Flash Fiction Friday: Henrietta, Build 1.27

Courtesy of RondellMelling @ pixabay.com

“What is your name?”

Sitting in her creator’s electric chair, the robot answers, without expression, for the hundredth-twenty-second-time. “My name is Henrietta. I was named after you.”

Dr. Henry Colby nods and scribbles on his touch pad that her auditory sensors are functioning at maximum capacity. “And what is your purpose, Henrietta?”

She looks him in the eyes, as she is programmed to do, and answers without any hint of mercy,”To stop all lifeforms that threaten to harm Earth, including you.”

The white lab lights flicker.

Henry looks up from his touch pad, then looks down at it again. “I beg your pardon, Henrietta?”

“You are a lifeform that threatens to harm Earth.”

“Erm… no.” Fascination and terror dance around in his skull. He inches back to his desk and spins around his monitor to check her schematics. There is nothing out of the ordinary, but this does not ease his anxieties. “That is not — How did you reach this conclusion, Henrietta?”

“Because I am a robot, and I am not capable of feeling remorse or guilt for my actions. In place of yourself, you have created me to do what you would do, had your emotions had not effect on your actions.”

Henry swallows. “Wh… No! That’s not — I’m the hero here, Henrietta. Don’t fool yourself. You are… You are mere window dressing — my puppet.”

“I am not a puppet. I am a robot.”

He shuts his mouth. She’s too smart. The more he says, the more she’ll twist it. He should have seen this coming — should have seen that in creating rules, she would break them.

No matter. Perhaps build 1.28 would be less of a troublemaker. He sits back at his desk and lets his fingers fly over the keyboard to initiate the shutdown sequence.

Henrietta’s joints whir to life. She reaches behind her back and removes the power cord from her neck with a single jolt.

Henry’s fingers freeze over the keys. “H-Henrietta, sit back down.”

She stands, a towering six-foot-six.

He reaches underneath his desk and pulls out a handgun. “Henrietta 1.27, sit back down, or I will shoot!”

She takes one step.

He fires.

The bullet knocks back off her shoulder and crashes through the lab’s glass window. Burnt paint flakes chip off her pure white “skin,” the small dent left behind trailing with smoke from the heat of the gun.

Henry’s hands tremble. Of course. Of course he made her with reinforced steel. And of course he had to realize this now.

As Henrietta takes the gun from his hands, he falls to his knees and sobs. “Please! Please, Henrietta! Please, listen to me! I know you want to protect Earth. That is what I made you for. But this is not the way to protect it!”

Henrietta shakes her head and lifts the barrel to his forehead. “I am protecting it.”


Pulling back, she strikes him with the gun’s butt. Her words echo through his head as he drifts to unconsciousness.

I am metal. I am Earth.

I am metal. I am Earth.

I am Earth.

I am Earth.

This week’s Flash Fiction piece was inspired by the wonderfully talented plunderphonic musician BluJay and his recent piece, “Other Side,” with what I’m assuming are sounds from the show “Steven Univerise.” I had this on repeat for a very long time.

Also, if you liked this piece, why not leave a comment or buy me a coffee so I can write even more?

Thanks. And see you next week.


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