He walks stiffly, clanking and clattering, groaning and hissing with each step. The newer models glide past him, around him: they carry lighter loads and can move faster than he ever did when new. To them, he is an obstacle to be negotiated.
He hooks up to the Dispensary via a 'legacy' connector. He talks to it in an accent it must find quaint. Screens flash yellow warnings, orange cautions: he is decades out of warranty. But work must be done, and so his tanks begin to fill with the biopacket.
He is even slower leaving full than he had been arriving empty. His progress away from the Dispensary must, to the newer models, seem glacial. He makes for the open waste.
There are specific, inviolable rules to it: the area must be a certain distance removed from any existing patches of Earthlife, within a certain distance of an existing settlement, and flat enough for him to perform the entire programmed biopacket dispersal pattern without interruption or deviation.
The ground must be broken, turned over, mixed. This is where he is still valuable: the smaller models dig fast, but more shallowly.
The new patch of living soil will spring to life, sprouting with bacteria and then grasses and then trees. It would happen naturally, were the process left to nature, but humans are impatient.
He turns to head back to the Dispensary, but something is wrong; his weight shifts oddly, his gyros attempt to correct and fail, and he falls to the ground across the boundary between dead ground and the newly seeded soil.
He goes into diagnostic mode. Among a litany of issues one is new: his right leg, rusty and weakened by years of stress, has broken in two. He knows there will be no replacement: he was built on Earth, and no one is making spare parts.
He doesn't shut down to save power; there would be no point. The grass begins to grow around him, and then the trees.
Poor old droid... nothing but grass remain of him soonReplyDelete
He will be remembered by his works! :-)Delete
awwww you made me empathetic for a machine. :)ReplyDelete
Achievement Unlocked. :-)Delete
Well done, you made me feel sad for this outdated robot. We all become obsolete and feed the trees at some point, though.ReplyDelete
I'm trying not to sing "the circle of life" right now... trying really hard...Delete
Very good! You really made me feel bad for the robot!ReplyDelete
Thank you. Hopefully not *too* bad. :-)Delete
Great story. I want to know everything that went before!ReplyDelete
Well, a colony ship from Earth came, and it had this robot and others like it aboard (oh, and some humans too, I guess) and they began turning the lifeless dirt into soil so the humans could grow food in it. And then over the years all of them wore out and were replaced by new models except for him. :-)Delete
Oh my, beautiful. An old robot, lying helpless and broken, and the grass and trees growing around him- lovely image! *reminded me a little of Wall-E, but in a more sci-fi way!* Good job!ReplyDelete
Thanks very much :-)Delete
Sad and lovely.ReplyDelete
I'm a sucker for sad and lovely. :-)Delete
Well I'm totally singing the "circle of life" so...ReplyDelete
And how sad that it "took care" of the humans, but the humans couldn't take care of it.Delete
Thank you for reading and (twice) commenting! :-)Delete
He was so loyal to his job until the end ;__;ReplyDelete
Thank you for reading and commenting :-)Delete
Great write - I love the juxtaposition of technology and nature.ReplyDelete
Great image at the end, the life growing out of decay.ReplyDelete
I appreciate the compliment, thank you! :-)Delete
Even though i did not see the pixar creation WAll-E this puts me in mind of that. Very descriptive and sad.ReplyDelete
You got across the reality of this machine so well, and I love its communion with nature.ReplyDelete
Thank you very much! :-)Delete
Very interesting story - I liked the ending, very metaphoric, just existing, not moving, not noticeably alive.ReplyDelete
Thank you! :-)Delete
Very descriptive. I like how we learn everything through the descriptions.ReplyDelete
To them, he is an obstacle to be negotiated. - great line.
And the ending is just perfect.
Thank you for the kind words :-)Delete