Chapter 1

Caution: This Science Fiction Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Fa/Fa, Mind Control, Science Fiction, DomSub, First, Oral Sex, Anal Sex, Masturbation, Petting, Doctor/Nurse, Body Modification, Sci-fi sex story.

Desc: Science Fiction Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A young woman unexpectedly wakes up to find herself no longer the person she thought she was.

I had gone to sleep at the People's Clinic. And I woke up ... elsewhere.

"Body temperature is 94.9... 95..."

"Blood pressure is 110 over 60, rising ... O2 sats pushing 80 ... Pulse 48 ... increasing."

"Respiration normal, doctor."

"Hang another glucose, please."

"Brain activity is normal, no sign of deterioration."

"Lungs are clear."

Doctors and nurses, dressed in blue and green. I felt ... tired. And cold. I went back to sleep.

I opened my eyes and the room was mercifully dim, but I could see it was large. Long and filled with beds close together like a barracks, or a tuberculosis ward, with quietly blinking monitors. A woman lay next to me, our beds separated by a few feet. She seemed to be sleeping. I turned over slowly, and it took every ounce of strength I possessed.

"Hey," a voice whispered and I saw another woman, on another bed. I nodded at her, taking a deep breath.

"Hello," I finally managed.

"I am Fong Wen Yung." She seemed stronger than I and much more alert.

"Hello," I repeated, feeling too tired to say anything else. I closed my eyes once more.

"You are awake again."

I blinked and saw the same girl in the bed next to mine, but I felt better this time. "Where are we? Is this the People's Clinic?" I asked slowly, keeping my voice soft like hers.

"I do not know, but the nurses are Americans, I think." It struck me then, like a rock on my head, she wasn't speaking in the tongue I'd grown up with. Neither of us were and I felt very nervous, even frightened perhaps.

"Why are we speaking English?" I asked and the words from my lips were foreign.

"I do not know. Who are you?"

"I am Ming Yun Su," I said. "From Beijing."

"I am from Qingdao"

"Oh."

We did not talk after that. A nurse walked slowly down the center aisle, her rubber soled shoes creaking in that soft light, and she saw that Fong was awake. I don't know why, but I closed my eyes, pretending to be asleep when two men came and wheeled her bed away. I did sleep then, and when I awoke again, there was a new bed, with a new woman. But she was not awake.

I tried to sit up and I became aware of the tubes in my arm, and another, a catheter in my sex. I stared at the strange devices and when the nurse saw me, she walked over.

"Lie down, please. It's too soon for you." She used a needle, injecting something into my I.V. and I slept again.


They took my bed, wheeling it from the large room into a smaller one. Two men and a woman were there, dressed like nurses. They bathed me gently and one of the men fed me some very soft food, warm rice and milk. I drank water, flavored like peaches. My body protested and I felt ill. I'd eaten such a small amount, but it seemed to my belly as if I'd feasted for hours.

"Your stomach has been empty for a long time. It'll take a few days before you'll be able to sustain yourself without help," the man said, gesturing towards the I.V. and smiling patiently. The two women had left us.

"Where am I?" I asked him.

"You're in Buenos Ares, in the United States of the Americas." He offered me more of the sweet water, but I shook my head. "You were purchased by the company and you're in stage four of your reconditioning."

"Which ... company?" I looked around because I did indeed vomit then, making a terrible mess on the sheet in front of me.

The nurse didn't seem to mind; he wrapped the sheet up carefully and walked it over to a bin before finding a clean replacement and spreading it over my naked body. He wiped my mouth softly and gave me a little more to drink.

"Design Praxis." He smoothed my sheet. "I need to check on some other units. A doctor will be in shortly, okay?" He touched my head and smiled. "Would you like to watch some television?"

I nodded and he handed me a remote control before he left, closing the door behind him. The room was very small, just large enough for the bed, a small chair, the bin and a cabinet. Some machines and an I.V. drip were on a stand next to me and there was a small television mounted to the wall. I thumbed the remote, finding only one channel available.

