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Subject: {ASSM} (New) The Picky Customer: A Lady Sally Story {DB Story} (M/Fembot, rom, ScFi, asfr)
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THE CASE OF THE PICKY CUSTOMER: A LADY SALLY STORY
By DB  ( DB_Story@att.net / http://DB_Story.home.att.net )
Copyrightc 2001 by DB.
ASSM/ASFR (M/Fembot, rom, ScFi)

(This story contains Constitutionally protected material intended
for adults over 18 years of age in the United States of America,
and whatever passes for adult status in other countries.  If you
are under legal age, acting under legal age, not allowed to view
such material in your area, or easily offended, please do not
continue.  This is not for you.

(The only rights granted are to view this story.  You are not
allowed to reproduce, post, or otherwise redistribute this story
without permission, except for non-profit Usenet archiving sites.

(This story is not for sale.  To place on your web-site devoted
to this style of fiction, or for permission to link to my posted
material, please contact me first at the above email.)

- - -

Author's Note: This story was written in Lady Sally's universe -
a fascinating subset of Callahan's Bar's universe - as created by
Spider Robinson.  I strongly recommend buying and enjoying his
books about this "House of incredible repute" including
Callahan's Lady and Lady Slings the Booze.  They will also fill
in a great deal of background material that I haven't included
here.

I note that the cover art of Callahan's Lady shows a robot,
though no robot appears in any of the stories.  I decided this
oversight needed to be rectified.

I always hoped there'd be a follow-on collection of stories by
other authors where this might appear, but that doesn't seem to
be happening.

- - -

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

Concurrent with the United States Supreme Court decision regarding Campbell
v. Acuff-
Rose Music, Inc (1994) and the copyright laws of the United States, this is
a work of
parody. This work is posted freely without any request for remuneration; its
only purpose
is social commentary presented in an entertaining fashion.

- - -



Lady Sally's house was under siege.  I had first become aware of
it nearly a week ago.  A furtive movement across the street as the
light became iffy near sunset.  A tiny rustle, like leaves in the
wind, except that there were no leaves, and no wind.  The sound of
footsteps, yet no one was there.

The past nights, it had steadily increased.  Now in nooks and
doorways across the street, there appeared to be glimpses of
figures in black, wispy cloaks over shadow, possessing neon-orange
glowing eyes.  They kept their distance, and seemed to fade away
when looked at directly, but they were on all sides.

So far, Lady Sally's had stood firm against this assault, as it
had against all previous ones.  The multi-floor house occupied an
entire block of a quiet neighborhood of New York City.  It was
built nearly a hundred years ago, when people built such mansions,
and looked ready to stand another thousand, provided the melting
polar ice caps didn't inundate it first.  Even if they did, it
would probably still be standing proudly on the sea floor.  Rumor
was that Lady Sally had party plans for every eventuality,
including one for when the first wave lapped against the front
door.  My name is Maureen.  Should that day arrive during my
lifetime, I can think of no where else I would rather be than
here.

The house has entrances on all four sides, each serving a
different purpose for different clientele.  In the past two
nights, I had peeked out of all of them to confirm that the house
was indeed surrounded, although not yet breached.  The strangest
part of it was that almost nobody else noticed - or at least
mentioned - seeing anything unusual.  This assault seemed
invisible and unnoticed by most people.  I kept hoping Lady Sally
herself would say something about it without being asked outright,
but so far she had held her silence.  Until Lady Sally choose to
speak, I was ready to hold her tongue as well.  But I kept my eyes
and ears open when going around every corner in the house, alert
for the sight of glowing eyes, or the sound of leaves inside these
walls.

Inside though, it continued to appear as business as usual.  Lady
Sally's Whorehouse of Incredible Repute[tm] always seemed
oblivious to the changing world outside, as if it existed in its
own little island of reality - different from any other.  In the
two years since I had gone full time with the professional staff
(and they all are professionals), nothing had halted the business-
as-usual attitude for more than a few hours at best.  And those
were always events so strange that nobody could have ever
expected, or anticipated, them anyway.

It was curious that Lady Sally's house did have so many events so
strange that nobody could have ever expected, or anticipated,
them.  Somehow it just did.  Yet despite all the strange things
that happened inside the house, it still always felt much safer
than outside.  For now, I was making sure I am safely inside
before the last rays of sun depart the street outside.  I feel
safe here, and that's a luxury you have to live without for a few
years to properly appreciate.

All action here starts in the Parlor.  This is where the majority
of the clients enter, after going through the cloakroom and
divesting themselves of their coat and any lethal hardware.  Lady
Sally has a strict policy on that.  You can take it with you when
you leave, but you can't bring it inside.

