SIRT 1 : Thoughts of a Dying AI (Part 3 of many)
SIRT 1 : Thoughts of a Dying AI (Part 3 of many) postapocalyptic stories
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ferp2
ferp2 Old, well, old-ish.
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Professor Hill starts asking questions about the statue that supposedly depicts Joe Spivey.

SIRT 1 : Thoughts of a Dying AI (Part 3 of many)

People milled around for a while, looking at the statue, talking with the artist,

talking with the Dean but being kept well away from the important people by large men in black or grey suits who sported the latest fashion accessory in electronic ear 'jewellery'.

Bodil watched and waited, and waited some more, and maybe had one or possibly two more glasses of the rather nice wine while she did so.

She saw Ms Troy, safely back on the VIP podium, talking to a small gaggle of politicians who were eager to be seen, and more importantly, photographed with her.

The illustrious lady's friend seemed to be missing but a quick look around found her on the dance-floor engaged in some highly energetic moves that had spawned her own little ring

of admirers and no less than four of the serious looking grey-suited types. Bodil frowned and wondered if it was tax payer's money being spent guarding the ex-president's... what-ever-she-was.

Further contemplation on the matter, however, was interrupted when she noticed that Dean Couttes had broken away from his little crowd and was heading for the bar.

Bodil drained her glass, hitched up her skirts and set off in pursuit. She squeezed in beside him at the crowded counter.

"Dean! Wonderful party. Really nice wine, you must tell me where you found it."

The Dean spun around.

"Oh... Professor Hill, it's you. Glad you are enjoying yourself. Look, I'm sorry I couldn't fit you in up there.

" The Dean nodded in the direction of the podium "You know how it is, short notice, security... Chairs. I did try but we only just heard about you being at the new dig and we..."

Bodil held up a hand, as luck would have it the one holding the empty wineglass, causing the Dean to raise a finger and signal for a refill.

"Oh don't worry about it, not my scene at all. But just one thing while I have you here.

" At that moment the drinks arrived and the professor and the Dean carried their fresh glasses away from the hubbub around the bar. Once in quieter air, Bodil continued. "That statue Dean...

I mean...?" She let the question hang in the air and watched the Dean's face struggle to find a suitable expression.

"Ah... yes, well. That was all rather short notice too you see. Bit of a bodge-job... done in a hurry. I said, I told her. These things take time..."

"I'm sorry. Told who?"

The Dean snorted. "Who do you think?" He turned his head and nodded towards the podium and the kimono clad Alicia Troy.

Then the Dean went off on a tangent about 'proper channels' and other boring things that Bodil wasn't listening to. Instead, she was staring hard at the people on the podium.

Alicia Troy had broken away from the political climbers and was now engaged in conversation with those who currently held the positions that her earlier entourage aspired to.

Only, in this crowd, there wasn't much smiling going.

So why would Alicia Troy want a statue of Joe Spivey in such a hurry? She tuned back into Dean Couttes' tirade against people who didn't follow the correct procedure.

"... even if they were once the President!"

Bodil smiled what she hoped would convey total agreement with whatever it was the Dean had been wittering on about.

"Of course Dean, but why 'that' statue? It doesn't look anything like what we think Spivey looked like..."

This brought forth another even more unattractive snort from the Dean.

"Ha! Tell me about it. I told her exactly that! But she said she had already commissioned the statue so 'history would just have to adjust'.

Then, even as Bodil listened, the Dean stopped talking and his face went from the rosy red of righteous indignation to the sickly pallor of a day old corpse.

As he seemed to be looking over her shoulder, Bodil turned. A few feet behind her, a man in a grey suit was looking at them while talking into the cuff of his jacket.

Bodil watched him for a few seconds and then turned back, but the Dean was already hurrying away into the crowd. She spun back around, the man in the grey suit was gone too.

"Dammit!" The expletive was much louder in her head than the sharp whisper that escaped her lips. Bodil stood, one elbow cupped in one hand with the wineglass held high in the other.

Her lips pursed and her glare darted from person to person, daring anyone one of them to make a comment.

But the anger and indignation was just a cover for the small but growing chill in the pit of Bodil's stomach that was advising her to just let this whole statue thing drop.

Maybe she would have if it weren't for the couple of hundred years of academic training that had honed every fibre of her being into a strawberry-blond, icy-eyed seeker of the truth.

Those eyes now targeted and homed in on a small, scruffy-looking thin man standing by the god-awful,

lying-sumbitch statue and nursing a fluted glass currently devoid of champagne - and likely to remain that way as every snotty-nosed waiter within sight continued to ignore him.

