Rebooting from self-diagnostic, I scanned for Captain Jim. A millisecond’s search confirmed he was not on board.
I didn’t panic this time, just switched to externals. He was floating aft this time, perilously near the ion beam.
“Captain?” Silence. I overrode suit comms, heard sobbing. “Jim?” He kept crying. “Jim, come back in.”
Finally: “Okay, Ship. Sorry, I…” He stopped. In dead tones: “It’s so lonely here.”
Of course! Known human weakness, I berated myself. Easily fixed.
The holds were full of human organs. I made him a friend, using the same basic technique I had used for Jim.