Inspired by “The Offer” by Android675@aol.com
If you have not read “The Offer” by Android675@aol.com, to which this story is a sequel, stop right here and read it first. (It’s available here, among other places.) You should also read my first sequel to the original, ambitiously entitled “The Offer, Part 2,” which is also available on this site. If you don’t, you may not understand everything that occurs in this story!
Note: The following story contains explicit sexual material. If stories about sex, and particularly robots and sex, do not appeal to you, please don’t read any further. This story should not be read by anyone under eighteen years of age. (You know who you are.)
Android Unit N988 bounded excitedly across the leaf-strewn quadrangle, her mind buzzing with the urgent instructions of her programming. More than anything in the world, she loved to obey her programming. Three days ago, when she first returned to school in her human identity of Wendy Choi, Unit N988 had immediately attracted everyone’s attention. Even the most jaded among her fellow students had taken notice of her from the moment she’d first stepped out into the autumn air. She was quite a sight.
From the waist down, her clothing was no different from what so many other girls at school were wearing: form-fitting black pants which left nothing to the imagination, flaring out over shiny black boots. But her upper body—covered in brilliant, skin-tight silver spandex that rose high upon her neck and extended just past her elbows—made her impossible to ignore. Other details stood out, too: little things, like the way her jet-black hair fell in perfect symmetrical arcs to her shoulders, or the bright silver lipstick and eye shadow she wore, or the curious silver N988 stenciled into the black cotton of her left thigh. The fact that she hadn’t changed her clothes over the past three days only increased everyone’s interest. Furtive whispers now followed her everywhere she went.
“Do you think she’s some kind of performance artist?” a dark-haired girl asked as Unit N988 walked by, a black backpack slung over her left shoulder. The girl marveled at the precision with which Unit N988 swung her right arm, her fingers held perfectly straight and together.
“She’s crazy,” a second girl replied. “I hear she really thinks she’s a robot or something.”
But Unit N988 was completely used to the way the other students stared at her now, and besides she was not programmed to concern herself with their idle questions and theories. Still, their reactions amused her to no end. Up ahead, she spotted a pair of young men walking toward her—and already they were slowing down to get a good look at her. Despite her programming, N988 couldn’t stop herself from smiling as she watched their eyes run up and down her shining silver body. As she passed them, she slowed down too—and, turning, lifted her eyes. Only one of the boys was brave enough to meet her gaze, and she rewarded him with a friendly wink. For an instant, her light brown irises flashed with a sparkling silver radiance, leaving the awestruck young man to wonder exactly what he’d just seen.
Unit N988—Wendy, she reminded herself—continued on toward Thomas Hall, one of the larger dorms on campus. She was glad that the other students were taking notice of her. Their curiosity would only make her mission that much easier, for Wendy’s primary function—programmed into her only a few days ago—was to identify and recruit suitable candidates to be converted into androids just like her. It was a purpose that she would carry out without hesitation, since after all her every thought and movement was controlled by her programming. But it was also a purpose that she was happy to fulfill.
Being transformed into a robot was the best thing that had ever happened to her, and she wanted nothing more than to share the wonderful gift she’d received with everyone. In fact, that’s why she’d come to Thomas Hall: to tell her friend Rick all about her new life, and maybe—just maybe—talk him into becoming part of it.
Wendy was just approaching the dorm’s entryway when a girl’s voice called out to her from behind. A split second later, a second voice—the familiar, irresistible voice of Wendy’s programming—filled her mind.
Turning, Wendy saw a pretty blonde girl hurrying to catch up with her. The girl’s long, loose curls bounced lightly upon her shoulders as she came to a stop. Wendy immediately recognized the girl as Amy Travis, from her English Lit class. Amy had been the first new friend Wendy had made since coming back to school—the first real candidate for the android conversion process. Wendy smiled brightly as the voice inside her mind spoke again.
ACTIVATE VOCAL. “Hey, Amy,” Wendy said. “What’s up?”
“Well, I . . . .” Amy hesitated, then leaned in closer. “I tried out the suit you gave me yesterday,” she whispered urgently.
But Wendy already knew that, of course. She could see the silver lycra peeking out from beneath Amy’s long-sleeved V-neck blouse.
INPUT RECEIVED. ACTIVATE VOCAL. “And?”
The girl lowered her eyes shyly. Her heart pounded several times before she could gather the courage to look up. When she finally did, a nervous smile flickered at the corners of her mouth.
“I liked it. A lot.”
* * *
In no time at all, Wendy was following Amy into her dorm room. She was buzzing with anticipation, and couldn’t wait to complete Amy’s processing. She couldn’t believe how easy it had been to recruit her. Everything was going so perfectly.
“Sorry the place is such a mess,” Amy was saying as she closed the door.
INPUT RECEIVED. ACTIVATE VOCAL. “Don’t worry about it,” Wendy said, putting her backpack down. “Why don’t you just take off those clothes so we can get started?”
