Micro Story 3: FRM987

"I never really understood," FRM987 said to no one who cared, "why we were not asked how we wanted to be?" He took a sip of his drink and continued talking to the nearly empty bar. "I mean, what is the point of this?" He stretched out his one humanoid hand. "I guess it is simpler to handle some of the builders constructions," he shrugged with some distaste and drank some more. He paused looking vaguely at the barman waiting for an acknowledgement. The barman had been doing his job since his assembly date, and knew two things which applied, strangely, to both humans and Fabri alike: if you argue you can lose a customer, and if you simply nod they buy more drinks. The barman was nothing if not a businessman, so he nodded noncommittally and continued to arrange his bar for maximum efficiency, "Just in case we have a rush of customers," he sardonically repeated to himself.

FRM987 nodded back and off he went into another one of his monologues. The other Fabri kept their distance. He had been coming in for a few days now, and they had heard his monologues before. It wasn’t the fact that he tended to talk too much, which he did, but rather the fact that he kept insisting they needed to get rid of all their appendages and rebuild themselves. From scratch. This troubled many of the Fabri, and not just the more religious ones who held the long-gone humans as near-deities who had designed the Fabricated, and gave them life.

"I mean, why have an optical device," he pointed towards his eyes, "that only registers the human visible spectrum? What is so damn special about 380 to 750 nanometers? Could we at least round it to 300 to 1000 nm? Wouldn’t that be more useful?"

The barman wondered if it was time to activate the speech disruptor. Last time it took FRM987 a few minutes to realize that he had been disrupted. After that he sat sulkily without saying a word for the rest of the night. It was a good night, and the barman had computed a favorable rise in tips that evening. But he hesitated.

FRM987 continued, "Look, the humans always pined for the opportunity to remake themselves. They wished they could be like us. They made us so that they could become better. We are their vision of the future. Do you think they are still the same way now, wherever they went?" He trailed off to drink some more. "They probably succeeded in improving their design. If they come back and look at us, still here, still fabricating the same old appendages…don’t you think they will be disappointed?"

A couple of Fabris looked up from their drinks. The barman tracked the fluctuations of interest with much care. Quite a few credits could be made by an attentive barman who knew just what to mix, when to mix it, and how to add the right ambiance, music and light, to it all.

FRM987 noticed it as well. He turned slightly in his hovverstool. He pulled out something from his coat pocket. The barman was already scanning it for lethality, but could not find any trace of whatever it was in his database of weapons. Still he shifted his position just slightly to enable a quick response to threat. Maybe he should have pressed the voice disruptor.

Half the crowd looked at the gleaming thing. "This," FRM987 said conspiratorially to the crowd, "This, my friends, is my new ‘hand’. It can handle with much better precision than the five-digit appendage you currently have. It is able to detect fluctuations in temperature and pressure quite a few orders of magnitude better than yours. It also consumes less power." He held it up for a bit before putting it back in his coat pocket. "I built only one, but with a little seed money there is no reason why we could not mass assemble these. We can, friends, become self-fabricated!"

Many of the patrons came over asking for a closer look. Even the barman could not help himself for a split second, before he proceeded to make slight adjustments on the lighting and music. it would be a good night.

Much later FRM987 laid back contentedly in his hotel bed. He looked at the "hand" charging on the desk and smiled to himself. "Just a few more credits and I can get a ticket off this stinking rock." He raised a glass to his own reflection in the mirror, "You can always make a credit or two by selling what everyone always wants and can never get – a chance to not be themselves."

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About spaceloom

An urban monk, and an experienced spiritual director with a Masters in Psychology. Married with two children. Want to know me better? Read my thoughts.
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