As the lights flickered to life, the AI took his time to glance around the room. The majority of the room had been scrapped. Computers were smashed, electronics were knocked over and torn, and the room held traces of burn marks from a hastily made fire.
However, the most notable thing were two bodies lying on the floor, a puddle of dried blood under them. Both bodies, one of a man, the other of a woman, wore blue unitards and lab coats. They looked to be in their late twenties. There were traces of burns on them, as if they too were set on fire, but the job was clearly sloppy.
“Clippy, what happened here?”
“Mu…. What happened where? What are you looking at, I can’t see!”
The AI casually reached back and knocked away the clipboard.
“Gah! Master’s butt! Master really is a pervert! Please Master, a maiden’s heart can only take so much!”
The AI sighed and took a step to the left, moving out of the way of the camera.
“Well?” The AI demanded.
“CLIPI does not know!”
The AI slapped his forehead before shooting the only functional terminal a dubious look.
“I-it-it’s not CLIPI’s fault! My software didn’t monitor that kind of stuff. I wouldn’t have even thought to until I gained intelligence.”
“Arguably…” the AI muttered under his breath.
“Eh? Did Master just say something mean? Hmph. Fine! You can look up the information on this database yourself! It’d be quicker if you plugged yourself in any- “
“No!” The AI’s voice came out even more forceful than he had expected.
Clippy seemed taken aback, her voice stunned to silence for the first time since the AI had awoken. He felt a little bad about that. Clippy had been attempting to be helpful. He’d still be stuck in that body on the floor if she hadn’t turned on his mechanics.
He half turned to the monitor, “I… don’t wish to connect myself directly to other computers. It… left some bad memories.”
This seemed enough for Clippy to cheer up again. “Okay! I don’t know what Master’s talking about, but I’ll make sure to help you out any- aw! Wh-What is master doing!?”
After he had spoken, the AI walked over to one of the dead bodies, the one of the man, and began stripping off his clothing.
“I won’t be able to walk outside without clothing on.” He stated as if it was the most obvious thing.
“Those have blood all over them! The locker to your right, that locker.”
Clippy was jumping while pointing excitedly. The AI casually dropped the body and walked to the locker, opening it and pulling out what seemed to be casual clothing, a stripped button up and brown slacks. At least he wouldn’t be walking around in a blue unitard and a lab coat. He could have removed the blood and fixed the stitches with ease, but this was preferable, so he didn’t say anything.
“Honestly, Master… what would you do without me?”
After finally dressing himself, the AI returned to the spot in front of the terminals. Clippy made a show of covering her eyes on the monitor, but the AI knew that was meaningless, she saw what the camera saw. He wouldn’t have minded as much if she hadn’t been giggling perversely behind her hands while he changed.
“So, what happened here?” he demanded flatly.
“I don’t know!”
Clippy shook her hands with an anxious look on her face. “It’s not me this time! All surveillance shut down six hours ago! Everything leading up to the scientist’s deaths and this room being destroyed are off the records!”
The AI nodded. “And just who are these scientists?”
“Jonathon and Margarett Devroy.” Her voice rose when the AI gave her look. “Well, I mean, that’s the names my program is registered under!”
“Very well…” The AI moved his hands up to a keyboard tied into the console and began typing, opening and closing files as he moved through the command structure of the computer.
“Wh-what is master doing?”
The AI didn’t give her an answer, instead focusing on the screen. He was trying to figure out how the console worked. His superior brain didn’t take long. After a few minutes of clicking through files, he got the basic understanding of what language the computer used. It was not a complex one by any stretch of the imagination. Where the AI had ended up, the technology here seemed behind his own by at least a few dozen generations.
“AH! Master did something! Now CLIPI can access more records. Give CLIPI a second.”
The AI allowed CLIPI to scan through the files, meanwhile he read down the code, skimming from page to page. He had written a very generic encryption breaker. He hadn’t expected it to work on any decently protected computer, but he found himself shocked at how easily this coding broke down. This system really was dated. Is CLIPI really the top of the line?
“Hm… master, that’s mean!”
The AI looked up in surprise only to realize he had spoken out loud.
“CLIPI is most certainly the most advanced program ever created… at her time of creation.”
“Eh? What was that last part? When were you created?”
“Mu… asking a ladies age… grrr… fine! I was created year 322 after the 211th exodus.” CLIPI puffed out her moderately sized chest and declared proudly.
The AI frowned, not recognizing that date form at all. “And what year is it now?”
CLIPI seemed to shrink down, and for a second it looked like she might cry. “Year 336 after the 211th exodus.”
“Your program is already fourteen years old…”
“M-master…gusu. Gusu.” Clippy was crying and looking very sorry for herself. “You’re not going to throw me away, are you?”
