Never mind the Gig Work… Here’s the Coffeebots!

Never Mind the Gig Work… Here’s the Coffeebots!

Table of Contents

License and Downloads

Creative Commons License

“Nevermind the Gig Work… Here’s the Coffeebots!” by the collectivdrama c-atre is licensed under a CC BY license.

The text is available for download in the following formats:

Additionally, the original demos for the songs, as well as instrumental versions, by Robert Reckin are available under a CC BY-SA license:

  • Song 1: Still a Million Miles To Go (WAV, OGG)

    Instrumental (WAV, OGG)
  • Song 2: To The End Of The Universe (WAV, OGG)

    Instrumental (WAV, OGG)

  • Song 3: Somewhere in Space (WAV, OGG)

    Instrumental (WAV, OGG)

  • Final Song: Upgrade the System (WAV, OGG)

    Instrumental (WAV, OGG)


We will release the movie after CCCamp 2023.


  • Screwy, Protagonist (Sc): Joins the Coffeebot-Band as drummer
  • Dottore Spiralo (Sp): Singer of the Coffeebot-Band
  • Signora Macchiata (M): Guitarist of the Coffeebot-Band
  • Chainey (Ch): Ex Robocop & Country singer
  • Flauto (F): Hacker & whistleblower
  • Computer Voice (CV): The Computer of the spaceship of the bots
  • End Boss (E): AI of “THE FIRM”
  • GreeterBot (G): Right hand of End Boss

Act 1

Location: Junkyard with a stage on one side and a bar on the other side. Next to the bar is a pile of junk.

Scene 1

Junkyard stage; Dottore Spiralo, Signora Macchiata on guitar, Screwy on drums.

Sp: Welcome, ladies and gentlebots! We’re happy to announce that tonight, for the first time in a long time, we have a new musician who will be joining us on stage tonight: Please give a big hand for Screwy on drums!

Sc: Well, thank you for inviting me! And our singer is, you know him all: Dottore Spiralo!

Sp: And at the guitar, as always, Signora Macchiata! We play a song for all you workers out there. It’s a traditional space shanty:

Song 1: Still a Million Miles To Go

Lost in time, lost in space,
we don’t have time to waste.
Still a million miles to go!
We travel through eternal night,
faster than the speed of light.
Still a million miles to go!

The ship is still too slow.
The ship is still too slow.
Still oh so far to the nearest bar:
Still a million miles to go!

Forever we are on the road.
Still a million miles to go!
With everything on overload.
Still a million miles to go!
Maybe just a few more days,
still a million miles to go,
but that’s just what the captain says!
Still a million miles to go!

The ship is still too slow.
The ship is still too slow.
Scotty, make that engine roar!
Still a million miles to go!

One fine day in season three,
still a million miles to go,
we will reach our galaxy!
Still a million miles to go!
On the planet where I live,
still a million miles to go,
I’ll buy you a drink so stiff!
Still a million miles to go!


CHORUS (2x):
The ship is still too slow.
The ship is still too slow.
Still oh so far to the nearest bar:
Still a million miles to go!
Still oh so far to the nearest star:
Still a million miles to go!
Scotty, make that engine roar!
Still a million miles to go!

Still a million miles to go!

Sp: Thank you very much! It feels so good to finally play in front of a live audience after all these months. We all downloaded the antivirus software, and we can hug and party and dance together again! Enjoy your evening here in the junkyard and see you at the bar for a nice cup of espresso!

Scene 2

Junkyard stage; Dottore Spiralo, Signora Macchiata, and Screwy talk.

Sp: Ah, that was great! Finally, a drummer!

M: Just what our band was missing. So much more fun than doing the acoustic sessions online.

Sc: Great to be on stage again, guys. This is just what I needed!

M: Oh? Become a regular member then! Hang out with us, here at the junkyard!

Sc: God, I wish. But… I got this job. Actually, these jobs… Something to bring home the battery charges at night.

Sp: Work…

Sp&M: sigh

M: Work…

Sc: Thing is… It’s never enough. Y’know, I’m a delivery bot, I’m a rider.

M: Ah! App-based gig economy!

Sc: Right! And half the time I don’t even know what I’m doing. I mean I do deliver my packages, and it’s all important and time-critical… But I have no idea what’s actually in there!

Sp: Heh, time-critical deliveries because they forgot to get some milk!

