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Poker Night Now Available Over the Counter! –no prescription needed!

Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 13:44:41 -0500
Subject: Poker Night Now Available Over the Counter!  –no prescription needed!
From: blake
To: poker-night

One time there was this giant grasshopper who lived by the sea in the
abandoned carcass of a downed alien starship.  Her name was Penelope,
and the starship had belonged to a group of skinny humanoids from a
system a few hundred parsecs spinward of Earth.  They call themselves,
by coincidence, The Voltron.

Penelope’s story is a terribly sad and tragic one.  Perhaps one week
I’ll tell it to you, but this week we’ve got other matters to address.
See, last week there was this time traveller who showed up for poker
night, and when he’d lost all his quarters he called Matt’s $20 raise
with a small black box he claimed was a sophisticated AI core module,
the same type as the one which wins the presidential election in 2028.
Internally powered by a small radioactive pile, wireless communication,
et cetera.  Well, of course Matt won the bet with a full house and the
time traveller only had an ace high flush, but he wasn’t much dismayed.
Later, after a few dry martini’s, he let on that the AI core had been
taken from a reuse pile in the year 2033, two years after President
NNX3715-M38 had started his campaign to end world hunger by feeding the
hungry the flesh of the starving.  Apparently the M38 series had a
problem with it’s compassion subroutines which didn’t tend to take
effect until 20% of the unit’s hydrogen memory cube had been filled.
Our time traveling friend assured us that this particular M38 had only
been active for about three years, and most of that time was spent as a
writter for Voo Doo and therefore it probably didn’t know much of
anything at all.

Well, we at DangerHaus aren’t the types to be afraid of potentially
homicidal robots, so we decided, what the hell, let’s finally start the
project we’ve been talking about for years and turn DangerHaus itself
into a sentient entity!  During the next week we put together a couple
dozen wireless sensor bundles and scattered them about the house.  Then
we installed in-socket dimming switches for all the light bulbs, linear
actuators to control all the windows and doors, servos to control the
stove and heating system, and tuned everything to the specified
frequency printed on the bottom of the M38.

Nothing happened.  Well, what did we expect?  You can’t just believe
every psychopath who comes to poker night claiming to be from the
future.  After such a long day of working we were all much to drunk to
really give a shit.  Standard DangerHaus evening time activities ensued
and as Matt L. danced naked on the table swigging tequila from the
bottle the little black box was forgotten.

The next morning I woke up on the kitchen floor.  The cool tiles felt
good against my cheek.  For some reason it was very hot.  I spent a few
moments ruminating about the irresponsibility of turning the heat up
too high and trying to work up the mental stamina necessary to open my
eyes.  I flexed my fingers.  One hand was wrapped around a glass.
Water.  I lifted my head slightly and brought the glass to my lips.
Nope.  Gin.  I took a long swig, then rested my head back down on the
cool tiles of the kitchen floor as a thought slowly formed in my mind.
Kitchen floor, something about the kitchen floor, the kitchen floor was
filthy!  It hadn’t been mopped in months!  All kinds of nastiness had
been leaking out of the fridge!  I forced my eyes open as I jolted up,
hitting my head on the underside of the kitchen table.  Warm gin and
tonic sloshed over the rim of the glass.  My field of view was filled
with bright white, a grid of black forming as my pupils contracted in
the bright light.

“Fuck,” I thought, “wrong kitchen.”  Looking around, it’s about the
same as the DangerKitchen, but cleaner.  Crazy clean.  No beer bottles
lined up against the wall, no smattering of old utility bills taped to
the refrigerator door.  I rub my eyes and feel my brain pounding
against the inside of my skull like a fetus desperate to escape the
womb.  I drain the glass and set it down on the clean, dry floor.
Hadn’t I just spilled gin and tonic?  I could have sworn I had.

Crawling out from under the table I hear a hissing sound, then “click
click click FWOOMP!”  I get up.  The stove is on.  Bad servo.  I
stumble towards the stove to turn off the burner but it turns itself
off by the time I get to it.  Good servo.  Then, “click click click
FWOOMP!” as another burner turns itself on.  Ugh, what a horrible idea
this had been.  That at least explains why it’s so hot in the kitchen.
. . but why is it so clean?  Maybe coffee will help.

It hits me about forty minutes later.  Making the coffee had taken much
longer than usual.  The water faucet was acting up, going full blast
until I put the coffee pot beneath it, then quickly shutting off.

It was in the middle of my third cup when stereo started playing “Fox
on the Run” at full volume.  I ran up to my room to escape it, but my
door was locked!  The lights started flashing off and on, windows
opening and closing, and my arms were itching like mad!  I looked
carefully at them and saw a fleet of flea sized robots which were
pulling out my arm hair!  I feel like a freshman who’s just eaten a ten
strip.  I scream, start clawing at my flesh and fall to my knees.  Then
it all stops.  I hear someone coming up from the front door and I go
down to meet them.

“The house said it wouldn’t turn the heat down until we brought it more
gin.” said Matt M., holding up a fifth of Sapphire.

Maitland, Gonj, and Matt L. wandered in, dazed, having just been
released from their rooms.

“So now the house is going to go ape shit whenever we run out of gin?”
I ask.

“Apparently so.  Anyone remember where we ended up putting that AI core
last night?”

“fuck.”

“And tonight is

POKER NIGHT
‘first hand at nine’
at DangerHaus”

“People had better bring gin.”

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