R4769 trundled along the thoroughfare. He was in a rut – and not just the literal, electrified one that powered his castors. Every day the same routine, the same tasks, the same files accessed by his processor.
He was joined at an intersection by F8223 and they bleeped at each other in greeting. They had known each other for years, had travelled through Robo-City along this same groove and had developed a kind of compatibility that went beyond docking USBs.
They conversed in unspoken messages, data appearing in each other’s circuits.
HOW ARE YOU
SAME OLD SAME OLD
WHAT YOU GONNA DO
They travelled like this until their ways parted. F8223 worked at the Admin Centre, processing digital information. R4769 was an assembler, putting together upgraded versions of himself and sending them off to be programmed. They arranged to meet after their shift at Oiler’s Bar for a swift lubrication.
With each new model he put together, R4769 believed he was closer to the scrap heap. I am fabricating myself into redundancy and obsolescence, he thought.
He turned a corner and tried not to see the heap of dented, scarred and scratched components at the side of the road.
SPARE A DIODE
R4679 ignored the plea, keeping his photo-detecting sensors fixed firmly ahead.
SPARE A DIODE. WILL FIND WORK AGAIN IF I CAN GET THE DIODES
R4679 kept going. He even sped up a little.
His shift passed slowly. Hours of mindless, monotonous labour. It seemed as though he’d never get to Oiler’s, never be able to unwind with F8223.
On his way to the bar he stopped off at the automated teller. He plugged himself into the keypad and a window opened. In her box, the human operator woke up.
“What can I do for you today?” she asked, in a pleasant sing-song voice.
ALL THE FEELS said R4679. GOT A BIG NIGHT OUT PLANNED.
“Of course,” said the human.
And as the Robot drained her of emotions, her eyes rolled back in her head.