Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode #86: It's good to be back, Sir

Last week as you recall…
-=fig. 572: firmware=-
“I hate to be a bother, Sir,” Jeeves said “But when may I resume my duties?” 
He had been instructed by Dr. Smith to stay put as a rather large cable was attached to his head. 
This wasn't anything to worry about, though, because that's where his external connection port was located. 
The other end of the cable was connected to Dr. Smith's computer, and Dr. Smith was typing with abandon. 
  “Pretty soon,” He said, “I just need to update your firmware and run some tests on your diagnostic system.  Now that you can diagnose problems in an instant, I want to make sure it works. ” 
 Jeeves could feel the new data coming in.   It was odd sensation, not unlike how he imagined chocolate milk would feel.
 Jeeves was a robot.
  Dr. Smith's robotic butler, in fact.
   He had recently been put out of commission by a large amount of electricity, but he was fine now.
     He hoped.
Next to Dr. Smith, among the mess of tools and wire that was the floor of the laboratory, a Duke Ellington record reached it's conclusion.
 Dr. Smith, engrossed in code, didn't notice.
    Capt. Brown did. He exchanged it for music that more his taste.
       Elvis Presley rocked out.
         Capt. Brown was the mayor of Legopolis, {rhymes with Metropolis} the city where Dr. Smith lives, but he was also Dr. Smith's only friend.
     This was entirely Dr. Smith's fault, not that he would realise that.  Dr. Smith didn't mean to alienate people, it just happened, Usually.  Or I should say, regularly.
   Capt. Brown didn't mind though, he knew Dr. Smith was someone he could trust with his life.
  Being mayor is a dangerous game, and trustworthy people are few and far between.
    They never discussed this, however, being Men.
As Dr. Smith typed, Capt. Brown fiddled with the gizmos inside of the TaVee, {A Dr. Smith invention, used for the display of moving images, conveyed over radio waves.  There was only one in existence, but they planned on changing that once they went into Production}  Dr. Smith had explained the whole business to him, and he felt that he should know where the vacuum tube goes.  The old one had burned out, so Capt. Brown had removed it and got a new one, but he couldn't remember where it went.
  Ah, not there, then.
    Ooh, that looks promising.
*Click* *Brrrooo*
 “This is, um.  ‘LNN’  The er, Legopolis New Net– Oh this is stupid.”
 Capt. Brown hurried around to the other side of the TaVee, where a couch was set up,

-=fig. 573: news guy=-

He laughed, a deep belly laugh, like only a basso voce can produce.
  “Hey Zachary!” he said, “Somehow they convinced Karl Fester to be the news…guy. We need to think up a better name for that.”
   Dr Smith looked up, “News…talker?  News…Announcer?  You work on it, but you're right, NewsGuy doesn't roll off the tongue. ” He went back to his work.
   Karl Fester was Capt. Brown's third in command, after Brigadier Black.  Karl was a sneaky, conniving little upstart, but he did his job well.  Capt. Brown suspected he wasn't above assassination to climb the ladder to mayor-hood, so Capt. Brown watched his back, and kept Fester in plain view at all times.
  A job in TaVee was just perfect for him, actually.
   They had set up one of Dr. Smith's live-cams on top of the Mayoral Building, where they could enlist the help of the Rooftop Police, Capt. Brown's ace team of specially trained policemen.
Keep going…” Urged an off-screen voice.  Karl grumbled but consulted his script.
   “…Network…I'm reporting LIVE from the top the Mayoral Building in downtown Legopolis, where not moments ago tragedy stuck.  We go now to our…damn, work on your handwriting Goose, what does that say?”  Another policeman came into frame, he couldn't have been more than 5"2', but he had a fantastic neck.  He told Karl something, then hurried off-screen.  Karl started up again “We go now to camera 2 and our Man On The Street,  Harold?”  The Picture went black.
  It was black for so long that Capt. Brown was on the verge of getting up and seeing if something inside the machine had broken, then it came back. “Thanks Karl,” said a man who could only be Harold, He was standing outside a baroque-style building, with arches and flutey bits, it would have been pretty impressive had not all the broken glass ruined the effect.  “Today was a slow news day” Continued Harold, “At least, it was until 4:27 this evening, when the 3rd national bank was broken into.  They got away with quite a bit of money, we don't know how much yet because It's hard to count money that…isn't there.  Officials at the scene are unavailable for comment. We do have a picture of the criminal, and as soon as we figure out how to patch it into the feed we will.  This is Harold Rhydd, from downtown Legopolis.”  The picture clicked off again, and Capt. Brown figured they were trying to switch the feed back to Camera 1.  Capt. Brown reflected that this new technology had a lot of potential, and if they could find some programming that wasn't news or a live feed from the opera house, He and Dr. Smith would have a hit on their collective hands.  
  If only he could  convince the radio play people to make the switch to TaVee, that would do it. 
 “There.” Dr. Smith said. “You can get up now Jeeves.”

