KAL-UR was about five feet tall and it didn’t have a head. It didn’t need one, for it was a utility robot. It didn’t need to think or analyze or make decisions – it was only supposed to follow the instructions that it received from Mr. Core.
Since 2080, Mr. Core had been managing CRYORIUM, the international cryonics center. That was the time when the finger-bank, a cryogenic facility to store fingers was first built. That was also the time when fingers were harvested in thousands, and every robot found itself working round the clock. Each finger had to be detached from the body, packed in ice, and injected with heparin to prevent coagulation of the blood. Then all the water in the cells was replaced with a cryo-protectant and then the finger was cooled on dry ice until it reached the temperature of -130 degrees centigrade. Finally, it was stored in a jar of liquid nitrogen at a temperature of about –190 degrees centigrade, and then the jar was labeled with the finger-number and the name of its owner.
It was backbreaking work. Had KAL-UR been a human, he would have either resigned from the job or asked for a raise. Fortunately for Mr. Core, he was a robot and as long as it followed its charging routine, everything worked just fine. Continue reading “Fingers (Story)”