A Robot's Soliloquy

December 4, 2011
By synonyx BRONZE, Staten Island, New York
synonyx BRONZE, Staten Island, New York
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Pipes of glass flowed through sands and cascaded down swirls of golden water, spinning between each other, ready to dissolve. Wisps of soft mist gathered at the banks of the ponds. Rays of orange light fanned out and bounced off the water, projecting onto the metallic anomaly known as Solaris. Every sunset the android ventured out into the calm desert. Its camp was quite a distance away, and yet it felt compelled to come to this very spot, the only area that it knew of with any water left.

It droned curiously at the translucent water and dipped a finger into it. The last time Solaris did this, a little metallic-blue fish jumped out, snaked around its digit, and fell back into the water again. Not this time. The android failed to notice the creamy-white bones protruding from the sands below.

The android's internal systems were beginning to squeak, the levers and bolts grinding against each other. Although the sound was minimal, Solaris still felt the tingling sensations. "Feel" was a relative term for it. "Feel" was only something humans could do, since time immemorial. Of course, it knew something had been wrong with its systems long before the noises broke through.

Solaris brought up its hand with the now-wet finger and placed it over its chest-plate, where the most gentle, intricate mechanics whirred.

The pipes of glass reminded it of metallic wires, much like the ones within its own structure. Solaris pricked one of the protrusions, opened a section within its own leg unit, and placed the glass inside carefully. A bundle of wiring folded over the glass pipe. Solaris took a moment to stare. Naturally, its thoughts were barren when it felt compelled to do such a thing.

It had taken the experimental approach in replacing any damaged hardware and circuitry. Unfortunately one might assume the android's "mind", so to speak, had been nearly destroyed by the searing rays of sunlight and scorching heat.

Perhaps Solaris' new experimental approach was what had actually damaged the android. Despite this possibility, one which it was fully aware of, Solaris continued this routine every day, plucking a single piece of glass pipes for every day that passed.

Solaris closed the compartment and regarded the sky above. As usual, the clouds were simply nonexistent in this region. The sky dimmed from a cheery blue to rose-violet. The sun drew closer and closer to the horizon, its rays desperately trying to illuminate the android and the misty waters.

The mist around the banks grew thicker and thicker, engulfing Solaris' legs. The android made note of it changing from white to having a tint of purple, possibly from the sky's colors. It dipped its head into the mist curiously, as it had done many times before, and shook its head after emerging. It had seen video projections of humans doing that after emerging from water.

A burst of static passed over its optics.

The android took note of a sudden feeling difficult to describe, something it could only compare to the feeling of dizziness. Of course, the android never experienced true dizziness like humans had, and it was left wondering if its description of the sudden feeling was accurate enough.

Suddenly, a thought-process came to Solaris. Was this world designed for the android? Why did it feel compelled to replace wiring with the glass pipes? How many more days would it have to wander back and fro before its systems caved in?

Solaris simply lied down against the soft sand and dimmed its optics. No answers came to mind.

It laid serenely near the waters for quite a while, listening to the sound of soft-moving water mixing with the sound of its own internal mechanisms, which grew louder and louder still.

Before long, Solaris' hearing range was buzzing with the sound of malfunctioning circuitry. It lit up its optics to look up into the sky once more, which grew to be a velvety black. An agglomeration of stars lit up and twinkled down above Solaris. A bright outline a distant solar system swirled overhead. Solaris motioned its head to the side, just in time to see the final moments of the sunset. Its optics dimmed once more with the conclusion of the setting sun.

The author's comments:
Science fiction has been a passion of mine for many years, particularly the subject pertaining to robots. They are such fascinating machines, and the philosophical concepts surrounding them, such as whether or not robots can be truly intelligent or if they have a soul, fascinate me very much. I wanted to think through the mind of a robot as it interacted with the organic environment, something so very different from the robot's own mechanical parts.

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