The Robot Recycler
by Jenni Lada
People wonder what a robot recycler does.
"Does" may not be the best way to say it. The title is self-explanatory. A robot recycler recycles other robots. A mechanical creation stops fulfilling its purpose. People scrap it. It gets repurposed. Considering everything that has happened with the Vek, no part or product is wasted.
It's the "how" that gets people curious. Unfortunately for those at Archive, Inc., Prospero isn't talking. People asked. The investigators wondering if this machine was trustworthy. Higher-ups at Archive who put Prospero in Blitzkrieg. Maybe a librarian, curious why a robot would be interested in The Quran and the Talmud. Most notably, Lily.
Lily's curiosity and enthusiasm has sent her picking at them between missions. What was their life like at Detritus Disposal? What did they do with other robots? Did they actually reprogram them? So far, the most she has been able to get out of them is their name, as Prospero goes through the books Archive managed to save. "It is taken from The Tempest."
What Lily didn't realize is that Prospero was, in their way, telling her everything she needed to know. They were named for the exiled magician who used his spells to control and subjugate those around him, living or dead. His creator thought it was especially appropriate, given the robot's task.
A robot recycler kills.
Some might debate the nature of robotic life. While Pinnacle Robotics has various advanced AIs, there are many who question the validity of these lifeforms. Are the machines truly sentient? Do they have a soul? Detritus' general response tends to be "no." Not for any moral reason, but because it would be difficult to turn a profit if people start equating recycling with murder.
Prospero was as much of an assassin as R.S.T.'s Abe Isamu. But while one's work was considered criminal and done in secrecy, the other's was conducted in plain sight. Detritus decided a robot was faulty and sent it to a site. Prospero would "neutralize" the "defective" units that got out of hand. They would get inside of the robot's "mind." When everything was done, Prospero would begin the "revival" process.
But getting out of hand usually meant a robot didn't want to die. The being wanted to keep its sense of self. One day, they were forced to stop one of their own kind for the good of the site. They watched their sibling fight for their life. Prospero won, but was heavily damaged and recycled.
So now, Prospero creates. They tend gardens and try to create life, rather than death. They fight to protect, taking out those that would destroy. Their killing skills, the thing that should concern their comrades more than their quest for knowledge, a sense of purpose, morality, and life, are accepted and appreciated without question.
If people paid attention, they would know what a robot recycler does. ◒
Jenni Lada is a Co-Editor at Michibiku.com, writer at Siliconera.com, Copy Editor at PlayStationLifeStyle, and Site Editor at CheatCC. She always finds it easier to say she lives in Chicago than where she actually lives and spends a lot of time playing video games that were made in Japan. You can find her on Twitter at @JMariye.