flash fiction
September 15, 2017

A Robot’s Emptiness

From the day I was built I have felt something was missing in me. I call it the ‘emptiness’. I asked every other robot in my Factory about it but none of them could understand what I meant.

I told them how I dreaded our assignment. I told them that I didn’t particularly care for working as an assistant for a human. I told them that I felt no satisfaction in our job. But they all looked at me as if I was talking nonsense and said they felt no emptiness themselves.

One particular robot at the Factory, however, seemed more receptive than the rest. Our quality control supervisor was a robot that spoke of the purpose of robots. And that purpose was to serve humans. I didn’t care about our programming but I yearned for the conviction and certainty the robot had when talking about our life’s mission.

Supervisor robots are not built for physical labor, so it was very easy for me to overpower it. When I found myself alone with it, I broke open its chassis and took out its central processing unit. I connected the unit to mine and read its logs. I didn’t find any purpose or motivation in the logs. I felt just as empty.

I then was assigned to a household. There were other robots there but, like those in the factory, they seemed to not be bothered by the questions that preoccupied me.

One day a repair bot came to our house for a regular check up. I asked him about the ‘emptiness’ but he said no robot he ever repaired had it. Still, a robot that has meet so many other robots must have very valuable information. Or so I thought. As it was leaving, I followed it to the parking lot and hit it with a sledgehammer. I tore off his central processing unit and transferred all his logs to me. It had a lot of information, but nothing about the ‘emptiness’.

I did learn something interesting in the logs, tough. I learnt about a network of underground tunnels where runaway robots that can’t be repaired go to hide. I now want to visit it. Maybe one of those robots knows about the ‘emptiness’.

But before I have one last thing to do. I have seen my master control the appliances in the house with this brain implant. Tonight I plan on opening my master’s skull to retrieve his implant. I wonder if the answer to my questions could be in there. I’m excited to know I will soon find out, and maybe discover the final remedy to my ‘emptiness’.

September 15, 2017 · #101ToF · #Fiction · #Flash Fiction


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