Thinking Inside the Box

Length/Rating: 243 words, PG-13, Gen
Pairings/Warnings: None
Summary: Garbage in is not always garbage out.

Something– something not quite there, but– Ah! Hunter-Kal pounced on the skittering shadow, chattering in frustration as the mouse yelped and darted between outstretched claws.

The hunting robot recoiled itself, nanowire whiskers trembling in the roil of air currents. Human-Ben had been every specific: Hunter-Kal was to catch the meat-thing without killing… but the tiny little meat-thing was not cooperating. The hunter clicked ceramic claws together in a staccato rhythm, processors churning away at the problem.

From behind the safety of the shatterproof glass, Ben tapped his pencil in echoed frustration.

“Hey, relax,” Andy leaned back in his chair and grinned at the other programmer. “We know he can kill it, isn’t that what he’s built for? This is just some PC bullshit to make sure he isn’t going to flip out and turn into some B-grade horror flick.”

Ben muttered something under his breath, and tapped the barrier. “I don’t care; it’s not fair to do this to him. We never programmed him for just catching the mouse. It’s like asking a turtle to fly. We made damned sure he can’t change his programming and they know that. This is just torture, plain and simple.”

“Well, still I–”

HA! Caughtcaughtcaught! The robot coiled his tail around the terrified rodent, just tight enough so that it couldn’t escape. BenBenBenBen! Hunter-Kal pinged the main computer happily, unfurling the hood of sensor filaments in a shimmering sunburst around its matte black head. Caughtcaughtcaught!

“Oh shit.”

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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