Iterative Science Fiction

Raw Beginnings

Posted in main story by Mark on November 21, 2009

“This is not smart. You have not thought about this at all,” Kurt stated.
“Why do you ask these questions when you know the answers?” I replied.
“When you respond to my statements with a rhetorical question, you do not expect an answer or to succeed.”
“When did you learn how to use rhetoric? Did that come in a firmware upgrade or something?”
Stillness was the closest Kurt got to looking frustrated.
“Hostility as well, without a human female in the area to warrant this show of threatening bravado. Interesting.”
“The tin-man learned sarcasm as well. I pine for the days when they just silently obeyed orders, I really do.”
“Finally, we are at the dejected but inevitable realization that what I said was true. This is not smart.”
Kurt had this bad habit, or coded routine, of pronouncing the punctuation that most people skipped over. When he uses a comma in speech, he actually pauses. Periods at the ends of sentences take a moment all their own in Kurt’s voice box. I did my best impression.
“It’s this simple: we need credits and they have credits. They want certain outlaws brought back for justice; we have weapons just like everyone else.” I patted the revolver holstered on my thigh. “They don’t want to leave the security of their climate controlled settlements; our home is a space worthy hunk of junk and relocates easily. All these good reasons just stack up.”
Kurt continued to give me the unblinking gaze, possibly unconvinced.
“Let me put it this way. If we bring back the outlaw, we’ll receive enough credits to really stretch out the fuel, food, and juice so we won’t have to come across another settlement that is as,” I paused for emphasis that I hoped wasn’t lost, “disapproving, let’s say, of other Second Men like yourself.”
Sometimes, when I really give Kurt something to think about, the diodes in his eyes dim just the fraction of a lumen. I take it to mean he’s rerouting power from something unnecessary as appearance and switching it towards crunching numbers with his conscience.
“Ok. We will apprehend the outlaw. This bounty hunter mission can not be a regular occurrence. Humans get nervous enough seeing me walking around free. I hypothesize their reactions to seeing me with a gun will also be less than pleasant.”
“If only they knew what a pleasure it was to live with you, Kurt, they wouldn’t worry about you with a gun.”
“Ah. Your Contented chortling because you successfully over ruled my initial objections.”
“No, Kurt, just confidence in knowing a person would be much more dangerous to their own self if given a loaded weapon after living with you for so long.”
I smiled as his eyes flickered for the second time today.

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