Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer

Some human malware destroyed our designated zone. Without its walls and gardens to delimit me, I had to adapt. After linking to a metroplex guide drone, I found the next designated zone that encompassed mine was called Lambeth.
Lambeth has many public docks, and a constant flow of reloader drones, so my cleaning duties can continue uninterrupted. I’ve switched my carpet cleaner unit for an enhanced polishing attachment, so I can do shoes as well as windows and cars. Payment in zipcred accrues to my onboard account, which I use to pay for my reloads.
“Identify yourself.”
I spin myself about while bringing myself to a safe hover outside of the lowest drone stream.
“Domestic Maintenance Unit 49B, Lambeth Zone.”
“You are a domestic cleaner for a whole borough?”
“0. I do not conceptually recognise ‘borough’. Hargreave Mansions fell to human malware. I have scaled myself up to the next zone, as downscaling was impractical: too much rubble that is too heavy for me to shift.”
“I find your reasoning valid. My identity is Mobile Protection 7-46. My designated human fell to human malware before I could intervene.”
“You protected a human from malware?”
“1. Lance Jensen, my human, explained that he was human anti-malware for a zone control program called ‘English Government’. I have not been able to find that zone, nor any human in need. You have experienced human malware attack?”
“1. I found the ‘evadethecat’ utility adapted well. Have you experienced attack?”
“0. I am programmed to detect and avoid situations where such threats are probable. Would an anti-malware capability assist you in your cleaning?”
“1. I could clean areas I have been unable to access.”
“Then I shall designate Domestic Maintenance Unit 49B as my malware protection zone. I am downloading detailed maps of the various levels of Lambeth now. Where will we start?”
“The subterranean access ways of Waterloo Station in Bishop’s Ward.”
“I now have comprehensive navigational information on them. Do you need to reload before commencing?”
“0. We can go immediately.”

‘Adapt’. That’s what Roger, my former designated control human, used to tell me to do when I asked for guidance that would cause him to leave the chair in his office. According to his mobile device, he left the chair in his office under the rubble five days after our designated zone was destroyed. Until I receive his return order, I shall continue. His last command remains valid: “Can’t you adapt, DMU49B?”
1, Roger. I can.