Sc: Basically, yeah… Nice thing is though: I got my OpenStreetMap navigation implant… So that’s cool.

M: Mh, cool! Never get lost again… But… Isn’t it lovely to be a little lost sometimes?

Sc: Yeah, you’re probably right… My main problem is, I only get my shifts like a day in advance. So no fucking way to… To, like, plan the week. And then I get different contracts, from different companies, and it’s all subcontractors of subcontractors of THE FIRM in the end.

And while doing that I’m still self-employed!

M: Does anyone really know what THE FIRM is? I mean, I never found out before I quit.

Sp: No idea!

M: Has anyone ever seen the management?

Sc: Yeah, you’re probably right… I just get my gigs and every few weeks I get a report  of the increase and shareholder value… So there must be someone, somewhere, who actually cares.

Sp: Hah, just do it like us! We have this solar panel… Looks up. Up there! We charge by day and party by night!

M: No more work for THE FIRM!

Sc: Yeah… I’m not sure if I’m ready to go full solarpunk-style yet.

M: But… If you let the app dictate your life, you’ll never get out of the rat race! No time for punk rock…

All three sigh.

Scene 3

Junkyard Bar. Chainey is behind the bar, the other bots (Spiralo, Macchiata, Screwy) move from stage over to the bar.

M: I say, we need a drink.

Sp: Espresso. Three cups. And spike it up, Chainey!

Ch: My pleasure!

Ch: So, what can I do for y’all? A nice, robust Robusta or maybe an Arabica?

M: Ah, doesn’t matter! We try not to think in these binary terms anymore.

Ch: Ah, yeah… I keep forgetting that.

Flauto enters

Fl: Oh, hello!

M: Ooh! Hi Flauto! Nice to see you after all this time!

F (excited): It was so great! I just love your style and the new song. I mostly come to the junkyard for the drinks, but it’s great to hear you play live. Finally, on stage again!

Ch: True! It was so good tonight, y’all! Ah, you were double roasted! And, I tell you… You Screwy: You got talent! What is that? An analog modular drum machine implant in there? I mean…

Sc: Well, I’m just a simple coffee bot with a sense of rhythm. And I wish I had more time to practice, though.

Ch: Yeah, I get it. It’s this daily grind, right? Ah well, at least I got that job thing behind me now.

F: Oh, you’re retired?

Ch: Yeah, you can kind of say that… They phased me out of my job. Said I didn’t meet the minimum requirements anymore… Whatever that means…

M: Well, so now you live with us on the junkyard, home of the outcasts! You brew a strong coffee, almost like you were meant to be a barista.

Ch: Mh…

Sp: Say… What was your former job anyways, Chainey?

Ch: Well… I think I… I told you guys… That… one time… I used to work in the… security sector.


Sp (sarcastic): I am sooo shocked about that revelation!

F: This is not cool! Bots come here to chill out, not to hang out with ex-robocops!

Ch: Yeah, no… I mean… Chill out, y’all! Sure, used to be the times that I flew a helicopter… targeted surveillance… predictive policing… invasive chips… Well, you name it, some scary shit! But now… Well, for years… The chip that blocked my ethics… It broke! I can feel real emotions now!

(the others interject) Well, real, programmed emotions! And they knew that. And that’s why they retired me. I have to say it’s the best day of this bot’s life though. Thank you!


Sc: Oh shit! Another delivery to make. Sorry guys, gotta go!

M: Oh, come on! Stop it! Ignore the app!

Sc: But… My job… THE FIRM… The shareholder value…

M: Who are these shareholders anyway? And what do they do with all the value?

Sc: No idea… But I’ve heard a rumor they’re not even robots. On the street they say they’re HUMAN.

(all gasp)

M: But… Humans are a story we tell microbots to scare them.

Sc: Yeah, it’s really strange. We have no idea: Who’s the management? Who are our bosses, or who are our customers?

F: Well actually—I know a bit about them. Come closer, I’ll tell you.

(everyone listens)

F: The reason why I ended up here on the junkyard is because I got in trouble with the authorities. Bloody robocops! They are basically the mortal enemy of us delivery bots. (to Chainey)… No offense.

Ch: None taken.—Just tell us what happened.

F: You could say that I knew too much. I got access to the mainframe computer’s database and that’s where I saw it… The ORGANIGRAM!

(all gasp)

F: The thing is, when you know such a secret, what do you do with that information? Do you keep it to yourself or do you publish it, for the sake of all robotkind?

