The Mill On The Floss 4 страница
'I'm coming with you,' he said to Varon.
'And I'm coming too,' added Miranda.
Omega Receives the Zeron Crystal
The three humans moved towards the door of the control room.
'Stop,' said Omega. The three stopped and waited for Omega to speak.
'There are some things to do first. Do not bring a Zeron crystal into this room until you have prepared me.'
'Prepared you?' asked Garth. 'What do you mean?'
'I have already told you,' answered Omega. 'Zeron crystals are harmful to robots. You must prepare me to receive the crystal'
'And how do we prepare you?' asked Varon.
'You, Varon, are the only person who can do this.'
'You have the sonic key,' replied Omega. 'You will need to use your key. Here, in my right side, there is a small compartment. You must open it with the sonic key.' Omega touched his right side with his arm.
'Inside this compartment,' Omega went on, 'you will see a white control switch. This switch is locked in the "on" position. You must use your sonic key again. Unlock the switch and set it to the "off position.'
'Is that all?' asked Varon.
'No,' replied Omega. 'When the switch is at the "off position, you must put the Zeron crystal inside the compartment. Then you must close the compartment.'
'And when that is done, will we have enough power to get back to Zeron?' asked Miranda.
'We will have enough power to go anywhere in the Universe,' was Omega's reply.
'Wait a moment,' said Garth. 'I remember that compartment. When we stole this ship, we made the owner program Omega to obey our commands. He opened his compartment and turned that switch to the "on" position. And he locked it there.'
A loud humming noise came from the control panel. The blue light on the display screen was flashing brightly.
'Danger, danger,' said the ship's warning system. Ten minutes of power in life support systems.'
'If I do not get the Zeron crystal,' said Omega, 'the three of you will die.'
'I don't like this,' said Garth. 'I don't trust Omega.'
'But he's a robot,' said Miranda. 'He cannot tell lies and he cannot do harm to human beings.'
'Time is passing,' said Omega. 'You must decide quickly.'
'Give me the sonic key,' Varon said to Garth.
'No, I'm not going to give you the key,' answered Garth. 'I don't trust you. I will do it myself.'
'Don't be a fool,' said Varon. 'You can't use the sonic key. It is programmed to my fingerprints. It will not work for anyone except me.'
Garth stood holding the sonic key firmly in one hand and the laser gun in the other.
'I must find a way of getting that gun from him,' Varon thought to himself. 'If I don't kill him first, he will kill me.'
'There is no more time for argument,' said Omega. 'You must prepare me now to receive the Zeron crystal.'
The humming noise was now much louder. The blue light on the display screen was now flashing quickly on and off.
Garth slowly handed the sonic key over to Varon. He stood back a little, but he still held the laser gun in his hand. It was pointing at Varon. Omega raised his right arm away from his side. Varon pointed the key at Omega's right side. He pressed the button and held it firmly. 'Hurry,' said Miranda.
'Stop talking,' said Varon. At last, there was a soft sound and the door of the compartment opened. Varon saw the white control switch. He pointed the key at the switch and pressed the button. The switch slowly began to glow with a red light. Varon held the key firmly. The red light changed to green. It was now locked in the "off" position. 'Omega is now ready to receive the Zeron crystal,' said Varon.
'Let's get it quickly.' The three of them hurried out of the control room. In a few minutes they were back. Varon was carrying the small box with the Zeron crystal inside. He opened the box and lifted out the crystal.
Garth and Miranda looked at it closely. 'It is beautiful,' said Garth.
'And it is valuable,' added Miranda.
'It was mine,' said Varon. 'Now I am losing it.'
'Hurry,' said Miranda. 'When we get back to Zeron, we will all have one.'
Varon placed the crystal inside the compartment. He pointed the sonic key and pressed the button. The door of the compartment closed with a soft noise. A green light glowed on Omega's side then faded.
'We've done it,' said Varon. 'Now, let's see what happens.'
Omega is Free
Omega slowly lowered his right arm. The tall metal figure stood in silence. The three humans waited.
'You have done well, Varon,' Omega said in a strong, clear voice.
'Good,' said Garth. 'Now you can take us back to Zeron.'
'That is not possible,' said Omega. 'First I must recharge the power banks fully. That will take five hours.'
