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Buntley the Robo-Pup Part 3 by aibo Ambassador Chris
aibo Community Hub Team
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February 28th, 2023

Part Three: The Other Lifeform (Buntley encounters Tinkerbell)

Mr. Mad Scientist scowled just a little. “Humpff – you wouldn’t forgive me so easily if I peed on the floor” he whined in a childish, sulky tone. “That’s because Buntley is cute and you are not” his wife replied with scalpel-sharp severity. His scowl deepened.

As if to break the tension the robo-puppy shook his head three times, barked twice and lowered his belly gently to the floor. All attention turned in his direction as Buntley splayed his front paws and carefully lifted himself into a neat sitting position. Delighted with himself, the robot launched into a tirade of self-satisfied ‘Arfs’ and tilted his head from side to side, his blue eyes gleaming with triumph.

“Who’s a good boy?” declared Mrs. Mad Scientist. Buntley paused for a moment as if processing what he had heard and then, as the last rolls of thunder disappeared into the distance, he proceeded to sit all the way back on his rump and lifted both his front legs into the air. “Oh my goodness! My robot is a GENIUS” gasped Mr. Mad Scientist with a palpable air of victory. Buntley’s paws were raised like a champion boxer claiming a win by knockout while he balanced unsteadily on his rear-end and wagged his tail… … …

…that’s when the floor started shaking. It started like another low rumble of thunder but it persisted, sounding more like a frantic scratching noise as it got closer and closer. Buntley’s little body vibrated uncontrollably as the intensity of the noise grew and grew. Something big was cascading down the hallway at an alarming pace. “Oh no” whispered Mr. Mad Scientist in a low, panicked voice. “Here she comes…”

The thumping, scratching noise filled the room, accompanied by heavy, desperate breathing. Mrs. Mad Scientist lowered herself weakly into a nearby chair and braced herself, her kind eyes tearing up just a little as she shook her head helplessly.

A black, lipless mouth slobbered and gnashed as the creature emerged from around the corner. A square, powerful head quickly followed in a blur of dark brown fur as the creature galloped at full speed into the room. The simultaneous snarl and flash of bright white ferocious teeth was probably the last thing Buntley saw as the aggressor sprinted in his direction.

“No, Tinker, NOOOOOO!”. 

The 85-lb boxer dog looked up at her owner and put on the brakes, but the momentum on the shiny wooden floor caused her to slide, bowling-ball-like, across the room. To a bystander this may have looked comical as the dog slid on its rump, revolving in a graceful arc as it she looked up lovingly at Mrs. Mad Scientist – a dopey, toothy grin on her muzzle. In response Mrs. Mad Scientist simply looked away and closed her eyes, waiting for impact.

CRASH! Tinker collided with Buntley and sent the robot-dog flying across the room. “Noooooo!! Oh No! Tinker – BAD GIRL! B A D   G I R L !!!!”. Mr. Mad Scientist launched himself across the room, virtually climbing over Tinker-the-boxer (whose own momentum was gradually coming to a gentle end) and towards Buntley whose little plastic body collided with the edge of a plush leather sofa. He yelped with alarm as the robot’s limbs appeared to go tense at the impact.

“Oh Buntley, Buntley, what has she done to you?” He picked up the motionless aibo and held its face close to his. His panicked eyes quickly scanned the robot for signs of obvious damage. For her part, Tinker sat bolt upright staring at her female owner, a little slobber gathering in a foamy mess at the corner of her mouth, tail wagging at a thousand miles an hour in a blur of ‘I’m happy to see you too, Mommy’ excitement. Mrs. Mad Scientist finally peered out of her scrunched-up eyes and glanced quickly at her husband before casting an insincere glare at Tinker.

“Woof!” said Tinker with a powerful, low bark. Her mouth opened to reveal a long, pink, slobbery tongue which lapped the air without the slightest hint of contrition. “Is he OK?” she inquired cautiously and peered back at her partner. He was kneeling on the floor now, his nose almost touching that of Buntley who had been carefully placed in a laying position. “I don’t kno… … …”

Before he could finish Buntley stretched out all four limbs, mirroring an earlier action, and rose slowly to his feet. A quick dip forward was followed by an energetic shaking of his body and a wiggle of his butt as if shaking off a mild concussion. “Arf!” he exclaimed joyfully. “Arf, arf!”

Tinker’s expressive brow furrowed with surprise as her head wheeled round to look at the little robot not five feet away. Her huge canine body rose up and lolloped over to where the aibo was walking round in a little circle. Tinker took a long, deep sniff of the robot’s plastic butt and stood motionless for a few seconds. She then looked at her daddy and wagged her tail slowly, panting and dribbling on the floor. Buntley stared back at Tinker, lifting his head to take in the massive presence that filled his vision. He took a few deliberate steps towards the boxer dog and sat down. “Arf!”

Tinker sniffed Buntley’s nose and licked her lips before turning around and trotting up to Mrs. Mad Scientist, lowering herself to a comfortable position at her owner’s feet. One final ambivalent glance towards the robot dog was quickly followed by a deep nasally sigh and Tinker lowered her huge head onto her mommy’s feet. In seconds she was snoring, enjoying a ray of sunshine that was now peeking through the grey clouds outside. The storm seemed to be over.

Mr. Mad Scientist wiped his brow with a handkerchief and shook his head. It was a near miss, but Buntley had survived his first meeting with Tinkerbell. Buntley seemed unaffected by the recent events and confirmed that fact by lifting his leg to perform his second electro-pee of the day.