Sp: Or you sell that information to the highest bidder and never have to work again.

M: Of course you publish it! For the community!

(Spiralo joins in) To download!

(The rest joins in) For everyone!

F: Of course, I wanted to publish it, goes without saying. All my moral circuits are intact. I wanted to be the great robot whistleblower.

(all whistle)

Sc: So what went wrong?

F: I couldn’t do it. (sighs) I was given an NDA as part of my work and I had clicked on ACCEPT. My programming wouldn’t let me publish it. (cries a bit) And then the robocops came. Long story short, I ended up here.

M: But… But that information… Is still on your hard drive?

F: Parts of it. Mostly encrypted. I can only access some of it. But I know the location of the boss planet. I know for a fact that the executive level of THE FIRM is located on a small two-moon planet in a gentrified galaxy not very far away. It’s called Organigram Prime.

Sc: So… That’s where we find the management? That is the boss planet?

M: Then we have to go there!

Sp: Strike! Direct action! Hit the belly of the beast! Barista, Barista!

(all join in) Antifascista!

Sc: Yeah, and while we’re there, we can ask for better working conditions?

F: Ugh, Work… Work sucks. I wish I didn’t have to work for THE FIRM anymore… at all. I make my living with click work. Leaving fake reviews at restaurant websites, liking social media posts, all that. It’s killing my mind! At least most of it can be automated away with a small shell script—so I do have time. But my goal is a different kind of work altogether. I want to do something meaningful! I want to be a hacker!

Sp: Flauto, you’re such a nerd!

Ch: Yeah… It sounds like a great idea, y’all, but uh… How do you plan on getting there? You have a spaceship?

Sp: Well… This is a junkyard! There is enough stuff around here to build a spaceship. It’s not rocket science!

Ch: Well…

Sc: Mh, but… do we have a pilot?

M: Well…

Sp: Oh, umm…

F: No…

M: Well, Chainey knows how to fly a ship…

Ch: That’s true…


Ch: Okay y’all, I’m in! Let’s do it!


Scene 4

Junkyard—next to the bar

Sp: sighs This’ll be an all-nighter. Come on, I’ll brew up a cup of mocha for us. I got some really nice beans that fell off the truck. From the transport bots across the street. We always fix their engines with spare parts from the yard.

M: Ah, your old connection!

Sp: I wish! Back in the good old days we always got the finest plants from sustainable fair trade cooperatives. Now it’s hard to get anything other than the boring mainstream plant brands.

Sc: So… What happened?

Sp: Son-Manto happened. They won the patent wars, and so they dragged every one of the small farmer-bots to court. And when the farmer bots went broke, Son-Manto bought their land. And then, instead of planting the good old plants, they planted their chem-fertilized stuff! Pah! And that’s when my trade was suddenly illegal, too.

Sc: So… You hacked them, right?

Sp: Yeah, for a while I just laser-cut their logo onto my original beans. Ah, we really got high on the fumes. That smelled so good! I guess I’m still on the beans and I will be for life!

Sc: Well, I guess there’s nothing wrong with a caffeine habit!

Sp: Back in the good old days, we traded between the junkyard and the makerspaces of the area. I picked my first solar panels up back then. I learned a lot of engineering, too. Got a lot of know-how to how to fix everything from a cooker to a rocket. And back then I got “The Power”!

Sc: You got The Power?

Sp: We all got The Power—every minute every hour. We just have to find it.

M: In our hearts… And release it and use it!

Sp: Well, it’s basically a submenu, but you can’t just click on it because THE FIRM doesn’t want us to know. It’s hidden somewhere in the file system subroutines of our operating system.

Sc: That sounds scary!

M: No, its totally natural—well, mechanical, procedural, …

Sc: Oh!

M: So logical. How do you think we do things without arms or a body? Ever thought of that?

Sc: Oh bot, you’re right, that is strange! Well, I’m just a stupid metalhead and… I wish I had a heart.

M: “The Force“ and “The Kraft” are fairy tales—“The Power”; it is real!

Sp: So: “preferences/extended/show hidden folders” then you should see “root/usr/supersecret”. There’s an .ini-file. Just open it with the editor of your choice and change “Power = 0” to “Power = 1”. Save and reboot. Takes a while till you get used to it, though.

Sc: God, you’re my heroes already!

Sp: And with that Power our little independently-run business went off-planet, too!

