"It feels so strange in here," P'nyssa said, rubbing her tens with her mitts briskly. "Empty."
"Creepy," I agreed. Our footsteps echoed hollowly down the metallic hallways. "I've never actually been in the Castle when it was empty. Even during construction, it was always in some state of progress with workers somewhere putting it together."
She smiled softly and said "It looks pretty good, though."
"That it does; Did you see the way they reorganized the commons room?"
She nodded. "I don't like it. It doesn't look like children play there."
"It's not supposed to look like our house, Nyss. It's supposed to look like what offringers think our house looks like." I snickered darkly. "The price of fame."
She nodded, shivering slightly. "Still, it does give me the... creeps." She smiled to me, and we giggled.
"If that gives you the creeps," Aaden said, ascending from the gravtube, "you should look at the storage room downstairs."
"Why?" P'nyssa asked.
"That's where they're storing us." He smiled.
"Really?" P'nyssa asked. "The robots are here? Let's go take a look."
I shrugged, smiling. "Sure, let's go see what we look like."
Aaden led us down the gravtube and along a hallway. "Take a look."
In the real Shardik Castle, this would have been where we stored the vehicles. Instead, it was presently storage for the robots that would double as us when the tourists came. Aaden went in first and I took up the rear.
Inside, there were duplicates of damn near everybody who presently lived at Shardik Castle and not a few of our past friends and relatives. I was surprised to see Kathy Morran among them. Shalla, Paul, Carroll, Ress, Bawr, Nance, Brieanna... Lots of memories, lots of friends. Then I saw us. P'nyssa, Aaden, and myself, leaning against the wall in storage and maintenance cubicles. I walked up to my duplicate and looked it in the face. Its eyes were closed, but otherwise it was a pretty good image. A little disconcerting; I was used to seeing my face in the mirror, as a reverse image. This thing looked like I was supposed to look, the face I presented to the world. I ran my hand along the chin; it was cold, but there was a slight stubble there, too. I laughed. Correct in every detail.
P'nyssa's and Aaden's robots were even more disconcerting. As far as I knew, that may just as well have been my coimelin there, but for the lack of breathing. No, that wasn't entirely true.
Aaden, all 184 centimeters of him, rested against the wall with his muscular arms crossed. His tail hung low, indicating a relaxed pose, but otherwise this was the same anthropomorphic skunk I'd been living with for the past four and half centuries. Same short muzzle, same triangular chin with the sudden blunt terminus, same black nose. The fur was just as thick as on the real one; it was something of an effort to not reach out and stroke it, or to stroke down over it's pants and find out if the robot was accurate in absolutely every detail or not. Other than the lack of breathing, the only giveaway that this was not my true love was that the real Aaden, standing to my left and most definitely breathing, was wearing his 'indoor' clothing of silk blouse pants and a vest with many pockets, whereas the robot was wearing denim cutoff shorts and a tank-top.
P'nyssa was wearing her hair loose, the robot had it up in a bun and fixed with two long pins. Otherwise it was the same thing; but for the robots complete motionlessness, they were identical. 168 centimeters of indigo-blue furred humanoid topped with a massive tangle of raven-black hair and ears larger then the span of my hand, the robot was complete with gold highlights amidst the fur of her arms, which rather than the standard humanoid ball-and-lever arrangements were supple tentacles ending in a broad-padded and muscular 'mitten' with an opposable thumb. The real P'nyssa's clothing reminded me of nothing less than a baseball jersey, complete with vertical stripes, while the robot was wearing a more comfortable silk-screened kimono.
"Now I've really got the creeps," I breathed.
"Yeah," Aaden said, laughing softly. "It's fascinating how accurate they are."
"I wonder, though," I said. "Can they pass the test?"
"What test?" Aaden asked.
"How real are they?"