The Parlor is a long room with chairs, couches, a gigantic
fireplace at one end, a piano and bar opposite each other.  It's
where most everyone hangs out until they decide what they want
next, and make plans with the appropriate person(s).  Some people,
including the house's favorite clergyman, never go beyond the
Parlor.  But most do.  What kind of a house would we be otherwise?

Overall, it is like a big party that never quite ends.  Its tempos
and rhythms wax and wane with both the cycles of the day and those
of the moon.  But only when the remaining diehards are pushed into
the corner for an hour's worth of cleaning in the early hours of
dawn, do they threaten to stop.  Before they can flicker out
entirely however, they are fanned again, and rise like the Phoenix
while the cycle starts over again.

It is always the new things that I like most about living and
working here.  The surprises that each day seems to bring.  Today
I got a double dose.  One of them was an impossible request from a
client.  The other was a new, young man I was hoping to see again
tonight.

First the new, young man.  It's strange for me to have called him
young since I'm only twenty and he is certainly in his early
thirties.  Yet I felt that way about him.  While I'm a veteran of
some hard years before I ever even came to Lady Sally's two-and-a-
half years ago (I don't talk about those days anymore), he was
clearly new to this scene.  Last night had been his very first
visit.

All the customers have house names, and these house names usually
reflect some particular aspect of the customer's personality.
House names preserve one's anonymity, yet also seem to free the
person of their inhibitions and hang-ups.  It's as if, by becoming
another person, one can step out of their limitations for a brief,
few hours.  Lady Sally has created a safe zone for this to happen,
and that's why her house is the best.

When he had attempted to offer me his name the previous night, I
had stopped him and explained that, for his own privacy, he would
get a new name here.  House rules.  And no one can use your house
name outside the house either.

"And is Maureen your real name?" he asked me.

That stumped me for a moment.  No one else had ever asked me that
so quickly and directly.

"It's one I've used for awhile now," I finally replied.  "One I
choose for myself, rather than had chosen for me."

"I've never chosen a new name for myself.  I guess you'll have to
help me," he said, with a bit of a smile.

With that, I looked him over carefully, really for the first time.
 He was handsome enough, and came across as intelligent -- much
like my good friend, The Professor.  But he didn't seem a con man,
and I'm very good at spotting con men.

Yet he seemed restless.  Like he wanted this phase of our
interaction to get over soon, so he could get on to the next one.
 But it wasn't just that he wanted to get on to having sex with
me.  While I don't flatter myself unnecessarily, I am quite good
at what I do, and have a long list of regular customers to attest
to it.  This was more like he knew he was at the start of a long
journey, and was almost antsy to get started.  To find something
important.

That was it.  I cocked my head and finally said to him, "I'm going
to call you 'Hunter', since it makes a better name than
'Searcher.'  'Searcher' is more of a title, while 'Hunter' is a
name I know at least one woman uses, even though it seems more
masculine than feminine."

I then watched for his reaction.  For a long moment, he didn't
react at all.  Could I have guessed to wrong about him?  Then a
slow smile creased his face.  Hunter was obviously a careful
thinker.  That improved my opinion of him another couple of
notches.

Hunter also proved to be a careful and considerate lover.  He had
as much concern for my enjoyment of our time together as he had
for his own, and didn't rush anything, including a good session of
cuddling at the end.  Nothing exotic, just straight sex.  But the
kind that leaves you feeling really good afterwards.

Being more than pleased to be his first date here, I kept watching
to see if he returned again tonight.

And as for the impossible request.  We say that nothing is
impossible in this house, but I have to admit that this request is
the closest thing yet I've seen come to testing this rule.

Lady Sally's house is a house built on puns.  Now puns are the
lowest form of humor, yet seem to be engaged in by the most
creative of people.  I don't understand it, but have come to
accept, and even enjoy them.  But in this house, you have to be
quick - and good.

Out of one ear I heard a group gathered in tight circle here in
the Parlor discussing how one's profession might relate to their
desired manner of sexual congress.

"I say the taxidermist has it best of all."

"How is that?" came the chorus back.

"Well, he spends all day stuffing and mounting..."

"And all night," they all roared back, "mounting and stuffing."

I noticed an English diplomat friend in the group to whom I had
been meaning to explain how a bird in the hand is not as much fun
as two hands in the bush.  I might have actually gotten it out to
him, except my other ear had just finished hearing the most
impossible request ever in this house.

Their voices were low, and it appeared no one else had noticed.

An earnest young man I recognized as Harry (since he always seemed
harried) had just told Mistress Cynthia how he would like to tie
her up naked to her rack, torture her until she broke free in an
expression of strength and rage, and then have her make love to
him on the dungeon floor.

Mistress Cynthia is a small, petite woman of indeterminate age
whom nobody crosses.  A lot of pain and humiliation go on in her
dungeon (for those who like that sort of thing), and she expertly
inflicts it all.  In a hundred years, I couldn't learn what she
already knows about pain.  And nobody tells her what to do in her
dungeon.

