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.
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