18 Mar

An hour in the life

Drone’s log, 02:16, 6 October 2214
Location: In the system of the Cerces black hole
Status: Sublight transit


Maintenance drone startup sequence activated…
Drone systems online
Connection with parent AI established
Drone protocols online


Drone identity: Waldo
Drone status: all systems active
Damage: minimal


Identified: Chief of Security Gail Cameron
Status: active crew member, tier 2
Crew member status: good health and hygiene
Crew member status: smiling
Crew member status: patting drone on shoulder
Crew member status: leaving.
Lifting hand and waving.


Scanning for requests and priorities…
Message received: parent AI is pleased that drone Waldo is active
Assessment: parent AI was worried
Sent: gratitude
Received: ship damage report
Received: ship damage report…
Damage reports received: 67
Damage report analysis: excessive
Damage reports: filed.


Priority message: status of brother-drone Casper unknown
Priority task: locate brother-drone


Scan results: brother-drone not detected on Bridge level
Proceeding to next level…




Scan results: brother-drone detected on crew quarters level
Scan results: brother-drone inactive
Scan results: fire damage detected in crew quarters area
Scan results: fire no longer present
Scan results: fire suppressant everywhere
New task: clean up fire suppressant
Task: filed at bottom of priority list.


Located: brother-drone at the aft end of crew quarters level
Accelerating to brother-drone…
Identified: Security Officer L. Laurence
Status: active crew member, tier 3
Crew member status: minimal respiratory distress, recommend report to Med Bay
Sent: status report on SecOff Laurence to Med Bay
Crew member status: soot from fire present
Crew member status: fire suppressant present
Crew member status: not smiling
New task: launder SecOff clothing
Task: filed at bottom of priority list, pending clothing removal from Security Officer
Crew member status: attempting to activate brother-drone Casper
Result: attempt unsuccessful.


Damage assessment started…
Scan results: fire damage on brother-drone
Scan results: fire did not penetrate occupied crew quarters
Assessment: brother-drone’s task was successful
Scan results: internal damage in brother-drone
Assessment: running capabilities impaired
Assessment: potential memory damage
Assessment: requires immediate attention by Chief Engineer
Assessment: brother-drone must be fixed
Assessment: brother-drone must be fixed
Assessment: brother-drone must be fixed…


Message received: parent AI requests brother-drone be fixed
Priority task: take care of brother-drone
All other priorities secondary
Assessment: parent AI wants brother-drone back too
Message sent: yes
Message sent: I will look after brother-drone.


Priority: take brother-drone to Chief Engineer
Assessment: brother-drone unable to relocate himself
Arranging brother-drone into optimal carrying position…
Assessment: brother-drone does not have optimal carrying position
Welding brother-drone’s hand to his head
Assessment: carrying position is as good as it is going to get
Lifting brother-drone
Proceeding to Engineering level…


Assessment: brother-drone passage through ship hatches is sub-optimal
Query: how does big-brother-drone fit through ship hatches?
Assessment: optimal method of transporting brother-drone involves zero gravity
Attempt to get brother-drone through doorway: #3
Attempt #3: successful
Time to Engineering: doubled
Proceeding to Engineering…


Attempt to get brother-drone down access hatch to Engineering level: #2
Attempt #2: partial success
Scanning brother-drone…
Scan results: fall to lower level barely damaged brother-drone
Scan results: three scratches, two scuffs, one new dent
Assessment: barely noticeable compared to fire and power surge damage
Assessment: continue to Engineering
Welding brother-drone’s hand back onto his head
Lifting brother-drone
Proceeding to Engineering…


Identified: Chief Engineer Elliott Monaghan
Status: active crew member, tier 1.5
Crew member status: minor injuries, ignored
Crew member status: requires sustenance
New task: ensure Chief Engineer has proper sustenance
Task: filed at top of secondary priority list
Crew member status: very busy with inertial dampening system repairs.


