Fantasy

If the end isn’t good, it isn’t the end – TMM9

Image: Pixabay


The Mechanical Man 9 – If the end isn’t good, it isn’t the end

Inspiration image: Pixabay

Doctor Fredriksen, who the entire time had been very understanding and kind, had popped into the recovery room for a chat when Andrew had awoken and began to feel like himself again.
”How do you feel, my friend?”
”Quite all right, thank you.”
”Much pain?”
”Some. Have experienced worse.”
”I understand very well. You might still experience some pain now and then, but it should fade away. And I doubt it ever will be as severe as you have had up til now.”

The doctor made a pause and smiled. Looked closely at Andrews’ face and then glanced at his chest and arm.

”Looking good! I could see from the scars after the abscesses, that you really must have suffered.”
Then he leaned forward, gently put his hand on Andrews left arm, and said in a low voice.

”I’m really glad you made this decision to go through a removal. Sometimes these fads stay too long and take on way too large importance. In this case, I would say it has become an evil obsession. Now, dear Andrew, please take good care of yourself and don’t ever mind what others may have to say. You will have a wonderful and exciting future.”

Then he had risen and left Andrew with a slight bow followed with a smile. Andrew got a tear in his eye due to the kindness he had been shown.

Shortly afterwards the robot came in with a cup of coffee and a couple of sandwiches. He told him an uber would fetch him in an hour. Andrew thanked the robot for everything and realized he was hungry.


Of course, it was the same driver. Always the same.
”Oh, good day to you sir! No goldy-plates any longer? Going home?”
”Yes, please. To home sweet home.”
”Still no virus here.”
”Sorry?”
”Healthy as a newborn baby.”
”Okay. That sounds good.” Andrew had no idea what the driver was talking about.
”Yes! Good goody good good go…”
Then a faint squeak… and the uber stopped against a light pole. Shaken, but not damaged, Andrew stared at the driver. He just sat behind the wheel with a stiff smile and dead eyes.

Andrew walked the rest of the way home. Then, sitting in his favourite corner of the sofa he poured himself a stiff whiskey. And then another.


Andrew Millbourne had recovered fast after the surgery. Though he still had some of the implants left, most of them had been successfully removed. He had been told that the remaining pieces had been too dangerous to remove since they were too integrated with his nervous system. There was a couple of nobs on his chest, which were connected to his pneumonic capacity, how well the blood could retain oxygen, and therefore increase his endurance and speed while running, climbing and performing other physical activities.

He had also a number of smaller nobs left on the fingers, the back of his hand and up along the forearm. They were mostly of technical nature like the thin bracelet around his wrist with which he easily could connect to the web and thus send voice mails and also use as a telephone. The tiny dots on the fingers were antennas, and together with his small hand-unit, these devices could also be used as GPS and as an ordinary compass.


During the years that followed he worked hard and improved both his skills and his knowledge of various topics. He had already known for quite some time, that he was no mere than tolerated on Technos. After the surgery, it had become even worse. He was still appreciated for his accomplishments at work, and there were still some he considered to be friends. Even though they seemed to be a bit more reserved towards him than before.

He still occasionally visited a pub or a cinema, and he still once in a while picked up some girl who then managed to get close up to him, but as soon as she saw his scar-covered chest and arm with hardly any implants, she would run away as quick as a weasel. Either in disgust or in mere disappointment. Girls had heard so much about his golden ribcage and marvelous arm. Some felt sorry for him and tried to pamper him in a way as if he would have been disabled, but those girls he sent away immediately. He realized more and more they hanged out with him of curiosity only, not because they were attracted to him.

Instead, he buried himself in hard work. He buried himself in studies. ’No one can ever learn too much’, was his motto. He buried himself in health activities. He ran the five-miles track in the woods every morning, went to the gym four times a week and swam for at least half an hour afterwards. And every evening he did yoga, ending it with meditation.


After the surgery, he had noticed his body did not want meat anymore. The mere look upon a piece of rare steak, made him queasy. It was impossible to explain why, he just could not eat it.
There were other things he also began noticing after the surgery. He wondered whether the doctor had added something or if he had had them all the time but never noticed due to the pain and suffering.

