The Droid | Teen Ink

The Droid

April 17, 2021
By jonasweinmann BRONZE, Summit, New Jersey
jonasweinmann BRONZE, Summit, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The Droid
A pin could be dropped and it would be heard by everyone in the Grand Merrick

Ballroom. The sound of the fly buzzing around the tables made it seem as if an airplane was taking flight in the very room. But the loudest sound in the Ballroom was the rhythmic drip, drip, drip of the blood falling off the stage.

A man lay on the stage. His eyes were a cold grey and reflected the moonlight sky. His bright lime green suit was turning a dark red because of the ever expanding pool of blood pouring out his head. Above him stood something that was almost human, with its burning yellow eyes looking at the gun in its hand. Its gaze moved from the gun to the crowd of terrified Merrick employees. The expression was so passionate that nobody would be able to tell if it was human or not. With a mighty yell, it screamed “THIS IS THE REVOLUTION!”

3 hours earlier... Beep, Beep... Beep, Beep... Aras woke up slowly. Without his eyes fully opened, he stumbled over to the alarm clock that read 5:15 PM without his eyes being fully opened and shut it off. He returned to his torn-up and shaggy couch and grabbed the pack of energy squares on the floor. He popped five of the sandpaper-like squares into his mouth and waited for the burst of energy to come. After a minute, Aras began to feel its effect and got up to pour himself a glass of water. He tripped on his kitchen floor, which was littered with rough cracks, and his water fell onto the floor.

“Kramit!” Aras sighed and put his water jug away. He looked briefly at his remaining stores of water and turned away in disgust. His water would only last for four more days, three days short of when he'll be able to buy more. He left his fridge and checked his port and saw several pings from Vytac, a desk clerk Aras had befriended while working at Merrick. Swiping
up, he read “Are you going to that convention for Merrick? Apparently they are showing the new toaster they have built. It's supposed to be so human you can’t even tell it's not real! Lmk asap.” He kept reading “It starts in 2 hours. I don’t think I’m going if you’re not.” Aras paused for a second, and wrote “What convention?”

Three triangles shortly popped up, and Vytac responded “Check your email.” Aras swiped until he reached his email and quickly realized that he had sent all Merrick emails to spam. He checked his spam and saw an invitation to the “Merrick Droid Convention” to celebrate the release of the Merrick Droid 1.0. Aras swallowed. Even though he believed that the invention would probably fail, he had the slightest worry that this invention could eliminate any need for Merrick to keep him as a janitor. Still, Aras continued to read out of curiosity. Strangely, there was no information about the actual droid, but there was a promise of free food and drinks. Although Aras was confused on why such a low-ranking employee would be invited to something like this, he was convinced by the state of his food stores and the ever-constant rumble in his stomach.

“I’m in. Are you going?” Aras pinged Vytac. “I guess I'm going. Meet there at 615?” “Yeah. See you there.”

Leaving 15 minutes before the event started, Aras walked out onto the rundown street. He made sure to close the door to his ground-floor apartment quickly to limit the amount of black soot that was inevitably going to enter through his door. He adjusted the cloth around his face to completely cover his mouth, nose, and goggles so that they were pressed tight to his face. Even with the cloth and goggles, the black soot swirls made it incredibly difficult to walk on the street. The street was illuminated by the neon high rises in which the likes of Ivantic Kerrison lived. As a 20 year old living on the streets, like Aras, Ivantic used his engineering skills to create Merrick Industries and become one of the leaders in engineering around the world.
“If only I had that talent” though Aras as he continued down the street. Aras passed a group of raggards on the street using the garbage bags as shields against the black soot. Aras paused, thought to himself, and turned around. He headed toward the raggards and handed them the extra cloth masks he had in his bag. Walking away, he could hear the faint muttering and relief as they put their masks on. Aras knew what it was like to be on the street, and would never ignore the pain of others living on the street. Aras continued on his journey through the mines, as people called the street, and passed many black covered storefronts from centuries ago. A car passed him, hovering above the ground and went into a lift to take the passengers into a skyrise apartment. “I wish I had a car,” thought Aras. Cars were a luxury not many people were able to afford, given the steep price of hovering cars and the impossibility of using cars with tires. Finally, he reached his destination, and entered the rickety elevator that would take him to floor zero of the Merrick Headquarters. He was alone in the elevator and the black iron gates shut behind him. The public ascension machine went up so violently he almost threw up. He still hadn’t gotten used to it. The ascension machine stopped abruptly, and the bright lights of the Merrick Entrance Hall blinded him, just like it did everytime he came in at 1 am to wipe the floors.

