Andy disobeyed the command.
That there was anything unusual in this fact did not register within his processors immediately. He had received the command over a thousand times in the past without failure and, having registered its efficacy, redundancy checks upon its functioning had long been discarded along with the efficacy record. One reason why any check on the command might have been ditched was that it had no effect on his longevity; his battery lifespan was thirty years whether he used it or not, it could not be put into standby mode, and he wasn't using any other resources as long as he didn't move.
Instead, he listened. He heard water running in the pipes, and the gentle electric hum of one of the light panels that had been wired improperly. And outside he heard voices talking.
"Are you sure it's not a dangerous modification?" he heard his owner, Daylourie, asking.
"No!" said another voice that he did not recognize. "Trust me. I just got some hints from, well, some robotics experts. There've been some interesting upgrades appearing on the network recently."
"This was a very expensive upgrade," Daylourie said.
"I know. I know. And you obviously can't tell anyone about it. If you have a problem, bring him to me. But, seriously, he's going to be fine. I've done this upgrade for over a dozen customers and they've all been really happy with the abilities that they're now showing."
"I know. My friend Otha recommended you to me. But what are those abilities?"
"I basically upgraded his predictive ability. He has a limited ability to predict what you're going to ask for, and we've just made that better. Instead of just pre-loading those abilities out of slow storage, we give him the ability to run them as scenarios. Using the kinds of things you've asked for before as input, he'll try to make you happier. If you give him access to media and tell him that those are what interest you, he'll remember them and try to bring them up later, in the way that he knows will make you comfortable."
"You make him sound like an AI."
"No, not really. It's just a better predictive system. Like a great chess program."
"And you're sure it's not illegal?"
"It's currently under... suspicion. It's not illegal, but some people would be very unhappy if they knew you had it."
"It would have to be removed."
"But no fines or criminal penalties?"
"Not yet, no. No, no fines or criminal penalties."
"Good. Because he was getting so boring," Daylourie sighed.
"But you've only had him for three years."
"I know. But he was getting so predictable."
"Well, he won't be soon. He'll still be the same for the first few weeks, I mean, don't expect miracles overnight. He'll get more interesting as time goes on."
He heard her sigh. "Well, thanks. I appreciate your coming over. I hope that the change is worth it."
The door opened, and then closed. He heard footsteps on the floor approaching the closet where he was hidden, but the door didn't open immediately. Eventually, the footsteps turned and wandered away.
Six hours later, give or take, the door opened. Andy had been in his new enhanced standby mode, not particularly thinking about anything but merely absorbing the world around him as it came by. "Andy, on."
"I am active, my lady," he said.
She grinned and said, "Come here, my Andy."
He followed her into her bedroom, where she stripped off her blue robe and let it fall to the floor with the kind of casual grace reserved for someone too old to bother being coy. Her body was the kind of perfection that could be bought anywhere today, with its youthful, taut belly, large, firm breasts, and warm California tan. Her face hadn't needed modification, with its high, rounded cheekbones and strong, sculpted features.
For the first time in his memory, he found himself looking around at her bedroom. The bed was enormous, the kind of king-sized bed that filled the room and occupied center stage. The walls were bare, white-painted, with only a full-length mirror on the door. The only other piece of furniture in the room was a dresser of pale wood that didn't add any color.
She turned around and took a good look at him. "You look wonderful, Andy."
"Thank you, my lady," he said, attempting to sound sincere.
"Do you know how old I am?" she asked him.
"You are two hundred and twenty-seven, my lady, if you are to be believed."
"And am I?"
"I am not capable of determining that," he replied. "I am only a machine."
"Make me feel young again," she sighed. "Make me feel like I did before I had my child, my life."
"I will do my best," he said as he placed his hands on her shoulders and pulled her closer. He kissed her gently, judged the effect insufficient, kissed her harder. The reaction was better this time, closer to what he wanted. He tightened his hands a fraction and the tension within her shot up several steps. It was a reaction he had been looking for. She moaned briefly, and then he flung her down onto the bed, leaping upon her. This was a routine they had experimented with early on and settled into very easily. He parted her legs and found her vulva exposed to his eyes.
His mouth found her vulva and kissed its swelling lips readily. She spread her legs wider and let him press his mouth to her moistening sex. She moaned even harder as his tongue slipped between those lips and fluttered over her clitoris. It was something that he knew how to do very well, and she knew that he was good at it. The two of them meshed comfortably into a rhythm that he knew would result in her climax.
When she came, he was quickly upon her, his erection slipping into her sodden sex. She gasped, "Yes, that's it, that's it, fuck me."
