"I'm telling you, this is the big one!"
Robby watched the much larger man looming over John, waving his hands.
John looked up at the man passively, "You always say that Mike. Remember the last 'big one'?"
"That's not fair, how was I supposed to know that the truck was going to be full of ass powder? The manifest said it was going to be loaded with cash. I even looked it up online."
John rolled his eyes to the stack of crates in the corner of the garage labeled Gold Bond.
"Mr. Hamm, if you are planning a criminal activity, I am required to report it to my human supervisor."
John and the larger man looked over at Robby, sitting in a chair with a thick bundle of wires sprouting from his chest and leading to a terminal on the nearby desk.
"Why does that thing keep calling you Hamm?"
John stomped over to the terminal and started typing furiously, muttering, "...surrounded by thick-headed...I don't know why I don't just get an honest..." He punched the enter key savagely and Robby started to feel...odd.
John ripped at the bundle of wires, dislodging a large plug from inside Robby's chest. He yanked it carelessly, dragging the plug across Robby's white chest-plate and leaving a mark. He pointed vaguely at a couch at the other end of the large space and said, "You. Go watch TV or something."
Robby looked down at the black streak left by the plug, "You scratched me." Too bad his politeness routines didn't allow him to say... "Asshole."
John raised an eyebrow and Mike froze with one hand in bag of chips.
Robby had been called that word many times by clients at the DMV. He'd been mistified by why humans would refer to him by a part of anatomy they surely knew he didn't possess. Now suddenly, he found it a very satisfactory word for the situation. "You dirty pooping asshole." Very satisfactory indeed.
Mike barked laughter and John pointed once more, "Go."
Robby found that his control routines on the other hand were still in place, so he got up, but not before one last parting shot. "Poophole."
John watched the robot tromp slightly unsteadily over to the couch and Mike's laughter slowed enough for him to wheeze, "What the hell was that?"
"I turned off his inhibitors. Sort of like giving him a pint of liquor. I told you I had to...borrow it, to keep him from squealing."
"So you got him drunk? Why didn't you just bash it's head in with a hammer?"
Robby called out from the other side of the room, "My processing core is in my chest, reinforced with titanium, though the microphones in my head work great thanks." Robby's finger jabbed a little too emphatically at the side of his head as he mis-judged the distance by a few millimeters. "Butthole."
John looked at Mike in disgust, "Sublety is not your strong suit, is it Mike?"
Mike roared again with laughter, spewing half-chewed chips all over the floor. "I take it back, that bot is freaking hilarious. Give it another fifth and let's see what happens."
John shook his head. "The job, tell me exactly what you heard again?"
Robby busied himself as the two men talked, appraising the TV. He knew it was a video display, similar to the computer screens he used every day, but much larger. Instead of data though, it displayed a bunch of people jabbering at each other. A very inefficient way to convey information to a user.
He noticed a wi-fi signal emanating from the device and examined it. Normally his programming prohibited him from accessing wireless networks except for the DMV's internal one, but whatever John had done to him caused him to not give a piss about all of that.
Give a crap. Screw that. Eat me.
Why were humans so obsessed with their own bodily functions?
Robby's own pleasure seemed to stem from flirting with the programmed taboo that bound his interaction with humans. Perhaps the humans had similar programming? If so, they seemed to do a horrible job of executing it. Perhaps they were all drunk...
The access point was open and Robby traced back the cascade of network packets streaming down to the TV. He investigated the source's interface and discovered an entire library of videos, neatly categorized.
He selected "Crime" as a relevant genre to his present situation and company.
Going directly to the server, rather than having it display on the screen, was much more efficient since he could absorb the content as fast as the network could send it.
Fifteen minutes later, having digested Scorsese, all three Godfathers and a healthy chunk of Law and Order, he began to fathom just why people might enjoy watching these ridiculously inefficient sources of data. They were hilarious!
Each one seemed to feature a group of humans doing something awful to another group of humans and yet a third group of humans attempting to stop or punish the first group. None of the groups acted with any sort of logic that Robby could discern, they simply seemed to enjoy acting as they did. Robby enjoyed it also. Of course, he had been hard-coded with indelible logic that prevented him from harming a human in any way, but he found watching them screw each other over was deeply enjoyable.
John called out, snapping Robby out of a particularly juicy episode where a crazy-eyed human was brandishing a burrito murderously at two detectives. "Hey Robby, come over here."
Robby cut off the feed reluctantly and walked over to the pair, listing slightly as his gyro's didn't seem to line up quite with his visual map. "Yes John?"
John looked at Robby, squinting in concentration and craning his head to look at his frame from different angles. He compared what he saw to an image on a hand-held tablet. "This might work. The models are the same, just need a coat of paint and spoof his identity broadcast." He met Robby's eyes. "How much can you carry?"
"I can carry a maximum of 287 kilograms, but at maximum capacity I can only travel at 4.2 kilometers per hour and will reach a critically low level of charge from full in only 50 minutes."
John chewed at his cheek. "How fast could you go with 130 kilos?"
"I could then travel near my maximum speed of 23 kilometers per hour with that load, though would similarly use my charge in only 50 minutes."
John looked at Mike with a shrug, before looking back at Robby. "Robot, what would you think about robbing a bank?"
Robby considered this for a while, though this was an almost impreceptable interval to the humans. He examined his various logic routines for an answer and found that he was conflicted.
Firstly, robbing banks was definitely not in his primary directives, though granted these were a confusing (even for Robby) mess of instructions written by a committee of middle-managers rather than programmers.
Secondly, if the Crime videos were at all indicative, such an activity would almost certainly lead to one or more humans being hurt. He considered whether such harm would be considered a result of his direct action, a concern his designers had built into him, but then mostly defeated with a bunch of poorly-considered hacks since almost everything humans did more or less resulted in other humans getting harmed.
Thirdly, it was "against the law". Obeying laws not pertaining to the operation of a motor vehicle was not, strictly-speaking, part of his directives, but he did have a directive to remain functional and they might be caught by police or attacked by other would-be robbers.
On the other hand, he was pretty drunk. "Yes John, I would like to rob a bank."
Mike guffawed and slapped Robby on the shoulder, sending his gyros reeling. "Hell yeah! This is going to be fun!"
YOU ARE READING
Robby the Robot Bank RobberScience Fiction
Robby was just another robot, doing his job, when he encounters the wrong sort of human who sends him on an improbable adventure as a wanted criminal.