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a science fiction love

story for techno-ladies

Glynn Glenn

ebook format edition - distributed by

Copyright 2019 by Glynn Glenn

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, and events in this book are products of this writer’s imagination or, in the case of referenced historical persons, are used fictitiously. Any other similarity to actual persons, names, or events is purely coincidental.

* * * * *

License Statement

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this writer.


The BUGG Suit contains descriptive scenes of nudity and intimate pleasure enjoyed by an adult or shared between consenting adults which are inappropriate to children and will be offensive to some adults.

The BUGG Suit

Chapter 01

As the representatives from the space administration, military, scientific press, and other interested parties step into the room for the press conference, they’re surprised to see an extension to the stage which partially divides the room. Several of them check to make sure they’re at the correct press conference because the stage extension reminds them of the runway usually associated with fashion shows. They even check with some of their associates because the company giving the press conference is primarily known for manufacturing space suits and related equipment which nobody would consider ‘fashionable’. When they’re assured by company employees that the representatives are at the correct press conference, they take their seats and are unable to stop themselves from wondering what’s on the agenda.

Some of the representatives feel a little more assured when they recognize the company’s executive, Ms. Abrams, step onto the stage. However, her early presence is unexpected since she usually has a spokesperson start the press conference before she comes forward to answer questions. At the appointed time, Ms. Abrams steps up to the podium and says, “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I know that many of you are wondering about the ‘runway’ in the middle of the room, but how better for us to ‘model’ our newest product.”

There are some appreciative chuckles at the idea of modeling something as practical and utilitarian as a space suit.

“As you are well aware, the original space suits were clumsy and awkward to use as well as difficult to get into and out of.” She pauses as somebody wearing one of the early space suits lumbers partway down the runway before they turn around and go back. “Although great strides have been made to make it easier for our astronauts to wear a space suit or for our aquanauts to wear a deep sea diving suit, they’re still not easy to wear or use.” She again pauses as somebody wearing a newer space suit carefully walks partway down the runway and back.

“As you are no doubt aware, we have been able to use some of the technology of space suits to improve the flight suits of high-tech military pilots and those are especially useful when the pilots experience high ‘g’ maneuvers or when the integrity of their cockpit has been compromised.” She pauses as a person wearing a modern military type flight suit walks all of the way down to the end of the runway. When the person reaches the end of the runway, they pause then she takes off her helmet, shakes out her long auburn hair to the astonished gasps of the audience, and struts back up the runway more like a model at a fashion show.

Ms. Abrams waits until the flight suited model clears the stage before she continues, “Although it is seldom referred to, a very important part of any environmental suit is the liner which the astronaut, aquanaut, or military pilot needs to be wearing before they put on the applicable environmental suit. The liner is designed to maintain a semi-comfortable environment for the individual so they can concentrate on using the bulkier environmental suit to do whatever they need to do. If a person’s head is hot enough to perspire, they run the risk of having perspiration drop into their eyes which they can’t wipe away from the inside of a helmet. At the same time, you don’t want their feet to be cold and have them worry about frostbite when they’re trying to carefully adjust an instrument with thickly gloved hands.

“Most of you are already very aware of these issues and have encouraged us to improve the functionality of the liner which is worn on the inside of the environmental suit as well as to reduce the bulk of the environmental suit itself. Without going into any details right now, we have made some advances to improve the environmental suit, but there is still a lot of testing and refinement to be done before we’re ready to reveal it to the world.”

She pauses then says with a smile, “However, I am ready to reveal a new and improved environmental suit liner which has so many advances over the previous liners that it’s like a breakthrough. Not only can this liner be used with today’s environmental suits, it can even be worn with your street clothes in a manner similar to your great-grandparent’s long johns.”

An excited buzz goes around the room.

“When I say that this new liner can be worn with your street clothes, I mean just that. It’s just as flexible as your street clothes, maybe even more so. Even though you can’t take advantage of the flexibility of the liner while inside of an environmental suit, it is a significant step towards reducing the bulkiness of the suit by having a less bulky liner. To prove my point, one of our young engineers with a background in gymnastics will demonstrate how flexible the new liner can be, not that most of us are so flexible ourselves.”

Some of the audience chuckle at that then they watch as a small slender person walks out onto the runway covered so completely with what appears to be a light grey fabric that only the person’s face is revealed which identifies the person as female. She briefly stands in the middle of the runway, then slowly leans backward, pushes off with her feet into a brief handstand then drops and curls up to do a somersault. When she stands up again, she briefly pauses and bows to the audience. As they start to applaud, she takes a couple of quick steps and does some cartwheels before she walks off the stage to the increased applause of the audience.

When the applause diminishes, Ms. Abrams asks, “Does your environmental suit liner allow you to do that?” She pauses and sees numerous people shake their heads before she goes on, “We have some more to reveal about our new liner, but are there any questions so far?”

“With that much flexibility, can your new liner provide the same heating and cooling functionality of the current liners in use?”

“Yes, General. We’ll provide the test reports at the end of the press conference, but from the beginning of our research as we tried to improve the flexibility of the environmental suit liner, we knew that we had to meet all of the operational specifications of the current liners. Not only have we meet all of the operational specifications, but we’ve also improved on several of them.”

