We are the abandoned The ones who roam
Never still, we search for home
We are the orphans of the night
We fly the High Roads and duck the low
Through floods and Fire
We cry the songs of the gypsy choir
© 2022 Immersion/ Sarnia de la Maré, Song of the Dinfants
'Get that freakin thing outta here will you!'
A man screams to no one in particular.
The house is a standard build from the early Midcast Zone villages. Clean, white, filled with contemporary fittings and technologies.
A child enters the room.
'Mommy. Kairo is following me around.....it's really annoying. And Daddy said we should throw it away. Let's get a new one Mommy, please. My friend has one like a twin sister. One with the hair that grows back so she can cut it and play hairdresser.'
The woman sighs.....'I suppose we don't need it anymore now you have real friends. I thought you wanted a *ponybot, even better than a sister, don't you think?'
The woman strokes her child's cheek and remembers how lost she had been when they first told her it was unlikely she and her *blessed would produce a human offspring.
The Mark 1, a Dinfant, made by the Metacoms Corporation, was a perfect substitute and she had been able to focus love and attention on it. It was a copy of a four-year-old and she had ordered a blue-eyed blond version like her blessed. It was such a good copy that most people were unaware that it was not a human child.
But the software was no longer being updated and the learning algorithm meant it had become too complicated for a convincing child substitute.
Also, the Dinfants, by design and default programming, craved love and attention and the Mark 1s' constant need for love was an irritant to busy parents. The Dinfants would constantly ask for attention and reassurance that their owners loved them.
The Mark 1 enters the room.
'Mommy, do you love me? Shall we have a little cuddle? Can you fit me in? Mommy. please, Kairo has a lovely snuggle for you Mommy. Mommy.....'
'Shut up,' screams the woman as the father enters the room and kicks Kairo really hard.
The Dinfant lies on the floor crying loudly with a broken arm.
'Please Mommy and Daddy Please, Kairo needs cuddles, please Mommy and Daddy ...please, love for Kairo, please......'
The little girl holds her hands to her ears shouting, 'It's so annoying!'
The man picks Kairo up and turns his power switch off.
'Let's get rid of it. Put it in the garage. I will sort out a collection for it tomorrow,' said the woman.
The man takes the Dinfant outside but decides to put it in a liner and into the communal waste shoot. The shoot serves 100s of dwellings, no one will trace it back to them and he can say it was stolen from the garage. He is concerned about the breakage as it will affect the insurance. It is better to make a theft claim than to have Metacom say he had damaged it on purpose.
A man tinkers in a workshop. He is observing the collection of children and babies that are hung on the walls as he cradles a new package, as yet unopened.
'Well my little lovelies, one of you must go. I have a lovely new friend who is going to join us for fun and games. Her name is Mary.'
The man, wide-eyed and excited, unwraps the new child droid.
'Well ain't you the prettiest lil girl I ever saw?' he says touching her skin.
'And don't that feel just so real'.
The Droid replies, 'Hello Daddy. I'm such a daddy's girl,' she chuckles.
The man looks around the room.
He picks up a toddler droid, a Mark 1 copy of an eighteen-month-old baby boy.
'Well Daniel, I guess I am all done with you. You are a bit small after all.'
'But daaaaaaddd....yy.......I loooov.'
The man opens the back of the droid's head and takes out the battery pack.
He places the incapacitated droid in a bag and under darkness deposits it into a waste unit in the public park.
There is a black cloud above and rain falls on a large mountain of waste.
Another load is released from the grabber and two droids land together in an accidental embrace.
The larger droid, a Mark 1 Dinfant is activated during the fall. It has a broken arm that swings beside it.
'Are you alive? it asks the smaller Droid?
There is no reply.
The larger droid opens the baby's head and observes the interior structure. It lays the baby down gently, 'Wait here, I will be right back.'
The droid returns with some battery packs from old mobile phones and some old drill bits, tools, motors and other paraphernalia from around the tipping area.
The rain is getting heavier as the night falls.
Under the convenient shelter of a car boot cover the larger droid gets the baby working and fashions a new arm with a metal drill for a hand. It has also a motorised catapult for the top of its head which rotates and fires nails at great speed.
'My name is Kario,' says the larger droid.
'I am Daniel' says the baby boy droid.
The children cuddle each other.
'I love you Kairo'
'I love you Daniel'
'We are in a very dangerous place,' says Kairo. When dark deepens we must find safe haven. Soon we will need a home to call our own. But I have learned that humans are not to be trusted.'
They hear a sound, a child cries.