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Gungan to the left

One Droid's Thoughts (PG)

By : Jarak Maldon

Archived on: Tuesday, November 20, 2001

The Trade Federation has invaded Naboo. Those responsible for keeping the planet in line are the garrison of Battle Droids employed by the Federation. One droid, OOM-2, wrestles with his own thoughts of morality against the all-powerful voice of the droid control computer. His story, however, comes to a tragic end.

"Process them!"

Normally the words of Viceroy Nute Gunray would strike terror into the very souls of any living creature. The self-indulged Neimodian leader of the Trade Federation was firm on his throne atop the galaxy's most powerful trade franchise. He carried himself like a true leader, and though he was a closet coward he knew how to put on a class act. Anyone was willing to take his orders or face dire consequences. Anyone who heard his voice would be stricken with fear; anyone alive.

But OOM-2 was not alive. He was a droid. He was processed out of one of the Trade Federation's massive war factories months past. OOM-2 possessed no soul for fear to strike. He really wasn't a he, but it was the decree of the Trade Federation Directorate that all battle droids be considered male since it was Neimodian policy that no females serve in the military.

The construction of a battle droid was Spartan. They were thin and lanky, based on the skeletal structure of their Neimoidian creators. They were bipedal, had two humanoid arms, and were all toped off with an elongated head with two small eyespot-photoreceptors and an assortment of radio antenna. No droid was an island unto itself. Every droid was part of a whole, a collective. They were wired into a computer that circled the besieged world in a control starship and it told them exactly what to do. Freedom was not an option for the battle droid.

OOM-2 watched as one of his counterparts, OOM-9, ushered Queen Amidala and her advisors off to some holding camp where the inhabitants of Naboo's capitol city were being held. OOM-2 didn't know much about the invasion, then again he wasn't programmed to have independent thought. All he knew is what was sent to him via the droid control ship. Naboo was a world located in the outlying systems of the galaxy, an area ripe with trade. The Trade Federation sought to use a new piece of legislation from the Senate of the Galactic Republic to tax such systems. When Naboo refused they were blockaded and later invaded by the Federation's droid legions.

OOM-2 was painted with red highlights. These markings distinguished him as a security unit. He featured advanced systems such as a vocal modulator that allowed him to converse, a feature not available on standard droids. He was given a slight ability to act independently, sort of on his own "survival instinct." Still he was a slave to the master computer, forever wired into slavery.

"You!" Viceroy Gunray said, pointing directly to OOM-2. "Report with your squadron directly to the palace hanger. See to it that all prisoners there are properly contained. Make sure no vessels leave the planet."

"Rodger Rodger!" OOM-2 replied. It was a pre-programmed response designed to be ejected by the droid every time an order was given, no matter what it was.

Six droids followed OOM-2 as he walked down the marble corridors of Theed Palace towards the hanger. A map was supplied to his central processor by the control computer. It allowed him to plan an appropriate route from the location were he was directly to the hanger in an instant. Of course the route was suggested from the computer itself. What little self-control OOM-2 had wasn't put to use.

Blaster rifles in hand, the droids continued towards the hanger. OOM-2 was aware that there were still hostile forces loose in the capitol city. The people of Naboo were passive, peace loving and quick to surrender. Still every population had its share of aggressive gun-bearers that would rather give their own lives in vain than live on their knees below the blasters of invaders. OOM-2 had no concept of pride or patriotism, he only did what the computer told him.

What are they fighting for? It was an independent thought that OOM-2 had. His limited free will permitted the occasional free thought, but unlike an advanced droid, such as a protocol model, he didn't have the necessary processing power to carry out any advanced thinking processes. They hadn't designed him that way; and so his question went unanswered.

Movement! One of OOM-2's scanners detected a moving life form ahead in the marble palace corridor. The computer, high in orbit, listed options and allowed OOM-2, programmed to be a leader of sorts, to choose whichever option seemed to be right for the situation. The droid armed his blaster and raised it, an action that triggered the computer to order his subordinate droids to do the same.

A moment later three figures jumped from behind marble pillars in the corridor. They wore the uniforms of palace guards, a force of native Nubians sworn to protect the planet's monarch. They loathed the mechanical invaders even more than they loathed the mysterious Gungan raiders that pillaged the stockpiles of outlying villages.

OOM-2 wasn't designed with an ethical program. He was constructed and programmed to kill and follow orders, not be sympathetic to his enemies. He picked a target, the person closest, and squeezed the trigger of his blaster rifle with a long metal finger. Three shots were unleashed, two of which found their way to the guard's body. One hit the left shoulder, the other in the center of the chest. The man fell lifeless to the ornate palace floor as a rain of fire spilled between the two warring parties.

The six droids behind OOM-2 opened fire, though they weren't as accurate as their commander. They weren't programmed to be, for it would have cost additional credits to advance their targeting systems and scanners. The Trade Federation was very powerful, but they were also very cheap.

Two droids fell to the hostile guards, but all of the guards fell to the blasts of the droids. OOM-2's account of the event was automatically transferred to the orbiting computer and it rapidly issued new orders. OOM-2 and the surviving droids would continue to the hanger where reinforcements would be waiting.

