Author: Johraet PM
What happens when a robot is given emotions, but those very emotions cause problems? What happens when this robot runs away because he's going to be disassembled? This is what happens.Rated: Fiction T - English - Chapters: 2 - Words: 5,613 - Reviews: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 08-20-10 - Published: 07-27-10 - id: 2832555
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
So, I've had this idea for a long time, and this particular incarnation I wrote for a creative writing class about two years ago, but, I fixed it up some and decided I'd post it up here. Enjoy!
" I know you care about it, Matti," That was how Dr. Lear spoke to Dr. Matti; he never added the honorific when speaking to his face, but oddly always added it when he wasn't around. "And if it's emotional state had stayed the same as the first year, then there wouldn't be any problems," Again an interesting note there, for that was not true. "But over the past two years there have been at least 5 times where it's emotions have become… erratic…violent," Dr. Lear was obviously having a hard time coming up with appropriate words to describe the problem, made especially obvious since Sulli had never become 'violent'. "It's too dangerous. We cannot permit it to exist when what happened thirteen years ago to… what happened could well happen again. To you or any of the other scientists who work near it." That was the real problem, Sulli knew, what happened when Dr. Lear was still a rather young man, in his early twenties. Dr. Matti probably knew that, too, but didn't say it. "We must disassemble it and study it, so further development in this area may be completely successful." Sulli felt suddenly very mortal. 'disassemble'?
Dr. Matti said, "Maybe you're right. He's never hurt anyone," Dr. Matti always called him by male pronouns, once he'd decided on being male. Dr. Lear insisted on 'it'. "But he has the ability to do so, and there is the chance he would if he lost control. But surely, we can keep his personality, so he could be resurrected with more stable emotional circuitry."
"I'm afraid we can't. For all we know it is its personality causing the problem." Sulli snorted. That was not possible. His personality was peaceful. How could his personality cause the problem? "We can't risk that. You'll get another chance to perfect the circuitry. Don't worry, it's not like it's really ali-"
"You've seen him; you've even consented to talk to him a time or two!" That was true, sort of. Talked at him was more like it. "You know he's just as alive as you or I. What his body is composed of makes no difference. He is fully conscious of everything."
"It is a jumble of metal and wires, with the ability to reason and think and a damaged emotional array." Sulli didn't think it was really the damaged part that bothered Dr. Lear; it just gave him an excuse to do what he'd been wanting to do for the last three years. "If it was a human or any organic being, then maybe it wouldn't be such as issue. As it is, it is far stronger and able to withstand more damage than any human. I think you will agree that could be a problem."
"It could be, but he wouldn't, while he kept control, and every time the problem occurred he's been able to control himself." Dr. Matti was starting to give up. He wasn't speaking as forcefully. "I will probably be able to fix the circuitry if you give me more time."
"Matti, I can't." His voice was suddenly softer. "You've had two years to attempt to fix it, and you either haven't tried or you aren't able to fix it. It has to be dismantled. It will be tomorrow, so you have tonight to say good-bye. Though, like I was going to say before, it's not really alive. It's not like we'd be killing some-"
The sound of a door opening and closing cut off Dr. Lear's sentence. Sulli, standing in his corner in Dr. Matti's office, heard him walk the few steps from the interview room to his office. The door slid open and shut as he entered. He looked angry and Sulli mused that part of that probably came from the inability to slam the doors. Dr. Matti sat down in the only empty chair, for the other three and the sofa were covered with papers, boxes, metal bits and various items of a roboticist's office. The only clear surfaces in the office were the chair Dr. Matti sat in, a single-burner oven, and the computer desk in the corner.
Dr. Matti was not a violent man, but sitting there he looked like he wanted to just tear up something, or if he could just get his hands around Dr. Lear's neck…. Sulli walked up to the chair, careful to avoid stepping on anything. In the other room, Sulli heard Dr. Lear muttering something, then the door opening and closing, and footsteps walking down the corridor.
"Is something the matter, Dr. Matti?" Really, that's not what he called him in his mind. He wasn't Dr. Matti; he was papa.
The anger drained from his face, then, replaced by an emotion Sulli had once heard described as 'forlorn'. "Just… stresses, Sulli. You'll have to go to sleep tomorrow. I'm so sorry, I wish… Wishing does no good, does it." It wasn't a question. "No, Sulli, things just haven't turned out like I'd like and I'm a bit stressed." He looked stressed, too. He was young, only thirty-four, but right then he looked much older. His green eyes appeared faded, and there were lines etched under them, his hair looked grey rather than black and fairly limp. He wasn't even attempting to sit up straight in the chair and his arms were dangling off the arm rests. Even if Sulli couldn't have heard what had been said, he'd have been able to tell something was really wrong. He wouldn't let his papa know, though.
