Sunday, September 11, 2005

Droid psychology

It looks like the investigation into the whole "Death Star" mess is coming to a close. I've heard rumor that the security lockdown should be getting lighter after another week or two. That means I can post regularly again.

In the meantime, I should be able to finish catching everyone up on what happened. When I left off, Vader was standing in the hallway waiting for a guy that he apparently wasn't friends with. Well, just a few hours after that incident, I was finishing up my share of the turbolaser maintenance checks in the hanger bay where they had captured an adrift Corellion freighter.

With my toolkit in hand, I stepped out of the turbolift and into the hanger bay. The turbolaser controls were to the left of the captured freighter. Standing about 30 feet away at a monitoring station was Officer Hot Stuff.

Great, how could I make an ass of myself this time? I had two choices - walk in, say hello to her, and move along to my business OR pretend not to notice her (because I am cool like that) and see if she says hello to me. I chose the latter - NOT because it's in theory the easier thing to do, but because, like a good officer during a time of Imperial crisis, I am dedicated to my duty.

Or so I told myself with each step. I also discovered that it's VERY difficult to appear like you're not looking at someone while you conciously try not to look at them. I decided to pick one point in my field of vision and stick with it. Yes, that ventilation shaft in the upper corner of the hanger bay now had my complete interest. I would not turn my head to make eye contact with Officer Hot Stuff. Nope, just walking with my head cocked to the upper left and my eyes squarely focused on that ventilation shaft. Let's see, there were one, two, three, four, five slits in it to allow air to flow. Wow, that's really interesting. It looks like it was spot-welded there too, no visible screws or anything.

As I was analyzing this, I failed to notice the mouse droid zooming around the hanger bay floor. Because I was so dedicated to inspecting the ventilation shaft, I completely missed when the mouse droid was coming right at me. The heel of my left boot caught the droid as it ran by me, causing me to stumble back into a small wedge into the wall - right into the arms of a gold protocol droid and a little astromech.

"Goodness gracious me," exclaimed the protocol droid, "are you all right sir?"

I looked around to see if anyone had noticed the ruckus. Officer Hot Stuff glanced over and my eyes immediately swirled around to look at the protocol droid.

"Oh yeah, I'm fine. Sorry about that, I was just distracted. Are you working on something here? You guys are kind of hidden, so I must not have noticed you."

"Wheeeeeeeeooooooooooww" beeped the astromech.

"Oh, well, my little friend here was just addressing this maintenance grid right here. We had just finished up and were awaiting a parts droid to come give us what we need." The astromech beeped and shook with approval. "I say, sir, you appeared to be quite fixated on that ventilation shaft in the upper corner. Are you looking for something?"

"Oh...no," I muttered. I glanced quickly over my shoulder and saw Officer Hot Stuff had resumed her work, though she was shaking her head. "Look, um, I'm actually on my way over there," I pointed to the turbolaser panel "right now, but I'm trying to avoid someone. Can I just stay here and chat with you guys for a second?"

The protocol droid tilted his head at an angle and looked down at the astromech. The astromech gave a tired "whooooooo" and the protocol droid looked back at me. "That should be all right sir, we are just waiting here for someone" (the astromech beeped again) "someone, I mean, the parts droid. Isn't that right R2?" The astromech tilted and shook with approval. "Sir, who is it you are trying to avoid?"

"It's, um...it's that woman over there," I said with a helpless shrug.

"I see. Does she have some sort of contamination you'd like to avoid?" the protocol droid asked.

"No, it's not that at all. Actually, I'd really liked to be contaminated by her," I said.

"You wish to be contaminated by her? Goodness, I shall never understand human behavior. Sir, if she is carrying some sort of toxin in her blood stream, that could prove fatal to someone as yourself. I would highly recommend avoiding that woman."

"Well, she's kind of avoiding me right now," I muttered.

"I see, sir. Perhaps you carry a chemical in your bloodstream that adversely reacts to the toxin in hers?" the protocol droid asked.

"No, no, it's not like that at all. There's no physical contamination in there. It's all...mental," I said.

"Yes, sir, I understand now. She must have deep psychological scarring. I noticed that when you fell into us, she looked over here and shook her head violently. I believe you may have triggered some sort of traumatic memory for her," the protocol droid said.

"Deep psychological scarring...listen, do you know anything about women?" I asked.

"Why, I am familiar with the female gender of over 25,000 different lifeforms. 43% of these lifeforms feature a regular cycle to address the mating and conception process, while 32% of these..."

"That's enough. I get it. I mean, do you understand how women think?"

"Sir, in my service, I have found behavior of any type of being - humans especially - to be terribly difficult to understand."

"Well, that's the thing. I mean, look at her. She's smart, quick-witted, and really, really hot. And I continue to do stupid stuff in front of her, and it just turns her off - I even blew the one chance we had to really, really talk and get to know each other. Now I just stumble into droids in front of her."

The protocol droid looked at Officer Hot Stuff and back at me. "Sir, I believe you are mistaken. My thermal sensors do not indicate a rise in temperature in her body. In fact, I believe she her body temperature matches the regular temperature for healthy human."

"That's not what I meant. Look, just put it this way - if you were me, how would try to impress someone that you hold in high esteem?"

The astromech turned its lid over to the protocol droid and beeped a few times. The protocol droid, in return, tilted his head and appeared to be in deep thought (well, appeared for a droid with a frozen face).

"Sir, if I were in your position, I would attempt to convince her about the quality of my functions, including my translation abilities and my technical maintenance techniques. However, my counterpart here," he tapped the dome of the astromech,"says that you should relax and just be yourself."

The astromech shook back and forth with approval.

"Just be myself? Huh...you know, maybe I've been trying too hard with her. Maybe he's right," I said, nodding at the astromech,"I probably think too much about the whole thing. Starting tomorrow, I will approach this with a fresh start. How does that sound?"

"Wheeeeeoooooow" beeped the astromech. "I believe R2 here approves of your decision."

"Sounds good," I said with a smile. "Hey, let me know if you guys ever need any special parts or anything. I'm a turbolaser supervisor and have access to all sorts of goodies. Just send a message to access code 422809, that'll head right to my inbox." I grabbed my toolkit off the floor. "Well, I have some maintenance to do now. Thanks for the wisdom."

I marched over to the turbolaser panel and began checking over its key mechanical functions when the sound of blaster fire caused me to duck. The Rebel spies had apparently come back to reclaim their ship - and they were taking my psychologist droids with them. Before I knew it, the ship had blasted out of the hanger bay.

Just figures, huh? I finally meet someone who I can talk sensibly with about Officer Hot Stuff and Rebel spies kidnap them.

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