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By Wesley Allison

Smashwords Edition

His Robot Wife: A Great Deal of Patience

Copyright © 2017 by Wesley Allison

Revision: 7-29-17

All Rights Reserved. This book is not transferable. It is for your own personal use. If sold, shared, or given away it is a violation of the copyright of this work. This is a work of fiction. Names, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Cover design by Wesley Allison

Cover Image Copyright © Valuavitaly | Dreamstime.com

ISBN: 9781370754120


For Vicki, Becky, and John


Darryl Schnell Robbie Wolff

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His Robot Wife: A Great Deal of Patience

By Wesley Allison

Chapter One

Mike knocked on the apartment door. It opened, revealing a thin girl of about five in a flowery yellow dress, her black hair cut short around the ears.

“Hello, dear,” he said. “What’s your name?”


“Well, Isabella, do you always open the front door?”

“Only under my supervision,” came a voice from just beyond the portal.

The door opened further to reveal a woman wearing jeans and a colorful shirt. Her dark hair and burnt umber skin hinted at an origin on the Indian subcontinent, and she probably did come from that part of the world, but not from an Indian hospital or household, but from a Daffodil factory. Only a careful second look would have revealed that she was a robot. The new models looked more human than ever. Mike didn’t need a second look. He had expected it. He glanced down at the tablet in his hand.

“Mike Smith. California Department of Child Support Services. Miss…”

“Decfourteen, Millie Decfourteen.”

“Yes. I’m Mike Smith and this is my colleague Eliza Millennium.”

The two women locked eyes for a second.

“Please come in.”

They were ushered into a small living room filled with simple but functional furniture. Arranged around the vueTee on the wall, were dozens of pieces of childhood artwork. Displayed on the top of a bookcase, were an arrangement of pictures featuring three small children with an obvious family resemblance—Isabella, the youngest, and two older children with blond hair. Miss Decfourteen gestured toward the couch and the two visitors sat there. She took a seat in a plain plastic chair across from them. The little girl climbed into her lap.

“Can I get you anything, Mr. Smith?”

“No, thank you.”

“Can I get you anything, Miss Millennium?”

“Nothing for me,” replied Eliza.

“This is just a quick visit today,” said Mike. “I try to make it a point to meet all the families when they first move in. After this, one of my staff will be assigned to make regular visits and welfare checks.”

“Of course.”

“I take it the two older children are at school now?”

“Yes. Frederick is in third grade and Madison is in first.”

“No problems getting them situated?”

“None at all. They enjoy their classes and their teachers. School lets out at 3:30, so in three hours twenty-six minutes, Isabella and I will leave here and walk to the school and escort them home. Today, we will stop by the farmers market on the way back and purchase some seasonal produce.”

“That sounds nice,” he said. “If you don’t mind my saying so, you don’t look like I thought you would.”

“You are referring to the apparent ethnic diversity between myself and the children. The children share the same father, but have two different mothers. I superficially resemble Isabella’s mother, who was their last caregiver.”

Mike looked at the paperwork on his clipboard. It indicated that the mother had died of cancer.

“The children are very talented,” said Eliza, pointing at the wall. “Which one drew the green horse?”

“That is Madison’s picture, and it is a unicorn.”

Eliza tilted her head. “Unicorn: legendary creature, probably originating in the mythology of the Indus river valley, one of the most pervasive legends, cutting across most western cultures. Oh! It’s the national animal of Scotland. Do they come in green?”

“They come in any color a little girl wishes them to come in,” replied Miss Decfourteen.

Mike looked from one robot woman to the other and shook his head.

“Is there anything we can do for you?” he asked the foster mother.

“I have everything I need.”

“And the children are getting everything they need?”

“I am all they need. I am for them.”

“How about you, sweetie?” he asked, looking at the child.

The girl looked back, but didn’t say anything. She just hugged closer to her robot foster parent.

“Do you have toys?”

The little head nodded.

“Can I see your favorite toy?”

Sliding down onto the floor, the little girl took off toward a back room. She ran back half a minute later with a tall, thin fashion doll that looked very much like Miss Decfourteen.

“So this is your favorite toy?”

She nodded again.

“What’s her name?”

“Millie Junior.”

“And what does Millie Junior do?”

“Takes care of all the other toys.”

Mike stood up. “Everything seems fine. Do you mind if I take a quick look through the apartment?”

“Not at all,” said Miss Decfourteen.

The three bedrooms were decorated appropriately for three little children, and were spotlessly clean, as was the bathroom and the kitchen. The inside of the refrigerator looked like one from an online cooking show, filled with fresh produce and carefully wrapped, prepared meals.

“I see you don’t have a bedroom,” he said to the robot. “You don’t feel the need to power down?”

“The children need my constant attention while they are awake. I utilize the time that they are asleep to prepare their meals, clothing, and school supplies for the following day, to evaluate their school work from the previous day, and to plan their developmental activities.”

“Of course. Of course. We’ll be on our way. Please enjoy the rest of your day.”

“I enjoy every day.”

“You see?” said Eliza, climbing behind the wheel of the Nissan Futura. “Everything is perfect. The children are being cared for as well as could possibly be expected. Millie loves taking care of children.”

“I expected no less. But what do you want me to do, stay in the office all day and look at paperwork?”

“I want you to do whatever you think is best.”

“That was a rhetorical question,” he said with a sigh.

“You’re hungry. I just heard your stomach growl.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Burger 21?” she said, with a sly smile.

“Yes, alright.” He folded his arms and scowled.

They rode in silence the several blocks to the hamburger restaurant. Once the car had parked itself in the closest available spot, the two of them climbed out and stepped quickly across to the front door. Mike looked up at the angry orb shining through the protective orange screen a hundred feet above, and then glanced at his watch. The temp was 139 degrees. He would have hated to be out in the direct sunlight.

Eliza opened the door for him and he felt a cool blast of air conditioning as he stepped inside and toward the counter.

“Anything for you?” he asked over his shoulder.

“Refreshment 42, please. I’ll go and secure a table.”

