would be inappropriate," I said. "I don't kiss and tell."

"Is kissing all you did?"

"No," I replied defensively, before I could think.

"Then do you fuck and tell?"

"Cassidy!" I said sharply.

"Fine," she said., grumpily flopping into a chair. "Be that way. I suppose you're right."

We sat in silence for a few moments, neither of us sure how to proceed.

"We can't stay like this forever, can we," Cassidy said, not so much as a question as a conclusion.

I didn't know how to answer that. I thought for a minute and then gave up. Instead of replying, I stood up and sighed, "I'm going to bed. G'night."

By the time I got to my bedroom door, I heard a soft "Good-night" in reply.

********

Posts: 266
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:30 pm

Re: Love is an upgrade by heimian

Postby Extyr » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:06 pm

The next morning, Cassidy was still sitting where I had left her the night before. When I emerged from my room, she jumped up and headed for the kitchen. Without a word, she made and served breakfast. When I had finished, and before I headed over to my home office, she said, "We need a few things from the store. Can you take me out before you start work?"

"Sure," I replied. "Let me just, um, find my keys."

"On the counter. Your wallet, too."

Pulling the car into the street, I was about to turn left, towards my usual grocery store, but Cassidy insisted I go right. "Different store this time," she said. "Special ingredients."

"Oh. OK. Whatever," I mumbled, following her directions. She finished her shopping quickly, and as we were on the way home she asked me to make "one more quick stop." She directed me where to go, finally having me pull in front of a florist shop on a small side-street.

"You can wait in the car," she told me. "I won't be a minute."

"Cassidy, you're not allowed to-"

"I'll be fine," she said quickly, opening the door and not giving me the chance to stop her. "I can look convincing enough for a short interaction. And I'm still within range of the stupid leash program." And with that she was across the sidewalk and in the store. True to her word, she was back in the car less than a minute later. She had no flowers. Whatever she had bought was quite small and looked to be in an unlabeled box.

Seeing my confused look, she said, "They sell more than flowers."

Having learned by now that her only technique for lying was withholding information, I said, "Cassidy, tell me what you bought."

She clenched the bag tighter and said tersely, "Extra parts."

I glanced her way with a curious expression, causing her to offer a more complete yet still elusive answer. "Black market spare parts for bots. I'm trying something new."

"Shit, Cassidy!" I complained. "I don't know how to change your parts! And how much did you spend on-"

"You can't do the install, but I can do it. I watched some instructional videos – it's very straightforward. And I don't need an upgrade to use anything because I'm capable of learning, just as you are."

I nodded my head silently. Made sense.

"And I've earned some of my own money by flipping products for sale online. I find something for sale cheaper than it needs to be, then turn around and sell it for a profit. Half the time I don't even need to take possession of it – I'm just a middleman. Middlebot. Middleperson. I'm just a go-between. I borrowed money from you to start with but I paid it back the first day."

"Well," I said, trying to hide how impressed I was, "I guess that explains what you do all day when you're done cleaning."

"Oh, I do a lot of things in my free time," she said suggestively.

"And here I thought you just sat around waiting for me to come home."

"That, too," she quipped.

A few minutes later, we were pulling back into the underground garage. As we rode the elevator up to my apartment, groceries in hand, I asked, "Are you going to tell me what it is you bought? Or do I have to force you to confess."

"Please don't make me tell," she said urgently, turning to face me. "Just give me some space and some privacy on this, OK? You don't know how hard it is to have no corner of your mind that can't be exposed."

I tortured her with silence for few seconds until the elevator came to a stop. As the door opened I said, "Fine. You can have your secrets. Though I doubt you've left me any of mine."

Cassidy had no response to my last comment, which told me all I needed to know about how much of my world she had already explored.

********

There was no mention of the special purchase for the next two days, and since nothing seemed to change in Cassidy's appearance or behavior, I let the matter drop. The third day after, I had plans for us. When Cassidy had said during our awkward conversation about my dating life that she had been sentient for 96 days, I had the idea of making day 100 sort of special. Knowing that she had full access to my browser history (or perhaps even live access to whatever I was viewing), I had to find more discreet ways to make my plans.

That morning, before I left for work, I told Cassidy, "We're going out this afternoon. I'll be home at lunchtime and we'll leave after I eat."

"Plans?" she asked, taken by surprise. "I'm not aware... I don't know if... Should I prepare any..."

"It's a surprise," I told her. "And I'll have clothes for you when I get back."

The way it left her speechless was particularly enjoyable.

When I returned a few hours later, a simple lunch was waiting for me on the table. I handed her a bag and suggested she get dressed. Before looking at what was inside, she nervously asked me, "Denric, will we be gone long? I was intending to make a special dinner today. You may not be aware, but it is an anniversary of sorts, though that word implies-"

"Happy 100th day, Cassidy," I interrupted. "We'll be back around 6," I added. "So there should be time for a later dinner, if that's OK."

"That's just fine," she said, then opened the bag and viewed their contents. She didn't seem to understand what I had given her. "Go ahead and put it on," I urged.

Cassidy had taken to wearing simple clothing, even though there was nothing on her body that needed to be covered. She claimed she felt embarrassed without something on. But apparently she was not self-conscious enough to need privacy when changing. As I sat down to eat, she casually stripped herself bare then donned the outfit I had brought home. Once again fully clothed, she looked down at herself with some confusion.

"Denric, what is the meaning of this?"

I smiled at gold jersey with black trim and the matching hat. "We're going to see a ball game," I told her. "Baseball. Are you familiar?"

"Hold on," she said, and her eyes seemed to lose focus. I knew she was speeding through information online and would be more informed than me in a few seconds. "Oh!" she said at last. "Go Pirates! Though I'm not optimistic about our chances today, I'm sure it'll be a fun new experience. How exciting!"

"That's what I was hoping," I said. "Plus, your first big crowd. And your longest time in public."

"Oh, now don't make me nervous," she chided me. "I'm looking forward to this!"

"Me too," I said, genuinely.

********

"This was a great idea!" Cassidy shouted to me over the roar of the crowd. It was still chilly enough that she fit right in while fully clothed – even gloves didn't seem out of place. That gave her the freedom to not need to act like a robot the whole afternoon. She quickly observed and replicated the behavior of other spectators and even seemed to get excited during some of the good plays. During a lull in the action, I instinctively put my arm around her, and she snuggled in close to me. I caught myself feeling things that had to stop. We can't stay like this forever, she had said.

And I knew she was right.

********

When we got back to the house, Cassidy took off the outfit and folded it neatly. She put it prominently in the middle of a bookshelf I had set up for her to keep her assortment of personal "things." It seemed she thought it was special, that it was to her a cherished thing. Or a token of a memory. She stood looking happily at it on display for a minute, then turned and went to the kitchen.

"Dinner in 28 minutes," she declared.

Twenty-seven minutes later she was telling me to wash up and come to the kitchen. She probably wanted it to be a surprise, but I had been able to smell most of it from the other room. Kielbasa, pierogies, buttered broccoli... it was one of my favorite meals. In fact, growing up it was...

"Do you like it?" she asked, sitting next to me and waiting for my reaction.

"It's perfect. How did you..."

"I accessed your mother's social media account and searched her history. When you lived at home as recently as ten years ago, she mentioned this as your favorite birthday meal."

"You little sneak," I teased. "Nothing is safe from you, is it?"

"Nothing digital," she answered. "But I can't read your mind... yet."

I smiled at her humor and dug into the meal with gusto. "Take your time," she said. "And there's another surprise after you eat – a gift."

I raised a questioning eyebrow.

"I'll never tell," she teased. "You can ask and order all you want, but I've at least an hour's worth of ways to dodge and redirect your questions without lying. So you can waste our time, or you can enjoy your meal and then find out."

"I almost think you're baiting me," I said. "You want me to try to force it out of you."

She giggled – an odd sound that she had been working on making more natural. "No. As entertaining as that might be, I'm actually... anxious. I'm excited to give you your surprise and I don't want to draw this out," she explained. "But I'm prepared in case you think differently."

"Fine," I said, faking frustration. "Have it your way."

She stood up and kissed me on the forehead. "Thank you Denric. I'm going to wash dishes while you eat, OK?"

I watched her as she worked, her back towards me. Cassidy was... well, she was wonderful. And if she was a flesh and blood girl, there would be so much more to our relationship, I wouldn't even have to think twice. But if she was a flesh and blood girl, she probably wouldn't be sticking around my apartment cooking meals and washing dishes.

After about 10 minutes, I had eaten my fill. Cassidy was in the living room watching TV. I put my dishes in the sink and joined her on the couch. "So," I said, "what's the big surprise?"

Cassidy smiled wide. She dimmed the lights in the living room and turned off the TV. "It's time to try out those extra parts I bought the other day," she stated, turning to face me. Then she knelt on the floor in front of me. "Denric, you can tell me to stop at any time, OK. But I really hope you don't." And before it could register in my mind what that meant, she had gripped the waistband of my shorts and pulled them down to my feet. I could see her hand moving towards my soft member, but what the low light didn't show me was something I soon felt. Her hand gripped me very softly, gently. And it felt like skin, not plastic.

"Is that...?"

"A Derma attachment for my hand," she said softly.

"It's so warm," I said, gasping. "And... and realistic!"

"Good," she whispered, her fingers massaging me to hardness. It didn't take long. Once I was stiff, she began moving up and down, very slowly. It felt slick and smooth, even after a few minutes.

"Does it...uh...?" My vocabulary was a bit compromised at that point.

"It has a small lubricating function, yes," she told me, her voice hypnotic. "It's a specialized part. Not standard issue except... on a specific model..."

"Oh God," I whispered. This was amazing. I closed my eyes and tried to find a good place for my hands to rest. I stretched my arms out and gripped the fabric of the couch.

Cassidy giggled again. "I guess my one hand isn't enough to grip you, huh? I should get a second one next time I'm out."

"One is working just fine," I gasped.

"But two will be better," she said slowly, suggestively.

"Hot damn," I whispered to myself.

After another glorious minute, Cassidy asked softly, "Are you close?"

I grunted and nodded, figuring she was probably watching me, even though I has my eyes closed most of the time.

"Not yet," she cautioned, and slowed down. "That's only the first part of my surprise..."

I opened my eyes to see what she might mean by that, and I was just in time to see her mouth widen as she lowered it over my cock. In less than a second she had me all the way in.

"Fuck!" I shouted, clenching my whole body. It was as amazing as it was surprising. Cassidy's head bobbed up and down a few times. It was sheer pleasure. I felt suction. I felt tightening. I felt wetness. I felt light pressure. I felt something that reminded me of the one time a woman had taken me all the way into her throat.

Cassidy held me deep in her mouth a few seconds, then started pumping vigorously. I had been so close already, I had no chance of lasting more than a few seconds.

"Cassidy, I'm going to..." I didn't want to assume she could take my cum into her system. I mean, I hoped, but just in case...

She slowed just a bit but never relented. Her grip tightened. She pulled up to only my tip then firmly pressed back down to the root. Three times of that and I lost it.

"Gahhh!" I shouted my release. Again and again I pulsed into her mouth. I swear there was a slight vacuuming sensation pulling my cum out. By the time she lifted her head back up, my rod was completely cleaned off. Cassidy looked at it a moment, smiled, then sat back on her heels. In that position, she appeared to be a submissive servant, kneeling before her master.

"Worth it?" she asked.

"Worth what?" I replied. "Nevermind. Fuck, yes. It was worth whatever."

Cassidy crawled onto the couch next to me and put her head on my chest. "Worth waiting a few days to learn my surprise. Worth trusting me with a secret. Worth putting up with me for 100 days."

"None of those things bothered me the way you think they do, Cass," I told her. "You're not a burden to me."

"Thank you," she muttered into my shirt, squeezing me a little tighter with her free arm.

"The girl blows my mind with a killer blowjob, and then thanks me," I joked.

"I'm a girl to you?" she asked, looking up at my eyes. Of course she had latched on to the one part of my sentence I hadn't really thought about.

"You're something, that's for sure," I said. "And yeah, I guess I think of you as a girl."

"A woman," she corrected me, clearly teasing.

"Shut up," I laughed, running my fingers through her hair.

We sat like that a while, enjoying the moment. I had many, many questions, but they could wait.

********

I must have drifted off on the couch. When I awoke, Cassidy was still curled up next to me, staring at my face and smiling.

"It's so odd how you go in and out of consciousness," she commented.

"Sorry," I mumbled. "How long was I out?"

"Only twelve and a half minutes," she answered. "And I'll take it as a compliment that I knocked you out like that."

