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Part 3

After dinner, as Alex rose from the table, Gordon spoke. "Alex, could I borrow your charming companion for a short while?"

"Sure, I guess. Send her up when you're finished," he replied, looking a little annoyed. He left the table, apparently headed to his rooms.

The android looked up expectantly. "You would like to speak to me, Mr. Rosewater?"

"Yes. Join me in the study if you would," Gordon led the way.

Roger, having skipped dinner, was already there waiting. He poured an after-dinner brandy for his father and himself, offering one to the android out of habit. To his surprise, she accepted. "Are you ready for the tournament next week?" she asked him politely.

"Yes, I think so," he answered. In light of the conversation with his father, he found making small talk with her really wasn't all that difficult. In fact, if he hadn't known her true nature, he probably would have been charmed. He took a deep breath, preparing to initiate Gordon's plan. "My father asked you here so I could speak with you," he said. "I'm sorry that I have been rude to you."

She looked at him steadily. "You haven't been rude, Roger."

"Yes, I have," he said firmly. "I'm afraid I was a bit prejudiced at first, and I was unsure of how to react."

"You're very kind," her eyes dropped to the floor modestly. Roger suppressed an inappropriate chuckle. She was truly perfect in her behavior, but knowing that it was all a program made the situation almost laughable. For the first time, he felt a genuine pity for the android. She had been handed a situation that she had no information for, and it was just as foolish to blame her for this as it would have been to blame Big O for being vulnerable to having his electrical grid shorted out.

"You may experience a similar situation again with others," he told her. "In the future, it would be better to simply leave that person alone. This is not a failure on your part. Do you understand?" 

"If a person avoids me, I am to leave them alone. Shall I file this under 'human moods'?" she asked, responding to the trigger that told her to store the information as a command.

"Yes, that  would work nicely," he answered, relieved it had been so easy. 

Gordon nodded with satisfaction. "Alex is waiting for you, dear."

She nodded and turned to leave. When she got to the door, she stopped and turned around. "Roger? Would it be possible for me to attend the match next week?"

Roger shrugged, realizing that it was part of her program to hold out the olive branch. "If Alex says it's okay and you really want to for yourself. You don't have to make any special effort on my behalf. Do you understand?"

"Yes," she left the room.

"Now see, it wasn't that bad," Gordon smiled at his son.

"No, it wasn't," Roger agreed, pouring himself another brandy. "Let me compliment you, Dad, you really have outdone yourself this time. And you're right, that's a great system for making adjustments, a lot easier than having to bring her back to the factory." He sat down in a chair and put his feet up, enjoying the first relaxing evening at home he'd had for weeks.

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