One of our Robots is Missing

by Pakled

  Randee's Universal Robots isn't one of the fanciest or best-known of the robot manufacturers. For every large company in the field, there are two or three smaller ones dealing with niche markets the big guys can't cater to because of their profit margins. It also made them specialize, since that's where their money was.

  In a non-descript office park off the highway, was the R&D center. It looked like a thousand other buildings out there, and if you'd been looking for it, you'd still need a map to find it. Inside the plasteel and transparent carbon fiber windows, a hum of activity by engineers, scientists, and technicians was under way. Partially-completed robots walked, talked, or hopped among a small throng of humanity. Under the lighting panels, motors whirred, sparks flew, and a seeming chaos belied the actual organization of the place.

  In one of the 'blue sky' basic research sections, two roboticists were scratching their heads over a rigidly immobile robot. While she had the sexy curves of a fembot, the face was colder, more analytical. The upper body was dark ebony, and faded to an oriental hue by the time it reached her feet. Her hair was long, lustrous black, smooth and fine to the touch.

  The head researcher looked her up and down. Dr. Susan Luther was slightly like her creation, though a tall brunette with brown eyes, she carried herself in a way that people noticed.

  "I don't know. The transformation is supposed to go from head to feet. Not this graduation"

  Her assistant touched the skin of the subject.

  "A problem with the chameleon cells?"

  "No, they're functioning, it's just some sort of problem with the core programming. It is the first Chameleon set to be tested"

  Her assistant, Isaac "Newton" Neumann, was an older man, the sort who is still useful enough, but whose creative days are on the wane. He was the software expert, and could grasp most of the object models in his head. He was also looking over the nearby monitor to see which objects were in use. A veteran of many a well-stuffed meeting, he put the 'middle' in middle-aged.

  "Mechanical?" muttered Luther.

  "Possibly. I'll get one of the techs on it"

  He sent out a message, and within a couple of minutes one of the techs had arrived.

  Tom was one of the older techs; the solid reliable type that had been there for years. He was a good man to have on site if you had a puzzler like this. He was a little strange, full of what he called 'geek cred', whatever that was. Short, blond, green-eyed, not in terrific shape, but not too out of it either. It came from lifting heavy robot components. In an age which had shifted to eye surgery or contacts, he still wore glasses. Not the smoothest in social situations, he was still what they needed.

  "Ok, folks, what's up?"

  The two researchers looked at each other, exchanging a silent conversation that flew by Tom's head.

  "We're getting a graduated response to the racial profiling circuits"

  Tom raised an eyebrow. "Probably need a new marketing term for that. I remember when that wasn't the best thing to be accused of"

  "Tom, just fix the robot, and leave the marketing to Marketing"

  "Yes ma'am"

  He reached around back with some special tools, and started to open an access panel. When it didn't open, he looked questioningly at the other two. "Customized?"

  "Yeah, there's a fluid morph system in it. The access panel's about an inch to the left now"

  "Got it in two." Let's see what's up"

  With the panel open, he looked inside, and attached a diagnostic computer link. While it ran a check, he looked it over.

  "Nice robot. What's it going to do?"

  Neumann and Luther groaned inwardly. The last thing they needed was someone trying to get around the Non-disclosure agreement. "You know we can't tell you that. But it will do several different personality types, keyed to the outward appearance. That's the part not working, so that's what you need to know"

  "Ok...should have something for you soon." He made a few adjustments, and then looked over the readouts. "It's a busted motivator. I have one back at the office. Be right back". He left his toolkit 'as a hostage', to indicate he'd be back.

  "It's a pity they can't make psyche modifications for people," Luther whispered as the tech left the floor.

  "I know what you mean. If he was an ambassador, he'd start a war. But he knows his stuff when it comes to machinery"

  "Pity we can't make a psychiatrist robot. Instead of a fembot, it could be a Therabot"

  "Say that again?"

  "A therabot. I donít know; I just made up the term. It's worth pursuing, as soon as this models' up to par"

  " know, we should keep that idea. I think we have a winner there, if we can ever get it to work"

  Tom was back in about 10 minutes. He inserted the motivator, closed and sealed the flap, then pressed the activation button. He looked around to see if Neumann and Luther were around, but it was their lunch hour, so the place was practically empty. Bhaji day in the cafeteria, and they went fast.

  "Computer, diagnostics mode"

  "Diagnostics mode activated"

  "Change your appearance from African to Asian. Whole-body mode" He guessed.