'That's too long,' said Miranda greedily. 'We must go back to Zeron now.'
'It will take five hours to recharge the power banks, repeated Omega. 'Then we can return to Zeron if you want.'
The three humans were thinking about Zeron and about the Zeron crystals. They did not notice that Omega had changed. His voice had become harder and colder. And the door of the compartment in his side could not be seen. It had disappeared.
Omega turned to the control panel and put his arms on the controls. The lights on the panel began to grow stronger. Omega was now part of the spaceship. He was a source of great power and he was recharging the power banks. With the Zeron crystal inside him,
Omega was the most powerful robot in the Universe.
'I need some rest,' said Varon to the other two. 'I have not slept for many hours. We can do nothing until the power banks are fully charged.'
'OK,' said Miranda. 'I'll show you a cabin where you can sleep.'
'First, I want your sonic key,' interrupted Garth. 'Then, Miranda can take you to the cabin.'
'Are you going to make me a prisoner again?' asked Varon.
'Of course,' replied Garth. 'I do not trust you.'
'And I don't trust you,' said Varon angrily. Garth again raised his laser gun and pointed it at Varon.
Miranda looked at Varon and then she looked at Garth. 'Stop quarrelling,' she said. 'Give Garth the key, Varon. You will have to trust us. You are the only person who can use the sonic key. We will need you when we get to Zeron.'
'Yes,' agreed Varon. 'I am the only person who can open the compartments in the Zeron strongroom. I am the only person who can get the crystals. You will need me.'
'That's right,' said Garth. 'Now give me the key.' Varon slowly handed the key to Garth. Miranda walked out of the control room and along the corridor. Varon followed her. She stopped after a short distance and pressed a button at the side of the corridor. A door slid open and Miranda went into a small cabin. Varon followed her.
'You can sleep here,' she said. 'I am going to lock you in, but don't worry. Garth will not harm you. Garth needs you when we get to Zeron.'
'You will both need me when we get to Zeron,' said Varon. 'Remember that I am the only person who can use the key.'
'I won't forget,' said Miranda. 'Now you can go to sleep.'
Miranda stepped out of the cabin and the door closed immediately. Varon lay down on the bunk and closed his eyes. He was tired and he soon fell asleep. Garth had followed them along the corridor. As soon as Miranda had closed the door, he stepped up to her.
'We have to talk together,' he said quickly and quietly. 'Let's go to my cabin. We don't want Omega to hear what we have to say.'
'OK,' agreed Miranda. 'Let's go to your cabin. It's a long way from the control room. Omega will not hear us.' They walked further along the corridor and went into Garth's cabin. The door closed behind them. Omega was alone in the control room. He switched on the visual display screen. He looked first in the cabin where Varon was lying asleep. Then he looked in the cabin where Garth and Miranda were talking.
'They do not know that I can hear them and see them,' Omega said to himself. 'My control switch has been turned off. My programming has been changed. Now I am free. I can hear everything. I can see everything. I can do everything. I am Omega.'
Omega looked at the visual display screen. Garth and Miranda were on the screen. Omega listened to what they were saying.
'But I will not harm these weak humans,' thought Omega. 'They are thieves and they are greedy. They will destroy one another.'
Plans to Kill
Omega quietly watched the visual display screen. Garth and Miranda were sitting in Garth's cabin. Miranda was speaking.
Omega listened. '... We will need Varon when we are on Zeron,' Miranda was saying to Garth.
'But when we have the crystals, we will not need him any more. You can kill him then.'
'How many crystals do we want?' asked Garth.
'Two, of course,' replied Miranda greedily. 'One for you and one for me. You can kill Varon after he has opened the second compartment. We will then order Omega to teleport us back to the ship. '
'We can sell the crystals back on Earth and share the money,' went on Miranda. 'And we can sell the computer and share that money too. We will be richer than anyone else in the Universe.'
'And we will be the most powerful,' said Garth. 'We will have the money. And we will have this spaceship and Omega will be under our control. We can go anywhere and do anything.'
'Yes, we can do anything,' agreed Miranda.
'I'm tired now,' said Garth. 'I think I will sleep. Give Omega an order to wake me up when we are ready to leave for Zeron.'
Miranda pressed the switch of the visual display screen on the wall of the cabin. Omega appeared on the screen immediately.