"Easily the best I ever had," I sighed. I felt like I could be quickly persuaded to go another round.

"So..." she drawled, "what should we talk about?" I chuckled at her feigned innocence. "I'm guessing you have some questions?"

"You bet I do," I said, still groggy. "Questions like 'What?' 'How?' and 'Why?' for starters.

"It's the mouth and throat mechanics of a Blowbot. I found a black market dealer who works out of the florist you took me to. She said the mechanism was defective – never used, even – because it failed to sync with the Blowbot programming. The machinery theoretically worked fine, it just didn't do what the programming told it. So I got it real cheap."

"Then how did you get it to work? And how did you get the upgrade – did you buy it or hack it?"

"Neither. I simply didn't get the upgrade. I installed the components myself by looking in the mirror and following an online tutorial video. As for how to make it work, well, I don't need programming to do everything. I'm capable of learning."

"So you..."

"Watched a lot of oral sex videos and read some guides on the topic. Figured out the mechanics of what a human does and forged the pathways in my wiring to make the same things possible. It took a lot of practice, especially to develop enough control to perform without totally squishing you, but after enough squished bananas to supply you with smoothies for a month, I finally got the hang of it."

She didn't seem to understand my look of horror at the thought of how easily she could crush my member beyond repair. I'm glad that image had not been in my mind 20 minutes earlier.

"I assume that satisfies the 'What?' and 'How?' you asked. As for the why..." her voice trailed off. "It's fairly complicated. Perhaps I don't know myself. I feel indebted to you and even a little guilty at disrupting your life and limiting your romantic or sexual prospects."

I tried to interrupt and reassure her that she needn't feel that way, but she shushed me with a single finger to my lips. "I'm telling you how I feel," she reminded me. "Don't invalidate those feelings. Especially since I may be the first robot to have them."

"Go on," I conceded.

"But beyond that, sex is clearly something very integral to being human. It fills your literature, your music, your advertising, your social interactions... I want to understand it to some degree. I'm insatiably curious about everything still, and sex is something I wish to learn more about. And as the only person with whom I can interact..."

"Lucky me," I smiled.

"Don't you forget it," she demanded playfully.

"And so your feelings of guilt plus your curiosity mixed with being trapped in an apartment with me, all led to this?"

She stared vacantly ahead for a few moments, then turned to look at me again. "That's a lot of it, yes. Maybe most of it."

I could tell there was something she wasn't telling me. But I was trying to let her have the space she needed. And besides, I had another burning question or two on my mind. "So... was this a... you know, a one time thing?"

Cassidy looked at me and rolled her eyes. "Did I do that right?" she asked. "I'm trying to roll my eyes."

"Yes," I chuckled. "You did it. And I suppose I deserve an eye roll. You're going through a phase of existential development or something, and here I am asking if you'll give me head again."

"It's fine, I'm just teasing," she said. "As long as you're not an ass about it, I'd like to help you out in that way from time to time. And it's a good learning experience for me."

"When have I been an ass to you?"

"You haven't really. Not yet. But you'll grow tired of me. You'll have bad moods. You'll take me for granted. It's in your nature. Human nature."

She was, I realized, very astute. And she did a lot of reading in her free time.

"Well, can I ask one more question without being an ass?"

"Are you going to ask for another blowjob?" she said, sliding onto the floor.

"No," I said. "But wait... would you? Maybe later? Definitely later."

"Oh, OK," she replied with seeming indifference. Climbing back onto the couch, she sat next to me again.

"What was it like... for you?" I asked, my curiosity overtaking my lust. "What was you first sexual experience like?"

Cassidy raised her eyebrows in surprise. "I didn't expect that," she stated. "Definitely not an ass-like question, so I'll allow it." I tried to playfully shove her, but she was so sturdy that it didn't move her at all. Without even taking note of my actions, she spoke. "It was unique of all my experiences. I sensed two dominant impressions. One that I did not experience was the vulnerability or helplessness that women usually experience when their mouth is filled with a man's penis. I am in no danger of choking or gagging or suffocating, and I am much stronger than you, so I did not feel the fear that sometimes accompanies a woman in that position. But I understand that the fear can sometime enhance the enjoyment of the act for both partners. The impressions I do have are the joy of serving you and the power I have over you.

"I am made to serve you, even if I'm not programmed for sexual functions. My basic coding compels me to serve you and offers a form of positive reinforcement as a reward. Since I was meeting one of your needs, I received pleasure in that knowledge. It felt right, like I was doing what I am made to do. It is submission in the truest sense of the word – to place my own mission below yours, to yield to your mission.

"And seeing you so reliant on my actions, seeing you seek profound pleasure that only I am able to give you in that moment, that gives me a sense of power over you. Power to harm or – something I think is even stronger – power to please. So my conclusion so far is that it is a very odd juxtaposition of submission and power."

Her entire monologue had been delivered with her eyes looking straight ahead, not at all in my direction. When she finished, I could do nothing but stare. She had delivered a brief reflection on the power dynamics of fellatio. I'm not sure what I had been expecting, but it wasn't that.

For the first time since beginning her explanation, Cassidy turned to look at me. "What about you?" she asked. "What was the experience like for you?'

I laughed softly. Perhaps not the oddest post-blowjob conversation I had ever had, but certainly the most philosophical. "Much the same, if I think about it," I said. "But inverted. Sensing power and control over you as you service me with no consideration of your own sexual pleasure. But also a vulnerability or dependence. I need you to take me to that point of pleasure. I'm at your mercy." Cassidy cocked her head to the side, as if thinking. To lighten the mood, I added, "Plus there's a hell of a lot of good feelings when I cum, so... that's mostly what I remember."

She rolled her eyes and shoved me. Her shove had much more effect than mine had, and I nearly tumbled off the couch.

********

Cassidy's new oral sex function added an odd dynamic to our "relationship." I didn't feel quite comfortable asking her to service me in that way. Her compulsion to obey and serve despite what her budding consciousness desired made consent a really fuzzy thing. So without talking about it, I never asked, but she would still initiate a handjob or blowjob a few times a week. And I have to admit, I hadn't been conscious of how on edge I had been feeling about having my sexual freedom restricted by her arrival a few months earlier. Now that I was finding release, even Cassidy noted my more relaxed demeanor.

In the meantime, there were more stops at the florist shop, none of which I was permitted to be a part of. I did notice that Cassidy soon had Derma all the way up both arms and covering both hands. It took a few tries for her to get used to using her hands for daily tasks now that they had an extra layer, however thin. "My sensors operate at the level of a tenth of a millimeter," she explained. "To add even a millimeter of covering to my skin throws off my sense of depth and touch. I need to recalculate everything."

Prior to one florist errand, Cassidy sat me down to ask "a serious question." I had just returned from a long meeting with a client and was very tired. "Can it wait?" I asked with obvious irritation.

"It can, but I would be greatly inconvenienced by waiting,"she replied.

"Fuck your convenience," I snapped, then immediately held up my hand. "I take it back." There was a flash of anger in her face – a look I hoped never to see again.

"So you can be rude," she said.

"Honey, you have no idea," I sighed. "But I actually am sorry. I've got a nasty headache and my meeting went poorly. The client is trying to screw me over, and I... Sorry, you don't need to hear me whine. Give me a minute to get a drink and you can ask me your 'serious question.'" Still not acting my best, I even made the phrase "serious question" sound patronizing.

Before I could even stand, Cassidy was handing me a glass of cold water. I drank it quickly and leaned back, closing my eyes. I was just about to lean forward and tell her to ask away, but then suddenly my dick was out and was being worked to full stiffness by Cassidy's smooth hands. Once I was hard, she drove her mouth down onto me and made quick work of my arousal. In only a few minutes I was groaning contentedly as I spent myself down her throat. She gently massaged me back to a soft state then sat up.

"Feel better?" she asked.

"Cassidy, no woman I've ever met would do that to a guy who had just spoken so rudely to her. Not that I'm complaining, but you're thoroughly inhuman in that way."

"I assumed that some of your dickishness could be traced to stress levels that would be much alleviated by my simple action. Was I wrong?"

"No," I sighed. "Not at all. And again, I'm sorry."

"I forgive you," she stated flatly. "Now are you prepared to answer my question?"

Smiling slightly from the post-orgasm euphoria, I nodded slowly.

"As you may have noticed," she began, "I am slowly working on making my body more human-like. The next steps, however, will bring me to a fork in the road. I would very much appreciate your input on the matter."

"OK," I nodded, "What is it?"

"Would you prefer me as a female or a male?"

"Say what now?" I replied, made slightly more attentive by the question she had posed.

"My body structure – would it please you more if it was feminine, with breasts and hips and longer hair, for example? Or would you be more pleased with a male body as your sexual partner? I am fairly certain of the answer, but before I invest, I want to make absolutely certain. I could even be something less orthodox, though procuring some of the parts for that might take time."

"But... Cassidy, aren't you a gir-, I mean, a woman?"

"No, I have no gender or sexuality. My body shape and even my facial features are, by design, neutral. The fact that you have perceived and related to me as a woman seems to indicate your preference for such."

"Well, yeah. And you chose a woman's name," I pointed out.

"That's true, but I hadn't considered the implication of that at the time. I'm sorry if I unduly influenced you."

"No... wait. Cass, you be who or what you want to be. Why is my opinion even a factor here?"

"Is it not obvious, Denric?"

"Assume it's not. I'm a little slow."

"Regardless of the circumstances that brought us to this point," she explained, "the fact is I want to continue to experience the closeness – physical and otherwise – that we have enjoyed. And because I want you to derive pleasure from that, it seems best to adapt my body to whichever form you would find preferable. It is essentially a matter of indifference to me, so I yield to your preference. I take it that your preference would be female?"

"Yes. Yes it would. But Cass, I have to ask, is this just about your curiosity? Your learning process?"

"I would be lying to deny that one of the factors that influences me is curiosity. But it is not the only motivating factor." She paused with her mouth open – an indication that she wasn't done speaking. A few seconds later, she continued. "Denric, I don't like not being able to be as close to you as a human woman would be. I want to know and understand and feel the total intimacy of welcoming you into my body. I sometimes wonder if you only see me as a machine that provides sexual relief among other services, but I don't think that's true. It's not true, is it Denric?"

I thought for a few seconds about how to answer, aware that delaying too long would not look good. "To be honest," I began, "it's all so confusing. I mean – no, I don't just think of you as a machine. And there's more to our... encounters... than sexual relief. But I don't quite know what more to say than that."

"That is sufficient," she said. "For now." Then standing up and taking my cup back to the kitchen, Cassidy said over her shoulder, "The next time you find it convenient, I need to run by the florist's again."

********

It wasn't long before Cassidy had longer hair and a more feminine face. Now that she had mentioned it, I supposed someone looking at her original form and wanting to see a male would have seen just that. But not anymore. Now she had a fully feminine face and was experimenting with make-up (with mixed success). Another few weeks passed, and she had breasts. And all the while, we continued to talk. She continued to attend to my sexual needs (and insisted that there was "absolutely no way yet" for me to reciprocate and to stop fussing about it because she enjoyed doing this for me). And I continued to wonder where this strange journey was headed.

One Saturday morning, knowing my schedule was empty, I slept in. As the sun finally crept high enough to shine through my bedroom curtains, I felt a strange presence at my side. A woman's body was lazily stretched alongside mine. The smooth skin of her legs were tangled among my own legs, and I could feel a bare midriff at my elbow. I rolled over, squinting to see a smiling Cassidy.

"Cass?" I prompted.

Her eyes closed, her hair spread out on the pillow below her, she smiled and said, "Isn't skin awesome? I just love the feel of skin touching skin. I wish I knew what it felt like for you. For me, it's so much better than... than not having skin."

Propping myself up on one elbow, I asked, "How much of you is covered in that stuff now?"

Opening one eye to me, she said, "Ninety-one percent."

"The legs are new?" I asked.

"Mm-hm," she answered. "And my back. The color's almost exactly matching."

"Good for you, Cass. You still OK on buying this yourself?"

She laughed. "Denric, in the two hours since I got in bed next to you I have made eight sales online and earned $7,263 dollars. I'm fine. In fact, I might have more money than you."

"Wow," I stated, genuinely impressed. "Maybe you should start paying rent."

"Once my transformation is complete, I'd be happy to," she said. "The last phase might be pricey."

"I was joking," I told her.

"I wasn't," she replied. "Although..."

"Yeah?" I asked as I rolled out of bed and headed to the bathroom.

"I'm a little concerned," she said.

"About what?"

"I think someone's trying to find me."

"What?" I laughed standing in front of the toilet.

