Author : Debbie Mac Rory

“Now commencing system test number twenty-three. Ship designation VX1965, given name Skipper, are you receiving me”.


Jacob sighed and knuckled his eyes as his other hand reached to the desk to cradle his warm coffee. He wasn’t looking forward to this. He’d designed this model ships core processor and knew the programming like the back of his hand. That it was acting the way it was…

“Skipper, give access of your computing systems to Engineer Hestan.”

Jacob raised his head from his hand to look over to where Keire sat close to the ship, with a remote access terminal resting on her knees.


Keire looked up at him and shook her head, confirming what the ship had already told them.

“Skipper, explain your refusal to cooperate”

Muted white noise sounded in Jacob’s headset. He stood facing the cruiser, blinking slowly as arc-welders and sledgehammers danced behind his eyes.

Keire shifted on her seat, adjusting the terminal. “Maybe if you-”

“I shouldn’t have to”

“But maybe if you were to try…”

Jacob turned his head and looked wearily at her. Keire shrugged and turned her attention to the terminal, randomly tapping panels while she waited. Jacob sighed again and looked back at the ship. Clearly it was going to be one of those days.

“Skipper, can you give system access to Engineer Hestan, please?”

Jacob closed his eyes, unsure of which result he was hoping for. More futile struggles, proving Keire wrong or a chance to get this damn test done. He glanced over to the engineer, noting her smile as the notebook on her lap lit up. A few more taps, and she looked up at him, smiling wide.

“I’m in. Connection’s slow, but it’s steady. We should be able to get the test done fairly quickly now”.

He nodded, noting the commencement of the test in his own log.

“I just don’t know why we have to go to this much bother, each and every time”

“Because you know as well as I do that machine has a mind of it’s own. And if I didn’t know any better, I’d say it was sulking”.

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