Pascal Derrien

4 years ago · 4 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Out There

Out There

In 2145 a decree ratified and supported by the Empowerment Planet Act stipulated that mankind should reintroduce with immediate effect the supervision of all robotic fleets and subsequent automated services across the Confederation. This bill is most commonly known as Rule 51. Today not too many people are aware that rule 51 is an indirect acknowledgement and mark of respect for the 5100 human victims from the Planet Kyz. In 2140 a large component of the android fleet of the planet went rogue and attempted to establish a new order.

Helped only with a small squadron of loyal robots the tiny human garrison did not manage to avoid the coup and subsequently fled the planet leaving behind 5100 humans. All of them including infants were systematically tracked and killed by the newly self appointed Kyz machine governing masters. It took 18 months to the confederation armed forces to regain control of the Planet Kyz.

In 2170, work, retirement and pension concepts were re-introduced to human society, in 2180 the notion of immortality was also removed from the constitution. Minor concessions were given in order to allow for a gradual change. To help with the adjustment all humans would be disease free for the first 100 years of their life but would see retirement age set at 120. As life expectancy was reintroduced to the vocabulary, humans now living up to 160 on average across the confederation started progressively to develop a lifestyle and attitudes which by any means were not so different from their ancestors of the Old World.

Nowadays humans are common sight in factories or galactic flights, under rule 51 two or a minimum of one human is to be present on industrial sites hosting more than 300 robots, automates, wired helpers or equivalent capacity. One out of every eight flights has to have a human supervisor or engineer on board with minor variations depending on which settlements or exoplanets the transport companies are registered to. Inspections and counter-inspections are routinely executed to make sure rule 51 principles are respected.

In 2347 Maku is 77 year old, he is head supervisor at Sat Ink, a recycling company specialized in decommissioning satellites, spaceships and other non- atmospheric travel engines. Dust has become a very valuable currency and Sat Ink has up to 100 sites proudly producing 300 tons of dust a week per site.

Maku is based on Viaz a small exoplanet north of of Kuys. Thanks to rule 51 he has a well paid job overseeing a small but very efficient recycling site. To meet his calendar objectives he leads a 600 hundred androids and automatons force, they all perform various tasks depending on what their field of expertise has been designed for. The small industrial outpost receives up to three shipments a week comprising on average five to ten ''to be retired'' flying devices.

Maku is the only human on site, bar the 18 months health check up at Sat Ink HQ or the quick chat with a bi weekly rule 51 On Board Engineer, Maku leads a monotonous, repetitive and season less life. He does not complain but rarely interacts with human beings besides daily KPI reports checks, weekly conference calls or virtual service messages. When was the last time he had an non planned holo-call?. He can obviously answer that question himself and he knows it all too well. It was seven years ago, it was from Michael his only son.

The staff quarters Maku lives in were originally made for ten individuals so he retreated to the corner office not only because there is smashing view on the neighbouring planet K4 but the dimensions always seemed to be more appropriate for one person only. He has personalized the habitat to his taste including a prominent and imposing holo-painting above his bed.

It's a picture of planet 55 Cancri another exoplanet whose surface is made of graphite and diamonds. This is where he went to with Michael to celebrate his son's 10th birthday, this is where Michael learned that planets with no atmosphere did not experience erosion or corrosion to the same extent than others. Not only it was the first time Michael ventured out of their own planet habitarium but Maku remembers fondly how his son asked him if the two of them were like cold welding material. He always smiles when he thinks he had to be reminded by his son that sometimes two pieces of a particular metal touching each other in space can remain stuck together for ever. 

Maku does not take week ends or holidays apart from the compulsory days off, he has taken a flexi plan and wants to accumulate those bonus days to avail of early retirement and be close to his son. He has not spoken about his plans to Michael, actually Its hard to believe it is already 5 years since they last spoke, On days off many times he meant to speak to Michael but he did not. Why that ? What happened ? Who knows and frankly nobody seem to care about it. If only Maku had known that sometimes you got to be strong to be weak.

To kill the time Maku reads and he has read many visual and audio holo-books. On many of his readings, especially the old ones from the 21st century, he has bumped and become familiar with many terms despite not always being able to fully grasp their essence or true meaning. What is hope he wonders, what is love and compassion, how do you build connection and friendship? It seems all those words were once held in high esteem among humans. Where are all those things gone he wonders. Struggling with interrogations beyond his comprehension he settles his mind by thinking that maybe it's still out there, somewhere.