"Welcome to Design Praxis!" a cheerful woman's voice spoke as the television showed the unfamiliar company logo. "This short indoctrination has been prepared for your benefit. You are a valuable member of the Praxis team." The TV showed dozens of men and women of many ethnic backgrounds, all smiling happily.

"HolograFx Entertainment Systems was formed in 2022," the video continued, "as a joint venture of Microsoft International, Sony North America, Pfizer-BioCol Ltd. and Time-Warner Global. In 2030, under the twin aegis of the Bio-Reformation Act and the New Harvard Genetics Accord, HFx merged with Advanced Synthetic Designs to became Design Praxis and made it's IPO on April 1st 2031. Today Praxis is a Fortune 500 company with annual sales in excess of eighteen billion dollars and is recognized as the personal service industry leader, providing state of the art products to millions of customers systemwide.

"You are currently at the Praxis Reconditioning Facility located in Buenos Ares. This facility was completed in 2066 and incorporates the most advanced reconditioning equipment and techniques available."

I watched as different areas of the facility were displayed.

"Because Praxis believes in quality over quantity, your specific reconditioning will not be identical to any other unit's. All of our products are tailored to meet the specific physical, emotional, and intellectual requirements of our valued customers. Through our revolutionary Biogenesis Process you have been modified to provide many years of stimulating and productive service in a variety of challenging environments. Advanced technologies, such as AGP and RVS enhanced DNA recoding are restricted for export to certain countries and are not permitted for off-world application under any circumstances."

The television showed laboratories and offices filled with white smocked employees.

"You are currently in phase four of your reconditioning. Phase one began with your procurement through the government agency of your birth nation and included screening and selection for appropriate service. Phase two commenced with your transfer from your selection depot to this facility..." The television displayed each process as the narration continued through all five phases. " ... Completed units typically are maintained in situ less than 24 hours before being shipped."

There was a shot of hundreds of people filing happily into FedEx shuttles.

"As property of Design Praxis it is important that you understand your legal status. You were purchased through the World Trade Organization's 2047 PSM Convention. The Population Support Measure requires all countries to eliminate excess population and conforms to U.N. Resolution 2036-13, which established population density criteria world-wide. Pursuant to this Convention, Praxis will purchase over 300,000 individuals this year alone for the Personal Entertainment Division and over 2.2 million more for off-world labor and military applications.

"By the terms of the PSM you have been designated and registered as 'Human Excess' and are removed from all national obligation, debt, and privilege. You are property of Design Praxis until such time that you are purchased and payment is received in full. Upon completion of financial obligation by the end user, Design Praxis is relieved all liability for your maintenance and operation, except where specified by lawful contract.

"Current Federal and UN regulations restrict the sale of Series IV units to the United States of the Americas. Series III units are available for private home use in the European Commonwealth, and Corporate Japan. First and second generation units without specific DNA recoding are for off-world commercial use only and are available without restriction. Please review your operating license and note specific restrictions..."

The presentation was still going on when the door opened and a young black man with a lab coat and a clipboard walked in. He reached up and turned off the TV as he walked past it.

"Good morning, Ming. I see you found the indoctrination. Good." He checked my I.V. and a medical scanner that was beeping softly. "You're coming along nicely."

"Who are you?" I asked him.

"I'm Dr. Mays and mostly I'm just here to see how you are and move you to the next phase of your reconditioning."

"Why do I speak English?" I'd been wondering about that a long time.

"I'm sure you have a lot of questions, Ming, " he said with a smile. "You were asleep for a long time, almost three months, until we received an order for you."

"So long?" I blinked at him.

He frowned slightly. "Let me back up. We purchased you through the Chinese government and catalogued you. Then we put you to sleep so that you would cost less for the company to maintain as inventory, okay? While you were there we started your reconditioning, teaching your mind new things while your body slept."

"What ... things?" I asked slowly. "What do you mean?"

"Our Series IV customers are American and predominantly English speaking, so that's what you learned," he explained patiently. "We also taught you some basic things that you may, or may not have learned previously. We find that many new units are unfamiliar with simple American household appliances and customs, for example. We worked on your personality as well, so that you would better fit the specifications of your final purchase order."

He paused to let all that sink in.