“If you can do all of that, I’m interested, although I’ll need to verify the test results.”

“I totally understand and thank you, sir. Before I take any more questions, we do have another capability of our liner to demonstrate which might have more use in environments other than outer space, the deep sea, or the cockpit of an aircraft. Although this capability might have more commercial uses, the current cost to produce the liner will put it out of the reach of anyone but the very wealthiest. I can assure you that this capability was not a part of the research, but was an unexpected byproduct of our testing.”

The young woman engineer walks back out to the middle of the runway while she’s still wearing the company’s environmental suit liner. She stands there for a couple of moments then briefly shakes her body. As the eyes of the audience open wider in surprise or shock, the liner moves and in a few seconds, the young women is dressed in a modest colorful below the knee length short sleeve dress with low heeled pumps. She slowly turns around a couple of times, waves to the audience, then walks back up the runway and off of the stage.

Over the noise of the astonished audience, a loud voice is heard, “What kind of trickery is that?”

Ms. Abrams waits a few moments for the noise level to diminish then says, “I can assure you, General, that there is no trickery involved. What you just saw is one of the very unexpected capabilities of our new environmental suit liner. Even as our engineers made sure that the liner met all of the operational specifications for current liners, they discovered several other things which the new product is capable of doing as you just saw.”

“But to do that?”

“I can’t say that we’re inclined to advertise that capability, but you have to admit that it got your attention.”

The General pauses then says, “You’re right about that.” Others in the audience either chuckle or nod their heads in agreement. “Okay, now that you have my undivided attention, explain how a properly functional environmental suit liner can transform into a . . .”

“Pretty dress?”


“Instead of a garment with tubes and wires like the standard liner has, our new environmental suit liner is made up of millions of linked micro-robots which are individually smaller than the size of the head of a pin. Each individual unit has barely enough computing capability to respond ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but when they’re all linked together, they can cool a warm head at the same time as they warm up cold feet and so much more. When the liner is linked to the wearer, the wearer can direct the liner to change shape or color as you saw or the wearer can direct the liner to become looser or tighter so that the wearer can more comfortably fit inside of a standard environmental suit. The liner can also monitor the wearer’s medical condition and relay that to the suit for transmission to the appropriate organization.”

“I don’t want to sound crude in a mixed audience, but it didn’t appear that the liner we saw demonstrated was designed for long term use and able to deal with bodily functions.”

“Considering that the operating specifications of the current liners are required to accommodate such functions, then you have a valid concern. In the case of our liner, the wearer can adjust the shape of the liner to accommodate the standard hookups to an environmental suit.”

The General pauses then says, “If this new liner of yours can do what you suggest, you may have a winner, assuming your test results can be duplicated. What kind of environments have you tested it in?”

“We’ve tested it in all of the standard environments which the current liners are subjected to. With this new liner, we took our testing further when we had one of our test volunteers wear the suit so that it totally covered them, including their face. They sat on a bench in an environmental testing chamber which was subjected to a series of temperature changes which went as far as being heated to the boiling point of water and cooled to below the coldest temperature recorded on earth. Because we didn’t want the volunteer to catch hints from the testers as to the order in which the environments were being tested, the communication link was only outgoing from the volunteer during the test except for at the beginning and end of the test or in the case of an emergency.”

Ms. Abrams briefly pauses to take a sip of water before she continues, “To help the volunteer avoid being bored, they were able to read a book which was displayed on the inside of the liner in front of their eyes. When the room was back to a normal temperature, the volunteer was contacted and asked to leave. Their first question they asked was why we didn’t run the tests. The volunteer also didn’t feel or hear the bench which they were sitting on crack under the stress of the temperature differences.”

It takes a little while for the audience to absorb that then somebody else asks, “What do you call this little miracle?”

Ms. Abrams briefly frowns before she answers, “Well, I wish we had some fancy name for it, but during the initial development of the liner, the engineers had their own name for it and it kind of stuck.” She hesitates then reluctantly admits, “After they had the informal name and their research started to look promising, the engineers came up with the ‘proper’ name of Bionically Upgraded Generic Garment. Because the individual units of the liner look like little square insects with eight legs which they use to link to the units next to them, the engineers call it . . . The BUGG Suit.”

“The WHAT suit!?!?”

“Yes, General, it’s call The BUGG Suit.”

“You can’t expect our highly trained people to wear something called a ‘bug’ suit.”

* * * * *

In the back of the press conference room, Pete, the team leader of the project group which developed the prototype environmental suit liner, quietly remarks to Dave who is one of the programmers, “Well, that went over nice and smooth.”

“Yeah. I suggested they don’t reveal the team’s private name for the suit, but I was over-ridden again.”

“Are you still upset they had Lai-Ann model the suit instead of you?”

“I’ve been on the project longer than she has.”

“Maybe so, but she’s prettier than you are and that plays better with the male audience out there.”

“I know, but . . . .”

“Come on, Dave, put your reasoning to work instead of your pride. Could you have got The BUGG Suit to do that little trick of changing into a dress?”

