I did not know what to expect when I arrived home the day of President Aron’s announcement. However, not even in my wildest imagination would I have predicted Chas’ reaction.
The first thing I saw when I entered our living room was a pile of scrap metal.
Having an inventor and scientist as a bot mate, I expect to see scrap metal around the house from time to time. So seeing the pile did not tip me off that something was wrong.
But the fact that a pile of scrap stood where our TV once stood gave me reason to worry.
I could hear Chas working at his inventor’s table.
I usually did not interrupt Chas when he was inventing, but with our TV being reduced to a pile of scrap, I felt that the interruption was justified.
“Chas?” I said in a questioning tone. “Is everything alright?”
“Things have been better, why?” He asked as if I had no reason to question him about his well being.
“Um, well…our television…what happened to it?”
“I smashed it,” he said in an odd nonchalant manner.
Had I been human, I am sure that his cold response would have given me goose bumps and made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Instead, my system fed me an apprehensive response.
Seeing that he was not going to volunteer the information, I questioned him further. “So were you attempting to experiment on it?” I asked, knowing that was not the reason the television was broken.
“Can you just-!” Chas shouted, but stopped and lowered his voice before continuing, “…give me a moment?”
Feeling uneasy with the tension in his voice, I turned to leave.
Chas stood in the same position for a moment, but quickly pulled himself together.
“I am sorry. I am just a little upset about the president’s announcement,” he said confirming what I knew all along.
“It is for the best Chas. In the long run it-”
“I do not agree,” he said in a voice very contrary to the tense, stressed tone he used earlier.
“Death is the only solution.”
Chas’ words worried me, because I suspected that there was more to it than just his opinion on the appropriate penalty for the human.
I began to walk away.
“And you know it,” he said to my back.
“I guess we will just have to see,” I said back.
I left Chas in his lab and went into the living room to clean up what was left of our TV.
While Chas remained obscure and distant for the rest of the evening.
I arrived at work the next morning and went in to report to President Aron. “Good morning President Aron. Just like you said-”
I stopped when I noticed that he was slumped over in a strange position.
When he did not answer for the second time, I took a closer look and noticed the sparks coming from his neck.
There was also smoke coming from his back. I could see that the President had shorted out.
Although it is not a new thing for a bot to short out without warning, there was something very curious about the president’s position.
I sighed, knowing that it was a very bad time for the president to short out. We still had a lot that needed to be taken care of in order to make sure the humans could be transferred from the jail to the Crystal mines safely; as soon as possible.
Mia walked into the office shortly after and called for a mechanic right away.
“Everything will be just fine President Aron. We will have a mechanic here shortly,” I said, aware that a shorted out bot could still hear and think, just not respond.
Still, there was something very odd about the president.
“What?” Mia was saying into the phone. “What do you mean, Monica is not available? We need the best mechanic possible…this is the president that we are talking about for goodness sake!”
Mia hung up the phone flustered, “Monica is not available. They are sending over another mechanic.”
“What? Where is she? She is the only mechanical bot qualified to fix the president!”
“I know, but they told me that she is busy working on a top secret project at the scientists’ lab. They cannot even get in touch with her.”