AUGUSTA – In the end, a dose of good ol’ fashioned Maine agriculture saved the day.
The giant Susan Collins robot, commandeered by hackers and on the run since last weekend, was upended by a speeding, overweight logging truck on I-95 near Augusta, and was rendered inoperable, said Maine State Police spokesman Steve McCausland.
Meanwhile, state and federal officials arrested several officials in the Maine Republican Party, including high ranking members of the LePage administration, after clues about the robot’s behavior helped them deduce who was behind the caper.
“We had a tip that the robot was camped out in front of the DHS office in Augusta trying to deter people from applying for services,” said McCausland. “We couldn’t imagine anyone else who would think deterring MaineCare fraud could be an appropriate use $440 million worth of Defense Department technology, so we went straight to the Blaine House.”
Witnesses said the robot had been reprogrammed to say “only if you really need it” over and over again, which Gov. LePage said was Charlie Webster’s idea.
The robot was reportedly on its way to the Bangor DHS office when the logging truck struck it in the left heel at approximately 80 mph.
The 900-ton goliath, launched at Bath Iron Works last Thursday, was built to withstand such an impact, but a programming flaw had weakened it significantly, said Trevor Sirimoglu, robotics professor at the University of Maine.
“In accordance with Sen. Collins’ wishes, we programmed the robot to subsist entirely on school lunch french fries made from Maine potatoes,” explained Bath Iron Works engineer Burt Adamson. “In hindsight, this probably reduced its effectiveness.”