hwango: (hermit crab)
[personal profile] hwango
549 words


The guy who worked in the lab down the hall from me had died in an accident, and I wasn't taking it well. Not that we'd been close. In fact, I don't actually remember his name, and I don't feel bad about not remembering.

No, what got me freaked out is that no one came for his personal stuff, not that there was very much of it. No one showed any interest in organizing (or attending) any kind of memorial. The guy had no one in his life who really cared that he'd died. At first I just thought that was kind of sad, and then I had the horrible realization that I was in exactly the same boat. The idea that I would die alone and unmourned was terrifying. This called for drastic action.

I immediately thought of Krista. She works in the great big lab in the center of the complex. We all report to her. Actually I think we all kind of privately worship her, because she's amazing. The idea of approaching Krista and talking to her about something other than my work was almost but not quite as terrifying as the idea of dying alone, but I couldn't imagine asking anyone else.

I considered leaving my work bench and going to speak to her immediately, but realized that would hardly reflect well on my worthiness. I felt this terrible stab of guilt and foolishness that I'd even considered it.

Finally my shift ended, though, and the idea of attending to a personal matter no longer felt quite so absurd. I walked up to her lab and peered inside to see if she was still there. Sure enough, there she was - her perfect face sharply lit by arcing electricity. She was so incredible. What was I thinking? But finally I worked up the courage to go up and talk to her.

"Uh...Krista? I mean, ma'am?" I mumbled, because I'm a loser. "Could I talk to you for a moment?"

She turned away from the machines with obvious surprise.

"What is it?" she asked.

"I know you're really busy. And...uh...I'm just a low-level technician. But I was wondering if maybe...sometime...if you're not busy..." Aaargh, I was totally screwing this up.

"Is there a problem?" she asked. Wow, even with her face all scrunched up in confusion she was so beautiful. I took a deep breath and just went for broke.

"I was wondering if you'd adjust my brain implants so I could form emotional attachments, and maybe others could form emotional attachments to me? I'm afraid of someday dying alone and unloved."

Krista gave me this look of fathomless pity.

"Aw, 37-B," she said, and my heart soared at the fact that she knew my designation, "your head must be all screwed up. Here, let me see."

I knelt down and she spent some time poking bits of my head with various instruments. I think I blacked out for a while, but when I became aware of my surroundings again I felt a perfect contentment with my situation, and all of my fears and thoughts of seeking out love and companionship had been swept away by a renewed commitment to the great work.

"Thank you, ma'am," I said, and went back to work an extra shift.

Date: 2017-01-13 12:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bluegerl.livejournal.com
Hwango you've done it again. But you always DO. You take my heart and run with it.

Oh POOR 37-B... nearly becoming 'human' and feeling he needed emotions, and not being so 'not there alone'. (That is a sensation that a lot of old folk have... no one left!) He was thinking how beautiful Krista was, feeling fearful ....

AND THEN YOU TURN HIM INTO A MACHINE....aooooohhh aaaahhhohh.

YOu ROTTEN swine... But oh I love you Hwango... Oh DAMMIT I must write some more.

Date: 2017-01-15 10:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
I am pure evil. = )

Date: 2017-01-14 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marlawentmad.livejournal.com

This was a beautiful twist, craftily wrought.

Date: 2017-01-15 10:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thanks! I do enjoy a good twist now and then.

Date: 2017-01-14 07:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penpusher.livejournal.com
Richard Matheson would be an admirer of this piece.

Date: 2017-01-15 10:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
His characters due tend to have problems, don't they?

Date: 2017-01-14 11:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kschlotwrites.livejournal.com

Oh wow! I didn't know what I was expecting, but not that. I really enjoyed this.

Date: 2017-01-15 10:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Expect the unexpected! Know the unknowable! Read the unreadable! Wait, not that last one.

Glad you liked it. = )

Date: 2017-01-15 10:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bluegerl.livejournal.com
Oh, with Hwango, you must NEVER expect a reasonable ending. He is a Twist Master with knobs on. One of the best. ENJOY more of his.

Date: 2017-01-15 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rayaso.livejournal.com
I enjoyed the creativity, the pathos and the twist at the end very much! Excellent job! It's so much easier when the objects of our nascent desire can just fiddle around in our brains, and then, problem solved! Let's work an extra shift!

Date: 2017-01-16 09:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Woo, the Great Work! Let's get that doomsday weapon online! = )

Date: 2017-01-15 09:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lostin-thestars.livejournal.com
Holy crap!

Just... wow.

So well done.

Date: 2017-01-16 09:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thanks!

Date: 2017-01-15 10:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
Awwwwww... that's the kind of fix we all fear! We'll never feel again, we'll just be 'bots who don't know any better. Or clones. Or whatever 37-B is.

I interpreted the prompt in a similar way, though the results of these two stories couldn't be more different! That's one of the fun things about Idol. :)

Date: 2017-01-16 09:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Or worst of all - robot duplicates of clones who have been replaced by pod people! I hate it when that happens.

Nice to see someone else had a similar take on the prompt, even if we ended up in different places.* It was only after I'd written mine that I found out the more generally-accepted interpretation.

* : I do enjoy ending up someplace different. = )

Date: 2017-01-16 02:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] j0ydivided.livejournal.com
Oh, wow. I really wasn't expecting the direction this took!

Date: 2017-01-16 09:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
I do like a good twist now and then.

...or do I? = )

Date: 2017-01-16 06:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarcasmoqueen.livejournal.com
WOW! Fantastic entry!!

Date: 2017-01-17 09:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thanks!

Date: 2017-01-16 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mamas-minion.livejournal.com
this is brilliant, I love the set up, thinking some guy is about to get up the courage to ask out the woman he loves and then bam it 's a robot asking to have his thoughts altered. Amazing and did not even see that coming.

Date: 2017-01-17 09:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Yay, your experience was pretty much exactly what I'd hoped for. = ) Glad you enjoyed it.

Date: 2017-01-17 01:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bleodswean.livejournal.com
EEEE!!! Great sci-fi twisty entry!

Date: 2017-01-18 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thanks!

Date: 2017-01-17 03:19 pm (UTC)
meridian_rose: pen on letter background  with text  saying 'writer' (writer)
From: [personal profile] meridian_rose
What a twist and completely unexpected! Excellent work :D

Date: 2017-01-18 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thanks! Glad people are enjoying the twist.

Date: 2017-01-17 03:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eternal-ot.livejournal.com
*Hats Off* Superb twist ! Loved it!

Date: 2017-01-18 12:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thanks, glad you liked it.

Date: 2017-01-17 06:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bewize.livejournal.com
Awesome twist.

Date: 2017-01-18 12:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thanks!

Date: 2017-01-18 03:33 am (UTC)
ext_29986: (Default)
From: [identity profile] fannishliss.livejournal.com
wow!! loved the twist!!!

Date: 2017-01-18 06:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Awesome, thanks!

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