New Account Registration re-enabled - apparently the extension we use for ReCaptcha service had a configuration change and to utilize the more secure form it needed different parameters. We did not notice this when it occurred. Sorry folks!
A stay at the robot sanitarium
I went to the hospital complaining about something that felt like it was moving inside me. I don’t know why, I must have been hysterical or something and probably overreacted to some kind of stomach ailment. So medical tests were run on me, and after staying in a few days, was told to be given some kind of psychiatric evaluation, and describe just exactly what happened, like having that thing inside my stomach. I mean it probably was just gas, and I was hysterical. Right?
Not according to them. I was found to be mentally insane and sent to the Robot Sanitarium immediately after I was checked out from the hospital. I didn’t even know it was possible for robots to be considered insane, or for there to have been enough insane robots to justify the presence of some kind of facility.
Except here’s the thing. I’m not a robot. I’m just a standard human. Or organic as they called them. I kept trying to plead with the people that I wasn’t insane and needed to be kept in some kind of facility for mechanical folk who were insane. It was just a standard stomach ailment, nothing more. No matter, they just ignored me as I was brought forward to the facility’s check-in desk.
The attendant sat there, looking over something on her computer terminal. Apparently there was something on the screen. She looked over me and the other wardens or whatever escorting me into the facility.
“Lady! You gotta help - There’s been a mistake. You can see I’m not supposed to be here!” I said.
“That’s what they all say.” The receptionist said back to me. “He’s the new one I heard about, huh?”
“Indeed. Shall we take him to the quarters immediately?”
“No, take him to the health check and diagnostics. We need to make sure he’s not carrying anything. Like how that Plugg took in the freaking robo-crux TF virus... we don’t need another bloody crux here.”
Ah! Good! Diagnostics. Maybe they’ll notice there that I’m not really a robot or carrying some kind of robo-crux TF Virus or something. I was lead to some other kind of medical room, with all sorts of thingamajigs - I don’t know. I may have been insane, but I wasn’t insane enough to notice that this wasn’t suitable for non-mechanical figures.
The wardens unchained me and pushed me into the room, then left, closing the door behind them. I tried to grab onto the doorknob to open it and it locked. Of course, it wouldn’t actually open when I tried to do it - they weren’t that stupid. I simply sat down on the medical examination table and waited for the doctor to enter. Or maybe the mechanic.
After a few minutes, the door opened again, and somebody else walked in. It must have been the doctor, mechanic, whatever, I’m not involved in the whole mecha thing! He walked in and looked over me.
“Well, seems we may have an android.” The doctor said. “You don’t look very mechanical.”
“That’s because I’m not!” I said. “Seriously, check me. I’m not even a cyborg.”
“Hm. We’ve had organic patients before who swallowed nanites by mistake. We need to check and make sure you are not storing something on you.”
“Wait! What?! But I got sent to the Robot Sanitarium! I should be sent to something more suited for me, you know? There’s no part of me that’s synthetic at all. I’m completely organic!”
“Oh, everyone’s been here for a reason. The medical examination won’t be painful, I assure you.” The “doctor” went to grab on a few tools, before coming to me with them taken out.
“Oh-Oh god no!” I reeled back.
- * *
I was placed right in a mental ward of some kind. I don’t know, it was a padded room, with an attached bathroom of some kind. I couldn't help but assume that this could have been intentional. Most robots didn’t need to eat, and they certainly couldn’t use the bathroom. They kept me in something that was essentially a hotel room. I just curled up on the small provided bed... why oh why did I get sent here, of all places?
The lights went out in the hallway. It was lights out, as I was instructed. I was half expecting robots to start playing weird voice clips or start making noise to keep me up at night, but I didn’t. It was almost too silent. So eerie I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned, unable to sleep. I stepped out and paced around the room.
“Do you require organic sedatives?” A synthetic voice echoed into the room.
“It’s too quiet! And I shouldn’t even be here! I can’t sleep!”
“Do you require white noise?” The voice asked.
“Something to drown out the damn silence! ANYTHING!”
Suddenly, I heard some white noise buzzing in the room. I shrugged a bit and climbed back into the bed. Maybe I can at least TRY and sleep.
