The robot was no bigger than a diner roll, and had a tendency to shift on of its many stiff legs when it was processing. It was on the kitchen table now, and Megan lowered herself so that she was eye-level with it. It’s forward-motion sensor quivered when her face came close. One antenna moved to touch Megan’s curly red hair, but she swatted it aside.

“I could take your battery right out, you know,” she said. “Where would you be then?” Megan let the robot process that before continuing. She glanced at the clock–no time left. “And even if I don’t, I am not getting you that upgrade, not after this, so you might as well forget it. Just show me where you’ve hidden my keys so I can get to work!”

The robot did nothing. Megan stared daggers at its sensory antennae, but it only seemed to react to tick of the clock, and rhythm of her hurried breath.