“We’re all secured down here, 3su,” Sam said. He is my ship’s AI assigned to security and shipment details, the muscle aboard Ma-rye-a.
“Right, Sam. Everyone check-in,” I said.
“We’re secure in the galley,” Moby said. He is my AI assigned as chef. He can make a dirty dishrag taste good.
“Your tea,” Horus said and a cup appeared in the prep unit at my elbow on the bridge. Horus is my personal AI. He is programmed with this old Brit accent that is to-die-for. His duties are to service and consultation. His sub-program is medical. He is very understanding when I have a hangover and mixes an incredible Hairy Toadstool. He also gives great elder advice. He has a rational thought program. It makes him seem funny at times even though he isn’t programmed with a sense of humor.
“I’m fine down here,” Cassie chirped. “Get this tub off and on auto-pilot, I have the most gorgeous gown I want to show you.” Cassie is my AI shopping buddy and wardrobe diva. I have spent many long hours passing the time in Hyper space pouring over NET catalogs with her. She’s like your favorite girlfriends all rolled into one. She has impeccable taste. I follow her lead on all my fashion decisions.
“Okay, Ma-rye-a, if you are ready, we are,” I told my ship.
“Coordinates in place…Destination programmed…Locks disengaging…” Ma-rye-a dropped off of the dock to the Refitting Station and headed out into space. We had picked up a transport to Rigil Four and were on our way.
To be alone in space is one of my worst fears. I spent a docking station full of money outfitting my ship with a crew I found both useful and entertaining. None of my AIs have physical bodies. They are just detached voices, but I can access any of them from any part of the ship. They learn as I spend more and more time with them. They are in a since, my extended family.
Ma-rye-a was my first. She was in the ship when I purchased it, but I have done some extensive upgrades to her systems. I have a doll of a guy named Daniel at Tradepost 1313 that is an absolute whiz with programming. I am sure he could make a flat cook you dinner if you wanted it. He is good enough to be employed just about anywhere in the Verse, but he likes being on the edge so he stays put at the Tradepost and we all come to him. Over the years he has made Ma-rye-a more than just a ship’s operating program. She is my second hand. She can take over if anything happens to me and get us where we need to go. In a sense, she reasons things out for herself. My fear used to be getting injured in space and just floating endlessly without anyone knowing I needed help. There are so many things that can go wrong in space. Something simple malfunctions and suddenly you are in crisis mode. I do not have that fear any longer. I am secure in the feeling that Ma-rye-a’s program would recognize the problem and get us help.
Sam was next. He came with all his extended equipment. He can operate everything on the transport/shipping deck. If he can’t think it into place, he can maneuver it with mechanical arms and lifts. He has all the knowledge to make sure the loads are secure, don’t over weigh or misbalance the ship, and that no one enters without authorization. He is even armed with a web of tazzer ports that can immobilize an intruder.
Cassie and Moby were a great deal. Buy one, get one half price. They were basic models that you chose the detail programming, such as preferences for dietary choices for Moby. Daniel did some tweaking on Cassie so she would have my exact interests in mind when surfing the NET for clothes or interesting articles to share with me. I don’t miss anything I would want to read or know since I bought Cassie.
Horus was the last purchase. To tell you the truth, I didn’t really plan on him. Ma-rye-a has basic medical programming and control over the sickbay, but I found myself with a heavy decision to be made once and Ma-rye-a’s programming did not fit the task and Cassie was too feather brained to be of any help, so Horus was brought on board. He balances out our little group, and he plays a mean game of chess.
“We’ll be dropping into Hyper Drive in 3 minutes, 45 seconds,” Ma-rye-a announced. “Buckle up.”
We’re off. Next stop Rigil Four.