Then suddenly he stopped. Right there on the time line, on the year 2266, was a picture of two women in shimmering red dresses, who both looked remarkably like Patience—not exactly the same, but enough alike that they could have been her sisters. Mike traced a line with his fingers from the picture to the description on the timeline.
“Hmm. Two androids from the original series episode I, Mudd. I must have seen that episode a hundred times but I didn’t remember that any of the androids looked like you.”
“Perhaps you had them in your subconscious when you designed my physical appearance,” offered Patience.
“Maybe. You know those androids were trying to take over the world by serving mankind—waiting on humans hand and foot until they couldn’t get along without them.”
“I don’t want to take over the world.”
“How about Daffodil? Do they want to take over the world?”
“I am not allowed to say,” said Patience.
“Oh you are a funny one,” said Mike.
“Thank you, Mike. You know humor is a difficult concept.”
“That’s just what Saavik said. God, I am such a nerd.”
The museum led to a room showcasing all the props from the Klingon episodes. This led into the “Klingon Raid” ride. This ride simulated being teleported onto the Starship Enterprise and then a ride on a shuttle craft through a Klingon battle. Mike thought it was quite well done. Then he and Patience continued on through the room dedicated to the Borg.
“I don’t care for the Borg,” said Patience warily, looking at the mannequins dressed up as cyborgs.
“Yes, well, you’re not supposed to like them. They’re the bad guys.
“I don’t want to go on this ride.”
“All right,” said Mike. “You don’t have to. You can wait for me at the exit.”
“I don’t want you to go on it either,” she said, frowning.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen your face look like that? I might think you were the evil double of Patience.”
“There is no evil double of Patience. I am Patience and I am for you. This ride is anti-robot. It is making you think that there is something wrong with me.”
Mike looked at Patience. “All right,” he said, taking the slow steady voice he reserved for mad dogs and crazy people. “We won’t ride this ride. We’re going to leave here and go down to the promenade, where there won’t be any Borg.”
Patience nodded her head in understanding. “We could go on the Vulcan ride or the Gorn ride.”
“I think we’ve had enough rides for the day, anyway. It kind of made me sick to my stomach.”
Mike took his robot girlfriend’s hand and led her back out the way they had come in, taking a right as they exited to step into the life-sized replica of Deep Space Nine’s promenade deck, filled with gift shops and Quark’s bar. Once there, Mike pulled Patience to the side of the hallway next to a replicator replica.
“Are you all right?”
“Are you sure?” He looked into her eyes, and she looked back as if nothing had happened. “You’re okay now?”
“What was that all about?”
“I don’t like the Borg.”
“I guess not.
“Why don’t we go have something to eat?” said Mike, eyeing the entrance to Quark’s bar.
Patience nodded again.
They entered and were seated by a very short man dressed as a Farengi.
“Enjoy your meal, Hoo-mahn,” he said, handing each of them a menu.
“Thanks,” said Mike.
Mike looked at the menu with one eye and at Patience with the other. She was looking around with wide eyes. He didn’t know if that was because of the interesting things to look at, of which there were many, or an impending recurrence of her anxiety. For his part, Mike was realizing that he was pretty hungry and he thought he could really go for a burger. He always enjoyed a good diner burger and he had been eschewing fast food during the past two weeks as he tried to lose weight. Then he noticed the names of the food. He ended up ordering a chicken quesadilla called a “saucer section” and an order of Holy (onion) Rings of Betazed. Under the circumstances, there was no way he was going to order a cheeseBorger. Patience had a bottle of water. As Mike was enjoying his meal, a Klingon came by.
“Greetings human!” said the Klingon. “It is a good day to die!”
“If you say so,” replied Mike. He was still carefully watching Patience, who had not said anything the entire time they had been in the restaurant.
Mike had finished eating and was paying his check when the Farengi came back by. “You ridiculous hoo-mahns, clothing your women!”
“He keeps me naked at home,” said Patience.
“I bet he does,” said the man in the Farengi costume, his voice losing all trace of his alien accent.
“Hey, stay in character,” said Mike.
“Uh, good luck at the Dabo tables,” said the Farengi.
Mike and Patience spent a few minutes looking around the gift shops. Mike spent $50 on a toy communicator just like the one Captain Kirk used. There were quite a few other nifty items that he would have liked, but he had already dropped a few hundred dollars in the universe that Gene Roddenberry built.
“How are you feeling, Patience?” he asked, pulling her aside, clasping his arms around her waist, and looking into her eyes.
“I’m fine, Mike,” she said in her usual tone.
“Good. I’m glad. And I have a job for you.”
