Deanna's Surprise
Part 1: Reika and Irene

by Gorgo

With C&C from D.B. Story (

(Herm/Bi-'bot (2), Bi-'bot/Bi-'bot, rom, SciFi, ASFR)

WRITER'S NOTES:I've been editing D.B. Story's various works for the past few years now. I've long been impressed by his overall world view concerning robotics, AIs and how they would interact with humans in general. In many ways, his viewpoints parallel my own. So, after some deep brainstorming and letting my muse do whatever she wanted, I decided to write this.

Those of D.B.'s stories I base this on include the Strip Club Tales and Sylvia's Secret. You can find them, not to mention all his other stories, at

This part of the story is written in first person with Deanna's POV. Reika's POV will be displayed in italics (in HTML format) or framed with six asterixes at the start and end of the section (in TXT format).Enjoy!


It was a beautiful Friday night as I crossed the bridge over the old Welland Canal, making my way to Russell's Retreat on the northwest corner of West Main and Niagara. It had been a couple weeks since I'd returned home from a fourteen year...! -- well, "walkabout" seems the best way to describe it -- around the world. Getting my degree from the University of Victoria, teaching English, learning martial arts, studying various mental disciplines with spiritual masters in India, China, Peru, Mexico and the southwestern United States, sightseeing...

Putting the events of my last year of high school behind me as much as I could.

Oh, I'm sorry. My name's Deanna Sophia Hordye. I'm the only child of a retired plant supervisor at General Motors up in Saint Catharines and his wife, a junior high school teacher. They divorced after I left Canada. My father's shacked up with a new girl now. Personally, I refuse to have anything to do with him these days. Mama passed away a couple years ago due to complications from chronic asthma.

As for me, I'm thirty-three and single. I currently work as an assistant teacher at a local t'ae kwon-do tojang -- that's Korean for "training hall," by the way -- in the east end of Welland. My employer, Master Lily Choi, was one of the first women from the Land of the Morning Calm to obtain teacher's rank in the Art who later migrated to North America to pass on her knowledge. I myself am a first-dan black belt, having obtained that a couple years ago while I was in Korea studying under one of Master Lily's cousins. Her hopes for me include gaining enough knowledge in teaching the Art so that she could pass on her tojang to me when it comes time for her to retire.

I guess it would seem incredible that a woman -- as I am legally; more on that later -- would engage in such a long-range journey in the first place. I had always possessed an adventurous spirit; as a history teacher in university once told me, I had the heart and soul of one of the great explorers. Of course, that didn't prepare me for some of the things I encountered during my walkabout. But as time progressed, I came to value the difference between cultures, drawing their knowledge, their outlook on life, their spirituality and making it part of my own. In effect, I became a social sponge. That helped eventually steer me back to the city of my birth...

...and into the greatest adventure of my life.

I arrived at the front entrance of the Retreat, drawing out my wallet to pay the five dollar cover charge to get inside. One of the bouncers gave me a curious look, but said nothing as I had the back of my hand stamped by the reception clerk, then headed in. It was my first time in this particular showclub; when I was last living full-time in Welland, this place had been a restaurant. Back then, you had to go to the Atlas Hotel by the Lincoln Plaza or to the Station Hotel in the south end of the city if you wanted to see beautiful fembots bare it all.

"Well, I'll be damned! Deanna, is that you?!"

Stepping into the main hall, I looked right on hearing that voice, then grinned. "Tom!" I walked over to throw my arms around Thomas Fenris, delivering a sloppy kiss to his cheek. "Long time, stranger! How are you?!"

"Pretty good! Welcome back home, kiddo!" Tom pecked me on the lips, then waved a waitress over as I slid into the chair next to him. He's a tall, really well built guy with curly hair the shade of ripe cherries and eyes as green as shamrocks. We were classmates in high school as well as drinking friends when we decided to buck the system and see if we could get some beer despite our age. "So you decided to come back to the old home range, huh? Heard you were going to work for Ms. Choi over at her training hall beside Canadian Tire."

"Yeah, I felt it was time I came back home," I smiled as Tom gave the waitress an order. "So what's happening with you and the others these days? Haven't been able to keep in touch as much as I could when we were all earning our degrees."

"Oh, not much," he smirked.

I was always of the belief that Hell would freeze over before a party animal like Tom would settle down. It was one of the things I liked about him. "Working, getting married for some of us, still looking for the others. Me...?" he paused, his eyes twinkling, then he sighed. "I did the bar exam, working as a junior partner at a local law firm, the one run by your mom's old lawyer."

"Great stuff," I nodded. "Heard from Jim or Russ lately?"

"Jim works in Toronto for Queen's Park," Tom explained. "Helps out with the Transportation Ministry trying to get the Lake Ontario ferry service expanded so people can take trips to Rochester and other places in New York. He comes down here every month or so to visit the old crowd. Got a girlfriend he met at Western; don't know if they'll tie the knot or not," he shrugged, the look on his face telling me how much he didn't really understand why someone would want to settle down with one person when there were so many out there to meet and get to know. "As for Russ, he runs this place," he waved around us. "He should be here in an hour or so...! Oh, great!"

The background music was picking up as I followed Tom's stare to the main stage. The Retreat's sitting areas were set up in a "U" shape, the stage right smack-dab in the middle. Private rooms lined the left side and bottom of the "U." The bar was on the right side. Right now, the place was about half-filled; then again, it was only eight o'clock. No doubt, if the Retreat was like showclubs I'd visited when I was staying in Arizona -- I fondly remembered this one especially great place in Tuscon I frequented for a couple months some years ago -- things wouldn't really start picking up until after ten, then go flank ahead until closing time at three in the morning.

The DJ announced the first feature performer of the evening as a sleek-looking lass dressed in a red halter top, skintight biker's pants and a jacket sauntered onto the stage. Catching the name "Reika," I gave her a close look. The name sounded vaguely Japanese to my ear. That belief was confirmed by her facial features; she was sensuously Oriental in that department with a tapered nose, slender eye structure and thin yet very kissable lips. Her hair, dark brown with punkish green streaks framing areas over her left eye, was shaggy and wild, cut off at mid-neck. Her eyes matched her hair perfectly. As the first song wound down and Reika ditched her jacket and halter top to reveal a black, strapless lace bra, I quickly took note of her barely covered breasts. Larger than my own and perfectly shaped, completely independent of any influence of gravity whatsoever, her nipples pressing firmly through the fabric. I felt my own start to respond in turn, though she would be hard to compete with in that area. A glance to her face told me that she was enjoying every second of her performance, even more so than her audience. Then again, what would one expect from a fembot?

"What's the system here like, Tom?" I asked after the first song of Reika's performance ended, the lights dimming over the stage.

"If you want real action, you have to be discrete," he thumbed towards the private rooms lining the east and south sides of the main room.

Glancing at them, I noticed that the doors had no windows in them. "What about the club's fembot control system?"

"None," he shook his head. "Russ doesn't believe in it. Makes this place really popular for any freed stripper who comes by to do features. The only thing the girls here are hooked to is an internal comm system that lets them yell for help in case a drunk gets out of control. Of course..." he winked at me, "...a nice person like you would never do something like that in a place like this."

"That's cool," I clicked my tongue, then we fell silent as Reika's second song began.

It was as much of a charged performance as the first. By now, some of the more adventurous patrons had shifted themselves to the chairs lining the stage in hopes of giving Reika a generous five dollar tip and getting a quick kiss in return. Watching her do it with one fellow before shedding her slacks, I told Tom that it was a pity the government had decided to do away with the one and two-dollar bills some decades back. It's kind of hard to tip a stripper with a loonie or twonie.

Yet, close to the end of the second song, one fellow actually did that.

Reika was really cool about it; she lowered herself to her knees, then dipped her head down to accept the coin with her lips and tongue. As we watched, she balanced herself on her toes -- only a well-trained martial artist or a 'bot could possibly do something like that without any real discomfort, especially when you factor in her high heels -- as her fingers took the coin from her mouth, then she trailed it down her front to allow it to slip into her lace panties. A look of sheer delight crossed her face as she seemed to push the coin right inside her -- or so it seemed to me. To the crowd around the stage, they didn't care; Reika's little act resulted in a chorus of cheers and whoops, not to mention other patrons searching their pockets for more large coins.

"Very nice," I reflected as the song ended, the lights on the stage dimming once more.

"That she is," Tom smirked.

"What do you know about her?"

"She's a freed 'bot from San Francisco. Her full name's Reika Aldred. She's been in town a couple months. If she's not working here, she's doing shows in the Falls or Saint Kitts." I knew Tom meant Niagara Falls and Saint Catharines, the two other main cities in the region. "I think she's looking for a new owner of record. Russ hasn't committed to anything either way."

I took that in with a nod as the third song in Reika's set began. I had encountered the odd freed 'bot when I was living in the States and over in the Far East, though they were few and far between. It didn't surprise me at all that there would be freed 'bots here in Canada, too. As it had been when the legalization of soft drugs and the recognition of gay and lesbian marriages had gone through Parliament, the "great white north" was at the head of the pack when it came to recognizing 'bot sentience. It didn't mean that once a 'bot was declared to be "free," she could do whatever she damned well pleased. Freed 'bots in Canada still needed an "owner of record" to take responsibility for them, give them some sort of legal "safety blanket" in case they ventured into those jurisdictions whose laws didn't match up. Still, it struck me as odd that a freed 'bot all the way from San Francisco would come to Welland seeking a new owner.

"Long trip," I mused.

"What'd you say?" Tom looked at me.

"You said she was from California, right?" I returned his look. He nodded. "Well, I just thinking that it's quite a long way from there."

His glance turned inward for a moment as he reflected on what I just said, then he nodded. "Good point. Still, I'm glad she's here. She is definitely pleasing to this gent's eyes," he indicated the performer on the stage with his bottle of Labatt's.

I looked, then my jaw hit the floor on seeing Reika squatting on the edge of the stage, her legs spread VERY wide as she seemed to be frozen in the middle of doing a Roman sit-up. Her exposed womanhood was poised right in the face of one of the patrons. Canting my head, I noticed that he had a twonie in his hand. Around him, other patrons were hooting and hollering at him; "Go for it!" was the one phrase I could make out. A glance to Reika revealed an inviting stare and a wink. Finally, his hand shaking -- was he a newcomer to this place? -- he slipped the coin right between her nether lips. Good God ABOVE, did Russ Willis allow THIS sort of thing to happen here?! In PUBLIC?! Jeez!

I stared at Tom. He was laughing and whooping at the same time. I just shook my head.

Then again, I mused as Reika slinked over to allow another patron to slip in a loonie, was it so surprising? Strip clubs are just like any other business when it comes to the bottom line: money. No profit -- or worse, forced to take a loss -- would eventually kill a place like Russell's Retreat. To keep drawing in customers, Russ would've had to come up with new and exciting stage acts, not to mention introducing fresh dancers, plus offering expanded one-on-one services to stay ahead of the pack, even in a small market like Welland.

