No Real Heart?

Title: No Real Heart?

Author: Allronix

Originally posted to LJ community Tinman100

Word Count: 345

Prompt: Music (Table 1)

Disclaimer: Baum made the universe, Long-Mitchell & Van Sickle transformed it into the Outer Zone. I am merely a fan.


The techs rarely saw the outside world these days, spending their days and nights in the bowels of the Queen Azkedellia's palace. The pay was spectacular, even if were looked on as little more than part of the furniture.

Caleb rolled his third cigarette of the hour as he leaned against the wall. "What do you want us to do?"

"Remove the memory cores, search for any pertinent data, then dismantle the units for any parts we can use in our own tik-toks," Vy-Sor said, his measured voice grating on Caleb's ears.

"Right away, Your Grace," Zeazaw was full-blood Munchkin, and lived up to the infuriatingly cheerful stereotype. "Bring the units in"

Vy-Sor waved in two gurneys pushed by low-ranking Longcoats. Caleb shuddered. The humanoid shapes under the yellow cloth looked too much like corpses. Zeazaw waddled up to one and pulled off the sheet. "She" looked like an ordinary farm-wife, aside from the top of the head being pried off and the clockwork visible under the blond wig.

"1487's?" Caleb said. "Why does she want us to pry data out of a pair of tik-tok nannies?"

"Do not question orders. Follow them," Vy-Sor said before turning on his heels and leaving with the Longcoats.

Caleb pulled off the other sheet. "Damn creepy looking at these things."

"They're just tik-toks, Caleb – circuits, wire, programming," Zeazaw reminded him. "Doesn't matter what they look like. No real brains, no real heart. They don't even know what's coming."

"I suppose you're right," Caleb said, turning away and lighting his cigarette while Zeazaw dug in his toolbox.

They heard a long, metallic sigh, like a music box grinding to a halt, and almost jumped out of their skins with fright.

The two nurture units had turned to face one another. Their hands of metal and synthetic flesh were clasped together.

"No real brains, no real heart, don't even know what's coming?" Caleb said warily.

"Just get the wrench," Zeazaw said, unable to keep the nervousness out of his voice.