Inspired by "The Offer" by

If you have not read "The Offer" by, to which this story is a sequel, stop right here and read it first. (It's available here, among other places.) If you don't, you're missing out on a GREAT story and you may not understand everything that occurs in this one!

Note: The following story contains explicit sexual material. If stories about sex, and particularly robots and sex, do not appeal to you, please don't read any further. This story should not be read by anyone under eighteen years of age. (You know who you are.)

Chapter 9: Catching Up

Ben stepped forward to the edge of the platform as his train approached, carefully gauging its speed. He prided himself on his ability, honed over several long years of commuting, to guess exactly where the doors would end up when the train finally stopped. On most days, it made the difference between getting a seat and being forced to stand for twenty minutes. As the train slowed to a halt, Ben moved a couple of steps to his left. Perfect! The doors opened directly in front of him, and he was easily able to nab one of the few empty seats.

As the train accelerated out of the station, Ben opened his newspaper and began flipping through the sports pages. For some reason, none of the stories seemed to grab his attention. Though he continued to scan the pages distractedly, Ben couldn't take his mind off of Sam, and the way she'd made him feel the night before. As he continued to dwell on the image of Sam in her silver catsuit—the way she'd moved and talked, the key turning slowly in her back—Ben soon found that he had to hold the paper in his lap to hide his hard-on.

Of course, this wasn't the first time Ben had gotten an erection on the subway. It wasn't something he typically gave much thought. But he felt strangely self-conscious this morning—partly because of how unusual his fantasies were at the moment, and partly because his excitement was incredibly intense. There was no doubt that the underwear Sam had given him was having some sort of effect on him. It was tingling—and the more aroused Ben grew, the stronger the sensation became.

By the time the train reached Ben's stop, his underwear was sending a constant, gently pulsating current through his crotch and buttocks. The current didn't subside when he stood up to get off the train; in fact, the movement of the fabric against his skin when he walked only intensified the strange tingling. As he climbed the stairs to the street, it was all Ben could do to pretend nothing was going on in his pants.

As soon as Ben reached his office building, he headed for the men's room to get a look at his underwear. Removing his pants inside one of the stalls, Ben was amazed to discover that what had once been a pair of skimpy briefs now resembled a pair of tight shorts, extending from his waist down to the very top of each thigh in front and back. What the hell was going on?

It was obvious that this was no ordinary pair of underwear. As he recalled the way Sam's suit had inexplicably allowed him to enter her the night before, Ben's mind began to race. It occurred to him that he ought to head straight back home, or at least to the nearest phone, to question Sam about the mysterious silver fabric. He didn't, though, for two reasons. The first was the fact that he had an important 9:30 meeting, and it was already twenty after. He needed all of the next ten minutes to check his voice mail and rush to the conference room. But even more compelling than the time was the simple fact that Ben liked the way the silver material was making him feel. Sam had discovered something special, there was no doubt about that. Ben decided to let himself enjoy it for a while.

For the entire duration of the meeting, Ben found it difficult to stay focused. It was a struggle to think of anything but the pleasurable sensation the silver lycra was giving him. He was sure that everyone in the room could tell how distracted he was. Usually he was much more engaged in meetings, even though he'd long since become cynical about his projects and his customers. He was too professional to let on that he hated his job. But today, Ben didn't care if anyone—if everyone—realized that he was sick of it all.

There was one other thing that Ben didn't seem to mind: the fact that the tingling sensation was spreading to his thighs and stomach. Ben could no longer deny what he had suspected in the bathroom: that the silver fabric would eventually spread to cover his entire body. He was sitting in a room full of people in formal business attire, dressed in one of his best pinstriped suits himself, yet underneath his clothes his body was slowly being enveloped in silver spandex—and he was experiencing the most intense pleasure he'd ever known short of coming.

"Ben?" The voice belonged to Carla Freeman—one of Ben's fellow project managers, and the person who'd called the meeting. Ben looked up from his notebook, in which he hadn't written a thing other than the date.

"Ben, you don't look so well. Is everything all right?"