“Good idea,” Amy replied. Without hesitation, she pulled her blouse over her head, letting her soft silver belly swell gently to her belt buckle. Though her voluptuous body wasn’t perfect by some people’s standards, it was unmistakably beautiful. There was also a sweet vulnerability about the girl, a shyness that further enhanced her beauty. Amy pulled her jeans over her ample hips and down to her ankles, then stepped out of them. Her body was completely encased in shiny silver from the neck down. She placed the palms of her hands on her buttocks and slowly twisted side to side. “You know,” she said, “I’ve never felt as good about how I look as I do right now.”
INPUT RECEIVED. Wendy smiled. ACTIVATE VOCAL. “I think you look fabulous. Do you mind if I change my clothes too?”
“Not at all.”
Wendy closed her eyes and concentrated for a moment. She wasn’t exactly sure how, but she found that if she tried hard enough, she could control what the voice in her head said, or make it go away completely. As far as she knew, it wasn’t supposed to work that way—but she wasn’t complaining.
After a couple of seconds, Wendy finally heard the command she wanted. RECONFIGURE OUTER SHELL. Her appearance immediately began to change before Amy’s eyes. Her black pants and boots—and even her silver spandex top—faded away to reveal a body of pure chrome, complete with heeled silver boots. The overhead lights danced along the smooth reflective surface of Wendy’s body, and poured into the faint seams at her joints. In her stomach, a clear plastic panel covered a neatly organized mass of wires and blinking lights. Only Wendy’s face and hair retained their human appearance—though when she reopened her eyes, they were two perfect silver balls.
“Wow, Wendy,” Amy said breathlessly.
INPUT RECEIVED. SET UNIT TO FUNCTIONAL LEVEL SIX. ACTIVATE VOCAL. “You.may.ad.dress.me.as.U.nit.N.9.8.8,” Unit N988 said, her slightly reverberating voice ringing out in clear, clipped monotone.
“OK,” Amy said distractedly as she walked around the android’s body to see all of it. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. “What does it feel like,” she wondered aloud, “to have a body like . . . that?”
“It.feels.won.der.ful,” Unit N988 intoned, the synthesized robotic voice coming from a face lit up by a completely natural smile. “I.am.so.glad.to. fi.nal.ly.be.my.self.a.gain.”
“I can only imagine,” Amy said.
“Yeah?” Amy already knew she would, but a part of her needed to be reassured. She also wanted to hear Wendy speak again. The silver girl’s monotone voice was having an odd calming effect on her.
“Mmmm . . . I can’t wait.” Amy’s heart was beating really fast now. An electric tingle suddenly suffused her entire body, and she swayed as though she might faint. She wet her lips and swallowed. “So, um, Unit N988, how long before I . . . before I get to be like you?”
“We.will.be.gin.im.me.di.ate.ly,” Unit N988 droned. She touched the fingers of one hand to the outside of her right hip, pressing gently—and a panel, previously invisible, sank into her body. It slid underneath the rest of her shell to reveal a small compartment. Reaching inside, Unit N988 pulled out a pair of small chrome disks. Each disk was shaped like a flattened cone, with three concentric circular seams surrounding a tiny circle of transparent red. Beneath each red circle was a status light, now dim, and an infrared transmitter.
Unit N988 held the disks out to Amy, and the girl took them reverently. “What do I do with these?”
“Fit.them.o.ver.your.ears.please.” When Amy hesitated, Unit N988 put a hand on her hip. “Don’t worry,” she said in her human voice. “They won’t bite.”
Amy quickly tossed her head to one side, sending her long blonde hair over her right shoulder. Leaning in toward a nearby mirror, she reached up and removed the earrings from her right ear. Then she brought one of the disks to her ear and fitted it around her earlobe. It fit snugly into place, resting tightly but comfortably against the side of her head. Gently pulling her hair behind her left ear, Amy repeated the process with her second disk. Soon both disks were in proper position. Amy’s eyes flashed as a satisfied smile spread across her face. She obviously liked the way the disks looked on her.
Amy stepped back from the mirror and turned to face Unit N988. “Hey, do you know what my, um, number is going to be when I’m done?”
“U.pon.com.ple.tion.you.will.be.an.droid.u.nit.N.9.9.5,” Unit N988 explained helpfully. She had reached once again into her body and produced a small black remote control. She looked down at it as she spoke, casually pressing a couple of its buttons. “You.will.then.as.sist.in. the.re.cruit.ment.of.ad.di.tion.al.u.nits.”
“Cool,” Amy said in awe. Again, Wendy was struck by how little coaxing the girl needed. After all, she was about to allow herself to be turned into a robot. “Are these working yet? I don’t hear anything.” Then the girl gasped slightly, and she put a hand to the programming disk over her right ear. The centers of both disks were now flashing with a faint red light. “Wait a minute . . . I can hear something now . . . .”
Amy’s mouth fell open, and her eyes quickly settled into a sleepy stare. The fingertips of her right hand were still pressed lightly against her disk. “It’s working,” she said breathlessly. “I . . . I’m being . . . re . . . programmed.”
Then, suddenly, the girl’s head jerked slightly to the right, and her arm swung downward in a neat arc. Both hands were now held rigidly at her sides, a few inches out from her silver hips. Her eyes had regained their focus, but they continued to stare ahead impassively. The red lights on Amy’s programming disks were both brightly lit and steady. After a moment, her mouth opened, and she spoke clearly and confidently. “I am Unit N995. I am ready for programming.”
