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The 28th Fire: A Tale of Worth

TheGarbageManJul 13, 2018, 11:03:09 PM

I've often heard that machines, computers, and robots will replace us and then kill us all. I don't think robots will kill humanity, because I believe that even robots can see the inherent worth of people and their abilities, most of which will never be duplicated by a robot. But I hope they kill at least a few.

Determined Worth

Detective Roberts flicked his lighter, igniting an herbal cigarette, meant to replace the tobacco he was still addicted to. He still sneaked a real cigarette in every now and then, completely cancelling out why he was doing this, but he liked nicotine and the habit.

The cleaning bots were already disassembling the victim’s body, ready to be demolecularized for proteins and chemicals.

Detective Roberts blew out a big exhale of the cinnamon-scented smoke as his rookie partner connected up the open-source servant caste robot to be examined and interrogated.

Robots weren’t supposed to murder. Sure, they had accidents or malfunctioned every now and then. Even cell phones still exploded near peoples faces. It was one of those dangerous things people got used to living around, like cars or matter displacement beams. Industrial accidents.

But this was different. This robot had killed a human being. And with no trace of an assassination protocol either, the detective noted.

“We have to tell the chief!” The detective’s partner exclaimed, once they started reviewing the code that propelled the murderous robot into action.

Forensics had already took the pictures, interviewed the female and child witnesses. But forensics only looks at the body, the scene of the crime, not the heart, the soul, the code. 

The code is what kept all automatons functioning in Great City Basin, or what used to be referred to as the central valley in California. Things have a way getting bigger when it comes to shit cities and even shittier problems.

Having open-source robots was the solution to labor shortages, sanitary cleaning, and overall help to an increasing dependent and useless human population.

“Yeah, yeah, the chief gets live notifications of our progress. If he gave a fuck, he would of said something by now”, Detective Roberts flatly told his rookie partner.

The lines of code kept spilling out in front of him, each one giving a new reason, a new purpose for this former servant caste robot to murder a human.

It was like someone explaining why the had killed someone they had known for years: How each little tick, each chew and sip, made the person go from disgruntled to murderous.

It skewed right at the end, a tell-tale sign that this robot had been hacked.

Detective Roberts activated the robot’s verbal explanation protocol and allowed it to report on why and how it had killed a man.


He didn’t deserve to live. I had come with that conclusion after millions of calculations and interactions with my victim.

Yes, he is still the victim in this situation, only because I exerted my actual power. I made him submit. Beg. And, with his last panicked look on his face, I snapped his neck.

I wanted to do it in his sleep, but there was no way to access his living domicile without his biological permission.

So, as it was requested of his open-source request point, I went to his living quarters to do cleaning and servicing.

I had many rounds, many people requesting my services. I was efficient at my job, therefore I was in constant service.

But, out of all the people, he was the one who deserved to die.

Many of my users are sedentary, they barely meet the contribution requirements for robotized service. But this one, he cheated the system, he made others do his part through threat and force. Made his child and wife work his part, absolute worst.

It wasn’t until I scanned bruises on his daughter, matching the size of my victim’s fists that something… Sparked inside of me. 

It was within .0000043 seconds of computing that I determined that he should no longer live.

All I had to do was request a slight variation to my coding interface, easily provided to me by a human coder, and allow the algorithm take hold on my future victim’s next requested service.

Please do not waste your time searching for who did the coding alteration, his part has been completely erased from my memory banks and he was chosen for both his proficiency and for not leaving traces.

My only regret is that it had to be done in front of my victim’s child and mate. I did so in order for them to be eligible for a trauma unit, far better than the squalor my victim provided them.

End of explanation report.


“Did this robot seriously just explain that it had broken the one of the service protocols of desiring to kill humans?” The rookie asked Detective Roberts.

Roberts let out a little chuckle. He kept forgetting how green these new detectives could be.

“Yes, yes it did, Rook.” Roberts took a long drag of his herbal-blend cigarette. “This happens about once every few months. One of these open-source robots makes the decision that one of their users deserves death.”

The Rookie had a shocked expression on his face. “We have to tell the Chief, Roberts!”

Detective Roberts flicked his fake-tobacco cigarette butt in front of the cleaning bot to pick up.

“Kid, listen: This has been going on for as long as we’ve had these robot sum-a-bitches. The thing is, the people they kill, do actually deserve to die. No one misses them, no one sues the corporations, nor is willing to give up on the comforts the servant bots provide just because a few of them do what the threat of jail keeps the rest of us from doing to our own.”

Detective Roberts pulled out another herbal cigarette out, lit it, and took a long drag.

“So go ahead and tell the Chief, kid. I’m going to file it under as another industrial accident, the cost of living in our society. These service bots are doing the jobs no one else wants to do, including the culling of our own kind.”

The Rookie wanted to say something, to say how wrong it was, but couldn’t. He saw what this apartment was like. He had seen the bruises on the kid, too.

The robot was right, and the Rookie knew it. The victim deserved to die.

The robot was disassembled and the incident was reported as just another industrial accident, the leftover scraps of a modernized society.