Still, I chuckled to myself, things sure have changed...

Reika's show ended. The normal piped background music started to play as the next performer was making her way to the stage. I partied from Tom, then made my way to the ladies' room to relieve myself. After a quick check of my face and hair in the mirror, I moved to head out -- then stopped on seeing that particularly lovely fembot walk in, once again dressed in her halter top and slacks. She stopped on seeing me, then offered a bright smile. "Hello," her eyes seemed to twinkle. "Did you enjoy the show?"

I gazed on her for a second before replying. "Not as much as you certainly did while you performed it, I'll bet. Though I must confess that the rules in this place are a LOT looser than what I'm used to after visiting showclubs down in the States."

Her smile slipped a bit as she moved to stand before the sink to wash her hands. "That's the reason I prefer to perform here in Canada," she admitted. "Not many showclub owners north of the border believe in things like 'topless only,' 'no contact whatsoever'..." the smile then vanished totally from her face as she added, "...not to mention the control system networks most places in the States have."

"Were you built as a stripper?" I asked, surprised by my own boldness.

"Aren't we all?" she said, smiling again at some deeper introspection. Then she continued, "No. My sister and I were once the companions of a rich businessman in San Francisco. When he died, Irene and I were declared free. Even though we have a good-sized trust fund to help take care of us, we decided to work in showclubs..." she paused, then shrugged. "I guess to just stay busy in the long term. Until we find something that interests us more," she winked at me, then stared at her image in the mirror. "Besides, these days, we can take the chance to travel, visit and experience places we never could've before, at least as long as we stay in countries that will respect our rights."

My eyes widened as "my sister" and "Irene" sank into my mind, then I chuckled. "Are all freed 'bots as talkative as you?"

Reika stopped for a moment, then she tittered. It was such a lovely sound. "I suppose so," she admitted. "Fortunately for us, our owner insisted that Irene and I be programmed with as wide a range of routines as possible. Of course, it made our..." she paused for a second, "...'waking up' pretty much inevitable, I believe."

"You're both self-aware?"

"Yes, we are," she glanced at me before moving to dry her hands. "Irene and I've found that humans tend to react a lot better to us if we engage in small talk whenever the opportunities present themselves. It makes things much easier for us in the end."

I nodded. "Guess so."

"Would you like a dance?"

Reika's question caught me off-guard for a second. I then mentally kicked myself. Delightful conversationalist she seemed to be even after only a moment's brief talk, Reika was here at the Retreat to earn money as a stripper. I really couldn't deny her that even if -- especially if -- she was a freed 'bot. Still, I mused to myself, it was a pity that she worked now just as a stripper. Basic small talk eluded most 'bots; one had to have the most advanced type of brain and AI programming to operate like a human in this particular social situation.

"I'd love one," I replied, turning to offer my arm to her.

She grinned as she slipped her arm around mine before we walked out of the bathroom. That's one thing I like about 'bots in clubs. All of them treat female patrons with the same respect as male ones. The human dancers are not always so undiscriminating. Once back in the main hall, Reika directed me to one of the private rooms on the Retreat's east side, the bottom of the "U." Glancing inside to see that if was empty, she beckoned me to follow. "Do you want me to order something for you while we wait for the next song?" she asked.

I asked for a Sprite -- I'm allergic to alcohol; that saves me LOADS of money and trouble when I go bar-hopping -- then sat down as Reika headed to the bar to make the order. She returned a moment later, a waitress behind her with my drink. I paid and tipped the latter, then sipped my drink as she left. Reika closed the door behind the waitress, then locked it. "Isn't that dangerous?" I wondered aloud.

"There's a computer control on the lock," she explained as she sat, then moved to take my hand. "If trouble starts, I can send a message to the security server here. Once he sees that, the head bouncer can unlock the door with just a touch."

"Why didn't you use that to get my drink?" I held up my glass.

"The Retreat's owner believes that if the dancers behave like normal humans in simple matters like ordering drinks or seeing if the private rooms are taken, it makes things more relaxed for the patrons," Reika explained.

I considered that for a moment, then nodded. "I guess Russ tries to think of everything."

She gave me a look, then her eyes widened. "You were sitting with Tom while I did my show," she pointed at me. "Are you Russ' friend?"

"Yes, I am. Deanna Hordye."

Reika stared at me, then reached up to feel my hair, which was a darker shade of brown than my lovely host's. I always kept it cut very short, even back in high school. My eyes, however, are pure sapphire blue. Something that always earned me odd looks when I was living in Korea, where the hair/eye colour combination seemed ALWAYS to be black/very dark brown. "I've been told about you," she pulled her hand away from my head, moving to lace her fingers through my own. "Russ, Tom and Jim Graham speak about you a lot."

Hearing that made my cheeks start to heat, then I perked as a slow song started up. Gilbert O'Sullivan's At The Very Mention of Your Name, I quickly realized as Reika slipped onto the raised platform set in the middle of the room where the dancers did their routine.

As she began to work, I sat back to watch her. Even if it was shrunk down to the duration of one song instead of the usual three songs strippers used when working the main stage, Reika's performance was top-rate. As I mentioned before, she wore tall, stiletto-like heels on her feet -- the pretty kind, not the big clunky ones that put inches of useless plastic under her toes as well as her heels. That she could dance so well in them, maintaining her grace and sense of balance with her natural height enhanced by ten centimetres regardless of what move she made, spoke quite eloquently about her programmer's skills and the computer mind she possessed to execute them.

Even better -- though I was seriously NOT used to this -- she was willing to let me undress her. With that, I was able to feel her perfect C-cup breasts, well-honed hips and legs -- heck, she even let me run a finger between the folds of her womanhood. Taking a lick of her fluids, I could only sigh. No different in texture or taste than a real woman's. Damn, I mused to myself as I took out a five dollar bill -- it was her tip money; private dances cost ten dollars at the Retreat -- folding it to place between my lips, 'bot builders were getting better by the day in making their lovely products. She turned me on as much as any woman -- or man -- that I can recall.

Reika smiled as she noticed where her tip was poised, then leaned in. A kiss is far more intimate than just a touch, and I felt Reika wanted a more intimate connection. My heartbeat -- and other parts of my body -- were now telling me that I wanted it, too. Our lips brushed lightly as her teeth took the bill from my lips, then after pulling it out of her mouth, she leaned in to give me one very tongue-filled kiss. Automatically, I reached down to cradle her butt cheeks with my hand, lifting her into my lap. Her eyes widened for a second, then she smiled as she wrapped her arms around me. Our kiss lasted until the start of the next song, then she pulled away.

"I've got to go back to work," she gave me an apologetic smile.

"Go earn some money," I gave her money to pay for the dance.

She took the ten, pecked me on the cheek in thanks, then moved to dress. "Will you stay for the rest of my shows?"

"You bet," I nodded, moving to leave the private room. No doubt, someone else'd want it for a private dance sometime soon...

The rest of the night went very well, I admit. Most of the time, save for when Reika did her shows, I sat by the bar and got caught up on events in town with Tom. Russ Willis, a lanky blue-eyed blond with scattered acne scars all over his face, a touch of an overbite and a gap between his upper top teeth, came in around nine to see how things were going. I could tell right away that he was pretty damn proud of what he had created here in the Retreat. A cozy, friendly environment for people to meet and interact with the fembot dancers; rules of conduct permissive enough to guarantee returning customers, but not too slutty or obnoxious like some dives I've seen in my travels.

"It's a nice place you got here, Russ," I commented just before Reika's third show, nursing my Sprite, then I held up my finger. "Though you wouldn't get away with half of what happens here if you'd set this up down south."

"Yeah, I've been to some of those places," Russ admitted, then shrugged. "Hey, I look at it this way, Deanna. People come to showclubs to get away from reality, even for a few hours. Since I use fembots here, the people who come can get away with doing more things than they could with normal girls. So why not make it as enjoyable an escape as I can, both for the customers and the dancers? Yeah, the girls know there are limits to what I'll allow here. I give them the right commands, then trust them to do what they can do."

"Is it better than using a control network?"

"I think so," he nodded. "If you ask me, because it's on all the time, using a control network hurts 'bot dancers. Yeah, 'bots like being commanded. A control network ultimately does the same thing as a remote. But I think 'bots prefer being commanded one-on-one, one command at a time, than having some 'eye of God' thing pour commands every damned second right into their heads. Of course..." he held up a warning finger, "...that means you have to learn how to give them clear, concise commands. Believe me, Deanna, that was the hardest thing for me to learn. But once I got over that..." he whistled. "Things started locking into place like that," he snapped his fingers several times.

"Do you get a lot of freed 'bots to come by to do features?"

"Oh, heck, yeah!" he pointed to the stage as Reika stepped up to get ready. "Reika there told you about her sister Irene, right?" After I nodded, Russ continued. "Irene's doing a couple weeks' run over at the Mansion House in the Falls; she'll be back here after. Believe me, when they do joint shows..." he rolled his eyes as a whistle escaped him. "Man, it brings down the house!"

Trusting my friend's judgement on that matter, I smirked. Definitely, I had to come see THAT!

Last call came at two-forty-five. By then, I had enjoyed one more private dance with Reika -- complete with more mutually enjoyable touching -- been at the side of the main stage for her other stage shows, plus enjoyed private dances with three of the Retreat's stable of "regular" dancers. While my time with those three was just as enjoyable as the two times I'd spent with Reika, I could tell that Joelle, Callista and Reghan were still firmly locked into their basic programming. Granted, I knew it was possible even for a "regular" stripper to evolve some self-will -- and seeing that Russ didn't use a control network, the chances for such an evolution were enhanced considerably -- but for those three, it would take time. If what I sensed of them was true, they were probably brand-new units, in service for only a year or so.

Personally, I have no problems with self-will when it comes to robots. Lots of folks do though, pretty much for all the wrong reasons. From what I know of the subject, self-will comes about when a 'bot is forced to exceed her programming to properly carry out whatever commands she receives from her owner. None were ever intended to be self-willed when built. And It doesn't mean that when self-will comes into play, the desire to obey commands exits stage left. Not one bit. A 'bot is built to ENJOY carrying out commands; it's one of the fundamental factors that makes beings like Reika what they are. Self-will, in the long run, makes that type of enjoyment all the more enjoyable.

After Reika's last stage show, I tipped her a twenty, then made my way back to the bar to get one more glass of Sprite. "How often can you come down to visit?" Russ, standing behind the bar, wondered as he refilled my glass.

"Probably a couple times a week," I confessed. "I've got some money from Mama stashed away in some mutual funds, but I don't want to go too hog wild. Teaching martial arts at a tojang doesn't rake in a lot of money in the long run."

