The Last Great Gasp (Chapter 1)

(These chapters are under re-construction.../sigh




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Jeremiah is now the only human standing on the landing pad.

Thirty-five years old, five foot nine inches tall with a willowy figure that is completely hidden under the ambassadorial robe and cowl, Jeremiah closes the distance between them. About 1 meter from M-1 he stops and looks into its sensor band.

Between one moment and the next he becomes distracted. After which he stiffly folds his arms together in front of himself inside the sleeves. With a curtailed expression and in a tight voice Jeremiah says, “This is an honor sir. How shall I address you?”

M-1 takes a moment then cocks its head to the right. “You might as well call me, One. I don’t think Mike lives in here anymore.” It says taping its forehead with its left index finger.

Jeremiah frowns then points at the small rectangular box fixed beneath M-1’s sensor band. “That is the waste disposal unit isn’t it?”

“Yes it is.”

Jeremiah studies M-1 with an intense gaze, “Do you suspect that part of you is still human?”

“I would hate to make bets on that young man.” M-1 reaches up and detaches the unit. “I haven’t had to empty this in quite some time.” He tips it over as if to drain it.  “I think I pissed Mike’s brains out decades ago.” M-1 chuckles lightly (its sensor band pulsing pale blue). He looks at the unit wistfully (deep purple atmosphere with blooms of green, brown, rust, and gold) one more time, frowns (large, tight, grey ribbon), and then proceeds to fix it back in place.

Jeremiah does not respond.

M-1 smiles, guessing at Jeremiah’s reaction. “I’m sorry young man; Mike always was a bit crude.” It tilts its head slightly to the left, its sensor band muddy brown, “Or was that he?”

After waggling its head, (the RBT version of shaking their head negatively and, or rolling their eyes, sometimes they’re laughing) M-1 continues, “I can’t seem to remember where I picked up this base sense of humor.” It shrugs its shoulders then continues. “In any event, it seems to be part of me now.”

Jeremiah stares into a distance not of his current setting.

M-1’s sensor/display becomes an environment of deep purple filled with a multitude of ribbons differing in color, shape, size, and behavior.

After a few moments it waggles its head vigorously, and then slowly tips it towards Jeremiah. “What’s your name young man?”

For one point five pregnant moments Jeremiah remains silent.

M-1 frowns, its sensor band muddy grey.

Eventually Jeremiah snaps back into his surroundings. “My name is Jeremiah Tahn. But I would prefer that you call me Ambassador Tahn.” He looks away from M-1, “Let’s keep this official.”

“As you wish Ambassador Tahn,” Ribbons of brown, gold, orange, and at the last blue, flow through M-1’s sensor band. “Shall we dip out of this swimming pool?”

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