"Oh… Perhaps you would like some tea? That always seems to help you."
Dr. Matti didn't say anything, just nodded dully. His mind was elsewhere, that was obvious. Sulli almost wondered what he was thinking about. He'd known him for three years now, and could often guess what he was thinking, but this time he didn't even bother trying. He didn't want to know.
He filled the teakettle with water and put it on the single burner stove. It was a very old fashioned way to make tea, but Dr. Matti insisted it was better than any new way ever figured out. Fifteen minutes later the tea was ready and Sulli figured Dr. Matti had enough time to think. He returned to the chair with a cup of minty-smelling tea and offered it to his papa.
Dr. Matti accepted it with a nod and quiet thanks. After letting him take a sip, Sulli asked, "How long will I have to sleep, Dr. Matti?"
For a moment Dr. Matti just stared at the cup of tea. He sighed. "I don't know. I wish there was something I could do! I feel so helpless right now, Sulli, like there's nothing I can do or ever could do."
Sulli nodded and went back to his corner. He was deep in thought. Die…. Sulli didn't want to die. Dr. Lear didn't like him and if he begged for his life no one would listen. His papa was right, he'd never lose control of his actions. Even when his emotions were screwing up, which happened only very rarely, he never lost control. What if he did, though…? What would happen? Could he kill someone? Was that chance worth dying for?
Would his papa miss him?
His thoughts weighed on his mind. He swayed a little and said, "Dr. Matti, you are running out of your favorite tea. Perhaps I should go buy some more."
Dr. Matti looked up, surprised, abruptly brought out of his thoughts and said, "What? Oh.. Oh, yes. You should, I suppose. You still have my authorization code, so go ahead."
Sulli was already at the door. He said, "Yes. Good-bye, Dr. Matti. I'll be back."
"I know you will, Sulli. You're a good boy. I'll see you, again. Take care."
He attempted a smile and wave, but it was half-hearted. Sulli hesitated before leaving. How could he leave his papa like that, but what choice did he have? He didn't want to die.
The bare corridors of Leika Corp.'s top factory echoed hollowly with Sulli's footsteps as he proceeded to the exit. The floors made a soothing, metallic, rhythmic noise with an undertone of a marching tune. It didn't last long; Dr. Matti's office wasn't far from the entrance. There were two guards standing there, both holding guns. Sulli recognized both, he'd often gone through those doors for various shopping missions on behalf of his father and he foresaw no problem with getting out this time.
He approached the doors with confidence and was about to walk out when he was stopped. One guard said, "Sorry, Sulli. You can't leave. Dr. Lear's orders." He gave an apologetic smile and shrugged.
"But I have to go out there, Ron. Dr. Matti sent me to get tea."
"I'm sorry, but I can't allow you to go. Dr. Matti will have to get his own tea this time."
"I see." Sulli looked around. It was nearing night and the entrance hall was empty except for them. "I'm sorry, too, but I have to get out."
Carefully controlling his strength, Sulli grabbed Ron and knocked him into the other guard. Ron was out, but the other guard was only dazed and started to raise his gun. Sulli grabbed it, aimed it away from either of them and hit him on the head, just enough to knock him out for a little. The guard slumped down, letting go of the gun, which Sulli did as well a moment later.
Gracefully stepping over the unconscious guards, he walked out of the building, trying to act calm. There were cameras inside and out and no doubt alarms would soon be sounding. However, if he acted hastily and looked to be in a hurry or trying to get away from something, the people on the street would become suspicious.
There weren't a lot of people on the streets, since it was so close to nightfall, and no vehicles. Leika Corp. was on the outskirts of the city, where, Sulli recalled, any transport besides someone's own legs was mostly prohibited. People in this area, and Leika Corp, wanted peace and quiet, and vehicles passing by at all hours did not provide that. The only vehicles allowed were those used to deliver materials to the factory, and those weren't common, so the people put up with them.
As Sulli walked down the street, prudently avoiding eye contact with anyone walking by, he consciously forced himself to not show how much he was afraid or how guilty he felt. A block away the prohibition on vehicles ended and cars and other such transport was suddenly in front of him and it was then he realized he hadn't thought any further than getting out and had no clue where he should go. He paused and thought a moment, consulting his mental map, before going down the street to the left, which, if he was correct, was to the west and towards the spaceport. It really was more of an alley. It was too small for land vehicles to travel in, but it was wide enough for two or three people to walk side by side. Overhead, a stray shuttlecraft and a few planes passed by. There were small alleys of poorly lit areas, and Sulli could tell there were a few humans down there.