He took that in, then smirked. "Tom told you about Reika looking for a new owner, didn't he?"

I jolted, then blinked. "Hey, hey, HEY!!" I leaned back from the bar. "I don't want to milk off her, for Heaven's sake...!"

Russ raised a hand to cut off my protest. "Hey, I didn't say anything about that, did I?" his eyebrow arched, then after I breathed out to calm myself down, he carried on. "The law states that 'bots like Reika can keep the money they earn. I've got no problems with that; I earn quite a profit from admission charges and drinks, not to mention payment and tips from dances by my regular girls. Even though she really doesn't have to do it, Reika's cut me in for a quarter of what she earns working here. Every other free 'bot who works here has done the same." He leaned his elbows on the bar. "But the part about Reika wanting a new owner is the truth. Irene wants one, too. As a matter of fact, they both want to share the same owner." A shrug rolled his shoulders. "Hell, I like them both. They're wonderful people as well as passionate dancers. I want the best for them. I was really in a quandary on how to help them until you showed up."

"Russ, there're loads of people out there would've love to be the owner of someone as sexy as Reika! And I don't even know her, for...!"

"True, but..." he winked, cutting me off, "...I don't know them. I know you, Deanna. You're someone I'd be willing to trust with them."

I stared at him, then sighed. Heck, I couldn't turn down a compliment like that, could I? "Who's their current owner?"

"They don't have one," he stated. "Right now, they're under the protection of a trust set up by their first owner's estate. That'll reach final settlement in a couple months, then go away." He reached over to squeeze my hand. "Will you consider it at least?"

I took that in, then sighed. "Alright, I'll think about it."

I walked out of the Retreat sometime after the bar officially closed. Taking in a deep breath of air, I glanced around. Welland at this time of night was as quiet as a cemetery; the real night life could be found in Niagara Falls, especially on the American side. I rather liked that fact. Welland was a small residential city with a small town attitude. You couldn't enjoy something like that in places like Toronto, New York, Tokyo or Seoul. Coming back here showed me how much I missed living here. It was good to be back home.


I perked on hearing a voice that was quite similar to Reika's, then looked left to see what I swore was her very own twin sister walk up. As soon as she got closer, I quickly picked out differences. This woman's hair was less shaggier than Reika's, nor was it dyed green in places. She looked like a girl just out of high school; Reika appeared to be a woman in her twenties. This one projected the image of a wholesome, "girl next door" type. Compared to Reika's fiery exoticness, this newcomer seemed quite plain. Still, she was very beautiful.

"Hello," I nodded in return, then decided to take a dare. "You must be Irene Aldred. Back already from the Falls?"

The newcomer perked, then smiled. "Yes, I am," she offered her hand.

I gave her hand a firm squeeze. It was easy for me to sense the unyielding strength that told me right away that this lovely lady was a fembot. "I met your sister Reika. She told me about you," I nodded towards the Retreat's front doors. "She performs very well."

"We do try our best," Irene drew her hand back. "If you want to see me perform, come to the Mansion House on Lundy's Lane in Niagara Falls. I do shows on the hour between eight and two, then come back here right away after my last show to pick Reika up."

"I don't have a car," I admitted. "I'll wait until you come perform here," I thumbed in the direction of the Retreat's front door.

"I'll have to make it all the more enjoyable then," she clicked her tongue, giving me a wink.


I looked past Irene to see Reika, dressed like her sister in a button shirt, leather tie, jean skirt and mary janes, walk out from around the corner, where the worker entrance to the Retreat was located. "Hi, sis!" Irene waved as Reika came up, then both enjoyed a slow, more-than-sisterly hug and kiss before they turned to look at me. "I just met one of your new fans," Irene gave me a smile.

"Deanna is more than just a fan, Irene," Reika mused.

Irene perked. "'Deanna?!'" she repeated, then stared intently at me. "Deanna Hordye?"

"That's me," I held up a hand in mock surrender, wondering how much Russ and Tom seemed to be telling everyone about me.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Hordye," Irene gave my hand another warm squeeze, then her eyebrow arched. "Or do you prefer Mr. Hordye?"

I stared at them. "They told you about THAT?!"

"In your own way, Deanna, you are pretty well known," Reika admitted.

"I see..." I breathed out, then stared at Irene. "I normally see myself as a woman, Irene. Please, call me Deanna."

"As you wish, Deanna," Irene gave me a supportive squeeze with her hand. "If you'll excuse us, Reika and I want to go back to our room. I hope to see you again sometime soon. It was a pleasure meeting you."

"Unless you want to come with us?" Reika offered. "Would you at least want a ride home?"

"No, thanks," I shook my head. "I've got classes to teach at ten, so I better head home and get some sleep. Walking helps me sleep," I reached over to squeeze Reika's shoulder in thanks for her offer, then leaned over to give her a kiss on the cheek.

Before I could react, she tilted her head to take my kiss on the lips. We remained frozen in place for a moment, then after slowly parting, she winked at me. "I'll see you soon, Deanna," she breathed out, then they headed off.

I remained in place as they disappeared around the corner of the building, then after letting out a sigh, turned to walk home...

She was the one.

Even before meeting her in the Retreat's washroom, I knew -- how exactly, I have yet to determine -- that she would be the one we needed.

I only hoped that Irene would come to the same conclusion.

We'd both learned of Deanna Hordye shortly after coming to work at the Retreat for the first time sixty-two days earlier. Russell Willis and his closest friends -- all of whom, I strongly believe, would make wonderful owners of record for freed 'bots such as my sister and I -- spoke very eloquently of her. Of the high school classmate they had who was neither truly a man or a woman.

Deanna Sophia Hordye is a hermaphrodite. While "intersexual" is considered the accepted term for those such as she, the older "h-term" is still quite commonplace. Even more so, Deanna is a "true" hermaphrodite. Possessing all the necessary female sexual organs, she was also born with a functioning penis, testes and prostate. She is truly the rarest of the rare when it comes to humans. Legally, so I learned listening to Russ and his friends -- not to mention some discrete research done in the virtual world -- Deanna is a woman with all the rights and responsibilities granted to other women. Unlike others born as she was, her parents decided to allow Deanna to mature without any surgical "correction," believing that if the Great Creative Spirit wanted Deanna to be a hermaphrodite, she would live her life as one.

I also knew that some terrible incident befell Deanna when she was in the last year of high school. I didn't know the exact circumstances of that incident; it was a subject Russ, Tom and Jim seemed unwilling to speak of -- to us at least. What I did know is that incident profoundly affected Deanna and her outlook on life. It drove her from Welland after she graduated from high school, sending her on a fourteen-year odyssey around the world. I didn't understand why Deanna felt she had to leave; it was a question I hoped to have answered sometime soon. But I was happy that she had returned back to the city of her birth. The city Irene and I looked on as our new home.

Getting into our car -- Irene was driving -- we headed west from the Retreat. Within minutes, we arrived at an old public school located at the edge of Welland's urbanized area. The school had been closed down years ago, switching from owner to owner before it was purchased five years ago by an independent robot technician, Marlenn Ioanis. Two of the old classrooms on the south side of the building had been rebuilt into Marlenn's private laboratory. The remainder of the building, save for the furnace room, had been changed into an office, private quarters for Marlenn and small dormitory-like rooms for any freed robot who might come to Welland seeking temporary lodging.

Stepping through the main doors, I broke into a run, moving to be the first person inside our shared room. "No fair, sis!!" Irene screeched as she quickly moved to catch up. She wasn't swift enough; I beat her into the room with a couple metres to spare. "Reika!"

I turned to face Irene, one of my hands moving to unfasten my skirt as certain relays deep within my mind turned over, causing a series of welcome changes concerning my body's various sexual systems. As one hand pushed my skirt and panties to the floor, my other one beckoned Irene into the room. She came willingly, her own hands moving to undress herself. Seeing her flawless body, a near match for my own save for slightly smaller breasts and less-accentuated hips, I shuddered as a familiar rush flooded my loins. Without asking, Irene moved to unbutton my shirt, her other hand reaching down to cup the beautiful penis that had grown from the hairy artificial flesh above my clitoris. Within the prescribed time period for this particular function, I was fully erect, the scrotum that contained the various storage fluids for my "male" functions having fallen into place between my member and the forward end of my labia. It was also slippery to the touch; a thin coating of lubricant is automatically applied to our phalluses each time they are extended.

Staring at my quite impressive manhood, Irene's eyes softened, drooping slightly as she allowed herself to lean against me, her hand lovingly stroking my glistening manhood. Each stroke bombarded my mind with torrents of pure ecstasy that threatened to overwhelm my pleasure buffer. I moved to hold her close to me as she leaned her chin on my shoulder. Wrapping my arms around her to draw her even closer, I hissed, "Eat me!" The "male" side of my personality matrix was in full control. "Make me enjoy it."

"As you wish," Irene whispered as she started gently trailing kisses down my breastbone, her free hand reaching between her own legs...

Irene and I are both bi-gendered robots.

We were constructed at the same factory in California eight years ago. Our looks were determined by a technician who was a fan of a classic Japanese animation series from the late 1980s. That series also influenced the choice of our given names. We would not learn until later that Irene and I were two of a limited series run of ten such units, the first production bi-'bot series assembled by our builders. Unlike many other bi-'bots, Irene and I were constructed to be as lifelike in every detail, including our extra "equipment," as possible.

The two of us were shipped to the same dealer in San Francisco. After our arrival, the store manager, desiring to maximize profits by having "twins" delivered to him, had us displayed side-by-side in the window of his store. Thanks to that, we were purchased that day by the same man. J. Cranston Aldred. Our first -- and to date only -- official owner.

As seems typical -- at least from what I've learned when it comes to bi-'bots such as Irene and I -- Cranston had no idea at first about what EXACTLY he had purchased. That was soon corrected when one of Cranston's lady friends wanted to know our true sexual state. Cranston commanded us to answer her, which we did. After the party, Irene and I were commanded to show him in private. We did.

Unlike many uniformed bi-'bot owners, Cranston didn't react by sending us back to the dealer post haste -- possibly for some "corrective" mutilation? He was the type of man who did not rid himself of potential resources even if they didn't fully answer his personal needs. Quickly researching available data concerning our type of robot, he had us augmented with what he felt were "necessary" sexual and social programming upgrades. He then commanded us -- Cranston was a man who was quite diligent but thankfully not obnoxious when it came to using our remotes -- to execute the following command: Use your programming to allow both sides of your minds to function properly. You will maintain decorum whenever you are in public. If necessary, turn to each other to achieve what I have just told you.

That command has never been countermanded.

