To Serve Man

The kettle begins to whistle, and before the sound has a chance to pick up any real volume the droid lifts it off the small gas heater and pours hot water into the teacup, then uses the remaining contents to fill up a hot water bottle. It stirs the contents of the teacup, then carefully picks it up in one hand, takes the hot water bottle in the other, and wanders out of the kitchen, down the long dark hall, towards the lounge.

The glow of the roaring fireplace illuminates the room. The power had been cut long ago, but its master hadn’t objected. It walks to the chair where his master lays, places the hot water bottle under the blanket, then sets down the teacup, and takes away the old cup which is still full of what is now very cold tea.

It then carries on with its duties – mopping floors, cleaning surfaces, and scrubbing a bath its master hasn’t used in weeks. It is, after all, only fulfilling its primary function. It doesn’t occur to the simple thing that its master will not be getting up again.

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