about iFiction

reading material

for authors

contact iFiction

a project by

 Like 24?

  Privacy Most Public 
 welcome to iFiction
recent fiction links
beyond the last star   a bird in hand

You can read the first 30% of this story for free; if you like it, you can read the rest for $0.49 (payable by paypal or credit card.)

[ Read more about author Tony Thorne MBE ]

Font: pt (other font:)

Those famous three Laws of Robotics may have had a few loopholes. What if a robot is used for nefarious activities ..?


by Tony Thorne MBE


Hereīs yet another consideration of those famous Asimovīs Laws of Robotics, as already explored in my first two collections of speculative tales, FUTURE REASSURED & FUTURE UNCERTAIN. Both now obtainable from AMAZON, or via my website: www.tonythorne.co.uk

BUGGY (C)2006 Tony Thorne MBE

Avram Seven-X1 was no ordinary robot, other than the fact that it was programmed with Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics in the usual way. It was however, the first of a new line that the company research scientists had fitted with an extra pair of arms, joined to the middle of its long body. These could be used as legs too by interchanging their hands for feet. Even its normal hands could be swapped for feet if required, making it into a very versatile crawling machine, designed primarily for use in difficult terrains and various other hostile environments. The prototype was immediately nicknamed Bug by some joker in the marketing department, for obvious reasons, and the name stuck. Its six jointed legs, or arms, could be fitted with alternative specialised feet, including versions fitted with spikes, or suckers or even inflatable floats. The Bug could therefore travel over all kinds of rugged ground including snow and ice, on water, and even climb up vertical walls. Marketing soon got under way with the emphasis on industrial applications, and very soon, after just a few demonstrations backed up with a comprehensive video program, the orders began to pour in. The Bug was definitely a big success.

Then one dark night the Louie Giotto gang raided a, carelessly guarded, warehouse and managed to steal one of them; actually the thirty-seventh model off the production line. It was still secured in its crate, having only just been delivered to a mining company that day. Louie had a discredited scientist, Kurt Schneider, in his gang, who claimed he knew something about robots. He had told his chief that although they couldn't harm humans or allow themselves to be harmed, unless they were protecting somebody, there were certain things they probably could do which Louie might find interesting. A robot had to obey the orders given to it by a human, providing what was requested didn't violate any of Asimovīs Three Laws. He explained these to his chief and then outlined a couple of useful, but legal, orders they could give to a robot. Finally, he mentioned that he knew where they could get one. Louie listened carefully, was immediately intrigued by the idea, and so the heist was soon under way.

Bug 37's crate was brought secretly to the gang's hideout in a large van and unloaded. Rudi Donner, the handyman member of the gang decoded the seal on the crate and opened it. Then before anyone could stop him, he leaned over and pressed the big power button on the robot's chest. Its eyes lit up immediately. Kurt pushed Rudi away angrily and then took over. He connected the Bug 37 to his laptop computer, and was soon studying the programming menu that appeared on his screen. It took him some time to select what was wanted, involving many clicks on the vast list of FAQ prompts. Finally though, he was able to activate the imposing robot and start negotiating with it.

After a few mentally exhausting hours he had the machine successfully aware that its owner was now one Louie Giotto, who must be obeyed at all times. Louie was delighted, when he tried out a few simple commands such as pick that thing up, smash up this, bring me that over there. All of which were obeyed perfectly. Then Louie decided to try out what it wouldnīt do. He handed the robot a gun and told it to shoot Rudi, the oldest member of the gang, who had been rather annoying lately. Naturally it wouldn't, but that fortunate gang member got the message and his behaviour immediately improved. Louie was impressed.

The next evening, Louie, Kurt and Rudi drove to a large solitary building on the other side of town, with Buggy (as they called him now) back in his crate in their van. They had already spent the afternoon telling it what they wanted it to do later, after the journey. Making sure nobody was around, and leaving Rudi to keep watch, they opened the crate and Kurt activated the robot. It sat up, climbed out into the road and then waited. Louie crossed his fingers and gave it the go ahead. It promptly opened up a storage chamber in its wide body and proceeded to attach, and activate, six sucker attachments to its feet. Soon after it began to, noisily, squelch itself up the wall of the building.

To be continued ...


Copyright © by Tony Thorne MBE . All rights reserved unless specified otherwise above.

--That's the first 30% of the story. To read the rest of the story for $0.49, please click below, thanks!
(Pay with PayPal, Visa, MC, Amex, Discover)

(Once you've paid for it you can re-read it any time.)

If you previously purchased the rest of the story and want to read it again, enter your private password you received (look at your Paypal receipt):

Or-- Donations for the author, Tony Thorne MBE , are also accepted, if you'd like to donate more than the $0.49 for this story because you like this author and want to encourage them to keep writing. Donations of $0.49 or more get you access to the paid part of this story as well. Yes, I'd like to donate $ to the author. (Pay with PayPal, Visa, MC, Amex, Discover)


Site layout Copyright © 1993-2007 Andrew Burt; stories Copyrighted by their authors; check before copying.