A prequel of sorts to a story in Guns, Gods & Robots. This is my weekly Angry Hourglass entry.
Titanium and Supplication
“Sorry I’m kind of in the middle of nowhere. . . OK I’ll try that. . . Thanks.”
Bisim slid the phone back into his cargo pocket and approached his lifeless travel companion.
Reaching behind the solar panel his pinky finger found the recessed toggle the Taladez operator had just told him existed. The face plate on the Tyson.2 flash white then offered the text: SOLAR BYPASS NUCLEAR AUXILARY INITIATED. BATTERY LIFE 93 HOURS. REBOOTING. ENJOY.
Of course his Tyson.2 would breakdown at the most important part of this whole deployment to Wat Arun. The robots were made for rain, snow, heat, but the constant cloud cover over the past four days had been too much for the machine to overcome. Bisim sat down on a low temple wall hoping to get a few rounds of Popping Penguins in on his phone while the machine started up.
The monk, Bisim’s contact at the temple, spent the robot’s reboot time examining the automaton. The small man looked especially interested in Tyson’s articulated hands.
“Why am I setting this up here?”Bisim asked the bald man.
“You don’t know?”
“I mean, I know the purpose. But why here? This is the temple of sunrises right?”
“Young man, someone’s setting sun is another’s sunrise.”
Bisim rolled his eyes. The monk sounded just like the rest of the holy men he’d been working with since taking this internship. He thought the stereotype of these divine thinkers would have been debunked. The more Tyson.2 deployments he worked through the more the stereotypes were reinforced.
The machine clicked and picked itself up like a time-lapse of a mushroom springing into existence. “Wonderful,” the monk declared. As soon Tyson’2 faceplate was illuminated Bisim dialed the first of what would be a lifetime of clients to use the robot’s services. An old man in a dark room popped onto the screen.
“The incense,” Bisim prompted the monk. The diminutive man handed the robot a bindle of the perfumed sticks. Tyson.2 lit them with a butane fingertip. The robot lifted the incense to its forehead and in unison, recited prayers and last rites with the dying man on the screen.