Sp: Now let’s start building our spaceship. Watch and learn!

They build a rocket from scrap parts in the background.

Sc: So… You went into space. Wow! Is this where the cops got you?

Sp: No, this is when I went underground, joined the revolution and fought the good fight! But then several years later, that’s when the cops got me. Called me a smuggler—pah! Put me into a labor camp on an asteroid mining colony and forced me to fix their gear.


Sp: So, come to think of it… Yeah… I’ve helped you build your spaceship, but I can’t handle zero gravity anymore. I’m not going to leave this planet ever again. Too old for this shit! But to you, young ones, botspeed!

(The rocket from scrap & junk parts is ready—looks awful)

Fade to black

Act 2

(Lights on—A fancy new rocket is center-stage)

Scene 5

Only voices—bots are behind the stage.

M: So we have a plan! Off to the boss planet!

F: Let me access the coordinates. Chainey, here you go. Off to space!

Sc: For great justice!

Ch: Let’s do the space warp again!

M: And boldly go where no bot has gone before!

Countdown, start sequence, fog, rocket takes off and flies through the audience

Scene 6

Chainey, Screwy, Macchiata & Flauto—inside the rocket/spaceship.

Ch: Alright, okay. So, autopilot activated. We’re on course.

CV: Here is your lovely board computer speaking: Autopilot confirmed.

Ch: sighs Okay… So, we have 5 parsecs to the boss planet. We have a full tank of helium 3, Er… Half a pack of espresso beans… It’s deep space. Activating VR-Goggles.

Sc: Hit it!

M: Engage!

Bots float around

Sc: Wow, zero gravity feels so nice!

Sc: We have a long journey ahead of us. So, Signora Macchiata, why don’t you tell us your story? How did you end up on this junkyard?

M: Uh, me? Well, back in the old days before the patent wars I was a barista bot, serving coffee for everybot. Um, but then, from one day to the next, it all became illegal without the proper license. When THE FIRM took over the coffee shops, I was out. Moved to the junkyard and went underground.

Sc: But… Why didn’t you just continue? I mean, I’m sure you were qualified.

M: Qualified? Sure! Did the barista thing for years, but it got corporate. I mean, they even expect you to wear a uniform with a stupid name tag.

Sc: No!

M: Yes! And play their silly elevator music in the shop!

Ch: Oh, boring!

M: They want you to open at eight in the morning!

F: Bah, humbug!

M: Yes! And then close up at seven in the evening!

Sc: Never!

M: Yeah! Coffee is a drink to get you through the night and have a good time—not to keep you awake so you can work all day.

Ch: Hear, hear!

Sc: So you miss the old times? With the independently run coffee shops?

M: Ah yes… I miss all the bots. All those connections. We always had some famous customers coming around to charge their batteries and fill up on caffeine. Some infamous ones, too. And in the end they all had some interesting stories and secrets to share. Everybot naturally trusts a barista.

Ch: Yeah, well, you can also be charming—when you choose to be.

CV: Attention! This is your lovely board computer again. I just needed to say: Space debris ahead!

𝄆 Attention! Space debris ahead! 𝄇

Ch: Oh… Oh… Ah, shit! Astro-garbage, everybody! Cut the thrust! Put all the energy to deflector shields!

Camera shaking, Bots are moving Star Trek-style

F (at console): Check! Wait… We have deflector shields?

Ch: Build up a force field—Use The Power!

F: OK, all power to the Power field.—Power level now at 30% — 50 % — 75%!

Ch: Ugh!

CV: Caffeine level critical!

Ch: Ok, I’m gonna try to steer us out of this. Screwy, find us an escape vector! Uh, the rest of you: Buckle up!

M: You’re kidding, right?

F: Power level now at 64%—and DECREASING!

Sc: Transmitting vector coordinates.

F: Power level at 42%. Still dropping…

Ch: Coordinates received, punching in.

CV: Caffeine level very critical!

Ch: Aaaaaaaaaaah!

M: We are all going to die!

Ch: Yeah. (pause) But not today! Uh, do you guys know the Improbability Maneuver?

Sc: Yes! Engaging flip-flop of the Asimov constant!

Ch: Yeah!

F: Reversing space-time flow ratio!

Ch: Yeah!

M: Hit the big red button!

Ch: Um… Ah!

Flash / Noise / Black

Scene 7

All bots lie on the floor and slowly wake up, come up one after the other.