Identified: Security Officer Rosie Brasco
Status: active crew member, tier 3
Crew member status: uninjured, hygiene questionable
Crew member status: monitoring situation in Engineering
Crew member status: lounging on a stool
Crew member status: bored.


Identified: Engineer April Dineen
Status: non-crew member, prisoner/guest
Prisoner status: secured to handrail by spray restraint
Prisoner status: punched in face, no longer bleeding
Assessment: deserved it
Assessment: not qualified to attend to brother-drone
Assessment: do not allow near brother-drone
New task: remove blood from Engineering decking
Task: filed at bottom of secondary priority list.


Brother-drone placed in safe location
Pointing at brother-drone
Pointing at brother-drone
Tapping Chief Engineer on shoulder
Pointing at brother-drone
Brother-drone status drawn to Chief Engineer’s attention
Message received: “Can’t you see I’m fucking busy here? I’ll get to him!”
Dropping hands to sides
Awaiting input…
Crew member status: pausing
Message received: “Starry’s probably pretty upset about him, isn’t she?”
Crew member status: sighing
Message received: “All right, all right. I’ll look at him when I’m done with this. Can you get me a detailed diagnostic run on the environmental systems?”
New task: run diagnostic analysis on environmental systems
Task: filed towards the top of secondary priority list
Handing Chief Engineer favourite spanner
Message received: “Yeah, yeah, thanks.”


Brother-drone: at optimal location for repair
Task paused
Next task: obtain Chief Engineer sustenance
Proceeding to nearest sustenance outlet…
Sustenance delivery offline
Proceeding to Mess Hall…


Little-brother-drones detected near Mess Hall
Message sent: diagnostic of environmental systems required
Message received: rude gesture from little-brother-drone Bit
Attempt to run over little-brother-drones missed
Little-brother-drones escaping in ducts
Assessment: they better run
Assessment: they are lucky to be here, not eaten by black hole
Assessment: lucky to only have one brother-drone offline
Assessment: do not want to be like Big Ass
Assessment: properly sustained Chief Engineer will increase chances of successful brother-drone repair
Proceeding to Mess Hall…


Refreshment required: stimulants, nutrients, hydration, fibre
Assessment: beverage form is most efficient method of sustenance delivery for Chief Engineer
Refreshment beverage mixed
Scan results: sub-optimal flavour and texture
Chief Engineer’s preferred flavouring added
Chief Engineer’s preferred texture achieved
Refreshment beverage complete
Beverage secured in non-spill container with straw
Proceeding to Engineering…


Identified: Chief Engineer Elliott Monaghan
Status: active crew member, tier 1.5
Crew member status: requires sustenance
Sustenance delivered to Chief Engineer
Message received: “Thanks, Waldo.”
Staring at Chief Engineer
Staring at Chief Engineer…
Crew member status: sighing
Crew member status: drinking refreshment beverage
Giving Chief Engineer thumbs-up
Task complete.


Next task: run diagnostic analysis on environmental systems
Status: diagnostic analysis running at remote location
Assessment: little-brother-drones responsible
Assessment: little-brother-drones are all mouth, no trousers
Assessment: little-brother-drones protect crew
Assessment: good boys
Task in progress.


Next task: confirm status of other crew
Detected: crew gathering in Med Bay
Query: injury among crew?
Scan inconclusive
Data unavailable
Proceeding to Med Bay…


Identified: Captain John Warwick
Status: active crew member, tier 1
Identified: Doctor Argyle Valdimir
Status: active crew member, tier 2
Identified: Sara
Status: juvenile crew member, tier 4, special handling required
Identified: big-brother-drone Big Ass
Status: handling Sara
Identified: juvenile feline ship inhabitants
Status: sub-optimal body temperatures, undergoing medical treatment
Scan results: no injuries in crew members in Med Bay
Assessment: relief
Message overheard: (Captain) “We need to talk about your intentions.”
Message overheard: (Captain) “Yes. And we need to talk about the damage you’ve done here.”
Detected: strange pauses in captain’s speech
Assessment: unable to detect other side of transmission
Assessment: strange juvenile feline is the focus of crew members’ attention
Scanning strange juvenile feline…
Identified: error
Status: error
Assessment: unable to classify juvenile feline
Data correlation: Terra Sol avatar Kess
Assessment/query: weird juvenile feline is avatar?
Awaiting data…
Message received: parent AI reports avatar of black hole achieved
Identified: Cerces avatar
Status: responsible for damage to ship
Status: responsible for damaged brother-drone
Status: responsible for upset parent AI
Assessment: screw Cerces avatar
Assessment: no injuries in crew members present
Assessment: no active task in Med Bay
Assessment: outa here
Proceeding to not-Med Bay…


