space coffee by ingridfnl

11 Apr

“Ma’frogum. See that guy. The one over there in the red gills. He’s been in here every day this week,” ‘tFavebark mindmelds to me while sending an image of the reptilian humanoid to my holoimaging unit.

I send her an affirmative with the wave of my index finger and continue decontaminating the eating units.

I turn on my opti-everywhere unit to monitor his activities. He is scanning the tabletop notification system for planet Shandoor. I have seen him at the same unit before.

‘tFavebark sends me an overly-provocative mental image, with the subtext, “He’s kind of cute.”

I shudder. I am not attracted to aging reptilians, although I have some reptilian blood myself. I need to control my color changes, since my revulsion, I see from my hands, is making me green.

‘tFavebark sends me another image of his eyes, which while pleasant, resemble my own.

I know who he is. I am not going to acknowledge his presence. He cannot see me from the console. If he wants to drink microbic coffee from the replicator, that’s his business.

The first day, he had been less shy. Curiosity, I guess. I saw him scroll through the optional waitress faces that could be depicted on the droidtresses until he came to mine. At some point, I displayed an error message where my face would have appeared. He looked dismayed at the droidtress and then chose the faceless option.

Real-faced droidtresses had been introduced to make the earth-origins less uncomfortable with the droids. For the most part they had been successful. For me, it provided a valuable second income, since I had to sign away some privacy rights in order to be used.

I had attempted to search for my genetic trail for years, and now that he was here, physically, I had nothing to say, not even through the droidtress. I had images of him in my holoframes that were only visible if I was the only one in my habitat. His flaring gills were etched in my mind. I find myself disappointed that he can afford interplanetary travel and was not just a nameless dependent donor.

I knew that he had wanted to remain anonymous. Very little face-to-face seeding took place anymore with egg and sperm harvests and more efficient mechanization of reproduction. It was now typical to be raised by alter-parents rather than by the donors. This was said to counteract genetic character predispositions through varietal-raising techniques.

And yet, because I had my own mother and my birth had been entirely natural (such a dirty word) I wanted to meet him. My mother had even spoke of the antiquated term ‘love’ when talking of him.

And now, he was here. Not a holo, but the real sperm donor.

I thought perhaps he would be disappointed in my career as holo-droidtress, wanting me to have rank and status. Today was the day. I was saddened by his disappointed face every time he tried to reset the droidtress. Today, I would meet him. I would walk physically to his table.

I got into the transport device and found myself shunted down the airtube and dropped immediately beside his table. He turned and stared at me, his mouth open, and his color shifting to orange. “It…. it’s…” he stammered using his vocals.

“Mmmicrobic coffee?” I ask, using rusty vocals in reply.

***
Original story: Coffee

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6 Responses to “space coffee by ingridfnl”

  1. jmforceton April 11, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    “His flaring gills were etched in my mind.”
    As well they should be.
    A lot of fantasy and science fiction I have read.
    iNgrid, a great story this is, even before translation.

    • ingridfnl April 11, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

      I cut my milkteeth on Heinlein and Clark. My dad always had a few science fiction books or anthologies on the go… so I read them from when I was really young. It was incredibly fun to write. 🙂

      • jmforceton April 11, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

        Yes, I have read all of their work, as well as Asimov and Herbert. My favorite is Orson Scott Card’s, Ender’s series.

  2. juleshg April 11, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    I am not a big sci-fi fan but I loved it nonetheless. The Hanmaid’s Tale came to mind when I read your description of the alter-parents and donors and her unique experience of being raised by her natural mother.

    It is a nice twist on your original story

  3. juleshg April 11, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    sorry, The Handmaid’s Tale

  4. Parenthesized April 13, 2010 at 3:45 am #

    I really enjoyed the sci-fi twist on this.

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