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  • Events in my life, here on planet Earth have continued to unfold.
    I am feeling my way through an extended period of sorrow and conversely, great appreciation for the beauty and fragility of life.
    I have seldom felt so alone and so connected at the same time.

    It is fall, a natural time to turn inward.
    My father is in the hospital, it has been a month now, and he is not stable, he is fragile.
    So my thoughts turn in and my feelings turn up to a high volume of sadness and amazement.
    I alternate from states of fog and lethargy to crisp thoughts.
    Clear and sharp to dim and veiled, and back again.

    I am between jobs and have time to explore the structure of my emotions, feel grief, and participate in the changes that are happening with my parents.
    I am making room for grief; it needs a place to feel welcome.
    I give my grief a comfy chair by the fire where it can stay, as long as it needs to.

    There is no hurry, no timetable for mourning.
  • I also have the refuge of my imagination to turn to.

    I have picked up a back shelf project, from the storeroom of my mind.
    Here is an excerpt from my story “Plan B”, Chapter 15 - The return to Earth

    The main character of this segment has lost a very special friend, the clever robot Trevor Bolton, but he has just discovered the opportunity to begin again, while observing the loss.

    Dr. Neiderman’s face filled the screen and he began to talk.
    ”During the course of any long project we need to learn and grow to meet the increasing challenges.
    Trevor was specifically designed to evolve in structured environment, or remain dormant until activated.
    This ship has been equipped with a back-up model, in case of accident or emergency. It will require a training period to develop an intellectual database that will then furnish the knowledge needed to begin active duty.
    If you are watching this, then you are probably in need of the back up model. It is located in the forward cabin in the raw materials section.”
    Dr. Neiderman’s face flashed off the screen.
    “One of several, unique, models.” thought Meriwether, “Not a broken mold after all.”
  • He wanted to wait for a little while before he could find and activate the Back up Trevor, it felt like an act of betrayal but he knew that that was anthropomorphic thinking. He was on a mission and needed a JSS model to assist him in the return operations.
    This was the standard procedure.

    He finished his drink and wandered around the ship. The workshop was empty of the large machines and they had taken many of the hand tools with them to facilitate the work. Big machines using little machines, could they teach them how to develop too?
    Meriwether made his way to the cargo bay, where the raw materials were stored. Rows of shelves and racks of materials were stored there, anything they might need based on the probability of breakage or replacement. He went there infrequently and would usually send Trevor.

    “Trevor”, he wondered, “Did Trevor know about the back-up model? If he knew of it had he done anything with it?”
    Meriwether searched alphabetically by type, “R” for robot, ”J” for JSS model and then after a fruitless search looked in the “T” section for Trevor.

    There he found the box.
    It was a large box with the JSS logo, a picture on the front of the unit.
    Basic instructions on assembly and maintenance were written in the international script with multi lingual sections at the back.
    Taped inside the box was a DVD in a cassette labeled, “for Trevor- from Trevor”.

    The assembly was time consuming. Cables and bolts needed to be secured; the arms were shipped in pieces. The leg assembly with the rolling, all terrain feet were a dozen different bolts and sections. The face screen had multiple wires and jacks; input to output plugs and wireless chip activation. There were bulbs to install and the casing to snap in place over the complete ensemble.
    After several hours with snips and drivers and scraped knuckles and dirty knees, Meriwether was ready to activate the unit.
  • He took a moment to prepare himself and powered on the unit.

    “Hello,” he said.
    “Hello” it replied in a generic voice, the voice Trevor had begun with.
    Meriwether remembered that Trevor had developed rapidly from a standard JSS to a character within weeks of his exposure to the daily activities and conversations with him. Perhaps this would be the same process.
    Meriwether headed back up the passageway, through the storage area, into the utility room, through the kitchen and into the living area. He took the DVD out of it’s case and put it into the player.

    Trevor Bolton was projected onto the screen.
    “If you are watching this then something has happened to me,” he began, he continued with a series of basic pointers for his replacement about Meriwether’s habits and the functions on the ship. You can download this information directly from the mainframe in the ship’s folder, or, if you prefer you can develop your own routine during the training period.”

    “I prefer to develop my own habits,” the new unit said in reply.
    “Fine with me, I would prefer that too.” Meriwether replied.

    It would make it easier for him to recover from the deep sadness he felt watching Trevor ride off towards the Earth, as if he were a friend of mine, which he was.
    As if he was human.
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