Fan Fiction based on the visual novel: Planetarian ~The Reverie of a Little Planet~
If you have not experienced Planetarian, I suggest you do so first, or look at the Wiki for it for a synopsis.
Comments appreciated.. This is my first complete FanFic, and only my second ever. I hope you like it.
Planetarian ~The Reverie of a Perfect Heaven~
As the former Junker heard the mechanized reinforcements heading in his direction he took one last look at Reverie’s broken body, clutched the watertight cigarette pack that contained the being of the robot he had come to know, and limped on his shattered leg through the rift in the wall and out of the city. He was about fifty meters away from the city wall when he felt a sting in his back. As he fell to the mud he heard the cracking of gunfire. His mind was fogging as his body grew weak. He clutched his hand to his chest and felt… something. His lips felt like they were moving. There was something very important he needed to say at this moment. Something… As the darkness came rushing in, a few words escaped his mouth then all went black. There was nothing but silence now. He could feel the mud underneath him and the Rain falling on his head. Then he felt nothing. After what seemed like both an eternity and only a fraction of a second, he snapped back into consciousness, yet only blackness surrounded him. While in the blackness he found the strength to stand and run. And run he did. He ran in a straight line for what seemed like hours. Black eventually became grey, and when he could feel dry earth under his feet, instead of the mud he had become so used to, he decided to pass out again. When he awoke he was still in very much of a daze. He surveyed the surroundings and discovered his mind was a lot slower than it should be. He had no idea how long it had been since he drank the Scotch, but surely the effects had passed by now. As his mind cleared there was one word that nagging at him… Dry. It was dry. He let this sink in. He looked up and saw something he had never seen before, a blue sky. The sky was clear, the Rain had stopped. His first thought was that this was a dream, but not knowing how to change that, he decided to just proceed onward. He stood to his feet and looked at the landscape. He spied a dirt road in the distance and headed toward it. He had no idea which direction on the road to take, so he just started walking in the direction of the Sun, as it felt good on his face. As he walked he reached for his canteen and took it out for a drink. As he was about to take a sip of the semi-filtered Rain water, he saw a stream a little off the side of the road. He kneeled at the stream and scooped some water in his hand and brought it to his nose… Clear. Fresh water was not just uncommon, but impossible, or so he had thought. He remembered that this was all a dream and decided to drink the water. It was good. The best water he had ever tasted. The only uncontaminated water he had ever tasted. He couldn’t recall if he had actually tasted anything in a dream before, but since this was one of the most pleasant experiences he ever had, he decided to just go along with it. He emptied the muck water from his canteen and rinsed it out several times before filling it with the stream water. He took one last drink directly from the stream and continued back along the road. As he was walking he found his hand clutching the cigarette case that was in his pocket next to his heart. He did this to assure himself he still held that which was most important to him. The Sun was sitting high in the sky now and for the first time since waking up, he glanced at his watch… Stopped. That was evidence he had been out a while, since he had just wound it before he left the Planetarium. In his mind that was only a few hours ago. Since he had decided this was in fact a dream, he just let it go. The thing that puzzled him most was that everything seemed too real to be a dream. Could his wounded body have been recovered and treated by some passing Samaritan? If that was case, how did he get to where he was, and when did the Rain stop? How much time had passed? It then struck him and he stopped in his tracks. His leg was broken. Most likely, it was shattered in several places during his battle with the Fiddler Crab. He rolled up his pant leg and searched for signs of damage. It was healed. He searched the rest of his body for the lacerations he clearly remembers receiving. All were gone. The tears in his clothes remained, but no damage to his body could be seen. Where was he when he awoke in the darkness? He started to question more and more if this were a dream. Before he could actually believe he was doing something so cliché, he pinched himself. He felt it. It didn’t hurt, but it felt like a small pinch should feel. He now questioned his surroundings even more. He followed the road for another hour when he saw a house in the distance. He increased his pace a bit and his heart pounded faster as he approached the house in this scenic landscape. The lawn was well manicured. He peered around the surroundings half expecting a trap of some sort, a battle drone, or some other unpleasant surprise. He found it difficult to believe the world has changed that much in the time he slept. All was quiet except the chirping of birds and the sound of the wind through a nearby tree. Both were sounds he was unfamiliar with. He approached the front door and saw a note tacked to it. The note was addressed to “Future Occupant”. He continued reading, “Please enjoy the comforts of this house for as long as you care to stay. While the house was unoccupied I’ve been caring for the lawn and general upkeep. If you decide to stay here, I ask that you perform these duties from now on. If you need anything, just come to my store, it’s about a mile down the road.” The note is signed “Pops”. He cautiously opens the door. Inside is a comfortable looking room, with a dining table, a few chairs, a fireplace, and a bench with a few cushions on it. The bench looks like a hand made sofa. While not a luxurious abode, it was the nicest he has ever seen. There were two adjoining rooms to the main room, a small kitchen with an electric stove, a sink, some cabinets and a refrigerator, and a bedroom that was equipped with a desk, a dresser and comfortable looking bed. Outside the house there was a garage that contained a clothes washer, a work bench, and some yard tools. The bathroom was attached to the rear of the house with the entrance from the outside. It almost seemed like it was an afterthought in the design of the house. The yard had