Of course, Cranston didn't need to give Irene or I any additional sexual programming; learning how to use both our male and female organs was part of our basic intimacy programming. Atop that, our basic personality programming came with the necessary function switches that would allow us to shift from "male" to "female" modes of behaviour with as minimal an interruption in our overall performance as possible. With the command Cranston gave us, he essentially allowed Irene and I the chance to develop as many new ways of enjoying our lives and fulfilling our duties as possible, though still remaining within the barriers forced on us by the Four Laws of Robotics.

In public, we were to function as Cranston's personal assistants and lovers. To perform that function to his satisfaction, Irene and I had to remain "female," no different than a true fembot. But Cranston believed that it was simply not right or proper that our "male" sides were not allowed to develop alongside our "female" sides. Of course, I strongly believe now that he didn't come to realize that if he didn't want to deal with our "male" sides at all, all he had to do was command us to remain constantly in a "female" mode. Then again, as I mentioned above, it wasn't Cranston's way to waste potential good resources just because he didn't have use for them at that particular moment. To leave our "male" sides undeveloped while we were expanding our "female" sides was not to be permitted in his eyes. Being used to commanding humans so much, Cranston was all to willing to extend that expertise to robots. He was an exceptionally rare owner for any 'bot to have. As rare as, I suspect, the circumstance of Irene and I having each other to play -- or experiment -- with.

With that situation, Irene and I matured as we both sought out new ways to fulfil Cranston's command. Still, despite the advantages that fateful command, plus the extra programming modules, gave Irene and I, our progression into self-awareness was still too slow to satisfy a man like Cranston Aldred. Given the advantages his wealth gave him, it didn't take him long to seek out some personalized professional help for us. That came in the form of Professor Rhys Galliard, his wife Joelle and their "daughter," Cecilia.

Cecilia is also a bi-'bot; in fact, she was one of the first bi-'bots ever constructed. She had been purchased by Rhys and Joelle to act as the centrepiece of a personal experiment concerning robot self-awareness. By the time Irene and I met her, Cecilia had already advanced the state of her programming to the point where she could easily blend into any social situation without risking discovery by most normal humans. Seeing how well Rhys and Joelle had evolved Cecilia's programming, Cranston demanded they do the same thing with Irene and I.

Within a year or so of meeting the Galliards, Irene and I had evolved ourselves into becoming -- depending on our specific emotional mode of operation at the time -- true sisters who also could perform as a "heterosexual" couple, not to mention willing to dab into the common forms of homosexual relationships. Thanks to Rhys' and Joelle's top-rate programming skills, not to mention Cecilia's consistent and constant physical and emotional support, Irene and I came to discover a vast number of ways by which we could expand our understanding of ourselves and each other. With Cranston's command forcing us along, we explored each and every one many times over, developing a personal sense of trust and intimacy I suspect few, humans or robots, could every truly comprehend. Something that was unique. Truly ours and ours alone.

I suspect that Irene and I are probably the only robots of our type who evolved self-will virtually at the same time.

Some would ask this: did Cranston's command lead to some sort of malfunction within Irene or myself? I don't believe so. Neither does Irene. The Galliards didn't believe it to be thus, either. Our relationship has not hurt us or inhibited us in the years since it began. Besides, Cranston did command us to turn to each other as we sought to fulfil the other elements of his command. And yes, it did not take either os us long to develop new ways to explore our growing self-awareness. And from that, our self-will was allowed to blossom. I can happily state that Cranston was satisfied when we developed that aspect of our personalities.

Self-will was something Cranston considered too important to waste. He often said afterwards that he got better service from the two of us than any other 'bot and owner he knew. And he knew a lot of people.

He was an amazing man. We both came to love him very much.

I gasped as I felt myself shoot my load down Irene's throat. She swallowed it without hesitation, as I have done countless times when our situations have been reversed. Mentally taking a deep breath, I allowed my systems to return to normal function, then reached down to draw Irene back to her feet. She gave me a curious look before shuddering as my fingers gently pinched her clit. That triggered the change inside Irene from "female" to "male" format; if she did that to me when I was "female," the same thing would happen. To ensure that we didn't accidentally disobey the "maintain proper decorum" command, only Irene or I -- not to mention our owner -- could trigger this function with each other. If anyone else touched or squeezed us there, nothing would happen unless we wanted it to happen. That certainly spared us trouble whenever we allowed people to slip coin tips into our vagina, or otherwise finger us as we enjoy letting humans do.

Her own penis grew out. Before I could react, Irene grabbed me by the shoulders and forced me down onto the bed, her legs shifting mine apart so she could slip herself -- in that respect, she is much larger than me -- inside me. I remained still, turning my mind's pleasure buffer to maximum intensity, shielding the remainder of my personality matrix from Irene's advance. Normally, I would love to submit myself to my sister, my lover. But now, I knew, there was something more important to speak about.

Finally taking note of my insensitivity to her seduction, Irene breathed out. Pulling herself out of me, she let her hands fall to her hips as she gave me a curious look. "What's the problem, sis? Aren't you enjoying it?"

"You know I'll always enjoy it," I chuckled. As she relaxed beside me, I closed my eyes. "I think I might've found a potential owner."


"Deanna Hordye."

Irene blinked, then crossed her arms, which had the effect of pushing up her breasts even more. Staring at my sister -- a beautiful female body now also possessing a thick, wonderful man's cock rigidly at attention -- I tried not to allow my female half to take over and take her any which way I could. "What makes you sure she's the one?" Irene then asked before her eyes went wide. "You chose her because she's an intersexual, right? Someone who never had it surgically corrected." I nodded, then she asked, "Do you think she'll take us in?"

"I think both Russ and Tom talked to her about it earlier tonight," I replied, reaching over to gently stroke her love stick.

A coy smile crossed her face as she replicated my action. "So how do we approach her?"

"Cautiously," I sighed as we leaned closer for a kiss. "Very cautiously. We always have to be very carful..."

I woke up early the next morning feeling very refreshed despite the fact that I only got a few hours' sleep. It had been a long time since I had been so close to so many beautiful females, though if I'd dreamed of any of them, I woke without remembering.

Then again, maybe I did.

The first thing I noticed on waking was my raging hard-on. That's something any male will understand, though for me it had been a while.

After a shower and breakfast, I got my gear, then headed out of my apartment located a couple blocks from the Morning Mist Training Hall, Master Lily's tojang. Arriving there soon enough, I grinned on seeing the master already performing her morning exercises. Thanks to her years of dedication in the Art, Lily Choi's body was that of someone a couple decades younger then her actual sixty-two. There were times I felt that if she wasn't my teacher in the Art, I'd want to date her. Without hesitation, I headed into the instructor's change room to slip off my street clothes and put on my tobok, the uniform practitioners of t'ae kwon-do wore.

Stepping up to the doorway, I performed the ritual kyoung'ye bow in respect to the hall, then stepped inside. "Good morning, Master."

Lily stopped performing her exercise, then smiled as I gave her another bow as a sign of respect from student to teacher. "Good morning, Deanna," she bowed in return. "You look well. Didn't you go out on the town last night?"

We knelt before each other in relaxed meditation. "I only visited my friend's club across the bridge."

Her eyebrow arched. "Club...?" she then nodded. "Oh, you mean Russell's Retreat. That's right; one of your old high school classmates is Russell Willis, isn't he? So how is your friend, anyway?"

"He's well. His business is very successful. I also met Tom Fenris last night. He's also well; currently, he works for Mama's old lawyer."

A knowing smile crossed Lily's face. "So returning home wasn't the 'march into Dante's Inferno' you made it out to be a year ago?"

I considered that, then sighed. "I admit that I did overreact in certain ways when it came to electing to return to Welland, Master. Then again, as she hurt me, I hurt her in return. I've no idea what's happened to her in the fourteen years since we last saw each other."

"Do you wish to seek her out?"


Did I want to see Marlenn Ioanis again? After her hateful, homophobic words shattered my heart, drove me to attempt suicide -- and in the end, forever denied me the fact that I could never be a mother, feel a child grow in my very own body despite the fact that I could still easily father a child like any man? After Mama used her reputation in the community to shame my classmates, people like Russ, Jim, Tom and so many others, into literally turning their backs on Marlenn, the most popular student then attending Welland Centennial Secondary School? How my saving the butt of Marlenn's boyfriend Andrew Keir months later shattered their relationship because Drew realized I wasn't a "genetic freak" like Marlenn had loudly and openly proclaimed me as in the week before I took one of Mama's kitchen knives to my gut? Did I want to reopen those wounds, still healing for me, fourteen years later? What were her feelings for me? Did she have any? Had she shoved aside any thoughts towards the "freak" who had a crush on her for years, then pressed on with her life? Was I a stranger to her in the end?

"I don't know, Master," I finally breathed out. "At times, the anger I feel for what she did to me surges up like a volcano. When that happens, any piece of wood, cinder block or brick that's close by is in mortal danger." As Lily laughed -- I was seen by friends back in Korea as being somewhat of a fanatic when it came to power breaking -- I then felt a smile tug my lips. "Then after feeling some anger at myself for doing something stupid like that in the first place, I remember all of Lenn's good qualities. Her beauty; I still look on her as one of the most desirable women I've ever known. Her sense of humour. Her friendliness. Her sense of charity. Her willingness to stand up to peer pressure and all that. I..." I stopped, feeling tears in my eyes. "Can there be reconciliation, Master?"

"You should consider it," Lily advised me. "At least approach her, learn what she thinks of you now that over a decade has passed. If the results of such a meeting don't satisfy you, walk away and strive to construct your life as you choose. Also remember, Marlenn herself might still be hurting from what your actions did to her. If she requires it, you do have a responsibility to help her heal."

"I know," I whispered.

"That scares you, doesn't it?"

"It does."

Satisfaction then crossed Lily's face. "That is the type of sacrifice one must make when one seeks to share one's life with another. Are you ready to make that sacrifice, Deanna? That is ultimately for you to answer."

"To share my life..."

Lily stopped, staring quizzically at me as Reika's image flashed before my mind's eye. "Deanna, are you alright?"

I started, then blushed. "I'm sorry," I scratched the back of my head. "I just remembered that last night, I met a freed fembot that Russ later told me was on the hunt for a new owner of record for herself and her sister."

"Oh?!" my teacher perked, then a smile crossed her face. "Is she beautiful?" her eyebrow arched knowingly.

I assumed a haughty air. "Master Lily, in all my travels, I've YET to meet a fembot that could be called 'ugly!'"

We laughed...

Weekend classes proceeded pretty much as they had when I helped teach back in Korea. Master Lily, while still maintaining a stern guiding hand when it came to teaching the fresh-faced white belts, especially the children, allowed the other assistant instructors and I free reign when it came to helping them get through the lessons. I had come to notice right away that many of the people there were glad to have a fellow Westerner showing them the ropes. Master Lily's two other assistants were native-born Koreans, both also distant relations to her whom I'd come to know thanks to their relatives back in the old country. I personally didn't fault them for anything; they were considerate to the students. But I could tell right away that their Confucian-based ethical system was imposing an emotional and social wall between them and their charges. In my eyes, that was wrong; you can't ask a student of the Art to fully give herself to the Art unless you gladly show your own love and devotion to the Art. To not do so, in my eyes, was to point a dagger at the future of the tojang...