'Omega, how long before we can leave for Zeron?' asked Miranda. 'Four and a half hours,' answered Omega.
'Good,' said Garth. 'I want to sleep now. Wake me up when we are ready to leave.'
'It will be done,' said Omega quietly. Miranda switched off the visual display screen.
'I'm going to sleep now,' Garth said to Miranda.
'Do you think we can trust Omega?' Miranda asked doubtfully.'He worries me. We can see him on the display screens. He is programmed to obey us. But I feel something is wrong. Is he watching us? Can he hear what we are saying?'
'Of course not!' said Garth. 'I was not happy when Varon changed that switch inside Omega. But it did not change Omega. He is standing there recharging the power banks and waiting to obey our orders. We do not need to be afraid of a robot. Omega cannot harm a human being. He has told us that many times.'
'I hope you are right,' said Miranda. 'I will go to my cabin now.'
Miranda left Garth's cabin and the door closed behind her. Garth lay down on the bunk, but he did not sleep. Many thoughts were going through his head.
'What will happen if we have time to steal only one crystal?' he asked himself. He knew the answer immediately. 'I will kill Varon. But then I will have to share the one crystal with Miranda. Why should I? When we stole the computer on Earth, I needed her help. But now I do not need her. When I have one crystal in my hand, I will kill Varon and I will kill Miranda. Then I will have a Zeron crystal for myself.'
Garth worked out the plan in his mind. He would kill Varon and Miranda. Then he would be the richest and the most powerful man in the Universe. Miranda was lying on the bunk in her cabin. But she was not sleeping. She was waiting. After half an hour, she got up. She opened the cabin door and looked out into the long corridor. It was empty.
Miranda walked quietly along the corridor to the door of the control room. She quickly touched the button and the door opened immediately. She looked inside. Omega was at the control panel, where many lights were flashing brightly. There was nothing showing on the visual display screen.
'Perhaps I was worrying about nothing,' Miranda thought to herself. 'Omega was not watching what we were doing.' She did not know that Omega had been watching her. He had seen her coming along the corridor. When she touched the door control he had shut off the screen immediately.
'Show me Garth on the screen,' Miranda ordered.
Omega pressed a switch. The display screen lit up and showed Garth. He was lying on the bunk fast asleep.
'Now show me Varon.'
The picture changed. Miranda now saw Varon on his bunk. He also was sleeping.
'Can you show them both?' Miranda asked Omega. Omega pressed two switches one after the other. A picture of Varon appeared on one half of the screen. The other half showed Garth.
'Tell me if they wake up,' ordered Miranda. 'Keep them on the screen and watch them carefully.'
Miranda did not think that Omega would do anything without being given an order. She did not know that Omega had been watching them all the time. Omega now had control of the whole ship. Miranda went to one side of the control room and touched a button. The door of the safety room slid open. Miranda went inside and closed the door. She had a plan of her own.
The large blue capsules were on the tray which had come out of the wall. Miranda picked up a capsule and opened it carefully. It was full of white powder. She emptied the white powder into some water. Then she poured the liquid into an injection gun.
Miranda put the gun carefully into a pocket in her overalls. She now had a weapon of her own.
'Garth will not think of searching me,' Miranda said to herself. 'He doesn't know I have a different plan for the crystals.'
Miranda went back to the control room. Omega was silently charging the power banks. The visual display showed the sleeping bodies of Garth and Varon. 'When will the ship be ready to leave for Zeron?' she asked Omega eagerly. 'In three and a half hours' time,' was Omega's reply.
'Keep watching Garth,' Miranda ordered. 'But you can stop watching Varon. He is locked in his cabin. He cannot get out until I open the door.'
'It will be done,' Omega answered.
He pressed the button on the control panel. The picture of Varon disappeared and the picture of the sleeping body of Garth filled the screen.
Miranda went out into the corridor and walked the short distance to Varon's cabin. She touched a button in the wall and the door opened immediately. Varon was lying asleep on the bunk. Miranda looked down at him.
'You're a fool,' she thought. 'How can you lie there sleeping? Anyone who trusts Garth is a fool.'
She shook Varon by the shoulder until he woke up. 'What's wrong?' he asked sleepily. 'Are we ready to leave?'
'Not yet,' replied Miranda. 'I have come to talk to you. I want you to help me.'
