Classical music blared over BC’s comm, but luckily for her, the little earpiece had fallen out in the middle of the night. Over the frenzied chorus of “Love on Top,” the sound of the concierge’s voice announced politely that her requested wake-up call was scheduled for five hours earlier, and checkout time was thirty minutes earlier. If she didn’t respond within the next thirty minutes, the hotel would summarily open the airlock of the room she slept in. BC groaned in her sleep and simply rolled back over. She’d had a rough night the night before.
Her small companion, however, activated at the threat of being hurtled out into the endless void of space. It could easily survive the experience but knew it would be neither fun nor good for its longevity afterward. The little robot was shaped like a cube when inactive (and indeed, people had used it as a footstool before), but upon activation two continuous tracks extended underneath it, a door on each of the other faces clicked open, and a flexible appendage extended, and the visual trackers on each face blinked into life. It was never actually deactivated and didn’t need to conserve power, but BC seemed to prefer it to take on a “standby” mode when not actively working. One of the benefits of working for one of the foremost experts on perpetual energy machines in the galaxy was that the little robot was also a beneficiary of private (if technically illegal) tech upgrades.
The robot rolled over to the bed from the corner of the room. Two appendages gently shook BC while another checked for her vital signs. The last two prepared to administer a mild shock to wake the scientist if necessary. BC moaned and blinked her eyes.
“LR? Huh?” She noticed the comm immediately, and the robot retreated from her bedside. LR was short for Little Robot. The smartest human being in the damned galaxy and she couldn’t even give it a real name. “Hi, yeah, I’m awake. Sorry. Can I get an extension? The UA will pay for it. Sorry. Yeah. My discretionary routing number? I don’t know, look at the original receipt. I’m going to get out of here in the next hour or so.”
BC extricated herself from the bed after the brief conversation. Somehow she’d managed to stumble into it half-naked and with her head at the foot of the bed and bedsheets curled like boa-constrictors around her. What happened the night before? LR went back into his “standby” mode in the corner while she bustled around the room.
In the bathroom, BC took full stock of herself. She was dark-skinned and full-bodied, with a shock of hair haloing her face she did very little with. Various scars peppered her body, mostly from incidents involving machinery. She’d worked directly for the UA, now, for a decade but before that she only applied for grants as a member of corporations. Working directly for the center of science and education of the entire Alliance had its benefits that she couldn’t overlook, even with a pay cut. Her stomach and head ached, but it was likely just over-consumption.
As BC showered and got ready for the morning… well, afternoon, LR began the process of systematically packing her room. The robot laid out an outfit that BC had worn while traveling many times before and brewed tea for her. Since it was activated in the past five years, they’d traveled all over the galaxy together, and it knew her routine. Indeed, they seemed to travel more than BC actually accomplished any of the science she was known for. “Politics” she would say when it inquired. “I need to be seen there.”
LR was of the opinion that BC was much too smart for the seemingly endless conferences she was forced to attend. It suspected, however, that she was not too bright for the receptions with bottomless intoxicants. Still, she continued to publish, tinker, and create and was the galaxy’s foremost expert on robotics, perpetual energy, energy in general, artificial intelligence, augmented intelligence, faster-than-light travel, physics in general, and more. And she wasn’t just an expert in name.
BC came out of the bathroom in a robe, pleasure on her face at the sight of the tea. “Oh LR, you are just a gem.”
“I am a robot.”
“Yes, that’s what I meant.” She took a sip and sat on the edge of the bed. “Can we go over my schedule for the next ten hours? I believe I have a vidcall with the dean while we travel to…”
“That was three hours ago.”
“What? Why didn’t you wake me?”
“You told me not to.”
“Last night. You said that if I waked you for anything less serious than the threat of death you’d space me.” The machine managed to look sheepish by putting each of its appendages together in BC’s direction. “I did not want to be spaced.”
“Ah, yeah. That sounds like me on four Austail Sippers.”
“It was ten, but yes, indeed.”
She was a hero to the galaxy, and here she was getting a snide remark from her robot.
“Ok LR. Please reschedule the dean. Let’s talk about the rest.”