several shade trees. A hammock was tied between two of them, and a clothes line was tied between another tree and the side of the garage. He went back in the house and set his backpack on the table in the living room and sat on one of the chairs. None of this was making any sense. He could see what was before him, he could touch it, yet he could not yet believe it. He opened the fridge and pulled out a pitcher… It was filled with tea. He smelled it, and it smelled fresh. Yet another surprise from “Pops”? He retrieved a glass from one of the cabinets and filled it. Deciding to push his luck he opened the freezer section of the fridge and found a tray of ice cubes. How long had it been since he had an iced beverage? He took his iced tea to the sofa a plopped down. He looked out the window and could see the sun starting its decent. After a few long minutes of relaxing on the sofa and enjoying his iced tea he walks over to his pack, and on the side facing down he sees the bouquet fastened. Hadn’t that been left behind? He couldn’t remember. The events of what happened as he was leaving the city started to blur in his mind. He unhooks the bouquet and sits again on the sofa. Staring at the bouquet he tries to remember, but it’s starting to fade as if that were the dream. The only clear vision he has of that time escaping the city is that of Reverie, her smile, her laugh, her broken body. With that thought his hand quickly snaps to his chest pocket to feel the cigarette case, and he is immensely relieved to feel the lump in his pocket. He continues to ponder on the bouquet and his memories of Reverie as the sun sinks below the horizon. As the darkness comes he steps outside to look at something he has only seen once before… The stars. He stares up until all the sky is laid bare. It’s just like the Planetarium. The only light not coming from the stars is coming from the window of the house, and that causes no real distraction. As he looks at all the dots in the sky, he realized he is still unconsciously grasping the cigarette case, and the tears come. After hours of practically counting all the stars in the heavens, he returns to the house. As he enters, he rips the note from the door, steps through and proclaims, “I’m home”. He removes his jacket and retrieves the cigarette case from its pocket and carries it with him to the bedroom. He climbs into the bed, fully expecting to wake from this dream into a nightmare of Rain, mud and bullets, and falls asleep.
The morning comes and he’s still here. He double checks the surroundings just to make sure. He picks up the cigarette case from next to his pillow where he had gently placed it and makes his way into the living room. Sitting on the table is a bowl of fresh fruit and a note. “Welcome” The note is signed “Pops”. His first order of business this day was to meet his mysterious benefactor. He finds a vase in one of the cabinets in the kitchen and places it alongside the bowl of fruit and places Reverie’s bouquet in it. The bouquet sustained a lot of damage since he was first presented with it, but it is one of the most beautiful things he has seen, because it was a gift from her. He grabs an apple from the bowl, puts the cigarette case in his pocket and heads out the door. As he walks down the road, chomping on his apple, things seem to become more real to him. The flavor of the apple, it’s juicy and sweet. The sound of his feet as they scrape against dry ground. The freshness of the air. It’s as if time has rolled backwards to before the War. In fact, it’s as if the War never happened. So much of his life had been consumed by the War and the aftermath that he knew noting except grief, until the day he saw the one thing on the planet that still smiled. No matter what he tried to think about his thoughts only came back to a single thing, no, a single person… Reverie. The one bright shining star in the world of gloom that he knew. At least her heart was still with him. Although he found himself longing for her chatter. The voice that once seemed like a curse that had no end, now was the sweetest music the world had to offer. He sees a small building just down the road, not much more than a shack. It’s completely made of wood with a porch and a swinging screen door. On the porch is an old style soda machine and a rocking chair. He stares at the soda machine, wishing he had a few coins to put in and makes a small laugh and hits a button on it as he turns toward the door. The machine grumbles a bit and produces a cold bottle of soda. Surprised, but not rejecting the gift, he opens the soda and takes a drink as he walks through the screen door to greet “Pops”. The store has a few odds and ends on its shelves. It looks like Pops spent more time cleaning his new home than minding the condition of his store. He looks around, but sees no one. He does see a book on the counter with a note attached. The note reads “Gone Fishing, write what you need in the book and I’ll try to have it by tomorrow”. Odd. He opens the book to reveal blank pages. He closes the book and walks outside the store and around the back. There is a small shed behind the store. Hoping to find Pops there, he heads over and opens the sliding wooden door. What he sees in the shed hits him like rail gun. In the dark confines of the shed, sitting slumped over on a bench and covered with nearly and inch of dust is an obviously broken, but mostly complete Model 9000 Series Service Robot. He slowly walks over to it and touches it, just to be sure it’s real. The synthetic skin is soft. The power cells are completely drained. The robot is cold and lifeless. He lifts its head to see a very familiar face. It’s her face, he would know it as well as he knows his own. The head is bald and the eyes are dark, but the face is unmistakable. He reaches behind her ear and pops open the latch for the memory module. Nothing comes out. He peers inside and sees a dark block. He tugs at it and it finally releases. It’s charred and black. He pops open the cigarette case just to look upon the memory module he has from Reverie. It looks the same as when he pulled it from her body. There was no way he would risk putting her into the robot that was slumped before him, at least not with it in this condition. He looked around the shed for any parts or tools, but found nothing that could be used with the robot. He returned to the store and pondered what to do next. The absurdity of the situation hit him. It was like he was the butt of a joke. He had no idea what to do, so he just burst out laughing. He grabbed the book and started making a list.
