Flash Friday: Let Sleeping Robots Lie
It’s a gorgeous, sunshiny day outside, but all I want is a nap. Fitting, then, that today’s prompt is in honor of ‘Public Sleeping Day’, whatever that is. So in honor of all those whose true talent is sleeping, I give you this little piece of fiction. You can read the robot’s letter as letters if you like, or you can sound them out and enjoy my little joke.
Let Sleeping Robots Lie
The little robot stirred to life as its internal processor chirped that a message was incoming. Was this it? Was he finally going to be given an assignment?
He jiggled back and forth, squeaking its wheels across the floor. The message was short, but for some reason the internal processor was having trouble opening it. For just a moment the little robot felt his circuits slow, heading back toward sleep mode. He jiggled again, refusing to fall asleep. Sleep was his number one favorite pastime, but he’d cheerfully give that up if it meant getting an assignment.
Finally the message cleared, and he could see it on his ploxy screen.
ROBOCENTRI MESSAGE: TO Q4-SNR
That was him! This was it!
ASSIGNMENT: DILP HEADQUARTERS
DURATION: UNTIL BROUGHT IN FOR UPCYCLE
Hmm, now where could that be—he’d never heard of DILP HEADQUARTERS. But it must be really awesome if he was going to stay there til he was upcycled, that was pretty much the rest of his life! He ran a quick search on DILP HEADQAURTERS while setting his internal navigator to the destination mark in the message. Then he did a little happy dance, jiggling his way to the exit lock. If only he could see B6-GRH’s reaction when he learned that Q4-SNR had received an assignment. Now who was a snoozy little worthless robot without the processing power of a mechanical fork?
Of course, he’d never behave in so undignified a way once he was out in public, where the other robots could see him. So as he popped through the lock, he settled himself to a steady roll and dimmed his lights.
Except, he didn’t.
His lights got brighter, not dimmer, and started flashing out the pattern to ‘Why Should a Robot Care’, which everyone knows is a wildly inappropriate song.
Frantically he tried again to dim the lights, but they weren’t listening to him. Worse, he was now jiggling and swooping as he rolled, careening along the passage. Other robots stopped and stared, or zipped out of his path, narrowly avoiding a crash. He couldn’t stop!
Frantically he went through his bypass circuits, and when those didn’t work, activated his reboot sequence.
He was met by a mocking voice and the jeering mechanical finger of B6-GRH, telling him he’d been infected with a virus and wishing him a happy stay in DILP headquarters.
With growing dread, Q4-SNR pulled up the data his search had discovered on DILP headquarters. It was fitting, somehow, that as he read it his lights went into a siren’s rotating blue and red pattern and his speaker wailed out the screech of the police ‘bots.
DILP headquarters were the super-secret center for robotic defense, with the highest security of any assignment on the grid. Unauthorized robots who entered DILP headquarters never came out, and the optic net was alive with rumors of the terrible tasks they were put to.
Q4-SNR wailed, whirling and twirling, down the passageway. The internal navigator’s map showed him there was only one turn, then a long slanted passage and he’d crash straight into DILP’s door, unable to stop. Would he go through the door? Or just smash against it? Either way, he was one roasted little robot.
There was only one thing to do, but luckily, it was something Q4-SNR was good at.
Abandoning all attempts to stop himself, and shutting down those systems he still had control over, Q4-SNR allowed his internal circuits to slow, and head toward sleep mode. It was always an effort to stay awake, so it didn’t take long til his external processor responded to the sleep mode signals. His wailing became long and stretched, his lights faded. He rolled lazily around the last corner on the path to DILP headquarters.
He was just so tired, and with sleep came wonderful dreams of incandescent lights and streaming data. He slowed…and rolled to a stop.
Some robot would find him there and flip the external reboot, but Q4-SNR would sleep through it all, dreaming of his first assignment and his triumphant roll past B6-GRH and all the other robots.
Here’s to sweet dreams, and sleeping in on Saturday morning! Happy Friday, and stop by the Flash Friday page for more flash fiction fun!