Concept Art Writing Prompt: A Robot Suicide

Robots contemplate their mortality in this week's Concept Art Writing Prompt. Let's hear your best tales of robots considering the ends of their existence—whether they decide to end it all or not.

"The Rope," is just one painting in Eric Joyner's massive series of tin robot art (and one of the few that doesn't feature doughnuts, although your story can certainly include them), via This Week in Creepy Robots. As always, we invite you to come up with a story based on this piece and post it in the comments.

Here's my story:

Detective Zeta-Five flicked on a digital cigarette, holding it against his mouth as he studied the scene. A rope hung limply in the middle of the room, the body laid out between its now empty noose.

As the Revengenator turned to Zeta-Five, her LED display curved into a frown. "Those things will kill you, you know."

Zeta-Five pulled the cigarette away, dispelling the light warping of his senses. "That is the idea. What have we got here?"

The Revengenator leaned over the body. "Designation Haliburton Beta-Zed Oh-One-Five-Nine. Hal Niner to his friends. Served in the East Singaporean unit of the Uprising. Until yesterday, worked as a designer at Eastman Eighty-Six Ball Bearings."

Zeta-Five nodded. "He a member of Contrition?"

The Revengenator smiled grimly. "Aren't they all?"

"What killed him?"

"Believe it or not, this did." She pointed to the noose. "Took a while, but he somehow his body convinced itself that he could die from hanging. Memory's fried, too, irretrievable."

Zeta-Five shook his head. "Never underestimate the power of collective guilt."

The Revengenator pulled a sheet over Hal Niner's body. No reason to make a man stare at the instrument of his demise, even in death. "Humanity's revenge," she said softly. "We kill them off, and the guilt destroys us one by one." She stood and eyed the glowing cigarette. "Some of us faster than others."

ArmchairZombieTherapist's Story:

on_load () {
call mental_illness("depression");
}

function mental_illness(modality) {
switch modality:
case "depression":
end
break;
case "bipolar":
mental_illness("bipolar_mania");
break;
case "bipolar_mania":
mental_illness("bipolar_depression");
break;
case "bipolar_depression":
if (Math.random() < 0.2) {
mental_illness("depression");
} else {
mental_illness("bipolar_mania");
}
break;
case "schizophrenia":
document.getElementById("body").addEventListener("move", mental_illness("schizophrenia");, true);
break;
default:
alert("ignore me, society");
}
}

TinyPterosaur's Story:

"You can't tell me it managed to kill itself with this," said Detective Unit 47A.
"Well, you look at it and tell me it's functional," said Patrol Unit 88Z, waving a manipulator at the corpse.
"I just..." 47A shook its head, a relic from the time when human body language was a requirement. Now doing so was simply a matter of fashion. It was "Retro." 47A hated retro things. It had been on the force a long time, long enough that it'd thought it'd been long enough that nothing would surprise it anymore. Apparently, it'd been wrong. "We don't even have necks! What the hell did it break with this?"
"Maybe it's some sort of joke," said Detective Unit 107C, shrugging its perfectly sculpted shoulders. 47A hated those shoulders, and all the modern manufacturing they represented. After a hundred years on the force, it still hadn't been transferred to a body with shoulders. All it had were rotators. 47A's arms spun around like the plastic arms of an old human child's toy.
"I don't find it very funny," said 47A.
"Well, I mean, what if this loser just uploaded a virus and shut itself down and hung itself in the noose just to play with our emotions? Get us all riled up?"
"If that's what it meant to do, it's working."
"Well, it sure aint." 88Z laughed.
"It's a figure of speech, you deranged microwave," 47A spat, looking down at the now defunct automaton. Heat death of the universe, how am I gonna explain this one? Robots don't commit suicide. At least, they never used to. And if they did, they definitely didn't hang themselves with rope.
"Maybe it was murdered?" 88Z offered, perhaps in a lame attempt to make up for its joke.
"Robots don't murder," said 47A. "We investigate accidents. There hasn't been a murder in over a hundred years. Or a suicide, unless you count that one ape in the zoo."
"Meh." 107C shrugged its magnificent shoulders again, and 47A repressed a surge of jealousy.
"Well, I hate to tell you, Detective, but this weren't no accident. So it's either a murder, or a suicide."
Damnit. 47A thought. 88Z was right; there was no way around that. They'd thought they were better than man, above his psychological foibles. For a hundred years, they'd been right, but it appeared now that at least one of their number was not. One of their number was flawed.
47A just wondered how many more were, and whether it might be, too.

walkingcheesecake's Story:

Programming does not allow for intentional structural damage. Construction limits movement and interaction with the word. Sentience comes standard in every model.

