Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Gleaming - March 17, 2117

AVAPP (Any Vastness Approaching Past Pendulum),

Would that I could fully describe this relic, this anachronism, this monolith to past failures (including a total absence of dust-converters): here a rotten table leg; there an ancient fishbowl, oozing gravel and monochromatic plastic; here a pile of paper made of real dead trees, the edges microscopically jagged and prone to irritating, possibly deadly, human skin slicing; there - as Interpoedia classified for me - a staple, covered in barbaric rust.

I tip-toed around these objects from simpler and impossibly more dangerous times, terrified that I might reintroduce the dreaded tetanus into the population of the city bubble.

(Alighting upon this thought brought a flash in my eye-unit of oxidized metal and old-timey hospital wards, complete with microbe-infested, gauze-wrapped human attendants.)

"Along this corridor, you will see the skeletal remains of a once great bureaucracy! Your eyes may register garbage, but while that garbage currently lies lifeless and sad, not long ago it made up the synapses of a beautiful brain!" Professor RJ Stubblesworth kicked an old table which expended the rest of its life span and sent a cloud of dust into the air. "Truly a wondrous organism!"

"As we pass through the synapses, we come to the organs and pumpers of life blood."

With a regal wave of his arm (and the left wing of the gift shop), Stubble presented me with the decrepitude that was the factory floor. While the dangers of the back-office may not have proven fatal, the oxidized and slanted equipment of the deserted factory floor promised mutilation with the slightest miscalculated step.

Pulverized glass and soot covered every inch of the broken down organs of industry. Stubble wiped a finger on a nearby piece of equipment, revealing the bronze coat beneath. "This was once a proud bottling machine. Worked by the skilled hands of unionized labor! And this," Stubble made a hop and a turn, landed next to another machine which boomed at a slight pound of his fist, "could turn a hundred bottles of elegant glass into a sturdy box to be stacked!"

The polish of the audio tour stood in stark contrast to the fossilized remains of the factory.

What use was a factory anyway when the Protocol for Robotics mandated non-union contracts and inflation-adjusted yearly oil changes? Whatever could be said of the past, the future had made evident that humans were no good at calculating uncertainty. The Great Machine in the Sky made all of those calculations today. Where would we be without the Great Machine!

I lost track of the Professor's tour, but he seemed happy to give it to Chubb. I wandered off between the bottler and another machine that I kept clear of out of fear of fear itself. Every plume of dust caused a slight overload in my sneaker unit, but a gleaming object in the distance had me hypnotized.

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