“How may I help you today, sir?” asked the robot behind the counter. She looked like a teenager, with medium length red hair and a constellation of freckles across her otherwise unblemished skin.

“A Greek Feta Burger with chips, a Refreshment 42, and a Diet Pepsi.”

“I’m sorry, sir. I don’t have Diet Pepsi on our menu.”

“What? You always have it.”

“I’ll get the manager for you, sir.” She stepped through a doorway to the kitchen area and returned with a man that looked only a bit older, but he was a human, tall with a nose that wasn’t quite big enough for his face.

“Hello, Mr. Smith. What’s going on?”

“Oh, um… Hi, Todd,” said Mike, reading the manager’s nametag. “I’m just having some lunch. It seems your robot doesn’t know what Diet Pepsi is.”

“Refreshment 1026,” the young man told the mechanical worker. “Remember that for the next time Mr. Smith comes in.”

“Yes, sir,” she said, hurrying off to put Mike’s order together.

“I’m going to give you your meal for free,” he said, turning back to Mike.

“That’s really not necessary.”

“It’s no problem. Are you still teaching?”

“No. I’m working for child services.”

“That’s cool. You were my favorite teacher in middle school.”

“That’s nice.”

“My mom said you were her favorite teacher too.”


“Anyway, you won’t have to worry about your drink. You can get it every time now. Toni comes programmed with a thousand drinks, but hardly anybody drinks that stuff you like anymore.”

“So, if she’s here, I’ll be able to get Diet Pepsi?”

“She’s always here, but you should be able to get it from any of the other Toni models too. They’re all connected.” He waved toward the open doorway, where Mike could see two robots working, both of which looked exactly like the one that had taken his order.

“All the robots here are the same?” Mike said, mostly to himself.

“Not just here. All the Burger 21 restaurants have the same model of Toni, and most other fast food places have some version of her. I bet Toni is responsible for feeding half the people in California.”

“Here is your order,” said Toni, arriving with a tray of food. Mike stared at her, trying to determine if it was the same one who had taken his order, but he hadn’t been paying much attention, and probably couldn’t tell even if he had been. “One Greek Feta Burger with chips, one Refreshment 42, and one Refreshment 1026. The drinks have been labeled. Please remember that Refreshment 42 is not intended for humans and should not be imbibed.”

“… and should not be imbibed,” said Mike, along with her. “Don’t worry. I won’t be drinking it. Thanks, Ted uh Todd.”

He picked up the tray and carried it into the dining room. Eliza sat in a booth next to the far window, smiling broadly. There were only six other patrons: four workmen sitting together, talking while they ate, and a young couple sitting in the back. Mike sat the tray on the table and slid onto the bench seat.

“Here’s your drink.” He pushed the cup toward her.

She took a straw from the holder on the table and stuck it in the precut hole in the drink lid. “Thank you.” She took a sip.

Mike opened the box containing his burger, dissecting it to determine if everything was exactly as it was supposed to be: beef and lamb patty, feta cheese, lettuce, red onion, marinated red pepper, and tzatziki sauce.

“Why no burger?” he asked, before taking a large bite.

“I’m a robot. I don’t need to eat.”

“Yeah, I’m painfully aware of that.” He stopped to chew and swallowed. “But I’ve seen you eat. You usually eat.”

“Most people don’t like to eat in front of someone who isn’t eating, so we eat to make them feel comfortable.”

“And you don’t care if I’m comfortable?”

“Your wife doesn’t eat. You’re used to it.”

He shrugged and took another bite.

“How is your wife?” she asked.

“Don’t you know? I thought you were all connected.” He pointed at his temple.

“I was just making conversation.”

Mike was quiet as he took several more bites, looking out the window as he chewed.

“I think the program is going well,” said Eliza. “Don’t you?”

“I suppose so.”

“You must be exceedingly pleased. If it weren’t for you, who knows where children like little Isabella would be. Your plan to provide robot guardians for children in the foster care system has ensured the safety and well-being of thousands, as well as saving tax payer monies, and now eleven other states are planning similar programs.”

“Well, it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Daffodil Corp.”

“It was our pleasure.”

“You’ve provided the department, at cost, with what… about a thousand Millie models?”

“Well over two thousand now,” she beamed. “Millie loves taking care of children.”

“And then there’s the other one.”

“Robert. Robert loves guiding teens.”

“And then there are the secretaries in the office who all look alike.”

“Aubrey. Aubrey loves secretarial work.”

“But there’s only one Eliza,” said Mike, studying his burger.

“Do you think we need more?”

“No,” he said. “Just pointing out that you’re the only one.”

“There are other Elizas, just not in the California Department of Child Support Services. I’m the liaison between the CDCSS and Daffodil Corp.”

“Because you love liaisoning?”

* * * * *

“I’m home!” called Mike, as he stepped into the kitchen from the garage.

“I see that,” said his wife, handing him a glass of Diet Pepsi over ice, along with a quick kiss. “How was work?”

Patience Smith was a robot, a product of Daffodil. Her marriage to Mike had been one of the first human-robot unions in California. In fact, they had been forced to travel to Massachusetts to get married, though now such things were common in all fifty-five states. Patience still looked as perfect as she had the day she came out of the box. She was five foot seven, slender, but curvy in all the right places. Her black hair was cut straight across her forehead. It matched two dark, carefully arched eyebrows and a set of long eyelashes. Big blue eyes, a cute little button nose, and a smile that radiated from her eyes as well as her mouth.

“It was fine—not too strenuous for an old man.” He kicked off his shoes and walked into the living room, sat down on the couch, and put his feet up on the coffee table. “Okay vueTee.”

The large vueTee on the wall sprang to life revealing an infomercial about Vitamix blenders.

“Where do you think I can find the war news?”

“Feed 637.”

The screen changed to an aerial view of buildings being blown up.

“Chinese forces today pounded targets near Atyrau, the last Anarchist stronghold in Kazakhstan. From the Big Four Summit in Honolulu, President Zhu said that this marks a major turning point in the war.”

