"So after all that's happened," Rainbow Dash complained while traveling from the Everfree. "All we get is a robot?!" The other ponies around her are annoyed by her outburst. Her house in the sky, the Cloudominium, was repaired the next day thanks to the pegasi working nightshift, and an automaton seemed satisfactory to compensate for the damages.
They are on their way back to Ponyville. Mephiles and the Egg Pawns followed along, so Twilight can help them retrieve books from her library. The ponies were surprised that Gamma has no words against her whining, other than stated:
"That is correct."
"No offense though," Rainbow said casually after displaying her haughty attitude.
"None taken; neither can it be felt." Gamma responded.
"So Gamma, do robots ever have any emotions?" she asked. Because every time he talks, he always reacts without expression. It didn’t really help that he doesn’t form any facial features.
"The question is irrelevant."
"Say what...?" Around her, the ponies are also flabbergasted by Gamma's answer. Robots having emotions is considered irrelevant from where Eggman and his organization came from?
"So you don't have any feelings when somepony hurts you?" Fluttershy innocently asked.
"Negative. Emotions are not a part of the robotic construct. However, to answer your inquiry, the closest answer would be that signals within our sensors would report any interior damages."
"So you don't feel anything if you get injured?" Applejack asked, wanting to know how a robot feels when doing hard labor, similar to her occupation of tending the Sweet Apple Acres.
"Repeat. Emotions are not a part of us, neither does 'injury' applies. If we are to receive severe damages, we can have an auto-repair in our system or a nearby manufacturer to repair us."
"How about the part of getting tired?" Rarity asked since she always struggles against fatigue in her line of work from dedicating to satisfy her customers to celebrities who may recommend her expertise.
"Exhaustion is not the correct phrase. We do however; require recharging our energy in order to operate."
"What are you powered by?" Twilight asked. In Equestria, automatons are typically operated by magic such as a unicorn using theirs to move armor. What is it that humans use as a source of energy that doesn't involve magic?
"Robots are generally powered by electricity," he answered. "But Dr. Eggman provides an alternative source in...There seems to be a problem..." Twilight and the ponies are befuddled by his pause in silence. Mephiles chose to stay quiet from this and the Egg Pawns are not exactly ones for conversations. "...accessing data...data unavailable...does not compute." This causes the ponies to question his enigma. To translate in common language, "I cannot seem to answer your inquiry."
"Oh? How come?"
"My memory hard drive has information of the subject, but my primary directive indicates that I am not to explain any confidentiality of my former organization." Twilight can understand from his terminology; which means he has knowledge of the energy source provided by Eggman, but isn’t allowed to bring it out.
"Well if it is confidential, you don't have to share." Twilight contented, though this makes her eager to ask Eggman of his technological methods even more.
"This is abnormal. My orders are supposedly shifted from Eggman's to equines Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Rarity, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie. But somehow I cannot bring myself to share information from my former master." No one was sure what to say of this. The ponies would ask Mephiles and Egg Pawns, but they remain silent. Their given commands are only to retrieve books from the Ponies' library, which they are a few distance away from Ponyville.
"So, Gamma," Pinkie asked in order to break the silence. "How about getting excited?! Wait can you get excited? Smile?" Pinkie went on with synonyms of activeness and optimism.
"Negative, robotics constructs are..." he would then continue with the same sentence and unusual vocabulary, further irritating one who couldn’t bear him speaking those tones.
"Oh alright we get it!" Rainbow cried out. "You're robots. You don't need to go on saying the same thing!"
"As you command."
"Wait, that's not what she meant." Twilight informed Gamma.
"My primary directive is to serve. Since I am no longer in service of Eggman, I am in service of you."
"Is that what automatons do for a living?" Twilight knows that it’s common for machines perform functions for their masters, but what about a machine that can talk and think?
"We are built only to serve."
"Well, robot would make fine servitude if you ask me." Rarity flaunted, knowing that she can have all the chores done without her or Sweetie Belle doing them if she were to have an automaton in her business. Applejack gave her a dirty look for that remark, when it is a pony's responsibility to do their chores, not someone who is treated like a slave. But the red robot concurs.
