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Published by Garry
This is the first thirty-odd pages of a short story which is fast becoming a long story. It's style is modeled after 1960's sci-fi ala P. Dick or R. Bradbury, but has some irreverence ala D. Adams. Let me know what you think.
This is the first thirty-odd pages of a short story which is fast becoming a long story. It's style is modeled after 1960's sci-fi ala P. Dick or R. Bradbury, but has some irreverence ala D. Adams. Let me know what you think.

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Published by: Garry on Apr 23, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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“Hello. My name is Andy,” it chirped in a somewhat tinny, but decidedlyhuman voice, and though it sounded, and even looked, like a cross between a24th-Century robot and a British school-boy, Pete Sorenstam – the only realtechnician left on the
Midnight Star 
– thought it was one of the most beautifulthings he had ever seen.“All right, commander, it’s working,” he yelled over his shoulder,straightening up his long, lanky body from beside the four-foot tall ‘robot-boy’ he had just activated. The machine that stood before him was technically anandroid – the
model B-7, according to the box that lay just a fewfeet from where it stood - but Pete liked the term ‘robot-boy’ better; it wasmore…descriptive, somehow.
It sure is a pleasure to work on a piece of machinery like this one - real quality workmanship 
, thought the technician. The device was moving its head around, unblinking cobalt-blue eyesstaring left then right, its short cropped straw-colored hair seemingly glued inplace but still looking very human. Apparently, it was unable to get other partsof its body going at present, and Pete watched it struggle for a moment beforenoisily tossing a screwdriver into the box that lay at his feet – the soundechoing through the half-empty cargo bay.“What do you want me to do with it, Zak?” said the technician, as he wiped a bit of grime from his loosely fitting orange and blue jumpsuit.
“Just take a breather, Pete!” yelled Zak Garrison from the other side of the cargo bay. “I’ll be there in a minute and we’ll get started,” he continuedthen added, more to himself than the technician, “Once I find that friggin’ manual.” Garrison, the
Midnight Star’s 
pilot and commander, was searchingfor the operator’s manual that was supposed to accompany the
.Pete heaved his tool box up on the workbench.
he thought,
suppose I could re-organize this thing while I wait 
. So he began picking tools outof the box and laying them on the smooth surface of the workbench. Every fewminutes the robot-boy would say, “All of my systems are functioning normally,but I have no locomotion at present.”
I should have known he’d put the damn thing together before I found the manual 
, Zak thought
. It probably would have taken me a couple of days, and Pete does it in less than two hours. Well, he’s the technical genius; I’m just the  pilot of this bucket of bolts.
Midnight Star 
was, in point of fact, an excellent ship, and the envy of many a commander in the United Space Federation (USF) fleet. She was small,fast and sleek and had gotten Zak Garrison and his crew out of so manyscrapes he’d lost count, though lately she was showing her age a bit. Garrisonhad piloted her for about six years now, he and much of his crew away fromEarth for nearly as long. Five or six year missions were standard for the USF. There were even several craft still traveling through the universe that werelaunched in 2470, the year the USF was formed by combining the space
programs of over twenty countries. Most of those early missions, however, were “manned” by robots.Now, according to calculations made by the ship’s computer it was 2512on Earth, and Garrison’s ship was returning from a mission to Zyrkan, aplanet out in the Gamma sector and at the farthest reaches of the USF(between 300 thousand and 400 thousand light years from Earth). They hadbeen sent there to investigate some radio signals coming from Phaedra, theplanet’s outer moon. It had turned out to be nothing of any importance, just abeacon left by a passing Antarean cruiser, but the ship’s geologist had gottensome rare samples of rock from Phaedra and the crew had had the opportunityto join several farkel-beast hunts on Zyrkan – a once-in-a-lifetime experiencefor most.“The
is an extraordinarily life-like cyber-being!” Or so it was written on the NovaTech packing box from which Garrison and RafaelHernandez, the ship’s cook, had extracted the diminutive contraption - then inabout twenty different pieces. A 3-D hologram of this particular modelappeared on the side. Though as the commander looked back at the blonde-haired, blue-eyed robot-boy standing stiffly under the harsh halogen lights, it(he?) looked somehow different than that hologram. Garrison couldn’t put hisfinger on it, but there was something weirdly familiar about the thing.
I am really losing it 
, thought Zak, and he turned back to the search forthe missing manual, wiping several fat beads of sweat from his hairless head with the back of his hand. The commander had lost much of his hair by age

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