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What Would You Do?

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You are taking a vacation, specifically, in California. You made it a mission to not only visit the popular tourist sites and cities but to also explore more obscure parts of the state. Which is why you were driving through the hot-as-hell California desert.

The desert is a very surreal place, much like a different world or something you would see in a painting. You haven't seen another automobile for miles, the last one being a cargo truck going in the opposite direction of you. The lack of anything man-made, save for your car and the road, disconnects you from reality. Nothing seems to matter, you're just a humble traveler braving an unfamiliar landscape with no real destination in mind. That's okay though, the sight of never-ending sand and gravel puts you at ease. You feel like you could go on like this forever.

That is, until your car breaks down.

One minute, you're driving at a steady speed, not too slow or too fast, and the next you hear your car sputter then it just stops.

Well, shit.

You managed to pull over just before your car completely stops working. You get out to inspect your vehicle. You know that it couldn't be the that the gas ran out, the tank is near full so it must be the engine. You lift the hood of the car up and inspect its inner-workings. You only have basic knowledge of fixing cars and whatever happened to your car seems to be beyond your understanding.

Luckily, you have your cellphone. You can look up the nearest tow-truck company and call them for assistance, maybe even request a mechanic to fix it for you. Worst comes to worst, you can always walk. The road signs indicates that civilization is only a few miles away. The only problem is that you rather not walk in the unforgiving sun but that's only if you run out of options.

You go into your car and grab your cellphone. You turn around and are about to punch in your passcode until you see something out into the distance.

A person? But what kind of person would be walking out in the middle of the desert, you think. And wearing all black?

As the figure comes closer, you begin to suspect that whatever it is may not be a person at all. It's face is covered by a gold-plated helmet and there is no visible skin to be seen.

The figure notices you as it makes a beeline straight towards you. There is no sense of urgency to its casual stride, neither picking up the pace or slowing down. You don't move, mesmerized by the humanoid creature. It doesn't seem threatening to you at all, if it intended to harm you it would have started running to you.

It's seems like hours have passed before it finally comes to you. It stops a few feet away from you and at first, says nothing.

Now that it is closer, you notice the details of it. The thing is wearing a leather jacket and you have a theory that the thing is actually a robot since no person in the right mind would wear such a heat-insulating jacket. Then again, the desert can get pretty cold at night. It has seemingly has been in the desert for quite a while, dust covering nearly every inch of its body. The sunlight glinting off its helmet is almost blinding you but you make no move to cover your eyes.

After what seems like an eternity, the mysterious creature speaks.

"Hello" it's says in a mechanical but masuline voice, proving that it is indeed a robot. "I would like to ask you to assist me"

You have this strange, compelling urge to help the gold robot with whatever it needs. You reply with a yes.

"What I need you to do is to activate the self-destruct mechanism in my back, letting it kill me"

Your jaw drops. That was pretty straight-forward. And a morbid thing to ask. You're not quite sure how to react to his request but before you can ask it any questions, the robot turns around and pulls off its jacket. Sure enough, there is a switch on its back with a big, embellished "SELF DESTRUCT" on it.

You are able to find your voice again. The robot's back is still turned to you, thinking that you will comply.

"Why do you want me to do this?"

"Because I need to be punished"

Okay, that doesn't really clear things up. You ask a different question.

"Why do you need to be punished?"

"Because I killed my best friend"

That gives you pause. A robot, commiting murder? Is that even possible? You thought it was impossible for a robot to kill but maybe if his friend was a robot it could be possible. You glance at the switch once again, now with a different question in mind.

"I guess you activated his self- destruct switch?"


Okay, so his friend is-,was, a robot.

"Why did you kill your friend?"

"Because he asked me to"

Huh, so he didn't exactly commit murder, but that doesn't exactly put your mind at ease. You weren't aware that robots could be suicidal. You continue to press it with more questions, you need a clear mind before making any decision.

"Why would he ask you to do such a thing?"

"Because we tried, and failed, to become humans. To be different"

This robot just keeps giving you more questions than answers. What kind of robot would be programmed with a desire to become human? Still, you continue.

"I don't understand, I thought it was impossible to make a robot human"

"It wasn't in the way you're thinking of. What we did was a poor attempt to become more human"

The robot sighed. Since when could robots SIGH?

"I guess it was my fault. I came up with the idea and now I must pay the consequences. Whatever you decide to do, please do it quickly"

You're at an impasse. Are you okay with assured suicide? It may be a robot but it seems clear that it has emotions and is capable of guilt and regret. Maybe you convince him that this isn't such a good idea. Maybe you can get more answers out of him before you make a final decision.

What to do, what to do?