The Mechanical Man 4 – Time in Space
“During the time in space, the Technosians had encountered other species, some friendly and other – not so friendly, and thanks to that adapted new skills and learned about other ways to live. But they were still depending on the regeneration chambers for energy and rest. So, when finally landed on this planet, they had to learn what to eat, how to grow food and in many other ways learn how to live outside a hive and at a planet instead of in a space sphere with all needs provided from an advanced computer system.
It was also revealed to them, that sometime during the travel in unknown space and there encountering different incidents, in at least one of them they had been transferred back in time. Not even now we are sure of how, or how far back in time we got. It was like they had made a jump both in space and time, and the instruments had stopped functioning for a long period. Nevertheless, we think it must have been at least a couple of thousands of years backwards in time, and in space – we can only guess. To another quadrant, probably.”
”Jeez…. and for how long have your people been living here now?”
”After we finally managed to create some kind of calendar, which we had to estimate quite a bit, my people have now been here on this planet for almost a millennia.”
”Oh”, was all Andrew managed to say. He was stunned, and during the silence, the spokesman took the opportunity and tried to leave, but was called back once more.
”Please! Only one more question. What about those metal things?” Andrew was almost breathless.
”Yes, whatever you call it.”
”Oh, nothing special. Our people have always had those. Before our escape, that is. All over the body actually. We used to be more like robots. Technically enhanced living beings. But now I just have to go. Can we please talk about this some other time.”
”Pleeeeease!” Andrew pleaded and continued. ”Why do you, now, have these metal… implants…?”
”To honour our ancestors .”
”What do you mean?”
The spokesman sighed, turned to Andrew once more and explained.
”When our ancestors fled, they at first wanted to get rid of all implants. But that was not always safe to do! Later, after landed here on Technos, they not only kept them but also clung to the habit to use them as a token for honouring our forefathers. During the centuries since then, we have developed the implants not only to be beautiful but also useful.
Nevertheless, most of all we have those implants to remind us of our heritage and who we are. It’s a sign that we are Technosians, no more no less. It’s a norm, you might say. You may have only a few, or you may have many, but to live here as a Technosian, you got to have at least some. So has the custom been since we landed here.”
Then the spokesman turned his back on Andrew and hurried away before he could be stopped again. Andrew, however, had no more question in mind since he understood very well what the spokesman had meant. ’Get yourself some implants or you are not welcome here.’ He just wished he had gotten that information in beforehand. There were actually a lot of things he wished he had known in beforehand. And more would come.
When back at his hotel room, Andrew opened the briefcase he had gotten from the spokesman. It was filled with brochures, leaflets, and in a tightly glued envelope, he found copies of all the pages of his employment conditions. They were many, and the font was puny. There was also a copy of his contract. Ten years, he had signed up for. Andrew Millbourne sighed.
A bit worn out Andrew sat down on the sofa, took a deep relaxing breath and looked around. The room was light and comfortable, and furnished with very soothing colours. A rather big bed, a sofa with a coffee table, a writing-desk and in front of that, an ergonomically constructed chair. The desk was almost totally occupied by an enormous computer screen. After briefly examining the computer, Andrew realized this was a technical wonder, an extremely advanced machine. Without hesitation, he placed himself on the chair, adapted it to his preferences, and found it excellent. All of a sudden, he had forgotten all disturbing news about the implants.
In a small leaflet on the desk behind the screen, he found all the necessary data for the computer. Everything from the username he should use, the password for entering, and all the codes he needed to contact: room service, janitor, barber, work-out trainer, masseuse and so on. He could also easily reach outside of the hotel. Do his bank-business, get the latest news, find sites about the city and about the planet, and shop anything at all that he could think of.
He browsed those pages for a while, pondering whether to order a ”Cyber-pizza” or go down to the restaurant at the hotel for dinner, when it suddenly hit him. The salary he had accepted wasn’t huge at all! When he had seen the numbers, he had thought of them in American Dollars, but now! Judging on the prices of food and other common day-to-day articles, he realized his salary was actually quite mediocre.
Not bad perhaps, but he needed more information on this before he could be certain. He guessed he would manage as long as he could find somewhere to live that wasn’t too expensive, but rich! Not on this salary.
When the thought of somewhere to live, he immediately began looking for houses, flats, co-ops – anything at all where he could live during the next ten years. Somehow he had already decided he would not stay even one day longer.
He had earlier discovered a small pantry behind an almost invisible door. Now he went in there and examined what he might find in the fridge. Then he hurried back to the computer and checked the information about the rooms and the room service. Would they charge him if he took something in the fridge? But he could rest peacefully. Anything he wanted in fridge, freezer or cupboards in the kitchenette, was to be his free of charge. After all, he was new in the city and was also the new man in the largest company. On the entire planet, actually.
A note said: ”Eat and drink all you want! It is our welcome present!”
Signed by the company director.
Then Andrew picked up a visiting card he had seen earlier among the leaflets and reached for the phone.
To the other parts in order, can also be found in the menu.
- 1.) Being another you
- 2.) Andrew Millbourne’s big secret
- 3.) The Voyage of no return
- 4.) Time in space
- 5.) The appointment
- 6.) Living in pain
- 7.) The Surgery
- 8.) Into the Darkness
- 9.) If the end isn’t good, it isn’t the end