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by Lewis Roberts
In 1130, in the midst of the Collapse, the ship set down at a starport. The ship had seen some of the effects of Virus, but did not yet fully understand the problem. Part of the crew was on shore leave and encountered a fleeing crowd. Not having anything better to do the crew decided to investigate. The found the crowd running from a simple Starport Mechanic bot. The bot seemed confused and repeatably tried to grab ahold of various members of the crowd. This terrified the crowd, which assumed that the robot was trying to rend them limb from limb and then eat the parts. Ernie Glop the ship's current chief engineer noticed that the robot was not actually trying to do any damage. He walked up to the robot and asked it if he could be any help. The robot replied that it was looking for some holo-crystals with the rest of the Days of Our Galaxy serial on it; it just had to find out what happened to Dani and her evil twin sister. The chief realized that this robot was pretty harmless, and the townspeople were just a bunch of hicks blaming their recent problems with machinery on a simple robot, rather than on their poor maintenance. He figured that he could scam them out a valuable piece of equipment and get a reward for it at the same time. Glop figured that the robot was simply programmed oddly by an eccentric owner.
The Chief contacted the town officials and agreed to eliminate the threat of the robot for 5000Cr. The mayor quickly agreed. The chief then went to the robot and told it that it had a few episodes of the Days of Our Galaxy and it was free to watch them on the Shinai. The robot enthusiastically agreed.
Once it got to the ship it sat in front of the holoplayer and started watching every vid on the ship. Over the next week or so, it slowly dawned on the Chief that this robot was not the normal variety of robot, and maybe the problems that the locals had been having with machinery were more than sloppy maintenance. He and Max, as the robot called itself, slowly became friends. Max was eager to help repair the engines of the Shinai and in return simply asked for any new vids that the crew found.
By 1200 Max is a fixture on the ship. He has his own stateroom with one of the largest vid collections in Known Space and he spends all his off time watching vids. He will watch anything from documentaries to the most melodramatic soap operas, and can quickly recall the most trivial details of tens of thousands of vids. It was he who gave Sydney Spockett the nickname "Spacely". Max does not engage in combat, and usually is found either the engine room or his stateroom. He does spend some time in the crew lounge and his conversations usually revolve around his newest video acquisition. Lately he has taken to running a movie nights on the fourth night of each week. Here he picks a favoriate vid and shows it to the crew. He serves a variety of salted snacks.
Max does not try to infect any other systems with Virus; he has seen what damage that does to the machinery, and he has no desire to cause such mischief. He does not hate or want to harm humans, and is glad that they have made such wonderful material for him to watch. The crew of the Shinai treats Max as a member of the crew and he gets a full share in whatever loot them get. Sometimes new crewmembers react badly, but they soon come to learn that he is an harmless form of Virus and quite useful to the ship.
8 of Diamonds: Max is obsessed with holovids. He wants to see them all. He will watch anything from infomercials to local cable access channels. He uses what ever shares of loot he gets to purchase new vids at each new starport. Its not just holovids, He has dozens of different projection systems in his quarters, to be able to watch any type of video including 3-D, flatscreens, smell-o-vision.
"Oooooh, "Maximus the Imperial Scout versus the Ice Maidens of Glingos IV", my favorite. Thanks Cap'n."
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