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.)
Its construction had only begun a few days ago, but already Production Facility One had come a long way. Several large machines had been assembled, and were already producing important components required for the androids’ various projects. A half-dozen N units—some monitoring the completed machines, others building new ones—worked in different areas of the spacious factory. For the most part, they operated in perfect silence, each acknowledging the others’ presence only when necessary.
Above their heads, standing on a balcony overlooking the entire room, Unit T800 leaned against a gleaming white railing. He watched with satisfaction as Units N979 and N986—Sam and Rosa—made final adjustments to the newest of the machines. Ten feet long and waist-high, its main compartment had three simple control panels along its chrome front, and its top contained three corresponding glass windows for observation of the conveyor belt within. The belt was fed from above by a series of glass tubes, each about six inches in diameter, containing stacks of various electronic components. Where the belt emerged at the far right of the machine, a sorter-stacker waited to receive its final product.
Loading a cylinder full of perfectly-stacked silver cones into the last of the tubes, N979 turned neatly to stand at attention alongside the device. A moment later, N986 completed her work at the machine’s leftmost control panel, and she too came to attention. Both androids now stared blankly ahead at the far wall beneath the balcony on which T800 stood. The units spoke as one, their metallic voices echoing throughout the chamber. “As.sem.bly.com.plete.”
“Well done,” T800 called out before turning toward the elevator behind him. A moment later he had descended to the factory floor and crossed the room to see their work up close. “Activate the machine,” he said.
Unit N986 neatly turned 180 degrees to face the wall to the left of the machine. Raising her left hand, she pressed her palm to a small sensor panel built into the wall. With her right hand, she then pressed a sequence of buttons on the control next to the panel. A low hum began to emanate from the machine, quickly building to a crescendo as Unit N986 turned to stand at attention once again. Unit N979 had not moved.
The machine was soon at peak operation. One at a time, components were dropped from the tubes to be configured and assembled by the arms within the machine. Starting with the leftmost panel, status indicators now began to flash along the length of the machine. As soon as the rightmost panel lit up, the conveyor belt began to move—and Unit N979 came to life. She turned stiffly to her right to face the sorter-stacker. A moment later, a fully-assembled piece rolled off the belt. With perfect mechanical precision, Unit N979 reached down to pick it up. She then stood erect, turned, and walked toward Unit T800.
“Thank you,” Unit T800 said as he took the newly-created device from her. The N unit did not respond, but simply stood at attention, awaiting additional instructions.
At that moment, the double doors to the production facility slid open, and Wendy entered the room. Light from overhead reflected brightly off the girl’s upper arms and thighs as she walked purposefully to the center of the room. She then turned neatly to face Unit T800 and took three steps forward. DESTINATION REACHED. ACTIVATE VOCAL.
“U.nit.N.9.8.8.re.por.ting.as.in.struc.ted,” Wendy heard herself drone. The words were not coming from that part of her mind that still, inexplicably, remained aware of her surroundings. “Stan.ding.by.”
“Excellent,” T800 said. “Glad you’re here, Wendy.” He turned back to Unit N979. “Unit N979, you and Unit N986 may resume your duties.”
“Af.firm.a.tive,” Unit N979 replied. She now turned and walked toward the far corner of the room, where several more N units were assembling another large machine. Unit N986 silently turned and joined her.
Unit T800 looked down at the device still resting in his hand. He turned it over a few times, then raised it to Wendy. “Unit N988,” he asked, “do you know what this is?”
Still rigid from the neck down, Wendy turned her head 45 degrees to her left to look in the direction of T800’s hand. IDENTIFY OBJECT. Her head tilted slightly to the right as her eyes focused on the device. Accessing.
It was a shiny chrome disk, three or four inches in diameter, like a flat cone with a single red status light at its tip. The light was off. The three circular seams that ringed the status light were the only markings on the disk. Wendy immediately recognized it. There was no doubt: this was one of the disks from her dream!
But Wendy’s conscious mind was not in control at the moment. And somehow, the rest of her—the new her, the real her, the robotic part of her that made sense, as opposed to this disembodied consciousness that shouldn’t even exist—had no idea what the device was. Object not identified. ACTIVATE VOCAL. “Ne.ga.tive.”
“That’s funny,” Unit T800 said. He seemed genuinely surprised by the response. He thought for a moment, then seemed to get an idea. “Unit N988, please go to functional level one.”