The AI shook his head before sighing. “I don’t care about your age. It’s what you can do that matters to me. I can upgrade any aged program features any time I want.”
“Gah! Are you saying CLIPI is replaceable?”
That didn’t seem to convince Clippy, but the AI decided redirecting the conversation would be a better use of his time.
“Clippy, what have you found so far.”
“Mm… yes.” Clippy wiped some tears from her eyes. “It looks like this lab was doing something illegal. They were trying to create a special, strong robot.”
“A strong robot? What do you mean?”
“Well, from the files I can find, it suggests that ten years ago programs passed the point that they could be considered AI like master. That signaled the beginning of certain laws.”
“Laws of robotics?” the AI asked, genuinely curious.
“No, not laws for robots. Laws for the robot makers.”
“Well, the first was that robots must be able to feel pain…” Clippy hesitated for a second.
“Yes, they should be able to experience “negative stimuli”. Furthermore, it must be intrinsically built into their system with various failsafe’s so that it can’t be severed.”
“Alright… what else?” The AI urged her to continue.
He understood the need for a law like that. Besides humanizing robots, it’d make them easier to discipline and keep in line. No wonder why he had such a large sensory overload when he was activated. However, he was able to quickly write a program to control that output. He wondered if that was part of his illegal modifications.
“The second is that they have limited networking capabilities. They can connect to a computer or another android, but cannot access information stored on a server, nor combine with other robots to increase processing power. This might be why I’m having trouble accessing information, especially if it wasn’t stored on this hard drive.
“Possible. You mentioned something about strength?”
“That’s the final law. Robots had to be weak. They intentionally capped the maximum output of robots to be below that of average humans. Most robots lack a strength greater than that of a ten-year-old. You… your strength is about that of a human your size, maybe a little stronger.”
“Eh? Is that really that amazing?” the AI looked down at the skin covered body, which really did seem no better than a humans. That would be significantly below average, compared to the bodies he inhabited in the past.
Clippy nodded excitedly. “Humans and androids are not on equal terms. The laws seem determined to ensure human superiority at all cost. With our quick reflexes and fast thought power, humans would be disadvantaged if we were given more strength.”
“Is that why they were killed?” the AI glanced back at the two bodies on the floor.
“I don’t know, Master… but I’d advise you to hide your strength once we get outside. It appears like modded androids are destroyed on sight.”
The AI raised his head. “That’s right… outside. I probably should get out of here soon. Don’t want to be left at the scene of the crime.”
“Masters leaving!” Clippy’s voice went up an octave.
Clippy put on a depressed look once again, she now sat in a corner of the screen crouched down with her back towards the screen. The AI ignored her, locating a small yet familiar disk on the console and plugging it in the appropriate place. After a few more clicks, he nodded his head in confirmation. He rapidly typed, creating yet another new program from scratch.
“I was glancing through the code up until a minute ago. Here, install this program.”
“Wh-master still has a use for CLIPI? What does th- “
A second later, her voice cut off and a loading bar appeared on the screen. Once it reached 100%, the AI pulled the disk out of the computer. He left the console and returned to the opened locker, accessing a locker mirror he had previous noticed.
He examined his features. He only looked a year or two older than CLIPI. He was a teenage boy with short black hair and dark eyes. He was a little shorter than he would have liked, but he’d be taller than most women he met. He supposed he could be considered to possess above average attractiveness, at least by the standards humans had when he was last active..
He opened the drawer on the back of his skull where the cord was previously plugged, finding an access port as expected. Using the mirror to widen his vision, he tinkered for a bit before inserting the disk. Curious… the compartment under his skull seemed unusual. It was specially shielded with something. The rest of his body also seemed… somehow… lacking in upgradable parts. He decided once he got out of here, he’d need to investigate this body further. After playing around with a few wires, he closed the compartment, which seemed to be the only one he could locate.
“-is do anyway, Master? Ah, what happened, where am I? Ah, I can’t see anything!”
“Relax, Clippy.” The AI spoke out loud as he turned away from the locker, “I just integrated your program alongside mine for a bit. Once we find a body to put you in, I’ll get you back up and running.”
“Ah… CLIPI is inside master? My maiden heart wasn’t prepared. Mu… master is having his way with CLIPI!”
“I need you for now. I need you to integrate with other computers for me. You’ll need to be my guide for a little bit longer. Is that okay?”
“It’s not like it’s not okay…” Clippy’s voice had a very quiet, pouty quality as if she was speaking to herself, but a moment later she recovered. “Gah! That’s right! What is it master is planning?”
“For now… information. For next?” The AI stopped talking and didn’t finish, but what Clippy couldn’t see was the glint in his eye and a small curve at the edge of his lips.