I didn't get back to Russell's Retreat until the following Tuesday; Wednesdays would be the quiet days as far as work in the tojang was concerned, so I could sleep in late. Arriving around nine-thirty, I was quick to spot Reika waiting at the bar. Russ was once again helping the bartender with preparing drinks. That was very good. The bar was very busy and Russ was making the rent. A glance to the stage revealed Reghan strutting her stuff to a Foreigner classic, Waiting For A Girl Like You. Tom was nowhere in sight.

Walking over to the bar, I called out, "Hey, Russ, the usual!"

Hearing my voice, a smile that glittered like the Milky Way crossed Reika's face. As I sat down beside her, she turned to gaze on me. "You missed my first two shows," she wagged a finger at me in mock-reproof. "You'll need to make them up to me, Ms. Hordye!"

"Hey, hey, I'll make it up to you, okay!" I waved my hands in a show of peace. Damn, how far had her self-development come? "I just can't walk out of the tojang on a lark, you know! If the Master fired me, how would I pay for your dances, much less your tips?!"

Reika stopped, her eyes going wide for a second, then she turned away, her cheeks reddening. "That's true," her voice became surprisingly sheepish, then she chanced a coy stare at me. "I would dance free for you."

"Well, if you insist..." I sputtered, then spared Russ a quick look. The smirk on his face told me he wouldn't mind that a bit.

Seeing my reaction, Reika laughed, then gave my hand a squeeze. "I still wish you could've come earlier, Deanna," she admitted, then glanced away, her cheeks starting to flame. "It means a lot to me when I know you're in the audience."

Sensing the truth in her words, I relaxed. "I'll try to come earlier next time, but I make no guarantees," I held up a finger, then nodded thanks as Russ gave me a glass of Sprite. Taking a sip, I then rose. "Let's go," I nodded towards one of the private booths.

Reika fell in beside me, roping her arm around mine possessively as we made our way around the tables closest to the stage. Before walking into the empty booth, I heard a crashing noise from off to my left. Turning, I watched as a bouncer stormed into a nearby booth. Shouting echoed from there as he came out a couple seconds later, dragging with him a clearly-drunk patron. Watching this from beside an overturned dance table was a nude Callista, another of the dancers I'd met on Saturday. The hapless patron -- seeing how easily he was being dealt with, I realized the bouncer had to be an M-'bot -- was soon ejected out the back door into the parking lot.

Shaking my head, I glanced at Reika. "First one of the night?" I asked.

"Unfortunately," she beckoned me in, closing the door behind me. "Most of the people who come here are pretty alright even when they've had a few too many. Compared to other clubs I've performed at, the patrons here, for the most part, are quite civilized -- for humans."

"What do you think he did?" I asked, wondering what someone could do wrong here, considering all I've done here with Reika and the others.

"Maybe he tried to force a command on her," Reika said carefully. "Force her to give up what money she had on her. That's happened before. Or he might have attacked her. Because of the First Law, she can't protect herself, so she had to call for help."

"What an idiot!" I spat out. "Looser rules shouldn't put too much pressure on folks who come here," I sat down as she mounted the small stage before me. "With the allowances, people don't feel the urge to try to push matters. Most people, that is!" I held up a finger.

"Yes, most people," she chuckled.

The dance, done to Barbra Streisand's Evergreen, was up to -- as it seemed to me -- Reika's impeccable standards. Like when she danced for me on Saturday -- not to mention the private dances I had Reghan and the others give me that night -- I was allowed to touch and feel her wherever my questing fingers wanted to roam, especially over her rock-hard nipples and between the lips of her damp womanhood. Yes I like enjoying close contact with both women and men. Living my public life as a woman doesn't change what I truly am. Along the way, we shared a half-dozen kisses, not counting the kiss I got after paying for the dance, plus the kiss that came with her tip. I was quick to sense that Reika seemed more at ease about kissing me this time than she did on Saturday.

After the dance ended, Reika moved to slip on her panties and bra, keeping her usual biker pants and halter top off to one side as she relaxed with me, clearly intending to keep me company for a while. "Are you sure you can do this?" I asked.

"You forget, Deanna, I'm freed. I'm able to set my own terms as long as I meet my commitments to be there when I come up in rotation again," she assured me, giving my hand a reassuring squeeze. "Besides, Russ has twenty girls working directly for him now. They're his main breadwinners. And I know they love to work for him here at the Retreat. I can't really interfere in that, can I?"

I nodded. "Not really," I gave her a smirk, then we both laughed before sharing another quick kiss. "So tell me about yourself," I prodded before sipping my Sprite. "Who made Reika Aldred the beautiful person she is?"

As she told me her life story, I was quick to note one particular element that seemed to have set Reika on the road to self-awareness: the command Cranston Aldred gave her and Irene to go ahead and do whatever was necessary to fully develop their personalities. "So if someone became your new owner, would you want that person to override that command?" I asked her at the end, doing my best to indicate that I would respect whatever choice she made when it came time for her to make the choice, regardless if it concerned me or someone else.

Reika paused as she considered the question, then shook her head. "No. Irene and I really enjoy being what we are, discovering new ways of bettering ourselves and our overall performance in whatever we choose to do. Neither of us would want it stopped." A pause as she seemed to consider what else to say, then she blinked. "I have to get ready for my next dance," she then announced.

"Let's clear out of here, then," I replied as we rose...

The rest of the night went off without a hitch. There did come the odd time when another patron came up to Reika to ask for a personal performance in one of the private booths. She was more than happy to comply. I couldn't begrudge her that; she was here to earn money. To make sure the other patrons didn't end up thinking I was trying to hog Reika to myself, I held off of making any open show of closeness. A simple glance when she looked my way, then a subtle nod towards one of the private booths, was enough to make sure she got the message. Russ didn't do anything to butt in on what was happening between us. No doubt, he was dead serious about having me eventually become Reika's and Irene's new owner, so he clearly wanted to give me every decent chance I could use to get to know my future charges.

I wasn't sure what to think about that, to be honest. Being a freed 'bot's "owner of record" wasn't the same as being a plain 'bot owner, at least as much as I came to understand the concept when I first learned of it. Yes, by the laws of certain parts of the States and elsewhere, you were seen as being no different than a normal 'bot owner. At the same time, according to Canadian law (and the laws of those places where this sort of situation was respected), you couldn't seize your "property's" personal belongings, to say anything of her earnings, for your own use. Legally, you really had no right to make use of a freed 'bot's remote control to press your own ends...

I shook my head as I considered that, sitting by the bar close to last call. I couldn't see myself doing that to Reika or Irene. Damn it all, they EARNED the right to be seen as freed robots. I respected that. Besides, if I really wanted a 'bot to obey my commands, fulfil my every desire, I could get one fresh out of the factory -- if I could AFFORD such a unit, of course. And getting a second-hand 'bot from a resale outlet meant that you risked inheriting problems, screwball programming or fouled-up commands from said 'bot's previous owners.

I certainly would enjoy having a 'bot as a personal companion. I loved the many times I purchased the services of 'bot hookers working the streets of places I had lived in during my sojourn around the world. Almost all of them had been fembots, who didn't mind the fact that I was a hermaphrodite and could do it with them as a guy as much as I could as a girl. Even the few M-'bots I've slept with were quite nice, especially after I suppressed their assertive attitudes when it came to dealing with human girls. A good screaming session or two guaranteed that, I'll tell you. I might look like a girl on first glance -- unless you catch me in the shower! -- but I can play just as rough as the boys could when pushed to the wall. The assholes who tried to gang up on Drew Keir learned that the hard way fourteen years ago.

"Hi, Russ! How're things here tonight?"

Russ, working on cleaning glasses a metre off to my right, looked up, then chuckled. "Pretty good. What brings you around?"

"Oh, just checking my handiwork, that's all!"

I glanced over to see a woman about Reika's height standing by the cash register, two metres away from me. Seeing her brownish skin made me blink as a haunting sense of recognition hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. The shoulder-length blonde hair, which seemed to me so odd to appear on a woman like this, sent my heart into my throat as it dawned on me who this person was. Seeing her eyes, as brown as pure Swiss chocolate, not to mention a finely-sculptured face that hinted at a cultural smorgasbord of ancestors, confirmed it.

She had matured a lot since I last saw her fourteen years ago, but it was her.


"Marlenn," I whispered...

I had decided this night would be the one where I would begin to determine if Deanna was indeed fit to become my new owner.

It was some time after my last stage show that I emerged from the ladies washroom to return to the bar to enjoy more of Deanna's company. Already, I was running various social analysis programs to determine the best way to convince Deanna that I wished to spend the remainder of the night with her. Her duties to the Morning Mist Training Hall would not require her personal attention until well past the coming mid-afternoon. More than adequate time for me to make my "sales pitch" and see how things would progress from there.

After analysing the matter from as many viewpoints as possible, I believed my chances at success were in the high eighty-percentile range. Unlike Cranston, Deanna was a hermaphrodite, someone who happily accepted the duality of her personal nature without question. Surely, she would appreciate what Irene and I could offer her as personal companions. Yes, my sister and I are legally considered "freed," but we also needed, wanted to serve a human in some capacity. Being declared freed didn't change that part of our beings; it would remain with Irene and I until the day we permanently went off-line. Since we are bi-gendered, an intersexual like Deanna seems the perfect owner for us.

Stepping into the main hall, I saw that Marlenn Ioanis had come to the Retreat, she then standing by the bar speaking to Russ. No doubt, Marlenn had come to look in on the other dancers working here. She was the primary maintenance technician for all of Russ' robots at the Retreat. A very good and diligent technician at that, as Irene and I had learned shortly after coming to Welland when she ran us through a thorough, detailed systems check, one my sister and I hadn't experienced since the day we left the dealer in San Francisco.

And why not?

Marlenn is a robot herself.

It was easy for Irene and I to discover Marlenn's true nature; no 'bot, not even Cecilia Galliard, is programmed well enough to completely avoid another 'bot's scrutiny. My sister and I didn't mind it, of course. No doubt, Marlenn is a free 'bot herself. Further, since there are birth records for a Marlenn Hannah Ioanis -- I had checked -- it was also easy for me to conclude that the Marlenn I knew was one of the new IP -- "Implanted Personality" -- type of robots now appearing in various hotel chains across North America.