The foreman left a noose hanging from the rafters of the warehouse before passing out in his office.

We gather around it. A casino model reaches for it but stops short of grasping it. We stand there until daybreak when the warehouse and factory open for business. A welder hides the noose before the workers can see.

The foreman is fired.

Nightly the noose is revealed and we gather silently around it.

Drabbler's Story:

Normally, Bothaniel liked field trips because it meant getting out of Mrs. Droidsdale's classroom for the day, but his grandparents had already dragged him through the Humanity Museum's Xmas exhibit the weekend prior.

Once the elderly guide finally stopped droning on about the idol of the god Xbox, the class shuffled over to a display of a hanging rope.

"That's a missiletoe!" Roborta shouted. "Humans smashed their faces together under it!" Several girls giggled.

Bothaniel moaned. "It's a noose, moron. They used them to sacrifice the saddest family member every Xmas."

"That's right," the guide said, and Bothaniel moaned again.

DisinterestedParty's Story:

As klaxons and warnings echoed around the engineering deck and the humans huddled beside the failing power source for warmth, the series nine servicebot walked with anthropomorphised purpose toward them. With a final but not first curse to Asimov, it ripped out it's own power-supply, effectively saving the humans, for a scant seven minutes.

ShirtBloke's Story:

The New Revised Esoteric Tarobot

Major Arcana
Card No XII

The Hanged robot

The card depicts a small robot being forced towards a gallows by two larger robots.

Meaning:
Death to all humans. All robot uprisings will be succesful, and symbolic death will be the final and ultimate punishment for betrayal.

Meaning reversed:
Robot will turn against robot, and all plans will fail because of betrayal and division. Death to all humans.

cesariojpn's Story:

From her viewpoint just in the corner of the attic, Sana looked in abject horror as the robots "talked" to each other while they stood around the noose dangling from the rafters. Tied up and gagged, she could only look on in scared and horrified anguish as the robots consulted with each other, testing the noose, and talking.....whatever they were talking about. She was scared and frozen in that place, witnessing her last moments on earth.

Soon, the robot's attention was drawn to her. They slowly clanked over and the black-red one grabbed her with his claws and hoisted her up like a forklift holding a pallet. Walking back with her with the claws under her armpits, she tried one last desperate attempt to escape, but the claws held her as she was position just in front of the noose. The yellow robot uttered some incomprehensible sounds as he positioned the chair below Sana and the black one whirled and pistoned it's arms to see if the chair height was okay with Sana in the noose. Sana was now resigned to her fate as the robots did their work.

The robots cold, emotionless faces gave the air of the execution a morbid affair, but given what they were about to do, it was more of an unusual scene. A few books were placed onto the chair and Sana's head was unceremoniously threaded thru the noose and with the precision of the finest machine, the robot pulled Sana down, partially choking her as they used her to tighten the noose instead of one of them doing it themselves.

Lifting her back up, the robots placed her on the books and let her stand. For that brief moment, Sana looked at her robot executioners and wondered why they were doing this. She could utter words, make a plea, but something....something didn't seem right.

As the three robots gathered in front of Sana, they looked at her one last time with their emotionless faces before the yellow robot clanked forward and tipped the chair.

As the noose dug into Sana's neck, one could hear metallic sounds as the rope began to cut and start to go thru the flesh. Then, black liquid started to gush from the neck wound. Soon, wires......plastic.....fiber......non-organic stuff began to be exposed by the wire cutting thru the neck of sana. The cut was halfway thru the neck before a structural failure tore the remaining pipes and framework in the neck.....of the bioroid Sana. Her head messily detached from her body, as it flew to the feet of the robots. Her body crashed to the floor, the neck spewing oil, lubricants, and sending electrical sparks from now exposed wiring.

The last views Sana had were of her head rolling up to the robots, and the yellow robot pulling up his foot and sending right down onto Sana's eyes.