Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Sad Rocket Ship

Once there was a sad rocket ship. It was sad because long ago, after so many outer space adventures, its astronaut had grown too old for the rigors of interplanetary travel and came to settle on the lonely planet on which the rocket ship now sat.

The ship spent its days out in the landing field, remembering all the strange and exotic places it and the old astronaut had been to. They would blast off to a distant galaxy to watch its sun go supernova, and then jet over to black hole and jettison space junk into its gravitational field to see each object get crushed further down into the singularity and disappear into the void.

Navigating through vast asteroid fields had been its favourite thing to do as they flew through space together, both astronaut and ship skilfully working together to avoid being smashed to bits. It was that kind of terrifying exhilaration that the ship grew to crave and love.

Yet now, gathering dust in a yellow-grass field, it stood alone, growing sadder with each passing day, while the old astronaut tinkered away in his work shred, rarely even paying the ship any attention, much less coming out for a visit.

Until the day came when the astronaut's hover bed brought the frail old man out to the rocket ship's grown-over landing pad, a metallic box in tow behind him.

He feebly reached out to touch the ship's directional manifold lovingly, and apologized for not being able to continue on their adventures together. The ship's broke for the dying man and all the years of resentment faded away as he passed peacefully away after whispering something about how he hoped his gift would make up for everything.

The ship stood stoically as the morning suns raised in the green sky, now completely alone on the small planet, and did not notice as the strange, metal create the old astronaut had brought with him started to beep as if counting down to something.

At the apex of the rapid beeping the box then opened with a hydraulic hiss and out popped a small, humanoid robot, which then clambered out to stand on the ground, seemingly testing out its balance and footing for the first time.

It looked at the old man lying peacefully on the hover bed and touched his arm gently, as if saying thank you and then looked up at the rocket ship.

The ship regarded the odd little robot as it stood looking up at it, and then it noticed the writing on the chest plate of the droid, which read, 'Astrodroid 1'.

Astrodroid 1 pressed a few buttons on the hover bed and it started to float its way back to the small dome-home of the astronaut to begin its funeral subroutine, while the robot then grabbed a pack from its box and knocked on the ship's landing fin to open the gangway ramp.

Startled, the ship took a moment to realize what was happening, but then opened the ramp to let the robot board. After a few minutes of clanks and creaks the robot entered the cockpit and began making the ship ready for launch.

Confused, the ship could only respond automatically to the commands Astrodroid 1 punched into its navigation and engine controls before the realization of what the old astronaut's gift really was dawn on it.

He had created a new pilot for the rocket ship, one that would never grow old, and never tire of exploring the vastness of the universe with it.

With that long absent feeling of terrified exhilaration filling all of its modules and compartments once more, the ship's engines roared to life and they blasted off into the stars; leaving behind the slowly burning dome of the astronaut's final resting place, for new worlds and new adventures, robot and ship, rocketing through space, together forever.

And the sad rocket ship was never happier.

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