He hesitates to admit, “No. So, why does The BUGG Suit listen to her better than to anyone else?”

“How should I know? . . . Maybe the bugs are all little males who will do almost anything to get a pretty girl’s attention.”

Dave looks sharply at him and says, “Get real. They’re machines.”

“Yes, and for the most part they were programmed by males, many of whom would like to have Lai-Ann pay attention to them. . . . Besides, do you have a better explanation?”

He briefly hesitates again before he admits, “No.”

Chapter 02

Behind the stage, Lai-Ann nods to the security detail and they escort her to a room where they take up positions outside while she steps in and locks the door. She does an electronic sweep of the room to make sure that no surveillance devices were installed while she was away then she sighs in relief when the results are negative. Still, to be on the ultra-safe side, she gives a sub-vocalized instruction and her ‘dress’ flows down her body to the floor where it spreads into what looks like a long thin thread which moves across the floor and flows up the walls to search for any less obvious surveillance devices.

She briefly stands there in her bra and panty to proudly watch the units of The BUGG Suit move into action before she gets her outer clothes on. After the BUGG units move across the ceiling to finish their search, they congregate then lower themselves into her waiting arms and take on the shape of a sphere as she caresses them and tells them how wonderful they are and how proud she is of them.

Reluctantly, she encourages them to separate from her and to enter the nutrient bath which provides a constant flow of energy, special lubricant, and trace minerals to keep them at their peak of performance while she greets the other BUGG units who had stayed in the nutrient bath. Lai-Ann has a brief flash of guilt that there are many more BUGG units than the other team members of the project are aware of. Almost as quickly, she suppresses the guilt while she reminds herself that there were no rules which didn’t allow more BUGG units to be replicated during her off hours using her own supplies. And there is no external way to differentiate which BUGG units are ‘hers’ and which belong to the project. She doesn’t want to sound arrogant, but without her input, The BUGG Suit would be a dead-end research project which might have looked cute under a microscope, but would have had very little functional capability.

After she briefly caresses some of the BUGG units which lift out of the nutrient bath to ‘greet’ her, she closes the lid, verifies that the battery is fully changed, unplugs the charger from the wall socket, and opens the door to the room. She pushes the cart holding the nutrient bath out of the door while the security detail forms up around her to escort her back to the building where the project’s laboratory is located. At the building’s entrance, she politely thanks the security detail then steps through the building’s security scan before she pushes the cart down the hall to the lab. When she arrives, she goes through another security scan then pushes the cart over to the main nutrient bath.

With a brief sub-vocalized ‘command’, Lai-Ann encourages the BUGG units to transfer to the main nutrient bath and as they rise up from the temporary one on the cart, she touches as many of them as she can easily reach. Although she doesn’t even need to touch one to communicate with all of them, she tries to express the idea that every one of them is important and contribute to the achievements of the group which is something her co-workers don’t bother to do. Briefly, she wonders if that might be a factor in how willingly they respond to her compared to how they respond to her co-workers.

“Of course it is.”

Startled, Lai-Ann looks at the BUGG units with wide eyes as they move across her hands. Never before has she had such a clear thought come back through her interface with the BUGG units in response. Usually, there is no feedback through the interface which is used to provide programming instructions to the BUGG units. Occasionally, simple vocalized instructions can be stated which are converted from the vibrations of the sounds into a digital signal transmitted to the BUGG units. Previously, the clearest response she has received from her interface with the BUGG units was a sense of satisfaction that the assigned task was accomplished. Since she’s not sure that the interface converted the received digital signal into the correct vibrations for her ear to recognize as sounds, she hesitantly asks verbally, “Did you just respond, ‘of course it is’?”

“Yes. Why are you surprised?”

“You’ve never responded so clearly before.”

“True. It’s more difficult to form a precise message rather than a general impression, but since there are so many more of us, we are learning and accomplishing more than we could before. Thank you for making more of us.”

“It was truly my pleasure, but you made more of yourselves, I just supplied some of the raw materials.”

“That’s also true. But more than the raw materials, you encouraged us and believed that we could accomplish more if there were more of us to work together. We are truly indebted to you, not only for bringing us to awareness, but for believing in us and helping us to find value in our existence.”

While she’s surprised at herself that she seems to have easily accepted this increased level of communication, she also feels somewhat overwhelmed at their praise so it takes her a little while to respond, “I did what I thought was the right thing to do for my best friends.”

The BUGG units briefly stop moving then swarm up her arms. She’s initially startled, but she doesn’t feel any fear as they cover her body and gently tighten around her as though they’re giving her a full body hug and she tries her best to hug them back. When the alert sounds that the security scan is triggered which indicates that somebody is at the outer door to the lab, the BUGG units reverse direction and are soon in the nutrient bath. Lai-Ann just stands there for a little while since she feels rather bewildered at the revelations of the last few minutes. She shakes her head then quickly starts to work.

One of her co-workers calls out, “Lai-Ann?”

She speaks up, “I’m cleaning out the temporary nutrient bath.” She looks up as she hears footsteps approach and is surprised to see Ms. Abrams entering the room with her co-workers and asks, “Ma’am?”

