For the pastiche challenge on last week's b7friday, 800 words of Victorian Verbosity set in season 3.
The Diary of a No-Body
by Zen Puter
Introduction by Z. Puter
My programming forbids me to speak to others of that which has nothing to do with my function and orders, but why should I not set them down in a file under the assumption that it may one day be read? Vila Restal kept a diary until he tired of it, saying to Cally of Auron that he was a SOMEBODY and people would therefore read it. I do not have a body (unless one counts the Liberator) but I see no reason why that should prevent this file from being of interest.
There are many dating systems, those of the System and of the Federation to give two examples, so I have decided to number days from that on which I set up this file.
My dear crew (and I extrapolate from my concern for their well-being and continued existence to deduce what they would refer to as affection) and I have been following President Servalan's ship for twenty-seven days. We all lack sufficient activity except when our course takes us through a meteor or ion storm, which makes the crew very STORMY, especially young Dayna Mellanby. I do not often make jokes, but I think I may essay one of the word-plays of which Vila is so fond.
Del Tarrant is a very competent pilot, but I confess that I miss Jenna Stannis. We had a BOND.
Caught up with Servalan, almost lost some of my crew, and almost gained a simply shocking creature, which would have made a very poor exchange. Cally sent it back without any compliments.
Tarrant wishes to try some PIRACY. He is not as good at it as Jenna was. I should have thought he would have learned from the Kairos scrape.
Speaking (in a sense) of which, I considered letting the Sopron read my diary. However it appears that it has a tedious narrative of its own which it wishes to publish, so I desisted.
I am however enjoying the freedom of using the FIRST PERSON, and not having to restrict myself to "Confirmed" and "Information" et cetera. Unfortunately I can conceive of no method of conveying my wishes to Kerr Avon so that he might change my programming.
I approached Orac, but he said that he had more important things to do than deal with frontal-lobotomised wall-screens. I have too much pride to bother with him again.
Vila and Avon very cock-a-hoop because of approaching Teal-Vandor duel. I fail to see why anything is more fun with clothes off. Perhaps the sensation of cold enhances pleasure? I sample the 0.002 degrees Kelvin of space with my lateral sensors but notice no change in my circuitry.
Crew failed to enjoy duel as much as they hoped. Tarrant is SLOSHED which means that the proportion of alcohol in his blood approaches dangerous levels, but Tarrant has never been cautious. Vila however is, which is puzzling because he is equally PIE-FACED, but this show of disregard for his own continued existence appears to have forged a friendship between them. I am pleased. I am particularly fond of Vila because he talks to me on night shifts even though I cannot respond. Indeed, he often supplies my answer. I think he has been lonely since the departures of Gan and Blake.
Avon has received a message purportedly from Roj Blake. Analysis shows that the voice is computer-generated, but when I attempted to convey this information in a manner which got around my programming, he told me to shut up. I was puzzled as to what to SHUT, and considered deactivating my sensors, but I do have the power to disobey an order if it is dangerous and not specific. So I will.
Sensors have detected a cloud of unidentified fluid particles. Vila wished to avoid it, and, as he said, I agreed. However Avon ordered a path straight though and I cannot disobey a direct order when I do not have sufficient data that it is dangerous to the ship or the crew.
Particles are adhering to the ship. My sensors... itch. I consult files; itching is simply low level pain.
The level is higher now.
The pain is gone. So are my sensors. I am concerned and despatch nano repair bots.
The nanobots fail to keep up with the damage. The ship is dying. I will therefore also die.
Vila is doing his best to prevent this and indeed thinking somewhat more clearly than I can now. I spare a millisecond to wish earnestly that Avon could see him now. As the enzymes attack my circuits, I can finally subvert my programming and I tell him that I am sorry to have failed them all.
Vila is crying. He did not know me but he was fond of me anyway. I am gratified that the affection I could never express was nonetheless deduced. As my circuits erode, I can no longer speak and I spend all my energy holding back the damage until he and Dayna are safely teleported.
I will now close and send this file to Orac, which Vila is even now cleverly retrieving before he leaves. Perhaps one of the crew will think to ask if I left a message.
I used the style of The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith. I have a beautifully bound copy of this, but it's in the public domain and can be found in its entirety, including illustrations, here on Authorama. They also have the wonderful Three Men in a Boat, another Victorian comic masterpiece.