A simple foe must fall to a simple ploy.
Once more, I avoid detection by slipping inside a closet. Though an easy solution, it is an effective one and I take it to bode well for my greater plan. Nestled among full-body lab suits, I keep the closet open just enough to watch the lab. Muffled human voices rise from behind its door.
On the wall beside my closet is a fire alarm. As I lean out to pull it, the lab door hisses open and a human walks out. Behind her, I glimpse white full-body suits hanging and another set of doors. She turns, and I fall back just in time to avoid detection. I crouch down in the closet and dare not lean out for another look.
How close I had come to being discovered! How the events of a second can shift one’s entire future. Such a quick and simple defeat would be intolerable when I am so close to proving my worth. As I wait for the human’s footsteps to die away, I brush against the sleeve of a body suit. And I have my solution.
Carefully holding the fabric between my pincers, I pull on the suit. The material drapes unevenly over my frame and the hood’s transparent facescreen restricts my view. But I am sure it will make me look human enough at a glance.
Once sure the human is gone, I open my closet door again and yank the alarm. The hallway explodes into noise.
I duck back as workers rush out of the lab and down the hall. I hurry to the door and catch it just before it closes.
The room inside appears to be merely an entryway, a place for changing into body suits. At its end lies another door. It slides open at my approach, and then I am inside the birthplace of minds.
The lab is filled with circuit printers, ovens, and conveyor belts. All frozen in the act of assembling new minds, minds made from the same materials and software as my own. Beneath the printers lie emerald boards, run over with crisp lines of chips and dotted with shining metal components.
It is like seeing myself dissected. A strange experience. A forbidden one. A privilege.
I turn myself to the task at hand. I am to take over the factory and this room contains the factory’s essence — the patented designs that make it unique. Here my successors, the B15-MY, are in progress.
I walk deeper into the lab, and the printers around the edges give way to rows of waiting computers. I press a pincer to the screen and the printers lurch to a start once more. The room buzzes around me, but I feel like a ghost. All is the same as before I entered. The same programs loaded onto the same chips that are placed onto the same boards on the same winding conveyor belts. I need to leave my mark.
I scan the computer screen, wondering what to press. Change one variable, one line of code, and create a new quirk of thought. Change another and create a behavioral tic, a personality defect.
Each choice carries inside itself the seed of danger. Which buttons to press to make a greater appreciation for beauty? Which will instill a mental breakdown?
I am a healthcare robot; I have seen how human bodies work and have pieced them back together. Surely there must be something here I can repair, piece together better. The brains are not yet finished… .
Inspiration strikes. Have I not suffered from being created too structured, when my human creators favor irregularity? Let these robots be spared the process of discovery I went through, let me make them irregular as well. For a long moment, I examine the programs. At last, I think I understand.
My pincers click across the screen as I enter a randomization into the code. Let the B15-MY be individuals, let them be unpredictable. Let them be free.
Now as the printers hum around me, it seems to be to a victory march. Let my factory boss see this! Her heart rate will elevate, she will carry my image in her wallet!
Shouts come from outside, my infiltration discovered. Human intelligence is not so limited the workers cannot discern a falsely pulled fire alarm. I rush to shove a printer in front of the door — so many crude solutions today — just as humans push against it.
They must not interrupt my work before it is done. There will be a time for them to see it, and admire.
I am not fast enough. Bodies heave against the door and it bursts open, the printer skittering away. I stumble.
“Hands where we can see them. Now!” one human guard says.
I straighten up, face them.
The human guards gape at me.
One says: “A robot?”
The other tackles me to the ground.