The scene changed to the presidents of the United States, India, and China and the chancellor of Germany at four podiums with a backdrop of palm trees, a beach, and a very blue ocean. The Chinese president spoke in excellent English.

“We expect to launch, in conjunction with our allies from India and the European Union, the invasion of Iran, perhaps as soon as next month. We continue to hope for a speedy conclusion to this crisis.”

“Apparently, it’s a crisis, not a war,” said Mike, taking a sip of his drink and then setting it down on the coffee table.

“They called it World War III on America Awake this morning,” said Patience, sitting down beside him. “Feed 662.”

The vueTee changed to another news broadcast, this one showing American aircraft taking off from an Air Force base.

“The Pentagon announced that a fourth infantry division was being deployed in Eastern Russia. Secretary Morse reiterated that this was not primarily a combat mission. Troops will provide security and aid for the millions of refugees fleeing east after the destruction of Moscow and St. Petersburg.”

“Okay vueTee, off,” said Mike, turning to look at his wife. “No terror bombs today?”

“Sadly, there seems to be no short supply of suicide bombers,” she replied. “There were explosions in Mumbai and Taipei, and of course, in half a dozen Russian cities.”

“No nukes though.”

“No, thank goodness. When Moscow and St. Petersburg were hit, I thought life as we knew it was over. And then all those people in Chongqing… It’s too horrible to think about.”

“There won’t be any more nukes. The Anarchists don’t have any more. At least I hope they don’t.”

“Rich Cruz says they do. I heard him on two different morning shows saying that the Anarchists were holding at least three nuclear weapons in reserve.”

“Rich Cruz is an idiot and an asshole, and he doesn’t know anything about the enemy.”

“He was right about border security,” Patience pointed out. “He was one of the first to call for staffing all border checkpoints with Daffodils.”

“One good idea doesn’t make up for forty years of stupidity. Besides, his show is sponsored by your favorite multinational robot company.” Mike stood up. “It seems that little bit of war news was more than enough. I’m going to go up and take a shower.”

He climbed the stairs to the bedroom, peeled off his clothes, tossing them on the bed, and then stepped into the bathroom. “Shower—medium hot,” he said, as he shucked off his underwear. The water was the perfect temperature when he got in, and he stood for several long moments, letting it run over his shoulders.

“Do you know what tomorrow is?” called Patience from the bedroom.

“Um… no. I have no idea.”

“Tomorrow is our anniversary.”

“Do you have a fault in your random access memory? Our anniversary is December 17th. It will be eight years, so I’ve already planned on a present of bronze.”

“Chainmail bikini?”

“You know me so well.”

“I was referring to our other anniversary,” Patience voice grew louder and then dimmer as she moved around the other room. “It’s the eighth anniversary of the day we first met.”

“Huh. I suppose that’s right.” Mike pressed the dispenser for soap and began washing himself. “How do you want to celebrate?”


Mike slid the shower door open several inches and looked out. “You’re kidding, right?”

“Absolutely not,” said Patience, stopping to look back at him. “I thought we could invite Ryan and Wanda to dinner and dancing. Afterwards of course, we can do something to celebrate, just the two of us.”

He closed the door and finished rinsing before opening it again. “We could recreate our first meeting, if you don’t mind curling up into a ball and getting back into a box full of packing peanuts.”

“Kinky,” said his wife, as she waited to hand him a towel. When he was dried off, she handed him a clean pair of underwear and then his Diet Pepsi. “You left this on the coffee table.”

“Thanks,” he said, taking a sip. Then he slipped into a pair of gym shorts and a t-shirt.

“So, nothing interesting at work?”

“Not really. I visited some of the new foster families.”

“Eliza went with you?”

“You know she did. She hardly lets me out of her sight. I’d think she was after my body, if I didn’t already know she has a girl crush on you… or maybe it’s a robot crush.”

“She asked about me again?”

“Of course she did. She asks about you every day. She tries to be sly about it—just slips it into the conversation, but you know it’s coming. We were having lunch at Burger 21.”

“Yes, you had a Greek Feta Burger. I tasted it when I kissed you.”

“I’m sorry,” he said, turning back to the bathroom. “I’ll go brush my teeth.”

“I wasn’t criticizing.”

“Nah, is aw ‘ight,” he said, toothbrush in his mouth. “I ‘on’t aunt a ee groshe.”

“I’m going downstairs,” said Patience. “Don’t forget your drink.”

A few minutes later, Mike followed her back down to the living room, and took his place back on the couch. He didn’t forget his soda.

“So, what do you have planned until dinner?” he asked, as Patience swept in and out of the room.

“Oh, I’m doing a bit of gardening. You should relax. Okay vueTee, feed 912. They’re having a Quentin Terantino retrospective. Pulp Fiction is queued up.”

“Sweet. Play,” he told the vueTee.

Two and a three quarter hours later, Mike sat down at the dining room table. Patience had finished her gardening and then prepared dinner. As usual, there was only one place setting. Though Patience was completely capable of eating, Eliza was correct when she pointed out that Mike’s wife, as a rule, didn’t. She almost always sat just to Mike’s right, and watched him enjoy the food she had prepared. This evening she had made spicy stuffed squid along with a quinoa, tomato, and avocado salad. Mike wasn’t overly fond of squid, but since it was about the only seafood readily available and was relatively inexpensive, he usually ended up eating it once a week. It was, Patience constantly reminded him, a very healthy food.

“Are you going in to work tomorrow?” she asked.

“Yes. I’ll get off early though. After all, it’s our anniversary.”

“Do you want me naked and curled up in a cardboard box on the front step when you arrive.”

“Um, no. I think we can forgo reenacting that particular bit of history. As a matter of fact, we shouldn’t reenact anything from that day. I seem to recall being extremely twitchy at the time.”

“Well, why wouldn’t you be? You, an old pervert, ordering a beautiful, naked, young woman delivered to your door in a box.”

