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III. Ship

The next day, with Simpson's (the smallest of the wacko autons I've made) help, I manage to build a device that can translate what the autons say to a language others can speak. It does not work for me, though, because I already understand what they are saying. I soon manage to get the autons to replicate the process, making similar devices adapted to themselves, and from there the workers begin to talk with the autons, even debating on occasion over the benefits of using a certain system or another when the time comes to start build up something.

Me? I start to make my greatest dream a reality: becoming the first person (at least for our world, the multiverse knows there are other places where people can pretty much do it) able of reaching space with a spaceship made by oneself. The advantage I have is that I will be able to combine my knowledge over the space missions with my special touch to build something far greater than anything else that has ever been built. Pretty much something pulled out from Isaac Asimov's novels.

The first part is easy: design. The typical spindle-like ships don't call my attention mostly because they are that way just because they have to deal with the atmosphere when they lift off and land. The most typical geometric forms, I do not like. What I want is a roomy ship, with rounded, soft edges. Not a sphere, but something stylized: a large ellipsoid window in the pilot cabin, with access to all controls and data – and with connection to a tablet so that I can do it from anywhere in the ship – straight walls on the inside and rounded on the outside, an easily accessible entrance from the outside, a couple of windows to observe what's out there and several nozzles to push the ship around.

Inside, just what I need: the pilot's cabin, a small multipurpose room, another for the supplies, and the last one for the recycling system. Minimizing the spaceship size and, at the same time, maximizing how well I take advantage of the space.

And, for that, there is nothing better than putting the drives in the empty space between the inner and the outer hulls.

Yes, it sounds stupid... but it also sounded stupid when they said that there was a world where first-law-of-thermodynamics-violating robots existed, and here we are.

I begin with the cabin, which I build out of several metal sheets and multiple window panes that Reynolds reinforces using steel. Right in the middle, the pilot seat. I start to look around, among what I have available, and I find a car's driver seat, so I grab it and fill it with plastic and other materials so that it is much more comfortable and secure.

In front of the seat, the control panel. Reynolds helps me to find several screens and electronic devices, but I still need to connect them, so I make a small auton – which calls herself Pixy – to make all the connections. Programming only takes a couple of hours – when you use the right language, it is really easy – and the cabin is now ready to have everything else built around it.

The cables literally hanging, I start to build the outer hull. Not an easy task, you know, because I have to take into account the balances between resistance to the pressure gradients and weight. Pixy and Reynolds become invaluable, soldering, bringing sheets and holding the corresponding parts.

The drive is absurdly far more complicated to work with. Trying to find a way to isolate an object from all gravitational fields is incredibly complicated, but not completely impossible. It is just a matter of finding out how to create a similar, yet inverted, field, so that it can repeal the gravitational field and allow me to push the ship as I want it to.

You just have to apply the improved Hilbert-Faber theory, include the Janov-Golan postulates, and combine it all with a strong coffee cup.

Why does the drive need a strong coffee cup?

To stay awake, of course. Considering all that theory it will have to deal with, even I would need a cup.

Shut up, or I'll find a way to erase you.

Whatever you say.

Anyway, I apply what the other me says. When I do it on a small scale – coffee cup included – works quite well. Pixy loves flying around the hangar with the Coffee Dwarf, and the two or three people that are around smile when they see the tiny ship buzzing around me, whistling non-stop – although I know Pixy is actually enjoying the flying, considering it the funniest thing ever.

Now that I have managed to prove that my idea can work – and two months have passed since I started with the project – I start to build it in my spaceship. I have yet to give her a name, but I'll get something good soon.

Just in two weeks, I manage to install the motor system to the spaceship, just on the base of the outer hull. As I build up the walls and the roof, the gravitic drive system will be expanded to the rest of it.

Feeding the electronics is actually quite easy: a lithium battery and a system to get energy out of hydrogen. To electrolyze the water in there, I will use a coupleof autons that can revert the process and create more hydrogen. About the air, I put a couple of plants and several emergency systems, just in case, and everything is solved.


The first interruption to my work comes in the third month: the classical bureaucrat of the Corps arrives to the lab in order to make inventory, and in the meantime find out why we have been buying so much material of all kinds, much more than the usual.

As soon as he sees the autons, particularly Reynolds, he starts to say that their use has not been authorized through this-or-that-or-whatever form nor through the system, so they have to be put into a storage room until it can be determined that they fulfill all the security and energy consumption requirements and who knows what else that he seems to be pulling out of his ass.

Reynolds proceeds to approach him, and the effect is quite impressive: considering that he stands at five meters – six if he uses his leg extensions – he could easily step on the bureaucrat's meter sixty three. He leans forward, and glares at him.

“MAKE ME,” Reynolds says through his translation system. The bureaucrat is not perturbed at all and turns to me.