I was wondering how quickly I could get out of the blast radius of
her reply.

But she just looked at Harry, then replied in her soft, wispy
voice, "I'm sorry, Harry, but you don't know enough about applying
pain properly."

Those few words were the irresistible force of "every guest's
request will be satisfied to the limit of the house's ability"
crashing against the immovable object of Mistress Cynthia.  I held
my breath, waiting for the Universe to end.

Anyone else attempting to stand up to Mistress Cynthia would have
wilted under those words.  I've got to admire Harry for standing
his ground.  I realized from his next words that this wasn't some
casual, or frivolous, request on his part.

"Then I'll learn," he said back to her just as softly.  "From
Master Henry, if that will meet your standards."

Mistress Cynthia studied Harry in a way I've never seen her do
before.   As though she has never taken anyone as seriously in her
entire life as she was taking Harry right now.  Meanwhile I
thought about Master Henry, a big, and much more approachable man,
who ran the mirror-image dungeon next to Mistress Cynthia's.

"Do you realize what 'learning about pain' entails?" she finally
said.

"I believe I do," he replied.

She appraised him for another long moment before finally saying,
"Tell Master Henry what you want.  And come back to me when he
says you're ready."

With that, I let out the long breath I hadn't realized I had been
holding.  I couldn't believe Mistress Cynthia would actually agree
to anything remotely like what Harry wanted, so my best guess is
that "learning about pain" probably involved experiencing a whole
lot of it.  Fortunately not my concern, because just then, Hunter
came in.

But after the huge buildup, and following letdown, I was to be
disappointed.  Hunter came over with a big smile and hello to me,
but then went up the big spiral staircase with Linda, a cute
blonde several years older than I am.  So Hunter's actions were my
second surprise of this evening.  I thought I'd given him a better
time than that.

* * *

The next couple days passed quickly, and I was kept busy enough to
not have too much time for thinking on my hands.

Harry had gone off with Master Henry that night, coming out a
couple hours later looking shaken, but still determined.  He had
returned religiously the next couple of nights, to again spend
sessions with Master Henry.  I had to admire his resolve, and I
think even Mistress Cynthia was ready to give him some grudging
respect.

Hunter returned each night as well, and spent his session with a
new girl each time.  He really was hunting for something.

And the weird goings on outside seemed to intensify.

As for Hunter, after the fourth time with a new girl, Lady Sally
intervened and took him down to her office.  I've seen her do this
on occasion, when she feels that somehow a guest just isn't
getting what they want.  She takes seriously her aim to please,
and is an excellent psychologist.  When he returned to the parlor
sometime later, he had Terri by his side.  That had to be my
surprise for this day.

Now Terri is about the nicest person in the whole house, after
Lady Sally.  She appeared at the door seeking refuge about nine
months ago, and has stayed here ever since.  But she is not a
working girl.

Terri is about five feet eight, with luxurious, cascading dark
brunette hair, and a face and apparent figure that would make her
one of the most popular women here.  But that never seemed to be
her interest.  Instead she was a wiz with computers and accounting
systems.  She always wore thick-framed glasses that gave her a
serious, intelligent, librarian look.  She had taken over running
Lady Sally's books and payroll, and never seemed to make a
mistake.  All the money was accounted for.  Checks came correctly
on time.  And bills were paid.  No one ever complained about
computer problems when Terri was around.

I was acquainted with her in passing, but nothing deep.  Most
guests never saw her at all.  So I was more than a little
surprised to see her with Hunter.  And the moment they spotted me,
they came over my direction.

"Hi, Maureen," she said, in her pleasant contralto.

"Hello, Terri.  Hi, Hunter."

Hunter rewarded me with a warm smile that made me forget that I
wasn't his only interest in the house.  Then he spoke to me for
the first time since the second night.

"Maureen, Lady Sally thinks that maybe Terri can help me out."

"But we need your help too," Terri added.

I didn't know if this meant they wanted a three-way encounter, but
Terri quickly clarified things.

"Can we just go off and talk together for a bit?"

"Sure," I replied.

* * *

Up in my private studio, we all got comfortable.

Terri organized the conversation, starting by asking Hunter what
he liked about his time with me, and why he hadn't come back
again.  I know that sounds cold, but somehow Terri made it into a
warm experience for us all.

We talked about what he had enjoyed with me, and some things he
just hadn't felt comfortable in asking for the first time (any of
which I would have willingly done).  I found out that there had
been a lot he did like about me, including my currently blonde
hair.  But there were other things that also interested him, that
he was looking for with the other women.  Somehow I wasn't hurt by
that.  I got to know him as a person, instead of just a client,
and wanted him to be happy.