"I—I got in really late last night," Ben stammered, patting his sweaty forehead with a handkerchief. "Plus I have a feeling I might be . . . coming down with something. Sorry to be so out of it."

"Don't worry," said Ben's boss, Hank Wells. "Why don't you step out of the meeting, see if you can't shake it off. If you still feel sick, you should probably take the rest of the day off."

"Thanks," Ben said weakly, pushing his chair back from the table and getting up. As he quickly turned to go, he was careful to hold his notebook in such a way that no one could see the tremendous bulge in his pants.

Five minutes later, Ben had stopped at his cubicle, grabbed his overcoat, and begun walking toward the elevators. By now he could tell that the spandex had spread below his knees and to the bottom of his rib cage. Ben was acutely aware of its progress, and he had no intention of trying to stop it. Something about how happy Sam had seemed the night before—not to mention his own curiosity and arousal—filled Ben with the sense that he should allow the amazing fabric to do whatever it needed to do.

In the meantime, he knew exactly what he had to do. He had to return home to Sam.

* * *

Sam watched patiently as her computer completed its boot sequence. She was sitting comfortably in her chair, covered from the neck down in her transformation suit, plugged into the wall to keep herself fully charged. Kim was standing to one side of her, wearing a white catsuit over most of her body. The catsuit flared out below the knee, falling loosely over shiny white platform boots; it was also flared at the wrists, leaving her silver hands exposed. It had a high, broad collar which stood straight up at the back of her neck, and a plunging neckline which revealed sparkling chrome cleavage. Kim's face and hair were also completely metallic.

"Kim," Sam asked as she started up her ISP, "not that you don't look great and all, but what's up with the funky suit?"

"Oh, I'm just trying to have a little fun here," Kim replied, checking the circuitry under Sam's suit along her upper left arm. "I have to wear something to prevent the electromagnetic fields generated by my body from interfering with your transformation process. It's supposed to look more or less like a lab coat, but I don't see why I can't make mine more interesting."

Once she was on-line, Sam headed for the Precision Passion web site. She and Kim now fell completely silent, since the whole point was for Kim to observe her as she interacted with the site on her own.

This was actually the second time Sam had visited the web site under Kim's observation. The first time, she'd finally received the "offer" Kim had already made in person—the opportunity to begin a new life as a robot. Sam had eagerly accepted by requesting her first set of add-on accessories for the suit—including the wind-up key and power pack. Her order had been processed instantaneously; after just a few minutes, a silver package containing the entire accessory kit had materialized right in her bedroom.

Sam wasn't sure what to expect during this visit, but she was certain that the site would tell her exactly what to do. Sam really liked being told exactly what to do.

Soon Sam was greeted by the familiar sight of the Precision Passion home page. The tone of the welcome message no longer had a sales-pitch quality, which was fine with Sam. She no longer required any persuasion to follow the site's instructions. Having made up her mind to become an android, she knew that she would obey whatever commands her computer screen gave her.

Welcome back, Samantha. You will now begin Stage Two of your processing.

During this stage, you will establish a direct connection to our central processors so that you can be fully reprogrammed. Your initial programming will consist primarily of low-level instruction codes designed to trigger physical changes to your internal systems, particularly your basic neural and motor functions. Your programming will contain all the information you will need to function as an N-designate android.

The sensations you will feel will be strange, but there is no pain associated with them. You will begin to lose the ability to control your thoughts as the programming starts to take over. Some subjects are alarmed at this stage. Do not be alarmed—your android programming will be superior to your current thought process. Just relax and enjoy the sensations you are about to experience.

You will begin the reprogramming sequence as soon as you have read this sentence.

Immediately upon reading the last word of the instructions, Sam heard the familiar, soothing voice in her head. BEGIN PROGRAMMING.

ACTIVATE VOCAL. "Initiating Stage Two reprogramming sequence," Sam said flatly.

