Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sickly Celsius

I'm posting this in response to Chuck Wendig's weekly Flash Fiction Challenge. It may be cheating to post something that I had already written and that is actually a fragment of a larger piece, but at under 500 words it's only a little cheating.

You must own nothing but yourself. You must make your own life, live your own life, and die your own death ... or else you will die another's.
Alfred Bester

Sickly Celsius

File: MRS12252654 - terminal

There were pieces of me all over the desert.

Bright pieces reflecting the last few rays of the setting sun.

Dull, burned and pitted pieces scattered among the dark rocks, barely distinguishable from them in the grey tones perceptible to my damaged optical processors.

Some of the pieces were still talking to each other. Components connected via quantum pairing could hardly be severed by the force of a simple ion grenade. So I could see out of an undamaged optical sensor two meters north of my thought processors, and could hear through a strand of audio web half imbedded in the iron oxide sand fourteen meters southeast. There were even a couple of micro-motors trying to reconnect the pieces of an ankle joint twelve meters to the west.

Although destroyed, I was not yet dead.

I heard them coming before they stepped into my field of vision, the familiar sound of The Walker’s boots across the rocky sand and the unidentified lighter steps that my logic circuits guessed would be The Agent’s. I hadn’t seen The Walker since Sombertown, five days and 157 kilometers ago, and had no idea what he was doing here. Now. At the end. The Agent, of course, had caught me unaware with her ion grenade.

“What the fuck did you do that for?” The Walker’s voice was not as calm as I remembered. 

“Why do you think?” she replied. Stepping into my view, I could finally see her as she was. Her glamours had dissolved, leaving behind a tall woman wearing the skin tight, oil-slick black uniform of an ARIES Operative. Her real mask was dark, with a bright crescent “man in the moon” symbol emblazoned over the left eye. Her short hair looked silver-grey to my damaged processors, was more likely blond or light auburn. “What part of homicidal android did you fail to understand?” she asked.

“Not anymore.” The Walker nudged my optical sensor and my sight fell back toward the sky. He was standing above me in those loose fitting pilgrim robes. Still rejecting the social convention, he wore no mask. His skin seemed darker and less wrinkled then I remembered, but my optical acuity was failing fast. He bent down to look me in the ‘eye’, as if he knew that I could see him. “What are the four noble truths?” he asked.

To Be is To Suffer.

transmitting recall protocols
data transfer initiated

1 comment:

  1. It's only a little cheating -- but all the same, I enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing. :)