“Sir, I must demand that you immediately disconnect this robot. It is breaching at least five security measures and two regulations.”

“Because you say so, right? Look, there's no one here that can deactivate the robots, pretty much because nothing can deactivate them. Of course, you could try to destroy them, but I doubt you would like the consequences.”

“If you persist in this attitude, I will have no other choice than to close down this zone and call for a group of technicians to deactivate these robots. If need be, I will ask for your suspension without pay.”

I cannot avoid it. I laugh in his face.

“You? You are going to need more than just a couple of technicians to do anything at all. And if you try...”


I will make sure that every second of the rest of your life is full of constant suffering!

Shit, what was that? It is almost as when I start with the wack fits. Martha did mention that wackos tended to turn megalomaniacal. Is this how they take over?

When I wake up, the bureaucrat is missing and everyone is looking at me with a half-amazed, half-terrified face.

“What happened?”

“Well, you managed to make him run away. And you really terrified him. He really smelled bad as he rushed for the exit,” Joaquin says.

“It wasn't that bad, was it?” I ask, surprised.

“I'd say it was,” Martin replies. “Quite the cool trick.”

“This will have consequences. I doubt that he will take this so well,” Joaquin says.

“I'll deal with that later. The guy was not taking me seriously.”

“You should do the same. Because he will not find the fun in what you did...”


Joaquin's words are prophetic: three days later, the second (and last) interruption takes place, in the form of the same bureaucrat, four technicians and two security guards. This time, though, I am prepared: the autons hide, Joaquin takes the bureaucrat to his office and I speak with the technicians while the security guards relax.

Thirty minutes later, the technicians are singing their praises about what I have invented and about the autons, and they tell the bureaucrat when he comes out that there is nothing weird going on and to stop being an idiot, so the four of them leave, closely followed by the security guards. The bureaucrat's face is hilarious, and Natalia takes a photography with her mobile phone: the photography soon makes the rounds around the Corps' private network, to everyone's mirth.

I take advantage of the situation to get back to work, because the spaceship will not be finished on its own.

As the base is already built, I start with the internal walls. I do need to put the second sheet of metal to allow cabling to go around the ship, so that I can then connect it to light bulbs and illuminate the ship.

Luckily, I do not need the sheets to be too thick, since this is the inside, after all, and if I need to hand something I can easily use magnets. Also, it helps me to give the ship a homey feeling. Naturally, one room will be the exception, the one through which I'll be able to come in and out, and that must be particularly reinforced, just in case the air decides to make a escape.

The rest of the external hull follows, leaving the space for the geate to outside, and after I finish building the drive, I work on the internal hull. Once this is done, as I have the most important part done, it is a relief, as its magnificence can be seen from the outside already.

That's when I start working with the cabling. Even though I have never done anything similar in my life, I have had to work many times with electric circuits, and I have read many notes on how to do this kind of thing at home, so I guess that it should not be too complicated to do it, particularly if I am extremely careful.

With Pixy's help and that of two smaller autons – Tiny and Mini – I begin to put all the cables through the walls and the roof, connecting the lithium battery to a lot of interruptors and LEDs to illuminate the rooms and to the control panel, the anti-gravity drive, the water boiler – if I am going out to space, I might as well travel comfortably, right? - the comm unit... anything that needs electricity is connected.

The first test is not successful, basically because I screw up and connect some cables backwards. I blow four LED bulbs in one sitting before I find out where I went wrong, so before I replace them I make sure to connect the cables to their right position, telling the autons that this is not their fault. The second attempt goes better, and I smile as the lights turn on.

With the electric system tests done, I install the communicator, which will be able to talk with the one I am leaving behind. Piece of cake – things are getting real easy lately, actually – and I finish the job by putting everything I need to comfortably live in the ship: plants, some furniture, a stasis chamber from A7A38 for my food and drinks, some books, a computer, paper and pencil – you never know when I might get struck with a great idea...

And, six months after I started, the ship is done. A wonder of engineering, capable of flying across empty space without needing fuel, just energy that it can get from the outside and the inside, and perfectly capable of keeping its crew – me, in this case – alive.

Isn't it beautiful? Not bad for my first attempt at this kind of thing.

The only missing thing is a couple of cannons to end those that dare to fight me.

Damn, you are obsessed with that. I am not going to put any weapons on the ship.

Come on, man, I am sure they will look great!

Do not annoy me.

Annoy? I am giving you a lot of great ideas, and you claim I am annoying you?

If it weren't for the fact that you are trying to turn me into a... whatever, I don't remember the word.

My friend, being a “whatever” is great! No one speaks against you, you can do anything, you can surround yourself with beautiful women...

Sorry, but I don't want to be a “whatever”. You will have to accept being a normal person.

Booooring! Zzzzzzz...

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