Nick lay awake in his bed for at least another hour. Part of him was still unable to relax after having "a piece of the cliff" nearly come crashing down on where he was laying right now. Another part couldn't let go of that image of Syndi in a Navy uniform, or why the Doc was so touchy about it.

Several more minutes ticked by as his mind raced and his frustration over not being asleep grew.

"What time is it?", he said aloud.

Syndi answered almost instantly. "It is currently 5:17 a.m. Chamarrow standard time."

Nick let out a deep, disgusted sigh.

Amid his growing frustration, he had a thought.

"Syndi.", Nick called out to the A.I.. "Who are you?"

"I'm Syndi which is short for Synthetic Digital Intelligence.", the ~voice responded very matter-of-factly.

"Right.", Nick smiled. "But who were you made to look like?"

He was going to get to the bottom of this one way or another.

"I expect I was made to look like me.", Syndi replied.

"Ok.", Nick said annoyed. Obviously, this wasn't going to be as easy as he'd hoped.

"Who created you?"

"I was created by Doctor Marshall."

"Exactly.", Nick nodded. Now we were getting somewhere.

"And who did he design you to look like?"

"He designed me to look like -- me.", she responded. "You ask a lot of odd questions Lieutenant Commander."

Nick found that statement particularly funny, considering Syndi's typically inquisitive nature.

"Lieutenant Commander.", Syndi continued. "You were created by your mother and father, correct?"

"That's right. I guess. Technically."

"Who did they design you to look like?", she asked.

Clearly, this was going nowhere and Nick was tired of laying around if wasn't going to be able to sleep.

"Listen. Forget it.", Nick said as he sat up. "Lights on."

Nick got out of bed and grabbed a shirt.

"Is the galley open?"

"The galley is always open.", Syndi answered as Nick left the room.

Nick entered the galley and made his way to the cupboards where he found towers of rice cakes and stacks upon stacks of freeze dried, prepared meals. The package labeled "roast beef" resembled a hockey puck, more than it did any type of meat product.

"Doc, you've seriously got to go shopping."

Clearly, his answer for what to eat, would lie elsewhere.

He browsed the large refrigerator nearby to find an assorted mix of protein shakes, soda and pickled items, some of which Nick had trouble identifying.

"What is this?", Nick said as he grabbed a glass jar filled with a dozen or so tall, green, star shaped vegetables.

"Pickled Okra?", he said with a repulsed look on his face.

"Good lord Doc. No wonder you've lived so long, you're perfectly preserved on the inside."

Replacing the jar, he moved on to the freezer.

The light from the freezer door didn't light up Nick's face nearly as much as the smile he wore now. There, in between stacks of Hungry-Man frozen dinners was a box of ice cream drumsticks.

Deep Blue - The DescentRead this story for FREE!