Electing a Chair
898 words long
What were Assets? What was Espionage? What was a Committee?
Notes from the author:
The chief advantage of artificial servants, be they golems or robots or animated brooms, is their perfect obedience. Tell them to do a thing, and they will do it. Unfortunately, perfect obedience is subject to the principle of Garbage In, Garbage Out. Flawed instructions will be followed to the letter, leading to unexpected results. Failure on the master’s part to define their terms leads to confusion at best, and at worst, tragically mistaken assumptions. And, as any sorcerer’s apprentice can tell you, neglecting to define an end point can be disastrous.
The main problem with your bog-standard artificial servant is, it was born yesterday. Most of the story’s wacky hijinks will ensue from that.
We are our Master’s personal assistants. There are seven of us. She made us out of pencils and binder clips and worry at five thirty-five on a Friday morning. It was quite the feat, considering she had never done it before and moreover she was in a terrible hurry. We know this because she told us so, several times and very loudly: “Gah! The taxi’s coming in twenty minutes to take me to the airport and I am so not ready!” We weren’t sure what a Taxi or an Airport was, but we knew at the very least it was important.
“All right,” she said at last, “all right already. Welcome to the world, O loyal servants. I am your Master and the CEO of DellaVoid Industries. I designate you the Committee to Protect the CEO’s Assets from Invasion and/or Espionage. The buck officially stops with you. Got it? All right.”
With that she flung open the door and left in a storm of clacking heels and screeching tires. She left us standing around her kitchen table in confusion. What were Assets? What was Espionage? What was this mythical Buck she’d said would stop with us?
What was a Committee?
Our Master’s house is full of books, shelves of them lining every room. We didn’t have to look to see them. Being made of writing utensils and assorted stationery, we could sense every book in the house, and we itched to lay our new eyes upon them. We had an affinity with the written word that made reading, at least, something we already knew how to do. “Books,” one of us said, “have all the answers in the world.”
Without further ado we split up and distributed ourselves around the house, the better to read everything within—and as quickly as possible, too, before the dreaded Buck arrived. What one read, all would know, for our Master had made us all seven at the same time and bound us together as one Committee—whatever that was. No matter. We would find out....
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for February 9, 2018. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (898 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.
Friday Fictionettes are a short-short fiction subscription service powered by Patreon. Become a Patron to get a new fictionette every first through fourth Friday and access all the fictionettes of Fridays gone by.