For those who don’t know, the original concept for Hob dates back to a short story I wrote in my teenage years and really has nothing to do with the comic other than there is a robot named Hob. In an effort to further fill the void between big updates, I give you chapter 1:
He woke up. His head hurt a bit, but besides that he was intact. Whatever was planned to get him here succeeded, because he was here and was currently doing a very good job of it. But it wasn’t the delivery he was worried about, not that at all; despite a bump on the head that was a success. No, the major concern now was what he was supposed to be doing now that he was here.
What did he call himself? He had no idea since he just got here, and it made no difference what he called himself anywhere else because he was here now, not there, there, or anywhere else…
What to call himself indeed.
“N-E-T-O-B” he read the scratched letters on a bag sitting next to him. Above that read “S-E-T.”
“I will call myself Hob,” he said. Wherever he had come from, he was called Set Netob, but since he wasn’t there anymore he couldn’t go around saying that. He was here now, not there, there, or anywhere else. He needed to put some poles up.
“I need to put those poles up,” he said to the pile of things next to him. It made perfect sense to put the poles up. After all, they weren’t going to put themselves up.
He was Hob and he was putting the poles up. “One two three, fiddledy-dee,” he counted the poles as they came up. There. It was a good thing that he was there to put the poles up. Now he needed to put the metal boxes in the right places. If those metal boxes weren’t put in the right places, then where would anyone be?
Hob looked at his finished work. Beautiful. A true work of art. If only he knew what it was. That didn’t worry him too much because, of course, if it didn’t have a purpose he wouldn’t have put it there to begin with. And everyone knows that you don’t just go putting poles and boxes up for no good reason. But then again, there didn’t seem to be much of anyone around, so they might be saying the exact opposite somewhere else. But then again, everyone wasn’t here and, after all, Hob was not there, there, or anywhere else, and that meant that whatever they were saying wherever they were, it didn’t matter. Brilliant conclusion, he concluded.
“When will they get here?” Hob said, surprising himself. Who were they supposed to be, anyway? He hoped they were not the same everyones that were saying he shouldn’t have built his observation base.
“Observation—? Oh yes, that’s what it was.” The poles and boxes, that’s what they were. An observation base. What was an observation base? Probably a good place to conduct observations. Well, as soon as everyone got here, they were sure to do with it whatever they were supposed to.
There were some awfully large hills over there, he noticed. Someone ought to take a look as to what’s on the other side. Suppose everyone was waiting for him and he forgot because he bumped his head and then built his observation base and now he was sitting there by himself not looking over those hills. What a fool he had been.
The grass was blue, and he made a note that it was not green, as it should be. Hob had no idea why the grass had to be green. He wasn’t green, after all, at least he didn’t think so. He checked. No, Hob wasn’t green, unless he was green on his back. The walk up the hill would have been much nicer if it wasn’t for all the wind. One could go pretty far in life without the wind all about, that’s for sure. The blue grass sure seemed to like it, though, and danced around under his feet.
“Boldly go where no man has gone before for a while,” he said as he reached the top.
There were trees and big plants on the other side, some bigger than a moose, though, Hob reasoned, that might be disputed by any handful of self-conscious mooses. Nice colors. Brown, yellow, green; it was much nicer than the other side, though they did not dance in the wind as much as the blue grass, since everyone knows that mooses are very much wind resistant. Where was everyone, anyways? Hob hoped that they weren’t still talking about his observation base and its uselessness.
“Hello there!” Hob called to a wandering blue-grass-moose-forest inhabitant.
“What are you supposed to be?” the blue-grass-moose-forest inhabitant said back.
“Log:” Hob said, “organisms have been encountered. Now proceeding to gather relevant information.”
“Why are you talking to yourself?”
“You’re not me.”
“I’m aware of that.”
“Then I’m not talking to myself. I’m talking to you.”
“Good point,” the thing said. “I know who I am, but I don’t know who you are. Remedy this.”
“I am Hob,” Hob declared, “and I am here.”
The thing did not seem impressed. Just wait until he sees the observation base.
“What is a Hob doing in this forest?” the thing asked rather impolitely.
“Not a Hob, the Hob,” Hob said.
“That’s an awfully conceited statement. What makes you so sure that there aren’t any other Hobs?”
“If there are, they are not here, and since I am Hob and I am here, I am the Hob.”
“Then what is the Hob doing in these woods?”
“I am boldly going where no man has gone before… For a while.”
“What does that mean?”
This wasn’t getting anywhere fast. There were things that needed to be done and time was not a thing to waste frivolously, unless of course one had a surplus of time. Then the most logical course of action would involve burning time left and right.
“Alright then, you,” Hob commanded, “I’ve got a few questions you are going to answer.”
Upon further inspection by the thing, Hob appeared to be much bigger.
“I suppose a few questions won’t hurt,” the thing said.
“How tall are you?”
“That depends on how tall everyone else is. Sometimes I’m huge.”
“About ten blurgs.”
“Hmmm… About how much are ten blurgs?”
“I’d say about as tall as I am.”
“I mean in feet.”
“Oh, I only have two feet,” the thing answered.
“Well, that goes without saying. Alright then, how much mass do you have?”
“A bit too much,” the thing admitted. “I’m a bit self-conscious about it.”
Hob nodded. “These measurements don’t seem very scientific. Suppose you tell me what you’re composed of.”
The thing frowned at Hob. “Just what are all these questions about anyway?”
“I am trying to establish whether this is a suitable environment or not.”
Hob had no idea. “What a foolish question,” he laughed. “Everyone knows the answer to that.”
“Who is everyone?”
“They haven’t gotten here yet… You haven’t seen them, have you?”
“What do they look like? Do they look like you?”
“That depends. What do I look like?”
“You don’t look like me.”
“I know,” Hob said, “I’m not green.”
“Are you accusing me of being green?”
“Of course not. I was merely establishing that I was not green.”
The thing took a seat. “So where exactly are your friends?”
“I never said they were my friends.”
“Then how do you know them?”
“Then how do you know that they are at all?”
“It’s very simple,” Hob stated. “I am here and I am Hob. Wherever I am not, there is someone who is not me, and since there are a lot of there’s and only one here, then I am only one Hob and there are a lot of someone’s, which make up everyone.”
The thing was very impressed. After all, it’s not everyday that a thing runs into a Hob of this sort, especially since there are plenty of things but only one Hob.
“That is impressive,” the thing said. “I must show you to the others.”