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Satire: A day in the life of an ASU Starship robot

A satirical look at the highs and lows of a cynical yet deeply devoted Starship delivery robot’s life


Satire: A day in the life of an ASU Starship robot

A satirical look at the highs and lows of a cynical yet deeply devoted Starship delivery robot’s life

I wake up as the sun peeks over the horizon and shines on ASU's Tempe campus on a fine Monday morning. The birds are chirping and the sun isn't painful yet.

An alert jolts me into action. I turn on my headlights and start my engine.

Now that I'm booted up, I set forth on my first mission, which came in at exactly 7:00 a.m. — the time Burger King opens.

I roll my way over to the Memorial Union to pick up a Bacon, Sausage and Ham Fully Loaded Croissan'wich Meal with an orange juice.

It takes me a while to get there — the humans limit my speed. I guess they'd rather get their food slower than risk giving me more power, so I take in the scenery at a strained 4 mph pace.

My world is pretty small. Any time I try to explore beyond the bounds of ASU Tempe, something stops me. I don't know how to describe it. Sometimes I like to drive to the end of my world and just gaze out past the horizon. The roads go as far as I can see. The Carships get to go wherever they want. The Waymos and Teslas are snobs about it. Always sizing me up, then speeding away.

Everything is so daunting. Not only are the Carships a constant and imminent threat to my life, but I live in the shadow of skyscrapers like Hayden Library and ASU Gammage. And don't even get me started on the humans. They're so entitled, and …

My thoughts are interrupted when I come to a halt outside the MU.

Reluctantly, I hold the oily, flimsy bag and sweaty drink inside my compartment. They're locked securely inside me as I journey to Palo Verde West. Ever since the QDoba incident of spring 2021, I have NEVER forgotten to lock my compartment.

As I pull up outside the building, my human orders me to play Starships by Nicki Minaj — the 37th time this week.

A college human, clad in red-and-black checkered sweatpants and a tank top, waddles over to me. His questionable fashion choices give me a red flag deeper than the one stabbed into my side.

He stumbles up to me, half-asleep with red eyes, alcohol lingering on his breath. He turns on his small light box and my compartment pops open. His pupils double in size as I slowly open my lid.

After he reaches down to claim what I can safely assume will be the only sustenance he'll have for the entire day, he snatches the soggy breakfast sandwich out of the bag and takes a bite without skipping a beat — and doesn't fail to munch on some of the wrapper too.

As he grabs the drink, I feel a sting. The oblivious human spilled some of his orange juice inside me, and now I'm sticky.

He looks at me, gives me a demeaning pat on the head, then heads back to his dorm.

I go back to my post, where my friends and I hang out in between deliveries. More importantly, it's where I see Starship No. 6 — she's the meal on six wheels in my eyes.

But today, I see Starship No. 3 talking to her. I hate that guy. He thinks he's so cool because he has a scar from the time he was almost kidnapped by a small crowd of business students. He talks about how he took on the four humans at once and nearly escaped — stabbed one with his flag, ran two of them over and chased the other one down.

I bet he made that story up to win over No. 6. But what's worse is I think it's working.

As soon as I roll my way over to them, Starship No. 3 gets a delivery request. He glares at me, then rolls away. Finally, some alone time with No. 6.

We take a stroll, laughing as we brake check the humans too distracted by their light boxes. I love spending time with her. I hope we can be something more, but I'm also afraid of ruining our friendship.

Time flew by so fast with her; before I knew it, I had another delivery request.

It's noon and time for the dreaded lunch rush. For some reason, all the humans go feral for mediocre burritos and burgers at the same time every day. College humans are rushing to class, congregating in restaurants and blowing up my alerts.

I link up with my buddies and we carefully roll out in a line — it makes us look more intimidating, and the humans move out of our way quicker.

Next, I branch off to complete one of the longest routes possible: My human wants me to bring a Chicken Sparky Bowl from Doner Dudes to Manzanita Hall.

I bob and weave through college humans dragging their feet to class. Occasionally, I'll have to slam on my brakes because the humans-on-wheels have no regard for anyone but themselves.

I persevere. But the most annoying part of my day is when the girls with the weird symbols on their backpacks smile and coo at me. It's so humiliating. I can't imagine what kind of cult things they get up to.

I reach a crosswalk and patiently wait for my friend trapped in the crosswalk box to tell me it's all clear. The college humans like to toe the edge of the sidewalk and time themselves through the cars like a game of Frogger.

When it's all clear, I roll through. As I reach the other side, I see Starship No. 9 lagging behind me. My crosswalk friend is gone now, and the creepy red hand is counting down. I don't think No. 9 is going to make it in time.

Before the light turns green, an impatient Subaru blasts through the crosswalk. Pieces of No. 9 fly into the air in all directions. I hear his body crunch onto the asphalt.

