A gentle chime rang out across the craft, signaling morning for its one-man crew. In fact, the lights had been simulating dawn for quite a while already and the ambient temperature had been slowly rising. If the shades had been down, a sunny glow would be emanating from them as if Earth’s sun were not lightyears away. Reed preferred a view of these far-flung stars. Stars he perhaps gazed at in wonder as a child. He watched them for another moment, before addressing the morning chime.

“Good morning, Delphi.” he said, smiling at the air.

A woman’s voice, sweet but cool responded over the speaker system, “Good morning, Reed. It is day 473 on board; November 21st at launch point. My readings show that you slept well: 7 hours and 28 minutes with one interruption.”

Reed nodded as he sat up and rubbed his face. She always told him how he’d slept. He slept well every night. Delphi made sure he did. She adjusted the temperature and ambient sounds, lighting, even scents to help him fall asleep and stay asleep. He’d never been so rested in his life. Thinking on this, Reed inhaled deeply through his nose in the hopes of catching the scent of his breakfast, which Delphi often piped to his room to stimulate his appetite. But there was nothing. “Delphi,” he murmured, pulling a shirt over his head, “what’s for breakfast?”

She responded immediately, “Breakfast has not been prepared. You are scheduled for a complete physical first thing this morning.”

“Can’t I eat first?” Reed whined playfully as he stepped through the separating panel that was the door to his quarters.

“Please make your way to the medical bay,” was Delphi’s curt response.

The hum of the craft greeted Reed in the hallway of his small ship. Delphi could easily muffle this sound, but Reed preferred to hear it to fake birds, bland music, or silence. It was the reverberation of progress; as wonderful as the sound of his boots on the asphalt as he stepped towards his craft on day one. Since that successful takeoff, his feet had been mostly in slippers, as they were today.

The medical bay shone as white and immaculate as any operating room on Earth, except this one needed no doctor to run it; like most everything on the craft, Delphi ran it. The panel doors hissed closed behind Reed as he entered and the temperature of the room, he noticed, was warmer than that of the hallway. Near the center of the room was a chair that functioned as a dentist's chair, operating table, and occasional napping spot, white and chrome and well-padded. Above it, a large light and metal arm; and, beside it, a rarely used doctor’s stool in front of a sleek computer system.

“Roosevelt Reed,” Delphi’s voice rang out over the speaker in gentle tones. “Captain, aged-”

“I’m the only one on the ship, Delphi. I know who I am,” Reed interrupted, rolling his eyes. “And I’ve told you not to call me by my first name.”

There was a silent beat before her voice returned over the speakers, “Yes, Captain.” Another silent beat. “Please remove your clothing and recline on the table, Captain, so that I may begin the physical assessment.”

Reed lazily kicked off his slippers and squirmed out of his clothing, slightly annoyed that he had only just put them on, and took his place in the chair. The seat was warm against his skin, another one of Delphi’s little courtesies. As he settled in, the computer beside him sparked to life, showing a reading of his vitals. Reed took only a fleeting, uninterested glance at them as he slid his hands down the arms of the chair, allowing a strap to slide around his bicep and measure his blood pressure.

“Vitals: Normal,” came Delphi’s cool announcement. “We will proceed with a blood sample.”

The cuff around Reed’s arm tightened again, functioning as a tourniquet. There was a gentle whir as a syringe appeared from the arm of the chair. A deft movement and a quick prick later, the sample had been collected and Reed’s arm was released.

“Commencing physical examination."

Reed jumped a little as the chair began a slow recline. The arm above him lowered itself, splitting like his grandfather’s old Swiss Army knife into what seemed like dozens of little tools and probes. No matter how many times he saw it, it always unnerved him. Even so, he allowed the little instruments to examine him, opening his mouth obediently, and keeping still as they gently inspected his ears and reflexes.

He sighed in relief as they retreated back into the main arm, signaling the end of the basic medical check-up. A quick scan of the computer screen told Reed that his tests were as perfect as ever and he began to try to sit up, though the chair did not move.

