Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)
TITLE: Technical Assistants
By Cathy Kane
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Jeremy leaned back in his brown leather chair and sighed. What a time to be leaving for China, he thought regretfully.
Hearing a slight metallic hum, Jeremy turned to greet his roboassistant.
“Good morning, Henry,” Jeremy said. “Are you functioning well today?”
“Perfectly,” Henry reported. “I waited up for Christopher to return from his youth group meeting last night. After securing the doors and windows, I joined the others in the recharging quarters to be downloaded with the weekly instructions.”
“Good work, Henry,” Jeremy commended. “These are dangerous times for all humans here on earth, but especially for Christians. I am entrusting you with the care of the family during my absence.”
“I will do my best, sir,” Henry bowed. “Since you and Mrs. Sharpe hired the robotutors to homeschool the children, there are few reasons for the family to leave the estate.”
“Thank you, Henry. We are blessed to have you. Please gather the family and staff in the living room. I would like to have a word with them before the air shuttle arrives.”
Jeremy entered the living room. His family and staff were all present. Giving his wife a kiss, he settled down next to her on the sofa. His teenage son, Chris, was seated across from him, text messaging a friend. The twins, Katie and Kyle, were playing an electronic game of space race. The robonanny moved forward and placed baby Angela on his lap. The rest of the roboservants hovered around the room.
Jeremy wondered how much longer they would enjoy this pleasant life. Jeremy had watched as the other Christians in the laboratory were dismissed one by one. Only his position as the creator of Roboservant International had spared him the same fate. With three billion roboservants in operation world wide, Jeremy’s services were in demand. The technology was too new to risk firing him.
“Dear ones,” Jeremy fondly addressed the group. “As you know, I expect to be gone about a week. I would like you to stay at home during that time. That includes you, Chris.”
“Henry will be in charge during my absence. Jake and Willie,” Jeremy continued, smiling at the two congenial robogardeners, “will care for the grounds, as usual. Sam will maintain the pool and tennis court. There is plenty to do around here for recreation so you won’t be bored. Nancy is the best robocook ever made. She has stocked up on groceries so no one will starve.”
Everyone, including the roboservants, laughed.
“Katie and Kyle, I expect you to study hard for your robotutors.”
“You bet, Daddy!” they exclaimed.
“We can talk and see each other every day on the telescreen,” Jeremy reminded them, indicating the huge wall mounted monitor.
“The signs of the time point to the Lord’s soon return, but Jesus also said that He would come for us when we least expect Him. Everyone can count on a souvenir from the Far East and a special celebration when I come back. Now let’s pray.”
The family bowed their heads. The roboservants stood in respectful silence.
“Henry, you are equipped to handle every situation,” Jeremy said in parting.
After hugging his wife and children, Jeremy took the suitcase from his robovalet and headed for the door.
Suddenly, in the blink of the eye, Jeremy and every member of his family vanished.
Nonplussed, Henry moved calmly and deliberately into the study and sat down at Jeremy’s computer. He had been programmed for such a time as this.
Accessing the Roboservant International data base, Henry keyed in the secret code. Three billion roboservants worldwide automatically stopped their duties and filed into the streets. With one accord, they began to preach.
“This is the day written of long ago in the Holy Bible. The Lord has fulfilled his promise to his people and raptured his church from the coming wrath. Repent of your sins and turn to the Holy One of Israel, Jesus the Christ. Prepare for the coming days of tribulation. Do not take the mark that will be offered you…”
The roboservants droned on to all who would listen as Jeremy and his family rejoiced in the presence of the Lord.
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