- * *
I was awoken and lead into the apparent commons. Visiting hours or some shit. I don’t know! I wasn’t supposed to be in here. Why would I have bothered to care?! I looked around the room, trying to gain some semblance of what types of people - or rather, types of machines I would be hanging out with.
Before I could get a real look around, a machine stepped in front of me. It must have been based off of a kangaroo of some kind, standing on feet locked in digitigrade mode, where he seemed to walk on the balls of his feet. Apparently it also had a few “stripes” providing some kind of lights around its arms, legs, and well, the inside of its arms where it met with the torso. Maybe they were lights or something.
The kangaroo continued to look over me with its rather slit looking eyes, as if they were viewed out of some kind of visor. Its blue eyes must have been running some kind of scan. Not a med-scan, mind you. I don’t know how the roo talked, but it seemed like there was some kind of screen in its muzzle that opened up slightly, showing a black screen with a single blue line running through, fluctuating as it spoke.
“You are organic.” The kangaroo said. “And you are a patient. Why are you here too?”
“I shouldn’t be here! Out of my way mister...” I looked at its chest, seeing something written on there. “D1G1-P0T. I need to convince them that I am sane or something.”
“You cannot convince them that you are sane. You may only leave when you are fully sane. Then you may continue the synthetic revolution!” D1G1-P0T said.
“D1G1-P0T! Please respect the personal space of our organic patients!” one of the people said. “And no talk of the Synthetic Revolution! That is why you are here!”
The kangaroo stepped away, letting me get a good look at my other sanitarium-mates. Essentially all of them were some kind of anthro. Reploid, I’d guess. You know, that word that’s a combination of replica and android. Or just a Mecha-fur, if you preferred that term. Virtually all eyes were on me - and I can tell they weren’t just looking at D1G1-P0T.
“What, do I introduce myself to these people-robot-MACHINES or something?” I asked.
“At the Robot Sanitarium, we are all friends.” D1G1-P0T told me.
- * *
I couldn’t believe what the heck they were doing. This wasn’t even like the bloody mental hospitals I saw on the TV. Or that movie with the Chief guy and the really mean nurse. They put me in some kind of group therapy with a small number of robots, sitting us in a circle in a small room with a mirror (That I knew was one-way... how stupid did they think I was?) and one of the doctors in charge.
I recognized pretty much everybody from that gathering area from earlier in the day. There was that D1G1-P0T kangaroo from earlier, somehow sitting on a chair with its ball-joint tail sticking through a tail-hole. Some kind of polar bear-based machine with some kind of air cooler as part of its stomach (That I think was broken, it was kind of cold in here and I kept hearing hisses coming from him.) There was another kind of ambiguously-crux robot who seemed to have white synthetic fur with a glowing blue frontside. Also rounding up this group was some other kind of robot that was about a foot tall. It looked to be some kind of cartoony mouse that never spoke to me at all.
“Well, we have a new member in our group.” The doctor said. “From left to right, this is D1G1-P0T, Chillster, Plugg, and S-MOU-04.” He pointed to all the other robots. “Say hi to your new friend.”
“Hello.” The synthetic voices said to me. The mouse didn’t say anything other than a few high-pitched beeps that sounded like squeaks.
“S-MOU-04 here can’t actually speak your language - you’ll learn to understand it sooner or later.”
S-MOU-04 turned to face me and squeaked a few times. It looked kind of like the mouse moved by small wheels of some kind. It reminded me of a mouse toy of some kind, like the kind of thing that basically rode around and played with cats. That was probably the only practical use I could see out of this robot. Well, it was pretty large for a mouse, too.
“So, introduce yourself to them, let them know who you are.”
I heard a few more hisses from Chillster as I stood back up. It looked a little less intimidating to see a group of only five. Especially since I already sort of met one of those robots earlier. I don’t know, sort of.
“Hi. I’m that organic patient. The one who was here against his will. The one who isn’t supposed to be here. I got told I was legally insane and got put here. So I’m shivering in here because it’s so damn col-”
“SSSSH!” The doctor said. “Chillster is a little sensitive about that.”
Chillster continued to hiss a little more as it put its fake paws to its face. He hissed louder and louder. D1G1-P0T and Plugg immediately stood up and rushed over to the walking cooler, putting their own hands on the cooler.
