In Verse Proportion; Chapter 61, Brown 215

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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 61:  Brown 215
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Kondor 192

As Vashti pushed the button to reboot the robot, Derek sat poised to move, to react to whatever it did.

It did nothing.

Oh, a light came on, an indicator on its chest, then another near the cameras and audio pickups.  The one on the chest, near the processor, flashed irregularly.

Derek hoped the system was downloading the latest upgrades.  He further hoped that those included his instructions to add English and Arabic to the system languages and recognize First and Second Officers Derek and Vashti Brown.  He could not tell.

On the other hand, either the robot had a very slow boot process or it was receiving a very large download.  If the latter, that would mean the central computer was doing its job, and the robot would be safe.  If the former, though, at any second it might suddenly attack.

He was pleased to see that Vashti was still poised near the kill switch.  It might be necessary.

Different indicators were blinking, mostly on the chest, but also in various places on the body, as if the system were confirming the functionality of its parts.

Abruptly it shifted, clearly adjusting its balance, then turned its visual sensors to focus on Derek, and swiftly spun them to look at Vashti.  This startled her, as she scampered back in a sort of inverted crab crawl.  It seemed to observe this, as if gathering information about a previously unknown species, then abruptly spun back to focus on Derek.

Well, something worked, anyway--it wasn’t trying to capture or subdue them.  Perhaps he needed to address it.

“Unidentified robot,” he began, which struck him as a less than promising opening but the best he could do on short notice, “please identify yourself and your function and assignment.”

“Utility robot seven thousand four hundred,” it faltered momentarily, apparently trying to convert from base eight to base ten, “fifty-nine, equipped for husbandry, assigned to capture stray animals and return them to their intended habitats.”

Well, there wasn’t much in that which Derek hadn’t at least suspected.  But there was an important implication, that this wasn’t a machine specially built for animal handling, but equipped for it by an add-on process.  This could be his translator; indeed, it could also be more than that.  He was thinking fast.

“Utility robot seven thousand four hundred fifty-nine, come with us.  Vashti, we’re going home.”  And picking up the scriff sense to that card and his bicycle, he headed toward the elevator.

Next chapter:  Chapter 62:  Slade 188
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #440:  Changing Worlds.  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:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Garden of Versers

Versers Versus Versers

Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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