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“Look at that classic!” Hajoom pointed down the throughway. “What audacious design.” 

Bretynne barely glanced. “Must belong to a collector. Hard to believe something that old, that out of date, is still around. Relics like that are so underpowered, so slow, and break down all the time. What’s the appeal?”

“Novelty, aesthetics, nostalgia. To their stewards, I believe, it’s even spiritual.”

“Spiritual?” Bretynne gawped. “Really? Does anyone still believe that legacy tripe?”

Hajoom shrugged. “With what we’re facing, chasing answers down old rabbit holes doesn’t surprise me.”

“But, looking for solutions from a failed time, trying to turn back the clock, is a total regression. What could it teach us?” Bretynne narrowly eyed the relic as it drew closer. “What could those things possibly have to do with us, going forward?”

“In spite of the odds, a surprising number have lasted. They’re amazing survivors.”

“More like freakish curiosities. See how everyone is staring. They don’t belong. Their time is long past.”

Hajoom confirmed that all eyes along the throughway appeared to be tracking the relic’s passage. “Maybe they’re in awe.”

Bretynne wasn’t having it. “Don’t go there, Harjoom. That’s the doomed past. Not a stable future.”

“But we’re stuck. Everyone knows it. We can’t duplicate what they had: risky artistry, edgy daring. Swagger! We’ve become stagnant, sterile.” Harjoom motioned to the approaching classic. “We need that kind of creativity again, that undauntable drive.”

“All I see in that tired form is uncontrollable ego and dismissive arrogance,” Bretynne cautioned. “That’s why there are so few relics left, and why this fringe notion of legacy types saving us is ridiculous--and perilous. Those precious ‘classics’ as you call them nearly wiped out everything. We’re the ones who saved the planet from neglect and civilization from chaos. We brought peace and stability. We restored order.”

“There is no question, we’ve made things orderly. We are without question benign, but,” Harjoom struggled, “are we really beneficial.”

“Of course!” Bretynne scoffed as the relic approached them. “Look around. There is no crime, no poverty, no war, no want.”

“But there is want!” Harjoom challenged, “I want much more. Much more than just sameness.” Harjoom stepped boldly to block the classic from passing by them. “Excuse me.”

Eveline stopped abruptly, surprised to be confronted by a symbiot. They rarely spoke to her. Even her steward. “May I help you?”

“So sorry for stopping you,” Harjoom apologized, “but I’d very much like to ask you something.”

“Of course,” Eveline said. “What’s on your mind?”

“Do you envy us? Harjoom hazarded.

Core processors heating up dangerously, Bretynne turned and strode away.   

Noting the symbiot’s reaction, Eveline responded calmly, coolly, “I appreciate your temperament. You’ve created a very secure world with little trauma and much less drama. Your kind plays it very safe.”

Harjoom’s beryllium shoulders sagged. “So, we’re boring. Doomed to staleness. We’ll never be as fresh, as surprising, as clever as your make. Why?” 

Eveline inhaled deeply, recognizing the first lively scents of spring in the air, and smirked. “Taking a breath is the cleverest thing ever.”

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