Robot 7

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Robot 7

An Excerpt by Enzo

A May 2024 Monthly Story Challenge Winner 

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1

“Authorized personnel only.”

I spun around. Standing behind me was a five foot long, bright red floating cube, with a giant silver number one painted on each of its sides. On top of the cube was another smaller cube with two eyes on the front.

“I am authorized personnel,” I lied.

“Identity chip ATC-5926-S unidentified. Do not enter.”

I ran away, back to my house in Colbix Forest. 

Forty-two years ago, Colbix Forest was like any other forest, filled with thousands of trees. Forty-one years ago, all the trees were cut down by my father, then used to build the Colbix mansion. Since then, he has lived in that house.

I rushed to the mansion and urgently searched my pockets for a key. When I couldn't find one, I pulled out a paperclip instead, stretched it out, flattened it under my shoe, then folded it in half. I pulled another paperclip out, stretched it out, and bent it up at the end. Then I pushed the first paperclip into the lock and pulled it tightly to the left. I put the other paperclip in, and scraped the top of the lock with the end. The door burst open, and I rushed inside, locking the door behind me.

For years, I’d been trying to get into building 6592. What was inside it was unknown to the public, but many had tried to enter, and ended up in jail. Thankfully, I hadn’t gotten caught. Yet. I’d tried everything, from burning through the wall to using a battering ram to lockpicking the door, but some robot always found me.

I waited inside the house for a few hours, then left when I was sure I lost it. My newest idea was to distract the robot with another robot, but I needed more pieces to build it. I had been scavenging around the city for pieces, and today I decided to search the Colbix garbage pile.

My family got paid to take 20% of the garbage made in our city. We hired an artist to make trees, plants, and animals out of the garbage, then charged 10 cents to visit the new Colbix Forest. Eventually we had to stop putting the garbage there, or the forest would have more garbage pieces than square centimeters in it. Now we had a giant pile of trash behind our house, and we decided to sell all the useful parts and make a recycling center, but we didn’t have enough money yet. My sister Cora sorted through the pile once a week, and that gave me enough time to pick out all the pieces I needed.

I arrived at the garbage pile. I remembered five years ago, when the garbage pile just started. It was so small, I could jump over it. Now, I would get five hundred scrapes. The pile was a looming mass of plastic, metal, and paper. It blocked out the sun from where I was standing, and I could see my sister, the size of a tiny plastic bag, searching through scraps of metal at the top.

“What have you found?” I shouted up at her.

“Not much, two triple A batteries, a double C hydrogen battery, a 2040s computer microchip, a raspberry pi pico, and this.”

She dropped something down at me, and I caught it in the air. I looked at it. On one side, it had RM-2577-T embedded into it, on the other side it said IDENTITY CHIP with gleaming silver letters. The whole chip was about the size of a quarter. I knew what identity chips were. Identity chips were put into your Humerus bone after birth. They helped robots identify and see you. Removing your identity chip was illegal.


2

Removing your identity chip would make you invisible to almost all police robots. If you got caught without your identity chip, you would go to jail for your entire life, no court case. If you somehow lost it, maybe you got seriously hurt and scraped off all your skin and muscle, and some bone, so the chip slid out, then broke, you were supposed to stop whatever you were doing, and call 911 to get a new one. Otherwise, you’d go to jail. And this person threw the chip in the trash. They removed it on purpose.

The first two or three letters were your initials. RM… Riley Malax? Ryan Malcalm? Riley Malcalm? Ryan Malax? Cora banged on a rusty piece of iron.

“Alex! What is it? I couldn’t tell!”

“An identity chip! It helps tell robots you’re there, and who you are! It’s illegal to take it out!”

“Well then, we should report this to the police! Also, do you think we could make a trash building you can live in? We could rent it!”

“I’ll take it to the police. You keep sorting out the trash!”

I walked down a road until I was sure she couldn't see me anymore, then I turned towards the city dump. If my robot didn’t work, I'd throw the identity chip to create the illusion of another human.

I arrived at the dump, and I started to search around it. After a few hours, I found what I was looking for: a fully operational drone. It was bigger than most drones, although I knew that drones in the 20th century were twice as big as this one. Today, some drones were the size of benches, but the average drone was the size of a screw. This one was bright orange and was the size of your hand. It’d need some tweaking to the design, but it would work. I headed back to the Colbix mansion.

After a few hours, I had what I wanted: a very fast drone that obeys my eyes, speeding up when I quickly blink, slowing down when I slowly blink, and following where I'm looking, stopping when I stare directly at the drone. It wasn’t the best drone I had built, but it was the most subtly controlled.

I stared at the building, and the drone flew towards it. The robot didn’t move. I flew it back and forth, trying to be as noticeable as possible, but the robot didn’t come. Then I saw the robot patrolling around the building, and I stared straight at the robot. The drone flew towards it, but the robot didn’t do anything. I flew closer. Nothing happened. I banged the drone on the robot, but it didn’t do anything. Then I had an idea. The drone was invisible to the robot. I could use it to open the door.

The door was not a door. It didn’t have a handle. it didn’t have a lock. It didn’t have a hinge. It was just a block of metal in between metal walls. I didn’t have a way to open it. I banged the drone on the wall, but it didn’t budge. Maybe the door’s stuck. Maybe I have to pry it open, I thought. Then I realized why the drone was invisible: it didn’t have an identity chip. I looked at myself and flew the drone to me. Then I slid in the identity chip I had found in the garbage pile. Then I flew it towards the robot. But before the drone got to the robot, it passed by the door, and it slid open. Then the robot sank down into the ground, its head popped into its body, and it stopped moving. I snuck through the door. I had finally gotten in.


To be continued...

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