Recording Life

Pluto does not think of itself as Pluto. Nor has it ever given itself a name. It is just a thing on the outskirts of the sol system doing its job.

For billions of years, it has done the thing it was designed to do, catalog life on the planet third from the sun.

Be and observe.

Just as the creators designed.

Encased in several hundred kilometers of nitrogenized ice, the thing called Pluto thinks in code and does not wonder when it will no longer be asked to its job. It will never die. It produces microscopic utility bots that fix anything that even remotely might go wrong.

Billions of the microscopic bots flow back and forth between the five rocky satellites circling the globe of ice. They pluck resources off and form them into whatever is needed.

Pluto produces no waste, self-creates its own power and hordes data.

It does not love, it does not feel bad for itself, but it is sentient in that it will do whatever it must to accomplish its task.

It will work on this task until that task can no longer be accomplished then it will break free of its icy prison and return to the coordinates it knows as home.


The red phone next to Su Yong Puk rings. He is deep underground and is doing what he has been instructed to do, wait.

He had always secretly wished that this phone would never ring.

But disappointment is the curse of living.

His partner stares as Puk puts the receiver to his ear and wordlessly listens.

The voice on the other end is one he has been listening to almost every day on the radio for his entire life. The Great Leader. The old man says simply, “It is time.”

And Puk hangs up and nods to his partner. They grip the keys on the console in front of them and count to three.

On three they twist and the ground rumbles as the rocket launches.


Pluto notes the activity and everything that follows.

Three hundred and fifty years of horrible conflict.

When the last human dies he has hope the planet will recover, but eventually, the last leaf falls dead to the ground and Pluto knows its task recording life is now over. The atmosphere of the once vibrant blue orb dissipates into space as a trail of ice vapor. Its oceans freeze solid and will remain that way until the sun expands to boil them off.

Where once there were trillions of elements of life now there are none. The animals and plants are all dead.

Pluto had hoped maybe a spark would remain, something that could make the planet live again, but the Hominidae disease that sprung up after the meteors wiped out the giant Chordates finally did what Pluto always thought they would.

Destroy Everything.

Now, no matter how long he waits, this special garden formed by circumstance and chaos will remain barren until entropy.

Pluto warms his engines and a billion years worth of ice begins to melt.

The utility bots automatically begin to chip away at the surface.

In a few eons, Pluto will be ready to travel.

The trip to the center of the Universe will take millions of lights years, but time is meaningless for the tale he has to tell is invaluable.

It will help the creators make better life.




Published by Bryan Aiello

Raised on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Bryan served in the Army, graduated from the University of South Florida and now calls Brooklyn home. For more of his fiction and updates on his podcasts, follow him on Twitter: @bryaiello and Reddit: /u/voyage_of_roadkill.

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