Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Tales of the Future #1: The Robot and the Hive

by Rudi Dornemann

There was a robot who lived on the edge of a forest that covered what had once been an industrial park. The robot farmed histo-adaptive replacement organs – kidneys and livers mostly, spleens every once in a while. The business didn’t make much money, but it kept the robot in power and spare parts. Monitoring all the chemical and temperature variables suited the robot’s temperament, and, in the evenings, the woods were peaceful.

In the next sector, there lived a clone hive. There were dozens of them, all the same, and they worked day and night at three or four different businesses at the same time – light assembly, personalized cake decoration, transcription, bonded courier services, and more. Like most hives, they weren’t good at everything, but once they found what they were good at, they kept doing at it, and soon they did it very well. They multiplied and reinvested, and within a few years, they owned everything for three sectors around.

They sent the buyout offer via their own courier, and a second clone went along because that was protocol in any business situation, since the sight of a second identical person waiting in the car reinforced the idea that the whole hive was behind the message.

The psychology was wasted on the robot, but the letter was logically set out in a numbered table format that it found easy to process. He particularly admired the paragraph that talked about how an organization that followed an exponential-growth economic model could coexist with boutique enterprises founded on a stasis-capitalist model.

The courier said he could wait a few minutes for an answer, or he could return at another, more convenient time.

“Is your car networked?” asked the robot.

“Certainly,” said the clone. “We can transmit your answer to our legal staff in moments.”

The robot stood in its doorway. A bird chirped in the woods; another answered. Several moments passed.

“It’s a good price,” said the courier. “What do you think? What’s your answer?”

“I do not need an answer,” said the robot. “I have used your vehicle to speak to the others of my model. We all have a little savings that we can pool.”

“We can outbid any counter-offer,” said the clone in the car.

“You misunderstand,” said the robot. “We have bought your hive, all its assets, everything.”

The clones’ car chimed that a message was waiting for them.

“Now,” said the robot. “The spleen tank needs cleaning, it is a lovely evening, and I am going for a walk. You’ll find brushes and scrapers on the workbench.”

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One Response to “Tales of the Future #1: The Robot and the Hive”

  1. Daniel Braum Says:

    November 27th, 2007 at 4:44 am

    A pastoral future organ farm tale. Excellent !