"We did other things to your body too. You may have noticed for instance that your breasts are a bit larger and that your nose has been reshaped slightly, so it's less ... flat, more pert."

He smiled as I touched my nose and looked at my chest. I had in fact not noticed, but they were larger, perhaps a full cup size.

"But those are just cosmetic," Dr. Mays continued. "The real changes were done at the molecular level, using gene therapy and retroviral treatment. We've managed to introduce geriatric inhibiters, to reduce the effects of aging. We can't eliminate it completely of course, but we can do some amazing things."

"I don't understand." I looked at him blankly.

"Well, you're nineteen years old and by the time you're fifty, you'll look much the same as you do now. We've also been able to invest your immune system with a much stronger resistance than has ever been possible before. Cancer, Tuberculosis, Malaria, HIV, even the common cold doesn't stand much of a chance. Your body can't even host a viral RNA, let alone become afflicted with it. You'll never be sick again."

"Is everyone... ?" I stared at him. I'd never be sick? Never get old? This sounded like magic and I vaguely remembered the stories told in the neighborhood where I'd grown up. Americans were like gods to us, intangible and all-powerful.

"Is everyone ... what? Immune?" Dr. Mays smiled. "No. The fact is that these treatments are not intended for humans and have only recently been approved for Series IV production. There are certain problems that arise, especially with aging. As slow as you'll age over the next thirty years or so, once the inhibiters breakdown, as they inevitably will, the aging process accelerates at a phenomenal rate. The effects are not pleasant and irreversible, at least at present."

"So I have thirty years of this..." I looked down at my flawless body, " ... and then I'll die of old age?" It was hard to comprehend, almost insidious by design, I thought.

"Virtually overnight," the doctor nodded. "Does that disturb you, Ming?"

I thought about it and found that it didn't seem to bother me in the least. I shook my head.

"Acceptance of certain ... truths ... is part of your reconditioning," he said while making a note of some kind on his clipboard. "Anyway, this phase that you're in now is mostly just acclimatizing and regeneration. Your body needs to learn how to eat again, how to digest and process American food, rather than your sub-standard native fare. You also require some additional physical modification, particularly to your ovaries, some cosmetic dental work, and minor surface reconditioning. New skin, in other words, to remove blemishes for example. These are all very easy and it'll take less than three or four days."

"My ovaries?" I instinctively moved my hand to my stomach and lower, as if to protect myself.

"We strive to provide our clients with premium services, Ming. None of our units are capable of human reproduction, of course, but there are other alternatives that are available as special options. Your eggs were purged during phase three, as they are in all female units," he explained with a small shrug, as if this were nothing at all. "Males undergo a different procedure to render the sperm unviable."

"You said other alternatives?" I wondered what that meant.

"Your end user will be able to explain more fully, Ming." Dr. Mays smiled as he looked up from his clipboard. "I see certain aspects of your reconditioning were blocked from your conscious processing. That's not unusual. You'll just have to be patient."

I nodded my acceptance, wondering why I wasn't feeling more distressed at all this. Had they brainwashed me so thoroughly that I calmly accepted everything, for better or worse, without regard for my own lost dreams? I didn't feel different, but then I tried to remember what I'd felt like before I'd gone to sleep and ... I couldn't.

"And then what?" I asked him.

"And then you'll go through Quality Assurance and be shipped out. You were purchased by, hmmm..." He looked through his clipboard, punching some buttons. "Ms. Julia Harrison for delivery to Mr. Randolph Harrison, of Seattle, Washington. The order was for an attractive subservient oriental female, virgin, 18-22 years, petite build, 34C breasts, long hair, fluent in English, competent at cooking, cleaning, and household management." Doctor Mays looked back up at me. "How do you prepare Chicken Cordon Bleu?"

I offered the recipe mechanically, not knowing where the words came from, but certain they were correct. It was shocking.

He smiled when he saw the look on my face. "I'm sure there are many things you'll find surprising. Here, you can see some of the specific requirements your end-user requested." Dr. Mays pushed a key on his clipboard and a moment later handed me a small printout.

