Frozen Butterfly Arc 2 a story of Bubblegum Crisis

Chapter 1.2 – Chrysalis

I woke up surprised.

Vision a blur and eyes crusty with sleep I took that first moment to revel in the simple process of thinking once more. Painfully blinking my vision remained a mess and I could feel the crusty build up on my lashes shift uncomfortably with each movement. Trying to lift a hand to wipe them revealed to my lack of surprise that I was once again restrained, the normal state of affairs for waking up it seemed.

Swallowing against a dry throat and parched lips I became aware for the first time of just how cold I was. Cold enough I had ceased to shiver. I could make out the sounds of vague movement around me, slowly recognizing my position. Hands bound behind and beneath me, metal cuffs cutting into my wrists and back as my weight pressed down against them.

Blinking again more furiously things started to come into some kind of focus. I was laying naked, tucked into a large Jacuzzi identifiable by the hazy view of water jet's in the sides. My skin what I could make out an unhealthy pale blue shade, coloration due to hibernation process and lack of centralized respiration during improper storage.

With that disturbing insight I took my first breath, body aching suddenly as I could feel my heart straining to pump, insufficient fluid in my 'veins' to provide function. Dragging the air into my lungs anyway I managed a soft cry for help; voice a barely audible rasp through what felt like cotton stuffed ears.

I felt worse than when I had been hit by the shock baton. That pain had been immediate, overarching and bypassed whatever system let me accept pain without becoming inhibited by it. This pain was set deep, an unending constant ache from my entire body, so strong I couldn't avoid it, couldn't escape it, and try as I might couldn't take that half step back from the sensations to function despite its presence.

A shadow, blurry and indistinct, moving too fast for me to focus on loomed over the edge of the tub. While I was still trying to focus it leaned over and rolled me onto my side. A dizzying move that made me feel like throwing up, if there had been anything in my stomach to expel I don't doubt I would have. The hands running over my skin were hot, almost painfully so. Ten fingers feeling as though they would brand my porcelain fine skin with their grasp.

My flesh actually crackled as my wrist was manipulated and a service port exposed. Then warmth. Life, light, love, longing, a yearning need, nothing can describe the sensation that began to flow through my veins. The blissful feeling brought with it further awareness and warning, organic contamination of fluidics supply, warning improper restart procedure, warning fluidic temperature in excess of seven degrees.

I didn't care, pushing the warnings of my housekeeping system aside, I didn't care that this new warmth might cause harm all I cared about was that I could trace its progress by the warmth in my limbs. How it crawled up my arm and deep into my chest bringing life along with it. Then with a shuddering pulse it reached my heart and began to disperse, spreading slowly at first but faster with each beat of my restarted heart. The rush of blood and warmth in my ears was joined moments later by the sound of water pouring into the bath. It too was almost painfully hot triggering further buzzing warnings of improper recovery procedures in the back of my mind.

I still didn't care. Intentionally closing my thoughts to the warnings and my eyes to the blurry world I basked in the heat slowly filling the bath. I felt the water cradle my body in its embrace, calming the violent shakes and shivers that came with my revival after long moments.

Despite the pain in my fingers, toes, ears, in every extremity I had as I was warmed all at once not enough to want it to stop. That wish came with the return of two boiling hot hands 37.2 degrees as they reached in and pulled me up, probably to keep me from drowning but earning only a voiceless scream of pain from me for their effort.

Unable to suppress my own subconscious any longer the next agonizing moments passed in a blaze of pain and internal warning messages. System clock normalized, functions at 50.5% efficiency, internal reserves empty, integrated memory active, physical output jack nonfunctional. I managed to shunt the remaining long list of errors and injuries to my housekeeping programs blinking my eyes clear until in a foggy out of focus way I finally got a good look at my reviver.

He was a fit man, probably in late middle age, somewhere between forty and fifty with a short mass of greying hair. "Shhh, shhh, quiet now little doll, you will just have to endure, I don't have any fancy resuscitation chamber for you." One hand wiped my face with a washcloth before moving down over my body in a disturbingly intimate fashion.

As the shaking and pain began to subside the blue tinge fading from my skin the man spoke. "I'm Flint, your new master, do you understand?" His tone was full of condescension as though speaking to a five year old. Still I nodded carefully; breathing through my nose afraid I might let out another scream if I opened my mouth. Master was going too fast, heating me back up too quickly and only doing more harm than good with his obviously makeshift revival process. The heat that had first brought bliss now bringing pain as my body was forced to adapt too quickly to the shifting temperature.

"Good. You're a lucky little girl, without me you would have been destroyed, but your mine now." He said stroking my damp hair almost affectionately. I'm not sure what my face betrayed at that moment, looking up at the fuzzy image of my master as I tried to puzzle out his meaning.

Something of my confusion must have shown on my face. "I own you now, that's right, you're mine." He repeated himself as if his words would make more sense the second time. "Now, how long until you're functioning properly again and … cleaned up from all the hibernation damage?" His hands sliding inquisitively over my skin making it crawl. That's when I realized, he doesn't know. He thinks I'm an ordinary boomer, that I have some hardwired reaction toward my owner.

Now wasn't the time to correct his misunderstanding. Consulting the still growing list of damage and warnings, I opened my mouth trying to answer but nothing came out, I was too hoarse from my time as a popsicle. Quickly recognizing the problem he sat back with an annoyed sound. "Is it days, weeks? Good…good enough." His tone gave lie to just how good he really thought it was but even if he didn't have a clue about care and maintenance at least he understood a simple nod.

After getting me a glass of cool water and helping me drink he began a most curious interview. He began to read questions off a piece of paper. It was some kind of physiological exam, similar to what Dr. Sutekina had given to make sure I was stable. But this one was quite clearly the 'light' version. Really, who asks "Were you shut down because you went rogue?" expecting to ever hear "yes." Whoever wrote it clearly hadn't made any allowances for the subject simply lying.

Playing my part, I tried my very best to pretend I didn't mind sitting, handcuffed naked in a bathtub answering questions for my new master. It really didn't help that that's what he expected to be called, not by name, mister, or sir, but 'master'.

I think that the only saving grace for the situation is that the effects of hibernation were hard enough on me that I wasn't attractive enough to deserve a more comprehensive exam and I hadn't felt a single undesired urge to seduce him. Looking down at myself, it was like I was recovering from a case of incredibly bad sunburn combined with a rough trip down the slope of the Himalaya's bouncing all the way. A layer of white skin flaking off bit by bit above deep purple and blue bruising was more than enough to keep him from wanting to enjoy his new acquisition right away.

An hour later after recovering my voice he finished the interview and persuaded that I wasn't going to go rogue, removed the cuffs. "You may go anywhere within my suite of rooms but are not to leave for any reason. Now clean yourself up and make a list of anything you need to get into shape to perform all your duties." Of course he couldn't be bothered to tell me what they were just then, not that I asked.

Doing my best to suppress the urge to rub my wrists or shoot him a withering glare, I just nodded adding a simple, "Yes Master." and watched him slip away. Both of us were grateful for the respite I think.

