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A Dream I Had

Posted on:November 27, 2023 at 02:27 PM

AZI-229

On a wasted planet with traces of humanity’s interstellar past, a scavenger child uncovers a humanoid robot head from a hidden deck of a starliner. The child takes the head home, curious but aware that possession of the robot could land them in big trouble. Powering up the robot, AZI-229 greets them but eventually gets the gist of what has passed on this planet from the child. They have a request for the child: to rebuild them from the schematic in their hard drive. As the child continues about daily life, sneaking parts to rebuild the robot gradually, we see the duality of worlds they are now aware of: the tribalistic side of current humanity that is afraid of change, based on logical fallacies, in a self-imposed survival mindset, and the bold, spacefaring stories the robot entertains them with that tell of a noble, spacefaring galaxy that was the culmination of human achievement but is all but lost to history. As the robot nears completion, an 8-foot, lanky, rust-orange humanoid, they start to make some secretive trips to an unknown location. The child, inquisitive as always, eventually tracks them down. The child asks the slightly embarrassed and flustered robot why they’re seemingly building a junk structure, whose purpose the child can’t immediately grasp. The robot doesn’t reveal much, but begins to tell a story about the last battle they served in as a droid. However, the pair are spotted by a band of scavengers, and they are forced to run to find the last few necessary components. Setting up a diversion, the pair make it back to the structure. The robot has told more snippets of the story, but now drops the punchline as they presses a button on a remote they built: the human commander of the ship, knowing it was about to go down, made a sacrifice and ejected all the “life” before perishing in the hopes that they could continue to thrive wherever they might next find themselves. At that point, a ship emerges in the atmosphere in a low rumble, and the child finally understands it’s a landing pad for the incoming ship. Some scavengers stay put in awe while others run away. The child tries to peel the robot away from the structure but they stay put, explaining that to give the current band of humanity a chance to succeed, they needs to sacrifice themself. As the starliner lands, AZI is crushed into the final component needed to hold the docking structure together. It turns out this ship had been hiding in orbit, waiting for the scavengers to come back to one day.