Written by : Socks the Catt (under another nickname)
©2002 Socks Furrotica Press, All rights reserved
The meeting of the scientists was held amid some sense of urgency. Jim knew it was only a matter of time before someone leaked out he had a robot dog. Not to mention that the thief was after a specific data disk and the thieves allowed themselves to be killed rather than captured. The debate was hard and furious between them all.
Who was the thief? What did they want with that disk? Were they interested in stealing the information or keeping it away from them? They didn't know, but they all knew they had to do something and fast. The group of men spent the whole night talking, arguing, and making decisions.
Finally they decided on a plan of action. Nobody was totally happy with it, but it would allow them to keep a lid on things long enough for them to do enough damage control and protect their creations. Each scientist was to return home and program at least one SU robot to guard their computer information at all times. Meanwhile, Jim had to make a phone call the next morning.
"Hello, this is Jim Wallword. You were at my home the other night."
"The burglary with the dog?" The detective laughed. "I was wondering if you'd call me back. Everything good down there?"
"Yes, all good." Jim said. "I've talked to the others involved in making K9 and we've decided that we can show him to your superiors on the understanding that he's just a prototype."
"Sure! When's good for you?"
A few days later K9 was brought down to a station. He turned many heads as he walked a blue German Sheppard down the hall without a leash. They met with the detective, as well as many officers. Jim gave a quick show of the features built into the cyber dog, mentioning that he was built with home security in mind. The police officials nodded their collective heads, and listened intently. Finally, a man leaned forward.
"And this dog is legal?"
K9 answered, chapter and verse, the city ordinances and laws that were applicable to his own creation and use as home security. Including the legality of his carboglass teeth and claws, as well as the offensive bean-bag weapon he carried. The man sat back in his chair.
"What do you know. A talking dog." The group laughed at the punch line. "Mind if we talk to it?"
Jim nodded. "Go ahead. His name is K9."
"Ok K9. Who am I?"
"Chief of the department."
"How do you know that?"
"Your uniform, as well as your nametag Sir."
The chief looked at his nametag. "It can see that?" Jim nodded. "Ok. Tell me what happened the other night when that man broke in." K9 then repeated it's report, exactly as he had for the officers on duty that night. "If he had a gun, what would you have done?"
"Depending on caliber and threat to my owner disarm the suspect." K9 said.
"How do we know this thing isn't just spiting out what we want to hear?"
"You could break into my house and find out." Jim said. His line was returned with sour faces. "Or not. I programmed him to meet force to force, like the law says. He's perfectly legal for me to own, and he knows how far he's allowed to go on my property in pursuit of a thief."
The chief looked at K9. "Well, you do realize that his use of force may have been a little too much. The man he shot has a broken hip bone."
"He's still in the R&D stage." Jim said. "He understands force on force, but I don't think he understands the idea of minimal force yet."
"I apologize for that error in judgment, I have learned from it, and will not make the same error in the future."
Another man leaned forward. "I know Detective McGowan asked you if you could make more of these robots. You never really answered him. Can you?"
"I talked to my partners in this venture." Jim said. "We think we can, but it's not as simple as getting some circuit boards and slapping them into a body form."
"I'd be interested in testing this unit to see what it can do. If it could work out I'd like to get something like this and put it on the force." he said. "I'm the head of the K-9 division, and a device like this would be invaluable to us."
Jim looked at K9. He remembered that Roy was still inside there, somewhere, and didn't want him to get destroyed or damaged beyond repair. "What does testing involve? You're not going to shoot him with handguns, are you?"
The man laughed a little. "No, just put him through the same training we put our regular dogs through, to see what he can do. I can promise you we won't damage it in any way if you're willing to let us try it out."
Jim looked at K9, eyeball to visor. "K9. Would you like to do that?" He needed K9 to make this decision.
K9 ran the question in his processors. It took him many seconds to formulate an answer based on his programming. "My purpose is to serve for the better good, Sir. Such an assignment will fill that purpose."
Jim looked up to the officers around the table. "There you go. I guess when do we start?"
The police trials lasted for a few months. K9 ran flawlessly through all of the tests normally meant for regular K-9 dogs. His knowledge of the laws was extraordinary, and proved to be invaluable as a partner. K9 almost failed one test, until he pointed out to the instructors that his carboglass teeth would rend the padded arm-protector to ribbons if he did indeed bite down on it. His ability to reason and learn through some trial and error how much force was enough had convinced many officers that a robot dog would not be a bad addition.
