Aeon (Synthwave) - Daily Life
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEE–
Aeon jolted awake and slapped their head a few times, trying to locate the off switch on their cybernetic eye. The alarm clock function that Kara installed worked wonders, but it was too darn loud! (Gotta get her to fix that today,) Aeon thought.
The purple Paralogos yawned and stretched, limbs creaking after several hours of snoozing in a heap of pillows. Their mechanical arm, which was attached where their left arm would be, whirred and clicked as they tested out each of the joints. All was in working order, although the thumb was a little stiff. Kara could look at that, too.
But before they could run any errands today, Aeon had work to do. The public library they lived in, Sermos Public Library, required them to provide labor and execute tasks to help keep the establishment running, in return for free board. Aeon’s job was to maintain the library’s music and audiobook collection, which consisted of both physical records (CDs, cassette tapes, and vinyls) as well as digital files. While they kept all the physical music perfectly organized, the digital collection was their specialty. Aeon managed to completely overhaul the digital music borrowing system, upgrading from the previous archaic version that required borrowers to bring USB sticks to transfer files to. The old system resulted in a lot of theft, requiring the library to spend hundreds of dollars replacing files that borrowers never bothered returning. Now, temporary files were copied wirelessly to the borrower’s device, which automatically deleted after three weeks unless the hold was renewed. It was a system introduced ages ago for traditional books, but no one had bothered implementing it for digital music until Aeon came along.
One of the library owners approached the reading nook corner Aeon had claimed as their bed. “Good morning!” She chirped. The short woman had a bob haircut and held a clipboard in her hand, no doubt to keep track of all the Paralogos employed at the library. “We’ve got new music arriving today, plus a little surprise. Can you make your way to the back door soon?”
The library didn’t have a loading dock, as most of the items available to borrow were e-books and other digital media. Real, paper books were hard to come by and the few they did have were kept under lock and key. Any new physical shipments were delivered via a van parked outside the back door. The music scene in Sermos was alive and well, after all, and the library’s music collection was ever-growing. Unlike books, CDs and the like were not made of rare materials and could be produced easily in modern times.
Aeon stumbled out of their pillow-nest and immediately tidied the area. The reading nook was actually intended for guests, but they were allowed to sleep there so long as they cleaned it up before the library opened for the day. Once finished, they made their way towards the back of the enormous building, walking past numerous towering shelves displaying holographic titles and book covers. Some of the other Paralogos were already busy at work, chirping a greeting melody as Aeon passed them by. Though friendly with the others, in truth the purple Paralogos hardly knew anyone else that worked here. That brown-ish Paralogos over there had a word focus related to the Renaissance era… probably?
Parked outside the back door, as predicted, was a van labeled with a prominent shipping company. The driver leaned against the vehicle and tossed his keys as he waited. He perked up when Aeon opened the door, pocketing his keys and throwing open the back doors of the van.
“Hey, man,” the driver greeted. “Got a sick haul for you today. Take a look!” He helped Aeon offload the boxes and place them on the ground for them to look at. While 90 centimeters was tall for a Paralogos, the boxes were still human-sized and Aeon wasn’t quite big enough to peer into them from inside the van.
The first two boxes contained the usual: CDs from the month’s newest releases. Aeon’s lights glowed brightly; they were quite excited to listen to this new haul and categorize them appropriately.
The last box was considerably lighter. Intrigued, Aeon carefully sliced through the tape with their cybernetic claw and opened the flaps. They were greeted with enough bubble wrap to wrap themselves in a cocoon, and… wait, is that…?
“Check it out! An anonymous donation from some wealthy family, no doubt.” The driver grinned.
Removing the rest of the protective packaging, Aeon held the item gingerly in their hands. It was a book - a real paper book! It was a famous outrun novel from long ago, one of the stories that inspired Aeon’s word focus. The library already had a digital version available to borrow, so this copy would be for display purposes only. Thrilled, Aeon trilled a bright melody in thanks and brought the boxes inside.
The next few hours were spent listening to the new shipments contents and entering each item into the inventory system. Aeon’s favorites, of course, were the synthwave albums. Stickers were carefully applied to each CD case and at least an hour was dedicated solely to sorting them into the correct place on the shelves: alphabetical order by musician name in each genre section. Finally, the rare paper book was delicately rested on a book stand and locked in a well-lit display case.
