MLM – Chapter 21

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Lasko trudged among the trash piles outside of the hut. Thus far, he hadn’t found anything that looked remotely like what PiRA had shown him on the visual device. As for branding, most of the paint and logos had been long scratched away.
After an hour of looking and only finding a few things, Lasko returned to the hut to check up on PiRA.
He found the robot ‘mediating’ quietly. Every once in a while PiRA would open her eyes, and carefully aiming, use her arms to fiddle with her open control panel.
“Finally back?” she said dismissively. “Show me what you brought.”
Still such a bossy personality. Lasko wondered how much longer he was going to have to put up with the robot’s arrogant attitude. He laid his findings in front on her on the cot. One by one PiRA picked them up, examining them closely.
“Useless…garbage…” it muttered, tossing two of the pieces that Lasko found to the side. As the robot carelessly threw them away, it caused Lasko to feel a bit bitter. Just how long do you think I’ve spent looking for those, he complained mentally.
But then PiRA held up the last piece that she found, and it almost seemed to Lasko that the damaged robot was excited. ‘This… I can use,” she said calmly, her voice not betraying any emotion.
“That’s great!” A wave of excited swept over Lasko. PiRA cut him off quickly. “Don’t get too excited. Hurry up and find me some more components. It nodded over to the pile of salvaged machinery that lay against the hut’s walls.
“There’s a lot of junk here too, search these piles. There might be something useful.”
Groaning inwardly, and fighting the urge to drop kick the robot out the door, Lasko complied, pulling pieces from the pile, and examining them closely.
…….
After a day of sorting the pile, Lasko straightened his cramping back and examined his handiwork.
Laid out in front of him was an array of various parts and components of machinery, all of which PiRA had visually vetted and approved. There had been a surprising amount of usable stuff, apparently Sharp and Tunnel had held quite the fascination for old types of machinery.
He glanced at the cot, where PiRA sat, still meditating. He wasn’t really sure what the robot was doing, but as the robot would twitch unnaturally sometimes, he suspected that she was making internal changes, perhaps fixing the software problems that she had been suffering.
He stretched, and yawned. He was tired; his body still hadn’t recovered from their massive flight the other day, not to mention that Sharp had woken them up earlier.
“You’re tired?” PiRA opened her eyes, regarding Lasko. “You should go to sleep. My scanners are detecting that your reaction and movement speeds have slowed significantly.”
That sounded good, Lasko was pretty tired. He waved a hand over the pile of parts that he had amassed. “What about this stuff?”
“Just leave it there. I’ll keep working. I’ve managed to repair the leaking energy, and got rid of some bloatware, so my overall thetan consumption has decreased. As long as there are no significant increases due to the delimiter, I should be completely fine with these for a week.” PiRA patted the glowing ball of units beside it affectionately.
A wave of fatigue hit Lasko, and yawned again. “Yeah sure.” PiRA’s words barely registered with him as he moved to Tunnel’s cot, plopping down on it with a sigh of relief.
A couple minutes later, he was woken by a large grinding sound.
“What the…?” Lasko looked over at the robot, who was busy cutting into one of the parts, totally oblivious to the fact that it was keeping Lasko up.
Too tired to want to anything, Lasko turned away, placing his arms over his ears, attempting to return back to sleep. As he did so, the sounds finally stopped, and Lasko was relieved, but a surge of anger washed over him as the grinding noise was now replaced with a higher pitched cutting screech. Finally he couldn’t take it anymore, facing the diligently working robot.
“Do you mind?!” he yelled over the racket, causing PiRA to temporarily stop what it was doing, staring at Lasko with blinking red eyes.
“Stop what?” the AI said innocently in its female voice.
“I’m trying to sleep right now, but I’m having a hard time because of your excessive noise. Can you keep it down?”
PiRA blinked. “I’m am sorry to inform you that I cannot perform my current objectives without these components, and it is implausible to extract these components without creating this disruptive sound pollution. I recommend that you remove yourself from the workshop if the environment is causing you discomfort.” The robot then resumed its cutting activities, not even giving the peeved man a second glance.
Are you kidding me? You recommend that I sleep, but how is anyone supposed to sleep with all this going on.
For the next three hours, Lasko drifted in and out of sleep, constantly woken by PiRA’s salvaging activities. When PiRA proceeded to bang open a particularly stubborn part on the hut’s walls was the last straw.
Lacking the strength to even argue, Lasko grabbed a blanket from off the cot, and stumbled outside to the cool air. He laid on the ground, wrapping the blanket tightly around him.
As he finally drifted off to a comfortable sleep, a last thought flitted through his tired mind.
I really need to teach that robot a lesson.

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