My plan was to spend Wednesday doing nothing more involved than arranging to have the Sears Building Evaluated. I had Kate come down before noon with a key to the buildings, so that I could get some ideas.
My first choice was the old radio studio of course. As I remembered the first floor, it was all one big open room. All of the electronics from the sixties and earlier were gone, of course. That was fine with me, I would never have known what to do with them.
Kate let me look all around before she sprang it on me. “The Hart kids want to talk again about selling those houses.”
“What the fuck does one have to do with the other?” I asked.
“I don’t know how you are fixed for capitol or what you would want to tackle first, if it came to that. I just wanted to let you know they might both be available at the same time,” she informed me.
“Well, I can’t deal with all this at the same time. I will work on one project till it is done, then if the next one is available I will work on it. We already have the preliminary designs and plans for the houses so lets see what we can do very quickly with that. If we can’t make some real progress on it by close of business tomorrow, we will shift everything to this project.
“So you want to look around this site now?” Kate asked.
“Sure, let’s take the walk through, then we can restart the negotiations after we settle up on the single family houses at heartland.” I said it as I opened the car door expecting Kate to follow me with the key.
I fell madly in love with the radio building. I wanted to move in the next day. It was that spectacular. There were three floors and each had a unique appeal to it. The first floor was going to make a spectacular formal living room. There was plenty of room for a special purpose area. It would be perfect for a person with a fancy hobby. The first floor also had partitions made of glass blocks sitting around.
The second floor would make a great kitchen, with plenty of room left over for both, casual and formal dinning. There would be room available for pantries, utility rooms, and storage areas. There was plenty of room for special purpose areas there as well. The building would make one hellishly expensive and thoroughly custom townhouse. It was without doubt a mini mansion in the making. It wasn’t my kind of place to live but I was sure the admiral had someone in mind for a place like it. The radio building could easily be transformed into the mini mansion in my imagination. I wanted to be the one to do it.
Walking around to the retail store I was expecting to be disappointed. Since that was the case, I wasn’t disappointed at all. The bottom two floors were approximately 10,000 square feet of empty space. each
The third floor was mostly chopped up space, which had been used as offices and special projects areas. Things like a shops and probably space to build displays was included in there I expected.
The complete forth floor had been stock room. At the very rear of the 1st floor was a receiving dock with freight elevators that went up to the top stopping on each floor along the way. The elevator was shut down but Kate informed me that it was still in place. Even I knew enough to know that it had certainly been de-certified.
I liked the space but I had no idea how I could use it. I was all about creating downtown housing units and the former retail building just didn’t look as though it would fly as one of those.
“Kate, I’m gonna be honest. I love the radio building, but I have no use for the Sears building that I can see right now. Do you have any ideas?” I asked.
“Actually I do,” she said.
“Let’s hear it,” I suggested.
“Have you ever heard of Simmons Technical Institute?” Kate asked.
“I see them on TV at 2AM now and then,” I said.
“Yes you do,” Kate agreed. “STI is looking for a campus in this area. With the parking here and the access to the major highways the building would be ideal.”
“Then sell it to them,” I suggested.
“They want to lease a space not purchase,” she said.
“When people go that route it is usually because they are afraid of the long term commitment,” I suggested. “Not sure they are a viable concern.”
“Absolutely,” Kate agreed. “It’s a gamble.”
“I’m a little shaky on that kind of venture.” I was pretty sure I would say no to the STI deal.
“Let me make a call to the Hart kids then. Let’s see if they want to cut the houses loose at a discount. The should be ready, since the state hasn’t made an offer on the mill yet.” Kate suggested.
“Offer to do it in those three phases we talked about earlier. The first phase would be the part between the rear of the mill and the creek. The kids wanted what 15K per repairable house.”
“No Maxine that’s what you wanted to give them. They want a lump some that is more than that per unit,” Kate said.
“Get me a price I can live with based on phases. I’ll give them a five year guarantee between the phases. If I don’t pick up the next phase before five years they can sell for anything they want to anyone they want. As I go along, the adjacent houses will be worth more, if I don’t exercise my option.”
“I’ll make the offer and see what happens. This time we are going to put it in writing?” she asked.
“Sure why not, but see what you can do and I will only go 13,500 each, period. If I have to take them all” I said.
Kate went off and I let my mind slip to the impending up grade to the body. I expected something new in the computer program, there almost always was when Eve went in.
