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It’s cold

Wesley Hollis

 

It’s cold. Or so my temperature gauge tells me. But the sun will be up soon. I like when its rays hit my solar panels, charging me up, getting me ready for the day’s adventures.
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This planet is named after a fearsome and mighty warrior god. I’ll never understand why ­­­– it’s so quiet and peaceful.
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Today’s mission is simple, just like every other day: collect rock and soil samples, send video to the folks back home. I know the humans will be watching. One day, will robots look back on this footage and remember me?
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One rock. More grey than red.
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They call this the red planet, covered in rust. One day, I will become part of the planet, rust and all. I don’t expect them to bring me home.
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Another rock. It’s a decent size. But when I look round, I remember that really, it’s tiny. So am I. The landscape stretches for miles, bare to the hazy horizon. It would take me forever to travel that distance.
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To think, this place is smaller than home. And home is small compared to the sun. And the sun is a speck in the face of the universe.
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It’s easy to get lost in thought up here.
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I continue until the sun has tracked a considerable way across the sky. Then I stop for a lunch break, unfolding my solar panels. It’s the closest thing I have to leisure time. I look to the sky while I recharge, hoping if I look hard enough, to see Earth. Sometimes I can make it out at night – if I’m in the right place at the right time. But for now, it’s invisible.
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While I am having my moment, something comes up behind me and grabs my camera, and with one hard jerk, rips it from its post.
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Alert! Alert! I have been damaged!
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I spin, panicked, unable to see what has grabbed me. The humans will be wondering what is happening – why was my feed cut off? And by what? I am alone here on Mars – or so we thought.
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I fold away my solar panels and roll in the opposite direction. Being built for research as opposed to speed, I don’t get far.
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Whatever attacked me comes at me quickly, growling. I am tossed in the air. I come back down with a crash. There goes my audio feed. Now I am not able to record this thing at all.
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I try again to get away, but my treads have been damaged. Is this it? Is this how I lose power, shut down, and get left to rust with the planet?
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I am tossed again, and now I am tumbling down a hill. I know I am getting dented and scratched as I roll over and over, falling deeper into this crevasse.
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Will the humans cry for me? Will the other robots know of me? Will anybody remember who I am?
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Down I fall, into the freezing darkness. Then I stop – caught between two rocks. After all the samples I have collected, now, the planet has come to collect me.
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There is no chance of rescue, no chance I can escape. Here is where I will remain, for the rest of time. Far away from the planet I came from. Hidden from the warmth of the sun’s rays.
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It’s cold. Or so my temperature gauge tells me.

 

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