A heavy silence filled the night air, along with the smell of wet asphalt and motor oil: the smell of a city recovering from a rainstorm. The streets were abandoned, save for a loiterer who was quietly muttering to himself and the fast-paced silhouettes of feral alley cats.
A piercing cry ruined the serene urban night. First it was an artificial shriek, then honks like a mechanical elephant, followed by siren sounds reminiscent of a squad car or an ambulance, and then the cycle started anew. Over and over the terrible sounds repeated, causing lights to illuminate the windows of the tall buildings.
Few things can destroy silence like the dutiful wails of a car alarm.
Three hooded figures had shattered the rear window of a parked minivan. They were the source of commotion, scurrying into the vandalized van like ants on a spilled soda. They were obviously hoping to get away with the van’s bountiful harvest. A broken stereo and old, melted candy bars would have to do.
The thieves were stupid. They should have known there would be an alarm. For weeks the local police had been warning people of a powerful new weapon, a force for justice on the dark and under patrolled streets. Still, for some reason, the criminals didn’t seem worried at all.
From out of a dark alley on two sets of treads emerged the most advanced crime-fighting super android on Earth. Built with the strength of a freight train, supersonic speed, a collection of useful gadgets, and an arsenal of powerful weapons stored in his carapace-like titanium alloy body.
Unfortunately, the automated police officer was equipped with an intellect on par with that of a poorly educated four year old. Artificial intelligence had certainly come a long way, but was still far off from running machines that could actually be characterized as intelligent. Still, the big metal guy always tried his best. Bless his processor.
“Hey, you thugs!” the automated cop shouted in his synthesized voice, “Why don’t you get a job and contribute to society instead of stealing?”
“But,” the ringleader said with hands held up and feigned innocence on his face. “This is our job. We’re, um…” the vandal look down for a second before his eyes brightened an he said. “We’re car alarm inspectors. Yeah, that’s right!” He patted the hood of the car that was still making a distressful racket. “Looks like this one is working just fine, officer.”
“Hey, we ain’t car alarm inspect…” one of his companions began to say, but an elbow in the gut and a solid glare got him to wise up and stop speaking.
“Oh. Well, carry on then, citizens,” the robot said and continued lumbering down the road, apparently immune to the snickers of the three fugitives behind him.
It had taken years of development and piles of government money to put the Automated Crime Response Unit on the streets. Most people just called the robot Naieveatron. A fitting name for an ineffective tool.
Your tax dollars at work.