Diana’s Speculative Fiction Prompt

The Appointment – TMM5

Yet another take on Diana’s Speculative Fantasy Prompt for May, at “Myths of the Mirror.

Andrew Millbourne is now at the planet Technos, have been told about the Technosian’s history, why they wear metal implants, and the importance of that.
Now there is something he has to do.


The Mechanical Man 5 – The appointment

Early the next morning, Andrew Millbourne rushes through a heavy breakfast and then calls for an Uber. He gives the driver the presentation card with the unpronounceable address and asks him to take him there as quick as possible. He has an appointment at 8 AM. The driver reads the card and then give Andrew a huge smile.
”So! It’s time to get fringed now?” he says. ”Welcome to the family!”
Andrew mutters a ’Thank you’.
”Nervous?”
The driver doesn’t seem to have any implants at all, but when Andrew looks a bit closer at him, he realises the driver is not human at all. He is 100 % robot.
”Yes. I’m lucky, ain’t I?” The driver says a bit toneless. ”Not even one piece of human flesh here. Nopidopi. Never get a cold that way.”
He leans towards Andrew and winks with his right eye.
”I’ll tell you a secret,” he says in a small voice. ” There are other viruses and there is such a virus going on right now, that causes us to suddenly just shut down.”
Andrew takes a deep breath and grasps the armrests tightly.
”Oh, don’t you worry,” the driver says. ”I feel fine! Haven’t had a virus in my entire life.”
Andrew swallows and grasps even harder around the armrests.
”How old are you?” he asks.
”Oh, I’ll be three months on Friday. My forerunner suddenly shut down, so they had to put me together in a hurry.”
”Y…you wouldn’t mind stop here and let me off….”
”Oh, we are at your destination in just a few seconds. All in one piece.”
’That’s just what I’m afraid of… ” Andrew thought.

At that moment the car stops, and three seconds later Andrew stands at the sidewalk on shaky legs.

”You have eaten breakfast?”
An enormous woman with bright golden metal plates all over her face stares intensely at Andrew over the counter. Her voice timbres all over the clinic and the awaiting people lift there heads in curiosity.
“Don’t you know you mustn’t eat before surgery?”
”I’m sorry! I didn’t know!”
”The most common excuse ever,” the woman says. Her eyes narrow. ”Suit yourself. If you puke – it’s your problem and you deal with it.”
There is a vast quietness for a long time while the woman takes down notes on the screen. So long, that in fact it seems she is writing a novel. Andrew is drenched with sweat.
”So! What kind of implants are we talking about?” she finally says.
”I don’t know! What do you recommend?”
”Hm,” she mutters while she inspects him over her fancy eyeglasses. ”I would suggest an eye-implant first of all. That will enhance your eyesight immensely. Works as a camera in fact, and you can instantly send images and also short videos directly to your computer system.”
She continuous to inspect him.
“You appear to be bit hollow.” She pokes him in the chest with her index finger. Her nails are painted green, Andrew notices when he unwillingly burps.
The woman opens her eyes wide.
”Hmm… breakfast it was…”
Without stop looking at Andrew, she fumbles in a drawer beneath her and then presents a couple of brochures to him. Finally, she let her eyes go off Andrew and instead points at the pictures in front of them.
”I would recommend that ribcage for your chest. It’s really a lady magnet. Add to that this beautiful arm extension. You can test one of each, to begin with, and later add them to the other side as well. Right-handed?”
Andrew nods. He has absolutely no idea what to say. His throat is desert dry anyway.
”On the right side then! And I promise you will find that arm extension remarkable. It has so many practical tools. You will be a real Mr Gadget! Here you have the manual…” – she puts a huge pile of leaflets in his hand – ”… and now let’s go! The surgeon is waiting!”

Eight hours later Andrew is helped into his hotel room by the same driver who had taken him to the clinic.
”Oh, looking good!” he says. ”Have you got the eyes too?”
Andrew has only strength for a tiny nod. He is aching all over, can’t really see anything, is totally exhausted, and just wants to be left alone. The driver gently pats him on his left shoulder and says: ”Oh, you’ll soon be just fine.” Then he leaves.

Andrew manages to enter the bathroom. He opens his eye as widely as he can. Everything around him is razor blade sharp and glittering.
There and then he finally pukes.

 


To the other parts in order, can also be found in the menu.

