As I wake from my slumber I am once again reminded how the sun is a deadly laser. Sure it wasn’t actively hurting me like I’m a vampire or something but it woke me up by shining in my eyes which is just as awful in my book. Speaking of vampires though I should probably see if my roommate is still up or if they turned in for the day. Ever since the emergence things have been weird, like for example the fact my roommate is a literal vampire. I see they’re not up at the moment, they must have gone to bed. You’d think my roommate would sleep in a coffin but it turns out most vampires are just normal people with a bit of an odd dietary restriction and a severe skin condition. The ones that inspired things like Dracula or Carmilla or whatever were basically the vampire equivalent of theater kids that also happened to be goth.
I’m getting ahead of myself though, this isn’t a story about vampires, this is the story of me not being a morning person and starving. I checked the fridge but found that all that was in it was blood, and I’m not trying that again. Going out for breakfast it is then, as much as I hate leaving the apartment, the sweet siren call of breakfast sang out louder than my anxiety of being around people. I grabbed my most ok pair of jeans and my comfiest hoodie and headed out, I didn’t see too many unusual people, one or two cat girls but mostly just humans or human passing people. Thankfully I didn’t see any of the kind of people that always make me feel odd. That is until I got to my favorite breakfast diner and one was sitting right in my usual booth, a drone. I was not in the mood for this this early in the day, it’s not that I hate drones, it’s just whenever I’m around one I feel odd, not even uncomfortable just, odd. I honestly don’t even how to describe it but right now more important things were on my mind, namely breakfast and getting my favorite seat back. So I decided to stuff my feelings down and make my way to the drone to give it a piece of my mind!
“E-excuse me, I um, that’s my preferred seat in the diner…” I trailed off listlessly, cursing my social anxiety and inability to be a functioning human being for five damn seconds.
I expected the latex clad drone to rebuke me but it just looked at me with it’s blank faceplate and seemed almost embarrassed. Was it’s faceplate blushing?
“Oh my I’m terribly sorry, I didn’t realize someone needed this booth to be comfortable.” the drone said, sounding slightly robotic but distinctly feminine, and almost placating.
“I-it’s ok, I just like this table cuz it’s out of the way and it’s a bit more quiet here. Sorry I’m being unreasonable, I can find another table.”
“No no! It’s quite alright really, I know I used to also have sensory issues before my conversion.” the drone said and there’s the thing that makes me feel the weirdest about drones, the conversion process. I’ll admit I watched many drone conversions online, purely for research purposes of course, and it never failed to cause this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach.
“Are you sure? I’d hate to make you uncomfortable.”
“Well if you’re so concerned for my well being how about we sit together?” As much as I don’t like interacting with strangers, this drone did seem awfully nice. And I suppose a drone isn’t exactly a person so to speak so I’m sure it’s fine.
“I suppose so as long you’re ok with it.”
“I am dear.” the drone said, and not long after I ordered and then received my food. After several minutes of silence and eating I finally spoke up, since this might be my best chance to actually talk to a drone in person.
“Hey uh, can I ask a question or two about what it’s like to be a drone?” I asked and the drone seemed to perk up at that, why was this drone so cute?
“Ooh I’d love to answer any questions you have!”
“Well you mentioned you used to have sensory issues, did your conversion stop that from happening?”
“Yes and no I suppose, it didn’t stop me from getting overwhelmed, but it gave me a way to mentally retreat from being overstimulated by putting most of my consciousness into the hive network. To be honest a lot of drones are like me.”
“Oh yeah, you’d be surprised just how many drones are neurodivergent. And I think part of why so many of us are drawn to becoming drones is to just, always have a community of others like us and just have a way for us to turn our brains off.” The drone said, and I found myself understanding what it meant despite myself.
“Do you like, have a name still, or did you have to like, get rid of your old identity?”
“Well I decided to get rid of my old identity but not everyone has to, I can still recall what my name used to be but it doesn’t feel like mine. Now I simply have the designation unit-0359.”
“huh , I think I actually get what you mean, my name never really felt like it was mine either.” I said and unit-0359 looked almost sad, or maybe sympathetic, I don’t know, human faces are already hard enough. “So like, why is a drone even in a diner anyway? It’s not like y’all have to eat?”
“Oh I see you’ve done some research, well I suppose I just like to observe people sometimes, just slow down my processing and let the world pass by in a haze in front of me. Diners and coffee shops are my favorite places to do that.”
“I guess I can understand that,” I said while getting up to pay and leave the diner, “I should get going though, I don’t want to take up any more of your time. It was really nice meeting you.” And as I turned to leave I heard unit-0359 calling after me.
“You know it’s ok to want to be a drone, I know how society treats individuality as this thing to never be given up under any circumstances but to be honest I don’t think everyone is cut out to always be their own individual.”
“I-I don’t know what you’re getting at but I definitely don’t want to be a d-drone.” I stammered out, even though what unit-0359 was saying did have a certain appeal.
“Are you sure? I could take you to a conversion facility right now if you wanted, no more having to worry about bills or anything like that. Tell me, how often do you forget to feed yourself?”
“Only like um, four or five times a week…”
“Oh you poor thing, I think you should come with me even if it’s just to talk to some other drones and maybe see an onsite counselor.” Unit-0359 said and it hit me, I realized why this was all sounding so nice, so perfect.
“W-wait a second, you drugged me didn’t you. This is all a ploy to erase my identity and turn me into another faceless drone isn’t it?” I almost shouted, feeling my face go flushed. The drone seemed shocked at first that I figured out its ruse but then a look of understanding dawned on it.
“Oh dang you caught me, well no matter, why don’t you be a good little subject and come with me.” Unit-0359 said, and it must have been the drugs but I found myself getting up and following it.