Three weeks ago
The technological achievements of the post-millenium advanced the standard of living of even the penniless to that of worry-free comfort by the mid-22nd century. Android labor enabled the populous not only of Rhod, but most of the human race to live lives of leisure. And although it was only barely past noon, Rhod’s Vermilion maintained a strong attendance at any given hour.
The android hostess sauntered elegantly
between groups of guests, her hips swinging heavily with each step. The blue-white shine of her “skin” reflected onto her surroundings as she walked. A small mirror-surfaced tray balanced atop her fingertips.
Upon it sat a small lump of pale lavender powder, accompanied by two metal razors. Her destination was a large corner-couch in the upstairs lounge that overlooked the dancefloor. The couch sat nestled behind a low-spanning table. Some of the club’s finest alcohol bottles sat atop it, reflecting lighting like a miniature model of the city. The hostess placed the tray atop the table in the suggestive motion dictated by her programming.
“Diamond dust, if you fancy,” Jael offered his guests. Leaning forward between two women, he slid the fine edge of a blade across the glass surface of the tray. He separated a small pile of the pale powder into six even lines. The table’s surface cast a dull teal glow underneath the rows. He inhaled two lines of powder though a thick straw before shooting back onto the couch. The tall blonde woman to his right and another sharply dressed young man at the end of the couch followed suit.
The dark sky outside was cast with low clouds obscuring the tops of nearby buildings. The grey light fell softly through the window behind them. When Jael awoke this morning, the weather had called for a strong cup of coffee and a few lines of diamond dust. It wasn’t as if his cell couldn’t handle it. It was one of the perks of his model.
“Jael, tell me about this new cell you’re getting,” a brunette woman asked. She turned towards him as she spoke, resting her elbow on the back of the couch.
Although most synths voluntarily retained some natural human flaws, Jael’s appearance was uncanny. Over years of self-improvement, he had become obsessed. On his eighteenth birthday, Jael had saved enough to purchase and transfer himself into his first cell. It was a base model, but it was his. He had bought it with his own money. He then saved every penny until he was twenty-two and purchased enough upgrades that his original cell was unrecognizable. He worked as a bartender through most of his twenties, saving his nightly tips while planning to open his own club. By the time he was thirty, he signed the lease to his current suite and opened his nightclub.
Five years later Jael had attained a look that satisfied him for a year or so. But now, he had grown tired of seeing the same cell in his mirror every morning. He had his eyes set on a new model, one that would be it. His last one. He had hoped he could save enough this year to make a down payment, but it would require spending discipline or winning a lottery.
The bright blue-white hostess reappeared. Her hands were empty this time.
“You want in on this too?” Jael asked her, mockingly.
“You have a visitor,” she replied.
“Who?” Jael had not expected anyone.