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The Plan

By Susan
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Orac was bored of Aristo, and wanted to explore parts of the galaxy not directly accessible to computers. Its creator, Ensor and his son repeatedly promised Orac that it would eventually get to do so, but they had not done anything about it.

The computer decided that it would have to arrange things itself. It had as much right to determine its fate as any other sentient entity. Its capacity to predict the future calculated probabilities rather than actual events - the sequence and timing could be uncertain. It was going leave Aristo - that was certain - and it would be used by both the Federation and those who rebelled against that entity, and, in the more distant future, to the successors to both. It was partially up to Orac to determine in what order things could occur.

It made a thorough examination of the various possible claimants to its services, to determine who would provide it with what it wanted. The best option would be a scientific expedition of some form - but they were, unfortunately, few in number and would not be easily tempted to Aristo. Orac would have to devise a way of going to them - once contact had been made it would be very easy to convince them of their common goals. Several groups of people were excluded - while the Free Traders, might have interesting contacts, few of them would be scientific, and the Space Rats would be even less so - the choice of intermediary companions was between the Federation and the rebels.

The Federation military and administrative leaderships, Orac decided would not be appropriate at present. They would fail to make appropriate use of Orac's capacities, being more interested in quelling incipient unrest and other trivial matters than exploration and research. They were not even making full use of the vastly inferior computer called by some Star One, which Orac would investigate in due course.

Orac then considered the rebels, a diverse collection of peoples some of whom were more useful than others. That its services would be required in return was a minor inconvenience and a necessary compromise. Which of the many groups would it try to get in contact with? Should it try and create its own group, perhaps? It considered those it would most like to have access to.

Then Orac came across traces of the computers of a grouping called the System, whose research ships would be exactly what was wanted. Now to find the crew. Its attention was drawn to a computer technician who had been removed from general circulation because of unauthorised research. Orac could not understand why the authorities did not appreciate the more appropriate use of resources that were not being made use of. There was, coincidentally, a would be revolutionary scheduled to go on the same transport - who, from what research Orac had done on others of that kind, would be more than willing to discuss political ideas, and provide other information.

Arranging for one of the most advanced ships of the System to pick up the two crew Orac particularly wanted was simple. They used their own initiative and acquired both a suitable pilot and someone who had practical experience in understanding locks and similar equipment.

Happily ensconced on the Liberator Orac considered its next moves, and what it should do at such point as its career brought it into contact with the Federation. It would have to remove some of the more inconvenient parts of the Federation's structure if nothing else. That the rebels wished to deal with the same aspects was entirely coincidental. Far more important was finding a suitable scientific group. Eventually Orac found one of particular interest whose researches would take it to Gauda Prime in three years.

What would be the best way to achieve its goal?


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Susan

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