(Written by Griever, posted 8 December 2006)
The proximity alert was ringing.
Why does it always ring when I'm in the shower?
I shoved the coffin lid of the sonic shower open - I hate those things, but the Uncertainty doesn't have room for a regular one, or a large enough water supply for that matter - yanking the amp plugs as I went along. It's annoying when your shower doubles as a sound system, and even more so when it starts ringing in the middle of taking a bath.
"Four-eyes, what the hell is it this time?!"
There is no such thing as a normal AI. Never has been, and as long as we don't try and make one the hard way, there likely won't be. As an example, the first registered artificial sentience was one owned by a Japanese Fan who used to set his laptop onto some handwavium and use it in lieu of a battery when he wanted to play his h-games. Guess what got Quickened?
Just one of the reasons why governments were still mostly poking and prodding at the stuff while whatever fen had gotten their hands on it ... weren't.
Though when the flatscreen monitor on the cabin's bow-wards wall flickered with an image from the mast-mounted camera I remembered exactly why I disliked staying in parking orbit around Earth these days.
#Good morning, friend in God, can we interest you in an issue of the Watchtower?#
I hit mute, and gave the white SUV displayed a glare.
"What're they fielding?" I asked after a moment, during which I grabbed and downed a mug of chilled mocha.
"Pathetic. Baseliners, almost all the way. We shall feast on their blood!"
"Uh-huh, Tee. Whatever. Give 'em an overcharge and hijack their sound system."
The relative motion indicator I'd cobbled together out of a rangefinder and laser pointer gave a fair reading that they'd stopped, and what I could make out through their windshield showed they didn't have a clue of what was going on after Tee hacked himself in through their navigational deflectors.
I hit my commo pannel, and slotted a flash drive labeled with various 'hazardous materials' warnings.
"Good morning, asshats. As a registered citizen of the Principia Universalis I find your actions to be offensive and a violation to the Discordia Accords. This is your mandatory warning."
Then I hit the Big Red Button and made sure the camera was set to record onto storage, rather than to the usual void-buffer.
Stranded in space, because Tee was still holding their drive, the big white SUV sat and shuddered. Then the frantic armwaving started. Hmm. An hour or two of bombardment should do it. A blend of Barney, fen reading Vogon poetry, and various other entertaining snippets was enough to convince even these guys to piss the hell off.
"Burn, mortals! Burn in your pathetic shells! Bwhahahahaha! Suffer the fires of hell!"
"Yeah, whatever," I grumbled, getting a grilled cheese sandwitch from null-storage. "Eh. Might as well check the agenda. What've I got on my planner today, Trigon?"