Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Story 13 - Space Capsule

So you’re in this space capsule and you’ve been travelling for a while now.

Your journey started a couple of months ago in fact and it’s… well, what do you reckon? Is it big with loads of facilities, maybe a kitchen, a gym, a cinema and…?

Nah, it’s small; tiny in fact: About the size of your bedroom. And you’re with all these other people in space pods, something like from on the Alien movie kinda thing, all squashed together, packed in like sardines in a can.

Except there was some sort of malfunction with the one you’ve been in and you’ve just got out and you’re squeezed up against a window looking out at all the stars, wondering how to restart the pod to go into stasis again because the journey is for like a year. Nah, two years…ten years and… No, ten months and like there aren’t any other pods, it’s just you and this robot that isn’t turned on and you’re gonna turn it on in a minute ‘cause you wanna know what the hell you’re supposed to do.

The robot is like this really sexy robot girl… or guy, depending on whatever you want the robot to be… but meanwhile you’re staring out the window going through in your brain what your mission is and what the hell you’re doing in this space capsule in the middle of all this nothingness.


You are sitting on a ledge by the window. The robot is slumped next to you and you bend down to turn it on, searching a switch behind its head, under the hair at the top of the neck. You press against the skin feeling around for a hard lump. You’re in two minds suddenly whether you want company now or not. It might be better to get yourself together a bit more, feel comfortable with being here alone because you are a human and this is a robot and you need to be the one in charge here after all.

You find the lump, pausing again for a second. It seems like you have all the time in the world when you listen to the distant sound of humming from what you guess to be the engines of the capsule. How many months or years are you really going to be out here, in here? What are you going to do with your time if the pod cannot be turned back on?

Your hand moves to switch on the robot in an uncontrollable reaction to your thoughts. Immediately it springs into life, sitting up next to you. Suddenly it is no longer a piece of metal, not just an object but a living humanoid.

It is apparent how attracted you are to the robot as soon as its eyes meet yours. Its standard dark brown uniform of shorts and a t-shirt is clinging tightly to its smooth olive skin; dark hair full and thick, enveloping an innocently attractive face.

Now filled with life the robot comes out with a generic greeting of, “Hello superior,” before moving its head around to take in the surroundings.

“We are not at our destination,” it continues in a voice which somehow seems to complement its appearance perfectly.

“Why have you woken me? Where are the others?”

“There aren’t any others.” you say. “I changed my mind.”

Although your words come across as sounding confident, almost arrogant, you have most definitely found yourself in a situation you were not expecting. Like, how could you have predicted this unexplained, increasing desire you’ve now found yourself having for what is, essentially a piece of metal.

“Changed your mind?” replies the robot, with an expression of perplexity – its face after all has almost all the features any human face would have. Its eyebrows briefly rise with what you take for a second to be giving off a hint of amusement.

“Yeah, it’s my fantasy. I can do what the hell I want can’t I?”

Again you are aware of this show of false confidence. But while you’re silently congratulating yourself on maintaining your position as a superior human, the robot’s expression has taken a noticeable change to that of sadness. So much so that at once you find yourself with feelings of empathy towards this object. It meets your eyes again, opening its mouth as if to speak, stops, then begins again with, “But what should we do in this space pod, just the two of us? Wouldn’t it be more interesting if more people were involved?”

It looks around, almost childlike, quiet and seemingly deep in contemplation. You imagine the mechanics working away inside its robot brain; mathematical equations being formed and calculated. I’m alone in a space capsule with a human being. What is the optimum solution for dealing with current situation?

Finally it rises to a standing posture and begins to move around the room, stumbling awkwardly at first; then quickly becoming more graceful in its movement.

The walls of the capsule are covered with flashing control panels. Your open pod is in the centre of the space. The floor is made up of square black tiles; the ceiling is mirrored.

You are still sitting on the ledge by the window, half gazing at the stars, half following the robots actions as it circles your pod and is then inspecting the various features of each control panel.

A sudden thought comes to mind and you reach down to your space boots to open up a secret compartment in the heel. A bank card, laser pistol, and packet of space cigarettes appear.

You notice a box of matches in your left pocket and run one of them along the floor to produce a flame, light one of the cigarettes, and begin to inspect the pistol, unsure as to why you are carrying such a weapon.

The robot immediately turns around.

“Smoking is not permitted in here superior. I assume you know that.”

You do not know this; although smoking not being permitted inside a space capsule does make sense in a funny sort of way. You disregard the warning however, continuing to drag on the cigarette.

“How do you know I’m not allowed to smoke?” you ask.

“I have accessed the data on space travel regulations.”

“But surely it’s up to me,” you say, almost to yourself.

“Of course superior,” replies the robot with a slight gesture of its hand. “Everything is determined by your own thoughts. All of this, the capsule, the pod malfunction, our surroundings; even me: It is controlled by your personal desires. You certainly know this already?”

You finish the cigarette, stubbing out the remains on the tiled floor. Look up to the mirror, at yourself, and then to your robot again, which seems to have suddenly become ever more attractive. At the same time it appears to be looking at you with an impression of fascination.

“I was thinking,” you tell the robot. “…I could always introduce some alien invasion or something, if we get bored.”

“What makes you think we’ll get bored superior?”

“… or like, if we can’t find something to do just the two of us, or if…”

The robot has unexpectedly interrupted your speech by walking directly towards you; its eyes seem to be scanning your body. The sentence feels unfinished as you let it hang in the air… “You know, like I’m sure we will eventually,” you continue, stumbling all of a sudden over your words. “Get bored that is.”

“I am programmed with over three thousand forms of entertainment,” it says, now almost upon you.

You look out of the window again, wondering where the number three thousand came from, if at all it’s possible to have a robot capable of entertaining you in so many different ways.

Turning to see the robot above, you submit to going along with whatever it has decided to do first. Your companion sits next to you on the ledge and you can feel its warm robot thighs pressed up against your own.


  1. Well - I've decided that i hope to not be alive if life had to come to this - good read :-)

    From a fellow #flashfriday friend :-)

  2. Ha, but you never know. Don't knock it 'till you've tried it.

  3. I'll dream all night of the 3000 possibilities. Read really well in 2nd person.

  4. lol, thanks for the comment. Yes, the second person works surprisingly well, doesn’t it? I think this style should be exploited more.

  5. Really good read, Chris. I'm going to read more of your stuff later, these coming weeks!

  6. Cheers Thoth. Really happy you enjoyed it. Yes, there are a few more stories on here. It's an eclectic mix so you'll probably like some more than others.