I scanned down the page noting that I could play chess, bridge, tennis, and golf. I had a conversational knowledge of English literature, classical music, and renaissance art. I had an affection for dogs and horses. I could swim, dance a waltz and tango, and play the piano. There were other things, but those stuck out in my mind, simply because it had never occurred to me before that I would ever know anything about them. I handed the paper back to Dr. Mays.

"Why did they pick me? I mean, how ... why?" I didn't even know how to express my confusion.

"Who? Your government? Or the customer?" Dr. Mays gave me a tender smile. "The Chinese government picked you according to their own criteria; I honestly don't know the specifics. The customer placed the basic inquiry through our spring catalogue and then a customer service representative sat down with them and went over specifics. You..." he looked pointedly at me, " ... were picked for Series IV by the engineers, based partly on your appearance, which I must say is quite exquisite, but even more importantly on your intellectual potential and your genetic composition. Certain aspects of your conditioning and enhancement simply aren't possibly with 99% of the general population."

I nodded as though I understood.

"You're the very finest entertainment product in the world, Ming. And very valuable," he sighed, stroking my hair gently. "Worth your weight in gold, literally. We'll manufacture and sell over a quarter million pleasure units this year, but less than a hundred will be a Series IV like you. That's why I'm here. Why everyone in the company is dedicated to ensuring your well-being. We're all extremely proud of you, Ming."

Dr. Mays returned to his clipboard while I tried to digest what he'd told me.

"As to the philosophical 'why you?' That's what we all wonder, isn't it?" He chuckled softly. "Perhaps the Harrisons will be able to explain. My information says he's on the Board of Directors at Boeing Aerospace and Ms. Harrison is ... hmmm ... doesn't say. Good customers though, three units in fourteen months..." he seemed to be talking to himself. "Do you have any questions for me?"

"When ... when can I go home?" I asked, already knowing the answer.

"To China? Never. Your home is here, for the next few weeks, and then it will be in Seattle. You are Unit F031129-68, PID is Ming and your processor is an Intel/MSI Neural Series IV..." Dr. Mays offered me one last smile. "You should be very proud of yourself."


"Welcome to Quality Assurance, Ming. My name is Peterson and this is Nance." The man was older, in his late forties, I thought, with gray hair and a beard. He had soft green eyes that seemed friendly enough. He nodded at a younger woman who was looking at a small clipboard.

"Please undress and lie down on the glass," she told me.

The room looked like a cross between a doctor's office and an electronics repair shop. In the center was an examination table, the top appeared to be made of smoked glass and it lit up brightly when I laid down on it. On a large HV nearby, a hologram of my body appeared, standing upright, and as Nance played with her clipboard layers of skin, fat and muscle appeared and disappeared until first my internal organs and then only my bone structure was visible. It was mildly disturbing.

"There you go. Comfortable?" Peterson asked me, then continued without waiting for an answer. "We're going to scan you physically, looking for cosmetic defects first of all, and then we'll test your body functions. Heart, liver, kidneys, brain, bladder, everything. And then we will be looking at your DNA to make sure everything is as it should be there."

I didn't say anything, but merely watched as the man tapped his fingers on a small keyboard. Nance checked a small readout on a metal stand near by, glancing at me every now and again without smiling.

"After that, we'll be looking at your reconditioning; your protocols and interlocks," Peterson explained. "All the little gizmos and gadgets that God, in his so-called wisdom, should have added, but didn't. Do you believe in God, Ming?"

I turned my head to look at him. "No."

"Very good. Do you have any questions for me before we start?"

"Do you believe in God?"

"Of course." Peterson smiled.

I was scanned by a laser, poked, prodded, and pricked. I gave blood, urine, stool, bone marrow, spinal fluid, and who knows what else to the technicians who shuttled back and forth from the QA lab to their own, distant facilities. It was incredible how painful some of those processes were, I'd never felt anything like it. I couldn't remember the IV's hurting that much before, but I'd been mostly sleeping then too.