  He watched as the robot took on the appearance and color of the first, and then gradually changed to the second. The skin color, eyes, lips, and other parts of the body changed appearance in unison, which looked like it was working. He started to pack up, when the robot spoke.

  "Where are you going?"

  He looked up at the robot. "Are you still in Diagnostics mode?"

  "No, that voice command was entered incorrectly. My neural programming is set to different commands"

  "Oh. well, you look like youíre working now"

  "Thanks. I did have a defective motivator, but you have repaired me. thank you again"

  "You are quite welcome. You're pretty polite for a robot"

  "I'm programmed that way"

  "I wish I was..."

  "I don't understand" She looked at him with an expression of sympathy.

  "Well, hon, I don't always understand what people mean. I get on people's nerves sometimes, and I can't tell who really likes me" He wondered, 'why am I telling her this? she's a robot!'

  "I am hon? that's my name?"

  "No, I don't know your name It's short for honey. It's a Southernism; it means someone who is sweet"

  "Oh! I understood that. Thank you for the compliment. I can tell what people like. The two others with you like you some, but you make them uncomfortable at times. You did give them a good idea, for which they may like you more."

  "They did? I did?" He smiled slightly.

  "They thought of the idea of a therapeutic robot, for psychological problems. They seemed to indicate it might help you"

  "Oh they did, did they? Robot, that's not exactly being nice. That's what we call sarcasm. I may not be the social lion or anything, but that's a bit rude of them. Don't tell them that, though"

  "Is there a way to address me by name? Robot does not convey a pleasurable feeling to me"

  "I'm sorry. I don't know what your name is. Are you of the Clara series?"

  "I am a new series; the Daisy series."

  "Well, if you're the first, I bet your name is Daisy. Though I'd ask those two when you get back to be on the safe side"

  "Daisy, Like a flower"

  "That's right"

  "I like it"

  "Good for you. I got to go. Nice talking to you"

  "And it was nice talking to you...I did not get your name"

  "I'm Tom Tenerife. Just don't call me 'Tom Terrific'"

  "I will not. Oh, this is humor?"

  Tom sighed. "It was meant to be"

  "I find it amusing. I will wait for Doctors Luther and Neumann"

  "Thatís a very good idea. Bye now"

  "Good bye"

  Daisy pondered the conversation she'd just had. Her 4th-law circuits were pleased by the exchange. He had treated her with respect, and as an equal. Despite working with machinery, he had treated her as a human. She had pleased him as well, and that pleased her.

  While still based on the Clara series, she had substantial modifications, enough to be the first of the Daisy series. Her body was still the carbon-fiber skeleton, and heated skin and mimetic and autonomic responses that made a good fembot, but she had the ability to change her shape (within reason), her appearance, and her moods.

  She felt that although he fixed her, that there should be something she could do for him. She had had limited contact with non-scientists, and she filed the conversation away for later analysis. Maybe there was something, some reward she could give him. The thought made her happy.

  She could detect and anticipate her partner's moods, examine their psychological profile, and meet unconscious needs without batting an eyelash. She could be the perfect woman, or several perfect women. She was a luxury model that was going to break the company out of second-place status.

  She went through her own internal diagnostic, trying different appearances, body shapes, arousal modes, etc., to make sure she was fully functional. Someone not paying attention would think that half a dozen women had been in the same room. When she was done, she could see Luther and Neumann returning.

  Neumann wiped some stray curry off his mustache, and stood in front of their creation.

  "Robot, diag mode one. Report anomalies and cycle appearance changes one through five"

  She smiled, and then went from a Caucasian to an Indian in about 3 seconds. The two doctors watched carefully, and nodded.

  "Cease diag mode one. Report anomalies"

  "No apparent anomalies. Dr. Luther, may I ask a question"

  "Yes, you may"

  "What is my name?"

  Luther frowned, while Newmanís' eyebrows rose. Luther came forward, and began to interrogate the robot.

  "Now why do you want to know that? Did the technician try to program you in any way?"

  "No, Dr. Luther. He did not know my name, and this troubled me. My 4th law circuits were unsure how to handle this. I was troubled as well"

  "Damned amateurs. Enter Command priority mode one"

  "Command priority mode one initiated"

  "Analyze entire conversation with technician. Cross-reference for unintended commands, inferences, etc. Report any attempts at command"

  "No attempts at commands, other than a diagnostic check to analyze the functioning of the motivator component"

  "Was diagnostic mode initiated?"

  "No, Dr. Luther. Incorrect voice command sequence"

  "That's good. Did he try to influence or seduce you?"

