Writing: Spacetime robots

Because I just love robots. I made up a whole robot world for them, intentionally nothing like the Matrix. The setting is that Xironi, a catgirl, is taking Esca, her little broken robot, back to her homeworld for repairs.

Xironi clasped Esca to her chest and stepped into the portal.

For a moment there was an unpleasant floating sensation, and Xironi thought she was back inside the Nightmare Crystal, watching that blade bury itself in her ribs. Then the world blinked into being, and they arrived on Unross Prime.

Xironi stared around in pleasant surprise. She had expected some dark, bleak robotic future so popular in movies, with a dark sky, black buildings, creepy robots everywhere, and no nature left to speak of.

Instead she saw a blue sky overhead, sprinkled with white clouds. She had arrived on a wide paved circle decorated with blue and white stones in geometric patterns. Nearby stood three Unrossi, two small and humanoid, and one ten feet tall and patterned after some kind of carnivorous dinosaur.

In the near distance stood tall buildings like Earth skyscrapers, but some of them were moving slowly. Everywhere else were trees. Tall green trees with green trunks and spreading branches, planted in perfect rows.

Esca said, “It’s all right, Miss Xironi. They’re going to take us to a repair drone. They say that you are welcome to Unross Prime and they hope that your subconscious impressions of our world are favorable.”

To Xironi’s shock, the robot dinosaur lowered its head, unfolded, tucked in, folded out, twisted and rolled over, becoming a long, narrow car with many wheels and ten seats. “He’s our ride,” said Esca cheerfully.

Xironi walked up and climbed up a set of steps, and sat down on one of the cold metal chairs. “This is amazing,” she said as the dinosaur-car slid into motion. Then an engine somewhere below them roared to life, and Xironi grabbed on to the seat in front of her as they accelerated to eighty miles an hour in about five seconds.

“I wish Carda could see this!” she shouted to Esca, who was clenched between her knees.

Esca laughed.

They roared down a wide, paved road that had a median landscaped with flowing streams and a patch of geometric forest. The buildings rapidly grew larger. Their car banked to the right, and they took a road slanting off at an angle. Other robot-cars passed them, also traveling at crazy speeds. Xironi tried to look as they screamed by. She supposed that the only way they could be called ‘cars’ was because they had wheels. One monster drove by on tank treads, and she thought the clatter of the treads would deafen her.

Then they were among the buildings. These, too, were laid out in geometric shapes, but not in the perfect rows of a grid, as Xironi had imagined. The roads angled off in pentagons and hexagons, forming shapes within and without shapes. She imagined that flying over the city was breathtaking.

Finally they slowed, and coasted in to a vast parking lot ringed by skyscrapers. And each skyscraper had treads, Xironi noticed. She had thought she had seen moving buildings!

The dinosaur-car parked, and Xironi climbed out shakily, carrying Esca. “Thank you,” she said, gingerly patting its side.

“He accepts your thanks,” said Esca, “and adds that giving offworlders rides imparts to him intellectual pleasure.”


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