The New Archivist was contemplating the various forms of Fortarian dance when a call came through from Phoenix. She sighed and picked up. "Hello."
"Hello to you too. Can you put Lucy on." The New Archivist looked out her window. She couldn't actually see the Earth, but she could almost feel the globe of life, hidden beyond the moon. And somewhere on it, a brilliant scientist was trying to cut into her time.
"No, it's not her turn to occupy my body for two more days."
"Based on my last conversation with her, you cut her short about seventy percent of the time. Consider this me evening the scoreboard. Now, could you please put Lucy on." Spitting out statistics and saying the magic word. It was a two-pronged logical attack.
"You know that every switch runs the risk of damaging our brain."
"I sincerely doubt that's the case. Lucy's original purpose was to serve as a probe and study humanity, which means it is possible for her to upload her consciousness into your ship. That means that you probably have a backup of your brain from, at the earliest, the last time you were there, a few months ago. The software is easily recoverable, and I'm sure Acme could make another set of hardware, so I believe your brain is in very little danger. Now put Lucy on."
The New Archivist decided her caller had a point. She removed her diadem.
Lucy looked around. She didn't know where she was. This happened a lot. She saw a picture of Phoenix in front of her.
"Vera and I broke up. I am not sure how to cope with this sort of thing, and was wondering if you would have some guidance."
Lucy took a second to think about it. "You won't listen to what I say."
She was probably right. "Maybe, but I'd prefer to hear it anyways."
"Tell Vera you're sorry. I think she'll forgive you. Even if she doesn't, you will forgive yourself."
"That doesn't seem so hard." Apologies aren't the easiest thing for me, but I've build laser canons on other planets. Saying 'sorry' is certainly within my abilities.
"You don't understand. Don't tell her with words, tell her with..."
"No. With... Being? I can't explain."
"Well, you're right. I don't think I can understand your instructions."
"You can follow them without understanding."
Well, I wasn't really expecting her relationship advice to help. Fortunately, I had other orders of business. "Lucy, you are extremely capable when it comes to interpreting communication. It occurs to me that you might be extremely able at debugging code."
Lucy took a second to consider this.
"Your skills might also have applications in cryptography, as well as the obvious espionage applications of picking up on subconscious body language. Perhaps you could sequence and interpret genomes. I don't think stock markets would work."
"I am not a weapon."
"True. But you are a tool. Use yourself."
I terminated the connection. Hopefully, the communications genius on the other end understood what I was hinting at. Hopefully, the people monitoring didn't.
Lucy didn't understand was Phoenix was saying. That didn't happen a lot. Usually, people said lots of things, without even trying to. Phoenix was being hard to understand. That meant... that he was hiding something. That was a clue.
Were there any more clues? Lucy couldn't see them. Was this a puzzle? Lucy liked puzzles. But most of them were easier than this. This would require concentration.
Lucy was still pondering my message when she saw a flash of light move across the sky. What was that? A comet? No... It was moving the wrong way. It had lifted off from the moon and the just... disappeared.
Lucy thought about this. A person? Moving very fast?
The light went back. To the moon. More flashes, across the rock. She could see where he was going. She could see the pattern. It would last a few more minutes. Lucy was curious. She had an idea.
She picked up her space phone. It was only built to talk to Earth, but Lucy convinced it to talk to the moon. She sent a message to the moving light. "Who are you?"
She got a response. "My name is Alexander Star. Why can I hear you when I'm on the moon?"