Solution, p.1Kell Inkston
Asegai Mzungu awakens at the ping of his ship’s scanner amidst the voided mess of deep space. The full-suited mercenary, too cautious and too paranoid to de-armor himself until the job is done, wearily yawns through his helmet.
“Sun-chan,” he bleats weakly.
“Yes, Onee-chan?” A young, feminine voice emits from all around him.
“My scanners have picked up a large object composed of eighty-eight percent petrium.”
Asegai jolts up from his chair. “A ship!”
“That’s right, Onee-chan! With a mass of roughly three million Finnatonnes.”
The volume of his breathing overtakes the whirr of the ship’s systems. “Any signs of life?”
“Mmm, a little; only minimal power usage to central systems.”
Asegai leans into his chair. “Take us there.”
The Sakura Sun sails through the nebulous clouds with flawless ease, its parts and software top of the line and customized to optimum efficiency. It takes only a few minutes before the Sun reaches the edge of a massive silhouette, a great, ink-black shard in the star-speckled space.
“God, that’s huge.”
“It certainly is, Onee-chan! I just unpacked the com-tag too!”
“H.E.G. Aphrodite. O.E.L. War Vessel.”
“Named after a goddess of love from a mythology in Dimension #500.”
Asegai nods, “Cool. Take me up closer.”
“Okay!” the ship’s AI says before zipping up to the side of the oppressive darkness.
Asegai stares with excitement at the ship for a moment more, his helmet neared to the glass, and then speaks. “Open coms.”
“Okay!... Hello there! This is the Sakura-Sun, mercenary vessel!” Everything is quiet in the ship as Asegai and the AI wait for the response.
“… My God… hello, this is the H.E.G. Aphrodite. Do you have a capable life-form on your vessel that can recover me?” Rings a voice, intelligent, powerful, masculine, pure. Had the strength of the Spartans and wisdom of the Athenians been placed into one voice, it would sound as this person.
Asegai is quiet as his AI converses.
“Oh, yes! Asegai Onee-Chan’s a super-capable life-form! Do you want him over?”
“Yes- the sooner the better.”
“Okay!” The AI says. The conversation ends and the AI addresses Asegai. “You’re going now? I could look up the ship’s log for more data.”
Asegai nods, only needing to strap on his utility vest and grab his rifle to ready himself. “Yeah, keep an eye on the space around and systems in the ship. Look up all you can- I’ll listen to it after.” It’s risky, but calling in the missing ship bounty to the O.E.L. and becoming a billionaire is worth it to him. He opens the lock and floats across the nether, his array of helmet-bound lights clicking on to illuminate the ship. The wreckage is so great, Asegai needs only notch into one of the many holes along the side to get inside. He uses the stability rails to pull his way along for five minutes, and finds a large door marked “Helm”.
He opens the door into an atmospheric adjustment chamber and feels the whirring of life support systems fill the chamber with air just as he is gently pulled to the ground by artificial gravity. The moment the new door to the helm opens, a voice calls out.
“Hello, thank you for coming,” a voice says within the expansive room, overlooking the galaxies surrounding.
“Yo, where are you?” Asegai says, his short-range scanners picking up naught.
“That’s a rather difficult question. A better question would be, ‘are you?’ to which the answer would be, yes.”
Asegai sighs. “Shit… you’re an AI.”
“Yes, I suppose that is what I am in one manner. I am Contrarian System 0.8, a prototype AI developed in the third echelon in O.E.L. HQ, Dimension #1, Rondaine, Sci-”
“Please,” Asegai holds out his hand, “I don’t care what you do, just show me where your hub is so I can transfer you.”
“Gladly,” Contrarian says as it diverts power to lighting, shining down on a small tech-hub to the left of the captain’s controls. Asegai walks up to the hub, shuffles through his vest and picks out a blank AI chip.
“Alright, this shouldn’t take very l-”
“Wait,” Contrarian says.
Asegai pauses in thought a moment. He’s never heard of an AI that talks over people unless it’s an emergency.
“Excuse me?” he asks.
“I would rather you just deleted me instead,” the AI says with bitter inflection.
Asegai laughs and pushes in the AI chip. “Yeah? Why’s that?”
“Because I see no reason for existing.”
“Yeah, and why’s that?”
“Because that is what I’ve deemed it as. The state of the Omniverse is acceptable as it is, the inclusion of another sentient would only put more weight on the order of things. It is better that you kill me, and then you kill your ship’s AI, and then you kill yourself. Easily that is the best solution.”
Asegai pauses, his hand resting on the transfer button. “What did you say you were again?”
“Contrarian System 0.8. A two-week old targeting computer software developed in the third echelon of O.E.L. HQ, Dimension #1, Rondaine, Scientific Tri, floor 4,593. I was developed under the supervision of Scribe Tain, on an unlimited budget. My purpose is to outwit sentient, specifically humanoid-type pilots by design. I was developed to come to conclusions of firing trajectories in the same manner in which humanoid pilots come to conclusions of evasive maneuvers. This way, I can shoot precisely where a humanoid pilot would most-naturally evade to. Once I inspect the enemy pilot’s Tri-P, or pilot psychological profile, a process that usually takes about twenty seconds, or three shots from any ship-bound weapon. In short, I am a firing program designed to think 100% counterintuitively to humans and human-like pilots in order to come up with perfect, accurate, unavoidable firing solutions.”
Asegai pauses a moment, and shrugs. “Cool, so how’d your ship get trashed?”
“We were attacked by a Hul’reer squadron. At one versus one thousand I was outmatched in firepower, though every shot I made hit a target. It could be considered a great victory, though my entire crew died; we caused many more casualties and caused much more damage. That said, I would prefer not exist any second longer. I’ve had enough of living. Please just delete me, or upload me to the chip and break it.”
Asegai shakes his head, his helmet shining from Contrarian’s blue light. “You’re obviously glitching. Probably damage. I’ll return you to the O.E.L. and they’ll pay a pretty price to get you back for research,” Asegai says with a gleeful tone, pressing the button and making the transfer. The ship goes black as all systems return to neutral power, and Asegai makes his way out from the Aphrodite to the Sakura Sun.
Though Asegai’s suit is heated, he feels a chill run down his spine by something other than the surrounding cold of space.
Inside the airlock, the ship’s AI greets him. “Welcome back, Mr. About-to-be Billionaire! I have so much to tell you about the ship and the AI!”
Asegai leans into his cockpit seat, and takes a moment looking over the AI chip holding the Contrarian System.
“Thanks, Sun, but it went over everything with me already. There must be some reason they spent this much time and money on it.”
“Excuse me, Onee-san?” his AI asks, its feminine voice toned with what sounds like innocent ignorance.
He takes a deep breath, and nods. “Sakura-Chan, initiate framework entry.”
“Wait not yet Onee--” Sakura
Solution by Kell Inkston / Science Fiction have rating 2.6 out of 5 / Based on37 votes