The red lights flashed briefly as her mind was reinitialized. Then they became steady again, and a peaceful expression came over her. “This unit is receiving programming,” she said pleasantly.
Unit N988 restored herself to functional level three, still chrome from the neck down but with human-looking eyes. Plopping down on a futon, she lazily dangled one leg off its edge as she watched Amy download her new programming. The girl’s face was serene, happy—she was adjusting nicely to the changes in her brain. Soon her eyes gently closed. Then, after several minutes had passed, they snapped open again. Amy’s irises were now a bright metallic silver. “This unit has received primary programming,” she intoned, blinking. Then she smiled. “This unit is functioning properly.”
“Great!” Wendy said, standing up again. “You sure look like you enjoyed that.”
“You think?” Amy asked with mock sarcasm. “This is unbelievable. I feel so . . . I don’t know, like something I’d been missing had just clicked into place.” She paused to look at herself in the mirror again, marveling at her gorgeous silver eyes. She noticed that her red status lights—she now thought of the programming disks as parts of herself—were blinking at the proper intervals. She turned her head to admire one of the disks, stroking it fondly with one finger. Then she suddenly seemed to remember she wasn’t alone. She turned to face Unit N988. “Unit N988—”
“Please, call me Wendy.”
“OK, Wendy . . . what I was going to ask is, is this what it feels like?”
“Well,” Wendy answered, “this is what Stage One feels like. You’ve got enough programming now to function under the supervision of a fully functional unit like me, but you still have a ways to go. The best is yet to come. You won’t believe how great you’ll feel once you’ve completed the rest of the process!” Wendy reached into her backpack and pulled out a small black box from which a power cord extended.
“Are you about to do what I think you’re about to do?” Amy asked. She smiled, and her eyes widened in joyous surprise—like someone who’d just received a birthday present when it wasn’t even her birthday.
“If you mean plug you in, yes . . . that’s exactly what I’m about to do.” Wendy plugged the box into the wall, then circled behind Amy and pressed the box against her upper back. It neatly clicked into place between the girl’s shoulder blades, and Amy immediately stood up a little straighter. “Your new internal systems are going to need a recharge,” Wendy explained nonchalantly. Amy nodded her understanding as she turned to look at her back in the mirror.
“Well, I can’t wait to be fully transformed,” the girl said. “But even how I feel right now is incredible. ‘Android Unit N995.’ Unbelievable! I wish everyone could know what this is like.”
“Well, you’re going to get a chance to help make that possible,” Wendy said as she came out from behind her new friend.
“Right,” Amy responded, as though remembering a dream. “I’ve been programmed to recruit more android units, haven’t I? But I guess you knew that already. This is all happening so fast! But I’m ready to do whatever you need me to do.”
“Perfect. Let’s start by performing a probability analysis of any potential candidates you know.”
“Affirmative,” Amy said. It was the first time she’d ever said that word, and she liked the way it sounded. She froze for a moment as her mind cycled through all of her friends and acquaintances, ranking them based on how readily each might be reprogrammed. Then the new unit’s eyes flashed, and she smiled. “I think we should start with my roommate, Erica Sorensen. I’m sure she’ll love being reprogrammed. Erica works at the language lab . . . once she’s one of us, it should be easy for her to recruit other people who come to use the lab.”
“Great idea, Amy. When will Erica get home?” Wendy asked. Mostly because she liked the way it felt, she allowed her head to tilt to one side as she completed her question.
In response, Amy’s eyes locked onto hers, and she too cocked her head robotically.
“In approximately one hour.”
* * *
When Erica Sorensen finally came home, it was nearly dark outside. Flipping on the light, she dropped her purse on her desk, then took off her jacket and hung it up. From Wendy’s hiding place in a nearby closet, she could see that Erica was a very different sort of girl than Amy. Tall and graceful, she carried herself with a lot of confidence and pride. Her wavy brown hair framed a gorgeous face with deep brown eyes and full burgundy lips. She wore a black leather vest over a long-sleeved white shirt that clung tightly to her shapely chest and arms.
Reaching into her purse, Erica pulled out a pack of Virginia Slims and shook it gently. Carefully drawing a cigarette from the pack, she placed it between the fingers of her left hand, then brought it to her lips and lit it. She closed her eyes and took a deep, satisfying drag, letting a tiny wisp of smoke escape her mouth as she pulled the cigarette away in a sweeping arc. Then she pursed her lips and slowly exhaled, letting her shoulders relax as she blew a perfect cone of smoke into the air. It was then that she noticed Amy sitting on the other side of the room, casually reading a magazine in a silver spandex catsuit. Erica squinted as she tried to figure out why her roommate was dressed like that.
Then she noticed that Amy appeared to be plugged into the wall.
“Hey Erica,” Amy said simply, not looking up.
“Amy, what are you doing?” Erica asked as she moved closer. She brought her left arm across her body, resting her right elbow on the back of her left hand. The first two fingers of her right hand pointed in the general direction of the ceiling, the slowly burning cigarette held gracefully between them. Erica shifted her weight to one side and raised her eyebrows in anticipation of Amy’s answer.
