“Read that back to me please.”
The digital audio recording apparatus repeats what Dr. Benito Stelfast has just dictated in the doctor’s own droning voice:
“… It hasn’t been that difficult, really; I program the robots to commit the grotesque murders then self-destruct. Since I am the former chair of the Inter-Biospheric Robotics Council, it cannot be easier. [New paragraph]. Easy? [New paragraph]. I must assure that the populations of the four separate biospheres is sufficiently afraid. Fortunately, the recent beta attack upon the South American biosphere helped to produce a certain amount of anxiety; although, I need another set of circumstances to create another wave of fear. That’s where the expendable robots come into play. [New paragraph].
“Obviously, no human, well… no Alpha human can survive outside the biospheres; the volatile atmosphere will instantly kill any man, but my robots can, and do, traverse throughout the Wild Earth Zone to the four current biospheres for maintenance and security, so programming [italics on] anomalies [italics off] to occur in different parts of the known world is easy. Selecting to kill random citizens is not a real challenge. Even selecting certain [italics on] random [italics off] senatorial fatalities isn’t difficult, but killing my [italics on] best friend [italics off] was really… well, it was not fun. [New paragraph].”
The slamming door rips Benito from his reverie, and he quickly turns around as the dictation machine continues unabated, “Yes, our Congress will agree to the single-dome plan. Being the sole leader of Colossus V will…”
“Who’s there?” Benito yells.
“… but I sometimes wonder…” the machine continues to drone.
“[Computer stop],” Benito commands, then quickly adds “Rodney retrieve whomever just left my library.”
Within seconds, Benito’s robotic servant escorts eighteen-year-old Allison Nellums Stelfast to her uncle.
“Allison? What are you doing?”
Allison begins to cry, and Dr. Benito knows that his favorite niece has heard too much.
“Rodney, take Allison to the Ball Room and make her as comfortable as possible.”