111 had finally reached the base of the tree. Antennae tasted the trunks bark and several blue leaves that sprouted around the base. That sparse blue foliates sprouted from both the ground and from between wrinkles in the bark. The gold speckle lent a pleasing decorative festiveness to everything.
Another camera went rouge and swiveled quickly to the right. 111 snapped a bit more attention in that direction with a few more lenses and caught a slight movement. 111 froze for safety sake. It was a standard preservation routine. 7 of its ‘eyes’ tracked a 2 centimeter wormlike entity sliding around the foot of the tree. It was decorated in black and gold swirls that morphed into soft patterns but never changed hues. The dichromatic did not mix. A few more eyes turned that way and 111 reigned in its data transmissions, pivoted 90 degrees right, lowered its belly to the ground, and waited.
108106 noticed a large reduction in data transmission from 111. It focused on the stream quickly and decoded an image. A black and gold worm was slowly slithering in 111s’ direction. The mottle of lines on the small creature seemed to roll over from end to end. It was lolling to 111s’ right as it went over a root leg. The lines and swirls on the body stayed in place as it moved giving a hint at some form of muscular locomotion beneath the shiny skin. As it neared the cameras the gold portions seemed to intensify their sheen. The black portions seemed to get darker. It almost filled the view field when it finally stopped. The front end rose up from the sand slightly and drifted left and then right. A single antenna from 111 drifted into view. 108106 immediately sent 111 an order to desist. SSSBs were not supposed to engage unknown life forms. The antenna kept moving in a slow downward undulation.
The last of the accumulated data trickled out of 111. Chemical analysis and microscopic images made up the bulk of the information. All cameras trained onto the worm and locked on. One complete packet of data on the worm, including a massive amount of images shot away and then 111 stopped all data transmission. Its back split open and a jump leg pulled up as a wing distended. 111 produced two short chirp-tones. The first was an E flat. The second was a G flat. The worm froze in the middle of one of its curious sways. 111s’ antenna louvers opened and the last few segments made contact.
The universe turned inside out for what seemed like an eternity. 111’s existence became a time-space fabric of pure gold light. Its curiosity was reeling with data as it tried to make sense of the sudden expansive awareness it found itself dispersed into. The tips of every extremity were felt to be at extreme and incalculable distances away yet there was no lag as sensory impulses came in. Bright blue filaments zigzagged inward from everywhere and coalesced into a white-hot heart at the incalculably deep, perfect center, of its’ main thorax. That light and heat seemed to fall infinitely inward forever.
111 felt as if it were both flying apart and falling together simultaneously. Furthermore, every single component of the little machine seemed to vibrate with data that confirmed it existed and had inherent knowledge of every other piece.
The glow of gold light, laced with blue and the central core of white, all screamed with a metallic sound. That sound was clearly high pitched with harmonistic-sympathetic overtones that punctuated themselves down the scale and well into the sub-sonic.
The high-pitch climbed higher. The scream faded very slowly away to a midrange warble. The blue lights dimmed. The golden light softened. The white light sharpened and shrunk to a pinpoint. That single white point winked twice, then again. It then increased its’ beating speed. As it escalated to steadiness a deep throbbing welled up from electromagnetically inaudible depths, thru midrange and highs, and finally into higher frequencies just as infinitely inaudible.
That wide feeling, along with the glow shrank away and 111 was left, still belly-down, motionless in the warm sand. The worm was gone. Now there was something else in its place. 111 wrinkled a brow and twisted its’ head from side to side slowly. The thing ahead did the same.
Light blue distortions were fading away as 111 became aware of a strange fact. It seemed, for lack of any other explanation, to be looking at itself. ‘Mirror’, came to mind for 111, but not, it seemed, ‘electronically’.
“111?” 108106 was attempting to communicate. The hail was coming thru loud and clear on several thousand frequencies. Some were digital-numerical, others, translated verbiages.
“I’m here.” 111 replied, then, “We are here.”
“Request immediate diagnostic of your entire systems.”
108106, unperturbed sent the order again. 111 gave the same reply. The order was then looped continuously and its’ signal boosted considerably. The replies that came back from 111 thereafter were all the same but in thousands of different formats. It was as if the little mechanoid was trying to ‘convince’ 108106 that it was indeed alright.
108106 began firing off distress calls to the GPSBs and 7574. It had no way of knowing that 111 was actually jamming the attempts already. In 108106s’ mind 399 little ‘crickets’ began to drop off the radar, one by one. Eventually those singular occurrences began to happen in twos, fours, eights, and finally tens. 108106 began to feel an electronic loneliness that was unlike anything it had ever ‘felt’ before. There being no routines in its’ programming for ‘fear’, it simply kept trying to access avenues of assistance from above.
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