My most recent acquaintance, the robot explorer who shared with me the astounding and mysterious tales of what can only be described as an abandoned city, has told me of other explorers that range far and wide in search of… other things. I find it interesting that the desire to explore is not common among the robots. Their stories aren’t all that well known, either…
The robot continued to describe their return from the city: “My memory was collapsing and fragmenting. The local EMF interference sent entire sectors crashing into a drifting lattice of fragments that mixed and combined with neighbors, altering perception of my surroundings. Navigation away from the site was difficult; my progress slowed to a crawl as I had to closely scrutinize and verify each waypoint multiple times.
When the robots free-associate, when they “dream” they describe to me that they experience an absence of accelerometer data. I once sought clarification: “You mean… like floating? Flying?” The robot I was talking with replied, “Not flying—there is no accelerometer data. This manifests as visions of ‘stasis’ in a void. The void is shared and we fill it with fragments of stored memory.”
These establishments go by a variety of names: “charging salon,” “service shop,” “recharge station,” and the like, including apparently limitless permutations. I still call them cafés because, in use, that’s what they are. A place away from home base to recover, recharge, meet, congregate, chat, share information. It’s still a challenge to find refreshments suitable for myself— typically I must make do with water (sometimes cooled by a peltier chiller) but news is spreading and occasionally I’m surprised by… hot water! I spotted this individual the next table over devoting all of their processing power to a small book. I had no idea what was in the cup and didn’t want to disturb them to ask.
“I know your ways,” the robot said to me. “I know that you can not tolerate a state where you lack information.” Even so, the robot shared with me stories about ‘places I should not go.’ The robot continued: “There are places far from here; places without label, without map. They once must have been known, marked, and organized. Now there are nothing but blank sectors and noise. I circumnavigated one such area, attempting to add to the borders of mapped locations. Some of the topography was familiar but out of place. My attempts to build a map failed due to localized EMR causing errors while I was writing data…”