Up Above the World So High

Author: Jae Miles, Staff Writer

Unit KB428 XNG is going slowly tonight. Is there a problem? The habitual Thursday night stop at the supermarket was only 2.8 minutes longer than usual. Traffic is moving steadily. If the underspeed persists, I’ll have to notify traffic control.
Looks like Unit GN762 KKL is trying to balance my averages by going too fast for the traffic state, and for the speed limit – I’ll permit the latter for short distances, but not at the expense of the former. I make the call.
“Consignar Monit- Oh, hello Barn8. How’re things in LEO?”
“Hello, Susan No Numbers I Am Human. LEO is tidy because a detritus sweep passed through this morning.”
“I wish you could send one down my road.”
“We talked about this last time. I can’t do that. The recycling vessel would crash and make a bigger mess than you already have.”
“You’re funny.”
“I am?”
I add that to my profile. Psychologist Simms Oh I Am Number One will want to know.
“Yes.” She whispers: “Sometimes I wish you were a person.”
I know that whispering is to be considered ‘offline comment’, so I do not respond.
“Anyway, what do you have for me?”
“Unit GN762 KKL. 59 in a 48, measured over 400 metres and still offending, although averaging only 54 since the actionable offence occurred.”
“Oh dear. That car’s being driven by Ian Bagrhams. This’ll be his third violation this year.”
“Car? Driven?”
She makes a wordless sound of surprise. That’s a new one. I add it to my curiosities stack.
“Sorry, Barn8. Offline colloquialisms.”
I drop them from my reference stack.
“Susan No Numbers I Am Human, I believe Unit KB428 XNG is experiencing unforeseen technical difficulties. It has been moving much slower than average, and is now exhibiting potentially dangerous behaviour. It has just veered out of oncoming traffic for a second time.”
“Oh my. Good grief! Susan Travers has had a stroke! Barn8, action an immediate emergency halt on Unit KB428 XNG.”
It’s not often I’m allowed to intervene. Linking with the override module on Unit KB428 XNG, I see it’s a fully updated control suite. All I have to do is tell it to enter emergency handling mode, pull over, and then stop.
“Actioned. Unit KB428 XNG is now stationary, secured, and awaiting emergency services. Location co-ordinates have been forwarded to the closest Highway Emergency Unit with paramedical clearance.”
“Oh, thank you. How did you know to call paramedics?”
“Five years ago you asked me to route paramedics to Unit SV998 LGM. It had left the road. You mentioned the word ‘stroke’ in the description of medical emergency. I merely added the correlation ‘stroke requires paramedics’ to my reference stack.”
“Barn8, you’re a star. You can return to monitoring.”
I end the call.
Star? I have a correlation for that –
Twinkle, twinkle, little me.


  1. SimonJM

    Now if it only add a correlation of “politician needs shooting down ..” 😉 Nice little tale.

    But, should it not have been Ian who had the stroke, not Susan?

    • Jae


      Nope. KB428 XNG is being driven by Susan. Ian’s in GN762 KKL and has just been busted for speeding.

  2. xdhz8

    Excellent and very original sci-fi humor.

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