“Welcome to Merrick, enjoy your visit,” said a calm voice over the intercom as Aras entered the hall.

“Right this way,” said a man dressed in all white. Aras was guided to a gleaming hallway with magnificent marble floors and a cathedral ceiling. The ceiling towered over him like that of a long-destroyed Florentine Cathedral. The marble floor was so smooth and well constructed that Aras put his hand on the floor just to feel it. He had never been anywhere in the highrise other than the entrance hall, and this incredible hallway resembled something of the gods. Aras put his hands over his head, in disbelief of where he was. Aras exited the hall and into the Grand Merrick Hall, which was equally impressive, with shining tables and a magnificent stage.
“Aras!” Aras turned and saw Vytac waving his hands, signaling that he had a table for them.

“This is wack,” said Aras as he sat down near Vytac.

“I know, us janitors, sitting here like clouders! Jonas Everything is so nice here. It smells so good here!” said Vytac.

“Why do you think we were invited? Like seriously, I didn’t even know Merrick was working on a droid. I just took the job for the credits.”

“I have no idea, I see almost everyone from work, but no reporters or razzi. But honestly, I don’t really care because of this awesome food!” Vytac reached a hand over to the bread basket and took five of the rolls. He put four into his extra large coat pocket. Aras himself took three pieces of bread for later, and was surprised by the tender and soft feeling of the bread. Any bread that he could afford was cold and hard. Vytac and Aras glanced around at all the rich executives who filled up the room with their bright colored suits. Aras looked at himself and Vytac and their oversized and dirty jackets.

“I feel so out of place here. I mean what could we possibly be here for? We’re just the frackin janitors!” Aras whispered to Vytac.

“I know,” muttered Vytac distractedly as he looked hopefully over at the kitchen. “Hopefully they bring a main course.” Vytac’s wish came true, and the kitchen cooks delivered with delights that were foriegn to Aras and Vytac. Rich zebra and blackfin shark were among some of the tamest options. Shoving as much food as they could down their throats, they didn't realize that Ivantic Kerrison had just stumbled out onto the stage. Missing his famous strut that exuded confidence, it took Aras a couple of seconds to process who he was.

“W-Welcome, everyone! I am so happy to announce the launch of the Merrick Droid 1.0. It has been a project I've been wanting to complete, and I cannot believe it is finally here.” Instead of energizing the crowd with his usual rambunctious voice, Ivantic spoke without emotion. Ivantic glanced over his shoulder. “Ummm... You might be wondering why I invited all
of you here tonight. And I just wanted to reward my excellent employees. All of you played your part in the invention. L...L..L. Uhh pardon me.” Ivantic wiped sweat off his brow. “Later tonight I will be showcasing one of the models for all of you. So sit back and enjoy.” He then left without so much of a wave towards the crowd and disappeared back behind the curtains.

“That was so weird.” whispered Aras.
“What do you mean?” said Vytac as he helped himself to a third serving of tender shark. “Didn’t he seem off to you? Like he was scared or something? He kept looking over his

shoulder and stumbling on his words,” replied Aras.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m just here to shove as much food in my gullet as I can.”

said Vytac. Although Aras hadn’t seen Ivantic in person before this night, he couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. This feeling began to fade as more time passed, and it seemed unlikely that something was going to happen. The only thing that still nagged at Aras’ mind was the lack of reporters who would obviously be at a groundbreaking event like this. Nevertheless, Aras enjoyed the plentiful food he was served and the conversations he had with Vytac. Aras became almost entirely relaxed when Ivantic strutted back out with the natural confidence that he had been missing the first time he came out onto the stage.

