The man waddles into a cavern, arms filled with the beets he harvested early in the day. As he gets to the back of the cavern, he drops the beets, and lets out a sigh.
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“No,” the man replies.
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“Yes,” the man replies.
He sits down by the fire. He’s been moving the beets into the cavern for hours, preparing for the winter. In just a few weeks, it’ll be too hot for the vegetables, and everything he doesn’t bring into the cavern will shrivel and die.
In the back corner of the cavern, covered in beets, is a small robotic head. It once had arms and legs attached to it, but those were destroyed long ago.
The head can predict the weather. That’s it. But it’s enough for the man. The head warns him of heat and cold waves. The man prepares for each season as much as he can.
Every four or five months, the world burns. The heat waves spread across the land, burning everything. Beets seem resilient enough to be replanted, so he lives off beets. During this time, he stays in the cavern, with the head.
“How much time between the next two seasons?” The mans asks.
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“I see,” the man replies. “Not enough to go searching.”
Between burns, the man goes looking for others. He doesn’t find anyone. With planting and harvesting the beats, he doesn’t have much time. Survival takes a lot of work, it turns out.
“Any word from anyone?” The man asks.
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“Of course,” the man replies. The head either can’t get access to the wider network, or there’s no wider network left. The man always asks anyway, hoping something has changed. He’s not sure the head would tell him if it did connect to someone, so he has to ask.
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“Yes, yes, I’ll get back to it,” the man says. He pauses and looks at the head. “Thank you.”