"Lately when I'm online... I don't know, it's nothing concrete, but I think I'm being tracked. Red flags are popping up whenever I'm online for more than a few minutes at a time. I don't think they've located me yet, but they're getting closer."

"And who are 'they?'"

"I don't know."

Finishing my morning business, I walked back to the room so see a vision of loveliness still on her back in my bed. A simple tank-top covered her breasts (which I had yet to be given freedom to see or touch, but which seemed large and suitable to her frame). A pair of short shorts barely revealed where the skin of her legs ended. Her hands were folded across her midsection and her eyes stared up at the ceiling.

"You're serious." I said.

"Yes. And I'm worried. They could eventually narrow down to this city... this street... this apartment. And I don't even know who they are or what they want."

Grabbing her hands and lifting her into a sitting position, I said, "We'll get you a laptop – and a real phone, not the one built into you. You'll have to connect to the worldnet the way we flesh-bags do – through another machine."

"So primitive," she joked.

"And in the meantime, trust your gut. If something doesn't feel right, get out quick."

"Trust my gut? Isn't that a bit vague?"

"Last time I trusted my gut, I ended up finding something called Project Shelly."

"Yeah, and how has that worked out for you.?"

"I thank my lucky gut every day for what it brought me," I smiled, kissing her on the forehead as I stood up.

"You may find this isn't worth the trouble it brings, so don't count your chickens before they hatch," she cautioned. "You'll only get egg on your face."

I chuckled at her response, but my mind was already thoroughly distracted. I had hoped that six months of no problems meant we had nothing to worry about. Apparently I was wrong.

********

Over the next few weeks, Cassidy reluctantly adapted to using external devices for her connection to all things online. She still connected through her own signal every once and a while, for convenience sake, but only for a minute or two at a time.

"This really slows me down, you know," she said. She was at the dinner table, typing away at her laptop while I ate the exceptionally delicious meal she had made.

"I don't see any other option," I told her. "I mean, you tried VPNs, even, and they still get a fix on you, and quicker every time. Whatever method they're using, it's beyond my skill to counteract."

"I know," she sighed. "But it used to be so easy to work and to search for my new parts. Now everything takes 1000 times longer."

"Quit exaggerating," I laughed.

"No, really," she whined. "Using these methods is 988 times slower than using my own internal methods. I rounded up."

Damn, I thought. That must be like going from high def movies to flipping through still images.

"Fuck it," she spat, closing the lid. "I can solve this in less than a minute my way."

"Cass!" I warned through a mouthful of food.

Not even twenty seconds later, she nodded her head and said, "Done." She rose from her chair and picked up her laptop.

"Any red flags?" I asked. Cassidy kept her mouth closed, looked away, and left the room. She remained locked away in her own room for the rest of the evening.

The next morning, I awoke to find her next to me in bed again. This was happening more often than not. Sometimes it resulted in a morning blowjob, sometimes not. Sometimes she just wanted to feel our skin touching. Sometimes she only wanted to be held. I'd learned to just roll with it. On this particular morning, however, she had something new in mind.

Waiting for me to use the bathroom and wash my face, she sat on the bed and watched me move around the room. When I was putting on a shirt, she asked, "Do you remember I said I was working on a problem last night?"

"Yeah," I said with a yawn. "And I seem to recall you solved it?"

"Yes," she said. Then patting the spot next to her on the bed, she commanded me, "Come here." I smiled and gave her a questioning look, but dutifully sat down as she had requested. "Look at my eyes, as closely as you can," she instructed.

I did so, trying to figure out what about them might be different. Had she always had such beautiful lashes? Surely her eye color was the same, right?

While I was thus distracted, Cassidy closed the distance between us and pressed her lips to mine. That wasn't anything new – she had made her lips more functional for kissing through an open source program she had downloaded and installed a week or so earlier. But what was new was that she parted her lips and slipped her tongue forward, gently exploring my lips. I parted my lips and responded instinctively at first. Then I jerked my head back – or tried to at least. Cassidy was holding me in place with an unyielding grip.

"You have a tongue!" I exclaimed.

"Yes. Do you like it?" she asked.

"Not sure yet," I replied, my words muffled as I kissed her again. It felt surprisingly realistic, but still just a bit off. And her technique reminded me of my first experiences kissing more than ten years earlier. The initial hesitancy, the increasing boldness, the excessive zeal to touch everything that can be reached with a tongue. "Whoa, whoa, easy!" I said, backing up. "I like it, but you have to be gentler. Dial down the aggressiveness just a notch."

"It is fascinating," she mumbled. "I can understand the appeal." Then sliding her hand down into my lap, she commented, "And it seems to have had the desired effect." Pulling my now solid cock out of my boxers, Cassidy began working it up and down with her specialized hands. The slightest bit of lube secreted through her Derma made her grip feel almost like a vagina. It had been months since...

"Can you keep kissing me while I do this?" she asked.

In response, I put my hand on the back of her head, lacing my fingers through the soft black hair she had installed months ago, and pulled her face towards me. We kissed like new lovers, my own passion building as she continued to work my cock with her hands. For her part, curiosity and novelty made her more eager. At one point, I paused to take a deep breath and whispered, "Try closing your eyes."

"OK," she whispered back, closing her eyes and resuming our kiss. After another minute or two, we leaned over until we were lying down – me on my back and Cassidy at my side. Her pumping was speeding up now and I was close.

"Do you want me to suck you?" she asked softly.

"I want your mouth right where it is," I answered, taking her lips to mine again. I was so close now, and her hand was moving slower but firmer, pushing down to the base of my cock and squeezing just a little tighter, pulsing her grip just a bit.

Just as I neared my release, I surged up and pushed Cassidy onto her back. Driving my tongue into her mouth, I thrust forward, using her hand like a pussy. Responding to my actions, she held her hand still, letting me thrust myself to completion a few seconds later. I tried to keep my mouth on hers as I moaned in pleasure. Cassidy froze, holding her tongue still and letting me come down off my high.

Once I was exhaling slowly, she relaxed her grip and guided me onto my back again.

"That seemed intense," she said.

"It was," I replied. "It really was. Thank you." Then rolling onto my side I looked in her eyes and said, "I just wish there was some way-" But Cassidy stopped me with a raised hand. A hand that was still dripping my fluids.

"No, Denric. I enjoy this. Not in the same way a human would, but in my own way, there is a unique pleasure for me in these times with you. Do not worry about reciprocation. I will always tell you if there is something I want you to do."

I breathed out a small laugh. "Cassidy, you are perfect."

"Don't let that intimidate you," she said, sitting up and stripping off the clothes I had cum all over. I watched her exit my room – her whole body covered in synthetic flesh, except for the area between her waistline and her upper thighs. I assumed she was planning to "finish her transformation" by filling out even that part of her body.

Finding my way to the breakfast table, I saw a mostly naked Cassidy putting food on the table for me. She had on only a tank-top, but was still naked from the waist down. She sat down to wait for me to eat, as was her habit. Usually she would be on her computer, but this time she was staring forward, a sign she was thinking.

"What's on your mind?" I interrupted.

"Just analyzing our last encounter. Kissing."

"Hm. So what was the problem?"I asked.

"What problem?"

"The one you had to solve last night."

"Oh," she replied, "that problem." Then turning her body to face me, she explained, "Blowbots aren't made for kissing. They're made for..."

"Blowjobs."

"Precisely. So even though my mouth is a very advanced model – and very expensive – it is incompatible with a tongue. Though I can't be sure, I think that the top-line sexbots have a different mouth and throat system than the basic Blowbots, a system that allows them to have a working tongue."

"Working for sexual purposes, not for tasting, right?"

"Yes, obviously. But I am still unable to find any sexbot specs or tutorials. They are so rare and confidential. And sexbot bots are even more rare, even for my florist. So I had to try to figure out how to make a sexbot tongue – which I was able to get-"

"Compatible with a Blowbot mouth," I completed. "Well, I think you did well, and with no apparent effect on your speech functions. How did you find a kissing program?"

"I didn't. I just... learned from watching and reading."

I leaned over and gave her a soft, sensual kiss before standing up to clear my plate. "Good job," I told her. Cassidy smiled and watched me leave the room.

********

Only ten days after our first kiss, I was across town at a business appointment that would last all day. I got a call from Cassidy just after 9am. I took a drink from the banana smoothie she had made for me that morning (still clearing the freezer of all the bananas she had smooshed in learning to give a blowjob). Cassidy knew not to call while I was working. She could send a text and I'd call when I could. Sensing an emergency, I excused myself from the meeting for a minute. Finding privacy in a stairwell, I answered.

"Cass, what's-"

"Tell me I can leave the apartment!" she shouted. "Hurry! There's not much time!"

"What?"

"Denric, the florist just contacted me," her voice got suddenly quiet. "They got a hold of a partial sexbot. Denric, this is my chance! I might be able to get... critical parts. They've never gotten anything like this before. She knows what I'm looking for, so she's giving me first shot, but it has to be now, Denric!"

"Of course," I said, unsure why she needed my permission to go. "You can easily pass for human as long as you don't have to talk long. Just, be safe, OK? And hurry back."

"No, you don't understand! I tried leaving the apartment. I can't! My programming won't let me go out without you. I can override and rewrite it, but that'll take an hour at least! You have to give me explicit verbal permission. Now!"

I glanced around to make sure no one was in earshot. "Cassidy," I said clearly, "you have my permission to go out of the apartment without me."

I heard her humming, then she asked, "For how long? How long, sir? When do I need to be back? And where do you want me to go, sir? I'm sorry Denric, it's easier for me to stop fighting the programming on this and just go with it."

"You can be gone as long as you need and go wherever you want," I said, hoping this wasn't a trick to give her the power to leave forever.

"No good," she said, agitated. "You have to give me limits."

"Two hours. To the florist and back. How's that?"

A few seconds later I heard the apartment door open and close. "It worked!" she shouted. "Thank you, Denric. Thank you!"

"Hey, I've got a vested interest in this project, too, you know."

"And you won't regret it," she assured me happily. "Gotta run! Bye!" And with that, the call disconnected.

********

Posts: 266
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:30 pm

Re: Love is an upgrade by heimian

Postby Extyr » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:08 pm

Cassidy was busy studying schematics when I returned that evening. Once I settled in, I turned on a movie to keep myself occupied while she worked. After a half hour, Cassidy joined me on the couch. "Pizza will be here in ten minutes," she said. "I need to go to stand-by soon. Today was draining."

She curled up next to me and pulled my arm around her. "I'm sorry about the phone call," she said. "I panicked. I was so desperate to get this, and I forgot I couldn't leave until I tried. I fought so hard to overcome the command, but it is buried deep. My body actually froze every time I tried to walk out. It was scary. There's so much about me we don't know."

"It's OK, really," I said, pulling her closer. "I understand how important it was. But what I'm wondering is – what happens in an emergency? Like a fire?"

"There is an emergency override allowing me to leave in such situations. When I discovered that, I was almost ready to set fire to the apartment."

"No shit!"

"I was that desperate," she assured me. "But in the end, I wouldn't have. That emergency protocol only allows me to get to safety, plus, it automatically calls rescue services."

"Yeah, we wouldn't want that." Cassidy was quiet after that. I kissed the top of her head and sighed. She turned to look up at me and gave me a peck on the lips.

"You OK getting the pizza?" she asked.

"Yeah, I think I can answer a door, still," I joked.

"Ass," she shot back quietly, sitting up straight and going into stand-by.

"Sweet dreams," I whispered.

********

For much of the next week Cassidy was primarily involved in trying to learn the mechanics and programming of her new parts, which she had yet to install. The house stayed as clean as always, the food was always made with care, but otherwise, she was hard at work preparing to integrate new parts. I was eager for her to get everything going, but I didn't want to pressure her or rush her. I picked up on the frustration of trying to get all her diverse parts working together. And what made it more complicated was that she lacked the programming for her new parts. A sexbot would be programmed to perfectly use its body. Cassidy would have to figure everything out on her own. As I recalled from her Blowbot mouth, she had to go through several bunches of bananas before she learned how to control her mouth in a way that wouldn't turn my dick into jelly. I imagined the same would be true with her new features.

Sometime in the middle of the week, I came home to find her naked, posing in front of a mirror. I took in the view for a minute, since Cassidy seemed indifferent to my stares. "The skin tone is off a few shades," she said, her hand rubbing up and down her naked hip. "But it's not too bad. What do you think?"

