فصل 21

مجموعه: کتاب های متوسط / کتاب: 2001 - اودیسه فضایی / فصل 21

کتاب های متوسط

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فصل 21

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  • زمان مطالعه 3 دقیقه
  • سطح ساده

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PART FOUR

EDGE OF DARKNESS

CHAPTER TWENTY ONE

Birthday Party

The familiar sound of ‘Happy Birthday’ died away among the screens of the Control Room. The Poole family, standing round birthday cake on Earth, went suddenly silent.

Then Frank’s father said, ‘Well, son - can’t think of anything else to say at the moment, except that our thoughts are with you and we’re wishing you the happiest of birthdays.’

‘Take care, darling,’ Mrs Poole said, tearfully. ‘God be with you.’

Then they all said goodbye, and the film ended. Poole continues to stare at the screen, thinking that all this had happened than an hour ago. By now, his family had gone their separate ways. It only made him feel further away from home.

Sorry to interrupt the celebrations,’ said Hal, ‘but we have a problem.’

‘What is it?’ Bowman and Poole both asked.

‘I am having difficulty in staying in contact with Earth. The trouble is in the AE 35 unit. I believe it may fail within seventy-two hours.’

‘We’ll take care of it,’ Bowman replied. ‘Put Earth on the screen.’

They studied their home planet for some time. The picture coming to them from the TV camera fixed to the edge of the big radio dish. Unless the narrow beam was pointing straight at Earth, they could neither send nor receive messages. At the moment, it seemed to be working perfectly.

‘Hal, do you know what the trouble is?’ asked Bowman.

‘It comes and goes, and I can’t tell exactly. But it does seem to be in the AE 35 unit.’

Bowman’s first thought was to ask Hal for more details, but he decided to try himself. He ran his mind over the thousands of on the ship, and after a few moments the information came to him. The antenna was kept pointing at Earth by motors controlled from the central computer. But the instructions went to the AE 35 unit first, where they were changed into something that the motors could understand. It was like a nerve center in the body, which translates the brains signals into instructions for in Movement. Now Bowman had a question he could ask Hal.

‘What do you suggest?’ he said.

‘The best idea is to replace the unit with a spare, so we can check it over.’

‘Put it up on the screen,’ Bowman said.

Bowman studied the drawing, then said, ‘This means going on outside the ship.’

‘I’m sorry,’ Hal replied. ‘I thought you knew.’

‘I probably did a year ago,’ Bowman said. ‘Anyway, it looks simple enough. We only have to unlock a cover and put in a new unit.’

‘That suits me fine,’ said Poole, who was responsible for routine work outside.’

‘It’ll be something different.’

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