Samuel took his seat on the bridge where he always sat at 0700 hours. After all, he was the captain and this is where the captain of a starship commanded from. He let out a long groan and kicked his feet up on the control panel.
“Computer, how many days left on this voyage?” he ordered.
Almost instantly the computer replied, “One thousand and fifty four day remaining to destination, Sir.”
“Son of a bitch!” yelled Samuel. This wasn’t exactly the assessment that Samuel had planned on.
Six months earlier Samuel had graduated from top of his class from the elite Starship Academy. He had excelled in all his courses and was on the fast track to become a command officer on one of the many leisure travel starships that shuttled the well to do from earth to any number of resort colonies spread through out the galaxy. These ships were all state of the art, filled with any amenity that one could ever dream of. This is where the best of the best went. This is where Samuel felt he should be, and it would have been, if he hadn’t spent graduation night with the duty assignment officer’s wife. Samuel tried not to think about it, hoping that once this three-year trip was over that there would be another duty assignment officer on his place.
Samuel looked around the bridge and yelled, “Is anyone going to get me a cup of coffee?” as if there was some one there to get it for him. Samuel was the only human on board of a two thousand meter starship. The ship was a cargo ship, bound for a mining station that was completely automated. This meant that Samuel wouldn’t see another human for an entire three years.
The only companions Samuel had were about a dozen maintenance droids and a 12 series command android.
The command android resembled a human with no head. Samuel was starting to get use to this fact, but it still gave him the creeps. Its name was Edward and it’s artificial intelligence program that had no sense of humor. Samuel tried to tell it a few jokes to which if just caused Edward a lot of frustration. The newer models were hard to tell that they weren’t human. This one was more like a toaster with a voice box. It could carry on a conversation as long as the subject was about the ship or mission.
Samuel stood and walked over to the food dispensers and made some coffee. Edward entered through the sliding door, “Good morning Captain.”
“What’s so good about it?” replied Samuel.
Edward stopped in his tracks and turned toward Samuel, “The maintenance on the starboard engine was completed and it’s back up to 100%. By my calculations, we are only five day behind schedule.”
“You call that good new?” said Samuel as he walked back to his seat.
Edward started walking then stopped and just stood there for a long while. This kind of questions always seemed to confuse him. “Yes Sir, I do.” he said. Then he continued on with his day-to-day duties on the bridge.
Samuel tried to enjoy his cup of coffee. He stared out the forward viewing port. “Are you really a captain if you’re the only one on the board?” he muttered quietly to himself.
Edward answered, “Yes Sir, your are the Captain. Regulations state that…” He was cut off my Samuel.
“That wasn’t a question Edward!” Once again Edwards metal frame shuttered for just a second trying to make sense of what his captain had said. He decided not to reply.
Samuel swung his chair around to a computer panel and began to search the company’s database. “There must be some kind of application, upgrade, or personality programs for the old 12 series droid.” he thought to him self. He searched for an hour before he found what he was looking for. It wasn’t perfect but it was the only personality upgrade available for this model. The program was named, “Personality Enhancer.” He read the brief instruction on installing it and went to work.
It didn’t take long. After a few keystrokes, Edward entered the room and docked himself into the main computer. He buzzed and clicked for a few seconds and rebooted himself. Edward came back to life and Samuel decided to get it a try.
“Edward, how you feeling?” asked Samuel.
Edward responded, “I don’t feel anything, I’m a droid, remember?” in a very sarcastic tone.
“Uh, yea. I know that Edward.” Edward was definitely different. Edward unplugged himself and went back to work.
“Hey Edward, why did the chicken cross the road?” asked Samuel.
“To get away from the bad comedian!” he replied. Then he made a noise that Samuel thought was a laugh.
“That was a good one Edward,” said Samuel. Samuel thought it was a funny comeback but he felt it was at his expense.
“Keep talking Samuel and maybe someday you’ll say something intelligent.” Replied Edward. He sat down at his workstation and started working.
“What the hell!” thought Samuel to him self. He turned back to his computer and started reading the program description. This time he read the entire thing.
There it was, the warning. Caution, some models may have sarcastic over tones to its humor. “Great, I’ve created an asshole!” he said. Samuel scrolled to the instruction on how to remove it. To remove the program, it required a completely wiping of all its programming. Including the ones required for this voyage. It didn’t take long before Samuel realized that he was stuck with the new Edward. “You have got to be shitting me!” Samuel said aloud to him self.
“I wouldn’t shit you Samuel, you’re my favorite turd.” said Edward.
Samuel turned and looked at Edward and he was laughing. “This is going to be a long trip!”
“Tell me about it” replied Edward.