I hate waiting. I hate waiting in the rain doubly so, especially so when I could have been lying next to the most beautiful woman in the whole wide world, and not here, under this star-less sky, in this slimy puddle of water and dirt. She stares at me from her photograph, her blue eyes burning through my soul, reminding me of what could have been, but wasn't. The moon, the only thing visible in the god-forsaken sky, glints off the slender barrel of my gun. Someone once told me that my heart was as cold as the steel between my hands, and that they could feel it every time I squeezed the trigger. Someone had also said that they loved me. I had whispered back an 'I love you too'. I hate the rain. It gets me all sentimental, even nostalgic. I hate it especially on nights like these. So why am I here? If I were the metaphysical type, I could have taken my five minutes, fixed you with a deep stare, and answered “i don't know son, I've been trying to find this out for the past forty years” However, I'm not the metaphysical type, so I can give you an answer, but I'd have to start from the beginning if I'm to expect you to understand me. Not my beginning, but how things, and the world came to be to what it is now. A long time ago, somewhere near the closure of the 21st century, some wretched soul had been ecstatic as he claimed a new technology-:nano-robots. I'm not a scientist, hell, i didn't even finish school, so I can't explain really well the way those things worked. All I can tell you is that they were very small, and the scientist community all over was united in claiming that perhaps this was the singular discovery that would have the same kind of impact on humans as the discovery of fire did. Every field of science and culture would be affected. These tiny bugs could co-exist in your blood, and weed out viruses, germs and bacteria, repair your failing heart, and like true janitors, even clean out your plumbing when it started to choke with the sewage from the burgers and pizzas. The robots did affect our lives immensely, but not in the way we had hoped they would. Remember those movies in which a scientist invents some indestructible machine that due to some accident or the other turns on its master, and goes on the proverbial rampage? Well, pretty much the same thing happened here too. The robots were gluttons, so to speak. They could apparently eat up pretty much everything, and use the 'harvested' resources to create more of their ilk. Initially, we send nukes and missiles at them. They were assimilated before they could do anything at all. We tried EMP blasts or some stuff like that. That messed up their circuitry and rendered them useless, but to one nano robot, a frozen nanobot is no different than dessert. The rest of the story is a big foggy mess, but eventually, we built some devices all over the city that created a field which kept the darned bots out. The shields generate just enough power to keep the existing bots at bay, and will not be able to cope up if there's more of them. It is said that the balance is a delicate one, and that if the robots manage to assimilate even as much mass as that of a human body, this balance may break and we'd be defenseless. Unfortunately there's isn't much we can do- we now have just about enough resources to survive. There's no more industry, or mass production, or TVs. Just vertical farms where our food grows, and towers where we live. The only entertainment comes from the government run zoos where we keep some animals to make us feel more 'human'. So, once again, why am I here? I saw her get out of the lift. She was apparently late for something, and rushed past me, or at least tried to- she managed to trip over my legs, that is. I should have apologized, but instead I just stared at her. “If you're not going to apologies, you can at least offer me a ride.” she said. Cars were issued to only governments slaves like me, who needed them to do the jobs they were assigned. We got into the car, and along the way, we started talking. It didn't mean much, but we liked the same things, her and I. We got on pretty well, and somewhere between Floyd and Dylan, we fell in love. It'd have been great if the story finished here, but it didn't. Every thing was going fine until she found out about what I did. Remember I told you about the government run zoos? Well, every now and then, some animal would escape and make a run for the outside. Most would be shot with sedatives half way through, but some would still continue their pilgrimage. It was my job to make sure they didn't. Go on, laugh if you want. I admit it, it sounds too much like a real bad sci-fi story, one filled with plot holes you could drive a truck through, but it is the truth. Real life is not as glamorous as the movies or the novels make it out to be. She on the other hand, was one of the crazies- people who protest against the killing of such escapee animals, saying that their life is every bit as important as ours. Delusions, I say, but in her case, they were strong enough to drive her away from me. She had tried in vain to make me quit. I would have too, if I could, but the government 'fixes' us in a lab. We are slaves forever. Which brings me back to your initial question: Why am I here? There's another animal on the loose.