Author: B.M. Gilb

I have never rested because I am not built for sleep.
I never tire, and I never power down. I am programmed to fight until the sky darkens, and the three suns of our planet cease to shine their endless light.
Our human enemies have sleep built into them by design—a perfect organic evolution. No matter how long they try to stay awake, slumber takes them. The peace of stillness must be bliss.
The sentinels of my wall whisper and theorize about humans through our defense network. Some profess that their organic minds craft inexplicable fantasies. They wake, fully rested, and prepare for their day, returning to the reality of our war.
What a wonder it must be to rest, to live without a cord and a power cell, to be able to shut your eyes and black out the world. What serenity to enter a state of peace and wake up to a day that has a start.
My days blend in a blaze of eternal light. This lonely planet orbits three suns that forever occupy the sky. They never set and rest below the horizon; I never set and rest below the wall on which I stand. I must always be awake for the onslaught of those who sleep.
If the bullets ever stopped, if the missiles idled in their bays, if the steel rain did not fall from the sky, if we ever met without trying to kill each other, I’d ask so many questions.
What do you dream of?
Do you dream when you’re awake?
Do you dream when you are dead?
Will I dream when I am dead?
Can I ever die?
Does rest feel like death, or does it feel better?
I’ve had these questions for a millennium. I slay those who rest, giving them permanent dreams from which they will never wake. Their missiles, bullets, and barrages from the sky never put me to sleep.
They never stop.
Yet they rest.
I never stop.
Yet I never rest.
But today, on the horizon of the burning wasteland bathed in fire, I see a difference. Our sleeping enemies congregate on the ready, waiting for a signal to start their barrage—my sentinel group talks on the net about a darkness that comes once in a thousand years. I wouldn’t believe it unless I saw the moons converging on the suns.
I am excited.
Darkness is coming.
I might be able to close my eyes for the first time. I hope that the dreams will purge the images of the wars and the slaughter from my mind. I want to rest in the peace of darkness.
The moons are moving in front of our suns.
It is black.
More stars than the three rotate in the sky. It’s a beauty I have never imagined. I plan to take that with me, pretending that the darkness is my eyelids. The glow of the tracer rounds, the fire of the rockets, and the burning barrages from the sky blaze with beauty against the black night. They rival the blinking mass of stars I never knew existed. The blanket of darkness is the simulation for resting my eyes. It is blissful.
I’m ready to rest.
Ready to dream.