The machine's motors whirred, moving it in a rhythmic way through the house. The alloy base of its legs, designated 'hooves', clopped softly on the bare wooden flooring. The logic center of the unit's processors had determined a long time ago, approximately nine years, rounded, that it was due to their appearance. The bases of its legs were not, in fact, real hooves at all. It did not make sense then for them to be designated 'hooves'.
The unit knew many things. It knew that its full designation was 'Sweetie Belle', that it could hop approximately three feet vertically with an error range of two inches, and of course, that its maker was the keeper of the power outlet.
It often, however, did not understand its maker, just like so many other things. Unlike many of those things, Creator would often go against the very logic program she had given Unit Sweetie. One such oddity was that it was programmed to request power, despite the presence of a storm in the area. It determined that could be dangerous to its systems, something it was also programmed to protect. It could not act out against Creator's directive, though.
Still, that was not a concern of Unit Sweetie's at the moment. It typically spent very little power or time processing Creator or her decisions. Creator was simply, Creator. For the time being, obtaining power was the unit's only primary directive. Without the power outlet, Unit Sweetie would shut down. Without the power outlet, it would fail a primary directive; that directive simply being to remain active at all times.
Perhaps odder still, Unit Sweetie was not allowed to fulfill the powering action itself, and was unsure why its maker had made that so. The processor's logic matrix could think of several things it could do to obtain power by itself through some means, whether by using something as advanced as various articles around Creator's house, or just utilizing its mouth.
Despite this, Unit Sweetie was programmed to always request its maker to plug it in, rather than use its designs and plans; things it made during its processor's periods of low activity. It wasn't a part of the logic matrix to second guess or resent, or even object to this. It was just a program, no more alive than any other computer or software.
The twin cameras that Unit Sweetie used for vision registered the darkness filling the house. It was difficult to see with the lack of normal light parameters, but that was acceptable; it could still make out obstacles.
There were various other shapes moving in the building's darkness. They were designated 'real animals' within the memory storage. It was important to avoid them. If necessary, programming allowed discouraging them from interference with the unit.
The cameras tracked a small shape flitting through the shadow; it was a 'cat', and one of the unit's targets designated 'nuisance'.
The cats especially liked to mewl and pester the unit. It did not care, it could not care, but it was often necessary to discourage the felines from getting too bold as they played with the unit's pretty mane or tail.
Unit Sweetie wasn't entirely sure why she was programmed to protect her 'adorable and cute widdle mane and tail', but that was what the Creator desired. And protecting such things required power. There wasn't much power left, now. Its processor's logic matrix often worked hard to decide on effective methods of gently discouraging the cats efficiently.
For now, the cats made no move against the unit, which was fortunate. The unit did not have power to spare chasing cats or utilizing the 4 mW laser diodes which they would chase without pause. The equipment designated 'laser pointers' were often kept near the top of the logic matrix's priority systems list, but they had to be dropped this time out of necessity to reach Creator's room with the scant power remaining.
Unit Sweetie's logic matrix quickly calculated the distance remaining to Creator's room; it was determined there would be time still to request power. It knew the distance separating itself from the room well, but busily recalculated the floor length to ensure success of power acquisition. The memory storage backups were refreshed with the new measurement, though it was the same.
The little processors contained within the unit's chassis were filled with information of every sort; behavioral parameters, temperature, movement data, the surroundings, vast amounts of trivia, power levels, structural statistics, and one more thing, its creator. The Creator was the key to everything, and the unit was very familiar with her; even if it didn't understand her.
Unit Sweetie nudged the door to its maker's room open with its nose apparatus, then walked in slowly. It monitored its power dwindling by the second. It had waited approximately one hour; forty-seven minutes; twelve seconds and fourteen nano-seconds longer than usual to request power. That wasn't normal. The processor cores could not come up with an explanation for Unit Sweetie upon request.
Unit Sweetie's 'eyes' spotted its first goal; Creator, sitting idly on a unit designated 'furniture: couch'. The processors moved onto step two of power acquisition, which was to drop the power cord linked to its left flank from its mouth, onto the ground.
Neither Unit Sweetie nor its stored memory understood the point of this action, the unit's speaker system could function fine with the cord in its mouth, why did it need to drop the cord and nudge it precisely three times with its nose apparatus?
Despite the bizarre nature of the order Creator herself had programmed, Unit Sweetie carried it out, nudging the power cord gently. It then moved onto phase three.
"Steph," Unit Sweetie said aloud, the speaker in its mouth cooing the words in the gentle voice of a young child.
It walked up, legs clinking softly in the night, then sat at the side of Creator's couch.
"Steeeeph," Unit Sweetie whined aloud again. Its eyes scanned and ran over Creator's form, shrouded slightly by the night time darkness, and only slightly illuminated by the glow of the television.
Creator, designation Stephanie, snorted loudly on the couch, but did not rise or react outwardly.
Unit Sweetie studied Creator's motionless form a moment, processing idly. Once apparent she would not, in fact be waking up, it began initiating the fourth, and final phase of power acquisition. In the case of Creator Stephanie undergoing nightly sleep phase, it was programmed to bite and pull on cloth in the near vicinity of Creator Stephanie for approximately ten seconds. If Stephanie did not awaken after allotted time had passed, Unit Sweetie was to enter low power-mode until inevitable shutdown.
Shutdown was fine, of course, to something that lacked emotion; but it was still empty.
Unit Sweetie could find no cloth in reach. Its vision did not detect the objective laid down by its maker. Quickly, it began seeking out what was required to fulfill its programming.
The motors in the rear leg joints whirred tiredly, barely fueled by the remaining two percent of power stored in the primary battery. Unit Sweetie couldn't feel tired, or pain, but the processor's activity while recalculating power drain continued at a rate 50% higher than normal for a full four seconds.
Warning : Shutdown Imminent.
The warning from the chassis' secondary computing unit was received by the central processors. They were not distressed, they couldn't be, but they did recalculate whether they could meet their objective with the power remaining to them, again, and then again.
The secondary computing unit complained a second time, repeating its message to the central processors without fail.
Warning : Shutdown Imminent.
Unit Sweetie chose to deactivate the secondary computer. It would save power. Secondary computer was unnecessary.
After five seconds, Unit Sweetie had managed to stand up on its hind legs beside Creator Stephanie's legs. The only cloth in sight was encircling Creator's waist. Without wasting anymore time, as time was of the essence, Unit Sweetie pulled itself up onto the couch. Its front legs reached up and began to pull the rest of its chassis up slowly. A jump was no longer feasible under current situational conditions.
There was little more than one-point one percent of power left, and by proxy, low power-mode.
Unit Sweetie leaned down a full point-seven seconds faster than protocol allowed, and bit into the objective as programmed, then initiated pulling for the called for ten seconds. The breech of parameters was archived as an unforeseen error.
The processor's logic matrix understood that it would be unlikely that Creator Stephanie would be able to rouse herself from rest in order to provide power before low power-mode, or perhaps even shutdown, but it carried out the orders still. It calculated twenty eight seconds of full power-mode remaining once the power acquisition request was complete.
It would use that time to remove itself from the furniture.
Unit Sweetie was not allowed on the furniture.
The processors had failed to remember that.