ESTABLISH NEURAL CONNECTION. Sam immediately stood up, found the box in which her wind-up key and power pack had arrived, reached inside, and pulled out a strange-looking silver headset. The headset fit neatly over her head, its circular pads just large enough to cover her ears. A silver phone wire, ending in a T connector, extended from the right ear pad. Reaching behind her computer, Sam gently disconnected the phone line from her modem and inserted it into her headset connector. She was then able to plug the other end of the T connector into the modem so that she and her PC could access the line simultaneously.

As Sam sat in her chair once again, the sounds of her Internet connection—the same scratching, hissing, beeping, and boinging noises she once used to imitate—began to fill her ears. At first, Sam concentrated intently on the sounds, as though by listening closely she could decipher them. But it was all just noise. Then a high-pitched tone came over the line, pure and unwavering. It was happening!

Sam had an impulse to turn around toward Kim, to tell her how excited she was, but she decided that she was too comfortable. It was much easier to just settle into the chair and let her body go. There was no need to move—and after a few seconds of listening to the tone, she wasn't sure that she could move if she wanted to. A faint smile flickered at the edges of her mouth as she happily surrendered to the voice inside her mind.


Slowly, over the course of a full minute, the tone grew louder and louder until it drove away all other sensation, with the exception of the electric surges which now permeated Sam's entire body. Even Sam's eyes, wide open, saw nothing as the sound filled her mind completely. Her mouth fell open, and her fingers stretched out straight along the chair's armrests.

Sam was now ready to receive input. She understood that she should not attempt to think about the input—she must simply receive it.

Over the next several seconds, Sam forgot that there was someone else in the room with her. Then she forgot where she was. Finally, she forgot who she was. There was nothing, not even the voice which had been her constant companion in recent days. There was only data, filling her empty mind and providing her with a new, updated self. One. One. Zero. One. Zero. Zero. Zero. One. Zero.

"I am . . ."

One. Zero. One. Zero. Zero. One. One. Zero. One. One. Zero. One. One. Z . . .

"I am Unit N979. I am ready for programming."

As the new android unit continued to download her programming, her best friend in the whole world—android unit T801—smiled approvingly.

More than two hours passed as the primitive telephone modem slowly transmitted the necessary data into the girl's mind, bit by bit. Then the new recruit blinked her eyes, lifted her arms, and breathed sharply. Stage Two of her programming was now complete. The girl who, an hour earlier, had thought of herself as Samantha Taylor was now simply Unit N979. The unit's reprogramming had been a complete success.

Unit N979 removed her headset and rose from her chair. She turned to stand at attention before a second android unit whose . . . designation . . . she no longer remembered.

The other android unit smiled, and put a hand on Unit N979's shoulder. "So?" the unit asked. "What do you think?"

INPUT RECEIVED. ACTIVATE VOCAL. "This unit has received primary programming," N979 said matter-of-factly. "This unit is functioning properly."

"Glad to hear it, kiddo. Now, I'm sure you must have questions, so shoot!"

N979 thought about that for a moment, her head tilting oddly back and forth as she did so. She'd been pretty well prepared for this stage of the transformation, and especially now that it was over she understood most of what had happened. She had been successfully reprogrammed. The core pathways of her neural system were rapidly being replaced by circuitry which functioned much more efficiently and reliably. She was now aware of the millions of lines of code which specified exactly what to think, how to process and interpret the constant stream of data being transmitted to her android brain, and how to control each part of her changing body.

Unit N979 no longer had any questions about herself whatsoever. There was really only one thing she wanted to know. Her head locked into position as she prepared to speak.

ACTIVATE VOCAL. "What is your designation?" she asked.

"I am Unit T801," her friend replied. "I am programmed to function as a T-designate android, which means I am designed specifically to recruit new units into android society. I am the unit responsible for recruiting you."

T801 let those words hang in the air a moment for effect. "You can thank me any time now," she added wryly.

INPUT RECEIVED. ACTIVATE VOCAL. "Thank you, U.nit T801," N979 said flatly, her voice lapsing briefly into a delicious monotone. The levity of her old friend's remark was lost on her at first. Then her head twitched to the side as she suddenly remembered how much T801 had helped her over the past few days—and how badly she needed her help in recruiting her . . . boyfriend to be transformed into a suitable companion unit for her. "No, seriously, I mean it. the greatest day.of my life!"