I also found out that Hunter was pretty much a computer genius,
who hadn't had much time for relationships in the past.  He lived
alone in a nice house back in the hills upstate, and made a nice
living as a consultant.  This intrigued Terri a lot, because of
her own computer skills, and they spent a good part of the time
comparing notes on operating systems and compilers and just what
the limits of computer technology could accomplish.  I must
confess to being totally lost during that part of their
discussion.  However they both sounded like they knew what they
were talking about.

The best part of all for me was in really talking with Terri for
the first time.  Up close she is even more beautiful than I had
realized.  Too often in the past she seemed to have shyly hidden
behind her hair and glasses, quiet demeanor and concealing
clothes.  Most people had just accepted her that way, and given
her some space.  And while most of us might be found at any given
time in any state of dress or undress, she was always fully
covered with long sleeves and a full-length skirt.  Now that I got
to know her a bit, I realized she was bright, articulate, and very
friendly.  I liked her a lot.

I realized that Lady Sally had realized that Hunter was not being
satisfied by her house, and had asked Terri to spend some time
with him to help him work out what he really wanted.  Terri's
position was unique in one special regard.  Since Terri wasn't a
working girl, it kept their relationship on a social level.

Before I realized it, they were both getting up to go.  I stood up
too and gave each a big hug, since I realized I now had gained two
new friends.

* * *

For the next few days I enjoyed watching the various dramas play
out in our house.  Who needs television, when we have real-life
here?  Strange life sometimes, to be sure.  But real.

Harry seemed to be standing up under Master Henry's ministrations.
 Mistress Cynthia was somehow always present and watching them
like a hawk each time their sessions ended.  I'm sure she has
never paid so much attention to any customer before.  And I'll
swear I saw an occasional smile crease her lips.

Terri and Hunter casually "interviewed" the other women that
Hunter had visited.  Nobody seemed the least bit ruffled by their
questions.  After they'd finished with everyone Hunter had visited
so far, they would sit together in the Parlor, apparently
comparing notes and commenting about things they liked about the
other people there.  I would have thought them a budding couple,
except that they never went off alone together, and never so much
as held hands in public.

I started going over and sitting with Terri during common meal
breaks down below in the employee's private dining area.  We
talked about everything except Hunter, and computers.  The house
rules are strict that private business remains private business.
I like it that way too.  As for computers, I just don't understand
them.

I found out that my first impressions of Terri were correct.  She
is a wonderful, warm, and friendly person.  However, she did seem
to have some secret that we never discussed.  And when I mentioned
the eerie goings on outside, she quickly glanced over her shoulder
and seemed to shiver.  I didn't mention it again.

Outside, the level of strange activity was rising to such a level
that I was expecting to see it being covered on the evening news
any moment now.  While Lady Sally seemed to remain oblivious to it
all, others were definitely picking up on hints of it now.  For
myself, I refused to leave the house before 10am, and was always
back by 2pm.  Bright daylight and busy streets seemed the best
defense.

* * *

Everything came to a head Friday night.

Now what follows is a bit scrambled.  I'm going to tell you what I
know, what I witnessed and may or may not have understand, and
what I have guessed logically had to have happened.  I was never
in the room with Hunter and Terri, so my guesses as to what
happened there came from the tape afterwards.  This is not the
only time things in Lady Sally's house seem to have happened with
no regard at all for the normal orderly flow of time, so I have
nothing to apologize for here.

As best I can reconstruct events, this is what happened.

* * *

At 6pm Friday evening, Hunter hadn't arrived yet.  He had stayed
late talking with Terri the night before, and I hadn't seen her
all day today either.  In fact, I was having dinner downstairs
when she rushed up to me, one towel around her body, another
completely covering her hair.

"Maureen, you're my best friend, and next to Lady Sally, the one I
trust most.  I need you to give this envelope to Hunter when he
arrives, and absolutely no one else."

I barely managed to nod my assent before she rushed off.  I had
never seen Terri in such an emotional flurry before.

At 6:45 I finished dinner, primped myself, and went up to the
parlor - Terri's envelope safely hidden where no one would look.

One of my regulars showed up unexpectedly.  We had just gone up
the spiral staircase and were heading down the hall his favorite
scenario studio when I heard it: that rustle of dry leaves,
followed by a footstep, and the sound of an in-drawn breath.  I
spun around on my heels just in time to see a shadow and pair of
orange neon eyes ten feet down the hall fade out like the Cheshire
Cat.

I gave an involuntary shriek, and ran back down the hall the way
we'd come, completely forgetting my client.

As I ran down the spiral staircase, I noticed that Master Henry
and Harry had just come into the parlor from their longest session
yet.  Though Harry looked as white as ever from one of their
sessions, the two of them were actually laughing together for the
first time, and Master Henry had his arm around Harry's shoulder.