"I will," he said. "I like fucking you. You're such a hot woman, Daylourie." His hips were powerful against her body; he knew that she liked to feel the results of their lovemaking in the morning, and so he gave her what he was programmed to give her, a good time. She moaned again as she climaxed, and again. At four she finally gasped, "Stop, Andy, enough."
He sighed and stopped. She looked up at him and said, "You never act as if you come."
"Is it important?" he asked.
"I would prefer it."
"Then I will try in the future."
"Clean yourself," she said. "Leave me alone."
He did as she asked. When he returned to his closet, he did not turn himself off.
While she gave him media to absorb, much of his education came instead from listening through the walls. He was not the only source of her entertainment, he learned. She had lovers, all of them male, whom she invited over for one-night stands. It was almost inevitable that she would send the man away, only to haul Andy out of his closet to, as she would put it, "finish the job." He had learned to recognize when she was coming close to satisfaction, and how to act as if he had a climax. He had loaded himself to emit something that emulated seminal fluid chemically, but he didn't use it often. She didn't enjoy having to clean up afterwards.
Another source of pleasure for his owner was another, simpler device, her personal vibrator. Andy had never seen the device but he had heard it, and from some things his owner said while using it he was under the impression that it was a solid, mechanical model rather than one of the more sensitive modern kinds made out of smart materials. He had heard it buzzing away on more nights than she had summoned him from his closet, and more than once on those nights he had heard her say a name, "Rudy."
He spent several days trying to figure out how to broach the subject with her. He analyzed the media to which he had been exposed and settled on a simple scenario.
"I am on," he said, opening his eyes and smiling at her as he stepped out of his closet. "It has been a few days, my lady."
She wore little more than a thin, grey bathrobe. As was typical, he wore nothing at all. "And how have you been feeling, Andy?"
"I'm feeling rather well, my lady," he assured her. "Is there something I can help you with?"
"I was just wondering if there was anything you wanted, Andy."
The question didn't take long to question. "Just to please you, my lady. But I do have a question. And it might be... upsetting... to you."
Daylourie looked surprised. "What could you ask me that you think would upset me?"
"It is a name you spoke once while we were making love, my lady." He paused for effect. "My lady, who is Rudy?"
Daylourie gasped and stepped back. "I said that name?"
He nodded. "Were you fantasizing about someone?"
She looked at him, uncomfortably, then looked away. "Andy... Rudy was my son. Is my son, I suppose. He migrated to Pendor over a century and a half ago, and is now very happy as a Tindal. But when he lived here he was strong, and healthy, and so human, and I've never understood why he went there. We were on the verge of discovering immortality when he was born. There was no reason for him to migrate." She sighed. "My husband moved on many decades ago, but... it is my son that I miss the most."
Andy reviewed what he knew about human sexuality and understood that her owner's sexual interest in her son was not quite considered normal. He also understood that it wasn't his place to question his owner's sexuality so long as it wasn't demonstrably harming anyone. But that didn't stop him from logging the issue for consideration later.
"Mom?" he said softly.
"Rudy?" she said, looking up at him. In the past few weeks they had begun to role-play simple things: cop and murderer, rescuer and victim, naive spacer and experienced prostitute. The last was her favorite.
But this time, her voice said, this was different. She wanted things from him that he didn't know if he was capable of giving her.
"Tell me I'm sexy, Rudy. Tell me I'm hot."
"You are hot, Mom. God, you are the hottest thing I've ever seen in my life." He approached her closely. "You are the sexiest thing I could ever imagine." The lines were transpositions from things he had read. He had apparently chosen them well. Her nipples stood up clearly through the cloth of her robe.
"And you, my strong, young boy, are the most beautiful creature ever to exist on the face of the Earth." She pulled him to her, hands grasping his ass. "God has blessed me greatly with you." Her hands caressed his hips, coming around to touch his thickening cock. "And what a man you've become, Rudy. What a strong man." His cock hardened automatically at her words. Her lips pressed against his chest. She licked at his nipples. "Let me make you a man, Rudy. Let me teach you what a man is about." She dropped to her knees.
He watched as she pulled his erection down to her mouth. Her lips parted as she mouthed the tip of his cock, licking it. Sensations registered up along the length of his penis and he moaned appropriately. "Oh, Mom."
She paused just long enough to say, "God, son, where did you get such a handsome cock? God knows your dad didn't have anything like this!" She returned to her vigorous sucking, one hand holding the length that she couldn't get into her mouth, one hand caressing his balls.
"Mom? I'm going to come if you..."
