“Who made it?” Daniel asked again.
“Who cares?” Rachel-7 said again.
"Can you get us closer?" Daniel said.
"This is as far as I go," Rachel-7 said. "The Garage stays three hundred miles away."
Rachel-7 really wasn't curious.
She had flown the Afterthought through the ship graveyard safely, and that's all that mattered to her. It’d been the first actual challenge she'd encountered in her 2,000 simulated years or in her eight real-time years.
Age was a fuzzy concept for an Aye—the 28th century slang for any disembodied artificial intelligence with enough mental capacity to be considered a living being.
Rachel-7 was the most talented flyer in known space, according to herself, and several leading piloting academies. She was also the most disagreeable pilot in known space, according to several leading academy teachers and their psychiatrists.
Combative and prideful, Rachel-7 didn't fit the profile of the typically serene and humble Aye.
Her rude behavior cut short her enrollment at the Pok-Nur-Tem Galaxy Corp Naval Academy. During her second term, she loudly told a visiting general that his commands were idiotic, using a catchy song she had composed.
Though the tune had excellent rhythm and meter, the school expelled Rachel-7 and apologized to the general.
The general later went on to mistakenly land his warrior-class cruiser on an inhabited city, killing himself, his crew, and thousands below.
Rachel went on to laugh at the general's fate and mourn the loss of the lives he had taken; she was arrogant, not unfeeling.
Unlike the other three-hundred and forty employers Rachel 7 had worked with after her expulsion, Daniel was the only boss to keep her on staff longer than three minutes.
She'd worked with him for almost five years now.
Rachel-7 knew that Daniel thought her personality defects — she liked to think of them as eccentricities — were funny.
Not that he laughs at much anymore, Rachel-7 thought.