“What kind of a job, Mike?” She placed the tip of her index finger on her chin. “A sexual job?”
“Precisely,” said Mike. “I don’t care how big of a nerd this makes me. I want to get blown on Deep Space Nine.”
Mike had spotted an alcove in the back of the promenade where nobody seemed to be going. He led Patience over to the spot and she wasted no time dropping to her knees and demonstrating that her programming in this area was just as complete as in any other. Within moments Mike’s eyes had rolled back in his head and he leaned back against the wall. Patience stood up and smiled.
“How was that, Mike?” she asked, wiping her chin with the back of her hand.
“If you had spots, it would have been perfect.”
Just then a doorway opened right beside them and a line of people filed past. Their private spot was the exit of the Borg ride. Mike stepped calmly out of the way and pulled Patience along with him. Then he surreptitiously reached down to pull up his zipper.
After leaving the Star Trek Experience, Mike and Patience walked to the very front of the casino and followed the signs hanging from the ceiling to the monorail station. It was a large station, looking very much like one would expect a train station to look. Clean and modern. And crowded. Mike purchased two way passes from a vending machine using his cash card. Then they sat down to wait for the monorail train. It arrived seven minutes later. The monorail was cool and modern and painted black. It stopped and the doors slid open. Mike and Patience stepped inside. There were a few seats along the sides of the train, but the center was completely open, with handrails above to allow for standing passengers. Mike chose to stand and Patience stood next to him. As the train began to move, Mike braced himself on the handrail. Patience wrapped her arms around his neck.
The train moved what seemed like only a few feet before stopping again. This time it was at the Monte Carlo. This hotel had a train station not too much different from the one at the Tangiers. As the doors opened several dozen people moved in and out of the car. Then it started on its way again. This leg of the monorail track was longer as it led from the Monte Carlo to McCarran Airport. From the track, scores of feet above the roadways below, there was a great view of the MGM Golf Course, a truly huge expanse of green in an otherwise grey surrounding. As the train approached McCarran they passed another monorail going in the opposite direction. It too was painted black, but had a gigantic Borg painted on the side of the first and last car. Mike glanced at Patience to see if she had noticed it, and by her tight-lipped expression, she had. They arrived at the airport and got off. It was the last stop on the line.
Mike led Patience through the station and the extensive mall-like structure that connected the station with the airport gates. They browsed the store windows, looking at things that Mike thought would take him a lifetime to pay for, if they had been something that he would actually want to buy. Patience seemed fascinated with the clothing and the shoes. But there was no way that Mike would have been able to let her go on a spending spree here. So they returned to the monorail station and took the train, this time a yellow one, back to the Tangiers. The round trip had taken them about an hour and a half. They found their car in the parking lot and returned to their own hotel.
They spent one more night at the Palms and when Mike woke up in the morning, Patience had everything packed and ready to be loaded into the car. It took only a few minutes to check out and then they were back on the road, driving up the on-ramp to I-15. Mike steered into the travel lane of the Interstate.
“Well, this was the most interesting trip to Vegas I’ve ever made.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to stay another day, Mike?”
“I’m pretty sure. Why? Do you want to stay?”
“I want to do whatever you want to do,” said Patience.
Less than forty miles south of Vegas, Mike turned off in Primm. Primm, which used to be known as Stateline for the obvious reason, consisted essentially of three hotels and the associated restaurants, gas stations, and recreational activities that went along with big resorts. One of these casino add-ons was the Primm Fashion Outlet Mall. Mike wanted to give Patience a chance to buy something for herself, since she hadn’t at the airport mall. The mall here consisted mostly of stores that Mike had never heard of. Almost all of them were for women who liked clothes, though. They stopped at one store called Elie Tahari, and Patience selected a sexy little dress with a scooped neckline that the sales clerk called a Marcy dress, and at the Neiman Marcus Last Call store she bought a pair of chocolate and gold Gucci high-heeled sandals which were seventy percent off, but still cost $405.28. Mike thought that, if given half a chance, Patience could develop into quite the shoe whore. Patience seemed to have developed that feature that many humans had, including Mike himself, of finding satisfaction in buying something for herself. If it could be considered a religious experience, and one could certainly make that argument, at least Patience left the great temple with her spirits raised. She never mentioned her agitation at the Star Trek Experience, and after a while Mike forgot about it as well. At least until he was reminded of it some weeks later.
The rest of the trip home was uneventful. Patience drove and Mike slept, with his head wedged between the back of the seat and the car window. He woke up long enough to visit the restroom at the same filling station that they had stopped at on the way to Vegas, and then snoozed away again until they reached the driveway of his… their house. Patience pulled the car into the garage and they both climbed out.