"I'm really happy for you, N979. Stage Two seemed to go quite smoothly for you. Was it comfortable?"

"Oh yes, it was per.fect," N979 answered as her programming receded comfortably to the background of her mind. It pleased her that she was still intermittently slipping into monotone. "Now I can't wait for . . . what should I call him?"

T801 chuckled. "In a few hours, you'll be calling him Unit N982—I see no reason why you shouldn't start now."

"OK," N979 said, a contented, far-away look in her eyes. "I can't wait to assist you in process.sing Unit N982." Then N979 suddenly had a thought. "Can you tell me the current status of Unit N982?" she asked.

Unit T801 smiled yet again. "He'll be here any minute. Don't worry—as soon as he shows up, you'll both know exactly what to do. Just remember, you're significantly further along than he is right now—so go easy on him."

* * *

Ben sat silently in the backseat of a taxicab, staring down at his hands. They were still bare, but he knew it was only a matter of time before the silver fabric reached them. The tingling had already spread to his forearms; he could feel it in the tips of his toes. All he could do now was wait patiently for the suit to finish its job.

As the cab sped up an entrance ramp and merged with the highway traffic, Ben's thoughts turned to Sam. He couldn't wait to touch her breasts, her hips, her thighs—all perfectly silver and smooth. More than that, he couldn't wait to feel her silver hands on him—and to see the expression on her face when she got her first look at him in his suit. Come to think of it, Ben was anxious to see how he looked himself. Right now, his work clothes covered everything—except, of course . . .

His hands. Looking down at them again, Ben could now see bands of silver appearing just beyond the white of his shirt sleeves. A minute or two passed as Ben watched the fabric extend to his palms, and then his fingers. As the last of his fingertips turned silver before his eyes, a smile spread across Ben's face. "Cool," he whispered as he turned his hands over and flexed his fingers. The silver material was so thin, and so supple, that it didn't even feel like he was wearing gloves. The spandex was truly a second skin.

Seconds after the suit had finished covering his hands, Ben felt it rise above his collarbone. As soon as it reached the top of his neck, it stopped—and Ben briefly felt a staccato buzzing at the back of his neck, stronger and more urgent than the mild tingling which now permeated his entire body. A minute later, the suit buzzed again.

By now, the cab had exited the highway and was only a couple of miles from Ben's apartment. Ben took some cash out of his wallet, then put his winter gloves on to hide his hands. The back of his neck was buzzing for the seventh time in as many minutes as the cab pulled up in front of his place. After paying the driver, Ben headed inside.

He was climbing the steps when the back of his neck buzzed yet again. But this time, the buzzing was followed immediately by a second round of buzzing, higher in pitch.

With this new burst of electricity, Ben's body froze in mid-stride. He was stuck! Before Ben could even try to figure out what was going on, he heard a voice—a voice which seemed to be coming from inside his own mind. COMPANION UNIT WITHIN RANGE. What could that mean? Then the voice continued. BEGIN PROGRAMMING.



Suddenly, Ben started climbing the stairs again—though he had no idea how. His body was moving on its own. When he reached the second floor, he found Sam standing in the open doorway to their apartment in her silver catsuit. She was smiling sweetly, her hands clasped in front of her like a high-school girl waiting to be picked up on prom night.

The voice in Ben's head spoke again.



Ben felt his mouth open. He began to speak. "I am . . ."

Ben's eyes betrayed his confusion as they locked on Sam's. For some reason, Sam looked completely calm and confident. She was biting her lower lip, and nodding her head ever so slightly in anticipation of his next words. She sure seemed to know a lot more about what was going on than he did!

Ben felt his head tilt a little to the side as he spoke again. "I am . . . programmed . . . for you." An amazing rush of electricity surged through his body as he said this. He could feel his rock-hard penis straining against the fabric of his suit. He wanted Sam—now.