With that work done, Aeon left the library and walked over to the Sermos University to pay their friend a visit. The campus swarmed with humans during the lunch hour, even the occasional Paralogos strutted about. Aeon approached the Astronomy building and padded through the corridors until they reached an office emblazoned with the name ‘Dr. Aliya Ramirez’.
Said professor was not in her office, but there was a pink-colored Paralogos in a white lab coat sitting at the desk, flitting through a large stack of papers. Large round glasses sat atop her snout and test tube-shaped lights on her hands barely peeked out from under her sleeves. The name ‘Dr. Kara Stern’ was embroidered on her breast pocket.
“Hi Kara!” Aeon waved as they entered the room. “Are you busy?”
Kara set down the papers in her hand and smiled at her friend. “I’ve got some time. What do you need, Aeon?”
“That eye-larm clock you installed is really handy, but the volume level gives me a heart attack every morning,” Aeon relayed. “Also my thumb joint is sticking again.”
Kara hopped down from her caretaker’s desk and tutted about her friend.
“You can adjust sound via the settings display,” She explained patiently. “Just press this on your orbital device,” she located a small knob where Aeon’s tear duct would be, “and turn it to scroll through the options, then press it again to select.” She examined their cybernetic eye closely. “Aeon… what have you been doing to your eye?! It’s all scuffed up!”
Aeon fidgeted under their friend’s scrutiny. “Erm… slapping it? I don’t know how to turn the alarm off.”
“I told you - just blink twice with the eye and it will turn off!” Kara sighed. “Please be careful with it.”
“Yes, ma’am!” Aeon saluted. “Can you take a look at the arm, too?”
Kara gently laid Aeon’s arm on the table, inspecting each digit and testing the range of motion. The thumb didn’t move as fluidly as the others, just as they said. Kara strode across the room to grab a small toolkit and brought it back to the table. She unrolled the kit and picked out a small screwdriver, then used the implement to carefully unscrew the thumb from the palm plate. A few seconds of rummaging around inside the metacarpal-housing and the scientist Paralogos produced a bright green sticky blob.
“I think this is your problem,” she announced. “Have you been chewing mint gum lately?”
Aeon laughed. “No, I’m not sure where that came from!”
They tested out the thumb after Kara reattached it, and found the joint to move much easier than before.
“You should be all tuned up now, I think.” Kara said, placing her hands on her hips. “Please be more careful and try not to let sticky human foods gum up your machinery.”
Aeon grinned and brought their friend in for a bear hug. “Thanks, Doc! You take great care of this bag o’ bolts.”
“Oh, stop it, no need to be all mushy,” Kara complained, protesting her friend’s affection with a small smile on her face. “If that will be all, I’d like to get back to reading. I’m reviewing Dr. Ramirez’s latest paper before we submit for publication!”
“And with that, I bid you adieu,” Aeon bowed. “Thanks again, pal, and I’ll see you later!”
Break-time over, Aeon returned to Sermos Public Library to continue working tasks until closing. Patrons visited the library throughout the day, so there was a steady stream of returns needing to be organized back on the shelves. Customers slowed down near dinnertime, and the building was nearly empty by closing time.
When the sun set, Aeon exited through the back door and set off through the streets of Sermos. It wasn’t long until they strolled into the music district, where venues perched on every street corner enticed passersby with muffled beats and sounds of cheering fans. Aeon entered their favorite establishment, an underground bar that often booked small bands, and descended into an atmosphere of warbling synthesizers and electronic beats. A synthwave artist was featured tonight and Aeon intended to enjoy every note. They bobbed and weaved to the music, their lights flashing in time with the beat.
It was well after midnight before Aeon returned to Sermos Library. They unlocked the display case and carefully extracted the paper book from its perch. Turning on the light, they curled up in a corner and read the book until their eyes could barely stay open. At long last, they returned the book to its case and locked the door, then settled back into the reading nook. They took time to make a nice nest of pillows before collapsing on them. Sleep came quickly, and Aeon’s dreams were filled with books, music, and, strangely, mint-flavored chewing gum.
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