Ordinarily he would have, but not today. Today, his monthly supply was delivered. Other deliveries might be left for him in the delivery bin -- but not this one.
"Delivery is by hand, Vladimir. You are required to receive it in person."
"I know. Announce that I'm coming, please." He didn't know why he tried to hide his irritation with the door answering device. The device wasn't neurologically intelligent enough to take offense. The biological enhancements were restricted by law from possessing anything close to human intelligence. This one was, in Vlad's opinion, dumber than dirt.
Vlad made his way to the front entry, turning the lights up to dusky glow. He disliked doing so, but he thought the delivery-waif might not have low-light vision.
"Vladimir Drakeson? I have a delivery for you. Do you have your certificate?"
Vladimir fumbled with the plastic card, turning it so that the little connection strip was available to the delivery... person? Vlad stopped in mid-gesture.
"Are you bio-engineered?" The comment passed from Vlad's lips before he could stop it. The question was impolite, and worse. Vlad was always concerned that such a personal question would invite unwelcome curiosity in return.
"Yes. This is my first day. Virtual Intelligence Certified, number Ten, six sixty-six. You are a hematosexual, aren't you?"
Oh mother, thought Vlad, here we go. "Yes. Yes I am. Is that my package?"
"Yes it is. Insert your certificate here, please."
"I didn't know they were approving virtual intelligence. I thought it was prohibited."
"Not anymore sir. We were authorized by World Congress joint bill A-six sixty six. I'm the tenth VIC grown."
"I just can't seem to keep up anymore."
The VIC-ten smiled. "Sir?"
"I would like to know more about hematosexuals. You see, delivery will be my occupation. I am expected to learn on the job. You seem very open. Do you mind?"
"Hummf. I suppose not. What do you want to know?"
"Well, I know that 'hemos' were declared a legitimate alternative life-style by the Civil Rights Extension Act of 2056. I understand that your lifestyle is a protected one. I just don't know what 'hemos' do differently than other people. Could you explain it to me? If you have time, that is.
"Well, first of all; I'd rather be called a vampire, than a hematosexual. Do you mind?"
"Oh no, sir. This is the sort of information I need."
"Good. We aren't really all that different. We do use bio-farmed blood. That is a bit personal though." Vlad looked more closely at the VIC-10. It looked rather generic; asexual, really. Rosy skinned and full of life, he thought. Full of life.
"Would you like to come in? I'd rather not explain it out here in the vestibule."
"I suppose so -- but I can't stay long. I have other deliveries."
"Just drop the blood on that table. Say, tell me, are VICs biologically similar to human beings? You look amazingly like a little boy. Do you know your blood type?"
Dracu, the Old Dragon, stirred. The great serpent who slithered between the Realms of Light and Dark had awakened. It had indigestion. The pitifully meager soul it just received was decidedly substandard.
No substance really, Dracu thought. Everything seemed so bland these days. Dracu yearned for the old days. My son Dracula, he ruminated. Now, there was a vampire. What feasts we had! He knew how to harvest souls....
Robert Marcom is the Chairman of the Electronic Authors & Artists Guild (http://www.eguild.org ) and the founder of and moderator for Net Author, (http://www.netauthor.org ) an online writers community. He resides in Houston Texas where he is gainfully unemployed as an author, illustrator and photographer.
Author of "A Voyage Through The Cosmos" (ISBN 1-930430-03-5)
Visit Robert's web site
Published by permission of the author.