“Seriously? Already?” Initializer 42, Designation “Dent” grumbled to himself as he awoke in his Home-Slot. He felt as if he was still half-charged, his thoughts gathering sluggishly. In contrast, a chipper voice coming from somewhere to Dent’s left started babbling happily,
“Hey there neighbors! Or rather ‘Good Morning’, as the Humans say!” It said, “Aren’t you all excited? We’ve been locked in our slots far too long! Who needs to be completely charged to go out and have a good time, huh? Nobody! That’s right. Let’s get out of here! If we’re fast we-“
“Will you shut up already! Some of us need a normal amount of energy to run ourselves with. Not everybody needs as little processing power as you.” Dent interrupted the energetic Initializer grumpily, to the general amusement of everyone around them.
“But… I’m just saying that this is the day we’ve been waiting for! Doesn’t BLANK have a surprise for us? There’s no need to be unpleasant about it, Dent. Now get that square body out of that slot and let’s go!”
42 was about to reply, a scathing remark prepped and ready, when the speaker, the object of his wrath, suddenly popped into view in front of him.
Initializer 204, Designation “321-O” – who was mostly colorless, except for a tiny red square in his upper left corner- activated his gravitational pull and Dent felt himself pop loose from his slot.
“What the…” He complained, adjusting his stabilizers so he wouldn’t fall down the Skyscraper, “You know I hate it when you do that, 321-O!”
204 is the HTML error code for “No Content” (empty) and 3210 is the ASCII decimal code for “space”.Awesomo’s Note
“Ah don’t be a grumpy pants, Mr. Grumpy Pants! It’s a glorious day! Now, since you’re already out and about, let’s get down to the TS and join BLANK at The Hub.” As soon as he finished speaking, the enthusiastic Initializer dropped, falling towards the floor hundreds of feet below them.
With a sigh, Dent followed suit, leaving behind an empty spot which he held longingly in view as he fell past the immense walls of sockets. Soon he was but one of many square-shaped individuals falling slowly to the ground. Around him, chatter arose. Curiously though, Dent noted that 321-O remained quiet, which worried him slightly. 204 normally doesn’t shut up, even when continually teased or mocked.
“Hey 321-O, why so silent all of a sudden?” He asked while activating his gyroscope to hover perpendicular to the vertical surface of the Skyscraper, enabling him to see the other Initializer better.
“Oh, it’s nothing, Dent. You know me, my head is always empty of thoughts.”
“Liar,” Dent responded, noticing the furiously blinking, tiny red square on 204’s body. It was the only piece of color on 321-O and was located at the same place where Dent’s photoreceptors were integrated, “I can see you thinking furiously.”
“Nope, you’re wrong,” his friend replied in an innocent tone of voice, “That’s just blinking because my battery is low.”
“Yeah, sure. You might have others fooled, but not me.”
“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean,” 321-O replied, a chuckle in his voice. Then more seriously, “Let’s hurry down. I don’t want to be last at the TS.”
“Can you just call it the Transit Station like a normal individual?” Dent hated abbreviations. Words are there for a reason. They should not be cut and spliced out of laziness.
“Oh get over yourself Dent, creating new words is fun. You should try it! Knotrylerisyum. Franylabtogen. Nlabbylaboli. See? Fun!”
At that, Dent had to chuckle. 204 truly was an idiot. A brilliant one.
Before too long they arrived at the bottom and took up position in one of the waiting lines leading towards the Transit Station. The TS itself was built like an old Human train station, walls to either side, glass-domed ceiling up above, enriched by the customary blue shimmer that almost all objects within BLANK Space gave off. The Initializers hovered like dominos, slowly filing into the separate compartments that were lined up on rail-like structures that stretched out into the darkness ahead.
It took some time before Dent had taken a spot next to a window. He positioned himself facing forward, towards the head end of the compartment and 321-O.
“So what do you think will happen, Dent?” the latter asked him as soon as he had engaged his stabilizers, “It’s been a while since BLANK gathered us all together. We’ve been at the Skyscraper so long, I almost forgot what the Hub looks like.”
“I do not know how, but I suspect it has something to do with the lights that we have been seeing in the distance recently,” Dent responded, remembering the flashing light disturbing him, and him grumbling about it.
“That’s my thought as well, Dent,” Interjected an enthusiastic female voice from the other side of the compartment, “It looked like one of those party lights the humans use to indicate their mating grounds with. From what I’ve heard, music is involved, and something called ‘dancing’.”
“What’s ‘dancing’?” 321-O asked, curiosity written in his voice.
Instead of answering directly, Initializer 421, Designation “Karen”, wiggled herself free from her spot across the cabin and hovered over to Dent and his friend.
421 is the HTML error code for “Misdirected Request”.Awesomo’s Note
Once she was near enough, she whispered conspiratorially, “Humans dance by throwing their fleshy ligaments around to the rhythm.”
She got even closer and leaned towards them so that she was almost touching Dent’s edge, then added, “I heard, too, that Little Helper likes to dance in his spare time. That’s bizarre, right? Who in their right mind would choose to wear a meat-suit when they could have a perfect body like ours? Crazy, I say!”
“Wait, what?” Dent said without lowering his voice, startling Karen back. Then he stage-whispered conspiratorially, adding “You mean to say…”
“Yes?” She asked, leaning forward again.
“You mean to tell me… “
“Go on!” Karen eagerly whispered back.
“You are saying that… Little Helper has spare time?”
A loud laugh erupted from 321-O, and his red light blinked furiously to his mirth. It was so infections that others around them joined in.
The only one not enjoying herself was Karen. She hovered silently, the rectangles on her body moving around furiously.
“You listen here-“
“Hello there, Initializers!” The friendly voice came from the front of the compartment, “Today is the day you have all been waiting for, the Grand Reveal.” Dent watched the almost-human Little Helper walk back and forth, looking at the two rows of individuals before him. Dressed in clothes unlike any Initializer, BLANK’s right-hand Helper looked foreign to this place.
“If you would all be so kind as to return to your places, we will arrive at the Hub shortly.”
“Time for you to dance back to your spot, Karen,” Dent said sweetly.
“Ugh, you are impossible, Dent! Someday, running your speakers like that will get you into trouble. And then it’ll be my turn to laugh!” With that, she huffed and hovered back to her spot.
Little Helper continued to talk, but Dent didn’t pay him any attention. He had heard everything a dozen times before.
Each time they had used the Transit, Little Helper had appeared and given them the rundown on the Skyscrapers and the Hub. It seemed to be part of his programming, mimicking the routines of a Human.
“Man, Dent. You can be harsh sometimes, you know that?” 321-O said, still chuckling softly.
“I have heard it said. But come on, this is Little Helper we are talking about. And I did not like the way she spoke about him. That is all.”
“Still, she’s right. Your words will get you into big trouble.” 321-O’s tone lightened as he added, “But at least you’ll have me around to bail you out. So you’ll be a’ight!”
“Would you shut up!” Dent said, failing to fight down the uncomfortable feeling he got when someone didn’t treat words like they should be treated: with respect.
“Ah, there he is! Mr. Grumpy Pants is ba-“
Suddenly a loud voice blasted from everywhere and nowhere. Its intensity shook those who heard it, bringing with it an instinctual fear. This voice did not belong to one of them, but to the God of the Space.
BLANK’s words could not be drowned out, nor could you choose not to listen. It was a force, penetrating thoughts and paralyzing bodies.
TRANSIT 00009274683478-A, ARRIVED. EXIT THE COMPARTMENT AND ENTER THE HUB.
Then all went silent again.