The robots never “sleep” for lengthy periods of time; this makes wandering their cities both endlessly fascinating and exhausting. I am especially drawn to these crowded alleys: they are always buzzing with all manner of activity and always in a state of perpetual dusk.
As darkness fell the traveling companions made camp for the night under the shelter of an outcropping of rock. As the thermoelectric charger topped off their batteries, they shared stories of their respective journeys through the Unmapped Areas.
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…
The sun had set some time ago and all that was left was a lingering blue light refracting through the atmosphere. I paused for a moment in a bubble of quietude, noting that I had an observer. The robot did not move, and continued to watch as I continued on my way up the street.
“A bonfire tonight, please,” the robots asked. They recalled a story I had told them about my youth and bonfires and jumping through the flames. After a while the fire had gotten a good start and was sending whole galaxies of sparks into the night sky. “Don’t get too close or your seals’ll get roasted,” I warned. They just continued to stare silently at the flames.
“We are seemingly so different, yet we are all made of the same ‘stuff’.” One night I saw a robot looking out a window as it uttered this, apparently to no one in particular. Not willing to disturb the moment, I said nothing and moved on.
Upon returning from a randomized perambulation, the robot’s path was intercepted and temporarily paralleled by a cat. After a few minutes the cat angled away down an alley, where it paused, just once, to look back and momentarily regard the robot.