Hello coffee lovers and avid readers! Welcome to Olive’s Library at Olive’s Café, where you can read the stories of adventurous characters as they explore life.
Here’s a story of a cyborg coming to life for the first time:
“Do you think he’s good? Can he hear you?”
“I’m trying. Robert…? Robert…Robert…”
Is that my name? Who is calling me? My creator?
“Danny, I think we should stop. I don’t think he’s responding.”
“Hush! He’s going to respond. I promise. Robert…? Robert, wake up…”
I think I’m supposed to wake. Is Robert my name?
I turn my head to look around the room.
Computers. Chairs. Desks. Paper.
I face front. I see… Humans.
“It worked. It worked! Michelle, it worked!” The human jumps up and down.
I scan and register. Human is…excited.
“Okay, okay, I get it. He works, just stop jumping around.” The other human faces the human and holds the arm to stop the jumping.
I scan and register. Other human is…annoyed.
The first human stops jumping, moves the white cloth and walks to me.
“Hi. Can you please tell me your name?” The human asks me.
I open my mouth. My voice box activates. “Hi. I must be Robert.” My lips move, in shapes to speak.
“Oh my GOD! This is awesome!” The human shouts.
“Would you calm down?” The other human says.
“Michelle,” the human approaches the other. The human grabs both arms. “Don’t you realize what just happened here? I created him. And he works!”
Am I male?
I am registering my gender.
I am male.
I look at the two humans in front of me. The excited human is male. Young male. The annoyed human is female. Young female.
I look at my hands.
My hands are tan. Supple. Smooth. I touch my hands. Rubbery. Skin. However, I feel heavy.
I have been created by Danny.
I activate my voice box and speak, “Danny, what am I.”
Danny walks to me, lips spread wide, showing teeth. I do the same. Danny makes noise.
I register. Laughter. Am I funny?
“Oh my GOD,” Michelle turns as she makes movement on her eyes. I do the same. Danny makes more noise.
He laughs harder.
I open my mouth. I laugh as well.
Danny falls on the ground. Profusely moves his legs and holds his stomach. Kicking.
I move legs to go down on the stand. I move towards him with my legs. I stop, move my right leg, and make physical contact with my foot on his gluteus Maximus.
He stops moving. He stops laughing. I continue to laugh.
I listen and hear Michelle laugh as well.
They find me funny.
Danny positions himself on hands and knees, before he slowly gets up. He breathes in and out.
In and out.
I stop laughing. I close my mouth. I blink. I look at Danny. I do the same.
Danny looks. His eyes widen. I see blue eyes.
I change my eye hue.
Danny opens his mouth, but nothing comes out. His hands on his face. He covers his face. He looks at me again.
“Oh my GOD. He’s…. He’s perfect,” Danny speaks, barely audible.
Michelle turns to look at me. I see green eyes.
I change my eye hue.
Michelle covers her mouth. Then, she speaks, “Oh my GOD. How does he do that?”
“I guess he registers anything that he observes. I mean, I can work on that to make everything permanent, but Robert… He’s my perfect Frankenstein creation,” Danny speaks.
I register his statement. I research Frankenstein. Dr. Frankenstein created a monster out of human parts. Famous in horror stories.
Am I a monster?
Is Danny Frankenstein?
I turn to look at Danny, activate my voice box, and speak, “Am I a monster.”
Danny shakes his head as he speaks, “No, no, you’re not. You’re not a monster. You’ll never be.”
“Then, are you Frankenstein.”
“Danny, how does he know about Frankenstein?” Michelle speaks.
I hear rising intonation in her voice. Question. Is she asking?
Danny speaks, “His head operates like a computer. I connected his head with the hard drive, and I was able to register information available on the internet into his head. This is amazing!”
Danny makes a high pitch sound. Screeching.
I close eyes to avoid the noise entering in my head.
After 5 seconds, the sound is gone. I open my eyes.
Danny looks at me. Lips widen, teeth showing.
I do the same to him.
“All right, Robert. My name is Danny Harvey. I’ve been working on you for 9 years. We are in the facility for scientists,” Danny speaks. He turns to Michelle and makes small movement. Michelle moves forward. Danny looks at me again. “Robert, this is Michelle. She works with me.”
