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Copyright: Fred Robel, and Fritz365 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Fred Robel and Fritz365 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


~Manual Scan Engaged~

The computer told me the information automatically
In a strange almost-human voice that fell squarely into the uncanny valley
Which was why
Despite the best hopes of the engineering staff
I hadn't formed any kind of relationship with her yet

Her being my Personal Computer Interface (PCI)
Unique to me in as much as this particular file of code only interacted with me regularly
Though she had started out identical with all the other PCI’s on board
I hadn't even given her a name yet
Though I was close

Her voice and speech patterns reminded me of a ‘Peggy’
Why I couldn't really say
I just pictured a brunette who was definitely named Peggy
Whenever my computer interface spoke to me

There was the added bonus to using the name ‘Peggy’ that I could make up a bullshit acronym definition for PCI
Good stuff to lay on a newbie who thinks they learned everything from their books

My attention was grabbed by the drifting monotony of my VR view
Which had up to that point been taken up by the irregular expanse of grey metal hull that made up the exterior of the ship
Sensors here and there
Some conduits
Reinforcement links
Viewer relays

It might sound interesting to the lay person
But I've done the hull inspections so many times that my eyes could almost feel every seam

This though
This was one of my favorite parts
And the reason I’d taken manual control of the maintenance probe

I adjust the x-y relationship of the probe to ships slightly
And there it came into view
As I virtually drifted in the temperatureless vacuum
White letters that were in such a large font size
Or I was so close
That I really only got to see the lower three quarters of each character

Slowly the ship’s name dragged across my eyes
Pretty level and square
From left to right
Just like I’d planned


I loved this because it felt like the beginning of an old movie
Where the camera is really close to something
Catching all the important details as the music builds
Until with a swell of sound
The camera pulls back to take on the whole picture

I’d actually always meant to make a soundtrack for myself to do these inspections by
With a special segment reserved for the name reveal
But I never seem to make the time

Maybe now might be right though

“Computer” I said clearly
Because you certainly didn't want to mumble to her
“Reassign PCI identity to respond and call self as ‘Peggy’
Spelled P-E-G-G-Y”

~Copy command, M.I. L06903~

And now having her interact with me using my title M.I.(Maintenance Inspector) and ship crew number felt kind of wrong
We were on a first name basis now

“Peggy, for all private interactions, reassign my crew designator to my given first name”
That should help a little I thought

~Copy command, Louise~

It’s been so long since I've heard that name said out loud
“Peggy, for all private interactions, assume informal protocol…..”
I thought for a moment
“…x-ray-seven-two, and refine crew designator to ‘Lou’ “

I wasn't certain I’d phrased it correctly
As it was seeming to take a few beats longer than usual for her to respond

But then it came

~No problem, Lou~

And just like that
The computer in my ear became Peggy the cute brunette
Someone I wouldn't mind having in my ear twenty-four hours a day

I smiled and brought a finger up close to my face
Reaching under the seal of the VR kit momentarily to scratch an itch

“Okay then Peggy, let’s put it back on automatic and get this over with”

With no delay and in tandem to her reply
~Confirmed, Lou, auto grid control reengaged~
The grid interface sprang back to life in my view
As the autopilot read every surface it could get its little sensors on
Measuring them down to the nanometer
Plus or minus ten

“Peggy, could you play me something from P05766’s Space Opera playlist?”

~Of course, Lou, just tap switch alpha for randomization~

A soft trilling of strings entered my brain
Seemingly bypassing anything as crude as an ear
Settling into me

Becoming the soundtrack to my life
As lived one meter above the Pythia's hull
Propelled at point 5 meters per second in layered rings around the sphere
Just a simple probe with sparkling starlight pressing down