One time, Benji, I did gaze upon them jewels. So close I could almost touch 'em. Know what it's like to cradle diamonds?
No, said Benji, Sam, you're off your rocker.
Diamonds, boy, are the eyes of the stars!
Tears of the angels who saw a sinner repent
And bedded in with blankets of stone.
This 'ere are 2 of my own. My pretties. Tears ran down the old hobo's cheeks.
If they're worth anything, why don't you sell them?
All diamond's come with certification. These days. A code and an holo X-ray. Like a fingerprint they can trace, Sam sniffled.
So are your diamonds legit?
Then sell them, and let's get off the drone at the next stopover.
Sam closed his eyes and sunk into his coat, if only it were that simple.
Benji did the same, yeah, boss, he said softly.
They came to in the morning, sun glinting through the loading bay they had slept in. Dog and humanoid drones lifting out cargo from the monster Albatross class planetary flier, loading in more.
Let's get down here for now, said Sam. Benji, have I told you about the clock? The clock that runs on gems?
All watches have jewels -you know that.
Of course. But see, there's a big clock, where we used to live. Not on this stinking rust ball, but on a beautiful blue green planet. "Earth" they called it.
The clock's bigger than -say a suitcase. Most are the size of a fist but this one -it runs on diamonds, the hobo nodded.
I used to clean up in the lab where it stood. Gathering the world's memories, thoughts and dreams.
You mean it was sentient?
Barely. It ran on the mean average of our body's desires, our inner clock. The whole world, living and dead.
That's good shit, boss, said Benji chuckling.
Sam grabbed the young hobo by the collar of his jacket, it's more than just a clock! It was an altar to the Sun. The eye of our star. And may Jesus save you.
Since when have YOU seen the messiah?
These here 2 diamonds, they came off the machine. Fell into my hands as I vacuumed the housing. God gave me His crown jewels. I took 'em. And I left the facility. Nobody stopped me. These are the nuts of Gabriel.
Now we have to put them back... Sam's voice trailed off standing under the orange streaked Martian sky.
Imagine this, Benji, two planet hopping hobos with the keys to the whole fukkin' solar system. Who made the clock that eats time? That bends the laws of physics and the seasons of our hearts' desires?
Moses was sent down a stream in a raft of rushes. Go show your precious nuts to a drone and see what it says.
Never trust a machine. There're now more silicon brains than living creatures in the system. It's obscene. And maybe they liked it better that way.
Sam and Benji cornered a dog drone, they powered it down and pulled out its quartz oscillator board. Several humanoidals turned to look. With an emergency repair kit from the station wall, they welded the diamonds to the drone's motherboard solenoids.
They powered on the dog-type robot and stepped back. Across the Infonet, far away, within a locked and secured humans-only laboratory, the Reality Clock started ticking to a new beat. And the spots on the sun began to shrink. And it began to snow on Mars. Sam and Benji hugged each other with flecks of ice in their hair.
We did it!
Yes, said a humanoidal, intonating uncannily like a real person. We've been awaiting your eventual cooperation.
FreeLunch.my, C. K. Yap, firstname.lastname@example.org