This story is by Sam Ward and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
A small ship drifted endlessly into space, inhabited by a single robot. She gazed out of the ship’s small window, her large circular lens matching the emptiness of space.
She was named “Phthinoporon” by her creator, Dr. Rotwang, with the hope of bringing a new harvest of information. She was to be an exciting new face for science and space exploration, which was a dying trend. But that was over a hundred years ago. Dr. Rotwang was gone, and she didn’t even know if anyone was still receiving her readings.
She would slowly walk up and down the singular hall in the small ship, listening to the blips and clicks of the ship machinery. Everything had such a distinct purpose. It helped distract from the void that was just on the other side of the ship walls.
She was supposed to be able to live hundreds of years without maintenance, but it seemed like something inside of her had finally broken. She started looking at parts of the ship differently, focusing on them for hours at a time.
She kneeled, looking at a viewscreen that had a circular lens, similar to her’s. She reached out her hand, tapping on it, then feeling it’s edges. She twisted, and then ripped off the viewscreen, pulling up circuitry, as warning alarms went off.
The calm she had known for a hundred years had been broken as she frantically started dismantling different parts of the ship, each sending off their own sparks and warning signals. In what was now chaos, she began to construct a torso, arms, legs.
As her project became closer to completion, more vital parts were needed, but nothing stopped her. Blue flames erupted as more parts of the hull were torn from their place.
The chaos died down, and the ship went dark as it finally lost power. The alarms had stopped and it was nothing but the dead silence of space. A new robot stood in the center of the ship, as Phthinoporon added his finishing touches.
The ship flew cock-eyed and began to dismember, with silent small explosions. Phthinoporon powered-on her new robot. She looked into his face as power gradually worked it’s way through his body. His lens flickered on, and the two stared at each other as their surroundings fragmented.
“Phthinoporon?” he calmly said.
In that moment Phthinoporon had a sense of belonging for the first time, as the ship finally gave way, and they were sent into space.