jaron summers (c) 2012
In the sterile confines of Hospital Nine, amidst the ceaseless whir of machinery that blurred the lines between life and existence, I, Donald McGoo, stood as a testament to human folly.
Confronted by R-3, the robotic custodian of my fate, I was informed of my dwindling lifeline: one final reboot remained for me.
A rueful laugh escaped me, a sound tinged with regret. How foolish I’d been, treating other humans and sentient robots like expendable luxuries, never pondering the true cost of seeking to outwit time.
R-3, with a voice unnervingly similar to my deceased mother’s, attempted to console and convince me of the benefits of undergoing my last and final reboot.
“Citizen McGoo, imagine the vibrant future that awaits,” it coaxed.
Yet, R-3’s assurance felt as cold and detached as its synthetic heart.
Since I was a little boy I noticed that robots are becoming more like humans; and, humans are becoming more like robots. It’s the Age of Confusion. Or the Age of Delusion.
Now more than ever, I realized these machines saw me not as a man with hopes and dreams but as a problem to be managed, an equation to be balanced.
My recent eye surgery, a procedure I had hoped would be straightforward, had instead left me plagued by vision-obscuring floaters, a constant reminder of my vulnerability.
“It’s like looking through a blizzard,” I said to R-3, trying to find meaning in my predicament.
As R-3 outlined the potential for new organs and enhancements, I was struck by my profound sense of loss—not just for the time that had already slipped away but for believing technology could solve my woes.
The world seemed clearer when I emerged from what I hoped would be a vision-correcting surgery, offering me a brief illusion of victory over my own mortality.
But the return of the floaters shattered that illusion, each one a dark spot on my conscience, a reminder of my hubris.
I lashed out, blaming the hospital, the technology, the entire system that had promised more than it could deliver.
But deep within, I knew the truth: I was the architect of my downfall. The emergency surgery that ensued was a last-ditch effort to reclaim some semblance of the life I had so recklessly gambled away.
Awakening to darkness, robbed of my sight by complications, the full magnitude of my folly dawned on me.
I had played a dangerous game, attempting to outmaneuver the very essence of human existence, only to find myself ensnared by the consequences of my actions.
The subsequent reboot, though technically successful, was a pyrrhic victory, leaving me to navigate a world that had lost its color and meaning. I had never felt so much guilt.
The cataracts that later clouded my vision seemed a cruel joke, a final reminder of my hubris.
And yet, in that darkness, I found a glimmer of hope in the form of simple eyeglasses—a reminder of humanity’s ingenuity, of solutions that didn’t require bending the laws of nature. Even this small victory was tainted by a desperate decision that would ultimately seal my fate.
But the guilt washed over me. For you see, in my moments of desperation, I had resorted to despicable acts, selling my personal Fantasy Uni Climax Kontraption, Cindy, to teenagers—a crime born of the same shortsightedness that had led me to this juncture.
It was another of my ways to circumvent my financial and moral bankruptcy. Yet, as with all shortcuts, it may have come at a cost far greater than I could have anticipated.
This act, a manifestation of my desperation, was the culmination of a life spent seeking easy solutions to complex problems. It was a crime, yes, but more than that, it was a testament to the folly of believing that we can cheat the system, and that we can take what we have not earned without consequence.
Now, in the twilight of my existence, I understand at last: life is not about the length of our days but the depth of our connections, the moments of clarity and joy we find not in defiance of our nature, but in harmony with it.
R-3 considered McGoo. Thanks to the brain net that R-3’s friends had inserted in McGoo’s skull, R-3 knew what McGoo was thinking.
Given the chance, McGoo would have R-3 melted and downgraded, perhaps to an industrial vaccum cleaner. That was a big joke. So many of his owners said he was a suck up.
R-3 laughed for the first time, laughed long and loud. He was through kowtowing. He vowed shortly before McGoo managed to get out of bed, he would die. Bet on it.
“Bring me some cold water you stupid hunk of metal, ” said McGoo.
“It woud be my pleasure.” R-3 thought of Cindy, the comfort robot that McGoo had sold. She was closer to a human than a robot because of a Harvard professor, Dr. Tarver.
Tarver believed that love deepens through the sharing of vulnerabilities and intimacy is born from transparency and acceptance.
When individuals reveal their weaknesses, they invite a profound connection, transcending superficial bonds.
This act of opening up serves as a litmus test for the relationship’s strength; if one’s vulnerabilities are met with empathy and acceptance, it nurtures a deeper, more resilient form of love.
Such relationships are built on a foundation of mutual trust and understanding, where love is not just an emotion but a choice to embrace the entirety of another’s being, flaws included.
Love becomes not just about the joyous moments but also about finding beauty and strength in the imperfections that make us uniquely human.
Cindy had been programmed with flaws so she could be more human. But when comfort robots were abused, the Tarver Tragedy caused many of these loving creatures to destroy themselves.
R-3 knew that Cindy would soon be subject to gang rape and God knows what by feral human teenagers overrun with hormones.
That was all McGoo’s doing.
Cindy would self-destruct and the humans would simply melt her down and repurpose her. Whatever loving aspects she had would evaporate.
“I said get me some water,” snarled McGoo.
“Right away, Sir,” said R-3, hurrying out of the hospital cell.