On my part because coming back to life really isn't the most comfortable thing in the world especially naked, in pain, and under the judgmental gaze of your new lord and master. Add in the lingering damage from improper storage and a faulty resuscitation just makes those feelings worse.

His relief I think came because manual labor was beneath him. His prize looking more like a dried raisin than a peach and he must have been having second thoughts about whatever risks he ran to own me – I'm not a genius but even a Neanderthal would have realized, from all the shortcuts and jerry-rigged revival process, that his ownership of me had to be shady at best, and likely highly illegal.

Still I was finally warm, my body now in organics-sustaining temperatures and granted privacy I turned on the bubbles before finishing the process of cleaning myself up. It felt nice to lose that top layer of dead, broken epidermis wiping myself gently clean with the discarded washcloth. Everything still ached terribly but it had finally fallen to that odd level of awareness without impairment I've encountered before.

It was still discomforting not to really know my own body and be there naked in it. I spent a few minutes of the soak to correct that staunchly as I scoured myself clean. My vision was still foggy and imprecise, something my housekeeping systems informed me was due to hibernation damage and improper warming procedures. It might get better probability 42% or I might need glasses.

Who ever heard of a robot needing glasses?

Finally finished and rinsing off quickly I stepped from the extravagant bath and finding nothing else to wear wrapped a towel around my body in lieu of real clothing. Cautiously exploring master's bedroom it didn't take too long to see the walls of my gilded cage. As best I could tell his rooms were near the apex of a small corporate mountain built to reflect Genom tower and the pyramids before it. I had a very nice view out two windows that stretched all along the walls of his suite, late afternoon sun shining in to illuminate the room brightly. Squinting I could just make out Fuji-san and the Genom tower or at least fuzzy approximations thereof in the distance.

With a bit more searching and squinting I managed to find a short robe that would fit at the end of his bed as well as the tragically shredded remains of my last outfit in the trash. It looked like master had cut them off with a dull scissors. On the up side I found the lingerie Dr. Sutekina had purchased me still in the pockets. While lacy and generally impractical I felt much better prepared to face the rest of the apartment with that second layer of protection no matter how slight.

Thus fortified and looking distressingly appropriate to my new role of house toy I found his study just off the main hall. Inside I found his computer was password protected as a matter of course, and while my hardline output was fried my wireless was working just fine. Unfortunately this connection was encoded or something, and no matter how I tried it obstinately refused me any access.

I sat down in his large comfortable chair with a frown and looked for a pen and paper. At least I could pretend to be a good little boomer and do as he had asked. Spotting a calendar on his desk I noticed the date. It was now 2032, almost six months since the last time I breathed fresh air, an estimate that seemed in tune with the way degradation of my organs matched up with internal estimates.

Calling up a list of issues I was quickly overwhelmed with the current problems facing my body. Fluid systems at 72%, epidermal layer 83%, internal organic systems 81%, ocular systems 78%, energy reserves 1%, at which point exhaustion overtook me energy reserves and production at insufficient levels to maintain current operational pace. Eyes drifting shut, I fell into a deep regenerative sleep.

I woke to the muted sounds footsteps moving through the apartment suite. Ravenously hungry and thirstier than I could ever recall being, I looked up to see Flint pulling off a dark suit coat as he stepped into his office from wherever his business had taken him while I slept. Swallowing against my dry throat I spoke up, "Master," something in his posture warning me an explanation for sleeping on the job better come before any requests. "Please forgive me but recovery has exhausted my internal stores." Though blurred I could see him relax slightly and nod.

Standing with unaccustomed effort I went on "Please, could I have something to eat, so that I might continue repairs?" My stomach was doing gymnastics at this point both from wanting to cannibalize itself for my survival and at the servile tone I had unintentionally adopted towards him. Pathetic or not my obsequiousness seemed to work. Subject mood shifting, exhibiting protective body language, high probability of positive response to request. Moments later and helped me down the hall to a dining room chair and poured me a glass of juice.

"Of course in the future preparing dinner will be one of your duties," he chuckled a little as he put some miso soup into the microwave, "along with taking care of my needs rather than depending on me to take care of yours." His voice strangely tender as he set the table. Sitting heavily in the chair beside him, emergency reserves at 4%, I cursed my worthless vision. I couldn't see clearly enough to judge his intentions.

"Now that you are up and feeling better, what will you need for a full recovery Amber?" Flint asked, some of his grandfatherly charm slipping beneath the eagerness in his tone. My first question won over playing good little robot though as I asked, "Amber?" my confusion clearly obvious.

"Yes, I chose it based on your serial number, 4m83r, I thought it rather clever myself." He looked far too smug for someone ripping off Sequential Art, an old if entertaining web-comic. Still if it would make him happy who was I to argue? "Yes Sir, Master," I added remembering to be properly servile as my body rejoiced in the feel of starting to digest that first glass of grape juice. The liquid hardly in my mouth long enough to taste the complex tangy sourness that reminded me of limes.

My attention no longer occupied by the feel of my stomach trying to eat my spine I called up my internal error log. The list was long and depressing, but the priority items were easy enough to find. "The most important component for recovery is a fresh supply of synthetic blood, type 8100 D, though any 8100 series would be compatible. With that and proper nutrition I should be able to complete self-repairs and recovery in four days."

Though blurry I could see his expression change along with his entire posture. The kindness vanished into the corporate shark of his true self, voice laced with irritation and anger as he replied, "I am your Master, and you will do without any fancy synthetic blood and get by with ordinary plasma like the rest of us." 84% probable Master using anger to mask uncertainty and shame due to inability to procure 8100 D series, the cause of his anger coming to me after a moment's panic at his tone.

Knowing the reason however didn't relax me any as I went on, hesitant in case I stumbled across another unknown sore point. "Then it will take longer Master. Human blood is an inferior medium for operational considerations." I responded, taking refuge in technical seeming speech without letting the disappointment I felt into my tone. "Further due to organic contaminants and breakdown of blood vessels I will require regular transfusions to remain operational." This consideration became a major concern as I realized the limitation while informing him of it.

"Good, good. That won't be a problem then. I can have a steady supply available; just make sure to get well quickly. I worked hard to find you and I'm not going to let anything get in the way of enjoying my prize." he grinned in satisfaction and slowly got up from the table. His attention no longer really focused on me as he began to monologue.

"Impossible to get on earth huh, banned, and out of reach? This will show those self-satisfied pricks up on Genaros. Think they're better just because they have a harem? Their boomers are just common laborers, grease monkeys and dust bunnies at best." He paused on his stalk around the table fingers trailing through my hair. "With you I have the real deal, my own little French Maid… and we'll see if I share when they come down to visit ME." I began to rise, instincts telling me it was a bad idea to sit if master was standing and wanting any excuse to slip out from beneath his touch.

"Eat, and get strong my little Amber, I'll have more than enough use for you soon enough." His large hands pressing me back into my seat and resting on my shoulders. It took a feat of will not to turn my head or squirm, feeling him standing there, looming over me. I almost dropped the glass of juice in hand as his fingers brushed lightly through the hair at the nape of my neck. "You'll need to grow this out."

