Author : chesterchatfield
I woke up one morning and found a small robot living on my leg. By the time I stumbled up to the bathroom, I could feel the little parasite burrowing, trying to get at my mind. After an hour, I’d become a passenger in my own body, watching this little creep run me around like a puppet.
It walked me down to a local mall and we bought a wristwatch, no one seeming to notice an alien presence behind my eyes. We hopped a bus, walked a bit more, and then buried the watch in a hole filled with tons of other trinkets, tools, and sheets of metal. I have no idea where we went because it avoided looking at any signs or landmarks the whole way. That treasure trove could be practically anywhere.
As the day wore on I felt the presence weaken, like it’s batteries were running down. By the time we returned to my apartment, I wrestled control back and the robot dropped off my leg, lying limply on the ground. It was about six inches long, metal plated like a cylindrical leech. I doubted it would be able to travel very far without a host.
Reaching over to gingerly poke it, I finally noticed a small notebook that had been tied around the thickest part, like a dog collar.
Inside were accounts from what I guess are all the other people it’s latched onto. The first dozen are in foreign languages I can’t read, but towards the end they’re English. Each person wrote their name, the date, and what the creature had them do. The list varied from cutting down trees to robbing a jewelry store. The most recent was dated twenty-five years earlier. Judging from the jumble of letters, numbers, and codes in one, I think some kind of research facility had it at one point. I guess they weren’t careful enough.
There was also a note that the thing had so far proved indestructible, but that it wasn’t a danger after it fell off. The woman who had it before me, Linda, had speculated for a page or two that it was building something. That it had been on earth for hundreds of years. She planned to leave it locked in a trunk in the attic space of her apartment building.
I dropped it off the pier, locked in a safe. It’ll escape eventually, but not for a while. And it won’t land on anyone while they sleep.
The creature tapped its bright pincers, interacting with a shipboard computer while its companion observed apathetically. On a trip of this length, watching the other often became their only entertainment.
“Wait,” the watcher suddenly clicked. “Go back.”
The other flipped back through the sensory images, landing on a cold metallic orb, full of energy.
“Reminds me of that build-helper I made. Remember? I was gonna teach it to repair the shuttle’s temporal navigator so I could spend time trading chem with that gorgeous piece of shell down at Carnite IV.”
They spent a moment in fond recollection. “Didn’t work out though. Hadn’t even attached limbs yet, gave it a list of parts and the damn thing just hopped ship to go find a new mineral base for the reactor.”
“What happened to it?”
“Either floatin’ around space or landed somewhere, I guess. Ha! Maybe it’ll find the materials to actually make a new reactor.” The creature dissolved into clacking laughter. “I never got around to teaching it the containment procedures! That thing was persistent. Probably end up blowin’ a small planet!”
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