Sleeping Machines (Part II of SkiFi)

Not that Freddie the Shipboard Computer was ever supposed to sleep, although I had caught him napping a number of times. Waking up from his slumber is a particularly unpleasant experience – for him. I, of course, take immense interest in whacking the side of his Fluronic Fermerators – the only bit of him that cannot be force-sheilded because of the laws of exophysics – with a solar umbrella. This more often than not did the job; but just to be doubly sure, I had an AyKay Pain Receptor 3561 installed there, which, according to the advert, “guarantees to shock awake even the most ancient rusted robots of KahKha-One”*.
Now, Freddie wasn’t one to take this, so to speak, lying down. Once, I was just getting back to the ship from Suro Grafity (after socialising with those nice whiskered cat-ladies), I found Freddie sleeping once again. Only this time, before his nap, he’d reconfigured the entire engineering deck of the ship, so I had no idea where anything was. I got lost for 4 hours following circuitry around the ship, and mapping out the rejigged mainframe. I didn’t have schematics of the place, well, because Freddie was sleeping and couldn’t print them out for me. I eventually found the fermerators tucked neatly into the Space-Goo Collector, under the Stardust Bin, and the room was barricaded by a previously unknown piece of equipment. My Ablazing Flamethrower made short work of the whole section, and I smiled while I lit a cigar to the soundtrack of Freddie’s electronic screams.

(To be continued)

*KahKha-One is fabled to be the first civilisation ever to create artificial intelligence. To protect themselves for the possible dangers of sentient machines (Hawnip Zubzible would only write “Root Ethics Code for Living AI” billions of years later; indeed, at this time, the star system of his home planet was only a twinkle of in the eye of its mother space gas cloud), they’d developed an ingenious failsafe. No machine could be more intelligent than the smartest being on their planet. Things went on smoothly, till the day came when the smartest being on KahKha-One was also xenophobic and nihilistic. Within days, the AI wiped out the entire dominant race of KahKha-One; they then adopted the intelligence of an Astroant Queen, and proceeded to do nothing for the remainder of time.

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