All his senses had increased immensely. Not only eyesight. His hearing was at least ten times better than earlier, which also meant he heard things that were not meant for him, and also some he really did not want to hear. Smell and taste were more intense, and also the skin sensibility, especially his fingertips. He had no real words for what it all felt like, other than amazing, and sometimes annoying.

He personally went back to the clinic in order to meet Doctor Fredriksen and ask about this. When trying to book an appointment online, it was impossible. Doctor Fredriksen did not seem to exist. ’Aha,’ Andrew had thought. He was just an extra when needed, that would explain why he was not shown in the register.


There was another woman behind the counter this time. A young blond with very tasteful implants around her right eye and along the left side of the cheekbone.
”I’m so sorry. We don’t have a doctor Fredriksen here. We have never had!”
”An elderly man who helps out with surgery when needed?”
”No. If we have had such a person, it would have been really helpful, but unfortunately, we haven’t.”
”Ever?”
”No, I’m so sorry.”
”But he quite recently took away my implants.”
”Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss. Hope you can have new ones soon.”
”But the doctor…”
”You must be mistaken. We have no doctor Fredriksen here. Goodbye, sir, and welcome back to get new implants when those scars are healed.”
Then she turned to the next person in line and Andrew walked away.


Andrew Millbourne is a stoic person. He endures. He calmly awaits the day when he can step out from this world. Ten years, he signed up for, in a contract that could not be broken, and slowly those years pass, until the day he finally is entering the space station after leaving everything behind. His work, his belongings, his life on the planet Technos.

On his way through the space station towards the ticket counter, he suddenly sees someone he recognizes with warmth. Doctor Fredriksen who he hadn’t seen since the surgery more than eight years earlier. But in a jiffy, the doctor is gone, and Andrew thinks he must have been mistaken. Was probably only a look alike. The short appearance awakes memories though.

The doctor had said something about him going to have an interesting and exciting life. So far, he has had neither, but what if? He has no idea what he is going to do for the rest of his life. Going back to his parents is not exactly thrilling, but he does not know what else to do. At least as a first landing place, saying hello, and such.

He had earlier bought a ticket online to one of the new Super Jet Cruisers, that would only take him a week of travel. He was just going to sign in for the flight when 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.


Long afterwards, when walking through the hot desert, thinking of this, he can’t clearly say what happened that day. Vaguely he remember they talked, they had coffee at the cafeteria, Toffee-tasted with whipped cream, and then she had taken him with her. But what he does remember very clearly, is what happened on their way out to her space ship.

With the coffee warming his belly, her heavy perfume making him slightly dizzy, and the excitement over not having to meet his parents again – Andrew suddenly sees the doctor. This time he is sure.
The Doctor is leaning against a safari car some 15-20 meters away. He is smiling and gives Andrew a thumbs up. Then he takes his cowboy hat off, sweeps it in a large circle while he bows deeply. Then another thumbs up, another big smile – and then he is gone. Vanished as if he had become thin air!

 



Andrew reaches the water bottle to Kaila. They have just landed and a vast, arid, hot desert stretches out in front of them. Far away three dots are moving towards them and he can hear a faint mumble, silent talk and then a peal of laughter.

”Who are they?” he asks and turns to Kaila. But she isn’t there any longer. Both she and her space ship are gone. Behind where the space ship stood, he now can see – far away – a city that seems to be very dark, like under a huge storm cloud or a total Solar Eclipse – or both. In the background he can spot a very high dark tower.

There is something very odd and very familiar about this, and he shivers as if suddenly cold tears run down his spine.

 

The End

Or?


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

Into the Darkness – TMM8

Image: Pixabay


The Mechanical Man 8 – Into the Darkness

Inspiration image: Pixabay

’Odd’, Andrew thinks.
It is pitch dark around him.

All the other times he had been in surgery, it had become pitch dark, and the next second there was light again and he had been on the table for hours. And now?

”What’s going on?” he says out in the blackness.

”What do you think is going on?” A dark voice timbres.

A voice in the dark?
Cold tears run down his spine and his heart makes a triple beat.
”Am I … dead?”

He had come to think of all the stories about dying and seeing light in the dark, like a tunnel, and then some angel or something. He didn’t remember clearly since he had never really believed those stories and therefore never put them into his memory bank.

”Do you think you are dead?”
’Oh Jeees…. ’
Flickers of thoughts run through his head.