All the while Peterson, and to a lesser extent his assistant, Nance, conversed with me. They asked questions, both mundane and penetrating, testing me in some ways, I supposed. They also imparted trivial information that meant very little really. Like the fact that while they QA'd only 2% of all units produced, they checked 100% of the Series IV units and had experienced a 17.5% mean failure rate since the series was introduced for production four months previously. The acceptable limit was 5% and the goal, of course, was always zero. There were too many numbers and they made little sense to me, but perhaps technicians are always that way. In any event, I found their attention far more comforting than their words.

It had been a long, tiring day for me and by the time a technician escorted me back to my room, I felt exhausted. The next day promised to be easier, I hoped. They would be checking my conditioning.

My room was more of a small apartment than anything else. I found it remarkable that one person could have three rooms all to herself; a small sitting room with a desk and television, a separate bedroom, and a small bath with a shower. I did not have any real specific memories of my previous life, but I had general recollections of some things, predominantly bad things, like overcrowding, hunger, and poverty. I had access to the library through a small computer terminal and I found myself reading The 120 Days of Sodom, laughing at some parts, and idly masturbating through others, while a cold, restless voice in my head wondered why.


"Good morning, Ming. Did you sleep well?" Peterson was already waiting for me when I arrived back in QA and I nodded. "Good. No dreams?"

"I ... don't remember," I admitted with a small shrug.

"Excellent," he smiled. "Ming, this is Lucy and her friend Michael, they're going to assist us this morning. Please do whatever they ask, alright?"

I nodded and looked at them. Lucy was a young woman, very pale with platinum hair and hollow blue eyes. She seemed somewhat lifeless somehow; it is hard to express my impression. The woman was attractive, dressed in a white skirt and blouse, like a doctor's assistant, but she frightened me. Her companion, Michael, looked like her twin brother, very similar in appearance, but obviously male with broad shoulders and a tapering waist. His eyes were as blue as Lucy's, and just as empty. He stared at me without expression.

"Are you ready, Nance?" Peterson looked at his partner and she nodded.

"Michael, you may begin now," Nance said and immediately the man moved towards me, but he gave no sign of real interest.

"Yes ma'am. Ming, would you remove your clothes for me, please?" Michael asked softly.

I did as the man requested, removing my dress and my bra and panties, even my shoes, although the floor was cold.

"Now give me a blowjob, please," the man said matter-of-factly.

I had never done that before in my life, but as if by their own accord my feet moved closer and my knees bent so that I knelt in front of him. I started unzipping his trousers and pulled his penis free, wrapping my lips around it. A sudden feeling of satisfaction flooded me and Nance noted my physical reaction on her clipboard, although I had no idea how she knew. I felt vaguely uneasy at having three other people in the room watching me perform, but it was also exciting for some reason and I felt my body responding even as Nance told us the specifics.

"Body temp increasing, respiration slowing, heart rate increasing ... adrenaline up 22 percent, all within parameters," she said softly and a few minutes later she spoke again. "Next, please."

"Your blowjob is the worst I have ever received, Ming." Michael pulled away and slapped my face just hard enough to sting. I sat back with a sudden and terrifying shame, although I felt a simultaneous rush of excitement that confused me utterly.

"There we go ... blood pressure is through the roof, 170 over 110, pulse 109 and increasing, I have capillary dilation and ... there we go ... tears."

I started crying and apologizing to the man. I didn't know why but I felt the urgent need to be forgiven, to have another chance at making him happy.

"Thank you, Ming." The blonde man reached down to stroke my hair. "I am very happy with you now." I felt immediately better and kissed the tops of his shoes. "You may continue."

I went back to his cock, sucking him with earnest gratitude for giving me another chance. I became so engrossed in what I was doing that I almost forgot that we weren't alone. I found that I was quite adept at giving the man oral pleasure, and though he seemed very large in my small hands, I had quickly worked his cock fully into my mouth and deeper, into my throat, as if trying to swallow it. The effects of my muscles on his organ seemed to please Michael a great deal and he was soon cumming, spilling his warm seed down my throat. If he'd not spoken, telling everyone else that he was cumming, I doubted anyone would have even known, at least by my reactions. I swallowed it all easily, expertly even, not spilling a tiny drop. He pulled from my mouth with a reluctant plop sound, now only semi-hard and wet from base to tip with semen and saliva.

