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Gift of the Gruldak, Chapter 8: Building Bridges Isn't Easy

Kylyssa Shay is releasing a serialized science fiction novel in single chapter increments that you can read for free only on HubPages.

Science fiction illustration of fetus floating in space with an umbilical cord to earth

Science fiction illustration of fetus floating in space with an umbilical cord to earth

Don't Miss The First Seven Installments! Catch Up Starting Here

Chapter Eight, Building Bridges Isn't Easy

I was frustrated with our lack of progress and embarrassed by my lack of knowledge regarding programming language but I kept mulling over the problem. Getting a sudden idea as I sat at the table assembling a few robot pieces I said aloud, “Why don’t we just send some of those robots to make robots?”

“What would the robots do, though, Kevin?” Guido asked as I sat at the dining room table.

Cap looked up from where he bent before the open fridge in the adjoining kitchen with a pained expression on his face.

Gesturing with my edible spork, I said, "I don’t know, maybe they’d write the message on the nearest piece of paper?”

There was no sound but the breathing of all three of us for a hanging moment. Then Guido exclaimed, “That’s brilliant!”

Her exclamation was quickly followed by another, “Oh, my funking gob! Is it always going to be robots making bigger robots with you?” Somehow, she made the air feel irritated at me. Or maybe it was Cap.

“Maybe. Anyway, I’m not sure how it would work.”

Guido sighed, “We can program a robot to follow a specific route so that it leaves behind itself a visible trail when it moves across a reading tablet, monitor, or viewscreen of any kind. We can get away with secondary probes on itty-bitty roller-skates. ”

“I get it! A roller-skating writing robot!” I exclaimed.

“I like that,” said Cap, "but what about all the projection and 3-d displays?"

"We can send different bots to bridge the gates that activate the keys on keyboards or block the waves returning to projection devices."

“I think I’ve got another idea I think we should work on, too,” I said.

“Don’t keep us in suspense, kid,” Cap interjected.

“OK, so we can engineer plants to form their structures into a specific pattern that results in something useful and of a specific size, density, etcetera, right?”

“Right,” chorused Guido and Cap, the former in all caps on her screen and the latter with his larynx, lips, and tongue.

“Why not engineer one that grows really, really fast that will produce the writing on itself and produce seeds of it on earth to spread everywhere?”

“That actually sounds like a good idea, kid,” Cap said.

Guido said, “Unfortunately, we would have to build machines to build machines to do that, too, and I think it’s a lot more complex than you think. We can’t make the seeds here so they get taken to earth and then dispersed; I don’t know how that would work.”

“How about we just make a virus?” Cap asked.

“A virus?” Guido and I chimed together.

“Yeah, can’t we make a virus with a limited number of generations programmed into it that will easily fit into the tiny payload capsules of the robot building probes?”

“Then it could take over a specific type of plant’s cells and cause the leaf pigmentation to decrease in some areas and increase in others in a pattern that writes out the message.”

“Oooh, ooh! I have a better idea,” I chipped in, “Why not use it on the people, and control the melanin in their skin, maybe somewhere like on the top of their arm." I didn't even really need to look at Cap’s face to realize it was a terrible idea.


The tiny robot popped silently into the darkened room and began emitting a signal. Within moments, a half dozen of its microscopic pals joined it and began harvesting molecules of carbon, metals, and other useful things from the furnishings and machines they found. Had anyone been there to see, he would have seen nothing out of the ordinary as the itty-bitty devices worked tirelessly through the night.

As the sun's rays just touched the edge of the horizon, the first tinker bot was finished and began assembling more tinkers to make the bots to bridge logic gates. As the light reached the ceiling of the classroom, the first tinker bot that would make rolling bots was completed. Half of the first bridger bot stood fractions of an inch away. Nearby, a cluster of a dozen purple tinker bots prickled and rolled, slowly creating the outlines of one of the plump silver flea bots that would serve as troop carriers spreading the bridgers and rollers where needed.

By the time the first students shuffled in to the cozy, living room style space, any of them could have seen the rapidly growing force numbering in the hundreds as a dozen tiny, irregular dots made of a sparkling sheen of dust on the beverage cart near the coffee machine.

As the tired young instructor filled her cup, a bit of the deliciously aromatic liquid dribbled. Being a well-raised person, she grabbed a napkin and wiped up the mess, mind-blowingly advanced tiny robots and all. The napkin began to dissolve as it was designed to do before it hit the bottom of the trashcan under the cart.

As the building's central vacuum took over the bots were sucked away from each other but for those held together by the coffee's surface tension or wadded into the remaining intact fibers of napkin. Spattered along the walls of the sanitation tubing for many feet, the microscopic robot army doggedly reassembled, making the arduous trek to the nearest intact flea bot when possible or hunting for the nearest source of raw materials if not.

They clung to the sides of the tubing as air roared past them at high speed. Those that made it to the walls managed to cling to them but those still wound up in bits of fiber went flying away into the darkness, never to be seen again.

Continue Reading with Chapter Nine, Skating on Thin Ice

  • Gift of the Gruldak, Serial Installment #9
    Find out how the rollerskating robot army is faring on earth and learn about the world's reaction to their vitally important messages in chapter 9 of this serialized science fiction novel.

© 2014 Kylyssa Shay

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