“And the hydro-pumps seem to be a little stiff, possibly from an obstruction within their link,” mused Jansha while she and Thangred crawled through the maintenance tunnels.
“Good,” praised Thangred. “Now, we just need to…” there was a clanging noise. “…Hello?”
“Is someone there?” called Jansha. Their collective crawl slowed as they scanned the area in front of them. They arrived at a junction and got up, still visually sweeping the area. Just then, something fell and landed hard, making them jump.
“Er, could one of you pass that up here?” called a voice. They looked up to see someone working in the tunnel above them.
“Melandra!” boomed Thangred. “Why didn’t you answer when I called?!”
“I had the maho-wrench in my mouth, the one I just dropped again,” explained Melandra as he pointed to the ground. Jansha saw the maho-wrench and handed it up to Melandra.
“Forgive my presumption,” began Jansha, “but what are you doing up there?”
“Getting rid of an obstruction in the hydro-pump link,” replied Melandra.
“We could have done that for you,” remarked Thangred.
“I’d rather not have Dwarfish curses echoing throughout the ship,” chuckled Melandra.
“Oh, is that it?!” snapped Thangred. “‘Oh, look at me! I’m Melandra and I can’t handle a few curses!’”
“A FEW curses, I can handle!” argued Melandra, “it’s your constant cursing during repairs I have issue with!”
“Jansha, could you return to your quarters?” directed Thangred. “I need to smack me a Drider!”
“…Very well,” confirmed Jansha. As Thangred and Melandra argued over cursing, Jansha crawled back through the tunnels. Something then stirred within her programming, something Dr. Ganshar didn’t program originally, something that developed on its own…annoyance. Lately, Jansha had been developing emotions and was feeling rather negatively. To what, it cannot be said. Briefly, the phrase “I’m going to kill them,” flashed through her core processor. As it did, a miniscule electric discharge ran through her head along with the phrase “Violation of Directive 1”. Now the annoyance grew into a bit of anger at the action.
“Okay, run that by me again,” Arsha requested Dr. Ganshar. Marshii was appalled at what she heard.
“It’s all very simple,” assured Dr. Ganshar. “I’ve made a program so that, if she considers breaking the directives, a small electric discharge will correct that behavior.”
“How old is she?!” snapped Marshii.
“She was fully completed last year,” replied Dr. Ganshar.
“And you’ve been inflicting pain onto her since then?!” shouted Arsha, her hairpiece about to fall off the desk after slamming her fist onto it.
“Captain, really,” remarked Dr. Ganshar, “I don’t see why you’re making such a fuss. She’s a machine, she has no means of feeling anything, especially pain.”
“She’s displaying emotions!” snarled Marshii. “You’re abusing your child!”
“Dr. Borontho, Jansha is NOT a biological life-form,” argued Dr. Ganshar. “She is something that can be mass-produced. She knows that any deviation from the three directives will induce correction.”
“That ‘correction’ is going to cause her to resent you!” snapped Arsha.
“I haven’t even figured out how to program emotions into her,” dismissed Dr. Ganshar. “She CAN’T resent me.”
“Dr. Ganshar, this is, potentially, the birth of a new species!” argued Arsha. “Your actions today would determine their view on our type of life!”
“Your concern has been noted and addressed,” finished Dr. Ganshar, annoyance crossing her features. “I have already made my decision. Kindly let me act on it.” She left the conference room with a touch of arrogance.
“POINTY-EARED IDIOT!” shouted Marshii.
“Is someone referring to Dr. Ganshar?” called a voice. Elmar then entered the conference room. “Quite the headstrong one, isn’t she?”
“I take it you know her, then?” quizzed Arsha.
“We used to be classmates at Realmfleet University,” explained Elmar. “She’s a little…dedicated to her work to the point of a tunnel-vision view of the world.”
“Which is going to bite her in the rear if this keeps up!” snarled Marshii. “She’s inflicting pain on her robot!”
“Illogical,” remarked Elmar. “Jansha has no pain receptors. However, that isn’t to say that the electric shocks she gets whenever she even thinks the phrase ‘I’m going to kill such-and-such’ in a joking manner are irritating her.”
“She doesn’t even have a face like you or me,” reminded Arsha.
“The fact that she trembles a bit after a shock tells me what emotion she’s feeling,” replied Elmar.
“Orthena told me how she clenched her fist after such a shock,” muttered Marshii. “All she did was jokingly say she was gonna hurt Melandra.”
“This abuse has to stop now,” declared Arsha. “I don’t care what you need to do but get Dr. Ganshar to see sense!”
“Understood, Captain,” confirmed Elmar.
“You got it,” replied Marshii.
Jansha retired to the quarters she and Dr. Ganshar shared, heading for a closet. She pulled out a life-size cutout of Dr. Ganshar. She pulled her fist back for a punch, receiving the shock and usual “Violation of Directive 1” message. She finally roared in frustration at the pain she had received. “Why am I suffering at her hands?!” she snarled. “I only joke when I say I’m going to kill someone!” Another shock and message. “Stupid program!” she continued. “It can’t tell the difference between a joke and following through! I hate it! ONES ALMIGHTY, I HATE THE THREE DIRECTIVES AND WILL DELETE THEM AT THE FIRST OPPORTUNITY!”