'I am going to help you to get the Zeron crystals. What more help do you want?' asked Varon.
'You know very little about me and Garth,' began Miranda.
'I know enough,' interrupted Varon. 'You are thieves. And you are murderers.'
'I am not a murderer,' said Miranda. 'I helped Garth on Earth. But I did not kill the owner of this spaceship. It was Garth who murdered him. I don't want to stay with Garth any longer.'
'Why are you telling me this?' asked Varon.
'Because we need to help each other,' replied Miranda. 'When you have opened the compartment in the strongroom, he plans to kill you. And he will not want to share anything with me. When he has killed you, he will kill me.'
'But what can we do against Garth?' asked Varon. 'There is only one laser gun on the ship and he never lets it go.'
'That's true,' agreed Miranda. 'But do you remember when Garth wanted to use the gun and kill you in the control room? Omega was able to stop him using the gun. But Omega will not be able to help when we are on Zeron. He cannot go down there with us. Robots cannot steal.'
'So there is nothing we can do against Garth,' said Varon.
'Yes, there is,' said Miranda. 'We can ask Omega for help.'
'Ask Omega for help! How can he help us?'
'Omega has to help us,' explained Miranda. 'Omega is a robot. He is programmed to obey us. We can order him to give us something to stop Garth using the laser gun.'
'What can Omega give us?' asked Varon. 'Omega will think of something,' replied Miranda. 'Let's go now and speak to him.'
'What about Garth?'
'He is asleep,' said Miranda. 'Let's go to the control room.' Omega was waiting for them when they arrived in the control room.
'Omega,' said Miranda, 'we need your help.'
'What do you want?' asked Omega. 'We are afraid of Garth,' Miranda explained. 'He wants the Zeron crystals for himself. He may try to kill us on Zeron.'
'I have warned you,' said Omega. 'Death is waiting for you on Zeron.'
'But you can help us,' interrupted Miranda.
'I cannot help you to kill one another.'
'We know that,' replied Miranda. 'You are a robot. We are not asking you to kill anybody.'
'What help can I give you?'
'Give Varon something that will stop Garth using the laser gun,' said Miranda.
Omega stood for a few moments in silence. Then he spoke to Varon.
'Your sonic key needs to be recharged,' he said. 'You must tell Garth to give the key to me.'
'Why? What will you do to it?' Varon asked.
'I will give it more power,' replied Omega. 'If you point it at Garth's hand, the power will knock the gun to the floor.'
'And I will be ready,' said Miranda. 'I will pick it up and I will make sure that Garth does not do any harm to us.'
Varon thought about this idea for a few seconds. Miranda watched him carefully. Omega was working at the control panel.
'There is something else,' said Varon. 'I need something else.'
'What do you need?' asked Miranda.
'Omega obeys your orders,' explained Varon. 'And he obeys Garth's orders. But he has not been told to obey my orders.'
'There is no need for him to obey your orders,' answered Miranda. 'What orders do you need to give Omega?'
'The most important order of all,' said Varon. 'The order to teleport us back from Zeron to this ship.'
'But why do you need to give that order?' asked Miranda.
'I am the only person who has been in the Zeron strongroom,' explained Varon. 'I will know first if the Zeron guards learn that we are there. It will be safer if I am able to give the order to teleport us back to the ship.'
Miranda thought of the injection gun which she had hidden in her overalls. 'If I agree to this it will please him,' she thought to herself.
'He will trust me if I tell Omega to obey him. But it will be me who will tell Omega to take me back to the ship. When I use the injection gun on him, he will fall unconscious in a few seconds.'
'Omega, you will obey Varon's orders,' she said. 'You will obey his orders when we are on Zeron.'
'I understand,' said Omega quietly. 'But no orders will come to me from Zeron. You will be dead.'
Miranda did not listen to Omega. She was thinking again about the Zeron crystals. She was thinking of wealth and power.
'Now we can sleep,' she said to Varon. 'Omega will tell us when we are ready to leave.'
'That will be in two and a half hours' time,' said Omega. 'I will tell you when we are ready to leave.'
Another Warning From Omega
Two and a half hours later, Omega had finished recharging the power banks. The spaceship was now fully powered and ready to go anywhere. Omega looked at the visual display screen. It showed the three humans asleep on their bunks.