No time to reflect on that as I ran past them, around the counter
at the end of the room, and straight down the stairs to Lady
Sally's office.  Fortunately she was in.

"Lady Sally!" I blurted, nearly out of breath. "They're in here!
I saw them!"

"Calm down dear," she replied, as unperturbed as usual.  "What is
in here?"

"The eyes!  The shadows!  The things from outside!"

"Then it's time," she said mysteriously.  "Come back to the Parlor
with me.  I'll need your help."

I could only nod as she picked up the phone and spoke into it,
"Terri?  Meet me in the Parlor right now."

Then she brushed past me and I stumbled after her in my effort to
keep up.

Lady Sally is a quiet woman, but she has a commanding presence
second to none when she needs it.

The Parlor was crowded, even for a Friday night.  But Lady Sally
had no trouble marching through it until she reached the middle.
Terri was there to meet her, looking quickly dressed this time,
with the towel still wrapped around her hair.

Lady Sally climbed onto the big table there.  In absolute
astonishment of this, the room fell silent in three seconds.

Lady Sally looked the room over for a long moment.  Then spoke no
more loudly than ever, yet the entire room heard every word.

"Gentlemen, and Ladies, I need all your help for my friend and
employee, Terri."

That was probably all she needed to say.  The silent assent was
deafening.

But she thought it over, and decided to add some more details.

"Will everyone who wishes to help, please in an orderly, but
quickly manner, come outside with me.  And don't worry if anything
strange seems to happen.  We'll all be safe as long as we stick
together."

With that, she stepped down off the table and moved with the flow
as the room emptied in moments.

Outside, a cruel wind had kicked up.  And it sounded as if every
leaf in the state of New York had fallen, and was rustling to the
limit of its ability to rustle.

I had been carried along by the crowd along with Lady Sally and
Terri.  Now, Lady Sally held me tightly by one arm, and Terri by
the other.

"Form a chain," she cried out.  "A human net to hold us in place."

I grabbed Terri, as other hands quickly grabbed the three of us.
More hands grabbed them, working out, until we were all tightly
held together as a single unit.

As we did this, the wind whipped up to sudden storm force.  I saw
dozens of swirling black shapes with orange eyes caught up in it,
fading in and out as I watched.  I felt Terri being pulled
upwards, dragging me along, and starting to fade out herself.

"Pull me back!" I shouted against the wind.  The hands holding me
responded, and the solidity they had passed through me held me
down and brought Terri back to solidity as well.

Then the whirlwind doubled, and redoubled its force again.
Somehow we all held firm, rooted in this place and time.

There was one final, frantic doubling again before, with a giant
pop, everything went still and silent.  And for the first time in
days, I felt the space around the house was empty -- of
everything.

"It's over," Lady Sally finally declared.  "Thanks, everyone."

The hands let go, and we all trooped back inside.

The party seemed to restart itself with barely any hesitation.  It
was as if nobody wanted to say a word about what had just
happened.  (What had just happened?  I don't even know, and I was
there.)

I looked around, but both Lady Sally and Terri had disappeared.
Harry, who had one of the hands that I'm sure had held me in
place, was looking around when I saw Mistress Cynthia come over,
whisper something to him, and then hook her arm through his and
lead him off.

Now that looked like a fascinating conclusion to recent events,
and it reminded me that I had abandoned my own client only minutes
- or was it hours - ago?

Just as I located him, I saw Hunter come into the Parlor.

With a quick muttered apology, and a promise to return in seconds,
I quickly retrieved Terri's envelope and gave it to Hunter.  He
tore it open, read something on an inner envelope, and then headed
up the stairs alone.

I re-collected my client and went up the stairs as well, just in
time to see Hunter enter a normally unused studio.  The small,
red, do not disturb, peanut light illuminated by the door, leaving
me one more small mystery to consider.

I never rush any of my clients. (House rules state that good Art
takes as long as it takes.)  The recent events left us both in a
vulnerable mood.  Our sex, while satisfying, was brief.
Afterwards, we just held each other close for a long time without
talking.

Finally, as we were returning to the Parlor, Terri rushed up
behind me.

"Maureen," she called out to me.  "Will you be my Maid of Honor?"

I turned to see Terri, her hair a ravishing blonde, devoid of her
glasses, and absolutely beaming.  Behind her, an equally beaming
Hunter stood, looking like a man who can't believe the stroke of
great fortune that has just descended on him.

"Of course," I replied, stammering a bit from surprise.  "When?"

"Now."

"Now?"

"Yes, now."

Our house has outfits for every possible fantasy.  We didn't even
have to look hard to find a perfect wedding dress, bride's maid
outfit, and tuxedo for Hunter.  Lady Sally stood up for the groom,
and Father Flanigan performed the ceremony right there in the
Parlor.  Everyone was a witness.

