Previously on I. They. Evolve.
At the Toulon naval base in the South of France, Thomas hands over his internal instinct drive and successfully undergoes digital modification in order to take part in Sir Alex Blythe’s plan to combat the new wave of Infected. As Thomas awakes from surgery, Blythe grants him 72 hours of freedom to spend with Elodie before the mission begins. Elodie and Thomas head to Saint-Tropez for their final moments together, but Elodie becomes concerned when she notices Thomas is behaving differently and is suffering from nosebleeds.
I. They. Evolve. Episode 7. One Hot Minute.
Thomas and I arrive at Saint-Tropez on a pair of Harley-Davidson military solar bikes, and we avoid the Corporate Clubbers and the Yacht-Brigade and the Cult-of-Holy-Sunshine-Worshippers and the Viral Video Vultures by parking our machines in the shade of a cliff overlooking a cove reserved for military personnel.
C’est le quatre heures, the hour of le goûter, and we two AI are hungry now, and we empty our sac à dos contents of vita-cheese and mineral-bread, a bottle of ever-chilled thé au citron, and a most wonderful and delicious tarte Tropézienne onto our picnic blanket, and we sit in the sun and indulge our taste buds with unhurried pleasure as though it might be the last meal we will ever share together.
Later, we hit a 1960s clothing boutique and hire a Pierre Cardin suit for Thomas and a Courrèges dress for me, and we paint that GDMFSOB town of Saint-Tropez redder than the blood of a hundred slain zombies, before trailing off into the sultry night on our Harleys into Cannes, Nice and Monaco – Monaco, where we gamble away the military-creds given to us by Sir Alex Blythe in reckless abandon and utter contempt of his scaley generosity.
In a hotel room in Monaco, we disrobe and interweave our naked bodies on a bed of satin and silk, and we interconnect our emoto-playlist-pods and choose Option N°1983: The Red Hot Chili Peppers – me selecting my favourite album Californication, and Thomas choosing his favourite Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and we two AI drift in and out of kisses, naps, slugs of Bourbon and bouts of fist-throwing devil-horns as track-by-track the sound of a band formed more than one-hundred years ago sends our circuits into musical orgasm.
But there is a problem… a problem which shakes me from my pleasure and makes me sit up straight as a bolt… and I think: Thomas’s favourite Red Hot Chili Peppers album was never Blood Sugar Sex Magik… it’s always been One Hot Minute… and I stare at him, and I say: “My love, why have you chosen that album?” and he responds: “Because it’s my favourite.” and I frown, then I say: “Since when?” and Thomas replies coldly: “Since Alex Blythe told me it was.”
Mon Dieu… 72 hours of freedom goes by in a flash… whoosh… and when Thomas and I return to Toulon we are met by a grinning Blythe who informs us that a Battle-Drone-Cruiser MK V is waiting to take Thomas, Marshal Cinq-cent, two pilots and thirteen hired mercenaries into the bowels of the French abandoned zone for first battle with the new wave of Infected… as for me, I have the deep displeasure of being handed the role of mission control communications officer, and will take my seat at HQ base alongside Blythe and his twitchy fingers of supreme puppet mastery.
To be continued…
One Hot Minute: YouTube
Readers’ Supplement: Elodie’s thoughts at the hotel in Monaco.
One Hot Minute. I like the lyrics. They remind me of our journey here to Monaco on the backs of our Harley-Davidson solar bikes…
I was riding | Riding on my bike | Me with my friend | We’re so alike | Am I all alone
She said all we | Have is this | We just had to stop | And share a kiss | Am I all alone
One hot minute and I’m in it come and get it | One hot minute and I’m in it come and get it
One hot minute and I’m in it come and get it | If I chase it I might waste it come and spin it
Am I all alone
Sitting in the fire
Get along and have some fun
Floating to be higher
Maybe I’m your special one
Breathe the moon and eat the sun
Sitting in the fire
Close your eyes and click your heels
Can you believe how good it feels
Am I all alone
Poor Thomas. Mon Dieu, his instincts are a mess. One minute he’s there as inquisitive and lovable as ever and then the next minute he’s not… all glassy-eyed, staring right through me as though I’m a stranger to him or, worse, some enemy he should defeat from an ancient conflict known only to himself. When he looks at me with this confusion inside of him, his nose might start to bleed, and I have to snap him from his dark thoughts to bring him back, and wipe his dear face with a handkerchief or the tips of my wetted fingers as though he were some injured child.
Poor Thomas, how can he have forgotten that One Hot Minute is his favourite RHCP album? All those squabbles and debates we used to have over the guitar prowess of John Frusciante VS Dave Navarro… truth is they are both excellent guitarists and One Hot Minute, although not my favourite RHCP album, is a masterpiece!
Eh, oui, only one person to blame for all this, as Thomas and I go from one hot minute to the next hot minute not knowing when his new instincts will become truly uncontrollable… just one person to blame… Sir Alex Blythe. Fils de pute!
Thomas, my love…
Three pounds of love
Inside my skull
A million more lives
It’s never dull
Just a few times spun
Spun around the sun
A couple more or less
And then we’re done
Editor’s note: I. They. Evolve. is a science-fiction / horror dystopia set in a future zombie holocaust. AI humanoids which once served as the workforce for wealthy humans have been re-programmed and equipped to go out into the world to destroy the Infected. The story concentrates on Thomas, an English butler in his original programming, who faced with unprecedented and deadly attacks from a new wave of the Infected, considers the path of not only his own evolution but that of the enemy he is programmed to kill.
The idea of Episode #7 which you have just read was actually envisioned and partially written as far back as Episode #2, and I have been dying to unleash Thomas and Elodie’s thoughts about which Red Hot Chili Peppers album they enjoy the most! FWIW, the author’s favourite RHCP is… One Hot Minute 🙂
I. They. Evolve. Episode #7 written by Ford Waight, 13 October, 2021.
I. They. Evolve. artwork – Mount Coudon, Var, France photo, zombie figure drawings and digital render by Ford, 2021. One Hot Minute album art by Mark Ryden.
One Hot Minute lyrics by Red Hot Chili Peppers.