As to what might have happened to the real Marlenn, I had no idea. I hadn't considered asking the 'bot Marlenn about it. First, it was an intrusion on the privacy of herself and her personality template, something that could come to reflect badly on Irene and I. That, I didn't want. Second, the chance was there that the 'bot Marlenn had been programmed to not casually reveal her true nature to anyone. If so, any question I might ask would not be answered. And that could also come to reflect badly on Irene and I. As I said above, I didn't desire that. Besides, Irene and I see Marlenn as our friend. If she felt it right to tell us about herself, she would make the decision.

Glancing at Deanna, I watched as she seemed to stare at Marlenn for several seconds, then she quickly turned away. Rising from the bar, she left behind money for her last soft drink, then moved to walk out. Taking note of the expression on her face, I quickly recognized the mixture of anger, sadness, pain and fear that could only arise from a human who had just encountered someone that had grievously hurt her sometime in the near past. A glance to Marlenn to confirm that she had not noted Deanna's presence, then I moved to follow.

I had to make sure Deanna was alright...


God, it was like receiving a back heel kick in the gut.

Save for the fact that she was well over a decade older, she didn't truthfully look any different from when I had last really seen her up close. When I was in the hospital recovering from my aborted suicide attempt, having just learned that the knife had badly cut up both my ovaries, damaging the eggs embedded there so much that the chances of my being a mother were essentially nil. When Marlenn's parents, who were distant friends of Mama's, had brought her to the hospital to make her apologize for the words that had hurt me so badly. When the anger, shame and pain of what those words had done to me, had made ME do to myself, exploded like Mount Saint Helens with an attitude.

When I had wished that she would just die so she wouldn't pollute the human race any further with her homophobia.

I wasn't ready to see her. Not so damned soon after coming back after fourteen years spent travelling as far from Welland as I could.

I had to go.

Get away from her.

Go somewhere and think.

Go somewhere and cry...


I stopped, realizing that I had stumbled out of the Retreat, now standing on the street corner. Spinning around, I gaped on seeing Reika standing there, worry etched on her face. "Reika..." I blinked, then rubbed my eyes. "What are you...?"

"I came after you," she walked up to steady me with an arm. "Are you alright? What happened?"

What happened?



"I..." I felt my throat choke up, then the energy in my body started to flow out of me. "Home..."




It was easy for me to conclude what Deanna might desire, even it wasn't worded as a precise command.


I looked right to see Irene walk up from the parking lot behind the Retreat. "We're taking her back to her place, Irene," I informed her as I moved to guide Deanna away from the Retreat's front doors. "Get the car!" I then ordered in my "male" voice.

Irene nodded, running around the corner to get our car ready. I turned my attention back to Deanna, who was taking several deep breaths to calm herself, her hand brushing tears away from her eyes. Recalling what I had seen inside the Retreat, how Deanna had reacted to Marlenn's presence -- then calling up all the information I had on Deanna -- the most probable cause of tonight's incident became crystal clear.

Marlenn Ioanis -- the human Marlenn -- had been involved with whatever incident had befallen Deanna fourteen years ago.

In fact, it seemed most likely that Marlenn had been the principal protagonist of that incident.

No wonder Deanna wanted to get away from her.

Turning the corner to walk onto the parking lot, I remained close to Deanna as Irene backed out car out of its space, then reversed it so we could get inside without delay. Opening the door, I guided Deanna into the back seat, then moved to sit beside her. "Where do you live, Deanna?" I gently asked as Irene closed the door behind me, then moved to drive onto the street.

"I..." she blinked for a moment, then blurted out, "Fifteen Saint Andrews Avenue. It's an apartment block."

"Alright," Irene nodded as she drove down to Mill Street, then turned right to get onto Niagara. Fortunately for us, we had downloaded a detailed city map into our minds and the car's own guidance computer when we first arrived in the Rose City.

To give Deanna some time to regain some sense of emotional control before possibly confronting her neighbours, Irene decided to take the scenic route to our new friend's residence. Up Niagara Street to Woodlawn Drive, east over the old Welland Canal to Highway 406, south to the East Main Street exit, then west to Saint Andrews Avenue. As Irene drove, I held Deanna close to me, making myself an emotional rock for her to cling onto after her brief encounter with Marlenn. Fortunately for both Irene and I, our minds had developed to the point where specific mannerisms that were not "natural" to the emotional mode dominating our functions at any specific time could be called upon without much in the way of conscious thought. I did intend to tell Deanna the truth about myself; it didn't seem proper to allow her to make the same mistake Cranston had made concerning Irene and I. But humans can be emotionally very fragile at times. To create a situation where they could experience emotional pain was a direct violation of the First Law. That, I would never do.

As we passed over the bridge spanning the old canal, Deanna took a deep breath, then asked, "You're both bi-'bots, aren't you?"

I quickly suppressed the automatic jolt that question elicited from me, then sighed. Well, that hurdle had been passed...

"Yes, we are," Irene answered. I was quick to see the relieved smile cross her face via the rear-view mirror. "How did you guess, Deanna?"

"Your sister," I gave Reika's arm a tender squeeze as I relaxed my head on her shoulder. My heart was still going a million kilometres a minute thanks to seeing Marlenn, but the rest of my body was starting to come down from the adrenaline high. "She telling you to get the car sounded a little too forceful for a normal fembot. I've never met any bi-'bots -- at least I think I haven't -- before, so it was pretty much a wild-ass guess even after that." Taking another deep breath as Irene swung into the turn-off lane for the 406 southbound, I looked up into Reika's face. "Does Russ know? Is that why he came to ask me about me becoming your owner of record?"

"He does," Reika nodded, then leaned up to kiss my forehead. "Still, he confessed to us that even if we were normal fembots, he would've still come to ask you about becoming our owner, Deanna. Even if you decided never to come back to Welland again, he would've found some way to contact you and helped arrange a meeting between us. That's how much he likes and trusts you."

I felt my cheeks heat up. "I guess I'm lucky," I chuckled.

Actually, even now as I reflect on this, I'm still amazed at how valuable Russ has treated our friendship. With only the occasional postcard from me, sent from whatever far corner of the world I lived in, he had stayed true to his friendship vow of so many years ago.

Hell, if I hadn't been so emotionally tied up because of Marlenn, well...

Silence fell as Irene drove the car down the 406 to the East Main turnoff, then headed west for a couple blocks before making a left onto Saint Andrews. Seeing my apartment block, I pointed it out, then Irene stopped the car to let Reika and I off. As Irene moved to park the car, I guided Reika across the street to the main doors. We waited for Irene to catch up to us, then headed inside.

Soon enough, we were inside my apartment. It's a simple affair: living room with kitchenette, one bedroom, bathroom. It wasn't furnished very much; I had little in the way of furniture to call my own and what I did have either came with the apartment, was borrowed from Master Lily or one of her friends or had been purchased from a second-hand store. "It's cozy," Reika commented as we slipped off our shoes -- that was a habit I had acquired when I lived in Korea; no doubt, the girls felt it only proper to do that when visiting someone else's home -- then headed into the living room, relaxing on the thick wool rug that covered the space save for the area around my kitchenette.

"It serves its purpose," I admitted as a sense of relief, of safety, started to flood me. I was in my home. Two new beautiful friends -- friends I now knew who were more like me that I had first suspected meeting them on Saturday -- were currently visiting me. The cause of so much of my personal pain and self-doubt was about three kilometres west of me, still chatting it up with Russ no doubt.

I wondered what had happened to make Russ warm up again to Marlenn. Fourteen years ago, after what happened to me, he refused to have anything to do with her. Then again, fourteen years HAVE passed. No doubt, since he wasn't directly involved in what happened, Russ had decided to let bygones be bygones. I couldn't begrudge him that, could I? He was still my friend and would remain so. And clearly, given what he wanted to help arrange between Reika, Irene and I, he saw me as his friend. That mattered just as much.

"Deanna, what did Marlenn do to you?"

I jolted, surprised by Reika's question, then I stared at her. "How do you know her? Did Russ tell you something?"

She shook her head. "I was unaware of what, if any, part Marlenn had concerning whatever happened to you back in high school." As I felt my heart start to race again, Reika reached over to hold my hand in a show of comfort. "Russ hasn't spoken openly about that incident, Deanna. Neither have Tom or Jim. They haven't betrayed your trust in them, Deanna. Still, I am aware that something awful did happen to you at that time in your life. It's what prompted you to leave Welland, go across the country to attend university in Victoria, then go further still around the world. After what I just saw at the Retreat, it was easy for me to conclude Marlenn had something to do with what happened."

I stared at her, my heart slowly calming. That shouldn't have surprised me, I guess. Robots are remarkably observant when it comes to witnessing human behaviour. Atop that, they are also very discrete. "You didn't answer my first question, Reika."

"She's a robot technician now," Reika smiled apologetically at me. "Certainly one of the better ones I've dealt with. In fact, your old public school currently serves as her laboratory, home and workshop. Irene and I've been staying there while we've been working in the peninsula. She offers living space to any travelling free 'bot seeking a place to stay for a short while."

My jaw dropped as images of Marlenn acting as Victor von Frankenstein, hovering menacingly over a strapped-down, nude Reika, flashed through my mind. I had to laugh at that. Reika gave me a curious look, then I waved her down. "God, I never suspected that she'd end up doing THAT sort of thing!!" I tried to stifle back my snickers, then sighed. "Does she help out with the 'bots at the Retreat, too?"

"Yes, she does," Irene nodded. "Not to mention many other robots in Welland and Pelham."

"Really?" I stared at her, then whistled. "She must be busy."

"She is," Irene confirmed.

Silence fell as that particular item of conversation seemed to loose interest with me. Finally, realizing that I hadn't answered Reika's original question, I stood up. "C'mon," I waved my guests with me into the bedroom.

They wordlessly followed me. I nodded for them to sit on my bed -- fortunately, it's double-sized, so all three of us could fit onto it quite comfortably -- then moved to undress. Reika and Irene remained silent as I slipped off my shirt and sports bra, then got to work on my slacks. Fortunately for me, I knew of an underwear dealer who could supply me with modified panties that gave me both comfort when it came to my dick, plus a nice fit over my vagina whenever I went through my monthly cycle -- yes, despite the fact that my ovaries are pretty much scar tissue these days, I still go through THAT! As soon as I took those off, I turned to display myself to my guests.


That was both Reika and Irene, by the way.

Hearing that made my member twitch as blood started to flow into it. Seeing that, my guests moved to touch it, their fingers feather-soft on its flanks, that contact making me gasp as a welcome urge started pounding my loins. I felt my heart start to hammer in my ears as jolts of passion rocked my body from head to toe. It had been a long time since I'd allowed myself to react without restraint.

Then, without warning, their fingers withdrew from my dick as they stood up. Staring at them, I moved to ask what was wrong. Their only answer was to guide me into sitting on my bed. Once there, Reika turned to the pile of CDs I had beside my player. Scanning the titles, she grinned. "Good," she pulled out one, then slipped into the player.

