Category Archives: Short stories

Dormant Status

‘Alexa. Who is the most popular person in the world?’ asked Nicole, even though she knew how her resident bot would respond because she was and had been for the past few years.

As she rubbed her daily dose of face cream into her skin she cringed at how old and wrinkled she’d become. Thank goodness she didn’t have to show her face to her public any more, one of the great things about being a social media star.

The blue ring around the top of the bot lit up. ‘Gamila.’

Slowly, Nicole screwed the lid on to the pot of cream and placed it on the shelf. This was a moment she had prepared for many times over the years, the moment when someone else became more popular than her.

‘Alexa. Show me Gamila.’ Continue reading

Deliver Me from Darkness

Where was that bloody delivery drone?

He’d been waiting for three hours, from the moment he’d woken up.

How many times would he have to stay at home on the promise that his new eyes would be arriving that day?

Okay, so he’d not chosen guaranteed next day delivery but at the time he’d ordered them his eyes still had a good four weeks left in them. And, yes he’d been a bit casual about making sure he was there to sign for them, but the more critical it was getting the less the company seemed to want to help.

They insisted a drone had been at his door every day, but he’d been there most days. It was a load of rubbish. They just didn’t care.

And now they couldn’t guarantee delivery. A knock-on effect of the Christmas rush, apparently.

The light faded a little. His eyes were on their last legs, so to speak.

If he didn’t get his new ones soon his vision would cease and no matter how many replacements they delivered he wouldn’t be able to see to install them. Continue reading

ReConned

The parcel arrived early on a Sunday morning while they were having breakfast.

As soon as he could he took it down to his workshop.

An ex-military robot, reconditioned to monitor his family’s health for danger signs.

It was from a second-hand bidding site and the only difference from the more expensive ones, that he could see, was that it was from a private seller rather than an established shop. Why pay over the odds?

He unpacked it carefully.

The badly translated instructions were difficult to understand, but painstakingly he worked through each step. Hoping he was getting it right.

Enter this string of characters.

Enter this code.

Press this button.

Upload the family photos for recognition and recall.

The final piece of data it wanted was the factory code on the inside of the box so it could configure itself to the specifics he’d purchased – a preventative health-care system.

Preventative, that’s what made it worth the money.

He tapped in the factory code and took it outside.

It hovered for a while and then shot up high into the air. It was designed to roam freely, making its own decisions on where it should go and what it should do. Continue reading