Lonesome Ray walked into the neon tattoo parlor. After every trip back from a mining contract, the first credits he would spend back home were on this very tattoo parlor.
Ray sat on the now familiar chair. He took off his shirt. In the right side of his chest there was one small area not yet covered with ink. There was only one robot in the whole of the star system he would trust his skin with.
“Welcome back, Ray,” the robot said. “Good to see you again. Are you are ready for this?”
“Never been more prepared,” Ray said.
Ray waited with eyes closed smoking purple puffs to quiet his mind. The chair was a neuro-reader. The robot already in sync with the brain scanner, moved closer until the needle at the end of its arm was an inch away from Ray’s skin.
“You know, Ray, I might never leave this sad planet but thanks to you, I get to see the most incredible sights.” The robot pointed at the different tattoos. “The rocky mountains of Rhea, the sulfur clouds of Tiago, the deep icy caves of Kreios, and on and on. How many years have you been traveling? Your body is almost covered now.”
“One hundred and fifty years.”
The robot made a whistling sound. “I always wonder what is it that you are looking for out there, Ray. But I do get to enjoy the views.”
“We need to hurry,” Ray said. “I already feel the memories slipping away.”
“All right, here we go,” the robot scanned the memory banks. “I can see low black mountains, is that right? I can see a starry sky and an ocean of bright green water. Oh, you’ve been to the seas of Tau Ceti. Is that right Ray?”
“No, that’s not it. This time I need you to dig deeper.”
The robot run through more images. In seconds it covered months of Ray’s life. One by one it watched the memories until it finally stopped.
“Ah. Now here is a beautiful view if I’ve seen one. I see a smooth surface, waves of gold, and valleys of–”
“That’s it! that’s the vision I’m seeking. The vision you need to draw before I fades away.”
The needle hit the skin. Slowly, line by line, the robot traced an outline. “When are you leaving again, Ray?”
“I think this was my last trip, old friend. I don’t think I’ll ever find most beautiful sight.”
“Alright. Does this vision have a name?”
Ray looked at the face appearing on his chest. “Likely, but I never got to know it.”
September 6, 2017