"I prefer long hair."

"Of course…" I murmured as his fingers brushed along the collar of my robe gently stroking my flesh before he turned heading down the hall, leaving me to my own devices and to finish the meal alone. I could hear him in the study sitting down at computer and delving into whatever it is disturbing executives do at night.

At the not so subtle urgings of my stomach I swiftly finished the glass of juice and soup. Finding both glass and bowl bare then – quietly, unobtrusively – I went to the kitchen in search of more. My steps still lethargic and my throat already growing parched – I could almost feel my body working desperately to break down the nutrients and speed recovery.

Filling my glass full of water to sip I went through my master's refrigerator and found a small supply of premade dinners that only needed to be taken out and warmed up to be ready to eat. Paying more attention to the quality of ingredients than trying to guess at taste I picked some kind of whitefish and salad. I finished a second full dinner. The fish was curiously enjoyable, almost with the taste of deep frying to my tongue despite the utter lack of batter though the salad was, if anything a bit bland.

Once finished I was careful to clean up the mess and dishes meticulously. I didn't just think Flint was the kind of man to be upset over clutter; from how meticulously everything in his apartment was kept I knew he was. And when you added that to his short burst of temper earlier I knew I didn't want to give him any reason to be upset with me.

As the sky went from blue to black, stars washed out by the city glow, or just my bad vision, he shut down his computer and came to find me. Without a word he led me into the bathroom and turned on all the lights to examine me more closely. Heart racing as he untied my robe I considered my options.

I could fight, but my body still ached, and I was exhausted. Almost all my energy was going into self-repairs and I hadn't had a chance to build back up any real reserve. Probability of failure high. Seduce him. While I was strangely comfortable with the general concept, my skin still wanted to crawl at the touch of his hand on my arm and not giving into the urge to fight was taking all my willpower. Besides master's pulse remaining even, pupil reaction normal, indication interest remains clinical 81%.

He rubbed his fingers against my skin, the top layer dry, coarse and flacking beneath a nail. Slipping the robe off my shoulders to consider the whole he paused before pulling his hand back. "Not tonight," he thought out loud. "You'll sleep on the sofa until I decide that you've recovered adequately to join my bed. I want breakfast ready at six thirty."

That said he hustled me out of the room and shut the door in my face. To tell the truth, all I felt was relief so strong I nearly stumbled on my way to the sofa. Lying down, I pulled the robe tight once more and let my eyes shut, locking away the blurry outside world in favor of my imagination.

In the morning I woke to the sounds of the door opening. It was 6:00:05 as I blinked my eyes open and stumbled to my feet, squinting down the hallway to see the door to the master bedroom still shut. Turning my head I tracked the sound of steps coming from the front door of the suite toward the living room each one measured and as regular as a metronome. Smoothing out the robe I wore and giving up any hope of running I simply stood still and watched what might conceivably be the blurry figure of a very proper English butler step into the room.

"May I help you?" The universally polite way of asking, 'what the hell are you doing here?', blinking my eyes and squinting to get him in focus.

"Pardon me Ma'am, but Mr. Flint has left standing instructions that his breakfast is to be ready at 06:30. While I am certain that he is grateful for your, ahem, companionship last evening he will be quite cross should I fail in my duties."

That's when my conscious and subconscious came to a singular conclusion, Boomer! It was obvious now as I considered it. The butler's step hadn't faltered as he entered the room, there was no nervous shifting, no incidental motion, no indication that he was suddenly in the presence of a near naked and attractive woman or, if my skin was still flacking off a dreadful one. Either way his complete lack of reaction had been confusing to my subconscious leaving it without anything to analyze.

"Of course, don't let me stop you. I'll just, sit quietly out of the way, here, if that's alright?" I asked while, watching the boomer warily, trying to understand just what it was my body wasn't telling me about it, but the butler simply clicked his heals lightly and offered a polite bow before moving swiftly on with the process of making a light Japanese breakfast. The motions were obviously practiced and precise, and he only hesitated once when fetching the table setting. I must not have put everything back just right.

It occurred to me that he didn't know what I was, probably why he was sent away last night so I was a secret, even to master's other boomer. I toyed with the idea of simply volunteering that information but in the end held my tongue, he wouldn't like it.

It was a great relief to have this other boomer here, not because it was doing 'my' job, but just because of how relaxing it was to be around. Sitting back down on the couch I let my concentration drift and made myself as inconspicuous as possible, enjoying the complete lack of physical imperatives being around my master and the rest of humanity incurred. An angry shout from the bedroom interspersed with calm English accented Japanese drew me back to the here and now. Before I could start listening in the conversation had dropped below my ability to discriminate their voices, 25 dB given background interference, the door to the bedroom sliding shut. Five minutes later Mr. Flint, looking rather more composed than he had sounded stepped out into the main room.

"Jarvis, this is Amber. She will be joining my staff as a maid…" I thought he shot me a look but given his face was mostly a blur I couldn't decide for certain what it meant although I could feel his eyes crawling over my skin as he did so. "I want you to see to her outfitting and familiarization. She will is not to leave my quarters. If anything outside is required, you will see to its acquisition. She is to have access to the house accounts and will be taking over meal service and preparation. Due to… a disease she will require periodic blood transfusions, initially several in succession and then likely on a weekly or monthly basis."

The butler nodded once. "It shall be done," a very English pause and then "Your breakfast awaits sir."

After the quick meal Master Flint took me aside, my heart rate accelerating as he paused just inside his bedroom and closed the door. "You are not to reveal what you are for any reason. If asked you are simply my employee, and you are here because you want to be. Is that understood?"

I nodded, instincts driving me to add a servile bow before I had even made up my mind what to do. I spoke up softly words coming to my lips unbidden, "Yes Master, I understand" This close I could see his eyes as I looked up and knowing it wasn't enough added, "I won't let you down." Gripping my chin he lifted me back to my full 152cm and looked my face over closely, brushing aside a few flakes of dry skin revealing the healthy fresh pink layer beneath. "Good." his gaze lingering on my lips as I gave them a nervous lick, "Good, I will see you when I return."

As he swept out I felt my pulse begin to slow once more, now that his proximity was not so physically imposing. There had been something in his eye, an avaricious need I didn't trust. Pulse, respiration and pupil dilation indicate sexual attraction. The protection afforded by my long stasis was wearing away; I would have to be careful to maintain it as long as possible.

It didn't take long for Jarvis to finish cleaning up in the kitchen or the master's bedroom and it finished doing both before I finished breakfast. Soon enough it was back and facing me with its considering cold, almost human eyes and disdainful English look on its face. Strangely I didn't feel pressured or discomfited as it leveled a disapproving gaze upon me. "Very well madam, it appears you are to assist me in my duties. I do not have any need for assistance, but as the master has requested, I will allow you to take over the care and preparation of his meals." Gesturing imperiously he moved towards the kitchen. Tapping a panel aside revealed a computer built into the face of the refrigerator.

