I snap my sketchbook closed and sweep my pens into my open satchel. I dig out a few more coins from my pocket and drop them on the tiny table, adding to the small pile I’ve already left there— a peace offering to the proprietor. I flip my bag around behind me and step out into the city lights and setting sun.
The map is not the territory. Documentation was important but first-hand experience was paramount to understanding.
Street market. An amazing variety of items were on display—everything a robot might need and quite a few they might not!
Anomaly. A quick sketch of a scene as it unfolds.
Riding the breezes across the slight ridge, the two robots were finally out of range of the buzzing, noisy RF emitted by the edifice and its circuit of shattered rings.
After a moment the found explorer responded: “I ventured out this far because I wanted to map the territory. Knowledge was the only treasure I sought— to make known the unknown.”
Pulling a length of webbing from their pack, the robot fashioned a sling and looped it around the chest and under the arms of the collapsed figure. Once secured, the robot set about dragging their burden out of the tower…
As the robot picked their way through a narrow passage between two rock faces the tower came into view; it was very close now, not more than another hour’s walk. As they carefully chose their footing, the robot spotted something glinting among the rocks and stopped to pick it up. A flat, square object with a delicate metal aperture along one side bearing the marking “2HD.” With a piece of string from their pack, the robot attached the object to their walking staff; an enigmatic ornament for a journey full of mystery.
A storm darkened the sky early and forced the robot to take shelter in the derelict building over night. Before going to sleep mode, they spent some time exploring deeper into the structure, the lantern casting long shadows. The building was empty and devoid of anything of any interest— save for one wall. It was covered in strange, indecipherable markings and pictographs— the raw materials of legend and myth. The robot set their pack down and dig out a paper notebook and stylus. After recording some visual data they set about logging the find in the notebook— a failsafe storage mode. First the odd EMF spike and now this…
After a few days of travel, the robot encountered an oddly designed structure, overgrown with tenacious weeds and shadows. They had been monitoring low-level background EMF noise for the past day and moments after stepping inside the structure there was a tremendous spike in the energy level. Logging the event for investigation later, the robot proceeded to walk deeper into the structure…
…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 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.