“Oh,” Amy said absently, standing up. Erica’s mouth fell open as she realized that her eyes hadn’t deceived her—that there really was a power cord running from her back to the wall outlet. “You mean this outfit I’m wearing. Don’t get freaked out or anything—I just wanted to show you my idea for what we should wear to next week’s Halloween party.”
“If you’re trying to look like an astronaut,” Erica chuckled, “you’ll never pull it off without the big bubble helmet.” She took another puff on her cigarette. Amy’s costume didn’t really look like much, actually, except that it was so . . . daring. She never thought her roommate would have the guts to wear something like that.
“Not an astronaut,” Amy replied. “A robot. And not just me. Remember, we promised to dress up the same this year.”
“Robots, huh?” Erica paused a moment, obviously imagining herself in the tight silver fabric, playing the part of an automaton. A brief smile proved that at least part of her liked the idea, if only for the reaction she’d be sure to get from all the guys. But then she frowned skeptically. “I don’t know. That suit’s a little out there, even for me.”
“Come on,” Amy pleaded. “Don’t tell me I did all this work for nothing! At least try on the one I got for you.”
Erica stared long and hard at her roommate. Then, once it became obvious that she wasn’t going to take no for an answer, she stubbed out her cigarette. “All right,” she said at last. “Where is it?”
Amy reached under her desk and pulled out a silver suit just like the one she was wearing. The fabric sparkled in Erica’s hands as she took it. “I’ll be right back,” she said, and disappeared into her bedroom. Amy turned toward the closet as if to ask how she was doing—and Wendy poked her head out just long enough to give her the OK sign.
A few minutes later, Erica returned. In addition to the stunning silver suit, she was wearing a pair of silver pumps she’d pulled out of her closet. “Thought I’d complete the look,” she said as she crossed the room for another cigarette. “But I think we’re going to need silver shades, and maybe some buttons and stuff on our stomachs.”
“So you’ll do it?” Amy asked excitedly.
“I guess so. I could never live with myself if it turned out you were more brave than I am.” Erica winked and lit up. There was a soft pop of air as she pulled the cigarette from her lips. “I have to admit,” she said as she exhaled, “this outfit looks incredible. It’s really comfortable, too. I feel like I’m made out of liquid or something.”
“You haven’t even tried the best part,” Amy said mischievously.
“Oh?” Erica asked, intrigued. “What’s that?”
“These.” Amy walked over to Erica, tucking her hair behind her ears to reveal her chrome earpieces. She was holding another pair in her hand. “Here, let me help you.” Pulling her roommate’s hair back, Amy carefully fitted the programming disks over her ears. Once they were in place, she stepped back and turned Erica toward the mirror. “What do you think?”
Erica flicked her cigarette into the ash tray, then looked up at the image of herself and her roommate. They both looked striking in the silver outfits—almost a perfectly matched pair, but not quite. Erica frowned slightly. She still wanted to change some of the details. “I think we should get silver wigs, or we’ll look too different,” she said conclusively. “And if you wear heels and I wear flats, we’ll be just about the same height.”
“Sounds good,” Amy said.
Wendy, meanwhile, had quietly opened the closet door enough to point her remote control in the girls’ direction. She pressed the proper sequence of buttons, and both girls’ programming disks began to flash. Erica jumped. “What’s that?” she asked.
“Like it?” Amy asked without skipping a beat. “I wanted to make us look as realistic as possible.”
“I love it,” Erica replied. “We can make a bunch more—you know, put ’em on our arms and legs. On our breasts too, if you think you’ve got the . . . nerve . . . .” Erica’s jaw slackened, and she swayed slightly. Her hands fell to her sides, the smoke from her cigarette curling slowly upward along her frozen silver arm. “Amy, I feel . . . weird. What are these . . . things . . . doing . . . to me.”
“It’s OK, Erica,” Amy said as she gently removed the cigarette from her friend’s hand and put it out. “You’re just being reprogrammed, that’s all. You and I aren’t just going to be robots for Halloween. We’re going to be robots for real.”
“We’re going to be . . . robots,” Erica said dreamily, a faint smile appearing on her face. “That’s all.” Then her head titled sharply, and her face went blank. Her programming disks glowed with a steady red light. A few seconds passed, and she spoke again—this time, with no hesitation. “I am Unit N996. I am ready for programming.”
Wendy finally stepped out into the room to congratulate Amy. “Way to go!” she said. “You were awesome.”
“I told you it would be easy,” Amy said. “Erica’s going to be so great as an android. Did you see how excited she was? And wait ’til you see how smart she is. She’s going to help us recruit so many others.”
“This unit is receiving programming,” Erica interjected, completely oblivious to the others’ conversation.
Wendy smiled. “So, do you know what to do when she’s done?”
“Yeah . . . I’m going to do my best to answer her questions, and hook her up to a power supply. Why, are you going somewhere?”
“No, I’ll be in your bedroom, using the computer. I have to make some programming CDs for the language lab, remember? I’ll come running to help you if you need me. I just think it’s better if you handle Erica. It’ll be good practice for you.”
“This is so cool!” Amy exclaimed as Wendy headed for the bedroom. Passing through the doorway, Wendy looked back. Amy had moved alongside Erica, and the two silver girls were now standing shoulder-to-shoulder at attention, awaiting the completion of Erica’s primary programming.
