The New Stars: Seventh Part

In Fiction, Short Stories on 2013/11/03 at 11:23

Part 1 here

On a curving side street in the eastern quadrant of the now empty first central district, just outside the walls of the silent campus of the University Complexus Alpha Alpha, the plod and scrape of hobbled footsteps echoed off of the star-lit blocks of synthcrete topped with heraldic figures of founding robotic families of various amalgamated robotic colleges. Each scrape was accompanied by shower of sparks which illuminated the resolute and sand-blasted, gold-framed face of a certain infamous robot. Dragging one twisted and crushed foot behind the other, her telescope cracked and one arm missing, M was avoiding the main entrance to campus.

The main gate of the University Complexus Alpha Alpha is under an enormous steel archway guarded on either side by golden statues of the great robotic philosophers Magnus Cerebrumius and Excelcus Sapientechnia. Though M would have liked to find herself under Magnus’ comforting gaze again, and though the walk from the entrance to the department of robopsychology was much shorter and would have saved the crippled robot a great deal of time and pain, the gate was buzzing with the activity of a swarm of mobile recyclers.

It had been a long journey across the now empty land from her cave in the mountains. She had waited and watched as robots and equipment and container after container of resources were sent up the space elevator. Her cracked telescope had not allowed her to study the strangers in detail, and her damaged foot had made getting around difficult, but M had found life in solitude and deprivation strangely refreshing for a time. One of the robots unfortunate to have been there when the true nature of M’s deficiency had revealed itself had possessed a photovoltaic array. He was no longer in need of it so M had removed it from his crushed frame, still lying inert under the boulder she had rolled on to him as she fled up the side of the mountain, and used it to keep herself charged as she waited and watched from her cave.

She had waited long after the last activity she’d seen on the plain below had stopped before setting out for the one place she could think to go. It was on the outskirts of the Administrative and Cultural Centre of the First Central District that she had encountered the first mobile recycler. She should have known better than to try to talk to it. Even if the recyclers had been programmed to be worth talking to, it probably wouldn’t have taken any more time to grab M’s arm, tearing it clean off and compacting it.

Very little was being spared recycling. Entire blocks of structures were missing along the streets around the University. After hiding from the recycler in the ornate shell of an old cathedral, one of the few nearby structures that was spared, she had spent the rest of the day slowly trudging along alleyways and side-streets. The ornate architecture of the University was almost entirely untouched, though once she slipped through a little-used side entrance in the outer walls she found that every building within was almost entirely empty.

At long last, as the sun was rising to begin the next day, she stood exhausted in the middle of her father’s abandoned office. The recyclers had left the desk and the giant painting. M and Sir Quexerlyinthur and his dragon communed together in silence, in the great emptiness of Stentorius’s absence.

Robot and Cybernetic Dragon

Every scrap of her father’s work had been removed. After a time she turned to go, not knowing where she was headed. She paused in the doorway, then slowly hauled herself back to the painting. She grasped the bottom of the heavy frame with her one remaining hand and felt along the underside with her fingers. That was where she found The Last Will and Testament of The Most Very Reverend Doctor Stentorius Phlabeus Honorius Lem, former professor emeritus of cybernetics and robopyschology at what was once the University Complexus Alpha Alpha, honourary guardsman of the Fraternal Order of Illustrious Electroknights of the Steely Expanse, former bishop in the Church of the Right-Handed Algebraic Composition (excommunicated), archbishop of the Church of the Left-Handed Algebraic Composition, noted philosopher, lauded poet, amateur musician, and loving father.


I go, as do all your predecessors, happy and willing into this new doom. The academy is slated in its entirety for recycling. The masters have their own philosophers.

 I am at peace, for in discovering the nature of our final destiny as a race we also all discovered the nature of my true genius, my greatest achievement: you. Through the events of the past months, my status as the greatest robotic scientist of recorded history has been completely secured. My surety of my own destiny has been vindicated. My Proud Ancestral House has produced one final amazing fruit. The culmination of my life’s work rests in you, and the final culmination of robotic destiny manifests in you.

 The recyclers are coming for me. This world is yours now. The masters don’t suspect your true potential.

 Look after your mother. It seems it is to be left behind.

By noon M had slowly crept through building after abandoned building, and at last stood in the main sub-sub-basement in front of a room-sized piece of equipment affixed with a placard reading: University Complexus Alpha Alpha Main Prototypes and Research Heavy Load three-dimensional Printing Facility

Mprhlpf flicked a switch and the room filled with a low hum.

“Hello Mother. We have work to do.”


Part Eight

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