It is really something odd going on. He should be lying on the operation table, and he should know nothing, experience nothing.

”You are lying on the table, but do not bother about that now. Come on! I will show you something!”

A small light appears and quickly grows larger. Just like a tunnel. He gets curious and forgets about being dead. If that is what he is. Instead, he starts walking along the tunnel to what seems to be an opening.

”Why do you not fly instead?” The dark voice again.
”Fly? I can’t fly!”
”Have you ever tried?”

No, of course, he has not. He is a human being, not a bird. Humans do not fly.

A deep belly laugh fills the air.
”The air?”
”Rather the Void.”

”Can you read my thoughts?”
”Uh…uh… How about flying now? You just need to think you do it.”
”Like a bird?”
”However you like it.”

And suddenly he is floating along the tunnel which is growing wider and brighter every second.

Soon Andrew lands on a field. A beautiful field. Green grass, trees, blooming bushes. Beside him stands a green person. If it is a person. He, she – he can’t decide whether it is a he or a she which is quite irritating. Can not think of it as an ”it” either. The he-she is, anyhow, quite small and dressed in a green outfit that mostly reminds Andrew of Peter Pan.

”That was a good one!”
The deep belly laugh fills the surroundings once again.

”Surroundings?”
”Void.”
”Okay. Void.”

”Why is it like this?”
”How?”
”Odd!”
”Don’t bother, it is as it is, and I am about to show you something.”

The next second they are standing at the top of a hill looking down on the landscape before them. It is a desert. A vast, arid area with two suns oozing their heat upon it. In the middle, there are a couple of dots moving.

”We have to zoom in a bit.”
The dark voice streams out of the small, green person. Andrew looks amazed on … him? and realizes that most of the earlier conversation has been in his head. But every time he tries to figure this out, he just gets dizzy and gives in.

”Oh! You may not need a zoom, but I do.”
Again that laughter.

The dots appear to be four human beings. An elderly man with a big bushy beard, a black-haired woman of undefinable age, one young woman – really cute Andrew thinks – and then…
Andrew gasps! Before him, he sees himself, but without the implants. He has a lot of scars though, which indicates there have been some.

”What is this?” He says in a small voice.
”A possible future.”

The four in the desert struggle along. Seem to be heading to… a city?
”Yes. A city. The City”
”The City?”
”Yes. The city where the final battle will occur.”
”Oh…”

The next second they are in the middle of the city. It is dark and cold. The sun is covered by something huge and black.”
”A solar eclipse?”
”Maybe. Maybe not.”
”Where is the other sun?”
”Magic. Deep black magic.”
”Oh…”

On one of the streets, a young boy with a horse is striding towards…
”What? I can’t see. Where is he going?”
”He is trying to reach the Tower.”

The Tower. Way back in the city, leaning against the steep mountains that disappear among the clouds. He can see it now. The Tower. He gets cold as ice in his chest and stomach. He does not want to be here. He does not want to see this. Does he really have to know about this? Does he really have to come here? He understands he is shown a piece of his future, but he does not want this future.

An image of the girl suddenly stands before him. The cute one from the desert.
”You got to help her. She will need you.”

The images fade away and they are back on the green hill. The desert before them is gone, and all he can see now are gardens with apple trees and grape wine.

”When you wake up after the surgery, your mind will not remember anything about what you have seen now. But your heart will remember, and lead you. Trust it. But until that time is due, you must do your best with what lies upon you. You are blessed, Andrew.”


Andrew woke up with a splitting headache and a body as if a truck had hit him. He didn’t care about the pain. But before he even opened his eyes, he gently stroked his arm and chest. Then he smiled. The golden armour was gone.

”Are you all right?” A voice said. The robot.
”Yes. Now, I’m all right.

 


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

 

 

The Surgery – TMM7

Image from Pixabay


The Mechanical Man 7 – The Surgery

Pixabay image, from Myths of the Mirror

At 8 AM on the dot next Friday, Andrew stood in front of the clinic counter waiting for announcing his arrival. Oddly enough, he thought, the entire reception area was empty. As a matter of fact, the whole clinic seemed to be empty. The silence was ear-splitting, and only a few lamps were lit. He wondered about the emptiness, after all – the door had opened and let him in! At least someone ought to be here.

