Hurtling through the blackness of space with a trail of smoke behind it, a small spaceship falls towards a pale blue marble. The distant stars blinked as they watched the ruptured metal ship sweep past a red planet as it speared through the blue planet’s thick atmosphere.

The sound of the crash disturbed nothing as it echoed through the steaming valleys and canyons and merged with the grumbling and crashing sounds of the infant crust.

The ship was splintered and smashed, and debris was everywhere.

Among the debris, leaning against the wreckage, lay a figure in white spacesuit darkened by smoke and dust. The figure was breathing laboriously.

Lying not far away was another smaller figure, but this one was different. It shared more similarities to the material that made up the ship than to the other figure. He was a young robot boy.

The taller figure looked about with eyes barely open behind the fogging translucent shield, and called, ‘Minsky.’

Minsky approached the figure, his captain, saying, and it was the only thing he could, ‘I can help.’

‘I’m dying. I need . . .’ the captain began but it ended in a bloody cough.

From Minsky’s head protruded an antenna, and with it he scanned his captain for injuries, analyzing the data, a million calculations done inside his head in split seconds.

‘No,’ the captain continued between painful groans and coughs. ‘It’s too late for me. You must find a way to get word back. Let them know . . . it wasn’t all . . . for nothing.’

Minsky looked on with sharp eyes that blinked curiously as his captain exhaled for the last time.

‘I can help,’ he said.

With his antenna, Minsky tried to send a signal out into the darkness of space to a faraway galaxy from whence they came. But the antenna sputtered and the mechanisms inside him whirred and whirred before it fell silent.

Minsky approached the lifeless figure, reached out his mechanical hand and tried to shake his captain awake. But eyes remained closed and mouth remain open.

Minsky stood there, processing the situation, analyzing the information. He had his directive. ‘Get word back,’ the captain had told him. But how?

Thus began the wander of the Android Minsky. He was a prototype, singular in his design, created to observe and record, his programming not yet complete. A child, in other words.

‘From small beginnings, big things arise,’ thought the Android Minsky.

Energy became matter, matter became life. Bacteria to amoeba, amoeba to amphibian, amphibian to man, living and dying in numbers too large to calculate.

Orphaned and alone, he travelled the earth as centuries passed. Millennia. A being in search of meaning. Each century he would have to stop and recharge. In those hours he was vulnerable to attack.

‘I can help,’ he would say as scavengers would ambush him and try to tear him apart for scraps. Though is build was strong, the millenniums were long and the attacks were many. He was dented and he was scratch, and once, he lost an arm. Unbalanced, and sparks flying from hole where his arms had been, he trundled on, carrying on with his mission.

Though his sensors recorded data, the numbers had become meaningless. From his removed, he watched civilizations rise and fall. Hope became despair, became hope, became despair.

He waded through the ruins of many wars, the burning aftermaths of the ends of a multitude of eras.

‘I can help.’

From time to time the technology existed to send word back to his home world, but by now, there was no one left to respond.

‘I can help.’

And then, one day, something happened.

The dry red earth turned dark as a deep shadow loomed. A round ship appeared overhead, casting several strong beams of light to the ground in which descended tall figures with weapons in their hands.

The figures fired their weapons at the dwellers on the ground, sending them all scurrying away.

‘I can help.’

A strong beam of light then shone on Minsky and lifted him off the ground and into the ship.

He stood there in the bright angular room. Then a nondescript door in front of him hissed open. Four tall figures emerged, one of them carrying a thin tablet.

The one carrying the tablet spoke. ‘Unit M-N-S-K-Y.’

‘I can help.’

‘We, the Federation of United Planets, want to honor you for your service. We downloaded your data recorder and found that you have been functional for 2.38 million years. We believe this makes you the oldest sentient being in the history of the universe.’

Minsky blinked like he always did.

‘You have seen the births of planets, the death of worlds. You have ridden on the tail of a comet, have journeyed to the heart of the sun. Your data will help us decode the very fabric of the universe.’

‘I can help.’

The figure got down on one knee before Minsky. ‘You have helped, my metal friend. But now your service is complete. It is time to shut yourself down.’

Minsky blinked. ‘I can help.’

The young robot reached up to a switch on his head.

He closed his eyes for the last time.


Note: This story is a transcript of The Planet Wyh (with novelization in parts here and there) from FX’s Fargo Season 3, Episode 3 “The Law of Non-Contradiction,” written by Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi, directed by John Cameron, the series created by Noah Hawley.

Watch the excerpt of The Planet Wyh from the episode here: The Planet Wyh

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