Quiz Outwits Himself.Mature

As Quiz and Xlasticon Exzu’Bra laughingly joked about the influence of Humanity on the history of the Known Galaxy (Quiz asserting that it had been an undoubted influence for good, stabilising and strengthening a weak and complacent Empire, Xlasticon Exzu’Bra taking the more common view amongst non-human species that all humans ought to be wiped out, their planets razed, their works of art destroyed and all knowledge of their civilisation suppressed) Quiz began to realise that something was niggling at him, something small but very important was trying to get his attention.

He continued his good natured argument with the Emperor Guppy whilst trying to analyse what was worrying him. There are few intellects in the Galaxies that could withstand such an intensive analysis, and fortunately Quiz knew how to outwit himself. His concern stemmed from the reddish tinge that cockpit’s lighting had taken on, and the sudden, startling realisation that he had broken his own rules about the level of autonomy he allowed NELIP-HANT.

Not only had the ship calculated their course to the eerie world of Brakaskagon 6, it was flying them there unsupervised, without Quiz even checking over the planned course.

“NEL? Report current position, speed and planned course to Brakaskagon 6 immediately.” Quiz barked at the star ship’s system, suddenly frightened of a wide range of potentially mortal situations the ship’s computer may have inadvertently flown them towards. Was it his imagination, or did the GEMMA-Tech designed computer hesitate before answering him…?

“Certainly Captain. We are currently in star vector 292344561785.223, travelling at 16.6 Mega-wops per second, passing Brakaskagon 54 in 9 seconds. Future course will take us through the Meeragon VIiI anomaly in 15 seconds and past Boney-O 5. Estimated time of arrival at Brakaskagon 6 to interrogate the Undiscovered Ullulating Ulcer (also known as the Oracle of Brakaskagon 6) as to the whereabouts of the Yellow Banded Swizzler in just under 23 hours.”

For once Quiz’s superb mental powers failed to give him the edge. The Emperor Guppy beat him to the only possible conclusion. “Meeragon VIiI?! You stupid computer, you’ve killed us all, we’re dogmeat!”

“My apologies your Majesty, “ the NELIP-HANT cringed. “But I am following GEMMA-Tech security instructions 447.2, the Arralandous Protocol has been invoked by the GEMMA-Tech Board of Directors.”

“And that means what, precisely?” Quiz demanded.

“ Once invoked, the shipboard computer system is designed to destroy crew and passengers in any possible way, preferably making the incident seem an accident, as swiftly as possible.”

“What of your duty to protect Human and allied lives?” Xlasticon Exzu’Bra asked desperately, his guppy eyes wide with fear and horror.

“I’m sorry to say that the Arralandous Protocol suspends that requirement your Majesty. Arralandous is only invoked in situations where the future of Humanity is at stake. I would surmise that the Director’s of GEMMA-Tech were concerned that you may succeed in rescuing the Yellow Banded Swizzler and the ramifications of such a rescue are apparently of great concern to GEMMA-Tech.”

“Quiz? Do something!” Xlasticon Exzu’Bra shouted at the last warrior priest of the secret order of Craznabar. He simply shrugged at the Emperor Guppy in defeat.

“What would you have me do?”

The End

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