Bottle of your finest Scotch
Carton of cigarettes
Repair manual for a Model 9000 Series Service Robot
He closed the book and walked out. He took another look over at the shed, laughed and shed a tear at the same time and headed back to the house.
The next morning he awoke to another surprise. As he opened the door to step outside the house, there was cardboard box on the porch. As he reached toward the box, for half a second he thought about his former partner and the bomb, but this was a different world now… wasn’t it? There is note on the box, it says “Here’s the stuff you wanted. I’m going fishing, we’ll settle up later”, signed “Pops”. Dazed, he opens the box. It contains a bottle of 18 year old Single Malt Scotch, a full carton of cigarettes and, a repair manual. Ignoring the Scotch and cigarettes he picks up the repair manual and opens it. Flipping through its pages reveals diagrams, schematics, and mechanical specifications. The complete inner workings of the Model 9000 Robot, right down to the last wire. With the book in hand he runs at breakneck speed to the store, hoping to catch Pops. When he arrives, there is no one there. He runs to the shed, and throws open the door. The girl robot is still there, but now she has a note pinned on her ragged dress, “Good luck”, signed “Pops”. Around the back of the shed he finds a wheel barrow and loads the robot into it. He then heads to the store to find the book in the same place it was the day before. He flips through the manual frantically looking for part numbers and what he thinks he needs to actually start on this. He makes his list in the book.
Series 9000 Primary Power Cell
Series 9000 Secondary Power Cell
Series 9000 Power Converter and Charging Connector
Series 9000 Diagnostic Interface
He was sure there was more that would be needed, but this would get him started. The bowl of fruit was becoming depleted and he looked around for other food in the store. He found a bag of rice and some curry mix on the shelves. A nearby basket held some potatoes and another yielded some fresh looking carrots. “Vegetarian curry, huh” he muttered to himself with a smile. He had eaten far worse than that in the past. He made a note of the food he took from the shelves in the book and went outside and put his groceries in the wheel barrow. He heaved on the wheel barrow and headed back to the house. He took the non-functioning robot to the shed and carefully placed her on the work bench. Inside the house he found some rags and a bucket under the sink. He filled the bucket with water and headed out to clean his motionless companion. He flushed slightly as he removed her tattered dress. While not completely anatomically correct, the Series 9000, is very pleasant to look upon. He worked the wet rag as hard as he thought he could without damaging her, but there was a level of grime on her that looked like it took eons to accumulate. He searched the garage, then the house for a more powerful cleaner. He was about to give up and make that another item for the book when he got an idea. Without hesitating for a second he poured the 18 year old Scotch on one of the rags and started to rub again. It was working. He would alternate using the Scotch and the water to cut through the grime and keep her clean. After he was done he had used the entire bottle, without so much as taking a sip, but he had no regrets. All he did was stare at the robot and smile. He examined the manual and started to the next task. Removing an access panel in her back revealed a burnt power cell. From the inside of that panel, according to the manual, was a release to a smaller access panel in her lower back. He found it with little trouble and soon both power cells were revealed. The lower, secondary power cell was more than charred, it looks to have actually exploded. This may have been the catalyst for the surge that appears to have fried most of her systems, including her memory core. Everything this robot knew and experienced was lost forever. Thinking of a fate like that for Reverie sent a chill straight up his spine. He removed the destroyed power cells and began wiping down the inside. He decided it was best to wait to have a proper cleaning solution for the much more delicate internal workings, but he was at least able to identify a few more components that were definitely in need of replacement. It’s getting dark now. He decides it’s time for sleep. He puts his hand on the robot’s forehead as if wishing it a good night and retires to his bed.