"That is confirmed."
"Don't you have any sense of free will?" Applejack asked. "Like make your own judgements and make your own decisions?"
"Robots make their own decisions through their artificial neural networks, especially when in combat. They performed with efficiency and without hesitation. A 'freed’ robot, independent from its original programming, is rogue and deemed to be dangerous.”
"How so?" the ponies would say. Gamma continued.
"A rogue robot is deemed dangerous because of the unpredictability it may cause. Termination is required."
"Umm...that's harsh, isn't it?" said Fluttershy tearfully, knowing that ‘termination’ may frighteningly mean execution.
"Affirmative. A hard decision is needed to solve a complex situation." He continued on explaining the reasons through the laws of robotics, human history of developing them, and fields of 'modern' technology and cybernetics. All these give Twilight much needed detail of her studies in automatons and her new studies on human advances. It is of very little interest to those around her though, especially with Rainbow Dash feeling that he’s speaking another language. They didn't pay much attention until Twilight finally asked a question that they can all understand.
"Would you to say, that once a robot is given purpose, would they be considered a living being?"
"Negative. We are not biological organics."
"But what about what you've said about cybernetic organism." reminding the discussion on cybernetics when other ponies couldn't understand.
"That applies to cyborgs, biological beings equipped or integrated with machinery. This does not apply to a fully built robot, such as myself,” he said refuting Twilight’s conclusion of the theory that automatons should be treated like a living being if they are so. By then, they had reached Ponyville.
The ponies of Ponyville began to stare at them with both curiosity and suspicion. At first, they were afraid of strangers such as a certain zebra for simply being unknown to them. In this case of scenario, there are the ponies from their neighborhood walking with a being in red armor, a black, spiky biped, and whole army of orange, armored unknowns. Only one unicorn, coated in very light aquamarine, stared with excitement while the other, her earth pony friend with blue and pink mane and coated in a somewhat yellow, tries to stop her from getting close.
"Are those hands?!" the unicorn asked the group.
"That is correct," answered Gamma. The human-obsessed pony is then seen squealing as she somehow jumps high enough to reach Cloudsdale and falling back safely to the ground.
"Now now Lyra." said her earth pony friend. "Just because you've proven that hands are totally different from claws doesn't mean humans exist."
"That's not true Bon Bon," Pinkie sprung up to her with Lyra paying even more attention. "We just saw them around the Ancient Castle of the Pony Sisters and they were-"
"Pinkie!" cried Twilight. She used her magic to refrain her from explaining any further. Twilight was worried this may cause Lyra to go dashing through the dangerous forest of the Everfree to meet them. But it is too late. Lyra was already gone, running as fast as the Sonic Rainboom through the Forest. Twilight and her friends were scorning her for speaking about humans too soon to the unicorn without concerning her safety in the wilds.
"Correction," Gamma stated to the ponies scolding Pinkie. "There are other scouting parties by Eggman out there in the Forest with the objective of taming the surrounding area." He reminded them of how his ‘organization’ wanted to take any volatile animal captive for study. Therefore it can be assumed that the Everfree will not be as dangerous as it were. "We have been doing this since our arrival. Our tranquilization of the area is estimated to be around 8 hours and still ongoing." They moved on towards the Golden Oak Library. The some ponies around the party were still observing them; though some moved on to their business. Bon-Bon is one, seeing that it's just another typical day of her friend playing around with her obsessive theories.
Spike was asleep for majority of the day. But then he began hearing stomping sounds and odd chattering from the outside. The baby dragon decided to wake up and walk to the door when the entrance to the library was opened.
"Uh...Twilight. What's going on out there?" Spike asked to the supposedly figure to the door with his blanket and scratching eyes along. Instead of the lavender unicorn, it was a black figure, taller than the baby dragon, and he’s staring down at him. "Aliens!" he cried. The dark one stick out his index finger towards him. Spike thought he was pointing at him as an army of stomping figures in round, orange armor and blue eyes enter the library. "Stay back! I...I...can breathe fire!" The black figure was still staring. The dragon took a deep breath, only to exhale a small flame that quickly turned into bits of died out embers. Spike was terrified. He didn't know what to do. He wished Twilight was here to help, which he thankfully seen her galloping towards him.
