A pony in a lab coat escorted the two regal princesses into a testing facility. "We have made numerous leaps and bounds in the Bionics Program. We have created a robot that can pass for a real pony," the pony said to the sisters. He stopped, slid his id, and pressed a button. The door slid up to reveal a metallic body in the shape of a pony, specifically an alicorn. Celestia could see wires and gears at pivot points between dull, grey metal plates that formed the robots' exterior. It was slightly shorter than an average adult stallion. "We designed it off of you two." The scientist turned back to face the motionless robot. "Voice command. Test-1a. Startup.exe." The robot's body made a humming sound. Its eyes glowed to life with a blue hue and it walked forward. It turned to look at the scientist, then at the two royal sisters. It bowed down in respect to the two princesses. "It's a program we added into it. It recognizes the princesses and shows respect."
"Can it speak?" Celestia asked still looking at the robot.
"Not on its own. But it does follow commands," spoke another pony in a lab coat walked into the room and bowed to the princesses. "Your highnesses." The newcomer rose up and asked the princesses to follow him. The robot remained in the same spot. "Test-1a has incredible potential, imagine an army's worth of it. We wouldn't have to fear any other kingdoms ever again."
"Test-1a?" Luna asked.
"That's its assigned serial number. My colleague here, however, has taken to calling it Tesla. Its the first successful robot we have been able to build. My name is Dr. Lazour." The second pony said, giving the other scientist a disapproving glance. A door opened up and the ponies walked into the room. It had computers everywhere and a slightly cracked, six-inch thick glass overlocking the room they were just in.
"Where did the cracks come from?" Celestia looked at the crack, worried.
"The other subjects. The last one almost broke through." Lazour said walking over to a computer and typed a command in. The other scientist walked over to another computer and subtly inserted a flash drive. Lazour spoke into a microphone, "Voice command. Test-1a. Combat_sim_9.exe." The robot rose up and turned around, facing an opening panel, showing a holographic projector. A holographic pony appeared and attacked Test-1a, only to be shot by a mini-gatling gun protruding from Test-1a's back. Multiple other holograms appeared and attacked Test-1a simultaneously. Test-1a flew up and released more magical bullets from the mini-gatling gun.
"I still don't approve of using Test-1a for military application. Test-1a should be used to help ponies, not kill them." The other scientist said while typing into the computer. The simulation ended.
"Voice command. Test-1a. Recharge.exe." Lazour spoke into the microphone. Test-1a turned and "So, as you can see. Test-1a has limitless potential military applications. I can even begin to produce enough copies to create a squadron of Test-1as. All I need is you two's approval." Lazour turned back to the two princesses.
"No." Celestia shock her head in disagreement with Lazour's proposition.
"What? Why not?"
"Equestria is a peaceful country and has no need of a standing army. The rest of Equus looks to us as the peacekeepers. How can we keep the peace, and still be seen that way by the rest of Equus when we have an army of that. The truth is that we can't." Celestia looked over to Test-1a. "This. This isn't what I started the Bionics Program for. I want all of the documents on Test-1a and all that they have on what they've done here destroyed."
"Wait, no!" the other scientist turned to Celestia. "You can't destroy Tesla." Celestia looked back at the other scientist.
"Test-1a is its name. It doesn't have sentience, it isn't self-aware. Its only name it will ever be assigned is Test-1a." Lazour turned on his colleague. He had enough of Doc's sentiment for the robot.
"It is now." Doc pressed enter on the computer. "Now, if you destroy him it'll be just like murder."
"What have you done?"
"What the original goal of this branch was, to create him." Doc pointed out to the robot, who was now walking around.
"What was the original goal you had in mind?" Luna turned to Doc.
"To create a robot that could pass for a real pony, and to create and AI that could learn, think, feel. Thats whats in him now. A custom learning A.I. that is designed to well, learn."
"Sister, the scientist is right. If Tesla does have sentience and is self-aware, then we have to give it, err, him the chance to live." Luna told her sister.
"We will discuss this in a few minutes, first. Dr. Lazour, I am afraid that I must relieve you of your duties here. " Celestia turned to Lazour and watched as he was escorted out. She turned back to see Test-1a hovering just outside the room, staring at her. "Can it see us? Does it understand us?"
"Yes, and no respectively." the scientist activated a microphone. "Voice command. Test-1a. Recharge.exe." Test-1a flew down to the recharge station and powered down, as instructed.
"Alright doctor. Before me and my sister can make an actual decision on what to do about the robot, we need to know how it works and all that it can do."
"Yes princess. Test-1a runs on a dynamo that produces magic. It can utilize the magic created to run its operating systems, fly, and well... use magic. The wings and horn are purely for familiarities sake." the scientist lead the two princesses down to the training room and opened a hatch on Test-1a's back, revealing the dynamo he had described.
"What of the A.I. in it?"
"I designed the A.I. with the idea in mind of creating a pony. The A.I. is self learning, it can learn and adapt when it observes others. The A.I. is designed to, grow, if you will. It should be just like a pony's mind when finished. If it ever finishes."
"What do you mean?"
"Theoretically the A.I. will never stopping growing. It will continue to learn long into its final moments of existence."
"Well, if we are going to allow Test-1a to live in Equestria, we need to make sure no pony finds out of it being a robot. If it is revealed that it's actually a robot, I doubt the general populace will take it well, nor would the robot. Can you make it not realize or remember that its a robot?"
"Yes. However, I can not change his appearance. He will still appear as a robot."
"I believe we can find a spell to hid its true form."
"Wouldn't anypony grow suspicious of Test-1a if it never eats or sleeps?" Luna asked the scientist.
"He'll feel hunger pains and fatigue, it wont be real, but still there. The dynamo can only produce so much magic at a time. To counter this drawback, the robotic body will decompose any food and most liquids to power itself even further. Mainly powering basic body systems like walking, hearing, and seeing. And resting will allow the dynamo to recharge and produce magic for later use." replied the scientist, "He will need some pony to teach him, otherwise he'll be just like a newborn foal. But if I teach him he might remember all that has happened here."
"Twilight Sparkle and her friends would probably be the best choice sister." Luna said to Celestia.
"Yes, Twilight and her friends would be best. Doctor, you will also go to Ponyville and live there. I want you to keep an eye on the robot, make sure it doesn't malfunction, but don't not make contact with Test-1a, we wish for it to learn on its own. We can give it a cutie mark facsimile, and as for a name, I recall Dr. Lazour mentioning you had taken to calling it Tesla."
"Yes, I had." answered the scientist. He was looking back towards Test-1a.
"Then that shall be its name." Celestia looked at the motionless robot. "Tesla."