A/N: A.I. is the property of Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrik and whatever studio made the movie. . . I OWN NOTHING!! Poor, poor me.

Main lesson I learned from writing this: Writing Joe dialogue requires expert knowledge on the use of ellipses. . .

SYSTEM ERROR- A one-shot fic from ImagineGal


"Hello; is this. . . Jennifer Gallows?"

"It is."

"It's Joe."

"Oh. . ."

"I understand you left me a message. . . Is this. . . a bad time?"

"Oh!, yes, I mean, no. . . It's fine."

"Wonderful. You have the voice of an angel, Jennifer. I can't wait to meet you Saturday evening, at nine o' clock."

"So you're free?"

"As free as a bird, Jenny. Do you mind if I call you Jenny?"

". . .No."

"Now, you being a first-time customer and all, I've got to ask you some questions. Makes things more. . . personal, if you catch my drift."


"What color hair do you find the most attractive?"

"Oh, I dunno; I suppose. . . red."

"Do accents suit you?"

"The one you're using now is fine."

"Do you prefer the sensitive type, a smooth talker, or a man's man?"

"Hm. Well, why don't we just play that one by ear, Joe?"

"Improvisation? That's what I'm best at. I'll be counting the seconds until we meet Saturday."

"Oh, Joe? One more thing. . ."


"Do you think you could bring me. . . some roses?"


Joe hummed lightly to himself as he did his usual toe-tapping quick-step down the street. Many a familiar face offered him the usual poetic greeting, and he acknowledged these with a wink or a nod, or sometimes both, if he knew them well enough. He may have stopped to talk with one or two of them if his circuits weren't already on schedule. He had somewhere to be.

In his right hand was a beautifully wrapped bouquet of a dozen red roses.

190,720. . . 190,721. . . 190,722. . . a counter clicked off somewhere deep in his Hard Drive.

He skipped lightly up onto the curb, smoothly sidestepped a babbling drunk who was rambling on the hotel threshold, and stepped in.

Mac, the Noble Innkeeper, looked up from his paper.

"Hey Joe; whadda 'ya know?" He was the 15th person to say it that day. A human probably would have been starting to get annoyed with it by now.

"Hey, Mac," Joe greeted with an amiable smile, "Room 116, please."

Mac dropped the key on the counter with a grunt.

Joe briskly ascended the stairs, located Room 116, stopped by the door, checked his eyes, changed his hair color- his last customer had preferred brunettes- shucked his leather coat, and knocked on the door.

It opened. Standing on the inside of Room 116 was a woman in her early 30s with dark brown hair and too much mascara. She wore a red off-shoulder dress and high heels.

Had Joe been of flesh and blood, he would have noted that, despite the mascara, she was quite pretty. But to a lover-bot, any customer is an absolute beauty anyway.

"Jennifer Gallows, I presume?" he asked with one slanted eyebrow.

She didn't answer. "Are these for me?," she asked, taking the flowers. She smelled them, then looked back at him, "And you must be the infamous Joe."

"I am. . . whatever you want me to be." In the moment of silence that followed, Joe cocked his head to one side with a jerk. A jazzy version of 'I Got Lost In His Arms' from "Annie Get Your Gun" began playing, "May I. . . come in?"

With a smile, she stepped aside, "Be my guest," she said.

Joe took two steps into the room, looked at Jennifer, slid off his jacket and flung it perfectly into a nearby chair, then looked mechanically back at her.

Jennifer grinned as though she couldn't help it. Joe answered only with a slight smirk.

Jennifer closed the door, clearing her throat.

"The roses are lovely," she said.

"You are lovely," he countered, automatically but seductively. He pivoted on one foot, coming within inches of her, "Talking with you on the phone, you seemed an angel. But here; seeing you, I find I was mistaken. You are a rose, Jennifer. A beautiful flower. And all at once I feel I can't wait until the moment you unfold your petals and bloom before me." The Charm Circuits were working full-time now Jennifer paused, awestruck. Like all the others. Then she turned, and went to sit on the opposite side of the bed.

"Give me a neck massage?," she asked, shifting her shoulders around.

Joe didn't answer. He simply complied; kneeling behind her on the bed and laying his fingers on her neck. Given her contented sigh, she apparently approved.

"Are you beginning to feel it, Jennifer?," he whispered in her ear, "All the tension. . . all the worry. . . simply. . . melting away. . . leaving you shivering and free. . . in my arms." And here he let her fall back into the crook of his right arm. He leaned over her, "I feel almost afraid to touch you. . . If only all the world knew what a beautiful flower you are, Dana."

The calm happiness dropped slightly but suddenly from Jennifer's face.

"What?," she asked.

Joe blinked, his expression unchanged.

"I said. . . If only all the world knew what a beautiful flower you are, Lorelei."

"Excuse me?" Jennifer asked, half-laughing, "Is this some kind of joke?"

Joe blinked again- now a slight worry was showing- but he quickly smiled again.

"Of course not. . ." he assured her, ". . .Emily."

"Oh, God," Jennifer stood up, one hand to her forehead, "Who put you up to this? Was it Fred? That bastard. . ."

Joe just looked up at her in confusion. Something about this situation wasn't computing.

"What's my name?" Jennifer asked, "Can you just. . . tell me what my name is?"

Joe's eyes flicked around. His circuits buzzed.

He smiled sweetly once again, sure he had the answer.

"Why, Dorothy, of course."

"That's it," and Jennifer stormed out, taking the roses with her.

Joe stood up off the bed, a desperate look in his eyes, "Wait. . . Cathleen!" He called out, but she was already slamming the door behind her. After a short moment of awkward silence, Joe jerked his head, shutting off the music.


"Well, I don't see any loose wires. . ." said the heavy, moustached mechanic who was poking around in the back of Joe's head, "Must'a just been a glitch. Nothin' a good reboot won't fix." He rooted around with the first two fingers of his right hand, searching for the specific button.

"It's never happened before," Joe said, sounding bewildered.

"Hey, pal," the mechanic smirked as he found the button, "Even the best of us gotta slip up eventually."