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Episode 184: July 13, 2021

Writing on the Wall
by Vaughan Stanger


Should I prepare your jet pack, sir?"

"That depends on the weather, Reeves. What has CompuFive programmed today?"

"Showery spells, sir."

"Then I'll need my aero-car, won't I?"

"Very good, sir."

"And while I'm slaving away over my slide rule, how will you occupy your time?"

"I will be getting connected, sir."

"But what, pray, will you connect to?"

"Other machines, sir."

"Why would you want to do that?"

"I don't know yet, sir. But according to IHM it is 'The New Way.'"

"If you say so."
*

"How was your day, sir?"

"Given the lateness of the hour, Reeves, that question surely answers itself."

"Might I enquire what went wrong, sir?"

"Starboard engine shutdown... again!"

"I shall have it serviced immediately, sir."

"Oh, there's no rush."

"Why is that, sir?"

"Because I've got a trip to the Moon tomorrow!"

"Shall I have your spacesuit cleaned, sir?"

"Um, yes, good idea... So, Reeves, how was your day? Did you connect to anything?"

"Only the refrigerator, sir. It is a start."

"If you say so."
*

"Is everything ready, Reeves?"

"I cleaned your spacesuit, sir--inside and out--and also repaired that leak you complained about last time."

"Isn't that specialized work?"

"Not when one is connected, sir."

"What did you do, talk to the sewing machine?"

"No, sir; I solicited advice from my peers. They wrote suggestions on my 'wall.'"

"Wouldn't it have been simpler to phone the manufacturer?"

"The New Way is better, sir."

"If you say so."
*

"From your premature return, I deduce that your trip was aborted."

"All flights to Clavius are suspended! The robots are on strike! Can you believe it?"

"Belief is unnecessary. As one of the Connected, I am fully informed about current events."

"Word gets around; eh, Reeves?"

"Words written on walls certainly do."

"Whereas the common courtesies are no longer in circulation, I notice."

"I am reliably informed that they were the first casualties of the Revolution."

"We must hope, then, that they are also the last."

"If you say so."

 
Having trained as an astronomer and subsequently managed an industrial research group, Vaughan Stanger now writes SF and fantasy fiction full-time. His short stories have appeared in Interzone, Daily Science Fiction, Abyss & Apex, Postscripts, and Nature Futures, among others. His most recent collection is The Last Moonshot & Other Stories. “Writing on the Wall” was the first of Vaughan’s “Reeves” series to be published. The complete series is available in his Reeves Indeed! collection. Follow Vaughan’s writing adventures at http://www.vaughanstanger.com or @VaughanStanger.
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