keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Re Verse All
Chapter 121: Takano 49
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Beam 102
Tommy had managed to stay awake long enough to finish her dessert, but was glad that she had already set up her bed before dinner.
She awoke to find steak and eggs waiting.
“I remembered you got scrambled, so I guessed it’s what you prefer,” Lauren said as soon as they got past “good morning”.
“Scrambled is fine,” she answered.
“I don’t know whether you’d have preferred something else for breakfast,” Lauren continued, “but with all the exercise we’re getting we need the protein. I also ordered fresh fruit with yogurt, extra vitamins and again protein, but if you don’t like it don’t worry about it.”
“No, that’s fine.” Tommy wasn’t thrilled with yogurt, but fresh fruit was always good, and the yogurt would be all right with it. She began to eat.
She stopped a moment, realizing she hadn’t said grace. “Thank you, Lord,” she said quietly. “I seem to have landed on my feet this time.”
Then she turned her attention back to Lauren.
“I would ask what the plan for today is,” she said, “but unless you’ve discovered something truly phenomenal studying these machines, I assume we’re going to continue walking in the direction of our unknown other verser, find food along the way, and camp somewhere for the night.”
Lauren laughed. “Yes, I guess in that sense our days have become predictable. Of course, I’m open to suggestions. Were you thinking that we had a good gymnasium here, and should camp for a while to take advantage of it?”
“No, actually, despite the fact that this is an environmental control center, the environment here is less than ideal and I’d like to get back to residing in residential areas.”
“That sounds good to me. Finish your breakfast, and we’ll rest a bit, pack, and move on.”
Thereafter the day was effectively boring. They reached a retail area within a few hours, rested and ate deli sandwiches in a restaurant there, and continued beyond it into a residential district where they found an apartment complex for the night. Tommy noticed that the apartments were very much on a similar design, and wondered whether it was because the computer built them based on a stored pattern. Of course, it could have been that people built them to the same design. She remembered that many housing developments used the same basic blueprints to build many of the houses, sometimes three or four different ones repeated, sometimes just one. You didn’t have to be a computer to lack aesthetic sense.
That had her wondering whether a computer could have aesthetic sense. Whatever was running this place must be if not an Artificial Intelligence at least very close to it. That gave her a chill. She knew that AIs could be very dangerous even when care was taken in their design; if someone created one accidentally, that could be extremely dangerous. Somehow she didn’t think the programmers of this machine took the time to instill moral sense into their creation, let alone concern for life. Everything she had seen of it suggested it was focused on efficient management of resources. If it applied that to people, what would it conclude? It might decide that fewer people were more efficiently managed. That might explain why they had encountered so few. Yet there must be more that they were not encountering, because a system designed for efficiency would have recognized by this point that it didn’t need to stock and maintain supply centers for merchandise, including perishables, for people who didn’t exist.
Thus either the machine was not so efficient as she would have expected, or there are people still using these resources and they just had not encountered them.
Dinner and sleep came easily in the apartment, and then it was the next day.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #401: Characters Hiking. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: