Close up on a robot’s face. It’s features are minimal but there’s a sadness in it’s eyes. Reflected in those eyes is the glowing blue orb of Earth.

End close up.

The robot floats effortlessly gazing down at the Earth. It extends a skeletal arm towards the object of it’s longing. The movement stirs the sound of whining servos and greased joints. Through the robot’s eyes it delicately cups the earth with it’s hand like it were it’s gentle lover.

I lived in a world where no one died but not everyone gets to live.

Nothing ever changes. “Life is priceless” and not everyone can afford it. I am part of the forgotten who’s insurance didn’t cover the specific scenario that my first life ended. Though society is not without compassion. The people will not let anyone be met with oblivion.

The robot, with the aid of maneuvering thrusters, gracefully turns away from the beauty of planet Earth and returns to it’s charge. A damaged satellite slowly cartwheels through space leaving a trail of debris behind it. Like a car crash frozen in time the satellite’s broken body tells the story of a violent collision.

The robot approaches through the satellite’s wake, idly brushing aside the debris in it’s path. The robot latches onto the poor creature with one hand and opens a service hatch with the other. Inside is a compact keyboard and a small screen with green text displayed. The robot pulls a retractable cord from his torso and inserts it into an interface port. Binary code scrolls over the screen then a message box flashes up:

Insufficient power for terrestrial transmission.

The robot rips the cord out and punches a metal fist into the screen which explodes in a tiny shower of glass fragments that spin and clatter against the robot’s cold steel skin.

Reaching into a kind of rigid backpack the robot retrieves a small device which it attaches to the satellite’s hull through what appears to be magnetism. The robot turns a handle on the device 180 degrees then with one last look pushes off the craft with both feet.

For a moment the robot gracefully arcs through space away from the crippled satellite before the device attached to it’s hull ignites in an explosion of blinding fury. The satellite’s path is sharply altered and it’s orbit decays rapidly.

The robot is gliding now, silently through space. The satellite burns bright in the background as it burns up in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

But it’s hard not to see this existence as more than oblivion. I serve a purpose. I pay a debt. One day I will have scuttled enough broken satellites to pay for my next life. It seems a life time away and in almost every sense it is.

The robot glides through a field of debris. A body of a dead robot can be seen listing lifelessly. A cold metal shell who’s only company are the shards of technology that were it’s prison.

For some the emptiness is too much to bear. The company makes sure that no two active employees ever occupy the same quadrant. It’s more efficient to spread us out. The loneliness…

The robot approaches another broken satellite. The robot once more removes the satellite’s service panel.

I’ve existed in this limbo for too long. Every year I spend in this silent dead place, my old life gets further and further away.

The robot begins to type on the service keyboard.

My family – my children, will not remember me. My old life is already too long ago. Love, in spite of songwriters, does die.

The robot draws out the cord and interfaces with the satellite.

Insufficient power for terrestrial transmission.

The robot bows it’s head in disappointment then lifts it with evident resolve.

The robot opens an adjacent panel to reveal a web of power cables joined to a cylindrical canister that flickers with what seems its last embers of power. The robot opens a panel on it’s torso and an apparatus extends from inside it. The apparatus folds out and cradled inside is another glowing cylindrical canister, only this one glows with youthful energy

The robot gazes at the screen.

My dearest Emma,
I’m so sorry for leaving you. You must be all grown up now…

The robot removes the glowing canister from it’s body and replaces the satellite’s power source. The satellite’s systems light up with new life. On the small green and black screen a message flashes up.

System restored. Transmission successful.

Life is priceless, and I give it to you.


© Copyright 03/08/2010 by Michael Lee


Michael Lee

Griffith, Australia

  • Artist
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Artist's Description

This is a short story written in a format that is as close to screenplay writing as RedBubble’s formatting can provide. It’s the first draft to be used as the script for a collaborative comic project conducted in the brand new and exciting group Just Comics

For more information and a chance to participate check out the exciting new forum thread

© Copyright 03/08/2010 by Michael Lee

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