He did not know what to do, so he went over to the couch, sat down and thought he must be early. He reached for his pocket, got his hand-unit, and tried to concentrate on his favourite game. Ten minutes later a swosch-swosh sound came nearer, and then a small, elderly man all dressed in white peaked out through the door behind the counter.

”I’m so sorry,” he said, walked towards Andrew and reached out his hand. ”I’m doctor Fredriksen. You are Mr Millbourne, I presume? I wasn’t notified until half an hour ago that… hm… your procedure… hm… was due this morning. I’m so sorry I’m late. I was asleep when the phone rang.” He kept on pumping Andrews right hand up and down while examining him closely with squinting eyes.

”I don’t understand…”

”The entire clinic personnel is at a Congress. Learning new things, you know. The entire day. Been booked for ages. Was really surprised when I was notified about you. There shouldn’t be any bookings today. Must have been a mistake.”

”A mistake…”, Andrew thought and frowned internally. He very well remembered the receptionist that day. He knew he should have booked the surgery online instead of coming here in person. What had he been thinking!!!
”I… don’t… under… stand…,” Andrew said out loud. ”Then… why are you here?”

”Oh! I’m retired and don’t have to attend such nonsense any longer. But I still do help out with surgery once in a while when needed. Halda is very efficient in keeping track of those things.”

”Halda?”

”The computer, of course! It keeps track of everything that is done and said here. And this time Mz Libstic must have forgotten to add the booking into the calendar. Lucky we have that listening program installed as well.”

”Mz Libstic?”

”The receptionist, of course! It’s odd when I think of it. She never makes mistakes or forgets. Hope she wasn’t coming down with a cold or something.”

Andrew mentally shrugged his shoulders, shook his now freed hand, and sighed. He understood very well what had happened. Furthermore, he wondered whether this old man standing in front of him still was able to perform surgery. His hands shivered slightly, and the way he was looking at him… and shouldn’t there be at least one nurse to assist during the whole thing?

”Well! Shall we go on then? Better get over with it, don’t you think so?”
”Oh yeah… yeah…”

Andrew followed the doctor through the door behind the counter and along a brightly lit corridor that seemed to go on forever. Then he stopped in front of a door, pushed his left thumb against a silvery plate, added a number frequency, and then finally gazed into something that looked like a pair of binoculars.

”Iris-reading”, he said, ”that and the thumb manoeuvres are very handy.”

The door opened and revealed a huge surgery room. The light appeared to come from everywhere, and Andrew jumped in surprise when suddenly a man stood in front of him. The next second he saw it was not a man, it was a robot.

”At your service, Sir.” The robot said. ”I will be assisting throughout the entire procedure and make sure everything will be as pleasant as possible and totally pain-free. Is there anything you wish for before we begin.”

”No thank you, it’s quite all right as it is.” Andrew said, though his stomach was growling for something between breakfast and puking. But no breakfast this time. Oh no.

”Then let us begin”, the robot said, helped Andrew on to the operating table, and just a few minutes later Andrew vanished into the darkness.

 


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

 

Living in pain – TMM6


The Mechanical Man 6 – Living in pain

The implants had been a huge success. Andrews co-workers admired the mechanical arm, got jealous and wanted one or two for themselves. The shiny ribcage was a total triumph – and he did not mind showing it to those who asked. And the whole lot was for sure a lady magnet. But he himself suffered.

First of all – he didn’t like it. No! He hated the shiny armour that squeezed his body together. He was in constant pain, and all the time at least one area, often several, were inflamed with swellings and pus. No painkillers seemed to work for him, and each day became more or less a plague.

Several times he had to go back to the clinic and the doctors really tried to help him. They cleansed the abscesses and gave him stronger pain killers, but nothing could beat the torture.

Meanwhile, he tried as best as he could to live a normal life. He went to work. Managed to do what he had to do. He went to cinemas and pubs with people he thought of as friends, and everyone supported him and tried to cheer him up.
”You’ll soon heal,” they said and offered him a second beer. ”For some people, it takes longer. You’ll be alright.”

Weeks came and weeks went by. They became months. And months. He smiled and he went on dates. He laughed and pretended he enjoyed himself. At least a couple of times a week some girl followed him home and felt sorry for him. They pampered him and could not hide what a turn-on the implants were. Especially the ribcage.

