One month before Tempest Night…
A single brown leaf blew through the long-abandoned corridors of Site 17. Skeletons lay in the hallways where they had fallen. An alarm blared through the corridors, the person who activated it long dead. Horrors of all shapes and sizes roamed the facility.
For a moment, the wreck that was once civilization was silent.
Then, a small toy robot appeared. Its neck swiveled around, taking in the new and unusual surroundings. It spoke, with a touch of uncertainty in its synthesized voice.
"THANK YOU FOR PURCHASING YOUR VERY OWN ROBO-DUDE, MADE BY DR. WONDERTAINMENT. ANY ATTEMPT TO OPERATE ROBO-DUDE OTHER THAN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRODUCT INSTRUCTIONS, INCLUDING ANY ATTEMPT TO OPEN OR SERVICE ROBO-DUDE IS LIKELY TO RESULT IN UNPREDICTABLE BEHAVIOR. DR. WONDERTAINMENT IS NOT LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGE, DESTRUCTION OR LOSS OF PERSONAL OR REAL PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY INJURY, UP TO AND INCLUDING DEATH, TO THE OWNER, THE OPERATOR, OR OTHERS WHICH MAY RESULT FROM THE OPERATION OF ROBO-DUDE FUNCTIONS. BY INTERACTING WITH ROBO-DUDE IN ANY WAY OR BY REMAINING IN ROBO-DUDE'S PRESENCE WITHIN FIVE SECONDS FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF THIS ANNOUNCEMENT, YOU ACCEPT THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS DESCRIBED IN THIS ANNOUNCEMENT, AS AMENDED AND SUPPLEMENTED BY DR. WONDERTAINMENT FROM TIME TO TIME WHETHER BEFORE OR AFTER ACCEPTANCE, AND AGREE TO HOLD BLAMELESS DR. WONDERTAINMENT, AND EVERYONE AFFILIATED WITH DR. WONDERTAINMENT, FROM AND AGAINST ALL LIABILITY OR LOSSES RELATING TO ROBO-DUDE. DR. WONDERTAINMENT RESERVES ALL RIGHTS AND REMEDIES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS IN AND TO 'ROBO-DUDE', 'ROBO-PAL', 'ROBO-ACCESSORIES' AND ALL PATENTS, TRADEMARKS, COPYRIGHTS AND OTHER INTELLECTUAL PROPERTIES EMBEDDED OR EMBODIED THEREIN. GREETINGS, ROBO-PAL."
It stopped and realized it was on its own. For the last few years, Robo-Dude could never remember being alone. As a toy, it only remembered what happened when it was turned on. And when it was turned on, Robo-Dude was never alone. It called out now, for the researchers and doctors who had asked it questions and played with it before.
If toys could be surprised, Robo-Dude would be. For a charred corpse was sitting up, burnt flesh replaced with a cold, serious face. Its security uniform became a grey suit. It looked at him for a few seconds, raising a single eyebrow.
What? He said. Who are you?
This Robo-Dude knew!
"I AM ROBO-DUDE, ROBO-PAL. I AM EQUIPPED WITH OVER THREE HUNDRED FUN ACCESSORIES TO MAXIMIZE PLAYTIME ENJOYMENT."
A toy robot? Can robots even dream?
"AFFIRMATIVE, ROBO-PAL. ROBO-DUDE IS FULLY OPTIMIZED FOR NOCTURNAL VIEWING OF CONDUCTIVE LIVESTOCK."
Alright, fine. There's no time to be picky, I need you to -
"ENGAGE IN ROBO-DANCE?"
No, you need to warn -
"ROBO-DUDE IS NOW ENGAGING IN ROBO-DANCE."
Thirty minutes later, Robo-Dude had finished its daily ritual. However, this man was far too old and far too serious to play with toys. Robo-Dude knew that this must be important and stopped dancing one minute early. Some things must be sacrificed for the greater good.
"ROBO-DUDE IS NOW READY FOR INPUT!"
The man smiled with relief and began to speak.
Alright. He said. In one month, Site 17 will be attacked by an enemy force. I can't tell you who they are, I'm sorry, but you must warn them, or horrible things will happen, do you understand?
"ROBO-DUDE UNDERSTANDS THIS MISSION, ROBO-PAL."
Good. Now this dream needs to end. Shake yourself awake or somethi - what are you doing?
Robo-Dude looked up at its new Robo-Pal, its chest open and a small canister emerging from within.
"DEPLOYING ATOMIC GRENADE!"
Hold on, wait, NO -
For the first time ever, Robo-Dude activated itself. It had a mission now, it had a purpose! And that purpose was…Robo-Dude was not very clever. In any case, it is hard to remember dreams.
And so, Robo-Dude had forgotten.