OOM-2 walked past the bodies of the slain guardsmen. He felt no empathy or sorrow for his act or for the deaths of the men. He had no heart to love or be loved, so why should he care? He didn't feel any sympathy for his fallen comrades either. After all, they were only droids. They would be replaced. They had been pushed off the assembly line just as OOM-2 did and hundreds more would be in the future.

Why would they die for this? Another thought ran through OOM-2's limited mind. Again it went unanswered, though in some level of processing OOM-2 wished it did. He wished that his builders had given him the ability to do more than just have choice of a few options a computer gave him.

The droid company arrived at the hanger bay of Theed Palace. It was a large room filled with N-1 Starfighters, ships designed to be environmentally sound so as not to hurt the fragile, delicate ecosystem of Naboo. In the center of the room was a sleek silver craft that the computer told him was the Queen's transport ship. If she wanted to flee the besieged planet there was a 98.348 chance that that was the vehicle she would use.

OOM-2 positioned himself and his companions next to the boarding ramp of the transport ship. There the computer told him to simply wait and shoot any hostile force that happened by. OOM-2 complied and stood at full attention with his blaster ready for immediate action. He had no advanced mind to wander, so boredom wasn't a very serious issue. An occasional thought would pass through his limited mind, but it was only a simple string of the numbers 1 and 0 that would recycle into nothing.

A brief time later several figures entered the hanger. Leading the group were two tall men in basic robes. Behind them was a remarkable figure dressed in an elaborate black dress and surrounded by yellow-robed women. The computer on the droid control ship identified the woman as Queen Amidala, sovereign leader of Naboo. The two figures were beyond a doubt Jedi Knights.

"Halt," OOM-2 said as one of the Jedi approached. "Where are you going?"

"I'm ambassador for the Supreme Chancellor," the Jedi replied, "and I'm taking these people to Coruscant."

All of what OOM-2 said was fed to him by the orbiting computer, so it had to record and process what the Jedi had said. Unfortunately the computer had no answer for OOM-2 and the droid was left to use his limited mind to think for himself.

"Coruscant... uhhh...."

OOM-2 rapidly searched his own memory for the word. He didn't know it was the capitol of the known galaxy, he wasn't programmed to know useless trivial information, only to kill. Where is that? What should I say? His limited thoughts failed him and he could only say what he felt and what he was programmed to do.

"That does not compute! You're under arrest!"

The Jedi didn't accept OOM-2's order. He grabbed a metal rod from his belt and pressed a button on it that made it fire a green blade. OOM-2 realized it was a lightsaber, a weapon that could cut down anything. The Jedi were, after all, a class one threat. That little fact was pre-programmed into OOM-2's limited mind. Fast reaction time, however, wasn't. He couldn't raise his blaster in time to fire back.

It only took a fraction of a second for the Jedi to slash at OOM-2, but that time was an eternity to one whose mind was driven by a computer. He ignored the orders flying at him from above for he knew they wouldn't save him. He only wished he could have known more, could have learned more, and could have experienced more. He never knew fear, love, or sympathy. His whole existence was for one basic reason, and he felt empty. He wasn't programmed to feel anything, but he felt empty nevertheless.

All of OOM-2's new found thoughts were cut short by the Jedi's blade. All of his newfound ideals went smoking to the ground along with all the pieces of the droid that used to be OOM-2. Moments later the Jedi and the Queen were safely off Naboo and well on their way to Coruscant. OOM-2 was forgotten, a simple write-off on the budget charts of the mighty Trade Federation.

Original cover design by Jarak Maldon. HTML formatting copyright 2001 TheForce.Net LLC.

Fan Fiction Rating

Current Rating is 8.02 in 46 total ratings.

Reader Comments

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Author: Ugbuz  (signed)
Date posted: 11/29/2001 1:15:03 PM
Ugbuz's Comments:

Maybe if it had been a little longer than it could have established a better character instead of describing the shell of one. Never really felt that the droid did achieve or come close to sentient thought. Seemed more like random processes passing through it's processor. Now, the idea of the droid control ship having thoughts would make for an excellent story. Also, the droid died too soon in the story.

Author: Mcily Nochi  (signed)
Date posted: 12/7/2001 3:08:32 PM
Mcily Nochi's Comments:

An interesting premise, and well carried-out. Good job.

Author: General_Tekno
Date posted: 12/12/2001 2:19:59 PM
General_Tekno's Comments:

An interesting story. With Cloack of Deception's insights into battle droids, this story makes quite a bit of sense and is very plausible.

Author: jacob8er  (signed)
Date posted: 12/13/2001 10:39:29 AM
jacob8er's Comments:

very creative... I love reading stories like this where some faceless background character is more "fleshed out". It did seem rather short, but then again I think that may have to do with the fact that the concept was fascinating, and I personally feel as if I could have read another thirty pages. Keep 'em wanting more I say!

Author: Ani-maniac  (signed)
Date posted: 12/22/2004 4:54:49 PM
Ani-maniac's Comments:

I really liked it. You did a good job of exploring the droid sentience question. I have always thought it was fuuny that in the books, the droids can't think, but at the same time they do. You did a good job of expresing that. I really felt for the poor guy. It would have been nice if it was a little longer though:) Keep up the good work!!!

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Archived: Tuesday, November 20, 2001

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