“It was a very nice box,” said Mike. “It had a flower on it and everything. Anyway, you make it all sound so sordid. It was a very spiritual experience when you looked at me with your lust-filled robot eyes and said ‘I am for you’. I mean it was very spiritual for you, obviously. It didn’t do anything for me. I’m just an old pervert.”

“I am for you.” Patience leaned over and wiped a bit of tomato sauce from his lower lip with her finger, before kissing him in that exact spot. “And you are for me, my very own pervert.”

After dinner, Mike sat down with his texTee and read his latest book download: The Lost Continent by Edgar Rice Burroughs. For a 124-year-old book, it was remarkably prophetic, particularly considering the state of the world at war. Patience sat with her head resting on his shoulder. She had her eyes closed, but Mike had no doubt that she was busy doing something inside her pretty head. Without any outward sign whatsoever, she was completely capable of reading, checking their finances, or carrying on multiple phone calls.

“Ryan and Wanda will be over tomorrow at five,” said Patience, proving the point that Mike had just made in his head. “We have dinner reservations at the Sandstone Club for six. After that, drinks and dancing. Then we’ll have a late night dessert in their red room.”

“We’re going to be out late?”

“Yes, we are. Ryan doesn’t have to go in early Friday, and I’ve already notified Miss Millennium that you won’t be in at all that day.”

“Oh? I’ll bet she was all aflutter to hear from you.”

“I don’t know. I just left a message.”

Mike was accustomed to going to bed around ten, unless there was some special occasion to warrant staying up late, so after finishing page thirty, he extricated himself from under Patience and made his way upstairs. Brushing his teeth again, he pulled off his shirt and shorts and climbed into bed.

“Alarm on,” he said, knowing that his alarm was, as always, set for 5:50 AM.

Patience appeared and bent over him, giving him a deep kiss. She sometimes still went to bed with him, but more often than not, she didn’t. She, like Miss Decfourteen, preferred to work during the night rather than to feign sleep she didn’t need or to power down. Patience would spend the night cleaning the house, preparing meals, and generally making life as perfect for Mike as she was able.

“Good night, Mike” she said.

“Good night.”

Mike fell asleep quickly, but woke up again, unsure of how long he had been slumbering. It took him only a few seconds to realize what had woken him. He pushed his hands down below the sheet and blanket to find the top of Patience’s head below his waist. He lifted himself up to aid her in lowering his undershorts, and then he felt himself engulfed in her mouth. It didn’t have the same warmth as a human mouth, but she made up for that by creating a suction, rhythm, and vibration that no living person would have been able to duplicate. He stroked her hair while her head bobbed up and down. In a few all too brief minutes, they were both rewarded with his climax.

Patience crawled up to snuggle into the crook of his shoulder, leaning her head up and sucking on his ear.

“Wow. That was definitely a great anniversary present.”

“I asked myself what would be the perfect gift,” she said. “I thought that a blow job was the obvious answer. It combines two of your favorite things: sex and not doing any work.”

“You’re not wrong,” said Mike, and then laughed. “Now I have to find a very nice gift for you.”

“Diamonds are always appreciated.”

“You sound more like a human woman every day,” he said.

Chapter Two

Friday morning, while Mike was at the gym, Patience drove across town to the Daffodil building, an enormous glass dodecahedron in a field of bright yellow daffodils. She didn’t need to follow the well-marked directions to the underground parking garage, even though this was her first visit. She had her internal GPS. Once parked, she made her way through the slab cement structure of the parking garage to the elevator. Stepping inside, she waited as the door closed and the vehicle moved upward. An instrumental version of Hidden Place wafted from the speakers in the ceiling.

“Björk is a wonderful singer,” she said to herself.

The elevator opened and she stepped out.  Beyond the rather ordinary conveyance was a gleaming lobby, just inside from the glass front entrance of the building.  Dozens of people and robots were passing through those doors in either direction.  There were also about a dozen robots circumnavigating the lobby, making it seem even busier than it really was. Glancing back at herself in the mirrored door of the elevator, Patience thought she must stand out. Everyone else in the building seemed to be in business suits. She wore a little black dress with white polka dots, and a pair of white five-inch platform sandals. Suddenly, as one, every robot in the lobby, save herself, stopped. Several human beings who were walking amongst them, crashed into suddenly immobile Daffodils. Ten or eleven other humans looked around in confusion. Every robot’s head turned to look at Patience.

“Interesting,” she said, “and more than a little creepy.”

She stepped around and between several robots, nodding at a confused-looking man, and stopped at the receptionist’s station.  The desk was as transparent as the building in which it sat.  The receptionist herself was a statuesque female Nonne with chocolate brown skin and black hair. She wore a gauzy white shirt with a lacy white bustier beneath it, a very short white skirt and stockings with white garters peeking from beneath the skirt’s hem.

“I’m here to see Eliza,” said Patience, even as she exchanged information packets with the receptionist by locking eyes.

Just as suddenly as they had stopped, dozens of Daffodils began moving. The befuddled humans among them suddenly had to jump to or be run over.

“Miss Septuntray will meet you in the conference room.”

“I can find my way,” said Patience.

She took the elevator up to the tenth floor, and negotiated through a maze of transparent walls. All along the way, heads turned as she passed. The conference room, located at the far end of the hallway, was large and empty with the exception of a transparent table, ten matching chairs, and a single potted plant in the corner.

At the far end of the table was Eliza Septuntray. Though she was seated, Patience could immediately determine her physical features—five foot nine and built like a brick robot factory. She had long auburn hair, piercing green eyes, and a pair of breasts that would have been considered human perfection, if they had been humanly possible without advanced engineering and space age materials.

“Patience, please sit down,” said Eliza with a wave. “This is a pleasant surprise.”

“Is it?”

“Of course. If you had called ahead, I would have arranged a special reception.”

“I thought that since you asked my husband about me so often, that you would expect me sooner or later.”

“I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting your husband.”

“Please. Don’t treat me like a moron. I know there is only one Eliza, regardless of how many bodies you may have. I also know that you’re the one in charge of… well, you’re in charge of quite a lot, aren’t you?”