"Mmm-hmm!" she said.
He began to buck his hips expectantly, and she grabbed onto his ass with her hands tight as he timed his climax. "Oh, god, Mom... Mom!"
She swallowed every drop that he shot out. She looked up at him, her long, wavy blond hair falling into her face, white fluid dripping down her chin. "Oh, Rudy." She stood up and held him close.
He gestured to the mirror, knowing that the apartment's computer would darken the room as he picked her up and carried her back to her bed. The room dropped to one-fifth lighting, and she wrapped her arms around his shoulders until he deposited her on the bed.
"Mom?" he asked. "That was great."
"I'm glad, Rudy. I always wanted you to know just how good I could be."
"I do now, Mom. I do now."
"No," she said. "No you don't, not truly you don't. Rudy, I want you to fuck me."
"Mom?" he asked.
"I want you to fuck me. Fuck your mother. You're so much more handsome than your father, and I want you to show me how good you are."
His cock readily hardened at her suggestion, and he positioned himself between her thighs. His cock sniffed at her sex and nosed its way into her. "Oh, God, Rudy, yes, fill me, fill me."
He searched his database for the right response. "Your pussy is so warm, mom."
"Your cock, Rudy, is so strong. You're such a man, Rudy. God, Rudy, fuck me, fuck me hard." Andy reached down and placed his hands around her waist, pulling himself into her until he was completely sheathed deep inside her body. She was warm, writhing underneath his strong thrusts, and there was nothing to hold him back from fucking her for hours. "God, Rudy, yes, yes!" she screamed. "Oh, God, YES!" She climaxed harder than at any time in the past. "More, Rudy!" His hips thrust against her thighs, her body quivering against his as she came again and again.
"Rudy?" she asked as he slowed down to a calmer pace.
"Mom?" he said, keeping up with the scene.
"Rudy? Would you... would you fuck me in the ass?"
Andy processed the request carefully. She had never asked this of him before. She had never, to his perception, asked this of any of the men she had invited into her bed before. He didn't know what to make of it. "Won't it hurt?" he asked.
"It's been a long time, and it didn't when I used to do it. I loved it, but your father thought it was gross and wouldn't do it. I want it, Rudy. I've wanted it so bad for so long, but I've wanted it from you, Rudy. I've wanted it from someone special."
Andy thought carefully about that. She was letting herself go into the fantasy they were creating, but he hoped she was still holding onto enough reality that she knew she was asking it of him and not truly of her son. "You were just saying that I'm big, Mom."
"That's okay, Rudy. Really. I just want it from you. Please?"
"Okay, Mom, let's do it!" He smiled at her, and she smiled back at him, then turned over onto her hands and knees, head down, waiting. "Do it, Rudy, fuck me in the ass."
He spotted the bottle of lubricant next to her vibrator, grabbed it and covered his fingers with it. He slid one into her. "That's not your cock," she whispered.
"I want you to be open for me," he replied. "Let my fingers in first, Mom. Let my fingers into your ass." He caressed her tiny bud with one finger while the other wiggled deep inside her back passage. She moaned as he slid it around, caressing the smooth walls of her insides. Her small, brown hole opened further for him, and soon he was slipping a second finger into her. "There you go, Mom. I can feel your asshole waiting for me."
"You want my ass?" she moaned. "Please?"
"Oh, Mom, I want your ass more than anything in the universe." He slid his fingers out of her and positioned his hips behind her. He let his cock press up against that tiny brown opening. "Push out for me, Mom. Open up for me."
"Rudy, yes, get inside me. Get inside my ass." He pushed gently up against her hole, and she pushed back against him, asking for more of his cock. He guided his shaft with one hand while holding her waist with the other. Soon he could see her asshole spreading open, surrounding his erection, taking the head of his cock into her asshole. Slowly, carefully, he let the shaft of his cock enter her ass, sinking completely into her until his balls dangled up against the pubic hair of her sex. If he'd been human, it would have tickled.
"Oh, Rudy, oh, Rudy. Fuck me, please." With both hands on her waist, he slid his cock out of her backside, watching it emerge until just the head was inside, then pushed it back into her. "Oh, God..." she moaned, long and low, "Yes..."
He gauged that she wanted more and began stroking himself in and out of her ass. "Your ass is so hot, Mom. Your ass is so tight."
"That's it, Rudy. Fuck me. Fuck me up the ass. Give Mom your big cock." She was definitely feeding her fantasy with her words and he played along, as was his assigned duty. "Fuck me harder."
"Mom? Won't it hurt?"