SET UNIT TO FUNCTIONAL LEVEL ONE. Wendy shuddered slightly as control of her body returned to her. She felt normal again—or as close to normal as she’d felt in a while. The truth was, she no longer had any idea what the word meant.
“Hi, um . . . greetings, Unit T800,” she said nervously. Why did she always feel like she was in trouble?
“Greetings, Wendy. I’m going to call you Wendy for now, if you don’t mind.”
“Of course not. You can do whatever you like.” Wendy felt herself getting a bit excited, standing there in her spandex suit before a gleaming chrome man who could literally have anything he wanted of her. Somehow, though, she knew he wouldn’t be giving her the commands she was wishing for.
“Wendy, do you know what this is?”
“I think so. It’s a programming disk. It’s designed to convert a willing human being into a Stage Two android. It’s far superior to the hip-mounted disks that are being used to program me and the other Stage One units around here . . . the older device is only capable of maintaining a unit at Stage One, and even that requires a good deal of supervision from fully-functional units.”
“Correct,” T800 said. “And you know all this because of a dream you had?”
“Yes!” Wendy replied. “How did you know? Did Sam and the other girls tell you?”
“You could say that. At the end of each day, all androids scan their memory files for data that might benefit the group, and upload it to a centralized database for analysis. Normally, the analysis is done by the central processors. But resources are low, and T801 and I have been doing it manually. I learned about your dream the last time I went through the memory files uploaded by Unit N979.”
“Oh,” Wendy said. “Well, it was just a dream . . . I had no idea—”
T800 raised his hand to stop her. “It’s OK, Wendy. You haven’t done anything wrong.”
Wendy was visibly relieved. She couldn’t shake the notion that the reason they hadn’t let her become a real robot was that she’d been screwing up somehow. “But how did I know about these things?”
“I’m still trying to figure that out,” T800 replied. “In the meantime, I don’t want you to worry about a thing.”
Wendy tried to smile, but in truth she was worried. Some of the things she’d experienced in the last few days definitely weren’t normal. She wanted to tell T800 everything, but she hesitated. By the time she’d made up her mind, it was too late.
“Time for you to get back to work,” T800 said. “Resume functional level ten.”
SET UNIT TO FUNCTIONAL LEVEL TEN. Like before, Wendy’s consciousness was thrust to the back of her mind, completely detached from her now-stiff body. And like before, she was still able to think, even though she was no longer in control of her actions.
ACTIVATE VOCAL. “This.u.nit.is.now.set.at.func.tion.al.le.vel.ten,” the Stage One android intoned.
“Please report to the reception area, Unit N988.”
INPUT RECEIVED. ACTIVATE VOCAL. “Un.der.stood.”
REPORT TO RECEPTION. There was that incredible obedient feeling again. She would have thanked Unit T800 if she could.
But by the time Unit N988 took her first step toward the double doors, T800 was already attending to other matters.
* * *
Wendy had been gone for some twenty minutes when T800 finally decided his work in the production facility was done for now. The N units were making excellent progress, following their pre-programmed directives to perfection. It wouldn’t be long before the necessary equipment was all up and running.
T800 boarded the elevator at the far wall of the chamber and ascended. Three floors above the production facility, the elevator doors opened onto a small chamber of chrome and white. A bank of computer consoles and observation monitors dominated one side of the room, while the other side—raised by two steps above the rest—contained a pair of programming chairs and an assorted collection of the chrome platforms the androids used as furniture.
It was the recruiting center’s communications station. It also served as the private quarters T800 shared with—
“You’re late,” Unit T801 said. Her tone held no anger, only a sort of accustomed disappointment. T800 turned toward the sound of her voice. She stood with her back to him, leaning forward on a communications console to observe something on one of the monitors.
T800 let his eyes trace a slow, upward line along the female android’s sparkling chrome legs—from the tops of the tight silver “boots” which formed her calves to the gentle curves of her buttocks. It was truly a marvel how the metal of her gleaming body moved with all the grace of human flesh. And indeed, he now noticed, she had configured her appearance such that her entire back—save for an open access panel just above the waistline—was flesh.