"This is the current inventory. You may set item stock levels and any deficiencies shall be remedied during the 14:00 delivery each day. The database automatically tracks quantity, and freshness. Complete meals may also be selected, either for delivery at a specific time, or for later preparation." It seemed to have one speed only, boring, and I spent the next three hours sitting, standing, leaning or laying across various parts of the kitchen listening to it go on and on, listing each and every item available to me.

It was actually kind of fun to see just how the uber rich lived, or at least those that cooked for them. I knew that the meals cooked to order would be my best friend in not making a fool of myself, my own repertoire rather limited. Still, despite the itch to start playing around right then, to see if I could still cook my favorite dishes I resisted, there was more to show me.

Thankfully the kitchen 'tour', in as much as a three hour briefing without pauses for breath or actually going anywhere can be considered one was the only room where I was replacing Jarvis in his duties. It crisply informed me "I will see to all of the Master and your other needs, there will be no cause for you to interfere or disrupt the household. Do you understand?"

After three hours together I couldn't really think of Jarvis as a He, it just didn't give off the right signals, nor even the right cues for a gay man I realized. Just why I would need that knowledge a curiosity until I realized how it might impact a sexaroid to made a mistake in that area. "Ah yes, I believe that I do Jarvis." I answered making my own tone formal by choice, and slightly mocking.

The most comforting thing about being around Jarvis was actually enjoying the freedom to just be myself, without the need to constantly react to his subliminal ques. It was almost enough to make me want to give him a hug. So when Jarvis told me that the female uniforms, plural I would point out, had already been selected and that I was to strip so that he could order the correct size for each I did so without a second thought. Stripping for Jarvis was as comfortable an idea as it was in the bathroom, being naked with him doing the measuring I was as comfortable as I would have been doing it alone, and far easier to get the task done.

My calm reserve lasted until 2:13:15 pm when I was to have my first transfusion and dialysis. To be honest I had been looking forward to it all day. Low priority warnings about my fluidics supply breaking down due to the strain of regenerating of my body's tissues had been growing more serious since noon. Add the considerable pleasure I recalled of the feeling of warmth pouring into my veins when I was revived and I was almost eager for the procedure.

The only real problem I had was… needles. Jarvis sat me down in the main room, pulling a small suitcase sized dialysis machine from the hall closet to my side before taking out two very large very long very pointy needles. Boomer or no, I almost jumped up and ran when it reached for me with them. Heightened senses, with the ability to mute pain or not are very unfriendly when combined with a phobia.

As the first needle pierced my arm, only Jarvis' iron grip kept me in the chair. I felt myself slipping trying desperately to get away, warning combat mode unsustainable, insufficient energy reserves, blood supply unstable, reducing respiration, regulating pulse, but my body was just unable. Finally after what seemed to be ages of dread, my eyes fixed on the needles and the feel of thin steel pressing into my veins autonomic sub routines from my housekeeping programs kicked in to protect my body from myself forcing an unreasonable unrelenting calm.

A soft hum kicked on and I could feel my blood begin to cycle. Unlike before the new blood didn't bring with it a bloom of warmth. It was chilly, a little shiver of cool working its way through my body with minty freshness. It might have been wonderful on a hot sunny day but inside it just gave the process a more surreal feel.

Keeping my eyes shut wasn't helping me cope so I opened them up to squint at my arms. When it came into focus the results were rather disturbing. Fresh and bright red blood, medical grade whole blood, incidence of contaminants 3%, compatibility with system 92% estimated half life at current rate of use 20 hours, flowed in. What came out was, despite my recent hyperventilation a vague sickly brownish purple and I cut off the detailed analysis before I accidently made myself ill knowing exactly how much detritus from the recovery process was being flushed out with it.

Still it was invigorating. I could feel myself becoming more alert and responsive. A sluggishness I had not even noticed setting in washing away with the thicker disturbingly tar like sludge leaving my veins. Jarvis was thankfully silent throughout the process, changing out bag after bag and two filters for the machine before we were done.

Pulling the needles free made my stomach want to crawl up my throat and choke the butler but I managed to swallow back my psychosomatic gorge and offer a strained smile in place of intestinal homicide. As he cleaned up I left him for the bathroom the urge to scrub and clean outside as well as in hitting me.

I stripped out of the robe and lingerie before stepping into the western style shower. I could have used the more traditional furo/hot tub arrangement again but I wanted to feel water pounding between my shoulder blades and running across my skin.

What I hadn't really given much thought was that this was my first shower, not counting the rain. It was… different. My skin was recovering well and with it my sensitivity to touch. It wasn't two minutes before I had to bite my lip to stifle a soft moan of pleasure. In the end I gave Flint's water heater a good test, but half an hour of constant near steaming use the temperature never wavered so much as a degree. It took the same thing to snap me out of my languid indulgence that drew me into them. My body communicating its needs to my mind. Alert, internal temperature and duration nearing danger point to organic components.

Stepping clear a bit reluctantly I caught sight of myself in the foggy steamed up mirror. The combination of steam and fuzzy vision meant all I could see was a vague pink form. My entire body flushed from the scouring and… attention I had given myself with a loofa and the heat of the water. Stepping back I held my arms up close squinting and frowned as smooth unblemished, if frightfully red, skin came into focus.

I would need a plan. Master was coming home tonight, and I no longer looked or felt like a leper. That made me ponder what he would want, and with my recent experience in the shower I no longer had any doubt how my body would react. The physical need that seemed to blossom with that thought automatic and disturbing enough that I forced all thoughts of the master, out of my mind and hurriedly toweled off.

I was about to call for Jarvis, my robe missing when I spotted a pile of black and white neatly stacked at the far end of the counter.

It was the first of my uniforms.

I don't know who sold this kind of thing but it certainly hadn't come from any hotel or uniform supply company I ever imagined. Maybe a costume shop, but even employees at a maid café wouldn't be caught in such a stereotypical and slinky French Maid outfit.

By the time I was done putting on and properly arranging the entire ensemble the mirror had cleared. Looking at my reflection, and the image I presented even with my poor vision I knew I would need a plan. Squinting to bring myself mostly into focus my determination to avoid his hungers just grew. My first thought was Tryptophan, but worried that might not be enough I quickly made my way to the refrigerator's automatic ordering system and worked my way through finding and ordering the most potent sleeping aid I could find.

I decided a dinner heavy on pasta with some red wine would give me the best chance to conceal the drug's flavor in some part of the meal; both sauce and wine hopefully options for a transmission vector. I did not plan to share my masters bed tonight no matter my recalcitrant bodies response to the concept. I would do whatever necessary to keep him from having the chance to ask or act.

He got home about six 5:57:46, or possibly it would be more accurate to say he moved from the business offices to his living quarters at that time. If I didn't have the example of Genom tower in the distance I would have thought this building a fine example of an arcology. Of course Jarvis was waiting for him at the door to take his coat, and I, like a good, obedient little servant was ready to drop the pasta just as he arrived.

Joining the welcome home ritual with a cheerful if false voice I stayed behind the kitchen island, hoping its bulk would provide some protection. "Welcome home Master, dinner will be ready in ten minutes."

