The automatic door swings open. It creaks.
Add to list- check on door-bots to fix Ren’s bedroom door.
“Good morning, REN.”
Ren yawns. I should check with the internet if it is okay for him to be this tired.
No. No. No. Your orders were to be as human as possible. Humans have proved to combust at these layers of stress. Ren is a twelve-year-old boy, it is also okay for him to be tired at 7 AM.
I check his stress levels. They are low.
See, Oppy? Those are normal stress levels. I lower my stress levels and feel more relaxed.
Error. Error. Error. Master Ren has gotten up and I didn’t notice.
Master Ren is frowning.
“Oppy, you need to stop thinking too much. You’ll damage your software.”
“Your concern is very touching, REN.”
Master Ren is laughing. He is happy.
Now I just have to keep him happy for the rest of his life.
I still remember the day I was christened. It is grained into my software for all of time.
My maker said that my orders for all my life were to be human, to never do anything wrong. To never let an opportunity to do good pass by. And then she named me Opportunity. After the Mars probe.
The Mars probe had died, and I was to carry on its legacy.
My maker gave me all of the emotions that she could think of. And then she put me in charge of her son.
One day, everything changed. She showed me a spaceship-looking giant thing that she’d been working on for years. Then she said, “Oppy, things have changed. There are bad people out there who…”
“Bad people? People who hurt other people?”
“What did the BAD PEOPLE do?”
“Uh… You know the sun, Oppy?”
I had nodded. I knew the SUN. The SUN gave light for Ren to play in. The SUN was a friend.
The SUN wouldn’t hurt anybody.
“The bad people are going to make all of the sun’s friends fall down here.”
“They will hurt the SUN and take her FRIENDs away?”
“Yes, Oppy. The friends will make it so bright here that we have to go somewhere else.”
I considered it.
“Where will we go when it is too bright?”
“I won’t go anywhere. You will go with Ren into this… boat. The boat will take you to another place where it isn’t too bright, okay?”
“Did MISS tell REN about the SUN’S friends?”
“Not yet, Oppy. I’m going to tell him now. Can you please wait in the boat?”
I obediently went inside the boat and sat at the window and listened to what was happening through MISS’ microphone, that was attached to her headset, which was around her neck. She wore it, just for me. MISS went over to Ren.
“Ren! I need to tell you something important.”
It was over here that I realized that Ren was three years old. Ren wouldn’t understand that the friends of the SUN would make it too bright. He would never agree to that his mom wouldn’t come along.
I stayed quiet and continued listening.
“Remember the time I told you the story about the sun and her friends?”
“Oh, yeah! The fire-flies and the white circle!”
“The white circle is the Moon, sweetie.”
“Anyways, the fireflies in the sky are going to come down and visit us.”
“Yes, but they are really bright, remember?”
“Yeah! You said they were as bright as the sun!”
“See, they will make it so bright here, we can’t stay here.”
“Where will we go, then?”
“Somewhere even better! I’m going to send you and Oppy to a really cool place! I’m going to send you to where the fireflies are!”
“Wooahh!! With Oppy?!”
“Yeah! With Oppy…”
Ren suddenly blinked, very hard.
“Mommy, is that one of the sun’s friends?”
Miss turned around so quickly that you would have thought she had seen a ghost. Then she picked up Ren and started to run and then dumped him in the boat with me. Then she pressed a button and the top of the boat closed and slowly started to fade to black.
“I love you, Ren! I love you, Oppy!”
Ren started crying and I cradled him in my lap. I would have a lot to explain when he was older.
The boat started moving higher and higher and higher, and eventually Ren fell asleep after a couple of hours, and left me gazing at how bright the fireflies made our home. So bright, it was like it wasn’t even there anymore.
And this brings us to the present. I’ve been working on this for one hundred and twenty hours straight. I am so tired. But I can’t stop. I can’t stop. I won’t stop. It’s so close to completion… what I had been working on for the last nine years we’ve been on this boat.
Ren comes in again. I’ve forgotten how many times he’s done this. This time, he brings me tea.
With one quick motion, he saves what I was doing and shut down my laptop.
“REN! I was doing something important!”
“Oppy… you’ve been at it for five days.”
“But I can’t take a break!”
“Oppy, when was the last time you charged yourself?”
And then I noticed. My battery levels were at 15%.
The lowest I had ever let my battery fall was 89%, and that was in a nightmare.
I sighed. I still had to finish it.
“REN… Give me five more minutes. Please? You can set a timer.”
Ren grinned. “I’m going to hold you to that, Oppy!”
I finished my work. Just as soon as I was relaxing with Ren and was charging and about to start a game of Monopoly, the red flashing sign I had been waiting for, for the last nine years, came.
The time where the boat couldn’t support us anymore.
“REN. Listen to me!”
His terrified eyes looked straight into my lenses.
“It will all be okay. I’ve been working on… another boat. It will keep you safe forever.”
“I can’t come. But… I’ve recorded thousands of logs. You’ll find out the truth. Why we’ve been hiding from the fireflies. Where your mother is. Remember this- I love you, Ren. My death won’t be your fault. Stay… stay happy for me.”
The tears streaming down his face moved faster with every word I said.
I shoved Ren into a small chute, that would take him directly to the other boat.
Then all I had to do was wait. Wait for my death. I might as well record one last message for Ren. I felt the need to not just say my words. I found myself singing in a very scratchy voice.
Even though our time together
I’ll cherish every memory,
You helped me make.
When you are loved,
No curse in the world
Has any power over you.
When you are loved,
You know all sacrifices
Were made with you in mind.
I know it isn’t my place to say…
For everything is fake for me.
But the one thing that was real-
Was my love for you.
But these are my last words,
Don’t cry over them too much.
My battery is low,
And it’s getting dark.
I’d appreciate it
If you didn’t forget me.