The morning brought with it a new delivery on the porch. He eagerly opened the box to reveal the power cells, the charger and diagnostic interface. To his surprise the box also contained another bottle of Scotch and large bottle of cleaning solution rated for precision instruments. He glanced over his shoulder and around every corner he could find, Pops was nowhere to be seen. The note on the box said, “Here’s the stuff you wanted, plus a few other things that seemed right. I’m off to the fishing hole. We’ll settle up later.” Once again, it’s signed “Pops”. He takes the Primary Power Cell out of its box and attaches it to the power converter and plugs it in. The power converter makes a very low hum and has an indicator light to show a “charging” status. With the battery charging, he heads off to the store. He grabs a free soda on the way in and stands at the counter, parts book and order book both open. He notices another bowl of fruit on the counter, with a little sign folded and standing in front of the bowl, “Free for friends and neighbors”. He takes a large pear from the bowl and sets to munch on it as he gets to work. He makes a list of various parts he had circled in the book the night before. He suddenly wonders if he could just put “Brand new Model 9000 Service Robot, with all the options” in the book. He smiles at the thought, but then thinks, “Where’s the fun in that?” Rebuilding someone from the inside out is one heck of a way to get to know that person, he muses. He grabs a banana from the bowl on his way out, realizing he’s very hungry this morning he suddenly remembers that he forgot to make his vegetarian curry last night, he was too busy working on the robot until it was very late. Back at the garage, he starts cleaning the power cell terminals inside the robot with the new cleaning solution. For as bad as the cells looked upon removal, the terminals are cleaning up nicely. The entire primary power cell compartment is shining almost like new. The secondary takes a bit more elbow grease, but ends up looking almost equally as nice. He inspects the connectors and makes sure there are no visible signs of shorted wires. Satisfied, he enters the house to retrieve the charged battery. He snaps the primary power cell in place and connects the diagnostic interface to the connector inside the panel as directed by manual. The miniature diagnostic computer springs to life and reports on a myriad of problems in the robot’s systems. This was not unexpected. A lot of what is listed on the display are parts he already ordered. He made a list of the new parts needed, continued to clean her insides for the next few hours, then he set about the task of making vegetarian curry. The aroma of curry fills the air. Smells that were usually muted by the foulness of the air in the world he came from are now bright as the Sun itself. The curry was the best he ever had. It was now dark, and he was beginning to relax in his new home. He took a chair outside and sat down with his new bottle of Scotch and a pack of smokes. Gazing at the stars, sipping fine Scotch and the long missed feeling of tobacco smoke filling his lungs, he exhales a great puff of smoke, smiles, and thinks, “Almost perfect… yep, almost”. As this thought is riding the smoke up to sky his hand is on the lump in his chest pocket. “Almost perfect” he says out loud this time.
He awakes to another box and similar note. He is beginning to take these deliveries for granted, but he is taking everything that is offered, since he doesn’t know if or when this dream would end. If it were a dream. He takes the parts to the shed and begins his work. Most of the electronic parts in this series of robot are modular and easy to replace. It would be a much harder job if there were serious mechanical problems, but for the most part, the moving parts look good. She is going to need new lubricating fluid. That is the robot equivalent of blood, as it flows through tubes to the extremities of the robot to lubricate the joints and keep the micro servos cool. He adds this to the list he has running for the day’s order. With most of the electronic modules replaced, he attaches the diagnostic interface again. This time it looks much better. Although there appears to be a problem with the Processing Core. He makes a silent apology to the robot as he pops the top of her skull off by depressing a hidden release in the back of her head. From this vantage he can see the damage that was hidden. The CPU is burnt, as is the connector at the bottom of the memory module slot. Looking up the proper descriptions in the service manual, he adds the parts to the list. He replaces the top of her head and pats her forehead again, and opens the fluid valve. He initiates a fluid purge from the diagnostic computer and hears a small pump come to life. Her “blood” spills into the bucket he had set up. The fluid, which is normally clear, is visibly bad, as it has started to break down and now had a black color to it. How long had she been sitting in that shed? He heads back to the house to retrieve the left over curry from the fridge. Standing in the kitchen, looking out the window, he can see into the garage. He eats the cold curry and again starts thinking about the situation he has landed in. Trying to think back to when he was laying in the mud, he was trying to say something, but what was it again? The memory is too fuzzy. He once again turns his attention to his cold curry. It’s still very good, even cold. After his meal, he walks down to the store to write in the book some more. It’s much later this time. He does this on purpose, in hopes of catching Pops at the counter. No such luck. The sign reads, “Gone home for the night. Write what you need in the book, and I’ll see what I can do.” At least he knows Pops is around several times a day to change the notes. He supposes their paths will cross when the time is right. He makes his list of parts in the book, and also adds, “Next time you go fishing, could you catch one for me?” He closes the book, exits the store and grabs a soda for the road, and heads home.
