lobby.” Sidney left, stripping off the white uniform, leaving Peter with the opinion he had no other options.
* * *
Three hours later, Sidney was sitting in the main lobby of the Foundry sipping an aging cup of coffee and reading through old magazines placed in the lobby for those who came in with appointments and had to wait for them to begin. Given the age of the magazines he understood that people were not encouraged to wait. He opened up his handheld and scanned through some new messages which were mostly from students who did not understand the latest assignment. What good was a TA anyway if they couldn’t even explain the basics of the assignment to the students? He needed a new one. A funny thought occurred to him. Maybe Anita would like to be his TA. Doubtful. Maybe she already was. Maybe she was just T and A for one professor in particular . He felt a shifting in his groin and pushed thoughts of Anita aside. He turned to the web, running through article after article on robotic innovations and advances in robotic technology. One company in France had announced that they had discovered a new and supposedly better way of creating a robotic brain. That made international news. The quantum rubidium brain DKI created had been adopted as the standard many years ago. Robotic cerebral technology was thought to have reached its plateau. What could process faster than data transmitted on waves of light halted in their tracks by rubidium vapors? He closed his eyes. He’d been staring at a screen for too long. His eyes hurt. He needed a bit of a break. The door to the lobby opened. He opened his eyes and saw Peter standing before him. “Well, he’s done.” “Who’s done?” “Gammons.” “Oh, right. Sorry. ‘Him’. Will it make you feel better if I call it a ‘he’?” Peter did not answer. Sidney had not been trying to be sarcastic, but it came out that way. He stood and Peter led him down the main corridor to the back of the building. Prior to reaching the end they branched off into another corridor that wound its way around the production facility. Finally they came to a set of sealed double doors. Peter swiped his security badge along the reader and the doors clicked and swung open. “No hazmat suits?” Sidney asked. Peter ignored him. The room could have been described as an infirmary. There were two rows of beds running down either side of the room. Beds? thought Sidney. Too generous a term . They were nothing more than wide metal platforms with a number of controls and displays on mounted panels on one side. Some of them had occupants. Some did not. All of the occupants were robots. From the walls sprang cords and wires and cables that plugged into the robots or the bed or both. The robots were all of different makes and models, from the lowest laborer to highly advanced models. Gammons lay on the last bed at the far end of the room. They walked down the row and Sidney took long looks at each of the robots as they passed. Fluorescent light gleamed off the metal bodies of personal assistants or was swallowed by the dirt and grime of labor models. They came to Gammons. It lay on the bed staring up at the ceiling. “He hasn’t been turned on yet,” said Peter. “That’s the last step.” “What’s the delay?” “I want you here when I turned him on. I wanted your opinion on whether I should call for a security contingent before I flip the switch.” “Security?” “This unit tried to hurt a human and you made me flush the brain but not dump the cache. So whatever’s in there may try to jump out again, if you catch my drift.” Sidney nodded. He wanted to avoid security if possible. He wanted to talk to Gammons alone. “I appreciate your caution, but I think we’ll be okay. The circumstances surrounding its shut down are rather unique and I don’t think it’s anything we need worry about.” “I think we should have somebody ready, just in case.” “No.”