Planned part:

  • 9.) (If the end isn’t good, it isn’t the end…)

 

 

Andrew Millbourne’s big secret -TMM2

The inspiration image

Obviously I got a bit carried away the other day, when I wrote “Being another you”. Andrew Millbourne keeps on knocking on my mind, and wants his story to be told. So here is the continuing – or rather the “Pre-story”. And of course it’s still inspired by Diana’s Speculative Fiction Prompt at “The Myths of the Mirror”


The Mechanical Man 2 – Andrew Millbourne’s big secret

Andrew Millbourne has a secret. He isn’t quite as human as he seems to be and claims he is. Oh, he was born human 35 years earlier on the planet Earth, all right. And in his heart and soul, he is still totally human. It’s just that his body has undergone some changes during the last decade.

Already as a child, he was not only intelligent but also very technically skilled. So it didn’t come as a surprise, that he after finishing University chose to study to be a Technical Engineer. He also took extra classes in Mathematics, Astrophysics, IT and Computer programming.

Andrew had hardly got around to finish his education and get his diplomas, when this huge establishment had been noticed about his achievements and wanted to hire him. He was offered a huge salary, and a lot of various benefits, but he had to move away from home.

He said yes without hesitating even a second. For one thing, he was thrilled about the job offer and could hardly wait for the day he was about to begin. He had also for a long time wanted to move away from his parent’s house, but so far he hadn’t been able to do so.
He couldn’t stand their insolent remarks any longer. Especially his father was abasing him. ’Andrew has become so posh and haughty,’ he snarled at him. And ’now he would only look down on his struggling parents’, the father continued, and kept on coming with demeaning remarks as often as he had the opportunity.

Andrew was sick and tired of all that. Was it really that bad to get a good education? Yes! Due to his father, it was. Due to his father, a son should follow in his father’s footprints and thus honour him. In this case, Andrew should therefore rather stay on the small family farm, marry, raise a family of his own, and then take care of his parents at their old age; rather than ’go around with a stiff-upper-lip because he considers himself superior to us’.
That’s what his father thought, but Andrew had a totally different opinion of what to do with his life.
So he left!

If he had thought he only had to move to one of the bigger cities on Earth, he soon realised – so was not the case. He had fancied London or New York, or somewhere in Asia. Tokyo or Hongkong, maybe. But soon enough he realised he was about to move much further away.

The journey took him to a small but highly, technologically developed planet called Technos in the Suntarian system.
He had never before heard of neither that planet nor that system.

”Technos? That’s only four lightyears away,” said a prudent space ship hostess while the company’s representatives kept on talking and laughing behind Andrew.
”Four years?”
”Oh! You’ll be sleeping all the time. Don’t worry about that.”
”FOUR YEARS?”
”I said four lightyears AWAY. The travel won’t take that long.”
”Four… Years…”
”Try a year. The Ultra-Ultra-ship is unfortunately unavailable now. Otherwise, it would only had taken a month. Some trouble with the fuel-system or something… sorry! You don’t have to be asleep all the time, though. You can read books and watch movies. But I would recommend you to take the sleeping pill. It will make this whole thing so much easier for you.”
F o u r …… y e a r s ……. …….
”Hey! Mister! Can I get you a glass of water or something?”

That was ten years ago, and he had landed right on time after watching an endless amount of movies and TV-series, reading hundreds of books, eating thousands of dreadful meals and with thousands of hours behind him with one single thought: ”What have I gotten myself into?”

All the representatives had chosen the sleep, and not until the day before landing, Andrew began to meet them in the corridors. They looked weary as if they all had a severe hangover. The next day though, they all seemed to have recovered, but Andrew heard no laughter and they were not even talking to each other, other than some occasional remarks.


To the other parts in order, can also be found in the menu.

Planned part:

  • 9.) (If the end isn’t good, it isn’t the end…)

Being another you – TMM1

It’s May, finally, and lovely Diana at “Myths of the Mirror” has launched a new Speculative Fiction Prompt – #writingprompt – and this is my take!


The Mechanical Man 1 – Being another you!

The inspiration image – from Pixabay, image by Brigitte Werner

Over the years he had lived here, he had always struggled with love and intimacy. No wonder. Every woman he met either shrugged of disgust or treated him like dirt. He had got used to that! He knew he wasn’t much to look at, he was the meek, silent type, and he wasn’t rich. The fact that he was a kind, honest and reliable young man, didn’t seem to be enough.

After the last disappointing blind date, he decided to give up. Furthermore, he also decided to travel back home. Here, in this city, on this planet, he finally had to admit – he didn’t belong. He was too different.

With a deep sigh, he actually didn’t like changes very much, he went to the spaceport to buy a no return ticket home. Earlier that day he had resigned from his job. His boss had seemed relieved, he had noticed. He had also sold his apartment and most of his belongings. His decision was final, and he wanted to travel light.

