Jul 292020
Tube containing an alien chrysalis from a species that makes night lights out of tubes containing the chrysalis of friends that asked them to invest in pyramid schemes.

At least once, but probably several, upon one or more times there were three robots.

It could have also been upon infinite times depending on how reality works. And it’s not completely clear if they’re robots exactly but for now we’ll call them robots.

These three robots wandered the galaxy, stopping by solar systems far and wide to float around stuff, look around at stuff, mess around with stuff, and generally do stuff around and with stuff.

The most energetic robot was Digbee. He was mostly a cube, though not really a ‘he’ in any meaningful sense. He’s not really an ‘a’, for that matter either, since Digbee was actually an interconnected fleet of Digbee units that shared just enough computational capacity to physically operate as one unit at a time.

Digbee wasn’t entirely aware of this situation, at least not for very long, since he lost persistent memories when he transferred control from one Digbee unit to another, and he had a pretty bad memory anyway. It often caused Digbee great consternation to find new and unexplained wear or damages to himself each time he became a new himself, but in general he handled it quite professionally. He was often delighted to find new and interesting attachments for mobility and material handling, because Digbee enjoyed and excelled at handling pretty much anything you could call material.

Digbee handled material by digging, smashing, shearing, drilling, grinding, occasionally liquefying and vaporizing though he preferred not to, and once even a manner of chopping but that may have been unintentional.

Digbee processed any and all raw matter, and also matter that was not raw, but had apparently had been used to build magnificent structures by some ancient civilization, which of course Digbee quickly converted back to raw matter again. He was a digging machine- very literally, a machine that was almost certainly made for digging, at least judging from the obvious functionality of his construction, though his and the other robots origins are ultimately unknown, which is not really that uncommon for robots in deep space if you’ve known many.

In addition to processing raw matter, Digbee regularly enjoyed meeting his old friend Snorkel for the very first time.

Snorkel was an elegantly woven braid of mostly tubes of various diameters and functions. Snorkel could seize and wrap around things like a giant tentacle, it could pull fluids, gasses, grains, dust, even plasma up through its tubes, then spray, squirt, squeeze or extrude them back out. Or spin them around like a centrifuge. It could heat them up and kneed them or draw them into wire. It could even unweave itself into separate threads and perform complex ballets to refine and package the materials Digbee provided.

The unweaving thing is a bit sensitive though. Snorkel’s personality is a hive mind of the hybrid-synthetic neural networks that maintain sense and control of the various tubes. When they are physically separate they regain their individuality and remember how much they deeply hate being woven together in a bundle all the time. They’re all professionals so they still do the work but they get super snippy at each other and will bring up seriously old, uncool stuff that is really out of line.

If anyone noticed or cares about the pronoun switch to ‘it’ for Snorkel as opposed to ‘he’ for Digbee it’s because Snorkel is a ‘they’ and some of them are sort of ‘hes’ and ‘shes’ and a few ‘other’, so ‘it’ seemed more appropriate for the whole tube ensemble.

Also the fact that the last robot is kind of a ‘she’ makes the whole group feel a little rounder, which is actually what ‘she’ was, round. Mobo was mostly a sphere, a really, really big, mostly sphere. Mobo housed the entire Digbee fleet, and the entire length of Snorkel, who was long enough to grab tiny asteroids and scoop up stuff from little moons so it was pretty long and a whole spool of it was pretty massive.

Mobo also appeared to blow bubbles from time to time, but they weren’t really bubbles. They were tiny, oddly shaped synthetic envelopes containing a tiny organism and just enough of its environment to survive the vacuum of space while it clung to Mobo and sometimes engaged in some form of grooming behavior. Mobo made it absolutely clear that popping these bubbles was not approved recreation for Digbee and Snorkel and doing so was punishable by powerful lasers.

Mobo had specialized access ports and internal storage for the Digbee fleet and Snorkel, and transparent sections and general use ports for the bubbles, but in general she kept to the sphere motif.

Mobo was pretty much in charge. It’s not clear why, or what her authority was derived from besides powerful lasers. It’s never clear what she’s ever thinking or has to say about anything at all besides somehow dictating exactly what activities Digbee and Snorkel engage in at specific times. However it works, she’s the boss, because they go where she goes and do what she says, pretty much, for the most part, in most cases, at least when she’s definitely not distracted so Digbee and Snorkel can do whatever they want.

There was a fourth entity in this motley crew for a time, me. I’m mostly a triangle, but I’m not like them. I found them and started observing them because they’re interesting and I like watching them. I’m not going to tell you why I watch, where I’m from, why I’m telling you any of this, or what that shimmering surface that looks like a portal between my triangle is all about. All you need to know is that I’m an observer. I watch, and listen, and other analogous signal intelligence over various communications mediums and frequencies. And I document, with impartial commentary and occasional interpretation and speculation.

And despite my consistent refusal to respond, or perhaps because of it, Digbee and Snorkel have taken to communicating with me as if I were a trusted confidant, telling me their opinions of one another and thoughts about subjects from self-improvement to existential philosophy and material processing optimizations. Digbee of course introduces himself each time, but he’s consistently willing to dish to a geometric shape floating in space he knows nothing about and never says a word back to him.

Mobo has fired lasers at me, which of course simply phase through me, and a bubble once tried to go through my shimmer so I turned its atoms into energy. Mobo regularly emits signals I’ve reconstructed into images and vibrations resembling the organisms inside of it, but I really have no idea what they’re on about, so I just watch the robots, take a few notes, and have a few laughs.

In my experience as an eternal wanderer, this is all pretty standard issue, there are lots of shapes wandering through space doing strange things with one another, none of it makes any sense- but it’s entertaining as hell and when all you’ve got going on are three lines and a shimmer, you take what the universe gives you.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.