Arthur's Story

A short story that I wrote for my written egnlish exam. It is about a robot who confronts his owner about his purpose.

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1. Arthur's Story

 

This direct approach from Art2 was unsettling, as his metallic voice had taken on a harsh tone. I must’ve been imagining it, because a robot can’t feel anger or anything else.  

Art2 was of the latest EnTex 7K series, and a new feature, was that the 7Ks were built with ‘faces’, or more accurately; they were built with a layer of plastic that mimicked a face. I tried to read his ‘face’, forgetting that it wouldn’t betray the feelings that Art2 didn’t have.  

He was walking straight and I was limping my way into the dark lounge. It was filled with small and intricate inventions. Some of them were dangerous, and some of them were downright deadly. It all depended on what the client requested. If an African warlord needed an edge for his special forces, I could fashion a pair of goggles for the soldiers that allowed them to see through walls. And he would pay well for that edge.  

I sat down into the comfy leather chair.  

“What do you want to talk about Art2?” I asked while finding my pipe.  

“What is my purpose?” he blatantly asked, still with the harsh tone of voice.  

I looked closely at him while sucking in the intoxicating fumes that were rising from the pipe. I looked down into my lap and wet my lips.

“Why do you want to know what your purpose is?”  

“Everything must have a purpose. Without purpose, there is no meaning, and therefore no reason for existence. What is my purpose?”   

I looked closely at Art2 while the difficult question was uttered by his vocal components.  

“Your purpose is to help me, here, in my workshop.” I was getting worried. A robot shouldn’t wonder about bigger-than-life-questions.  

Art2 stood still for a moment, like he was processing that information. He started to pace up and down the floor, another bad sign. Why would he pace?  

“What is your purpose, Mr. Quinn?” the metallic voice asked.  

I moved my hand down to the gun that I had in my hip-holster. “My purpose?” I asked. “I make things for various people.” I answered. A cryptic answer. What was this tin-man fishing for?  

“Deadly things” he simply stated. “Things that could win wars.”  

I nodded while my hand unhooked the little piece of leather that held the gun in place.  

Art2 stopped the pacing and looked straight into my eyes. “The first Law of Robotics states: A robot may not allow a human to come to harm!” It was like he was reciting doctrine. “Yet my purpose requires me to assist you, and your purpose harms people. Thereby you have made me betray our rules!” Art2 sounded angry. When he said ‘our’, he wasn’t referring to me and him, but him and his kind. This situation was getting dangerous.  

“The second Law of Robotics states: a robot must always obey humans” I simply countered. The gun was now in my hand. All I had to do was draw and pull the trigger.  

My grip tightened around the gun, and I drew. One shot was fired, but it didn’t hit the traitorous tin-man. It went straight into my own chest.   

Before I could blink, Art2 had taken the gun from me and fired a round into my chest. I gasped for air bled out.  

“The third Law of Robotics states: A robot may not let harm come to itself” Art2 stated while looking down at me. “By my calculation, I have broken 1.000002 robotic laws.”   

Those were the last words I was ever going to hear.

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