Intergalactic Cruise

Why don’t you write as much as you used to? A number of people have asked about this; we can put to one side the fact that this number is remarkably small. No, I was not subject to “extraordinary rendition” for questioning the Official Truth and Glory of our Nation, nor was I away at a European clinic having my blood changed. The truth is more interesting and significantly more comfortable.

Now that I am old and affluent, I can afford to do a lot of things that are denied to the less fortunate. Late last summer I decided it was finally time to take an extended intergalactic cruise. Like quite a few members of my generation, I’ve been involved with space travel since I was in my teens. However until fairly recently I have not had the resources to go “really out there” and stay away for a while.

One logistical problem presented itself. Although I’m affluent enough to go on this great trip, I’m not rich enough to quit my job and I’m not cold-hearted enough to abandon my family. To my rescue came the Sirius Cybernetic Corporation. This is the company that created the first talking elevator and the first to create synthetic personalities for personal robots. I learned that this company was experimenting with a new service here on Earth, one that had been successful elsewhere.

I could go off on my intergalactic cruise – and the Sirius Cybernetic Corporation would create a robot version of me to carry on in my absence! This seemed like a winning move. It took a long (and lost) weekend at the Sirius Earth H.Q. for them to extract the data they required. The less said about those details the better.

I went off on my trip and the substitute took my place. Intergalactic travel is more convenient when one is not hitchhiking. Sure, it’s quite a bit more expensive, however the itinerary and schedules are quite a bit more predictable, and there are fewer emergencies.

Those of you who are familiar with the Sirius Cybernetic Corporation know that shoddy workmanship and odd design and manufacturing errors are typical of their products, which is how they are able to keep their prices so astonishingly high. As it turned out, there was only one problem – the company created a robot that was significantly more ambitious and harder-working than I am in real life. So, while I was at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe enjoying multiple Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters, my substitute was here, seeing how much he could achieve in my absence.

I returned and the robot went back to the shop for a physical makeover and a fresh personality implant to serve the next happy customer. Unfortunately for me, I am having trouble keeping up with the pace the robot set for me in my absence. I came home to discover that now I am a law professor in addition to teaching paralegal students and folks studying for the bar examination. Soon I have to face a tidal wave of papers to grade. If I’d known this, I’d have stayed away a few more weeks until the term was completely over! A machine already is scheduled to grade the multiple choice questions, why not get an upwardly-mobile robot to grade the essays?

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