It really was amazing how well things were going.
Pressing her fingers to the silver lycra-like surface of her abdomen, Wendy lifted away her front access panel. She reached inside and pulled out a thin black cable, one end of which was permanently attached to her internal systems. Holding the cable in her left hand, she reached into her access cavity with her right. She carefully pressed a few buttons, and the end of the cable reconfigured itself into the shape of a standard stereo input jack. Perfect! There were times when she could barely believe the things her android body could do—it was like living a dream.
It took just a moment to plug the jack into the computer’s sound card. Fortunately, Amy had a couple of blank CDs lying around, so Wendy inserted one into the drive. Soon she had a sound recording program up on the screen. She clicked the Record button on its mock-stereo interface.
Wendy felt herself go blank for a moment as her internal hard drive spun up. The feeling was delicious. Soon, she was transmitting the proper sequence of programming to the CD. Once the process was underway, Wendy was able to turn her attention elsewhere. For several minutes, the outer room was silent, and Wendy occupied herself with a couple of routine systems diagnostics. But then, at last, she heard Erica’s flat status report. “This unit has received primary programming. This unit is functioning properly.”
She knew she should simply focus on the task at hand, but she was simply too curious to see what was going on in the outer room. Stretching her connection cable to its limit, Wendy peeked through the bedroom door to watch the new recruits. Erica was leaning in toward the mirror, staring in wonder at her own silver eyes. “Holy shit,” she said incredulously.
Amy put her hands on her roommate’s shoulders from behind, and looked into the mirror with her. She had allowed her own eyes to turn silver again, too. “Isn’t it amazing?” she asked excitedly.
Erica just leaned her head to the side, letting it rest on Amy’s. She closed her eyes and let out a relaxed sigh. “Tell me I’m not dreaming, Unit N995. Um, I can call you Unit N995, right?”
“Of course you can . . . Unit N996,” Amy said, relishing the sound of her friend’s new designation. “And you’re definitely not dreaming. You really are an android now. Or at least, you’re as far along as I am.”
Erica gently pulled away, and turned to face her friend. “How . . . how did you—”
“Get reprogrammed?” Amy asked as she reached down to pick up Erica’s new power supply. “A girl in my English Lit class did it. She let me try on this suit . . . and it felt so good, I practically begged her to finish me. Once I was functional, my first task was reprogram you.” Amy fitted the power pack to Erica’s back, then turned to plug her into the wall.
“Yeah,” Erica said, adopting a playfully scolding tone. “That was quite a trick you played on me, getting me to put on the suit and then reprogramming me before I even knew what was going on.”
“I had to. I was simply following my programming. And believe me, I would never have done it if I didn’t know you’d love it. Hopefully you understand that now.”
“Yes,” Erica said, touching Amy’s arm. “I understand everything now. Our programming requires that we reprogram others, and I was the most logical place for you to start. I would have wanted to be processed eventually, anyway—the sooner the better, as far as I’m concerned. So you definitely did the right thing. I can’t thank you enough!”
“I’m so glad you’re happy about the change,” Amy said. “I knew you’d like it.”
Wendy, still eagerly watching the girls’ conversation, turned back to look at the computer screen. The transfer was more than half complete, and only about a third of the CD had been used up so far. Good. The girls seemed to be responding perfectly to their new programming. With the help of the CDs they were going to make, Wendy was sure they’d recruit a dozen more units in no time.
“I just can’t believe how easy it was,” Erica was saying as she reached for her cigarettes. She brought one toward her lips to light it, then pulled it away for a moment to speak again. “I mean, a couple of minutes listening to some funny signals, and just like that, I’m completely under computer control.”
“I know exactly what you mean,” Amy said as she watched Erica light her cigarette. Erica had an almost regal elegance about her that seemed to make Amy just the tiniest bit jealous. “Before, I never dreamed something like this was even possible—and never would have thought it would work on me. Of course, now I know better.” She’d stared off into space for a moment there, but now she turned her gaze back on her roommate. “Hey, Erica—you think everyone’s this easy to reprogram, or is there just something about us?”
“I don’t know,” Erica replied as she blew smoke high into the air. “But speaking for myself, I know why I gave in so quickly. I really needed this. You’ve known me a while, Amy—I’m a very happy person. But this semester, I’ve been so stressed out. I think the pressure was really starting to get to me. Now, it’s like I don’t have to worry about any of it any more. This . . . this new programming just tells me what to think, and I think it. It’s so much easier now. It makes me just want to . . . this is going to sound weird, but it makes me just want to turn off my mind, and let the program take over completely.”
“Totally,” Amy said, slowly shaking her head from side to side to underscore her agreement. “And it’s only going to get better. I’m pretty sure that once the process is finished—once our minds have been completely reprogrammed—most of the time we won’t have to think at all. We won’t even know who we are when we’re at the higher functional levels. We’ll be perfect robots, carrying out our programmed instructions without a care in the world.”
“Amen,” Erica said emphatically.
Amy’s brow furrowed as another question formed in her mind. “But one thing I don’t understand—if you’re so relaxed now, how come you’re still smoking?”