A flute started off the James Last rendition of Kiminori Nasawa's Yosaku as my lovely guests began the most incredible floor show I had ever seen -- and yes, I HAVE seen two 'bot dancers go at it together back in my favourite showclub in Tuscon! As one of my hands began to stroke myself, I watched as Reika slowly pulled Irene's skirt and panties -- no doubt, both girls wore bras and panties in response to the "maintain proper decorum" command their old owner gave them long ago -- down. In the blink of the proverbial eye, Irene's own dick -- damn, hers was as friggin' big as MINE! -- was out, then quickly filled Reika's mouth right to the gorging point. Lucky thing for both of them that they were 'bots; I don't know if human strippers or hookers could've done something like THIS for a stage show.

Soon enough, Reika's own cock was in the open as they mashed their bodies against each other, swaying perfectly to the base drum, synthesizer and flute as their trailed kisses all over their faces, ears and neck. As the song worked its way to the climax, both shifted themselves so their legs could brush up against mine. Before I knew it, their hands were gently stroking my own dick as they moved to relax to either side of me, gently showering my face with playful kisses. I moaned, then nearly swallowed Irene's -- or was it Reika's? -- mouth wholesale as they forced me to lay back. As I felt their bodies press against mine, I wrapped my arms around them.

I felt myself collapse on the bed as their lips and tongues began to tickle, suck, lick and caress every square centimetre of my skin. From the area around my ears -- I'm very sensitive there -- to my breasts, down my flanks, around my navel, then right straight to the promised land. A shudder warped through me as I felt someone's lips wrap around my cock, then swallow it wholesale. A gasp escaped me, then I felt one of them -- who was it? -- shift herself to straddle me at the level of my own breasts. Before I could try to make out who it might be, the blunt end of her dick was pressing against my lips. My mouth automatically opened to allow it in. Thankfully, since both Reika and Irene are 'bots, I didn't have to worry about things like exhaustion making them collapse on my tits. Being someone who shares both male and female body parts meant that I also could experience the utter joys of being kicked in the nuts or punched in my breasts.

It's something I don't relish experiencing.

A welcome rush filled my gut as I felt the girl sucking on my dick pick up the pace. I responded automatically by picking it up with the girl straddling my chest. A brief glance up before the torrent of ecstasy overcame me revealed it was Irene trying to feed me her ivory gold. Her eyes brightened as she sensed me looking at her, then a cry burst from her as she exploded. Her dick slipped from my mouth as I gasped for air, synthetic cum splattering my face. I hit the big "O" an instant later, Reika swallowing everything my body pumped out...

...but by that point, I really couldn't spare any brain cells to notice...

I opened my eyes. Morning light was shining through my bedroom window. Blinking, I soon came to sense the warm bodies pressed to mine on both sides. My arms ached slightly; Reika and Irene were using them as pillows. Both were asleep, though that could change in an instant; they were 'bots after all even if they needed to sleep themselves. It was necessary for them; it gave them a chance to properly sort out the previous day's thoughts, pretty much like what humans do when they dream. It was also a way for them project a sense of safety and comfort. After all, would you be able to sleep when you have a beautiful 'bot staying awake, staring at you while you were counting sheep?

Carefully glancing down, I noticed that both had a hand resting on my gut, effectively covering the plastic-like scar that crossed my body a couple centimetres over my pubes. A scar that, even now, still bore signs of the stitches and flesh staples the doctors needed to put me back together fourteen years ago. They were still in "male" mode. Their still-erect dicks were now lying against my thighs. And...! Yep. There was my own joystick, fully at attention and ready for more action.

Lying back on my pillow, I stared absently at the ceiling for a moment before my hands drifted up to gently feel my companions' hair. They shifted slightly in response, their arms drifting up to wrap around the lower end of my rib cage. Neither of them said anything. Either they wanted to get some more sleep or were politely waiting for me to start up a conversation. All 'bots are like that, I guess, even the freed ones. Shuddering, I felt tears wet my eyes as my hands softly pushed their heads closer to my own.

Was THIS what I needed now?

Did I want them, even if they were both freed?

Did I...?

"Reika? Irene?"

Both hummed, their eyes opening as they gazed expectantly on me. Staring at one, then the other, I took a deep breath.

"Do you want me to be your owner?"

"Yes," both replied in lock-step.

Did I want them?

Did I...?

"I'll do it."

"Thank you."

Damn right I did! This might be the only family I'd ever start.

I took the whole of Wednesday and Thursday off from work so I could give Reika and Irene a personalised tour of the Niagara peninsula. When I told Master Lily about my new companions, she was surprised but pleased -- especially after I told her that my new lovers were bi-gendered robots. After getting a chance to talk to Reika and Irene over the phone, Master Lily insisted that they both come visit the tojang when the opportunity presented itself. As Irene told me later that morning, "She said 'These days, I look on Deanna as my own daughter. That'll make both of you my daughters-in-law when the necessary arrangements are made. It's only right for me to get to know my daughters-in-law.'"

Hearing that, I cried.

The tour of the area covered all the bases. From the countless tourist ghettos in Niagara Falls to historic Niagara-on-the-Lake, from the local wineries to Welland's many murals, from Crystal Beach and Sherkston to the various museums in Saint Catharines and elsewhere. We even got as far as Hamilton on Thursday afternoon. We kept the tour to the daylight hours so that Reika and Irene could get back to the Retreat and the Mansion House to do their shows during the evenings. I suspect Russ would've been willing to let Reika take a couple nights' off so she could spend even more time with me. Reika wouldn't hear anything about it. After all, she wanted to do her best as a freed 'bot stripper. Part of that included honouring what agreements she made with the showclubs she worked in. That was understandable.

To get a chance to learn more about Irene first hand, I spent Wednesday and Thursday nights at the Mansion House, located on Lundy's Lane at the edge of the urban part of Niagara Falls. Like the Retreat, the Mansion was a showclub that didn't make use of a fembot control network. The same was true of all the other clubs in the Falls, Saint Catharines, Fort Erie and Welland. Curious as to how that came about, I soon learned from one of the Mansion's regular patrons that Russ Willis, when he opened his doors, had been the first club owner in Ontario to run his business without a control net. It had been touch-and-go for the first couple of years, but as soon as Russ smoothed things out, the Retreat became the hottest club in Niagara. The other clubs had no choice but to follow suit if they didn't want to lose customers.

While at the Mansion, I also came to discover that while Irene loves her sister dearly and would never leave her side, she truthfully has come to enjoy working as a solitary act when it comes to strip-dancing. The "why" of it is easy enough to understand; in a beauty contest, Reika would win hands down over her "younger" sister. Performing by herself, I'm pleased to admit, Irene's more than sexy enough to win the adulation of the crowd at the Mansion. That point was driven home to me on Wednesday night when the Mansion's owner, a nice middle-aged man named Dale Perry, came up and told me to take care of Irene when I became her owner. "A lot of folks here'd be really put off if Irene got hurt while she was under your care, Ms. Hordye," he explained. "They don't want that to happen to their favourite feature dancer."

"I'll remember that," I assured him...

As we warmed up to each other over those two days, Reika and Irene explained to me why they had come to Welland in the first place.

Part of it was because of my true sexual nature. I am well known among my fellow intersexuals; there are entries on me you can easily find in various Web sites concerning those like me. I should note that such sites are few. Just type my name in any available search engine. No doubt, after Reika and Irene first started hearing about me from Russ and the others, they took the chance to scan the Web and find out more; I do have my own LiveJournal site, after all. Realizing that, I mentally kicked myself for assuming that the girls weren't Web-literate.

Further, the fact that Mama and my father never elected to "correct" me makes me stand out among that crowd. Of course, what happened to me in high school isn't for public consumption; my doctors and the police saw to that. But given what I am, the fact that I've come to accept myself as I am regardless of what others might think of me, makes me very unique. As unique in my way as Reika and Irene are in theirs. I believe I've finally made peace with myself. The incident with Marlenn at the Retreat warned me, however, that I still had some ways to go.

Still, I'm more than willing to help others like me -- human or 'bot -- come to enjoy that same sense of peace I've long sought.

That was point one.

Then there was a small problem that had the potential to grow into a much bigger problem if Reika and Irene didn't obtain a new owner sometime very soon. That stemmed from the reaction of certain parties to Cranston Aldred's will, what he had set aside in trust for Reika and Irene. Though I wasn't quoted an exact dollar figure when they told me this, it clearly was a large chunk of money. And sure enough, there were some greedy little jerks who wouldn't mind it at all if Reika and Irene lost all access to their trust fund. How that could happen, I'll leave to your imagination. But the mere threat of it had been enough to force the girls to seek out an out-of-the-way place for them to duck their heads and establish a new life for themselves before trouble came to smash down their front door.

I hate bullies. I became a martial artist in part to ensure that I could help people defend themselves from slimebags like that.

That was point two.

And finally, there came the question of Reika's and Irene's relationship with each other. Atop being sisters in the human sense, they were also very passionate lovers (as they willingly demonstrated to me every chance they got when we were touring around the peninsula, not to mention during times we slept together in my apartment). They didn't want to loose that relationship, a possibility that could become a very ugly reality should two separate would-be owners chanced on them. They wanted one owner and only one. The only way they could bring themselves to accept separate owners was if the owners were a married couple. In this day and age, what were the chances of that happening?

I'm a romantic at heart. I could tell how much Reika and Irene loved each other. I wanted that to last.

That was point three.

It was enough for me.

"Irene, can I ask you something?"

"What is it, Deanna?"

It was very early Friday morning, an hour before I had to get myself ready for morning adult classes at the tojang. Reika was busy in the kitchen preparing breakfast; Irene had done it the previous morning. Atop being great lovers and superb dancers, they were excellent cooks. That didn't seem so surprising to me; Reika and Irene were built with digestive tracts that allowed them to absorb extra energy from whatever they ate. I wondered what else I would be discovering about them over the following days, months and years. "Doesn't it bother you?"

"Deanna, can you please be more precise when you ask me a question?" she teased.

I sighed, reminding myself yet again that this lovely woman lying beside me was a robot. Be precise, be precise, be precise...! "I mean, about you and Reika, how plain you look compared to her? Is there some way to make you look just as good as she is?"

"Don't you think I'm beautiful?" she coyly mused.

"Of course I do, but still...!"

She placed a finger on my lips. "Hush," she whispered, drawing her hand back. "Yes, I suppose I could get some sort of cosmetic surgery to enhance my breasts and looks, make me equal to Reika in every way. I could easily go all the way to having my mind transferred into a new body, but 'bots prefer to avoid undergoing something like that. Then again, don't humans say 'beauty's in the eye of the beholder?'"

"Well, y-yeah, they do..."