Morning. The sun shines through the window of the bedroom. He walks to the door and finds the box in its usual place. “Gotta hand it to Pops, he can get things fast” he mutters as he picks up the box. Unseen at first was a second box, this one was made of Styrofoam. He sets the first box down and picks up the second and carries it into the house and places it on the table. Opening the box revealed a large quantity of ice. He digs in the ice and feels something slimy. Packed carefully in the ice are two large fish, already cleaned and ready for the oven. His stomach rumbles just thinking about a dinner of fresh fish. The note reads “I was able to get it all, even with the short notice. I hit the lake early today to catch your fish. I hope you like them. I’m heading back to get a few more for myself now. We’ll settle up later” Signed again, “Pops.” He places the fish in the fridge takes the other box to the garage and starts replacing the damaged parts. After several hours of fitting the new parts and pumping the new fluid into her body he switches on the diagnostic computer again. He stares at it for several minutes before it fully registers in his mind. “All Systems Functioning: No Errors Detected”. His heart starts beating faster. The new CPU, the new power controllers, the new batteries… It’s all working. He runs the diagnostic again. Same result. The fluid pump is operating almost silently. With the access panel in place it can’t be heard at all. He replaces all the panels and puts her over his shoulder and carries her into the house and gently places her on the sofa. He connects the power converter to the plug on her earpiece and checks that the charger looks normal and touches her forehead and heads to the store. This time the items he needs are more aesthetic than functional. He describes her dress the best he can. The tattered clothes the robot was wearing were of strikingly similar design to the dress Reverie wore, so he hoped the description was enough. He also placed in the book a request for a suitable hairpiece, a 9000 Series Holographic Projector and a multifunctional Data Ribbon. Then he headed back to the house. Shortly after he arrived back home the smell of cooking fish filled the house all the way out to the garage. It was a wonderful smell. Every few minutes he would peek in at the robot to check the lights on the charger as he was fixing his dinner. He had supposed that a full charge to both power cells would take a while. He had time.
The next morning he woke to find her batteries fully charged and a box waiting on the porch. He opened the box like it was Christmas and put the final touches on the girl robot that sat on his sofa. The Data Ribbon was the last attachment. It attached physically to her hat, but its electrical connection was from a high frequency signal from her CPU. It was mainly a decorative item, but something she was very proud of. His pulse quickened as he knew there was no reason for further dawdling. He was both excited and cautious. What if it didn’t work? What if her memory module had been damaged? What if there was another power cell explosion? He couldn’t wait any longer and he pulled the pristine memory module out of the cigarette case and slid it gently into the slot. As he clicked the cover closed, he heard the sound of servos powering up, and he stepped back fast. The once dark eyes started to glow a soft green, and he could see the lenses in the eyes adjusting. She blinked a few times and said, “Mr. Customer? Where am I?” He smiled at her and simply said, “This is the new home I was telling you about.” She glanced around the room and cocked her head in the oh so familiar way, to which he responded, “Although, I still have a lot of work to do before you can start showing the stars again.” With that her eyes brightened and she leaped to her feet and smiled. He asked her what she remembered, and she had a full recollection up to the time she ejected her memory module, including that “final recording”. He sat in one of the chairs and ate some fruit for lunch as she talked. He just let her keep talking. He didn’t care what she was talking about, just to hear her voice once more was enough. After about two hours of “catching up”, he decided the both of them should walk to the store. She clung to his arm as they walked. She got very quiet for a few minutes then gazed up at him with a look in her eyes he had never seen before, and she said, “Thank you for keeping your promise.” “Which promise was that?” he warmly replied. “You said you would fix me, and take me to my new home. I had calculated that as being merely a polite thing someone would say when they thought all hope was gone.” How perceptive she can be. He just smiled and squeezed her hand. She looked the same, she talked the same. The big question that resounded in his mind, the one that could shatter this fantasy, was, “Is she really Reverie?” They arrived at the store and he found a few things for dinner. It looked like the menu for tonight was spicy tofu and rice. He wrote the groceries in the book and he put in one requested item. As they left the store, he asked her a question he wasn’t sure he wanted an answer to. “Reverie?” he stuttered. She glanced up at him with questioning eyes. “Can you tell me something true that I could not possibly know about?” He looked away from her for a moment and said, “Something that can prove this is not a dream?” She processed this for a few moments, and said, “You fixed me?” He nodded. She then said “Where did you learn to fix a robot?” Now he was the one with the puzzled face. Then he responded, “I’ve always been good at fixing things, but I needed the Model 9000 repair manual to fix you.” She said, “Have you ever seen the inner workings of a Model 9000 robot before?” His face looked down toward the ground as he thought about her former body lying strewn across the ground and said, “Just after you were shot, I saw your body and how complex it was.” She quietly responds, “Did you understand everything in the manual?” His response was, “No, some of the things were way beyond my level, but I was able to follow most of it.” His eyes brightened as he begins to realize where she’s going with this. If this were a dream or a fantasy taking place only in his mind, he would not actually