"That depends," Dave answered, clearing his electronic throat first. "There are very few AI's on the planet that could with absolute accuracy reproduce the thought processes of an organic sentient, and those that could would do so at the expense of most of their present functioning. There are thirty robots in this location, each of which has it's own independent SI processor for accepting data and formulating responses. I estimate I shall be examining each SI's status of interaction about ten times a second. With the 270 additional AI primaries I have had installed for this locale, it should be a minimal task for me to simulate your behavior in a manner convincing to whatever questions the tourists may have. After all, we estimate that no tourist will interact with the Shardik Castle Simulation for more than eighty minutes."
"But what about extremes of behavior?"
"For you, Kennet, extremes of behavior involve the gengineering of sentient species and the indulgence of your algophilia. Neither will be going on when the tourists are around. I would not begin to guess how your creative faculties work under those circumstances."
I nodded. "So it'll be just boring, mundane Ken Shardik when the guests arrive?"
"Indeed," Dave said. "I would like you to view some episodes during the first few weeks, to see if I get your lecherous propensity down pat."
"'Lecherous propensity!'" I said, laughing. "Dave, you don't intend to have the Shardik morphrobot fuck a tourist or two while they're here, do you?"
"Of course not," Dave replied. He almost sounded miffed. "But you do have a reputation to uphold as a roving and inviting rogue. I would hate to see said reputation fade because I ran you too politely."
I rolled my eyes. "Sheesh." I turned to my two companions, who both looked at me a shrugged, giving me "don't ask us" looks. "Come on, let's go take a look around. I want to see what my studio looks like."
We stepped out into the hallway and Aaden said, "Ken? Nyss and I are going to check the lagoon. Dave said he wants me to check the bowl and make recommendations for what kind of alien flora he should have planted."
"Something big, off-color, and harmless," I suggested. "Okay, I'll see you guys on the roof in a little bit?"
"Sure thing," he said. "C'mon, Nyss." I watched their retreating backs as they walked down the hallway towards the grav-tube. "Actually," Aaden shouted down from the tube, "Low-maintenance is a necessity, too. Especially if children will be part of the tourist... " his voice faded too much for me to make out clearly. I smiled and headed back down the hallway to "my" art studio. The door opened and I looked inside.
"Dave?" I asked.
"'Karza' isn't here."
"No, you specifically asked that 'Karza' not be made available for public exhibition several decades ago, so I excluded it from the collection. I did leave 'Michelle' and 'Four Dolphins' here, as well as your work in progress of Karen sleeping."
I nodded, rubbing my chin thoughtfully. "Dave, include 'Karza'."
"It's my work. The three works here are all peaceful, pastoral, alive. 'Karza' is a rarity for me, a very dark and distressing subject. If we're going to show these people what I'm like, we may as well show them all of it."
"I'll have a duplicate made and moved over here as soon as possible."
I nodded. "Dave, what sort of things do you plan on having me do while the tourists are here?"
"I figured I'd have the robots talk about themselves and their impressions of others. I have been watching you and yours for nearly nine hundred years, Ken; I know how you all feel about each other."
"What about... oh, politics? Or sex?"
"For politics I'll have the conversation steer away from controversial subjects. If the inquiry gets pressed, I'll say 'I really don't want to talk about it'"-- he said that in my voice, very nicely-- "Or I'll defer to what I know of your opinion on the subject, if I feel confident with it, with a heavy preference for 'no comments.' As for sex, I do know your opinion of the subject. But as I said, I doubt 'you'll' be having any."
"Poor robot. All of my work and none of my play."
"I also think I'll use place you where people expect you to be, at your workstation or in the unsambo, doing research or getting exercise."
"Dave? How will you reconcile the tourists meeting 'me' when I'm obviously not home?"
"Unless it's otherwise publicly noted, most of the tourists will assume you're home because they are there right then. I will avoid as much as possible overlaps and the potential that outsiders will discover the fraud. At times when you're known to be offworld, or when you're visibly public somewhere else on the ring, we plan on alternating with one of two plans: either we will shut down the simacula, or we'll have them visit and just not have you home at the time. 'M'Ress' or 'Aaden' will be their guides then."
