"Warning! Pod unstable! Thrusters failing!"
Kitt's teeth clenched together, as she tightly gripped the steering wheel, and orange light started illuminating outside the pod.
She was headed to her destination, but it wasn't until the warning started blaring that she realized she had forgotten to put up the heat protection shields before leaving the Space station.
Kitt could feel the heat surrounding her as she entered the thermosphere, and the land below her came towards her faster and faster.
Her knuckles turned white as she gripped the steering wheel tighter, and it was when the pod started shaking more than it should Kitt realized she was in for a crash landing.
Travis sighed as he walked onto the deck of the cabin, and leaned against the railing.
"When the elders stationed me here, and told me to wait for a guest, they could have told me it would have been more than a week." he grumbled, perching his chin on his palm.
He looked around, and started wondering where the "guest" would even be coming; he was literally in the middle of a dense forest, one of the few forests to still exist after the nuclear war.
Still frustrated with his current situation, Travis ran his fingers through his hair, and looked up at the night sky. He didn't do the latter often; usually he was in a secluded bunker or looking at a data tablet.
However, that night, he smiled for the first time he had arrived at the cabin to "greet" the guest that was being expected by the elders.
The night sky was nearly glowing with stars, most likely due to the lack of light pollution, and Travis could have sworn he could see the purple of a nebula cutting across the sky's navy blue color.
However, it was the orange flash that really caught Travis's eye, and he squinted. It looked like a shooting star, but something in his gut told him it was something else.
His gut was right.
As he squinted, and the object got closer to the earth, he saw the metal of what appeared to be a pod glimmer in the moonlight.
“A pod from CSSS!” Travis exclaimed to himself, recognizing the white and silver design.
The pod disappeared beyond the trees, and a boom sounded throughout the atmosphere before black smoke came rising up from the trees.
Travis remembered the Elder’s words; could this be the guest he had been sent to greet?
“Only one way to find out.” he mumbled to himself, as he raced back inside. In moments, he had gathered medical supplies, stuffed them into a back-pack, and snatched a charged flashlight.
Travis clicked the flash-light on once he was back outside and facing the direction of the smoke, and took a deep breath before racing into the shadow of the woods.
Travis didn't know how long he walked for, but it felt like it was an eternity.
Thanks to the flashlight he carried, he hadn't had any unexpecting run-ins with tree branches, but he looked up frequently to check if the black smoke was still in view.
Travis knew he was getting close to the crash site, however, for the smell of fire and smoke was getting stronger.
Suddenly, he nearly tripped, and when he shined the flash-light down at the ground, he saw that the grass and soil had been torn up by something.
Travis stepped over the elevated land, and saw the scraped up pod only a few yards. He approached it with caution, and when he got to the front of it and peered inside his shock grew even more.
Inside was an unconscious girl with black hair, but the pod’s glass seal was too scorched, along with it being dark outside, and he couldn’t see much else.
Travis found a button below the glass seal, and pressed it; a moment later, the glass seal slid open, and he was able to pull the girl out.
As Travis sat her down on the ground, laying her on the side of the pod, his eyes went wide; she had metallic skin, which meant one of two things, that this girl was either a cyborg, or a robot.
Travis clenched his jaw as he thought about what to do next; this girl was most likely the guest the elder’s had sent him here to retrieve, but he also had a personal grudge against robots.
The memories came flooding back to him as he recalled the uprisings of almost every robot that had been built.
Robots that were supposed to help mankind, turned against them all at once and shot down whoever was in sight, including Travis’s parents.
The sound of groaning snapped Travis out of thought, and he saw the young girl shift a little.
Despite his uneasiness, a sense of protection came over him, and he placed a hand on the girl's shoulder, causing her to flinch a little bit, and her eyes shoot open to look at him.
Travis jerked his hand back when this happened, and said, “Hey, hey, I’m not gonna hurt you, alright? Just take it easy. Are you hurt?”
The girl calmed her breathing, and shook her head. “Despite my head throbbing, I’m not hurt. Wh…who are you? Is this Earth?”
