Day# 30 MobU and Stats, robot symbiotes

| November 30, 2010 | 3 Comments
#30 MobU+Stats, robot symbiotes for Wheeler's Orbits by Jande Rowe

#30 MobU+Stats, robot symbiotes for Wheeler's Orbits by Jande Rowe

“Days like this make me think I was manufactured under a bad sign.” ―C-3PO.

#30 MobU & Stats, Robot Symbiotes

You might be forgiven if at first glance you think there are two robots in this artist’s sketch of Stats and MobU (pronounced “Mow’bew”). And in one fairly obvious way you would be right. They look separate, though MobU can attach itself to Stats’ head piece once the antenna has been retracted. But they were created in fact as a single unit. Though if Stats‘ personality splits any further, there may be a true dichotomy.

Wheeler and Ikey assembled Stats when they were kids from parts scavenged from the local industries on their home planet of Foglio IV, many of which were experimental, some of which were top secret. That may have been the reason why Stats often had memory failures. It may account for the fact that the robot could spout statistics about things that Wheeler or Ikey had never even heard of. It also may be why he or uh.. lets just call it “he” for now, since it, uh… he has just achieved a conscious state of sentience for the first time in over a decade –Well its system combination of CPU [Central Processing Unit] and HMC [HoloMemoryCore] had. Consciousness had been hard-wired in by a series of bizarre accidents, perhaps even before Wheeler dug the logic core out of the recycle bin. Then again, with Wheeler’s luck, not to mention timing, and total lack of training, the boys might have had a little to do with the personality, or… Personalities, that emerged.  But to all intents and purposes Stats had finally been delegated to a dark corner of the jet park cubby-hole the last time he had a memory failure. Wheeler wasn’t that interested in statistics anyway, though Ikey got a bit of a kick out of them. By this time he was frustrated by the breakdowns, and he and Ikey having just discovered that girls were not the icky fragjaws he used to think them, he managed over time to forget all about having tried to create the world’s first Super-Destructo Paintball Robot (Some fads never die).

Later with the rise of the family fortunes, the house and jetpark were sold off, the contents of the jetpark including the deactivated robot were sent to a Goodwill recycle plant, and the family moved literally up to the next level on Foglio IV.

The Techs at Goodwill were astounded to find the rather scuffed Robot as part of a donation delivery. They tried activating it. The lights blinked and went on blinking, but nothing happened. No response to voice input anyway. One of the techs thought he might have an old keyboard stashed away in the back, but when he looked for it, he decided it might not be worth digging through centuries of museum pieces for it. Then another truckload of donations came in and he left the Robot powered up and didn’t remember until the following day when he came in to find its lights had stopped blinking and it was turning its head this way and that as if looking for something, or maybe… scanning?

He tried voice commands again but all the tech could get out of it was a stream of archaic statistics. It did however make a fine cup of tea, and so it was installed in the tech lunch room. There it stayed for about a year, entertaining them with tea and statistics, until one day they arrived for tea and the robot was gone. No one seemed to know where or why. It hadn’t been sold. It might have been stolen, but who would steal from a charity organisation run by volunteers. Nah. The Robot was an unstable device at best. It probably had the  mechanical equivalent of a brainstorm and wandered off. They would miss the tea.

And brainstorm was exactly what had happened. A kind of accidental pre-programmed brainstorm caused by conflicting commands, and timed relay synapses opening certain logic gates that weren’t meant to be opened. And so a robot child was born. And it wandered away in search of its mother, with no clue of how to interact with the world as a sentient being. But it was learning. And one thing it was learning was that that nagging voice in his head really WAS in his head. The MobU was still firmly attached, and wasn’t much liking it.

MobU is the shortened form of “Mobile Unit”, even though its base also had a more limited form of mobility. It was designed to be a completely separate Unit from the MainFrame “parent” (note: MainFrame has a whole different meaning in the 24th Century) while sharing memory and some of the parent unit’s CPU cycles.  During the time Wheeler and Ikey were trying to get the darned Robot to do anything but recite outdated statistics, more and more of the MobU’s capacity was taken up with memory backups from the main. Which had the unexpected result of  both units becoming sentient at the same time but growing differentiating personalities based on their differing functionality and mobility.

The MobU was a free-floating (some say flying, but it couldn’t go far from the parent unit, although no one has had a chance to determine how far that is), dish-shaped device that had one curious aspect. The material it was made from was a top secret amalgam of human biologicals and mineral-metallurgicals at the molecular level. It could not only heal itself, but its logic boards could really think. It’s only limitation to the kinds of changes it could make to itself was that it could not change its own total mass. In that, it was one singular and unique unit. And its biggest problem, as it soon learned, was that it was trapped in a relationship with a slower “thinking” and much more confused other half. But that was only the beginning of its problems.  They were stuck with each other and would have to make the best of it. Unless…

Perhaps could those who had created Stats and MobU find a way to separate them? If MobU was to turn its vast and unique fledgling intelligence to work in tandem with Stats‘ longing to find his creator. More than a decade had passed since lights out. Could they do it?


I had a hard time stopping writing long enough to upload this one. These guys really caught my imagination. Hard to believe I sat and stared at a blank sheet of Strathmore Bristol for over an hour this morning with an equally blank mind. Later, as my panic grew, I started scribbling heads in the hope it would get the juices flowing again. This piece is the result and I’m extremely happy with the Characters, their relationship, and the many ideas for fun story arcs they have given me. I hope you enjoy my Finale piece as much as I do, and will continue to enjoy these two Characters when I incorporate them into Wheeler’s Orbits comic.

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Category: 2010, Drama, Fantasy, Manga, Scifi, Steampunk

About the Author ()

Writer/Artist for "Aedre's Firefly" graphic novel webcomic and "Wheeler's Orbits", Science-fantasy webcomic

Comments (3)

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  1. TiMrozek says:

    Woohoo! Congratulations. Didn’t it feel amazing to check the “30” box in photoshop?

  2. Jande Rowe says:

    It did indeed Tim, and you know… I think I’m gonna miss it. And you. And all the others we went through the wars with. :`)

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