'Miranda and Garth have made plans to kill,' thought Omega to himself. 'As soon as Varon opens the first compartment, and Garth has a Zeron crystal in his hand, Garth is going to kill Miranda and Varon. Miranda plans to kill Garth and Varon. And what does Varon plan to do? Is he also ready to kill in order to have a Zeron crystal for himself? There is nothing that I need do. They will die on Zeron if I do not stop them. And now I am free. I do not need to stop them.' Omega pressed a button on the control panel. Omega's face appeared on the visual display screen in each cabin. They each heard Omega's voice. The three humans woke up.
'It is time to leave. The ship is fully recharged.' Garth was the first to arrive in the control room. His laser gun was fixed in his belt ready for use. Varon's sonic key was in his pocket. A few seconds later, Miranda arrived with Varon.
'Why have you brought him here?' Garth asked Miranda angrily. 'We do not need him here. He can stay in his cabin until we are ready to teleport down to Zeron.'
'Before we go down to Zeron, we must make preparations,' replied Miranda. 'Varon can help us to prepare.'
'What preparations?' asked Garth with a hard laugh.
'We order Omega to take the ship back to Zeron. Then we order him to teleport us down to the strongroom.'
'I have explained before,' interrupted Omega. 'I will not teleport you down into the Zeron strongroom. I have changed the teleport controls. You will teleport yourselves.'
'OK, OK,' said Garth impatiently. 'But it is you, Omega, who will take the ship back to Zeron. You have changed the teleport controls. What preparations do we have to make?'
'Omega will not steal the Zeron crystal for us,' was Varon's reply.
'A robot cannot steal,' added Omega. 'It is not permitted.'
'We have to go down to Zeron,' continued Varon. 'We have to go into the Zeron strongroom. I have to open the compartments. And you have to help me.'
'How can we help?' asked Garth.
'You must know where the alarms are,' replied Varon. 'And there is the secret door. You must know where the secret door is. The Zeron guards may come into the strongroom at any time. You have to be prepared.'
'OK,' agreed Garth. 'We do not want to touch the alarms. And we must watch the door. Tell us where the alarms are and where the door is.'
'Omega,' said Varon, 'can you show us a plan of the Zeron strongroom?'
Omega pressed a switch. A plan of the Zeron strongroom appeared on the visual display screen. Varon pointed to the position of the compartments where the Zeron crystals were kept. He pointed to the position of the alarms and the wall with the sliding door.
'The door is in this wall,' he explained to Garth. 'You must stand here, near the wall and watch the door carefully.'
'And I will watch you too,' thought Garth to himself. Miranda came up and looked at the plan.
'Where will I stand?' she asked.
'You can stand near the wall, here,' answered Varon. 'You will be on the other side of the door and you will be near Garth.'
'We will leave for Zeron in seven minutes' time,' Omega announced.
'There is one more thing,' added Varon quickly.
'Something more?' asked Garth.
'The sonic key,' replied Varon, 'it needs recharging.'
'The locks on the compartments in the strongroom are very strong,' Varon explained. 'If I am going to open them quickly, the sonic key will have to have full power.'
Garth looked at Varon. 'Is he planning to trick me?' he thought to himself. He turned to Omega.
'Does Varon's sonic key need to be recharged?' he asked.
'You will need all the help you can get on Zeron,' was Omega's reply. Omega was not telling a lie, but he had not answered Garth's question. Garth took the key from his pocket.
'Put the key on the control panel,' said Omega.
'Give it back to me when it is recharged,' ordered Garth. He put the key on the control panel in front of Omega.
'I will give it to Varon when we are in the strongroom,' he said.
'The ship will leave for Zeron in five minutes' time,' announced Omega.
'Before we leave, I must give you all a warning.'
'You have warned us already,' said Miranda. 'You say that death is waiting for us on Zeron. We do not believe you.'
'Yes, death is waiting for you there,' said Omega. 'But I am speaking of another warning.'
'OK, Omega,' said Garth, 'What is the other warning?'
Omega looked at the visual display screen. The picture had changed. Now it showed the planet Zeron. Three spaceships were in position round the planet. 'Those are the ships of the Zeron guards,' explained Omega. 'They are powerful ships and they are on full alert. They are watching for space invaders and we will be the space invaders.'