"I know, honey," Sam said, her head tilting a bit to the right as she reached out for him. The way she held her hand was odd—its vaguely pointing gesture looked like that of a mannequin—and her movements were just a little too precise and controlled. Something was different about her. "I'm programmed for you, too. I know that must seem really strange to you right now, but it's all going to make sense before you know it—I promise. Come on inside and I'll show you what I mean."

As soon as Sam took his hand, Ben began to walk forward. His movements were slow and stiff, completely lacking any of the mechanical grace with which Sam led him into the apartment. A steady current of electricity was now coursing through his suit.

Once he was a few steps inside the apartment, Ben stopped. He didn't move a muscle as Sam walked over to close the door. "OK," she said, "looks like the first thing we should do is get that suit off you." She giggled as she moved closer to him. "Not your silver suit, of course. I mean this useless business suit you're wearing." Sam removed Ben's jacket, then came around to the front and loosened his tie. Ben continued to stare ahead, unmoving, as Sam undid the buttons of his shirt. He moved his arms just enough to help her get the shirt off his body, still lost in a haze of confusing thoughts and images.

"You look gorgeous," he heard Sam say as she pressed her silver palms against his equally silver chest. "I can't wait to feel you inside me. I just know you're going to be good at this." Her voice! For a brief instant, it had taken on a flat monotonic quality that sent a shiver down Ben's spine. Sam's hands dropped to Ben's waist, and she began to undo his belt. "Help me out here, honey?" she asked, unzipping his pants.

Ben willed his right knee to bend, and after a noticeable lag it finally responded. He couldn't believe how stilted his movements were. Only with a monumental effort was he able to lift his foot high enough for Sam to remove his shoe and sock. After Sam pulled his pants and underwear down, he awkwardly pulled his leg free, then repeated the same process for his left leg. Finally, Ben stood up straight, facing Sam. He was completely naked now, covered in the tight, electric silver fabric, unsure what would happen next.

Sam knelt down in front of him and put her hand to his crotch. As she ran her fingers down along the length of his erection, Ben felt an irresistible surge. He had to have her. When was he going to be able to move? And how was he going to get himself out of the suit? As disoriented as he was, he knew for certain that he wouldn't be able to do anything with his manhood trapped inside the spandex.

Sam pressed her palm against Ben's cock, as through she were about to grip it, sending an electric charge through his body. But of course, thanks to the suit, she was unable to close her fingers around him. "This won't do at all," she said wryly. You got that right, Ben thought to himself. Now what was she going to do about it?

"Ben," she said, pulling her hand away as she looked up at him, "it's time." Her head suddenly cocked to the side, and her eyes widened. "Load program: transform one."

Ben immediately felt his body jerk taut. ACTIVATE VOCAL. "Un.der.stood," he heard himself say, his voice as hollow and monotonic as Sam's had been the night before. What the hell? "Loa.ding . . . pro.gram."

Ben's entire body shook slightly. INITIATE TRANSFORM INTERFACE.

To his amazement, the fabric at his crotch suddenly began to loosen, allowing his cock to descend like a drawbridge until it was pointing straight ahead. Somehow, the suit stretched to fit him perfectly—it was still wrapped tightly around him, like a shiny metallic condom. Ben felt his head tilt to the side again.

ACTIVATE VOCAL. "Pro.gram loa.ding com.plete."

"Excellent," Sam said. Still on her knees, she grasped him firmly in both hands. "Now I want you to relax and enjoy this, Ben. The voice will tell you everything you need to do . . . which won't be much. Trust me."

With that, Sam winked, and brought her mouth toward him. "Prepare for interface, honey," she said. The voice commanded Ben once more—though by now it seemed less intrusive.



Sam's silver lipstick sparkled as she sucked gently, playfully, on the tip of Ben's gleaming silver cock. "I love you so much," she said, her eyes glazing over slightly, before opening her mouth wider to accommodate as much of him as she could. She continued to service him, sending jolt after jolt of electricity up and down his body. Amazingly, the suit didn't get in the way of Ben's ability to feel what Sam was doing; in fact, it did just the opposite, enhancing and magnifying every movement of her lips and tongue. The pleasure seemed to go on forever, but for some reason Ben didn't come. It occurred to him that this must be because the voice hadn't told him to come.