On one day of testing the police handler took K9 through his paces. The officer knelt down to the robot and played with his muzzle. "You need a better name." he said.
"My name is K9."
"Yeah." the officer looked into the chrome visor of the robot. "But the unit is a K-9 unit, and if we all call you K9 we're going to get confused, right?" K9 tilted his head to the side, then nodded. "How about…. Astro?"
K9 considered the request. Master had told him to do as the officers requested within reason. The officer's argument was logical, it would be confusing for some humans to have K9 the dog an K-9 the police unit. K9 also noted the casual nature of many officers, nicknames were common for their canine companions. "If you wish to call me that I will respond to it for you."
"Astro it is." Officer Hill patted the robot dog on the head. "Fits you well!"
Even before the tests were complete the department placed it's recommendation to implement as many of these dogs as possible. The department heads met with Jim and a few of his 'friends' to talk about having cyber dogs made.
That's when they lowered the boom on the police department heads. Jim, Tom, and a few of the scientists showed the department heads a video of selected moments from Roy's transformation into K9. The officers watched the tape in amazement, and finally one looked at K9. "You were a person?"
K9 thought about it for a moment. "I have no data on that. I came to awareness as you see me now."
"That can't be legal."
"It is." Tom said. "Consent was given multiple times, and it will hold up in court. This is no different than having tattoos or body piercing."
The officers looked amongst each other. "That would explain Astro's intelligence."
Jim looked at the officer. "Astro?"
"They called me Astro in the trials, Sir." K9 said. "It was to avoid confusion for K-9 unit and my name." Jim nodded, K9's upgraded processors took to this unexpected twist well.
"This is just wrong." the K-9 officer said. "It's unethical, borderline legal, and probably against some kind of convention."
"But yet you and the others gave glowing reviews of it's performance." a city official said.
"That's before we knew this thing is a person!" the K-9 officer said.
"If he was a person, would you want him in your squad?" asked the city official. The K-9 officer looked beaten, because they already knew the answer. In a heartbeat they'd want 'Astro' in the cars. But they all knew it wasn't going to be an easy sell to anyone.
All the officers looked at each other. "It seems we have a dilemma!" the chief finally said. "On one hand we could really use something like that, on the other the process requires a person, doesn't it?" Jim nodded. "So what do we do? Ask for volunteers?"
Tom cleared his throat. "In a matter of speaking, you can."
Vince sat on death row. His appeals were exhausted, and his days were numbered. He was guilty, and he knew he was about to die. That's when someone came to his cell door. It was a police officer. "We'd like to talk to you about your sentence."
Two weeks to the day Vince was strapped onto the table of the prison death chamber. The curtain was opened, they performed several injections, and Vincent exhaled a final breath. The curtains were closed, and the media wrote another death penalty served.
Vince's was quickly transferred to a gurney and wheeled into another room. K9 was next to Jim and Tom as they strapped Vincent to the sides of a padded table. It wouldn't be long before the nanomachines would kick start his system back to life. They secured his restraints as Vincent's eyes shot open and he took in a deep breath.
Behind the one way glass several officers watched the proceedings. Vince watched as his clothing was cut away, and his limbs were hung in a position like Roy's were so many years ago. Vincent looked at K9. "I'm gonna be like that now?"
"Yes Vincent." Tom said. "We need you to relax a little. The second dose of nanites will be entering your system shortly."
Behind the glass the chief leaned over to one of the scientists with Jim. "In the video you showed us the man on the table had something up his rectum and on his… ummm…" the scientist nodded to save him the embarrassment. "Why doesn’t he have them on him?"
"Because we're not saving his sex organs." the scientist said. "It's not in the specs." The chief nodded.
Vincent laid back on the table as Tom and Jim tapped away at the keyboard. After thirty minutes they looked up. Vincent had a smile on his face, figuring he cheated death. "Ready?"
"I was born ready!" Vincent said. Tom threw the switch, flooding Vincent with nanomachines. Vincent's body convulsed wildly, the machines switching to life inside his body. But he never cried out in pain.
"You're killing him!" an officer said.
"No, that's normal. He can't feel a thing. Look at his face." They did, and Vincent's grin was unmistakable. His eyes began to gloss over as his mind began to break and disintegrate to the will of the machine.
"Are we sure about this guys?" one city official asked.