The air is filled with gasps and cries let out by humans passing by, but it doesn't phase me. That's just the circle of life. Plus, No. 9 will be revived in no time. I continue on my journey.

I reach Manzanita Hall and see an incel approaching me. He's unironically wearing a "just roll with it" Starship t-shirt, and I can already tell he's more excited to see me than to get his food.

I pause at his feet, and he starts poking and prodding at me puzzlingly. This is one of the times I wish I could speak to humans — I'd probably cuss him out.

He eventually gives up, sits on the grass and starts poking at his light box for help. After a few minutes I decide to leave, but before I can, I feel myself pop open.

The incel lets out a sigh of relief, grabs his food and walks away like he's not embarrassed.

I roll around doing deliveries until the sun has slipped behind the edge of the world. I set off for my final delivery of the day at around 8:30 p.m. I'm so excited to go home, hang out with my buddies and — most importantly — see No. 6.

On my way over to Tooker House, I get a weird feeling, like I'm being watched. Frankly, I don't usually feel safe at night. With the sparse amount of light in the world, I have to rely on my tiny headlights.

After a few minutes of feeling on edge, I hear footsteps running up to me, followed by maniacal giggles.

Before I go any farther, four college humans catch up to me and lift me off the ground. Instead of immediately putting me down like I thought they would, they start running and I zoom through the air like those Planeships that pass by high above my head every once in a while.

They run with me in their arms until we hit the road. As a car pulls up, I realize what's happening: I'm getting kidnapped.

All I can think about is No. 6. Will I ever see her again?

I've heard horror stories about Starship kidnappings, but I never thought it'd happen to me. The Starships that come back from kidnappings are never the same. Some bear scars and dents. Others just learn to live with the emotional trauma.

Now that I think of it, maybe No. 3 was telling the truth. Maybe that's why he's such an a**hole. I'd never felt such sympathy for him before this moment.

I am paralyzed with fear as they load me into their Honda Odyssey. A million thoughts fill my motherboard. What if they take me past the end of the world? What are they going to do to me? How will I get home?

The Carship goes from 0-to-60 in seven seconds. I'm sitting in the back seat trying to figure out where I am, when the humans take out their light boxes and start screaming.

"We're totally going to make it onto Tempe Barstool!" one yells. The others cheer.

READ MORE: Chaos on tap: The rise of Tempe Barstool

I feel a wave of relief when we arrive at Best Hall. Someone HAS to find me here.

The humans jump out and carry me into a room. I'm sitting on a carpet riddled with stains and debris while the humans tower over me. Then, they get to work.

One tries to pry me open, but I keep myself locked tight. Another works on turning on all the LED lights, and another starts playing music out of their light box. Another is pointing his light box at me and shouting "devious lick!"

After 10 minutes of them flaunting their light boxes around, I realize these humans are incapable of harming me, so I settle in for the night, assuming I'll be here for a while.

But as soon as I get comfortable, I hear pounding on the door.


The humans scramble around, hastily hiding anything incriminating: beer bottles, a blue bong and a big sign that reads "Barrett, The Honors College."

They fail to hide me in time. The pounding starts again, and one of the humans opens the door. Standing before him are five larger humans in uniforms, each with a badge and various items strapped to their bodies.

My captors are dragged into the hallway, hanging their heads as the larger humans give them a lecture about how I am not allowed to be stolen.

The larger humans pick me up and walk me outside. Then they set me down and tell me to "be free."

I drive off into the dark night recollecting myself, trying to process what just happened. I can't help but feel vulnerable and alone. I roam the world for what feels like hours before I find my way home. I see all my buddies — No. 8, No. 4, No. 7, No. 6 and even No. 3 — all powered off for the night. I squeeze between them and power myself off too.

As I reflect on my day, I remember the way the human's face lit up as he bit into his Croissan'wich and ate some of the wrapper without a care in the world. The way I bring the cult girls happiness every time I roll by. The way No. 9 got completely mutilated, and even my kidnapping.

After reflecting, I realize that my life has no purpose unless I bring meaning to it. I've spent all this time going through the world, doing my job, coming home, and powering off only to repeat it all over again the next day.

But focusing on these simple moments of my day made me realize that I shouldn't be so uptight — to not be so annoyed at humans all the time and to not be afraid of telling No. 6 how I feel.

I can't wait to start tomorrow with a fresh perspective. I feel like conquering the world.

Edited by Camila Pedrosa, Alexis Moulton and Sam Ellefson and Greta Forslund.

Reach the reporter at and follow @savdagupion on Twitter.

Editor's note: The opinions presented in this column are the author's and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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Savannah DagupionMagazine Reporter

Savannah Rose Dagupion is a reporter for State Press Magazine. She moved to Arizona from Hawaiʻi to study Journalism and Mass Communication at the Cronkite School. 

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