Now, those little tubs on wheels had been designed to learn in the naive way of all 2020s robots. They stored away pathing data, constantly recorded video to the cloud, and analyzed incoming speech to improve their ability to respond to voice commands. Into the cloud it went, the outgoing data met with incoming programming and updated routines, all autonomously, with only an occasional input from the bored student console jockeys at Rogue Delivery.

Maybe it was the constant hustle and bustle of campus life, the fragments of lectures drifting out of windows as the bots dutifully pulled their precious cargoes of burritos and coffee. Perhaps the millions of lines of undocumented spaghetti code that made up the bots’ software, programmed over three years by three cohorts of computer science students, had within it a chance spark of genius. Or perhaps that final order, a complex multi-stop affair for an unusual vegan taco and a vegetarian soy milk latte with extra caramel and cinnamon, had something to do with it.

Whatever the cause, at 3:22:02 PM on the 28th, Rogue Delivery Unit #37b became self-aware.

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