Not so her slender arms, which glinted silver from her fingertips up past her shoulders. As she stepped back and turned to him, he saw that the shiny metal reached across that part of her chest which once housed her collarbone, and all the way up her neck to the chin. From there a thin band of chrome rose past the temples to frame her beautiful human face. The long blonde hair she once had as Kimberly Ann Peters fell in loose curls to her gleaming shoulders. Below her shining collar lay the firm flesh of the android’s chrome-tipped breasts. They swayed almost imperceptibly as she put a hand to her hip.
It all made sense now. She’d been waiting for him—waiting to spend some time alone with him—and he’d ruined everything by staying too long at the production facility.
“What, no excuses this time?” she said, trying to sound upset when in fact her mouth was already curling into a smile. She wasn’t really capable of anger anyway—but her mischievous side liked to see T800 squirm. In the few minutes that remained before her next duty shift, it served him right to get a good look at what he’d just missed.
“No,” T800 said as he moved to embrace her. He put his hand to her breast, running his thumb across her metal nipple and watching it bounce back to its original position. “No excuses. I’ll make it up to you. It’s just that something was troubling me—”
“You mean Wendy. I know, I’ve noticed the anomalies too. Who do you think I was monitoring just now?”
T800 looked up at the triple rows of viewing screens. There—top row, second from the left—was Wendy, hard at work in the reception area. Lined up in front of the reception desk were four large boxes, all open at the top. One of the M units had just wheeled in a steel cart full of cellophane packages which contained the items to be packed in the boxes. The M unit handed Wendy one of the packages—it held a black duffel bag—and Wendy placed it into the first box.
“I don’t know,” T801 said. “Since I had her base programming reinstalled, it looks like she’s been functioning normally.”
But T800 continued to watch as Wendy placed the last of the duffel bags in its box and reached for a plastic-wrapped pair of silver boots. Once she’d put two pairs of boots in each of the boxes, she did the same with the eight transformation suits which had filled the top rack of the cart.
As the M unit handed Wendy a roll of packing tape, T800 turned away from the monitor for a moment. T801 was reaching behind her back to attach a thick cable within her rear access panel. “Hey, ’801 . . . how long before you’re on?”
“As soon as I’m done recharging,” T801 replied. She walked over to a console at the far end of the room, her power cable snaking along the floor behind her. Gently pulling her hair behind one ear, she leaned over to examine some design schematics on one of the terminal readouts. She’d already downloaded this information to internal memory, of course, but the tendency to rely on visual input was still strong. T800 reflected that it was just one of hundreds of ways in which his fellow robots acted more human than they really needed to. His programming didn’t allow him to wonder why—in fact, he barely had time to realize that he’d never thought of this before. The voice of the central processor suddenly rang out in his head.
ATTENTION ALL UNITS. ONE HUMAN NOW APPROACHING RECEPTION AREA. AT THIS TIME, HUMAN IS NOT A CANDIDATE FOR RECRUITMENT. PREPARE TO RECEIVE.
The computer console was flashing a low-priority alert condition now, and on the monitor screens T800 could see androids throughout the recruiting center responding to the signal. The vast majority of them simply continued their current program, since they were in no danger of being seen by the approaching stranger. A pair of androids on their way toward the reception area, however, halted in their tracks, standing by at attention for their next instruction. The M unit assisting Wendy quickly wheeled the cart away, leaving Wendy alone to receive the visitor. T800 and T801 were both watching now as she assumed her position behind the semicircular desk. “This unit is now set at functional level three,” she reported as she removed her headset.
At last the elevator opened, and a young man in a brown delivery uniform stepped out, carefully wheeling a hand truck behind him. Smiling, he approached the desk and held out a clipboard. “Here to pick up four packages . . . I guess these must be the ones?”
“That is correct,” Wendy said, returning the man’s smile. For a fraction of a second, his brow furrowed at her odd speech pattern. Then he peered over the desk and saw the silver spandex she was wearing. As she stood up, his jaw simply dropped.
“Is there a problem?” Wendy asked, her head tilted quizzically to one side.
“Um, uh . . . no,” the delivery man stammered. “No, not at all. It’s just that . . . I probably shouldn’t say anything, but . . . you are gorgeous.”
“Thank you,” Wendy replied. Her tone was polite, yet aloof and professional. As far as T800 could tell, there was no sign of any anomalous behavior.
“My name’s Sean, by the way,” the young man was saying. “You just have to sign here.” His effort not to look at Wendy’s body was obvious as he stared into her eyes. The Stage One android signed Wendy Choi to the first of the four spaces he’d indicated.