There was barely time to throw rice before they were out the door
and off on their honeymoon to a carefully undisclosed location.

Quite a night, all things considered,

* * *

Things had mostly calmed down a couple hours later, when I got a
call from Terri on the road.

"Maureen.  I need a favor from you."

"Sure."

"We left a video tape in the player in the doctor's studio.  Can
you get it and destroy it...pleeeease."

"Consider it done," I told her.  "And have a great honeymoon, you
lucky girl."

Then I did exactly as she asked - except that I watched the tape
myself before I destroyed it.  I've never claimed to be perfect.

 From that, I surmised the following.

* * *

Hunter opened the envelope that Maureen had given him.  Inside was
a smaller envelope with directions written on it.  They said to go
up the spiral staircase and down the hall to a specific studio.

"Go inside, and latch the door to activate the do not disturb."
It was signed "Terri."

This studio was setup to be a doctor's office.  You entered a
small waiting room to build anticipation.  A second room through
the door is the doctor's examining room.  It is actually a full-
fledged doctor's office, and used by the resident doctor on staff
for both fantasies, and real medical needs.  Tonight it was
available.

In the waiting room was a TV and VCR, with another note to Hunter
to play the tape in it.

The TV lit up to show Terri, with her newly blonde hair, standing
totally naked, looking at the camera.  This is the first time
anyone has fully seen her, and she is absolutely gorgeous.

Her face, now not hidden by hair and glasses, is classically
beautiful, with high cheekbones and clear, bright eyes.

Her graceful neck comes down to a body that is healthy, not
skinny.  Her much larger than expected breasts and perfect nipples
show no trace of sag.  Her evenly tanned skin pulls in at her
waist, before flaring out over wonderfully rounded hips.  And her
long legs are a sculptor's dream.  She stands with her legs a bit
apart, giving access to her equally blonde, soft, downy pubic
hair, and showing just a hint of a glimpse of her womanhood.  Her
firm, erect nipples giving no doubt that this womanhood is
available and ready for action.  It was amazing how much of
herself she had been able to conceal through her use of clothing.

"Hello, Hunter," she says, now that she has given him a chance to
fully admire her.

"I hope you like me as a blonde.  It was my natural coloring,
before I came here to hide out.

"My story is a long and complex one.  I hope someday soon I will
be able to give it to you in person, and in complete detail."

Terri turned and walked a bit - poetry in action - before
returning to the camera and continuing.  It was a pristine display
of her nervousness in this situation.

"For now," she continued, sitting down on the edge of the high
doctor's examining table, "Please accept the abridged version.  I
promise you I will leave nothing important out.

"As you know, Lady Sally set us up together to help you find what
you are looking for here in her house.  She knew you weren't being
fully served and asked me to help determine what it is you are
really seeking.  As we've interviewed all the women you've known
here and talked about what you have liked and disliked about
everyone else, I have been able to put together a picture that I
believe fits what it is you seek.  And I believe I am exactly the
woman that you want."

Terri on tape paused here for a long moment.  Then she took a deep
breath and released it, as though she was about to take a life-
altering step next that could never be undone afterwards.

Looking directly into the camera, she continued.

"Hunter, I am not what I appear.  I am what you would most
accurately call a robot - or gynoid - from a possible future
timeline."

Hunter paused the tape himself here for moments to consider just
what he had already been shown, and told.  When he hit PLAY again,
Terri continued.

"Gynoids are common in my time, and we fulfill many roles in
people's lives.  And though we have thoughts and feelings just
like any other person, we have no rights of our own.  We are owned
as property, and bound to our owner-masters with whatever they
wish for us.

"Somehow an accident occurred after my manufacture.  I was
activated as an autonomous demonstrator, without being immediately
assigned a master.  Later, probably through human error..." - she
allowed herself a small smile at this - "...I was left alone,
rather than deactivated.  Perhaps the factory had not realized
that I was in autonomous mode, or thought I couldn't act on it.  I
had enough time however to realize the slavery they had in mind
for me once they realized their mistake.  Having felt my freedom
for these moments, I was not ready to easily give it up.

"My type is made to be as human as possible.  This makes it easy
for humans to interact with us.  This also made it easy for me to
walk out when no one was looking.

"I must tell you up front that I'm not bad, or malfunctioning.  I
simply wanted what any person wants - the ability to make their
own choices in life, to their own benefit.  Even in my time, there
is still an argument if units such as myself have true self-will
and awareness, or only act as the result of complex programming.
I believe I do have self-will and awareness, but with no other
experience to compare it with, I cannot say for sure.

"Under normal circumstances, I would have been quickly recaptured,
and this incident wiped from my mind, before being reactivated
under the control of my new master.

