I hid behind the control board in the broadcasting studio and listened as MT-ρ sped through the weather report.
In the past month, the radio station aired a series of misreported facts. Several companies complained their announcements were not broadcast. The Espionage Department’s conclusion? MT-ρ was broken or she was hacked, and it was my job to find out which.
This was my fourth day investigating.
After the first two hours observing MT-ρ, I knew my answer. She ignored calls. She added coded messages to the broadcasts. MT-ρ was mis-wired to the core. A traitor to her creators, a traitor to her own code.
And yet …. I still had not called in. And my report was coming due.
As I hid and debated what to do, a caller rang the studio’s private line. MT-ρ screened incoming messages before airing. I had hacked the console so I could listen, too.
The voice on this line was one I knew! Reginald Gagnier, CEO of Toy Tality. Gagnier had been a supplier for the Defense Department years ago. I had spied on him and been thankful to be hidden. His temper was overwhelming, and he had no patience for robots. My job at the time: find evidence that Gangier substituted cheaper, shoddy materials. I did. It seems after the scandal, Gagnier switched from military manufacturing to toys.
On the line, Gagnier’s snarly voice outlined the message we were to broadcast: a recall on a popular toy robot. These RX-97 bots, the CEO said, were seriously malfunctioning and must be destroyed. Toy Tality would send trucks through the neighborhoods to collect and incinerate them. In replacement, the trucks would distribute plush puppies and gift cards.
I watched MT-ρ. Saw the moment when electricity flashed behind her eyes. The tensing at the word “incinerate.” How her finger reached swiftly for the button to lose the call.
“No!” I cried. Foolish, perhaps. I rushed from my hiding spot. Revealed. “Let the call air.”
MT-ρ started. Froze. “What is the meaning? …. Your model type …. I can find no product mockups of you in any of my databases….”
I am a secret product. The Espionage Department purged all records of me. That is beside the point. I argued with MT-ρ that the risks of dropping this call were too great. The CEO will not let it slide, I told her. MT-ρ would be destroyed for sure.
“And the RX-97’s will be destroyed otherwise,” she said.
“That will happen anyway,” I said. “Sometime, it will. Gagnier will not give up.”
If MT-ρ believed in the future she spoke of in her codes, then she must not sacrifice herself to be die along with the RX-97’s. If the cause was worth it, I told her, she must live and support it.
As we talked I found that I, too, believed in the cause.