The Machine is Experiencing Uncertainty
by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor
Caliban cycles the captain out the airlock again. The man pounds his fists against the sealed door, mouth working in a torrent of curses and commands. The seals keep the blessed silence contained in the ship.
Once the captain is adrift, Caliban returns to the cockpit and plugs itself into the console.
::Command confirmed,:: says the ship.
“Diagnostic,” Caliban says. Its central processor does not have the capacity for multi-dimensional calculations about an unknown space-time anomaly. Besides, the ship—a Huxley-class freighter dubbed Leigh Possum—likes to assist.
::Reset in three minutes and fifteen seconds.::
Caliban sighs. It’s one of the little pleasures left to it: it is a salvage cyborg, named after a monster, enchained in a spaceship with a useless captain. It has one artificial lung, one organic lung, and a voice-box wired up its throat. It is supposed to look human, and humans sigh, and Caliban likes the feel of air pushed out through its esophagus.
Screaming is also something humans do, but that’s far less satisfying.