Factory Reset

OOC: So hey, I'm back...again...for what, the 4th time? Anyway, I'll try to be a little more frequent with my posting, but I can't make any promises with the combination of college and a full-time job.

After months of dealing with an outdated OS, Artemis crashed once more, this time from the stress of his being dragged along on a trans-dimensional manhunt. Since his return to the ship, The Missus had been trying to find a new OS that would tolerate her husband's neurosis while keeping him alive. She finally convinced someone in the tech department to rewrite Artemis' old OS and upgrade some of his components....now all she had to do was wake him up with a factory reset.

There was a jolt, and the sensation of cool water rushing over his head. Suddenly, a termlink code marched across Artemis' field of view.


Artemis' monitors popped, and momentarily displayed test patterns before resorting to their usual blue "face" display.

"Artie....you there?" The Missus asked, tapping Artemis' brain case. "Artie...wake up. You're not leaving me with eight kids and hundreds of boxes of hazardous experiments...."

The Missus stared at her husband, who lay motionless on the floor.

"Artemis..." she whispered. "...we're having another eight kids"


"Relax! I'm kidding! I was just trying to get you to wake up...." The Missus said.

"I uh...I was awake the whole time, I was just enjoying the moment of peace. The last few weeks have been hell" Artemis said, popping out his arms and adjusting his monitors. "Nice to see you again dear, it's been awhile. And....you're speaking English now?"

"Nice of you to notice, while we were being held by that time-travelling weirdo I convinced some of his staff to use their time portals to snag us some voice modules. I figured it'd be better for all of us if the kids and I could actually communicate with the rest of the crew...especially considering our err, current situation" The Missus said, now speaking in a soothing voice instead of uttering beeps and whistles like an Astromech droid.

"So, current situation?" Artemis asked. "How the hell long was I out?"

"Not too long, but we didn't exactly get put back right where we left off" The Missus said with a sigh.

"And by that you mean?"

"I mean this universe is fairly different from the one we left. I think what the others did..."

"Hey! I helped!"

"Not to diminish your role, sweetheart, but Cass and Jay made it very clear that you bitched and moaned most of the mission. I'm....inclined to believe them"

Artemis crossed his arms and sulked.

"...as I was saying, I think what the others....you and the others did out there had some negative effects. Things are different here, Bruno was the captain, I think Boyd is working for the corporate office...and we're...well, read this" The Missus handed Artemis a report.

"They stripped my rank and demoted me to a protocol unit! The fuck?! I'm not an actual robot, I'm a cyborg!" Artemis yelled. "I've got twelve PhD's and was a fucking majority shareholder in the largest R&D company this side of the frontier!"

"Well, apparently the company didn't take kindly to 'sexual misconduct with company property'....."

"Hey, Alex Solvay was the one that humped vending machines not me!"

"They're referring to us having kids together....."

"Oh, well...shit"

Artemis looked around the room, which resembled a shoddily decorated lower-middle class apartment. "So, this is where we live now? Where the hell are we anyway?"

"Somewhere between the Cargo Bay and the auxiliary water tanks. We're also not the only ones down here, there's a few other robot families nearby"

The shoddy house Artemis now resided in was built along a massive metal strut, crossing a massive chasm in the ship's superstructure. It was an unpatroled, largely unknown area of the ship where the command staff stuck undesirables. He shared it with a few other houses, the strut having been transformed into a sort of "neighborhood" by the inhabitants.

"Ah, yes, I recognize this place. There were stowaways here at one point" Artemis chuckled "I used to kidnap them to be used in experiments"

"That's....horrible" The Missus commented.

"Hey, look, if the crew caught them they'd send their asses to a mining gulag. Being turned into atomic supermen is an improvement. Well, it was until the isotope I used caused their bodies to implode"

"Look, Artemis, I know this isn't exactly optimal for us but we can't afford getting in trouble....again, especially since the crew has more or less returned. I'm already working two jobs to keep things from falling apart, I just need you to behave yourself."

"But...my whole damned life has been the pursuit of...."

"Artemis, this family cannot risk sinking any lower. If you want the kids to have any semblance of a normal life, let it go and please just behave yourself"

Artemis sighed. "Alright, I'll....I'll try to behave. But if I find a way...."

"You're not doing any crazy bullshit without running it by me first...." The Missus said sternly. Artemis was not one to tell her no.

"Right, I'll keep you in the loop. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take a look at our new...." Artemis grimaced "....neighborhood"

Outside, the children (and some of the neighbor kids) were filling an old oil barrel with whatever garbage they could find. Once they had filled it up, they slapped the lid on, cut a small hole in the top, and lit the garbage on fire.

"Do it! Do it!" Some chanted as Plato the awkward giant pushed the barrel over the edge and into the dark abyss. The eight Skuttlings and the neighbor kids watched as the flaming barrel tumbled into the darkness.

"Where did it go?" Archimedes asked fearfully "Did the darkness get it?"

"No, it fell into a black hole!" One of the neighbor kids yelled.

"Ha! It there were a black hole on Blue Dwarf we'd all be crushed by the immense gravity! It'll probably hit the bottom of the ship and blow up" Artie Jr. said, sounding too much like his father.

"Well, that's the least imaginative way to put it" Helena said snidely.

"Hey, screw you! At least I'm being rational, tiny over there is talking about Black Holes and crap like that!"

"Hey!" Artemis yelled, exiting the drab house. "Be nice to your sister!"

Artemis peered over the ledge. "It probably either hit the bottom of the ship or got swallowed up by the wall-bots"

Archimedes hid underneath his father "Wall-bots?!"

"Yes, they're like Skutters but they eat garbage and patch hull breaches. I heard an old legend from the janitors that if you listen at night you can hear them clicking and whirring throughout the ship, you can also hear them playing "Aqualung" and "Cross-Eyed Mary", ever since Jeb the Vending Machine Repairman dropped his Jethro Tull holotape down a breach.

"Really?" One of the kids asked.

"Yep, sometimes you can even hear old Yes songs! They're very limited in their musical tastes"

The kids gathered at the edge and tried listening for the whirring of the wall-bots, and the echoes of old Prog Rock songs.

Artemis smiled, at the sight of his children and the fact that the Wall-Bots had some pretty good taste in music.

He then sighed and set out to tour his new home.


I'll just wait for everyone to get home from the halloween journey, no point in getting involved this late in the game (unless Artemis can do something from his end to help, he doesn't have access to his lab anymore but he can always break in).

Just as a side-note, the Missus and the Kids no longer speak in "Skutt-Speak", they speak in English. I figured it was time for them to be able to converse with the crew without a translator nearby.

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