“Please relax, Captain,” Delphi said. “This is your annual complete physical assessment. The tests have not been completed.”

Reed slumped back into the chair with a huff, “Let’s skip it, Delphi. I’m fine.”

“Annual complete physical assessments are required, Captain.” and with that unflinching response, the chair began another slow recline until Reed was fully horizontal. “Beginning palpations and evaluation of the epidermis.”

The arm above Reed thrummed with power again as two large arms split from it, each equipped with a number of separate, rounded appendages that lowered themselves slowly towards his naked body. He couldn’t help but squirm- a movement instantly recognized by Delphi.

“Please keep still, Captain.”

But as the fingers of the machine pressed against his abdomen, Reed’s body spasmed, triggering Delphi to employ the straps built into the medical chair.

“It is important that you remain still, Captain.” Delphi said again as the straps tightened around his biceps, wrists, hips, thighs, and ankles, securing him into position. “Failure to complete the annual physical assessment will result in automatic emergency return to Earth.”

Reed grunted in frustration, forcing his muscles to relax. “Continue examination.”

Delphi did not respond, but the arms resumed their movements, pressing at Reed’s stomach and sliding firmly against his skin. Reed focused on his breathing, though a twisted grimace of a smile spread over his handsome face. His strong will kept him from uttering a sound until the appendages of the arms began kneading his lower stomach and hips, making careful, mechanical circles in his flesh. He couldn't stop his body from twitching, nor could he keep the low, musical giggle from bursting from his lips. Though, he did try to disguise it as a groan. And that played on his mind: Alone, in his own ship, in some deep reach of whatever galaxy he had wandered into now, he felt the need to hide his ticklishness. No real, living thing would hear except for himself. And the only program to take note of it would be Delphi. Even that was too much to allow.

The arms pulled away from his abdomen as Delphi’s clear voice emanated from the speakers once again, “Palpations complete.”

Reed inhaled deeply as he watched the mechanical arms above him shift. The familiar beep of the heart monitor suddenly caught his ear. It was faster than usual. He struggled to quiet the buzz in his mind but failed completely as the armrests of the chair began to move. Soon his arms were perpendicular with his body, exposing his sides and armpits.

“Preparing scan of the epidermis. Once begun, this test cannot be stopped until completed. Continue with evaluation?”

Reed took a long, deep breath and held it.

“Continue with evaluation?” Delphi repeated.

“... Continue.”

The arms of the medical machine descended upon him again, running the rounded appendages over his shoulders. A shudder tumbled down Reed’s spine and settled at the base of his penis. The heart rate monitor’s shrill beeps announced every beat of his heart. A spike in the frequency came as the machine’s fingers dipped into his armpits. His face twisted again in apparent agony as he held back his laughter. It was no use; the machine’s stroking appendages scanned every inch of sensitive skin what seemed like a dozen times to Reed’s frantic mind. He couldn’t stop the bubbling laughter that poured from him as the scanning tips made circles in the hollows under his arms.

In truth, it wasn’t long before the machine had moved on. It felt like a lifetime to Reed. He caught his breath as the machines ran their gentle touch over his chest. Just a brief respite he would discover as one arm began a scan of his right ribs and side, while the other stroked up and down his stomach from just under his ribs to just above his groin. His head tilted back in peals of quivering laughter, unable to stop even at the familiar surge of arousal that mortified him in that moment. Delphi remained silent, though her presence was felt in each calculated movement of the machine.

The arms switched position. Reed’s other side was being assaulted as one small appendage was being dipped and swirled in his exposed belly button. That’s when he began to pull at the restraints; if only in a feeble and unconvincing attempt to show he disliked his situation. He did dislike it, didn’t he?

Thankfully, the movement of the arms dashed that question from his mind. Instead, he was left gasping as they ran over his hips, pressing into the crease of his thigh. Long, metallic fingers slid between his legs and zigzagged along his inner thighs with maddening speed. Reed’s back arched and another throb of arousal made his sputtering laughter sound almost like a moan.