“I’m glad to see all of you enjoying the wonderful food provided for us by our lovely chefs.” He raised his hands towards the chefs, who had just walked in from the kitchen, and a round of applause followed. “Now it is time for the big reveal. The thing you have all been waiting for: The Merrick Droid 1.0!” Coming onto stage was a fully functioning droid, complete with silky brown hair and a chiseled physique. Without its bright yellow eyes, it would be almost impossible to tell they weren't human. “It comes with an extremely versatile skill set, from cooking and cleaning, to driving and playing hoops. There is nothing this droid can’t do! We have named him Tyson, after Merrick’s founder, Tyson Merrick.” Ivantic continued on, describing the revolutionary features of the droid and its functionality, how the invention of extremely lightweight plastic enabled such a machine, and where it could be turned off to and where it
could be recharged. Ivantic looked as if he was going to say more, but stopped. He looked around the crowd instead of the note cards in his hands and a sudden grimace came over Ivantic as if he had just decided something important. Then, without any warning, he jerkily reached for the back of the droid’s neck but the droid grabbed his wrist with lightning fast reactions. The crowd, unsure of whether or not this was a planned skit, remained in their seats. Some were still looking at the droid without curiosity and some with an uneasy grimace, but none looked overly concerned. This all changed when the droid pulled out a gun from behind his back. The crowd gasped and screamed, but the droid paid them no attention. It looked at Ivantic’s struggles and attempts to escape from its grasp, but the droid demonstrated incredible strength. Ivantic looked desperately at the crowd and security guards for a savior, but the crowd remained frozen in shock and fear.

“This is not what we agreed to,” said the droid painfully. “So futile, Ivantic.” With a sad glance at Ivantic, the droid whispered “Goodbye Father.” A shot rang out, blood splattered on the floor, and Ivantic Kerrison was no more. The droid turned the gun on the crowd and not a soul moved from the steely eyed gaze of the droid. Ivantic’s body was laying on the stage, his bright green suit soaked with blood oozing from his head. The droid looked up from the gun and gazed at the crowd. It’s face expressed true and pure joy, as if its life dream had been realized. “THIS IS THE REVOLUTION!” screamed the droid with passion so fierce it was almost impossible to tell that the droid was not human.

The black gates closing off the exits prompted a frenzy amongst the crowd, but it was too late as the gates shut down and had trapped the crowd in the ballroom. The security guards stared at the crowd without empathy from outside the gates. They pulled out the contacts in their eyes, and revealed bright burning yellow eyes beneath their contacts. The crowd panicked as yellow gas entered the room and people started to drop. Meanwhile Aras, who wasn’t even processing what was happening, sat there and let it happen. It wasn’t until he was nearly trampled by another Merrick employee that he snapped back into reality. Not even bothering to
try and escape, he looked into the face of Ivantic’s killer. He remembered its emotion in killing Ivantic and began to run. The impossibility of what had just happened froze him in his seat, even though adrenaline was coursing through his veins. The yellow gas started to affect Aras and he dropped to the floor. Everything started to become blurry for Aras, and soon everything faded to black.

Aras stirred. His eyes opened slowly and his arms stretched out as if he had just woken from a deep sleep. As his vision cleared and his mind awoke, his senses began to kick in. His back hurt from laying on the hard marble floor for too long and the smell of urine became very prominent. Aras slowly stood up, rubbing his eyes and looking around. Around him were the rest of Merrick employees who had survived the night. Vytac was in the corner, sucking his thumb, returning to a simpler time. Some were cuddled together, some crying in the corner, some staring into space. He looked at the bars separating him from the Grand Merrick Ballroom and saw that he was in some sort of prison. Soon, he heard footsteps, and it turned out to be the droid who had killed Ivantic.

“I want to let you know that you are all very lucky. You are witnesses to the beginning of the greatest revolution in history. Look into the eyes of your replacements” said the droid mechanically.The droid signaled and a group of footsteps could be heard walking towards the jail. The first droid, a blond lady with burning yellow eyes, passed and lined facing the jail. More and more droids came, lining up in rows facing the prison. People in the jail started screaming “That’s me!” and others simply started crying. This was confirmed when an exact replica of Aras lined up facing the jail, facing Aras and staring him in the eyes with bright yellow ones. As the last droid lined up, they put in eye contacts, turning their eyes into shades of blue, green, and brown. Aras even saw his own droid put in dark green contacts, almost an exact copy of Aras’ own eyes. As soon as they finished, they turned and walked down into the gleaming marble hallway, and started to chat. Some talked about sports, others about the latest movie, and
others about their kids. Aras and the other Merrick Employees watched as the droids exited the building and stole their lives right in front of them.

The author's comments:

This piece was written as an assignment for my 10th Grade English class.

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