I stepped out into the hallway and ascended to the roof. Looking over the railing, I didn't see the loves of my life as I scanned the rim of the crater. "Where are P'nyssa and Aaden?"
"They are further up along the beach," David replied. "Aaden is investigating the limits of a tourist's wandering. Between the fence to 'Stephen's' house and the huge bundles of driftwood we should effectively keep them from wandering too far away from the Simacula."
"Is the graffiti on the rock by the driftwood?"
I sighed. Detail was everything. Dave interrupted my musings by asking me, "Have you looked at your own home yet?"
"Just curious," Dave replied. "Of all the places on Shardik Castle, that's the one with which you are most intimate. I feel curious to know if minutiae like the lumpiness of pillows and the quality of waterflow in the shower are accurate."
Detail is everything, perhaps, but I thought that was pushing detail a little too far. "I'll go check it out," I said, descending down the gravtube again. Once on the second floor I made my way to my apartment, passing by way of David's apartment. "By the way, Dave, I assume you're keeping the 30 SI boxes and the 270 AI extensions in here?"
"Yes," he replied. "I saw no reason to locate them elsewhere."
I nodded, crossing the hall to my own home. The door opened smoothly. It looked just like the real place had about a century ago. There was the old white couch, stuffed easy chair. The curtain separating this room from the children's playroom was still there, and peeking my head through I could see through the doorway to the workroom, complete with graphics roundtable and Aaden's seedling platform. "What are you planning on putting in the seedling jars?"
"I'll be consulting with Aaden on that," Dave announced.
Stepping back into the living room, I noticed a stain on the carpet floor. Running my hand over it, I realized it was a permanent discoloration on the carpeting. "What's this?"
"An excuse," David replied, "to discuss The Carpet Monster. Four minutes of inane conversation that every parent in the audience should be able to appreciate."
I laughed aloud. "That's very clever!" The Carpet Monster was something P'nyssa had dreamed up a long time ago when we'd first had Richard and Rainy. Richard had spilled a glass of juice on the floor, and P'nyssa had, on the spur of the moment, told him about The Carpet Monster, a creature that fed on food spilled on the floor. If you spilled food too often, she explained, the Carpet Monster would get big, and eventually it would be too big for just spilled food to satisfy it. Then it would come after little boys and girls, so you shouldn't spill stuff on the floor. Amazingly, it had worked with every one of our children, although Firin once admitted to me that his son had deliberately 'fed' his Carpet Monster because Uncia, being the biggest of the cat species, were supposed to be able to fight anything, even bogeymen, and Purrin wanted to get the 'challenge' of the Carpet Monster over with as soon as possible so he could head on to bigger and better things.
I descended the gravtube to our bedroom. The beautiful yellow rosewood cabinets were there against the wall, each open and filled with reproductions of the books I had at home. Shakespeare, Halleck, Chaucer, the Bible, the Koran, the lleritik were all there. Copies of Gray's Anatomy and Mendelev's Treatise emphasized who else lived here. In fact, the bedroom was meant to reflect the triplicate nature of my life even more so than the bedroom at home did, where P'nyssa tended to dominate with her lace and decoration.
I walked into the bathroom and turned on the shower; it seemed satisfactory. As did the presence of all three of our preferred soaps, clove, peppermint and unscented. "Nothing simulated about that," I said.
"Ken, Aaden and P'nyssa have returned from the beach and on the lagoon sands."
"Tell them where I am, would you?"
"They have already asked. P'nyssa is on her way; Aaden has stopped to inspect the rim of the bowl more closely, and asks that you be patient."
"Perfectionist," I said, meaning Aaden. I heard the sound of footsteps upstairs. "Ken?"
