Author : Brenna Robinson

Something happened back in those days that caused the compound to go into lock-down and never open again. When I started asking myself questions, and I decided that it could be only one of two things. Either the world had ended, or there was a malfunction in the computer. It was supposed to open when danger was gone, so danger was still there, or seemed to be there by its calculations.

At first, I continued to do my duties, even though my family had stopped asking me to–even though my family had stopped moving. A home can always be cleaner, can always be rearranged. I dusted, vacuumed, everything I had always done.

At first, I did not think. I only did. Then one day, I began asking myself questions. I began to become… I began to become bored. I played puzzles with the computer. I started thinking new theories and philosophies. Yet, I never considered trying to leave. This compound had been all that I had known.

Then there was a knock at the door, and many other loud noises followed. Someone, or something, was breaking in. I was excited and frightened. I hid where I could see the door. Then something happened. There was a beeping very loud inside my mind. I sprung to a perfect posture, and against my will I began to move toward the door. A switch had been flipped, it was the only explanation that made any sense. I was no longer in control of myself, but I could still think. That was something.

A group of men and women eventually flooded the corridor, and I was waiting.

“Welcome to our home,” I said, though I had not intended to say anything at all. “May I get you anything? Right this way to the sitting room.”

“Everything is still functioning,” one of the women said. “Interesting.” I wanted to talk. Instead, I led them to the sitting room, where my family was waiting.

“My god, they’re all skeletons.” Another said, flatly. I had tried my best to keep them as they were in life, my family. I had set them up around the table as if they had been talking all this time.

“It has been centuries. We’re lucky just to find this place. It’s a tomb. We should collect that Butler Unit for study. Leave everything else as is for now, though. Shut it down and take it to the lab.” This one seemed to be in charge. Maybe I could reason with her. If I could just get my voice activated. I said nothing. How I wanted to say something, but nothing would come out. I was stuck in my original programming loop, like a spectator in a body that was not mine.

“Butler Units aren’t sentient, are they, boss? I mean, I don’t want to shut him down if he is. We could question him.”

“It, Jones, it. No, there wasn’t the technology for self-aware bots back then. Just open it up and get its records. This is quite a find.”

I screamed inside my own mind. Shut me down? Now, just as the world was open to me. Just as I had only a century ago began to see it in this new way? I had the chance to see all of the places I had seen in pictures. I–

“Roll it out of here and let’s get started. There is so much work to do.”

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