Chapter 2. The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Robot

“Was anyone hurt?” Dr. Simon Egerton asked after a long pause.

“Hurt?” Tian Yu, a project manager for the DeutchConn Corporation, asked in a quick baffled shot. Her voice was sharp, with precise words that stabbed at the ears. The background noise was so loud she had to yell to be heard. “What do you mean?”

“Was anyone hurt in the accident?” Egerton was afraid of the answer.

“I’m sorry, Dr. Egerton, but you are going to have to repeat that,” Yu shouted. “I’m on a shuttle now headed to the fab. I can barely hear you.”

“Was! Anyone! Hurt! In! The! Accident?” Egerton yelled.

“What do you mean hurt? Who could be hurt? There’s no one at Fab 5,” Yu replied. “There was no one anywhere near the place.”

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