Sarah's dream


By Diomedes | Robert O'Reilly | 31 Dec 2023



We roamed the facility the next morning, ignoring the visor-clad, human droids as they went about their chores. We found everything just as we had left it until we came to the far end of the basement. There we saw a dead robot lying on an operating table, machinery around it, a cutting torch, a diamond blade circular saw, high end welding equipment. I recognized the robot as one of the two females that Dora had brought back with her from our first trip to Japan, for spare parts.

And that was exactly her status now. She was missing an arm and many of her internal parts, some of them lying on a table beside her. She showed signs of serious damage to what was left of her torso, her other arm and chest. One of our tank shells must have struck near her. Her face was still perfectly intact as if in peaceful repose. It made me wonder if these robots felt any agony in being mangled, or simply went on stoically with whatever faculties they had left. From the waist down her body was intact. That explained how she had made it this far.

It was easy to conjecture that Dora had stopped here in her first flight and used this robot to repair another, then swiftly moved on.

As Ted surveyed her more closely he spoke up:

“This is a godsend. We can use these parts to fully repair Juliet. They’re the exact same model. She’ll be walking within weeks. Strange that Dora left so much of her behind, so many valuable pieces. She must have been in a real rush.”

As I pondered this development over dinner in the droid cafeteria, the five of us simply falling in line with the zombies and filling our plates as they did, none of them able to notice us, I realized several facts and shared them with my friends.

“I think we lucked out. We’re going to stay here until we repair Juliet. I’m sure Dora and a remnant of her band are far away. When one flees in such haste, one doesn’t go a short distance. And her group is divided now. She's sent at least two to Japan, probably Pan and one or two others. That leaves her four at most. Let’s spend a month here, go through all the data banks and plan our next move carefully.”

The others quickly agreed. We slept in three adjoining dormitory rooms, Juliet in the middle room alone that night, soon to be wheeled into the operating room the next morning where she would lay until fully complete. The droids whose beds we’d appropriated simply wandered up to us sleeping then after a confused pause wandered off in search of the nearest empty bunk. They were perfectly harmless and as threatening to us as any docile three-year old.

Since all of the expertise to repair Juliet lay in Ted’s fields of knowledge, he did all the work with Hannah as his close assistant. We’d visit them a few hours each day and mostly watch, happy to witness Juliet’s steady improvement and glad to share her enthusiastic glow, but we had hours left with little to do. Sarah explored the data banks, especially those concerning the droids, who wandered among us like so many benign sheep.

They were thoughtless except for the simple, repetitive prompts from their visors and Sarah came up with the notion that they might serve us because of the similar bands around our ears, with the same programming language which controlled them, and we possessed.

She ran up to me one afternoon in a flush of excitement and simply said “watch this.”

We were on the open campus square and droids were passing to and fro. With the blink of an eye she made one detour his route and stand before her, motionless. In the next second he bowed and kneeled, then took her foot in his hand and wiped her shoe with the cuff of his shirt, though it wasn’t dirty, gently placing her foot on the ground again and standing up, as if waiting for her next instruction.

She told me we had a telepathic ability, built into their bands and ours, to control them and it was only a matter of a little practice for us to deploy this new talent and enjoy its huge benefits. She told me her range was now six feet to the head of any droid but with practice she was sure she could double or triple that. Any command she formulated became an order for them to perform immediately.

We ran to Ted with this news, unable to fathom the possibilities of this discovery, the huge ramifications, but we were all excited to begin to explore. We halted the surgery on Juliet to fixate on the programming data Sarah shared with us. It was like a mantra in my head which I could repeat like some Buddhist monk when I was standing next to some droid and all of a sudden he or she would perk up and turn to me, awaiting my next thought as their command.

Within a week of Sarah’s tutelage Ted and I became adept at ordering simple commands to any droid nearby to fetch something we needed. Hannah and June cared less for such mental games and kept company with Juliet while we toyed with our new-found powers.

Then we dutifully returned to Juliet’s bedside and slow reparation, Ted now having two droids at his side and bidding at all times, able to send one for any part he needed, the other to hand him any tool, like a surgeon’s assistant, from the table beside him.

Sarah had her own agenda. While we played with simple commands to a droid six feet away, she practiced with droids across a room, and not one at a time but several. I came across a scene that shocked me one afternoon. She had been disappearing for hours each day and into the night, returning late to our bed. Then she didn’t return at all, joining us in the cafeteria for breakfast, saying she was making huge discoveries in controlling the droids.

The spectacle that disturbed me that afternoon was of her near that same cafeteria in a sort of entrance lounge, in an easy chair that reclined, wearing an almost transparent robe, with two male droids standing at attention beside her. Two female droids were kneeling and painting her toenails with the utmost focus while another two were behind her carefully combing her hair, and another holding a platter near her face and another holding an olive ready to place it within her mouth when she desired. A male droid was holding a cup at her side, probably wine, ready to administer the ambrosia when she nodded.

It was a Babylonian scene, when Alexander first broke its gates and discovered the royal excess of its harem, the regal affluence, or effluence, and his total command. I didn’t confront her at this time, I backed away unseen, wanting to tell the others of Sarah’s drift into this megalomaniac craze. I had no idea what course of action to take. Maybe one of them would.


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B.A. in Latin and Greek from U.C. Berkley. Writer, Blogger and retired Electrician.

Robert O'Reilly
Robert O'Reilly

I am educated in the Western Classical Tradition, B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in Latin and Greek, English major, one year at U. of Toronto, studied under Alain Renoir and Northrop Frye, read most classics full time for many years after university in French, English, Latin and Greek to the modern day. I am interested in the near future of technology, what changes it imposes upon our heritage and character as humans. Short stories and Essays are my medium.

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