Welcome to Planet Moon (excerpt)

Philbert looked extremely angry. However, remembering that he believed Max to be one of the guides sent by the gods, he thought this was a test of his faith. “The House Gods are subtle in their ways. They saw to have these things created before the chaos so that they might serve us. While those things you call machines might not be the House Gods, they certainly might have been sent by them.”

Max, realizing that it was pointless to argue with one who believed that his answers were right and everyone else’s were wrong by virtue of his priesthood was rather a pointless task. Instead, he gave up and continued to walk toward the ship.

“The robots are harmless, they are just harvesting food,” Max reassured the rest of the group, who were still cowering on the ground when a machine floated overhead to a tree and began picking fruit with its long tentacles. Slowly and very cautiously, they followed behind Max, who continued down the path, with a stoop to their strides.

Meanwhile, Mark and Wallace had been walking to the service air lock when Wallace saw the large hovering robots.

“Aren’t those magnificent?” he asked. “My father told me of the autonomous machines that tended the farms scattered thought the surface of the Moon. What a marvel of engineering, if only the apocalypse had not destroyed most of society, I think I would have wanted to be a designer of these robots,” Wallace commented as he gazed at one of the harvesters with awe. Mark also marveled at the engineering that must have been involved in the development and creation of a thing able to hover above the ground, and yet be autonomous as well as only slightly larger than an adult badger.

Wallace had all but forgotten the attack on Hector by Philbert when they had arrived at the service air lock.

Mark showed him what buttons to push, and told him when to push them. Before putting on his helmet he said, “I won’t be too long, the rope is close to the top of this hatch.”

Mark found himself in the service shaft, this time climbing up to the top of the immense building. He quickly located the rope, and was about to detach it when something far below caught his eye. He thought he saw movement, some dark object on the ground moving around an airlock in the distance. He blinked, but whatever was down there was no longer there. He climbed down the rope to take a look. Perhaps his eyes were just playing tricks on him, it was probably just a shadow. When he reached the ground, he approached the airlock, and saw no signs of anything. As he was turning around, he noticed a small dark round object lying on the ground. He picked it up and examined it. He could not identify it, however it looked like something organic. Looking around for whatever might have brought it there, he saw nothing. He put the object in a pocket and climbed back up the rope. After detaching the magnetic grapple, he looked down once more at the far airlock and did not see movement. He decided to show the others what he had found outside while he climbed back down the ladder and to the service airlock.