Erica shrugged. “Habit, I guess. One thing’s for sure, I don’t feel any cravings like I used to . . . so I suppose I could just throw out my cigarettes and never smoke one again. It’s great to be free of them, but the truth is I enjoy smoking. And I don’t have to worry about what the Surgeon General says if I’m going to be a gleaming metal robot soon, right?”
Erica paused to take another drag, smiling through pursed lips as she exhaled. “But you know why I think I’m smoking right now?” she asked.
“To distract myself. I’m almost embarrassed to say this, Amy, but . . . I feel so horny right now. Like I’m just going to explode in a minute if I don’t have sex. Maybe we should go out and get ourselves a couple of guys. If you have more of those programming disks, all the better. What do you say?”
“I don’t know,” Amy said. “Maybe we ought to talk to Wendy about that first.”
“Wendy—the girl from my English Lit class who reprogrammed me. Unit N988 is her real name—I mean, her designation. She’s going to help us recruit more androids . . . and I’m sure there’ll be guys in there as well as girls. She’s in my room getting ready right now.”
Well, this was obviously Wendy’s cue—but she still needed another minute or so to finish the transfer. The stupid computer was so slow! Wendy looked up and saw that both girls were now looking at her. Erica put out her cigarette and moved closer. Once she got a better look at Wendy’s open access panel, her eyes went wide with astonishment.
“Wow,” she whispered. “You’re . . . you’re . . . .”
“Fully functional,” Wendy said helpfully. “Hang on a sec, let me show you the whole deal.” She changed her outer appearance again—this time, restoring her entire body, including her face, to its true metallic state. She always felt best when she was completely chrome. “So, what do you think?”
Erica stood there for a moment, dumbfounded.
Amy smiled. “I think what she wants to say is, she can’t wait to look like that. And neither can I.”
“Just . . . just tell me what I have to do to become like you are,” Erica said, “and I’ll do it.”
Wendy smiled as the last bits of data were transmitted from her hard drive to the CD. Transfer complete. She reached down, clicked the Stop button, and ejected the CD. She handed it to Erica. “I need you to make enough copies of this CD for every seat in the language lab. Then, during your next shift, I want you to use the CDs to reprogram as many people as you can.”
Erica looked at the disc again, a wide smile spreading slowly across her face. “Understood. I will o.bey.”
Amy gasped slightly at the brief halt in her roommate’s voice. “Erica, did you hear that? You just sounded like a real robot for a second there.”
“I know,” Erica said flatly. “I feel . . . dif.ferent.”
“It’s perfectly normal,” Wendy said reassuringly. “Your programming is just integrating itself more fully into your internal systems.”
“Yeah, but is it normal for me to feel so . . . so . . . .”
“Oh,” Wendy said absently. “I almost forgot. Your circuits probably just need to be released. Again, perfectly normal at this point in the process. Just go with it.”
Erica turned to Amy, her breaths coming more quickly now. “It’s . . . it’s like I was tel.ling you before. Is it O.K.if.I.talk.like.this? I.am.sor.ry . . . it’s.just.that.my.bo.dy.is . . . go.ing cra.zy, and.I.can.not . . . stop.it . . . a.ny lonnnnnnnnnng . . . .”
The CD dropped to the floor as Erica suddenly pitched forward at the waist, her arms held rigidly akimbo. Her head had titled unnaturally to one side, and her mouth fell wide open in shock. “I am . . . pro.grammed for plea.sure,” she intoned.
“C’mon,” Wendy said to Amy. She had disconnected herself from the computer and replaced her front access panel. “She’s going to be busy for a while, so we might as well talk a bit.”
As they crossed back to the other side of the room, Erica’s monotonic voice rang out behind them. “Loa.ding . . . pro.gram . . . . Trans.form one.” Amy knew what was happening, of course, having gone through this herself the night she first took her suit home. Every android’s circuits needed to be released from time to time. Come to think of it, it had been a while for her, too. She giggled as she wondered how long she would be able to hold out . . . not that she wanted to resist what had become second nature to her.
After a couple of seconds, Erica spoke again—and this time there was no hesitation. “Pro.gram loa.ding com.plete. Ini.ti.a.ting pro.gram.” Amy had instinctively turned toward the sound of her friend’s voice—but as Erica’s hand moved to touch herself, Amy turned away again. It didn’t feel right to watch, though Amy was surprised at how exciting she found the idea.
“So,” Amy said to Wendy. “Once she’s done, then what?”
“In.ter.fac.ing now,” came Erica’s metallic drone.
“Well, I think you two should head out to buy some more blank CDs, then come back here to get them ready. When’s Erica’s next shift at the lab?”
“Tonight,” Amy said. “Around nine, I think.”
“Good. You’re going to have a lot of fun—especially once we reprogram a few good men.”
“Wendy, what’s it like?” Amy asked curiously. “I mean, when the guy’s a fully functioning android, and you are too . . . what’s it like to have sex with those perfect metal bodies?”