-=fig. 574: heroic pose=-

“How d'ya feel?”  Asked Capt. Brown.  
   “Just fine, Captain.” Jeeves Answered “And a lot lighter than I've ever felt before.”
     “It's that new alloy,” Dr. Smith nodded, “It's a third as strong but twice as light as the old stuff.  We shouldn't have any problem carrying you when you break down next time.  To work!”
   “Yes Sir!” 

   “Yes James?” James was Capt. Brown's first name. 
    “When are we going into Production, with the TaVee?”
      Dr. Smith shrugged, “Oh, as soon as we find somebody to manufacture the things, why?” 
          “Well, couldn't you do it?  Manufacture them here, with robots.”
      Dr. Smith looked at him, “James,” He said, “Jeeves has been my most expensive project ever, and It took me most of my life to make him.  I can't just…whip up another one.” 
             “No, but he could, and besides, you don't need most of his features, these would be production robots, they wouldn't need AI or a little hat. All they would need is a basic manufacturing program.” 
    Dr. Smith thought it over, the man had a point. 
   “I have just the thing” he said “Jeeves, C'mere.”
        “How long do you think it would take you to…whip up…a couple of Mk4's?”  Jeeves was a Mk12.  Every new prototype got a new Mk number. 
           “How many would you need, Sir?” 
             “Half a dozen or so.” 
                “About half an hour. Sir.”
                  “Do it.”
                    “Yes Sir.” 
       Capt Brown was taken aback, “Half an hour?” 
                     “He can go a lot faster than he does usually. Besides, we have most of the parts here.  I'll write up the Manufacturing Program.” 
     “Well… What do you want me to do?”  Capt. Brown liked having a project. 
        “You can write the manual.  It'll also need Helpful Diagrams, so you can, you know, draw those in too.” 
“Bravo, Jeeves, Bravo

-=fig. 575: 6 mk4’s=-

“They're not all the same.” 
   “I apologize Sir, but the Laboratory has not been set up to produce Mk4's since…shortly after you invented the Mk5. We ran out of copper with the fifth one,  so I did what could with steel.”
    “Well you did a great Job, Jeeves.  Load the code into them.” 
       “Yes Sir.” 
  The code was small, consisting of only few lines,  but it got the job done.
Var.MK4= Status.PowerOn 
  <Open> Program.1; 
    <Start> Manfac.TAVEE <Ref> File.TaVee</Ref>
<WHILE> Var.Resources=1+ goto: line3;
 <IF> Var.Resources=0 STOP

It also included a grand schematic of the TaVee, Where the wires go,  what it's made of, that sort of thing.
  The Mk4's were no smarter than they were pretty, but like their source code they got the job done. 
 Soon the process was well on it's way. 
   “Good!” Capt. Brown said, he had finished the manual, “Now all we need is something to watch on all of our new TaVees.  And I have just the thing.” 
 “What's that?” Asked Dr. Smith 
    “Radio dramas.”