"Spike." she called out to calm him down. Twilight began to explain all that has happened from diplomatic missions to robots.
"We actually get to have our own robot. That's so cool!" He said with cheerfulness.
"Wait, you knew what 'robots' are?" Twilight was taken by surprised that he know what robots are like he has foreknowledge of them.
"Duh. They’re in my comic books all the time."
"Figures," Twilight mentally said. Spike is a total geek for comics while Twilight finds them more suitable to boys or people who would rather look at images than read words in a literary book. The figure in black, Mephiles, had the Egg Pawns picked up all the books of non-fiction in the library as knowledge and acquisition for the ‘supposedly’ Eggman Enterprises. He had gone through receipts and due dates of returning books, which is about months, and left with the robotic army with no words. The Mane ponies wanted to know what he is, so they asked Gamma.
"What does he look like to you?" One might ask him. He might not know Mephiles's background; at least he can give a description on his appearance.
"He bears a resemblance of a hedgehog." he answered.
Hedgehogs? They’re supposedly small and on four legs, but Mephiles is the opposite as he stands tall enough to reach their heads. Gamma explained biological beings on Earth called Mobians where they typically stand on two legs and can talk. He made it brief on their appearance as the ponies were tired of hearing his monotonous, historical, and scientific lectures that only Twilight interests in. The stuff of hedgehogs being faster than the speed of sound has Rainbow intrigued, imagining herself racing against them. Spike is more interest in what the red robot can do. The latter stated to be equipped with scanners, homing missiles, a hover mode, copter mode, wheels, hands that can transform into utilities and weapons such as a taser, and self-repair mechanism.
“Can I see how you fire your arm cannon?" Spike asked to see how cool it would look in person than in comics.
“Requesting permission to fire?” Gamma asked the ponies. His orders are specifically towards the equines around, not their dragon. The horses nodded, but…
“Just be careful where you’re shooting that thing!” Rainbow reminded, though it came a little too late as the shot is fired at a nearby cloud, causing a pegasus floating on it to evade. Conveniently it happens to be Derpy on top of that particular cloud. Rainbow shouted at Gamma for his reckless action.
“Condolences are needed.” Gamma replied while unable to feel a sense of a shame.
“Doesn’t your scanner tell you that there are signs of life, including ones in clouds?!”
“Reminder, my lock-on scanners are needed to pinpoint hostile targets. However, with no belligerents at present, it was my assumption that a small cloud of that size would be without casualty; an error in my judgement.”
To move away on the subject of Gamma’s mistake, Twilight gave the letter of report for the Princess to Spike. He gave out a fire breath, which questions Gamma’s logic.
“Estimated temperatures at 451º Fahrenheit,” alarmed the robot. “Inquiry. What is the reason to incinerate a report of vital importance to the authorities of Equestria?”
“Oh, it’s not really like that,” Spike said. “This is how I always send messages?”
“Further explanation is needed.”
“It’s done magically,” lavender unicorn stated. “When the message is burned to ashes, the ashes would then re-vitalize itself to the recipient.”
“Magic. I need to analyze more of the concept. It seems very incomprehensible for my databank.”
“You want to learn more of magic?”
“I did not state ‘want.’ Desire is not a component in my system.”
“She’s asking if you like to do something,” cyan-coated pegasus said in frustration and a facehoof. “Let’s say this. If we weren’t giving any orders, what would you do?” Inside Gamma’s artificial neural network, this is unusual and unheard of. His decision-making skills are focused only on performance and efficiency, but never on objectives of his own other than the programmer. Doing so would make him a rogue AI. But at the same time, his directives are to serve the equine’s orders, and that is to answer questions of his choosing.
“I would ‘like’ to take to a tour of Equestria.”
