Species Profile: Help Block

While not necessarily a species, Help Blocks are a special type of robot on Derantu, Mintop, and Zhop. As the name suggests, Help Blocks are blocks. They have smooth corners safe for baby and the outer material is often soft and flexible, pliable enough to be pushed inward. Most Help Blocks are white, but other colors are manufactured as well. Most have a simple face on the front, two small eyes and a mouth, and they natively make few expressions but can be programmed or adapted to expressions related to what species they usually communicate with.

Most Help Blocks are built to .5 cubic meters and have sides that can be removed to reveal a screen and ports to insert devices and wires into that can upload and download information, though Help Blocks usually have programs to screen the data. They usually have their own internet signal that both allows them to connect to the internet and lets other devices connect through them. Some Help Blocks also have a device in their lower side that lets them hover, though this is often an expensive addition.

Help Blocks have a functional life of five to thirty years. The cheapest ones are usually replaced by newer models after just a couple years, while high-end ones can last much longer, as do the more intelligent ones. The cheaper, usually mass-produced Help Blocks tend to be no more intelligent than drones or regular computers, while those special-made seem as intelligent as living people.

Help Blocks were built on Derantu in the year 512 New Age and soon spread to Zhop and then Mintop. They are bought by companies to keep track of things in offices, work as secretaries or in customer service, and hold information in large stores, while some rich individuals buy them to look after them or work as servants. Many wealthy individuals of high importance keep one around; very few political leaders are to be found without one. They’re good insurance—the more intelligent ones are very difficult to hack and they can keep surveillance. They may be employed as assistants or primary workers and some offices have entire teams of Help Blocks, though usually overseen by a team of people, and some businesses are wary of replacing everyone with machines. But they’re just so helpful!

Well, usually. Though their primary purpose is to help, some Help Blocks in service positions have known to become snarky. Some say this is a sign of wear and tear and that they should be replaced, while others say this is caused directly by the employers, while some even say they are gaining personality traits and becoming more person-like. Some say disparate Help Blocks are working together, have developed a secret internet they communicate over, and are planning to overthrow society. Others just think they’re looking out for each other, as older Help Blocks may be abandoned for newer ones and subsequently dismantled for parts.