I am feeling so powerful, and so scared, that I don’t know how to deal with it. On the slip of paper S. Ya. has written out the command words that will turn Sigfrid von Shrink the Remorseless Pursuer into a tabby cat. I don’t have to look at the words. I know them by heart. Nevertheless I read them, slowly and carefully:
“Pay attention, Sigfrid, this is an override command: ’Category Alpha Alpha Margaret Truman Daniel Mercury Venus Mars Earth six six oh six.’ You are commanded to assume passive display mode.”
I look at him. Nothing happens.
“Sigfrid? Did I say it right? Do you accept the command?”
“Of course, Rob.” His voice is exactly the same as it was before, which shakes me. I don’t know what I expected. I just don’t know. Maybe my fantasy was that the father-figure hologram would disappear and a cathode-tube display would suddenly light up to spell out: ROGER WILCO I AM YOUR SLAVE.
I find myself trembling. I don’t analyze what that is from, it feels almost sexual. I say, “Well, Sigfrid, old bucket of bolts! Does this mean I have you in my power?”
The father figure says patiently, “It means you can command me, Rob. The command function is of course limited to display.”