Bomb in A Bikini

Chapter 1 Bomb in a Bikini

An indistinct rumble penetrated my sleep. I was sure I hadn’t made an appointment with a rumble. With the effort of atlas, I managed to open one eye. As no pain resulted, I decided to risk opening another. I saw what my half-functioning mind interpreted as a green dog, not a common sight thereabouts. In a few more seconds I had resolved the source of the rumble. It was a delightfully enamelled, green and purple bomb, sporting a pink bikini. Why would a bomb wear a bikini? You’ll probably guess the bomb wasn’t designed for stealth. Subtlety of entrance is not a bomb’s speciality. It had chewed its way through bricks, steel and wood to get to me. By the looks of the fragments of robot here and there, one or two security machines had succumbed to its charms. The bomb noticed that I was now aware of it. It retracted its wall chewing teeth, shook off the dust of its exertions, like a dog shaking off water, and prepared to deliver its message.

The bomb had a charming speaking voice, and was apparently designed to deliver threats and injury in the most civilised possible manner. It stood on two legs, barely fifty centimetres tall and addressed me through a small, tinny speaker. I knew it was a bomb, because it had ‘Bomb’ printed on its side, and a flashy countdown timer, it read 20:15; time left, I presumed.

“Good morning, though I could explode and do a lot of damage, I’ve come by way of a warning.” I waited it for it to continue; interrupting a bomb while delivering a threat did not make for a comfortable life.

“Um… what warning are you delivering?”

“Just a warning, that’s all. Life is pretty good for you; on your sixth lifetime, semi-famous, and happy. It would be a pity if all this came to end, wouldn’t it?”

“Yes...I suppose it would.” I guess the question was rhetorical, but I decided to answer anyway. I wanted the bomb to like me. Getting on the right side of a bomb can make life less painful.

“Good...I’m going to stop this countdown timer, and simply explode in a completely injury free manner, no need to get too anxious, but just before I do, I have a question.”

I could hear my heart thump, as the bomb paused; for dramatic effect, I suppose.

“Do you like my bikini? We bombs don’t have much fun, so I thought I’d jolly my short life up a bit.”

“It’s…um, very…sensual.” The statement would have been entirely accurate if I got excited about buckets in swimwear, which is what it looked like, but I thought flattery the best policy.

As adrenalin pumped me up towards full wakefulness, the bomb seemed to waver and shimmer, like the road in the desert. In a second the bomb had dissolved into a mist that rapidly spread through the house. I was a little shocked by the bomb, which was the point I suppose, but I was soon overwhelmed by the stench. Think of a six month old corpse, add a touch of eau de sewerage, garnish with the essence of milk-in-the-sun-for-a-week. This would be at the bottom of the slope that, at the pinnacle, could begin to approach the repulsiveness of the odour now permeating the place I called home.

I didn’t know it at the time, but my encounter with the bomb was genteel in comparison with what was to come. Within seconds I was outside. If this was the bomb’s idea of subtlety, I was in no hurry to meet bluntness. My communicator buzzed with a message.

“This is an automated announcement. At three am today our facility experienced a brief power surge, several thousand persbacks may have been injured. We urge you to run full diagnostic tests to determine if your persback is complete and fully working.”

This was an altogether more sinister message, though I wasn’t terribly worried. We all kept multiple copies of our personality. Relying on only one stashed copy, or having them all in one solar system, was considered foolhardy in the extreme. What if a star went supernova unexpectedly? All life within a ten light year radius would be toast. Along with all life, would be all stored personalities.

The first thing the advancing front of humanity did when entering a new solar system was set up automated persbacks facilities. The relay lasers that transmitted personalities to different persbacks were the web that wove humanity together. Homo sap could only be united in one goal­­; to remain alive as long as they wanted, all else was detail. This or that political or cultural system was ephemeral, human life was eternal, if you wanted it to be.

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That was the beginning of my adventures. I’ll return to them soon. But now a big Hi corpsicles!!! And welcome to 2550. I know your first instinct is to pick up a newspaper, read all about the world you’re in and then hop in your hover car, with the assistance of your personal robot slave. You’ll then check out the fabulous wealth you’ve accumulated from compound interest over the centuries of frozen sleep.