BATMAN: So I saw you fighting another giant robot on television. Luthor again?
SUPERMAN: No, this one wasn’t Luthor.
BATMAN: Are you sure?
SUPERMAN: Of course I’m sure. Why wouldn’t I be sure that it wasn’t Luthor?
BATMAN: You tend to believe the best of people too often. I want to be sure this wasn’t another case of “maybe he’s reformed this time.”
SUPERMAN: I’m telling you, it wasn’t Luthor. It was aliens.
BATMAN: Hn. Aliens.
SUPERMAN: What’s that supposed to mean?
BATMAN: Nothing. So what did the giant alien robot want?
SUPERMAN: No, the robot wasn’t itself an alien. It was built by aliens.
BATMAN: I understood that.
BATMAN: The robot?
SUPERMAN: Oh. Enslave all humanity. You know.
BATMAN: Again? That’s the third one this year and it’s only May.
SUPERMAN: Actually, this one was kind of interesting. See, there used to be this intelligent alien race that lived on Earth before humans.
BATMAN: That we’ve never discovered any archelogical evidence of? Ever? Pull the other one, Clark.
SUPERMAN: No, really! They left.
BATMAN: They left.
BATMAN: They left the most fertile planet in this entire quarter of the galaxy.
SUPERMAN: There was some virus or something and it was wiping them out.
BATMAN: They invented interstellar space travel and couldn’t figure out antibiotics or vaccination?
SUPERMAN: They didn’t invent faster-than-light space travel; they used hibernation ships.
BATMAN: Where did they go?
SUPERMAN: I’m not sure. They seem to have been lost.
SUPERMAN: It’s not entirely implausible, you know.
SUPERMAN: I keep telling you, it wasn’t Luthor.
BATMAN: I’m sure. Continue.
SUPERMAN: Anyway, a few of them stayed behind and transferred their consciousnesses into the giant robot.
BATMAN: Does that mean when you destroyed the giant robot, you wiped out their race?
SUPERMAN: …well, there’s the ones in the hibernation ships.
BATMAN: That were lost.
SUPERMAN: …oh, crap.
BATMAN: (sighs) Look, they weren’t really alive anyway. They were computer copies of dead people.
SUPERMAN: Good point.
BATMAN: And it looked like that giant robot was giving you a hell of a fight.
SUPERMAN: It was. Battle lasers, nearly indestructible, that sort of thing. Hey, you know what was interesting?
SUPERMAN: It would send out the alien spirits to possess people – wait. If the spirits were in the robot –
BATMAN: Probably advanced hypnosis of some kind. You didn’t kill anybody. It’s obvious.
SUPERMAN: Oh. Good. Anyway, whenever it sent out those “spirits” to possess people, it would get weaker. But when it recalled them, it got stronger.
BATMAN: That doesn’t make any sense.
SUPERMAN: Sure it does.
BATMAN: No, it doesn’t. If it was really recalling “spirits” back to its mainframe, it would be using up additional processing resources and therefore should have been getting weaker. Or at least slower.
SUPERMAN: But –
BATMAN: Come to think, freeing up processor space like it did by expelling “spirits” should have made it more efficient, but instead it got weaker. That confirms the hypnosis theory; it was running additional subroutines when it hypnotized people and “possessed” them.
SUPERMAN: Well –
BATMAN: So to sum up, you fought a giant battle robot that claimed to be made from an Earth-native intelligent race that conveniently managed to predate humanity and invent starship travel – but not moderately advanced medicine, despite their ability to supposedly digitally transfer souls into machinery – without leaving a single trace of their civilization behind for us to discover. Then it behaved in a manner contrary to all the laws of computing that we know, unless it’s completely consistent with those laws. And you barely managed to destroy it.
SUPERMAN: Well, that’s the thing, see.
SUPERMAN: I couldn’t quite destroy it by punching it or anything.
BATMAN: Why didn’t you just throw it into the sun?
SUPERMAN: …look, sometimes you forget these things in the heat of the moment.
BATMAN: So what did you do?
SUPERMAN: I pretended I was defeated and figured that if I left myself open for possession, they’d all try to possess me at once and bad things would happen.
BATMAN: You did what?
SUPERMAN: Well, it worked.
BATMAN: That’s the most idiotic thing I think you’ve ever done. Counting the whole glasses thing, which I still don’t believe works.
SUPERMAN: Well –
BATMAN: I’d tell you more at length how stupid it was, but it doesn’t matter since we know “they” weren’t trying to “possess” you.
SUPERMAN: Then what did the robot do?
BATMAN: My guess would be that it initiated a deep-core biological scan, transmitted the data, then self-destructed to disguise its true plan.
SUPERMAN: Look, it’s still not necessarily Luthor…
(It’s still a really cool-looking battle robot, regardless of origin.)
Top comment: Wait, so it’s a robot made of thetans? Huh. — Master Mahan