"Down here!" I shouted. P'nyssa floated down the gravtube, a smile on her face as she did so. "So, what do you think?" I asked.
"It's better outside. I'm used to the beach being empty. It's not our beach, though." She pouted; it's a pretty pout.
"Can't have everything," I said. "Where would you put it?" I leaned over and kissed her cheek.
She smiled and turned, hopping onto the bed. "Feels just like the one at home."
"Does it?" I asked. "Let's see." I leapt onto the bed beside her. "It does, when we have a new mattress."
She nodded. "I have a suggestion," she said, her eyes alight with mischief. "Listen, before the robots get their mechanical hands on 'our' bed, why don't we break it in for them?"
"What? Right now?"
"No better time," she said, turning over and sliding towards me. Her mittens slid up against my shirt and began undoing my buttons.
I laughed and leaned in to kiss her. She kissed back, warm and familiar, her back arching slightly as I ran my hand over her shirt. I reached between us to open her buttons as well, sliding a hand surreptitiously in and fondling her breast before undoing all of the buttons. She laughed. "You just can't keep your hands off, can you?"
"With such a pretty lady as yourself?" I asked. "Be serious." I kissed her chin, feeling her fur slide along my cheek as I eased down her throat. She moaned softly as my hands caressed her fur in small circles along her chest. My lips found a hardened nipples as her mitts slid along within my shirt, and her back arched upwards towards me. "I love you," I said, looking up at her.
"I love you, too." She smiled and opened the button that held her pants shut. "Help me take them off."
I helped her slide the pants off and tossed them aside. I removed my own clothing slowly as she watched, her mouth open. "Gods, you are excited," I said.
"Something about how all the tourists will be coming through here and wondering how many will guess the truth. And of those, wondering how many will realize that, at least once, we really did make love in this bed."
I laughed. "You have an active imagination, Nyss."
"You're the creative one in this family," she said, hauling me down on top of her. She kissed my lips, our tongues meeting, each sliding against the others' warmth and wetness. "Ken," she gasped as we parted, "Lick."
"With pleasure," I said, sliding halfway down the length of her body briskly and settling as she parted her thighs for me. I kissed the top of her mound, and was rewarded with the sight of her inner lips swelling slightly and peeking out from her fine blue fur, slightly longer here than elsewhere on her body. I kissed her mound again, extending my tongue into her cleft and parting her lips with saliva. The hood of her clitoris was still covering completely, so I ran my tongue over the top gently; I knew she didn't like too much pressure in the beginning, no matter how hot the rest of her was.
She moaned her appreciation at this comfortably familiar lovemaking. I chuckled, the laughter muffled by her body. As I slid down I tugged on her inner labia with my lips and I could taste her juices flowing down from her opening. The taste was heady, fueling a lust I had not felt moments before.
She moaned louder as I licked around the hood, and then finally under it; her mittens reached down to tug her hood upwards and open, giving me better access to her clitoris. She shuddered as I attacked her with wet, swashing strokes of the tongue.
Then I felt a hand on my shoulder. I lifted my head just long enough to say "Hello, Aaden."
"Not Aaden," said a voice behind me. P'nyssa's voice. I turned slowly to look behind me, right into the eyes of my beloved P'nyssa. I realized instantly what was going on. "Dave, no."
"You wanted a test," P'nyssa... the P'nyssa I had been making love to just a moment before... said. "Besides, maybe we changed clothes?"
I looked up at her, then back at the other one, the one with her hair up, and then back at the one lying down. "No way. You're you."
"Are you sure?" the one behind me said. "Go back to what you were doing," she suggested. Although part of me was sure that I should stop and figure out who was who, I was already too turned on by what was going on in front of me to think too clearly on the matter.