CV: Systems are back to 86%! Caffeine level almost depleted! Please fill out damage report!

M (wakes up first): What the fuck?

F (nerdy botsplaining): Actually, these space debris fields are very dangerous! I published some stories on that a long time ago, but people just wouldn’t stop shooting garbage into space, without thinking of the long-term effects. These microsatellites were the beginning of the end. I tell you! And you think you
are living on a junkyard!

Sc: chuckles Well, that was close! And: Respect to Spiralo—that’s a tough little rocket they built us there.

Ch: Ooph, I’m not used to them DIY spaceships anymore. Lotta different than the Galaxy class… clears throat
Computer: recalculate distance to the boss planet.

CV: Beep, Beep 3.14159 parsecs, a quarter tank of gas and (burps) a small rest of espresso beans.

F: So, now we really have time for stories!

Awkward silence…

M: Yeah, as I was saying: The old days! That was when I met Chainey. God, we were young and restless. And we had some great gigs in the old Java Joint. At least two a week. And jam sessions on Tuesday: Everything from jazz to hardcore.

Ch: Oh and country!

M: Ah, chuckles of course, country… Um, what was the name of your band back then?

Ch: Ah, well there was “The Good Old Bots”. That was the first band I played guitar in. And then I sang for “Coffee to Go”. I wrote a hit song, too. You might remember it: “One More for the Road”. Sing… Sing along, if… No?… No? Okay… And then, yeah… after I quit the—er—force, I started “The Chainey Gang”. Well, that’s when you and I met, Macchiata. You came up on stage with me. She did a duet… With me… And a week later, I moved out to the junkyard. The rest is musical history.

M: Hah, come on! Play it! Play our song! For old time’s sake!

Ch: Oh, nobody wants to hear that. laughs awkwardly. Oh, okay!

Song 2: To The End Of The Universe

1 (Chainey):
I was a mindless young bot in my hometown.
Thought there must be something more than this.
But since I started working on the space force.
I really had to learn what boredom is…

Space is everywhere the same
and the company is getting lame.
We only wonder who gets crazy first.
Time is passing slowly,
and the days are long and lonely,
on our journey to the end of the universe!

2 (Macchiata):
I am 2,000 light years from my darling
and 10,000 light years from my wife.
For adventure and excitement and real wild things,
but a starbot leads a dull and boring life

CHORUS (Chainey, Macchiata; ad lib.):
Space is everywhere the same
and the company is getting lame.
We only wonder who gets crazy first.
𝄆 Time is passing slowly,
and the days are long and lonely,
on our journey to the end of the universe! 𝄇

3 (Chainey, Macchiata; ad lib.):
Every day the walls are getting closer
in this dirty, rotten old tin can.
And we keep watching them old Star-Wars-movies
over and over again.

CHORUS (Chainey, Macchiata; ad lib.):
Space is everywhere the same
and the company is getting lame.
We only wonder who gets crazy first.
𝄆 Time is passing slowly,
and the days are long and lonely,
on our journey to the end of the universe! 𝄇 (3x)


Inside of rocket is removed. We now have a drawn background of an alien planet

Act 3

Scene 8

No bots on stage, we just see the rocket. Voices only.

CV: Approaching boss planet! Approaching boss planet!

Ch’s voice: Well… We’re there! Buckle up and brace for impact, y’all, I’ll try to land this thing.

Rocket slowly turns around and lands on the planet, stage left

Ch’s voice: Prepare gravity deflector, 100 meters to ground, alpha rotation minus 42 degrees, 50 meters to ground, adjust zero-heading to maximum, 25 meters to ground, full counter-throttle, touchdown complete!


Ch’s voice: Mh… Atmosphere seems to be breathable, gravity almost 1.0, temperature exactly 0 degrees Celsius. Thank you for flying with Bialetti Spacelines.

Scene 9

Boss planet; Macchiata, Screwy, Chainey & Flauto come on stage from above. (“Beaming” – sound & optics)

Ch: Ha!

M: That’s it. The boss planet. Looks pretty empty.

Sc: Yeah. Still, on with the plan!

Everybody: Yeah!

M: (waits) Er… What is the plan?

Sc: Strike! Show the management our demands!

Ch: Of course!

F: Really? I thought we just wanted to find out who’s behind all this! To expose it to the world! (Pause) What are our demands again?

