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Welcome to the End of Time: A Short Story of Charcoal Heartstrings

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Welcome to the End of Time: A Short Story of Charcoal Heartstrings Empty Welcome to the End of Time: A Short Story of Charcoal Heartstrings

Post by Guest on Mon May 19, 2014 4:25 pm

She was suddenly aware of being conscious.

“Good afternoon Ms. Heartstrings.”

The gray mare sat up and stretched her limbs, accompanying them with with light groans, and her eyes fluttered open to be greeted by darkness.

“Good afternoon Twi,” she replied. She tossed her sheets aside and carefully made her way to her prep room. Her assistant knew better than to say much else before she had steamed away her sleep. As the warm water poured over her and she lathered the frangrentless soap into her fur, the lights brightened gradually, at a rate so subtle that it would take unaltered eyes to notice any immediate change. This was not the case for Charcoal, and although it has been unneeded for many years, she enjoyed the aesthetic touch. It helped her to remember that the flesh and blood within her could never be fully replaced by machine.

Warm air blew over her body and she could feel her hair frizz about as she stepped out of the shower pod. The room was almost at a light level even with the rest of the station. She grabbed a black band from the counter and wrestled her tail into submission.

Twi’s voice seemed to come from around her, as if Charcoal were wearing headphones, but the perception of sound was merely a wireless transmitter embedded into her nervous system. “The time is currently twenty-one forty-six. You slept for eight hours and twelve minutes. Your sleep pattern is irregular and contains more REM-sleep than usual. Is something on your mind?”

She pulled at the band with her teeth and moved on to her mane. “The frequency and strength of attacks has decreased recently. We’re seeing more robots of newer variety as well.”

“What do you speculate the reason to be?”

“They’re testing new weapons and putting resources into massing their army in preparation for a large-scale invasion.”

“As I thought as well. You should bring this topic up in your meeting, which has been rescheduled to six hundred.”

Charcoal tightened the final band in her mane and fixed her bangs. “Remind me to get a haircut some time in the next couple days.”

“Reminder set.”

“Days” were a pointless thing to say if there was no day-night cycle to give the term purpose, but they were still used to name the twenty-four hour period.

Charcoal set out from her private quarters to the elevators on the north end of the hallway. “Speaking of which, are there any other changes to my schedule I should be informed of?”

“Your appointment with Dr. Vista can be changed to twenty-three thirty if you wish. May I remind you that after recalibrating your optical implants, it is recommended that your eyes remain closed for a minimum of four hours, depending on the degree of required correction. I can also schedule an appointment with Ms. Locks at one hundred.”

Charcoal punched the main floor button and the elevator silently ascended as she pondered her options. It would be nice to get the first appointment over and done with as soon as possible, and she trusted Flora enough to know how she liked her hair.

“Alright, set both appointments.”

“Of course Ms. Heartstrings.”

The doors slid open with a satisfied hiss. Charcoal stepped out and walked to the corridor to the outer edge of the flat, circular building, where thick windows lined the walls. She stopped in front of one and looked out across the badlands. The brown earth was reddened by rust that once lined it like a sheet. The sky was a blur of sunrise purple and sunset orange, surrounding the two celestial bodies that hung forever in the sky, circling in their eternal waltz.

Charcoal watched them with her bright orange eyes. Eyes that were enhanced by technology, increasing their attentiveness and ability to adapt. Eyes that were born to dance, prancing around the room and singing their careless duet of joy. Eyes that were evolved by war, made to be calm in the chaos and tactful in the disbelief. And maybe, when the last robot has fallen, they will be eyes that learned to dance again.


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