Leesandra 10

Leesandra grabbed her visor and pulled it up to sit over her eyes.

“Infrared detection on my visor please CAL.”

“Enabled.”

 

She had made it to level Delta and was beginning her trek over to the Loader bot distribution panel. Effectively an automated garage that held, maintained and provided the large robots that loaded, unloaded and carried cargo around the dock.

 

“Open the panel door CAL.” A large section of the wall closest to her opened revealing five loaders inside motionless, as though they had fallen to their knees and went to asleep. “Yeah I don’t want to go through every one of these on the level. CAL can you cycle each Distribution center and see if any loaders are missing?”

“Processing. One loader missing from…”

“Can you locate the loader?” Leesandra cut in.

“Unable to locate.”

“Do we track the movements of loaders?”

“Correct.”
“Where was it the at its most recent tracking history?”

“Close to Docking area Delta ten.”

“How did I guess that it would be?” CAL didn’t respond, all AI had been programmed to ignore sarcasm.

 

*

 

Leesandra moved quickly but silently through the level towards docking area ten.  The docking area’s were each as large as a football stadium, not that Leesandra had ever set foot in a stadium of any size, but almost every new dock worker had exclaimed as such. She was sure none of them had been near a real stadium either but guessed that they had seen a real sport in action in an artificial reality program.

 

Even though she could watch every single piece of television or cinema kept from human history, she never watched any Earth sport. ‘It’s not very exciting if it happened years ago’ was her excuse, but she did watch the e-sports normally the day after it was played.

 

She passed through area eight, it still had some containers strapped to the floor and ceiling. The containers were probably waiting to be picked up by an inbound freighter with robotic loaders it was uncommon for cargo to wait overnight to be properly received. Now half way through area nine she could see through the clear panels at the far end of the area out into the gap between the other side of the dock.

 

There were a handful of sporadically docked ships on the other side, easily made out by their red flashing lights. Otherwise they would have easily been lost in the greys and reflective steels. Leesandra tried to get a glimpse over to see if there was a ship at area ten, but couldn’t see anything.

 

Slowing down as she reached area ten she started to hear voices, clear as day in the silence of the dock in after hours.

 

“How long is this going to take?” A woman’s voice, stern but not overly aggressive.

“It’s almost done, it’s not like this could’ve been avoided.” A male voice, it was familiar, like when you hear a voice actor playing another character in the same show.

 

Leesandra was extremely careful now, being sure to keep her momentum as small as possible. Area ten still had some containers to be exported littered around, they still hadn’t been moved since the umbilical was cut off. She hid behind one of them, still unable to see the people speaking

 

“And I told you that it was necessary. I don’t need you to tell me what i already know.”

“No but you do need me to get you out of here so it wouldn’t kill you to accept my advice.”

 

Leesandra spotted the loader as it entered the area from the umbilical entrance. Her heart jumped into her throat when she realised the seal was open even though the umbilical had been cut off. They should have been open to space and as far she could see they were, yet there was still air and no alarms were sounding.

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