Cogito Patris

Random Thoughts for Random People

The Story of J: Chapter 5 – Beginning a Search

=====Work of Fiction=====

Previous:
Chapter 4 – Introducing Kay
Table of Contents Next:
Chapter 6 – Welcome to Trantor

Kat rang the bell at J’s room at 05:30 local time the next day.  She was carrying a large bag and was dressed in an outfit designed for comfort, not style.  “Sweats” would be an accurate description.  Her semi-curly hair was tied back in a single pony tail.  Although she was obviously dressed for comfort, she still had an air of attractiveness that was difficult to miss.

But J managed to miss it when he answered the door.  He had finally gotten to sleep around 01:00 and was still groggy from being awakened by the door chime.  He motioned her in without saying a word, and she entered with the same silence.

She took a seat and he walked in to the bathroom to take a shower.  When he came out of the bath, with a fresh outfit and a fresh attitude, they nodded and headed for the door.  All without saying a word, and all without a word needed.

In fact, the silence continued until they were safely on the ship.  They had waited in silence as the Valet service had pulled J’s ship (he had decided that it was his ship) from the parking structure used by the repair service.  Kat tipped the serviceman and they had climbed in without a word.

J broke the silence, not to speak to her, but to communicate with the tower for permission to disembark.  Why it was called a tower was anyone’s best guess.  Some long-forgotten reference to a similar organization with a similar task of coordinating traffic.

Kat was the first to break the silence, as they exited the space station and headed for deep space.

“So, where should we start?”

“I was hoping you could tell me.” J replied. “After all, my memory only goes back for a few days.”

“Well, are we assuming that the computer on board this ship is a product of the robot society?”

“That is the assumption we made last night.  But I have to admit that it could be Korlog technology also.” J responded, remembering the war the computer knew about, but nobody on the space station around Dundalk-4 had known anything about it.

“I’m not sure who the Korlog are.” Kat said, then continued after J waived his hand in resignation. “So, perhaps the computer knows where to look.”

J thought about that for a second.  “So, why didn’t you ask the computer when you were working on it?”

“I did.” Kat answered succinctly, then expounded.  “It said it didn’t know.  But I have read stories about robots where they were instructed to lie, and did so convincingly.  I was hoping that you might have better luck.  After all, it was instructed to follow your orders above any other.”

J thought for a moment, then spoke aloud to the computer in the unnecessarily elevated volume taken by humans when speaking to machines. “Computer, do you have a name?”  The apparent non-sequator took Kat off guard, but she remained silent.

“No” came the simple response from the computer.

Kat said. “In the stories that I have heard, the name was always derived from the serial number.”

“J said “Computer, what is your serial number?”

“My serial number was derived from the ship’s ID number.  So I am XG-259” came the predicable response.

“Well, that doesn’t seem to fit any names I have heard of.” Kat said.

“Computer, from now on your name is ‘Exie’.” J said, referencing a now-defunct name.  Then he continued. “Exie, how do you know your serial number?”

“The information is built in to my memory banks.”

“How did you know it was derived from the ship’s ID number?” Kat asked, finally understanding where the line of questioning was going.

“I didn’t.  I inferred the information based on the ID written on the hull and the fact of my serial number as written in my databanks.”

“Do you know who constructed you?” J asked, realizing the explanation given was reasonable.

“No.” Exie replied.

“You told me that your memory did not pre-date mine but by a few hours.  But you do have a database.  Does it include any information on robots?” J asked

“Yes.  I have in my memory several works of fiction based on robots including Several novels by Isaac Asimov: The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, Robots of Dawn, Robots and Empire-”

J interrupted. “Do you have any non-fiction references to Robots?”

“No”

J now spoke to Kat. “So the computer doesn’t even know if the robots exist.  Now what?”

“What is the first thing that you remember?” Kat asked

“I woke up in here.” J said, waving his arms indistinguishably. “We were adrift near a derelict ship.”

“Maybe there is a clue on the ship.”

“It is as good a place to start as any.  Exie, set a course for the derelict ship.”

With that, the ship entered hyperspace en route to the derelict ship.

Previous:
Chapter 4 – Introducing Kay
Table of Contents Next:
Chapter 6 – Welcome to Trantor
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November 14, 2007 - Posted by | Story of J, The

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