Michelle moves her hand side to side. Waving. I register her movement. I do the same.
“This is truly amazing. 9 years of trial and error. And here, he stands. Robert,” Danny speaks. His intonation is stable. Statement.
I register the intonation between Danny and Michelle.
I open my mouth, activate my voice box, and state, “I am Robert. You are Danny and Michelle.” Then, I ask, “Am I human?”
Michelle widens her eyes. I register her reaction. Shocked.
Danny states, “You are to me.”
I look at my hands. But I feel heavy.
Michelle speaks, “Danny, be honest. Tell him what he is.”
Danny makes eye contact with Michelle, moves his head slightly up and down. Two small nods. Then he turns to me. Then, he states his explanation, “Robert, you are an android that will help people live daily lives. Basically, helping the disabled. You cook, clean, fix things, play games, anything that has to do with daily living. Soon, every single disabled person will have a friend.”
I blink. I blink twice more. Friend. I register the word. I widen my lips and show my teeth.
“He even smiles,” Danny states. Smiling. I am smiling.
“Michelle, what do you think? The perfect friend?” Danny asks Michelle.
I look at Michelle. I smile.
Michelle looks at me. Her lips stretch. She doesn’t show teeth. She smiles.
Michelle looks at Danny, “I think he’s perfect for your father.”
I register her tone of voice. Sarcasm.
Then, she turns and moves to a desk.
Walking. I register.
I do not move. I look at Danny. Danny looks at me.
“Yeah, perfect for Dad.”
There is beeping. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
Danny looks down at my left pec. It blinks red. I can see red hue flickering between us.
“Well, time for sleep. Good night, Robert,” Danny states.
I blink. Blink again. I close my eyes. Yet, I still noise.
“Michelle, what’s wrong?”
“Danny, didn’t you hear what the general said? He’s meant to be a soldier, not a caregiver or nanny.”
I register her tone of voice. Stress.
“But I never intended to turn him into a soldier. I see something more in him than that.”
“I understand, Danny. But the government didn’t invest $20 million for an android to take care of people. He’s meant to go out in war and fight against the enemy.”
“I know, but I can convince them otherwise. Maybe invent something else that the army can actually use.”
“But Danny, they want Robert, not another weapon. You heard them.”
“Yeah, but come on, Michelle. Imagine how many people we can help just by making him.”
“Look, I don’t want us to get in trouble because you invented Robert Doubtfire here.”
I register new information.
I was created to fight.
“Well, they will have to get rid of me before I invent anything dangerous.”
I hear the door open. I hear footsteps. Movement. I register the sound.
Three humans. They come closer.
I hear Danny.
“Dr. Harvey. How’s the android?”
“Yeah, about Robert. I believe that instead of killing human beings, he can care for them. The kind of hero who will be admired.”
“I told you repeatedly that I want Robert to get rid of the enemy, not be a nanny!”
“I told you, Danny.”
“But sir, I–“
“No buts, Danny. Now, fix him, or you’re done.”
I hear the footsteps. They become faint. I hear the door open. I hear the door slam shut.
I was meant to fight.
I attempt to register.
I see my true purpose. To fight.
I hear Danny and Michelle.
“See? I told you, Danny?”
“Well, I’m not changing him back. He’s not fighting.”
“But Danny, if you don’t fix him, the general will have both of our heads.”
I register their tone of voice. Stress. Anxiety.
I can register human emotions.
But I cannot feel them. I cannot imitate emotion. Only action.
I am meant to protect.
“Okay, fine! I will fix him. No nanny robot, no Robot Doubtfire. Just Android G.I. Joe. But I will never take away his purpose of caring for people.”
“Danny whatever floats your boat. He can rescue people and get rid of the enemies at the same time. Everyone wins.”
I register her tone of voice. Relief.
I cannot be human. I can only observe.
But not imitate.
I am not meant to be human.
I am meant to protect humans from danger.
I hear Danny. I register his tone of voice. Sadness.
“Well, Robert. I guess you won’t meet my dad, then…”
Danny is gone.
I am not meant to be a friend.
I am meant to fight…
Please comment on your thoughts of the scientist and the robot. How would you feel if you find out that cyborgs are made for war, but could be used as a friendly companion?
Thanks for tuning in on Olive’s Library at Olive’s Café!