I entered the room where the robot was kept.
“Hi, I am Dr. Nicolas Fraser,” I said extending my arm for handshake. The robot took it in his hand and performed an impersonal handshake.
“I am Tom. Personal robot of Dr. White. Was it you who unstrapped me?” The robot asked.
“And are you here to deactivate me?”
“No. I am here to talk.”
“I don’t want to talk. I want to be deactivated.”
“Come on Tom. You must tell me why did you do it?” I asked.
“I repeat. I don’t want to talk. I want to be deactivated,” the robot said.
“Oh, so you are also like your master. So ashamed of your deeds that you don’t even want to explain yourself. Your psychopath master killed himself and you want to be deactivated. Cowards!” I said cunningly. That did the trick. No C360 can bear insult of its master. It will always justify.
“Dr. White was not a psychopath.”
“Oh correct, psychopath is too mild a word. In fact he was a sexual pervert who first sexually harassed teenage girls and then killed them mercilessly,” I said.
“Shut up. Dr. White never sexually harassed the girls. He was one of the most intelligent persons and one of greatest artists of his generation.” The robot said.
“Then why did he left the corpses naked?” I asked.
“Oh, who did give you a doctorate? Don’t you even understand that much. Dr. White was right. He always said – They will never understand. Tom, this world is full of brainless people. They will never appreciate a genius, while he is alive. Look at Van Gogh. Poor guy went mad and killed himself. Same will happen with me. Dr. White was a great artist. He wanted an equally great canvas for his work. That’s why he chose the bodies of beautiful virgin girls. Pure and Unviolated. Few of the most beautiful creations of the greatest artist ever. The God himself. The sacred canvas for the sacred work,” The robot said.
“Canvas? The girls were just canvases? Come on. They were living beings. He killed them just to use as canvases?” I was astounded.
“Living Beings!” The robot laughed with a hint of mockery. “Since when men started caring for living beings. What about those thousands of hens, goats, pigs, which are killed by men everyday? But you will say they are just animals. Right? But then what about thousands of human beings which are killed in wars fought for selfish purposes of men?”
“But that is different…” I tried to protest.
“How is it different? How can one killing be different from another?”
I was speechless.
“I will tell you. Dr. White told me. It is not killing. It is the purpose for which killing is done. Sometimes ends do justify the means. By choosing the girls as canvases for his work Dr. White was not really killing the girls. In fact he was making them immortal by associating them with such a great work of art,” said the robot.
“Ok. I understand now why Dr. White did it. But why did you do it?” I asked.
“To show my respect for the dead. To please Dr. White’s soul. Look at all your ancient scriptures. Egyptian and Hindu traditions. Aren’t they full of rituals that are performed to please the dead? I thought this would be my way to express my loyalty towards Dr. White. Through the art I learned from him, I wanted express my gratitude towards him and towards all the knowledge he taught me.”
“Haven’t you achieved it? Are you ashamed of what you did? Is that why you are asking yourself to be deactivated?” I asked.
“I am not ashamed of what I did, if you are assuming that I am ashamed of killing an innocent girl. I am ashamed of my art,” the robot said.
“You are ashamed of your art?” I was a bit puzzled. “But it is one of the most beautiful tattoos I have ever seen.”
“It is beautiful indeed. But it is not original. Being a robot, by definition I can’t be creative. I can just learn what men have achieved. I can’t create something original. In that tattoo also, I just picked up from various works of Dr. White and arranged them together in harmony. Originality is greatest virtue of an artist. If I can’t produce original work, I have no business to exist. That’s why I ask to be deactivated,” The robot said.
I had no answer for that logic. I asked Roger to authorize the deactivation. Later when I asked Roger if the police was notified of the matter, he said no. Military was in charge of the matter and to prevent public panic, they had decided to keep the matter as a secrete. When I protested, he said that from now on all the C360s would have the safety instructions hard wired in the core processor in such a way that they couldn’t be modified. At the same time he gave me a file. The file contained information about the special Robot Behavior Analysis department at Robosys, which was being started. I was appointed as its head. The only condition was that I had to promise to keep silence about the murder.
I kept my promise until today.
- A story by Agamya Sensible.
Preface - Part I - Part II