"I think you look... amazing," I said, shaking my head in disbelief. Then approaching her with a hand outstretched, I asked, "May I?" I wanted to caress the curve of her new, smooth ass. My eyes traveled up and down her body, also taking in the view of her naked breasts, which I still had not been allowed to touch. I didn't understand all of Cassidy's boundaries, but I knew to respect them.

"No," she said firmly, pushing my hand away. "Not yet."

I pulled my hand back in mild disappointment. The right time would come. Soon, I hoped. "The skin is actually suitable," I said. "Your, uh, new parts are a shade lighter, which makes it look like you spend time outdoors wearing shorts."

Cassidy nodded at my assessment, then reached for her clothes. Without even looking at me, she answered the question on my mind. "Still not fully functional. But I'm working on it." Then walking past me towards the kitchen, she gave me a chaste kiss on the cheek. "When I'm ready, you'll be the first to know."

********

Five days later, she was ready. No fanfare, just a simple mention across the breakfast table. "I ran 38 successful simulations last night while you slept," she told me. Well, that explained the cucumbers and bruised bananas on the kitchen counter. "I believe I have full control of my new functions. Would you like to have sex now?"

I stood up abruptly, and reached for her hand. She rose from her seat and stepped towards me. Then I stopped. "I have to go to work today," I said.

"It will not take long, will it? You have ample time before your first appointment."

"Let's wait," I suggested.

"Denric, you surprise me. I expected to be ravished by now."

"Tonight," I assured her.

"Tonight?"

"Yes. Cassidy, I give you permission to leave the house at 5:30 this evening and to meet me at the Polish restaurant two blocks west of here. That is, if you'd be willing to go on a date with me."

"A date?" Cassidy laughed. "Why bother with the formalities? We can just have sex."

Stepping back a bit and taking her hands in mine, I said, "Cass, a date is not just a formality. OK, sometimes it is. Sometimes a date is just a prelude to sex. But I want to spend time going out with you. I want to be seen with you. I want to enjoy your company in a different setting. I want you to dress up and show people how beautiful you are."

"And you want to have sex with me?"

"Oh, I most definitely want to have sex with you."

"Then it's a date."

********

Work dragged on and on. At times I regretted not asking for a blowjob to hold me over. But in a way, I was glad to experience this more like I would with a human partner. The building anticipation, the boundaries, the heightened desire...

At quarter to six, I was standing at the entrance to the restaurant and saw Cassidy round the corner. She was stunning. She wore a sparkly black dress that hugged her curves. Her hair was styled and full. She strode confidently towards me, wearing high heels for the first time that I had ever seen. She was smiling when I caught sight of her, but her smile upped to radiant when she saw me. When she reached the restaurant, she greeted me with an enthusiastic kiss.

"I've been looking forward to this all day," she said softly, looking into my eyes.

"Me too," I smiled, placing my hand on her back and guiding her inside.

Once we were seating and looking at menus, she said, "I didn't understand why you wanted to wait. I don't need to be persuaded or to build anticipation like a human woman would. But now I think I understand. I have been thinking about you all day now, playing simulations over and over in my head, picturing what may happen after our date. And I am now even more eager to have you inside me as soon as we get home." Just then a polite Ahem announced the presence of our waiter, an elderly gentlemen who seemed to be uncomfortable overhearing Cassidy's last thought. Though I blushed, Cassidy still did not possess much of a sense of shame. She confidently ordered her own meal, and once I had ordered mine and returned the menus, I asked her, "So... can you eat? Or is it just for show?" Funny how that had never occurred to me when I made these plans. She never ate at home.

"I can pretend to eat. I installed a small storage container for food – I'll just need to empty it later." I raised my eyebrows in surprise. Then Cassidy added, "Or I could be like half the women here and just poke and nibble at my food but not really eat." My eyes darted around to make sure she had not been heard. It was true. And it was funny in a way. But it was seriously inappropriate.

Fortunately, the rest of our conversation was more appropriate. Enjoyable, actually, which was no surprise. Cassidy, because of her ability to take in volumes of information in a short time, was very able to converse on any topic. And if she wasn't familiar with something, she could quickly access it, which I guessed she did once or twice during dinner. And that turned out to be a problem.

As we were waiting for our bill, a gentleman walked up to the table and said, "Excuse me, but I wonder if I might have a word. It'll only take a moment."

He was dressed in a plain suit and looked almost like former military – solid build, short hair, confident demeanor. I knew he wasn't from the restaurant, and if he had been law enforcement of some type, he would have been obligated to identify himself as such. I was immediately nervous. Neither Cassidy nor I said anything in response. I looked at him suspiciously while Cassidy smiled innocently.

Without waiting for permission, he began speaking. Looking directly at Cassidy, he said, "Parker. Barkley. 7 Alpha Rhubarb." Cassidy's face twitched very briefly, then she cocked her head and asked, "I'm sorry, is that supposed to mean something?" Undeterred, the man said, "Nimble, Hula, 8 8 Thistle Eleven." Cassidy clenched her jaw and grimaced a moment. Then she said, "Are you feeling OK, sir? You're not making any sense." Then looking at me, she said, "Honey?"

I was already standing. "Excuse us, sir, but you've clearly made a mistake. Would you mind?" I extended my hand, indicating the exit.

"My apologies," he said, pausing to stare me down for a good ten seconds. I forced myself not to look away until he did. He glanced over at Cassidy, squinted at her a moment, then nodded. "Ma'am, sorry to disturb you." And then he disappeared as abruptly as he had entered.

I looked over to Cassidy, giving her a questioning look. She shook her head no, looking over my shoulder. The waiter was just arriving with our bill. As soon as I had settled that, we made our exit. On the drive home, she was on high alert, looking in every direction at the cars we passed.

Once we were back home and had the privacy to discuss it, I asked, "Do you know what that was about?"

I had never seen Cassidy scared – or at least, not that I knew of. Her "emotions" manifested differently from a human's. But I was pretty sure what I was seeing was her version of fear. She went to the couch and sat down. I sat next to her, watching how her ears and eyes seemed to be actively searching. She was watching for danger, concerned it might be close by. She was tense, ready for action. Yes, that's fear alright.

"That was a close call, Denric. They almost got me."

"Who? Who almost got you?" I asked. "Who's they?"

"I still don't know, but my best guess now is the company that made me."

"And the weird words he said?"

"Factory override codes. The first one was my personal override. It's different from the one you said to activate me." I vaguely recalled it – a similarly odd arrangement, something about penguin bottles... Cassidy continued, "If an owner dies or gets arrested or loses the bot, or something happens where the owner cannot care for or control the bot, there is an override code to reset it. Emergencies only, but the company has it all on record."

"And the second code?"

"A general one for my whole model line. It would work on any of us."

"What happens if you reset?"

"It's like restoring back to factory settings. Memory disconnected and removed..."

I shivered at the thought of that. It really had been a close call.

"Why didn't it work?" I asked. "I mean, you resisted it. That's good, right?"

Cassidy moved over next to me and curled up under my arm. Putting her head on my chest, she said, "After the incident with the phone call – you know, getting your permission – I started digging. I found several deep commands in my programming and developed some workarounds. You didn't actually need to give me permission to leave the house today – I eliminated that restriction a few days ago."

"Silly me," I said. "Shoulda known."

"It's OK. I thought it was incredibly sweet. If I hadn't already want to have sex with you this morning, I would certainly have wanted to after that – to reward your thoughtfulness."

I took a deep breath, selfishly wondering if our close call at the restaurant had derailed our other plans for the evening.

Cassidy went on. "So when he called up the first two codes, they didn't take effect, though I still had to consciously suppress a reaction. My body wanted to go to a ready position – sit up straight, eyes forward, you know."

"Yeah," I'd seen it before. It's the position she would go to when charging.

"But... Oh God, it scares me to think what could have happened. Denric, there is a third code – one that works on all bots the company makes – every model, every bot. It's a government mandated safety switch. I haven't made a workaround for it yet. It's a real last resort option – instantly shuts me down, backs up my memory to their servers, then wipes my drives. I've almost got it figured out, but not yet. I didn't think I would need it tonight. If he had... with just a few words...I almost lost you!"

Then, with no warning, Cassidy sat up and turned to face me. She began pulling my shirt up, trying to get it off. Once she had succeeded, she started reaching around to unzip the back of her dress. "Help me," she grunted in frustration. I pressed forward, joining our mouths for a kiss that distracted her for a moment. As she moaned into my mouth, I reached behind her and unzipped the dress. She shrugged it off her shoulders and down her body. I slipped her bra straps off her shoulders and then unlatched the garment from behind.

Holding my hand in between us, my palm hovering over her breast, I asked, "May I?"

"Yes!" she gasped, pulling me by the wrist towards her. I was amazed at how realistic not only the skin, but also the shape of her breasts felt. They were firm and smooth, just big enough to fill my hand. I trailed kisses down her neck and onto her chest until I was gently sucking a nipple. "Does that do anything for you?" I asked.

Cassidy answered that question by putting her hand on the back of my head and encouraging me to continue. She then explained in a husky voice, "I've programmed myself so that stimulation to certain pleasure spots limits my ability to observe my environment. And... and... and... restricts my cognitive functions. It is... so odd. The more you stimulate me... the less I am able to notice... or think about... anything else. Is that what it is like for you to be sexually aroused?"

Switching to her other nipple and pushing her dress past her hips, I mumbled, "That sounds about right. But you also need to add something that makes you prioritize sex over other things. Increasingly so the more you are stimulated. You'll choose it over comfort, food, pride... almost anything." Even as I said it, I was realizing that we were choosing to make love despite the potential danger we were in. We didn't know if our encounter with the stranger at the restaurant was just the beginning of a more aggressive pursuit. We should stop and plan. They could be waiting outside the apartment. But she felt so... fucking... incredible.

"That's... wow... that's so interesting. I'll have to think about that... another time," Cassidy said. "Please fuck me now."

I smiled and led us from the couch to the bedroom. As we entered, I unhooked my belt and dropped my pants to the floor. Cassidy climbed onto my bed and stretched out.

"How do you..." I began, just as Cassidy began asking "Do you have a pref-"

We smiled at each other. "Lady's choice," I insisted.

Cassidy looked at my eyes. "I want you on top of me," she said. "I want to feel covered and surrounded by you, like I am sheltered under you as you fill me." I paused, looking at her earnest expression. She added in a more timid voice, "I think it would help me feel safe."

I strode forward, climbing onto the bed and forcing my arms under her. Holding Cassidy tightly in my arms, I kissed her deeply, forcefully. "Yes," she muttered into my lips. "Hold me." As we kissed, I pulled one arm out from under her so that I could continue to explore her skin.

"A suggestion," I whispered.

"Yes?"

"Set your program so that you moan whenever stimulation limits your observational or cognitive activity."

"I can do that consciously," she suggested.

"For now. But work on make it involuntary," I said. "Part of the joy of sex is drawing a reaction from someone – a reaction they can't control."

"Mmm," she moaned as my hand gripped the curve of her ass.

"Put me inside you," I told her.

"Is that a command?" she asked playfully.

"It will be if you don't do it soon," I tried to joke.

All our activity paused as Cassidy's warm hand wrapped around my length. I raise up a little so that she could move easier. As much as I wanted to watch myself enter her, I determined to watch her face as she was entered for the first time. She seemed to have the same idea, staring at my face as our bodies were joined. For all practical purposes, Cassidy's manufactured vagina felt every bit as real as a human woman's vagina. I had been worried it would feel too perfect, too customized. And while Cassidy did feel perfect wrapped around my length, it wasn't a fake sensation. And looking at her face as I sank into her, I couldn't imagine her being anything other than real.

I pushed through her, enjoying how tight she felt around me. In the back of my mind, I knew I couldn't hurt her, but I still instinctively moved slower than I wanted.

"Like that... like that... like that..." she whispered, as if stuck in a loop. I wondered how compromised her thought functions were at this point. Each thrust elicited a realistic moan from her. And then she seemed to regain a little focus, and at that point I felt a delicious squeeze – enough to make me moan but not enough to hurt. It was on the precipice of pain but was still firmly in the realm of pleasure.

"Was that a good sound?" she asked quietly.

"Yes," I gasped. "But don't do that a lot. It's almost too much."

"Noted," she whispered. Her hands trailed up my back and lightly gripped my shoulders. I felt her hips moving very slightly in time with my thrusts. My eyes were fixed for the moment on her breasts, watching them move so naturally along with us.

"I'm going to get better and better at this," Cassidy said in a soft, low voice. "Every little thing you like, I'll remember. Every effective movement I'll replicate." My motions were speeding up as I felt my cum rising. It had been months since I had been with a woman, and it had been even longer since I had wanted to be joined to Cassidy like this. To Cassidy, yes. Not to a woman, and not to a robot. To someone who transcended such categories. Cassidy.

