Author : Selena Thomason

Robbie woke to find himself in a strange room.

A man appeared at his side. “How are you feeling?” he asked, placing a hand on Robbie’s metal shoulder.

“Strange,” Robbie replied slowly.

“Do you know who I am?”


“It’s not surprising you don’t remember me. I’m Dr. Vartan. Do you remember your name?”

Robbie thought it an odd question. “Of course. I am Robbie.”

“Interesting. I have long postulated that some knowledge was stored diffusely. Perhaps the upside of the accident is that I finally have some proof for my theory.”

“Accident?” Robbie had asked the question idly, but before the doctor could respond Robbie noticed a gaping hole in his silver, box-like chest. He reached a hand towards the strange sight. “What happened to me?” he exclaimed as fingers fell into the emptiness of his torso. “My…” Words failed him. “Where is it?”

Dr. Vartan gently pulled Robbie’s hand away from the wound. “It’s okay.”

“But it shouldn’t be…why is it black?”

“Don’t panic.” Dr. Vartan reached to a nearby table and pulled a sheet of thin metal off a roll. He placed the piece over Robbie’s wound and taped it in place. “There, is that better?”

Robbie inspected his torso. It was wholly silver now, as it should be, even though the patch was a different texture. He moved to touch the new skin.

“Careful. Don’t push on it. It’s only a temporary fix.”

The black gone, Robbie felt calmer. “What happened to me?”

“During your last programming upgrade a virus slipped past the sensors. We didn’t notice it until you developed aphasia.”

Robbie couldn’t make sense of the odd word.

“It means you would get your words mixed up, like if you meant ‘door,’ you would say ‘chair’.”

Robbie thought that would make being understood very difficult indeed.

“But we can fix it. We just had to remove your main memory so that we could remove the virus and repair the damage. We’re almost finished. It won’t be long now.”

“But I remember some things. I remember my name.”

“Yes, that is worth further study. I think you must be functioning on the fail-safe programming that is hard-coded into your network, plus a few memories that must be stored somewhere other than main memory. Frankly I’m not sure how you are functioning as well as you are.”

Another man came into the room, carrying a small package. “Here it is, Doc. Good as new.”

Vartan took the box and turned to Robbie. “Are you ready to have your main memory back?”

“Yes, please. I would like to remember my last birthday.”

Vartan peeled back the aluminum foil and replaced Robbie’s memory.

Robbie’s head jerked momentarily as the replaced memory caused his system to reboot. Then he looked again at Vartan.

“Doctor, thank you for your assistance. I feel much better now.”

“And your last birthday?”

“We went to the zoo. I especially liked the tigers. They were magnificent.”

“Yes, Robbie, they were.”

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