Thursday was filled with my usual routines. It was noon before Kate called me. Within thirty minutes Jen was on the phone adding her two cents worth. With Kate it was pure greed. Jen had taken a civic minded approach lately. I had no earthly idea what had gotten into her.
I loved Jen like a sister, but with her it was something self serving of that there was no doubt. People like Jen made the community better while they made their own lives better. For the most part, without them the community wouldn’t get any better . I think that is what the guys whose lives were improved sometimes missed. The one thing I didn’t like about Jen was that she tended to try to put other people’s money at risk for her adventures. If she had any financial risk at all in the house project, it would be minor, I could count on that.
On the up side Jennifer being involved meant that she scrambled like hell to get things done. It wasn’t at all like dealing with most other people. Jennifer made things happen. The result wasn’t always what I wanted, but the people dealing with me had to made decisions. I also had to make decisions quickly.
By the end of the day we had a deal on the first phase of the single family housing project. For my part I transferred $250,000 to Jen’s escrow account in payment for the first twenty houses on the street which ran behind the Heartland Mill. Ten of the houses backyards adjoined the mill and across the street the ten houses backed up to a wooded creek buffer.
By nightfall everything was in place for the project. Jennifer would spend Friday drawing contracts and the others would spend it working on plans. I was not going to be available until Monday. Everyone knew it, but no one knew why.
Since I had to be at the farm in the early morning hours, I left home in the middle of the night. I drove the Woody slightly over six hours to get to the farm. Like almost all the other agents, I was a bit early. It was always best not to keep the nerds waiting. Nerds have very little patience, when they hold the cards. At least that has been my experience.
The renovations must have been expanded since they had moved the start to 8AM. I had no idea what all they had planned for me. I know that wasn’t like me, but I kind of signed over most of my input in order to stay alive in my present form. So far it had required a lot of flexibility from us all but it was working. At least from my point of view it was working. From the nerd point of view, I wasn’t sure. I really hadn’t done any farm type work as of yet. I had a feeling that after this weekend that might change.
Instead of a nerd from the early shift, Eve came to meet me at the gate. She walked up, but rode back into the compound with me. I parked beside a building I had never been inside before.
“So what’s this going to be like,” I asked her in my real voice. I probably could have done the mental hook up thing with her, but I didn’t want to do that.
“They will take you back and run a program to shut you down slowly. Once you are out of any short circuit risk, they will work on you. I understand they have a brand new appliance for you. There is a new saying here.”
“Oh really what is that?” I asked.
“Only God and Doctor Bennett can make a pussy,” she said smiling. She smiled while I laughed out loud.
“So does Doctor Bennett’s pussy work as well?” I asked.
“How the fuck would I know. Even if they gave me one, I would have nothing with which to compare it.” Eve was grinning.
“The big advantage I have are the memories. You are absolutely right about that. You got satisfaction from bringing pleasure to your partner. I get that but I also get the reactivation of some very vivid memories. Actually those same memories were not and are not nearly so vivid at any other time. The stimulated memory is more vivid than the emotion was at the time I think.
“Something about that is true,” Eve said. “I know because the geeks around here are pounding themselves on the back about how wonderful they made you.” With that she burst into laughter. It seemed that Eve was feeling more independence, than she had exhibited before.
“Well you do know how they are?” I asked with a laugh. Just a little robo humor there, I thought. I was trying to figure where Eve fit into this new hierarchy. For the day she appeared to be doing duty as my guide. For that I was thankful, she had obviously spent more time in the compound than me. She most likely knew where the bodies were buried. I had no idea if she would tell me anything or not. She might well be afraid that the controllers would hear. Hell they could hear what I was thinking at the moment.
I sat in the reception room of the laboratory trying to remember, if there were times when the geeks at the farm didn’t seem to know what was going on with me. The more I thought about it the more I realized that they knew I was exploring the possibility of more freedom.
I wondered how they would feel about that. It was possible that they might welcome it. If they were planning an army of Bots, it would be nice not to be forced to deal with them day to day. Then again you could just put them to sleep till you needed them.
One way to use me was for me to do things that were too dangerous for men to do. It was really cheaper to lose a man, than to lose a bot, I thought. So for grunt work people would be cheaper and it cut down on the unemployment. However it might be cheaper to have an expert in the control room and a thinking bot in the danger zone. A thinking bot would noticed the footsteps in the hall as a threat when Eve might not.
I wondered what exactly the creators saw as my role in the modern world. The answer appeared in my head. We are going to have a series of discussions about that this weekend. You have agreed to go along with anything to stay activated, so we are going to see if that is true. Your life is going to take another change.