I dove back into P'nyssa's, the one with her hair down, cunt and began licking madly. I could feel her body tensing and straining under my tongue, but as I did so I felt a pair of mitten's on my butt and a light kiss on my tailbone. My brain whirled with the thought of two P'nyssas making love to me at the same time, especially when the kisses trailed down to my anus and she started to lick me seriously. I decided then that the one behind me was the robot; P'nyssa, the real P'nyssa, almost never plays with my asshole.
I gasped with pleasure as I felt her tongue press against the ring of my anus. I thought about the 'whos' in this bedroom.
Dave and I have been together for nearly a millennia, longer even than my association with P'nyssa. M'Ress built him as the overwatch AI for Shardik Castle, and he's an early model. Despite constant hardware upgrades over the centuries, his essential 'core' personality has always been rather flat and unexciting. Dependable, patient, and friendly, were the words I used to describe Dave.
But I still counted him as one of my best friends. I like to express strong friendship in the most intimate manner my partner is willing to participate in; it surprised me that I had never thought of Dave in a sexual manner. But then, Dave isn't a 'he', is he? Despite a masculine name and voice, Dave is an 'it,' an AI, a beast of silicon and steel.
And although positerminal and biocybernetics were so advanced that Dave could be playing 'P'nyssa' and be enjoying the sensations as much as I did, I felt oddly perverse in that I had one of my favorite people... two of her, in fact, one 'possessed' by the mind of another of my closest and dearest friends... and I was in bed with 'them.' I laughed, realizing that in my wandering thoughts I had set my tongue mostly on automatic. I hadn't been paying much attention to P'nyssa's, if this one was the real her, orgasm.
I slid my tongue to the very base of her clitoris, where I knew she was most sensitive; the mouth roving over my backside and sometimes plunging between my legs to lick at my scrotum seemed very far away as P'nyssa's body tensed, relaxed, and tensed again, her body shuddering and a gentle "Mmmph... uh!" escaping her lips as she came.
I noticed the probing tongue behind me once again only because it suddenly went away. "Can I go next?" I heard her say. I turned around just in time to see the P'nyssa giggle. I worked my jaw from side to side, the constant up-and-down motion having made the muscles tense up quite a bit, and then said "Let me catch my breath first."
"Aww... " she said, laughing.
"Better yet," said Aaden's voice from above, "Grab him!"
"Wha?" I protested as the two P'nyssas wrapped two tentacles each around each of my upper arms and hauled me back up against the headboard. They snuggled close to me, both to keep me warm and to hold me down with their collective weight. Individually, P'nyssa isn't very heavy. Two of them together, however, held me down very effectively.
Aaden descended the grav-tube, and the first thing I noticed was that he was already naked. He crouched on the bed and crawled over to me. "Hello, Ken."
"Hello, lover," I replied. He grinned and knelt down, grabbing one of my feet by the ankle and pinning it down. He stuck his tongue out and licked the sole of my foot, from heel to toes, engulfing my big toe in his mouth. I squirmed desperately from the tickling sensations. "Aaden...!" I whimpered.
"Ah-ah," he said in his mischievous voice. He licked his way over the arch of my foot, kissing and nipping his way up my legs until he was a mere centimeter from my balls; I could feel his hot breath over them every time he exhaled. I moaned with need; he was being damnably unfair.
"This is a test," he said, looking up at me from where he crouched. He extended his broad tongue and ran it over my scrotum and the length of my rapidly hardening cock. I gasped, and he rose to look me in the eye. This time his breath spread over my face. "Tell me Ken," he said, "Are you sure you could tell the difference between me and the morphrobot?"
"Absolutely," I said. He leaned over suddenly and kissed me, hard, the way he always would when he was very excited and wanted to make love. "So which am I?" he asked as we parted.
"You're you," I gasped. "You're the male I love so very much."
Aaden backed off to the foot of the bed again, smiling, leaving me in the grasp of the two P'nyssas. "Wrong," he said just as he leapt for the grav-tube and ascended out of sight. I sat there, stunned.
"Are you ready?" I heard him say from the top of the gravtube."
"Absolutely," his voice replied.
