Super Stars!
rating: +19+x

The first sight Skip encountered on his third day out in the desert upon awaking were four alarmingly block-headed figures nearby. They were skittering around with each other, seeming to communicate in silence (how they could do so was beyond him). It occurred to him that he didn't recall being in this area of the desert, but seeing them, it wasn't important for the time being, nor who his guests were; simply whether he could keep them. To that end, he crawled out from underneath the precariously-placed rock where he slept and ambulated towards the four.

"Hello?" Skip called out, even if his call was rather like his usual monotone voice, if slightly louder. The figures stopped to look at him, seemingly as curious as he was. If he were to understand caution, it would have been felt at this moment. He tilted his head and took a step back. "Can I ask what you are?"

In a beat, the four clamored over to him from their position higher up on a trail. One of them (marked 23) stumbled over a rock, chipping off a front corner of its head. Despite that, all four continued to make their way towards him; it was an unusual sight, even for one made of bones and wire.

After more troubling tumbles (of which only 23 took any damage from), they arrived at the bottom of the slope. With the four of them immediately writing together on sandy ground, Skip went to observe. Of all the objects he had attempted to collect, none stood strong in his mind like these four had. Could they even be objects at this point?

Before realizing it, they had finished writing, appearing proud of themselves and motioned to Skip to read it. One word was etched in, larger than it needed to be for him to read it:



FRIEND




"Golems. Can golems be collected?" There was no response as they walked together on a trail. Since the golems couldn't speak, he had to assume it was as good as a no. "May I collect you?" The one marked 30 shook its head, looking back at him as they walked. Somehow, Skip understood the sentiment.

49 stopped to scribble words; the others moved to give it space, with 23 picking up something (a rock?) to eat. Judging from how 49 was in the front of the pack, and that they all seemed to move close to it, Skip figured it was their leader. Perhaps it collected the other ones?

WHY COLLECT

"To contain. I keep anything I do not understand and study it to learn. By this task I become cool."

The golems seemed to accept this, and they continued walking. An odd feeling emerged in him; despite doing nothing but walk with the golems, he didn't mind. If nothing else, it was simply a change in his day's structure.

"What is your purpose?" 66 was the one to scribble this time, the others continuing on.

ART

"Art?"

AND TO GO HOME

It struck Skip then that he had assumed the four of them to simply exist as they were. What sort of home did they belong to? Come to think of it, they had been traveling when he first met them, didn't they?

"What are you going home to?"

66 paused, as did the others. Skip was unable to read the mood, but even he could tell that he caught their attention. After a moment, 66 wrote again:

FRIENDS | FAMILY

Family. An unfamiliar concept, yet paired with friend, the word itself ignited the closest he could feel to warmth. Not only did they have other friends (were those collected too?), but also a 'family'. Skip pointed to the word.

"I don't understand what this means. Are you going to meet your creator?" The golems looked at each other; even he understood that they seemed to be communicating with each other, their mechanism unknown to him. It piqued his curiosity even more; if only he had one to study.

Before realizing what had happened, 49 grabbed his arm, dragging Skip alongside them. He didn't understand their reasoning, but his question seemed to be intentionally unanswered. They didn't seem to mind him, and their presence, even if unfulfilled (in his eyes) by merely roaming around, was a good break for him. He could put up with it a little while longer to satiate his single-minded drive.

So long as they were going West.


The five of them took shelter inside a small cave as it began to rain. Progress couldn't be made until it stopped, although the only ones awake seemed to be Skip and 66. The two sat by the entrance and watched the rain fall. To him, the sight was massive and beyond his current understanding; could they even continue walking tomorrow?

"What is this family concept like to you?" Skip asked. 66 picked up a stick and, after seemingly pondering an answer, scraped it across the sand. For a non-leader, it seemed to be the most communicative.

WARM | FUN

WHERE ARE YOU GOING

"West. There, I will find a gate with cameras on it. That is my goal."

IS FAMILY THERE

"No. Gates don't seem fun, or warm."

WHO IS YOUR FAMILY

Skip still hadn't gotten an answer to his question from earlier, so it was weird to be asked something like that. Perhaps he was meant to solve it himself and get confirmation from the golems.

"Is a creator of an object family?" The golem nodded. In that case, his creators were family. Were they warm or fun? He had no data to go off of, so who could tell if that's the case? All he recalled were objectives and important-sounding sentiments.

"By this task, you become cool."

That was his duty, after all; to study and become cool.

"Does family let you leave home to become cool?" 66 stared at him for a minute. There was no response. After another minute, it became clear that there would be no response. "Can you collect cool?" 66 continued to have no response, so Skip decided to rest. While he didn't truly require sleep, there was nothing in the cave to collect, and venturing out into the rain to collect wouldn't be prudent. The confusion felt throughout the day would be better processed if he slept anyhow.

As Skip started to rest, he could feel the golem press up besides him.


The first sight Skip encountered on his fourth day out in the desert upon awaking was the sight of an empty cave. The second sight was an impressively-sized symbol on the ground in front of him.



: )



Despite not knowing what it meant, Skip felt an analogous feeling to warmth inside his head. Even a gesture like this was welcome; it most likely meant that they thought of him as a friend, which was a welcome memory.

As Skip leaned down to collect the symbol, he fell over on his stomach. It appeared that it was not able to be physically kept.

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