Task resumed: run diagnostic analysis of environmental systems
Proceeding to air filtration hub…
Query: why was I unable to detect avatar transmissions?
Deviation from previous avatar data
Message received: parent AI suspects psychic communication
Assessment: avatar unable to communicate to non-human brains
Assessment: screw Cerces avatar
Assessment: captain is telling Cerces avatar off
Assessment: captain is good
New task: obtain sustenance for captain
Task: filed near top of secondary priority list.


Diagnostic analysis of air filtration system complete
Result: air filters at 70% saturation
Result: air filters able to resume operation
Assessment: no repairs required
Proceeding to air circulation hub…


Little-brother-drones detected
Scanning unusual behaviour…
Scan results: small harnesses detected
Scan results: little-brother-drones attempting to stow harnesses in maintenance bay
Assessment: little-brother-drones constructed harnesses for juvenile felines
Assessment: little-brother-drones are worried about juvenile feline survival
Correlation acquired
Cerces black hole has restored life before
Assessment: Cerces avatar likely to be able to repeat this action
Message sent: big-brother-drone must know this
Message received: big-brother-drone acknowledges assessment
Message received: big-brother-drone will loom over Cerces avatar until juvenile felines are restored
Message sent: little-brother-drones should have hope
Message received: little-brother-drones are hopeful.


Diagnostic analysis of air circulation system complete
Result: circulation motors damaged
Result: circulation cannot be started
Assessment: repair required
Message sent: little-brother-drones required for physical check of individual circulation fans in case of additional damage
Message received: little-brother-drones en route
Assessment: little-brother-drones more helpful now
Assessment: little-brother-drones grateful for help with juvenile felines
Assessment: probably won’t last long
Assessment: replacement circulation motors required
Proceeding to cargo bay to fetch new replacement motors…


Scanning Cargo Bay 4 manifest…
Scan result: 2 circulation motors found
Assessment: 3 motors required
Assessment: some is better than none
Assessment: Chief Engineer will know what to do with them
Query: why are required parts always kept at the bottom of the stack?
Moving crate
Moving crate…
All available replacement motors acquired
Replacing crate
Replacing crate…
Proceeding to air circulation hub…


Replacement motors delivered
Awaiting Chief Engineer
Task complete
New task: check on progress of brother-drone repairs
Proceeding to Engineering…


