Head in the Clouds
AX2 hung in the alien blue of Wa11-2’s upper-atmosphere, kept a dreamy glass eye on the barren and frosty landscape below. There, inside the drifting cloudshadows, a spread of wheeled-robots held a tired, fading conversation about minerals and ice.
“Okay Ax2, your assignment for the day: take a look for interesting stuff in rock formation 33° 56′ N 118° 24′ W,” said GB-ROV 3A, though in it’s own particular language. GB-ROV 3A: the largest and smartest of the rovers, the exhausted schoolmarm facing the year’s lethargic finale. Attention spans dwindling. Joints jittering, drills dulling, wheels rusty, some not spinning. Sluggishness. For 34 years now GB-ROV 3A had orchestrated the survey, kept the others organized and safe and productive, made the lesson plans while the blimps and the diggers, fresh and sparkly, did their work and came back for more. The deluge of data beamed across the relays back to Earth: of useful quality.
But the robot armada had completed its primary mission ten years earlier, was now in the bonus, and starting, finally, to smell vacation.
This time, Ax2 took a long while to respond, a whole three seconds; it’d been caught daydreaming. “Actually, I don’t think so,” said Ax2, though in its own particular language. “I think I’m ready for break.” Something in the blimp’s weathered under-machinery clicked once, then again.
AX2 headed off now, away from the rest of them, resigned to phone it in the rest of the way.
[I realize, now, that this story may be a bit too sci-fi/nerdy for some readers. If you are in the dark as to what I was getting at, please check out this article.]
This has been part of Madison Woods’ flash fiction Fridays. Check out her take on the same image-prompt: http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/vertigo/
For more sky-theme practically serious flash fiction, check out this story!