What is a Poppet?
Wester-Marium Dictionary circa 2000 CE, Antedevolution period
POPPET noun pop·pet \ˈpä-pət\
a doll, usually handmade and cloth
Examples of POPPET <grandma calls me her poppet>
Wi-fi-pedia Encyclopedia definition circa 2020 CE, Antedevolution period
Poppet: The word poppet is from British English meaning a small child or doll. In folk traditions, a poppet is a doll that represent a person for casting curses against or to aid that person through magic. Other uses: A term expressing love or affection from an elder to a younger person.
The History of the Devolution and Development of US NOAM
Textvid by Prof. Venkma of the Academy DeBellum. Published US NOAM Year 80
Poppets: Servant biomachines created using the remains of the recent dead, DesLoge Com’s proprietary chemical formula, and bio- chips programmed with the manual skills required by the consumer. Following the class wars, poppets replaced all manual laborers in the US NOAM economy. Tireless, easy to train and replace, poppet labor revolutionized the modern economy.
Back in the beginning, they’d called poppets like Thom zombies, but no more. The Z word was the newest never say, soap in the mouth, dirty word. Don’t call a poppet a zombie, because zombies ate people. Zombies were shambling, bumbling, cartoon monsters, and really, sympathetic. No one wanted to sympathize with the poppets, because then... well, everything everyone knew would be upside down. The duty of every citizen of US NOAM was to understand their place, to preserve their way of life, and protect the dome cities and that included treating poppets as what they were—reanimated, empty-headed dead servants. The name “poppet” had been Aunt Cordelia’s genius.
A harmless, sweet name. A name that denoted the place of the servant dead in the new republic. Poppets, small and useful items, like the dollies of old they were named for. The name represented the new creature’s lack of status and rights.
She turned to see him standing there. His dark blond hair, cut shaggy but close, fluttered in the dome breeze, a fake air current created by the careful ministrations of some dome scientist somewhere. He walked over and sat next to her on the step.
“Are you okay?” he asked. His hand reached out toward hers but pulled back quickly like he’d been burned. Of course, since they weren’t properly introduced, his touch would be too forward. His hands folded together instead in a much less threatening gesture. Clearly, he hadn’t had comportment classes since primary school like she’d had. Her hands never wandered. They were trained sentinels, keeping clear of anything that might shame her.
His eyes met hers then dropped to his hands.
“I’m okay, yes.” She drew her knees to the right, aware suddenly of how close his body was and how it might look if someone drove by and saw them.
“I’m Moze,” he said.
The name soothed her a bit. Smooth like a piece of chocolate. Moze.
He looked up at the domenoon’s distilled light—milky and swirling whites, soft grays and blues. “Ellie DesLoge, right?”
She nodded. There was no use in pretending she wasn’t a DesLoge. Everyone knew. That’s just reality.
“Are you new here?”
He nodded. “I didn’t mean to be rude or forward. I know that debutants have rules and traditions and such. I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
Her arms folded around her, hugging in the discomfort she felt. She let her gaze trail across the marble-fronted buildings of the art district across from the Academy, the glittering street lines of the autocar tracks, the scrubber plants lining the clean alley walkways. The only un-beautiful things in this part of town were the dome’s dull light and maybe herself. She drew in a bit more, hoping this moment would pass.
He could have said anything.
What he said was, “Have you ever seen the sky?”