Hello all, how goes it? Well I've finally got chapter 4 done for you, sorry it took so long. if my guess is correct, it's been nearly a month since I've last updated this story, and I apologize to those who've been anticipating an update. Well here it is, the update! i hope you enjoy and don't forget to review :D
DISCLAIMER: I do not own 2001: ASO or any of it's characters. I only own Valerie Clarke
A little while later Valerie sat watching Frank play a game of chess with HAL.
Valerie grinned in amusement as she watched Frank try and decide his next move.
"Um, queen takes pawn"
"Bishop takes knight's pawn" HAL replied, making his move.
"Lousy move" Frank muttered. "Rook to king one"
"I'm sorry Frank, I think you missed it" HAL said.
Valerie moved closer to Frank and looked over his shoulder. "Well I'm no chess whiz, so I have no idea"
"Queen to bishop three. Bishop takes queen. Knight takes bishop. Mate" it seemed as though HAL won the game.
Frank sighed. "Well it looks like you're right. I resign" he frowned, feeling a little embarrassed that he'd lost in front of Valerie.
"Thank you for a very enjoyable game" HAL said.
Frank nodded. "Uh, yeah, thank you"
Valerie smiled. "Don't feel too bad Frank, it took me three tries before I was able to win one"
Valerie was standing beside Dave, watching him finish a sketch of the hibernating crew. "You're a very talented artist Dave"
he smiled at her. "Thanks Val. You're not so bad yourself"
Valerie blushed. "Oh, I'm not that great"
"Oh come on, I saw those sketches of HAL you did a few days ago. They were very good" Dave chuckled a little. "Although a computer is a bit of an odd subject to draw"
Valerie rolled her eyes as the two of them walked along the centrifuge.
"Good evening Dave, Valerie"
Valerie smiled. "How are you HAL?"
"Everything's running smoothly, and you?"
"Oh I'm just fine HAL" Valerie said.
Dave nodded. "Yes, everything's good"
"Have you been doing some more work?" HAL asked.
"Just a few sketches"
"May I see them?" HAL asked.
"Sure" Dave said, holding his sketch pad toward the computer.
"That's a very nice rendering Dave. I think you've improved a great deal. Can you hold it a bit closer?"
"Sure" Dave leaned forward a bit, holding his sketch pad closer to HAL's eye.
"That's Dr. Hunter isn't it?"
Dave nodded, turning the page.
"By the way, would either of you mind if I asked a personal question?"
Valerie shook her head. "No, not at all"
Dave nodded. "Ask away HAL"
"Well, forgive me for being so inquisitive, but during these past few weeks, I've been wondering if you've been having second thoughts about the mission"
"How do you mean?" Valerie asked.
"Well, it's rather difficult to define. Perhaps I'm just projecting my own concern about it. I know I've never completely freed myself of the suspicion that there are some extremely odd things about this mission. I'm sure you will both agree that there is some truth in what I say"
"Well I don't know, that's a rather difficult question to answer" Dave said.
Valerie frowned a little. She was a little confused. What exactly was HAL talking about?
"You don't mind talking about it, do you Dave?"
"No, not at all"
"What about you Valerie?"
the redhead shook her head. "No HAL, I don't mind either"
"Well… certainly no one could have been unaware of the strange stories floating around before we left. Rumors about something being dug up on the moon. I never gave these stories much credence, but particularly in view of some other things that have happened… I find them difficult to put out of my mind. For example, the way all our preparations were kept under such tight security. And the melodramatic touch of putting Drs. Hunter, Kimball, and Kaminsky aboard already in hibernation after four months of separate training on their own"
"You working up your crew psychology report?" Dave asked.
There was a brief pause.
"Of course I am" HAL answered.
Valerie frowned. Something about the way HAL said that… it was strange. There was something about his tone that caught her attention.
"Sorry about this. I know it's a bit silly" HAL continued.
There was another brief pause.
"Just a moment… just a moment" HAL said. "I've just picked up a fault in the AE-35 unit. It's going to go 100% failure within 72 hours"
"But it's still within operational limits right now?" Dave asked.
"Yes. And it will stay that way until it fails"
"Way to state the obvious" Valerie thought. She turned to Dave. "We'd better get Frank and look into this"
Dave nodded. "HAL, would you say we have a reliable 72 hours until failure?"
"Yes, that's a completely reliable figure"
"Well we'd better bring it in, but first Valerie and I will go over this with Frank and get on to mission control. Let me have the hard copy of it please" Dave said.
HAL printed out a small piece of paper.
Dave stood up. "Come on Val"
Valerie sighed and stood up from her chair. She started to follow Dave, then stopped. She waited till he was a ways away before she turned to HAL. "HAL?"
"Is…" she swallowed. "Is everything all right? I mean… You're ok?"
"Yes, I am fine. There's no need for concern Valerie"
She smiled a little. "Good" she hesitated a second before she slowly reached out and placed her hand just below HAL's eye, stroking her fingers along the faceplate in a tender gesture. "I wouldn't want anything to happen to you"
"Nor I you Valerie"
Valerie smiled more and sighed before slowly taking a step back and following after Dave.
Little did she know what was about to happen to turn the entire mission into turmoil.
Well, what do you think? I'm getting really excited about what's going to happen next, and I'll start working on the next chapter A.S.A.P, so be on the lookout for it. Hopefully I'll get my butt in gear and update sooner then I did this time around. Oh, and I'm halfway though 2001 the novel. I LOVE IT, I can barely put it down each night. With luck I'll have it finished in a few days. So anywho, I hope you enjoyed this chapter and PLEASE review!