Travis raised his eyebrow at the last question, but shrugged it off and answered, “This is Earth. My name’s Travis, I was stationed here to greet a guest. I’m guessing that guest is you. What’s your name?”
The girl hesitated, almost like she had to think about her answer, “Kita Weavers, but people call me Kitt, I think.”
Travis helped Kitt to her feet, before asking, “You think?”
“It’s a long story.” Kitt answered with; Travis was about to question her further, but saw the young girl’s discomfort and stopped himself.
“You can tell me later, then. C’mon then; let’s get you back to the cabin I’m staying at so I can make sure you don’t have any wounds.” he exclaimed. Travis put one of Kitt’s arms around his shoulder, when he saw that the young girl seemed to be unbalanced.
“Hold on,” she muttered as they started walking. “You don’t seem weirded out by the fact that I’m, well, cybernetic.”
Travis looked at her, but continued walking. “Like I said, Kita, you can explain later, but if you are the guest the elders have been waiting for, then your safety is the first priority.”
1 hour later…
“...and that’s all I remember before waking up after the crash.” Kitt said, before taking a sip of the warm tea, Travis had given her.
Travis thought about the story Kitt had told, and it all made sense to him now; he remembered when the few remaining pilots had to leave for a classified mission, and now he knew what that mission was: getting Kita to the CSSS before the radiation took her life.
Kitt examined him as he was in his thoughts, and sensed that he was tensed, and agitated.
“Are you alright?”
Travis looked up, and responded, “Yeah, I’m fine, why?”
“You seem…nervous.” Kitt explained.
Travis sighed, and replied, “I know I shouldn’t lie about this, so I’ll be honest, robots killed my parents. I know you're a cyborg, not a robot, but seeing…” his voice drifted off; the last thing Travis wanted was to offend this young girl, who was forced to become a cyborg.
“...someone who reminds you of them?” Kita finished, with a sympathetic expression.
Travis rubbed the back of his neck, and nodded. “It brings back memories I don't want to remember.”
Kitt placed her now empty mug on the side counter, and leaned closer to Travis from where she was sitting. “You should consider yourself lucky that you have memories from years ago. Mine only goes about one or two days.”
Travis took her words into reasoning, and realized he should consider himself lucky, but he couldn’t bring himself to come out and say it.
“Well, you better get some sleep. We should leave early tomorrow to get to the nearest bunker.” he said, changing the subject.
Travis rose from the chair he was sitting on, and brought Kitt some spare pillows and blankets.
“The things I brought from the station are still in the pod.” Kitt pointed out.
“We’ll get them tomorrow before we head out. Goodnight Kita.”
The next morning…
The sun was barely over the horizon when Kitt was awoken from her deep slumber by the sound of footsteps heading toward the porch
Dazedly, she looked up from where she was sleeping on the sofa, and saw Travis walking outside with a steaming mug in his hand.
The young man stopped walking, and looked at Kitt, smiling softly. “Sorry, did I wake you up?”
Kitt yawned, and sat up on the sofa. “Yeah, but it’s fine. What are you doing up so early?” she asked, standing up.
“I was going to watch the sunrise, it’s one of the few things that is still beautiful around here. Do you want to watch it with me?” he offered.
Kitt nodded, and the two walked out to the porch; almost immediately, Kitt’s eyes lit up awestruck. The orange and red that cascaded over the pine trees, lit up the world in a way she could never have imagined possible.
“Kita, are you alright?” Travis asked, when he saw a small tear run down Kitt’s silver cheek.
“This sunset, this horizon, it’s all brand new to me. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing.” she responded, not taking her eyes off the horizon.
“It could be good; yes, you don’t remember the last time you saw a sunrise, but now it’s one of your greatest memories, and it’s something you’ll never forget.” Travis replied.
Kitt smiled to herself, knowing he was right, and for a few moments the two stood there watching the sunrise.
“Thank you for inviting me to watch the sunrise.” Kitt said, after a little bit.
“No problem, now c’mon, let’s go get your things from the pod so we can head out.” Travis responded.
Kitt watched Travis go back inside, and was about to follow when she turned her head back toward the horizon; if she were to survive on this planet she needed to learn about it.