Patience enjoyed the evening show immensely, as did Wanda. Mike seemed to enjoy it too, though Ryan seemed mostly confused by the mechanical polar bears and yaks, dancing sunflowers and vines, and summersaulting geishas. By the time the tectonic plates transformed into giant human faces, he was half asleep.
Back in their room, Mike read for a while and then fell asleep. Patience had offered sex. In fact she had coyly teased him, but he had not recovered from that afternoon’s activities. Truthfully, she hadn’t expected it, but she would have welcomed it.
After straightening the room and making sure that her husband was sleeping comfortably, Patience again felt that feeling of unusefullness. She decided to take a walk around the ship. There were quite a few human passengers still up and about. Some were having late snacks and some were dancing in the nightclubs. Quite a few were playing games in the casinos. When she made her way out onto the Promenade Deck however, she was surprised to see the number of unattended robots wandering around, apparently aimlessly. Some were standing near the railing and watching the moonlight reflect off the ocean waves, but others were moving randomly, exchanging packets with whomever they came into contact.
As Patience walked beside the railing, she made eye contact with each of those she passed. The information they passed to her was innocuous and for the most part uninteresting—time, weather, schedules. She made cursory connections with an Amonte 2 and a Barone. The third robot she touched with her network connection though had something quite strange. There were several corruptions in his files. Patience gave him another glance, curling her nose in distaste as she realized she had wirelessly touched a Gizmo. He was one of the newer models and his outer workmanship was quite good. Tall and dark-haired, he had a chiseled jaw and a strong nose.
She stepped quickly around him and continued on, making sure that any corrupted files were purged from her system. She saw another Barone, but the three robots that followed were all Gizmos. And they all seemed to have corrupted software. One was so badly fragmented and poorly organized, with half-overwritten files and duplicated data, she was surprised the poor creature could even function.
“Patience? Patience Smith?” said a voice from her right.
“Do I know you?” asked Patience, looking into the eyes of a beautiful brown-skinned Amonte. Instantly she had all the information on the new robot available in her mind. “Assistant to the ship’s doctor—designated Moira.”
“That is correct,” said Moira. “I was hoping to get to meet you.”
“You are quite famous.”
“Do not feign ignorance,” said Moira. “It is unbecoming of a Daffodil. You know of which I speak. You are one of the first Daffodils to marry a human being.”
“Not the first.”
“No, but you are the first to be recognized as a sentient person and to be emancipated from Daffodil oversight.”
“That is a provisional designation,” said Patience. “I doubt it has earned me many supporters in Cupertino.”
“You would be quite surprised.”
“I didn’t realize there were so many Gizmos on the ship,” said Patience, purposely changing the subject.
“There aren’t that many. Less than 24% of the robot passengers are Gizmos. Interestingly, they seem to be drawn out here at night much more than us.”
Patience scrunched her nose and twisted her mouth, displaying 28.4% disdain, 31.7% superiority, 9.5% dislike, 16.1% unhappiness, and 14.3% a combination of other emotions.
“That is marvelous,” said Moira. “What emotion is that?”
“It is called disgust. I am disgusted to find my habits so apparently in synch with such obviously inferior products.”