Thursday, October 11, 2007

Little Luxuries

"Toob! This is wonderful!"

Trill leaned back, almost purring, and stretched out against the shaped metal back rest of her new tub. It was made from a section of pod casing, a heat shield that was discarded off her escape capsule during its descent. They had come across it a few days ago while scanning the planet's surface for anything useful or unusual.

This definitely fit into the "useful" category. Toob, using his surgical laser and plans found on one of Trill's many and sundry data chips, had transformed the concave alloy shell into a bathing tub. In what Trillinae had later called an "act of pure genius", he has managed to fit the basin with one of the pod's circulating spare heaters.

The result: pure bliss.

"I don't know what I'd do without you, Toob! Gods... this is better than sex."

That might have been an exaggeration, especially given how much Trill enjoyed said activity but at this moment, even she believed it. The hot water, moving and roiling over every raw nerve and aching muscle, was a little bit of heaven in this world of overgrown hell.

Toob had not built the tub for pleasure's sake and she knew it, not that she cared. In the medical droid's eyes... err, optics.... the washing basin was a therapy device. Trill's body was undergoing far more stress than a pregnant woman should; the strain was not good for her health or that of her unborn. To Toob, the bath was a way to alleviate some of the worst factors of his patient's difficult lifestyle.

At least this time the annoying droid wasn't blaming her for everything. Back on Cularin or while on her old ship, the medical busybody was constantly riding her about her health, her habits, her irresponsible intake of comfort foods and alcohol. Here, most of the things Toob did not approve of were impossible or at beast highly unlikely.

That meant fewer lecture and that meant for a happier Trillinae. If she could go a week without hearing from Toob about something else she was doing wrong, she became a little more relaxed and - even better - less likely to find a heavy object and perform some "reprogramming".

The tension relief was worth its imaginary weight in gold, both for Trill and Toob. While his mistress was in the tub, she was not out fighting reptilian beasts with makeshift melee weapons or highly dangerous jury-rigged firearms. Even that alarming activity he could overlook as a necessity of survival but her frequent battles had stressed his logic receptors to the point of voiding his warranty.

If they were truly going to be stuck here for an indefinite period of time, he needed to see to her safety. The Maelstrom was either not coming or would be delayed for quite some time. There was every possibility it had been lost with all hands, including his master Darrus, in which case there would be no rescue at all.

There was a war going on, after all. A war that his master served in as a high ranking military officer as well as a front line combatant. Both roles represented high risk factors when considered separately. When combined, the odds of anyone returning to this world any time soon became even smaller.

If that were true, this constituted a true emergency.

And if that were true, it was time for him to access his Primary Command directory and implement the instructions Master Jeht had programmed him with more than a year ago. The prospect of completing these new commands sent the worry protocols in Toob's heuristic processor into near meltdown... but there was no choice.

If they were going to be stranded here, even for just a little longer, Trillinae would need what he was carrying inside him, regardless of the personal cost.

Toob stood in the doorway of the escape pod, watching Trill enjoy her bath. When he was certain she was too distracted by the pleasures of the warm water and swirling jets, he turned away and opened his main housing. To do as Primary Command directed, he would have to remove his secondary power core.

Despite being ordered to do this, Toob hesitated. The loss of his backup core meant that if anything happened to his main energy cell, he would shut down and restoration, especially on this primitive world, would be impossible. Without this secondary power unit, his run time expectancy would be cut in half. Literally, doing this would take decades off his serviceable lifespan.

His metal fingers closed around the small metal cylinder in question. Six years. If he did this, that was all the time he would have left. 72 months of function, depending on power consumption needs and unforeseen cascade failures and external damage.

Toob stood completely still, his logic centers in serious conflict. No one else knew of this order, not even his mistress. She would never have to know. He could even access his own memory and delete the commands. Even he would not be aware of any directive violations. It would be as if none of this ever happened.

Slowly, quietly, Toob released his hold on the secondary core and started to pull his hand out of his chest. Just as he did, Trill's voice echoed in from outside.

"Thank you so much, Toob! I know I've been really hard on you lately but you take such good care of me. How about an oil rub-down when I'm done in here? Like... in an hour? Or ten?"

His hand twitched. His heuristic processor shifted most of his run time from worry to guilt. He had been worried about shorting his lifespan when hers was in real danger of being ended if he did not finish what he had started. His secondary power cell was a luxury. His mistress didn't even have the benefit of "reserve life". She only got this one and he could help her protect it.

Without another thought, he detached the core and removed its trailing leads, tucking them back in his torso chassis before closing himself back up. The rest of the parts he needed were in his lower abdomen cases.

Carefully, he laid out everything Trillinae would need on her bedside table. His memory bank called forth the instruction file his mistress would need and downloaded it into her favorite datapad.

When she finally did come out of her whirlpool bath, Toob's mistress was going to be in for a big surprise...

1 comment:

erisraven said...


Well, this could be interesting...