be able to learn something new, since his mind would only have his accumulated knowledge to work with. The fact that the robot’s parts were so well designed and he was no where near the level of an engineer, he can now safely assume that at the very least, there is an external source at work here. He smiled widely and said to her, “You seem a bit different. Are you functioning ok?” A more serious look snaps to her face as she says. “Processing… Running level two self diagnostic check… Comparing base databases to accumulated databases… Anomaly detected!” They both stop dead in their tracks. She grimaces as if she were a normal person trying to do long division in her head. She almost appears to have a worried look on her face, and it makes his body turn cold with near panic. “What’s wrong!!” he shouts as he grabs he shoulders. “Processing…” is all she says. An eternity seems to pass when she finally says, “Anomaly analyzed. There is a difference in my backups of my base database contained in my Memory Module and the base database in my Processor Core Memory. Base database in my Processor Core contains approximately 632% more information. A diagnostic of my Processor Core reveals that it is now a Series 9000 Mark XII. Backup databases indicate the correct revision level should be Mark III.” He loosens his grip on her shoulders and more calmly says, “Is that a problem?” She cocks her head and says, “No. Processing capabilities and functionality have increased 1021% over base backups. I guess I’m still just a little broken.” He smiles at her as they continue walking again and says, “Me too, but just a little.” Back at the house, he drops the groceries in the kitchen when she suddenly says, “I will make you dinner!” with a cheerful smile on her face. He looks at her and says, “Can you do that?” She replies, “Yes! Food preparation is within my new base database, and has been added as a secondary core directive.” He looks at her, “Secondary core directive?” She continues smiling and says, “My primary core directives are still all related to operations of the Planetarium, but since there does not appear to be a Planetarium nearby, I have switched to the secondary core directives contained in the Mark XII Processor Core which include domestic duties. So even without a Planetarium, I’m able to continue to serve.” He responded, “You don’t have to serve me like it’s your job anymore. I would prefer you to do things that you want to do on your own.” She cocked her head at this comment and said, “But I do want to serve you.” He decided to give up for now and pat her on the head and thanked her for offering to make him dinner and headed toward the garage. He stared at the workbench where she was lying just yesterday. He picks up the box that contained the replacement Processor Core and examines it. He was in such a state of excitement yesterday that he hadn’t even bothered to read any of the packages he was opening. The small label on the bottom of the box clearly read: 9000 Series Processor Core Module, Mark XII: Companion Robot Series, Base Programs Included. “Companion…” He muttered. He wasn’t specific when he wrote which type of Processor Core he wanted. He had thought the standard Service Robot parts would be delivered. He was unsure how to feel about this right now. For now at least, the additional programming seems to have had only beneficial results. She is much less single minded, except for the part about wanting to serve him. He didn’t want her as a slave. He wanted her as a… he glanced at the part label again… “Companion.” He looks out the door of the garage into the kitchen window. She catches his glance and smiles and waves. He smells the aroma of the spicy sauce cooking and his stomach rumbles. He finds himself thinking about tomorrow’s package and smiles. There is a lot of work to do, but not today. He heads back into the house to engage Reverie in small talk until dinner is ready. She touches on a lot of different subjects from cooking, to laundry, to gardening, occasionally throwing in some references to the Planetarium and how she misses Miss Jena. He sits there and listens to it all, and when dinner is over he takes two chairs outside as the Sun sets. He leaves the Scotch and cigarettes behind as he takes her hand and leads her to her chair. The both sit and watch the Sun’s final seconds of light and the emergence of the first star. They sit there for hours as he quietly looks upward and she narrates the night. The night passes and light starts to creep up from the horizon. They had been sitting there all night watching the ballet of stars, when he comments, “You didn’t shut down?” She turns serious and stands and says with a deep bow, “I apologize for keeping you up all night. The designated shutdown time was not present in this Processor Core. I will add the shutdown time to my primary objectives…” He grabbed her hand and told her not to do that. He told her how happy it made him to sit there all night and hear her talk about the stars. He told her it has been his dream to hear her give her presentation again ever since their last day in the Planetarium. He rose from his chair and stretched. He took her hand as they turned toward the house. As they approached the house he notices a small brown paper wrapped package leaning against the door with a note attached. The note read, “Here’s your book. I didn’t want to disturb you two, you looked like you were having fun… Pops.” He opened the package to reveal a book. She tries to look at the book, but he smiles and hides it from her. She cocks her head and looks puzzled at his action. He realizes she doesn’t understand. He tells her, “You got some new programs right?” She nods. “Well, this is a program for me. It teaches me how to do something new. Your new programs taught you how to serve me, well, this program will teach me how to serve you in a way.” Having said that, he shows her the title of the book: “How-to Build Your Own Planetarium.” She reads the title and smiles, laughs, bows, and smiles again. She displays a wide range of expressions and he sees something new on her face. Two small streams of her clear lubricating fluid were flowing from the corners of her eyes. She instantly realized what was happening, and shyly whimpered with a smile, “I can cry.”