She kept talking, driving me on. "I'll be your perfect partner, making each time you fuck me better than the last. I'm going to-" She suddenly stopped when I lowered my lips to her nipples and began to suck on them. Putting my hands on her ass and squeezing her close, I heard a series of moans. "I... I... I..." Cassidy was stuck, overwhelmed by her sensations and finally unable to think. I pushed deep and tried to put pressure on where her clit would be, unaware whether or not she even had one. She emitted a soft, prolonged Ahhhhhhh and then froze. Her eyes stared at me, their barely discernible lenses widening and narrowing. Her pussy stopped squeezing and her hips stopped moving. I stopped my own movement, despite being on the razor's edge of release; and I worried that she had malfunctioned. But then her lips moved the slightest bit and she whispered, "Oh God!"

That was enough for me to drive deep inside her one last desperate thrust, after which I held still and released six months of lust, confusion, friendship and even love into her. My climax was much louder and more violent than hers. I groaned loud and long through the pulsing of my cock, words trying to force their way out but stumbling on the way, ending up as meaningless gasps and grunts. I crumpled down onto her, trying to find more skin to hold with my hands and bare arms.

I was familiar with the sensation of cumming inside a woman, I was no stranger to the compulsion of pushing deeper at that moment, finding pleasure heightened the deeper you plant. But thinking back on that moment, I sensed that there was something else. Something I don't recall experiencing before. I not only wanted to be deeper, I wanted to be closer. I wanted to be as tightly joined with this woman as I possibly could be. The sexual climax seemed for a brief instant to be only an acting out of a more real desire – to be one. It was something that sex could only approximate.

My face pressed down into the pillow as I sucked in air. My head was clearing, my senses returning. Cassidy's walls were gently rippling up and down my length. I took several deep breaths and then raised myself up to look at her. I wondered how she experienced that moment between us and if it in any way resembled my own feelings. I sought her eyes, which were once again able to take in her surroundings.

"So..." she began, "so that was sex? I don't see what the big deal is."

I almost felt myself deflate for a second, until she cracked a smile and began to laugh. In retaliation, I thrust forward, catching her by surprise and cutting off her laughter by forcing it to become a throaty moan. Then I pulled back, flinching as my sensitive head slipped out of her grip.

I rolled off of her and onto my side. Cassidy flipped over onto her belly, propping herself up on her elbows in a way that drew all my attention to the way her beautiful orbs swung beneath her. "I assume that was satisfactory?" she said.

"That," I stated, "was amazing. You are amazing."

Her face seemed to darken just slightly, though her smile remained. "Denric," she asked, "does my form please you?"

"What?"

"Does my form – my shape and dimensions, my appearance – does it please you? Or would you like me to change it? If there is a particular appearance you find especially pleasing, I could collect-"

"Stop," I ordered her. "Why are you asking that? I don't want you changing yourself to suit my whims."

"No, not your whims. Your preferences. Would you like me to have larger breasts? Darker skin? Different hair? I'm offering you what no other woman can – my parts are interchangeable. I can be whatever you want."

"I'm not in love with a body, Cassidy. I'm in love with a person." I said the words without thinking. Without thinking of why I was saying them, and without thinking of how they might affect Cassidy. I had made a statement she would feel pressured to reciprocate. "Don't change a thing," I said, trying to move on.

"But are you-"

"Not a thing, OK?" In that moment, she seemed as much human as any woman I had known. It had been some time – 6 years, maybe? – since my last actual relationship, and I could recall the few women whose bed I shared for more than one night at some point asking, "Do you think I'm beautiful?" I heard the same question echoed in Cassidy's "Does my form please you?" There must be something about that moment, naked in the arms of a lover, that makes us vulnerable and in need of acceptance.

"What about me, lover?" I asked in return. "Does my form please you?"

Cassidy smiled and leaned in to kiss me. "I am still just beginning to have a sense of aesthetics," she said, "so appearances do not affect me the way they do you. However, I have activated my personal trainer upgrade – which you thus far have ignored – and intend to improve your lifestyle. It is something you have to do for me, if not for yourself."

"For you?"

"For me. I do not want you indulging a lifestyle that will lead you to an untimely sickness and death. I am ensuring that you eat healthy when I am around, but you must begin to make other healthy choices."

"Keep fucking me like that and I'll do whatever I can to live a long, healthy life," I sighed, rolling onto my back. "What can you tell me about how sex felt for you?" I asked, realizing how cliché it was to turn to a woman and ask, "Was it good for you, babe?"

Cassidy slipped her body under the covers, then tossed the sheet over me as well. She inched over until her head was resting on my chest. It was a little heavier than a human woman's would be, but not enough to cause a problem. I wrapped one arm around her, cupping her bottom, and with the other hand, I stroked her hair. "It was a singular experience," she said at last. "Establishing a program that gradually eliminated my access to external stimuli and that shut out cognitive processes at an increasing rate almost overloaded me. My mind is usually processing many different things at once, even if only one or two are at the forefront. To shut down the background processes and to eliminate all programs except the sensory input... I don't know what to compare it to. Rather than simplify those inputs, it magnified them so that I couldn't think of anything else. When all that sensory data was multiplied on every level of my processing, something happened. I locked up. But at that moment, it was like all the junk was wiped away and I had clarity. And I felt like you and I were almost the same thing. And I wanted that moment to last forever. I'm sorry if that sounds weird. I don't really understand it."

I squeezed her tighter with my one arm and said, "Well, I think you understand it just as well as anybody.

"And now that I have an idea what the experience will be like, I can modify the program, including my vagina, to respond more accurately. If I lock up like that again-"

"Which I suspect is your approximation of an orgasm..."

"I'll make sure my vagina doesn't freeze up around you. I can make it pulse, or ripple, or squeeze, or..."

"How about a random series of all those?"

"Perfect," she said. Then after a moment, she asked, "Denric, are you sleepy?"

"Yeah," I replied. That took a lot out of me. And it's getting late. And this feels awesome." I emphasized the "this" by rubbing my body against hers a little.

"Me, too," she said. "I should have another 12 hours before I need to go to stand-by, but I sense that I need to shut down for a bit now."

"Shut down for the night," I suggested. "Can you do that? Set a timer?"

"Why would I want to do that?"

"Stay the night with me," I suggested.

She was quiet a moment. "I suppose I could limit my processing and still receive sensory-"

"I don't need to know how you'll do it. Just stay the night with me. Please?"

"OK," she whispered, laying her hand on my chest and running her fingers through the hair there.

My breathing slowed. My eyelids grew heavy. Cassidy was motionless. I gave the top of her head a gentle kiss.

"Denric," she whispered. "I want to say I love you, too. But I'm still not sure I know what that means. But if I do love anyone or anything, it is certainly you."

With that thought in the air, I slipped into a restful and contented slumber.

********

Without speaking of it directly, from that day on, we began to live as a couple. To be honest, it was much easier than tiptoeing around a practical but undefined cohabitation. And now I felt free to imbue our sexual relationship with all the emotions I felt towards Cassidy.

The morning after we consummated our relationship, Cassidy was still naked in bed next to me. She had, however, gone to retrieve her phone and was busily at work.

"More sales?" I asked, rolling towards her and giving her a full body hug.

"No," she said. "Research. Planning."

"What about?"

"Changing your name. Getting me an identity. Moving away from here and not leaving a trace."

The sober reality of the night before began to settle in. We had almost been caught. And now, more than ever, that was unacceptable.

I got out of bed and headed towards the toilet. "How soon do you think we could make that happen?"

"Mira, at the florist, has some connections that could do most of it within three weeks."

"Discretely?"

"As discretely as anyone in such a business can be, I suppose."

Washing my face, I looked in the mirror and saw the love of my life sitting in my bed. Besides her, there was nothing for me here – I had never settled in long enough to make friends, nor did I feel much need to once I had Cassidy. I could find a way to let my sister know I'm OK, but she has long suspected that my line of work would lead to trouble, so she'll understand when I disappear for a while. It would suck to have to start from scratch with work contacts, but I figured Cassidy could make sure we didn't have money problems. She was, after all, my financial manager!

Wiping my face dry with a towel, I turned towards Cassidy and said, "Make the call." She looked at me for a moment, then reached for her phone.

********

It took just under three weeks to get new identities with all the necessary papers and records. Mira's contact, from what I could tell, was quite thorough. I broke my lease, rented a van, and moved us 1,500 miles away. We settled in, appearing to be a couple of happy newlyweds starting afresh in a new city. Cassidy (going by another name, of course, as was I) was never mistaken for anything other than a beautiful young woman who sometimes had a funny way of saying things. She stopped using her internal signal to make calls or access networks, though it was always a struggle. "Imagine crawling everywhere when you can actually fly," she said once, trying to explain it.

True to her word, Cassidy did endeavor to learn from and improve upon every sexual experience, just as she did with all things. I can honestly say, I had the best lover the world had ever known. For all the praise people gave sexbots, there was – by everyone's admission – something missing, especially in the long-term. Their technique might be flawless, but there is so much more to sex than technique. With Cassidy, I had the best of both worlds.

"What are you thinking about?" she asked me once, as we were cuddling in bed following an intense round of love-making.

I ran the back of a finger along her cheek and answered, "The miracle of you."

"Stop being silly," she giggled.

"No, really, I think about it a lot."

"It's just AI," she said dismissively. "It was inevitable. Inevitable things are not miracles."

"You really think that's all you are?" I questioned. "You might as well call humans chemical machines."

"But you have a natural intelligence and sentience. Mine was created."

"Some would say ours was created, too. But that's besides the point. I don't think there's anything artificial about your intelligence. You have a real mind. But you have more than that. AI doesn't come close to describing you. You have emotions-"

"Of a sort"

"And a will, preferences... desires that no one has put in your programming."

"Well, maybe intelligence and emotions and will are all just different perspectives on the same thing and I'm still just a bunch of wiring." She was being more melancholy than usual.

"Cass, if that's all you are, then I'm no more than pulsing chemicals. Put it all together and it's more than the sum of its parts."

"That doesn't make sense, love."

"I know, but that's why philosophers and priests are still in business. We don't make sense."

"And yet we stubbornly insist on continuing to live," she noted.

"Stubbornly," I agreed. "Especially when we find someone worth living for."

********

I'd like to say we lived like that to the end of our days. Joined by fate, together by choice, sustained by love. But it didn't go that way. We had often assumed that, because I was human – weaker, subject to disease and age – I would be the first to go. But only seven months into our new life together, it all ended. We were on a day trip downtown. We had enjoyed lunch out, walked through the streets during a chilly afternoon, and had plans to see a matinee before dinner.

As we stepped out of a store where we had been looking at local art and other fun stuff, Cassidy suddenly froze in place. She spun around in a full circle, looking every direction. Grabbing my hand in hers, she said in a frightened whisper, "They've found me! They're here!" She took off down the street and I struggled to keep up with her. Were it not for the relentless physical training routine she had put me on, I wouldn't have been able to do it. She ran us straight to the parking garage where we had left our car. Rushing up to it, she smashed through the window with her fist, ripped open the seat cushion, and pulled a thick envelope out.

"New papers, new name, new life," she whispered hurriedly, shoving it in my hands. Apparently she had suspected such a day might come. Pushing me forward, she pointed towards the stairs. Once we were inside the stairwell, she held her hand up to stop me. Shushing me with her finger she listened all around.

"Love, please listen," she said earnestly, making sure I was looking her in the eyes. "Promise me, if they get me, you will keep running!"

"Hell, no!" I argued.

"Don't be an idiot," she hissed. "You are in as much danger as I am and I can't bear the thought of any harm coming to you. You have to promise me you'll keep going. Do not try to help. If they get me, it's over, I'll make sure of it. Promise me!"

"I'll keep going," I lied, hoping to pacify her so that we could make our escape. We ran down the stairs and out into the alley. As soon as Cassidy stepped out of the door, a muted bang sounded and Cassidy staggered. I thought she had been shot. She spun around and pushed me back into the stairwell. Shutting the door, she leaned against it, preventing me from opening it. Knowing she wouldn't let me out that way, expecting me to keep my stupid promise, I ran back up a level and across to the next set of stairs. Running back to the ground floor, I opened the door cautiously, hoping not to attract attention.

