Welcome to Story Quest, a weekly podcast where we bring your stories to life!
In this episode we bring Isabelle’s story – Robot Who Robbed the Donut Factory – to life.
If you have a story idea, you could be like Isabelle and have it turned into a Story Quest. All you have to do is send us your story idea here. We know you have the best imaginations and together we can create the most brilliant stories!
That’s just what Isabelle did. You can watch the story she suggested come to life below, plus she tells us all about the inspiration behind the story at the end.
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Read along to Robot Who Robbed the Donut Factory!
You can read along to the story while you listen. Just follow the text below. Don’t worry if you find a word tricky – you can pause the video whenever to give yourself more time.
This story is set in the future – a thousand years in the future on a place that looks a bit like Earth but is actually Mars – when our story starts humans have been living on Mars for centuries and it’s a pretty nice place – bioforming has turned the sandy red terrain into lush greenery and forests, the air is fresh and clean, everything is kept tidy, and more importantly human beings have stopped fighting each other and everyone gets along – sounds pretty good right?
It was pretty good, and part of what made things run smoothly was that there were lots of robots. Most people had their personal robot to help them do day to day things, fetch and carry and play tunes, a bit like a smart speaker – in fact they were VERY smart. Robots helped teach children, serve customers in shops and work in factories – so basically doing all the things humans might not want to do. They were especially good at doing the really icky sticky jobs like cleaning the drains and unblocking toilets but as they were, well – robots, they didn’t mind, or at least if they did, they never said.
The trouble all began when a very famous pop star Celestra Sparkle made a video saying that the robots deserved more rights and that they were being treated like slaves. I mean it wasn’t a video, it was a sort of visual message that was transmitted through thought waves (well I said it was the future) but it’s easiest to think of it like a video. The sort of video that goes viral. REALLY viral.
“We treat robots like slaves” she shouted, “little better than a kettle or a dustbin – think how boring their lives must be, endless work and no fun – they can’t even enjoy themselves because they have no feelings – – it’s not right and we should change things!”
The video got so much attention that the Mars Galactic Council, who were sort of like the government had a debate about it all. In the end they decided that robots couldn’t be totally free to do what they wanted but that they could be given something new – a human upgrade – a range of human feelings, imaginations and skills that might make their lives more interesting. That way they could perhaps enjoy their lives and have some fun. Well, when they had finished unblocking the toilets.
Some robots were given the ability to paint – and contented hizzes and hums came from the new Robot art class, as they enjoyed winding down with some relaxing watercolours.
Some robots were given the skills to write and craft stories out of their new imaginations. The stories were, well kind of weird, but the robots seemed to be having fun for the first time. There were new animal loving robots, fitness fanatic robots… Everyone thought it was all quite the success.
A Robot called Trixi was last in the queue when it came to getting his upgrade. He’d been working extra shifts at the Sludge Filtering Factory – trust me that is a job NO human wants to do. “READY FOR UPGRADE” he beeped, in a robotic way, because, as we said, he WAS a robot.
The clerk in charge checked the computer.
“All I have left is the sense of taste. You’ll be able to taste real food – just like the humans.”
Trixi wasn’t sure he liked the sound of that – robots and food don’t really mix after all, unless the robot is a food processor, but he took the download and immediately felt… PECKISH?
This was new. He should have been returning to the Sludge Filtering Factory but instead he found himself swerving into a cake shop. Rows of delicious looking pastries and pies gleamed under the glass counter – and what were those? DOUGHNUTS? Well he had nuts and bolts didn’t he? Being a robot and all, so he thought that might be a good place to start. Unwrapping the glistening sugary treat he took a robot bite and – WOW! A fizz of circuits burst into life – he couldn’t believe how amazingly yummy this funny looking snack was. He finished every last bite. And then he wanted MORE. He took all the doughnuts from the shop and chomped them all up. But he still wanted MORE. Where could he find doughnuts? Well, the answer was simple and you should have worked it out by now if you were paying attention to the title of this story. The Doughnut factory of course!
