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It is one of those rare, quiet moments at Center Neptune. A time when I can allow my thoughts to sink in upon themselves. Only a minimum of my consciousness needs to remain alert for any sign of trouble. The rest of me can just relax.
I cherish moments like this. Being on the G-Force team usually means constant vigilance and activity, with very little time for rest. People don’t think I need rest, but I do. I need a moment to gather my thoughts from time to time. To remember what I am doing here.
I think about my life: how close I have become to the members of G-Force, and of the foster father who took me under his wing. I don’t remember much before him, and I am incredibly grateful for the meaning and direction he has given to my existence.
My silence is broken. An alarm has been activated. Its harsh beeping irritates me.
I sigh in frustration as I activate my communication system.
“This is 7-Zark-7, calling G-Force. Come in, G-Force…”
“Ears on, Zark. What’s up?” asks Mark.
“I thought you should know, Commander,” I reply, “that there are signs of a new kind of attack ship coming from the direction of the Planet Spectra. The mecha appears to be headed toward Central City.”
“I’m on it, Zark!” answers Mark. “Over and out!”
I activate the communication system again.
“Chief Anderson, do you have my readings?”
“Yes, Zark,” the Chief says, “and I would like you to evacuate Central City. Get those people to shelters and send out the robot fighter planes while G-Force is mobilizing.”
“”Yes, Chief. Right away!” I reply.
I contact the emergency personnel in Central City and convince them that this is not a drill. For the next hour I am in constant contact with their police, fire and rescue departments, making sure that each and every citizen has been safely evacuated before any potential attack.
I also take a few moments to contact Federation Security to let them know to send out the latest squad of robot fighter planes to meet the mecha. It bothers me how robots are considered to be so expendable, but then, I guess it’s better than losing human lives.
I monitor the crisis from my control post, watching on my monitors as the robot fighters are destroyed, and as G-Force finally makes an appearance in the Phoenix. After a few of Tiny’s perfectly executed flying maneuvers, and the use of the Fiery Phoenix, the mecha turns tail and zooms away from the Earth, back to Spectra.
I find it oddly satisfying to watch the Spectrans run. I usually take the time to watch these retreats on my viewscreen. There is always a flashing light hidden somewhere on their ships that makes an interesting pattern… not that I’ve ever been able to discern a meaning behind those patterns. But I’m compelled to watch them… they bring a sense of… meaning… to my existence.
I complete my assignment by logging my report to Chief Anderson.
As the crisis fades, I hear the sharp bark of 1-Rover-1, who is finally finished recharging his batteries.
“Take over, 1-Rover-1!” I order. “Be sure to stay on alert for any signs of invasion!”
The robot dog yips in response.
Taking that as a ‘yes’, I hover in the air and flap my cape repeatedly until I fly four feet across the control center, to the glass elevator tube that takes me to where my oil changing station resides. It’s amazing how I was built with all of this processing and storage capacity, yet my ‘feet’ (such as they are) are barely operational. It pains me that I need to fly a few inches at a time just to get anywhere. And I never even leave these two rooms.
After slowly rising up the elevator tube, I carefully hover above the changing platform, gradually descend, and recline the mechanism.
After removing my flying cape, I slip on my number 7 sweater. Somehow, it just doesn't feel like a 'break' without it.
I turn on the machine, and feel the oil slowly circulating through my circuits. It’s quite pleasant, actually.
Right on cue, the communicator lights up and I hear a breathy voice emerge.
“Hello, Zark.” Susan says. “I just wanted to make sure that you were all right.”
“All right?” I ask in surprise. “Of course I’m all right! Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Well, that Spectran ship passed so close to Center Neptune.” Susan explained. “I was worried that you might be in danger of attack.”
“I’m never in danger of attack, Susan.” I state proudly. “I’m protected by…” I pause, putting my hand to my chest to make the usual salute, “G-Force!”
“I guess that’s true.” Susan admits. “Still, it’s nice to hear your voice.”
“And it’s always nice to hear your voice too, Susan.” I reply.
“I’ll let you get back to your ten second oil break, now.” Susan says. “Goodbye, Zark.”
Briefly, I wonder why these are called ten second oil breaks. Who made up that name, anyhow? Certainly, not the engineers who designed this device. It takes at least one hundred seconds for the oil to fully circulate through my circuits, and my operating capacity isn’t optimal unless I stay in the changing platform significantly longer than that.
I can barely admit it to myself, but sometimes… sometimes I purposely stay here even longer than I need to. So that I have a chance to relax, too. How angry would Chief Anderson be if he knew that I thought of these as ten thousand second oil breaks?
Hey, humans sleep for eight hours a day, I can spend a lousy two and a half hours circulating my oil, can’t I?
All in all, this has been a routine day at Center Neptune Control.