After a long sojourn in Anoikis, I had returned to Zoohen for some R&R. I was enjoying dinner alone at Armateur, my favorite upscale restaurant in Zoohen Theology Council station, when Allison piped up. Hearing our Signal Cartel AI co-pilot's voice startled me--I'd forgotten I had enabled her on my wrist terminal.
"Captain!" she said in her usual pert tone,"I've detected a +10 pilot from your personal contacts list in this establishment. Consult my screen for the pilot's name. I've taken the liberty of sending him a message of greeting from you."
I tapped the terminal and a small holo-screen appeared above it.
"Fuuuuuuuu.....", I began to mutter, seeing the name and wondering what he was doing here of all places.
"CAPTAIN, the Credo!" Allison cut in, all mock outrage.
I rolled my eyes and asked the cheeky AI, "How would you know who's in this restaurant, Allison?"
After a few seconds of silence, she replied "Even AIs have friends." Was it may imagination or did she sound defensive?
"Just don't do anything illegal, and stop taking liberties if you don't mind." I said grumpily, scanning the crowd for that familiar face from so long ago. Oh. There he was. Sitting in the far corner, looking as beautiful as ever. He examined his datapad, glanced briefly around the room, then touched the screen lightly with one elegant finger, his hands just as slim and perfectly manicured as I remembered them. Piano player hands. Artist hands. Extremely talented hands.
I sighed and continued eating, resigned to the fact that there would surely be an uncomfortable encounter any minute now. I really need to review and prune that Contacts list, I thought.
"WELL, I NEVER!" Allison suddenly spluttered in a shocked tone. "He has rejected my-- I mean your -- well, OUR -- message! REJECTED it. How rude!"
I burst out laughing. "That's his second best skill," I told her. "Please, let it drop."
Silence ensued for some minutes, thank Bob. However, when I had nearly finished my very fine meal, Allison spoke again, quietly.
"Captain, I apologize if I was presumptuous. But if I may say, while my searches of public records don't reveal much, he does appear to be a good match for you. Perhaps you should bookmark his spot and warp to it."
What the hell!
I shut Allison down, then pulled up the holo-screen again. "Message," I said and began typing.
To: A Dead Parrot
We have to talk. You won't believe what she said to me just now!
Then without being seen, I slipped out of the restaurant and headed for the solitude of my quarters, wondering the whole way what exactly A Dead Parrot's creation was evolving into.