Prog #10: Fools Words! (Robot Wars, Part 1)

Case File

A carpenter robot has gone full “death to all humans”, and Dredd is assigned to take him on. Dredd wins this battle, but worries a Robot War is still to come.

327439-19752-125035-1-2000-a-dOl’ Stoney Face

Following on from last issue, Dredd is still very concerned that recent “improvements” to robots such as emotions will inevitably lead to conflict with humans. Dredd seems to have a fairly pragmatic view of human nature – he thinks the more we make robots like humans, the sooner they’ll learn to mimic human evil.

Dredd is not the most of fun of co-workers. He calls one Judge a fool at lunch for his views on robots, and very happily gives a big “told-you-so” to the rest of them when he is immediately proved right. One of the Judges actually thinks that Dredd is basically a robot himself.

The Big Meg

Apparently robots handle all the “hard work”, leaving the citizens to live lives of leisure. Robots are programmed with Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, as Dredd name-checks the third (obey human orders).

It’s not completely clear, but it seems like there is a police force separate from the Judges.

The Law

Justice HQ has a canteen, where the Judges listen to Dredd’s pronouncements on their intelligence, and are served by a vending machine robot called Walter.

Creeps

Dredd here goes up against Call-Me-Kenneth, a deranged carpenter robot that (presumably for good carpentry reasons) looks like a cross between the Michelin Man and the Terminator. He’s sick of being enslaved by humans (or “fleshy ones” as he names them), and is determined to set himself free and have some human-killing fun at the same time.

He has his name blazoned across his chest, and his voice comes out of a unit in his stomach. His control circuits are in his armour-plated chest, meaning he can survive his head being blown off.

As a carpentry robot, he has a ranged of weaponised-furniture construction tools at his disposal including nails that fire from his fingers (get it?) and a chainsaw attachment. His firepower means he can take down a hovercar, and is well-defended enough that bullets bounce of him.

Really makes you wander what carpentry entails in 2099.

Resyk

2 cops are blown out of the air by Call-Me-Kenneth, and it appears that the robot then feeds a Judge into a garbage chute. Ouch. CMK himself is electrocuted by a sky rail power cable, and then saws himself in half.

Verdict

So we’ve finally reached a multi-part story – I’m looking forward to Dredd being able to take on a longer-running case with more room to breathe and expand.

This is a pretty good start (after yesterday’s “prologue”). Dredd is hilariously insufferable to his fellow Judges, certain that he is the only one who can see the blindingly obvious about the robots.

Call-Me-Kenneth is a well-realised and worthy foe for Dredd, and it is fascinating to see Dredd – normally pretty blunt with lawbreakers – actually try and reason with the overgrown Allen key. There’s obviously more to come, but we’re off and running.

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