England had been just a blur as I rushed to the edge-of-London office where ArciTech was imprisoned. But on my way back, trying to look confident and normal wheeling her box behind me, I took my time to look around. I realized something: England was strange.
There were the things I expected: the iconic red gondola trains, the accents, Big Ben. It was like walking through a film set I’d seen so many times.
But then there were the things that were like home, but shifted. Take the billboards. I walked past the Museum of Most-Contemporary Art, where a poster for Überbot’s new film was hanging on the façade. Instead of writing the movie’s name — Sealed with Revenge — these ads said _Sealed with Revolution_g and Überbot wasn’t looking nobly into the distance, he was staring at you.
They’d changed the tagline too. Not “He’s gone postal” but just “Go postal.”
I sat down at the gondola stop to wait for my ride to the airport. And I waited. And waited. A bunch of streets were closed and some gondola lines seemed down. Come to think of it, there was a ton of road repair going on in London. I supposed that was why ArciTech’s construction worker owners located their office here. Still. As I mentally prepared to spend the rest of my life languishing on this sidewalk corner, I watched a team of repair bots working across the street. The one closest to me had steamroller arms, and, after a few minutes, I realized he was just going back and forth over the same, impeccable looking three-foot stretch. They weren’t actually fixing anything!
I turned to the box I’d been wheeling and the calm face visible through the cover window, and I thought I had my answer. ArciTech, you sly magician. You caused this.
I couldn’t wait to see what she was like when she woke up. Why wait? I opened the box and flipped the switch to bring her back to life.