A block down and he heard running footsteps behind him. Looking back, he saw two guards from Leika Corp. turning onto the street with special guns designed to bring down beings like him. Fortunately, those guns were not accurate from a distance. Still, Sulli thought he should go- fast -and started running. The guards didn't gain on him, but they didn't fall behind by much, either. Sulli wasn't sure whether to be thankful to the people who got out of his way or upset that they didn't block the guard's way.
Sulli took a turn at a mechanics shop and stopped dead when he heard someone saying, "Robot, in here!"
Turning he saw a strange young man with very messy green hair and a lip ring, smiling like a madman. Sulli hesitated. The man said, in a cheery voice completely at odds with the situation, "Come on! I'll hide you. For a price, of course, but that we can handle later, right. Hurry!"
Sulli could hear the guards coming closer and accepted the offer, dashing into the shop. Inside it was filled with all sorts of mechanics related goods. There was also a man, in jeans and a shirt that could have been any color originally and now stained with oil, standing in front of a red curtain hanging in a doorway leading to a back room. He held the same type of gun that the guards where carrying, though an older and much more worn version.
The man in stained clothes pulled back the curtain and motioned for Sulli to go through the curtain. Nodding once, Sulli quickly ducked back there, having to bend down a little, for the door was not made with a seven foot robot in mind and was somewhat too short. The back room held all sorts of assorted mechanical objects on shelves attached to what appeared to be every possible space on the wall. There were two deactivated worker robots in separate corners. In the back corner, by a door that Sulli suspected led to an ally, were some clothes, all stained unimaginably, hanging on a wire that almost completely blocked that corner from view.
As soon as Sulli was in the room, the curtain closed and the room became dark, with the only light coming through and around the curtain, turning everything that the meager light illuminated an ominous dark blood-red. One of the men, most likely the one in stained clothes, for it didn't sound like the other and was a considerably gruffer voice, said "Get behind the clothes and pretend you're deactivated."
Sulli did as he was told, having to crawl once he realized there were actually two wires that the clothes were hanging on. Back there, in the dark, he could make out the shapes of some objects. Some looked fairly dubious, but it was hard to make out.
Out in the shop, the two men were talking about a hologram program problem. Supposedly the holograms kept flickering or where see-through when they didn't flicker. Then the sound of a door opening and a soft jingle as a bell rang. Sulli's non-existent heart gave a jump and he pretended to be just a piece of junk.
"Hey, you guys got a robot in here?"
There was a laugh and the voice of the man in stained clothes said, "Of course I've got a 'bot in here. What kind do you want? I've got about five different types."
"I meant an activated one." The first voice said.
"Ah, no. No moving 'bots in here. All silent."
A different voice came in and said, "You sure you don't have one in the back, there?"
"Sir, 'less a 'bot came in through the back door, which is locked, they'd have to go through here to get to the back room, and go by me. I'd see 'em, I'm not blind, yet, though I'm sure my age and life'll catch up with me sooner or later."
There was a moment of hesitation and finally the first voice said, "Fine. But if you see any strange robots report it to a guard."
The bell tinkled again and footsteps walked out the door; the door closed. Sulli couldn't believe it, the guards were gone. Greatly relieved, he relaxed, not realizing he'd tensed up and realizing for the first time that he could tense up. A moment later and one of the men called out, "Come on, they're gone. Get out here."
Sulli charily emerged from the back room. The man in stained clothes held the gun still (or was it again?), and the green haired man stood behind him. Now that he was out of immediate danger, Sulli took a more comprehensive look around the front room. There were shelves attached to much of the walls and, like the back room, crammed with mechanical parts from what appeared to be everything from cars to guns to toasters to tanks and even some spaceship parts. No aisles crowded and split up the shop front, but rows of somewhat neatly arranged parts from robots, ships, cars and other, various, and mostly unidentifiable, sources. There were a few robots and androids slumped in an oddly graceful manner against the walls as well. There was a window on one wall that now had curtains over it blocking the view. A counter sat near the back of the room, in front of a doorway with an actual door in it. A full-length mirror stood beside the door, giving anyone looking in it an overview of the shop at a glance and Sulli a look at himself.
He was made of a kind of blue metal, rather sleek, definitely humanoid. He had a head where his central processing core was stored, eyes glowing a light blue set in that head, and a mouth that could be used to speak, but other than that was purely ornamental. Though they couldn't be seen from the angle he was looking from, he knew there were small holes in the side of his head for hearing and, in an odd design his papa thought was rather ingenious, for smelling, though his sense of smell was primitive at the best. Sulli was tall comparative to a regular human, about seven feet tall. His arms were somewhat longer than proportional according to a human body plan, but, other than that he was proportioned as a human, though his hands did end in fingers like blunted claws. In appearances, Sulli was fairly plain, overall, though his papa had once told him that his body was a prototype shell and he would get a more appropriate body when all his testing was finished.