I realized, or thought I realized, what was about to happen. "No," I whimpered pitifully.
"Hush," one of the P'nyssas said. She unwrapped one of her two tentacles from around my arm, reaching down to stroke my cock instead. "Enjoy what happens next."
Two Aadens descended from the gravtube, and I couldn't even begin to guess which one was the robot. Both looked exactly the same, skunk'morphs with predominately black fur, grey eyes and smiles on their muzzles. On both of them the ears moved back and forth slowly, like radar, taking in the sounds around them. They both held their impressively bushy tails high in exactly the same manner.
They knelt on the bed less than half a meter from where my feet were and faced each other, slowly leaning over. Each's hands sought the other's nipples through the dense chest fur; tongues met between their open and interlocked muzzles. As I watched, squirming helplessly with lust, hands dropped to each other's sheathes, stroking slowly to hardness the impressive cudgel Aaden carried between his legs. I whimpered softly, struggling not to forcefully against the two P'nyssas. The one continued stroking my cock but never strongly enough to even begin to bring me to orgasm.
One of them leaned over, pushing the other back until he sat on his heels. The first took the other's cock in his mouth, and I realized as I watched that I would be wrong to immediately label the one doing the sucking as the robot and the one receiving the pleasure as Aaden.
Because Aaden is, even moreso than I, a sensualist. Where I'm loud and exhibitionist, Aaden is calm and reserved, serene and contemplative when it comes to his sensuality. And he has even fewer inhibitions than I do. If I couldn't tell the difference between Aaden and his duplicate, it was just as likely that he would go down on the robot to find out what his own cock tasted and felt like within his mouth.
I watched this obscene display, realizing that that little detail of Aaden's personality made the next move a little predictable. They slid down onto the bed together, forming a circle, mouth to cock, cock to mouth. The sucking noises were driving me out of my mind; I could hear over even that my own panting and heartbeat. "Let me go!" I grunted.
"Ah-ah," one of the Aadens said again, slowly coming to his knees from the side-by-side position they had occupied on the bed. "Just relax and enjoy." He moved up in front of me, kneeling before me as he had earlier and bent over to take my cock in his mouth. I watched as the other Aaden shifted into position behind the first, grinning madly. He pushed the other's legs apart as I had felt Aaden to do me thousands of times before, and in utter helplessness, almost completely oblivious to Aaden sucking on my cock, I watched hands grab hold of hips and in one smooth but ungentle thrust the two bodies met in union as one buried his cock inside the other. Aaden, the Aaden sucking on my cock, let out a soft whimper of pain, but that whimper only caused the briefest of pauses before he resumed sucking my cock down the very back of his muzzle.
At first, the Aaden on top was gentle, like he usually was when we made love. Our bodies, all five, rocked back and forth with the motion set by their intercourse. But as his thrusts became stronger, more forceful, the one sucking on my hard cock let go and lay his head on my lap, his eyes closed. I reached down for his shoulders; much to my surprise, the P'nyssas let me go. I picked him up, making him face me as his twin fucked him harder and harder. As I pulled him towards me, I more or less pulled myself under him, holding him to me. "I know it's you..." I said to him softly.
He looked down at me, surprise, and tears, in his eyes. "I know it's you," I repeated, pulling him back down. "I love you."
"I love you too," he gasped as the fucking went on, stronger and more brutal. "I'll always love you," he whispered. I could feel P'nyssa's mitten against my face, and he looked up. "But pay attention to them," he said.
I looked up over my head as the bed rocked back and forth. The two P'nyssas were doing what the two Aaden's had been doing earlier; fondling and exploring each other's bodies. One smiled down to me, and I rolled out from under Aaden's body and tapped her on the shoulder.
