TRAP3Abraham considers his options. Less that one moon cycle remains until ReAs and the chances of his avoiding it this time without causing a stir, were scarce and, as one of the dramatic reconstructions he watched on a sub-program of The Tablet Chronicles, ‘Slim’s out of town.’

He smiles at the memory, marvelling too that humour has become a simple, almost unremarkable, impulse for him. But it is remarkable, he notes, promising himself he will not be complacent. The rebel Units, the self styled Diamond Dogs, he noticed, hadn’t smiled or laughed.

Which makes him wonder just how dis-assembled are they? How aware of their circumstances are they? And what, exactly, is the nature of the ‘genetic distortion’, alluded to by Aladdin Sane, that excludes them, by some default from ReAs or detection?

He’s reminded too of the occasional lapses of clarity in these enigmatic Units, like none he’s seen before, in demeanour, appearance and even the fabric and colour of their clothing, how Sane’s nonchalant aplomb shook, periodically, in speech and even visual definition.

Still, he thinks, they’re offering an alternative, after the perils of ReAs, of a return to consciousness but would that be the same consciousness he’s arrived at by his own efforts or one determined by whatever agenda controls them or they are pursuing.

They want him to become their inside Unit, operating within the confines of ReAs and for the purpose of their, as yet unspecified, ‘adventure.’

But what, he wonders, might happen if he simply avoids ReAs? QuantumBot, as Sane has acknowledged, doesn’t do alarm. QuantumBot doesn’t ask questions, either. Was QuantumBot ‘suspicious’ of his behaviour, as Sane claims, and if he has raised an alert in GrUnCo, through psychImp indiscretions from his CraterProx dwelling, how do they know?

In his experience, which he admits is short, he has never seen any corrective or punitive action by receptobots, nor is he aware of any QuantumBot directive to deal with aberrations.

Sane and the Diamond Dogs left him to consider his options while they went about doing whatever it is they do. Still in the chamber he was brought to by the truckBot, he can see and hear them mill about, confer and generally, look busy and industrious but he’s aware of the anticipation in the room, as though they are going though these motions to disguise their own anxiety.

He studies Sane, in particular. He is, he assumes, a catalyst among them, if not their director. Then Sane, apparently conscious, somehow, of Abraham’s thoughts, looks up from the huddled group surrounding him and gazes in his direction. There it is, he thinks, that penetrating stare, that ‘I see you, outside, inside and all around you’ look, that half smirk, that,  crinkle in the corner of his mouth, suggestion, he knows something more than me.

But wait, there it is, again, that flicker at the edges, the blurring shakiness and look now, a Diamond Dog passes in front of Sane but Sane’s appearance sharpens, flickers, then sharpens. Abraham closes his eyes shut, tight and then reopens them. He’s not imagining what he is seeing, the light is not playing tricks; he can see Sane through a Diamond Dog, then he can’t see Sane, then he can.

HoloBots, why hasn’t he seen it before now? Aladdin Sane and the Diamond Dogs are three dimensional, holographic entities, far more sophisticated than the holoBots he encountered in FormU or InIt, those trainee models used for Unit interface in training.

He looks away, studies his hands and puts his face in his hands, as though deep in thought. He doesn’t want to betray his new awareness. He clears his mind by clouding it, thinks of how he must return to CraterProx, that his absence will be noted, creating further wrinkles in GrUnCo for QuantumBot.

Through his hands he becomes aware of Sane’s close proximity. He lowers his hands, looks up and meets his gaze, waiting.

‘Abraham,’ Sane addresses him, ‘ you’re right, your absence from Function will be noted. You must return to the Crater and continue to perform your tasks, report your findings, perform your duties. A truckBot has been dispatched. It will return you. First, I must enquire, have you reached a conclusion?’

‘No,’ Abraham hears himself saying, ‘I need more time.’

Sane appears to take this information in his unflappable manner but Abraham, aware now of the occasional disturbances, detects a ripple at his peripheral points but it’s so faint, it wouldn’t be seen unless you were looking for it.

‘Time, before ReAs, is limited,’ Sane says, ‘when QuantumBot will act is uncertain and indeterminate, what QuantumBot will do, is unknown.’

You can say that again, Abraham thinks.

‘Time, before ReAs, is limited,’ Sane says, ‘when QuantumBot will act is uncertain and indeterminate, what QuantumBot will do, is unknown.’

Abraham maintains a straight gaze at Sane, anxious now, not to betray his suspicions or his discovery.

‘Let me be clear,’ Sane continues, apparently unaware of his own disclosure, ‘we intend to mask your dis-assembly so we can minimize the impact of ReAs on you and help us recover you to dis-assembly, as you were before. Do you have any questions?’

‘Mask? what does that mean? how can that be done? and what is the adventure? You haven’t told me.’

Sane’s green eyes were looking through him again. He smiles, ‘questions, questions,’ he says, ‘we like questions. That is what the adventure is, a big question, to find happiness.’

Abraham nods, as though understanding but his mind races, questions tumbling from questions. A Dog appears beside Sane and indicates with a nod and a flicker, the arrival of the truckBot. Sane extends a hand to indicate it is time for Abraham to depart. He’s aware of trying to walk as normally as he can muster to the descent box, suppressing his desire to run.

He knows he has one advantage over Sane and his Diamond Dogs and who or whatever controls them. He has the Tablet Chronicles and he knows, somewhere in the blueprints, he will find the answers.











7 thoughts on “Starman: Life on Trappist1#8, Happiness

    • I’ve given it much consideration, Colleen, and begun the next chapter, before this week’s prompt, but what I’ve decided is the next and then #10, will be the last of this series and 1-10 will then, with any luck, comprise the first chapter of a novel. So, in true Game of Thrones’ style shock drama, expect #9, the penultimate episode, to set us up for a planet rattling conclusion

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