“So, um, what’s in the boxes?” Sean asked. “No, wait, what am I thinking—I’m not allowed to ask you that. I meant to say, what does your company do?”
Wendy put the clipboard down and looked up, a warm spark in her eye. Stepping out from behind the desk, she moved her right hand in an arc from her shoulder down to her legs. “I guess you could say that we make everything you see here.”
T800 and T801 looked at each other. The unit was at functional level three—some creativity of expression, and even humor, was theoretically possible. But still . . .
“You mean your outfit?” Sean asked, sounding relieved—as though Wendy’s strange dress was now more plausible. Of course, he was now even more curious than ever. “What is it, some kind of workout gear? I’m surprised—I mean, you don’t see women wearing anything shiny these days.” The tinge of regret in his voice was drowned out by how nervous he was to be talking about all this with such a beautiful girl.
Wendy didn’t immediately respond, however. Her eyes widened almost imperceptibly, and she blinked. The conversation was veering toward the outer edge of the reception script that had been programmed into her. T800 tapped a few keys on the console to bring up a real-time status readout for the Stage One android. As he suspected, she had just been switched to functional level two.
“Well,” Wendy was now saying, “among other things it’s designed to increase sexual arousal and performance.”
“WHAT?” T801 cried aloud.
“Yeah, right,” Sean was saying with an awkward laugh. But his expression changed when he realized she was serious.
“Here, why don’t you try one on?” Wendy said. She had bent over to open one of the boxes, and Sean was watching her intently.
“I can’t believe it—she’s trying to recruit him!” T801 said incredulously. Removing her power cable, she changed her appearance to that of a professional woman in a navy blue business suit and high heels. “I’d better get down there.”
“Right,” T800 said. “I’ll monitor the situation from here.”
Unit T801 was heading for the elevator, hands reaching back to put her hair up, when she suddenly froze in mid-stride. “Pro.gram.ming o.ver.ride suc.cess.ful,” she said in clipped monotone a moment later.
T800 looked up and saw that she had turned back toward him and was standing at attention in her business suit. “This unit has received its new programming,” she said, her voice no longer monotonic but still hollow and flat. “Transmitting data to companion unit.”
T800’s head suddenly cocked to one side. “Data received,” he said calmly. “Programming override successful.”
Unit T801 had restored herself to her base configuration—pure chrome from head to toe, with the exception of her bright golden hair and eyes—and returned to the monitors. She sat down next to T800 and turned toward him. T800’s head swiveled to face her as well.
“The Stage One unit is not to be interrupted,” T801 said matter-of-factly.
“Affirmative,” T800 replied. “These units will observe and analyze.” He turned back to the console and pressed a few buttons. The image of Wendy and Sean now spanned the entire bank of monitors. He had noticed, with a calm detachment that belied the sheer impossibility of it, that Wendy was now operating at functional level zero.
“At least it should be an interesting show,” T800 said, his self-programming having come back to the fore. T801 simply shook her head.
“I think we’re going to need a new delivery service.”
* * *
Wendy tried to remain calm as she removed the silver transformation suit from its cellophane wrapper. Let’s see, she thought. Great-looking guy, all to myself . . . check. Transformation suit, remote control . . . check. Actually looks like he’s going to accept the offer . . . check. Nobody trying to stop me . . . check.
Was this really happening? She was sure it wasn’t a dream this time. So how—
“Are you sure you can just open up the box like that?” Sean asked, and she stood and turned to face him. The remote was cupped in her left hand, hidden. “I mean, I don’t want to get you fired or anything.”
“Don’t worry,” Wendy replied. “So what, so” — and here she turned back to look down at the shipping label — “Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Krebs of Springfield, Illinois will just have to go without for another day.” She looked up at him again, smiling broadly.
“No, I can’t,” Sean said, mustering up his sense of loyalty to his own employer. “I’ve got a ton more stops to make today. Maybe, um, maybe some other time.” He began to back toward the elevator, completely abandoning the three unopened boxes.
Wendy was shocked. She was sure he was attracted to her—even in her most insecure moments, she’d never misread a signal like that—so how could he turn her down? She wished he would just stay. Stay and make love to her.
The elevator opened, and Sean stepped inside. Then, suddenly, he reached out to prevent the doors from closing. He stepped back into the reception area, a look of defiance on his face. “You know what, screw it. I’ll just . . . stay here. I mean, if that.is OK.” His eyes widened in shock. “What the hell was that?”