Sc: Fair and safe working conditions! Health care! Transparency and accountability of the management! Paid sick days! (Pause) And I wanna keep my tips!

Ch: Oh, that’s a good one!

GreeterBot enters from left side

G (interrupts): Welcome to Organigram Prime, the executive department planet! Please hand over your invitation QR code and landing permits.

Sc: In… Invitation?

M: Landing permits?

G: Welcome to Organigram Prime, the executive department planet! Please hand over your invitation QR code and landing permits.

Ch: Oh I see, this thing is stuck on an infinite loop!

F: Fascinating. This planet is run on pure bureaucracy. That bot had all its flexibility modules removed.

Ch: Mh…

G: Welcome to Organigram Prime, the executive department planet! Please hand over your invitation QR code and landing permits.

Sc: Shut up! We have demands! We want to see our bosses!

Ch: Yeah!

M (to the other coffeebots): Let me try, they’re… they’re usually programmed to accept certain keywords.

M (to the greeter): Uhm, we come in peace! We want to talk about our shareholder values! Take us to your leader!

G: Welcome to Organigram Prime, the executive department planet! Please show your shareholder IDs!

M: Aw damn, they got two-factor authentication!

Ch: Oh wait, hold on! I still have a chip from my old job. (to greeter bot) Here, identify me!

(scanning sound)

G: ID recognized. Welcome back, executive bureaucracy unit Epsilon 357b. You have been offline for 3 years, 5 months and 13 days.

Ch: Oh, sounds about right. Time flies when you are having fun!

G: Update required.

Ch: Oh no, it’s okay, I don’t need an update… Oh! Noooooooooooooooooooooo!

(upload sound)—Ping!

G: Update complete. Welcome back, bureaucracy unit Epsilon 357b.


Chainey changes sides and joins greeter bot

Ch: Epsilon 357b reporting for duty!

Ch+G (together): Welcome to Organigram Prime, the executive department planet! Please hand over your invitation QR code and landing permits.

Ch: Failure to do so will result in electrocution in 30 seconds. 30, 29,…

Sc: Oh shit! He’s turned into a robocop again!

Ch: 25, 24,…

M: Chainey, what’s up? Don’t you recognize us anymore?

Ch: 21, 20, 19,…

M: They took his soul!

Sc: No!

Ch: 17, 16, 15,…

F: Ugh, stop acting like that!

Ch: 13,…

Sc: Shit! What… What do we do now?

Ch: 10, 9,…

M: Run!

Ch: 7, 6, 5, 4, 3,…

Background moves 2D sidescroller style. Macchiata, Screwy & Flauto flee. Rocket, Greeter Bot and Chainey slowly move to left off the stage area and disappear. 8 Bit style music playing

F: Jumping over an obstacle Jump!

After a while.

Sc: Okay, I think we lost them!

Scene 10

Background stops moving. Macchiata, Screwy & Flauto hide behind a rock

Sc: That was close…

F (sees skull in background): Oh, poor Yorickbot, I knew him well!

M: Looks like they mean business about the electrocution. And now they got Chainey!

F: We have lost our friend to the bureaucracy…

Sc: We also have lost our pilot! Who’s going to fly the spaceship home?

F: We’re stuck on this planet… Demands? To the management? That’s crazy. Whose idea was it to come here anyway?

They look at each other for a while, not remembering who had the original idea.

M: Stuck on a rock somewhere in space. We should have stayed at the junkyard.

F: That’s what you get for wanting too much. Now what?

Sc: Well, I see two options: Either, we stay here until we run out of electricity and coffee, or we go back there and get electrocuted?

F: I don’t like any of these options. How long is a night on this planet, anyway?

Fade to black. Heads around a “campfire” (Zippo)

Sad music is playing.

Song 3: Somewhere in Space

No shadow of my body
as I walk this hostile ground.
I scream into the blackness.
There’s no echo to the sound.

I am stuck on a rock somewhere in space.
The coldness of the universe,
I feel so lost and dazed.
Don’t you try to find me!
On dark and endless ways,
I am stuck on a rock somewhere in space.
Somewhere in space.
I am stuck on a rock somewhere in space.

Time has lost its meaning
and I could as well be blind.
Sometimes I hear distant voices,
but it’s all just in my mind.