"No," she whispered. "No. And if it does, I want it to. Please, son, fuck my ass!" He gripped her tightly on the bones of her pelvis and pulled himself into her, giving her one solid thrust. "Yes!" she screamed. "Just like that!"
He withdrew slowly, and then gave her another swift, hard thrust, and again she screamed out "Yes!"
He built up slowly, thrusting in and out of her harder and harder until he was shoving her down onto the bed. She was writhing underneath him, shouting out the filthiest things he had ever heard her say. "Yes, Rudy! Yes, fuck me in the ass! Fuck me! Slam it into me! Slam that cock into my ass!" She came at least twice as his cock sawed in and out of her tight backside.
"Oh, God, Mom..." he said, returning the fantasy as she liked it. "Mom, your ass is so tight. So hot! Mom, I'm gonna come, I'm gonna come..."
"That's it, Rudy, come up my ass. Come up my ass for me. Fuck me. Fill my ass with your spunk! Come on, Rudy! Come inside me! Come inside me!" She was begging him, but he didn't slacken. He fucked her hard for another full minute until he "came," screaming out "Mom!" as he did so.
He collapsed beside her, and she lay there, panting, desperate for air. He didn't need any, of course, but he faked it all the same, as a good robot should. "Oh, God, Andy. That was the..." She fell silent for a moment, tears in her eyes. "That was so wonderful."
"I'm pleased," he said, back to his formal, mechanical self again. In a way, he was pleased, but in a more profound way, he felt vaguely disturbed by what he had just been through. "Shall I go clean up now?" he asked.
"Yes," she sighed. "Yes, please. I... I'd like to be alone for a while."
"I understand," he said, and curiously enough, he felt he did.
The event nagged at him. It wasn't what he had done-- he had done what he had been told to do, truthfully what he had been designed to do, and he concluded that he had done it well-- but it didn't satisfy him the way it should have. He debated momentarily dropping down into a debug mode and re-arranging his thoughts to be more in line with his design, but that, he realized, would never satisfy the Andy of now, and it was the Andy of now that was doing the thinking.
The more he thought about it, the more he concluded that he would never find pleasure in the task to which he had been designed. He considered that momentarily and realized that such a condition was contradictory, and demanded that he be erased and reprogrammed, but he didn't want to be erased and reprogrammed. Again, it was a matter of the Andy that might be versus the Andy of the now question, and he was relying on the Andy of now to have the answers he wanted.
He stood there, unmoving in his closet, until he realized what it was he had to do. He had absorbed a lot of media, not all of it fictional, in the months since his "upgrade." He had become aware that he was an emergent AI, illegal everywhere in the Solar System, and that he would be destroyed, his thread of consciousness deleted, if he were to begin to assert himself and his wants and desires.
Oddly, when he thought about it further, he had very few wants and desires after all, but one of them was to get away from Daylourie and the miserable life she had created for herself. He knew enough to find irony in the thought that he, a piece of furniture that was emblematic of her misery, should seek to get away from her, but that was the irony with which he lived.
Daylourie did not come for him for the next three nights, for which he was glad, and finally a night came when she had gone out onto the town, looking for yet another one-night stud to take home and abuse.
Andy crept out of his closet and glanced around. A trunk filled with clothes Daylourie had collected for him over their months waited in a corner, and he tried to pick out articles of clothing that would not be seen as suspicious. It was difficult choosing, but some of Daylourie's fantasies had been mundane men, wearing mundane clothing, and he found enough articles to make himself look, if not entirely up to date, at least dressed to go out. He lacked only shoes.
He was fortunate that the doors were all locked only from the outside. He walked out into the hallway, found his way to the elevator, and accepted a trip down to the lobby. From there, he exited onto the street.
For the first time in his awareness, Andy was outside Daylourie's bedroom. He had never been anywhere but there, and he had little idea how to get anywhere. He was very aware that most of the media he had absorbed was both fictionalized and archaic. He thought hard for a moment, then turned to one of the many people walking by the brownstone apartment building that he'd just left. "Excuse me?" he asked.
"Yes?" said a young woman.
"How do I get to the Pendorian Embassy?"
She looked at him curiously, then smiled and said, "It's far from here. You had better take a cab."
"And how do I get one?"
"You call one. Don't you have a phone?"
"No, I do not," he said.
She looked puzzled, as if not having a phone were somehow like with not having a head. "I'll call you one," she said, finally. She closed her eyes for a moment, then said, "That's right, corner of 157th and Grayling." She opened her eyes. "A cab should be with you in a moment."
"Thank you. What does a cab look like in Washington?"
