Y4-R1 placed the bodies of her father and brother gently down and dug. Quickly and efficiently. the human visitors had returned to their ship. She didn’t know if they intended to leave or if they would stay a while. She hoped for the latter. Once she’d buried her family, she would have nothing. Would she have to shut down or would it be possible to build a small escape craft using materials from the base? She didn’t want to live all alone.
Ophelia and her crew boarded the Cerberus with their bags. They waited for the bay to re-pressurise before heading directly to the conference room. Lucy and Paul left the bridge to join them.
“We have an unusual situation here,” Ophelia began. “On one hand, Y4 was a big help to us and certainly saved our asses in there. On the other hand, her abilities make her a great risk. Grace,” Ophelia nodded towards the engineer “wants to offer Y4 a position on the ship. I’d like to get all of your input.”
“She’s got a hot body,” Allison said. “More importantly, I pay my debts and she did save all of us. I’d be all for having her on board as part of the crew. Her abilities would be a great asset to us. At the very least, we we her a ride off of this dirt ball.”
“I understand where Allison and Grace are coming from,” Kat stated. “But is it a good idea to have an android that powerful on this ship? If she wanted to, she would stand a good chance of taking everything over by force. I’m not sure the eight of us could stop her.”
“You worry too much, Kitty,” Allison said.
“If she wanted to take control of the ship,” Grace said “then she could have joined Y3 and taken us all out back there. The fact that she chose to help us instead gives us a strong indication of her good intentions.”
“And what if she malfunctions like Y3?” Kat asked.
“The problem was his personality,” Grace said. “With sapience also comes the capacity for decisions and internal rationalising and he came to a bad conclusion. She won’t go down the same route because she’s not the same kind of person.”
“A sapient android is an interesting idea,” Paul stated. “But is it really sound? Can the mechanisms in their mechanical brains really replicate all of the facets that imbue us with personalities or is it just a slightly more sophisticated AI algorithm? If it is just an algorithm, it’s already proven untrustworthy.”
“That’s going to be difficult to answer,” Lucy said. “And I won’t be able to help. My perceptions won’t work on a mechanical mind.”
“There’s an easy way to answer that,” Grace said. “We schlep her along and we observe her behaviour to see if it’s indicative of legit intelligence.”
“Under certain circumstances that might be really intriguing,” Kat said. “But we’re on a small ship with eight people and a little dog. We aren’t equipped for this.”
“Katie, that’s enough,” Leon said. “Yeah, it’s a risk but this crew hasn’t ever been one for playing things safe.” He rose and paced around the table. “Way I see it, one fact trumps everything else. We owe her our lives and the benefit of the doubt. If we welsh on that debt by abandoning her here, then we aren’t worth much, if anything.”
“There’s got to be a way that we can bring her with us and not worry about her going spare,” Farah muttered.
“Perhaps there is,” Paul agreed. “Grace, you have access to Professor Crozier’s records, yes?”
“Got ’em all downloaded,” Grace said.
“Then there’s no problem,” Paul said. “Its body is mechanical and anything mechanical is going to have vulnerabilities.”
“so, we design a weapon specifically to destroy her systems,” Kat said. “I get it. Simple and elegant.”
“Disabling them should also work, right?” Grace asked. “I’ll figure out a way to stop her if we have to.”
“I have no complaints with that,” Lucy said. “Wouldn’t it be lovely if she could become a good friend?”
“It seems everyone is in agreement,” Ophelia said. “Grace, I want you to invite her on board.
Y4-R1 finished piling dirt on top of the crude graves. She glanced at them. They were still incomplete. She returned to the base and fashioned a couple of markers from metal plating. She returned to the location where she’d buried them and set the markers up. It was entirely possible that no one but her would ever see them, but it seemed inappropriate to just leave their bodies lying around.
“Hey, Y4!” The cry was partially metallic, a voice filtered through a spacesuit’s radio. She knew the voice.
She turned. “Hello, Grace Albrecht. You have not yet departed?”
“We’re going to soon,” Grace said. “But we couldn’t leave without everyone.”
Y4-R1 looked at her quizzically. “I do not understand. I was told that the six of you were all who disembarked.”
“We were,” Grace said. “But it turns out we met someone really cool while exploring and we just had to make her a part of our crew.”
“You are referring to me,” Y4-R1 stated, realisation dawning. “You wish for me to join your crew?”
“Absolutely,” Grace said. She held out her arm. “You’re done here, right?”
“My work is complete,” Y4-R1 confirmed. “But will your crew not be uncomfortable with my presence after what my brother attempted?”
“Not at all,” Grace said. “Everyone on board agreed that you would be a welcome addition.”
Y4-R1 took the proffered arm. “Then I shall accept gratefully.”
“Great!” Grace declared. “Let’s go, Yuri!”
“Yuri,” Y4 stated. “That is a human name.”
“Sorry,” Grace said. “Did you not like it? I just thought a more human name might help you, you know, fit in better.”
Y4-R1 shook her head. “That is not it. Yuri, it is a good name. It is also similar to my designation. I will accept it as my new designation.”