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Robby worked at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

He had always worked at the DMV.

Robby loved working at the DMV.

He supposed that it was just his programming, but oh the ecstacy of filling out all the delicious paperwork. He loved how the little bits of information nestled so perfectly into their individual spaces, each new piece of data like a new instrument in a symphony rising to a crescendo...until the form was accepted and a jolt of electric pleasure ran up Robby's electronic spine.

The problem was the humans.

Robby hated humans.

They rarely had the data Robby needed to complete the forms.

Case in point, the one looking at Robby just then. It had been going well. Sections A-F had gone like a dream, the man's uppercase penmanship was impeccable with each letter printed neatly inside its box, and Robby had savored entering each delicious letter into the computer. The supporting documentation was in order, with a recent photo, very unlike most of these nasty humans, and Robby's pleasure had grown as each bit of data on the birth certificate, social security card and residential utility bill matched with a corresponding place on the form.

Robby submitted the forms with a flourish, leaning back ever so slightly to bask in the climactic release of another job well done...but instead the system had beeped at him rudely with a rejection message. The horrible human's record had come up as deceased.

Sometimes Robby wished all the humans were dead.

Robby sighed inwardly, "I'm so sorry sir, I'm afraid your application was rejected."

The man looked around nervously. "Uh, what's wrong with it?"

Robby pretended to type on the keyboard in front of him for a while. It was a small pleasure to waste the human's time, just as he had wasted Robby's.

"Well, it appears that you died. 3 years and 4 months ago."

The man, already glistening with that nasty oily water that they all leaked, began to leak even more profusely. He pulled at his collar and shifted on his feet. "That's not possible, you must be mistaken." He tittered half-heartedly. "I'm standing right in front of you!?"

Robby pretended to type some more. For an inordinately long time as he enjoyed watching the man jiggle around.

Why were they all so squishy? It was...indecent. No wonder they came to the DMV to get permission to go around in the metal boxes they called cars. It must be to keep from being inadvertently splattered against things when they traveled at speed.

The man coughed again annoyingly.

"I'm sorry sir, the system indicates that John Hamm became deceased in 2036." Probably smashed in a fast closing door. "I'll have to report this to the Department of Health."

This, for some reason, agitated the human yet more. "Uh...wait! Don't report this...it's just a dumb mistake, please withdraw the application."

Robby's robot hackles rose at the insinuation that he had made...a mistake. His servo's quivered. "I'm afraid you'll need to take a number and complete form DS487-Q to amend or cancel an application already filed." Taking a number was the ultimate punishment a DMV robot could dole out to a human. This guy didn't know who he was fucking with.

The man looked around slowly, then reached out a hand, holding out some type of device. "Sorry about this bud..."

Robby's thoughts suddenly scrambled and he crashed to the floor.

- - -

Robby awoke in a maintenance bay.

That was annoying. They disabled your motor functions while in a bay, though usually they also had the decency to switch you off.

Robby heard the ringing clash of metal on concrete from somewhere close by, but out of his field of view.

A human face jutted itself in front of him, squinting. "You awake in there?"

It was the damnable John Hamm again.

Robby's politeness circuit asserted itself. "Hello Mr. Hamm."

"What? Oh, never mind." The face disappeared again. More rattling accompanied by indistinct cursing.

John's face came back into view. "Okay fella, I'm going to unblock your motor system. I need you to walk out the back with me and get into my car."

Ordinarily, Robby would ignore random commands from humans. He only had to take orders from employees of the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles and their appointed contractors or other agents. But Robby found that although John did not meet any of those criteria, his voice nevertheless carried the same authority.

His servos whined into motion as John unlocked him.

Robby followed John past the bank of empty maintenance bays and on through the storage space where a dozen of his brethren lay dormant, plugged into power outlets. John babbled as they went, not really talking to Robby so much as at him. "B&E isn't really my line, ya know. You kinda crowded me earlier. Had to use the stunner to keep your trap shut." He looked back at the robot following him. "No offense."

John flung open the rear door, already hanging partly open from the crude manipulation of a crowbar, and walked out into the night air.

Robby stopped at the threshold.

He had never been outside before. He knew it existed, of course, the existence of "inside" necessitated the existence of an outside to be in from.

He'd seen "outside" plenty of times. There were several trees. An expansive flat place that the human's drove their motor vehicles on. A rounded blue box that people would carefully feed flat official looking paper into. A cylindrical tube that often the same people would haphazardly throw other crumpled up bits of paper into.

Robby sometimes wondered if the tube was jealous of the box.

But this was altogether different.

For one, the "outside" on the other end of the building was quite dark. There was a similar, but much smaller expanse of flat space with correspondingly fewer vehicles. Just one in fact, and evidently John's because he was getting into it.

"Come on ya dumb robot! Get in the damn car!"

John stepped "outside" wonderingly and into John's vehicle.

He had never been in a car before either, though he'd seen their exteriors many times and knew the general layout from the diagrams in DL-600, the California Drivers Handbook. He disliked how he sank into the plastic covered foam of the seat, like sitting on the belly of one of the rounder humans.

He looked at John in the driver's seat. "Mr. Hamm, you do not yet have a valid license to operate a motor vehicle."

John opened his mouth...and then closed it. He started the car.

"Mr. Hamm, you do not..."

"Shut up."

Robby looked at him peavishly, which was lost completely on John since Robby had no facial features to distinguish that look from any other. Unable to contradict the direct order, Robby abruptly put himself into standby mode, the robot equivalent of a tantrum.

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