Just as all “big things” happen, there was no preface, no hints, at what perception-altering event lay ahead. One moment the dry, dusty emptiness of the tunnel system, and then, in a shallow alcove, evidence of an entirely unknown facet of the robots’ existence. The edge of the map had been unfolded to reveal a terrible landscape.
As much as there is out in the light, there is probably just as much in the dark. A robot took me down to what appeared to be storm surge tunnels beneath an older part of the city. I didn’t go too far into the tunnel but the robot did not follow me. Strange. They provided no explanation for why they would not venture past the mouth of the tunnel.
This is the first in a series of drawings using the contents of Marker Universe‘s “January blind box”: A curated selection of various markers and pens from Karin, Graph It, Sketchmarker, and Aristo.
Pointing to their own head, one said to the other “It was not apparent to me before but you seem to have sustained an injury during your recent incident. I suggest you not repair the damage—your adventures are being written to your surface.”
Once clear of the tower and at a distance where the EMF noise was diminished, the robot revived the collapsed explorer. Offering a fully charged battery, they asked What brought you to this area where so few think to tread?”
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…
The robot reached the threshold of the tower and stepped inside. Immediately within was a large, high-ceilinged space. At the far end, laying on the floor in disarray was the body of a lone robot, apparently another misfit; a lone explorer of the Unmapped Areas. They moved in for a closer look at the body, and a quick examination revealed that the body had not been inactive for very long at all…
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.