Endings - Oneshot
To the world, it started long ago, on a small… satellite… planet. The 0300 train came, dropped off a handful of people - including a small robot with stars in his eyes - then took off again, toward its next stop.
To Lili, it started at some moment during this idle afternoon spent with Mat. They were both on the floor, Mat stealing a nap and Lili flipping through one of the album, when suddenly she spoke out loud, "You know what, let's make a robot." Mat smiled a bit, thinking that she was just musing. She wasn't.
To the stars, everything came together even sooner than that. The stars had seen… many… things… not all, but many. The stars were good storytellers.
Maybe you should ask the stars. They may not reply, but it's worth a try.
What's your name?
I name… My name is Starbot.
Starbot. Okay, are you here with your creators?
I am here with my…?
Creators. Parents? Guardians?
No, no sir, they're back home.
Why do you come here?
I am tre… travelling. Going… places.
Isn't that nice. How long do you intend to stay here for?
You don't know yet?
I… don't know. Yet. I don't know yet.
So then, where are you going next?
I don't know yet.
Well then, good luck to you, little Starbot. Here's your Autocard. Have fun.
Dear Lili and Mat,
I am writing this from the post /offe/ office. They lend me a table and a chair, I have a paper and a pencil. I've been here for three days and've taken a lot of photo. I will send you the photos along with this /leter/ letter.
This place is very bright. They have a big star. Everyone cares for it, they call it their Shine and wake up when it does. They don't see other stars often, because they sleep when they can't see the big stars anymore but that's when the small stars come out. It is alright, I have told them many times that I care for them. They are /brilie/ /brillea/ brilliant.
Are the pancakes good? Are the stars at home still shining?
I love you, Lili. I love you, Mat.
To an old lady from a corner of the world, travelling lightyears after lightyears on the glorified (even more so than the original) space TGV, trying to find a silent place to sit after one or two days in the noisy cities finding her son, the story started ten minutes ago. She never realised it, even when her little accidental companion handed her a bottle of water and a cookie.
She accepted the bottle but not the cookie - she couldn't digest it, no matter how delicious it was.
"Thank you very much, my dear," she said to the small robot after a sip of the water in the bottle. "Where are you going?"
"I don't know," the robot replied softly, then added "madam" after a second. The old lady just smiled.
"Your parents didn't tell you?"
"They… are at home. Not here with me. Madam."
"Oh, just call me Annaiese. What's your name, dear?"
"My name is Starbot, Annaiese."
She chuckled. "Are you going home to them, then, Starbot?"
The little bot didn't answer for almost a minute. He looked back outside the window, where stars were blinking and his home must be, however far away. Finally he said, almost uncertainly, "I am going… far… farther from them. From home."
"You are travelling then? Alone?"
"Yes, I am travelling, Annaiese ."
"Aren't you scared?"
The robot hesitated a bit, but then told her with a small smile, "This does not feel like fear, Annaiese ."
I'd been waiting for your letter for some time. The photos are so nice, we'd love to see that garden someday! But Mat and I have work here, so we won't be anywhere outside this satellite for quite some times. It's okay though; you're seeing so many beautiful things and we get to see them too, through the photos you take. We're happy with that.
I'm getting some dirt from the neighbour satellite, we're planting even more plants! These are gonna give us pretty flowers. We're simulating light for them though, and that hasn't gone anywhere yet. When we plant new plants, we'll take photos of them so you can see too!
We hope you're having a great time. Tell us what you've been doing since the last letter, we'll love to hear everything!
We love you so so much. We miss you.
Lili and Mat.
To a gentleman waiting at the bus stop that day, the story came like a wind, in the form of quick footsteps and wide starry eyes. It was during the time the giant moon was travelling the sky.
"Mister, can you take a photo of me with the moon, please?" the small robot asked him, holding forward a handcam. The genteman didn't see any reason to deny, so he took the cam and snapped a photo of the bot, bright eyes and wide grin and hands in the air, the moon shining in the background.
"Here you go boy," then he gave him back the cam. He took it with a "thank you". "You're a happy little guy, aren't you."
"Yes mister, I am happy," the boy said. "I am happy because my parents want to see me happy. I will send this photo to them."
"But also because of the moon? It's quite a beauty."
He contemplated the new answer. "Yes mister, also because of the moon."
He took off running right after that, to a rooftop somewhere, and the gentleman returned to waiting for his bus.
NAME:starbot CLASSpublic IMAGE
SECUCAM05 1739 33109938
"What are ye looking for laddie?"
"A manual… about food… sir."
"Cookbook? That's what it is?"
"Manuals are a kind of book, ye see. With instructions inside. A manual for making food's a cookbook."
"Are there… books… without instructions inside, then?"
"Yeah, of course… See, here's a story. They make book of stories so everyone can enjoy them. This here's a photobook - full of photo, what its name says. Some books just show folks things, informations, etcetera… Some stories are real, some are made up, wholely or partially… all for the readers' enjoyment. Ye never seen a book before?"
"I have seen… books, sir, but I've only read manuals. But I've heard stories. A friend told me a lot of them."
"Good for ye, then. Ever heard of 'Nebula'?"
"…No sir, I haven't."
"I have an old copy here, can't sell it to anyone, you wanna have it?"