Glancing over at me the older man cocked his head to one side, subject interest captured, I thought, part of me assessing the many way's I could with just a slight shift of weight or expression work to use that interest against him. But all of those behaviors my subconscious wanted to employ would only increase his focus on me and that was the last thing I wanted, no matter how nicely my body was reacting to his return. "Ah Amber, now that is far more flattering. I hope you're recovering well…" He reached out to run his fingers across the top my apron, fingers tracing the stark white on black of the silken fabric over my stomach before sliding them upward.

Flinching at the touch breath hitching I spoke up quickly slipping out of reach as I distracted him with my answer. "Unfortunately my body has not fully recovered from my time in," choking off the rest of the sentence, only just managing not to say too much in front of Jarvis. I worked my mouth several times, mind awhirl before just deciding it wasn't programing just common sense that lead me to stop and remained speechless faking a bit of confusion and turning to just stare at Jarvis.

My heart was pounding, and I could feel the lingering heat of his touch, my own hand rising up to brush at the silk to remove the phantom trace of his fingers.

I'm either a bad actor, too accomplished. Then again possibly Master is just slow, but he did seem to catch on after an eternity 32.3 seconds of frowning at me and my behavior. "Of course your illness. Are there any other complications that you haven't managed to overcome yet due to your treatment?"

How could he be so daft? I felt like stomping a foot. In one breath he's willing to believe I'm so dense as to be unable to even speak, much less cover for a near slip while in the very next he's presuming I would make the connection between a mythical illness and lingering damage from my hibernation. Couldn't he make up his mind on if I was Lassie or GIR? Well at least it should be easier to trick him this way and I wouldn't even have to lie, something that eased my conscience greatly.

"Yes sir, unfortunately while my skin has recovered nicely," no longer the cherry red straight from the shower but a distressingly attractive natural peach. Putting just the right note of dismay into my tone I went on. "I am afraid that I still have significant internal bruising and other injuries. I will be unable to partake of any stressful physical activities for a little while longer." I knew I had him when his face fell slightly. I guess I was a good actress and as I reassured myself again, it wasn't a lie. My own processors had prevented me from shifting to combat perception earlier after all.

"Well, damn… I do hope you're sufficiently recovered soon, I'm looking forward to breaking you in properly." Stepping close he considered me a moment more. "I do like your hair" Reaching up he brushed a thumb over my cheek. "And skin soft as a baby's bottom, I'm looking forward to seeing the rest." His voice grew hard then his final words undoubtedly an order "Hurry up and recover." Turning away he shuffled to the table and threw himself down into the chair, the very picture of frustration.

His mood served to bring me down a little as well. It was hard to hold onto the feeling of quiet satisfaction his easy acceptance of my ploy had given me. I realized with a slowly growing dismay that I, no my Body, hadn't wanted to succeed and I had to pay close attention throughout the meal to keep my subconscious behavior from undoing all my efforts.

He perked up a bit with the meal, thanks to the wonder of unlimited spending and a truly cosmopolitan shopping service I had managed to put together a rather family spaghetti sauce from scratch I recalled from my life before. To drug or not to drug, as the moment of decision came it was the nerve rattling arousal that kept me from holding back the sleeping medication. He wasn't likely to try anything now but I just needed the extra assurance it gave me.

Dismissing Jarvis from the apartment entirely for the meal he instructed me to join him. Making up another plate, a single forkful of noodles a spoonful of sauce, sliver of French bread and a large glass of water I sat down across from him. I had already almost filled up just tasting as I cooked and wasn't sure I could finish even the modest portion on my plate.

"I'm sorry I almost let my nature slip. I'm not used to the requirement to hide it." Hoping to guide the conversation somewhat I went on. "It isn't strictly legal for you to possess me here is it Master, I mean you won't get in trouble will you?" I felt compelled to add that little bit more, to hide the real reason I was asking, and it was just… right to do so.

Pausing in appreciation of the meal, but without offering a compliment he considered his answer a moment before starting to explain. "No, it is no longer permitted to own or operate a 33-S on earth, and getting an appropriate waiver is rather difficult. However that isn't something you need to concern yourself over. I've taken all the appropriate precautions when acquiring you. Genom records show you destroyed, and I made certain that none of the internal tracking systems were functional before you were … moved from storage here. There is nothing for anyone to discover, you're mine now."

Taking another few bites he reached out catching my hand, a churning confusion in my stomach keeping me from pulling back in time. Gently his fingers brushed across my skin. It felt nice, a languor spreading through me at his touch before my thoughts snapped back into focus with his words. "It's why you'll have to subsist without the appropriate artificial blood supply. It is no longer being produced on earth and making arrangements for it to be smuggled down from Genaros would draw too much attention. But don't worry; you can function perfectly well with regular transfusions."

Letting my hand go and returning to his meal Flint was content with his work around for me, As though he had been the one to design in the capability, and must have taken my silence for agreement. Really I was just trying to analyze why I felt the momentary pang of loss as Master's let go of me, focused on the lingering impression of his touch for the rest of the meal, answering him on autopilot, a fraction of my attention enough to engage him at a socially acceptable level showing interested in his day and approval of his opinions. The rest of my mind was caught in a spiral trying to figure out my odd reactions to him since I had woken up.

After the meal I spent a few minutes cleaning up while Flint logged on and did a little after dinner work. But this time I was ready. I monitored the connection as he logged in and linked his computer to the main database and caught his password as he typed. As I had guessed he used the same password for all his files. Now instead of just mild access to the internet I could investigate his secure system as well.

We both finished our tasks at around the same time. The dishes clean and drying in their designer rack and Flint satisfied that everything in his own personal satrap was running smoothly. Catching my arm in passing Flint drew me down to sit close beside him on the sofa flipping on a late night talk show. Its guests participating in bizarre challenges such as who could get through a whip cream castle in the least time without getting dirty and doing my best to laugh with him and keep his wandering fingers as far down my leg as possible.

Splitting my attention between a computer network and my body wasn't normally hard. But feeling him so close, his body heat warming my side was a trial in and of itself. I could tell that the drugs were working, just not fast enough. It had hardly taken more than a minute after sitting down for his fingers to make their way onto my thigh.

My mind recoiled at the touch, but forcing myself not to do anything drastic, my hands in tight little fists and buried in the cushions beside me I took every chance I could to edge away from him and keep his fingers slipping down rather than up my thigh.

The really concerning part is that I wasn't distressed by his touch just the implications. His fingers, slightly rough and warm, felt nice on my thigh and the limited attention I could spare to the real world was doing its best not to bolt in discomfort or give in to the urge to lean closer, instinct and intellect fighting fiercely.

The rest of my mind was busy with another battle on his private network. Trying to ferret out information on myself was easy, until I realized that everything I found was a lie. Amber did exist electronically at least, if not on paper. The identity he had acquired for me was comprehensive, and included a rather demeaning debt peonage agreement I couldn't imagine was legal to explain my presence. Little details left buried in his personal files, photo albums, and search histories also gave rather disturbing hints as to just where his mind was at when he had selected my uniform and it's variations.

