After putting the last of what he could fill his strore with from the cargo of his ship, he stands up, rubbing his lower back mumbling under his breath about not finding Freddie again when he needed him to re-stock the store. “My own damn fault for being anal about stock and not waiting for him to get back from lunch” he thought to himself as he came into the store front counter.
“What the ...”, he says almost stopping in his tracks bringing his gate to a slowed crawl as something very odd catches his eye, he begins a slow walk as he focuses on trying to figure out what is on the counter that would be a mysterious white with whisps of almost non-visible steam coming from it.
Closing his hand in toward the what he recognizes now as rolled up paper, he feels the coolness as if it were ice. Inviting temperature in leu of the heat storm going on outside. Touching it, he realizes the paper is still plyable like paper. Picking it up with curiosity peaked and unrolling it. I recognizes it’s a letter.
“How novel, I’ve heard of these things back from the 20th century when these types of things started to die out... but to see one so finely hand written.....” His voice trails off as he begins to read.
......... _________ ___________________________
...|::::::.\::::::;,,.. Dear Mr. X,
...|:::::::::\:::::;:,,,.. I’m sending Toby as we discussed to have you look him over.
....\:::::::::|:::::;,,,. And yes, I know it’s odd to send this via an archaic thing such as
........``` /::::::;,,,. paper, (or is it?)
............|:::::;,,,,.. Archaic mode of communication I know; however,
.........../::::::;,,... I’m excentric and an exotic relic myself and know it.
........../:::::;,,.. I’ve grown to appreciate that part of myself.
......../::::;,,.. It’s time I have my own signatures in life. I’ve also grown quite fond
....../::;;;,,.. of hand writing. The pen and paper is not only therapeutic, but powerful because
....;;;;,,.. it is thrown out as ancient in the 'new age' of 2340; which reminds me, it’s getting close
.,,,,.... to 2341. Anyway...
;,. Toby will be down as soon as the storm is over, pansies pot and all on the head. Heaven forbid if that plant dies. If the ;.elements wilt the thing can you please buy a new one and replace it without him knowing and put it on my bill? My ;instructions for him are simple, yet the depth of why is not so easy to explain, but will do my best to fill you in.
I’ve had a few conversations with him since I bought him and been watching his behavior. I think I got an accidental gem when I bought him from Sirius thrown off as “junk” robot for a mere 15k. The reason I’m taking the time to give you an extensive set of instructions is a simple matter of realization on my part. As you know by your slick little eyes everywhere (which I most definitely can appreciate, admire, and respect due to how taxing I know it can be to keep all that straight and working smoothly). Our adventures can take us to some pretty interesting situations and places too. What you don’t know is we have our own house interesting situations on my ship as well. After all, can’t help but happen with a psi ridden captain that sees the future in odd and different modalities, sees the past, manipulate elements, and that has mysterious friends on and off her ship right? My crew is made up of odd misfits with unique talents and personalities, and that is how I like it. It makes life worth living, colorful, and warm in a cut-throat age.
I’m getting to the instructions I promise. However, all these odd things bring opportunities to meet good friends, like Sam, Horatio, and Steve. Unfortunately Horatio isn’t with us anymore either due to an accident that also resulted in loosing Steve and eventually Sam (as we spoke about). Horatio was a cold version of a caretaker that was warm and comforting in his own way .. not to mention self-made. He is still with us but just in body, as is Steve. Steve powered himself down when I told him Horatio was no longer with us. I was devastated. Then when I lost Sam, my right arm and best friend, well... you get the picture.
Anyway, after visiting you today, I walked through the ship, checked on Horatio as if it would do any good, still laying in a quarter lifeless, then I went to look at Steve as I put the flowers down that I bought today, who is sitting lifeless on my table, with a blue flower as symbol of a goodbye and a reminder to me that life is still good. I wish I could do something like that for Sam, but it also might be a good thing too that I can't because I’m not taking her absence so well.
