Automaton I: Cook and Cleaner

by Shiverfinger
originally published at 03:28AM on Thursday, June 14, 2007

The dishes towered in heaps, festering and sprouting patches of furry mold. A rotten stench lingered in the corners of the kitchen, fed by globs of congealing food. Cook had tried to wash the dishes, but it was a difficult job. Its hands were fit for cooking and handling ingredients: the glass slipped right through its iron fingers. Cleaner had been broken for two weeks.

The Admiral said he would fix Cleaner, but he hadn’t.

So Cook just retrieved the kettle from the stove and prepared the Admiral’s breakfast. A daisy in a vase from the garden, the tea, the biscuits, the kettle, and a piece of toast and jam.

Cleaner clicked from the corner, tried to rise on its legs, and crashed back down, spewing cogs and gears. Cook helped it back to its power station before leaving.

Cook laid out the morning tea, alongside the trays from yesterday, and the day before yesterday, and all the yesterdays before that. But that did not come into its equations. It clanked back to the kitchen. That was Monitor’s concern.