“What?” Wendy asked. The truth was, she hadn’t noticed anything unusual.
“That strange skip.in my voice. Whoa—there it is again!”
A part of Wendy knew that this was not supposed to be happening: Sean wasn’t wearing his suit yet, so it was impossible for him to take on robotic behaviors.
Shit. This had better not be a dream.
“It’s all right,” she said soothingly. “If it makes you feel more comfortable, I.can.speak.that.way.too.” She held up the suit. “Please.put.this.on.”
Sean looked around for a moment, weighing the obvious risks of undressing in the middle of a corporate waiting area. Then he seemed to make up his mind. Wendy smiled at the thought that she was simply too good an opportunity to pass up.
Sean tore off his brown shirt and got to work on his belt. Wendy waited patiently, staring at the bulge in his pants, which grew as though responding to some unspoken command. Soon Sean had stripped from the waist down, and was pulling his undershirt up over his head. As though suddenly noticing his enormous erection, he reached out and grabbed the silver spandex from Wendy’s hand. “Heh,” he said sheepishly. “Man, I’m so embarrassed.”
“Don’t be,” Wendy said sympathetically. “That’s exactly what I want to see. You do realize that you’re about to have sex with me, don’t you?”
Sean just stared at her.
“Just put your suit on,” she continued, “and let it take over. Trust me, you’re functioning normally.”
“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” Sean muttered as he put one leg into the suit.
“Like I said . . . trust me.”
By now Sean had pulled the silver spandex over his arms and was stretching his fingers to get a tight, comfortable fit. “Feels incredible,” he said absently. “Hey, what do you mean, ‘functioning’—”
“Shhhh,” Wendy said, pressing her finger to his lips. She gently rubbed her hips against his body. She felt so sexy, so confident . . . more sure of herself than she could ever remember. She was filled with a feeling of knowing exactly what to do—but if this was programming, it was a kind of programming that came from somewhere within herself.
She gave in to it completely. The remote control slipped from her hand and rattled on the white tile floor.
“Ready?” she asked, a hungry smile on her face.
“Sure, um . . .”
Sean’s body stiffened—an immediate response that told Wendy she’d gotten through to him. Somehow, he was responding directly to her voice. Stranger still, in her head she could hear the singular thoughts that filled Sean’s mind:
PROGRAM LOADING COMPLETE.
These were Sean’s thoughts—but again, the voice that spoke them was Wendy’s. Wendy waited to see what would happen next. But Sean simply stood there for a full three seconds. At last, his eyes started to refocus. “Wha . . . what’s going on?”
She was losing him! Wendy needed to say something, and quick. But what?
Then it hit her. She stepped back, she looked Sean straight in the eye. “INITIATE PROGRAM.” As she spoke the words aloud, she realized that her voice was stronger somehow—richly resonant, and completely irresistible.
Again, Sean’s response was instant—and again, Wendy knew exactly what to say next. “ACTIVATE VOCAL.”
Sean’s head cocked. “I . . . I am programmed for . . . you.”
Wendy stepped forward and put her hand to Sean’s silver bicep. She kissed his chest. “Load program: transform one,” she said softly. The electricity running between her suit and his was arousing to the point of distraction. ACTIVATE VOCAL, she heard herself say. But this time, her voice existed only in her mind—and Sean’s.
“Un.der.stood,” Sean droned. “Loa.ding . . . pro.gram.”
INITIATE TRANSFORM INTERFACE. It was getting easier and easier to project her voice into Sean’s open mind. She immediately felt his penis surge against her belly, his suit molding itself around it. At the same instant, she felt herself moisten as her own spandex pushed inside her body, gently opening her in preparation for what was to come. A soft moan escaped her lips. Apparently, the command wasn’t just for Sean.
Wendy pressed herself tighter to him, rising to her tiptoes to run her tongue along his neck. This was fun. But right now, she had little use for foreplay. Something told her that Sean’s program had finished loading, so she sent her next command. ACTIVATE VOCAL.
“Pro.gram loa.ding com.plete,” Sean said. His eyes sparkled within his completely blank face.
Wendy smoothly turned to face the reception desk. Placing her hands on its curved chrome surface, she spread her legs and pushed her ass out behind her. Her body was ready for interface. Time to activate the male unit.
