So You're Fighting A Robot From The Future
What's the problem?
A robot from the future is trying to murder me!
OK, there are a lot of things to unpack there. First, how are you sure it's a robot trying to murder you? Could it actually be a man in disguise?
No, it's definitely a robot.
OK. Is the robot a metaphor? Like, does it represent the cold, mechanical indifference of the world? Is that what's trying to murder you?
No, it is an actual physical robot, which is actually physically trying to murder me.
It could still represent indifference.
CRUSH. KILL. REPRESENT CIVILIZATION'S HUBRIS AND DECLINE. CRUSH. KILL. REP--
Perhaps. But it's the non-metaphorical aspects of this murder which concern me the most.
OK, let me turn to the page for non-metaphors, then. Let's see. Are you sure it's not a robot from the present? We've got those, and I'm sure you've angered them in some way.
How can I tell if it's from the present or not?
Is it picking up dust as it travels?
It's not a Roomba.
Did you say that with a bit of an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent?
I did a bit, yes. Dammit.
OK. But you understand my concern here. You say "I'm getting murdered by a robot," and I'm hearing, "My dick's stuck in a Roomba."
I'm not fucking a Roomba. I'm being hunted by a metal monstrosity covered in a sick facsimile of human flesh.
Yeah, that does sound like a robot from the future. Or at least, something from the future. A teen, perhaps. Still, I don't know ...
What's so hard to believe about that?
If time travel is invented at some point in the future, and reliable enough to be used for you-murdering, it would probably be reliable enough for a lot of things. Like traveling back into the past to speculate on the stock market.
If one person could do that once, then eventually, multiple people could do it. Jumping around to as many points in history as they needed to to buy and sell things at a profit.
"Let's get down to busi-- I'm done."
Still not seeing a problem.
Our stock market works on supply and demand. A stock is "cheap" because people don't want to buy it. If a few hundred thousand time travelers all showed up trying to buy it, they'd find the stock wasn't cheap any more. Supply would perfectly meet demand and our stock market would be completely flat. No ups or downs.
What does that mean for me?
Because we don't see that in our stock market, it implies time travel does not exist, and never could. This robot hasn't been sent from the future at all. It's been sent from another time. The present, let's say.
I don't think we have flesh-covered skeletons in the present.
I'm sure Disney's working on something. The only other explanation is that there is time travel, but we exist in some kind of temporal nature habitat. A zoo where the sweaty assholes of our era can trade stocks with each other without being interfered with by time travelers.
That actually sounds more likely.
It would explain why we have so many sweaty assholes. OK then, let's run with future robot. See where it takes us. Can you guess why this robot is trying to murder you? Have you done anything notable?
Kind of the exact opposite. Maybe I will do something? Lead the resistance or somesuch. Maybe the robots rise up to overthrow us and I bravely fight back against them.
Sounds a little trite. Maybe you just slept with a robot lord's daughter.
"UNIT 4K-201 CODE NAME: REBECCA IS NOT FOR YOUR KIND, HU-MON."
Again, I'm not especially interested in fucking robots.
Give it time. OK, then. Let's try saving you.
Do you have a small gun with you?
Let's try using that, then. Shoot it at the robot several times.
POW POW POW POW POW.
How'd that go?
Hang on. POW POW POW POW POW.
Did it topple over? Did it expire?
No, it's still relentlessly pursuing me.
Hmm. Do you have a larger gun?
Yes, of course.
Let's shoot that at the robot several times.
BOOM BOOM BOOM.
It slowed down a bit, but not much. It's still coming.
I was worried about that. OK, you're going to need to teach it to love.
Stop trying to get me to fuck robots.
That wasn't what I actually intended here. The robot views you as an object now; something to be removed from existence. You need the robot to view you as something more than an object. You need the robot to treat you as a peer.
So I ...
Do the robot.
Stop trying to get me to fuck robots.
No, the dance. The robot dance. Dance like a robot.
Dance like no one's watching because they've all turned their heads in disgust.
Is it working?
The robot has stopped.
It's reconfiguring itself to view you as a peer.
What do I do now?
Is there a metal foundry nearby?
Dance your way over to it. Is it following you?
It's just standing there.
Dance more seductively.
Now it's following me.
Boogie your way up to the edge of one of those big vats of molten metal.
Is that safe?
Are you still there?
Yeah. I'm just ... I'll just dance up to this vat of molten metal then.
They should really put a fence or something around these things.
Great! Now, using the power of dance, seduce the robot into plunging into the molten liquid.
He's not going for it.
No. He's looking at me funny.
He's computing! Oh shit! He's going to figure out your ruse!
What should I do?
Keep dancing. Wait! A paradox!
A statement which is inherently contradictory. A robot's mechanical mind can't handle such things.
What do I do?
Stop dancing! Then yell out, "THIS STATEMENT IS FALSE!"
Nothing. I just got a headache.
What is it?
YOU WERE THE KILLER ROBOT ALL ALONG.
You got a headache right after I told you the paradox.
No! Maybe I'm just dumb!
You're a killer robot and this robot was sent back in time to protect whoever it was you're going to kill.
I'm not trying to kill anyone!
You're trying to kill that robot.
YOU TOLD ME TO. OH GOD.
Is the good killer robot killing you? Is it protecting the future?
IT'S LUNGING OUT AT ME.
I'M FALLING. AHHHHHH.
So long, chump real killer robot.
Wait. It grabbed me. It saved me!
It's handing me a note.
What a quaint touch.
The note's in my own handwriting! It says that I sent this robot back in time to protect myself!
From the voices in my head which give me advice.
Like it's my fault that you're dancing on the edge of a vat of molten metal.
It is precisely your fault that happened.
I guess so. Well, congratulations on completing this advice guide. You are now no longer being hunted by a killer robot from the future. Should you desire any future advice, please consult our guide So You're Sexually Attracted To The Robot You Sent Back From The Future To Protect You.
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and has ruined an infinite number of futures. His first novel, Severance, is incredible and available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Apex Books. Join him on Facebook or Twitter.
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