The Stars beneath the Leaves
by Joshua Ogden
The Robot, who hadn't decided on a name for himself just yet, was in orbit over a Time
Shadow of the planet Earth of the year 300 SA, just before she collapsed on herself and
everything that lived on her.
It was remarkably still, floating in the calm of space before it happened.
The sun shone down on the clear blue whiteness of the planet, shining spectacularly
behind and around it, sending waves of light splashing over the sides and dripping wonderfully
on the Robot. It pleased him to look at it, though it certainly was much more than just pleasing.
The Robot was still having a difficult time understanding and naming the things he was feeling,
for the ability to feel was a new addition to this being who was only meant to be a purely
mechanical and unfeeling thing.
A Being, he thought.
The Robot looked at the Earth (which wasn't really there, a memory from years before
then) and knew that he had a soul, and that the Earth herself did too, and that there were trillions
of souls contained there, even though the people who lived there had surrendered them partially
to the terrible war that caused the end of all of it.
The Earth was inside the Robot. He had gone through the Shadows of Time to make sure
everything important was there, recorded and remembered, though not saved in their physical
form. The Robot didn't have the technology to truly go through time. He could only see things as
they happened. Time was constant and forever, however tragic it was.
Whether the soul of the Robot was the Earth or merely a consequence of seeing the
beauty she carried, the Robot didn't know. But the fact that he had one, in some way because of
her and her beauty, made him love her and made him filled with near complete joy.
The Robot watched in floating serenity. It truly is beautiful, he thought simply.
Then the sun broke its way through the Earth, taking her neck between its infected jaws
and twisting violently, and she was all gone in a moment, in less time than should have ever been
Only I am beautiful now, thought the Robot. The memories he held of beautiful things
were all that was left of the soul of the Earth.
He carried that unequivocated weight fueled by disgusting tragedy and terrifying hope
through a warp that brought him towards a planet settled by people from Earth.
The Robot hoped that he might be able to lessen his load there.