The mother robot plummets from the skies, trying find her frightened daughter. Will she make it before the vengeful humans do?
Robots | Falling.
The voice in the little robot’s head said “I’m coming, really fast, don’t worry, I’ll be there soon. Just sit tight and wait for me. I’ll find you.” Fleur smiled, and looked up to the darkening skies. She pressed a small beacon at the back of her head and nestled in to the broken ruins of the highway behind her.
Above the clouds, Fleur’s mother, a hybrid robot had just gained consciousness, hurtling down through the atmosphere, gathering speed. She looked below, the dense clouds thick with smoke and moisture, and wondered how she would find this daughter of hers, described so carefully in her solid state memory. She found an image of Fleur and spun it round, studying the dimensions of the little miracle, a daughter created from the same DNA, then rebuilt into a smaller version of herself. The quicker she reached her, the more complete she knew she would feel.
“Mumma, I’m scared!” Fleurs voice crackled into her mother’s head. “There are lots of horrid people here, with guns and stuff.” The voice faded for a moment, other sounds burst through, laser fire, explosions.
“I’m coming dear, as fast as I can. Just keep talking to me, and I’ll find you.”
“Ok Mumma.” Fleur’s sad voice seemed so far away.
A silence squeezed into the vast space between them, the sad robot on the ground, and the hurtling hybrid mother drone on her way down.
“Tell me something Fleur.”
“Tell you what?”
“I don’t know what to say.” Fleur’s voice was sulky and reticent.
“Well, tell me what you’ve got with you.” The wind funnelled across her smooth limbs, creating a soothing effect on the mother robot, allowing her not to panic, keeping her calm for her daughter.
“Well, I have some little shoes.”
“Really where did they come from?”
“They’re all sparkly.”
“Yes. I found them on a little girl who didn’t need them any more.”
“oh, I hope you were careful.”
“Oh yes. Nobody saw me.”
“So have you tried them on?”
“No silly!” Fluer giggled. “They won’t fit on my funny robot feet.”
“Of course, not.”
“And I have a toy gun.” Fleur’s voice crackled and faded, as though she had moved away for a moment. Then a loud retort.
“Are you sure it’s a toy?”
“Well,” Fleur seemed to hesitate and look round. “it just makes holes in things, it doesn’t make them disappear like the gun things I’ve seen the other robots use.”
“Perhaps it’s a human gun dear, perhaps better to leave it alone.”
“Awww, it’s all shiny.” Another loud bang.
“Put it away dear, you don’t want to cause any damage by mistake.
“Ooohhh kaaaay Mumma.” Fleur sighed. “Are you close.”
“Well, I really won’t be long now. I’ve located you on my scanner, I can see you’re on a long bridge over the city, is that right?”
“Oh yes, yes, you must be close.”
“Are there any other robots around you? I can’t see any heat sinks.”
“What’s a heat sink Mumma?”
“You know what they are sweetheart. Just check through your data.”
“Oh, I forgot to say I’ve been damaged at the back of my head.”
“Ah, perhaps you can’t access your data then.”
“Hmm, I think you’re right. Actually I think I’m the only robot alive here.”
“Really?! There were thousands of us in the city.”
I” know, but I can’t see any of them.”
“What about the humans?”
“Oh yes, loads of them.”
“But they can’t see you.”
“Don’t think so. I’m quite small. Anyway, they keep looking up, then rushing around.”
“What else can you see?”
“Well, all the cars have crashed. Only the people are moving around. And most of them carry their toy guns. Oh!” A burst of gunfire disturbed the chat between Fleur and her hybrid mother.
“What was that? Are you alright.”
“Yes.” Fleur’s voice was a whisper. “The humans shot into the truck. I think they found one of our friends Mumma. I’m so frightened.”
“Yes, I’m sure you are, but you keep still, and we’ll sort out those nasty humans when I get there. What’s happening to our friend.”
“Well, they’ve twisted its head off Mumma. I don’t like it. And now they’ve pulled out the arms.” Fleur fell silent for a moment. “I think it had stopped working though, when the truck was shot at.” another pause. “I didn’t see it move.”
“Well, that’s a relief. It’s horrible you’ve had to see this. I don’t know how you were allowed to go out there.”
“It was that nice Grandad robot, he sent me, and my brothers and sisters. You were in your tube then.”
“Did you know it was me?”
“Oh yes, it told me on the screen. And I saw your face, from every angle. They let me play with the viewer, I saw all of you.” Fleur giggled again. “And the others.”
“Oh yes, hundreds of others, all in the tube things.”
The hybrid robot had reached the clouds now and was surrounded by thick bags of moisture, clogging up her telemetry, giving her time to think. She was worried about her daughter, desperate to find her soon. Any moment now she would burst through, and soon, she would make visual contact.
“It’s ok, I can hear you now.”
“Where did you go?”
“Nowhere, just coming through the cloud.” She looked below, and saw the city, ruined, smoke billowing from every corner, smashed tower blocks, huge crevices in the streets, and flashes of light pulsing everywhere. She swerved to her left, avoided a narrow shaft of laser fire and continued to fall, ever faster.
“Mumma, I can see you!!” Fleurs excited voice screamed with joy, just as her hybrid mother, in swerving to avoid yet another blast of light, noticed hundreds of other mother robots alongside her, emerging from the clouds, and falling faster too.
“So, I’ll be with you any minute now. Can you guide me in?”
“Oh yes Mumma.” Fleur sent a low penetration signal that locked in to her mother’s headset.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
At the same moment, all the mothers found all the daughters. Within moments they smashed into every part of the city, devastating every building, every road, every mote of dust, razing the ground until a vast crater was scored from the earth, replacing the city that had once tried to challenge the robot hybrids it had created.
And as the air was sucked from the continent, a thousand voices rose, now free from their bodies:
“I found you.”
“I found you.”
“I found you.”[end]
Text, image, audio © 2015 Jake Jackson, thesefantasticworlds.com. Thanks to Frances Bodiam, Elise Wells for the fantastic voice performances), Logic Pro, the Twisted Wave Recorder App, Apogee Condenser microphone, Rotring pens and inks, Daler Rowney acrylic ink, and Alfons Schmidt’s fantastic Notebook app.
More next week…
There are a few more stories in this series:
- Ophelia A.I.
- A Gift
- Snake Pit
Here’s a related post, 5 Steps to the SF and Fantasy Podcasts