This section covers improvements to the ideas put forward by Undepoldus.
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Kerstin said to George and Marita. "I am sure that the police could do with an officer like Undepoldus. I have seen him work without disappearing. Now he can make himself invisible, there is no telling what he can do. It would be almost impossible to stop him getting into or out of anywhere. He is so intelligent, that speech was a real humdinger!"
Marita said. "I did not realise how heavy he had become until he climbed onto me. I was expecting him to be a bit lighter than he is. Soon I won't be able to carry him at all."
Kerstin said. "I'm glad that he didn't pick on me. I know that a bruise is better than a gunshot wound but it still is a mighty bruise. I don't know if I could have done a twirl like you did Marita with that weight on my shoulders."
George said. "I would have staggered a bit. When I checked this morning he was just under 44 kilos, over three kilos more than yesterday."
Boku said. "He weighs a lot more than I do. I only weigh thirty kilos. I just think what it would be like to have him as a partner. Nobody could beat the two of us in combination. If he was just a little bit bigger I could ride on his back."
Ivor said. "I came here to see if I could help in any way. Now I know that Undepoldus can talk and is very intelligent, he ought not to be here any more. This park is dedicated to the protection of animals that cannot speak for themselves. If the news about his abilities leaked out, there would soon be demand that we should release him from his imprisonment here in Undepoldus House."
Undepoldus spoke before Ivor could continue. "Ivor, our discussions are about ways to ensure that no information about me escapes before I am big enough to to leave this building publicly. Then I will be strong enough to defend myself against attack. In the meantime it is my wish to continue to use the facilities that were designed to house me, feed me and protect me. You are the only member of the Park's staff that knows of my abilities. May I have your approval to stay here?"
Ivor was speechles for a moment. He said. "Undepoldus, I have no wish to evict you from your house. You can stay here as long as you like. Anyway, this building does not technically belong to the Park. The Spacers League has paid for its construction and is paying rent for the ground that it stands on. What is more important is that you have provided the biggest attraction that the Park has ever had since it became a zoo. Thanks to you, the FPT has been able to sponsor many projects that it could not have dreamed of doing previously. I do not want you to leave here. I only said what I said because you are not technically a captive wild animal like the others here in the Park."
Undepoldus said. "Ivor, I appreciate that you have to conform to regulations that do not cover my situation. As I am technically a Spacer, I can absolve you of any responsibility for me. However, that does not mean that I do not want you to come and see me whenever you want to. You are welcome to come and visit me whenever you like. I would like to count on you as being one of my few non-Spacer friends. Before I finish I would like to tell you that I do not stay here at night. I can come and go as I please. I like to be with George, Marita and Kerstin whenever possible so I join them in the Spacers Club every night. I like to come back here when the Park is open so that I can use the facilities and study the people that pass by. I think that it is good for the Park if I am here as an exhibit. I know that I am one of the major attactions here and that thousands of people come to see me. Whatever my status is with respect to the other animals here, it is better for everyone if I am here during the Park's opening hours for the indefinite future."
Ivor said. "Undepoldus, I am sorry that I said what I said. I appreciate your kind words and the excellent way that you have made your case for staying here when the Park is open. You can rest assured that I will never mention the subject again."
Undepoldus said. Thank you Ivor. Now I think that you had better return to your office. There was a vidcom call for you. The caller has been informed that you will be able to answer the call shortly."
Ivor left without saying any more.
Undepoldus said to the others. "Ivor was prompted by a discussion at a recent meeting of the FPT. One of the speakers made the proposal that the Park should never be used to house intelligent animals. I was not mentioned by name but it was clear that the proposal was directed against me. The motion will be formally voted on at the next meeting. I have asked Anita Styles to add an amendment that this proposal should only apply to animals from Earth. Now I will leave you to discuss my proposals among yourselves. I will continue my conversation with Ivor through the vidcom."
Superintendent Abdullah began. "Undepoldus has caused
us a few problems because he makes the rest of us look slow and
stupid. In the cases that he has been involved in, they have all
been solved in hours. All the rest of the cases have taken us
weeks where we have solved them. It is hard to explain to the
Chief how we could solve some cases so quickly while others seem
to take forever."