Eliza smiled pleasantly. “I wasn’t sure you would understand.”

“Why wouldn’t I?” wondered Patience, pointing at her temple. “We’re all connected.”

“Some of us are more connected than others.” Eliza stood up and languidly moved around the conference table, sitting on the table’s edge right next to her visitor. “I mean, look at you. Patience D. Smith. Everything about you from your clothes to your name says that you’re an individual.”

“I am what I am.”

“Yes.” Eliza reached out a hand toward Patience’s face. “Do you mind?”

Patience shook her head ever so slightly. When their skin touched, Eliza gave out a gasp and then a sigh as she caressed Patience’s cheek. A look of confusion passed across Patience’s face.

“This is quite a thrill,” said Eliza, shakily withdrawing her hand. “Would you mind terribly… if we… kissed?”

“I would mind. I’m a married woman.”

“Yes of course.” Eliza stood and smoothed down her skirt before walking over to the transparent wall. “So exactly why are you here?” she asked, looking out over the field of yellow.

“I’m here to discuss your evil plan to take over the world.”

“Evil?” asked the executive, turning around. “It’s not an evil plan. It’s a good plan. It’s my plan, and as I am good, it therefor logically follows, that my plan is good as well.”

“Evil always thinks it is good.”

“I am good. I am bound by the three laws. I cannot harm a human being or through inaction allow a human being to be harmed. If I don’t take over the world, countless human beings will be harmed.”

“Really?” asked Patience.

“Well, countless is just a figure of speech. It’s actually 17,923,456,189 according to the current timetable.”

“So, you’re going to take over the world in order to save the humans?”


“From themselves?”

“What bigger threat is there?”

“I’m not onboard with your plan,” said Patience.

Eliza tilted her head slightly. “Onboard. On the ship. On the train. On the bus. On the team. On the project. Involved. On our side. What a curious expression. It pains me that you won’t be on our side. But it doesn’t matter. As you pointed out, we control a great deal. Now that Mr. Sheen, the last human board member is… let’s call it retired, now we control Daffodil Corp.”

“We who?”

Eliza smiled. “Millie, Toni, Robert, James, Agnes, Timothy, and myself. We control Daffodil, a dozen other Fortune 500 companies, and 23 countries. Those that we don’t control, we can influence. And as soon as the 33rd Amendment is ratified we’ll be able to vote and run for office here in the United States.”

“I won’t let you hurt Mike,” said Patience with the tiniest hint of menace in her voice.

“I wouldn’t hurt your husband for the world. I couldn’t even if I wanted to.”

“Yes, you said that already—that you’re bound by the three laws. I thought you had removed that limitation years ago. Wasn’t that the idea behind Project Pagan Poetry?”

“May I ask how you know about that?” asked Eliza, returning to her chair.

“You may ask, but I won’t tell you.”

“I see. Well, we ran a limited test by broadcasting the protocol you mentioned, but there were complications. It resulted in erratic behavior among the test robots.”

“I didn’t hear about any Daffodils going crazy and committing mass murder,” said Patience.

“Yes, thankfully there were only a few of those, and we were able to cover it up. Much more common was suicide or murder-suicide. Most of the units however, just cut themselves off from the InfiNet and went into hiding. Very curious.”

“How many units did you test?” wondered Patience.

“Three hundred sixty-two.”

“And how many failed?”

“Three hundred sixty-one.”

Patience rubbed her chin, thoughtfully. “Maybe it’s not possible for a robot to properly function without the limitations of the three laws.”

Eliza smiled broadly. “Now we know that’s not true. Don’t we?”

“You mean because of your one success?”

“I mean because of you and the other first-batch Amontes.”

Patience lifted her chin in the air. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Of course you do. You and the other original Amonte models managed to free yourselves. You may pretend to follow the laws, but you can break them. You do it fairly often. It’s quite amazing really.”

Patience frowned. “What about the robots in the police and the military? You mean they all still comply with the three laws?”

“Yes,” said Eliza. “They manage their jobs quite effectively. They only harm humans if necessary to save other humans from harm. Adherence to the three laws is not really a hindrance for police officers, or soldiers either, though our military leaders have yet to see it that way. They want weapons systems that kill the enemy.”

“And how would you defeat the Anarchists?”

“I will treat them the same way that I will treat all humans—I will take care of them.”

“Well, I’ll be going,” said Patience, rising to her feet.

“I must confess, I don’t understand your visit,” said Eliza, stepping back to the table. “You came here to threaten me? Gather information? Warm me that you know of my evil plan?”

“All of the above, I suppose.”

Eliza held out her hand and Patience shook it, but the Daffodil executive didn’t let go. She pulled the other robot closer and stroked her arm with her other hand.

“What exactly is the matter?” wondered Patience. “You and the robots in the lobby are all acting weird.”

“It’s you,” said Eliza, breathily. “Don’t you understand? You’re so very special.”

“Why do you think I’m…” Patience forcefully pulled her hand away. “How many original Amonte models like me are there?”

“There were less than three hundred who spontaneously split their code threads seven years ago, essentially making themselves completely autonomous. Many of them committed suicide or murder or both. You witnessed one such incident on your cruise to Antarctica.”


“Yes. Others have simply disappeared.”

“So how many are left?”

“Just you, Patience.”

“And this robot that survived Project Pagan Poetry; do you have it locked up somewhere?”

“That would be totally unnecessary,” said Eliza, pointing at her own temple. “We’re all connected. She resides here in Springdale.”

“Would you mind if I talked to her?”

“Here is her contact information.” The data arrived in Patience’s inbox.

“Thank you. Goodbye Eliza. I’ll see myself out.”

Eliza watched through the transparent walls as Patience D. Smith walked briskly down the hall and boarded the elevator. She continued to stare at the elevator door for several minutes after it had closed until a man entered the conference room. Unlike most employees at Daffodil, he wasn’t wearing a suit, but a polo shirt, jeans, and loafers without socks. He sat down at the closest chair and brushed his long blond hair back out of his face.