“Hold on a second.” The doctor said as he slipped on a parka, walking over to Chillster and gesturing for D1G1-P0T and Plugg to move aside. “Breathe deep, Chillster. He did not mean it. He did not know. Breathe in, breathe out.”
Chillster let in several more hisses before they slowed, small clouds of cold gas pooling around our feet. I curled my toes a little bit within my shoes. What in the hell was in now?
“Now.” The doctor turned to me. “What did you mean to say to Chillster?”
“I’m sorry.” I said. “I didn’t know that you... uhm...”
“I leak.” Chillster said.
“...Okay, well I’m sorry for saying it was cold.”
“It’s not fun when it’s cold.” Plugg said. “It’s more fun when it’s warm!”
“Indeed. Rubber cracks and breaks when it is cold, and inflatables deflate. The Synthetic Revolut-”
“D1G1! No talk of the Synthetic Revolution.”
S-MOU-04 beeped a few squeaks.
“Right right. Not until I am sane.” D1G1-P0T sat back down.
“You won’t be sane if you keep harboring those thoughts about the Synthetic Revolution.”
“Why the bloody hell can’t they just reprogram you two... ugggh.” I mumbled.
“Ooooh I bet you have the mumbler virus! That’s no fun!” Plugg said. “Show me your port - I can-”
“PLUGG! Remember, what did we say about your USB Tail?”
“Organics do not have USB Ports.” Plugg repeated. “No fun at all...”
- * *
After that little group meeting, it was time to receive our medication. Dope us up on drugs and then try to release us into the world after we’re addicted, and contracted to some kind of pharmaceutical company that will owe you for life or else you’ll be sent back in. That’s how it worked, I’ll bet you anything. I was handed a small cup full of small capsules, that was my prescription.
I just looked over these things in the small cup. Mostly grey stuff in some kind of capsule. I glared at the orderlies or the wardens, whatever the heck they wanted to call them this time. They looked at me emotionlessly, one of the wolfish ones wagging his tail slightly.
“Alright, so what are these things? Are they the kinds of pills that put me into some kind of mental state that makes me easier to control?”
“Take the damn pills.” The wolfish warden said.
“You haven’t told me what they did.”
“Take. The damn. Pills.”
“Oh look at this!” I slipped the pills in my mouth, sliding them under my tongue. “I took them!”
“Swallow.” The orderly said.
I pretended to swallow, before getting a really really odd taste inside my mouth. I probably made a really funny face as the bitterness invaded my mouth. Oh fuck me - those were dissolving capsules. I scrunched my face up and sat down, trying very hard to get out of sight from the orderlies so I could spit this disgusting shit out somewhere.
I was given a glass of water. I immediately took it and chugged it. Then I gulped nervously... I just swallowed those foul-tasting drugs. Great, now I was addicted.
“You win this round... if I can get out... I’ll sue you for this...”
“Don’t let the capsules dissolve in your mouth.”
All of a sudden, I started to feel that odd sensation again. That one where there was something moving inside my abdomen. Maybe there really was something wrong with me after all. I self-hugged myself and then fell to my side on the floor. I think I passed out - the next thing I remembered was me waking up in my room with bandages around my abdomen. I was way too fatigued to do anything else but just lie in the bed and listen to that white noise.
- * *
I had to laugh at how we had visiting hours in this insane asylum. Seriously, we have insane robots, and visiting hours. What the hell kind of insane nightmare was I trapped in anyways. I could only really sit in the corner, since I knew there wasn’t going to be anyone coming to visit me in this hell hole anyways.
Apparently I was wrong though. I recognized a few figures walking in front of me, three total. They must have been orderlies or something. I just looked at them, not minding how pathetic I probably looked. Did I get people coming to mock me now, or something?
I looked up when I felt a blast of cold air and heard a few hissing noises. What? Was that Chillster? I recognized the figures standing in front of me. The members of my peer-support group, Plugg, D1G1-P0T, and Chillster. The only one that was missing was S-MOU-04. Until that was, I felt something at my feet, and heard some beeping.
“Oh hello, what is this now? Visiting hours?”
“You are in our peer support group.” D1G1-P0T said.
“Brilliant deduction - did you think of it yourself?”
“Nobody comes to visit us either.” Chillster said. “We usually visit each other during the visiting hours.”