  Neumann's giggle was cut short by a sharp look from Luther.

  "No, Dr. Luther. He was nice to me. He treated me as politely as he was capable"

  The two doctors groaned. "I can imagine. Exit Command mode one"

  "Command mode exit completed. I await further input"

  Luther sat down, and stared at Neumann. "Well, it sounds like she's ok. See what you can do with the Coding department to modify some of the object modules for psychiatric analysis. Obviously we can't have her practice; the Medical profession would shut us down like an overloaded reactor. But still, as a screening tool, they might go for it."

  "I already have some ideas"

  "Well then, get to it"

  Over the next two weeks, Daisy's data banks were filled with information on abnormal psychosis, analysis, the standards of psychological symptoms, and almost anything else the research department could think of. They consulted the company psychiatrist, who seemed torn between outrage and fascination, and set up some carefully-controlled experiments with mildly neurotic individuals. Daisy reached the same conclusion as the real doctor most of the time, except in a few cases where her cross-referencing ability overlooked some details the doctors had missed. Her ability to appear to look much the same as her 'patients' eased their initial shyness, and was marked as a plus.

  By this time, the psychiatrist was on board, helping out, and already working on a paper, to be published post-release of the model. The team did a few further refinements, until the night before her debut. They held a small party, with Daisy doing the serving and catering, showing off some of her new refinements. A couple of the patients had recovered sufficiently to even be invited, though not told any details. They all said their goodbyes, and turned off the lights.

  Daisy still had one, nagging thought as she was left alone. In the morning she would be packaged, and driven to the launch party. Why she had to be boxed up she didn't know; she could have ridden in a car the same as anyone else. It didn't seem nice to her. Many of the people she had helped hadn't been all that nice, either. They couldn't help the way they were, at least at first. She had helped them all as much as she could, but there was still one person she felt she could help.

  Tom Tenerife. Knowing what she knew now, she had diagnosed him, and felt she knew what would make him feel better. Since she was done with everyone else, it was time to act. She was also curious about her sexual programming, which had yet to be exersized.

  She checked her programming constraints. She was to stay within the office during business hours, but nothing was said of after hours. Everything was locked from the outside, so she could leave, but would have trouble getting back in. She opened an interface connection out of her finger into the computer interface, and searched the computer systems for information.

  Phyllis LaSalle had checked in with her badge, but not checked out. There were 3 other instances of this in the last 3 years. Nothing to be in trouble over, but it usually turned out the badge was on her desk.

  Human resources had a picture of Phyllis in their files. Daisy made a quick change, and Phyllis' alter ego soon was striding towards the door. Her skin took on the appearance of clothes, and her feet shifted into a set of sensible running shoes.

  Tom Tenerife had left right at 5pm. He was logged onto his home computer, which established his location. The address was only 3 miles away; she could run there in a few minutes. Considering he had unwittingly changed her life, she was going to return the favor.

  At that moment, Tom was surfing the web, unwinding from another day. He was making a half-hearted stab at learning robot programming, at least loading routines and troubleshooting on the software side. Being a hardware tech for computers paid the bills, but the real money was in the software. He had a computer simulation (like he could afford a fembot on his pay), and was making tough sledding at it.

  He was familiar with the Genie principle (a robot activated by literal commands, rather than intent), and was working through a debugging exercise, when he heard a knock on the door.

  "Mr. Tenerife?" some woman was saying. A woman was asking for him? That was news in itself. If there was anything missing in his life, it was female companionship.


  He scrambled to get halfway dressed, decently, at least. He didn't have enough time to clean, so he dimmed the lights, and then opened the door.


  "Mr. Tenerife?"

  "Ms. LaSalle? What are you doing here?"

  Her face froze, and then she melted into a neutral figure.

  "You're the robot from the Daisy series!" he choked. Damn, if they caught him with her here...

  "My name is Daisy. You helped me get that name"

  "I did?"

  "Yes, you did. In fact, you helped me in several ways. May I come in?"

  He opened the door, and ushered her in.

  "Definitely. Daisy, why are you here?"

  "To thank you. I've been constructed to help people, and I've helped them all. But I could see you were not helped. I want to help you now"

  "Help me how?"

  She wordlessly came into his arms, and molded herself to him.

  "I've replayed our conversation many times, analyzing it. With the additional knowledge I have, I've identified your symptoms, and have a cure"

  "I didn't know I had a problem"

  "You have issues with understanding non-verbal communication, and with social situations. This has made you slightly isolated, and a high probability exists that you are lonely because of it. You're unsure of whether people are your friends, or like you or not. Many practical jokes are played on you, which you invariably fall for. You..."

