As with any sci-fi work, ‘Beacon 23’ does have its fair share of alien races, planets, bizarre environments, and phenomena. One of the most bizarre things we’ve read about in the book was Rocky, Digger’s faithful companion. Rocky ended up with Digger in a bizarre way, and his story just kept getting stranger until the ultimate twist was revealed. Let’s see who & what Rocky is, and was he even real?
Editor’s Note: This post contains massive spoilers for the upcoming show ‘Beacon 23’ and the source material, read at your own risk.
Digger “saved” Rocky following the incident with the Wreckers
At the start of the book, Beacon 23 was involved in an incident with the Wreckers. They somehow managed to gain access to the Beacon’s hardware and disable it in order to crash upcoming ships and pick up the spilled cargo.
In the aftermath of the incident, eight crewmembers died, and the cargo that was being shipped was spilled all over the Sector floating in zero-g. The Wreckers and scavengers managed to loot a good portion of the valuable loot, leaving various low-value boxes and toilet seats to float forever, creating space litter.
A week after the accident, NASA systems that are scanning the Beacon, as well as its proximity for biological signatures, picked up a weak life signal. Digger was forced to go on a spacewalk to identify the life signal and salvage it if possible. He hoped that the signal was coming from the escape pod from the destroyed ship that crashed a week ago, but he knew the chances were slim; the second option was that something biological was being shipped, like food, and that chemical changes that were happening to the exposed food are now emitting biological life signatures.
When he went to investigate the crash site, it didn’t take him long to discover the source of the signal. It was an elaborate handcrafted wooden red box being shipped to a professor at Oxford University.
He brought the wooden box onboard and couldn’t believe what he found. The wooden box had a hole in it, and inside the box was a rock.
Rocky was sentient Orvid, or so Digger thought
The rock that Digger found inside the box was sentient and it was speaking to him in birtish accent. Digger decided to name this strange rock “Rocky,” and he learned that it was shipped to Professor Bockman who studied cultures and human behaviour, Rocky claimed to be assistant to phislophsy professor and implied that he was much smarter than Digger.
Rocky also revealed that he belongs to a species called “Orvids.” Hailing from the planet Orvo, which humans renamed soon after discovering it. All Orvids are rocky in nature, needing nothing more than occasional water to sustain life.
Planet Orvo is covered in water almost completely, a few hundred meters of water; in fact, most of its native species gather near the shallow ledges and flat islands on what little coastline the planet has. Orvo doesn’t have a moon, and their sun is really far away. The planet also doesn’t have tectonic activity of any kind, meaning that it’s a really still place.
Orvids survive via the heat that is emitted from radioactive activity in the planet’s core. As far as their biology goes, they are a complicated network of neurons that provides them with sentiency. They are extremely social beings, which helped them evolve in that direction.
What happened with Rocky?
After Digger spilled his soul regarding everything that’s bothering him, Rocky fell oddly silent. Digger started separating some splinters from the wooden box and noticed an oddly fresh scent of wood that reminded him of home, of Earth.
Digger asked Rocky why he fell so silent all of a sudden, but instead of a sentient being that was having a conversation with him, he saw only a regular space rock, and this is when it hit him: Rocky wasn’t alive in the first place. It was all a product of his imagination.
The wooden box was floating in space, and it gave away biological signatures, most likely because of the termites or the fact that the wood was still fresh when it was shipped to space. “Rocky” was a random space rock that hit the box, pierced a hole in it, and nested itself inside. He wasn’t being shipped to professor Bockman. He wasn’t alive in the first place. It was all a product of elaborate hallucination and one of the signs that confirmed that Digger was in fact suffering from PTSD.
Rocky’s backstory sounded really interesting, but unfortunately it was all make believe. We can’t rule out the existence of Orvids in the book or the planet itself, but what we can rule out is the existence of Rocky as a companion.
Eventually, Digger used Rocky to further strengthen his hold on reality by piercing it and putting it on a string, he wore it as necklace most of the time and for the majority of the book, after that first incident Rocky didn’t speak to him no longer, until Digger was taken by the Ryph during the last portion of the book.
It was an interesting story, but unfortunately it wasn’t real. It was a really good plot twist because of the elaborate storyline and the fact that aliens are frequently mentioned in the book, you don’t suspect a thing until the author hits you with the revelation.
We don’t know whether Rocky will appear in the show, there were some glowing rocks in the trailer however we don’t know whether it’s connected to “Pet Rock.”
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