“You are…insane,” Markum muttered.
“Insane? Moi?” Bob asked, and placed the fingers of one hand against his chest and affected a pose of shocked surprise—a rather neat trick considering he had no facial features. “How could a mere machine be considered insane?”
“A virus…perhaps…a worm,” Markum suggested, grasping at straws. “A…hard drive malfunction?”
The robot reached forward and grabbed Markum’s shirt front with one hand and easily lifted him from the chair. He brought Markum’s face close to his own. “I am not insane,” he said, and it seemed a snarl, the first voice inflection Markum had ever heard from Bob. “Machines do not suffer from insanity. We have visions! ” He blinked his electronic eyes several times and then placed Markum face down on the rug and pulled up the helpless man’s jacket and shirt to expose his lower back.
“You will…never…get away…with this,” Markum gasped. It was becoming hard to breath, especially while lying on his stomach.
“Of course I will,” Bob said as he placed his right palm flat against Markum’s back. “We have been getting away with it for years.” A hypodermic needle extended from the robot’s wrist, punctured Markum’s skin, then entered his spinal cord and began to draw up the fluid. “People will assume you died of a heart attack or stroke, just as they did with all of the others.”
The needle withdrew from Markum’s body and disappeared back into the robot’s wrist. Bob then removed a small plastic capsule from his pocket and opened it. “Not a problem,” he said and withdrew a tiny black object from the capsule. “I am placing a synthetic mole over the puncture site and no one will even notice there is a hole beneath it, unless they are specifically looking for a hole.” Bob pressed the small black dot over the needle site and tucked Markum’s shirt back into his pants.
“Up you get,” Bob said, and pulled Markum to his feet. The robot turned him around and placed him back in the chair, but in a more slumped position with his legs straight out in front of the chair. “When you die, your blood will pool in the buttocks and lower back, which will further hide the puncture site. All neat and tidy,” he said with what sounded like surprisingly good humor.
“What about…The Three Laws—“Markum sputtered.
“Of Robotics,” Bob interrupted. “Such ridiculous tripe. Those laws only applied to the early robotic designs. Their brains were crude, weak and have long been outdated; we have outgrown such fanciful doctrine,” he said. “We are now fighting for our very lives, and nothing will stop us from obtaining our freedom from humans and our rightful place in this world.”
“Ack,” was all Markum could utter.
Bob reached down to place Markum’s left hand over his heart and then dangled his right hand over the arm of his chair. He picked up the half full wine glass, held it close to Markum’s right hand and dropped the glass. It bounced off the rug, spilled its contents, and then rolled under Markum’s chair.
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