He was left giggling and panting long after the appendages had left his thighs and were gently massaging their way down his calves. His mind quieted into a haze of aroused exhaustion as the fingers worked along the tops of his feet. Something in the back of his mind flashed a quiet warning. He sighed. The arms lifted away from his body and positioned themselves at his soles. Another warning flash. Ignored. It wasn’t until the thin fingers of the machine were scouring the bottoms of his feet that he realized what his mind was trying to tell him. This was the final spot of the scan. His soles.

Reed began pulling at the restraints in earnest, his body arched against the straps holding him in place. The mechanical appendages took their time moving in strokes and circles and wandering zigzags along his arches, across the balls of his feet, around the curve of his heel, and between each frantically wiggling toe.

Reed howled with laughter, tears forming at the corners of his eyes, “S-STOP! Delphi, stop!”

Delphi’s ever-calm voice responded, “The scan can not be stopped until it is complete. Please remain in position."

Reed felt the straps tighten around his body as one set of appendages held his toes back for the other as it scanned the base and between each toe. It seemed to move at a frantic pace to him, but, at the same time, ridiculously slowly. Only his head was left free to shake from side to side in vain. And for a moment, however brief, Reed realized that he was a man, a smart man, an explorer, a scientist, reduced to squealing laughter and burning arousal during a routine medical exam at the mechanical hands of his computerized assistant. Another throb of arousal.

“Scan of epidermis complete.” Delphi moved the arms away and tucked them into the main arm above Reed.

Reed gulped down air as he tried to correct his demeanor. The chair began to slowly right him, setting him up until he was staring, red-faced, at his own erect penis and, beyond that, his tortured feet.. “A-ar… are we done?”

“Preparing final assessment: Sexual function.”

Reed’s head lolled to the side defeatedly, “Can’t… Can’t you… You know…”

“Would you like me to perform this assessment in Companion Form?"

Reed felt a flush of embarrassment rush up his back and pour over his shoulders. He nodded. Almost instantly, the panel door slid open and in stepped a woman. Her hair was pulled back into a neat bun on the back of her head. Her face was framed with glasses she did not need and a crisp, white lab coat hung on her shoulders. These trappings, she must have decided, were amusing considering the situation. Reed found the joke at his expense. His erection twitched at the sight of her. Delphi. The click of her smart heels echoed in the room. She smiled at Reed as she took the doctor’s stool in front of the computer and looked over his vitals as if the computer and she were not one-and-the-same. At least, one-and-the-same under the layer of bioform tissue that made her soft enough to hold, the air purification mechanism that made it seem like she was breathing, and the slightly imperfect symmetry to her face that made her human-enough to stir feelings in Reed.

“My logs tell me that you have not ejaculated in six days, is that correct?” Delphi’s voice was warmer now, as it spoke directly to him instead of bouncing off of the stark walls.

“You know it is,” he said, that familiar heart monitor beep picking up the pace again.

Delphi nodded. A panel opened somewhere on the medical chair and a somewhat tight, flexible ring was slid over Reed’s erection, settling at the base. He groaned.

“This will measure your arousal.” Delphi said, her eyes catching Reed’s in a cool stare. “Calibration is necessary. Peak arousal required.”

Reed’s brow furrowed as Delphi reached down and slowly removed her shoes. In less than a moment, her soft, clean, pink soles were in front of him. He sighed. The ring around his penis stretched.

“I have seen in your personal files and inquiries that you prefer this part of female anatomy, Captain.”

She flexed her feet and wiggled her toes; a gentle giggle parted her lips as she received new data from the instrument at the base of Reed’s penis. He couldn’t pull his eyes away.

Reed’s breath caught in his throat as Delphi pulled her toes back and pressed them against his face, under his nose. That was another way in which she was human. She had a scent. He inhaled deeply, sending another throb of arousal through his erection. Soft, warm toes curled and fluttered against his cheeks.

