Lilly goes over her plan to rescue her old smuggling captain’s daughter with her new crewmates. Things look…bleak.
“Alright, let’s go over the plan one more time.” Lilly del Morto was on the bridge with her new crewmates, several beings with varying levels of virtual and artificial intelligence. Aside from the Captain, who was a rogue AI with a long story, and Doc, the VI who had been there when she woke up on this ship, there was ACIS, the Administrative Control Interface Software–this was the female voice that order Lilly to the bridge on her first conscious day on board.
A VI, ACIS didn’t quite have the charismatic presence the Captain did, but Lilly thought that whoever programmed her must’ve been running bitch algorithms. Usually, she was just a stern and judgmental voice. But, when it was necessary, she projected a ten-inch holographic woman in a knee-length dress and sensible shoes, giving her a stern and judgmental physical presence as well. Her eye roll graphics were some of the most advanced Lilly had ever seen.
Aside from ACIS, who was somehow simulating the tapping of her holographic pen on her holographic clipboard on the bridge now, there were Rivet & Weld, the twin engineering droids whose programming seemed to make them part competent mechanical team and part slapstick comedy duo.
Lilly had met them on her first visit to her quarters, where, in the process of creating a bunk for her to sleep in, a flaming Rivet had secured Weld to a bulkhead while he attempted to extinguish the flames his partner had started. All in all, it was a minor incident, but it had taken twice as long to get Weld free from his bolting to the bulkhead as it had to build Lilly’s bed.
In the short time she’d been on board since then, the pair had been responsible for three explosions, five critical system failures, and a major hull breach. They always got the job done, but Lilly’s early observations indicated that they spent nearly as much time rebuilding themselves as they did working on the ship.
Like the ship, they were composed of a hodge-podge of salvage. Mostly humanoid in form, Rivet was short, steel-colored, boxy, and had a dark blue sensory input unit in the center of what one might consider his face. Weld was taller, rust-colored, and had a red array of nodes across his facial region, making him appear insect-like. Like ACIS, they were VIs, and del Morto suspected they were subject to the administrative software’s work orders.
These two, ACIS, and Doc formed the core of the Captain’s crew. They were less than elite operatives, but Lilly was used to working with what she had.
“Rivet and Weld, you two will accompany me turfside. I’ve had ACIS input a mooring request under the guise that we’re re-fueling and in search of a hardware update for our kitchen.”
“We ain’t got no kitchen,” said Weld in a flanged voice.
“No shit, dummy,” said Rivet. He conked his partner on the back of the head with a mechanical claw that concealed his rivet gun. “That’s why it’s the perfect cover. Besides, with organics on board, we’re gonna need some way to feed ‘em.”
“Whaddya mean?” asked Weld. He turned to Lilly. “Ya can’t just recharge like the rest of us?”
“Organic life requires organic sustenance, Weld,” interjected ACIS. “Just another inconvenience of their life form.”
Lilly shot her a look full of daggers. “An inconvenience that I’ve been assured our capable engineers can rectify. Doc, do you have that requisition list?”
“Affirmative!” the little droid chimed in. “While it seems that culinary technology varies greatly even within your own species, I believe I have compiled a list of resources that will enable you to prepare adequate sustenance.”
“Alright, import that list to Rivet and Weld. We’ll hit the market with a hover dolly first, but our real priority is to find a place called the Black Hole. According to the files we recovered from the Riot, the kid we’re after works there as a dish washer. It’s not far from the markets, but I don’t think it’s in a great part of town.”
“Local information sources indicate it is a hangout for many of the laborers from the market,” said Doc. “This suggests that you would do well to arrive before the shops close in order to avoid a large crowd.”
“When we get there,” Lilly continued, “we’ll park the dolly out front and you two will watch the stuff. I’ll find the kid and get her out. If she’s on the clock, we may not be able to just waltz out the front door. If that’s the case, I’ll be counting on the two of you to create a diversion so we can make a quiet escape. Any suggestions?”
“Yeah.” Weld’s pneumatic joins hissed as he sat forward in his chair. “What a, uh…divershun?”
Rivet clanged a head off the back of his head again. “She means we gotta make everyone look at us so no one’s lookin’ at her!”
“Oh.” Weld processed this. “So…kinda like the time you melted your hand to the engine cooling housing ‘cause you was too busy givin’ me a hard time about the job I was doing on the heat sinks?”
“Shaddup about that.” Another clang rang through the bridge.
Lilly was a little on edge about trusting these bots with the plan. It wasn’t that she didn’t think they could draw attention–they seemed to cause a scene no matter what they were doing. She was just worried about them blowing the whole bar to ashes somehow. “I’ll send you an SOS via my bracelet if I need the distraction. If we get split up, rendezvous back at the ship with the girl and the gear. Understood?”
Everyone in the room registered an affirmative. ACIS, making a note on her holographic pad, said, “Computations indicate success is a 26% probability.”
Lilly rolled her eyes as she lit a UV Light. “That’s still higher than zero.”
Check back next Friday too see whether or not the crew of the Captain Starship pulls off their rescue!