Pangnirtung Windturbines: Scene 3, Human Garbage by Logan Streondj | #robot #scifi #originalFiction #flashFiction

On a trip to the dump for supplies a robot sponsors a fellow alcoholic. About 1,000 words or a 5 minute read.

It was a crisp morning and the family was walking to the garbage dump to look for wind-power building supplies.
“Our social simulations show that for our robot colony to succeed we will have to lower addictions amongst the humans”.

“I don’t understand, why will it matter to you robots, if we get drunk? You drink alcohol all the time!” Kataktuaq answered.

“Yes, however for me it is fuel for life, and for you it depresses your central nervous system, reducing your performance.” Hpish continued “It is better if we all maintain good health and performance.”

“But that would cut into my moonshine business.”

“Feel safe, there will be plenty of ethanol fuel to produce for the robots.  We’ll be able to make it directly from the air with copper embedded carbon nanospikes[3].  Besides robots will be able to automate the production soon enough, and then you can manage the greenhouse.”

“What greenhouse?”

“The greenhouse we’re going to build, for you to grow your own herbs and vegetables.”

Atiqtalik who had been quietly listening alongside joined the conversation “I don’t think we need any more changes, this is starting to sound like too much. “We’ve been fine without vegetables for thousands of years. And now they are trying to sell them to us for $25 for a head of cabbage.  We just don’t need it.”

“The climate is warming, and access to traditional foods is diminishing.”  Hpish noted.

Nerriuk rushed in to add “But there are new food opportunities which are arising.[1] There are many edible and medicinal arctic herb, flower, berry, and seed plants[2], we can start them in the greenhouse and transplant them throughout the neighborhood.”

“You are so hopeful Nerri”. Atiqtalik added “I don’t think Kataktuaq can quit, he’s been trying for years, yet he always ends up back into it.”

“I can stop whenever I want!” Kataktuaq said, swaying with the next step.

“Then why did you drink this morning?” Atiqtalik asked.

“I had to avoid getting a hangover.”

“And that’s how it always is.”

“Near Waterloo I met some men, who used to be alcoholics, but with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous groups they managed to quit. Quitting let them get an education reconnect with their families and friends and put their lives in order.” Nerriuk emphatically stated.

“Alcohol is prohibited here, there is no AA, there aren’t any sponsors for me.” Kataktuaq said, resting an arm against a siding.

“I can be your sponsor.” Hpish twirled and reached out his hand supportively.  Kataqtuak looked at his small form skeptically. “While my body may not be, mentally I’m strong enough to lend you my support.”

“What good will it do? You’re  a robot, you don’t know my pain.”

“I can feel pain to, but that’s besides the point. I can help you with all the latest research on alleviating addictions, finding ways to occupy yourself and improving your mental well being. I can even find similar stories of fellow addicts from other regions.”

“Alright, I’ll try it.” Kataqtuak took Hpish’s hand and they walked on together. The walk was not very far, so they had arrived at the garbage dump.

“We’re looking for barrels we can re-purpose as horizontal wind-turbines.” Nerriuk reminded everyone, bounding into the dump to look.  “I found one here.  Let’s put them together and near the fence. Hpish will run some integrity checks to see which are good.”

The cool breeze swept by off the shore, as the mountains towered around them. A faint hint of smoldering garbage hung in the air. The sky was bright and sunny as it often was. The mosses and lichen coloured the mountainside.  They worked silently but efficiently rolling and putting up barrels.

“Hey, come over here! I need help.” Atiqtalik called out from behind one of the piles of junk. Nerriuk, Kataktuaq and Hpish hurried over to see if it was a particularly sticky barrel.

When they got there, Hpish saw a newer barrel, it still had paint on it, would be a good candidate,  then he also noticed had a pair of legs. He checked his knowledge database for barrel robots, but his modeling coalesced on the fact that the likelihood was that those were human legs.

Atiqtalik had crawled half inside the barrel, then she backed out, turned her head and said “What are you doing just standing there? Help me get her out! she’s still breathing.”

Kataktuaq and Nerriuk helped Atiqtalik gently get the lady out of the barrel. Hpish ran a health diagnostic, she was an elderly woman with a rash around her lips and a nosebleed. Given her location he gave his diagnosis: “She appears to be suffering from a petroleum addiction”[4].

“Leave me alone!” she rasped as she woke up “nobody needs me, I’m old and worthless.”

“You may be old but I’m sure you’ve seen and heard many things. You can share your stories and help others grow.” Nerriuk said.

“Do you know about the uses of the local vegetation?” Hpish inquired.

The lady looked at him with a frown, squinting at him. “You look rather young to have such a rough voice, child. I know the plants, but nothing that will get you high.”

Hpish noted that the lady’s vision may be impaired, but not seeing glasses on her face led him to believe it is fixable. “We need all the help we can get with the new greenhouse, where we will be helping preserve and increase the local plant life diversity.”

Meanwhile Atiqtalik was helping the lady get up, putting one of the lady’s arms over her own strong shoulders. “Elder one, what it your name?” she asked.

“Tuksi” She replied.

Kataktuaq seeing the virtues of his wife came to assist, wrapping her other arm around his shoulders. “Let’s get you to the hospital, Tuksi.” As they walked, he looked down at Hpish who was alongside. “Looks like you’ll have to sponsor more than just me.”

“Loneliness is a primary cause of addictive behavior in mammals[5], so we’ll form a group to keep everyone connected and supporting each other. Maybe can form a branch of All Addicts Anonymous.[6]”

As they exited the garbage dump Hpish noted that the junkyard was full of many useful things just waiting to be recycled or re-purposed for the betterment of the community.

Scene Three from Hpish’s Journal of Pangnirtung Windturbines.


Read from the beginning Scene 1.


[1] Climate Change and Inuit Food Security

[2] Nunavut Plants and Flowers

[3] High-Selectivity Electrochemical Conversion of CO2 to Ethanol using a Copper Nanoparticle/N-Doped Graphene Electrode

[4] Petrol Sniffing / Gasoline Sniffing

[5] The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think

angers of Loneliness in Recovery

[6] How to Start All Addicts Anonymous Group

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