Author : W. Robinson
I had thought after my last assignment on Epsilon that I was done with the military.
Quite obviously the young woman in front of me with the large blue-gray eyes had not received that memo. Stock-built, but short, she stood with her arms crossed as I ran the numbers of her ship freight against the actual measurements counted by my ferry calculators.
“Is everything up to specifications?” she asked, raising an eyebrow, slightly impatient for some reason.
Not bad, actually, considering. Normally all military girls have these impassive, unthinking expressions. This one, however, still had a bit of spirit to her, a rarity. A rarity I found kind of attractive.
I perused my digital feeds with an air of boredom. “Looks like it might be… then again, maybe not. There’s a few extra kilos that look like they’re not on board. Tell me, have you had any emergency drops not listed on your record? Anything missing?”
Her face paled. Cute.
“We’re- there’s nothing missing from that ship,” she forced. I managed not to chuckle at the small blush blooming across her cheeks. “We’re bringing a very important piece of equipment to Jupiter HQ, and everything’s been documented.”
I skimed the feeds again, enjoying the sight of her fidgeting. Odd, that, for a military girl. I raised my eyebrows.
“Why don’t you just cut the act and tell me what’s going on?”
The young woman wringed her hands. “I-I’m not supposed to be off the ship like this, but I- I wanted to go outside, here, and… well, the captain was going to check in near here anyways, so I just changed the schedule and grew this body…”
Suddenly everything clicked. I would’ve broken out into laughter if I hadn’t been so amused. A military AI had taken the initiative to grow itself a body and sneak out of the ship- all to see what was outside the hull. I smiled despite myself and raised an eyebrow.
“So the ship AI takes a holiday, hmm?”
She didn’t comment, her blush growing before I heard a small mumble.
“You- you’re James Visuvius, right?”
“Yes…” I had no idea where this conversation was going at this point.
Her blue-gray eyes turned to large saucers and I felt myself crushed as she hugged me senseless milliseconds later. I stared in complete astonishment as she murmured with glee.
“You -are- the one! The one that writes those wonderful stories about princesses and dragons and knights and fairies-”
It was my turn to blush as the implications of what she said finally came over me. “It- it was just a little side project I’d been doing. Nothing large…”
Apparently it was larger than I thought as moments later, the Captain of the military ship came outside to see what was happening. I’d thought my last relations with the military would’ve been on Epsilon, but apparently I was far wrong. I can’t even imagine life without it anymore. My little stories, apparently, were what gave those killer AIs in those battleships the will to keep fighting.
I guess even deadly military vessels need bedtime stories.