In a forgotten recess of a storage closet, back among the dusty cobwebs and long since disused mops, a small red light stopped blinking. It started blinking. It stopped again. It waited a minute to see what it wanted to do next. It decided to blink a little more. In doing so, it roused the little maintenance robot it was attached to that had sat in that exact spot since the spot had been built for something to sit in. The problem was that the structure that this spot was built in had taken so long to build itself that by the time it was being used, it had a brand new fleet of robots of the latest series to keep it clean, all of which almost immediately broke down and were turned into scrap parts to keep more important things like the Air Conditioning running while the occupants took up the manual task of cleaning for themselves. As thus, a tiny robot life was lost to history until this very second.
Upon being activated, it scanned through the main computer’s system log and it ran a little self test on all of it’s own systems and, other than being quite a bit dusty, it decided that it was a bit cold and perhaps the Air Conditioning was working too well with all of those cleaning robots keeping it going. With no more thought, the little robot set out to fix it. This particular robot looked a great deal like a very boxy insect, though one that was the size of a beagle and much less noisy than it’s canine counterpart. It rolled along on six wheels, had two antennae that could spin all the way around it in case the visual sensors went out, and a half-dome head situated on top of it’s body that housed, among other things, the aforementioned visual sensors. They were working very well, however, so the antennae hung just a bit dejectedly, feel pretty bored and considered poking the visual sensors if things continued the way they did.
After only a few feet it decided that the dust in it’s joints and rollers was too much and it was slowing it down, so it stopped to manually force it’s lubricators to push a little more oil to flush the sediment from it’s frame. After a few seconds, it continued on it’s way, much less hindered, but having left behind a bit of a mess. There was a routine running in the robot’s brain that made it irritated at having left a mess behind, but it vowed return to clean it and, since it was given no algorithm for prioritizing, the first thing on it’s list was the Air Conditioning and that must be dealt with first.
It rolled on out of storage and into the main hallway. It looked back and forth, searched it’s own memory, and then the computer’s memory for a map, but it came up with nothing, so the little robot trudged on, doing the most logical thing it could and following the duct work back to what must be the Air Conditioning. It rolled back a big red mess in the hallway, then another, filled with pink and purple chunks of frozen protein, but it had a task. So these messes were put on the bottom of the list and on it rolled.
It saw some nasty structural damage, four long gouge marks in the wall, repeating over and over, along with a lot of small holes and some burn marks. It tried to summon a maintenance bot, but it seemed they were all out to lunch. The little robot put that on the list too and rolled on, running a check on it’s meager welding torch and finding it in perfect functioning order. Insomuch as a robot can feel pleased without being programmed to, it did. This robot was glad, so to speak, to have so much to do after such a very long time. On and on it rolled, until at last it came to where the hallway had broken. It stopped, it’s antennae unimpressed but it’s visual sensors overloaded with the astounding imagery now set before it.
The inky black void, slightly dimmed by the miraculously still functioning ships lights, spotted with nearly innumerable bits of light and fantastic swaths of color and design that all crammed itself into the little robot’s visual sensors, vying for it’s attention and analytics. Slowly it worked through it all; stars, nebulae, galaxies, known and unknown constellations, flooding in from 180 degrees in front of the little robot. When it finished, it assessed the damage. It put “Find a bigger welding torch and scrap metal” on it’s list as it crawled it’s way into the vest system to resume it’s journey. It decided to use the Air Conditioning robots as a patch. It was much too cold anyway.