In 2075 Laurie Lachrer 283, a Heroes and Villains of the Thirties robot created as part of a collector’s series in the 2040’s, has joined robot General John J. Douglas’s Robots Rights League. From the fifth book of the Jack Commer, Supreme Commander series, The Wounded Frontier, to be published by Double Dragon Publishing:
“Dammit, man, where have you been?” General William C. Scott shouted in his thick brown bathrobe.
The airlock recycled and General John J. Douglas burst inside. “Aw, cut the theatrics, mon gen’ral! Surely you weren’t waiting up for me! I know it’s past your bedtime, but really!”
“Where have you been? It’s almost ten o’clock! You aren’t allowed–”
“Hey, mein Führer bahstad, I was out exploring the big city! And along the way I found the most fascinating hardware!”
“Oh! Colonel Lachrer! I didn’t see you there! Thank God! I thought the damn robot was unaccompanied!”
“Good evening, sir! The robot Douglas and I are at your service, sir!”
“You–that–that’s–excuse me, Colonel, but–what are you doing in a thirties uniform?” He looked closer. “A thirties Airman First Class technician’s uniform, I might add? Jack told me he was making you physician/engineer on the V!” Then his jaw dropped. “Jesus!” He recovered, eyes narrowing. “John, I can’t believe this!”
“Beautiful, isn’t she? Had my eye on ’er for quite a while now! Finally convinced old Buckmaster to sell! Hell, he’s had her on Maintenance Standby for the last fifteen years–took us half an hour to get ’er charged up enough to even say hello!”
“But I feel quite fit now, sir!” said Laurie Lachrer Serial Number 589-356914-391HQS, the 283rd of 1,013 total Laurie Lachrer units. “Believe me, it’s a relief to be able to think again after all those Entity Cycles!”
[AND I WILL GIVE THIS HUMAN CREDIT FOR A KEEN EYE. HE SAW I WAS A ROBOT RIGHT AWAY! MOST HUMANS WOULD HAVE TAKEN AT LEAST A MINUTE OR TWO.]
Too bad I have to make that into a document and transmit it like any other piece of data! If only John could feel the RICHNESS of my thought processes! Was I ever this sharp before? I can’t remember!
[THE BAHSTAD’S QUICK, I AGREE], came John’s return document. [LOOK SHARP NOW. HIGH POSSIBILITY OF HIM TRYING TO CALL THE POLICE.]
[ACTIVATING FULL COMM INTERFERENCE], Laurie transmitted.
“You can’t buy a robot!” Scott shouted. “Buckmaster sold to you? That’s illegal! Totally illegal!”
“Where, Arnie was pretty hard up for credits, so he said–”
“Where’d you even get the credits to–oh my God! I’m going to call the police right now!”
“Sorry, sir,” Laurie said. “I’ve taken the precaution of deactivating all your communications equipment, access to the network, etc., etc. I’m sending out the ‘everything’s fine’ message on all channels.”
“Oh my God! John, you’re my robot! You don’t have the legal right to buy another robot! You can’t legally control money anyway!”
“But that’s what I wanted to mention, dear William! With all the amazing contributions just flowing into the Robots Rights League, I figured it was my duty to buy up as many robots as possible and set ’em free! Just as I’m setting myself free!”
“You–that just can’t be!”
“C’mon, Willie, just sit down, let’s all sit down and relax,” Douglas said, striding into Scott’s dim living room and flopping onto a couch. He patted the space next to him and Laurie took it. Douglas slipped his hand into hers. Scott followed them and stared in disbelief. Then he laughed so nastily that Laurie had to adjust several Reasoning Filters to make sense of what that could signify.
“You bought yourself a girlfriend?” Scott said. “Really? Jesus God, Douglas! You found the teenage version of Laurie Lachrer so you could–so you could–oh my God!”
“Hmm. You know, your mind is quite filthy, old man!”
“For you information, sir, sexbots are illegal throughout Sol,” Laurie added, flipping her long red ponytail to the left of her neck. “Although the Laurie Lachrer 2034 edition was designed to be cute and alluring, as Airman Lachrer evidently was at the time, the HAVOTT designers had no wish to do anything other than honor yet another minor figure of the 2034 war.”
Copyright 2014 by Michael D. Smith