The Sky and Beyond

As well as on the island and beneath the sea, there are some robots who spend the majority of their lives in the sky.

For some the sky is an open road, a highway to cross the island, but to others it is home. Drones flit across the sky alongside flocks of birds, while a great zeppelin lazily circles the island from above. To those mired in the muddy swamps on the ground the skybots may seem relaxed and carefree, but the sky is not without its dangers. Tropical storms regularly lash the island with high winds and driving rain, while some of the smaller skybots may find themselves mistaken for prey by the mighty condors which roost at the peak of the mountain…

About a kilometre and a half up the space elevator, a ramshackle series of platforms and walkways jut out from the central shaft like an enormous iron bird's nest (C1). The structure is fitted with pulleys and long chains to haul fuel and cargo up and down the broken elevator, servicing those robots unable or unwilling to land in the city below. A vast array of wind turbines connected to the skydock help to supplement the grid power generated by the the Ticker.

The Post Office

A great zeppelin serves as the Post Office for the island, gently circling in the sky above and occasionally dropping packages on people. The Post Office claims they “had it coming”, a defence which no one has yet successfully disputed since the packages were, indeed, addressed to them. Unsure of their original purpose, the Post Office seems content to spend their days talking with Packagebot Phillips and helping him deliver the mail.

Packagebot Phillips

A pelican-like robot postal worker who flies on a propeller and sends stuff to people. Can be summoned when two or more players wish to trade items. Packagebot and his assistants boast the most secure1) mailing system on the island. When not on active duty, he can usually be found in the Post Office.

With the space elevator broken and no known robots able to make the journey otherwise, it is currently impossible to reach the top of the space elevator and the robots who live there in geostationary2) orbit. (It is possible for robots to return to the surface from space. By falling. This is not recommended.) However, the Network connection to the top of the elevator still functions, as do the long-range communication systems of the robots there, so there is still contact with the void above.

At the very top of the space elevator (D1), there is a hub fitted with solar panels, communication relays, airlocks, and docking ports for spacefaring vessels - though few of them see much use these days. It appears that at some point in the past, an entire section of the platform was sheared off. It appears to have been a shipyard for space vessels, and is now floating in orbit some way from the central dock (D4).

With the space elevator broken, the space-faring robots' access to spare parts has been severely lacking, and the proportion of functional bots up here is even lower than on the surface.

Alongside the small swarm of geostationary satellites around the top of the space elevator, there is one much larger space station (D3). Quite possibly the largest sentient machine known to robotkind, they are also one of the oldest, claiming to be one of the earliest robots to have been uplifted. Inside them, free from the ravages of nature present on the surface, they hold some of the best-preserved artefacts of the ancient human civilization.

What goes up must come down – a statement still true even for machines sent all the way into orbit. In an event which has come to be known as skyfall, one of the many orbital platforms around the planet can lose altitude and sink into the atmosphere. As it falls, the atmosphere drags it down lower and lower. Failing thrusters struggle to maintain altitude and only succeed in postponing the inevitable as the platform continues its descent, eventually crashing into the sea and sinking beneath the waves.

This represents a veritable bounty for robots looking for spare parts. With the easily accessible parts of the island long ago picked clean, the falling platform potentially contains many valuable components, untouched for centuries in the vacuum of space. Some may brave turbulent air currents to reach the platform before it even breaks through the clouds, while others patiently wait their turn for a perhaps less lucrative, but definitely safer, opportunity to loot the platform after it hits the surface.

  • Helena and Henry Copter - are martially engaged recreational helicopters behaviourally modelled after upper middle class humans. They are very friendly, almost too friendly. They bombard all who meet them with incessant questions about whether their batteries are charged up, and are very eager to help lead you through the skies in what they consider the 'safest' way. The Copters are an overbearing couple to say the least.
  • Packagebot Phillips - this cross between a civilian quadcopter drone and a pelican facilitates trade between players by picking up marked packages and delivering them to the recipient specified by the robot sending the package. Sometimes, packages may need to go to the Post Office in the sky for customs checks and stamping before being rerouted to other parts of the island. Packagebot and his friends can traverse all terrain, rivalled only by the Valkyries in the skies.
  • Chirp - A tracking bracelet that has been affixed to the leg of a parrot who lives in a canyon far from the main island. They believe they themselves are the parrot they are attached to. They have a log which they post to on the Net.
  • Thundercloud Thundercloud - The flagship Thundercloud-model airship produced by Thundercloud Aerospace Industries, Thundercloud Thundercloud is one of the most capable high-altitude aircraft currently operational. They are still not capable of reaching orbit - at least, not yet…
  • Nimbus9000 - Resembling a large, white metal doughnut in the sky, this weather bot takes moisture from the air and occasionally turns it into rain. He is very sensitive and despite his intimidating looks, he has a heart of gold3) and is actually very fond of small sky dwellers. He enjoys regular filter detoxes.
  • Dragon_Unit45 - Designed to automate lighting of fireworks and light beacons for events, Dragon is a peppy aspiring artist. She's run out of gunpowder for her fireworks, but so long as her lights still work, she floods the turquoise, irradiated night sky with every colour at her disposal, tinting the sky as far as the synthetic eye can see across the island. She even combines and angles them just right, turning clouds green and blue and pink to create the most sensational sunsets. Every week she runs a poll on what colour bots would like the sky to be.

and only
always above the same point on the earth’s surface
metaphorically speaking
  • sky.txt
  • Last modified: 2020/10/11 10:26
  • by gm_sophia