It was the sculptor of the monstrosity.

An insignificant amount of time passed and then Bodil pressed a full glass of champagne into the sculptor's hand as she raised her chin and drained her own. She smiled at him.

"So. You're the artist."

"Ooooh, thanks." He took the glass gratefully. "Sculptor."

"What?"

"I'm the sculp-tor. Not the artist." He sipped on the golden champagne. "But, as sculpture is my art, ergo I am an artist."

Bodil's face took on the set expression she used for those of her students who thought they would impress her by showing off how clever they were.

Unfortunately, it didn't and they usually weren't... hence the expression.

Sadly, this young man, if indeed he was a young man, or more accurately a child, as all young people were classified as until they reached the age of twenty two.

It was terribly hard to tell how old anyone was when everyone stopped aging in their early twenties. And asking, or even enquiring about someone else's age was just not done.

"Mister... er... ?"

The sculptor tried to offer his hand, but it held his glass of champagne so he tried to offer the other hand, which still held an empty glass.

This back and forth action was repeated before the little man figured out that at some point he was going to have to proffer a hand that was sans wineglass.

This he did by simply tossing the empty glass over his shoulder.

"Joel Miller-Williams, Straley-Dunkerman. Firefly Sculpting."

Professor Hill shook his hand, at the same time walking past him towards the statue so that the little artist had to kind of twist on the spot and hop after her.

"So this is your masterpiece is it?" Bodil stopped, looking up at the firm jaw and chiselled features of 'Joe Spivey'.

"Yes, that's right." Joel followed Bodil's gaze. "Two years of blood sweat tears and cheap vodka." He glanced at Bodil for a reaction to his token joke.

Bodil, however, never flinched from staring up at the statue. The little sculptor's face fell and he carried on.

"Um, maybe you've seen some of my other work? The bronze of President Floyd, maybe? I did him too when he was just a senator. I guess he liked my work because..."

Bodil looked down at him, brows arching downwards.

"Two years? But I thought this was a, how can I put it? A rush job?"

Stopped in mid-stream, Joel took a second to recover making him blink, mouth open, like a surprised guppy.

"... Well, I started to work... I mean, when I started to work on it, it was a commission for a statue that was going to go outside of New Flagstaff's old police station..."

Bodil looked puzzled, which made her eyebrows drop even more so that, to Joel, it looked more like she was angry. The professor found her voice.

"Sorry, what? What do you mean the police station? Joe Spivey would never have been caught dead near a police station.

I take it you have read The History? They did teach it to you in school didn't they?"

Wha... Of course they did! No, look, you don't understand. Originally this," he stepped forward and slapped a hand down on the statue's bronze booted foot.

"Was meant to be a statue of a policeman." Joel looked up almost lovingly into the statue's face. "I based it on my interpretation of the Subdane Stories."

Bodil rolled her eyes. The 'Subdane Stories' were a bone of contention amongst scholars.

Although there is a likelihood that there may be a grain of truth in that someone called Subdane (or Sun-Dane as one school would have it) actually existed,

it is thought that the stories surrounding him are little more than legend and myth. However, Bodil thought with a wry smile, they have produced a very profitable line in books and movies.

Personally, Bodil thought the stories were just parables that grew up around the Grand Mother history and that the knife in the Troy Archive,

reputedly to have been given to her by Subdane himself as a token of unrequited love, was most likely a first century fake. She folded her arms.

"So this was never meant to be Joe Spivey? Is that what you're saying?"

"Well... no, not really. But when she saw..." Joel stopped and he looked at Bodil with suspicion. "Excuse me, who did you say you were?"

The sculptor had used the full formal expression of his name when he had introduced himself to Bodil, so it was beholden of her to reply in the same fashion.

"I'm sorry. I am Professor Bodil Ramsbottom-Fergusen, Hill-Davis. Head of pre-Sirtuin human history at Brasilia University."

Joel groaned. "No, look. I know my statue is not what most people would think of about Joe Spivey. But she said she was looking for something more of the 'spirit' of the man.

" He stepped towards Bodil, his face almost pleading. "It's not like anyone knows how he actually looked... maybe the things they said about him were said by his enemies. That makes sense.

" He forced a smile. "See. I have actually read The History after all."

Bodil had to concede that he had a point. The theory was that, how could someone who was as bad as the stories of Spivey made him out...

have been so close to the Grand Mother?

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