Story by Dan Hekate from Almanac for Noise & Politics 2015
An array of lights blinked across the gleaming hard black plastic of MooD’s head as slinky welcoming music box sounds came from his hidden speakers. Seth Lindstrum waved his hand in front of the sensor and the door slammed closed.
“What fuck brain ordered me a MooD.” Said the hulking figure of Seth as he strode into the middle of his own welcome home party.
“Are we gonna spend the whole night arguing over whose go it is to load a new tune or let MooD handle the whole shebang?” Said Vince who had served with Seth in the battlegrounds of the Basque country.
“I thought you boys liked toys?” Said Zanda, Seth’s petite fiancé, as she waved her hand in front of the door. MooD entered exuding an Afrobeat and strutting a slow moonwalk.
“I hate those things and now I’ve got one in my pod, it’s like Marky died for nothing.”
“Shouldn’t you be petitioning on MeMe or shining holoboards out in Westminster with the other Ludds?” Said Zanda.
“Babe, you’re a great piece of ass but you should keep your mouth closed.”
Sensing the collective emotions of the crowd through a combination of olfactory systems and facial signals MooD worked the floor emitting a mix of glitch hop and grime, lasers from his head bounced around the room; his moves a mutated breakdance. Amongst the boogying crowd Seth sat slumped on the sofa downing energy drinks and giving Zanda evils.
Zanda fiddled with her Iph and got MooD to home in on Seth, hardcore metal sung out. Finally a smile crossed Seth’s lips but only momentarily; he realised what was happening and replaced it with a grimace, he wouldn’t let himself be played.
“What’s your issue with MooD? It might not have feelings but it’s quasi intelligent” Asked Zanda perching on the armrest of Seth’s chair.
“Sentience is a right reserved for those of flesh and blood. What is this pile of junk but plastic wires and the embedded code of socially inadequate geeks? And I should trust my life to this thing? Bullshit, AIs can’t be trusted.”
“And humans can? This isn’t a killing machine it’s a piece of entertainment equipment programmed by some of the best musicians on the planet.”
“I don’t need a droid to play me what it thinks I want to hear.” Said Seth aggressively jutting his head forward towards Zanda, who got up and wandered over to MooD draping her arms around it and leading the bot into a slow dance.
“Are you a DJ?”
“It wont be long before a robot takes my place.”
“In the bedroom or the workplace?” Said Zanda as she rubbed herself seductively against the machine.
Seth sprang from his seat, slapped her round the face and threw her and the MooD into his bedroom while the rest of the party stood and watched.
“Aren’t you fuckers going to do anything?” Screamed Zanda.
“Stop winding him up, it’s his party.” Imparted Vince as the door closed.
MooD played discordant melodies and abrasive noise. Seth slammed his foot into it.
“Maybe this thing is more intelligent than you.” Observed Zanda as Seth hit her again. He then turned to the MooD.
“Shut the fuck up or I’ll garrote you with your own power lead.” It seemed to power down and went silent.
“Maybe you were responsible for Marky’s death, maybe you try and blame it on the machine but it’s only your failure to understand how to program that led to your friend’s death.” Spat Zanda.
Seth pummeled her with punches hitting her again and again; at the end of the barrage he took her by her hair and threw her onto the balcony. A savage wind tore around her as she lay on the floor.
Seth searched the room for his laser pistol.
“I’m gonna fucking murder you.” He said as he put his mitts around the weapon, raised it and took aim.
MooD exuded a six hertz sound wave and Seth’s insides disintegrated, the splatter of his blood a rhythmic end to the pulsing bass.
Zanda managed to raise her head to smile at the machine that had saved her but the MooD had gone into shutdown. The confusion of breaking the first rule of robotics (that you should never harm a human) to uphold that same first law had sent it into a corrupted circuit of confusion, the death waltz it’s last tune. The billowing wind that threw Zanda’s hair into the air was the only accompaniment to an air of silence and a scent of death.