It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life for me… and I’m feeling good.
Which is more than can be said for these plants. Lor stared at them in dismay, wondering how anyone could have let them get into such a state.
“Lor, breathe. I’m not having you dying on the first day on the job”
He turned around and saw Cassandra behind the desk, watching him with a slightly exasperated smile.
“I’m sorry, Cass-”
“That’s Professor Goth to you. When we’re here, you use my title.”
“That’s better” she said, smiling. “Now, your schedule is with the inventor bot. I can tell you that your first job involves collecting a DNA sample from someone.”
“No Mr Centauri. Go and talk to your colleagues, and stop being such a wuss.”
It turned out that asking people you’ve just met for a DNA swab was going to be embarrassing regardless of how you did it. He had the feeling that the others had been making it harder than necessary, though. Lor could have sworn he heard giggling behind him whenever he turned around.
At least that was over now.
“Hello. I am an inventor-bot. My name is Steve. How may I help you today?”
“Hello, Steve.May I have my schedule for today? My name is Lorcán Centauri.”
“Certainly, Mr…” the robot seemed to hesitate for a moment, as if taken by surprise. “Certainly, Mr Centauri. Would you like your schedule printed?”
“Ok, now to wait for the mixture to turn pink and… there.”
Lor looked at his list, furrowing his brow. The next point on the list simply said ‘Test it’. Was he meant to drink it? He looked dubiously at the liquid in the vial. It didn’t look very appetising, to be quite honest. Maybe he should check with Cassandra – better safe than sorry.
“Professor? I was wondering what this- oh! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
“Awww Cassie, you didn’t tell me we had a newbie in today. He’s adorable!”
“Yuki, don’t scare the poor man.”
“I’m not scary, am I?” Yuki smiled encouragingly at him. “Now, what was it that you wanted to ask?”
“My schedule says that I have to test this serum, but I don’t know whether it means to drink it or test it on skin or something completely different.”
Lor jumped as she reached out and took the vial from his hands, swallowing the liquid before he had a chance to react. She shuddered, grimacing as it went down. Her stomach began to rumble alarmingly.
“What was the potion meant to do again?”
“I’m not actually sure. I just know the name of it.”
“Well, I don’t think it worked. I just feel a bit sick.”
“I’m sorry, Doctor Behr. I guess I need to practice more.”
“It’s fine” she said, as her stomach got progressively louder. “What was it called, anyway?”
Lor looked down at the list in his pocket. “It’s called ‘Rose Perfume'”, which was why I wasn’t sure if I should drink it.”
“I’m sorry, did you say something? I seem to have come over a bit… warm.”
“You know, you really are kind of cute.”
Cassandra put down the phone and glared up at the two of them.
“Yuki, leave the boy alone. Lor, what did you do?”
“She drank the perfume and, well, now she’s acting strangely.”
“I could show you all kinds of things, cutie.”
“Lorcán Centauri, Rose Perfume is an aphrodisiac we were testing for a company in Willow Creek.”
Cassandra sighed, placing her head in her hands. “Well, at least we know it works. Lor, go and start your next job – I’ll keep an eye on Yuki.”
“Don’t be a stranger, beautiful~”
Lor ducked sheepishly out of the room, followed by an appreciative wolf whistle.
Lor couldn’t stop blushing. He’d never been hit on before (Tiffanie didn’t count – he’d been far too young for her), even if this was the fault of a potion gone… well, right. Was he flattered? Kind of. It just didn’t feel right. A memory popped into his head fleetingly and was gone before he could recognise it. He hoped the effects would wear off soon – it was just awkward, really.
“Do you always cause this much chaos, newbie?”
Lor shrugged his shoulders apologetically. “I’m sorry, but yes. I’ll try to get better.”
The woman smiled at him. “At least you’re honest. I’m Margarita Vaughan, the resident ‘Mad Scientist’.”
“Only sometimes. The rest of the time I’m a reasonably sane scientist. By the way, you’ll need some Silver and Turquoise for the invention you’re thinking of building. You can use the stuff in my draw today, but try to get a collection of your own as soon as possible.”
“Thank you, that’s really kind of you.”
“Steve told me to look after you, I’m just doing what I can.”
Steve? That’s unusual, Lor thought as he walked over to the inventor-bot with his materials.
“Welcome back, Mr Centauri. Are you ready to begin?”
“Yes, Steve, I am.”
“We did it!” Lor grinned, and reached out to pat the machine on the ‘head’. “Thanks, man.”
“You’re welcome, Mr Centauri.”
“You can call me Lorcán.”
“Lorcán? May I ask you a question?”
“Yes, thats fine.” Lor said, puzzled. Was this a normal way for a robot to act?
“Are you related to a woman named ‘Lissa’?”
“You know my mum?”
“She was kind to me when she came here. She used my name, and didn’t talk down to me. Is she ‘alright’?” Steve said, putting a strange emphasis on the word ‘alright’ – as if it were a foreign concept.
“I am glad.”
Finally, the clearing was done. It had been difficult to untangle the dead roots from the pots, but the greenhouse was ready for replanting. He would bring seeds from home, he decided. It would be full of life again, he’d make sure of it.
“Is there anything else you would like me to do? I’ve finished the list of tasks that you set me.”
Cassandra smiled, her good humour restored. “Why don’t you go and explore? The surrounding area is a wonderful place for gathering – it would do you some good to find out where everything is.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, Lor. I’ll see you bright and early tomorrow morning.”
He turned to leave, but as he reached for the door handle, the voice called out again.
“And Lor? Good work today.”
He grinned and waved before heading outside.
It was absolutely beautiful. Very different to home, but so bright and warm that the air itself seemed softer. He looked at the pond, and then at his watch. He still had about an hour before he had to head home. There was plenty of time.
He could definitely get used to this.