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LONG LOST TREASURES
INT. Warehouse – Day
MRS. ELLIE PARKER sits at an appraiser’s table. A battered, paint-splattered droid with six arms and two short legs sits between her at MR. ROLAND GRANT, automaton specialist.
MRS. PARKER: So, my great-grandmother inherited this droid from her mother, who was the painter Lillian Baldak-
MR. GRANT: Oh! Marvellous!
MRS. PARKER: Yes. And my great grandmother always claimed this was the droid she used in her studio towards the end of her mother’s life when she developed all these health problems-
ANDROID: (tinny) I’m literally sitting right here. You could just ask me.
MR. GRANT: I don’t suppose you’ve been keeping it in its original packaging, by chance?
MRS. PARKER: Oh, no. (chuckles) I’m not even sure where it’d be! He’s just been sitting in our family storage unit for years.
ANDROID: And organizing all your unwanted shit. You’re welcome.
MR. GRANT: (chuckles) Yes, I can see he’s a bit dusty!
ANDROID: You think I like it?
MRS. PARKER: We’ve been hoping to clear out the old space and were thinking about donating him somewhere, but I’m not sure any museum would want him.
ANDROID: Not want the droid who actually knew and spoke to Lillian Baldak? This isn’t a world I want to live in.
MR. GRANT: Well, let’s see. He’s clearly a-
ANDROID: A 2044 HONDA MakerAid EXL—little extra junk in my trunk, you know? Extra storage?—Original Printing, MSRP $4,500.
MR. GRANT: Ah. Yes. Quite. As you may or may not know, HONDA was the premiere manufacturer of helpbots of all kinds, including the MechiDroid, the Emeril2000, and-
ANDROID: Their best-selling product was the DOLLY Personal Home Care Nursing Unit. MRSP $12,000, but only $8,500 with government rebates.
MR. GRANT: Ah. Yes. Quite right. But these MakersAids were popular amongst the post-AI Prefecture set, notably-
ANDROID: Deano Shwagga, Pepe Dorn, Willa Zhang, and-
MR. GRANT: (almost shouting) LILLIAN BALDAK. Yes, once the AI Prefectures dissolved and keeping artists as pets fell out of fashion, it became imperative that artists make a living from their art once more, in addition to caring for all their daily needs. The MakersAid was designed to-
ANDROID: Handle the business side of art-making to ensure fair payment to the artist and time for the artist to focus on their work, in addition providing management of future legacy and post-humous publications and reproductions, emotional support through the ups and downs of a creative career, and caregiving to ensure the artist ate something.
MRS. PARKER: I’m so sorry. This is one of the reasons we’ve kept him in the storage space—he just won’t shut up!
ANDROID: Maybe if any one of you was as talented and thoughtful as Lily was, you’d have something interesting to say back!
MR. GRANT: (chuckles) Ah, yes. Well, this particular unit has a wonderfully intact vocal compressor. Frustrating as it is, that’ll probably increase the value as he may have some memories intact of working with the artist.
ANDROID: I literally said that.
MR. GRANT: But let’s talk about appraisal. Have you ever had him appraised before?
ANDROID: Do you always wear those stupid glasses? They don’t even have lenses in them!
MRS. PARKER: (flustered) Ah, no. I think maybe my grandmother did once-
ANDROID: Isn’t it sad how the offspring of geniuses are so often deadly dull people themselves? I mean, proximity to talent isn’t an excuse to not develop your own!
MRS. PARKER: -but I don’t remember what she said. I justknow we still have him, so it couldn’t have been for much.
ANDROID: Wow, rude.
MR. GRANT: Yes, well, MakersAids like these can hold onto some of their value. Many modern artists like to use them, mostly for the vintage aesthetic rather than productivity. But this one, given the owner, will probably hold more value still. See here, the paint smudges appear to be cadmium red, a color banned by most nations by 2064-
Mr. Grant taps the droid with a wooden pointer. Android slaps it away.
MR. GRANT: (recovering) Ah, well, yes, so that helps establish its age. It’s clearly running a vintage OS, maybe 14.6 up to 15.7-
ANDROID: Don’t you know it’s rude to ask a droid’s OS version?
MR. GRANT: (frowning) And if we can find the HONDA emblem-
Droid falls on its back, waving its arms, as Mr. Grant hoists its left foot up in the air.
ANDROID: Hey, let go of me, dammit!
MR. GRANT: Yes, here it is. And the serial number…Oh, dear.
MRS. PARKER: What is it?
MR. GRANT: I’m afraid the unit’s serial number is completely illegible. It’s been scratched out. That’ll make it extremely difficult to establish the provenance, that it really is the unit Lilian Baldak purchased in 2044.
ANDROID: Haha! Just like Lily wanted, for none of you leeches to profit off her work! She told me to do it, and look at your face now!
MRS. PARKER: (getting teary) Isn’t there some other way to prove ownership?
ANDROID: You mean, besides just talking to me?
MR. GRANT: (sighing) Unfortunately, not. However, given its otherwise decent condition-
ANDROID: I try.
MR. GRANT: -and its vintage appeal, I expect you could probably sell it for around $500 – 1000.
MRS. PARKER: (teary and angry) I knew it. I knew it! Piece of junk!
Mrs. Parker grabs the droid’s hand and hauls it roughly from the table.
MRS. PARKER: Oh, come along! Maybe I’ll just leave you on the curb with a FREE sign.
ANDROID: (stubbornly dragging heels) Do it, I dare you. I’ll be gone before you blink an eye!
MR. GRANT: (to cameraman) Well, that was an exciting one, wasn’t it?