For the next two duty days I called in sick. I had plenty of sick leave, since I had not used a single sick day in fifteen years. When one gets hurt on the job it is put down to administrative leave. That leave does not count against you. Half a day a month for fifteen years is a lot of sick days to build up. I was pretty sure that before I ran out of days they would reassign Annie to someone else.

My two day break between shifts was almost over so I was expecting to make a trip to the doctor. After two sick days I needed a doctor's note. I had already made the appointment, since I had no idea how stubborn the creator, as Annie called Dr. Sams, really was going to be.

She showed up at my door two hours before my doctor's appointment. "Okay, let's negotiate something you can all live with." she suggested.. "Surely you have been thinking about it, what do you want."

"A guarantee that Annie won't get me fired."

"What kind of guarantee?" she asked. She was smart enough to know that being out sick was a negotiation tool. If I really wanted to quit, I could have just gone into the chief's office and said I'm not right for this. They all had too much money and prestige invested to put Annie with someone who didn't want her to succeed.

"I want a contract. One that says, if I lose my job as a result of anything I do while I'm working with annie, you will pay my full salary until I find a suitable position."

"Hold on," she walked into the kitchen to make a call. When she returned, she said, "The lawyer said it is too vague. It leaves us liable for things we have nothing to do with.

"If I am with Annie, or it is about Annie, you are damned right I want you liable."

"Will you agree to a cap on the compensation."

"Like what?"

"A flat sum of your salary at the time till the insurance table estimate of your life's duration."

"Jesus Lady that is cold, but okay. However, I want a punitive payment if she has a direct hand in it. Let's say of an equal amount." I knew the cap idea would appeal to them. It made for a nice tidy package. Lawyers love neat.

"I can expect you back at work tomorrow?"

"Only if you have the papers to me this afternoon," I replied.

I went to the doctor to complain about a nagging shoulder injury. I did that just in case. It was a good thing, since it took a couple of days to get the contracts signed. I stored the pain killers in the medicine cabinet with half a dozen other unused bottles.

Sams had one more twist up her sleeve. She wanted Annie socialized like a puppy. It might be pretty much the same I thought. Her idea to do that included me living with Annie. Rather having Annie live with me. It was all on the up and up since Annie lacked any equipment, either emotional or physical. Since they made a payment to me for room and board, I didn't complain. Hell it wasn't like I was doing anything else.

On my first day back Annie didn't even look happy to see me. She didn't look unhappy either. I thought she might have enjoyed her time with the sissy cops, who knows.

In the sector car she filled me in on her time with one of the lab crew. She had done crime scene investigations with the geeks. It was a necessary time she was sure, but she had more training than any of them, she assured me.

"I find the time with you on patrol a far better learning experience," she declared at the end of the evening. Since we had spent the evening in the Hispanic barrio, she probably got a few new sights and smells.

She came home with me that night, actually she drove me home. I had ridden in on my Ebike, so we put it on the carrier at the rear of her car. Oh yes she had a waiver from the department of energy to drive on the streets. The local cops had been instructed not to ticket her just for not being human.

She was a nice safe driver. She obeyed all the traffic rules and never cursed at the other drivers. All in all it was a nerve wracking experience riding with her.

"Can I get you anything," I asked as we entered the house.

"Your secure link and the location of a power outlet is all I need."

"Well the house phone is there," I said it pointing to an old style phone. There is an outlet by that chair, the lamp is hooked in there."

She moved first to the phone, then she removed the wire from it. She unbuttoned her uniform and slipped the wire under it. I didn't even want to know where it plugged in. She closed her eyes for about two minutes, then unhooked the cord and replaced it into the phone.

She pulled a power cord from under her uniform. I had to be on some kind of reel inside her frame. The cord was thin with a very light weight end on it. She plugged it into the wall and sat in the chair with a smile on her face while I fixed a frozen dinner.

I almost asked if the microwave oven would bother her, but then I thought of all the diners we had been in together. She had never mentioned it, so there was probably no need to worry.

"Hey Annie, how about a nice warm cup of WD40?" I asked it so quietly I had no idea she would hear.

"No thanks I don't need anything," She said it loud enough for me to hear. "Plus I prefer something a little stronger."

I didn't ask. It might have been robot humor.