Measure Of Devotion - Chapter 8 ... Just a teaser so far
“Leviathans can’t do that,” Aeryn repeated, this time loud enough for Grissom to hear. “They bond for life with
a single pilot.”
Sliding down the front of Pilot’s consoles, Nate landed lightly and then waved for them to join him on the central
island. “Under normal circumstances, you’re correct,” he said as they traversed the walkway toward him. “But
a few years back we came across a leviathan that had been badly damaged. It was only a matter of time before
it was going to die, taking the pilot with it. Pat was feeling overwhelmed …”
“Pat,” John interrupted.
“Yes. Pat.” Nate gestured toward the pilot he had been conversing with when they had entered the Den.
“Master Chief Pilot Pat.”
“You call your pilot Pat,” John said.
“Yes,” Nate said again, this time with an overly condescending tone, as though he was speaking to an
exceptionally dimwitted child. “What do you call yours?”
“We call our pilot Pilot.”
“How stunningly original! It must have taken you days to come up with that!”
Aeryn jumped in before John could form a reply. “Finish explaining,” she said. “Five pilots.”
“Pat,” Nate said, emphasizing the name, “couldn’t keep up with the demands we were putting on him.
Leviathans and their pilots --”
“-- and their Pats,” John muttered.
“--and their pilots,” Nate tried again, “weren’t designed for what we’ve been asking Mike to do.”
“Wait! Pat and Mike?” John said.
Grissom grinned broadly. “Me grannie was from the auld country. She always was a bit partial to those two
names. It was just her hard luck she had nothing but daughters. She tried though. My aunts are named
Patricia and Michaela.”
“You two are going to drive me insane!” Aeryn said. “Finish explaining this” -- she gestured toward the four
additional islands one tier below where they were standing -- “then I can leave and the two of you can spend
the rest of the day being incomprehensible, if that is what you want.”
“Pat was being overwhelmed by the volume of neural traffic. He couldn’t handle the load we were putting on
him and keep track of Mike’s primary systems at the same time. Everything from environmental control to
comms traffic began to suffer. By the time we came across the dying leviathan, Mike was willing to try anything
as long as Pat remained in primary control of his systems. We managed to keep the other leviathan alive long
enough for Mike to grow a rudimentary pilot’s station down there.” Nate pointed toward one specific auxiliary
pilot. “We planted Junior, gave him a quarter-cycle’s vacation to concentrate on bonding with Mike, assigned
him a range of duties to perform that didn’t conflict with Pat’s authority, and never looked back. Mike started
growing another pilot’s station just in case we came across another damaged leviathan --”
It was Aeryn’s turned to interrupt. “Which you did.”
“Which we did,” Nate agreed, nodding. “We added that pilot, delegated some more duties, and kept on
growing. Right now we’ve got a navigation officer, officer in charge of all internal and environmental systems,
communications officer, and our specialist in charge of Mike’s data stores.” He pointed to each of the pilots in
turn as he listed their functions. “Pat has primary control of all systems, and he buffers all neural traffic
between the Georges and Mike so he knows, in a general way, what they’re doing at all times.”
“George. As in Foreman.” John’s tone of voice made it clear that he was guessing.
“George, George, George and George.” Nate was laughing by the time he finished. “God, you’re the first
person who gets it! Four years here, and someone finally gets it!”
“The only person who gets it,” Aeryn said. “This isn’t what we came here for, John. You’re forgetting the
To Be Continued ...