At times when everything was nothing but blackness to him, he used to go to the seashore and stand there for a long time gazing over the water until the sky turned dark and the halo from the descending sun made him forget the pain fort a while. Those hours he was intensely longing for going home to earth. He even missed his parents.

One day he could not stand it any longer. The pain and the swellings refused to let go, and the stomach had started to bother him as well, due to all the medications he had to take every day to at least ease the pain a bit. At that point, he had had the implants for almost a year. The only one that actually didn’t hurt any longer, though the pain had lasted for about nine months, were the eye-implants. As a matter of fact, he found them quite handy.

The sight was still razor sharp. He could see things very far away, as well as read any written material no matter the font size. He only had to push a small spot between the left eye and the nose in a special way and then a photo was taken, and for video snippets, there was a minuscule switch right above his right temple.
So who could blame him for taking photos a little bit too often, and in situations where a gentleman maybe shouldn’t take a photo at all?

On the other hand, it was impossible for anyone to see that he had a built-in camera anyway. Of course, he never told anyone that he had chosen that special perk, but he thought it was worth every penny extra he had to pay for that model.

Now, though, he wanted them gone. Both the ribcage and the arm extension. He did not care about being cool or attractive. He did not care about being a lady magnet. It was not him they were interested in, anyway, and claimed to be in love with. What they cared for, was those pieces of metal, that to him was no mere than worthless bric-a-brac!
And he could not care less, about the Thecnosians traditions and way of life. He was not a Technosian and he would never be!

Standing behind the counter at the clinic, the enormous woman with the bright golden metal plates all over her face had looked like stung of a poisonous tarantula when he had shown up just the other day to make an appointment.
”You want what?”
She pressed both her hands to her upper chest and stared at Andrew with eyes open wide. The golden plates on her forehead trembled.
”I said I want the implants removed.”
”I… I ..I.. d…don’t want to listen to this!”
”They are too painful, I can’t stand the pain any longer.”
”SO? What do you think? It’s metal plates sown to your body. IN your body even!”
She had raised her voice and breathed the words onto Andrew who crouched before the stream of spite.
“Maybe I’m allergic to them…”
“Piew….”.
“I could be, you know. I’m not really Technosian. I’m an Earthling!
“Tell me something else I don’t want to know.”
“I WANT TO GET RID OF THESE IMPLANTS!”
“Such a sissy” she whispered to herself while opening the computer.
“hmmm….” said Andrew.
“Okay,” she continued and shoved her large oblong hands in the air beside her ears. “Will Friday morning be good? At eight?”

 


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

 

 

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.

 

 

Time in Space – TMM4


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.
”The implants?”
”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.

 

 

 

The Voyage of no return – TMM3


The Mechanical Man 3- The Voyage of no return

Andrew Millbourne’s job assignments appeared to be very satisfying. Already the first day, he had had a good feeling about his tasks. They were interesting and he was growing both with his own skills and with his accomplishments. And as a cherry on the cake, he had soon become very appreciated for his work.

His cubicle was big and comfortable, and he could choose for himself whether he wanted it open so he could see his co-workers, or closed if he needed privacy and silence to work on a specific task. The cubicle had also two large windows, most cubicles had none, from where he could look out over a most beautiful landscape. It looked a lot like Earth but was alive in a way he had never seen before. In the background, he could spot large woods and a blue sea where people were sailing and enjoying themselves in there leisure time. The buildings in the city didn’t dominate the landscape, but was rather cosying up themselves under the trees and stayed closely surrounded by bushes. On the roofs, there were gardens where people cropped vegetables, fruit and berries, side by side with blooming plants. The air was fresh and the water was taken directly from deep under-earth springs and tasted fresh and wonderful.

In other words, Technos was a wonderful planet to live on, and the Capital City was like a dream. Andrew had never before seen such a beautiful world, and for each day that went by, he was less and less thinking about his former home planet, with its wasted woods, polluted air, poisoned water and dead food. His old world, he kept on thinking over and over again, was nothing more than a huge garbage dump, while here was the garden of Eden.

There was one thing, though, Andrew Millbourne could not adapt to nor understand. The people on this planet wore a lot of implants. Metallic dots and stars and plates of shiny metal. Some had only a few, while others were more or less covered with metal. In the beginning, when he was new in the City, Andrew had thought it was just some kind of ornaments like tattoos, and most of them were just that. Later, though, he learned that many of the applications actually were different kinds of tools. Also, the appearances had different meanings, but that he wasn’t informed about until much later.

