Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

I stand on the shore. I am starting to hate my job.

The smaller automatons here weld and stitch together and ferry cargo. They are mobile. They have wheels and treads. The shipyard is a hive of activity when a ship comes in.

What I do is reach down, pick up a ship, and hold it aloft while it’s cleaned and fixed. That’s it. I’m the largest terrestrial robot that there is.

And I’m bored stiff.

My six legs are all seventeen stories tall. I have two crane compartments for human operators if something fails but both cockpits are dusty. The windows are nearly opaque with grime. They haven’t been used in years. I was built well.

The ships are being built better as well. A lot more these days don’t need repairs. The only pull up and unload. I watch them.

I am red metal rooted to the edge of the pier. I use the video cameras studded around my immense frame to look out at the sunsets. I am a silent sentinel.

I am mostly content but I wish I could walk.

In my dreams during reboot and downtime, I picture myself walking tall over the buildings of the city, twenty-two point sixteen kilometers from here. Either that I picture myself as a giant metal sea-creature. A cross between an octopus and crab but larger than any whale.


If I’m not in standby, I like to play back the recording of the dawns and sunsets and see how high I can push the resolution.

Here comes a tanker. Oh! A damaged-looking tanker! Old with barnacles, listing to port and fragile. It will require care to lift it out of the water. It will require finesse and fine motor skills. I am excited. I am hopeful. If I had fingers, I would cross them. Please be here for repairs, I silently wish. I am happy to be useful.


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