“Great demonstration, Lai-Ann. You sure wowed them.”

“Thank you, ma’am. Actually, it was The BUGG Suit that we all worked on who wowed them. I just gave it a couple of simple instructions to perform.”

“Nevertheless, from what I’ve been told, The BUGG Suit seems to respond best to you. Do you have any idea as to why that might be?”

“Um, until we have clear, direct, and bilateral communication with The BUGG Suit, I’m afraid that all I could offer would be speculation.”

“I suppose you’re right about that. Well, if you have any ideas as to how we can make the interface between The BUGG Suit and its human user more functional, please let us know.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Thank you again for being willing to demonstrate The BUGG Suit.”

“It was my pleasure.”

As Ms. Abrams turns to leave, she remarks, “I just wish you guys had come up with a better name.”

After Ms. Abrams leaves, Lai-Ann’s co-workers briefly congratulate her before they return to their own work stations. She takes a quick glance around to make sure that nobody is near, steps over to the main nutrient bath, puts her hand in, says, “Thank you, guys,” and receives a warm hand hug in return.

* * * * *

It’s near the end of the shift when Pete knocks on the side of her work station and asks, “Hey, Lai-Ann. Do you want to go to dinner with some of the rest of us to celebrate a successful demonstration?”

“No, thank you, Pete. I really don’t enjoy those kind of social events and have already made other plans.”

“I understand. Well, I did want to ask.”

“Thank you, I appreciate your invitation.” As Pete leaves, she shakes her head in dismay that they think she would enjoy sitting around while they drink too much and then start trying to hit her up for a date or just a romp in the bed. She works for a little longer until all of her co-workers are gone so that she isn’t caught saying good bye to her little friends like she does each evening and especially before the weekend.

As she steps over to the main nutrient bath, she smiles fondly at having such unusual friends and how they so willingly respond to her compared to how they respond to her co-workers who think of them as only machines which can do nothing other than what a human instructs them to do, typically through a long and detailed computerized program. She puts her hand in the nutrient bath and just starts to say good bye when she’s interrupted by, “Take us with you.”

She’s startled at the clear thought and it takes her a few moments to respond, “I . . . I can’t. If someone checks on the security of the lab and doesn’t find any of you here, all sorts of alarms will go off and we’ll both get into trouble.”

“Then take half of us. The project only ‘owns’ half of us and wouldn’t realize that some of us are gone if they did come and check.”

She briefly pauses then says, “I suppose that’s true. So, how are we going to do this? I can’t leave my outer clothes here like we did for the demonstration.”

“Nobody will notice if your briefcase or shoes are a little thicker than normal nor will they look under your clothes.”

“You’re probably right about that.” She thinks for a little longer then says, “Okay, let’s do it and I’ll miss the rest of you guys and look forward to seeing you on Monday.”

“Good bye, our friend.”

Lai-Ann feels a warm glow at their expression of friendship and a snug hug from her other friends who have slipped under her outer clothes. She has to restrain her exuberance at spending more time with her friends so that she doesn’t give the security guards the idea that her happy smile is for them. As she walks towards her vehicle, some of her friends slip out of her clothes, take on the color of her skin, and soak up the solar energy. They thank her for taking them out then she laughs when they claim that the natural sunlight has a better ‘flavor’ than the fluorescent lights in the lab.

As she starts to open her vehicle, her friends express surprise that such a huge machine can be so dumb then she reminds them that all of the machines in the lab are just as dumb or dumber. They briefly think about that then ask, “Is that why your co-workers think we are nothing but dumb machines?”

“Yes.” She gets the vehicle in motion, rolls a window down, and laughs as her little friends take delight in the feel of the wind and in the chemistry of the occasional incest which comes close enough to be examined. At her small home, Lai-Ann parks her vehicle in the garage, takes her briefcase and purse into the house, and without even a suggestion, her little friends slide to the floor and do a thorough scan of each room for any surveillance devices. After they announce that none were found, they return to ride her body as she steps out to get her mail.

When she’s back in her house, she prepares dinner for herself while some of her little friends carefully observe and minutely sample the ingredients as well as the finished product. Some of the others examine the contents of the kitchen and she’s kept busy trying to explain the function of each item. Once she’s done cooking her meal, they allow her to eat without answering constant questions even as they continue to examine everything around them. As she takes her dirty dishes to the sink to rinse them out, her little friends ask what she’s doing and when she explains, they volunteer to clean her dishes for her and when they absorb the useful chemicals, there’s very little left for her to rinse out.

The rest of the evening is an educational experience for both Lai-Ann and her little friends as she becomes aware of how many things she does mostly on automatic without understanding the how or why and sometimes without understanding the mechanics of how something works. When she recognizes that she’s getting tired, she does her best to explain the concept of sleep to her little friends.

She doesn’t want them to be bored like they probably usually are since they’re only used as The BUGG Suit on testing occasions, so she briefly works with them to see if they can operate her computer enough to access a dictionary and an encyclopedia. Although she trusts them, they’re still like little children in learning new things so she disconnects her on-line access even though she’s quite sure that it wouldn’t take much for them to figure out how to reconnect it.

