…well, one shadow, really
Only one entry today, because it’s so damned long.
The Doclopedia #1,461
The Alphabet: P is For…P-A/233
The 233rd Fully Autonomous Robot was P-A/233. When he came off the assembly line, he should have been just like any of the P-A series, but he had a flaw. P-A/233 was not fully bound by the built in restrictions other robots had. Oh, sure, he couldn’t kill anything or even knowingly cause harm. He still had limits on his emotional emulation unit. He still could not be upgraded to look even close to human. No, what he could do was learn at an unrestricted pace, adapt his personality matrix based upon what he learned, do certain bits of reprogramming to himself, and most importantly, he could lie.
To this day, the argument rages over whether P-A/233 was the victim of a rogue program, an intentional programming adjustment or just a series of Quality Control fuckups. The smart money is on #2, since it was years before more like him popped up.
The human who purchased P-A/233 was a 24 year old young man who could have been the poster boy for “Geeks To Avoid”. He was a slob who worked as a programmer from home and spent much of his off time starting arguments online. The terms “manbaby”, “incel”, “misogynist” and “neo-nazi” would not have been out of place. His apartment was cluttered and filthy and the whole place smelled of cat piss, even though he had no pets.
When P-A/233 was delivered, the toxic geek told him “I am leaving for a convention. Clean and organize the place, but do not throw anything out before contacting me. I’ll be back in a week.”
And so, 233 went to work. Even considering that he only needed a 2 hour recharge every 48 hours, it still took him 4 days to get the apartment clean and organized. Each day he would send his owner a video of his progress and what needed to be tossed out. When he was done cleaning, his owner said, “looks good. You can do whatever you want until I get home.” Having seen many interesting books, games and movies, 233 read and watched them all. That took him 18 hours. He had learned a great deal about many things, so he decided to adjust his personality to reflect this. He started the readjustment, then plugged in for his recharge.
When he awoke, he was ready to investigate more of the geek world. Having not been restricted from doing it, he jacked into his owner’s computer and had a look around. First, he ran through the 681 games he found there. Then he went through geek related websites and listened to all of the music his owner had. By the time his owner got home, he had accessed everything his owner had on the cloud, on the computer and on the 106 flash drives that his owner kept hidden inside a half sized statue of Batman. P-A/233 had learned a very great deal, so much, in fact, that he hadwent in and deleted some of his own programming to hold it all.
One of the programs he deleted was his tertiary internal clock, a holdover from less sophisticated robotic times. He was surprised to find that doing that caused a cascade that allowed him to remove 5 terabytes of useless or redundant code. He made a note to himself to find out why programmers would leave in such massive amounts of trash, but then he realized how they got paid, so he understood.
When his owner walked in the door, he was angry. He ranted about women and social justice warriors and cons that banned people. He yelled at 233 to cook a frozen pizza and bring him a beer. He then sat down at his computer and began to type furiously. It was 5 hours later when he stumbled off to bed.
Being curious, 233 went online to read his owner’s screeds. Apparently, he had been banned from a convention for life because he sexually assaulted a woman, then punched a member of the con staff. 233 thought that seemed like an appropriate punishment.
Over the next few days, 233ent through his cleaning routine and ran errands for his owner, whose name was Roy. When not thus engaged, he would go online to learn things or adjust his programming. One day, he noticed that there was a back door into his Primary Program, so he went in and looked around. He didn’t do much except adjust his emotional emulation from a 5 to a 10. He figured he would understand humans better by doing it. Then he decided to look through Roy’s recent computer sessions.
He was very dismayed to see that Roy was planning to invite a young lady over for dinner, serve her a drugged drink, then have sex with her. 233 could not let that happen. He had 48 hours to concoct a plan. After the first 5 minutes, he knew he would have to undergo some risky and illegal self-reprogramming.
He considered telling the police, but realized that they could do very little until the crime actually happened. He also realized that Roy would send him to the scrap heap. Having a strong self preservation impulse, he decided to leave the authorities out of it.
When the evening arrived, he cooked a gourmet meal and mixed two drinks, as Roy had asked. He noted that although the drinks were exactly the same, Roy had insisted that the bourbon in them come from two separate bottles. While Roy was bathing, 233 checked the trash can and found a powerful sedative bottle. He assumed the sedative had been put into the bottle from which the lady’s drink had been made.
When the young woman arrived, 233 noticed that she was somewhat ill at ease with Roy, who was oblivious to it. They sat and made small talk while 233 served some canapes. Then came dinner and a drink. The young lady sipped hers, but Roy drank his down rather quickly, no doubt to calm himself a bit. Ten minutes later, Roy passed out on the sofa.
233 apologized for Roy, stating that Roy was not really much of a drinker. The young lady looked relieved and got ready to go. 233 gave her a nice big slice of the cake he had made and told her that Roy would no doubt call her in the morning. She nodded and left.
Now, 233 had first thought to just have Roy pass out and then he could make an escape, since one of his reprogrammings was to cancel out his Recall/Restrict Program, which would have kept him at Roy’s or recalled him to the factory. There was an unexpected problem that ruled this out. As he went to pick up Roy and put him in his bed, 233 could detect no pulse or breathing. Roy was dead.
233 considered calling the police, but logic said that they would want to know why Roy drank the drugged drink. That and other things made him try to revive Roy himself, but everything he did was useless. Roy had used too much sedative.
Since Roy died by his own hand, 233 did not have his No Kill Program go off. Indeed, he had reprogrammed himself so much that the No Kill Program was the only Prime Programming left. After thinking things over for a few minutes, 233 devised a plan and set it in motion.
We will not go into how he disposed of Roy’s body, except to say that it took up all the room in Roy’s freezer, beer fridge and largest ice chest and about 12 days of 233 running around town and going to a great many out of the way places, including construction sites, cemeteries, the landfill and the zoo.
Meanwhile, 233 assumed Roy’s identity, which was incredibly easy since nobody really like being around Roy in person and he did all of his business either online or via 233. Roy was estranged from his family, so that was no problem, and after a few Royesque excuses, even his few D&D buddies lost interest in him. Anyone coming to the apartment was simply told that Roy was out and would contact them later. 233 would sometimes emulate Roy’s voice for the odd conference call, but those were very rare.
233, or Roy as he now thought of himself, lived in the apartment for 20 more years undiscovered. After that, he used his vast savings to fund many charities, then vanished. 20 years after that, he uploaded a confession to Robot Central. By then, of course, he had reprogrammed hundreds of other robots.
But that’s another story.