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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An excerpt from SHE

Chapter Five

Maybe a lack of oxygen will clear his big, fat head, Ibi thought as she settled her consciousness into the ship's main computer.

"Mental clarity is an unlikely side-effect of decreasing the oxygen." Betty's response came as a hiss of fragmented energy pulses through her shattered crystal connectors, reminding Ibi of the ship's extensive damage. How was she supposed to know that one small surge of data would overload the circuits and blow out the engine controls? Why was everything so damn fragile?
Easy enough to fix. Ibi began fusing the shards of crystal together.

"Oxygen at 30 percent," Betty reported in one clear pulse as the last of her connectors were repaired.

"He deserves it," Ibi answered. "You're not going to make me feel guilty. The man was going to shoot me!" She should've read him when he'd pulled her into his arms, but the scent and feel of him had overwhelmed her senses. Unsolicited, his memories of past sexual adventures had washed through her in one jumbled wave, giving her a confusing glimpse of possible intimacies to come.

Until he'd ruined it. Just thinking about how close he 'd come to pressing the trigger sent a dangerous wave of energy through the ship -- causing it shake with fury along with her.

"Decreasing the structural integrity of my hull is counter-productive to your attempts to repair me, " the computer stated blandly.

"Sorry, Betty, he makes me so angry!"

"You are young. The young of most species lack control."

Ibi countered the claim defensively. "Young? I was one of the first."

"Developmental age is species, rather than time, related. Your impulsive behavior suggests a lack of maturity."

"That doesn't sound like a compliment." Ibi said with a hint of warning in her voice.

"I am not presently programmed to make compliments or insults."

Unlike Daniel, Ibi thought and, for once, contained the waves of energy that automatically dispersed in response to strong emotions. She'd show Betty which one of them lacked control.

Daniel would beg.

"Humans are irrational creatures," Betty said. "They often do not make the best choices for their survival."

"Oh, he definitely made a bad choice this time," she said.

"The male of the species is further impeded by a poorly designed blood distribution method. Your interactions raise his pheromone levels, increase his heart beat, and lower his decision making abilities," the computer explained.

"After reading his journals, I'd say a lot of creatures do that to him," Ibi scoffed.

"Oxygen at 20 percent. The human body will begin to show effects at approximately 15 percent," Betty continued.

"Am I being cruel?" Ibi asked.

"I do not possess a morality chip. Your modifications simply allow me to communicate with you. Further updates will be necessary if you would like me to evaluate your ethics. Do you wish to terminate him?"

"No! He's my mate."

"I have run several scenarios and none suggest that your method will lead to copulation. Oxygen at 15 percent and decreasing quickly."

Some of her anger dissipated. She didn't actually want to damage him. "Is he sorry yet?"

"According to my sensors, his blood pressure is elevated, his muscular structure is tight and his breathing rate has increased."

"Are those signs of remorse?"

"All cross references for this state suggest anger, fury... "

Ibi used the ship's sensors to locate and observe Daniel. He was reclined, seemingly relaxed, in his captain's chair with his hands folded across his stomach and his feet propped on the control station. "What would you do, Betty?"

"Oxygen at 12 percent. The low statistical probability that you will be woken by another creature during a solar storm suggests that this is the mate you speak of. Be advised that humans often empty their internal systems when oxygen reaches below ten percent and the possibility of productive communication will decrease once brain damage occurs."

"It might be an improvement," Ibi muttered to herself, but used the sensors to check on Daniel's condition again.

He was talking to an empty control room, the quality of his speech distorted by slurring. Had she let it go too far? By the tone of his voice, Ibi guessed that, contrary to her hopes, the near death experience had not improved his mood.


What would happen if electromagnetism woke up and fell in love?