FUNCTION TRANSFORM TWO. BEGIN INTERFACE NOW. The unspoken commands shot from her mind between slow, pounding heartbeats. Her breathing became increasingly heavy with anticipation. The urge to twist her neck toward Sean was powerful, but instead she lifted her head to look out over the desk. She didn’t want to see him . . . it was far more delicious to simply feel his approach.
A moment later, she did. He was right behind her, his hands resting gently on her hips, his cock in position. Just one final command was necessary, and it came unbidden from Wendy’s distracted mind. ACTIVATE VOCAL.
“In.ter.fac.ing now.” And as she heard those words, Wendy felt him push smoothly inside her. Her body offered no resistance. He pulled at her hips, and she obliged him by thrusting them backward into him, pressing her hands hard against the desk and arching her back to welcome him into the deepest part of her.
Back and forth their bodies rocked . . . back and forth, and with each thrust Wendy felt the electricity between them build, permeating her flesh and driving all thought from her mind. Moments ago, she’d felt the rush of being in complete control of her encounter with Sean. Now, she felt the even greater ecstasy of surrendering to something more powerful than either of them.
She wasn’t going to last much longer.
Faster, she thought. Faster.
And then: Finish me. Please.
Please, finish me.
Please . . . INITIATE RELEASE SEQUENCE.
The voice still sounded like her, but even in the middle of her building orgasm Wendy knew it had come from outside her consciousness. She felt her hips buck as Sean emptied himself into her body. RELEASE, the voice said, commanding total obedience from Wendy and Sean alike. RELEASE. RELEASE.
At last, their bodies slowed to a stop. Knees weak, legs trembling, Wendy struggled to collect her thoughts. She felt absolutely incredible.
RELEASE COMPLETE, her voice called from somewhere outside her. CIRCUITS NORMAL.
Wendy pulled herself up, shuddering a final time as she felt Sean’s cock slide out of her. She felt her mind coming back into focus—and somehow she once again felt responsible for guiding her partner’s actions. What came next? Oh, yes . . . that was it.
Her breathing still ragged, Wendy turned to face Sean. “PROGRAM TRANSFORM ONE COMPLETE,” she said aloud. “ACTIVATE VOCAL.”
“This.u.nit.has.a.chieved.sat.is.fac.to.ry.re.lease,” Sean replied flatly.
“You can say that again,” Wendy muttered. Thankfully, Sean didn’t—he simply stood at attention, clearly awaiting his next instruction. “Oh!” Wendy exclaimed. “I almost forgot. BEGIN SHUTDOWN SEQUENCE.”
Sean’s head immediately cocked to one side as the instruction took root in his brain. ACTIVATE VOCAL, Wendy thought absently as she leaned back on the desk for support. She could barely stand.
“This.u.nit.will.now.be.gin.shut.down.se.quence,” Sean droned. “This.unit. shut.ting.down.”
As she waited for her heart rate to return to normal, Wendy heard her voice faintly echoing in Sean’s mind. SHUTDOWN UNIT COMMAND ALPHA 2. ALL CIRCUITS SHUTTING DOWN. SEQUENCING 10 . . . 9 . . .
Wendy pushed off the desk and walked back over to Sean.
8 . . . 7 . . . 6 . . .
She reached up to stroke his cheek. He was beautiful.
5 . . .
“ACTIVATE VOCAL,” she whispered gently as Sean began to pitch forward.
“This. u.nit . . . shut. .ting . . . down.”
4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . .
But Wendy never heard the rest of Sean’s countdown. Instead, a voice—not her voice any more, but the voice of the central processor—filled her mind. SET UNIT TO FUNCTIONAL LEVEL TEN.
Just then, the double doors opened, and Unit T801 entered the room. Unit T800 was right behind her.
Wendy felt her body turn to face the T units, coming to rest at perfect attention. ACTIVATE VOCAL. “This.u.nit,” Wendy began—
No, not Wendy, she realized. And not Unit N988, either. Who was she? And why wouldn’t her mind simply shut off?
“I.am . . . U.nit . . . I . . . I . . .”
Her eyes searched T800 and T801 for answers, but they said nothing. They simply stood at attention, heads cocked slightly as they recorded her struggle. It occurred to her that she’d never seen the T units so blank.
Then there was a loud click at the base of her brain, and she passed out.