I wrote this short sci-fi story in 2014, on a whim. It was originally published on a website that no longer exists, and that allowed writers continue to own the work they posted there.
I read “Just a Little Check Up” in episode 5 of my Words of Jen Podcast.
Otis stood in the waiting room, lost in thought. He didn’t usually mind having what people call a “check up”. This time he was waiting for the nano-technician to see him. Otis knew that he was about to have dozens of tiny little machines placed in his body. The idea unsettled him.
It took Otis longer than usual to realize someone was calling his name. The nano-technician had opened the door to his office and was ready to see him. Slowly, Otis maneuvered himself across the room and followed the “doctor” down the hallway.
“I’ve got your test results here, Otis,” the nano-technician said as he closed the door to the little, private, room he led Otis to. “Things aren’t quite where they should be. Fortunately, there is a simple solution,” he said. The nano-technician touched the wall next to him and brought up a photo of small, mechanical looking, objects.
Otis blinked. Slowly. After a moment, he said, “Are there no other solutions?”
The nano-technician sighed. “Otis, look, I get that you have concerns about nanotechnology. I even understand why you are so hesitant about them. I’ve treated plenty of others like you with them, and it all worked out just fine.”
Otis said nothing. He blinked again.
The nano-technician sighed once more, somewhat frustrated. “Otis, we’ve been over this. The “nanos” are the only realistic solution. The only other option is to leave this problem untreated. You must be aware of how slow to respond to both audio and visual stimuli you’ve gotten and that this slowness has affected your ability to work. To be honest, Otis, you don’t have much longer until it gets so bad that you just…. shut down entirely”.
Otis knew all of this very well. He was finding it hard to think of a rebuttal. Everything was getting slower and slower, he knew that. Processing simple information did not used to be so difficult.
Finally, Otis responded. “Oh…. kay…..”
The nano-technician smiled. “Good! I’m going to get started right now, and you’ll be in working order very soon.” He walked behind Otis and opened the top panel door located in the center of his back. He found the node he was looking for and gently removed the wire. Slowly, he used a syringe to introduce tiny little machines, too small for the human eye to see, into Otis’s system.
“There we go,” said the nano-technician as he closed the panel on Otis’s back. “You’re all set.” Otis started maneuvering towards the door. Already, he could tell that he was moving faster than before. He gained speed as the walked back into the waiting room.
“Otis, wait!” yelled the nano-technician’s assistant. Otis stopped, pivoted around, and quickly maneuvered to her desk. “You need to sign this.”
Otis extended his folded “arm” and pointed a specialized digit at the tablet’s screen. With a touch, the screen responded. Otis signed the form with his full name: OTS-525 Online Technical Support. He was ready to return to his workplace, connect with the internet, and provide service to humans who had questions about their robots once again.