The water was warm against my skin and I settled into the tub with a sigh. 

I noticed the grimy bandages still around my hand and slowly unraveled them, looking at the sinewy tissue trying to weave itself back together over the wound.

For some reason I started to wonder if I was ever going to see my house again. If I was ever going to spend hours in virtual reality or among clones again. 

Or if I was ever going to eat again.

"Maidie, I'm starving." I glowered, hoping to have an affect.

No such luck. She simply watched me back, a severe boredom apparent in her eyes. 

I repeated myself.

Still no reaction.

"Fine." I sighed, "What do you want?"

She started, as if she hadn't heard a word I'd said before that moment.


"In exchange for something to eat." I explained, "Before I die of starvation."

Maidie laughed.

"You can't."

And then she suddenly grew serious and coughed.

"I mean, sure I'll get you food." she said quickly, looking like she wanted to slap herself in the face, "But-uh, just not now. As soon as you're done here."


"Here's some soap!" she offered cheerfully, shortly before something hit the side of my face and splashed into the tub, "Oops."

I searched for the mystery object and found a slippery white bar, eying it suspiciously in the light filtering into the room from the small slit of a window. 

"This is soap?" I asked incredulously, staring at it.

Maidie laughed, walking over to me and splashing water into my face.

"Of course it is, you idiot! You rub it on your skin until you're clean!"

The last soap I'd seen was the metal cartridge that my automatons loaded into my shower for me. That way the shower head instantly dispensed soapy suds and then normal water, on a timed cycle for one's convenience.

The strange bar was horribly time-consuming in comparison. Who on earth would want to spend so long scrubbing at their skin and constantly dropping the slimy thing? It was beyond my comprehension.

Maidie, however, found my problem hilarious.

"You're even more spoiled than I remember, Preston."

I threw the soap at her and she dodged it expertly, returning it so that it hit me square in the back.

"And you have no sense of aim!" she chuckled, making her mane of fiery hair ripple through the air.

"You know what's funny?" she said suddenly, after a moment of silence.

"What?" I muttered, not even remotely listening but instead inspecting the various needle marks in my skin.

"In our time, Superior America called itself the 'frontier of advancement'. We had technologies beyond imagination; robots rivaling human sentience, weapons that could destroy universes, and we created towers that spiraled higher into the sky than ever before. And yet, our population was nothing but isolated idleness. The greater our technology became, the lazier and stupider the people were."

"Does that even matter?" I muttered, rinsing the grime out of my hair.

"That's exactly my point." she smiled, "You couldn't understand even if you wanted to."

I sighed, wincing as the soapy water touched my cut.

"I don't want to, as a matter of fact. Could you just get back to supervising me before you leak another revolutionary bout of propaganda?"

A towel hit me in the face after that.

"Why don't you hop out, dollface? Time's up."


The End

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