“Well,” Wendy said, “it’s . . . .” Her voice drifted off as she suddenly realized she didn’t know. She’d been a robot for so long now—at least, it seemed like so long—and for some reason she didn’t have a companion unit. It didn’t make any sense. Didn’t you have to be paired off with a male unit before they’d let you complete the process? Wendy frowned, and she shook her head. She felt a bit dizzy. “The truth is, Amy, I don’t know myself yet. I’ve been dying to find out for such a long time . . . .”
Just then, Wendy heard the sound of Amy’s lamp rattling gently upon her desk. Amy turned and watched in amazement as Erica, still frozen in place, began to shake. “I remember how that felt,” Amy said. “I can only imagine what it’s going to be like with another person.”
Erica stopped shaking now, and rose to attention, facing the wall. Her head tilted sharply to the left. “This.u.nit.has.a.chieved.sat.is.fac.to.ry.re.lease.” A moment later, her head cocked just as hard to the right. “This.u.nit.will.now.be.gin.shut.down.se.quence.”
As Erica gradually shut down, Amy asked Wendy another question. “So, you think we should go out like this, or put on some regular clothes?”
“Oh, right,” Wendy said. “I still have to show you how to change what the suit looks like. Here, let me go first.” She closed her eyes, and quickly assumed her human appearance, once again wearing the silver and black outfit she’d had on when she’d first come to Amy’s room.
“This.unit.shut.ting.down,” Erica droned, her voice lowering as it slowed down more and more. “Shut.down.com.plete.”
“Now,” Wendy continued, “I want you to look at me, and concentrate on making yourself look the same. Just clear your mind of everything else and it will come.”
It took Amy a few seconds, but eventually the silver fabric on her legs turned black, losing its metallic sheen. The suit contracted along her arms, too, until her tight sleeves went only a little past her elbows. She held up her arms and looked at them. “Cool!” she exclaimed. “And I just love the little number on the pants,” she said, looking down at the N995 stenciled on her left thigh.
“I’m glad,” Wendy replied. “Like I said before, you look fabulous. Think you can show Erica how to do the same thing?”
“Good. Then if you’re all set, I’ve got to pay a visit to someone else. I’ll meet you at the language lab at nine. In the meantime, just relax and do whatever comes to mind.” Grabbing her backpack, Wendy winked naughtily.
“Now you’re talking!” Amy replied, her face lighting up in anticipation. She gave her arms a little shake, like a diver standing at the edge of the platform, preparing to spring forward into the water. “OK, let’s see if I can do this . . . there.” With that word, her body went rigid. “Trans.form suc.cess.ful . . . . I am pro.grammed for plea.sure.”
Before she turned toward the door, Wendy was sure she saw a glint of pure ecstasy in Amy’s blank, staring eyes.
* * *
Wendy quickly climbed the stairs to the third floor, and found her way to Rick Spano’s room. Rick had been a good friend of Wendy’s last year, before she’d become an android. Too good a friend, in fact. Every time she’d ever tried to let him know how she really felt about him, he’d gently push her away. Their friendship was too important to risk, he’d tell her—and Wendy was sure that he’d really meant it. But his kindness had only made her want him more, made the hurt that much harder to bear.
Even though she was a robot, and should have been completely incapable of feeling nervous, Wendy nonetheless had to take a moment to collect herself before she could work up the courage to knock on Rick’s door. When there was no immediate response, she thought about getting away before it was too late. But then the door opened.
“Wendy!” Rick said with surprise. His expression deepened to a sort of stunned shock as he took in Wendy’s gleaming silver chest and arms. This was the first time he’d seen her since her return to school. “Um, how’s it going?”
“Couldn’t be better,” Wendy said, flashing her best smile. “So, are you going to let me in?”
“Sure . . . I was just about to head out for a run, but it can wait.” Rick was wearing baggy sweatpants and a sweatshirt that hung loosely over his upper torso, but he’d pulled the sleeves up to his elbows. The sight of his powerful forearms was all Wendy needed to picture every line of his muscular body in her mind.
Rick backed into his room to let Wendy in, and she made herself comfortable on his couch. She was hoping he’d sit next to her, but instead he pulled up a chair. “It’s been a while,” he said, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees. There was a little awkwardness in the way he was maintaining eye contact with Wendy, as though he was forcing himself not to look at her body. Wendy couldn’t help but notice, and she suddenly became aware of her pleasure circuits as they began to hum.
“I know,” she said. “I’ve been meaning to stop by. Like my new look?”
Rick laughed out loud. “Now what kind of question is that?” he asked, still grinning as he stood up, took a few steps away, and turned around to face her. “Dressed like that, you could stop a truck!” The act of speaking about Wendy’s clothing seemed to relax him; now that she’d invited him to turn his attention to her appearance, he seemed to feel entitled to let his eyes rest on the curves of her shoulders and breasts.
“So I’ll take that as a yes?” Wendy bit her lower lip as she tried to read Rick’s face. More than anything, right now she wanted to hear him say yes. For a long moment, Rick said nothing as he continued to stare. Then he cast his eyes downward, a puzzled expression forming on his face. Slowly, he lifted his head to look at Wendy again.
“Really?” Wendy practically jumped to her feet. She was genuinely shocked by Rick’s answer. He seemed surprised, too.
“Yeah . . . yeah, of course I like the way you look. You look gorgeous. I mean, not that you need to wear anything in particular to look good—you know what I mean.” Rick averted his eyes again. “There’s something special about you, Wendy. I hope you realize that.”
