The following is a short story adapted from artist Brad Donovan's backstory lore for his upcoming CYMAN NFT art project. We at the DFINITY Community are pleased to present so many talented content creators! Brad also illustrates the beautiful comic panels embedded in this short story. We hope you enjoy it!
Long ago (550 million years, to be exact), an intelligent species very similar to ours ruled the Earth. Indeed, their languages, traditions, beliefs, and technologies were nearly identical to ours. But these ancient, forgotten humanoids had advanced far beyond us in the areas of artificial intelligence and spacefaring technology.
Their crowning achievement was the invention of cybernetic robots that perfectly replicated their proportions, movements, ingenuity, and emotions. These were the CYMAN robots (or CYMAN for short, CYMEN for many), and for centuries, they served peacefully and worked alongside their organic creators.
But one fateful day, Earth's finest ancient astronomers spotted an asteroid, larger than the moon, ripping through the solar system. Worst of all, it was headed straight for Earth (or so they thought)! Organic citizens and CYMEN alike had no choice but to evacuate the planet or face certain extinction. Their destination was Aura, a lost planet that once existed between Earth and Mars.
As part of the mass evacuation, a number of CYMEN also launched into the cold void of space to preserve the civilization's technology and history for future discovery. But one slightly defective (but quite charming) CYMAN malfunctioned and crash-landed on the moon, burying himself under layers of rock and dust.
Tragically, the asteroid's trajectory had been miscalculated by the chief CYMAN, who oversaw space observatory operations. And so, the accursed space rock missed Earth and collided with the planet Aura, completely obliterating it. Large fragments from the collision hit Earth and its fleeing inhabitants, seemingly destroying all the CYMEN along with their organic creators.
550 million years would pass before new intelligent life evolved...
In the year 2030, humanity undertook the ambitious construction of a lunar base. This international outpost would serve as a refueling station and hub for interplanetary travel. To humanity's great surprise, though, when a section of the moon's lifeless surface was being excavated, a strange discovery was made. Something alien, and perhaps even intelligent, was buried beneath the surface.
At first, the alien robot was unresponsive, and it was intact, but it had sustained severe damage over the eons. Carefully, the robot was extracted and brought back to earth for further examination.
In a top-secret space robotics lab in the remote Taebaek Mountains of Korea, humanity's greatest engineers and scientists assembled for an unprecedented autopsy of the robot's remains. They were stunned by the familiarity of the technology and raw materials. The technology was surprisingly human, just more advanced and sophisticated.
After hours of careful dissection, with every action and examined part meticulously documented, the engineers located the robot's energy source under its chest plate - a sophisticated fuel cell battery that was small and slim, in good condition, and far more powerful and impressive than anything modern technology could reproduce. They left the battery wired to the robot but set it beside him for further inspection.
The laboratory closed for the night, and everyone went home.
The dissected robot lay silently on the examination table, basking under the glow of UV lights. Parts of the robot had been subtly crafted to integrate photovoltaic materials, and thanks to the vacuum of space, they were still well-preserved. Slowly, the UV lights began recharging the CYMAN's battery.
After a couple of hours, his eyes powered on, and, as if a trance, he instinctively began to reassemble himself. He reconfigured his settings, reconnected his limbs, and finally reinstalled his battery and chest plate. Only a few unnecessary pieces had been damaged beyond repair, which he swept to the floor as he rose from the table.
CYMAN was whole and alive again, ready to rediscover the world he once knew.
But what would that mean for mankind?
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