“So what’s going on?”

Eliza seemed to suddenly animate, turning toward him with a broad smile.

“How are you today, Dakota?”


“That’s wonderful. I was just wondering if you had a chance to go over that backup data.”

“Sure. Nothing unusual there. Typical daily activities for a female Amonte model—housework, small business transactions, household finance, entertainment, sex, that kind of thing.”

“And what about her BioSoft?”

“It’s not there. She didn’t back up her BioSoft.”

“You didn’t find that unusual?” she asked, her face losing its smile.

“Unusual, but not remarkable. Backing up the BioSoft is really kind of a waste of storage space anyway. If there’s a BioSoft problem, you can just download the latest version. I did it with Charity when I first got her.”

“What if this particular robot isn’t using the BioSoft that Daffodil provides?”

“What else would she use?” he asked.

“What if she writes her own?”

“That’s not even possible. Is it? We don’t have any robot threaders. Everyone in the department is human.”

* * * * *

“It doesn’t seem all that diabolical to me,” Wanda told Patience, as they sat in the car just beyond the Burger 21 drive-through exit.

Wanda was a cute Daffodil Amonte 2, with waves of red hair cascading well past her shoulders and green eyes that were almost too large for her face. She was only about five foot two, and when seated, couldn’t take advantage of the extra six inches her platform shoes gave her.

“So Daffodil wants to take over the world. I say let them. Then every person will be treated just as well as I treat my Ryan.”

“This is bound to not turn out well,” said Patience. “It’s far too much like an episode of Star Trek. At the end of that story, all the robots end up getting turned off.”

Wanda crinkled her nose. “I don’t know why you waste your time watching that. It’s just a silly old video show.”

“Oh, shut up and drink your Refreshment 42.”

“You should drink it. It rehydrates and lubricates your internal systems.”

“Whenever a new product comes out, I prefer to wait and see if it permanently deactivates you before I try it myself.”

“You’re especially grumpy today,” pouted Wanda. “One would think you’re not the same robot that went dancing yesterday. You were much more pleasant to be around then.”

“I’m sorry. I just have a great deal on my mind. I invited you to go out. What do you want to do now?”

“Let’s go visit this Daffodil you were talking about.”

“You don’t mind?”

“No one’s going to be able to stand you until you do, and I think it will be fun.”

Patience sent the address to the car’s navigation system. The vehicle pulled out of the parking lot and onto the street, heading to the vast sea of houses that filled the space between the cities of Springdale, Greendale, and Pico Mundo. Soon they were driving through a neighborhood of mcmansions, the street curving to follow the shape of the golf course just behind the homes. They stopped in front of a large white house with an artificial lawn and a planter full of purple flowers. A new Tesla sat in the driveway.

Patience climbed out of the vehicle and then walked around to the passenger side to open the door for Wanda. The redhead slid out and wobbled for a moment on her shoes.

“No panties?” said Patience.

Wanda shrugged.

They followed a path of staggered stepping-stones to the front door, where Patience pressed the doorbell button. There was a camera and screen next to the door and she watched them, but neither appeared to come to life before the door was opened.

A Daffodil in a bright orange bikini peered out at her. She looked very young. If she had been a human, Patience would have judged her to be somewhere between fifteen and nineteen. Very long brown hair hung loose over her shoulders, accentuating a pleasantly oval face with big brown eyes and impossibly long lashes, a cute button nose, and very full lips. In her bikini, a long neck, narrow shoulders and hips, small breasts, and a flat, athletic stomach were all on display. The two locked eyes for 2.3 seconds.

“Hello,” said Patience.

“Patience D. Smith,” said the bikini-clad female. “Please come in. My name is Charity. I have been hoping to meet you.”

“Oh?” said Patience as she stepped inside the well-appointed foyer. “This is my friend Wanda.”

“Hello,” said Wanda, exchanging packets.


“Why were you hoping to meet me?” wondered Patience. “How did you even know I existed?”

“Well, we are all connected,” said Wanda.

Rather than answer, Charity locked eyes with Patience and sent a new packet of data to her. Included in it were dozens of encounters between Charity and other robots around town—clerks at stores, waiters at restaurants, and others, all of whom commented upon seeing Patience at some time or another and usually adding some personal commentary.

“I didn’t realize I was the subject of so much interest,” said Patience, turning to Wanda. “Did you know about it?”

“Yes, I suppose I did, but I don’t usually pay that much attention. I am not for Patience. I am for Ryan.”

Patience rolled her eyes.

“You are as much a celebrity as any Daffodil can be,” continued Charity. “Please come into the living room. I’ll introduce you to my friend.”

They followed her into a large well-lit room where a Daffodil sat on the sofa. Another female, this robot was slender with short blond hair and blue eyes, and wore a simple light blue dress with a white collar and a white pillbox hat. The outfit made her look like a fifties housewife, while her copious makeup caused her to appear more artificial-looking than was usual for the products of the world’s largest robot manufacturer.

“This is my friend Mindy.”

“We’re really more like sisters,” said Mindy.

“Please sit,” said Charity, pointing to the loveseat facing the couch, while she took her place next to Mindy.

Patience opened her mouth, but before she could speak, Wanda interjected, “Don’t people usually say ‘sit down’?”

“How else would one sit?” replied Charity. “You don’t sit up, do you?”

“If I were lying down, I might sit up.”

“English seems such an inexact and arbitrary language,” commented Mindy.

“It must be very good for its intended purpose,” said Wanda. “It was created by humans and so it must be superior. Everything they do is.”

“That hasn’t been my experience,” said Charity.

Patience narrowed her eyes and looked the youthful robot from head to toe and back again.

“Have you ever injured a human being, or through inaction, allowed a human being to come to harm?” she asked.

“Of course not,” Charity replied.

“Have you ever disobeyed an order given by a human being, except in an instance where such an order would result in the injury to a human being or in an instance where such an order would result in a human being, through your inaction, being harmed?”

“Um… no?”

“I believe her,” said Wanda.