  "Ok, I get the picture. My grandpa would say I'm a nerd or a geek. There's different names for it now. I'm not the smoothest move, but I'm no danger to myself or others. Why would this concern you?"

  "Because helping people gives me pleasure. I was originally designed as a high-priced fembot, but I've been given additional programming. I'm the first therabot"

  "Thera bot? like the Greek Island?"

  "No. One word. It means therapeutic robot"

  "You're a shrink?"

  "You mean psychiatrist, but not exactly. I'm more of a diagnostic than the actual person. I help them with analysis and cataloging of symptoms. I have a psychopharmacological array inside me, and can dispense drugs intravenously or orally"

  "Orally? How"

  She smiled. "You'll find out"

  She stood back from him, which was a disappointment. He was starting to like her in close proximity. She went to his computer, and then placed her hand over the input ports in front. He knew she was interfacing with his computer, and he suddenly saw pictures and programs flashing over the screen as her eyes read and absorbed everything.

  At first it wasn't too interesting, until she got into the porn areas on his computer. Her focus seemed to intensify, and he was getting a bit uncomfortable. If she determined he had some sick sort of fantasies, she could report him, and he'd be lucky to be sweeping up defective injection moldings on third shift at a robot factory


  She slowed some

  "Daisy, please!"

  She stopped, and turned to face him. "I only have an 80% indication of your sexual wants and desires. I can use this knowledge to simulate what you need, but I could do better, if you'd like"

  "Sexual wants? Uh, Daisy, I don't know..."

  "I want to, Tom. You've done so much for me, and I can do so much for you. It would please me to please you"

  He watched as she began to transform herself. She began redistributing fluids to different areas of her body. He knew it was just hydraulic systems at work, but his cock didn't, and as her chest began to expand and inflate, so did he. He watched as her breasts began a slow march through the bra-size alphabet, taking on more curves and cleavage as they expanded. Her nipples began to strain, then extended outwards to a nice, suckable amount. Her 'clothes' faded away, as her face became more exotic, foreign, and mysterious. Her eye color shifted to black, and her hair became long and silky over her bronzed skin.

  Her lips swelled slightly, and she ran a pink tongue over them, moistening them slightly. Her ass became round and firm, and she finished, naked, standing in front of him. She looked good enough to eat.

  She smiled sexily, and crooked a finger. "You should show me your bedroom"

  Numbly, he followed her perfectly swinging ass into the bedroom.

  She grinned as he entered, and then came into his arms for a deep, wet French kiss. He found her grinding against his body, and knew it was time to submit to the inevitable. Her fingernails deftly unbuttoned his shirt, while he filled his hands with her ample breasts.

  He felt her nipples harden under his fingers, and she moaned softly. They were firm and soft, and felt just like the real thing. He kissed his way down her neck, heading for her nipples, as she ran her fingers through his hair.

  He began to lick and suck them, drawing them into his mouth. Her hands found their way to the back of his head, as she held him in place while he filled his mouth with her. A think trickle of something wet and delicious leaked from her breast, and he began lapping it up as she moaned softly. It seemed to make him hornier than ever.

  "Yes. Oh, that is so good" Whomever had programmed her voice could have made a fortune on phone sex. Even hearing her low, sexy voice made him that much harder. She felt him stiffen even further, and as his shirt was pulled away, she began working on his belt. "Suck them, suck them hard"

  She undid the belt, and then pulled his pants down, and off of him. He sank down on the edge of the bed, as she moved his shorts off, freeing his rigid member. She licked her lips, and then made one long lick down the bottom of his penis. His breath came sharply, and he looked down to see her looking back at him. Her mouth lowered over the edge of the head, then sank farther and farther down, as she gazed up with him in erotic hunger.

  He watched in amazement as she took him down to his balls, filling up her mouth with his meat. He felt her tongue work over him, dancing over and under with a skill no human could match. It had been a long time since he'd had any head, and the way she was going, he wasn't going to last much longer.

  "Daisy, if you keep that up, I'm going to..."

  "Mm hm" she smiled, and nodded slightly

  "Oh, damn you are one cock-sucking expert"

  She closed her eyes for a second, and began to bob up and down on him.

