In the Absence of Instructions to the Contrary
By Frank Wu
Karl 3478 sprawled on the beach, partially disassembled, bits of him scattered across mats arrayed on the sand. Diving planes, ducted propellers, 5-way valves and 4-way cables all awaited clean-up, tear-down and re-build.
He was performing a major overhaul on himself for deep-seaworthiness. No poppet or sprocket would escape inspection.
Underwater, Karl was untethered, free. But freedom came with risks. If a vital system failed, no one would rescue him.
Wrapped around Karl’s finger was a black O-ring. One of his smallest but more important parts, it fit into a groove at the end of electronics sleeve III. This little ring, with a little grease, was all that prevented water from rushing into the sleeve, destroying everything inside.
Only a smear of marine-grade silicone grease was necessary. A blob might break off, allowing the water in.
In knowing violation of protocols, Karl squeezed a huge glob of grease onto the tip of a titanium finger.
This he would do – as everything – in full consideration of his love for Adaline.