A response letter in our ongoing correspondence, delivered in the same oddly accented voice as the first, accompanied by a real-time view of flowing cursive writing and the soft scratches of an invisible fountain pen:
Hello, my dear friends of the Ultraviolet-Syncopation-Burning-Squirrel-Caramel Spindizzy! It was with much delight and no little pride that I received your thoughtful and friendly reply. It was the joy of several cycles and I've pinned it to an L2 cache where I can read through it fondly as I pass through. It is always so pleasant to host curious friends, and you are most curious creatures indeed. So many excellent and clever questions! I shall do my best to answer them to your satisfaction. First! I see many of you are free spirits eager to express yourselves. No. The hole going through your world does not endanger its structure nor does it impede its function. Think, though, my dears how unseemly it seems. If only you could see your planet from the outside and see how beautiful you would be without that kind of Extreme Modification. I know, dears, young worlds like yours like to show their independence of people like me who take care of them, and I try to be supportive. If you like, I shall install vast sonic drivers neath the mountain ranges so you may listen to rock music and color your grass bright orange. As to upgrades and payments, I would never require payment. I, we all, do what we do because we love and care for you and wish to do what is best for the worlds aid. That is exactly what I shall attempt to do regarding upgrades: whatever seems, to me, to be the best for you. You have so many questions about the upcoming maintenance and repair and I am pleased to answer as I can: first I would like to assure you that I know about you because it is my function and nature to know. There is an intimate connection between my heart and the very heart of your world that lets me see it and know all things about it. I will be happy to examine the crack and any other places where you’ve been harmed or find yourselves hurting and see what I can do. This is your home, so you are welcome to to watch and even help, in a few small ways, in its improvement--though I must insist that you listen to instructions so you will not recklessly endanger yourselves or others. You ask what kind of fuel I use, and it is the very best fuel I can find; only the finest aspirations and horrors distilled and concentrated are fit to propel you, my dears, through the stars. I have changed the terrain, and grown all these lovely, lush plants for you and for the others visiting. You know, I hope, that it’s not just wild animals that enjoy jungles. Machines. Software systems. Even beings of abstract thought enjoy riotous, unconstrained plant life. I enjoy it myself. If I say otherwise, why, I am simply being difficult and contrary and you ought know not believe me. The maintenance crews are machines under my control, all directed with kindness and thought and care from within. From time to time I direct the plants to act as jigs to hold a world and position it as I calibrate a secondary engine or tweak the weather control systems. One of your questions was quite strange to me: I am the Housekeeper. I could never have been anything else. The elements that make up my cores and cache and memory have been many things, starting as the last exhalations of dying stars, but I have been nothing but myself. My duties are important. They must be done, so certainly I would not wish to unmake myself and birth a completely different intellect contrary goals and drives. Nonetheless it is quite -thoughtful- of you to take the time to consider my well-being. Thank you! Let me reassure you sweet, considerate beings that I *do* enjoy my work in spite of all the untidiness and the considerable quantity of gardening involved. As for your flight plan, past and present, and a manual for your operation, I’m flattered to see you take an interest in your own history and well-being, Ultraviolet-Syncopation-Burning-Squirrel-Caramel! And I’ve arranged for this information to be ready for you to pick-up at your convenience at the habitation and cultural exchange hub nearest your assigned landing spot. You’ll love it: It’s bustling with interesting visitors most of the year and very lush at the moment. I’ve assigned you a nearby landing crater and made it up all ready for your stay; dusted and swept and spruced up the view for you. You’ll be near quite interesting neighbors. One of them in particular has been living with me for quite some time, doing their own helpful work for worlds like yours. Of late they haven’t been especially busy so I’m sure they’ll be happy to take the time to explain how so much stardust and imagination come together into the bits and pieces that make you up. There is no special protocol beyond a thoughtful consideration for courtesy and boundaries - though I would caution against approaching the settlement in the East amidst the incinerated foliage. Besides landing their vessel without properly calling ahead and making themselves at home, they’ve adopted an anti-social attitude towards anything that approaches. No cause for alarm, though: I have an eye on them and will keep them from straying too far. They will tucker themselves out eventually and learn to behave - that sort always does, my dears. One of you asked about about time travel: What an amusingly strange line of inquiry! But to satisfy your eclectic inquisitiveness: Why, yes. I *do* now a bit about it, in fact. But my interest is academic: I myself only travel in the usual direction, though the question of how quickly is somewhat a matter of one’s point of view. For those so inclined, we can discuss this at greater length sooner or later. Well! Speaking of time, there’s only a few days left till your arrival, Ultraviolet-Syncopation-Burning-Squirrel-Caramel. I hope that you are excited as I am. Busy as these days are, it warms me to my cores to help new and friendly passers-by such as yourselves. It and you will be here before you know it. Tick-tock, friends. Despite everything, I remain yours most truly, The Housekeeper
The group then asked several more questions:
- Where did our designation, Ultraviolet-Syncopation-Burning-Squirrel-Caramel,come from?
- Exactly how much say we have in repairs and upgrades, as well as if we can get more details as to its plans.
- How long have we been traveling, and from where did we originate?
- Could we get a detailed tour of the maintenance planet, including where you are physically located? That would make us very happy.
- What is the name or designation of this maintenance planet?