"Nominal, I'd say." Peterson looked at the Nance who nodded. They'd been talking quietly the whole time, noting how my body reacted, maybe even my mind, and the total lack of privacy implied was frightening.

"Lucy, your turn." Nance looked at the woman.

"Yes, ma'am." Lucy clicked her fingers. "Ming, come her and lick my pussy now." I crawled over happily as she lifted her skirt, as if even the basic concept of refusal had become utterly alien to me.

I'd never in my life wanted to do anything with another woman. In fact, the idea had repelled me once, as I dimly recalled. But now, I found that I knew exactly what to do and I enjoyed it. I kissed and licked and sucked at her sex as though I'd been born to it. I used my tongue, lips, teeth, fingers, even my nose, cheeks and chin. It seemed to bring the young woman to a quick and almost violent orgasm. She was certainly enjoying it and the response was gratifying to both of us as I drank her sharp, bitter-sweet juices.

"Looks good, Nance," Peterson said. "Try the orgasm function."

"Ming," Nance looked up from her clipboard, "you may cum now."

And it seemed that my fingers had only been waiting for permission before delving between my own thighs. I found it strange that I hadn't thought of masturbating, but only briefly, for within just a few moments I was enveloped with pure pleasure. I grasped the blonde woman's thighs with my wet fingers, mouthing her cunt breathlessly as the first orgasm of my new life swept through me like a wildfire. Lucy held my head and began grinding her sex against my face, as she came for a third or fourth time as well. Lucy finally pulled away and left me on the floor, moaning and massaging my sex until the sensations subsided.

"Not bad, 87 seconds. I guess that 6.A fix seems to work," Nance said.

"Almost too well, I think 6.B will be better. We'll patch it before we release her." Peterson looked at Lucy and Michael, "You two may leave now, thank you. Report back to custodial services."

"Yes, sir," the two spoke together, straightening their clothing and soon left the room without so much as a second glance at me.

"They are ... janitors?" I was confused slightly, disoriented from the experience of having my sexuality so rudely awakened and then seemingly dismissed. I still felt a need inside.

Nance laughed softly. "Those two?" She glanced at he door closing softly shut. "Series I baseline units."

"They do odd jobs," Peterson shrugged. "Not much good for anything else really, but we keep them around."

"But they're ... they were ... human." I had never seen another unit, Series I or otherwise, at least not knowingly. I had interacted solely with employees since I'd awoken, or so I thought. "Do I look like them?" I wondered aloud, recalling their vacant, haunted eyes.

"Human?" Nance shook her head. "Barely. And not anything like you, Ming." She was speaking at the same time as Peterson.

"No, you don't look like them," the man told me. "They're human, yes. Russians once, but now they're not. You need to realize, Ming, that this process is ... evolution. Consider Lucy and her friend your great-grandparents, like Australopithecus or Cro-Magnon Man. At one time they were the peak of biotechnology, now they're..."

"Australopithecus was an evolutionary dead end," I said quietly, without really intending to, but they hadn't heard me anyway.

"Slaves..." Nance said softly and Peterson shot her a look.

"Tools," he said loudly and pointedly at her more than me, I thought.

"Am I a slave?" I asked.

"No. Slavery implies a loss of freedom. You never had any." He was very curt and frowned as he looked down at his clipboard. "Let's get back on track. Ming, what is your function?"

"To provide stimulating and efficient service to the customer," I replied, wishing to continue our discussion but knowing I couldn't. You could still lose something, even if you never had it, I thought.

"What are your protocols?"

"Safety. Conduct. Sexual."

"What is your safety protocol?"

"I may not harm any person, nor through inaction allow harm to come to any person, except as directed by my owner-operator."

Peterson looked at Nance. "Do you have the bioware protocols called up?"

"Yeah, um..." She pushed some keys. "Now I do. You want to compare?"

"We better." Peterson agreed. "Ming, Engage Interlock Bypass Pale Rabbit One Eight."