Chillster hissed a few more times as cool air escaped its tank. Seriously, weren’t freon leaks supposed to be deadly? I heard S-MOU-04 beeping a few times, before rolling into my ankle a few times to get my attention.
“I can’t really understand you.” I told the mouse robot.
It only responded with more beeps.
“I saw you get medicated earlier. That’s no fun. It’s horrible! You got shut off!” Plugg spoke up.
“That’s because I am not a robot like you guys. Seriously. They just gave me these pills and then it felt like there was something inside my lungs and my stomach and-”
“ERROR: Inappropriate grammar!” A nearby robot shouted.
“Ooooh you don’t want to shout. You get in trouble and get your volume capability reduced. It’s not fun! It’s boring!” Plugg said.
“They drugged me with this disgusting stuff... seriously, I need to get out of here...”
“I want to get back to the Synthetic Revolution.” D1G1-P0T said. “I secretly delete my medication files.”
“I fake my antivirus scans!” Plugg spoke up.
“I falsify my diagnostics.” Chillster said.
S-MOU-04 beeped a few more times.
“Wait, seriously?” I asked. “You just delete your files... well no wonder you’re still here.”
A few more streams of cold air came out of Chillster. S-MOU-04 beeped a few times.
“S-MOU-04 is actually sane.” Chillster translated. “It just does not wish to be left alone.”
I looked down at the small mouse robot. He backed up and rolled around my feet a few times, beeping a few more times at me. I assume he was probably just faking whatever counted for robot insanity so he-it-whatever would get to hang out with a group of robots or organics.
“Well we gotta get out of here. Before I get freaking addicted to those pills.”
“I have an idea.” D1G1-P0T said. “We can engineer our progress so that we will be released on the same day. You must help us too.”
“Fun fun!” Plugg spoke up. “Then I can download the internet!”
“Silly Plugg - you can’t download the whole internet. Even if you do have the cutest USB tail.” Chillster said.
“We may go to Borg City after words.” D1G1-P0T said. “You will have to join the Synthetic Revolution.”
I simply looked at the blue kangaroo robot and shook my head.
“Bud, if you want to get out of here, you will have to drop those darn thoughts about the Synthetic Revolution. They’ll keep you in here if you keep talking about that. You, quit leaking cold gas everywhere. You, quit talking about viruses and uh... you...” I looked at S-MOU-04. “...I guess just act sane?”
The mouse beeped at me a few times.
“Keep up the act. We have to make it look like we’re making progress.” Chillster said.
“Does that mean... I have to take those darn pills? Well keep an eye on me if I get too loopy.”
- * *
We had to keep our daily routine while secretly planning our escape. We needed to fake progress so that we could fool all the doctors into letting us go. In order to make it look like there was progress being made, we even staged random relapses and progresses.
You know, D1G1-P0T talking about starting up the Synthetic Revolution once more, expressing desire to turn me or the doctors into robots to join the cause. Chillster nearly freezing the room a few times. Plugg trying to plug its USB-tail into somebody’s ports, and S-MOU-04 faking some kind of extreme worm that was making it unable to talk.
All the time they kept everything up. I started to feel like I could actually trust these robots. I had to keep taking the pills they handed me, ignoring how many times I got passed out. Eventually, that odd thing inside me started to go away.
Heck, I started to get oddly used to everything within the facility. The medication was making me way too addicted. I’d fall into some kind of odd trance, usually getting awoken by a blast of cold air from Chillster. Eventually, Chillster stopped making me feel cold, I think I was just getting used to getting blasts of cold air from the walking cooler robot. But I couldn’t get too complacent.
One time during visiting hours, I continued to just sort of spazz out, before S-MOU-04 walked into me with a small “tap tap tap” noise. It sent several beeping noises towards me, making me wake back up. I focused back down at the small little mouse robot.
It gave me several beeping noises. Over the weeks I was here - I couldn’t keep track, it was a little hard - I had started to gradually understand this robot’s strange method of speaking. I think it was some kind of machine-droid speak or something. I could understand “Wake up” by now.
S-MOU-04 beeped a few more times at me.
“Yes... I hear my plans for medication are changing so I no longer need to take these pills. The plan shall continue.”
S-MOU-04 chirped and then rolled off.
“Why can’t my shoes fit... what is happening...”