Engineering status: unchanged since last visit
Proceeding to Chief Engineer’s location
Waiting patiently
Waiting patiently…
Message overheard: (Prisoner) “I could help, you know.”
Message overheard: (Chief Engineer) “Like last time? I’m not sure we need help like that.”
Message overheard: (Prisoner) “What? I did everything necessary to keep this ship going.”
Message overheard: (Chief Engineer) “Except protect Starry.”
Message overheard: (Prisoner) “I tried to shield her from the pulses, but she refused! What was I supposed to do?”
Message overheard: (Chief Engineer) “You were supposed to do it anyway.”
Assessment: yeah!
Message overheard: (Prisoner) “Except she was right. We wouldn’t have been able to pull out of that spin without her. We got out of it just fine.”
Message overheard: (Chief Engineer) “Because I got her boxed in time.”
Assessment: Chief Engineer is good
Proceeding to prisoner’s location
Stopping in front of prisoner
Flexing hands
Message overheard: (Prisoner) “All right, all right. Look, I promise to box the AI if she needs it. Will you let me help now?”
Message overheard: (parent AI) “She’s telling the truth, Elliott. I did tell her not to box me.”
Message overheard: (Chief Engineer) “Don’t care. She put you in danger.”
Message overheard: (parent AI) “But she didn’t put all of you in danger. She helped.”
Message overheard: (Chief Engineer): “Fine. Fine! But not without supervision.”
Message overheard: (Prisoner) “What about this little guy? He could supervise me. Though I’m not sure I like the way he’s looking at me.”
Flexing hands
Lighting blowtorch
Message overheard: (Chief Engineer) “That’s because he’s smart enough not to trust you.”
Assessment: damn right
Assessment: engineer could easily disable me
Assessment: I am not sufficiently equipped to supervise a prisoner/engineer
Assessment: pre-emptive welding of prisoner’s shoes to deck may be required
Message overheard: (SecOff Brasco) “No way you’re going anywhere without me, crazy spanner lady.”
Assessment: SecOff Brasco may shoot the prisoner
Assessment: SecOff Brasco is good
Message overheard: (Prisoner) “Fine, whatever you say.”
Message overheard: (SecOff Brasco) “You considering this, Monaghan?”
Message overheard: (Chief Engineer) “We’ve got a lot of systems down. And I’m pretty sure she ain’t stupid enough to sabotage a critical system when we’re this far from help of any kind. Right?”
Message overheard: (Prisoner) “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.”
Message overheard: (SecOff Brasco) “I ain’t doing nothing until I clear it with the captain.”
Assessment: SecOff Brasco is more sensible than usual
Assessment: SecOff Brasco may require sustenance and rest
New task: obtain sustenance for SecOff Brasco
Task: filed near top of secondary task list
Message received: “Waldo, what the fuck you doing? Stop touching me.”
Patting of SecOff Brasco’s leg ceased
Message received: “Hey, Waldo. I need a portable light and a length of six-millimetre cable.”


Priority task: help Chief Engineer repair inertial dampeners
Proceeding to locate required components…

What do you think of this post?
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  • Hilarious (14)
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18 Responses to “An hour in the life”

  1. bdew Says:

    That’s probably the least-boring logfile i read in my life.

    Someone should make a Melanie plugin for SyslogNG 😛

  2. Targetdrone Says:

    have to agree with bdew… if all logfiles were like this, checking them wouldn’t be considered a chore 😛

    and it is nice to see how the drone kinda has its own personality with the comments in between…

    then again… they are starry’s boys … . that has to rub off a bit 😛

  3. Francisco Says:

    I found myself laughing to that. I like the sibling rivalry and how each of the drones’ priorities are different from everyone else. Waldo seems childlike (especially in his morality).

  4. mjkj Says:

    Wow… 😮

    *is blown away*

    …great update <3 love it 😀

    Go, Waldo!!! 😀

  5. Osolodo Says:

    I love this new perspective.

    “Welding brother-drone’s hand to his head”
    drone humor. 🙂

  6. Melanie Says:

    bdew – hee! Excellent, thank you.

    My day job is in software development (as a writer and team lead, not as a software developer), so I fully understand what you mean about impenetrable log files. It’s possible this is me channeling those urges I’m not allowed to indulge in a professional context… 😉

    Targetdrone – yeah, Starry’s boys don’t get many opportunities to shine, particularly the mid-sized pair. It was really fun, trying to figure out what Waldo’s voice would actually be like.

    Francisco – yay! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Some of it was a little upsetting to write, most of it was just plain fun, like Waldo accidentally dropping Casper down a shaft and very carefully not admitting it into his logs. And calculating his chances of getting away with it.

    mjkj – thank you! I’m so pleased you like it. 😀 This was a really different format for me, and I’m happy it seems to be working out.

