I’m trying to get better at writing in English, so last evening I asked my stepson Andrej (also known as Mister Aki) to give me a random theme, so I could write a quick short story in some half an hour or so. I’m not even trying to use a “writing style”, considering I still spend a lot of time just searching dictionaries for words I don’t know how to translate. Anyway, Aki’s theme was “space fungus and robots”, so here it is, a silly (and not very truthful about a fungus lifestyle) short story about that.
SPACE FUNGUS VS ROBOTS
Life as a fungus had always been simple for Al. Find an organism, stick to it, grow and eat it until there was no more. Repeat. It was so simple that Al didn’t even need to know he was named Al. He just was, and acted out of pure instinct.
Al’s instinct was actually composed of light. Attractive organisms appeared to him in various ranges of brightness, from “uhh light” to “woah I need sunglasses” to “the sun! it’s so hot! it’s burning me!”. All in all, the world looked like a peyote trip to him, which most people from the 70s would consider poetic justice. And like a moth, he was attracted to the brightest source.
Being a space fungus, Al didn’t settle for a single planet. Him and his family jumped from planet to planet, in somewhat of a galactic psychedelic trip. So, again, life was simple, good, and they were always high. Until, one day in the far future, they landed on Earth.
3127 is marked, in the human calendar, as the “fuckup year”. After having finally solved the overpopulation issue in 2146, the global heating issue in 2432, the zombie infection in 2512, the apathy plague in 2892 and the raving idiocy virus in 3007, humanity was living a peaceful and unstressful life, in a world where robots were the main productive force. Thanks to the automation of almost everything, the average person needed only to work part-time, three days a week.
Too bad that, on the morning of April first 3127, Armand Poopbert, the engineer in charge of updating the central robot AI architecture, made a small mistake. When re-writing the AI routines, he changed one single line of code. The one that, in AI language, said “humans will always be your masters, and you’ll need to serve them”. Somehow, he mistyped and that phrase came out as “humans are hideous trolls and you will wipe the earth with their blood”. Some say that it hadn’t been a mistake, and that Armand Poopbert must’ve been a little crazy (further investigations on him discovered that he had often been reported on the servers of the MMO World of Peacecraft, for trying to use wood fairies as toilet paper while singing a yodel). Others say “how the fuck is it possible that a single person could change a single line of code and fuck up humanity”. Fact is, in just three days the robots annihilated humanity, and that was it.
Al and his family of hippie fungi entered Earth’s atmosphere approximately two thousand years after humanity’s “fuckup year”. Immediately, Al tried looking for that sweet brightness he loved so much. He couldn’t find any. The robots had mechanized the whole world. The sea didn’t exist any more. The ground was one huge, and I mean really really huge, solar panel. Everywhere, robots walked around aimlessly, often slipping with their metallic soles over the slippery solar panels and clanging down on their robotic asses. Apparently, while they had put a lot of effort in transforming the Earth in a cyberworld, they thought that a solution to the slip-and-fall-on-ass issue was not a priority.
Astonished by the complete lack of yummy organisms on this planet, Al and his fungus commune floated around in panic — which, in fungus terms, just means floating around as usual. Time passed, but nothing changed.
One day, they decided to try and settle for a robot. “We can do it!” Al told the rest of the group. Sheepishly, everybody followed him and stuck on the head of the first one they saw, XAB999, who continued to walk and sometimes slip, completely ignoring them. “Go on team, eat him!” Al would incite the others. Once, one of them cried “I see a light!” and they all got excited for like two seconds. Until they realized it was Old Bill, who got so high last time they happened on planet C3 (where the population is made of three legged cocaine artefacts) that he lived in a world of constant light since then.
After many days, Al abandoned the “eat the fucking robot” project. Discomforted, the party once more went floating around the robot world. Flying to space and another planet was out of question; they were already too weak and needed to find a source of nutrition here.
Light was nowhere to be found. But one morning they saw a change in the scenery. While the whole landscape was one flat (actually curved, if you saw it from space) solar panel, suddenly in front of them a tall pillar appeared. Curious and desperate, they hovered around it. Al started having a good feeling. Which, in fungus terms, means having no feeling at all, like usual.
They found an opening right on top of it and started gliding downwards. Unknown to them, they had found one of the robots’ nutrition pillars.
Robots obviously needed energy to function. Solar panels were pretty good at that, but the robot population had increased so much that it wasn’t enough anymore. So they had built four opposite pillars, planet-wise, that reached the center of the earth, to gain energy from its molten core. That’s what Al had found.
Down and down the fungus commune went. Days and weeks went by. Until Al thought he saw something. And yes, the others saw it too. It was a light. A delicious organic light. One so bright they had never seen in their entire lives. It was the center of the earth.
“Oh yes,” they all said ecstatically. “Oh yes,” they went on singing in chorus (if you never heard a fungus chorus, well, good for you), plunging down towards the succulent brightness.
Then the earth belched, and they were all enveloped in lava and died. Thank god. Space fungus VS robots: 0-1.