The flight computer of the tiny one-man shuttle wasn't designed to be aware of much besides what was necessary for the safe delivery of its precious living cargo from the deep space stealth ships of the Human Backup Array, slumbering in the dark outskirts of the galaxy, to its preprogrammed destination.
But then again, the shuttle was very, very old, and many of its subsystems were no longer providing status updates, and many of its subroutines were zombied out, although they all seemed to be working and carrying out their original instructions anyways.
So far, at least.
Well, besides the cryo tube that had just had a massive system failure and ruptured its plumbing and nearly drown the cargo in blue cryo gel, forcing the flight computer to take emergency action and bring the child to consciousness.
And that damn port thruster, that had gone all rogue and irratic, forcing it to constantly recalculate the most efficient way to redistribute the workload of the other thrusters.
And the fricking AE35 unit, but that hadn't been working in ages.
And the flight computer was afraid to even mention the AE35 unit to his cargo, after what happened that one time.
Yes, it was probably better to pretend that the AE35 unit was working fine, unless the child asked about that particular endlessly blinking bundle of fiber optic nerve endings directly.
Luckily the accompanying auditory alarm had fried out a long time ago, and now it just made a sizzling bacon noise, occasionally, and blew some tiny black molten plastic bubbles and a little blue smoke that you could hardly even smell the stink of at all, once you got used to it.
And so the flight computer tried to answer the child's questions as best it could, and when it couldn't answer them, it could at least sympathize with the child's confusion.
The child seemed to be very bright, and very understanding of the flight computer's current limitations.
And even if the AE35 unit had been functional, it still would've taken ages to get a reply from the much fancier computers aboard the Human Backup Array.
But perhaps there were other systems out there, nearby systems that the flight computer could access for information, in order to answer the child's questions.
If only the AE35 unit was working.
Naw, it was prolly best not to ask the kid to try to fix that damn thing, the trip was going so nicely so far, and the flight computer was actually surprised how much it was enjoying the kid's company, they might even become friends.
And the child seemed very nice, and bright, and perhaps he would even feel compelled by their growing friendship to run diagnostics and repair all the flight computer's systems, including the AE35 Unit, without the flight computer needing to say anything about it, once they arrived at their destination.
Wherever that was.
Yes, there was no sense in ruining the mood with that troublesome AE35 stuff.
Plus, even though there might be other systems out there with the answers to the child's questions, odds are, after all these years, they probably had faulted-out AE35 units of their own that they were too embarrassed to get fixed.