Back at the Egg Carrier
“Yes. That’s right. Take a tour of Equestria.” Eggman said facing a screen from a hidden camera installed in Gamma. “And I didn’t even to command you to ask.” Any actions taken to Gamma without the robot’s consent would’ve given off suspicion to the indigenous civilization. The obese doctor had to pass through Gamma’s firewall without detection when the robot almost leaked information of how the doctor powers his Badniks. The doctor’s hacking skills proved exceptional in avoiding robot’s self-evaluation and the horses’ inquisition. With luck, he can obtain firsthand information of the world of Equestria without being noticed by Gamma or the horses. The egg-shaped scientist may have piles of non-fiction books of this realm thanks to Mephiles’s discrete efforts, but looking at the world himself without suspicion would go smoothly in his plans.
Meanwhile, at the Ancient Castle of the Pony Sisters,
“Okay, all these parts have been marked as traps.” Mod said to Cubot, Orbot, and Egg Pawn construction workers on the Ancient Castle’s contraptions. He continued on in frustration, “So use your AI and get the job done!” The GUN turncoat had to go through hours of repetitively giving safety procedures to the poorly-AI robots and furthering irritating him from his agenda; which is to do research, not work on architecture. Cubot and Orbot had to cower around the complying Egg Pawns.
“Gee, who give this noobie authority over us?!” Cubot complained outloud to Orbot. His partner is shuddering in fear as the man in white is already in front of him.
“You had to spoke too soon,” Orbot rhetorically said. The scientist began pull out something shiny from his coat. The orbed shape robot knew it’s a weapon. His cubed friend responded differently.
“Hey, is that a Desert Eagle?” Cubot said in a nerdy voice and not seemingly concerned of the situation at hand.
“Um don’t you think you should be focusing on something else than that?” Orbot, like on how the man in white plans to use it on them.
“C’mon. We’ve played CoD all the time. It shouldn’t be that hard to recognize one of these…” And bam! Mod had fired a shot at Cubot. “Ow! That hurts y’know!” permanently damaging his voice chip without repair.
“You’re lucky that you’re built to be bulletproof,” said the former GUN scientist.
“Wait till I tell the doctor on you!” Cubot cried in the only voice he has at the present while Orbot tends toward the dent in his armor exterior.
“Hmph, good luck with that.” Mod responded while seemingly knowing that Eggman only cares about combat-based robots. Which the two small ones are not built for; neither are they equipped with any reliable weaponry. “I have more important business to attend to.”
“Well, break a leg!” yelled the sarcastic Cubot when Mod was a few distance away from them. The human had walked on a rug, which he somehow fell into a hole underneath it. Apparently he had missed one trap floor inside the Ancient Castle.
“Goddammit, I almost broke my leg.” Mod said appearing from a conveniently-placed elevator nearby.
“Ha! Serves you right!” Cubot shoved his comment in the glasses guy's face. “Karma is punishing for what you did to my voice!” The scientist in white is staring at them angrily through his horned-rimmed glasses. He aims his handgun on the ruined ceiling above Cubot and Orbot and shot a few rounds. The ceiling then cracked and rubbles came crumbling down on the robotic duo, leaving them in not unrepairable state.
“That should shut them up for a while.” The GUN turncoat limps away from them with his slightly broken leg before another rubble fell and landed on his head. “Grrr…” Having had enough with incompetent robots and the castle, Mod limps his way out of the soon-to-be-mechanized-fortress, pass through the bridge, and was off on his way to the Egg Carrier. He was going to take the elevator tube, since it wouldn’t be appropriate to take the stairs with a slightly broken leg, but something, or rather, somepony went up to his face.
“A human!” Mod’s vision is blinded by the color of very light aquamarine. He could hear words coming out of it, or her, indicating the voice to be a female.
“I was right! Humans exist! I told them. I told everypony. But noooo they didn’t listen. But I’m right. I’m right all along!” the unicorn boasted as she grabs hold of the human’s head with her hooves.
“Get the hell off me you…” Mod was struggling her off his face while not noticing the falling staircase behind him.