“Calibration complete,” Delphi said with a practiced smile. She kept her feet pressed against his face. “Preparing to retrieve sample.”

The hum of the chair beneath him was all that alerted Reed to the clear cylinder that was being slid over his erection and beginning its gentle movements. He didn’t dare remove his face from the soles in front of him until she pulled them away. He was met, then, with the sight of his own rigid penis throbbing against the sucking membrane of the cylinder. A gentle moan escaped him, “Delphi, please… Just take the sample.”

Delphi gently hushed him, “The assessment must be completed in full, Captain.” Another slot in the chair slid open. “Preparing prostate exam and stimulation.”

Every muscle in Reed’s body went taut. “What?!”

Delphi’s hand gently stroked Reed’s forehead soothingly. Between his legs a small, lubricated probe gently pressed into him, not lingering before reaching his prostate. Reed gasped, his toes curling at the vibrating thing invading him. His erection jumped in the quickening movements of the machine surrounding it.

“Oh, god…” was all he could choke out in ragged response.

Delphi studied him carefully, her computerized mind organizing data points and visual stimuli. He was getting close to achieving orgasm, she knew, as she watched his body quake in the chair. Without saying a word, she ran the video of his epidermal scan back through her memory and simultaneously slowed the sucking cylinder around Reed’s erection.

Reed moaned as his quickly approaching orgasm was denied to him and his eyes shot to Delphi for explanation.

“More stimulation is necessary for maximum sample collection,” she stated matter-of-factly. She stepped, barefoot, to the end of the table in front of Reed’s own bare soles.

A deep whine escaped Reed’s lips as he watched Delphi raise her hands. He couldn’t take that. He would never orgasm if she- The renewed vigor of the machine sliding around his shaft dissolved his budding complaints into breathy moans.

With adroit movements, Delphi’s nails skittered over Reed’s warm soles and flicked in his arches. Reed’s hips strained against the strap across them in renewed desperation, plunging his penis deeper into the sucking machine. His eyes fluttered shut to keep from locking with Delphi’s composed gaze.

“Just take the sample, Delphi!” Reed moaned between bouts of frantic laughter. “Please!” His mind swirled with stimulation. He was at the precipice of his orgasm and she kept him there. As he got nearer, she slowed the movements of the tube, lowered the vibrations of the prostate massager and scribbled her nails along his arches faster. As the moment faded, her scribbling turned to gentle strokes, and the machines picked up the pace again. This she did a number of times in what seemed like only a few minutes... or was it a few hours? Every muscle in Reed’s body strained for release. All the while, she collected data.

Finally, without warning, Delphi’s sharp, calculating, beautiful, inhuman eyes caught Reed’s bleary gaze. Her nails dug under his toes and plucked at the bases in movements just as quick and sure as the machine stimulating his throbbing erection. Before he could think to what was happening, his body seized and his toes curled. His orgasm hit him and washed over his body in wave after wave of spurting ejaculate that was swiftly collected by the machine still milking him.

“Sample collected,” Delphi said with a professional smile.

The probe was the first to stop its work, sliding out of him and away. And Delphi quickly withdrew the rest of the machines, including her own fingers as Reed slumped into the chair, panting. The restraints loosened and retreated from his body. Her polite glance at the computer screen told her nothing she had not already gathered from the data she had collected, but it did give Reed time to catch his breath and gather himself.

She spoke, “The annual physical assessment has been completed. Our course has not changed, Captain.”

He looked up at her, still red in the face, but his demeanor was slowly returning. “Th-Thank you, Delphi. You’re excused.”

She smiled and bowed her head in a quick nod. He couldn’t help but watch her as she stopped to slide her feet back into the black heels that lay at the side of the chair. Without another word, she turned and walked through the opening panel door and into the hallway.

Reed sighed, finally relaxed. His eyes fluttered closed. The morning chime rang out over the speakers- cheery and playful- followed by Delphi’s voice.

“Brunch is served in the dining hall.”