Fear of Abandonment

“Could you rescue us?”
Bruno wasn't sure what to do. This was way out of his comfort zone.
“I'm sort of busy... there's this AI who wants me to deliver some cargo. He gets quite angry if I don't, He only feeds me one nurtragrain bar. I have to make it last the entire day.”
He feels his palms start to sweat.
“I'm sorry. I can't help you. Here's some Iggy Pop.” He faded the music up, then sat on the floor in a corner and rocked himself.

"Oh, son of a bitch!" Artemis yelled, covering the microphone as he swore. "Mr. Downing....Mr. Downing? Fuck!" Artemis muted the microphone. "Great, we're dealing with a loon"

"This is coming from a deranged scientist with a history of neurosis" H-343 snapped, recalling some of Artemis' file.

"One more smartass remark and I'll stick a refrigerator magnet on your harddrive" Artemis said, trying to come up with a way to convince the mentally unstable pilot to rescue them.

"AI? Nurtragrain bars? Is he crazy or is he actually telling the truth?" Artemis pondered aloud.

"He's telling the truth. The cargo circuit between here and our supply facility was run by GELF's that we kept fed with cereal bars, it was easier than paying whiny humans to do it" H-343 quipped. "Those AI's are particularly cold and impersonal"

Artemis groaned, and unmuted the microphoned.

"Mr. Downing? I know you can still hear me! We're stranded here and we need a way off! We can free you from your work...and uh...we'll feed you actual food! Just help us..."

Artemis remembered about the EM field...which would need to be shut down before he could land. It was likely a way for Serraco to dissuade visitors...but there had to be a way to shut it down in order for deliveries to made, and for products made in the lab to be exported.

Artemis covered the microphone again. "Shit, what about that EM field?"

"Ah, yes, the security field. That's easy enough...all you need to do is authorize a shutdown from here inside the base, and have our neurotic friend up in orbit authorize a shutdown from the station. It needs to be done within minutes of each other or the system will be shut down until the no longer existing base commander can avert the security lockdown" h-343 recalled.

"Right, we'll take care of that once the others get here. Now let's see about getting Downing to play along" Artemis uncovered the microphone. "Look...we understand that Serraco's AI's have kept you enslaved, but they rely on you! They wouldn't willingly kill the only person supporting their entire operation...if you stop bringing them supplies, like the fuel their stations rely on, they'll cease to exist...and they know that! If you waltz into that station, it won't do anything other than beg!"

There was silence, aside from the blaring music. The music stopped.

"What if you're wrong and I end up losing my rations! Or even worse....spaced"

"I'm never wrong, I'm a scientist"

"I don't know...."

"Alright, listen...we're being harassed by Serraco too! We know what it feels like...shit, I spent my entire professional career having work stolen by them! If we just sit back and accept their smeg we're letting them win! Help us fight back by walking onto that station and helping us escape!"

"Do you even have a concrete plan?"

"It's simple, really. Before anything else gets done we need the Electromagnetic Security Field down first. We need you to board the station and make your way to the control room. Once there you need to send a shutdown order, while we simultaneously send the second order. Once the field is down its as easy as gliding down to the planet and picking us up!"

"What if the AI's decide to do something, huh!? What then?!"

"Look...I already told you that they won't kill you! You're the only one keeping them alive right now!"

"Let me think...."

Artemis muted the microphone again. He drummed his fingers on the console. He had to bullshit his way through most of that conversation....especially the part about the AI's (he was half sure that what he said was true, and half sure that Bruno was a dead man once he set foot on the station and disobeyed it). He hoped that Bruno would play along, especially since their only other way off was a Starbug that was as sound as a wet paper bag.

"Mr. Downing..." Artemis said.

"PLEASE....let me think"


Does Bruno go for it? If he decides to help us do the AI's revolt or are they actually too dependent on him for their own good?

Artemis is still broadcasting his homing signal, the signal is originating from the command center. We should meet up and discuss a concrete exit strategy.

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