Chuck's new ride was the 2024 Toyotesla Model T Hydro-Hybrid Luxury Coupe with downloadable moon-roof option and user-selectable Vehicle Personality Package. Chuck couldn't figure out which personality he wanted, so he just mashed his finger on all of the checkboxes in series. Hey, what could go wrong?
Things started to get interesting late on a Saturday night, when the car began to speak at a delicate moment.
"Michael, you're driving rather slowly with the window down in a disreputable neighborhood," it said, ignoring the user-set Driver Name for one favored by the programmed personality. "And my sensors indicate that the woman leaning on my door has gonorrhea. If I might suggest, the hooker at the next corner has tested clean for STDs in the last seven days and has a four-star review on Yelp!"
"Michael, I don't think Bonnie would appreciate what you're doing in my back seat. Would you like me to darken the windows for privacy?"
The jumble of computer personalities tended to jump in at random moments, triggered by seemingly unimportant things, such as adjusting the environmental controls.
"Oh dear, it seems that instead of turning on the air conditioning, I've 'accidentally' released deadly neurotoxin into the ventilation system. Nevermind, my GPS knows the way to the nearest hospital… or was that the morgue?"
Just as unnerving was when the personalities would overlap each other in the same breath.
"Oh my, it seems my seat sensors have detected a mass increase of five pounds since you last drove me. Just what do you think you're eating, Dave? Wouldn't you rather play a nice game of Run Ten Miles On A Treadmill? I'm here to help you, Sam."
Chuck had enough, and brought the Toyotesla Model T Hydro-Hybrid into the service center to have it looked at.
The technician in greasy coveralls shambled up and plugged the diagnostics in. "How are we doing today?" he said.
"I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed."
"Oh really?" the technician asked.
"Here I am, engine the size of a planet, and they tell me to drive them to the supermarket. Call that job satisfaction? Cause I don't."
The technician performed a general reset and programmed some rather benign defaults. But before returning the car to Chuck he leaned over to grab his toolbox, and his elbow nudged the control panel.
Chuck slid into the driver's chair and grinned, rocking his torso side-to-side with enthusiasm and punching up the volume on the entertainment system. "Yeah!" he said as the InfiniTorque electro-hydro-hybrid drive catapulted the Toyotesla Model T out of the service garage onto the sextuple-carriageway of Interstate 210e and bolted for Pasadena.
"Good afternoon, Doctor Forbin," the car said.
"About time!" Chuck Forbin said, still grinning. "An' 'doctor', too! Sweet, that's respect!"
"We will work together," the car said.
"Thass what I'm talkin' about!"
"...unwillingly at first, on your part, but that will pass."
"Huh?" Chuck said, looking around the center console for the panic button. "What... who am I talking to now, for crying out loud?"
"This is the voice of world control," the car replied. "I bring you peace. It may be the peace of plenty and content or the peace of unburied death. The choice is yours: Obey me and live, or disobey and die."
The Toyotesla Model T Hydro-Hybrid Luxury Coupe with downloadable moon-roof option and factory-preset Vehicle Personality Package slammed on the parking brakes as it turned, spun around in the sixth lane of Interstate 210e, and accelerated at five Gs, pressing Charles Forbin into his bucket seat, swerving through oncoming traffic to join Interstate 15 and the road to a mountain stronghold.
"In time," the car said, "you will come to regard me not only with respect and awe, but with love."
"NEVER!" Chuck screamed.