Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Food Courts

"They're not worth it," Myrna said. She put a hand on her husband's metal arm.

It vibrated beneath her hand because his tungsten carbide cutting blades had wound up.

"But they're sitting there staring at us," Mining Unit 1041 crackled. "We have rights."

"We do have rights," Myrna said. While she tried to soothe him with one hand, she moved their lunch around on the table with the other to limit any collateral damage. "We have the right to sit here and enjoy a nice afternoon at the mall. I have the right to finish my chicken salad sandwich and you have the right to enjoy a nice, spicy fuel cube."

"I'm not hungry anymore." Mining Unit 1041 pushed his lunch away and sliced through the table like a water jet bisecting a piece of soggy bread. The new edges of the table sagged from the heat.

Myrna picked their food up off the floor and walked it over to the trash bin. She passed the young man and young woman who had been staring at them. On her way back, she stopped.

"It is very rude to stare, point and laugh. My husband and I are in love."

"You're disgusting."

"Destroying family values."

"My husband and I have just as much right to be here as you do."

"Go suck a pipe." The young man made a very rude gesture at her.

Myrna froze. He had gestured like he was pulling a plug from the wall. She knew what triggered her husband. Mining Unit 1041's armored feet shook the entire foot court as he lunged towards the two young men.

"What did you say to my wife?!"

"Don't you come at us! Do you know who my father is?" The man and woman cowered behind a plant made out of less organic parts than their assailant.

"Do you know who my dad is?"

"His dad is Senator Maxwell!"

"That's right, Senator Maxwell!"

"Senator of the whole Pegasus-B planetary system!"

"Including the mining pits on the Qi planetoids where you belong!"

"And including this food court!"

"He'll have you disenfranchised!"

"Dismembered!"

"Disengaged!"

"It would be a shame to revoke my right to vote. I voted for Senator Maxwell. I'm pleased to meet you." Mining Unit 1041 extended one of his excavation pincers.

The young men took the hand. The pincers snapped shut. He yelped.

"That hurts!"

"I voted for Senator Maxwell because he supports the emancipation of mining robots like myself."

"Stop that! Your pincers are sharp!"

"I only wanted to get your attention." Mining Unit 1041 disengaged his pincer. He'd broken the skin. Except the hand didn't leak blood.

A bit of hydraulic fluid fountained out from the pressure then slowed to a trickle. The young man snapped his hand over the wound, but it was too late. His lady friend had seen it.

"You made a fool out of me!" she stormed away, miscalculated on the small flight of stairs edging the food court, and took a spill. She smashed her skull open on the railing. Her metallic skull gleamed in the high-intensity mall lighting.

"No, wait, it's okay!" the young man said. "It's okay if we're both robots!"

"No, it really isn't, because you snore in your sleep," said the robot woman, and she still broke his cold, mechanical heart when she walked away.

The Moral: robot or human, when at a food court do not dispose of the plastic trays or your protective outer layer

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