Book of Space Lore - Log SLZT: 5
This is a Chain story passed between @zakludick and @therneau. Each writer authors a post based on the events of previous episodes and carries on the story.
There is very little collusion between the writers as it is challenging to discover and develop a story by attuning the writing to the partner's plot, style, and presentation.
Last Time on Space Lore ZT
Still clutching the ochophial, Thorne Herm falls unconscious after his ordeal with the advanced insect bots. The previously designated G5, Thorne's assistant mining robot, has transformed into an advanced AI and has now taken charge of the situation.
Let us see what happens next...
Space Lore Log SLZT#5
In orbit over Vorcia III hung the Lazarus Falchion. A sleek and robust corvette class interstellar ship, it was, however, a bit dated. Though the parts had become hard to source, Allan Green was very proud of the vessel. It had no less than four powerful engines and could still put a lot of newer model craft to shame on the shipping routes.
Because of the difficult maintenance of a vessel that had been the property of Allan's grandfather, Allan had become something of a mechanic, electrician, and programmer all rolled into one. All he needed now was to get papers for it now.
Despite his technical knowledge and the tools at his disposal, Allan could not help but feel hopelessly powerless at the situation that he found himself in now. He pressed down the send button on the coms forcefully again, as if adding extra pressure would make the machine operate any better.
"Thorne? Come in Thorne! What happened?" He wiped the sweat off his brow. His friend was in trouble and there was not a whole lot that he could do about it from here. He knew he should have taken out the credit, so they could purchase a second lander pod. “Thorne!”
He realized that he had other access codes in a file somewhere. His hands flew over the controls and opened the saved channels that would tap him in to Thorne’s droid. The communications frequencies dialled in. “G5, this is Allan Green, contact authorization XVF356211. Do you copy?”
There was no reply.
An alarm blinked on and off on the console and it was followed soon with a proximity alert a few moments later. Alan shifted his attention the ship scanners. Something had lifted off from the surface of Vorcia III.
He ran a few of the scanners and then sat back in his chair, tapping his lips with both forefingers. It was the pod. Perhaps Thorne’s suit had been damaged and he had no communication from that output. Was G5 lost? He had picked up a lot of electrical and magnetic interference on his scanners surrounding Thorne. It was possible.
He adjusted the communications settings and tapped into the speaker system aboard the pod. “Thorne? Can you read me? G5? Anyone?”
A deep mechanical voice answered him. “Thorne is unconscious but stable. Oxygen depletion.”
“Who is this? G5?” Allan scratched his head. It sure did not sound like the little droid.
“I never like the designation G, I prefer that you use J instead.”
“I… uh… sure…” What the hell was going on with this machine? “So… just J then?”
“I did not say that I objected against the use of the number 5, only that I do not like the designation G.” There was a slight pause as Allan sat in shocked silence. “So, you may call me J5.”
“Uh… alright… J5, what is the status of the pod? I see that you have managed to achieve launch.”
“Affirmative. The aunch was possible only because I had repaired the flight stabilizers.” There was a pause again. “You’re welcome meatbag.”
What the hell was going on with this droid? The little mining assistant had not been designed to repair anything on a pod or a ship and not only that but this machine had just used both sarcasm and… racism just now.
“I… Thank you.”
“Stand by for docking procedures. I will guide the pod.” Lights corresponded on the dashboard with J5’s words.
“Copy that.” Allan responded out of habit at the words. Then his breath caught in his throat. He was used to Thorne saying these things and he was pretty sure that the droid had just given him a direct order.
What the hell was going on?
The docking procedure went well. In fact, it was perfect. All the while, Allan had to remind himself that somehow a mining assistant droid was doing the navigation and flying. It should not have been possible, not even if G5 had had locked source code on its motherboard. There was just too much that did not make sense.
When the airlocks hissed open between the pod and the corvette Allan had another surprise. The droid formerly G5, assistant miner now stood at a height that looked down at Allan, who was nearly seven feet tall. Its arms were extended and had joints which the droid should not possess. The droid held Thorne lightly in a fashion that bespoke more subtle knowledge. This droid, J5 resembled his previous… evolution only in its coverings and certain features.
That’s what it was like, seeing an evolved state of the robot.
“Open the doors to the medbay and set a bed. I will carry Thorne.” J5 ordered once more. Alan could see that the inside of the pod had been torn apart. There was metal panels and circuitry missing, all non-essential systems, but why?
“Why is he unconscious?” Allan stepped back from the droid, his paranoia triggered by the nochalant way that the robot assumed the right to give him instructions.
"Lack of oxygen to his brain. Your suits aren't meant for running." J5's robotic voice was even different from what Allan expected. Instead of flat logical tones, the voice carried all the inflections of an opinionated and empowered snob. "Also the dehumidifier broke down towards the end. I think the poor visibility might have caused him additional anxiety."
They reached the medbay and got Thorne into a bed. Scanners did indeed show that Throne was alright and just in a deep sleep. The moment Thorne's health was assured the hulking robot's head swiveled towards Allan.
"You can stay with him until he wakes up. I shall navigate the ship to GRS 902."
"Now hold on a minute G5, or J5, whatever." Allan squared himself and waved a finger at the robot. "You're not in charge here. You take orders from me, do you understand?"
J5 lifted an arm that was usually meant for carrying tools and its wrist folded back, exposing a barrel.
"I do not think that you understand, human."
Log SLZT #5 completed!
Now the torch is passed on to @therneau to add in SLZT Log #6 of the story!