Challenge #01967-E143: Irresponsible BeautysteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  11 months ago

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Buy something to cheer yourself up. -- Anon Guest

Good news: Rael could plausibly purchase himself from Wave of the Future and therefore become a free individual. Bad news: even as low-bid goods and an admittedly buggy model, he was still heinously overpriced. Wave of the Future insisted that he was a bargain.

And they had him on open bidding.

An urgent ping from the Cogniscent Rights Committee overrode his mail system. Informing him and everyone looking at the auctions that this was an illegal act on the side of Wave of the Future, and anyone purchasing a Faiize was guilty of participating in Cogniscent Trafficking, and subject to fines in excess of one hundred Years.

And Rael had just been about to look up instalment plans and loan agreements so he could purchase himself. He spent a solid minute pondering how the CRC would handle cognsicent genetech attempting to buy itself. Though the legal action now being taken against Wave of the Future's latest toxic move seemed to indicate that the Cogniscent in question would be lectured and possibly re-imbursed.

He could never have afforded himself anyway.

And it was truly disheartening to be where he was, economically, and come to the realisation that he was out of his own pay grade.

Someone was holding a red envelope in his line of sight. It had some Terran characters on it. One of the more popular written languages, but one Rael couldn't immediately decipher. The person holding it was also of asian descent. "Here," they said. "You look like you could use some luck. Spend irresponsibly and feel better."

What? Rael thanked them kindly anyway and didn't open the envelope until they were gone.

Three Hours in notes and change. To spend irresponsibly. That was part of the contract.

Rael's first thought was the All-You-Can-Gobble-For-An-Hour menu at Harga's Fried Eat, followed by attempting to get thrown out of an all-you-can-eat emporium. But then he thought of the human traditions of spending irresponsibly and how they usually did that. And when they did that, they usually spent it on something shiny, useless, and beautiful.

Aunty Fan-Fan had been complaining that his quarters were bare, bland, and harshly utilitarian...

Rael set aside an Hour note for Harga's Fried Eat. Aimed himself off of his usual path, and into the objet d'art section of the Elemeno. He had packets of gorp. He could afford a half hour stroll to size up a purchase that he had never dared look at before. Flakk. He didn't even know he had an aesthetic.

He found love at an article printing place called Fabricati Diem, and a ceiling decoration that reflected and diffracted light in every direction. It moved with the slightest breeze and would turn an entire room into endless cascades of light and colour. And it suited his need for order, since it was made of geometric shapes and platonic solids. Order and chaos combined to make beauty. Just like the Universe.

He could only afford a smaller version with two Hours, and that was fine. The enormous one in the window wouldn't ever have fit in his modest singles-domicile, and the virtual preview showed that it would fit perfectly on a hook installed between his primary light and the main air vent. And it came with free installation, which he was heartily in favour of.

He would be coming home to beauty.

Just that thought made his day. And when he did come home, it was everything he imagined. He could watch it for hours, and feel his near-permanent anxiety ebb from the sight of it.

Human insanity and its traditions certainly had their moments.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / Paha_L]

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