adrianwphilp

The New Stars: Sixth Part

In Fiction, Short Stories, Uncategorized on 2013/10/04 at 19:42

Start with Part 1

The same sorrowful sun that painted the empty landscape behind Stentorius as he wrote was just rising over Villard Emmet. It warmed the foggy air of the small valley where the repurposed mechanician bot now lived and worked, about 250 million kilometres away.

The valley was carpeted with a soft new grass, all of it covered with tiny droplets of quickly evaporating dew. A light breeze swept over the hillocks and dales that spotted the area in front of the local Materials Repair and Recycling Facility.

Villard was admiring his new attachments, one of which he was in the process of using to meticulously clean and polish his front casing. He was used to the higher oxygenation of the air inside the elevators, which matched that of his new home quite closely, but the atmosphere in his new home was far more humid than anything he had experienced before. Close analysis had revealed a 0.2% increase in the rate of deterioration of his outer components. Still, Villard was happy. He felt a deep sense of purpose, even in his new position, which was admittedly not as challenging and interesting as his old work on the elevators.

There were no elevators on the new planet. The gravity was slightly higher, and it had a powerful but unstable magnetosphere. They would need hundreds of Villards working on a single elevator to keep it functional and safe, and the masters had decided it wasn’t worth it. A launch tower constructed on the peak of the highest mountain on the planet was used instead. Villard had wanted to work there, but had been assigned to a repair and recycling position instead. They had switched out most of his specialized equipment, but had left most of his structure essentially the same. No one was getting huge overhauls. The masters had deemed it inefficient. This made Villard happy. He still felt like himself.

Two figures appeared, walking slowly toward the facility. Villard turned to open the large door to the intake area. The two robots got closer and Villard could see a pronounced limp in one. He guessed at what his task here would be and started the warm up phase on the largest piece of equipment in the facility.

The recycler was ready for use by the time the two robots stopped and stood in the door of the intake area. Dented and scuffed, and scraping one mangled foot behind the other, the first robot wheezed and ticked in the morning stillness.

Two damaged robots

“Good morning! I’m Villard, your MRRF mechanician unit. Please explain the nature of your malfunction and instructions.”

“THREE THREE THREE SEVEN OK ELEVATION COORDINATES OK HELLO HELLO HELLO.”

Villard noticed a small tag affixed to one of the jabbering robot’s antennae. He snatched it with one attachment while several others restrained the robot as it started to quiver uncontrollably.

ROAD CONSTRUCTION UNIT – DAMAGED IN FALL – MALFUNCTIONING – TO BE RECYCLED

“Right this way if you please.” Villard guided him towards the recycler unit’s waiting doors. His voice was muffled by the doors as Villard closed them but he kept speaking gibberish to himself before a loud screeching and grinding noise silenced him. Villard filed the pink tag and turned to the second robot. A smaller unit equipped with two delicate manipulators and an immaculate cream-white casing, the robot was in fine condition but for an enormous crack in its skull-casing and a bent antenna.

“Please explain the nature of your malfunction and instructions.” Villard said cheerfully.

“Domestic unit. Cosmetic damage. Parts to be replaced.” The robot said in a soft voice.

“OK then. Please step into this storage area and power down.”

The robot silently obeyed. Once it had powered down Villard removed its head, which he also placed in the recycler. He filed a request for a new head, emptied the recycler, and went back to polishing his casing until more work arrived. Somewhere close by a small winged biote was singing in the branches of a fragrant tree.

 

Continued in Part 7

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