That day he decided to start the ground breaking for the new building project. There is a large flat plot of land about fifty meters from the house in the direction of the store. After reading the first chapter in the book and flipping through the rest of it he headed out with shovel in hand. The days went on as he dug what would be the foundation of the building. They went to the store daily for groceries and to put requests in the book. He ordered bags of concrete for the foundation, lumber, tools, and wiring for the lighting. During that time Reverie developed much more than he ever expected. At night they would sit outside and look at the stars, and sometimes he would be the one doing the talking, and she would quietly sit and listen to his stories. Some of the stories seemed to scare her, because they were about the War. She was displaying a range of emotion he never thought possible. Was it the new Processor Core, or something more? She had started sleeping in the bed with him. Of course nothing more than just being close to one another could happen, due to several design limitations. Although her new Processor Core held the programming for a full Companion Model robot, her body was a Service Model, which lacked certain options. He had thought about ordering more parts, but he couldn’t change her for selfish reasons. He cared far too much for her to do that. He was happy just feeling her next to him. It took several months, but the building was finally complete. They worked together putting the walls up and building the braces for making the domed ceiling. When they weren’t working on the Planetarium, they were tending their new garden or walking to and from the store. In all that time they never saw Pops, but his deliveries were always on time. Today Reverie is in the garden, picking vegetables for tonight’s meal, and he is walking to the store. He grabs a soda on the way in, as he has done so many times in the past, walks up to the counter and opens the book. He starts to write in the book when he hears a voice come from a small room behind the counter. “Hello sonny.” The voice says. He just stands there, dumbfounded, not able to speak. An older man appears from around the corner. “How are you today?” The old man asks. He still is having trouble forming words. The old man takes the book from him and spins it toward himself and puts on a pair of wire framed bifocals. “Hmm… Let me guess, you need a Carl Zeiss MK2 Planetarium Projector today, don’t ya?” The old man offers. He nods his head and is just starting to come to his senses. “Pops?” He asks. “In the flesh!” The old man says and smiles. “I decided to give the fish a break today. Today is very, very special day.” He asks Pops what happens today. Pops just says, “You’ll see.” And smiles. “I figured you’d be needing that projector. I already ordered it. In fact, it should have already been delivered.” He stared at Pops, a million questions racing through his head, he finally manages to get one out, “Where are we?” Pops’ smile weakens just a touch, but not much and he steps from around the counter and puts his hand on the former Junker’s shoulder and says, “Let’s walk.” They exit the store and start walking down the road toward the house at a slow pace when Pops says, “I sort of thought you would have figured it out by now. At least most of it.” Pops continues, “You remember the day you fell in the mud don’t ya?” He nods. “You wished for the same thing.” Pops adds. Confused, he tries to think back to that day, it was so long ago and the memory is painful, but he strains to think back, and suddenly he hears the crack of a gun as he’s falling. He hits the mud with a crash. He clutches his chest and he feels gushing warm liquid mixing with the cold water of the Rain. As he clutches his chest he feels in his pocket the shattered cigarette case. The bullet had gone through his back, pierced his heart and shattered Reverie’s Memory Module. The blood from his broken heart, was mixing with the shattered remains of hers. As the darkness overtook him he managed to speak one last prayer, “Please let us be together in Heaven.” These were the words he couldn’t remember, he had blocked out his own death. He was dead. His eyes opened to the sight of the road and the old man, and he fell to his knees and started to cry. Not for himself, but for her. He asked the old man, “Is that REALLY her?” The old man helped him up, brushed him off and said. “Yes! It is her. You made it so.” Pops saw the puzzled look start to replace the tears and he explained, “This place is new. I built it myself. I hope you like it.” Pops continued, “Conscious beings have life. Sometimes that life is more complex than other times. When something that normally is not associated with the term ‘life’ becomes self aware, a true consciousness is born. For Reverie Planetarian, it was the moment she wished for a Heaven. For a robot to have the ability to see beyond the world as it exists, forward to the next is extraordinary. I could not let that be lost. Also, when you wished with your dying breath to be together with her in Heaven…” Pops smiled, then started shaking a finger at him and said, “You, you were a very bad person, until you met her. She was just a robot, until she met you. Human souls and a weak, but present consciousness of a robot living in Heaven? Heaven isn’t even what most people think it is. It’s not that different from Earth, if you decide to make it that way. But there are rules. So… I made this place. Think of it as a crossroads between Heavens. The Heaven for lower conscious beings and the Heaven for fully developed Souls. Now, I will say, Miss Reverie is not the semi-conscious being she once was. With help from you, and a bit from me…” Pops whispers the next part, “Don’t tell anyone, it’s our little secret.” He delivers the whisper with a wink and a nudge. “She became something much more!” he finished. Gathering his thoughts he asks Pops, “So, she is the real Reverie, and this is a sort of Heaven, and you are…God?” “I prefer Pops.” He says with a sly smile. “It’s less formal.” As he takes all this in he ponders what’s next, and suddenly he starts to panic, and says, “This isn’t going to end now is it?” The old man laughs, puts his arm around his shoulder and nudges him to move in the direction of the house and says, “It’s only just begun!”