"I don't have enough money for another book, sir…"
"Hey, I'm giving ye the thing, not asking fer money. Just keep it."
"…Thank you, sir."
"Now the cookbooks are over there, go take a look."
Dear Lili and Mat,
I hope you like the cookbook. Your pancakes are still very good; I have not found pancakes as good as the ones you make yet. I think of them whenever I eat pancakes. I /mise/ miss them.
The place I am staying at right now have a road made of stars in the sky. No one walks that road, they just look at it because it's beautiful. It's called Chemin d'Or, they explained that the name comes from a road in a story book. I want to know who walks the road, though.
I am happy because the sky is wide. I have seen more unusual flowers. One flew away when I touched it. It is now flying free.
I love you very much.
P.S.: I send the photos along with the letter.
To the amateur astrophysicist sitting on the joined balcony of the two rooms with her coffee, the story didn't seem interesting at first. Then the robot spoke up.
"I like stars," he said.
"Is it because they're shiny?" She asked absentmindedly. "Is it because they're beautiful?"
"It's because of all those things," the bot replied. "But also because they are interesting. They know many stories. They cheer people up."
The astrophysicist drank a bit of the steaming coffee. "Have you ever named a star? I named one when I was younger."
"What did you named them? Where are they right now?"
"I named them Spirit. They went supernova a while ago."
"What does that mean?"
"It means that they… blinked brightly once more… then sent their body scattered into space. Only their core remains. Spirit went supernova and created two stars near them."
"Stars can create other stars?"
"Yes, in some cases… there will be part of the old stars in the new ones. What did you name your stars?"
The bot didn't reply right away. "I don't remember," he spoke after a minute. "It's… unusual… weird? It hasn't been very long."
"When was it then?" The astrophysicist asked, taking another sip from the mug.
"It was…" The bot looked up toward the starry sky. "…back when I was at home. It was in… July. It was three… four… five years ago." He suddenly looked like he was about to cry, but the astrophysicist knew he wouldn't. He couldn't.
"It was so long ago," the bot murmured.
We haven't heard from you for a pretty long while. I think you're just travelling by train for a bit, but Mat's still a little tiny bit sad. She loves the photos you took, we both want to see more.
You must be seeing so many wonderful places. Here at home the new plants have finally arrived! The simulated light works great, Mat sometimes forget to water them so they look a bit sad just like her, but hey! That means they all have each others. We all have each others.
If you're happy, we are too. We miss you a lot.
Your name is… Starbot?
From Satellite 331907?
Where are your creators?
They're at home… madam.
You will be here for how many days?
For three days, madam.
Good. Here's your Autocard. Enjoy your stay.
…I will. Thank you, madam.
…No problem… Starbot.
To the photographer on the street that day, the story was about chance, maybe. It's not like he chose to bring his camera out with him so late at night, even on such a starry one; and it's not like he would be paying attention to the pavements all the time. Well it was a starry night, he was out on the street to get his croquette and enjoy the night sky, not to work.
But the odds were that he brought the camera with him, and he spotted a little bot on the other side of the street, looking up toward the stars. And so he decided to take a picture of the bot.
He then crossed the street to greet him. "Hi, little boy," he smiled. "What's your name?"
The small robot didn't tear his gaze from the sky. "Starbot," he replied, "is my name."
The photographer named the photo he took that day 'Starbot'. It was one of his favourites.
To you, the story started so long ago.
I have went a long, long way from that point, you told yourself that, standing in the warm light of the stars. This place didn't have night, because the stars were always lightening up the sky. They were so bright.
But there could never be another one quite the same.
You came across a starplant earlier. Your clothes was then dusted with stardust, because you'd just come across a falling star. It had shredded stardust everywhere. You brought the plant all of the stardust you had on yourself.
"Thank you," it told you.
"You're welcome," you replied.
You wanted to stay longer with it, but in the end you decided to go. You felt like your chest was too tight around your core, but you are scared.
"Bye-bye," the plant said.
You knew that you won't see each other again, but you still said, "See you again."
Dear Lili and Mat,
I am going to the train station this afternoon. I will try to bring home a cake an a plant, I hope none of them is harmed on the way.
I will be home at 1800 tomorrow. I miss you.
To a star blinking in space, everything had come together since so long ago.
"He's going home," it said. The air around it echoes the statement, "He's going home."
"See you," it hummed.
How does the story end? it asked.
Do you know?
If you don't know, then no one knows.
To Lili, it had been long enough.
"I miss him, Mat," she told Mat an afternoon. "It's been so long."
"It's been around a year, Lili."
"I will go check the mail," she declared.
The story hasn't ended yet.
It hasn't ended to the world, when the 1800 train stopped at the station and dropped off a handful of people - including a small robot with a cake in one hand and a plant in other - then took off again toward the next stops.
It hasn't ended to Lili, when she saw their little Starbot on the doorstep, smiling, greeting them with a smooth voice and bright tired eyes, or when they dug into their plates of pancakes and then their pieces of cake with enthusiasm.
It hasn't ended for the stars, oh no, they still have plenty of stories to tell and lullabies to sing and people to watch.
It hasn't ended for you, when you slept that night in the soft light of the sky of your home.
We'll meet again, someday./.