guest post by Colin Carlson
Bits of dust rain down from the copper colored sky. The dying star sets in the west, its red glow fading to black. The dust carries with it a deadly poison. Luckily, I cannot be poisoned. I am K.E.M, Keeper of Earth unit M. I was left on this dead world when the humans left. I was to keep alien races off the planet while they were away. But none came. And the humans didn’t come back. So I roam endlessly, wandering the planet, waiting and hoping for the humans to come back. It has been hundreds of years. Thousands. I honestly don’t know why anyone would want this world anymore. The water for the most part evaporated or became deadly. The plants and animals all but died out. Not even a cockroach survived.
Now the earth is as barren as our neighbor mars. Occasionally there are little traces that humans had lived here. A block of stone standing atop another, a hole dug 200 miles deep, and us. The humans left before things got really bad. The tectonic plates shattered. Each continent tearing into small pieces. The pieces shift along the surface. You can watch them if you have the time, which I do. The little shards of land grind together. You can feel it sometimes, and you can always hear it. Many of the bots have died. I don’t really know how many remain, but I will see the occasional dead shell of one of my own.
Earth cracks and crumbles beneath my metal plated feet. The dust is so thick here it just slides out from under you. I patrol the land, watching the skies for signs of life. Signs of anything more than a dusty surface lit by a dying sun. Dust storms fling the particles into the sky. I sit and wait out the torrent in a small alcove. My sensors indicate something a little more out of the ordinary deeper in the cave. I walk in further and find a small object. I feel its surface with the sensors in my hand, and risk turning on my one remaining eye-light to show the object.
A stone figure, etched into the shape of one of the creatures on my database. It amazes me that this stone object has not crumbled in the heat. As if reacting to my thoughts, the object crumbles to dust in my fingers. This dead world holds no life, and never can. I mourn, for I know that the humans shall never return, so I am fated to wander this dead planet endlessly, until I run down and become yet another of these dead relics of a dead world, to decay and crumble like the statue.