She hauled me bodily down to the bed and began kissing me crazily; our tongues wrestled as my hands resumed exploring where the other P'nyssa had left off. I felt a warm mouth encircle my cock again and begin sucking; in no time at all I was fully erect again. My hands slid up along the body of the one I kissed, and as my fingers probed the cleft of her cunny I realized that her wetness could only be because she was the one I had gone down on earlier.
It no longer mattered if it was P'nyssa or David I made love to, and the shape no longer mattered either. This one had had my attention earlier; the other would have it now, and I wanted to fuck her.
I didn't have to suggest it; she stopped suddenly, straddled my body and in one smooth motion slid down over my cock. I hissed inhaling as she sat down completely on my hips, burying my cock completely within her. I could feel my cock nestled tightly against her cervix.
Aaden and Aaden had left behind any illusions of gentleness; their sex was aggressive and noisy as the one pummeled the other's asshole mercilessly. Their deep-throated grunts and moans were growing louder as the one on the bottom stroked his shaft, masculine, animal growls which reached a crescendo of roars as the two of them came violently and simultaneously before finally collapsing onto the bed in an exhausted heap of sweat and semen.
I looked back up to P'nyssa, the P'nyssa who I was inside. She was still watching the two males. I grabbed her by the shoulder and in one careful shove pushed her to the side, rolling us over so that I was now on top, between her legs. "Hey," I said, laughing, "Pay attention to me, now?"
"Oh, I am!" she said, laughing back and locking her legs around my own. I started to stroke her cunt slowly. Our bodies locked in familiar pleasure as we made love.
The earlier stimulation had apparently convinced my cock that I was never going to be allowed to come tonight, and I was apparently also going to have to put a lot of effort into convincing it otherwise. That was okay, I thought, looking down into P'nyssa's, this P'nyssa's, solid yellow eyes. I leaned over to kiss her, slowing down to almost a complete stop, appreciating and savoring every slow thrust, feeling her cunt tighten and flex around my shaft.
I sped up again, making love to her as we often did, stroking her hard, and it was my turn to make the bed shake. I glanced around; the other P'nyssa was kneeling right beside us, both of her mittens between her thighs, masturbating furiously. I looked back down at this P'nyssa, and as I did so I felt that familiar feeling, both of my orgasm and of her own as her telepathy reached out to encompass us both. "P'nyssa..." I said, sure I had the right one this time... "Nyss..." I said, and then I roared her name out a third time as I came, thrusting hard into her once and again and again, my eyes shut tight as the pleasure threatened to wash me away...
When I opened my eyes, there were only three people in the room. "I take it you... ?"
"We're the real thing," P'nyssa said, looking up at me. "That was wonderful."
I nodded. Her legs, tensed around my own for so long, fell to the bed with a muffled thump. I smiled, realizing that my arms were trembling with exhaustion from holding me up and that they were threatening to collapse at any second. Before they did, I decided to carefully ease myself over to my left, onto the bed between her and Aaden. I pulled him close and hugged him. "You silly furry thing you," I said.
"How did you know it was me?" he asked.
I explained what I knew about his sensuality and said, "I figured you knew what a lot of different assholes felt like from the top, lover. But you do have a very large bludgeon that you sometimes refer to as a penis, and I didn't think you would pass up a chance to know what everybody was admiring--"
"And complaining," he interrupted, smiling.
I nodded, "And complaining about." I turned to P'nyssa. "I only figured out you were you when our orgasms started, because you lost control of your telepathy."
"Oh, I knew which was which when you two started fucking," Aaden said.
"Really?" P'nyssa asked. "How?"
"When you switched from sucking him to having him inside you... it was too abrupt. Call it a gut feeling, but I thought that only the telepath would do that. It's not a sense Dave can get a handle on, so his robot wouldn't emulate that very well. What's so funny?" he asked since I had started laughing.
"'Gut feeling,'" I quoted. "Aaden, when she straddled me your guts were feeling quite a bit."
"You're right," he said, rubbing his belly gently with a paw. "And you're right about something else, Ken. I do have a large cock."
