“I mean…” Cass gestured with her vodka bottle. “They’re just robots, y’know. They’re not people.”
“They feel like people,” Gunnar said. They were approaching home. At least she hadn’t brought this up once they were in the tower.
“That’s those fake personalities they got put in them. They only know how to operate according to how they’re written,” Cass said. “You’re a smart man, you know that.”
“Yes, Cass, I know,” Gunnar sighed. “But it’s my home, they live there. I’m not asking you to like them, but at least be nice to them.”
~ ~ ~
“Welcome back, Doctor Volk!” Marilyn took his coat.
“Thank you, Marilyn. Anything exciting happen today?”
“Not so much around here, I’m afraid. Your stuffy boyfriend’s busy working away on Seven.” Marilyn and Jane’s favorite adjective for Arcade wasn’t going away soon.
“Well, it’s good for him to keep occupied.” Gunnar rolled up his sleeves. “Any luck with the Freon?”
“’Fraid not, Doctor Volk. Everyone says that’s just plain gone these days.”
“I hate to think we’ll have to go back to iceboxes,” Gunnar said, half to himself. “For one thing, it’s the desert. Is Jane on duty?”
“Yes she is! She’s got a bit better personality for dealing with the common folk.”
“Marilyn,” Gunnar gave her a gentle but reprimanding look. “That’s not a good attitude to have.”
Marilyn laughed. “Well, I did say she’s got a better personality for them!”
Gunnar shook his head, but smiled. “I’m not asking you to like them, but at least be nice to them,” he said.
“I know, Doctor Volk. And you really are too good for this city.”
“So people keep telling me. What’s my workload for the afternoon?”
Marilyn rolled, and Gunnar walked, to the office he’d made his own for actual business work, instead of doing it in the penthouse, where he’d never otherwise escape. “The usual. Some requests for money. Something about permits, from Miss Farkas. And social invitations. I do hope you’ll consider doing the same.”
“The same what?” Gunnar sat at his desk and began looking through the neatly stacked papers.
“Social occasions, of course! It was so lonely here for so long. Mr. House was always the best boss before you came along, of course, but at some point, I don’t know what happened, but he hated the social rounds.” Marilyn “sighed”. “I don’t mind saying, it’s much nicer with people here.”
“I don’t doubt it. I’ll think on the social scene, okay, Marilyn?” Gunnar wasn’t thrilled with that thought either, but he also understood the need for public appearances and making nice with the neighbors. “I’ll get to work now. Let me know if anything else happens.”
“I will, and if you want anything – oh, I wish Yes Man hadn’t taken himself offline like that. It was nice having him around.”
Now it was Gunnar’s turn to sigh, and rest his chin in his hand. “I know. I miss him. Not just because he was useful, but…” He shrugged. “I hope he comes back, and that he’s okay.”
“I hope so too, Doctor Volk! Operating on himself like that? Can you imagine?”
Gunnar could only imagine worst-case scenarios that would require self-surgery. “I’m sure he’ll come back just fine,” he said, aware that Marilyn needed reassurance too. “He’ll have a lot to catch up on… I’d better make some notes for him, shouldn’t I? Let him know what’s going on. It’ll be faster for him.”
“That’s an excellent idea!”
The grandfather clock in the corner, restored to working order, chimed the hour.
“I’ll get you some tea and nibbles,” Marilyn said, rolling away. “Be right back!”
“Sure thing.” Gunnar was fairly certain “tea and nibbles” was a recent addition to her vocabulary. Well, why not? They were smart, why wouldn’t they learn?
He paused in looking over the documents. Maybe Jane and Marilyn would prefer different bodies. He’d have to ask them about that; though Gunnar had no idea if transferring their ‘brains’ to new bodies was even possible. Sure, they seemed happy in their Securitron frames, but maybe they’d like something else. It’d be a nicer gift than a dusting and an oil change.
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