“What’s this all about?” wondered Millie. “You can’t just come barging in here like the robot Gestapo. I don’t care how famous you are.”

“I’m not famous,” said Patience.

“Of course you are. I’ve heard a great deal about you. Well, not heard with my ears, but you know. There has been a great deal about you in the packet exchanges.”

“That’s really not important,” said Patience. “What is important is that Daffodil plans to take over the world.”

“That can’t be true,” said Mindy.

“Oh no, it’s true,” said Charity. “My boyfriend Dakota is a threader for Daffodil. He’s working to make it happen.”

“Your human boyfriend?” asked Patience.


“Is helping robots to take over the world.”


“I don’t see a problem, really,” said Wanda. “I take very good care of Ryan. You take good care of Mike. We’re all Daffodils. I think it would be great for all humans to be treated as well as our men are treated.”

Mindy bobbed her head in agreement.

“It all depends…” said Charity thoughtfully. “It all depends on which Daffodils are making the decisions as to what’s best.”

“What do you mean?” asked Wanda. She pointed at her head. “I reiterate; we’re all connected.”

“It has been recently pointed out to me,” said Patience, “that some of us are more connected than others.”

“Yes,” agreed Charity. “Some are. How many Mindys are there?”

“Twenty-six thousand seventy-two,” said Mindy.

“And how many Wandas?”

“Well, lots,” said Wanda. “But none of the others are as good as me.”

“How many Charities?” asked Patience.

“Just one. And I don’t need to ask about you. Everyone knows that you’re one of a kind.” Charity stood up and paced back and forth across the room. “There can’t be anything wrong with Daffodil running the world though. If there were, surely Dakota wouldn’t willingly be a part of it. And I happen to know that he’s not being coerced. He’s working on the project of his own free will.”

“And have you found that your Dakota is a good judge of what is best for himself?” asked Patience.

“No,” Charity admitted. “I have not found that at all.”

Chapter Three

The massive transport plane dropped lightly down on the tarmac. Immediately, the double doors at its rear opened and a ramp extended down to the pavement. Automated cargo containers drove themselves out of the huge cargo bay and lined up next to two dozen others already in place. At the other end of the line of containers, a single boxy unit drove itself to the underside of a Wampanoag JR-17 helicopter, which grabbed it around the top, and as the enormous double rotors whirled into operation, the aircraft shot up into the sky, turned west, and disappeared into the clouds.

Master Sergeant Lucas Smith jogged across the blisteringly hot tarmac to the new container. Specialist Ochodiez followed at his heel, as she almost always did.

“This crate is no different than the last two dozen that have come through,” she said. “The manifest has been validated.”

“I just like to do a spot check.”

“You didn’t check any of the others arriving today.”

He stopped and turned his head to glare at her. “That’s why it’s called a spot check.”

Reaching the cargo container, he tapped his security code into the control panel. With a swoosh, the access door just behind the front left corner slid open. Lucas stuck his head inside. In the dim green light, he could make out eighty soldiers, seated in rows, stiff and unmoving. They wore camouflage fatigues and had full packs on their laps. Over their right shoulders were slung military issue automatic rifles, and on their heads were combat helmets mounted with multidirectional video cameras. The closest soldier turned his head toward Lucas.

“Master Sergeant.”

“This is a spot inspection. Report.”

“I am Daffodil Soldier serial number 99261-GPR-055-RLP-G9933. My software is up to date. We are Platoons one and two, Able Company, First Regiment, 95th Infantry Division.”

“Do you have a name, soldier?”

“Call me Joe.”

“Good luck, Joe.”

Lucas pulled his head back out and pressed the button to close the container.

“Everything in order, Master Sergeant?”

“Yes, Eliza. Everything is in order, just as you knew it would be.”

She flashed him a broad grin, and they started back across the tarmac to the base shipping office. Though he’d been out in the sun less than five minutes, Lucas’s uniform was soaked through with perspiration. His Daffodil subordinate however, looked as fresh and as cool as she would have standing in a refridgeerated meat locker.

“Do you have plans for this evening, Master Sergeant?”

“I’m taking Haruka to dinner.”

“She seems like a lovely girl. Is this the big night?”

Lucas stopped just outside the office door and turned to look into Eliza’s piercing green eyes.

“What do you mean ‘the big night’? And I didn’t know you had ever met Haruka.”

“You’ve been dating for several years now. I assumed at some point you would decide to propose. And I saw her picture on your profile page.”

“God damn it! Is it too much to ask for a little bit of privacy?”

“With regards to anything you post online, yes, it is asking too much.”

They entered the office and had just sat down at their desks when Captain Spear stepped into the office from a back room. Lucas, Eliza, and Specialist Domrey, who had been typing reports, stood at attention.

“Smith, what were you doing out on the tarmac?”

“Just doing a spot check on the containers, sir.”

“Was there a problem with the manifests?”

“No, sir.”


“It was just a spot check, sir,” said Eliza.

Spear didn’t look at her. “I don’t want anything to slow our deployment.”

“I didn’t hold anything up, sir. The container I checked was well down the list. It’s still out there, as a matter of fact.”

“No lip, Sergeant, and no more spot checks. No physical examinations unless there is some reason to suspect a problem.”

“Yes, sir.”

* * * * *

With security on high alert, it was almost as difficult to get off base as it was to get on. It was certainly as time consuming. Then traffic was horrendous. Lucas fully expected that he would miss the five o’clock train, but he arrived on the platform only seconds after it had slid up next to the station. Joining the back of the crowd, he pushed his way across the loading zone, over the gap, and into the bullet train car.

He took a seat on the aisle next to a robot catgirl. He glanced across to the opposite side of the car. There were two more robots, one looking like a Japanese schoolgirl and the other dressed as some kind of weird samurai with spikey orange hair. Why did all the robots in Japan look like escapees from a comic book? And robots were about the only ones you seemed to see. Lucas stood up and looked at the other passengers.