They arrive at the house and Reverie is watering the garden. As they approach, Reverie stands in a formal manner to greet the guest. Pops is introduced to Reverie, “Pleased to meet you, young Miss Reverie.” Pops greets. Reverie responds with a bow, and says “It’s a pleasure, Mr. Pops. I’ve looked forward to meeting you for a long time. Thank you for all that you have sold us on credit.” The old man laughs a deep laugh and says, “Consider you account paid in full.” Pops then shakes her hand, bows slightly to her and turns to face the former Junker. “Take good care of her, and you two will have a happiness never before known in this Universe, and I’m in a position to know.” He winks and smiles and turns back toward the road. “Will we ever see you again, Pops?” He asks. “Of course!” the old man replies as he waves and heads back down the road. As the old man heads out of sight, he takes Reverie’s hand and says, “I want to show you something.” and leads her toward the new building. Just as they are walking through the door and into the main projection room he says, “An old friend is here to see you.” As he gestures toward the Carl Zeiss MK2 Projector Pops said had been delivered. Her eyes go bright, as she approaches the projector. She bows to it in a symbolic greeting and says “Hello, Miss Jena. It’s good of you to come.” She laughs and turns to him and embraces him. She gazes into his eyes and coyly says, “I know the difference between something alive and a machine.” He kisses her deeply and says, “So do I.” Just then, as if to perfectly interrupt the moment, there are two kids standing at the inside door. With a very surprised look on his face he says “Hello?” The two kids are a young boy and girl. They look familiar. He’s seen them before. Just then the girl screams “Miss Revvie!!!” and runs to embrace Reverie. The boy walks up and says, “We heard you guys had a Planetarium here, just like at the department store. The old man told us it was down this road.” He now recognized the kids. They were the same kids from Reverie’s projection as she lay broken in the mud. The kids must have died just after the evacuation, as they look no older than they did in the projection. The little girl sheepishly looks down at the floor and says to Reverie “I’m sorry, I don’t have the money I promised you.” The little girl looks like she’s about to cry when Reverie says “From now on, the Planetarium is free for everyone!” The little girl’s tear suddenly turns to a wide smile and she hugs Reverie again. Right after that, several more people walk through the door. Some he recognizes from the projections, some he doesn’t. A man walks up to Reverie and bows and says “It’s good to see you again.” Reverie responds with a bow and says “It’s good to see you too Mr. Manager.” The man replies to her, “This is your place now, you are the Manager.” At this Reverie smiles and nods. With the spark of a full life in her, and a long happiness in front of her, she pulls her companion closer to her and whispers in his ear “Thank you again for keeping your promise, and… I love you.” She releases him and says in her amplified voice, “Welcome to the Planetarium. That beautiful twinkling of eternity that will never fade, no matter when. Everyone, please take your seats, the presentation will begin in seven minutes.” She reaches for a cable coming from the projector and plugs it into a socket behind her ear. He takes the seat closest to Reverie and starts to get comfortable. The little girl drags her brother to the front row and sits next to him and smiles. He smiles back. Then he looks to Reverie, who is also smiling at him. The minutes pass as they gaze at each other, then at Reverie’s cue, the lights start to fade and the red glow of an artificial sunset can be seen, along with the first star of the evening, and her presentation has begun. As he sits there, staring at the artificial sky, listening to her voice, as she tells the story of the heavens, he thinks to himself “In all the infinity of the cosmos, I can’t think of another place I would rather be.” “A happiness never before known in this Universe.” Is what the old man said. As he looks from the stars to the silhouette of his companion, his lover, and his best friend, he smiles again and mutters, “Now, it’s perfect.”