But for now, one of his loyal golems called Jerry reminds him that it's time to activate the night porter console and trigger the concierge protocol for the night. Gosh already Maku sighs... Not for the first time, at that very moment he is overwhelmed with the need to talk to a human being but like the last time it does not last. This does leave him utterly dizzy and confused though, sadly his existence has taught him how to deal with such cravings and he knows it will pass until it comes again.

Tomorrow is another day

""Des etres qui ont tout et decident de choisir autre chose "

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Photo Credit
Christian Scheurer

Produced for beBee only

Written Material  2017 Copyright - Pascal Derrien -

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Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #24

ah thanks Kevin encouragement much appreciated cheers Kevin 😀

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #23

thanks Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador no unions either :-)

Not a 9 to 5 job, for sure. Great story Pascal Derrien.

Julio Angel 🐝Lopez Lopez

4 years ago #21

Hahaha, if the head hurts, it's that we're alive and that's good. ;-))

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #20

Martin Wright one day I will do a sequel on a story I don't know why but I kind of fear people may be disappointed with a part 2 or 3 maybe I should go to Hollywood and get a few tips anyhow many thanks for the kind words :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #19

thanks @Julio Angel \ud83d\udc1dLopez Lopez for being a loyal reader much appreciated Hope I am not causing you a headache :-)

Martin Wright

4 years ago #18

More - i want to read more of this tale.

Julio Angel 🐝Lopez Lopez

4 years ago #17

Alone, so long. Can you re-interact with real humans? Thank you, you always give me to think. Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #16

Ken Boddie ah memes they are timeless aren't they ? 👏

Ken Boddie

4 years ago #15

My great great grandfather often documented the fun they had back in the 2170s, Pascal, on his intergalactic media posts. Back when I was a young and carefree mere octogenarian I came across one of his memes stating "If you remember the 2170s you weren't there". 👽

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #14

cheers Debasish Majumder and thanks for the share too 😀

Debasish Majumder

4 years ago #13

wonderful sharePascal Derrien! enjoyed read and shared. thank you for the share.

CityVP Manjit

4 years ago #12

No dear Pascal, I would be Maku's great,great,great,great grandfather able to accompany him through the wonders of transhumanism - indeed I think you have captured me very well in the second header picture, because I allowed my brain to be copied for immortality purposes but until a suitable donor body is found, I continue to live in the 22nd Century as that vending machine. It is quite a novel request that life extension request is in the form of a 21st Century vending machine !

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #11

thanks CityVP \ud83d\udc1d Manjit I am afraid I fully understand what you say I have not thought about Maku having a brother though 😀

CityVP Manjit

4 years ago #10

The more robotic an environment is the more it is depicted as a really cool environment, which says much that if an environment is made for human beings all aesthetic expenses are spared other than messages that HR is interested in. Very well written sci-fi story where I can see it highly possible that if i was allowed to keep evolving, eventually I too may end up evolving into a Maku. The other qualification for Maku's job is to become a United States border guard on the Mexican border.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #9

thanks old world colliding with the new or vice versa :-) many thanks for reading


maybe one day this scene become the reality, wonderful creation, thank you Pascal Derrien

Devesh 🐝 Bhatt

4 years ago #6

maybe there is clarity on hate. We study love :)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #5

Thanks Devesh \ud83d\udc1d Bhatt no no presumption what your take is your take, once the article is out there it can be dismantled and interpreted as people see fit I no longer control the intent :-) Grass is greener syndrome I suppose :-)

Devesh 🐝 Bhatt

4 years ago #4

Lucky Maku. He didnt get to wonder what is hate, indifference, greed etc. was it 21st century fiction. Or am i presuming stuff?

Lisa Vanderburg

4 years ago #3

Fear? Given what Maku would know of the human history, is he resigned to connect with his son, or has he just lost the art of connection? But I like the complacency/complicity angle! There's so much baggage attached to what one knows....sometimes I long to give it back :)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #2

thanks Lisa Vanderburg I don't know I have an opinion what do you think ? self complacency with the society complicity ?

Lisa Vanderburg

4 years ago #1

Great story Pascal Derrien The starkness of Maku's acceptance of his life, the sheer barrenness of his existence; chices of a different path...were they ever really a choice?

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