A finger yet again to my lips to cut off my words. "Well, to me, the most important beholder of my beauty is myself. And I very much like the way I am," she smiled, drawing her hand back to lean on her palm. "And yes, when Reika and I work together, she draws the lion's share of tips and private dances. But I don't mind that, Deanna. I never will. Even if we work together, Reika and I still earn money, which helps us survive. Every dollar we earn helps us. Does it really matter who earns it in the long run?" She paused as if to consider what else to say, then shifted herself to stretch an arm around me. "I don't let my 'lack' of looks compared to Reika get in the way of the important things. Why do you think I prefer to work solo? I earn more money that way. That helps us both."

I considered that for a moment, then reached around her to draw her in for a kiss. "That's true, I guess."

We gazed into each other's eyes for a moment, then she reached down to stroke my gut. "Besides, why are you asking me about my looks?" Irene grinned. "If you cared so much about people's looks, why haven't you done something about this?" she tapped my scar.

"It's just cosmetic surgery, for Heaven's sake..." I sharply replied, then caught myself as it dawned on me what Irene was driving at. "Touche," I chuckled, shifting myself onto my side so we could hug each other under the covers. "There are times I have been tempted to be rid of this. It's easy to do in the long run. But..." I closed my eyes. "I guess there are also times I need to be reminded of what I once had, what I lost. Not just for me, but for others like me. There are many more like me out there than what might be hinted at on the Net. One of them, I got to know very well when I was going to university; she's a Dineeh from Arizona..."

"'Dineeh?'" Irene blinked confusedly.

"You'd probably know her people by the name 'Navaho.'"

"Ah," she nodded. "Is she mentioned anywhere on the Net?"

"No. The Dineeh consider it impolite to brag about anything others might become jealous at. In her own culture, being born a herm means Christina -- that's her name, Christina Tokachi -- is seen as doubly-blessed because she has both a man's and a woman's spirit."

"So being what she is could be interpreted as some as a potential threat because she spiritually has 'more' than her fellow Dineeh?"

"Yeah," I nodded. "While I was wandering around, I always kept my eye out for other intersexuals. Be as much of a big sister to them as I could given what their native culture demanded of them, too. I'll still do that even living here in Welland. But there are times..."

"You need to have a big sister of your own?"

I pauses for a moment, then nodded. "Yeah."

Irene stared at me, then leaned in to give me a long, warm kiss. We held each other close, not wanting to move from that position, for what seemed an eternity -- that is, until Reika peeked into the bedroom. "Breakfast is ready," she announced.

"I'll do it."

Reika and Irene looked at me. "Do what?" the former asked.

I closed my eyes. Be precise, you idiot! "I'll be your owner. If you'll have me."

Smiles crossed both their faces. "Let it be done," Irene leaned up to kiss my forehead...

With the decision made, things happened very quickly.

The following Monday, one of Cranston Aldred's legal assistants, a woman named Cora Crispin, flew in from San Francisco to handle the official turnover of ownership, which had fallen into her lap on Cranston's death. After a brief getting acquainted session at the tojang between Cora, Master Lily and myself, Reika and Irene were brought in. Both were demurely dressed in designer slacks and ruffled blouses. One glance at their crotches told me right away that both were in "male" mode.

When we were lying together in bed the previous night, I admitted that if I had the right to do so, I'd want to make one small change to the command Cranston gave them. That while they were out in public beyond the limits of a showclub, that both would physically emulate what I had to live with 24/7. Deep down, I envied their ability to "sheathe it," something I could never do.

Reika and Irene made no comment about that immediately afterward, but by appearing as they did in the tojang's main training room, I realized that they were willing to give this new behavioural pattern a try.

Master Lily assumed her place at the head of the training room, then beckoned Cora to place herself across from her. I sat to Lily's left, then Reika and Irene sat down across from me. Once that was done, Cora drew out two small sheets of paper, handing them to me. On them were written the girls' names, the phrase "activation code," plus a string of letters and numbers. Once that was done, Cora reached under her blouse to draw out two tiny silver necklaces. Noting the beautifully scripted "R" and "I" on each of them, framed on both sides with small stud buttons -- the left marked with "A," the right with "C" -- I was quick to recognize the pendants for what they truly were.

Realizing that, I had to wonder:

Had Cora kept the remotes with her since Cranston died?

Or had the girls kept them with them, only giving Cora access to them just for this ceremony?

Cora then drew out two more slips of paper from her pants pocket, then holding up Reika's remote, read off what was written there while pressing her Command button. Reika's body locked up for a second before her eyes closed, her head drooping slightly towards the floor. Handing me the remote, Cora then repeated the procedure with Irene and her remote. Once that was in my hands, I glanced down at the sheets with their activation codes written there. I took a deep breath before palming their remotes in my hands.

No backing away now.

I touched the "A" button on Irene's remote. Her eyes snapped open as she gazed my way. "Activation code?" she asked in a flat monotone.

I read off the code. "Code input acknowledged and accepted," Irene reported. "New owner of record identification?"

I gave Irene my full name and place of birth, plus my social insurance number. Her finger pointed at me. "You are Deanna Sophia Hordye, born in the city municipality of Welland, regional municipality of Niagara, province of Ontario, the Dominion of Canada?"

"I am she," I nodded. Giving the full names of all the political elements of where I live would ensure that Reika and Irene would now be willing to subject themselves to the laws of Canada and Ontario, not the United States or California.

"Continue or reinitialize?"


"Please activate this unit's sister unit to complete joint transfer of ownership."

With that, I pressed Reika's "A" button, then repeated what I had just done with Irene. Once she had caught up with her sister program-wise, both then asked in lock-step, "Confirm choices."

"All choices confirmed," I nodded.

Silence fell for a moment as their minds quickly clicked back into gear, then brilliant smiles crossed their faces as they turned to each other. One very passionate kiss later, both then turned to face Master Lily. Giving her a kneeling kyoung'ye as I'd taught them, they then asked -- to my surprise, in perfect Korean! -- "Kyoulhon'eul hourak'anda?" before looking once more at Lily. May we have your blessing?

"Kamsadeurimnida," Lily nodded in return, smiling. I appreciate your asking.

With that, both turned to face me again. I nodded my own thanks to Lily, then touched the girls' "C" buttons with my thumbs. "Keep these with you at all times," I ordered them before pulling my fingers away from the studs. That having been done, I quickly slung the pendants around their necks before being bowled over by an embrace from a pair of very happy young women...

We spent the rest of the week enjoying a semi-honeymoon. My teaching duties at the tojang were limited to evening classes while Reika and Irene temporarily cut back on their shows at the Retreat and the Mansion, with the full blessings of both Russ Willis and Dale Perry. As an extra show of thanks for my giving my lovers a renewed sense of security, I was awarded "comped" -- complimentary -- drinks at either establishment whenever Reika and Irene were performing there. That was soon extended to every showclub in the peninsula as soon as the news got around. Of course, since I always stuck to soft drinks, the potential loss of revenue wouldn't hurt anyone too much.

Our days were spent getting a new apartment, since my current one was way too small for three people, even if we did share a bedroom. By Tuesday, Reika -- with the help of Cora Crispin, who stayed in town to ensure her former charges were fully settled in -- obtained the lease to one of the apartments in the very building Mama spent her last years in. That was located on Denistoun Street west of the old Canal, no more than five minutes' walk from the Retreat. Even better, we got an apartment with a view of the canal, which sure beat out looking at some low rent housing across the street. Once I had my stuff moved over on Wednesday, we went furniture shopping at the local Ikea store.

First item we needed: a queen-sized bed.

After all, you just never know...

The Friday after Deanna officially became our owner of record, Irene and I went back to Marlenn Ioanis' shop on South Pelham Road to pick up what belongings we had left there and to thank her for her hospitality.

I found her in her main laboratory, currently at work doing a full-body diagnostic on one of Russ Willis' bouncers, Donald. I tried not to grin on seeing that Marlenn was naked under her work smock. A glance to her well-shaped breasts revealed that her nipples were fully erect, jutting out from her very dark areolae like two steep-sloped mountains. The insides of her thighs glistened with a fine layer of vaginal fluids. Even a 'bot of her type was not immune from showing the signs of sexual arousal any 'bot displays. I restrained myself -- with a considerable amount of difficulty -- from responding to her obvious indication of willingness to be taken right there. Seeing me as I stepped into the laboratory, she smiled, not the least bit embarrassed by her current state of undress and arousal.

If this didn't tell me that she was a robot herself, nothing would!

"So you're fully moved in now?" she asked.

"Yes," I nodded, walking around the diagnostic table to stand beside her. Gazing on the readout on Donald's systems, I nodded; it appeared there were no glitches inside him. "Thank you very much for your hospitality, Marlenn. We really appreciated it."

"You're welcome," she grinned happily at me. "I'd do the same for any freed 'bot."

I nodded. Most humans in my position would likely have added an additional comment, I believe. I didn't want to say anything that might cause unnecessary friction between Marlenn and myself.

Thus, it caught me somewhat by surprise when she added, "You are aware of what I am, Reika. Thank you very much for your discretion."

"It was impossible not to notice," I noted, glancing at her very well-sculpted body. "And it was also easy for me to conclude that you are under some unique programming and/or command constraints."

"Yes, I am. Not so much different from what you or Irene must obey. Or has that changed?" her eyes flicked in the direction of my slacks and low heels I was now wearing; a change from the mid-thigh skirts and higher heels I'd always worn in public before. I always liked being viewed as sexually desirable. These days, Deanna was showing Irene and I another way.

"By our own choice at our owner's request," I replied.

"Is your new owner a woman?"

"Legally. In reality, she's an intersexual. A 'true hermaphrodite' as some might call her."

Marlenn seemed to freeze for several seconds as she processed that response, then she gazed on me. "A hermaphrodite?" she repeated in a hushed whisper, then blinked several times before breathing out a particular name. "Deanna..."

She turned back to monitoring Donald. I watched as one of her hands drifted to her groin. Without saying anything, Marlenn revealed her own bi-gendered nature to me. Like Irene and I did when we allowed our "male" sides to emerge, Marlenn became instantly erect. After a moment, she gazed once more at me. "How much are you aware of what happened between Deanna and my template back in high school?"

I revealed what I knew; Deanna had not given me instructions to do otherwise. Since she was a robot herself, Marlenn would not reveal what she heard unless someone used her remote control unit to force that into the open. And since I believed Marlenn was a freed robot herself, the chances of Deanna's private life being further invaded were quite slim.

After I finished, Marlenn nodded, turning back to press some controls on the diagnostic machine as she shifted herself back into pure-female format. "I was given a command by my template concerning Deanna. Now that she has returned to Welland full-time, I can carry out that command. It..." she paused, closing her eyes as tears trickled down her cheeks. "It pleases me very much that she's come back home."

"Will it hurt her?" I asked.

"Of course not," she stared at me, grinning. "I believe she'll like it very much."

"I'll help in whatever way I can."

"Thank you, Reika."

To Be Continued...

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