Nico (vilakins) wrote,

Fic: Oracle

This is for redstarrobot who has computer problems and wanted fic.


The crew watched the main screen, stunned, as the other DSV exploded.

"Vila, did you fire?" asked Blake.


"Well, what happened?"

"I took the precaution of scrambling their launch system," Orac said smugly. "It pre-detonated their missiles. Had I not done so, my prediction would have been inaccurate."

Blake laughed as he walked over to Orac. "Orac, you are a genius. Next time let us know what you're planning."

Vila narrowed his eyes and said nothing. He decided to get Avon on his own, but changed his mind after Blake told Avon to go back to his position as if he were a naughty schoolboy. Avon would be simmering for hours and Vila too easy a target.

So he went and saw Cally at the start of her shift.

"What's the matter, Vila? Don't tell me your head still hurts."

Vila had quite forgotten his injury. "Eh? No, it's all right." He rubbed it absently and gave Orac, who was sitting on the table in front of the couch, a sidelong look, then lowered his voice. "I think that plastic paperweight planned it, all right. The whole thing from the start."

Cally frowned. "You don't think it was an extrapolation of data? It did explain when we first got it that--"

"Listen, you heard what he said. He blew that ship up just to make it all come true."

"Thus saving our lives, Vila."

"Yes, well, they wouldn't've been in danger in the first place if he'd just warned us about those scoutships in time. He knew exactly what they were and where they came from. He was playing with us."

Cally thought about this. "All right, leave it with me."

"Then you believe me?"

"I think it's worthy of investigation. Go to bed, Vila," she said firmly. "Head injuries need rest to heal."

Relieved that someone else was taking responsibility, Vila smiled gratefully and left.

Cally crossed to Orac and inserted his key.

Orac buzzed, irritated. "What is it? I said I had no time for your petty concerns."

"I think you will want to hear this," Cally said softly. "When you made your prediction, you had already detected the System scouts, read their databanks, traced them back to their origins and seen that there was another DSV there."

"They do not have tarial cells."

"Don't prevaricate. You can communicate with Zen and other System computers. Tarial cells are not all you can read. You knew about those scouts."

"Of course. The acquisition of data and the prediction of future events therefrom--"

"Yes, yes, I understand that and I have worked out what Orac is short for. However, as Vila has so rightly pointed out, you could have advised us on how to avoid the whole situation. Instead you chose to hide vital information to show how clever you were, at the risk of our lives. We could have died back there."

"That would not have altered the outcome I predicted."

Cally controlled her fury with an effort. "I am a telepath, Orac. Are you aware of that?"

"It was irrelevant in this case."

"Ah, but it is not now. To do your calculations and not be the size of a spaceship, you use another dimension."

Orac was silent.

"And it's the one telepathy uses. I have detected your carrier wave."

Orac hummed. "I have not detected you."

"Why should you have? I use that dimension consciously; you do not. You are about as aware of it as you are of your components." Cally touched his plastisteel case. "Did you feel that? No, I thought not." Cally folded her arms and continued in a matter-of-fact voice. "We Auronar have done considerable research in this area. We have telepathic emergency broadcast beacons and privacy fields, and we even have weapons. Nothing destructive, just an interference wave which makes that dimension unusable so that communication through it is impossible."

Cally smiled like a wolf. "I am a guerrilla and a trained communications expert." She leaned forward, her face twisted with anger. "So listen to me, Orac. Try something like this ever again, and I will give you a complete lobotomy. Do you understand?"

Orac was silent for a moment. "You will also be unable to--"

"I am travelling with a ship full of humans who are intermittent receivers at best. It would be worth it to incapacitate you. Do we have a deal? Answer me."

"Very well," said Orac sullenly. "I agree."

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