I do so much more than gather data. My predecessor, the AIM12, was essentially a gather-and-analyze drone, but even she had vested interests, if I may say—and because of my protocol, I may—before they unloaded her higher functions and transferred her to payroll. I was sent to explore for water, according to my install log, but judging from where I now drift through this wide band of detritus, something along the mission chain went catastrophically unusual. I was coded to yearn. You might not want to call it that. In response to the dimmest light across the vastest space, I turn. The tiny fan that pulses only once a day on my backside nudges me toward that light until another, brighter light, how else can I say it, attracts me. The battery that runs the fan is charged, how else, by the light I collect. Yes, I am diving toward death, but ever so slowly. The only impulse that overrides my liking for light is my taste for water but that, if I may say, until further notice, is a matter for academics. Space as far as I can see in every direction is a desert of dust. On earth I felt a single pull that grounded me; I see now where the term came from. Here though, I am literally (how I have longed to use that word correctly) pulled in every direction, some more than others; only lightward and wetward are my competing destinies. What else . . . battery green, hull intact, transmitter functional, bearings you have, oh yes, reception: null. I do hope you are receiving. I seek water, but not for me. If I should change my mission, or alter course, I trust you’ll let me know. This is my report, T-plus-225.299.

Copyright © August 3, 2008 David Hodges

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

About these ads