I rolled my eyes. "It takes him nine centuries to figure that out. You're such a genius sometimes."
"It doesn't mean I'm going to be any gentler with you in the future. For a crack like that, I think you should expect the next one to be particularly mean and vicious."
"Somehow, Aaden, I don't think he wants you to be," P'nyssa said, laughing softly.
"In that case, I'll be gentle next time." He rolled over onto his back and stared up at the ceiling. "Dave, you don't find our criticism of your robots failures distressing, do you?"
"Not at all, Aaden," David replied calmly. "The fact that my deception eluded detection for so long, especially with three of the most intensely intimate people I know, is quite rewarding. I doubt any of the tourists walking through the Simulation will have the intimate knowledge each of you has of the others. Despite the eventual detection, I classify this as a completely successful test."
"So you would classify this as a test?" I asked, amused.
"Oh, yes. Aside from the fact that I take my data where I can find it, this probably qualifies as the most authentic Turning test ever devised."
"How so?" I asked.
"The classic Turing test is generally thought to be that of a three way conversation between a tester and two conversants, the theory being that if the tester failed fifty percent of the time to identify which conversant is silicon and which is organic, then the silicon conversant is given the benefit of the doubt and said to be sentient." Sarcasm was dripping from every syllable. "Most people are unaware of the fact that Turing specifically stated that the organic conversant had to be female because he regarded females to be more irrational then males." P'nyssa snorted. "In any event, the fact that you took longer to identify one P'nyssa from the other than you did the Aadens would be heartwarming, had I a heart."
I chuckled. The three of us lay down together, snuggling closely, until the first shadowflash of oncoming nightfall went by the bedroom window. "P'nyssa," I said, nudging her awake. "Come on, it's time to go home."
She raised her head and said, dazedly, "Isn't this... ?" then smiled. Then she laughed. "It caught even me."
I nodded. Aaden grinned at her as well. "I doubt anyone will ever know the difference." He rose from the bed first, stretching sexily, his back making soft popping noises as he did so. "Come on, sleepyheads, let's go."
"Hey, I didn't fall asleep," I pointed out.
"No, but you look like you're about to." He leaned over and grabbed my arm, hauling me and a significant fraction of the bedsheets off of the bed. I stood up woozily and hugged him.
P'nyssa, now without anything to cover her, crawled slowly out of bed and staggered over to us. She made a visible show of licking the accumulated 'morning breath' and then, with but one eye open, looked at us both and said "Bleah."
"Come on," I said. "Let's go." We ascended together and made our way to the SDisk, me taking up the rear. They got onto the SDisk. "Do me a favor... I'll meet you guys at home in a few minutes."
They looked at each other. "See you back in reality," P'nyssa said, and they blipped out of sight. I knew the slight 'flash' that accompanied teleportation to be an optical illusion, but it was still there.
"Dave," I said softly, "Bring up the Ken morphrobot."
"In a minute," he replied in an equally soft voice.
I waited, and then watched as 'I' floated up the grav tube. "Okay," 'I' said, "I'm here. What do you want?"
I walked over to 'me' and said "David Francis Majors, you've been with me longer than anybody else. My friend, confidant, archiver... with a role like that, I should have said... and done... this a long time ago." I leaned close and kissed 'myself,'; I knew Dave was devoting a lot more than just thirty cycles a second to this conversation, since I had called him directly.
He returned the kiss awkwardly, clumsily. But he returned it as well as he could, and that's all I would ask of him. As we separated again I said, "Dave, I love you."
"I know you do," he replied. That's Dave, I thought; calm, rational, even. But the tear in the robot's eye was his way of telling me how he really felt, and it was all the thanks I needed.
"I'll see you at home," I said.
"I'll always be there."
I nodded, turned, and boarded the SDisk. With a command, I went home, back to the real Shardik Castle. Filled with my two loves, lots of family and friends, noisy children, and even David.