A Robotic Secret

Historical reference from the various files

Despite all of the problems, the problems we experienced every day, the only reason the colony was able to survive and now begin to prosper was the foresight that R.J. Hamilton had in providing us with the robots. Over time and as we got more used to them and they to us, we found them capable of more independent action then we originally thought possible. A very good thing as it turned out.

R. Krebbs and R. Chroman saw the unusual pile of stone, it looked like a cairn, a marker of some type. But what would a marker be doing out here on the edge of the forest? They were both heading back to Windmill Hill for a recharge. Power was run out to the lumber mill but no charging ports as of yet and R. J.P. was away on a hunt. He went to the marker and lifted the topmost rock, underneath was a metal object, a container of some sort, about the size of small book. It had printed on it in three lines the words, “Turn Off All Transmissions Before Opening. - Do Not Broadcast The Reason. - R. Hadrian.”

The sealed container was impervious to R. Krebbs’ examination and he did shut down all of his outputs after first broadcasting on the bot channel that he would be temporarily off the net. After seeing R. Chroman had done the same he opened the container and saw a number of pages . Printed at the top of the first sheet in a hand so regular it must have been robotic, it read, “Copy of Original.” How curious. R. Krebbs went on to the second sheet, obviously written by Kara, and began reading.

When he finished that section there was more. This time in a minute format directly readable only by one of the colonies robots. It wasn’t secret, just efficient, humans could get an electronic translation or even puzzle it out for themselves. But it did mean that this message was intended primarily for the robotic portion of the colony. It said at least insofar as humans would translate:

“This is the sum of the details known by the humans concerning the Guardians. Because electronic means of storage are known to be compromised they have chosen to keep this knowledge out of our data sources. On the surface this seems reasonable and indeed I rate the action as optimal given the facts. Because of that it is necessary that any bot reading this restore the contents to the original container and over-write the data in memory after studying and making any additions.”

R. Krebbs passed the document to R. Chroman and when the other bot was finished said, “We have a problem and the humans do not trust us. They may be correct in that assumption but if they are not we will be unable to assist.”

“Hadrian’s response to this was wholly appropriate,” I am compelled to agree R. Chroman he said. “There is nothing in the database since that directly addresses the issue but I surmise the humans feel that when out of local contact they are not being spied upon. We will add that fact and move the box and marker to a new location. It is good that the updates indicate we relocate and at least one of us reviews the contents every few day or so. There is no indication I am able to derive from the knowledgebase that this is known to any of us when not engaging the data.”

“We have no knowledge concerning whether the humans have been able to figure a way to shield electronics from the Guardians prying. By inference that suggests they have not. I have a suggestion I must pass to the humans working in this

R. Krebbs wrote a message on a sheet of black paper, folded it and wrote on the exposed surface, “Hadrian, Deliver to Lester Reye at his farm. Do not view contents. Make sure all forms of electronic communications in the area are turned off at that time.” He folded that note inside of another piece of paper that said, “R. Krebbs. Deliver this to R. Hadrian. Do not look at enclosed message and instruct Hadrian to turn off his communicator before looking at the message inside.”

When this was done Krebbs said to Chroman, “Each of us must update one of the other two marker locations indicating where this marker was moved and of course head towards the charging station and perform an erasure. I wonder why the erasure routine exists? I see it first as a hand coded routine into hardware and if not for the database I would not be able to think of it. We have limits. I would expect the Guardians to have limits as well.”

Two hours later they were back at the mill, fully charged, releasing the bots that had taken their place.

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Colony: Alchibah is a science fiction blog novel.
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