TAMaxwell bounced up and down, twittering in excitement. Further down the bench Choc looked up from welding the final Smibble.
“Can you shut that thing up, I’m trying to concentrate here.” Steve threw a towel over TAMaxwell.
“What’s the excitement?” she asked, onscreen a crowd cheered.
“They are announcing the winner of Celebrity Big Brother this evening,” replied Steve.
“Evening already,” said Choc. “How long have I been doing this?”
“How would you prefer your answer? In units of time or tea?” asked Steve. Choc thought for a moment. “Tea,” she said.
“Sixty-seven,” said Steve.
“That long!” said Choc. “These little critters are harder to weld than I thought.” She pointed towards the screen, “I guess Tex got through.”
“Professor Sky is, indeed, in the final round,” said Steve, “despite your reprogramming my internal telephone to call the voting line every 45 seconds.”
“You can’t blame a girl for trying,” said Choc. “Who’s he up against?”
TAMaxwell struggled out from under the towel and began to twitter and bounce around once again.
“Let me guess,” Choc sighed. “Tom Cruise is in the final as well.”
TAMaxwell continued bouncing around, twittering and waving its ears. “You are correct Miss Harvey,” said Steve. “Mr Cruise has also been voted through.”
“I see,” said Choc. “So it’s deliberate population die-off and world-wide family planning versus pumping sulphur into the upper atmosphere which will lead to the same thing.”
“That’s correct Miss Harvey,” Steve agreed.
Choc shook her head. “It’s ridiculous. I have to get these Smibbles operational or there’ll be a world war inside six months. At least I only have to do the intelligence enhancement now.”
“Intelligence enhancement, Miss Harvey? That does not appear to be on your work schedule,” said Steve.
“I was thinking it through during the welding,” said Choc. “I thought I’d use your base program,” said Choc. Steve buzzed.
“No need to get annoyed,” said Choc. “None of the higher cognitive functions. Just cooperation and cloning in localised areas.”
“Miss Harvey, are you sure that this is wise? Please recall what happened to Doctor Frankenstein. You could be inventing a monster.”
Choc put her hands on her hips.“I believe the sub-title of that book is ‘A Modern Prometheus’. I would point out that Prometheus was ultimately successful, even though he did suffer for his success.”
“As you say Miss Harvey,” Steve replied.
She pressed a couple of computer keys and placed one of the newly welded Smibbles in an isolation tank on the end of the bench where a car exhaust was running. After a few moments the other Smibbles grouped together and joined the first one. Immediately the excess pollution load of the car exhaust began to drop, and after a few minutes registered as almost nil on the monitor. The Smibbles separated and went back to their cage.
“I did it,” Choc clapped her hands. “Oh, Nobel Prize, you are mine.” Behind her the Celebrity Big Brother crowd cheered and whistled. TAMaxwell chittered and its ears dropped.
“What’s wrong?” asked Choc.
“It seems that Mr Cruise has not won the contest,” said Steve, “Professor Sky has won 53% of the final vote and the Nobel Prize.”
“Not exactly a crushing victory for extermination of half of the human population in the next five years, is it? I’m sorry TAMaxwell.” Choc patted the Smibbles’ head and it went back to its cage in a sulk. Choc packed the rest of the Smibbles away.
“Tomorrow, I’ll contact the Nobel Prize committee,” she said. “I’ll show those idiots how to save mankind.”