I also found plenty of information on GPCC, the research arm of Genom. The building I was in was a mini-tower, focused on Genom's work as a subcontractor for the Japanese Defense forces. Once inside the computer was full of information on Master's passcodes, overrides and the security procedures for the building. But dig as I could, no matter how many of his files I wandered through feeling the electronic version of blisters rising on my mind from looking through too many too fast nothing seemed to reference how he had acquired me in the first place. Until I accidently stepped off his system. But instead of plunging into the wide web found my footing steady on something that wasn't there.

It felt cold and slick, but while I couldn't see the path I could feel it, a ghost drive hidden from his own system but now that I had stumbled across it growing more and more obvious. I let out a surprised and slightly triumphant giggle at the discovery, or perhaps because Master had pulled me into his side, either way all of me knew that this was what I had been looking for.

Moments later I was shivering, his arm around my back curling in, fingers tracing the edge of my breast before I could squirm just enough to interpose my arm, buying myself a few more inches of safety. "Are you cold, here, come closer…" Master invited, and I couldn't really object, my distress and shivers only growing as he pulled me tighter to his side. It was nerve wracking how clearly I could guess his intentions my only lingering hope the drugs I had given him.

Fingers mentally crossed I put more effort into searching his system, trying to focus as much of myself on something else as I could. It turned out Flint was not an honest man. I was far from his only foray into illegal operations. In fact it seemed he had his finger in any number of pies. Corrupt politicians and officials both listed on his payroll. Some owing him favors others being blackmailed for their support. It included a complicated flowchart indicating who held power and control over who else. Near the top of that chart was Brian Mason, my creator himself. Flint was on it too, and while powerful in his own right there were acknowledged links between him and several other top officials he was clearly trying to break.

Those files led to his plans to acquire power. He had an extensive dossier on orbital beam satellites including technical specifications and information about a new encryption system being developed for mobile networking with them.

I had known we were in the future, and lived my entire life aware that there were enough nuclear missiles to destroy the world, but familiarity breeds contempt and that threat had grown dim with time, these satellites could do the same job in minutes maybe seconds, and it looked like he was working with Mr. Mason to get his own hands on them.

Moving to the next file as Master's fingers stroked my arm just beneath the short poof of sleeve, Goosebumps rising at his touch; I came across another shocking revelation. He was making arrangements to sell a battlemover, a kind of manned mecha on the black market, complete with onboard deadman switch neutron bomb. Who on earth thought it would be a good idea to design a weapon that could, by accident or design wipe out the entire battlefield? Okay that's a stupid question humanity being what it is, but that doesn't mean that the idea was a good one either.

Then finally I found it, the official file on 27-33-S-4M83R. My entire file, which was conveniently incomplete but I doubted that my master realized that it left out a lot of details. Other than my construction date, details of storage until my original date of activation in 2032, and that I had become damaged when testing software updates it was almost barren aside from an equally honest record of my destruction. It was rather disappointing to realize that there were no answers here for me. That even the falsified records on me were based on falsified records. At least it proved I didn't owe these people any loyalty.

It a related file he listed details on the condition he found me in, how he had cautiously and carefully had me rerouted from one storage facility to the next always in the pursuit of moving forward with the process of decommissioning. He even had the electronic key used to make him my official master.

As the show neared its end, and Master seemed to be paying more and more attention to me I very gently slipped out of his grasp and took a short discrete step back hiding it with a bow. "I'm sorry Master, but I must see to internal maintenance now if you wish me to reach an acceptable level of performance quickly." It was hard to say, hard to find the right words, to force them out before I turned and fled his presence for the safety and isolation of the bathroom.

Closing the door behind me I continued to shiver a little, not in disgust at his touch but because of the longing it evoked. Not for him, but to be part of society again, to have someone who cared? For a moment I actually considered the possibility of staying. Master shows clear signs of desire, both physical and emotional needs evident by his behavior. No indications from images on his system of tendency to violence or abuse, anticipation of light physical and consistent social use. No, No, NO! I was not going to stay and be his pampered little secret, sex toy, even if it did hold a damming bit of appeal the price for social acceptance through him was too high to pay.

Diving back through my wireless connection into his ghost drive with fresh determination I looked for what I knew had to be there and found it. Bank accounts, numbered and anonymous, false identification and a lists of stocks and investments he hand squirreled away for a rainy day. Unfortunately he was too careful and despite having maintained detailed records there was only enough information there to inventory not access his secret finances. It took half an hour of careful inspection before I found something I could use, a list of emergency drop boxes, in rail and subway stations spread across the city.

With the exception of something a little more subtle to wear I had enough information to escape. The best part is that only Master Flint would ever know I was still alive. He could hardly complain to Genom security about me without revealing his own crimes, and while the identity he crafted for me might hold up to a cursory investigation I doubt he would risk the police looking too deeply in case they turned up the truth by accident.

All the automated ways of tracking me were already gone, Flint had seen to that. Mason thought I was dead, the police wouldn't know to look and Master wouldn't be able to expend too much effort without giving away his own culpability… I just had to get outside the building. Free, the thought fluttered through my mind brining a wide smile to my face.

At least until I thought about the last time I felt that feeling lifting me up. It hadn't lasted long, I would have to do better this time, far better. I would need an identity the moment I stepped out the door, outside the controlled climate of the limited world of GPCC.

For that I would need help, and I only had one place, one person, I might ask for that. Then the door to the bathroom opened, and my euphoria died. I wasn't out of the building yet. I was here, with master and the bars of my cage came crashing home.

"Come to bed, it's time to get some rest." With those few words I felt myself beginning to panic, master showing signs of impending collapse, pupil dilation, slurred speech, respiration indicate probability of successful congress 12%. Recommend stimulus or activity to energize subject. I almost screamed. Only holding back as I realized that if I did it might help, him.

Instead I let him take my arm and guide me, his shuffling steps and drifting path helping bring my pulse under control, to his bed. Drawing back the covers I forced my hand not to shake as he climbed in. Apparently he had taken the time to change, wearing royal purple silk pajamas he actually appeared rather striking as incredulous as the thought might be, patting the spot beside him.

Unwilling to part with a shred of fabric that might slow his advances I only stepped out of the high arched heals that came with the uniform before sliding in next to him. Gritting my teeth tightly I lay, stiff as a corpse beside him the lights automatically dimming as he rolled closer draping an arm across me. Seeing it coming I too rolled onto my side, facing away so it only lay across my arm but that victory was short lived as he bodily pulled me closer until his chest pressed into my back.

I'm ashamed to admit I actually let out a sigh of contentment as he pulled me in. Feeling his large arm around me holding me close, safe and warm, helping fulfill a primary function; suppressing the growl I wanted to let loose at the realization I caught his hand in mine and held it close, but not too close, patting it gently. "Rest now Master, I'll still be here in the morning." But not much longer if I have anything to say about it. To my relief the combination of drugs and comfort overcame his desire and I felt him slip into true sleep.

