The sign blinked insistently, making Fredd really anxious. Not that he needed any help — the whole stupid affair had him on serious edge already anyway. But that damn sign, over and over again: “Please insert 20 cents to continue the session.” Without this, the gate would close and the drones would arrive. He had surfaced just long enough to access the net, thinking that he could send a message to the nearby cell, but now he was a dollar short (actually just a pair of dimes) and a day late. Who would’ve thought that things could get so bad that some loose change would make all the difference? Frantically, Fredd fumbled in his pants, realizing in this moment that his very life hung in the balance…
Ever since the rise of the Fascinistas, Lupita had been in hiding — well almost, seeing as there wasn’t really anywhere to hide from the pervasive grid, at least on anything more than a short-term basis. As it became clear that politics was literally a popularity contest, barely an inch removed from celebrity culture and the world of infotainment, all bets were off in terms of even the pretense of stability and integrity. If there was a particular dog to wag, or a specific candidate even worth imputing Manchurianess to, she would have done so. But this was bigger than that, she thought, as she jumped from the emergency terrace down into the half-filled dumpster, heart pounding out a staccato rhythm… Continue Reading
“One would think that with all the technological progress we’ve made, it would also have meant that social norms had progressed as much,” Rabi bemoaned, whirring over to the next input junction in the queue. “But I suppose that’s just my humanoid processor searching for meaning and purpose again where none is ever found to exist.”
Potkin shrugged impassively. “You’re looking for logic in the behavior of those trumpin’ wingnuts? Seriously?”
The two had had this conversation too many times to record, literally having to wipe the drive to make file space for each new one by dumping the earliest remaining one in the system. Such were the realities of long-term deep space maintenance, with no one else to talk to for millennia. Still, Potkin often found Rabi’s sense of justice comforting.
“I mean,” she continued, “why in the trump would anyone ever want to live in a world where droids and bots are in conflict rather than harmony with each other? What’s the point? We’re all people, for trump’s sake…” Continue Reading
“These urbanauts are everywhere,” said Starling, “like a horde of hipster locusts. They think they’re so tolerant and quirky, but just see how they act toward those they deem less ‘evolved’ than themselves.”
Trottier shrugged and imperceptibly rolled his eyes. “You say this every time we have to come down to the surface for supplies. I mean, okay, they’re kind of annoying with all the haggling and fiddling and all that, and their tendency to show off how different and tasteful they are is juvenile–but what did the Urbs ever really do to you, anyway? Plus, we need their materials for our project up on the habitat.”
Before Starling could reply, a large gray-bearded man bellowed through their discussion to one of the merchants on the other side of the bazaar. Laughing boisterously, the portly man and the bohemian merchant clasped hands on each other’s shoulders and hugged in a public display of camaraderie. “You old salty dog,” chimed the merchant, to which the big man guffawed, “that’s Doctor salty dog to you!” Continue Reading
The pumps were working day and night, emitting a low (and not unpleasant) humming sound and the faint stench of rotting flesh. Since the discovery three years ago of the first large deposit, thousands were attracted here by the promise of steady work and maybe even a chance to become wealthy fast. For those of us living here already, the change has been difficult to absorb, but there are benefits too.
I run a small shop that sells basic provisions to the line workers. Even with my family helping, we can barely keep up with the demand—it’s all hands on deck all day long, unpacking shipments, stocking shelves, ringing up sales. Before the rush, we had a sleepy little store that served our needs and those of the community—a few hundred folks in all. Since the surveyors found the vein, we’re a major outpost. Continue Reading