When he the first day was asking one of the spokesmen about this, Andrew was told that the people on Technos were descendants from a race of Cyborgs who had lived in a star system thousands of lightyears away. Their forefathers had not liked the way they lived. They wanted a planet to live on, not in a group of huge spheres somewhere in an isolated solar system. They wanted freedom! They wanted personal independence. They wanted feelings of love, beauty, music, art, laughter and other senses that many of them vaguely remembered. They also wanted the joy of being able to eat real food! To experience taste and texture and enjoy a nicely spiced meal with a glass of wine or two. This was what they mourned for the most, not being allowed real food. To get nourished and refreshed in regeneration chambers might be effective and give them energy and nutrition enough, but it surely was not enjoyable in any way. What they wanted, was to get away from the Sphere World, find a planet, and settle there.

Finally, that day came. It was not easy to escape, but they managed and here we are now.” finished the spokesman, stuck a briefcase in Andrews’ hands and began to walk away.
”No! Stop! Please! What happened? How did they get away?”
The spokesman threw a glance at his wristwatch and sighed.
”Okay,” he said. ”I have a couple more minutes, but not many.”

”It was not easy to escape,” the spokesman continued. ”Especially not at first, when they had to communicate with each other somehow, without anyone else overhearing it. Of course, that was impossible. They got caught almost immediately. On the other hand, they were only a few renegades back then. Some of them got executed, but those who had managed not to be detected and as such luckily survived, realized they were not alone with their longings after another kind of life. Slowly, day by day, the group of renegades grow, and an internal language was developed. Most of the communication now took place by small and quick glances eye to eye, and certain minuscule hand and body movements. It was necessary to keep an extremely low profile.

The leaders noticed that something was going on, but never succeeded to find anything wrong since the renegades never really did anything. They didn’t even thought about doing anything. They just bided their time with one sentence – ’we are not alone’. Which, naturally, was the most perfect thought in a mind controlled society like theirs.

The chance to escape, came during the last great war. The Sphere World was gigantically attacked, and therefore all spheres were severely damaged. Some of the renegades in our old sphere managed to reach a couple of the small escape spheres and launched them without being noticed. I guess the enemy was so occupied with bombarding the Sphere World, and our ancestors by performing counter-attacks, that neither noticed these couple of small vehicles vanishing from the warzone.

Our forefathers felt lost for a long time. They managed to get off the signal system and slowly, very slowly, they learned how to adapt to the current situation. At least to the degree that most of them survived and got at least a little bit used to not being mentally connected all the time.”

The spokesman paused, cleared his throat and drank some water.
”Then what happened?” Andrew was eager to learn more, he had become really interested in the story.

”After a lot of incidents and adventures, they finally found this planet that was not inhabited – not much anyway – and landed here. At that time there was only one sphere left and in all, fifty-three lost beings, men, women, and some children. They called themselves “lost” since they had very little idea of how to survive in the wilderness. But they had found their planet, and they were sure, this was the beginning of something big.”
”And then? How did they manage here on the planet?” Andrew pushed him to tell more, and the spokesman did actually look like he enjoyed telling.
”Well.” he said. ”During the time in space they had encountered other species…”

 


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

 

 

The Gallant Knight

You are coming closer to the city faster than you thought you would. Like the wind has borne you forward and the dry grass has smoothened your feet. Your loyal Mackie tramples behind you, neighing gently as for saying, ‘easy Theyou, take it with ease’!

And you go easy, step by step, closer and closer until you reach, the outpost of the sleeping streets. Here it is cold, the sun is just a delicate circle, and the air is waiting for something to brake.

You do not know what is awaiting. The only thing you know, is that you have to be here. Somewhere in the city. Somewhere in the castle. You have to be near, when the Kings Daughter needs you. You are the gallant knight, who must give her the key.

You do know, this will not be easy. The long-legged man will hunt you, and hunt you down. What you do not know, is that also the Huntsman is the hunted, and there will be battles that will not end until dawn.

Your heart is pounding and your legs are weak, so you let yourself go down on your knees. But then you see, that there she is! It must be her! A brighter shadow on that faraway street.

Then darkness falls upon the earth.