Chapter Two

The afternoon and evening had been whirlwind for Mary -- shopping for attention-getting clothes with an admiring lover offering heart-felt opinions backed with a fully charged Iridium Card, then some serious styling followed by flying over the streets of the city to get to the sub-orbital airport, launching on that, soaring through space for a three hour journey while they briefed each other on their background stories and Mr. Chou and his associates.

"This is a precautionary mission," Mary reminded Tom, "We may find paydirt at the far end, we may not."

"If we don't that will be better," said Tom, "It means the world is a better place than we worry about."

Mary was a little surprised at the attitude, but loved it.

On the flight Mary took one break from being with Tom. She got in the lavatory and texted Ellen back at the agency office, "Check out what's happening with the Tom Sottm android!"


Ellen, now getting ready for bed, thought hard about waiting until morning. But then she remembered the delivery boy business, and got real curious about what was up. She recognized that Tom Sottm was the name of the "missing stiff" as the delivery boy had called him.

Ellen's first reaction as she picked up on the feed was confusion. Why should she, or Mary, care about the dry run of an android? Why was Mary texting her about it? She watched for a few moments and muttered, "Yeah, it is a super setting, but..." Then she was curious about this Mary that Tom was looking at, this Mary Making. She was a looker! And clearly enjoying the looks that Tom was giving her. Was that Mary name a coincidence? This "Mary" that Tom was seeing looked nothing like the Mary who worked in the next cubicle over, her friend, Mary Cullihain. That Mary was dowdy, chunky, barely blonde and middle-aged, she was a worker-bee, not a glamour girl. Then the "Ah-hah!"

"Mary programs these androids! She programmed that look!" she said to herself. Now she watched with both drop-jaw admiration and pure, green envy. "Go girl!" she muttered to herself. And settled in for some very interesting weekend entertainment.


At the airport Mary and Tom split up. Mary headed for the Big Texmex and got their room there. Even though it was now Saturday afternoon, China time, she settled in to the sleep her very human body was now grumpily asking for. She would rendezvous with Tom when evening came. Tom headed for the polo grounds, he had a big impression to start making.

At the polo club Tom introduced himself as an accomplished amateur who had learned to play in Paraguay and was ready to sport a bit. Mary knew Chou was into polo and she did her prep as well as her homework. Tom was custom programmed with polo skill, just as he'd been programmed with his image of Mary as a steamy beauty. This of course was transparent to Tom. If you'd asked him about it he would have said, "Of course?" wondering why you were asking.

He played credibly in the warm ups while Chou was prepping for his game. While that was going on, two unexpected things happened: One of Chou's teammates called in sick, and Tom spectacularly saved one of Chou's horses from a serious injury. With gratitude first on his mind, Chou invited Tom to play on his team and he helped them win that day.

As the game ended with Chou all in smiles, he said to Tom, "You are a good man, Mr. Sottm... Tom. I'm headed to the Big Texmex tonight. Come on over and I'll show you a good time."

"I'd be delighted." said Tom, and he made his way there separately, to rendezvous with Mary and slip in another round of afternoon delight.

Tom was feeling very satisfied himself when he said to Mary, "Umm... Good looking as you are, sweetheart, maybe we should let you do the heavy lifting on impressing Chou? He's a princeling with a roving eye. We know that."

Mary stiffened just a bit, then said, "No, sweety, I'm mission control. The closest I'll get is being arm candy. You're the super here."

"You're sure? I feel like I've met my match." he grinned, "How about a nice full body massage before we fancy up for the ball downstairs?"

"Ummm... I can get super into that!"

Ellen watched as Mary's thermostat soared to "Cooking!"