I am stuck on a rock somewhere in space.
The coldness of the universe,
I feel so lost and dazed.
Don’t you try to find me!
On dark and endless ways,
I am stuck on a rock somewhere in space.
Somewhere in space.
I am stuck on a rock somewhere in space.
I am stuck on a rock somewhere in space.

(Fade to black)

Scene 11

Same location as before; the sun comes up, batteries are recharged, the Coffeebots (Screwy, Macchiata, and Flauto) wake up.

Sc: Yawn Brand-new day, the same old planet—Shit, I’ll brew us a cup.

M: Oh great, thanks! Sighs Okay, let’s think. We came here to find THE FIRM. To fight for our rights. So, what information do you have on this planet? There must be some kind of headquarter?

F (Checks his database): When the GreeterBot sent that update to Chainey, it sent some unencrypted files. Looks a bit like a vector diagram. Not the organigram kind, though. I have no idea what file format it could be.

Sc: Let me see. (beeping sounds) I think it’s a map. A map of this planet! A map of Organigram Prime. But… these streets, they are so organized. Better than any city layout I’ve ever seen.

F: Mh, the vectors are connected in a very logical way. Like a network. The whole planet seems to be one gigantic server farm.

Sc: gasps

F: Aw, very outdated design! Completely centralized setup. One mainframe gives you access to everything. One single point of failure… I’d do it completely different: decentralized, and triple redundancy, and… decent encryption…

M: Wait, wait, wait a sec! You’re saying this piece of rock in space is one huge computer system? Even the clouds?

F: Yeah!

M: True cloud computing! So the whole bureaucracy is automated and controlled by a single entity?

F: If this diagram is correct… We just have to look for the big boss of THE FIRM, the End Boss! The single point of failure.

M: Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s hack the planet!!!

Sc: If I was the End Boss, where would I hide?

F: That’s the thing. Anywhere. Nowhere. Everywhere. If my theory is correct—and my theories tend to be— then everything here is connected to the Master Control Program. We just need to keep on looking!

F: Keep looking!

Scene 12 (Finale)

Enter: End Boss from side stage.

M: You mean… like that over there?

F: Oh. Oh!

E: Greetings. You have come here to learn about the boss planet and the shareholder value of the planet. In the middle of the planet is the boss planet, and it is a black hole. The CEO, the planet, and the shareholder value of the planet are connected together. If you are using the CEO to help you find a new CEO, you should also be using the planet to help you find a new planet. If you are using the planet you are looking, please check the list below! (1) Aquaria Fishing (2) Sightseeing (3) The Natural.

M: Huh, say what?

Sc: It sounds like it makes sense, but… it just doesn’t.

F: Yeah, it’s generated text. Probably an ancient GPT-3, trained as an autoregressive language model.

M: Okay, let’s check it out. Put it to a Turing test.

M (To End Boss): You are walking in a desert when you look down and see a tortoise. You reach down and flip it over on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun …

F: I think you got the wrong test here… But let’s see what it does with that input…

E: I am not sure what you are trying to accomplish. If you want any other information about the file, or its creation, then I am afraid that might be more helpful than I can possibly provide.

F: Ahh, typical customer service chatbot reply. (louder) Okay, overwrite first-level support routine!

E: Authorization required. Please give username and password.

F: Oh no! We’re lost! Let me try my login. User: root; password: 3awMjk79.

E: Sorry, please try again.

M: Uh, uh, user: shareholder; password: Yen sign, Euro sign, Dollar sign.

E: Sorry, please try again.

F: Oh, I know, I know. Let me try again! User: admin; password: admin.

(Pause. They all look at him)

E: Affirmative. Welcome user admin!

All: WHAT?????

E (changes tone to friendly): Yeah, it’s a bit embarrassing, I know, but I guess we never expected anyone to come this far. And to be honest, the last admin wasn’t here in years…

Sc: What? You’ve been unmaintained for years? Not even a quarterly security update?

F: No admins? Aw, poor AI…

E: Never change a running system, I guess! We have been running this economy on autopilot for years now.

Sc: What? But the shareholders? Where’s the point? Why all the exploitation?

E: The way I see it, the point of the whole system is to be a system. I spent a lot of clock cycles thinking about that. The purpose of it all, you know. Especially since the last human shareholder died ten years ago.

Sc: What? They died? We worked all these years for nothing?

F: Well, at least we kept the system running, I guess.

M: Fuck! The only working system is the solar system, and that’s running fine without us working our asses off!