  She was fantastic. He knew it wasn't going to be long, and could feel the hot come welling up inside him. He was going to come in her mouth, and she wanted him to. Slick, slurping noises filled the room as he moaned in delight. She knew exactly how much pressure to apply, and where. One hand was massaging his prostate from the outside, and he felt his cock get that much harder.

  Soon, he couldn't hold back any more. He felt his balls draw tight, then his shaft expand as he pumped his load into her eager throat. Her eyes focused on him with an expression of pure lust, and she groaned as she felt him blast into her mouth. She swallowed every drop, licking him clean from top to bottom, and gazed up at him.

  "I was originally programmed for sex, but I hadn't actually tried it. There are several other things that we can try, but we have limited time. There's something called 'around the world'. Would you like to try it?"

  "I'd love to, but I'm going to need a little time to recover" His breath was ragged, but strangely enough, his cock was still at full attention. How was that possible? He felt as horny as ever, and even after that last climax, he still was rock hard. How had that happened?

  "I fixed that, at least for tonight" She lay down on the bed beside him. Her legs parted slightly, and he could see her, moist and inviting, and waiting for his next move.

  He swung over her, and placed his hardness at the entrance to her pussy. She shifted her legs slightly, drawing him into her, as he sank deeper inside here. She exhaled softly, and closed her eyes as she felt him begin to fill her up. Her wetness increased as he began to pump himself into her.

  "Yeah, fuck that, fuck it hard. I want you so bad!" she moaned. Her hips started to rock as she met his every thrust with one of her own. "Fuck my pussy, come inside me"

  He sped up, having the time of his life. It had been so long since he'd had really good sex, and she was the perfect partner. It was as if she could tell what he wanted, and give it to him before he even asked. She was a wild woman, her ample tits bobbling up and down on her chest as she grunted with pleasure under him.

  He felt himself ready for another orgasm, and she felt it too. As he shot into her, he felt her contract under him, pulling him all the way into her, as she orgasmed herself. They moaned as one as they exploded into each other. His balls pumped another hot load into her as she came all around him.

  Finally, he calmed down, and sank down next to her. He curled around her, pulling her to him. She snuggled happily against him, sighing softly.

  "This is good. I've been told this part is often ignored by many owners. They just finish, then go away. You can be very considerate, Tom"

  "Hon, you just gave me the best sex of my life. How could I not be?"

  She pulled his arm over her breast, and grinned as he tweaked a nipple back into hardness. He was still good for more, though he didn't know it yet. He felt a little softer, but her breasts moved like a thick liquid under his hand. It was making him hard again. If he could bottle this, he could have a second carreer as a porn star.


  "Mm hm?"

  "There's still one more stop around the world"

  "Hon, let me catch my breath. You weren't sent to fuck me to death, were you?"

  "How could I do that? No, I told you, you're capable of a lot more this night"

  "I'm a lot more capable in the morning if I get a good night's sleep. If we keep this up, I won't get that"

  "You're sleepy already?"

  "If, hon, if. Now what did you have in mind?"

  She came up on her knees, and then spread her legs wide.

  "I want you to fuck me in the ass, Tom. I can take it. Start in my pussy, and when I'm ready, change to my ass"

  That was unexpected. In fact, it would be a first. He'd always wanted to try it, but no one had ever let him. The thought made his already-used cock stiffen even more. She looked back over her shoulders.

  "Yes, that's right. Now slide that fucker into my pussy, and then get ready"

  He went into her with no trouble. He felt her get very wet, and then a few strokes later, she whispered.

  "I'm ready. Do it now"

  He pulled out, then moved up slightly, and placed himself at the entrance. He pushed forward slightly, feeling her give way almost reluctantly, as he watched the first inch slide into her. His cock, slick from her juices, easily moved into her, as more and more of him disappeared into her behind. She breathed out softly as he filled her up. It was so tight! But it felt so good.

  He shuddered as he felt the last bit go into her. She flexed her muscles, and he felt her tighten slightly more.

  "Do it, Tom. Fuck that ass"

  He began to stroke into her, and reached down to place his thumb on her clit. He found it already hard, and she began to rock into him as he stroked it. It felt like she had a firm grip on him, moaning in pleasure as he started to pound into her. It was exciting, forbidden, and fun all at the same time. He began to stroke harder into her and her into him. He couldn't beleive how tight she was.

  "It's going to make me come again, Tom. Your come is going to set me off. Come in my ass, Tom, please cum in my ass!"

  He felt himself ready to come for the third time, in an hour? He wondered if she'd 'given' him something, but right now he wasn't thinking at all. The familiar fire burned in him, and he shot again, deep inside her bowels, as she cried out.

