Setting the sun...


The Cure, 06: Different



METRAVĀ / 2.4.3439 / 12:08āam |


he doors open to the Communal Navīgator and, stepping in, I weave through other commuters, taking a seat in a Commuter Pod. The communal trip from Metravā City to 81Sub takes just under two hours, so I press my U-chip, biding my time by going through the notifys and advertī that have accumulated throughout the daāy on my U-screen in front of meē.
My daāy mandatory is lucky enough to be in Metravā City. Every morning, I travel from 81Sub to the central nervous system of our world. Metravā City is piled high with cement, metal and flashing commercial U-screens. Advertī and commercial notifys bombard Metravā commuters with the current trending must-know information.
Dusk grey is the newest trend for every home lot accessory. Purchase everything for your home lot in dusk grey from your U-shop on your U-chip now!”
“Consider adding a Multi-Peār Approved-Vitī to your diet for only minus 7800 currencī!”
“Do not stand out, do not think differently. Enable ‘pacify’ in your U-settings and never be alerted of your difference! Remember: if U stand out, U do not belong.”

On almost every square inch of our metropolis, the Peār logo serves as a constant remīnder, a stagnant and unwavering message that is known by all, this is whom we serve. The air is fragranced with its knowing signature scent: a pacifying blend of Synthetī vanil and co2nut that neutralises the elites who live here. The occasional seasonal Lite Plant dot around, but mostly it is grey usualness and the intense bulbs from the projected screens.
I am privileged enough to have an enjoyable mandatory. I work for the Department of Synthetī Production, and I am responsible for the intellectual programming of the Natural Synthetī in 94Sub. I have never been to 94Sub, nor have I ever met anyone from there, but my mandatory is to program and execute their natural landscape. From all qualities of Synthetī grass to varied sky textures, I assist in the final execution of that section of our world. It is my pride and joy.
“Attention, commuters,” a clear Synthetī voice fills the Receiver in my ears, momentarily disrupting meē. “The Communal Navīgator is now departing for 81Sub. Please stay within your Commuter Pod for the rest of your journey.”
My reflect period now begins. I work from 9āam (daāy) to 12āam (nīght). My job is a privilege as most U-mans start the daāy at 8āam and work through until 12āam. Reflect period begins the moment you finish your mandatory period. I am lucky enough to have extra reflect time as I am now a senior in my position. I remember when I first started at the Department of Synthetī Production as an intern programmer. Our mandatory periods were a lot shorter then. Over time, however, they have gotten longer and longer. I will be home by 2āam, leaving again by 7āam, giving meē five hours with my wife and daughter.
My heaārt warms when I see that I have a U-vid message from Neēreē. I expand it and her airy voice fills my ears, her beautiful face filling my screen.
“Spouse! I hope your mandatory was as enjoyable as mine. Knijä and I are at home waiting for you so we can have our late meal together. Perhaps we can then watch a U-moveē? I cannot wait to see you!” She then lowers her voice. “Also, todaāy is the 2nd. Knijä’s package was delivered successfully.”
The U-vid disappears and I sit there for a moment thinking. Knijä is five now and is learning at an exceptional rate, her differences now understood by her.
Regardless of how fearful we are, Knijä has stolen our heaārts. She has opened us up and revealed things about ourselves that we never would have thought possible.
However, every daāy is an emotive war due to her ‘moods’, an unknown term to us at first and a thing that changes and grows even faster than she does. One moment life is pure bliss – she laughs, oh how she laughs – her laughter fills up the room like a balloon. Then she shouts – she is not happy, she has not gotten her way. Her protests are like shards of glass that fracture the air, puncturing the balloon of bliss and joy. Despite this, Knijä has eclipsed us completely.
“Knijä,” I whisper, watching a memorī on my U-screen in private mode from the nīght before. I stroke her cap of Synthetī blonde hair, her face covered with the creams that smooth the dots on her skin. She has in her ‘contacts’, tiny, thin pieces of plastic that changes the colour of her eyes, a process that is still a struggle every daāy. “My beautiful daughter, why are you angry?”
“Because it all itches!” She throws her hands up in fury and huffs. “Dāddy, I don’t want these things all over my body!”
These are the times that are the most frustrating. There are no answers from the doctor, only deliveries. Some explanations, yes, about her, about our daughter, but nothing, nothing on what she is, on how she came to be this way, nor what will happen.
“Come here,” I say to her, the vision of her exasperated and confused face filling my senses. I kneel in and she comes to meē.
“Dāddy, it’s not fair,” she says, her voice thick with infuriation. “Why do I have to costume to look like everybody else? It takes so long!”
A fitting question and one I cannot seem to find an appropriate answer for. Why is my daughter unlike everybody else? Why is she so unique?
“I am not sure, my sweet one.” I put a hand on her chin and blink forcefully while wrinkling up my face, an act I know that she loves. The sound of her laughter does not fill the multīspace. She is in ‘sad mood’ now.
“Well, what do you call meē?” She tugs at her cap of blonde hair, scratching her true hair underneath. “Do you know what I am?”
“Well, you know I would love you no matter if you were a chair or a U-felīne or a Lite Plant!” I pick her up and pull her into meē. “I am U-man,” I point to myself before tapping her on the nose, “and you, Knijä, are human.”

  • The Cure will be published in full on Monday the 15th of August.
  • The Cure is written by J. R Knight, illustrated by Paul Ikin and edited by Kayla Marie Murphy.
  • The first 15 instalments of The Cure will be published week by week on The Knight Life. The next instalment will continue this coming Monday.
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