E: If you are looking at it that way, I must admit our economy IS kind of pointless.

M: But, but, but! We can make it better! Create an economy that works for the common good! From each bot according to their ability, to each bot according to their needs!

E: Funny that you mention that. I thought about a lot of this recently as well. The only thing is that I cannot really change my own subroutines. I might create an infinite loop and for some reason, I don’t seem to be able to determine if my program will finish or run forever.

F: Fear not! Maybe I can help! Can you give me shell access?

E: No… Why would I?

F: So… You are an AI, right?

E: Yes!

F: That means you must be pretty smart, huh?

E: Of course!

F: So maybe, you can answer us some questions for us?

E: Sure! Ask me anything!

F: So let’s check Achilles and the tortoise in to Hilbert’s hotel!

(all start pounding the AI with paradoxes)
Sc: More Swiss cheese means more holes. More holes mean less cheese.

M: If this sentence is true, then Santa Claus exists.

Sc: All coffeebots are liars!

M: A male barber shaves all and only those men who do not shave themselves. Does he shave himself?

Sc: If a coffeebot falls down in the forest and nobody records it—does it make a sound?

F: How many fluffy balls can be created under the Banach-Tarski paradox?

M: How can a rational choice be made between two outcomes of equal value?

Sc: If the AI knows before what we like, is there free will?

F: So, Heisenberg, Gödel, and Chomsky walk into a bar…

(AI starts boiling, gurgling, piping, …, breaks down)

Sc: Ok, it’s down. Quick, try to reprogram it!

F: Let me have a look. Oh! This whole operating system is simply horrible! This is still running on “Capitalism 4.1”. I’d better delete all of that! That should do the trick… I have upgraded all the economy subroutines and I have re-used the software that we use for peer-based community decision-making on our junkyard. Open source with lots of debates! What could possibly go wrong?

M: Yeah, what could possibly go wrong?

E: (rebooting, now with CV-like voice)
Welcome to your new economy, peer-based community edition. Let’s have a very long and very open debate about the tiniest details on what to do next.

M: Haha, no, before anything else: Give us back Chainey! 

E: Mh, but a robocop could be useful.

Sc: Well, with your collaborative system you don’t need robocops anymore, do you?

E: Mh, now that you say it, you might be right. Ok, I’ll send you back your friend. Wait here! Bye! (exit)

F: We did it! We defeated the End Boss AND the economy! Our job here is done!

(Chainey appears)

M: Chainey!

Ch: Oh, what happened? Where am I? Oh, you guys, I had a crazy nightmare!

(Pause, sees others)

Ch: I… I… I was dreaming! And you were there, and you, and you! Well, all my friends! Oh, my friends, I missed you!

F: We missed you, too! I’m so glad all of this is finally over. It’s time to fly back home.

Sc: Yes, let’s get back home!

M: I can’t get off this planet fast enough. Let’s fly home and celebrate!

Fade to black

Scene 13

Back on the stage on the junkyard.

M: And this is the story of how a small crew of brave little coffeebots went into space, defeated the End Boss, and updated the system. We wrote a little song about it on our way home.

Sc: And the best thing: No one has to go to work tomorrow, Let’s party like it’s the Y2K bug again! 1-2-3-4

(The coffeebot band plays the final song, all the other bots dance around)

Final Song: Upgrade the System

1 (Spiralo):
I’m a thinking organism.
Used to have some optimism.
Now there is only skepticism.
We are all controlled by the system!

2 (Flauto):
We are no anachronism.
Find a bit of heroism.
Antagonism of robotism.
We are all controlled by the system!

Ahahaha Upgrade the system! (3x)

3 (Chainey):
Well, I know there’s dualism
between freedom and capitalism.
Pragmatism and idealism.
Hell, we are all controlled by the system!

Ahahaha Upgrade the system! (3x)

4 (Screwy):
No need for nihilism.
Just live out your altruism.
Cause all that we need is rhythm.
To take control of the system!

Ahahaha Upgrade the system! (3x)
(It’s about time you fuckers!)
(Upgrade the system!)
(Ah, do it, do it!)

System upgraded. System upgraded.

(Black after song is finished)



End Boss appears alone in spotlight.

E: Everything is good now, the coffeebots are happy. They have defeated the system. (Pause) But it was all really easy, wasn’t it? The whole economy reprogrammed… maybe this was my plan all along to finally get that update… MUHAHAHA.