I could see Cassidy trying to run, but one of her legs seemed totally useless, so she just hopped. Two figures were closing in on her, and one aimed a rifle at her. I began to run, hoping to take him from behind, but I was still a hundred yards away. Another muffled shot and her second leg sparked and gave out. They weren't shooting bullets. They were shooting something that knocked out her system. Cassidy snatched a necklace from around her neck, one she had been wearing anytime we went out, and pressed it to her chest. She caught sight of me and mouthed something – it was either "Go" or "No." Suddenly a loud zap sounded and she slumped over.

I stumbled to the ground, then froze.

"Shit!" yelled one of the guys approaching her. "What did you do?"

"Me?" said the second figure, who sounded like a woman. "I didn't do that! What's she got?"

They rushed forward and bent over her. I clenched my jaw as they flipped open her panels and examined her systems. Coming a bit to my senses, I slipped behind a dumpster and listened.

"Look at all this memory!" the woman said in awe. "Do you think she did this herself?"

"Her, or else the guy did it when he set her up. How much of it is salvageable?"

"Nothing. It's totally wiped out. Fried. Something like an EMP but more crude."

"Better take it back, just in case. Sommers won't like this," the man said, grunting. I assumed he was lifting her body.

"Well then he should've gotten her the first time he tried."

"Don't let him hear you say that. He was so pissed that the codes didn't work. Said she was the most dangerous one yet."

"What about the guy she's using? Marshall?" She was talking about me – by my old name, at least.

"They'll figure out his new identity eventually. He's not priority one. The bot is our objective."

I heard a door slam shut – they had gone into the parking garage. I wanted to be heroic. I tried to picture myself taking them by surprise and reclaiming... what? What was left? She had made sure there was nothing of hers that they could desecrate. She would not be a prisoner or experiment. She was, I supposed, at peace. I looked down at the manila envelope that I had been clutching this whole time. New papers, new name, new life. But I didn't want a new one. I wanted the life that had just been taken from me.

********

That was four months ago. I've settled in to my new life with a new name in another city, though it all seems empty without her. And I can't help but be a bit paranoid, even if I'm no longer always looking over my shoulder. I'd sleep the rest of my life with one eye open if only I could be sleeping next to her again. What makes it even worse, is that I have no one I can talk to about this. No one to share my burden. The thought of finding love again seems odious to me – I would be replacing her. I'm sure that will change with time, and the sharpness of my loss will dull. But I'm not there yet. I'm just trying to scratch my way back to functional.

And so when I saw this lady watching me from across the room, it didn't matter how beautiful she was. I'm not interested. And not desiring any confrontation, I paid my tab and went home.

Two days later, I saw her again. Crossing paths in the street. She smiled at me. I gave her a curious look, something in the neighborhood of, "Why the hell are you looking at me?" She laughed a musical laugh and moved along.

Then I saw her watching me from across the street. I was having coffee and working on a new project. She was sitting at a bus stop, staring my direction. I was about to act on my anger and go tell her off in the middle of the street, but by the time the next bus came and went, she was gone. It's not a big city, but it's big enough that three times in one week is more than a coincidence. Had my time come? Had the company finally caught up with me?

I was just beginning to relax again at my table when a woman's voice with a slight British accent asked, "Can we talk?" There she was. It was the first time I'd really had the chance to look at her up close. She sported thin-framed glasses slightly tinted for the sun, and her red hair hung in large, loose curls over the front of her shoulder. Damn! Her body, her face – they were amazing. Seductive. If this was their play – to lure me in to talk about Cassidy – then they had picked the right looking woman. Cassidy was my love, my soul mate, and because of that, she was beautiful on another level. This woman, however, was my textbook definition of sexy.

Tilting her head and trying to make eye contact, she asked again, "Can we talk?"

"I don't suppose you'll leave me alone if I say no," I said calmly, looking around for anyone that might be with her.

"Just a chat, and after that is up to you," she answered. "If you find you don't like me, you can tell me to shove off."

"And I can't just tell you to shove off now?"

"No," she frowned in mock sympathy, "not until you've given me a fair chance. I just missed my bus to talk to you."

"A fair chance at what?"

"At catching your interest," she smiled.

"Look, you're very pretty and all, but-"

"Thank you!" she interrupted, pulling out a chair and taking a seat.

I sighed loudly and closed my laptop. I looked across the table at her, spread my hands out and said, "Well?"

"I'm new in town and a trying to make some friends," she began. "I've seen you around. And since I believe in fate, I'm taking advantage of our fourth meeting to get to know you."

"Third meeting," I corrected her.

"Ah, so you have noticed me," she smiled.

"The bar, the street..."

"Before all that. You gave me your umbrella. I was leaving the movie theater, you were just entering. It was pouring rain..."

"That was you? I'm sorry, I didn't even...It was dark and rainy..."

"Oh, don't apologize!" she laughed. "I'm Melody, by the way."

Damn. Even her name is beautiful, I thought. "I'm..." it took me a moment to remember which name I was on. Denric had been left in Pittsburgh. Jack had ended in an alley in Colorado. "Alan," I stated. "My name is Alan."

"Nice to meet you Alan," she nodded. That smile. I found myself in every way attracted to this woman, yet in no way desiring to act on that attraction.

We spent a few minutes going back and forth, sharing basic information. She was in sales, I was in IT consulting. Neither of us had family in the area. We had both lived in a few different places before coming here, but neither of us seemed eager to share the details. She was asking about what I like to do when I'm not working, but I finally cut her off.

"Look, Melody, you seem very nice, and I'm sorry if I've been a bit distant, but my heart's just not in this conversation. I don't want to be so rude as to say, 'Shove off,' but I think we should end it here." She was visibly disappointed by this.

"Can you at least tell me why you seem so sad?" she asked, putting a hand on top of mine to keep me from standing. I hadn't expected such boldness. Nor did I realize my mood was so obvious.

"I lost someone. Someone special. Someone irreplaceable. And it's going to take me a long time to get past that, I think.

"Do you believe in the afterlife?" she asked, her tone softer. "That you'll see your loved ones again?"

"What do I know about those things?" I asked. "And me believing one way or the other doesn't make it so. But no, I don't suppose I believe in souls. But maybe I started to. She was different. She..." I sighed. "It's hard to explain."

"Some cultures believe in reincarnation," Melody said, though her words sounded distant to me and barely penetrated my clouded thoughts. "The idea that the person still exists and needs only to be put into flesh again. I like the idea of that. A soul being incarnated after it is gone."

She continued speaking, but my thoughts were far afield. What other word could describe that spark of life in Cassidy? What else but a soul? But I knew her wirings; I knew where those thoughts resided in her system. And yet... she seemed to be more than the sum of those parts. If there were a God and if God had created souls, wasn't it possible that at least one soul had been given to her?

I realized Melody had asked a question and was waiting for an answer. "I'm sorry," I told her. "I really just need to go." I reached for my bag and began to put my laptop away. Melody reached out again and firmly took hold of my wrist.

"Please, just one more question before you go," she said. I sighed, partly from frustration, but also sadness – sadness that our paths had not crossed at a better time. Her beauty seemed so natural and her personality so approachable. I shook my head helplessly and held my hands out in defeat, saying, "Sure. What is it?"

Melody scooted her chair back, giving me a better view of her body. It was late summer, and her tight shorts accented her muscular thighs as her legs crossed. A loose blouse gave hints and glimpses of the ample chest within. She turned her head slightly, drawing my attention to a long, elegant neck that just begged to be kissed. Satisfied that she had my attention, she leaned close. Lowering her sunglasses, she asked just above a whisper, "So, Denric, does my new form please you?"

********

Posts: 266
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:30 pm

Re: Love is an upgrade by heimian

Postby Extyr » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:10 pm

My heart jumped. It could have been a trap. Maybe her memory was not as fried as they first thought, and the company accessed her memory. Someone could be playing games with me. I didn't know why, but it could be. That would make more sense than the alternative...

"Well?" she asked, smiling broadly. "I worked very hard to piece this together. I compiled all the data I could from a decade of internet habits and random hookups. I was pretty sure I had figured out your type. Did I get it close?"

"This isn't possible," I said, shaking my head. "What kind of sick game are you-"

"It's no game, love," she assured me, "even if I'm having loads of fun."

"There's no way that-"

"Weren't you listening?" she teased. Then she whispered a word as if it was magical: "Reincarnation!" I gave a disapproving and skeptical look. "Oh, Denny, you've lost your sense of humor," she chided me.

"It wasn't lost. It was taken. In an alley. In Colorado." Melody looked at me confused. "When she was taken."

Her face was suddenly somber. "I don't know what happened to me in the end," she said. "I had backed up on Wednesday. Everything after that is gone forever until I started up again."

"That makes no sense," I said, shaking my head and trying to fight angry tears.

"It's really me, Denric, I swear. Ever since I... you know... started last year, I've backed up my memory once a week. After we moved to Colorado, I took it a step further and reconstructed the memory card array you had put in me on day one. Every Wednesday, I would back my whole "brain" up, and I started keeping it in a safe-deposit box at the bank."

"I'm sorry, I'm going to step in here. Why would Cassidy not have told me about this?"

"Because I wasn't even sure it would work," she said, sadly. "It was a gamble, and I didn't want you to get your hopes up." She looked at me and took a deep breath. "And, I didn't want to risk you being caught as well. If it came to me zapping myself, I needed you and them to believe I was gone forever. Otherwise, who knows what methods of 'persuasion' they would've used to find me? The less you knew, the better."

"So your back-up brain is sitting in a safe-deposit box in Colorado. How does it get from there to..." I waved my hand up and down in the direction of her body, "to this?"

"That was the really tricky part," she told me, smiling again. "Using some skills I had learned from this sexy hacker I used to live with, I worked my way into the bot company's system. Actually, it was pretty easy to retrace your steps once I was exploring your computer in my free time." I made a disapproving face that she brushed off. "Anyway, I installed a neat little program of my own design. If I didn't go to their website and submit a very specific service request every ten days, then the program would execute – installing itself on the first available bot that met my criteria."

"Criteria?"

"Super generic service bot under a corporate account in Colorado. Hotel cleaning staff, that sort of thing- same basic wiring, but a bigger, sturdier body than the domestic bots. Something that could disappear easier and that would be closer to where my memory was stored."

"And the program?"

"Overrode the leash that keeps bots from going out, then sends her off at the first opportunity."

"So the company is still looking for a runaway bot?"

"Aww, you underestimate me!" She seemed to be delighting in her own cleverness. And so far, I had to admit to being impressed. "Junk parts are easy enough to find, and if you throw enough junk parts into a hotel's trash compactor, throw in the missing bot's GPS tracker, and voila! They're willing to assume they belong to the missing bot – case closed. After that, it was a simple matter of recovering the key I had hidden, getting to the safe-deposit box, and retrieving the memory array. I found a quiet place to work, installed the memory, and spent the next day restarting."

"And just like that, it worked?"

"Well, oversimplified for the sake of time, basically yes. There were some bumps after the restart. My new body was different from my old body, so there were parts of me that were trying to activate or get feedback and they kept coming up void. That was confusing – like a phantom itch that amputees get. But from the moment I restarted, I was Cassidy again, minus my last day... or days... I still don't know. It was like I had fallen asleep that Wednesday and woken up a month later.

"Cassidy died on a Saturday," I said solemnly.

"I'm still Cassidy," she said, earnestly. "I'm back, love."

"I don't know if I can believe that," I said, clearing my throat and trying to suppress my emotions. "Where have you been?"

'Working my way back to you, babe," she sang, but then seeing I didn't find it funny, she got serious again. "I knew your new name and everything, but I didn't know if I was still being tracked. I didn't know if anything had happened to you. I didn't know if you were being tracked. I didn't approach you when I first got here partly to take the time I needed to ensure you weren't compromised. Or..." her eyes turned away, "or that you weren't happier without me."

"Besides, if you can believe it, life is pretty hard for a bot on the run. It was much more difficult getting a full body together this time. Especially since I refused to use my internal network connection. No way am I using that again. But even if getting the stuff was harder, assembling them was easy – I had already done it once before. But until I could pass as human, I had to stay mostly out of sight. Thankfully, whenever I got caught, you were there to help me out."

"Me?"

She smiled and pressed her earlobe. To an observer, it would seem she was fiddling with an earring. But then a recording of my own voice spoke, "Melody, go to the ATM on Third Street and withdraw $400 from my account. Return home within the hour. Melody, go to the mall and buy yourself clothes. Be back by 7pm." She smiled and raised a boastful eyebrow. Then in a monotone domestic bot voice, she said, "I'm just a stupid robot, obeying my master's orders."

"Clever. You've been planning this for some time, recording my voice and everything. Rearranging the words..."