"It's a little late for cold feet, Councilman." one of the core group said. "Besides, justice is done."
K9 watched intently from behind the console. He had no memory of his creation, but Master never kept it a secret from him. He was fascinated to see how he came into being.
Vincent's brain was being integrated into the circuitry. He would have laughed if he was physically able, but the nanomachines in his system paralyzed him. He could play this game. Go along with being some kind of experiment, he was about to live forever anyway! He could escape from any prison, and this wouldn't be different. Then he felt something happen, he couldn't remember things. Last meal? What was he wearing when he came in? Who were his family?
From inside he suddenly realized that his transformation was not going to be an escape. His sentence was death, his mind was being erased, he really was about to die. Somewhere in the back of his mind he screamed in terror. He begged whatever god would answer him for some kind of forgiveness for what he had done to that family. He swore he was sorry. He would never do… do… do something… why was he… worried…
His mind went blank, the circuitry now completely in place. Jim looked onto the board. "We're a go for upload." Tom flipped a switch and Vincent's body relaxed as the upload of information began.
A few hours later K9 was still watching the monitors. He looked up to see another materials injection into what was Vincent earlier that morning. His face had taken a metallic canine appearance. His new skin was white and blue, police colors. His blue chrome optical visor was forming over his muzzle, and his flesh began to be absorbed, exposing the myomar cables which covered the pistons of his hind legs.
K9 watched with his unblinking eyes. Master told him not to get too close, but he could see on a molecular level what was happening. K9 watched as the new K-9 unit was twitching slightly, his new form being molded under him.
After seven hours, the new unit was completed. It's paint job looked like a police squad car. It was missing some of the features from the original K9, but it was meant as a beat cop companion, not as home security. Beyond the look, this unit was also fitted an internal light bar, like a police car. His framework was heavier to resist bullets, and his weapon was interchangeable from less than lethal to fully lethal, but the new unit was complete. Jim walked over to the cyber dog, unlocked the restraints and brought it's paws down so it was laying on it's side. He returned to the table, put down his safety glasses and looked through the glass. "I need the head of K-9 now."
The department head went through the door and over to Jim. Jim handed him the triggering mechanism. "Place this under his muzzle." He knelt down next to K9, and pointed out the spot. "Right here. When he activates he will ask who his handler is. You must tell him that it is you, and state your name as Officer Michael. He will bond with you, and become loyal to you."
"How do I know Vincent is really dead in there?"
"Trust me. I know. K9 wasn't always named K9." Jim said, standing back up. "Look, if I'm wrong I'm going to be arrested for accessory to murder. Trust me."
Michael took in a deep breath. His heart beating hard, he approached the table. He held the trigger to the dog's neck, and looked up to Jim. Jim nodded and gave a thumbs up. Michael pulled the trigger.
The visor glowed with a hazy blue, and the robot dog jerked it's neck slightly. A hum could be heard, and it reached an inaudible tone. The robot moved it's head around to face the officer at the side of the awakening table. "Unit… K-Nine-Zero Two… online. Who is my handler?"
"I am Captain Michael Stevenson. Your handler" the officer said.
"Good evening Captain… Stevenson." K-9-02 said. "I am ready to serve and protect you and this city."
From behind the glass, one of the officers looked at the robot dog on the table. "Yep. Vincent is dead. He would never say that."
Unit K-9-02 was nicknamed "Hill Street" by the other officers. He flew through the dog training course just as K9 did. Captain Stevenson became convinced that "Hill Street" was ready for street service. The press got wind of this, and began to swarm over this new technological wonder. Several crews filmed the latter stages of his 'training' in amazement.
Captain Stevenson approached Jim and asked if "Astro" could be present at commencement. Jim said yes, but Captain Stevenson wasn't finished. He presented K9 with a badge as the city's first cybernetic dog, ready for service. "Hill Street" received the second.
Jim ducked the media and left word that a formal press announcement would be made later. He contacted the circle of scientists to make sure everything was in place. The patent was filed, they had the rights, they had the process, and they found the perfect spokesman for their new police technology.
A few days later "Hill Street" and K9 appeared with Jim, Tom and Captain Stevenson, to announce that their cyber dog was ready for field trials. Jim smiled when he saw the highlights. The thieves who tried to steal the CD couldn't touch it now even if they had the disk. And the process to making Submissive Units was still under wraps. The scientists toasted their success that night, and made future plans.
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