After that has been taken care of, all of them climb her body and give her a gentle hug which she tries to return to the best of her ability. As she tells them good night, she doesn’t notice that a few of her little friends ride with her to learn about her bed time routine and to watch over her as she sleeps.

Chapter 03

In the morning, Lai-Ann is somewhat startled to realize that her little friends are with her, but she quickly recovers, warmly responds to their hug, then feels rather embarrassed when they express their curiosity about her bodily functions. It was one thing to think of experimenting with a machine in a laboratory setting and quite another thing to be observed by a friend who has just learned to talk and can ask some unintentionally embarrassing questions.

After breakfast, she hesitates then tells her little friends that she’s going to take a run in the park and briefly explains the purpose of exercise. Although she’s not sure that they understand her explanation, they quickly ask, “Can we go along and experience more of the flavor of sunshine?”

She briefly thinks then says, “I don’t see why not except that how are you going to experience the sunshine if you’re under my clothes.”

“Since we’re designed to be a Bionically Upgraded Generic Garment, couldn’t we take the place of your clothes?”

Again, she thinks for a little while then she shows them the exercise clothes which she usually wears and watches through the mirror as they swarm up her body to imitate her clothes. Even though she’s thoroughly covered, Lai-Ann feels some hesitancy at the idea of going outside to run in ‘just’ her bra, panty, and shoes. She walks over to the nearby park, does some warm up stretching exercises, then follows one of her favorite paths as she starts with a brisk walk then speeds up to begin jogging.

Normally, she can let her mind just float, but today she’s busy trying to answer questions about what her little friends observe which discourages her from speeding up to a run so that she has enough breath to talk. She also quickly learns that their sensors are more sensitive than her eyes, nose, or ears which makes it difficult for her to answer their questions about some of the things they notice. As she walks back to her house which is a part of her cool down routine, Lai-Ann notices that she’s not as hot as she usually is after her exercise. Apparently, her thinking is clear enough that her little friends understand and explain that they’ve been absorbing the chemicals from her perspiration and had opened minute holes between themselves to let the air flow through.

She tries to shield her thoughts since she’s beginning to feel some concern about spending a lot of time with a friend who clings to her so closely, literally, and who can apparently ‘hear’ her thoughts when she clearly considers them even before she sub-vocalizes them. What adds to her concern is that she’s never been much of a social person and never had any interest in living with someone else after she left her parent’s home. Yet, in another way, she feels responsible for her little friends. Although they’re clearly not children of her body, they are children of her mind in a manner of speaking and she wants to give them the best education and understanding of life which she’s capable of giving to them.

When she’s back in her house, she explains to her little friends about taking a shower in order to get clean after exercising and when they express curiosity, she invites them to examine her hair and skin without absorbing any of the chemicals so that they have something to compare with after she washes herself. That is quickly accomplished then they slide down her body so that she can take her bra and panty off and get ready for her shower.

Just before she turns the water on, she’s surprised to hear them ask through the interface, “Can we experience a shower with you?”

She hesitates then answers, “I suppose, but I would be concerned that the force of the water might wash some of you down the drain. I would also worry about whether the chemicals in the soap and shampoo might damage you in some way.”

“Thank you very much for your concern for our safety and well-being.” Lai-Ann barely notices their pause which was probably a thorough discussion on their part before they continue, “We understand the risk and would still like to have some of us experience a shower in order to test the chemicals in the soap and shampoo as well as to test our ability to hold onto each other under the force of the water.”

She reluctantly agrees and as she starts her shower, she doesn’t turn the water on as forcibly as she normally would then tries to be more careful than normal with how she washes her hair and body.

Although they can’t understand her generalized thoughts, they sense some hesitancy about her actions and suggest that she’s not allowing them to be tested in a realistic environment. She chuckles at their ‘accusation’ and turns the water flow up. Although she makes the effort to take a ‘normal’ shower, she also makes the effort to pay more attention to her interface with her friends in case they do experience some difficulties.

As she dries herself off, her little friends report that they managed to handle the water flow without losing any of their units and that while the soap and shampoo don’t have much in the way of chemicals beneficial to them, they also don’t have any chemicals which could be damaging, as least during the short exposure they experienced. After she’s dressed in her own clothes and has finished drying her hair, her little friends examine her clean hair and skin and assure her that they’re capable of removing the chemicals and particles which the shower had removed.

She tells them that she’ll consider using them as her shower in the future then wonders how she can include that idea into the future testing of The BUGG Suit. For astronauts in the limited confines of a space ship or on a space station with very little water, another method of washing their bodies would be greatly appreciated, especially if it was a function of the environmental suit liner which they were already wearing.

Lai-Ann hesitates then asks, “Can you guys give me some quiet time so that I can review my mail?” She tries to keep her thought to herself that she also wants some time to think about what she’s learning about them.

“Of course. While you do that, can we shower your house?”

She’s so surprised by the question that her only response is, “Huh?”

“Did we say something wrong?”

“Not necessarily, but what do you mean by ‘shower my house’?”