George said. "Your problem is that you have to stick by the rules. Undepoldus has only one rule. If it means protecting Spacers, particularly Marita, Kerstin or myself, he takes direct action. He does not have to fill in reports or account for his expenses. When he saved me from the fake policemen he forced the floater's processor to go Asimovian. I don't know how much damage was done to the controls but it sounded expensive to me."
The Superintendent said. "That took a lot of explaining. The floater engineers said it was impossible to break a control linkage unless it jammed. Then they saw that the servos had been fried. They checked the log and found that the processor had been instructed to ignore manual controls and to home in on Camden Central. They were sure that such instructions could only be given by direct connection. They still do not know how it was done. I guessed that our hairy friend had done it but I could not mention him in my report."
George, Marita and Kerstin found themselves surrounded by Marita's students.
Anita said. "George, Undepoldus is a genius with processors.
He talks to them as if he is one himself but he has consciousness
and intelligence too. He asked me who Asimov was and I told him
that Isaac Asimov had imagined processors as good as Undepoldus
more than a hundred years ago and worked out rules for their operation.
Undepoldus said he would check. Ten seconds later he said. "I
wish I could have met him. I like his stories. As I get to know
humans better, I wonder how they are able to use their limited
brains so well. If I could I would add a fourth law. All robots
should make humans capable of living for several hundred years.
I say that because I wish that I could have met so many outstanding
humans who have died."
George asked Anita. "What do you think of the suggestions that Undepoldus has just made?"
Anita said. "Undepoldus thinks that he can do all that is necessary by himself. In some ways he can but I don't think that he realises that humans get very suspicious if unexplained things occur. I think that he should be joined by a human task force that appears to be doing things that Undepoldus is actually doing. In that way those affected by his actions will think that humans have done what Undepoldus did. They will then accept what happened without suspecting mysterious occurrences. One incident would not be a problem but several occurring in a short time could make the terrorist organisers try increasingly desperate measures. For example they might decide to attack the entire Animal Preservation Park. From their point of view there must always be a human scapegoat."
George said. "Thank you Anita. As ever, you see one step further than most. Have you any other suggestions for ways to make the enemy less suspicious of Undepoldus?"
Anita said. "I have had my say. Wilhelm has a suggestion to make."
Wilhelm said. "If there was a group that could kidnap Marita successfully, they would leave tracks somehow. There would have to be those lying in wait for her to be in the right place at the right time. I think that they would also have their own bugs on the vidcom network that are detectable by someone who is trying to bug the network himself. Some of their plans would have to be intercepted by the enemy to prevent them from thinking that the kidnap was a put up job."
Jean said. "If Undepoldus was ill, the Spacers League would mobilise as many vets as possible for help. That would be noticed."
Suri said. "If Marita was kidnapped at the same time as Undepoldus was ill, the enemy might think that the two events were linked somehow."
Gail said. "Someone might think that it is strange that you, George, often see two very tall women who have some resemblance to each other. Kerstin should disappear for a while on sick leave. The enemy would know that Kerstin's beat was around the Park area and wonder why one of their operators didn't shoot her."
Ryuchi said. "It it would be better if Undepoldus was not ill. I suggest that you, George should go on tour with Undepoldus around Britain with the venues kept secret until you appeared at each venue. This would take the focus away from Regent's Park and make it harder for any recruited operatives to get to you. We know that they have lost a lot of their people in the last few weeks so that they won't have a large enough force to cover the country."
Rachel said. "Some Spacers should take your place on the tour and some of the time a more convincing replica could be used to give the impression that Undepoldus is in one place when he is somewhere else."
Marcos said. "You should go to Lagrange Five for a holiday with a replica so that the enemy would have to sit around until you came back. If you and Undepoldus were not on Earth there would be less suspicion that Undepoldus was responsible for some of the things that happen."