On his way through the terminal, he suddenly senses that someone is watching him. He tries to pretend like nothing and keeps on walking towards the ticket counter. He gets a bit uneasy, though, and stumbles slightly.
”Can I help you?” a soft female voice says.
He turns around and sees the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen.
”I beg your pardon,” he says.
”I’m sorry if I intrude, but I saw you stumbled over there.”
’Pity, this time’, he thinks and a flicker of sorrow dances tango in his heart. Out loud he says: ”Oh, it was nothing. Just the shoe-lace.”
The woman looks down at his loafers and smiles. But it is a kind smile, he notices.
”I’ve seen you before,” she says.
”Everyone has seen me before,” he mutters.
”Probably,” she smiles. ”I’m Kaila, by the way. What’s your name?”

He can’t even imagine why she would bother to be interested in his name or in anything of his. But polite and well brought up as he is, he answers shortly, ”Millbourne, Andrew Millbourne, nice to meet you.”
He doesn’t know whether he actually thinks it is nice or not, but old habits are old habits, and it seems to be something nice about this after all. He tries to shake that good feeling off his chest but doesn’t succeed.

”So hello, ‘Millbourne, Andrew Millbourne’. Nice to meet you too! Can I call you Andy?” Her smile is big, warm and generous, and Andy – he accepts Andy with a nod – experiences some kind of warmth inside. The small thought that she might had been mocking him, melts away as quickly as butter on a sun-flooded plate.
”What are you doing here?” she continues. ”Going somewhere?”
”I’m going home.” Dark clouds enter his mind.
”Where is that, your home?”
”On Earth.”
”Ah! Earth! I know about Earth, I’ve been there!”

During this little chat, she has managed to move him away from the ticket counter to the spaceport cafeteria, and without any further ado, she orders two big coffees in glasses, Toffee-Taste with whipped cream on the top, and two long straws in each.
”That’s my favorite,” she says. ”How about you?”
”How about me, what?”
”Toffee-tasting coffee?”
”Oh, that! That’s okay.”
She laughs, and in Andy’s ears, it sounds like ocean waves at the beach, seagulls and warm cuddly sand. He sighs deeply and his shoulders slack off.
”So Andy! Where are you going, and why?”
Her voice reminds him of the rippling brook in the wood back home. He closes his eyes for a couple of seconds, sighs, this time even deeper, and then opens them again.
”I’m going home to my parents since I don’t fit in here.”
”You don’t fit in here, you say. Do you fit in at your parents?”

He looks down at the table. He can’t understand this. Why is she bothering him with all these personal questions, and why is it so impossible for him to say ’Thank you’ and ’Good Bye’ and then leave? But he can’t deny he feels more relaxed now, here, at this coffee table, with her, this strange woman, than he has been in a very long time.
”No,” he admits. ”I don’t. But in another way. Not like this.” He stretches out his arms and looks at the people around them.
”The appearance, you mean. You don’t look like them.”
He shakes his head. No, obviously not.

”Look at me!” she says.
He raises his head and before his very eyes, she begins to change. In like a smooth blur, her appearance turns into his. Not into him precisely, but into a female of his sort, with his kind of appearance! Then she turns back again, back to look like – them.
”What you just saw, is the real me.”
”Di… d..d..d..did…”
”Yes, I changed, but they didn’t see it. Only you.”
”M…m..m…m….mag…”
”Yes, magic. I know magic. I know a lot of different things. And I can help you to look the same as – them.” She nods toward the ever-growing crowd. ”If you want to, or….” .
”Or what?” He is so tempted to look like all the others that he actually believes her.
”Or! We can go somewhere together, and be ourselves…”
”But….”
”Shush. I’ll ask you something. But before you answer, consider deeply what to choose. Do you, deep inside you, really want to look like – them?”

She looks deep into his eyes, and calmly awaits his answer, while he doesn’t need to look around or think even for a second.
”Where are we going?” he says eagerly.
”I know a very nice place. The planet is a bit rough, mostly hot, some deserts, two suns – and I have friends there. By the way! Among others, there is this special girl I want you to meet. She is called Jaycee…

In peaceful silence, they finish their coffee, then rise and leave the spaceport. Behind them resonates the murmur of mechanical voices, and the metallic clinks, clanks, and jingles from metal against metal.

”Cybernetics!” Kaila scornfully snorts while they are pacing towards her vehicle. ”Sometimes these Cyborg civilizations really go too far.”


To the other parts in order, can also be found in the menu.

Planned part:

  • 9.) (If the end isn’t good, it isn’t the end…)