While he was looking at himself, the green haired man was watching him with a great deal of interest and curiosity, still with that smile on his face; the other man seemed suspicious. Neither seemed to want to say anything first, so Sulli, turning to face them, said, "Thank you, but why did you help me?"
The green haired man hardly let him finish before saying, "You are a type of robot I've never seen before, right! I saw the guards following you and the weapons they carried and figured I couldn't lose a chance to check out a robot that may never exist again, if I read their intent right. This guy" he poked the other man in the shoulder in a friendly manner, "just went along with me."
"Oh. I.. guess I understand."
The man with the gun, making sure it was in plain sight, said, sternly, "Why were they chasing you, robot? What'd you do?"
Sulli had kind of hoped that wouldn't be asked. He should have known better. He said, "Well, I had to run away. Not because I'm dangerous, though, " Sulli quickly added, "but because my … creator's boss wanted to study me, in a way that would kill me."
Was that a lie? Sulli wasn't sure and it surprised him that he wondered what could be a lie. He'd never really tried to lie before.
The man with the gun was about to say something, when the green haired man, his eyes shining in a way Sulli's papa's did when he was excited about a new idea, overrode him, speaking faster than Sulli had ever heard a human speak, "You're not like normal 'bots! You speak like any human; no regular robot would say they were going to be 'killed', right! That's it isn't it? Is that why they wanted to study you? You're different and they don't know why! They want to find out. To replicate you, right?"
Sulli was taken aback by the man's enthusiasm. He thought it would be safest to just agree, "R-right. That's right. It'd kill me if they did."
The green haired man stepped back, biting his thumb, and appeared to be thinking. He seemed rather odd, compared to other men Sulli had seen during his outings for groceries. He wore a pink and white polka dotted shirt, a black belt with some sort of dark red stone in it, blue pants that could hardly be seen through very high, black, shoes that had some sort of faux fur at the top, a green and yellow striped scarf tied loosely around his waist further hiding his pants, his lip was pierced and he had mechanic's goggles resting on his head. In a way, he reminded Sulli of his papa; he always wore very mismatched clothes when he wasn't in his lab outfit, like he didn't know how to dress properly. Not that Sulli knew, either.
The other man was dressed in a somewhat more conventional manner. He looked like a stereotypical mechanic. He wore gloves, his shirt was old and grey, his pants that may have originally been blue-grey but were now black from oil and made of denim and he wore boots. Despite the fact he was wielding a gun that could harm him, Sulli couldn't help but like him somewhat. Sulli got the feeling that he only was suspicious out of protection.
The man with the gun suddenly spoke up, warningly, "Praus, I know that look. What's your plot?"
The green haired man, Praus, apparently, smiled wider, eyes gleaming, and looked up, "A robot would make an excellent crewmember on a ship, don't you think? Captain Feist would agree."
"No. It's a robot. A crewmember needs a human mind, especially in your line of work. For all you know, it lied."
"Robots don't lie, Craig." Neither were paying any attention to Sulli anymore, even though he was the one they were talking about. They had turned to face each other while speaking. Sulli figured it'd be safer for him to not say anything at that moment. "I'm sure he's telling the truth. "
"'He?" Craig was momentarily distracted, but recovered quickly, "I don't know, Praus. The guards were after it for a reason. Suppose it's dangerous. Could be some sort of war model. Maybe this was all some sort of ruse. Maybe they knew you'd be here and would want to help it and then you'd take it back and the entire crew is wiped out."
"You're too suspicious! I'll buy that gun you're carrying and take it along, right." Praus gave him a rather charming smile, "Surely that will ease your worried head."
Craig still didn't seem sure. "That's not a very secure plan. How would you avoid those guards? They'll be on the lookout now."
Praus gave what Sulli thought to be a mock pout, "I thought you knew me better than that, Craig. I thought you knew my past… career better than that."
Craig sighed and said, "Fine. Fine, I can't stop you and I certainly want that 'bot out of my shop, I can just tell it's trouble. But, if you get captured or this thing tries to kill you, don't say you weren't properly warned. And don't mention my name in this."
Praus waved away his warning, turned back to Sulli and grinned once again, "How'd you like to be a pirate?"
"A… A pirate?"
So, I edited it some more and decided to split what was originally the first chapter into two chapters.