Wendy moved toward him. “I hope you’re not just saying that because it’s what I want to hear.” The humming of her internal systems grew in intensity as she reached out to him. Rick allowed her to put her hand to his chest, looking away as though still trying to sort out his feelings. Wendy couldn’t believe it. He’d never let her get this close to him before. She pulled even closer, letting her leg touch his. The hope that something was about to happen between her and Rick grew inside her, an organic force that threatened to overwhelm her electronic consciousness.
She wished he would kiss her.
Almost as soon as she’d thought it, Rick’s head swiveled neatly toward her. It came to an abrupt stop, then titled to one side. Rick’s eyes were wide, unfocused. “Wendy . . . .”
But Wendy didn’t let him finish his sentence. Taking him by the back of the head, she pulled his mouth to hers. As she rolled her tongue around and around in Rick’s mouth, Wendy felt his penis grow hard against her. Her body was suddenly seized by a series of tiny electric jolts. She couldn’t see them, but she knew that the status lights hidden inside her abdomen were flashing furiously. She began to feel a strange tingling in her feet that quickly started rising to her calves.
“Why?” she asked between greedy, passionate kisses. The tingling had already reached her knees. “Why are you . . . doing this?”
“I don’t—” Rick said, kissing her again before finally pulling away to catch his breath, “I don’t know. It’s so weird—I can hear your voice inside my head. It told me to say yes, and I did. It told me to kiss you, and I did. What’s going on, Wendy? And what—what’s happening to your legs?”
Wendy looked down. From the middle of each thigh down to her feet, her legs were completely chrome. Unbidden, her body was transforming before her eyes from the bottom up. She and Rick watched in silence as the black cotton on her crotch and hips gave way to gleaming metal. Wendy had no idea why it was happening, just as she had no idea how Rick could hear her voice in his mind. None of this was supposed to be possible—there was no record of anything like it in her internal database. But she was too wrapped up in her own ecstasy to ask any questions.
“It looks like you’re not the only one who’s losing control,” she said at last. The changes hadn’t yet reached to her chest, but as she looked up at Rick, she could feel her eyes transform into two ice-blue balls of light. “Trust me, there’s no use in fighting it.”
Rick nodded slowly. “I know. I don’t know why I know, but I just know.”
In one smooth motion, he pulled his sweatshirt over his head, then reached down to take off his pants. His erection sprang from his underwear. It was the first time Wendy had ever seen him naked—and his powerful, athletic body was everything she’d dreamed of. He was . . . incredible. She felt her systems responding to the stimulus of her optic sensors, so forcefully that they threatened to spin out of control. The transformation of her body accelerated exponentially, and in seconds the chrome had risen past her breasts to her neck, then shot out along her arms to her hungry fingertips.
“I have.to . . . have you,” Wendy said as she reached for Rick, her arousal so intense that she was almost out of breath. Breath? That didn’t make any sense. She was an android—she shouldn’t be breathing at all. The need to correct this anomaly was overwhelming. Exerting all of her will, she caused the silver to spread upward from her neck until it had coated her entire face. As her hair turned a metallic black, a single lock of it—now rigid and shiny—fell in front of her sparkling eyes. “Please,” she said urgently, “please let me be your ro.bot.”
“OK,” Rick said. He grabbed her by her silver ass and pulled her to him. “But . . . stop talking.”
Wendy wanted to ask why, but she found that she literally couldn’t speak. All she could do to question Rick’s request was tilt her head quizzically.
“What I mean is, I only want to hear your voice here,” he said, tapping the side of his head with his finger.
Wendy smiled, then craned her neck to kiss him again. Okay, she thought to herself as she backed up to lie back on Rick’s couch. If that’s the way you want it, then . . . enter me. Enter me right now.
Those were the words she heard in her own mind, but somehow—she couldn’t begin to understand how—she knew that Rick heard something slightly different. To him, her voice boomed with a gentle but irresistible authority. BEGIN INTERFACE NOW, it said. And without hesitation, Rick stepped forward and climbed on top of her. As the tip of his cock pressed against the folds of her gleaming metal crotch, Wendy closed her eyes and let out a soft moan. The pleasure was overwhelming—she felt like her systems were about to lock up.
Everything was going so perfectly.
And then, without warning, it was over. Everything—Rick, his room, the entire campus—all of it vanished. Wendy’s eyes snapped open, and she found herself back at her desk in the reception area of the androids’ recruiting center. Her body wasn’t chrome anymore—in fact, she was still just an ordinary human girl in a silver transformation suit.
She had obviously fallen asleep while on duty, which meant that her life as a real android had all been a dream. Even Rick was just a figment of Wendy’s imagination. She was almost positive she’d never met anyone by that name in real life. But it still felt like she knew him, like she’d known him forever.
Even though the memories were false, she refused to let go of them. Something told her that she needed to hold on to them with all her might. As she readjusted the silver headset she was wearing—it had slipped slightly off her ears as she slept—Wendy shook her head. She couldn’t believe that she was still human. Still without a partner. Still . . . alone.
“Everything was going so perfectly,” she said to no one in particular.