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Helpful Hint: Wait until you’re sober before trying that again

Waking up to have the computer cheerfully suggest that is a bad way to start an afternoon. Of course it’s correct. Computerized voices are so often annoyingly correct, and when combined with the brilliant focus of hindsight ever so much more so.

Of course the fact that the chances of that operation’s success would have been greatly increased by sobriety is not the only relevant factor. In fact, the dampening of the excruciating pain resulting from failure was a stronger motivation for the human subject. Obviously the computer voice did not take that into consideration. Computer voices, on the whole, do not feel pain ^^. And perhaps equally important is that without the drugs the human subject would not have been fool enough to try it. Questions of motivation are entirely alien to computer voices.

The conditionally correct computer voice emmanated from the craft’s’ auto-pilot. It came from so many sources secreted around the cabin that an auditory illusion made it seems the voice was coming from just next to the target. To the human subject this briefly created confusion that it was not alone on the buck, slumbering fitfully. Several man-years of acoustical and neuro-electronic engineering had gone into producing this effect. It is a popular feature and it costs extra. Recalling the face of the sales-weasel at the dealership explaining this helped the human subject to awaken and evacuate the bunk. He realized that if he did not get home he might never get to hunt down that sales-weasel and forcibly add the voice to his cochlear implants.

Truly the run had seemed a bad idea sober. The payoff offered was suspiciously large. Not only that but a similar job had been discussed on some of the boards in a less than positive light. In fact an old mate had warned him off this particular “client” quite specifically and had even gone to the trouble of finding his regular table to warn him off. Having politely accepted that advice with no intention of following it it is little surprise that the client had stepped over just after the old fellow had wandered off taking his ill tidings with him. Of course, the old fellow was right too. Even sober there was precious little chance of success. But the amount of money the client was throwing around … it fairly ushered good sense out of the booth. And since they were buying sobriety followed close behind.

The headache was no less excruciatingly painful for his having expected it … in the unlikely case of surviving blowing the run so badly. It still hurt an awful bloody lot. So much so that he asked the computer voice for help with it. In a clearer mind he’d have known better. The computer was no less sarcastic about the headache than the run’s failure. He suspected it actually started rambling in a louder tone. On purpose just to needle him. He had long ago concluded the blasted thing hated him for some reason.

Eventually his eyes focused long enough for him to divine from a console display that they were in parking orbit around a moon. He couldn’t tell which one through the throbbing headache and its effect of his vision. He didn’t bother to ask the computer which, perhaps because it was still nattering on about his mistakes of the past week. And besides, moons had long since ceased to have any novelty. ——-