Outside, snowdust swirls. Gramps says it's nothing like the real thing. I wouldn't know and it's hard to think Gramps had it worse than me. I seen the old flatties with their bumper crop of kids throwing snowballs and making snowmen. Can't do any of that fun stuff with the snowdust. But, the snowdust, or sulfate aerosol as the whitecoats like to call it, still keeps things from growing out there.
Growings what I've got to do. Been doing for too many hours. I shake my fingers waiting for McMahon's Blister and Callus Dissolver to work its magic. Waving my hands, I get the stink in my nose, almost as bad as the snowdust plains. Finally, I can get back to work.
Auggies flicker. I've got the overlays set to old-style green phosphor LEDs over an opaque background and S10's avatar appears with the words to the left announcing his return, swiveling his bucket-shaped head and old-time antenna. Figures S10 wouldn't return until my three-hour shift was nearly over.
S10's recharging bay is across the street in the bottom of a skyscraper. On my way, I detour past the Amazon pneumatic tube, selecting one of S10's favorite designer oils on my auggies. The can, still warm from the printers, rattles as the tube discharges my purchase.
"About time you returned." I drop S10's oil on his shelf.
One of those fake yellow smileys glows on S10's stomach display. "You missed me."
I roll my eyes. Of course, I miss him. "Lot's for you to do." I wave my hands at the skyscraper gardens growing on the sides of the buildings surrounding us. Even from this vantage point, it's obvious the leaves droop. Even with all the overtime I've been putting in, I haven't managed to maintain what S10 can achieve.
"Of course, of course."
"Your substitute AI was worthless." They always are.
"You don't begrudge me my vacation." S10 draws two pouting eyebrows over the eyes and lets the smile fade. "Contract says --"
I never could express my feelings. The robot won't be the first one to notice. I glance over my shoulders just to make sure no one is watching me. And lean over and kiss S10's helmet. "I know what the contract says. Time to get to work."