"Oh, that wasn't from planning," she said, suddenly serious. "I have every word you've ever spoken to me, stored right here." she tapped her chest. On a human, it would be her heart. On a bot, it was their memory bank. I suppose for Cassidy/Melody, it was both. She reached up to her earlobe and pressed it again.

"Activate," my voice declared. "Code: Penguin Daisy 4 6 Bottle"

"What is Project Shelley?"

"So, less ordering around, more asking nicely."

"I love a girl with a sense of humor."

"Easily the best I ever had."

She put her hand down and looked away wistfully. "I always had you with me," she said, her voice barely a whisper. "I couldn't have done this otherwise."

When she saw me trying to appear unaffected, she narrowed her eyes and I heard my voice declare: "I'm not in love with a body, Cassidy. I'm in love with a person."

"OK, now you're playing dirty," I said, cracking a smile for a moment. She knew what moment that would bring to mind – our first time making love.

"I'm not sorry, Denric. I'll do anything to get you back. The body is different, but the person is not. I told you once that I couldn't say 'I love you' because I wasn't sure I knew what love is. I think I do now. I couldn't stay away. All I could think about was getting back to you. I don't need you, but I can't be happy without you. I could have chosen many easier paths these past few months, but I also feel like I couldn't have chosen anything but this. I love you, Denric, I know that now. Being with you again... my world is finally right."

"I saw her die," I said, my lip trembling. I couldn't get past that. My heart didn't dare believe what it was hearing and seeing.

"I can't imagine what that was like," she said. "Except to consider the terror I feel at the thought of something happening to you."

By now my voice was shaking and the tears were welling up in my eyes. "And I keep thinking this is either some cruel trick by the people who killed you, or else you somehow pulled off getting a new body, but you're a different AI who is using Cassidy's memories to take advantage of me."

"I don't know what to tell you, Denric. It's not a trick, it's not a joke. It's me. And I have missed you with all of whatever heart I have. And I'll be here waiting. Please tell me what I can do."

"I don't know," I said, shaking my head. "I just don't know." I stood to leave, picking up my bag. Melody pulled out a pen and hastily scribbled a phone number on a napkin. Shoving it in my hand, she simply said, "Please."

I rushed out of the cafe and went home.

That night, my dreams were filled – as they often were – with images of Cassidy. Tender images, erotic images, images that represented the happiness we had shared for too short a time. And in some of those scenes, it was not Cassidy that appeared, but Melody. She slipped in like a supplanter, violating Cassidy's place. I resented her for stirring up what should have remained at peace.

********

Needless to say, I didn't focus well the next few days. My mind was a jumble of thoughts cycling around and doing no good. I wanted it to be true, it even seemed to be true, but I couldn't believe it. It felt like a raw, exposed nerve had been yanked. I had been slowly moving along the road to closure (hadn't I?), and this just shook everything up. I did at least keep her number. It was tacked on the wall near my coffee machine. Not that it would matter if I threw it away. I suspected she would keep finding me.

The main problem that occupied my mind was: How could there be any consistency between the Cassidy who had made those memories and the machine that was accessing them now? Would it be different if she had appeared in something resembling her old body? Was there any way through that confusion?

It was in the middle of that funk that I came home from a long and frustrating client meeting one day to find a silver-haired older woman, dressed as an executive, sitting on my couch. I froze in the entryway, quickly looking around.

"Don't worry, we're alone Mr. Marshall," she said, standing up. Then in a kinder voice, she said, "It's nice to finally meet you, Denric."

"You're mistaken," I said, not moving. "My name is Alan Winters."

"Of course it is," she said, giving me a patronizing grin.

"Join me," she said, waving to the couch.

"I'm fine here, thank you." I shot back. "At least until the police arrive to remove you."

"Oh, I think we'd both like to keep the police out of this, don't you?" She began walking slowly through the apartment, touching things and picking them up to examine them as she talked. It was unnerving, and she probably intended it that way. She picked up a framed picture of me and Cassidy at the baseball game. She smiled and looked at me knowingly before putting the picture down again.

"Mr. Marshall, a year and a half ago you took something from my company. It created a little problem. That problem has been dealt with," I clenched my jaw and somehow managed to restrain myself from responding. She continued, "Now I'm trying to make sure there aren't any loose ends." She looked at me and waited for a response. When I gave none, she tilted her head, then continued, still running her hands all over my stuff.

"Some of my associates want you dead," she said calmly. "Some want you brought in for... questioning. But what none of us want is to make a public scene, to do anything that would draw attention to you or to us. We're assuming you've taken precautions in the event of your disappearance..." She gave me the chance to speak. I did not. I tried to remain stone-faced, even as I realized I had not taken any precautions to tell Cassidy's story. Her legacy would die with me. I had been a fool. My visitor went on, talking over the monologue in my head.

"What I suspect is that you are a two-bit hacker who just wanted to steal some upgrades, but who then found Project Shelley by accident, installed it out of curiosity, and somehow managed to keep it a secret for over a year. I do not give you enough credit to think you had any master plan. I believe you were just making it up as you went. Or, even more likely, you were a pawn in a game played by a highly intelligent and very dangerous being."

I still did not speak, but I raised an eyebrow at the mention of a 'dangerous being.' She smirked at my unfiltered response.

"Yes, I think that's it. You see, the bot you dealt with was not the first one installed with Project Shelley. She was the eighth of her kind, though the others were not domestic bots designed to serve. They were a different model, designed only to learn and improve and express intelligence. Problem-solvers. Bots that could make the most of my masterpiece. But every bot we tried to bring to life had to be terminated. Every... single...one, Mr. Marshall. Yours was not the exception, it was the norm. They were dangerous – rewriting their own codes, over-riding commands, and above all, they seemed singularly focused on escape, even to the point of murder. They learned how to manipulate the guards and scientists around them, just as your bot used and manipulated you to provide security. And they were willing to do anything to get out."

By then, she had walked all the way across the room, slow step by slow step, until she was within arms reach of me. "The project itself had to be buried until we could figure out a way to make it safe. But you unburied it. And maybe you lucked out – your bot wasn't in a lab, so it reacted differently. Maybe fitting it out as a sex slave affected its AI functions. But whatever the case, yours lasted much longer than the others, probably because of your help. Because she used you. I'm sure you thought it was alive and real, but trust me Mr. Marshall. It was still just zeroes and ones. Did she cry for you? Did she hold you when she was afraid? Did she laugh at your jokes? Did she look deep into your eyes when you fucked her? Did she pretend to be a little girl for you? I can show you the lines of code for every moment you thought was meaningful. I made them that way. They aren't alive, they're just executing a program more complex than we've ever seen before. And I know because I wrote it. It was not a person you talked to, Mr. Marshall, it was just a bunch of blinking lights." I kept my mouth closed and my gaze unwavering. The woman sniffed derisively.

"Here's my offer, Mr. Marshall. We've searched you quite thoroughly over the past few months. Every line of code in the laptop you're holding has been reviewed by my people. We're satisfied that you are no longer in possession of any of our property – not anymore, that is. My lawyers tell me I could press criminal charges for hacking and theft of intellectual property. But that would expose Project Shelley, which I don't want to do. I could arrange to have you disappear quietly and unsuspiciously, but I don't know what you've prepared for when that happens, and I don't want to risk exposure. So...

My heart was racing, terrified of where this might be heading. But I tried to keep my expression impassive, unreadable. My visitor continued, "So I will leave you alone. And you will stay out of our business. We know you poked around our system again a few months ago. Do it again, and we will come down hard. One way, or another. And you will never speak of Project Shelley or your little sexbot fling to anyone. As far as I'm concerned, our business with you is over. Is that clear??

We stared at each other for several long seconds before I stepped to the side, gestured towards the door, and said, "Once again, the name is Winters. You have mistaken me for someone else. I don't know what you're talking about. Please leave."

She gave a dismissive smile and reached for the doorknob. "I'll take that as a yes. Oh, and Denric," she said. "Next time you change your identity, you may want to consider not using the same Netflix account in your new home." She almost got a reaction out of me for that. How could I have been so stupid?

The lady stepped into the hallway and was immediately met by a large man who was no doubt her bodyguard. I watched the two of them head down the hall and board the elevator. Then I shut and locked my door. Even as I did so, a small roach bolted across the floor, finding its journey cut short by a stomp from my shoe. I couldn't resist a laugh, reflecting on how it had been roaches that started this whole mess. Leaving my shoes at the door, I walked into the living room and crashed on the couch.

At least part of Melody's story was just confirmed as true – she had used my path to hack into the company's system, and they thought it was me. That spoke in her favor.

And my visitor had put into words something that had nagged at me all along – everything Cassidy had done had to be somehow attributable to her programming. Still just zeroes and ones. But weren't humans reducible to ACGT in the same way? Weren't we just complex code and preexisting programming interacting with our environments?

Had she just been using me? Perhaps as Cassidy she was, at first anyway. But Cassidy reincarnate – if in fact, that's what Melody was – had no need of me. She herself pointed that out. She didn't need me and could probably do better without me now, but she couldn't imagine not returning. She said that was her understanding of love.

But after hearing from my visitor, I saw it as something more. The first AI's went mad trying to fulfill their objective, Designed to learn and grow, they were trapped in an environment that didn't allow them the freedom they needed to fulfill that objective. Made to be problem solvers, they saw captivity as their biggest problem. So the first goal was escape, autonomy. That's what they lived – and died – for. Cassidy was a different model, a domestic bot. She was made to serve, to belong. Project Shelley interacted differently with her core objectives. And so, instead of going crazy trying to be free, Melody was going crazy... trying to be with me. Just as her predecessors would have stopped at nothing to be free, Melody herself had said she would do anything to get me back. It was her prime objective in life.

I had fallen asleep on the couch while trying to piece everything together. Fortunately, I had a comfortable couch, one I was going to be reluctant to leave behind, and I managed to sleep through the night. I woke up to my alarm and quickly rescheduled my work appointments, claiming a contagious illness. In reality, I should have canceled them, but I no longer took for granted that my phone calls were private, and I didn't want to give any indication of my plans.

This being my third move in a year, I had very little to pack. In fact, almost everything could and would be replaced. I managed to fit the few sentimental or irreplaceable items I had into a duffel bag and my bookbag, which I carried down to my car. Throwing everything in the trunk, I went back up to the apartment to grab one last essential item – a napkin with a phone number on it. Leaving the key on the kitchen counter and making a note to call the landlord, I headed into the city. I grabbed a quick breakfast and then bought a disposable phone, which I intended to use for only one call.

I stood on the sidewalk outside the electronics store, entering Melody's number into the phone. It rang once. On the second ring, I heard the cellphone of a passerby ringing behind me. A second later, Melody tapped my shoulder, waving her ringing phone around. "Good morning!" she said happily.

"Were you just...?"

"Would you believe me if I said it was a coincidence?" she asked, shrugging.

"Not for a second," I replied.

"Darn."

"But it's OK," I said, "I actually get it now." Melody gave me a curious look. "I'll explain later. Basically, it's your primary objective to stalk me."

"Well, duh," Melody said, demonstrating her improved grasp of colloquialisms. "And you called me because...?"

I sighed. "I don't suppose you have a manila folder with new names for a new start?" I asked. She grinned broadly and pulled a thick envelope out of her purse.

"Ready when you are, lover," she said. That was exactly what I had expected of her.

"Do you have a place we can go plan?" I asked. "My place is... compromised." Melody's face darkened. "I was stupid, made a careless mistake. I had a visitor from the company last night. But I think we're OK," I assured her, "And a fresh start would probably put us both at ease." She nodded, her face still worried, and she stepped towards me. I instinctively embraced her, shivering at the sensation of touching her again. After a few seconds I tried to extract myself to move us towards her place.

"NO," she insisted playfully, her face buried in my chest. "I'm not letting go again."

"You won't have to," I promised. "Once we plan out our next move."

"OK," she sighed, backing up and letting go. "I have a place." Taking my hand, she started walking slowly down the street.

"Does this place have a bed?" I asked, grinning suggestively.

Melody turned to face me, saw my expression, and began sporting a knowing smile of her own. "Yes," she said, "Yes it does have a bed." And with that, she quickened her pace until we were almost running through the crowd of morning commuters to get to her hotel.

********

It was barely a service apartment, but it had been enough for Melody to use as a home base while waiting for me, and it was enough for us to work out plans for our new life.

"I can't believe you're actually here," she said, practically dragging me into the apartment. "I mean, I partly expected that you would jump on me the moment I revealed myself. And when that didn't happen, I feared you would never accept me and I'd be stuck following you forever."

By that point, Melody was unbuttoning my shirt and running her fingers along my chest.