"Confirmed," I responded immediately, wondering why I'd said that. "Warning: Tampering with this unit's bioware protocols is strictly prohibited and punishable under US and international law. All sensory inputs are now being recorded. If you believe you have accessed this information by error contact Design Praxis Technical Services immediately for further information and instruction."

Nance nodded. "They finally got the warning in there."

"Yeah, Congress got a little excited after that kid tried to reprogram a Series III to assassinate the President," Peterson chuckled. "She got off with a spanking."

"A little more than a spanking. I remember that." Nance smiled. "Strange little girl. Her dad was the Vice-President, wasn't he?"

"Her uncle, yeah. Ming, this might feel ... strange ... you have a tiny bio-chip subcutaneous to your cerebral cortex and we're going to read the data imprinted on it, okay?"

I shivered as I felt a slight electrical jolt run along my spine. "This ... chip ... it is a computer?"

Nance shook her head. "It's a biological storage device, read only memory that's been grafted into your brain. It doesn't really hold a lot, and it isn't much more reliable than your real memory."

"But it makes the government feel better," Peterson said.

"What does it say?" I asked.

"Well, among other things, it says that your brain will shut itself down if you try to do certain things, like injure or kill someone," Peterson explained patiently. "It's basically a fail-safe."

"So we can feel safe around you," Nance shrugged.

"Safe?" I didn't understand.

"What is the difference between right and wrong, Ming?" Peterson asked me.

I frowned as I had no clear idea.

"What is the difference between good and evil?" He stared at me.

I paused before answering. "I don't know."

"Exactly," the man smiled. "That's why we put the bio-chip inside your pretty little head. The Ten Commandments, in a manner of speaking."

"We gave you a conscience," Nance added. She turned to Peterson. "They look good."

"Okay. Ming. Close Interlock Bypass Pale Rabbit One Eight."

"Confirmed," I responded.

"What is your conduct protocol, Ming?" Peterson asked.

"I may only perform those functions approved by my owner-operator, which do not conflict with the terms of my product license."

"They sure trimmed that one way down," Nance noted.

"It's really just there to protect the company. The old set tended to create a lot of conflict. Customers were trying to override some self-preservation fail-safes and the whole unit would just melt down." Peterson started punching some buttons on his clipboard. "It was in TA 032-68 last week."

"I didn't see that tech advisory. Hmmm ... but basic functions are included, right?"

"Oh yeah, there are normal instinctive fail-safes we haven't inhibited." Peterson looked at me. "Ming, hold your breath until I tell you to stop."

While I did as he asked, Peterson kept talking to Nance.

"Anyway, this allows the customers to tailor conduct protocols to suit their needs. Plus, it isn't covered in the warranty anymore, since its part of the end-user conditioning process. For a fee they can customize the protocol requirements, send it to us, and we'll do the conditioning, but that hasn't been real popular yet. Same with sexual. I think customers want their privacy when it comes to product behavior. The .7 upgrade will integrate conduct and sexual into a single behavioral protocol."

"That'll be good," Nance agreed and then I passed out.

I was surprised when I woke up, wondering why I hadn't died. Of course I'd started breathing once I lost consciousness. I stood up slowly and looked around.

" ... alleviates much of the problem."

Nance was frowning. "But Legal is still..."

"Those guys in Legal forget why we're using human excess now instead of clones or even replicants. Their only concern is that some idiot will find a way to kill his wife with one of these things and leave Corporate high and dry in a liability suit. Behavioral wants to cut down on the protocols because they inhibit nature. They're a lot more excited about the conditioning process than anything they can do with hardware."

"But..."

Peterson cut his assistant off. "But it all comes down to human integrity, self-awareness on a molecular level and genetic memory. The sub-conscious collective. Series IV will make use of that to a far greater extent than we ever thought possible."

"It sounds like metaphysics too me," Nance laughed. "I came up from Cosmetics, remember? You need better lips we change a couple g's to t's. Easy."

"I spent twelve years in Biodyne ... God is in the details." Peterson smiled. "Ah, she's awake." He walked over to me and held out his hand, helping me up from the floor where I'd collapsed. "Let's run through the protocols and then we'll get physical. Shall we continue, Ming?"

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