Remember that story about Rain, the human outsider? I posted the Prologue a few weeks ago. Anyway, I’ve written some more.. (and I’ve finally come up with a title Code: Extinction
I’m still messing around a bit, and this is a rough cut, not edited at all Dx but I wanted to see what you guys thought
Chapter 1: Strange Times
There used to be an expression for seizing the day; it was “life’s too short”. There’s a new expression now, “life’s too long”. People figure, why not do what you want, be what you want? You have years and years to fix mistakes, why not be bold, independent, brazen? Everyone’s the same so it doesn’t matter.
I prefer the old sentiment. Life is short and remains so for me. My parents were extremists. Hippies might have been a term for them before the language redeveloped. They were humans. No robotic parts at all and no robotic servants. Just them the way nature intended. They taught me all of the old ways. Not that 21st century nonsense, but back to the original Native’s of America and the pagans. They were everything to me. What I depended on. What I lived for.
And now they are dead, they’ve joined the Goddess and fill the energy around me. I miss them. I am now officially the only human left. Not one fake part. Not one servant. All biology, no technology; the way the Goddess intended.
And I am so alone.
“Rain. Time for breakfast.”
When my parents died there was no one to take me. Our village had all died out and we didn’t know of another. I stayed on the rez for a while but the authorities sold the land. Apparently it was never ours. They forced me to be with my aunt despite me being almost 20 years old. I had no money so really unless I became a nomad I had no choice.
My aunt is a Cyborg, has been for some time. Her name is Genesis. My grandparents were part of the anti-robot movement; but Genesis never bought in. She saw the longevity as sciences gift, not curse.
“If there are any powers that be and if they didn’t want this, they wouldn’t have made us so smart.” She argued.
Being the only human left makes me wonder if she’s right. Progress is progress…
“So rain, what will you do today?” Genesis tried hard to be nice to me, maybe I was being too hard on her.
“Probably go to the café or maybe the woods.”
“You spend so much time in the woods.” Ceres scolded.
Ceres is my cousin. She’s already got more fake parts than I care to think about and she hates me for who I am; I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t mutual.
“I like trees. They give us oxygen.” I wasn’t good at arguing but nature always made me defensive; there was so little of it left.
“So does the dome.” She scowled.
The dome. The synthetic ozone layer some scientist created when the real one finally couldn’t handle all our bullshit. There are only three forests left in the world. In the world. So many animals are dead because of us. Because of our ambitions. Now I’m the only one fighting to keep humanism alive. But I can’t do it alone. Progress won.
Chapter 2: You Can’t Always Get What You Want
The thing I love about the café is that it still offers human drinks. A lot of places don’t bother any more. The thing about being part robotic is your body needs different vitamins and minerals (don’t ask me I’m not an engineer) so almost all of the restaurants, supermarkets and cafes only sell fusion drinks. Fusion drinks are the perfect smoothie blend for your human and robotic parts. They look like mud and smell like sewer and I thank the Goddess I don’t have to drink them three times a day. The café still offers common, coffee, fruit smoothie, blended, hot drinks. I think it used to be called something like Starluck? Maybe? Now it’s just called “café”. The places with the fancy names are all fusion filled wonderlands.
Hardly anyone bothers me here because they can go down the block for their morning fusion, and not have to specially order it here. So I sit and I read and I watch the world pass me by while I figure out how the heck I can save it.
“Mind if I join you?”
I looked up from my Kin3Dle (they don’t print books anymore). The café was almost empty, so the fact that this random stranger was leaning over my table confused me.
“Help yourself.” I muttered, going back to my story.
“My name is Hawthorne.” He extended his hand and I stared at it for a moment before shaking it.
“Rain, that’s a pretty name.” I finally looked up at him. His smile was awkward, like he wasn’t used to making his muscles work that way.
“Thanks.” I didn’t bother telling him it was short for Rainwater Sky, because then he’d know I was a hippie freak. I didn’t need the drama.
“What are you reading?”
“Damned. It’s by an author you’ve probably never heard of.”
“I’ve read it actually. There’s a sequel next month.”
He nodded, still keeping that awkward smile on his face.
“Why are you talking to me?” I blurted the question and I realized too late how rude it sounded.
“I just like talking to people.” He didn’t seem phased by my outburst.
“I’m not from around here.”
I didn’t respond to that comment.
“Well, I can see I’ve worn out my welcome. If you’re ever in Englewood let’s v-chat.” He handed me a business card (I’m not joking) that just said HAWTHORNE on it.
“But there’s no number or any-” I looked up to see he was already out the door.
It was starting to rain so I put my Kin3Dle in its case and headed home, throwing Hawthrone’s card in the trash.
We were sitting down to dinner like the poser family that we are when the last straw was placed on the proverbial camel’s back (I am the camel in this proverbial situation).
“Aunt Genesis, I can’t drink the fusions.” I felt exasperated; we had this argument at least once a week.
“Of course.” Aunt Genesis carefully tucked a blonde strand of hair behind her ear, “Ninety-six, Rain needs solids.” She said.
I shrank into my chair as 96, our robotic helper, slid back into the kitchen.
“It seems so wasteful to keep solids on hand.” Aunt Genesis said casually, but her sneer matched the one Ceres usually reserved for me.
“I can take care of myself.” I muttered.
“What did you say Rain?”
“I’m almost twenty. I can take care of myself.” My voice was strong but my hands were shaking; my aunt was a formidable woman even without the help of her bionic body.
“Your mother left you to me.” she said dismissively.
“No, the state gave me to you.”
“Rain, we’ll not discuss this.”
96 returned with a salad, placing it in front of me. “Anything else Miss Rain?” the computer generated voice asked me.
“I’m fine 96. Thanks.”
“You should just drink the fusions Rain. It has food nutrients.” Ceres scoffed.
“It also has battery acid and Goddess knows what else for you robots.”
“We’re not robots!” Ceres shouted.
“Ceres! Rest. Rain has her beliefs.” Aunt Genesis set her drink down and stood up. “I’m finished 96. Girls be civil.” She stalked out of the room.
“Rain’s the one who’s delusional!” Ceres called after her mother. “You’ll have to get parts someday or you’re gonna die!”
“Like we’re supposed to!” I retaliated.
“Miss Rain, Miss Ceres, I remind you Madame Genesis requests civility.”
“We’re done here.” Ceres put her cup down and went out the front door.
I began picking up my plate to throw away when 96 approached me.
“I’ll take those Miss Rain.”
“I can do it 96.”
“It’s what I’m programmed for Miss.” I stared at his metallic hands, waiting for me to let him take care of everything.
Tears blurred my vision as I handed the robot the plate and ran up to my room. Looking out my window at the city streets I could barely see anything but I knew what was there. Concrete and brick. I hated every inch of Redwood. My mom and dad told me stories about how Redwood was once a protected forest. There would be elk and eagles, bears and frogs, trees for miles; but now it’s just built up concrete.
Staring out at the rain soaked streets through my tear soaked eyes I made my decision. I would get to one of those three forests. Somehow. I would find nature again and I would figure out how to save the world.
I packed quietly, not knowing if my aunt had decided to get the enhanced hearing on her last overhaul or not. I waited until almost four in the morning, when the rain had let up, and I snuck out of the house.
I had walked these streets for months now, going through the motions of life without feeling, without thinking. The first step off our stoop felt like the last step of the life I hated, and the first step to the life I missed. I was going to be fine; even if I was the last human on the planet. I breathed deeply, my lungs shaking from the effort, and set off East.