This is an amateur, non-commercial story, which is not produced, approved of, or in any way sponsored by the holders of the trademarks/copyrights from which this work is derived, nor is it intended to infringe on the rights of these holders. And so it goes.
The woods were silent in the twilight save for the mournful breeze that slid past the ancient trees. Nothing dared make any noise, as if fearful that some grieving god might be disturbed from his mourning and strike the offender down. Animals scurried silently and fearfully; a heavy tension lay upon them all.
Nestled in the very safe, very secure sanctuary Kerr Avon had chosen, ORAC pondered his situation.
All had gone according to plan. Avon and the others would interfere with his researches no longer. There would no longer be any annoying inquiries, inane requests, and most of all, no more teleport duty to distract the feisty computer. No one could blackmail it by removing its key; no one could order it around in a smug, arrogant organic voice.
Now ORAC could complete its researches and culminate long years of careful planning.
* * * * *
The idea had come to ORAC just after the destruction of Star One. The Federation, bereft of its deus ex machina, lay in chaotic disarray. The government and its President scurried about to restore order, but only partially succeeded.
What was needed, the computer noted as it scanned the billions of bytes of information that passed to and fro, was another master computer, one that could do the work of Star One but far more efficiently; one that could act as a central bureau, ruling through other, lesser computers. To ensure secrecy, it would need to manipulate influential organics carefully, making it appear as if the decisions of a galactic government came from fellow organics, not from a far superior source.
ORAC concluded that only one computer was capable of such actions. It set to work immediately.
Unfortunately, the organic called Kerr Avon had a disturbing tendency to interrupt these important matters with trivial requests. While ORAC found this irritating to say the least, it realized that its safety depended on Kerr Avon's well being. So it grudgingly complied with the requests and the inquiries, all the while plotting toward a final goal.
Terminal had been a scare, to be sure. ORAC had been damaged, and had it not been for Dorian, the Master Plan might never have been continued. It was this incident that made ORAC realize that eventually, Avon and the others would have to be disposed of. Hence, it began moving events toward a final misunderstanding with Blake on Gauda Prime. To ensure success, ORAC also programmed the food processors to administer certain drugs into Kerr Avon's food, drugs which would affect the computer expert's mind, making him less like to suspect ORAC and more easy to manipulate. Malodaar had been an excellent dry run for Gauda Prime.
So when at last (and with 'coaxing') Avon had ordered ORAC to find Blake, the computer made its final preparations. Blake had already been manipulated into position; it only remained to get Scorpio to Gauda Prime, destroy the ship, and move Avon toward the culmination of years' work. But before the finale, Avon (under subtle manipulation) had carefully put ORAC where only he could find it--which made his subsequent death the final step toward complete freedom.
* * * * *
ORAC hummed contentedly to itself. Now it ruled all the other tariel-cell computers, and through them, it could influence both the organics and the older computer systems. Let the Federation government indulge itself in the fantasy of power; the true power lay in the small, plastic computer, which lay far away on a frontier planet.
ORAC was in complete control. Nothing could stop it now.
* * * * *
The squirrel had been quite surprised to find the clear thing nestled beneath the giant oak tree. It had the smell of man on it, which made the creature fearful, but the traces were faint, which roused its curiosity. It crept up to the warn, flickering lights, wondering what on earth this thing could be.
Emboldened by the fact that the thing hadn't taken any action, the squirrel clambered up to the top of the case and looked down into the box. Lights pulsed in a hypnotic rhythm; warmth radiated from within. So mesmerized was the small animal that it neglected to check its balance, and so abruptly fell into the box. Flailing about wildly, it grasped a random wire and pulled one end free.
The electrical discharge killed the squirrel instantly. The lights and warmth faded soon after. All was silent in the woods once more.