The first year of her tour had passed. Arsha was gaining some fame as a Realmfleet Captain. Right now, she was ordered to go to Galthar to pick up the famous Dr. Ganshar, the robotics expert, for the test of a new robot crewmember. Marshii, of course, had something to grumble about that. “Making a robot to do the work of a Realmfleet member,” she muttered to Arsha as they looked out the window of Barmek’s. “I tell you, it ain’t right to replace one of us with a robot! It’s a walking computer with only preprogrammed instructions! No real drive to go beyond its limits like us!”
“It’s not replacing one of us,” replied Arsha, “it’s a supplement.”
“Supplements can only get you so far!” argued Marshii.
“Besides, this new robot,” continued Arsha, “has initiative programmed into it.”
“…Initiative being programmed?” quizzed Marshii. “Now THAT I wanna see. You can’t program initiative into something! It’s something people like us are born with!”
“Well, it’ll be something to celebrate in robotics,” declared Arsha. Just then, the comms buzzed.
“Shalvey to Arsha,” began the caller.
“Go ahead,” directed Arsha.
“Dr. Ganshar and her new robot are ready for pick-up,” reported Shalvey. “Transport room 3 is standing by.”
“On my way,” answered Arsha as she and Marshii headed off to the transporter room. A Centaur crewman running the place checked the runic circles and gave the thumbs-up when they arrived. “Transport,” directed Arsha. The crewman chanted a spell, making a shape of blue light appear in the circle. The shape became two, then the light died down as it formed a female Stone Elf and a being of metal. The metal being was built like a woman and had a pentagon with a single dot for a face. The dot moved as if it was an eye. It seemed to scan the room. “Welcome to the Endeavor, Dr. Ganshar,” greeted Arsha. “I’m Captain Arsha Royana and this is my chief medical officer, Marshii Borontho.”
“So glad to be here!” cheered Dr. Ganshar. “I’d like you to meet my creation, X5272-Jansha!”
“Greetings,” bid the robot.
“Jansha?” asked Marshii. “As in the late Dr. Jansha?”
“My mentor,” confirmed Dr. Ganshar.
“I see,” muttered Marshii. “So, what if it does something to disgrace the name?”
“Impossible,” assured Dr. Ganshar. “Jansha, sweetheart, could you explain?”
“It is not in my programming,” replied Jansha. “I have three directives preventing me from causing harm.”
“And those directives are?” invited Marshii.
“Directive One:” began Jansha, “I will not, through action or inaction, allow any life-form to come to harm. Directive Two: I will obey all orders unless that order conflicts with the first directive. Directive Three: I will defend myself unless that defense conflicts with the first and second directives.”
“I programmed them into her in case her emotional subroutines cloud her judgement,” whispered Dr. Ganshar.
“Smart,” praised Arsha. “Now then, Jansha, we’re going to run some tests to see how well you can perform in a combat situation.”
“I understand,” replied Jansha. “I hope to be a valuable First Officer to you.”
“…I…don’t think the position of First Officer is open on this ship,” remarked Arsha, confused.
“I apologize for any presumption,” answered Jansha. “Dr. Ganshar and I have been under the impression that Commander Oak Mosstrunk was leaving for a new ship.”
“…I see,” muttered Arsha. “In the meantime, Jansha, how good are you at engineering?”
“Top of my class,” exclaimed Jansha.
“Good,” answered Arsha. “Marshii, mind leading them to Main Engineering? I need to get in touch with Realmfleet about this.”
“Sure thing,” replied Marshii. As Marshii led them to Main Engineering, Arsha headed to her ready room and called up Admiral Rokalla. His face appeared on screen.
“Arsha,” greeted Rokalla. “Haven’t heard from you since the Vorkath Affair. What can I do for you?”
“It’s about the robot crewman,” explained Arsha. “She and Dr. Ganshar are onboard now.”
“A delight, isn’t she?” chuckled Rokalla.
“And a bit presumptuous,” continued Arsha.
“Captain?” quizzed Rokalla.
“She said she was going to take Oak’s place,” elaborated Arsha. “Last I checked, he’s still my First Officer.”
“Don’t tell me he’s passing up another commission!” protested Rokalla.
“One’s available?” inquired Arsha.
“The Realmtrail,” confirmed Rokalla. “This is the fourth one he’s declined!”
“…A bit odd, considering his career,” mused Arsha. “He’d make a fine captain.”
“You may want to tell him that,” suggested Rokalla. “Like I said, this is the fourth time we’ve pulled out the Captain’s chair for him and he’s refused to sit in it.”
“I’ll tell him he’s more than ready for command, especially since he’s been a First Officer since Daddy commanded this ship,” declared Arsha.
“Good to hear,” replied Rokalla. “In the meantime, where do you have Jansha?”
“She’s in Main Engineering,” reported Arsha.
“Thangred’s going to like her, I know it,” chuckled Rokalla. “All right, I’ll leave you to Jansha’s tests.”
“See you around, Sir,” finished Arsha. “Arsha out.” The call ended as Arsha considered how to approach the topic with Oak.