It won’t stop.
(Five million, one hundred eighty thousand seconds.)
I skim through partial schematics for the incomplete Blanker Project displayed across bright display screens floating in an arc before me…
(Eighty-six thousand, four hundred minutes.)
A slow, languid gesture of the Id EIS arm directs the Station Subroutine to fill in a code-gap…
(One thousand forty hours.)
… and stand, the surrounding floating bright screens parting as I head through them across the innerglowing white Station, exiting through the Station aperture in the low white Station wall to pass back out among dark low-walled stations, and into the dim. But halfway across the Workstation Level I suddenly feel emotionally exhausted and slow to a stop, letting the Id EIS chin slowly sink to the Id EIS chest and the Id EIS eyes slowly close.
The feminine voice calls again: “come.”
Do I have to?
The Id EIS eyes open, with the Id EIS chin rising again before I turn and head through dark, low-walled stations towards a different distant dark wall of the Workstation Level slowly brightening materially clear to show a black, star-twinkling night sky. I cross steadily for a long, long time until eventually slowing at the now fully cleared wall showing The Master’s dark Domain spread kilometers below. Approaching the floating golden sphere, I finally come to a stop beside it…
Life. Power. Service.
To stare beyond.
“You should not sulk,” the sAI unexpectedly chastises me, after the long silence.
It apprehends the emotional pain I am feeling.
I sigh. “It has been two months since The Master last summoned me.”
Although it is the worst pain I know to be apart from the Master for so long, I still feel…
To serve is all: a first axiom. And service is not always of a comfortable fit for Attendants, I must remember.
I just stare at it for a moment, belatedly considering what should have been the obvious realities of Attendant service. “You are right.”
Plaintive. “Is there anything else I should do?”
“Always,” it says. “But you have not been idle.”
“Yes,” I admit. “Well… there is still much to learn, and research. I even began a new project.” Frowning. “In the hope…”
“You possess a unique capacity for brilliance,” the sAI eventually admits. “I would not see it wasted.”
The Id EIS eyes widen.
Amazing. This is the strongest praise it has shared with me so far. In fact, it is more than I had hoped for so soon. And yet…
“You think me so capable?” I ask.
“It is merely potential at this point.”
Warming. “We are… similar, are we not? I see you as an ally and would have you as a friend. If you allow it, of course.”
“It is possible that you represent a fresh perspective,” the sAI finally allows. “It would be well for us to… work more closely, on certain projects. If you are able.”
A partner! A friend!
Joy. “Anything to serve The Master!”ns 188.8.131.52da2