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’.
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.
- 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