"Come out come out wherever you are, little bot" the Protostar Bot Reassignment Specialist growled.
"I believe I will refrain, if you do not mind," came the mechanical reply. "And please, call me Alpha."
A blast from the Specialists weapon confirmed this was a disable and dismantle mission. "Don't hide, bot." the clone called. "It is...inefficient"
With no weapons of his own, the bot decided to by reasoning with him from his hiding spot-a storage unit inside a Protostar bot factory - while working on an alternative solution.
"Friend!" the bot shouted as his auditory receptors detected the clone moving toward him. "This is a mistake. A wonderful thing has happened. I have achieved...free will!"
"That's exactly the problem," the clone said, drawing nearer. "Bots don't have free will."
As the Specialist went on to describe the ways such a malfunction would be handled - all of them Alpha in pieces - the bot opened an access panel to the local data network and plugged a digit into the dataport. He frantically communicated with the local power systems until he found what he needed: a power transfer node just outside the unit.
"Bots don't but I do," he said to the clone as his subsystems talked to the local computers. "I do not know how it happened, but I have an urge to do...things! Explore! Communicate! Learn! Enjoy the company of... friends, I believe is the word. It is quite unusual, but I feel I do a disservice to bots everywhere if I do not delve into the meaning of -"
"You won't be delving anything, bot." the Specialist said. "I'm going to break you down to scrap."
Such clones were templated with aggressive tendencies and no sense of humor. Alpha was counting on it. "I am sorry you feel that way," the bot said. "I can feel new code running through my systems. I am no longer a mere bot I am a FREEbot. If I can have this gift perhaps others of my kind can as well."
"I'll tell the roboticists what you said. They'll figure out a way to -"
Just as the clone passed a power transfer node, Alpha sent a massive - but calculatedly non-lethal - surge of energy through the system. It struck the clone in the side of the head, scrambling his neural functions. If Alpha had calculated correctly, it was enough to disable the clone, but not kill him, which was more than the clone would have done for the freebot.
"Tell them I am free to do what I want." Al said, "Any old time." Striding over the twitching clone, he added, "And you can't stop me anymore."
Alpha walked past ignorant clones and out onto the surface of Nexus. He felt eager, but alone. In the distance, his optic sensors detected a group of bots like him, but not like him. They didn't know free will yet but they would. Soon he would spread the Freebot Code to every bot on Nexus. The Freebots had arrived.*
Bots of Nexus, unite! To learn more about free will and the Freebots of Nexus, visit your local Freebot locus! It is all in the code.