The doughnut factory was called Dazzlin Deep Space Donuts and it was ENORMOUS – because everyone likes doughnuts right?, and 1000 years in the future the combination of flavours was INCREDIBLE – you could get rainbow flavour – happiness flavour and a very popular unicorn flavour – and thousands upon thousands of tasty treats were produced in the factory every day.
Trixi sneaked in through the service door and pretended that he was one of the robot workers. But secretly he began to slip doughnuts from the production line into his storage box until it was bursting. He swished away back to his home base and scoffed the lot. But it wasn’t enough. So what do you think he did? He. Went. Back. Again, and again and again.
For several days he snuck into the factory to steal as many doughnuts as he could. The factory manager was puzzled – his stock was disappearing – but all his workers were robots and robots didn’t like doughnuts – or did they?
It still wasn’t enough. The trouble was that he’d been given the sensation of taste but he was still a robot and so would never feel full – or sick – no matter how many doughnuts he ate.
Trixi needed more. So he had to come up with a new plan. Under the cover of night he went to the factory – used his wireless to hack into the security and locked all the shutters. Then he hacked into the main storage facility – the enormous steel doors opened and he was confronted by millions of doughnuts on the shelves reaching up as far as the eye could see. He got to work. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. He only scarpered back to his base as the sun came up – and just in time, as the factory manager was early that morning to unlock.
Now I should say that robots were programmed to know right from wrong and YOU know that stealing is never right – but it seemed having human feelings had changed the robots to be a little more human. Humans sometimes KNOW something is wrong, but… sort of end up doing it anyway, even if they shouldn’t. And doing it he was.
The factory manager arrived to find to his astonishment that there wasn’t one doughnut left. Not even a crumb. Or actually there were some crumbs – but they were on the floor.
“Follow the trail of crumbs!” he barked at the service robots. “We’ll find out in no time who the robber is!”
The chase was on – the factory manager set off to follow the trail followed by a robot who’s job it was to tidy up. He slurped up the crumbs as they went -( after all I you might remember I said that Mars was a very tidy planet). Of course the trail ended at Trixi’s robot base where a very guilty looking robot was docked, with crumbs all around his mouth.
“What have you got to say for yourself!” yelled the factory manager – “you’ve stolen every last doughnut!!!!!”
Trixi said he was sorry but to be truthful what he wanted to say was that he could just go for another doughnut and might the factory manager have one in his pocket?
So it was CHAOS! Robots everywhere were abandoning their jobs and it turned out that Trixi wasn’t the only Robot who was getting into trouble. The painting robots had vandalised a monument to Lord Wafflington II, founder of the Mars colony, the writing robots had invented several very VERY new swear words and the animal loving robots had accumulated so many pet pooches that the shops ran out of poo bags and the constant barking kept everyone awake.
Even the Mars celebrity Celestra Sparkle had to agree it was not working out as she had thought.
“I mean, sure it’s good that they’re enjoying themselves… but now WE AREN’T – I haven’t even seen my personal robot in weeks since they were given a love of holidays – they’ve been on a cruise to the Madogon Tides Ocean since Spring!”
So it was agreed that the human feelings would be deinstalled and the robots would go back to being, well robots.
Things returned to normal on Mars – the robots weren’t distracted by painting or writing or eating doughnuts – and the factory could go back to making doughnuts safe in the knowledge that they wouldn’t be stolen.
And did the robots miss their old feelings? Well it’s hard to say as robots generally do what they’re told, but I can tell you that Trixi downloaded a whole bunch of recipes and began to teach himself to bake. And guess what he would bake? Doughnuts of course! In time he would set up shop and people would come from far and wide to buy his wares. So even if he didn’t have feelings any more, I think it’s safe to say he did live SORT OF happily ever after!
Do you have a story you want to hear made into a Story Quest?
We’d love to hear from you, submit your idea here and maybe we’ll be hearing you on Story Quest soon.