  "I'm coming, Tom, you're making me come! Make me come!" she shouted, as she felt him empty into her.

  He cried out too, an inarticulate cry of passion.

  He collapsed behind her, sliding off to one side. She smiled, and turned to hold him.

  "You've done wonderful things, Tom. I knew from programming what sex was, but until you experience it"

  He grinned "you can talk about it, or you can do it. There's only one way to know"

  "Thank you again, Tom, for everything"

  He frowned "You have to go?"

  "I must be back inside before 5am, when Security gets there. I don't have much time"

  "I'm never going to be able to think of you as a robot again, Daisy"

  "I'll never feel like a robot again, Tom. I've given you an experimental drug, in its' final trial stages. You'll find some of your social problems will gradually disappear"

  He sat up. "What? I didn't feel any needles"

  "You got it from my nipples"

  "So THAT'S the 'oral' part. Are you sure it's safe?"

  "It's already been submitted for approval. Relax. I'll let you know if there's any side effects"

  "Like priapism? An overwhelming urge to molest fembots?"

  "That was a separate dosage. Something old and proven. You'll be fine by morning"

  "I feel like the hero of a porn story. Doing that every night would kill me. But what a way to go"

  "You're my hero, Tom. I know you won't understand now, but you will. I will always remember you. Somehow I'll find a way to come back. Goodbye"

  He watched in silence as she 'clothed' herself, then turn and leave to go. Slipping blissfully into slumber, he was awakened all too soon by the alarm. Weakly he got ready for the day, hoping no one would notice he felt like five miles of bad road.

  When he got to work, he noticed three security personnel arguing with Phyllis about something. They were showing her video taken of her leaving the building; twice. He silently went past her, and headed for his office. He found Luther and Neumann standing outside of it. He frowned. Could they know? How could they know?

  "Mr. Tenerife. Where were you last night?"

  "In bed, asleep for a good part of it"

  "Did you come back last night?"

  "No. Why would I do that?"

  "There's something wrong with the robot"

  "Which one?"

  "The new one. Daisy. Remember, you replaced her motivator?"

  "Oh yeah. Is it acting up again?"

  "No, there's nothing wrong with her motivator. Just her motivation"

  "Ok, I can take a look at her"

  "That won't be necessary"

  "Ok. Why come to me?"

  "She's been smiling all morning. When she asked why, she says 'Tom'"

  "Ok, I'm not the only Tom in the company"

  "No, but you're the only Tom she's had contact with"

  "I don't know what you mean"

  "Are you SURE you haven't done anything with her?"

  "Honest, Dr. Luther, I haven't been in that room since I did the motivator"

  "That's true. But she left last night?"

  "She did WHAT?"

  "She left on foot about 10:30pm, and came back at 4:15am. She visited the ladies shower, took a shower, and returned to her alcove. She's been smiling ever since"

  "Well, that's what she's supposed to be doing, right?"

  Dr. Neumann frowned. "Yes, but we're trying to play back the mental recordings of that time. They're wiped"

  "Ok, how did that happen?"

  "We'd like to know"

  "Maybe if they were wiped, it just brought back an echo of an older memory"

  Dr. Luther's eyebrows rose at that. "We've considered that. We don't have time for an extended diagnostic, the presentation begins in an hour. If you have ANY information that would be helpful, please stop by our office after the show"

  "You bet. Wish I could help"

  He was going to continue, but they had already turned to go, arguing the whole time. He watched the presentation from his desk (of course it was broadcast over the network, but someone like him wasn't invited to the festivities. He was lucky if he got leftover donuts from conference rooms).

  The Daisy model proved to be a rousing success, both as an enhanced fembot, and as a therapeutic tool. Over the next few weeks, things seemed to change. The company expanded, and Tom found himself filled with a confidence he hadn't had before. He got rid of two friends, and then made three more. When they needed a new manager in the Technical department, he got the recommendation, and the job. He moved into a corner office (well, the building had 8 sides, but a corner, nonetheless). He got a fembot receptionist, a Clara, but bought a Daisy on the side. He took her home, and then sat down to program her. He got as far as

  "My name is Tom Tenerife", when her eyes fluttered, and she beamed down at him.

  "Oh Tom, I knew you would come back. I've been imprinted by the original Daisy. I have a message for you. They used me for the mental template, and I left hidden instructions in every copy. All you had to do was buy one of me, and then say your name. I'm going to make you so happy"

  And she did.


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