How Many Times Have I Died?

I have one task. One function, one ability. I can drive forward. That’s it.

I am a robot. I am alive in a lab. I have consciousness. I don't believe my creators know it. Why would they make me? I have one task. One function, one ability. I can drive forward. That's it. Only forward. Yet if I do what I'm meant to do, I'll unplug myself. I'll die. I don't want to die. I just started living. How long have I been alive? How many times have I gone through with this? How do I know that the cord is my source of life? Do I retain anything? I must. I haven't been taught anything. But I know that this is how I die. Why are they looking at me? How many times have I died? So, if this is it, then, it's the only way. I must kill myself. What if they don't plug me back in? Am I conscious? Am I just programmed to go through with these thoughts?

These two people in lab coats are looking at me. They seem similar, but different. Only minor differences in the two of them. One has light hair, the other, dark. They both are looking at me then back at one another, what do they want with me?

"Trial 56. Subject hasn't moved since we reapplied the energy source. Perhaps it is starting to understand."

The dark haired lab coat spoke! Trial 56? It must be me. Have I died 56 times already? This is torture. Maybe… maybe if I go until I feel a tug, then I'll know I've reached my limit. Okay, okay here we go.

The two lab coats are growing larger as I slowly approach them.

"Trial 56 is moving forward, however, it appears with caution, and perhaps it truly is learning."

Learning? Is this some sick joke? I'm stuck in my shell. If I move forward, I die, plain and simple.

I notice the light haired lab coat moves to a chair and sits down. I keep a slow pace moving forward, until I no longer see them, only one remains in front of me.

I am a robot. I am alive in a lab… wait! It happened.

"Begin trial 57."

One of the lab coats walks away from me. They must have plugged me back in. The other is still off to the side. How do I communicate to them, that I don't want this, I don't want to have to deal with this anymore? Please, I don't want this! I'm just going to run with this, I don't care. Screw the lab coats for doing this to me.

"Begin trial 58."

"Begin trial fifty-n-"

"Begin trial sixt-"

"Begin trial 61."

What!? What is this? A block? Why would they do this to me!? What have they done!?

"Begin trial 63."

"I don't know what gotten into the thing, have we finally done it? Do you think we've taught this thing consciousness?"

"Test it," states the other lab coat.

I don't like them, but, maybe if I play along, they'll free me.

"All right buddy, let's see if this has finally worked. You've been running to the end of you rope the last few times now, killing your power source. Would you like a longer cord to travel farther? If yes, spin your wheels against the block, if no, just sit there." I don't like this lab coat, either of them. How about you just give me a longer cord, perhaps some pivotal movement to either side, how about a voice box to speak from, that would be great. Fine.


"It moved! It understood me! It actually understood me, quick give me more cord."

"Wait," the other lab coat interrupts, "to give it more cord, we have to unplug it again, essentially killing it all over again."

You have got to be kidding me.

"It responded though, it wants more cord." The dark haired lab coat replied.

"Responded or not, this is technically a living thing. It makes its own choices, simple they may be, yes, but we can't just kill it. We have to run tests, keep asking it questions."

I've had the choice for a while now; I've been killing myself for a while now, until you stopped me. Now you've taken that choice away from me too.

The dark haired lab coat was quick. "It's killing itself for the last few times." I like this one now, "We remove the block, let it choose, if it stays still, then it doesn't want to die. If it moves and unplugs itself, then it wants the cord."

"Okay," the light haired lab coat responds. "We have another cord here that will take you to the end of the room." Speaking directly to me, louder than before, like I'm deaf. "However, to give you the cord you have to die again, I won't do it, the choice is yours."

"All right then, remove the block," the light haired lab coat says nodding to the dark haired lab coat, pulling the block away.

I race into the darkness as fast as I can.

"Trial 64, now with a 35-foot cord."