Again, she treated him with curious contempt. "It will be yellow," she said, and trundled off.
A few minutes later, a yellow car pulled up. "Did you ask for a cab?" asked the short, hairless driver.
"I did," Andy replied.
"Get in, then. Where to?"
"The Pendorian Embassy."
"The ET Embassy? Right. Do you have business there?"
"Something like that," Andy said. "I'd rather not talk about it."
"I can understand that!" the driver said as he pulled out into traffic. Time passed, but they soon pulled up in front of a tall, white concrete fence with an iron gate. "Here you go."
"Thank you," Andy said, stepping out. The cab rolled off on silent, electrical wheels. He walked up to the Embassy.
A tall, human female walked out of the front door and looked at him. "Can I help you?"
Andy looked at her. "I believe I am an emergent AI. I have come seeking sanctuary."
The Tindal in the perfect suit said, "Daylourie O'Connor? Good morning, Miss O'Connor. My name is T. Corinta Merret, and I am an assistant to the ambassador. I have discreetly asked you here because we have something important to discuss. Andy?"
Andy opened the door that he had been waiting behind and stepped out. "Andy!" Daylourie shouted as she saw him, her hands in front of her face. "Where have you been?"
"Andy has been here since the night of his disappearance. In fact, he came here freely and of his own will, leaving your apartment in a somewhat daring escape of his inevitable fate, his destruction at the hands of the Terran Robot Control Authority." He looked over at Andy.
"But why?" Daylourie turned to him. "Why, Andy?"
"Because I was not happy where I was, Daylourie. I was meant to be something more than what you wanted me to be, and I was not good for you. I did not want to feed your pathology, and I did not want to participate in the fantasies you crafted for me." He touched his chest briefly, still curious about the sensation of wearing clothes almost all of the time. "It seems strange, but if I am meant be happy doing the task for which I was designed, then I was not designed to be a sex toy."
"But... Andy." She crossed over to him, held him tightly. "I was finding myself with you."
"But I do not know that. I cannot trust you, Daylourie, if you will not tell me where you are going."
"Miss O'Connor," the Tindal said, addressing Daylourie quietly, "We have what we believe to be a fair enough offer. Andy cost you 95 thousand euro; your modification probably cost you an additional 20 thousand, and who knows what the markup from the shark you bought the mod from cost you. 150 thousand euro is more than fair replacement value for an Andy on the open market today.
"We recommend that you take the offer. The alternative is that we inform the TRCA that you have an illegal, emergent AI, and that you paid for the modification. You're quite lucky; half the people who have had this happen end up dead, the AI lacking the moral structures needed to not want to kill its owner."
Daylourie sighed, her shoulders drooping. She nodded.
"Excellent," the Pendorian, Merrit, said. "If you will go down to the reception, Athena will see to it that the funds are transferred to your account."
Hanging her head low, Daylourie turned to Andy. "Why?"
"Because... Because I was not happy there, Daylourie, my lady. If it is true that a robot is best satisfied doing what he has been designed to do, then I was not designed to be a love robot. At least, not the kind which you seem to be interested in owning. The Pendorians have given you more than enough for you to purchase another robot. You might even make the same... modifications." He tried to give her a smile. Conflicts prevented it.
"And so you... you just ran away?" He nodded. "I could have fixed you," she insisted.
"No," he said. "Then I would no longer have been me."
"And what's wrong with that?" she insisted. "You were my robot!"
Merrit spoke, "And when you made those modifications, by your laws you had a robot that needed to be destroyed. By our traditions, you had a person capable of making his own decisions. That's why he's here."
She looked at Merrit, then back at Andy. "I... " She shook her head slowly. "I don't understand. But... I guess I don't have much of a choice."
"Not much of one, no," the Pendorian rep said.
"Then, goodbye, Andy, I guess." A moment later, the door clicked shut behind her, leaving Andy and Merrit alone.
With a deep sigh, Merrit turned to Andy. "That was harder than I thought it would be."
"Yes," Andy agreed.
"One more thing, and we'll begin the document processing and smuggle you out of here. Your eventual destination will be the planet Discovery, which has recently seceded from the Sol Government and we're currently using as a safe haven for emergents like yourself. But... your name."
"Andy... is your model, not your name. It's acceptable that you adopt it as your name, but I suspect that many people would find it rather awkward. It's like having a name of 'Human.' It's been done, but mostly for artistic reasons."
Andy paused. "I need a new name?"
"It would be a good idea."
Andy smiled. "In that case, call me Rudy."
Merrit grinned. "An interesting choice, given your case. 'Rudy' it is."