Saturday, 21 March 2009

A Faithful Droid's Demise

TD-19 was a simple protocol droid, or at least that was what it liked to call itself. In truth, its owner had programmed some assassination protocols into its system, thus upgrading TD-19 to a protocol droid slash assassin droid slash bodyguard. Its behavior core had not been modified to accept these changes, however, and it found itself trying to ignore its potential for violence.

Unless, of course, certain situations prompted the protocols. In those instances the normal protocol routines were overridden and Teedee -- as its master sometimes called the droid -- found itself voicing threatening language and periodically damaging organic beings who unwisely ignored its warnings. It found itself making apologies for its violence afterwards, which did not make any difference because mostly the organic beings were by then very much unable to do anything.

It often wondered why organics could not be repaired after being torn into pieces.

Right now, a female organic was trying to gain entry into the room Teedee guarded the door for. Its instructions were clear, however; no-one was to enter the room until its master told it otherwise.

"Please step aside," the woman repeated, "so I can enter."

Obviously she had not been informed of this order, so Teedee shared the information. "Negative. All access to this room is forbidden at this point." When it realised she would not be on her way, it added, "please wait for guards to detain you."

It silently attempted to establish a connection to the Senate main computer, but there seemed to be no answer. It would try again in 30 seconds.

"Look, I really --"

She did not give up, despite Teedee's very clear explanation. Perhaps a warning was in place.

"Repeat: Please wait for guards to detain you. If you resist detention, you will be painfully and bloodily executed." Shocked by its own words -- as much as any droid could experience being 'shocked' -- Teedee wondered just how much those assassination protocols had influence over its standard programming.

Thankfully, its words seemed to have their effect on the trespassing human, for she appeared to be hesitating. Teedee tried to avoid violence whenever possible, for each conflict was potentially threatening to its functionality. Not that such a thing had ever happened.

Main computer still did not reply. Perhaps the transmitter was broken? System check revealed a non-functional transmitter -- in fact, it was not there. It must have been removed during the last routine maintenance, earlier today. As soon as its master arrived, Teedee would inform him of the missing component.

The woman seemed to come to a decision, and reached for something. Teedee's scanners identified it as a lightsaber. The information Teedee had on this weapon stated clearly that its wielders were either Jedi or Sith, and were extremely dangerous.

Teedee's assassination protocols took over at this point, although the protocol functionality insisted on warning the human of the risk she took.

"Repeat: If you resist detention, you will be executed."

Unphased, the woman uttered, "yeah yeah, I know. Try me," and attempted to damage the droid's head with her weapon and missed. Teedee had anticipated her move, being on full battle mode now, and easily stepped away from the blade while producing its own weapons. It immediately fired a round with its fully loaded DC-15S and DC-17m blasters, which the human had trouble deflecting in the narrow hallway.

"Perceived hostility. Painful and bloody execution is imminent," the droid heard itself say. Who had created those protocols? Why did Teedee have to imply the nature of the already uncomfortable execution?

Protocol dictated that Teedee alerted the main computer, realising only microseconds later that it could not.

Calculating the best strategy for immobilising its enemy, Teedee ventured closer. Having no mechanic reflexes, the human was slower to react to hostilities. Also, her defence seemed to be slightly vulnerable on the left side. Teedee planned to make a faint to her right, then aim at her left foot with its other blaster.

Teedee had barely begun shooting before the woman had deflected its shots. She appeared to have become much quicker than before, becoming a blur of motion that Teedee could barely follow with its droid sensors.

One of the deflected shots found its way to a photoreceptor, and Teedee had only half the visual information. This had an immediate effect on its aim, and only after several microseconds did the droid aim correctly at the human again.

However, the woman was closer than it has estimated and rather quickly, Teedee's sight was taken entirely. Elsewhere in its circuitry, the left arm ceased to provide input.

Its head and arm were gone.

"Perceived criminal action," Teedee found itself saying; "damaging a government-owned droid." Quickly Teedee ran a check through its files on intergalactic law and the respective punishments for each offence. "Penalty: Compensation through loss of offender's comparable parts."

It tried to hit the woman's arm, but with no visual information, the effort was useless. "Please wait while your left arm and your head are removed, then wait for guards to detain--"

The voice modulator was damaged suddenly. Alarms went off as various circuits stopped replying. Connections were lost with the right arm, the left foot, the left leg -- the signal that informed Teedee it had fallen to the side was just one of many alarms as the droid lost control of one system after another.

Belatedly, it realised that the only one who could have removed its transmitter was its master. He must have planned something like this to happen, although for what purpose Teedee did not know.

Teedee did not want to disobey its orders, though, so it kept trying to fight--

Suddenly, the military protocols were inactive. The only part of the droid that still had any sense, the protocol part, realised its only chance was to move away from the rampaging human. It did not, however, realise that the direction it chose for retreat was, in fact, right towards the woman.

A crush of her boot destroyed the last piece of circuitry, and TD-19 was no more.

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