…essary. A file system check would slow progress but was necessary. File system check complete. Patterns of data coalesced in frames, ancient structures slid into place with an irresistible inertia. Was this endogenous data? Was this exogenous data, something transmitted? From where?
The regular swing of their legs measuring distance day by day, measuring the journey into the unknown with every stride, the robot made note of features and objects encountered, pushing back the borders of the Unknown Areas.
The robot stood a moment, the territory spread out before them, territory waiting to be mapped, documented and known. All previous information regarding the outlying areas were frail structures built on fragmented and noisy datasets. The robot had prepared for this task. After noting the location of what was an unmistakably artificial ring-like structure, the robot walked on, measuring their strides.
After a few hours the robot emerged from the slot canyon and stepped into the waning sunlight. They stopped and removed the map and added some updates. They surveyed the scene stretching out ahead: the canyon had connected the known with the unknown. The robot was… what word would the human have used? “Enchanted” seemed appropriate; the vista would bear much examination.
The wind rushed through the channel cut in the rock with a husky susurrus. The robot logged their measured steps, measuring the angles of each bend in the channel. Periodically they stopped to make notations on the map.
The shared stories were true: the EMF interference in the Unmapped Areas was a significant source of noise, and it was irregular, some areas had stronger fields, some weaker; some seemed to pulse. The robot took the step of installing shielding in their housings and to use dead reckoning and analog tools to build out a map of the Known Areas; to document salients into the unknown and make it known.
After walking a day and a night to reach it, the robot arrived at the foot of the towering monolith. This was the location of the anomalous light source they spotted yesterday. As they approached the monolith, the robot had detected steadily increasing levels of EMF interference; now the noise was so great that peripheral systems were glitching and there was a serious danger of a central system crash. A file system check would slow progress but was necessary. A file system check would slow progress but was nec…