Sam pulled away for a moment. Amazingly, her lipstick was still perfect. "Ben," she said, still staring dreamily at his silver cock, "you're such a won.derful robot, it's making me feel . . . robo.tic too. I can feel my pro.gramming taking over now . . . my con.trols so that I can be a more com.pan.i.on for you. I—"

Sam's body suddenly shook as an electric pulse coursed through her. Her left hand tightened around Ben's cock, sending the pulse through him as well. A look of utter shock flashed across Sam's face, followed by a weak smile. "I—"

A second jolt overcame her, this one even more powerful than the last. This time, when the pulse subsided, she didn't smile. Instead, her face assumed the same completely blank expression that Ben imagined he must be wearing right now. Her head jerked hard to the side.

"," Sam said in clipped monotone. ""

With a series of short, mechanical movements, Sam once again moved her head into position and took Ben into her mouth. She continued to work his cock, each motion smooth and precise. There was no emotion on her face; her eyes stared straight ahead, seeing nothing. Ben felt the electricity building inside him. He wasn't going to be able to hold out much longer . . . was he?

CIRCUITS APPROACHING CRITICAL LEVELS. PREPARE FOR RELEASE. CODE TRANSFORM ONE A. The commands couldn't have come at a better time! Ben was only too happy to comply. He couldn't wait to be rewarded for his . . . obedience.


Ben swelled even larger as he felt his body prepare itself for orgasm. He was about to come into Sam's mouth. She was going to come with him. He was ready.


Ben instantly went as rigid as a post. The current in his body quickly gathered itself to his crotch, where it burst forth out of his cock in an overwhelming rush of pleasure. Ben's entire body went out of control—legs trembling, head tilting and turning, arms flailing mechanically—but through it all he managed to keep his eyes fixed on Sam. He had to watch her finish him.

Sam did not disappoint. Generously, lovingly, robotically, she continued to suck on him as wave after wave of his orgasm rippled along the length of him. Then, her eyes suddenly went wide. COMPANION UNIT RELEASE BEGINS NOW. As her body began to shake, Sam grabbed Ben's ass and squeezed tightly, forcing him deeper into her mouth. Ben responded instantly, coming harder and harder. RELEASE. RELEASE. RELEASE.

After several seconds, Ben felt his body, and Sam's, begin to relax. RELEASE COMPLETE. CIRCUITS NORMAL. PROGRAM TRANSFORM ONE COMPLETE.

Ben's mouth opened. ACTIVATE VOCAL. ""

Sam gently slid her head back, letting him fall from her mouth. Smoothly, she stood at attention before him. Her blank stare changed gradually to the beaming, beautiful smile he loved so much. " . . . release," she said, the last word coming in her natural voice.

Ben wanted to say something—but before he could, he heard the voice again. BEGIN SHUTDOWN SEQUENCE. Ben's muscles tightened suddenly. Something was happening inside his body, something he couldn't control or stop. ACTIVATE VOCAL. "," he droned. He was getting used to the sound of his voice in monotone. It sounded . . . right.

But from the look on Sam's face, something didn't seem right to her. "Oh no you don't," she said, taking a few quick steps over to the kitchen counter to grab a small, slender black box. No, not a box, Ben realized as she pointed it at him—a remote control. A device capable of controlling him. Of course.

Sam pushed one of the buttons on the remote, and Ben instantly received new instructions. ABORT SHUTDOWN SEQUENCE. ABORT PROGRAM. Ben suddenly lurched forward, released from the control of the suit. Deftly staying on his feet, he spun around to face Sam. "Sam," he said, almost out of breath, "what . . . the hell . . . is happening to me?"

Sam tilted her head slightly, a look of concern on her face. "What's the matter, hon.ey? Don't you like it?"

Ben paused a second. His head was hurting a bit at the moment, but there was no denying how great he felt, or how much fun he was having. His girlfriend was giving him the greatest sex of his life, and here she was standing in front of him in the hottest skin-tight catsuit he'd ever seen. More than that, she had introduced him to an entirely new experience that he didn't want to let go of. There was only one problem with the whole thing—he had no way of explaining any of it.

