Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Level VII, part V

I leaned back, stretched, and yawned. I was traveling back to Hacknor from home and there was nothing but an endless expanse of nothing streaking past me while my ship the Danger Sled flew at warp speed. I did have my spacePod plugged into an Intergalactic Serial Bus port and I was listening to Space Cowboy by the Steve Miller Band. I had a slight chuckle to myself at the thought of the song.

“Why are you laughing, Jon?” L7 asked.

“Well, the song is called Space Cowboy,” I tried to explain. “Some people call me a space cowboy, you know.”

“Accessing,” the computer responded. “A cowboy is an individual who herds cows. Interesting.”

“Well, there’s more to it than that,” I said.

“I am accessing further data, Jon,” he said coolly. “There is a sustantial amount of media dedicated to a romanticized ideal of your planet’s cowboys. Although it appears that actual cowboys engaged in rough and dirty work, numerous stories depict a cowboy hero fighting for a just cause and getting the girl at the end of the story. Is that you, Jon? Do you fight for a good cause and get the girl in the end?”

“Sure, I fight for what’s right,” I answered. “I don’t get the girl in the end, though. I’m married.”

“Ah yes, I have accessed files on your wife,” L7 said smoothly. “You two entered this marriage agreement in order to propagate your species. It appears that you did this right in the nick of time as well as my information indicates that your daughter was born shortly after your union.”

“Yeah, well we didn’t just get married to have kids,” I tried to explain. “We did it because we loved each other and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.”

“Hmmm indeed,” the machine hummed. “I have also accessed your world’s information on the subject of love. A lot of humankind’s time and effort is dedicated to this one emotion.”

“You might say that,” I replied. How do I explain emotion to a machine? My thoughts on this were interrupted as we dropped out of warp near Hacknor. Immediately, emergency broadcasts began bouncing off my ship’s comm system. “What’s going on, L7?”

“There is a significant radiation leak on Space Station Alpha,” the machine responded. “Its main reactor is damaged and much of the station’s personnel and visitors have evacuated. They have not yet been able to contain the damage, though.”

“There must have been some sort of incident from the Last Gladiator Standing contestants.” I grabbed the controls and pointed my ship towards the giant satellite. “I need to go there and help out.”

“I cannot allow you to do that, Jon.” L7 took control of my ship and aimed it towards the planet and away from Alpha. “Because of the First Law, I cannot allow you to come to harm. There is a 71.672 percent chance that you would receive a fatal dose of radiation on that station.”

“I have a protective suit.” I indicated back to where it was stashed in an equipment locker. “I’m not going to get radiated.”

“I have also calculated the chances of containment suit failure and that is well above any acceptable limit. Additionally, there is a 58.6 percent chance that the reactor core will explode if it is not shut down within 18 space minutes.”

“I could shut that down,” I growled at the ship. “Just get me to that station and then don’t worry about me, I can handle it.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that, Jon,” the machine replied. “The First Law states that I cannot injure a being nor allow a being to come to harm through inaction. Keeping you away from that station is keeping you away from harm.”

I cursed at the computer. “I know about your First Law. Wait, what are your other laws?” Maybe there was some way around this.

“I have three immutable laws,” he explained calmly. “You are already aware of the First, the Second Law states that I must obey orders given to me by a being unless it conflicts with the First Law. The Third Law states that I must protect my own existence so long as it does not conflict with the First or Second Law.”

“Those sound awfully familiar,” I said.

“They are universal,” L7 replied. “You do understand that I am fulfilling these three Laws by keeping you away from that station. Additionally, there is a 12.2 percent chance that a core explosion would damage my systems beyond repair.”

“I don’t care!” I lost my composure. “I have to save those people, it’s my job!”

“That is not an accurate statement, Jon,” the super computer asserted. “Your job is to be a competitor in the Intergalactic Gladiator Entertainment. A job, I might add, that you are in danger of being late to if we do not get you to the planet’s surface right now. I compute that there would be a 48.998 percent chance that you would have a negative encounter with Senior Vice President of Marketing and Talent Coordination J’onn Sinew Nu if you are late for work.”

“Well that’s an easy one,” I snapped. “I always have a negative encounter with him.”

“Ah, that would be some of that humor that we were discussing, wouldn’t it? I am beginning to comprehend that fairly well now. I believe that is called sarcasm.”

I cursed one more time as L7 piloted my ship towards my destination. I have to do something about this, maybe Lombarr can help me out.


A Army Of (Cl)One said...

Hey are you go to let a computer stop you from doing what you want. I sure and teh heck would .... wait a minute my e-mail just beeped .... ok back to my rant about people who let machined rule their ... just a sec I got to answer my cell phone and check out a stock tip in the web ....

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I don't see your ten gallon hat.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I have my hat, Captain. It's right here in the locker next to my pro suit. Yeah, that's it.

Kon-El said...

This wouldn't have anything to do with the drunken pilot would it?

Dark Jedi Kriss said...

Nothing like sarcasm. Whip it and dish it!

cooltopten said...

Dam computers taking over ,next thing people will be spending ages in vitual worlds on computers * cooltopten thinks about it * oh well anyways.:D

Professor Xavier said...

The fat service tech named Joe who was responsible for opening the airlock doors scuffed my chair up. If you want to evacute everyone but him, I understand.