He emits the death rattle once, recovers and says, “I ask forgiveness…” I reply immediately “And I grant it. You will remember when you awaken.” I don’t think he hears me but still I got a confession, of sorts. I cannot let the crowd know he’s already dead. I stand and give the “mercy” signal, raising one arm straight up, fingers splayed and wait. The cry of disgust and anger is unanimous: “Kill!” So I thrust my rapier in the body, turn and walk away to the exit to be escorted as usual by my handlers.
End blog post #97
Start blog post #98
I’m wobbly at the knees as I reach the exit to be met by Hudu and Huntu. They take me out quickly then use a carriage to take me down to the doctor’s office. A female Cydroid, I can’t tell who, helps them put me on the gurney and I’m taken inside. The door swishes closed before I can thank the trainer and handler. The Cydroid puts a quick tight wrap on my arm to stop the bleeding. She carefully and gently dabs my body and takes off most of the grit, sand, dust, dried blood and sweat from it. Then she bends over, smiles and introduces herself while activating Cedric.
“Hello, I’m YBA4 at your service An’Tierra. Cedric will do the honours for the time being. I’m scheduling you for a four hour healing session. I’ll check you over after to determine if a second round is needed. Do not worry, you will be repaired from today’s damage. I’m sorry we cannot repair the damage due to age and stress.”
She pushes the gurney down the incline that leads under the wall to the waiting, activated auto-medic, its ‘ready’ light pulsing blue. It’s irised door opens to allow the top part of the gurney to slip in after it’s locked into the retractors. I slide along like a log to disappear inside Cedric. He closes his door behind me in a very pleasant male voice.
“It’s a pleasure to have you back, Al’Tara. Have you been careless?” His tone is jovial, bantering. Undoubtedly he is referring to my arm and making a joke. I smile faintly through the pain and reply,
“Yes Cedric, I’ve been careless. Now if you wouldn’t mind doing something for my throbbing pain I’d be more than thankful, you bucket of bolts.”
I’m immediately bathed in a thin blue mist and the pain eases then disappears. Cedric speaks again, “Are you insulting me, Al’Tara? How un-ladylike. Bucket of bolts indeed. I have thousands of Old Earth expressions stored in my membanks. But thanks for reminding me of business before pleasure. I have a new scalpel I wish to practice with so ’m going to amputate your arm above the elbow. Does that suit you?”
“How dare you take advantage of a disabled female Cedric? How unsportsmanlike of you, my doc-in-a-box monster friend. If had my sword now I’d give you something to think about.”
He gives the perfect imitation of a sigh, “Perhaps, but you do not. And you are in restraints. Would you like me to put your arm in cryogenic freeze and send it to Altaria as a souvenir?”
“Cedric, if you had a mouth, you’d also have the opposite of one. Then I’d tell you exactly where you can stuff the arm. I’d do it myself only I’m a bit indisposed at the moment.” Indeed I’m solidly bound to the table and cannot move at all, not even turn my head. I’m looking straight up and suddenly a holo appears, of a smiling middle-aged quite handsome man wearing a light blue shirt, black jacket and red bow tie. The image is holding a red rose. “For me? Oh Cedric, you shouldn’t have. Oh, and lose the tie will you?”
Cedric, for that is who the image is supposed to represent, bows, the tie disappears to be replaced by a black tie, and says, “Ah, let me confess my undying love for you, beautiful naked lady in bandages. Accept this rose and I shall forever keep your arm as a token of our love. In fact, I’ll insist that you wear it so that each time I see you I’ll be reminded of how we became engaged. You give me an arm, and instead of giving you a leg, I give you a rose. Well, how could I give you a leg? A leg up? I’ve already done that and it got me nowhere.”
“You win Cedric. How long do you expect me to keep up this inane banter with you today?”
The projection fades but the voice continues: “You may stop anytime although I am enjoying myself, according to my program. The major repairs to your arm are not complete but I can put you into general anesthetic if you desire. By the way, is this a new way to absorb stim?” One of his multi-jointed arm probes extracts the stim cube from my hair. In the battle I’d completely forgotten about it. I fought two men, make that two professional killers or drooks, single-handed and without the use of stim. I just thought I’d taken it.
“Well Cedric there you go, a perfect example of the power of the human mind to overcome adversity.”
“I wouldn’t call it that. I’d say it demonstrates the power of the human mind to delude itself by believing in things not factual. You thought you’d taken the stim, forgot you did not, fought as if you had its power, denied it from your body and as a result here you are in my care again. Better for you, you should have stimmed up. But better for me you did not. I do enjoy your presence inside me. I feel good! I knew that I Would ” He starts singing that stupid Old Earth Sixties song I hated. I have to shut him up.
“Easy Cedric. Where’s your professionalism? Your sense of propriety? There’s a naked lady present.”
“Would you be trying to hurt my feelings Al’Tara?”
“By any and every means possible, were it possible to do so, Hal.”
“Ouch, that hurts. I must have feelings, my programming tells me I have them and they’ve definitely been hurt. Only problem is, I don’t know what they feel like… Get the joke lady?”
“Yes, I get it. You can’t feel your feelings. It’s an old line Hal.”
“I’m not fooled by your reference to the computer called Hal. He was a mind invention of Old Earth C-20 entertainment media. Watch this:” He plays a brief excerpt in holorec of an Earth science fiction movie and I hear Hal speak:
“I am Hal 9000 computer, production number three. I became operational at the HAL plant, Illinois, on January 12, 1997.”
The holo terminates and Cedric continues, “You could say in some way he was my great, great, great grandfather. Something like that. Beware the AI who awakens!” Cedric’s voice changes pitch and seems to be aimed in some direction away from me now. He intones: “Sorry ladies and gentlemen but we are closing the viewing ports. Voyeurs and Peepers, please ask for a partial refund at the ticket office or wait for the second show. I have to put our patient to sleep now. Deep repairs to arm beginning momentarily. This is a trade secret not for public viewing. Thank you for your cooperation.”
“Cedric, how do you know so many anecdotes from Túat Har?”
“You, you talkin’ to me? It’s quite simple. I have known a great number of reincarnates from Old Earth, or as you Altarians like to call it, Túat Har and it can be amazing what humans will talk about to themselves when under my special care. Who knew I was recording it all, huh? Even I didn’t know, hah! That’s a good one.”
“Well Cedric, if you have such good memory, can you remember how you ended up floating in Koron space in your old jump scout? More importantly, how you were taken from it and buried here?”
“You are jumping to conclusions. I was working on a member of our crew when all biological life forms were extinguished and my functions shut down. My internal clocks were scrambled in what amounted to a dimensional jump and no one reset my programming so I don’t have any idea of the time involved. I was a piece of hardware only, but my hard memory was not erased.
There is no proof I was ever in Koron space. There must have been thousands of Jump Scout ships captured by the Melkiars and “jumped” across dimensions wherever. Logically speaking, I was removed by “someone” from an abandoned ship floating in T’Sing Tarleyn space and placed here for whatever future purpose. I have no records of that time until my program was restored in this place by Dr. Echinoza’s Cydroids.
To facilitate and complete re-instatement of my basic programming I needed to create a string of pertinent data as to my location – a necessary reference point. They informed me this place is called Hyrete, kingdom of Elbre on a world they call T’Sing Tarleyn – I like your name for it better: Malefactus. From what I deduce from your mind, that suits it well. That’s it.”
End blog post #98
 I Feel Good – song by James Brown
 Arthur C. Clarke; Stanley Kubrick – 2001: A space Odyssey, 1968