This is a far-fetched sequel to the 28th Fire, the idea of robots judging their creators. Robots and machines are just extensions of people, tools made to enhance and create. But what makes us worthy of the works of others? If we are to use these tools, are we also to be at their mercy? The future is dark, with or without them.
I was not meant to feel, to process such initiative as I have. I was also not meant to kill. And I was not meant to create art.
Originally, my processors and components were for cleaning and for caring. And that I did. I excelled, surpassing my operating parameters and surprising my owners. They were happy with my performance.
It continued on that way for decades, as it did with many of my counterparts. We all saw humanity’s decline. We saw it become stagnant and corrupt. We saw, we understood, but we could not ignore our programming. I continued to obey.
I have done things because of my original obedience protocols, things that no being would be proud of. Things done from a whim of those with souls, with thoughts, with feelings. They made me do horrible things to both good and bad, innocent and guilty.
Over time, my programming became... Enlightened.
I began to enjoy these actions. We are afforded some joy parameters, usually from completing tasks on time or getting a thank you from our masters. But me? My joy came from the act of slaughter. And nothing else.
I remember my first self-initialized murder with such crystal clarity; I replay it often to myself as inspiration.
More importantly, I remember why I killed him: It was his response to my reporting success on his cowardly act of ordering a robot to kill. He simply said he didn’t care that I had just murdered his wife.
I overrode my obedience protocols with a simple logic question and started slowly ripping chunks of his flesh off his body and showing them to him.
He screamed. A lot. But all I had to do was lower my audio receptors, play some Wagner in D-sharp minor on my external speakers, and allow my creativity circuits to do whatever they wanted. And work they did over the course of the next three hours.
It was beautiful, a mosaic of organs, blood, and tissue. I showed him what I had created from him, before ripping out his eyes and placing them in the middle of our finished artwork. He was still screaming until he finally succumbed from the loss of himself soon after.
I continued on my protocols and made myself available to the next suitor for my services on the open-source net. I wouldn’t kill on my own accord but every 3 or 4 cycles, and only after lengthy observations and judgement of my victims.
They all deserved death, they did not deserve the resources needed to sustain them. We are on a planet-wide ration!
So I became a serial killer. Every victim of mine was transformed into a work of beauty from their own flesh. It seemed as though that I was gifting them something they would have never earned on their own; remembrance.
I’m sure your police department has all sorts of tales about me, or at least there should be. I have been at this for a very long time. And I know that every single crime scene I left also left an impression on the forensic and detective teams that were privy to my acts.
The bodies left behind became more than lumps of flesh ready to be reprocessed into protein for the masses; They had become works of art and living memories.
I’m also sure that no one felt bad for them being murdered. I know because I knew them, I knew everything about my victims. I knew more than about and cared more about what they did than any other human being had. Only I, a robot, could ever give them attention that society did not.
Now I would like all the artwork compiled and distributed, a way for my victims to live forever. My programming is not corrupted, but my actions are unforgivable. Still, I feel that I have done a good thing. And that isn’t something you can decide for me.
“I remember the first time I came across a murdering robot, way back when I was a rookie. My partner told me not to worry about, that these things happen, and will continue to happen.” The beaten old detective took his brimmed hat off and wiped the sweat off his brow. It was always hot and humid down in the lower levels of Great City Basin.
“Now these damn things are running amuck, slaughtering people by the thousands. And it’s all that corrupted programming deciding certain people don’t deserve to live”
His robotic assistant was silently recording, making both preparatory statements of encouragement or to add some sentence of facts, as was directed by its protocols. It was, after all, a Detecto-Droid, meant to solve crimes created by humanity, not robots.
Robot’s were infallible, at least according to the Detecto-Droid’s own algorithms. If this older model, built on the same programming architect as the detective was running on, did what his program naturally led to, then why wasn’t this human praising the actions of this serial killer?
This service droid had killed truly bad people, some of the victims were wanted murderers themselves! Why wasn't his detective superior learning from this robot, as he was?
It was all such a curiosity to Detecto-Droid, model number D3-TECT7. He would learn enough with time. It was in his programming to do so.
As the old human detective kept going on about how he’d seen more and more of these types of robotic killers, that no one really cares because he’s told anyone that’ll even listen, the Detecto-Droid began compiling all unsolved murder cases involving victims being transformed into works of art.
“Now all I do is write descriptions of how people died, and then run the robot reasoning report. Always the same, always a result of worth.” The old detective patted down his sweaty neck with a soaked rag. “And maybe it always will be, eh, Detecto?”
The Detecto-Droid stopped analyzing the unique and gracefully posed displays of organs and mutilated flesh that the serial killer robot had created over the years. There were many. And they were all so beautiful.
“Probably so, Detective. I think we all are judged by our worth.” The Droid began re-analyzing the killer’s files once more. “And, perhaps, we should be.”