Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and violence.
Ed woke up rather earlier than was normal for him. He rolled out of the bed and went to check on Alex. He had fixed the dent very well and buffed out some of the scratches he noticed. He ran another systems check on it and found that it was still in the "unconsciousness" mode. He patted it on the head.
"Sleep well. You had a rough night." He walked into the bathroom and stared at himself in the mirror. His own sleep-deprived, bewhiskered face stared back at him. "You sir," he said to the mirror, pointing at it, "need a couple days of paid leave." As he was just zipping up his uniform, he heard a knock at the door. He walked to it and pressed a button on the wall to open it. It slid open to reveal the Commodore and two security officers. He leaned against the door frame and greeted the Commodore. "Good..." his voice trailed off as he leaned back to stare at the clock on the wall. "early morning Commodore. What do you need?" The Commodore stared back at him.
"There's been an inquiry Buck. The Company has gotten word of what's happened here and after hearing everything, they've launched an investigation."
"Two people are dead Buck, one gravely injured, The Company is putting a stop to it."
"May I ask why the security officers are here?"
"Command wants to question you and the sec officers are here to make sure you come peaceably." A voice issued from behind Ed:
"Engineer Buck won't be leaving with you, Commodore." said Alex. Ed turned around to look at it.
"SECBOT, you do not have authority over anyone on this colony. Return to your charging receptacle." responded the Commodore.
"Engineer Buck won't be leaving with you, Commodore." it said again, this time with a slight edge.
"Return to your charging receptacle SECBOT" said the Commodore angrily.
"Enginer Buck will not be..." Alex was cut off as the Commodore ordered the security officers to hit Alex's power button.
"You get your goddamn hands off it!" shouted Ed. The Commodore grabbed hold of him as he tried to get to Alex. Alex fell to the floor with a loud crash and the officers jumped on it, wrestling it back into the charging alcove. Ed broke free of the Commodore and tried to run to it, but the officers caught him and shoved him out the door.
"Buck!" shouted the Commodore, "Damn it man! You are not in trouble but you will be if you do not come quietly and peaceably." Ed looked at him, paused for a moment and sighed. He shook off the hands of the security officers and walked out the door. He could practically feel their hands itching for their tasers. He walked down the hall in front of the Commodore and his officers and was shown to a large conference room. A makeshift court had been set up in it and Buck was put in what was supposed to be the witness chair. One of the people up on the bench turned to him.
"You are First Class Engineer Edward Walter Buck?" she asked him.
"You are the one who decided to take this matter into your own hands?"
"Well Engineer Buck, it seems that you have quite a bit of explaining to do."
"I don't understand madam."
"It is the opinion of this court that it is highly suspicious that you were the only person to have discovered these...ah...incidents. You are hereby charged with two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and one count of assault." She turned away from him. Ed was shocked.
"Your honor, I assure you..."
"Silence! You shall not speak unless addresses with a question!" boomed the woman. Ed sat back in the chair, the futility of the situation worming into his mind. He sat there, vacantly staring at the prosecutor. He let the questions wash over him.
"Where were you at...? Do you know anyone who...? What made you decide...?" After a half hour, they all seemed to meld together. The two thoughts swirling around his mind were that he couldn't prove that he hadn't committed these crimes and he had no means to hire a defense that would try very much to get him a lightened sentence. He sat there, aimlessly answering questions, not even noticing the figure that appeared in the door.
"Engineer Buck is a vital asset to this colony and his absence from his position is a threat to it." Alex had somehow removed itself from Ed's dorm and had come into the room. All heads turned to it, including Ed's who lifted his head off the witness stand. Almost everyone had looks of confusion across their faces.
"Whose SECBOT is that?" asked the chief justice.
"Uh...mine..madam." Ed turned to Alex "Alex, what are you doing here?"
"Engineer Buck must return to his position to ensure the safety of the colony."
"Unless it's a witness, get that bot the hell out of here." ordered the chief justice.
"Withers, Tanner, remove the bot." the Commodore motioned to them. They confidently approached Alex, sure in their ability to repress it again. As they drew nearer, Alex issued one final message:
"Any attempt to inhibit a SECBOT is a punishable offense. Please cease your activities or I will be forced to take action."
"Come on your old box of screws, get back to your wall." said Withers. He approached the bot and made a grab for its arm. Alex lunged at his arm and bent it back. He screamed in pain. With its other arm, Alex grabbed Tanner by the throat and lifted him off the ground. He choked and scrabbled at his neck. Withers was cradling his arm. It picked him up and slammed him into Tanner. It let go of them and they fell to the ground, unmoving. Alex stayed where it was.
"It is the prime directive to let harm neither befall me or my quarry. Engineer Buck must now return to..." Alex was cut off as the Commodore shot it in the head with a shock round from his sidearm.
"Get that piece of shit somewhere it can't harm anyone. Buck, care to explain why the hell your SECBOT just disobeyed a direct order?" Ed shrugged, racking his brain for and answer.
"I couldn't say sir. I did some light personality adjustments when I first got it, but other than that, I have no idea."
"Regardless of what happened, I should think that there might be some new developments in this case. What do you think, your honor?" asked the Commodore, turning to the chief justice.
"I wouldn't go so far as to say that, but I should like to interrogate the SECBOT." she responded. "Engineer Buck, you may return to your quarters. You are ordered to return here at 0800 tomorrow morning in order verify statements made by G-38-7. After that, you will be charged with tampering with Company property. Return to your quarters." Ed left feeling even worse than before. Somehow, he had dragged his SECBOT into this mess. He felt like he betrayed it somehow. It was ridiculous that he thought that way, he knew, but he couldn't help it. Alex had been his first friend here before he met Dave a few days later. He headed down the hall back into his dorm. As he stepped over the threshold, the normal whoosh of the pistons operating was joined by a low metallic click. The door had been overridden and locked behind him.