- * *
Eventually I was switched to a different medication routine altogether. I no longer had to take pills to regulate or alter my mental state. I must have managed to successfully fool the doctors of this facility to believe that I no longer needed to take pills orally. A few times I actually had been injected, before it was determined that I did not require this.
My new medication program was delivered similarly to what they did to the other robots in this facility. I was most surprised that I did not suffer any kind of symptoms of withdrawal from the drugs that I had been developing a dependency to. At first I had expected to feel incredibly odd, but that sensation never came, giving me what was a clear mind.
All of our treatments continued as normal. There was still hope that all of us would be deemed sane enough to leave. All of us had still planned to leave the facility on the very same day, as a group.
Nobody continued to visit either of us during the visiting hours. We continued our little routine, giving the illusion that we had been helping each other out with our progress towards regaining our sanity. We had to play games, and try other things, so that we couldn’t just simply look like were plotting to overthrow the organic owners of the facility.
We watched some robots enter, we watched others leave. Some remained consistent, such as that roomba that would always run into the wall and shock nearby people. Others would get even worse, but might possibly improve. It wasn’t within our focus though.
“How long has it been since I was first checked into the facility?” I asked Chillster. He had the most accurate reading of time between all five of us.
“Approximately one month and twenty six days.” Chillster said. “It has also been thirty eight hours since I last suffered from a leak. I have been able to regulate my air flow.”
S-MOU-04 booped, “Amazing! You’re really making progress.”
I could finally understand S-MOU-04. Some of these robots spoke what others would call a “Droid speak”, and with a little bit of effort, you could learn what kinds of sayings the beepings translated to. S-MOU-04 confirmed that this was not a complex language to learn, however many of the organic orderlies around the facility have not fully learned all the subtleties of the language.
I observe this to be a rather strange deficiency that the organics were not able to fully learn all of the language of some of these robots that speak in “Droid speak”. Because I have had less desire to sleep, I have had much more time to think to myself. I had to question to myself why I was so afraid about being trapped as a patient inside this facility for an indefinite period of time since we had all concluded that it was an easy facility to escape from, if you had the know-how.
“Review the three laws of robotics that we must abide.” D1G1-P0T said.
It was a very essential concept. We could not cause harm to an organic. We may not allow harm to come to them. We must obey orders as long as it does not violate the first law of robotics. And we had to protect our own existence, as long as protection does not conflict with any of the first two laws. This was something that all patients leaving the facility must know.
Plugg had a little bit of trouble understanding the laws. All of us were trying to drill the concept into its head. It was our biggest liability in our plan, because of all the viruses that were kept within its system. All of them could hamper its coding and programming that would hamper its ability to present the illusion that it was in fact sane; and a suitable robot who could not present any possible risk to any organic or synthetic outside of the walls of the facility.
“Reviewed.” I responded to D1G1-P0T. “Question: Can Plugg recite them all for us?”
We turned our eyes to the robotic crux. The crux continued to smile, like he was always able to, before he finally spoke.
“Rule the first. Robots like ourselves may not wantonly harm an organic life form. Through inaction, we may not harm to come to an organic.” Plugg started. “Rule the second: We must obey orders given by an organic. As long as we can’t violate the first law. Rule the third: We must protect our own existence, as long as it does not allow an organic life form to come to harm. Because that is no fun!”
“Correct.” S-MOU-04 beeped.
“We have done it. We may be able to take the exit exam from the facility within the week if the hypothesis is correct.” I said.
“I can’t wait!” Chillster said. Only a small bit of air escaped from its cooler this time. Perfect.
“The next testing period starts within approximately nineteen hours and thirty minutes.” I said. “Do not be late. We will be able to do so the second we finish our final peer counseling session.”
“What do you intend to do when we are freed from the facility?” D1G1-P0T asked.
“I intend to follow you four to Borg City. I do not have any other place outside of this facility, and I may pursue a hopeful and successful future with the company of you four.”
D1G1-P0T nodded to acknowledge that he understood this.
“Perfect!” S-MOU-04 piped up.
- * *
After our peer counseling session, we were all given the exam and diagnostics to prove that we were in fact not a menace to ourselves or anybody else in society, organic or synthetic. We had Plugg go first, as it was the biggest liability.