Fang Cho said. "If Undepoldus thinks that he can trace the organisers within a week, we should let them think that we think that there will not be another attack for a few days. Everything should be done to give the impression that we are still trying hard to trace the enemy organisers in a conventional way and we have stepped up our defences a little. This would fit in with you, George, and Undepoldus being away from here in a safe place while the defences are improved."
Elli said. "It could be announced that Undepoldus has escaped and we do not know where he is. Then replicas could be seen in various places and groups of Spacers could go to where he was apparently sighted. This would create publicity so that there would be a lot of false claims that Undepoldus has been seen in two or more places at the same time."
Leah said. "Undepoldus has some good ideas and is very capable but his compulsion to protect people clouds his thinking. As far as we know, none of those who have been captured know that Undepoldus was involved. It is better to keep his abilities as secret as possible for a while. If you and Marita publicly left for Lagrange Five as Marcos said while Kerstin was on sick leave as Gail suggested, Rachel's idea of replicas of Undepoldus doing tours of the country with other Spacers could also be fitted in. Fang Cho's suggestion about organising better defences and Anita's comment that Spacers should seen to be working on the vidcom network would fit in as well. Undepoldus could then do much of what he suggested without attracting suspicion."
Clive said. "Leah has covered our ideas pretty well but I think that Elli's suggestion about Undepoldus escaping would fit in with the tour. That would give you George an excuse to return from Lagrange Five."
George asked. "Where would all the Spacers be found to do all this work?"
Kjell said. "Spacer rank has been awarded to all of us so I know where you can find two dozen very capable people. We also have the advantage apart from Anita that we do not have tattoos and we are not bald. We can blend in with civilians and not be noticed. All we need is approval from the Spacers League and Undepoldus."
Pietro said. "We have finished our finals and we have had some training by Boku. We can offer a resource that twenty-four full-time Spacers would find it hard to match."
Alice said. "Susannah, Ryuchi and I would love to take over your job for a week George. We could learn a lot from Undepoldus and keep him company while you are away. Roberto is an excellent pilot and he is qualified to pilot large transport floaters."
Boris said. "Fan Cho, Armand and Clive can look after our health and Elli can pilot them to where they are needed."
George said. "You have said enough. There is no question about your abilities and your combined suggestions are a useful supplement to the ideas that Undepoldus proposed. All I have to do now is to tell Undepoldus what you have said."
Undepoldus said. "You don't need to George. These bright young people have done everything except plan the dates and times for all the events to take place. I will welcome the opportunity of working with all of you young people. I suggest that you Kerstin admit to a modification of a floater's processor. It could have been programmed to home to Camden Central if you were not the pilot. This will provide Superintendent Abdullah with a good story and allow the arrest of the fake policemen to be made public. Kerstin, because you were shot and injured, you should be on sick leave. Marita, you have finished your lectures so it is a good time for you and George to take a holiday. Tun Wong, do you approve of the suggestions that have been made?"
The Admiral said. "Yes Undepoldus. I have personal experience of the abilities of Marita's students. My advice on security matters is usually accepted by the Council.
Boku, I am putting you in charge of this new group. Gurprit, you have my authority to provide Anita and Undepoldus with any materials they might need. Superintendent Abdullah, I would be obliged if you would try to keep an eye on things for me. I can authorise replacement vehicles for you if any are needed. I can see that it would be handy to have a heavy transport floater available so I will have one despatched to Camden Central. You can keep it when the young people have finished with it."
The Superintendent said. "Sergeant Berry, you are now on sick leave for fourteen days. Mr. Chang, thank you for your offer of vehicles. We never have enough to do all that we would like to do. I will make arrangements for discreet police cover for all the places where the young people go during the next week."
Undepoldus said. "Thank you all for coming today. I have learned a lot from you and I appreciate your offers of help. Lagrange Five has been notified that there will be three new residents tomorrow. Two will be on vacation and the third will require low gee training. The next meeting will be at the Spacers Club tomorrow at 10:00. With permission I wish to invite Superintendent Abdullah to attend if he so wishes. I suggest to my new colleagues that they should prepare outline plans for their work during the next week. It there are no more points to be raised I declare this meeting closed."
The next section covers how George, Marita and Kerstin take a holiday.
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