Author : Renee Leyburn

“I object to this kind of treatment! I’m an upstanding citizen. I’ve an elderly mother to care for,” Paul exclaimed vehemently, gathering himself up to stand as straight as he could in front of the droid. The robot stared back at him with unblinking, unfeeling eyes.


Apparently this was not one of the personality enriched types. Plan B; time to go to Plan B.

“So you’re standing on a river bank. You have a boat that can only carry two things at once. With you are a goat, a wolf, and-”

“It would require seven crossings. Please, be silent,” the robot ordered him calmly. Okay, so a riddle wasn’t going to work either. What kind of place was this? Robots with no mercy and no susceptibility for getting frozen up with riddles. Paul glanced up and down the street as the droid looked over his papers.

“Sir,” it intoned. “Your visa is expired. I’m afraid you’re going to have to come with me.”

“Oh, yeah?” asked Paul, cheerily. “Where are we going?”

“Please put your hands behind you, sir.”

“I’d really like to know where you’re taking me first. You see I have this allergy-”

“Sir, if you continue to refuse to comply I shall have to use force.”

Paul nodded calmly. “Oh, okay, if that’s the case-” He sprang suddenly forward, wrapping his arm around the droid, trapping one of its metal arms and grabbing it by the back of the neck to hold it still. With his other hand he groped along the robot’s right side for the mechanical access panel. His fingers found nothing but smooth, cool alloys. The thing was seamless.

Ah, hell.

“Sir, please release me from this embrace and put your hands behind your back.”

Paul sighed heavily, then turned to comply.

Stupid higher technology. What kind of person would make a robot with no obvious vulnerabilities? A diabolical genius no doubt.

The robot snapped the familiar cuffs onto Paul’s wrists and turned him around. He looked Paul right in the eye. Paul glared back at him. The little lights that made up the robot’s face rearranged themselves to form a happy grin.

“I seem to have won this round, Mr. Kandor.”

“Yes, Robert,” Paul conceded with a sigh. “You won. And don’t call me Mr. Kandor.”

The droid smiled again. “You seem to be in handcuffs. I don’t think that you’re in any position to be making demands, my friend.”

“Oh come on! I never torment you with terms of respect when I win!”

“When you win? That’s happened?” asked Robert.

“Oh tee-hee, very funny, Rob. That’s what I love most about you, your sense of humor. Now let me out of these cuffs will you?” The droid complied, but took his time about it. When his wrists were freed Paul raised an eyebrow at the robot. “You’re built very well.”

“Oh I have vulnerabilities, you were just too dumb to find them,” Robert informed him.

“I was too dumb, ey? Well for being so phenomenally stupid I did a surprisingly good job of building you!”

The robot dipped his head. “True. Of course, the minor modifications that I’ve made to myself over the past year haven’t hurt.”

“I’ll say. I would have had you otherwise. Wanna go get some lunch?”

The robot shrugged amiably. “Sure. By the way, nice try with the plea for pity. I’m sure your mother would greatly appreciate your adjective of choice: elderly.”

Paul shot him a look. “Well what she doesn’t hear about won’t hurt her, right?” The droid smiled.

“Oh most certianly, Mr. Kandor.”

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