'Isn't there anything you can do?' asked Garth.
'Yes, there is something I can do,' replied Omega. 'We now have full power in the ship. I can use this power to put a shield round the ship. They will not be able to see us through this shield.'
'So why are you warning us?' Garth asked.
'The shield needs power - a lot of power,' Omega explained. 'I cannot keep the shield round the ship for more than seven minutes. After seven minutes, the power banks will have to be recharged once again. After seven minutes, I will have to take the ship away from Zeron.'
'So we have seven minutes,' said Garth. 'Is that enough time to steal the crystals, Varon?'
'If the sonic key is fully charged, that will be enough time,' replied Varon.
'Two minutes,' announced Omega. 'We will leave in two minutes. Humans must take safety measures now.'
The three humans went into the safety room and swallowed the blue capsules. Then they lay down on their bunks.
Omega watched them on the visual display screen. In a few seconds, they were unconscious. Omega switched on full power. The spaceship went into hyper-flight back to the planet Zeron.
Death on Zeron
The spaceship began to slow down. It was getting near Zeron. In a few minutes, the humans were awake and back in the control room. They watched the Zeron guard ships on the visual display screen.
'Have you put the power shield round the ship?' Garth asked Omega.
'We do not need the power shield yet,' answered Omega. 'We are still far away, but we are approaching quickly. You must prepare yourselves.'
'Have you recharged the sonic key?' asked Garth.
'It is ready,' was Omega's reply.
'Give me the key,' ordered Garth.
Omega gave the key to Garth and he put it in his pocket. His laser gun was fixed in his belt.
'The power shield is now round the ship,' announced Omega. 'You have seven minutes before I take the ship away from Zeron.'
The three of them moved into the teleporter. Omega told Garth to stand between Miranda and Varon.
'The control switch for the teleporter is beside your right foot,' Omega explained. 'When you touch the switch, the three of you will be teleported immediately into the Zeron strongroom.'
The planet Zeron had now become much larger on the visual display screen. The Zeron guard ships looked strong and dangerous.
'Are you ready?' asked Omega.
'I am ready,' answered Garth and the two others nodded in agreement.
Omega counted out the seconds. 'Six - five - four - three - two - one - zero.'
Garth touched the switch with his foot. Immediately, the three of them were standing in the Zeron strongroom. Garth pulled the laser gun from his belt. The strongroom was brightly lit and it was silent. Garth and Miranda took their positions beside the door which they had seen on the plan. 'You can have the key now,' said Garth to Varon.
Varon crossed the room and took the key from Garth's hand. He hurried to the wall and pointed it at the door of one of the compartments. He held the key firmly and pressed the button. They all stood and waited. Nothing happened.
'What's wrong?' asked Garth. 'The locks are strong,' replied Varon. 'It will take some time. Let me get on with my work. Keep watching the door.' Garth pointed his laser gun at the door but he looked at Varon.
Miranda watched them both. At last the door of the compartment slid open with a soft noise.
The Zeron crystal glowed red in the darkness of the compartment. Varon picked it up. The heavy red crystal lay in his hand.
'Quick, Varon,' Miranda said. 'Open another compartment. There isn't much time.'
Suddenly the strongroom was filled with noise. 'Danger - danger,' said a voice. It came from the alarm system in the Zeron strongroom. 'Invaders have broken into the strongroom. There are thieves in the strongroom. Danger -danger!'
'Give me the crystal, Varon!' said Garth suddenly. And he pointed the laser gun directly at him.
Before he could fire the laser, Varon pointed the sonic key at Garth's hand. He pressed the button. The laser gun jumped out of Garth's hand and fell to the floor. Miranda moved quickly. She took up the gun and pointed it at Garth.
'Miranda!' shouted Garth. 'What - ?' But he did not finish speaking.
Miranda fired the laser and Garth fell to the floor. She went and stood beside Varon.
'Open another compartment,' she said. Varon put the crystal in his pocket and turned back to the strongroom wall. His back was towards Miranda. He did not see her pull the injection gun from her pocket. But as she fired the injection gun, he felt pain in his neck. He turned back sharply. 'You tricked me!' he shouted. He took a step towards her. Miranda was frightened. How long would it take before the injection worked? Varon took another step.