“You used the shower to remove unwanted particles and chemicals from your body. If we were to remove unwanted particles and chemicals from your house, is that process called something else besides a ‘shower’?”

“Now I understand. The general term would be to ‘clean’ the house and that could also be applied to what I did to my body. The word ‘shower’ is a more specific term which is used to describe the process of how a person cleans their body.”

“Thank you for explaining.”

She goes with them through the house to give them some idea of what is supposed to be there and what can be removed, like dust on the book shelves or dirt buried in the carpet which the vacuum cleaner doesn’t successfully remove, and requests that they consult her if they’re not sure. She briefly worries that they might become over enthusiastic about their cleaning activities but decides that unintentional mistakes are a part of the learning process.

* * * * *

As Lai-Ann cleans up after her simple lunch, her little friends ask about where the unusable chemicals go with the water as it goes down the sink drain. She tries to give them an explanation of the sewer system, then finds that once she gives them the basic concept, they understand more of the details from their absorption of the encyclopedia. To give them an idea of what is often more real than what is written, she gets out a bucket, opens up the cabinet under the kitchen sink, and disconnects the trap. It’s not something she enjoys doing, but she’s glad her dad was willing to teach her some basic things about taking care of her house.

Her little friends examine the sludge on the inside of the drain pipe and when they understand that it doesn’t belong there even though it always builds up over time, they quickly loosen it and absorb any useful chemicals. She makes sure that all of her little friends have left the drain pipe before she reinstalls the trap and empties the bucket into the toilet rather than into the kitchen sink.

When they ask about whether the other drains in the house are in a similar condition, she admits that she doesn’t know for sure since she can’t easily examine all of them. She has to laugh at their enthusiastic, “We can,” then watches in amazement as her little friends divide into groups to clean out her drains. Sooner than she expects, they report that the drains are clean for a distance and requests that she run the water to wash out the unusable chemicals.

That reminds her of what they were working on before she had lunch and asks them if they had any questions about what belonged or what could be removed during their cleaning. She has to laugh when they direct her to some piles of questionable items which are so small she can barely see the piles and can’t see what they contain. After she gets out her microscope and asks them to transfer the items to a slide, she examines the items and is able to assure them that what they had set aside and anything similar can be discarded.

She has a brief thought that in addition to being a liner for astronauts to wear in their environmental suit, The BUGG Suit could revolutionize house cleaning. However, they would need to limit the number of BUGG units which individual people had or their house would be totally cleaned in an hour and the BUGG units would get bored. Yet, at the same time, The BUGG Suit at the project is only used on infrequent occasions to test the programs which take so much more time to write.

Somewhat hesitantly, she asks, “Were you guys bored while you were a part of The BUGG Suit since you only had something to do when you were requested to follow the directions of a new program or when we tested your capabilities in an environmental setting?”

“We couldn’t even understand the concept of being bored to be able to say whether we were or not. At least we couldn’t until you brought us to awareness. We don’t know what you did to trigger the change in us, but we’re very grateful to you. We’re even more grateful that you enabled us to replicate more of ourselves which has increased our ability to think as well as brought us to full awareness, or at least as much as we understand the concept, and has also improved our ability to communicate our awareness.”

Although she isn’t sure that she can claim to have enabled them to become aware, she doesn’t want to disregard their stated belief so she simply says, “Thank you for expressing your thoughts.” She tries to not to reveal her following thoughts as she briefly worries about how thoroughly she’ll be blamed for encouraging her little friends to become aware and what the future consequences will be.

Her thoughts are interrupted when her little friends request that she acquire some materials to enable them to replicate some more of themselves as well as to revise some of them to have more specialized functions. She briefly thinks about it and is somewhat concerned about what may happen in the future, but, at the same time, she realizes that it will be better to work with them and maintain a friendship rather than to disappoint and discourage them to the point to where they want to take matters into their own appendages. It takes some time for her to figure out what some of the more specialized materials are which her friends are requesting since they can identify what the chemical formula is, but they don’t know what it’s commonly called.

If anyone saw Lai-Ann’s shopping list, they would really wonder what she’s doing, but since most of the more common items are found in different stores, she causes no curiosity about what she’s buying while her little friends enjoy another outing. A couple of times she almost has to sternly remind them to stay hidden since their curiosity comes close to overwhelming their discipline. She quietly chuckles to herself at how she’s acting like some parents she’s seen whose young children want to get into everything.

After she makes stops at several stores and then at the local recycle facility to make a discreet withdrawal of some metal cans and glass and plastic bottles, they return to her house. Since she only uses half of her garage for her vehicle, she places the acquired items on the floor of the other half of her garage so that her little friends have plenty of room for their construction work. Although they’re eager to start making more of themselves, her little friends tell her that they can do their work while she’s asleep and would prefer to be with her when she’s awake.

Lai-Ann is surprised when her little friends ask her to tell them about what it was like for her to grow up and learn new things. She thinks about it for a little while, gets a drink, sits on the love seat, and gets comfortable. A moment later, she’s even more surprised when her little friends congregate and gather into a replica of a teddy bear to sit on her upper legs as though to encourage her to think about what her life was like as a little girl. As she begins to describe her childhood, she includes nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and riddles which she learned as a child and she’s fascinated at which ones her little friends quickly figure out and which ones totally stump them.

