Yuki has just left Skyler in his room after talking to him about where he is and how no one can know that he is still alive, even his parents. She past Qbit on her way out…
Qbit looked around, spotted a chair by the end of the bed, took two big steps to it, grabbed it by the back and dragged it over to the side of the bed so that its back faced Skyler. He straddled the seat with both legs, plopped down and rested his arms on the top of the back rest. His stethoscope slowly slid from around his neck, Qbit ignored it, but Skyler watched it silently drop to the floor.
Skyler stared at it for a second, then looked at Qbit to see if he had even noticed that this important piece of medical equipment was no longer around his neck. When Qbit showed no sign of knowing, he asked, “You going to need that for later?”
“Your stethoscope, (he looked down at it) it fell to the floor.”
Qbit reached up to his neck to feel for it then looked down at the floor. “Huh, that old thing. I didn’t even notice.” He reached down, grabbed it and threw it, haphazardly, onto the end of the bed. “
Skyler thought that was an odd way to handle a piece of medical equipment, so he asked him, “Are you a doctor?”
“No, no, no… well… yes…I guess you could say that. I do have an honorary doctoral degree in computer science from a major university if that’s what you mean.”
“Uh, huh…I didn’t know they used stethoscopes to diagnose computer issues?”
Without missing a beat, Qbit replied, “Sure we do, computer’s get viruses all the time!” There was silence.
“Who did you say you were?”
“Well, actually, I didn’t. But now that you asked. My name’s Qbit, I’m a quantum computer created by Professor Ellie Sattler…”
“What? A quantum computer, created? Yeah, right!”
Qbit dropped his shoulders and shook his head. “Why do they never believe me?” He quickly turned into his original form then back to Qbit.
Skyler’s mouthed dropped open. “Oh man, that was so cool! Do it again!”
“You look so real (he reached out to touch his arm) are you a robot?”
Pulling his arm out of his reach, he sighed and answered, “No, but I get that all the time. As I was saying…”
“No, not a cyborg. Let me explain…”
Qbit stared at him straight faced, “Can we get on with this?”
Qbit looked down at himself and asked, “A female android? Really? Why would I look like this if I was a female android? I mean, if I was a gynoid, don’t you think I would choose to look something like…THIS?” Qbit quickly changed his shape.
“OH, MAN! That’s Avita, Grand Battle Master of Darkness! I know her!”
Qbit stepped back and pulled out his sword and did Avita’s signature opening sword sequence. The blade sang as he whipped it back and forth through the air.
Skyler was awed by the performance. “No way! That is so cool, I can’t believe you know that game!”
Qbit sheathed his sword and sat back in the chair, still as Avita, “I know, right? I loved that game; I haven’t had a chance to play it in such a long time. Remember the part when the other android grabbed her then she grabbed him back then smashed his head into the table? So cool.”
“I know, right? Good times.” They both stared off into space, remembering.
Finally, Skyler asked, “Now what were you saying?”
Qbit changed back, “I need your help.”
“My help, really?”
“Really, really. Remember that item you put up for sale on the internet? The tablet that could fold open and closed? Well, I bought it.”
A worried look came over Skyler’s face, he put his hands out in front of him, “Hey Man, I said in the description that it didn’t work!”
“I know, I’m not here about that. Wow, do you really think someone would come all this way get their twenty bucks back?”
“Well, no, but you can never be too sure these days.”
“I’m here because, believe it not, you were this close (Qbit put two fingers close to each other) from getting it to work. I think it’s missing only one part (he put his pointer finger into the air) to make it fully functional.”
“You know what that thing is?”
Qbit’s expression turned serious. “Yes, yes I do.” Qbit said nothing else, creating the correct level of tension.
“Well, what is it? Tell me, please!”
“Okay, but if I tell you, then I’m going to have to kill you.” He rocked himself back in the chair and stared at Skyler.
Skyler joined in the game by remaining silent for a second or two. He leaned back into his pillow then, with a straight face said, “That’s okay, I’m already dead.”
Qbit laughed, slammed the chair legs back onto the floor stood up and said, “I heard about that. What were you thinking, going out there alone?”
Skyler shook his head, “I know, I know, I get that all the time now. It was a stupid mistake, okay?” Trying to change the topic he quickly added, “So are you going to tell me or what?”
Qbit walked over and plopped down on the end of the bed, made a face, then reached under him and pulled out the stethoscope. He tossed it toward the chair, it missed and hit the floor with a clunk. “Skyler, that tablet you found turned out to be a very important piece of electronics. Its purpose is to locate gates; openings to other places. What’s so special about that one is that it’s not like the one I have.” He pulled out his tablet from his lab coat pocket and waved it at him. “It looks to be an older model with a very specific purpose. I believe it was designed to find a very special kind of gate, one with a very weak magnetic signature, so weak that this (he waved his tablet again) would never pick it up. If I’m right, it means that there might be gates out there that very few beings know about.”
“Gates to other places, sort of like what they used to get around in the Avita game. Those things really exist?”
“They don’t work exactly the same. In the game, Avita can call up a gate, it doesn’t work that way in real life, pretty close though.”
“I can’t believe I got that thing to almost work, I thought it was some sort of fancy GPS unit. Huh, I actually did something worthwhile.”
“Worthwhile? You have no idea.”
“You said you needed my help. How?”
“I need you to show me where you found it and how you got it to “almost work”. I think the only thing it’s missing is the right kind of power source. If we can go back to where you got it, perhaps, there might be a clue to what it might be.”
“I don’t know, I mean, I bought it a garage sale. I think the old man wanted five bucks for it, but I was able to get him down to a buck fifty.”
“Shrewd. Do you remember where that garage sale was?”
“Yeah, it wasn’t really that long ago. Plus, the place was kinda odd.”
“What do you mean?”
“The house looked very out of place, like it had been plucked out of a town in the Alps. Very gingerbready looking. All wood shingles and beams, it didn’t match any of the other houses around it.”
Qbit said, “Hmm, very interesting” as he got up off the bed and walked toward a calendar that hung on the wall, he lifted it off the magnetic holder, flipped a page, then hung it back up. He turned back to Skyler and asked him, “Was there a barn or any other large building next to or close to the house?”
Come to think of it, there was a huge barn. It was almost bigger than the house. Why?”
“Just something I heard about once, probably nothing more than a myth…but back to why your, um, current condition…”
“exactly…turns to out to be fortuitous.”
“Good word, fortuitous.”
“Thank you.” Qbit said proudly.
Skyler raised his hand.
Qbit look a bit perplexed but then said, “Um, yes, you in the white hospital smock.”
“How did you find me?”
Qbit walked to the side of the bed and put his hands together in front of him, the fingertips of his right hand touching the fingertips of his left, “Your medical records show that, you (he pointed at Skyler) Skyler Beaumont, recently joined the Lunar Merchant Marines and are, or were, stationed, up here, at Shackleton Crater Station. That was the easy part, the hard part was figuring out how to get you off here so you could show me where you found the tablet. You, being property of the Merchant Marines, made it a lot harder. I mean, I couldn’t just write them a note saying, ‘Please excuse Skyler he needs to come home for a bit’, instead, I needed a way to get you off here without other people knowing. Thankfully, your brain fart, along with Yuki bringing you here, gave us the means, with the added benefit of no one being the wiser. People here aren’t going to say anything and everyone at Shackleton thinks your ashes are headed back to Earth for a proper burial, it’s perfect.”
The raised hand again. “One other thing.”
Qbit sat in the chair again. “Yes?”
“What if I don’t want to go?”
“Yuki’s going too.”
“When do we leave?”