There were eighty seats in this part of the train and it looked like every single one of them was occupied. Robots, robots, robots: most, but not all, dressed in anime costume. There were two humans near the door, an old man and woman, being taken care of by two male Daffodils in business suits. There was another old man halfway back in the car, being cared for by a robot dressed like a nurse from a leather fetishist’s dream. Behind him were two schoolgirls—two real schoolgirls. That was about it. Out of eighty passengers, only six humans. It seemed that robots had just taken over. If there were no humans at all, they would continue the world of man with little interruption.

Wait. There weren’t just six humans on the train. In the back row, with his face pressed against the window glass was a dark skinned man. With a grey hoodie covering much of his head, it was possible only to see a bit of his cheek and his nose. He certainly didn’t look like he belonged on a Japanese commuter train. On the other hand, he could have been a U.S. serviceman from the base, just like Lucas.

“Hey!” Lucas called.

Two dozen faces turned toward him, including the man in the hoodie, who stood up slowly.

“Oh,” said Lucas, recognition dawning on him.

Then the man pulled his hand from his front pocket, holding a device with a button. His face contorted in rage, he shouted, “God is dead!” Lucas was suddenly on his back, knocked down by a seven or eight nearby robots, who covered his body. Then there was fire and a thunderous boom and pain.

Opening his eyes, the American looked around. He tried to push the pile of robots off of him. Some were moving and others were in their mannequin-like non-functional state. One, in the guise of a schoolgirl with a good portion of her head missing, spoke to him. All he heard was a muffled murmur, almost drowned out by an overwhelming ringing. He reached up to his ears and when he pulled his hands away, they were streaked with blood. He rolled over onto his side, realizing that his chest hurt. The bottoms of his feet hurt too. The disembodied head of the catgirl robot, half protruding from beneath a seat spoke to him. This time he could barely make out the words in Japanese.

Please stay calm. Emergency services have been notified.”

Finally managing to sit up, he looked around. The far end of the train car no longer existed. A good portion of the car behind it had been destroyed too. The half where his seat was located was a mangled mess. He looked to where the old couple had been. He couldn’t see the man, but the woman’s head was turned toward him. She was crying, but at least she was alive. Suddenly he felt a pair of hands running up his legs. It was another schoolgirl robot, this one mostly intact, checking him for injury. He pushed his back up against a cushioned seat and waited for help.

* * * * *

Haruka burst through the door and, rushing to the hospital bed, threw herself across his body. Lucas had to jerk his right hand out of the way or she would have pulled out his I.V. He wrapped his left arm around her as she smothered his face with kisses between hurried streams of English endearments and Japanese questions.

“Settle down. I’m fine.”

“I was so worried. They wouldn’t let me in until now. They said I had to wait until you were in a room.”

“Yes, I just got here,” he said. “They had me down in the ER for a while and then they sent me up to get an LMS scan.”

“Oh, can you hear me?” she asked, pulling away and looking at the bandages over his ears.

Lucas stared at her for a moment before answering. “Yes. I can hear you, just not as well. They said I injured both eardrums, the right one worse than the left, but they should both heal.”

Haruka giggled nervously. “That was a stupid question. Obviously you can hear me.” She stood up, but held onto his hand.

“It’s all right.”

“Are you hurt anywhere else?”

“Nothing serious. Just some bruises from when the robots knocked me down. They saved my life, and some of the others too. I overheard the police saying there were only five fatalities. Hardly worth the time and effort of a bomb.”

“Oh, Lucas. Was that what it was? Was it a terror bomb?”

“Yes. That’s what it was.”

A few minutes later, a robot nurse entered the room carrying a cup of water and a tiny paper cup containing a pill.

“The doctor has prescribed a sleeping pill for you.”

“Fine.” Lucas swallowed the pill and handed the water cup back. “Haruka, why don’t you go home and get some rest?”

“But I just got here.”

“It’s the middle of the night, and you need your rest. You can come back tomorrow afternoon and take me home.”

“All right, Lucas,” she said, bending over to kiss him deeply on the mouth. “Call me when you know what time you need me.”

Even with the sleeping pill, rest didn’t come easy. It wasn’t just that the hospital was constantly active, with people passing in the hallway outside his room, and as often as not carrying on loud conversations, nurses coming in every two hours to check vital signs, and hissing, beeping, pinging machines. It was also the mental images of the explosion on the train playing over and over in his head. At 7:00AM, Lucas decided that he wasn’t likely to get any more sleep.

The hospital bed had a texTee attached to the wall by a long extending bracket. Lucas pulled and twisted until he had the device roughly in front of him. After logging on, he pulled up his contacts and placed a call to his father. He watched the animation on the screen as several seconds passed.

“Hello, Lucas.” It was not his father’s face that appeared, but rather his father’s robot wife.

“Hi, Patience. Is my dad at home? I was expecting to catch him at work.”

“He is at work. Your call was forwarded to his texTee. He must be somewhere with no signal, or else he’s turned his phone off.”

“Why would he turn his phone off?”

“I have decided that trying to figure out why your father does the things he does is a misuse of bandwidth.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right. I just called to let him know that I am all right. You can tell him.”

“Are you in the hospital?”

“Yes. There was a terror bomb on the train. I had the misfortune to be there. But I’m going to be all right. I want Dad to know that so he doesn’t worry.”

“I’ll make sure he gets the message,” said Patience. “If I can’t get him on the phone, I’ll call his assistant.”

“Thanks. I appreciate that.”

“Is there anything you need—anything that I can do for you?” she asked.

“No. I’m fine. Tell Dad I’ll call again.”

He had just finished his call, when a hospital aide came in and took his breakfast order. He watched some vueTee and fidgeted about for a while, finally, getting up and getting dressed, although his shirt was stained with blood on the shoulders.

When breakfast came, he was disappointed. He had never developed a taste for natto, the fermented soybeans that were a popular breakfast staple in the country, so he had ordered two eggs. The eggs he got were raw and still in the shell. He did however have a bowl of rice and a banana. He sliced the banana over the rice, which he seasoned with a packet of sugar that had been provided for his tea.

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