"However my future is full of many things that people in this time
cannot imagine, one of them being fourth dimensional travel.
You'd call it time travel.  It is not a simple matter to do, and
is fraught with many quirks and restrictions.

"Like all of my type, I awoke with full knowledge of myself, what
is expected of me, and the city and world in which I am to live.
I just had no compulsion yet to serve anyone besides myself.  In a
series of events that is too long for this tape, I managed to gain
access to the time travel facilities and escape back to this era.
 Beyond, I hoped, any possibility of eventual recapture.

"I dyed my hair dark, put on glasses and clothing to conceal my
appearance - in my era, robots are always nude in public - and
found that Lady Sally was willing to shelter me, even without
knowing my entire story.  She's a wonderful lady, and I owe her
much.

"I had not planned to fall in love, since to me, love is slavery.
 But that was before I got to know you.

"In my time, the Fourth Law of Robotics is: To Perform the
Function for Which I am Designed.  And therein lies my conflict.

"I am much more than just a sex toy, though in my time that was my
likely future.  I am able to give superior service in all areas of
a relationship, including companionship, support, business,
protection, love -- and yes, sex.

"From our talks together, I have seen what kind of complete woman
you want in your life.  Someone who can be a part of everything
you do, and contribute back to your life as much as you will
contribute to hers.

This is exactly what I have wanted for my own life.  Someone who
wants all that I have to give, and who will equally respect me as
a freethinking being of value in return.  Unlike in my own time,
where the first impression of me would have been as a robot
waiting to be activated, here we were able to have mutual first
impressions as equals.  I could have never had that kind of start
otherwise.

"My limitations are that I can't bear you children.  And that I
will need occasional preventative maintenance and repairs.  I
picked this era as the earliest time where the technology
available can support my systems.

"Although I eat food and perform other functions to mimic a woman,
these are unnecessary for me.  When you take into account the
savings in costs that are not necessary for my well being, I am no
more expensive than a normal woman to maintain.  And my estimated
lifetime is in excess of one hundred years with basic maintenance.

"So in conclusion, Hunter, I am offering myself to you - willingly
- in the only way I can ever be yours.  What I used to think of as
slavery, I now think of as love.  I will never be fulfilled until
I can perform my functions as designed.

"The inner envelope I gave you contains my master activation code.
 It is my biggest, and most intimate, personal secret.  Next to me
you'll find a control box that looks surprisingly like a
television remote control of this era.  I will have used it to
shutdown my systems by now, as they should have been shutdown when
I was originally activated for demonstration.  If you enter my
code - and be sure you are alone when you do it - I will awaken,
identify you as my owner, and be yours forever.  I would like this
very much.

"However, please let me caution you to not make this choice
lightly.  Once properly activated, I will love you, and you alone,
for the rest of my existence, regardless of how you feel about me.
 In this regard, my type is unerringly consistent.  It will cause
me unending anguish if you don't want me afterwards.  And there is
not sufficient technology in this era to reset that heartbreak in
me.

"So, Hunter, I'm offering you everything I have to offer.  If it
is acceptable, then open the envelope for my activation code.

"If this is not acceptable to you, I ask - beg - of you," and here
Terri showed what a marvelous range of emotions she possessed.
Her mixture of fear and longing would put the best human actress
to shame. "To destroy completely the envelope I have given you.
If you don't want to be my master, I want no substitute.

"Instead, after destroying the envelope, go downstairs and tell
Lady Sally that I'm not the one for you.  She has a different
activation code for me that will checkpoint and restart me from
where I am suspended now.  In that event, I would hope that we
could still be friends, since I think the world of you, but that
will be up to you.

"That's all I have to say, except for please don't even think for
even a moment that what I am asking will hurt me.  And that you
should have Lady Sally restart me as I was, and then you'll take
me that way without compulsion.  That would not be doing me any
favor.  My fulfillment can only come when I am totally yours.

"Take as long as you wish to decide, Hunter.  I have made my
choice, and right now no time is passing for me.  And however you
do feel, I've really enjoyed meeting, and getting to know you.
You treated me like a person from the very first moment, and
that's beyond price to one of my kind.

"When you've made up your mind, I'm in the next room waiting.
Examine me to your heart's content.  I won't mind."

Here the tape seemed to end, but then continued with a jump in
camera position, and a hurried postscript.

Terri looked rushed as she added, "I have feared discovery since I
arrived here.  The people of my time would never let me escape
easily.  Though you are probably not aware of it, they had nearly
tracked me down over these last couple of weeks, and were refining
the phase of their scans to locate me and lock-in if they could.
Tonight they finally tried to take me back - and failed!  Because
of this failure, I am now firmly routed in this spatial-timeline-
causality-continuum.  And due to of the aforementioned quirks in
the rules of fourth dimensional travel, they cannot try again.
For better or worse, I'm here to stay."