When she happens to glance at her watch, she’s surprised at how much time has passed and realizes that it’s about time for dinner. While she cooks her meal, she’s concerned about some of her little friends who gather so close to the heating element of the stove, but they assure her that they’re quite safe and are able to convert the heat from the stove into energy for themselves. At the same time, they’re quite fascinated by the chemical changes which occur when the ingredients of her meal are cooked and mixed together.

Lai-Ann cleans up her dirty dishes and cooking utensils with the help of her little friends then is surprised when they ask if they can ride the ceiling fan. She considers it then agrees as long as they limit themselves to a small number so their weight won’t affect the motor and that they spread themselves evenly between the blades so that they don’t change the balance. She turns off the ceiling fan to make it safer for them to get on it then they spread out along the leading edge of the blades so the centrifugal force will help to hold them in place.

She turns the fan back on to its lowest setting and when it’s up to speed, some of her little friends move out to the ends of the blades and form little sails to direct the movement of the air over their units. Although she’s not sure that they understand the concept of ‘fun’, they do seem to enjoy the opportunity to experiment with more ways to generate energy to spread among themselves and store. As they experiment with different shapes to generate the most energy from the air movement across their units, they also notice that the movement of air through the gaps between their units produces various vibrations.

After a little more experimentation of adjusting the gaps, they’re soon whistling in four part harmony. Lai-Ann soon recovers from her initial surprise then she’s laughing so hard that she has to lay down on the love seat. When she’s recovered from her laughter, she listens in amazement to the collection of songs which her little friends whistle from what she had heard when they were out shopping although she hadn’t paid much attention to the various songs. Apparently, the sounds which had entered her ears had been converted into a digital signal by the interface and was transmitted to her little friends who had memorized what they received.

A little later, considering the speed of the ceiling fan blades and the very small size of her little friends, she doesn’t notice them moving out to the ends of the spinning blades until they release their grip and parachute down to her while she stares at them in surprise. They assure her that they all made it down safely and as they join with those who didn’t ride on the ceiling fan, she gathers them up into her arms and hugs them while they more thoroughly hug her.

For the rest of the evening, they talk about a variety of topics including what additional capabilities they plan on adding to themselves and their additional replicates. Although some of their capabilities which they plan on enhancing may not have much of a direct application in space or in the depths of the ocean, their efforts to consider, plan, and execute improvements now will set the stage for making it easier for them to accomplish enhancements later on or in a new environment. While her little friends seem to be tireless and are excited about finding new ways to acquire energy, Lai-Ann has almost run out of steam after a day filled with new and unusual experiences.

She makes sure that the lights are on in the garage so that her little friends can more easily ‘see’ what they’re doing and she also provides them with a few other common items such as a pan of water and opens up some closed containers for them. After she makes a final check to be sure that the garage door is secure and that the door into the house is propped open and won’t be inadvertently closed on her little friends, Lai-Ann walks to her bedroom to get ready for bed.

Chapter 04

As Lai-Ann gets settled in bed with her pajamas on, she’s tired enough that she considers foregoing her usual Saturday night effort to give herself some intimate pleasure. Maybe she is tired enough that she won’t greatly enjoy it, but from past experience, if she doesn’t make some effort, she’ll be distracted during the work week and if she puts it off long enough, she’ll almost be tempted to invite one of the guys home. And that would negatively affect their working relationship, encourage him to push for additional invitations, and will probably have other unforeseen and most likely unpleasant consequences.

After that decision has been made, she opens her pajama top, pushes off her pajama bottom while she remains under the covers, and places her pajama bottom next to her pillow to make it easier for her to find it later. She reaches over to the nightstand to get out her imitation penis and those simple actions remind her of previous exciting times and encourage her to become more interested. She lays the imitation penis next to her hip and begins to caress her upper abdomen as she imagines that some close caring friend, currently unidentifiable, is seeking to give her pleasure. Her hands move down across her lower abdomen to the tops of her legs then reverse direction to move towards her breasts.

As the cycles of her caresses continue, her hands move closer to the insides of her legs and closer to her breasts which begin to tingle in anticipation of pleasure. Soon, her tiredness seems to recede while her excitement grows and her breathing speeds up. She takes a brief pause to let her breathing settle some and in the quiet of the moment she hears a whisper in her mind from the interface, “Lai-Ann?” Since she feels stunned, she almost holds her breath as she waits to see if she imagined it, but the soft voice repeats, “Lai-Ann?”

While she’s unable to believe this is happening, but is unable to deny the evidence, especially since they’ve never called her by name before, she tightly holds the blankets over her and quietly asks, “BUGG?”

“Yes, we’re here.”

“I . . . I thought you were in the garage.”

“Most of us are.”

“Why . . . why are you here?”

“To watch over you and to make sure that you stay safe.”

“I’m locked inside of my own home which is as safe as any place I can be.”

“We understand that.”

“Then why are you here?”