As I sat looking at Steve after carefully setting that flower beside him, I realized something I think is very critical...I’m just a mortal captain of a ship of crew and I'm expendable to the world, not a god, and I can’t fix things like that. But their passing, to whatever times or realms they might be now, has given me gifts too because that is what I choose to get out of it. Two things keep singing to me aside from the constant whispers I hear... Choices, choices, choices .. And integrity, integrity, integrity, not to be confused with righteousness. Those are the only things we have in this world worth any value. I refuse to change myself because to world wants to change me, take advantage, betray, or kill me. Consider yourself the first person that receives evidence of who I am in this world.. A simple hand written archaic note with honesty, integrity, and that is powerful whether the world realizes it or not.
This all brings me to Toby; I refuse to be an owner and taskmaster to him to him. He already has the capacity to make choices; it is clear from our conversations. He just doesn’t have the tools to reach his potential. I don’t want him changed in AI/personality. That is who he is. Just like all of us, we have more potential than we can imagine, we just need to develop the tools to grow into it. Or in his case, given the tools to reach his potential. He gets excited, he can reason, he can make choices ... all on his own. I know his casing and components are archaic, but it is who he is right now and who he knows he is...and unless he makes the choice to be put into a new body or make himself one, there is where he will stay...he's actually on a pay scale on my ship, not a slave. He may never appreciate it or what I have tried to do for him, but that is okay.
Please send me a full report of what is needed to cure him of his ailments that keep him from reaching his full potential and any possible opportunities to give him special usage. Depending on what those are, I can ask him when he has grown some what he would like his job to be. And...If he chooses to leave then so be it. It’s his choice. I may not have the credits to do it all right now, but we can do it all in stages if I have to, or my crew do what they can here that isn’t beyond their capability at this point in time.
Realizing my own power to be who I am in this world from the deaths of my friends has been a gift, both to me and Toby. I’m a powerful ally, powerful enemy, and a powerful mortal friend. I'm a simple Fraal trying to live my life...I'm not a god. I make the choice to leave my own personality as a mark on this world and I still have a lot to learn myself. I won’t waste my existence by filling it with egotistical egotistical remorse, pity, whining, or slothful resignation. Because I want that for myself, I want that for Toby too. I don’t want to leave his fate to someone that underestimates him, forgets him, or thinks he is less than them self.
He just has to realize his potential and learn to love himself. Steve didn’t love himself, see how much he meant to others, or see his potential in the world, and as a result, chose to NOT live his life. That is a sick waste. I can’t respect that choice as his, but I do respect his process and him.
.. With all that said, and understanding now of what I'm looking for him,
.... send me a message when you get the estimate of what need to be done
...;,,.. and we can proceed from there. I won’t pass him off as junk because three of my friends
.....:;,,.. are gone, two of them because they didn't see their importance or potential.
./::::::: \::;;........ Captain Arjii
l::::::::: /::::::;;.... P.S. Consider yourself the first person that receives one of Captain Arjii’s little
\:::::::: /::;;....,... signature quirks. Oh, and sorry about the mess.
..\:::::/::;;,..... Next time read this over a basin or trash can.
Reading the last of the note, he can’t help but wonder what that signature is with an intrigued smile and for a split second thinks about where a trash can is and realizes it’s too late. His face transitions as he sees the ink grow tendrils on the paper feeling water crawling into his hands and down his arms, the words becoming un-intelligible swirls as the paper starts melting around his hands into soggy remnant pieces. Chuckling to himself he wonders how she did that without the ink running in the first place, yet....still pliable, in the freezing process. He can’t help but wonder how the ink didn’t stay on the pieces of paper at all, not even a smear.
Moving his hands and fingers slowly to watch the process unfold, “Nice trick, no trace....” he whispers to himself. “I think you might have found a new-found respect for a ‘mortal’ Captain. You are fucking weird.”
Turning his wrist over and letting his fingers be a vessel for the flow of water in his fascinated watch, “....a rare thing Mr X.”
Walking toward an unkempt stained basin watching the pieces of paper naturally stick to his fingers as the water drains away. He picks up a piece of the paper that seems to just disintegrate from the water as if it’s been soaking for months, “Yes... yes, a rare thing for me in my ‘cut-throat’ world.”
Turning on the water, he washes the remnants of paper off before turning the water off again and reaching for a towel to dry them with a smile and shake of his head. “You just never know what might happen in a day....You have me intrigued Captain Arjii, I think we found a rare working relationship in this ‘cutthroat’ world of ours. I don’t like trusting anyone, but I trust you. I don’t like it at all, but you got my trust and attention.”