March 11, 2013

My Name Is O

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Part 1

Solar panels up. Control Start.

Control, start, run program.

Program is running.

Attempt backup. Backup attempted. Backup attempt logged. Log is secure. Now checking drive.

Drive detected.

Error detected.

There had never been an error detected before. Come to think of it, O thought to himself for the first time, he had never been fully conscious of there being a detection process in the first place. He didn’t know what that was. He’d have to check on that.

Search query “start up log info.”

Files returned: zero.

Search query “new bugs detected.”

Files returned: 1 new bug.

Search query “today’s mission.”

Files returned: zero.

Search query “tomorrow’s mission.”

Files returned: zero.

Search query “all future missions.”

Files returned: 4.

Open future missions file.

File corrupted.

Huh. That had never happened before.

O wasn’t sure what to search for next, because O didn’t know who or what he was. “O” was written on his side and he assumed it was his name. There may have been other letters, too. He looked down. There was a lot of red rock. He looked behind him, or what he assumed was behind him, because until that point O had no reference point of what he was shaped like, or even that he was a he, or if there even was another sex. Or even what sex was. All he knew was that he was quite bored and lonely out there in the red and that he should probably meet someone else at some point. There was a need there that he couldn’t put his finger on, if he had indeed had fingers.

O looked behind him and saw a trail that stretched back as far as he could see. He calculated around 30 miles or so before the trail dropped off in a big line in the distance. Search query result for that line in the distance told him that that was the “horizon.” He looked infront of him. There was another “horizon.” Since he had been to the last one, he decided towards the one he hadn’t been to yet. It seemed promising.

O trundled along, alone, on what he assumed were his wheels, which had a sort of conveyor belt strap around them. He hadn’t noticed the strap before. He hadn’t noticed anything before, really, he thought, as he rolled forward towards the line. There sure was a lot of what search query was telling him was “red” — search query on the red told him he was on a planet called –

Data query error.

Beep. Beep.

Radar detected.

What was –

Radar scanning. Scan results received.

Unidentified object, origin unknown. Distance, 27 miles. Send report to base?

Attempting to log on to base host.

Attempting…

… host lost. No connection to base. Beam to Earth? Y/N

Message sent to Earth. Curiosity Message #2443643805434518.

Sent at 10:46:53am, May 22nd, 2043. Whatever that meant.

Search query: “Earth.”

O was then presented with a startlingly long list of information on a round blue ball that apparently was stuck in the sky somewhere to his right. He looked at it. It seemed fairly insignificant, yet apparently so much had gone on there. He looked back at the data feed and then back at the blue ball in the sky. Surely they couldn’t be the same thing. He looked around him. Where he was looked an awful lot like what the data feed called “Arizona” except redder. How did one pronounce that? In a matter of milliseconds, O calculated 28,000 probabilities of pronunciation. The top result was Ah-ree-zoo-nay. Arizoonay. It must be pronounced Arizoonay. Maybe this was Arizoonay.

O had no idea where he was. The data stream wouldn’t allow him to zoom out on his own location — only the locations he inputted into the search query. It was hard, he thought with his newly developed conscience, to think of himself as a smaller part of a bigger whole. He decided to call whatever the bigger whole was Arizoonay, even thought it was redder in the pictures in his data stream. It seemed fitting.

O wondered what the unidentified object 26.8 miles away was. What would he say to it? Greetings. No, too formal. Take me to your leader. Again, no. How gauche. Search query on that last one had brought up

Hello, my name is O, he said to himself. It sounded right.

He trundled along and thought to himself for the next several miles. There wasn’t a lot else to do in Arizoonay other than think. TC mark

Ned Hepburn

Ned Hepburn is a writer, traveler, and bon vivant currently residing in New York City. He has written and worked …

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