The SURE-LOCK analysis and storage bot stared down at the unfamiliar, dirty robot, and did what it was meant to do. It analyzed.

( Old. Minor repair issues. Faulty left shoulder joint. Impact break. Crack in ball. Socket intact. Trouble operating right wheel. Software problem, not hardware. Wear on limbs. Continuous work. Shaking. Fear. Emotion. Connection to humans.

Origin: ERROR: too many soil samples. )

The SURE-LOCK frowned, then spoke.

(Afghani: FALSE)

"Richtlinie." (German: FALSE)

"Zhǐshì." (Chinese: FALSE)

"Program." (American: FALSE)

"Directive."

"Oh!"

(British: TRUE)

"Directive?"

In response to this question, the smaller bot picked up a piece of debris and mimed fixing it.

"Ta-da!"

"Oh," SURE-LOCK said.

"Dir—dirrrrrective?"

"Directive?" SURE-LOCK repeated. The bot was asking.

It nodded.

"Classified." SURE-LOCK turned away to make it clear that he was not going to tell.

"Oh." The bot was discouraged.

Good. Back to business.

"Name?" SURE-LOCK scanned the bot again but it was still unidentified.

(Re-scan pointless. Do not repeat.)

"JJJJJJJON."

"JON?"

JON nodded bashfully.

"JON!" SURE-LOCK giggled at the smaller bot.

(Laughter pointless. Do not repeat.)

"SURE-LOCK." He pointed to himself.

"SHHHHHHHH-LOCK?"

"SURE—LOCK." He said his name more slowly.

"SHHHE-LOCK?"

"SURE—LOCK. SURE—LOCK." He repeated his name for the bot.

"SH-LOCK!" JON looked proud of himself.

SURE-LOCK giggled.

(Laughter pointless. Do not repeat.)