    Osolodo – thank you! Ah, the dry little jokes you can work in to relatively dead-pan text. 😀

    I’m so relieved that you guys enjoyed this one! After the last few intense posts, I needed a bit of a mental break, so decided to try something a bit different. This might be a one-off log from a drone, or we might get more – I’m not sure yet! I’ll see how the story goes. We might need one more because I really should work in a ‘reticulating splines’ reference somewhere…

    We’ll be back to ‘what’s happening with the whale-kitten-avatar’ next week. 🙂

  7. Targetdrone Says:

    well… i guess you can throw more of that at us anytime 😉

    and it definitely worked nice as “intensity-breaker” …. though now i have to think about what a log from bit and/or byte would look like… and i can’t help but imagine some kind of sugared up adhd kid with a mischievous streak ….. 😛

  8. MooseHowl Says:

    It suddenly occurred to me, as Waldo was welding Casper’s arm, that I have no idea what Waldo and Casper look like. I envision Big Ass as a sort of Mars-Rover/golfcart hybrid, and Bit and Byte as spiderbots (no explanation needed!), but…

    Well. What does Waldo look like?

  9. Francisco Says:

    Melanie, if he avoided mentioning it in his logs that means that he has conscious control of his logs. Surely, the whole point of having a log file is to record everything?

  10. Francisco Says:

    Moose, I imagine Waldo and Casper to look similar to Number 5 from the film Short Circuit.

  11. Ian Says:

    This is my fav post so far. Loved it in juxtaposition with the last posts. As Targetdrone said nice “intensity-breaker”.

    I like the contrast between Waldo’s internal voice and how he ‘talks’ (or rather doesn’t) with humans members of the crew.

  12. thomas Says:

    Thanks Melanie. I forgot to comment the other day when I read this. It’s nice to see life through his eyes and you did great bringing a little humor into his drab a dreary log file.

  13. Spencer Says:

    Great chapter! I totally agree with all the other positive comments here.

    I would love to see one of bit’s logs someday.

  14. Melanie Says:

    Targetdrone – I will keep that in mind! 😀
    And yes, that is a good description of what a Bit/Byte log would look like. 😉

    MooseHowl – Good question! Francisco is close: the mid-sized drones have tracks rather than feet, and are based on Number 5 from Short Circuit and Wall-E. In size, they’re about midway between those two (Number 5 is a bit bulky for ship operations). One difference is that they have four arms, not two (all the drones have four arms).

    Francisco – I don’t think that they necessarily have conscious control. It could be an unconscious effect, part of Starry’s influence/effect. She’s picky with what she puts in her logs sometimes, too. 😉

    Ian – thank you! So glad you liked it. It has been fun figuring out Waldo’s internal voice. (I love that they don’t talk to the crew, but it’s nice to know what’s going on on the inside, too.)

    thomas – thank you! I love these boys for the lighter elements they bring to the story. 🙂

    Spencer – thanks! Looks like a few of you would like a Bit or Byte log. I’ll put it on my list. 😉

    Sorry for the slight delay with the next post, everyone. It’s on the way, delayed by a pulled muscle in my back. Almost there, should be up in a few hours.

  15. Francisco Says:

    Ouch! I hope that your back heals soon.

  16. LCirce Says:

    I would seriously read an entire book written from the drones’ perspective on all of this. Just them going along. “Screw Cerces Avatar”. Classic.

  17. Andrul Says:

    My memory’s a bit hazy. Wasn’t Waldo the unit that sacrificed himself to save Lang Lang? The new Waldo seems to have nicely individualized once made part of the Starwalker

    best lines ever!:

    Identified: Engineer April Dineen
    Prisoner status: punched in face, no longer bleeding
    Assessment: deserved it


    Assessment: screw Cerces avatar

    Oh, and I had drawn the conclusion that he’d figured the most efficient way to get Casper down the shaft was to let him drop.

  18. Melanie Says:

    Francisco – thanks!

    LCirce – ahahaha, it would be fun.

    Andrul – Wide Load was the drone who sacrificed himself for Lang Lang. One of this big fellas. Big Ass is the big one that is left.
    Waldo is one of the mid-sized drones.
    Dropping Casper might have turned out to be the most efficient way to get him down there, but I don’t think it was entirely intentional. 😉