Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: AS EASY AS PIE (12/01/16)
By Art Westefeld
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Jayde had just reported for duty on the bridge, when an alert klaxon activated. She dashed to her station, inserted her hands into a slot on her console interface to quickly access the data, and turned to the command center. "Radiation storm ahead. We need to evacuate the outer sections." Even as she said it she knew that included the bridge, but someone would have to stay in command, likely her, as she was more durable than any human.
In an instant, (far longer than her artificial brain would have taken), the captain ordered the ship's crew to leave the Testament's outer two layers. She then turned to Jayde and ordered her to take control of the ship and rig an alert to sound were she to become disabled. Jayde made the adjustment and connected it to her brain wirelessly.
The human crew left the bridge to go to the inner decks on the vessel. Leaving Jayde alone, the first thing she did was quiet the klaxon. It couldn't hurt her ears like a human, but it did interfere with her concentration. She kept the ship on course to the supply base, but she felt the radiation affect her artificial skin and frame. She knew the human expression, "I can feel it in my bones," and now felt she understood it personally. She lost control of her faux musculature as her brain started to shut down. Before her optics failed, she noticed that the ship was leaving the far side of the storm. She had guided the Testament through the radiation before shutting down!
She wondered what would happen to her, as she seemed depleted beyond the need to simply recharge. Would they try to repair her, or recycle her parts for the ship?
Chief Engineer McDonald arrived on the bridge as soon as the radiation level was safe for human habitation. “Jayde!” Her pearl white skin had been blackened, and her long ginger ‘hair’ was a pile of ash under her head. Dashing to an intercom, he barked orders to his section. "Get a bionics team up here, and check all synthizoids that stayed in the hot zone!"
The bionics team wheeled Jayde's damaged form to a special bay in Engineering, that looked more like a hospital than repair facility. McDonald watched as the chief of bionics hooked her remains to a diagnostic unit, and started to catalog the damage to the synthetic woman in his subdued voice. "Brain function at less than eight percent. She'll need a total data dump from her last servicing to restore her memory and personality programs. Skin and other external features are a total loss. We'll need to regrow her new skin and hair. We may want to wait on that until we restore her brain, to see if she wants any new features."
McDonald found himself conflicted, as he had fallen in love with the beautiful Jayde, but the chief was right. An autonomous being, she had the right to have her skin and hair reconstructed as she liked.
Following the recommendation from the chief, they rebooted her brain, then asked what she wanted to look like. She responded, "There was nothing wrong with my old appearance." They placed her brain in suspend mode and grew the new skin and hair from her files.
In a week, McDonald felt his heart leap as the lovely Jayde stood in the center of the bay with a fresh uniform, minus the rank markings that noted her as a bridge officer. The chief said, "We need to run a test of her memory functions. We'll give her a math problem and see how she does."
McDonald leaned in close to Jayde's regrown ear and said, "Jayde, calculate to the last digit the value of Pi."
In her singsong voice she began, "3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445923078164062..."
She broke off and looked at the two men and asked, "I can go on to 10,000 places. It is "as easy as pie," to use the human expression. How far did you want me to go?"
In the bionics bay there was unfettered joy as McDonald pinned Jayde's officer insignia back on her uniform.
Writer's note: If you doubt Jayde's figures, please feel free to check this website
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