Science Fiction: The Cross Connection

Sukriti Tripathi


A beautiful morning of smogginess and mist; and I, a dull looking girl, sitting on my couch, more like an old thoughtful granny though I am just seventeen; quite unexcited for my eighteenth birthday which is tomorrow. People say I’m quite mature for my age, I know not why.

My parents have gone to the market to buy my birthday present, presumably. And here I am, surrounded by the boring, latest technologies as usual.

“Jaco”, I called my personal helper. He keeps record of everything I do. “Where’s my oxygen mask? I want to out for a walk.” He gives it to me and I switch him off so that I could, at least for a day, go out alone in seventeen years. He has been sticking to me since the day I was born. Nowadays parents buy a personal helper before the child is born; and they give them a name together with their child as if two babies have been born. Yes, you heard it right, readers. Jaco isn’t a human helper. He is a robot, my personal robot, without whom I can’t even imagine being alive for a day. We all have one with us, every time and everywhere; we can’t get free from the helper as it keeps a record of what we eat, what we do, how we sleep; it keeps tracking everything and let us know what is good for us or where should we go. And yes, we can’t go out if we don’t wear an oxygen mask and an oxygen cylinder that is being carried by of course, our helpers. Nobody sticks to us like they do.

In the outside world, I see some humans wearing special suits for oxygen, walking with great struggle. Three humans flying hastily in their air cars. I’m able to count humans here on my fingers because we rarely see any humans outside nowadays. People prefer staying at home as the world we live in is full of risk — lack of oxygen and harmful diseases.

Suddenly I see a small figure of a man coming closer to me. I can’t see his face exactly because of smoggy and sooty climate, but the shadow of this man gives a familiar feeling.

“Hello! Lia, Uncle Bruno here. You look dull today!” the shadow whom I have recognised now, says.

“Hey Uncle. I’m kind of bored so…”

“Don’t you think today we have lesser smog than yesterday? I can see things at least one metre away from me which I couldn’t yesterday. The smoke is much better today,” he said while his helper seems to be dusting the dirt from his suit.

“Maybe, Uncle Bruno. Are you going somewhere?” I asked.

“Oh yes, yes. I’m going to the police station, talk to the robot officials regarding your great-great-grandmother’s house. They say it is harmful for the present world as it is the only house left with a little plant which just doesn’t stop growing, God only knows why. Nobody even lives there now. Who would go and stay in a tiny two-room vulnerable house when we all have our automatic beautiful buildings that include every facility required in today’s world? They need my video recording saying, I’m okay with its demolition.”

“But is it really okay to see our ancient house being demolished? It is our ancestor’s house after all!” I said in quite a disappointed tone which even confused my Uncle.

“Well, Lia! We have got no other option than simply obeying the robot officials. They are handling our country’s affairs. And, most importantly, we need a peaceful life with them. We have to agree with whatever they say because…we can’t fight with them. How could we? We can’t even breathe without an oxygen mask. But they? They are stronger…read more on NOPR