The mansion was maintained by The Steward - an AI controlled swarm of nanobots. Each day they swept over every surface in the rooms collecting dead bugs and the fallen leaves of houseplants, metabolizing them to power the next day’s work. This symbiotic relationship of machine and plant allowed The Steward to preserve the house in perfect condition, but it was not a closed system - the sun provided essential input.
Born into squalor and knowing only crowded quarters, the cramped factory and the din of the undercity, I dreamed for a chance to escape. Most would have considered me a fool for buying it. A functioning power sphere for sale in the lower levels? Yeah, right. Certainly the occultist shopkeeper wouldn’t have sold it so cheaply had they believed their own sales pitch. Normally I wouldn’t have wasted scrap on this sort of thing but I had a strange feeling that evening. I was sure it was broken, but if I could repair it, get the output to even .05%! I could power my whole unit and sell the rest - save up enough to buy a lift pass! Onward and upward.
I hid the device in my satchel and headed to the bunkhouse. In my dream that night I saw the orb. It asked me what I wished for and I told it, “A big house, beautiful furnishings, fresh air and privacy!” Now I am here, sitting on this couch made out of materials I have only seen in the VR parlors. Room after room with ceilings higher than the plate itself. No coughs or moans or gunshots in the night. Fresh air like I have never tasted. It is truly everything I asked for. I should have been more specific though, for one can not live on comfort alone.
“Most of the time these days we hang around inside. We’re lucky because there are many others like us here. The temperature is honestly pretty favorable indoors and that helps keep us in good condition. We’re not travelling as much as we used to, which is a bit of a downer, but this has given us time to expand our online presence. It has really been a nice treat to get outside when the weather is nice though.”
(Excerpt from Interview with The Paintings)
Sunday, June 14, 2020
Saturday, June 13, 2020
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
They all gathered for drinks at sunset one last time. It was fittingly glorious. Glasses clinked and laughter abounded. But now they were gone, moved on to wherever, and the house was still. Now it was just me watching the twilight and wondering of tomorrow. The tables were empty, and everything was put away. The many feet and occasional dropped hors d'oeuvre that this great carpet has endured would be no more. Times change, I’d have to get used to it. Though now with the house to myself food would indeed be a bit more challenging. Oh well, at least I wouldn’t have to worry about being chased by that damn cat.
Story contributed by John Galloway