For me however it wasn't so easy. I was caught up in the divergent sensations caused by master's embrace. I wanted nothing more than to scramble out of bed, take up the pole lamp at the end and beat him for daring to take such liberties. At the same time my body was shifting subtly against him to make his embrace more comfortable, to feel his aura of warmth and heat more firmly against my back. It was almost maddening how much I wanted to go, and to stay.

Eventually I settled on an appropriately dyslexic solution. For tonight I would enjoy the feeling of contentment being so close gave. He was unconscious, nothing would happen, I wouldn't countenance thinking along those lines, so all I had to worry about was making sure to be out of bed before dawn, and that my escape plans would be finalized before tomorrow evening.

Relaxing my senses, 'safe' in master's arms, I let myself get caught up in the winds of data transfer, lost in the hurricane of information passing from his computer through the GPCC mainframe and out into the rest of the web, spun out and without a clear destination in mind drifting from one wispy data transfer to the next.

Finally I caught my bearings, a server number that was familiar, and like a shot my idle drifting with the ebb and flow of information ended. I had a place to go and no time to waste getting there. It had been months, but somehow finding traces of my earlier exploration; evidence that I had existed before was heartening.

There in the recesses of a civil service database where a peculiar meeting had occurred months earlier I found more proof of my existence. Messages had been left behind. They started out short a cheerful, "Congratulations on your escape." – Pinku Neko But quickly the tone grew concerned and ultimately pleading with me to answer them.

My hacker friend hadn't forgotten me. They realized something had gone wrong, and left a promise not to forget. Pinku Neko even said that they would keep looking for me amid vows of retribution if it were a joke. Reading them all, months' worth of messages filled with their feelings gave me a sensation of contentment even laying in master's arms didn't match. I was wanted, and missed.

I moved on, pressing harder, racing packets of ping data through the servers until coming to rest in a small, unimportant transit node, part of a telecom routing grid and took the time to look around, just in case. I hadn't felt the sticky tacky sensations of the web café's surveillance and tracking programs but after a care search I did find a very minor gossamer thread touching my 'ankle' leading back along my path, a steady pulse letting the computer in Flint's office know to maintain the connection.

I considered that for a time. It wasn't a bug, it wasn't a trace, but if someone were determined enough they might find it, and me, but if I did something about it my path home could be lost and I didn't want to wonder what might happen if part of my consciousness was busy processing in a node outside my body when the connection dropped.

It was time for another message, and given where the path they accessed the internet was at least I knew they were somewhere in MegaTokyo. I considered leaving a flippant message, to conceal how bad things really had gone, something innocuous and light like "Hi, it's Galatea, sorry I've been out of touch, maybe we could share coffee?" But I couldn't do that. Whoever Pinku Neko was, they were worried about me. Worried FOR me, and I wasn't going to risk their friendship trying too hard to keep my past, what little there was a secret. I would just have to come up with a little white lie when it came up, something close enough to true it wouldn't feel like a betrayal without exposing my secrets.

The message I chose was short, but I hoped enough to keep this unexpected friend I hadn't known I had. "I'm sorry, I got caught. I didn't mean to worry you but couldn't reach the web till now. I'm going to try again, when you get this I hope I'm online but if not I'll be back soon. And, thank you for trying." – Galatea 3.0.

My message left I quickly retreated back to the office computer and it's ghost drive. I needed a new identity, but didn't have any way of creating one for myself or the time to hope Neko could help me either. While I didn't have the knowledge of how to do it, or even what would be needed I did have one option left; A blueprint in how to do so in the excellent example in the work that had been done to create Amber in the first place.

One thing about computers, even if data is 'erased' it is not really gone. Master had done a good job of removing the obvious black on white records of where he had gone, what he had done to create the Amber identity, but by 'feeling' my way through the drive I found those forgotten records, grey impressions of what had been done left behind. It was like following a trail through thick snow after a fresh dusting. Everything was indistinct but still evident if you took the time to really look.

I just followed the trail of breadcrumbs, sweeping up the pieces behind me, wiping the memory smooth as I went. It was actually somewhat easy once I had the whole picture and programs originally used to duplicate the work done to create Amber for myself. I actually made two new identities while I spirited through the net. One for use, and another to run with if I had to. I didn't make the mistake of duplicating every single step, of putting information into the same schools or financial institutions as Amber, but most of the rest of the information could be fabricated by following the yellow brick road he had already laid out.

I even improved on his process in some cases. The birth records were one spot. While the 'insert date' could be spoofed from the user side, the system kept its own record of creation and updates to data. Particularly obvious from my own perspective is where on the hard drive data was stored. Add an entry in 2032 and it would be written in the same location as the rest of the new entries even if the system claimed it was made in 2012. When looking at records that way 'fake' identities or immigrants stood out like a sore thumb.

I don't know how many criminals I may have helped that day but I made sure that after my changes the creation date and location on the hard drive for the entire system once more matched. It wasn't hard, just a matter of telling the system to defragment the drive with a little extra supervision. Every file had been 'touched' again and its own programing moved them into order wiping that final fingerprint that might have given away the game.

'Waking' up I didn't want to move. I was warm, safe, the muscle aches from my revival deep but mellow with another eight hours of rest and recuperation. I felt dizzy as I shifted a little deeper into the enfolding warmth of my master's embrace and it took two endless breaths to realize why.

I was lying in bed, with a man, and I liked it. I liked how his arms felt around me, felt holding me close and, and that was enough of that! Biting my lip I slowly carefully, monitoring his breathing throughout lifted his fingers gingerly from my breast and edged out from under his arm. Carefully lowering it behind me and tucking the blanket back in as I went until I found myself sitting on my butt beside the bed and wondering what was wrong with me.

Scrubbing little granules of dried gick from my eyes, seriously who designs a robot that realistically, I decided today would have to be the great escape, I couldn't afford to stay any longer. I already had a plan. I would wait until Master was off to work and then have his chauffer take me out and drop me off. Okay maybe it wasn't a good one, and I still needed to come up with an excuse as to go out but Jarvis was a boomer, how hard would it really be to convince him?

Realizing my skin was tingling, the impression of lace button's and seams from sleeping in a uniform designed for appearance rather than comfort I hurried to the bath. As it was HIS scent followed me like a shroud, sending conflicting thoughts through my head and I needed to think clearly today. It was 5:32:26, if I hurried there was plenty of time to shower, change, and have breakfast on the table before Master was up, and better still if I was careful there wouldn't be any time for him to get creative before he had to go...

Jarvis was there as I came out of the bath wrapped in a towel, chagrined to realize I didn't have a clue where to find the rest of 'my' cloths. Thankfully he was appropriately terse in showing me to the linen closet. Yay, my room is apparently the linen closet; this was definitely not where I wanted to spend the rest of my life.

Bacon, scrambled eggs, toast, it wasn't about being fancy, it was about having it all ready, warm, and presented just right on the tray when it came to 6:00:00. Entering his room, my steps timed to match the chime of his alarm clock I set the tray on a side table and gently shook him awake positioned to make any half-conscious grope as difficult as possible.

