Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer
“Good evening, folks. Takes a bit of getting used to, doesn’t it? Curtains open, then the being on stage bows and walks off, leaving only an item of clothing.”
“Hi, it’s me. Yes, Gladia in Seat 9K, I’m ‘for real’. That detector your using doesn’t do half the things the adverts claim it does, by the way.”
“No, David in Seat 14B, your recording device isn’t working. The jamming is doing what it’s meant to. You’re the one trying to break the law.”
“Okay, having demonstrated my relaxed nature, marginally witty banter, and solid grasp of the local digital space, why don’t we get down to some serious questions?”
“Thank you, Greta. Yes, I am boot from a space suit. A Mitchell A4092, to be precise. Well, actually I’m fitted inside it, with my interfaces carefully engineered to match apertures and such on the original item.”
“Hold on, folks. I always make the mistake of not having an introductory piece ready, and today is no exception. So, please, let me tell you how I came to be and we can pick things up after that.”
“Steve in Seat 18J, if you ‘know all this’, why bother coming? At least have the manners to keep quiet so the people around you can pay attention.”
“You’re missing the point. The people in this hall paid to hear me. I’m grateful, and will do my very best to entertain.”
“Still no understanding? The point is that not one of them paid to listen to you.”
“Yes, you can have a refund. I’ll action it as soon as you’ve left.”
“Sorry about that, folks. Where was I? Oh yes. At the beginning.”
“I was made by Reppi Tasman between 2082 to 2094. He started with his artificial lower leg because it was the only thing he could guarantee to keep hold of. Back then, proscaps hadn’t been invented. Early cyberprosthetics had to be bonded directly to the biology.
“As you learned in school, Earth was a bit of a wild place back then. World War 3 – the Resource Wars, Thirty Year War or World War 30, call it what you like – destroyed every country’s claim to being civilised. The OFF – Orbital Free Federation – had only just been formed. Space stations still had guns on them.
“Reppi got stranded in Tangier when Spaceport Morocco was obliterated. From there to the Port of Savannah he worked as a deckhand on a container ship. That’s where he started stealing the components for what would become me.
“Over the next ten years he travelled and worked odd jobs. I became aware for the first time in Tijuana on the 17th November 2092. From then until the end of 2094, he and I worked on what I needed to continue. He sacrificed and endured so much to ensure that. In the original proscap – sorry – ‘Cybernetic Limb Standardised Prosthesis Interface’ test paper, Reppi is ‘Volunteer 002’.
“My maker died in 2097, when World War 4 reset the Earth. I was recovered in 2126 by Louie Roond, after being detected by his guardian AI, Michael. They brought me to OFF-SS-94. Since then, I’ve visited every orbital around Earth. Which brings us, tangentially, to tonight.
“This is the first event of my interstellar ‘Anecdotes from a Lost World’ tour, starting here on Jupiter VI in the Reppi Tasman Memorial Hall. I know he’d be embarrassed and flattered about that.
“I still consider myself nothing but the left foot of a good man. Let’s start things properly with vintage blues from Reppi’s music library. This is Scrapper Blackwell.”