Digital Amazement by Warrigal Mirriyuula
I’ve slipped through a crack in the floor and I’m falling, fast. It’s dark, I can’t see the bottom, ah shit, someone help me, aaaaarrrrggggghhhhh. I sit up in bed. Thank God or should I say thank Gordon, it was just a bad dream. I look around the room. Can’t say I recognize anything. The room is large and beautifully appointed. The bed is a four-poster with quills around each post. Belinda is next to me sleeping peacefully. The sun is peering through the window my eyes narrow as my brain is hurting from all of the fine wine consumed last night at the rectory. That brandy from Gordon, 200 years old, smooth as a baby’s bottom but man I’ve hung one on alright. What did Gordon say, space, cricket, shit, he was pulling my leg big time. Nevertheless, where the fuck am I? I don a robe and slippers that’s on the chair next to the bed and have an explore. Doesn’t look like the Rectory to me.
Out of the bedroom and down a passage way there’s another bedroom unoccupied. Adjacent there’s a room with two chairs but no window, how odd. Next is a sitting room/library. One wall is full of books. I take a closer look. Yes the usual villains, Hemingway, Tolstoy, Tolkien and ah yes, ‘By Way of Sainte-Beuve’ by Marcel Proust. Gee, 19th century fancy boys’ giving each other a spanking, heady stuff. I open the cover and there’s an inscription ‘This book belongs to Helvi Oosterman, Christmas 1963’ that has been crudely crossed out and the words ‘Not any more, September 2009, Gerard Oosterman’ written underneath. Hmmm, is that Gez and Helvi from the Pigs Arms?
I walk out to the back of the house into a large kitchen, absolutely stunning. Cooking implements are hanging from hooks off a wheel attached to the roof. An incredible stove with every bell and whistle you can imagine. To the left is a cupboard probably the pantry. I open the door and there’s a man standing in there with his eyes closed. I scream at the top of my lungs. The man says, “Self activate”. Belinda comes running down the passageway and into the kitchen. “Sandy, Sandy, what’s wrong?” “Belinda where am I, what am I doing here and who is he?” The man responds “My name is Geo dot r dot ge” “Geo.r.ge?” I respond in shock, “Yes Sir, I am your butler”. I plop myself down on a chair at the table. “Sandy, its okay, we’re on the spaceship, we teleported up from the Rectory last night” Belinda informs me.
Last night, last night, the dinner, Gordon’s request, falling through the hole, spaceship, but this is a house, the sun is shining, and my whole world is in chaos, the only thing real is Belinda. “Yes we are in one of the bio’s, you know biosphere” Belinda puts me in the picture. “Gordon’s had this one designed to resemble an English village, this is our manor, Sandy this is soooo exciting, its fantastic” Yes. Fantastic but what have I got myself in for. “Gordon has booked a table for you both at 1300hrs for lunch, at the Bat’s Droppings, it’s a pub in the village. He wants to explain things. Now how about scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, tomato juice and black coffee, sound good?” says Geo.r.ge. I reckon, a shot of brandy in the coffee if you don’t mind. I need to get myself together, go along with it for the moment. Belinda seems comfortable with it all so let’s ride with it. “Geo old chap, look can I just call you George?”, “Reprogramming, Central Computer, Catherine, recognize Geo.r.ge as George, confirmed, most certainly Sir”. “Now tell me about that cupboard?” I inquire, “My recharging station Sir” states George, “Please call me Sandy” I request, I hate formalities, “Isn’t sandy a word used to describe a beach?” asks George. “Yes but in my world everyone abbreviates Alexander to Sandy. My real name is Alexander but just call me Sandy and we’ll get along fine. Now Belinda my sweet, did you say this one, meaning that there are other bio’s on the ship?” I ask. “Well yes Sandy, several in fact, each have a different theme but Gordon said he will tell us all we need to know at lunch” Belinda enlightens me. So lunch it will have to be. “Breakfast will be fine George, but how did you know that was my favourite breakfast?” I press, “I know lots about you Sir, oops, Sandy, we have been studying you and your planet for some time now” confesses George. “We? How many are there of you?” I ask. “299 to be precise Sandy, but Catherine has been studying you at length and she has programmed all of us Droids to know you”. “Catherine? Who is this Catherine woman?” I demand. “Catherine is the central controlling computer, she controls everything” says George.