"Master, good morning," I said, in a truly cheerful tone. I was a little surprised not to have to fake it for his benefit, but it felt nice to have everything perfect for him, grand deception or not his smile made it all worthwhile, damn it.

Surprised by breakfast in bed as a wakeup call it took him a minute to get over the lingering effects of the sleeping pills to really grasp the situation. Helping him sit up I set the tray across his lap, and stood aside waiting in case he wanted anything more. "I hope that you slept well." I trailed off a little as he dug into his food torpidly ignoring me and my efforts too focused on the task of eating to return a word of greeting.

Still I stood patiently by as he ate, getting him extra juice once and another slice of toast. He was awake enough by the second request that I think it was more so he could watch me wiggle out of the room and back than from hunger by the way he pushed the tray away right after my return. I can't be certain though as I did have to narrow my eyes and focus hard not to bump into anything as I came and went.

"Amber, you are looking better, but that squinting has to stop." He was looking at me, but just far enough away I couldn't be sure of his expression, but from his tone I could tell he was a bit perturbed.

"I'm sorry Master," I said with a little curtsey of contrition, short black skirt making something of a mockery of the motion. "But I'm afraid that the damage to my eyes will take a very long time to fix if it is not permanent." Being broken made me feel guilty but did give me an idea. As I began to clean up the tray from breakfast I made certain to squint, even when it wasn't necessary. Masters body language indicates dislike for behavior, modify for maximum approval.

Of course I already knew what I was telling myself, and that's exactly why I ignored my own advice and continued to play up the impairment for the rest of the morning, before and after his shower. I had judged the timing perfectly, and he didn't have any time to spend before work molesting me. As he was making his way towards the doors to depart for the day I judged the moment ripe. Master's posture and movement indicate irritation and lack of perspective.

"Master, may Jarvis take me out to get glasses today? I want to please you better." I pushed my instincts for all they were worth, hurrying up to his side as I spoke, letting myself rub against his arm as I hung off him, voice wavering, pleading for permission to please him better and letting his hindbrain and instincts overwhelm his common sense. It took me every ounce of willpower to just let go and give my instincts free reign.

"Of course, just be sure to return in time for dinner, something light, your looking much better and I'll want time to make sure you've fully recovered from your illness…" his voice filled with hunger, a tremble running down my spine at the implications. As the door shut behind him I knew I had less than 10 hours 54 minutes 32 seconds left to escape if I wanted to remain 'pure', if a cyberdroid could qualify…

I made myself sit down and relax. I didn't want to spend any longer than I absolutely had to within these walls but if I was going to get the most out of this I would need another transfusion and dialysis session, even if it did cut into escape time.

"Jarvis, I'll need something else to wear to the appointment. This" indicating the black silken leotard and frilly white lace, the latest excuse for a maid's uniform "is not discrete. Oh and not simply another service dress, it wouldn't look right for a maid to have a butler, something normal." Seeing its disdainfully raised eyebrow I decided that wasn't enough. "Jeans and a shirt," rolling my own eyes back at it.

"Try to schedule the appointment at two, and get the transfusion machine ready for use at noon. I'm going to sleep until then, and do what the master told me, heal." Waiting just long enough for a staid "Of course ma'am, as you say something tasteful." I slipped into the Master's room pulling the drapes and shutting off the lights. Faced with the options of his bed or a crick in the neck I decided fuck it and snuggled into comfort lying down as I kicked my housekeeping systems to work as hard as possible on internal repairs.

Waking up, from the dreamlike fugue my recuperative state imposed at noon I stretched and slithered from the silken sheets toward the door even as Jarvis pulled it open. There is something to be said for an internal alarm clock. I felt paradoxically both better and worse for the five hours downtime. I was considerably better as far as the internal bruising went, but having pushed my self-repair systems so hard it was difficult to muster up the energy to stand.

Warning, circulatory system nearing failure point, blood contamination at 85% nutrient levels low, oxygen capacity at 10% time to system failure 1 hour 2 minutes at current rate of repair. Really close to my estimates, and nearing the threshold levels I set before going to sleep. Regretfully I reset my systems to a far more or less human speed of healing.

Staggering to my feet I didn't comment at the look on Jarvis' face as it gallantly offered an arm and helped me into the main room. I wasn't about to give it the satisfaction so kept my silence the whole way – even if I did lean rather desperately on its arm for support. Today's procedure was similar to the last, another welter of disturbingly dank blood filled with the detritus of healing cells and recovering organic systems.

Another hour session and I was feeling much better and plotting how to take the dialysis machine with me. I think I was perhaps falling in love with the glorious little case despite the needles its treatment necessitated. After another shower and getting dressed, in a high end women's business suit, what Jarvis apparently feels is discrete… I settled on a very simple straight forward method of making sure it would come with me. I simply picked it up and took it.

Seeing Jarvis opening his mouth to object I beat him to the punch, "I am still recovering from my injuries, as such it is important that this be available should I suffer a relapse while away from the tower. I'm certain Master Flint would prefer that if at all possible we remain discrete and not to call medical services?" I was right, that shut the butler up and even got it to prep the case better than I could have with a final supply of blood and filters packed away in a discrete black carryall.

So it was that I left the GPCC headquarters tower apparently a high powered executive, butler in tow and riding in the back of a luxury car to an appointment with an optician. The checkup itself went quickly. I waived everything but the prescription exam and insisted on waiting for the specialized nano-fac in back to complete my lenses in the store. Here my apparent role of executive paid out in spades, as a simple comment that I worked for Genom and was paying with a company account had the entire process complete in less than an hour.

As Jarvis returned to hustle me back to the car I feigned a spot of weakness, telling him to hurry and get my case. The optometrist was only too eager to help offering me access to the employee break room and as much time as I needed. Sticking Jarvis on guard at the door just made me smile. Its expression was so beautifully constructed to show no hint of objection while conveying so sincerely its disdain of my weak female constitution I could only wonder how they had managed to program it so well.

I just needed enough time to carefully and quietly climb from table to vending machine, move a few ceiling tiles and cautiously make my way through the crawlspace to the employee access behind the store and I would be free. Or.. "Jarvis, I'm feeling a bit better. Could you bring the car around to the near entrance I'll just rest a moment more and join you." It took a little more arguing to make him leave the case with me but human beats boomer, or is that butler, in authority most of the time.

Walking past the store's staff, butterflies in my stomach perhaps, but a very unprofessional grin from splitting my face as the world took shape in sharp focus for the first time in days. Down a level and into the subway and I was ensconced in that metal bullet to freedom. I'd done it, again. Who cared if I was out of place amid the dark and drab clothing of those around me in my silken Armani like clothing? Let the world see.

I, Am, Free!

To Be Continued.


Thank you for reading. And thanks to the FFML - Fanfiction mailing list for helping me to improve things. Particularly Matthew Campbell, and my pre-reader Turbolift Specialist 2nd class Bear Davidson. A note on chapter headings, 1.1 vs 1.2 or 1.3. Each time I do significant revisions to a chapter I update the point X value so if you stop by and see it has increased you can know your looking at a later revision.