Her fingers trailing along the gleaming line on the side of the machine.”Why is it soft?” She retracts surprised her fingers, not being able to hide her disgust. “I mean, should it be like this?”
“Hm? Yeah. It has to. I’d be glad if you didn’t contaminate it.” I tell her, still busy calculating. I stew over some algorithms. I’m not able to find the error – the EPUs seem to get contradictory data from one of the cores.
“It’s like jello!” She giggles. I turn around.
“You never heard about neuronal silica gel? You know, the brain equivalent of AIs!” I may regret letting her in, after all… “No?” Come on, you’d understand if you’d seen her face. So miserable. Locked out in the pouring rain, she looked like a kicked dog. I couldn’t resist…”Never mind. It’ll be well hidden.” As planned under all those carbon fibre enhanced shielding units. “Under those, over there. They’ll protect it. Hopefully.” I point to the black pile on the other side of the room.
“And here I was thinking, that was nothing but junk.” She smiles. Man. Why do women have to smile? Like they know my weak spots. A humming noise comes from somewhere. I swallow. The humming fades away.
“Cause it is … somehow, um – junk…” More swallowing. I would have never admitted that to anyone. Damn. “Here’s a towel over there, dry clothes in the closet. Not your size, but better than nothing, right? Go change and I’ll make some tea. K?” She smiles even more. The buzzing. It’s in my head, right between my ears. Hot cheeks. I grab one of the clean towels and give it to her. Her fingers touch mine. Feels like tiny hot needles under my skin. A burning sensation not only on my skin… I musn’t freak out. Smile.
“Tea would be great!” That’s relief. I guess.
“You can change over there. It’s not much, I know-”
“Nono. It’s great. You let me in. I was wandering around for several hours. You’re the first one letting me in…Thank you. You are very kind.” She’s been wondering around? Maybe she’s homeless… She doesn’t look like a beggar. Maybe a thief… Got nothing of value here anyway… But who knows. The rain outside dims the light. Everything’s grey. Even greyer than usually. It wasn’t even evening. I guess it won’t stop for some days. The radio said something about early monsoon season. The tea kettle started whistling. Tea.
“Which you want?”
“Which what?” She sneaks up behind me. Yawns.
“Tea. Tea. Um, yeah… Tea”
“My, my. You’re jumpy. Everything you drink will be fine.” She says, seemingly bored. “Say. What does this do?”
“What? NO! Nononononono. Don’t touch that! You gonna blow us up!” I push her away from the monitoring panel. “It’s the self-destruct” Some weird explanation for the emergency power override button- I know, I know- but for now it has to be sufficient. I thrust her the cup of tea into her hands.
“Why would you need a self-destruct?! Are you building bombs?”