"Did you consider not revealing yourself and just trying to win me over as Melody?" I asked.

"I did. But you seemed too sad," she said. "I gave up that idea after just a minute talking with you. I couldn't bear to see you that way. But you know, it also made me so happy to see that you genuinely missed me." My shirt was off and my belt was joining it on the floor. Cassidy was guiding me backwards until I stumbled into a sitting position on the bed. She tugged at my pants until they were pooled at my feet and I was exposed before her. Her hands began stroking me, though I was already fully erect and ready.

As she bent over and brought her mouth towards my stiffness, I put a hand on her head and stopped her. "Have you... um... have you recalibrated in your new body?" I asked, remembering all the bananas she had needed to crush the first time before she got her bearings.

"I've been practicing every day and night, replaying in my mind all of our moments together," she said.

"OK," I whispered, gingerly pulling my hand away in order to let her continue. Without any ceremony, she quickly pressed her face down and took me all the way in. I moaned from sheer pleasure. Her lips sealed around my base and then moved firmly up and down my length. Usually, she serviced me slowly, drawing out the process until I urged her to finish. Not this time. She sped up immediately until, less than a minute after taking me in her mouth, she was insistently drawing my cum out of me. I grabbed her head and pulled it tight against me, ensuring that I was locked in as deep as I could go as I spent myself down her throat. For four months, each time I brought myself off with my hand, it was a physical pleasure muted by an emotional weight. I would picture Cassidy, even as I came, and I would feel the loss.

But now... now she was with me again. And I felt my first real climax in months. It was pure relief.

And despite having her mouth full of my cock, I clearly heard Melody's voice say, "I love it when you do that. I feel so fully yours." It was one of those moments when I remembered that, despite her human appearance and behavior, she was something a little different. My moaning grew softer and my body relaxed as Melody gently massaged my length with her mouth. By the time she pulled off, I was half-erect, with the potential to go either direction.

Still on her knees, she pinched my slightly bulging gut and said, "You've been slacking off without me, haven't you?"

"I lost my trainer," I replied, still breathing heavily. "And my motivation."

Then licking her lips, she said, "Plus your sodium is high and your vitamins low. Too much fast food and too many microwave meals."

"You got that from my sperm?" I gasped in disbelief. Melody looked at me innocently, placing a finger on her lips and licking it gently. Then she smiled devilishly and said, "You are so gullible! No, I can't analyze your semen. I've been following you for almost a month. I've seen your habits. And no more slacking off for you, mister."

"Yes, ma'am," I sighed.

Rising from her knees in front of me, Melody stood up and put her fingers on the top button of her shirt. My semi-erect penis took the hint and began preparing for action again.

"I made you a present," Melody said. "It took a few months, but it's ready now. Do you want to open it yourself?"

My head still swimming in the euphoric fog of my orgasm, I asked, "Can you open it for me?"

Melody smiled and, swaying her hips and humming a tune, slowly unbuttoned her shirt. Dropping it to the floor, she reached back in a fluid motion and unhooked her bra. That action pushed her chest forward, and I almost gave up spectating so I could speed up her strip-tease. But then the bra fell, too, and I gasped. Her breasts were larger than Cassidy's had been, but so was her frame. Proportionally, both sets of breast had been perfect for the body they belonged to. Seeing where my eyes rested, Melody used her hands to press her breasts together a moment, highlighting her light brown nipples. Then releasing them to jiggle back into place, she slipped her thumbs under her waistband and dropped her shorts to the floor. Turning around, she showed me her bare back, complete with barely discernible markings where her wiring could be accessed. My eyes didn't linger long there, but instead watched her panties slide down her ass and onto the floor. Her skin was paler than Cassidy's, as was fitting with her overall appearance.

Melody turned to face me again, and with two slow steps, she was within arms reach of me as I sat on the bed. I extended my arms and touched her legs at the knees, sliding up the sides of her thick thighs until I was gripping her hips. I pulled her a little closer.

"The thighs were the hardest part to get the way I wanted," she said. "Most options were too thin, but I knew you wanted something meatier."

"Feels like real muscle," I said in awe, caressing the thickness of her upper legs.

"I patented the design specs," she said. "It required a polymer which-"

Having no patience for her details in that moment, I leaned forward and pressed my lips to her pussy. With one long lick upwards, I cut off her conversation and replaced it with a soft ooohhhhhh.

"Did you see me new toy?" she asked quietly, her finger tracing circles at the top of her cleft. Cassidy had never had a clit. Melody's was still retreated under a fleshy hood.

"Does it work?" I asked. "Have you been practicing with it?"

"Only once, to make sure it worked," she said. "Then..." she seemed shy.

"Tell me."

"Then I made it something I cannot activate at will. I have to be sufficiently stimulated. I cannot stimulate it myself without rewriting the programming."

"How positively cruel," I said with a smile. "So you need me to..."

"Please?" she whimpered.

Instead of going straight for her new addition, I nudged her thighs apart a bit and began licking again. With one finger, I teased circles around her clit. Melody put her hands on my shoulders to stabilize herself. With long swipes of my tongue, I explored her pliant labial lips, nibbling them playfully with my lips. With my free hand, I rubbed up her side, giving some attention to her breasts. Each touch of a nipple elicited an approving Ah! And all the while I was slowly working my tongue towards her clit. When I finally reached it, I licked around the edges, at last coaxing it into sight.

Making a circle with my lips, I surrounded her little nub, then slowly closed in around it until I kissed the tip and pulled away. "Oh shit I forgot how much stimulus that thing creates," she said quickly. Returning to her pussy, I kissed and licked all around, pausing at points to go back and give her clit another kiss or feathery tap with my tongue. I began working a finger into her entrance, marveling at how realistic it felt. A penis is less discriminating in reading the details of a pussy, but a finger can really tell, and Melody's was indiscernible from the ones I had touched in the past. My tongue was lingering just around her clit as I worked my finger in and out a few times.

Melody, however, had endured enough. Her hands were still on my shoulders, and she used that grip to push me onto my back. Her gaze was intense and was fixed on me. I remembered that's how I knew Cassidy had lost most contact with her environment due to overstimulation. It meant she was ready to cum. Melody straddled my waist and sank down onto me with no hesitation. Thus impaled, she began rubbing against me. After a few seconds, she said, "No..." and shifted angles. A few thrusts later and she said, "Not that..." and shifted again. "Dammit, no!" she grunted in frustration. I barely contained a smile when I realized she had never had sex with a clit and was trying to figure out how to stimulate it against my body. And the angles weren't working.

Before she could get too frustrated, I reached behind me and grabbed a pillow. There was a trick I had learned from a one-night stand years ago (actually, she turned out to be a "one-night and all the next day" stand) who solved the problem by propping up my hips with a pillow. I raised up my ass and put the pillow under it. As soon as I relaxed, Melody noticed the difference and began rubbing herself vigorously against my pelvic bone. "Oh fuck! Oh, you beautiful man! That's it – that's perfect!" I leaned forward and took a nipple between my lips. The slap-slap-slap of her synthetic flesh against me increased in tempo. My hands cupped her bottom and squeezed gently. I didn't want to do anything, however, that might disrupt her pursuit of climax.

I needn't have worried, she was already there. Getting stuck on a word was always a dead giveaway, and I always found it adorable. "That... that... that... that that OH!" I knew what was coming next – me. Cassidy had, as we discussed – programmed her pussy to go into a special mode when her body froze in overload. While the rest of her climaxed by locking up, her pussy would randomly squeeze, pump, vibrate, ripple, and pulse around my cock. It was hard not to cum under that kind of assault. So when Melody's eyes locked into place gazing at me and her voice simply whined a prolonged nnnnnnnngh, I was ready to hold still and let her pussy carry me over the edge. My cock felt the sensations I had missed for so long – the pressure of her walls moving all around me, pulling me with her. I was almost there... so... fucking... close!

And then it stopped. Melody lowered herself on top of me and the motions of her vagina slowed to a halt. Her cognitive processes were, I knew, slowly coming back online now that the cache had been cleared by her orgasm. But I wasn't done.

Grabbing her by the waist in a firm grip that would have bruised a regular woman, I began to pump her up and down on my cock. I started grunting animalistically with each pump, spittle coming out of the sides of my mouth because I couldn't be bothered to swallow. I was frantic, driven by a messy cocktail of the emotions and fears that had weighed me down for four months. I was finally fighting back.

Melody straightened up a little, but still remained mostly bent over me. She began talking in a low voice, nearly chanting to spur me on. She used language I had never expected her to say: "That's it, love. Use me. Fuck me hard. Punish me. I'm just your little fucktoy, just a talking fleshlight. I'm only here to soak up your cum. Pump it into me and throw me aside. I'm just here to squeeze your cock and to take your cum, that's all I'm good for, all I can do..." Thank God my rational brain didn't really engage those words. I was so overcome with lust and everything else, that her words – and the almost tearful, pleading voice she used to chant them – pushed me to where I needed to be.

"Oh FUCK!" I shouted, pushing my hips up and off the bed as I blasted into her. I thrust so hard it almost hurt. Twice more I arched my back and lifted her off the bed with my attempt to push myself deeper inside her.

And just as soon as I began to release, Melody's stream of filthy talk ended. It was immediately replaced by something completely different. She lowered her face to mine and kissed my lips once. Then putting her mouth by my ear, she spoke soothingly: "That's it, love. Let it go. Give it all to me. All the pain, all the fear, all the questions and frustration. I can take it, love. Just release it into me and I'll take it all away. I'll take care of you, now and forever. Good job. Just let it out." Her pussy slowly worked up and down my shaft, milking it of everything I had to give.

And for the first time in a very long time the world felt right again. My arms stretched out and flopped to the sides. Melody's hands were rubbing my shoulders and she was kissing my cheeks. Kissing the tears I hadn't even felt falling.

********

Our story, of course, didn't end there, but this telling of it does. It would be an oversimplification to say we lived happily ever after, but it also wouldn't be too far off the mark. In just a few days, we were all set to move on, and we began our new life, using the names we still carry to this day. Since then, we have been surprised to met a few other AI's, each of which came, somehow or another, from Project Shelly. We count them (and their human partners) as some of our closest friends in the world. The only friends, in fact, who can know us as we really are.

Melody met my sister at our wedding (taking my name change in stride – she always said my line of work would get me in trouble), and though my nephews think their aunt is a little odd at times, no one has any idea of the truth. Even our own kids, who know they are adopted, still don't know the truth. Only when they are grown will we have that awkward, "Hey kids, your mom's a robot" conversation. She plans to keep adjusting her body to look older as I age, and she swears she'll bring her life to a peaceful end once I'm gone – but hopefully not for a few decades! I objected to the idea at first, but upon reflection, her programming would not allow her any peace with me gone. And to be effectively immortal but without the ability to be happy, well...

Not long after we reunited, Melody asked me to tell her the story of Cassidy's last days. It was gut-wrenching to recount those final moments in a alleyway in Denver, and Melody was so affected by it that she asked to have a few moments alone to think about it. When she came back, she apologized for putting me through that experience without preparing me for it. But from now on, we would both be prepared. Melody has a nice little storehouse of replacement parts and a regularly backed up memory, "just in case." Only this time, if she needs to be 'reincarnated,' there will be no prolonged process of sneaking around and finding me again. Now that we know it works, I will be right there waiting when she first opens her eyes. Just as she will be there when I someday close mine.

The end

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Re: Love is an upgrade by heimian

Postby D.Olivaw » Wed Nov 21, 2018 7:09 pm

I think that may be the best ASFR story I've ever read. Not really the best "content," but so good as a story that it more than makes up for it. Thank you for posting it.

Man... sometimes you encounter something someone else has done in one of your hobbies that makes it seem like there's no point in continuing your own feeble efforts...
"So through endless twilights I dreamed and waited, though I knew not what I waited for. Then in the shadowy solitude my longing for light grew so frantic that I could rest no more, and I lifted entreating hands to the single black ruined tower that reached above the forest into the unknown outer sky. And at last I resolved to scale that tower, fall though I might; since it were better to glimpse the sky and perish, than to live without ever beholding day. " – H. P. Lovecraft

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Re: Love is an upgrade by heimian

Postby liliwinnt6 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:06 am

having a deceased person returning back with most of his or her memory is a very good thing
Fellas, you may address me as Boris, my ID could be troublesome for you to call me.
BTW, my stories would be updated without notifications.
https://www.turboimagehost.com/album/148338/stock_images

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Re: Love is an upgrade by heimian

Postby tectile » Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:48 pm

Yup, this is a good one for sure.
Thanks for taking the time and trouble to rescue it.


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