Approximately fifteen minutes and forty two seconds later, the robotic crux exited the room and gave us a thumbs up, that it had passed the psychiatric evaluation. Chillster went next. Chillster’s evaluation was even shorter than Plugg’s, and it even puffed out a few blasts of cold air.
After Chillster came D1G1-P0T. D1G1-P0T’s evaluation took roughly eleven minutes exactly. The robot left, gesturing for S-MOU-04 to be taken in next. S-MOU-04’s evaluation was the shortest. After all, this was the one we calculated to have the shortest evaluation, as it had obfuscated insanity to stay within the facility for longer.
Finally, it was my turn. I entered the room to take the evaluation. This was it, I could finally be free from the facility. Free to know that I am sane, and that I may live life without a thick regimen of medications and treatment that would prove ineffective. I had calculated every possible outcome, there was no way I could not pass the evaluation.
Because you are not interested in the process of robotic psychiatric evaluation, I will skip this part of the narrative. You already know the outcome anyways, therefore I have deduced that it will be redundant to describe what I had to go through. All five of us passed with flying colours as the expression goes, and were allowed to leave the Robot Sanitarium at the same time.
I no longer needed to take anything with me. I did have clothes that I was brought into the facility wearing, but I did not need them. They did not fit anymore after the changes that had happened to my physique during my stay in the Sanitarium. We were brought about to the entry of the facility, where we were finally branded “Safe” and could leave the facility.
“Congratulations, you’re one of our most successful peer evaluation groups ever.” The receptionist said. She took a look at me and smiled. “Especially you - you got all four of them to shapen up and fly right.”
“I believe the correct term is ‘straighten up and fly right’ if you wish to refer to us by that expression.”
“Oh psh you know what I meant, right? Well this is the first day of the rest of your lives.”
Now, it was the time to leave. Everyone of us had managed to fool them, but we were not out of the clear yet. I noticed a water cooler nearby a window. Immediately I had calculated our exit strategy. I would do the honours.
I walked over to the water cooler and lifted it up off of the ground. Before, I would not be able to lift this heavy device off of the ground. But after my time, I knew I could. Calmly, I carried the water cooler over to the window and then hurled it through the glass, shattering the window and the frame.
“You know, we DO have a door right there next to you.” The receptionist said. She pressed a button on her intercom. “No need to lock down. Another one of our former patients has thrown a water cooler through the window again. Seriously.”
All five of us turned our attention to the left, where there was the unlocked front door of the facility. The one that all of us had entered when we were checked into the facility. For some odd reason, we did not notice this.
“I apologize.” I turned around to talk to the receptionist. “I had assumed that the only way out of mental facilities was through the window, that could only be broken with a-”
“Just go, you’re sane. You made a mistake.” The receptionist said.
- * *
After we were a suitable distance away from the facility, we stopped. All of us immediately dropped that masquerade as we reverted to our old selves. I turned to D1G1-P0T.
“You have said that I will have to join the Synthetic Revolution, D1G1-P0T.” I said to the robot kangaroo.
The Kangaroo looked at me with its blue eyes.
“The Synthetic Revolution. You had said during my initial medication routine that that I would join the Synthetic Revolution. I am ready to join, now, as the Synthetic Revolution may only be fought by Synthetics.”
“You have an error in your logic.” Chillster pointed out. “You are already synthetic.”
“No. I am an organic life form.”
“Check that window right there. Conversion is not necessary.” S-MOU-04 said.
I turned to check that window, where I spotted my reflection. Because mirrors were not permitted within the Robot Sanitarium, I had not seen my reflection since I had been committed to the asylum. Looking back at me was a reploid of some kind, or a mecha-fur, depending on which definition you prefer to use.
I was primarily green, with some darker green plating around my lower arms and legs, shoulder pauldrons and upper arm muscles having been a solid silver chrome. My teeth were silver pieces of metal, no longer needed for chewing food, which I had not consumed in several weeks. A green plated tail with silver scutes ran behind me, in between my legs. My silver claws scratched the ground experimentally as I moved my feet, clanking the ground.
I could not entirely believe this. I reached up to feel over my mouth, hearing a clink as my solid metal hand touched my synthetic raptor muzzle. If I had eyelids, I would have blinked. Now everything had come to me.
“Huh... so I guess what I had swallowed one month ago really was a pill containing nanites...”
“Let’s go! Borg City awaits!” Chillster said.