MLM – Chapter 27

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Lasko groaned, pulling a large makeshift sled behind him. On it lay Ford, the giant dog. Beside him, PiRA trotted slowly, spitting out infuriating comments every once in a while.
When Lasko had decided to go back for Ford, the robot had steadfastly refused to help, criticizing Lasko for his ‘bleeding heart’, telling him that he couldn’t ‘just pick up every stray you come across’.
Alone, Lasko had to construct a makeshift sled with the nearby scrap, get the giant dog out, and put it on the sled. Currently, he was in the process of transporting the dog back home, which was proving to be a difficult task.
To make it 100% times worse, PiRA showed no signs of letting up its verbal abuse. Finally Lasko asked the robot a question in an attempt to distract it. “How many days was I gone?”
“I waited 48 hours precisely, before setting out to locate you. I spent 2 hours on the search, so you’ve been ‘missing’ 50 hours.”
Lasko quickly followed up with another question that was on his mind. “Nothing dropped on top of the hut, right?”
PiRA nodded its head in affirmative. “Yes. Looks like the shack is located on a pocket of real estate that doesn’t get dumped on. Considering that there’s roughly a few tons of scrap being dumped an acre almost everywhere else in the vicinity, it’s a suitable place to build.”
“How are you doing on thetans? Are you running out?”
PiRA looked at him with an odd expression. “Even though thetan consumption has gone up a lot, the original thetans that you gave me are more than enough to keep me going for a long while. But if my consumption keeps increasing, then who knows.”
“Ah, I see.” Seeing how much PiRA had changed, Lasko had been sure that the robot must have been running out of thetan units. But it seemed to be ok. Apparently the sizeable upgrades that PiRA had made didn’t require too many units to run.
“Do you think that you can rig up something for Ford to use to get around?” Lasko asked. “Some mechanical legs perhaps?” Given that PiRA had engineered its own improvements, Lasko felt sure that they could come up with something for the dog too.
“The dog? You want to give it mechanical limbs and turn it into a cyborg?” PiRA shook her head condemningly. “You are a twisted man.”
“It’s so he can walk around, what’s wrong with that?” Lasko said defensively.
“Why don’t you use some healing nano-tech to fix him up?”
! ! !
“You can regenerate entire limbs with fixers?” He remembered that Leonard’s gauntlet fixer had completely regrew Sharp’s ear, but wouldn’t legs be a different story?
“Nanobot techology could certainly restore the dog’s legs. Animal limb reconstruction had been going on for several decades… at least in my time,” PiRA finished awkwardly.
“Hey, hear that Ford? You might get a new set of legs,” Lasko said, excited at the prospect.
Ford looked at him passively, giving Lasko the philosophical look that the man was starting to get used to.
“I didn’t say I’d do it yet,” PiRA said haughtily.
Lasko looked at her in confusion. “Can’t I just use the fixer… the emergency regenerator injection thingie?”
“I don’t know exactly what it is you’re talking about, but the answer is almost definitely no. You’d need to program the nanobots to be able to decode the canine genome.” PiRA shot the large dog a glance. “And considering the massive differences between this era’s dogs and the ones in my time, it’ll probably be necessary to sequence the DNA of this particular sample specimen.”
So it was a lot more complicated than it sounded.
“Well?” Lasko asked.
“Well what?”
“Will you do it?”
PiRA sniffed and looked away. “I’ll think about it. I’d need to get some more instruments. The blueprints are in the data, so I’d just have to build them, somehow. And I’d need some nano-bots. It’d be 100 times better to have some handy rather than start from scratch…”
“Sharp and Tunnel… I mean my friends have a regeneration tool. It should have nanobots inside, I think.”
“You have friends in this isolated place? And their names are Sharp and Tunnel?” PiRA gave him a skeptical gaze. “…Are you sure that they’re real?”
“Real? What do you mean?”
“I mean, are you sure that you’re not crazy or seeing things? That they’re not hallucinations? It would make sense… you don’t necessary strike me as ‘mentally stable…'”
Lasko hung his head and concentrated on dragging the sled.
Five hours after Lasko’s rescue, they finally arrived back at the hut.
Tired, dirty, and thirsty, Lasko moved straight to the water stash and took a long draught. He tore off his shirt, and began washing his body.
Ah.. the cool water felt so refreshing.
He began to take off his pants too, when he was interrupted by a fit of coughing. Lasko looked around.
PiRA was standing nearby, deliberately looking away.
“Do you mind?” she said in an embarrassed tone.
“Oh, sorry,” Lasko quickly said, his face flushing red, quickly moving outside of the hut to wash. Then he mentally slapped himself.
Why am I feeling embarrassed?
Even though PiRA was a robot, she really did give off the impression of a real life woman, albeit a woman with several personality flaws.
Lasko laughed to himself as a funny thought occurred to him.
So far in the future, the only person that didn’t want to watch me while I showered was a robot.

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