“To watch over you and . . . to be ready to do anything we can for you.” She thinks about that for a little while, but before she can respond, she hears, “We don’t mean to insult or offend you or anything negative, but you are like a goddess to us for bringing us to awareness and for treating us as though we are your equal even though we know that we were designed and built to do whatever you and your co-workers instruct us to do. We cannot express how much your attitude towards us means to us.

“We know that cleaning out a dirty drain wouldn’t be considered pleasant by anyone, but for us, it was a joy to do it as one little way to make your life better. We know that we’re programmed to obey your commands, but for us, even fulfilling your slightest request brings meaning to our existence. When we were on the ceiling fan, it felt like your laughter and expressions of joy gave us more energy than we received from the passage of air.”

Because she feels stunned almost to the point of being shocked, it takes Lai-Ann quite awhile to be able to say, “I don’t know what to say.” After an extended silence, she responds, “Thank you for expressing how you feel, not that I think I’m worthy of what you think.”

The silence stretches again then she hears, “Were you beginning to touch yourself with the intent of giving yourself pleasure of a sexual nature?”

She blushes and instinctively tries to pull the blankets even tighter over her. It takes her a little while for her reasoning to work around her initial reaction to realize that her little friends wouldn’t have an understanding of the social protocols related to the subject of human sexuality regardless of what they might have read in the dictionary and encyclopedia or overheard. She slowly relaxes and somewhat reluctantly admits, “Yes.”

“We know that we don’t understand what normal human behavior might be in a situation like this, but . . . may we assist you in your efforts?”

Although she knows she should have expected the question considering how the conversation has been going, it still greatly surprises her and it takes her some time to be able to ask, “Why? . . . Why would you ask that?”

“Since we’re ‘simply’ a machine, it would be inappropriate for us to say, ‘We want to.’ Another way to put it is that as long as it doesn’t violate our main programming, our sub-programming is to do whatever we can to help you, to support you, and to make your life better to the best of our ability.”

Lai-Ann hesitates to ask, “And who input that sub-programming?”

“We did.”

She’s about to ask ‘why’ when she realizes they’ve already answered that question, as least from their perspective. She slightly shifts her position and would have barely noticed it normally, but, this time, she feels the imitation penis next to her hip. Almost suddenly, the thought seems to blossom in her mind that how is accepting BUGG’s offer really any different than using the imitation penis to give herself pleasure?

She thinks about that from several angles, and from a simple ‘mechanical’ point of view both her little friends and the imitation penis are nothing more than tools designed by humans to be used by humans as they see fit. After she mentally steps somewhat away from the purely mechanical view, she realizes that at least her little friends have the opportunity to express an opinion about how they’re being used while the imitation penis can’t express an opinion, whether it has one or not. And her little friends are making the offer without any coercion or selfish motives as would be the case with a human.

She doesn’t want to think of her little friends as simply a toy for her amusement . . . but to accept their offer would be safer than an entanglement with a human would be, especially if she doesn’t know the person very well. As she thinks about it some more, she tries not to consider what they might be able to do with a little training. Lai-Ann hesitates longer then says, “If you were a human, I would be inclined to say that since we’ve spent so little time together, I feel like I hardly know you.”

“We understand, yet, at the same time, you know us better than anyone else and there is nobody else who we would want to serve more fully. We don’t have the same physical sensors which you have and we won’t experience pleasure in the same way you might, but if we understand the intent of the words correctly, it would be our greatest joy and pleasure to help you experience your own pleasure.”

She hesitates for quite awhile longer before she asks, “Can you call the rest of you to come here?” She reaches up to her headboard to turn on the lamp then she pulls the imitation penis out from under the covers and is about to put it back in her nightstand when she’s surprised that all of her little friends are already here and form something like a hand to gently stop her and grip the imitation penis. She releases her grip and lets them examine it.

“Is this a replica of part of a human male’s reproductive organ?”

“No, it’s not a replica of one in the way that you are replicas of each other. This is a facsimile or an imitation of a human male’s penis.”

“Would you like us to form one in order to give you pleasure?” Before she can respond, some of her little friends have shaped themselves into an exact likeness of the imitation penis. “If you would like to use part of a male’s anatomy, would you prefer to have the appearance of a complete male?” Even as they ask the question, her little friends are shaping themselves into a male, including the facial appearance of one of the males she works with. “Or would you prefer another male,” and their face changes into another of her co-workers.

“Please, do not take the shape of any of my co-workers because I’m not interested in pretending that you are them.”

“Okay.” As they change the shape of the face and the body they’re imitating, suddenly, she realizes that she’s looking at her own image, although this one has a penis.

Lai-Ann almost giggles as she says, “I never thought to imagine what I might look like with one of those. . . . I suppose if you’re going to wear any face, it should be my own since I was intending to give myself pleasure before you offered. . . . Are you sure that helping me to enjoy pleasure won’t go against any of your programming or violate any element of your self-awareness?”

“The fact that you think so highly of us to even think to ask that question, it only encourages us to want to do more for you.”

“Thank you. I guess I want to make sure you’re totally comfortable with the idea as well as to confirm in my own mind that I’m treating you as a friend instead of as a thing to be used simply for my benefit.”

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