• Jabe Stafford

One Page Worlds - Ship-In-A-Bot

A whole world on a single page!

The short story morsels of One Page Worlds are flash fiction adventures of all flavors. Every Wednesday will feature a complete story in one page, or the first page of what could be a novel or novelette.

Sharing the fun and geekery is the best part of writing! Please tweet or comment with your guesses on what genre, character, and job is central to each tale. Enjoy touring new universes each week with One Page Worlds!

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“Core Regulations require all my robotic functions be asked for in a context specific to the profession at hand.”

Gavin’s tawny eyes fix on the tailor bot’s mechanical irises. “Then make me a suit, please. No—a uniform. We got some revolting to do and the Outers won’t follow a captain with clothes what clash.”

The only open shops in the Cap Strip have robots running the counters, the fryers, the exhibits. They remain indoors. The smog-heavy sky outside wouldn’t help their solar cores, and crews of Outer freedom fighters pounded the pavement, demolishing any bots that got in their paths. Precursors to their upcoming takeover at the Core downtown.

Gavin extends his arms like a stage actor about to take a grand closing bow. Around him, racks of clothes and bolts of cloth sprinkle the sales floor in the mostly empty tailor’s studio. And it had been a studio. Full of mannequins and display cases to show off the bot’s work.

Now they lay in pieces, scattered and empty like the Core was about to be.

“If you claim to be a captain,” the bot croaks, “then you must have seen the Core warning that went out on the palm-feeds. All females and males are to—”

Gavin’s back straightens. His voice snaps. “Make me a uniform no one’s ever seen. Get started so I can get to the places I got to go.”

The bot’s irises flit over Gavin’s shoulders, chest, waist, legs. Its mechanical body swells at the places where muscle shows through Gavin’s ruined Outer garb. The bot’s head expands. Its thighs grow. Then it seizes material, needles, thread, patches, and epaulettes. It sews these onto the cloth as it cuts and measures them, arms and head whipping faster and faster.

“Are you in the middle of making my suit?” Gavin asks.

“Yes, sir, but the palm-feeds ordered an evacua—”

“You got enough metal in there to grow to ship size?”

The bot nods once. "Nanites too."

“Then I ask you to get big and kick some ass for us.”

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