Jane Weston impatiently tapped her Gucci clad toe on the marble foyer floor, as the liveried Global Freight workers slowly wheeled in the large crate. Jesus, they were typical men: moving like molasses, devoid of any sense of urgency. Jane had a low opinion of men in general since she had booted her philandering bastard of a husband out two years ago. A good private detective and an even better lawyer had helped her exact her revenge to the tune of forty million dollars. She had used half the money to start her own investment banking business and now she was in the enviable position of using her own money to bankroll worthwhile start-ups. She had parlayed his money into a sizable fortune, thanks to a keen eye for opportunity and a barracuda-like negotiating style.
At thirty-five, Jane was smart, beautiful, successful -- and miserably unhappy. She was unhappy because she was lonely. And Jane was often angry because she was unhappy and lonely. Unfortunately, she directed most of her anger at the men she dated, guaranteeing that she stayed lonely and miserable. Jane felt the problem was in the men themselves; they were all either cavalier, condescending, or after her money. She hoped that the contents of the aluminum shipping container would change all that.
Jane had the deliverymen leave the crate standing upright in the foyer, signed the delivery ticket, and showed them out.
"Get a grip woman," she chided herself, mocking her own eagerness. "This is only a prototype, it probably won't even work properly."
'It' was 'Mister Wonderful', the brainchild of the Intercontinental Machinery Corporation, and Jane's latest venture capital investment. IMC was a small defense research company that was working on military robotics applications. Budget cuts in the Department of Defense had axed IMC's funding. Now the company was scrambling to finance the development of a civilian version of the robot. The company's brass was touting Mr. Wonderful as a biomechanical man that a woman could program to be the perfect mate. Jane knew beyond a doubt that if the machine worked as advertised it would make IMC - and her - a ton of money. She had written IMC a check on the spot for half of what they asked. She stipulated that when she received the first commercially viable model, they would get the remainder of the money.
Each Mr. Wonderful was custom built based on a questionnaire the buyer filled out at the company's web site. Jane had specified a six-two, two hundred pound outdoorsman; ruggedly handsome, with jet-black hair and deep blue eyes.
Jane unfastened the latches and opened the container. She removed the Styrofoam packing material and gasped in disbelief. He looked perfect, abso-fuckin-lutely perfect. Jane went to her bedroom and retrieved the certified letter from Intercontinental that she had received two days ago. The letter contained the pass code that would activate her beautiful new man. The machine was voice activated, so she carefully regurgitated the sequence of letters and numbers then stepped back.
The robot's eyes opened and he smiled at her with perfectly straight, blindingly white teeth, again, just as she had specified.
"Hello, Jane, the machine said, "that is an especially flattering outfit. It sets off your complexion and beautiful eyes."
His voice was deep and resonant, and his eyes were the same dark blue as her favorite Japanese porcelain vase.
He spoke again, "Jane, my darling, love of my life, my reason to exist, my name is Cody, Cody Carson."
"You're laying it on a little thick, Romeo," Jane said tersely.
Cody's eyes closed and his face went slack for a split second as he tried to process what she said.
"I don't understand what you mean by that," he said.
"I mean the bull-shit flattery annoys me," she replied.
Bullshit was a concept that he did understand.
"I am sorry that I annoyed you, but what I said was how I am programmed to feel; you are the reason I exist."
"Well tone it down some, especially when we're in public. I want you to be attentive but not fawning. Does that compute?"
"Yes, dear," he replied.
Jane stepped forward and touched his hand; his skin was warm and the texture was lifelike. She held the hand up and examined it critically, glancing from hers to his, looking for obvious differences. There were none.
"My skin is biologically engineered to replicate the skin of a thirty year old male. It is anatomically correct in texture to three decimal places. In addition, I can sense your body temperature and adjust mine to always be one degree warmer," Cody said.
Oh God, a man that could keep her warm at night was worth his weight in gold to Jane.
Cody was dressed in khaki trousers, pale blue shirt, and a dark blue blazer. He looked so good Jane couldn't wait to show him off.
''Go get the car out of the garage, I want to go shopping," she said, tossing him the keys.
"Shopping is fun. That's a wonderful idea, darling," Cody said.
Jane gave him a disapproving look and pointed the way to the garage.
Cody muttered "sorry" then hustled through the kitchen to the garage. He backed Jane's silver Mercedes into the driveway then jogged to the front door. Jane took his arm as he led her to the car. He opened her door for her and held it until she was comfortably seated. He drove smoothly, his on-board GPS, a much better unit than the one installed in the car, while he attentively listening to her talk. He was appropriately sympathetic as she lamented about how tough it was to be her. 'This, ' Jane thought, 'is how it should be'.
Cody carried her ever-growing stack of bags uncomplainingly from store to store at the upscale Galleria Mall. He murmured words of encouragement to her as she tried on shoes and he scurried around matching up accessories to complete the ensembles she selected. Cody discreetly touched her hand to gauge her mood by her skin resistance; she was no longer tense; he was fulfilling one of his programmed core directives.
Weeks went by and Cody continued to be at her beck and call. He cuddled her and rubbed her back when she got her period. He listened to her bitch and gossip about her friends, always completely in accord with her assessment of their shortcomings. He deferred to her judgment in all things. Yet, in spite of all he did, he sensed it was not enough. Because his core directives were all centered on Jane's ultimate happiness, he started to modify his behavior.
International Machinery had cobbled Cody together using their latest military robot as a platform. The name Cody Carson was an acronym for: Commercial Duty -- Continually Adapting Robotic Soldier - Model One. Cody had received new programming that made Jane's happiness his prime directive. A complete rewriting of his primary program would have taken too long and been too costly. So, the new programming was overlaid atop the military programming that called for him to adapt as necessary to assure mission success.
Jane pulled into the driveway two weeks later, after a hard day at work. She was in a foul mood, as usual. She sat in the car for a minute watching Cody mow the lawn. He was shirtless, in shorts and work boots.
'Jesus, he's an outstanding male animal, ' she thought, 'and efficient as hell.' She had been able to layoff the gardener, maid, and cook; at this rate, he would pay for himself in a couple of years. Hmmm, that would make a nice selling point that Intercontinental had not considered.
Cody saw her, killed the mower engine, and walked to the car. Jane's vagina tightened involuntarily as he neared the car. A shiver ran through her as she took in his chiseled, muscular chest and handsome face. She knew that Cody was a fully functioning man and, judging from his bulging shorts, well equipped. Yet, she had been hesitant to try that feature out. It might be time to change that. She was a skilled seductress, she reasoned, she could have him begging for it in no time. If not, fuck it, she owned him. He would do what she said and he would like it. That is, if he didn't want to end up recycled into a Toyota bumper and a palm pilot.
Cody opened the car door for her and she flashed him some thigh as she exited. Cody's hypersensitive olfactory receptors caught her smell of arousal. He also noticed the display of skin. He cataloged both items and filed them in his memory.
"Hello, darling. I am happy that you are home. How was your day?" he asked.
"My day sucked, if you must know. I need a drink and a bath. Make it happen."
"Yes, dear," Cody said.
He walked into the house with her and fixed her a tall Tom Collins.
.... There is more of this story ...