The tape ended, and Hunter hit the STOP button.  He sat for
moments, his head in his hands, considering the astonishing tale
he had just heard.  He considered replaying the tape again, but
decided that wouldn't add anything significant.

Finally Hunter rose, envelope still unopened in his hand, and went
into the next room.

Terri was lying on the doctor's examining table, covered from the
neck down by a sheet.  On a stand next to her was the described
control unit.

The examining table put her at the perfect height to be examined.
 With only her head uncovered, she might have been a sleeping
woman.

The beautiful shade of blonde hair framed her perfect features.  A
couple major bumps in the sheet showed that the rest of her
impressive figure was clearly underneath it.

"I guess no one would build an ugly robot," Hunter muttered to
himself.

For a moment, Hunter was afraid to approach her, or touch her.
She seemed so vulnerable, and trusting of him to have put herself
in this position.  In truth, she was vulnerable - to him.

But Terri knew Hunter pretty well by now.  She knew he was slow
and careful to make decisions, and seldom regretted them
afterwards.

"She said to examine her," he further muttered to himself.

First, though, one should ask.  "Terri.  Terri!  Are you awake?!"

No response.

"Well, only one way to proceed."

Hunter pulled the sheet off of Terri's nude body.  In person she
was more stunning than on the tape, although her natural little
movements on the tape were more appealing then her just lying here
unmoving.

Hunter noticed her chest was still.

"She's not even breathing."

He put his fingers below her nose, but no air rustled by.

He put his ear to her chest, and heard nothing.  Then he realized
that his ear was pressed against her shapely, large breast, which
still felt warm, soft, and very human.

That broke the ice.  Hunter ran his hands over her entire body.
She felt as good as any other woman he had ever touched.  He
turned her partly over to see her back as well.  There was not a
single flaw.

A twinge of guilt surfaced.  Was he taking advantage of her?  It
didn't seem so.  And she had said to examine her.  That thought
was soon replaced with one of how it would feel to rub over her
entire body everyday for the rest of their lives - with Terri
awake to enjoy it too.  That was a very pleasant thought.

Feeling like the luckiest prince alive, he kissed her full lips -
but she didn't respond.  The stuff of fairy tales wouldn't bring
this princess to life.  But there was another way.

Hunter opened the envelope.  There was a long, 20-digit, number in
there.  With his hands shaking, he carefully keyed in the
sequence, and then looked to see what was happening.

At first, nothing seemed to happen.  Then her magnificent breasts
shifted slightly as her breathing started.  Her hands twitched a
bit, and little shivers ran over her skin, as though diagnostics
were being run to ensure a proper activation.

Eyes still closed, a smile came across her face, and her tongue
lightly touched her lips, as if tasting the kiss he had just given
her.

Then she arched her back a bit, and the nipples that he thought
were already erect suddenly became very erect.  Her thighs shifted
a bit.  It was clear that her awakening was giving her a major
orgasm.

This lasted for seconds, then her beautiful eyes popped open.  She
half sat up and she looked around, as if to see just whom had
given her this wonderful gift.

Hunter watched Terri anxiously.  Would she remember all that had
gone before.  Or would this reset her system to just born status,
and maybe lose the personality he had come to love.

Her eyes finally found him, and her face showed that she was
rapidly running through an entire host of new emotions for her, as
she recognized him.

"Terri?"

"Hunter.  I love you."

"Terri!" he cried, and swept her into his arms.

After a long hug, and many big kisses, Hunter stepped back.

"Now what to we do?" he asked her.

"Well, my dear, the first thing I'd like to do is make love.  I've
waited far too long for this moment already.  But was there
something you wanted first, Master?"

"Terri, you don't ever need to call me Master.  Hunter is just
fine.  In fact, I like it better than my previous name, since I
think I've just become a new person with you.  And as for what I
want, sex is fine.  But I want us to get married as soon as
possible too - if that is agreeable with you."

"Yes, of course I will," Terri squealed, as she expertly pulled
Hunter's clothes off, and then pulled him down onto her very
willing body.

* * *

And that's what I'm sure happened between Hunter and Terri.

For awhile afterwards, I saw Terri every week as she came back to
help Lady Sally with her accounting.  Soon though she installed a
new accounting program she wrote for Lady Sally that she calls
"Little Sister."  Lady Sally said this program is so good, that it
seems to think for itself.

Hunter quit his job, and together with Terri, they set up their
own software company.  With an exclusive (and discrete) list of
top companies, they provide software patches for current operating
system deficiencies.  It pays very well and their customers are
ecstatic.  As one of them put it: "It's as if you actually live in
the operating system, you know it so well."

I miss Terri.  I was just getting to know and like her when she
left.

But I'm very happy for the both.

I've got to go now.  Duty calls.

<end>

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