"Yeah, I like it," he said, "whatever it is. Sam, you seem to know a lot more than I do at the moment. You've got to help me out here." As he said these words, Ben sat down on the couch. He noticed that his suit had reconfigured itself so that his crotch was simply a flattering silver bulge. Sam sat beside him, turning her shoulders toward him excitedly.

"No problem, Ben. I'll tell you e.verything I know."

Sam began to tell Ben all about how she'd discovered the Precision Passion web site, and the first time she'd worn her silver suit. It was obvious she'd experienced the exact same sensations that he just had: the voice, the loss of control, the involuntary movement, the incredible pleasure. When he asked her what it all meant, Sam's answer was as simple as it was frank.

"It means that you're being given a taste of what it's like to be an an.droid," she said.

The words barely registered with Ben at first. If his thoughts weren't so muddled, he would have told Sam to quit joking, or reacted in complete shock upon realizing she wasn't. Instead, his only response was a kind of detached fascination. It was all so bizarre, it couldn't be true, and yet Sam's words seemed to support the only possible explanation for what was going on.

Ben listened closely as Sam told him that the suits they were wearing were designed to turn people into androids . . .

. . . that her friend Kim had been transformed some months ago, and had come to recruit them . . .

. . . that the process had to be entered into voluntarily . . .

. . . that she'd already accepted the offer—

Ben leapt up from the couch. "You what?" It had all finally become too much.

"I've accepted the offer to become an android," Sam said, her face full of innocence as she stood up beside him. "In fact, I've already received my primary programming. Already, my mind and body are chan.ging—reconfiguring themselves so that I can properly carry out my programmed func.tions. I've ne.ver felt better in my whole life!"

This was all happening way too fast for Ben. "How could you do such a thing?" he asked hotly.

Sam was a bit taken aback, but she didn't yell right back at him the way she'd always used to. Instead, she gently tried to explain her reasons for becoming an android. Just as weird, it didn't even occur to Ben to question Sam's whole story. Somehow, he simply knew that she was telling the truth—that somehow it was possible for a human being to become a programmable automaton, and that she'd decided to let this happen to her.

Instead, all Ben felt was anger—anger that he couldn't quite explain. Maybe it was because he felt she had no right to make such an important commitment without him, or because it wasn't fair for her to try to pressure him into making the same choice. Or, he thought, maybe it was simply that Sam was making the wrong decision—that it was crazy and stupid to give up humanity to become an android.

And then, inexplicably, Ben questioned that thought. Was it really that crazy, or stupid? As Sam went on, images of his daily existence—the unrewarding job, the hours and days spent in airplanes and hotels, the unshakeable exhaustion, the constant feeling that there was not enough time or space to realize his dreams—flashed before him. In the last few years, it seemed as though he'd lost control of his life. He had become a slave to his own delayed gratification.

Now, as his eyes took in Sam's perfect silver body, Ben thought about how much he loved her, and how all he really wanted was to enjoy her in every possible way. More than that, he wanted a chance to enjoy himself. And he knew that the only way he could truly be happy was to be with Sam forever. He wanted to have her forever, just the way she looked right at this moment.

The offer, he suddenly realized, represented a strange kind of freedom, unattainable by any other means. Freedom from unhappiness. Freedom from loneliness. Freedom, even, from death. But most important, freedom to express himself in ways he'd always been taught to shun and fear. Freedom to be naked . . . shining . . . silver.

Being a robot, he decided, was the ultimate fantasy.

"So please," Sam was saying, "try to under.stand, Ben. Don't be angry at me." She stopped, her eyes searching his for a response.

"I'm not," Ben said, his thoughts much, much clearer now. "The only thing I'm angry about is that you didn't wait long enough for me to say yes with you."

Sam's mouth opened wide with excitement. "You mean—"

"I mean," Ben said, reaching his silver hand to take hers, "that I want you to turn me into a robot."

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