Tag Archives: AI

Space police in space

They say that fifty percent of all humans are trapped in the Matrix. Not trapped in the, they can’t get out, kind of way. Just in the, they don’t want to leave, kind of way.

The Matrix is virtual world, they say it was named from an old movie but it’s really from something even older than that. A sci-fi television show, one of the first, the Matrix was an artificial, alien after-life. Instead of dying and going on, the aliens would be uploaded to the Matrix. Preserved for all of time and could even be returned to life from it.

The Matrix we have is a little like that I think. At some point in at least half of all people’s lives they decide they don’t like the world as it is. So they sell up all of their belongings, get the required augmentation added and have their consciousness uploaded. It’s a slow process converting a human brain to digital, I imagine in the early days the people who didn’t want it could have thought of it as dying.

Dying, but in a way where you could still see your family on weekends. And you always go what you think heaven would be.

Half seems like it would be a lot. It is, but what I mean is, it’s actually not. A rough census of the human inter-planetary empire puts the population at about eight hundred trillion. So that still leaves four hundred trillion people, still using at least one body.

Walking around on the surface of planets, moons and asteroids. Floating through space in orbiting platforms, mining rigs and hyperspace transit rings. Piloting ships to new worlds, holiday planets and into the side of a transit ring.

I yelled at the grey wall of The Crux in front of me. No-one nearby could hear me, I was staying out of the voice lobbies of the common citizen. I’m sure there was another one or two augmented officers in upper orbit who were quite amused by my history of the Matrix but had thought it best to not reply.

From my AR view outside I could see what was unfolding.

The Transit ring itself was big enough to send a small moon across the galaxy but for commercial flights there were a couple hundred smaller ones attached to the side. Each with the ability to connect to similar rings on this side of Sagittarius A* at the center of the Milky Way.

We can squeeze the fabric of space to travel billions of lightyears in seconds, but we couldn’t stop some people from damaging the pinnacle of scientific exploration.

At least a dozen housing units were between me and my designated departure ring. At least one of them had not lined themselves up correctly and had plowed through the ring as it was turned on. My access to the alerts dashboard of the transit system had given me that much information. And I could see the carnage that was left behind.

Debris was blooming out from the impact like a slow bubble of metal and plastic. There were automated clean-up units already floating out from the ring to begin recycling. One of the terms and conditions of a hyperspace ticket was transfer of ownership in the event of accidents like this. Makes it easier than trying to differentiate between items that may or may not have been altered by torn space.

I kind of hope that the person who crashed died on impact. If they want to be brought back they likely won’t remember what happened unless they were using mental relay. But even so, if they were alive to get pulled through a degrading wormhole with the front of the ship torn off…

There were stories about testing human only hyperspace transmission that I hope are untrue. Without a polarized shell would be bad enough, bending and stretching for what feels like eternity. But unfolding space is chaotic in strongest meaning of the word. It can tear and bulge but theoretically it could create separate plains of space-time outside our own, normally with nothing in them except for what was in the wormhole at the time.

Not that this kind of travel was regularly dangerous. A fully engaged wormhole is as safe to move though as any other region of space, especially when there is another ring on the other side anchoring the connection. There’s never been any reports of malfunctions or even incorrect destinations. Just the occasional customer error, like damaged polarizers or crashes like this.

I should have bought a better class of ticket it will take a while for them to repair this ring. But a hundred credits more still wasn’t worth it, even if it did mean I could choose my transit ring, change the departure time, get a tune up, a meal and accommodation on the other side.

Yeah for a hundred credits in the outer planets I could probably buy an asteroid to live on with the robots to make it nice. Plus I hate transit ring food and I do all my own repairs.

The line started to move to another ring. I checked my AR for messages, the transit ring automation had moved my departure ring.

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Low Dopamine

“What am I doing here?” Charlie asked himself. The driver couldn’t hear him and had stated as much when she picked him up. There was supposed to be a phone call coming through to him that was apparently classified. The driver didn’t appear to be military but something about her demeanor made Charlie both fear and respect her immediately.

 

This experience was planned, so he wasn’t as freaked out as perhaps he should have been. He had received an email and a call a week ago setting up this meeting. A patient he used to treat for an on and off basis had wanted to meet. Gregory Latimer, he had mild anxiety and depression during some time at university. Initially Charlie thought that maybe Greg had relapsed after going into workforce, which was common.

 

Although Charlie had not provided personal details with his patients the University must have provided them. So whatever Gregory needed him for must have been important.

 

It wasn’t until now that he was sitting in the back of a soundproof limousine that he realised he should have asked for more details before agreeing to be involved.

 

The red telephone beside him chirped. Charlie picked up the receiver and held it to his ear.

 

“Hello Charlie.”

“Gregory? How are you?”

“I’m fine actually.”

“Oh, I see.”
“Yes, but I do have need of your services. However not for myself.”

“You are talking to me on behalf of a friend?”

 

Charlie almost rolled his eyes, it was a usual tactic, not wanting to own our problems. However Greg did not have a history for that nor did it sound like he was lying.

 

“I am hiring you on behalf of a friend actually.”

“Right okay. So who is this person and why are they not talking to be directly?”

“That’s the classified bit I’m afraid. I cannot tell you more details about the patient until you agree to see them and be sworn to secrecy yourself.”

“It’s going to be hard to agree to something if I know nothing about it.”

“You will be moved closer to the patient, living and housing costs paid for. Your regular fee for an hour session will be paid for as ten back to back sessions every business day. However your actual session times will be unscheduled and you may have to do some on weekends. Any details of the patient will be kept classified, you will not be able to publish any findings even anonymously.”

 

Charlie did not reply. The idea of a fifty sessions a week as a salary was good enough but living and housing on top of that. But even without the money this was an interesting case he had found himself with, a patient with a classified mental condition. Even without being able to publish anything on this Charlie wanted to know what that condition was.

 

“I’ll take the job.”
“The driver will have you sign a contract and bring you here. It is very imperative that you start as quickly as possible.”

 

*

 

The driver hadn’t said a single word to him since she had told him that the rest of his belongings would be moved to his new abode. Charlie had been trying to quickly pack a suitcase.

 

They were now miles out of the city, coming upon what seemed to be an abandoned airport.

 

He could just make out Gregory through the tinted windows. Charlie had always thought that Greg had the gait and face of a man who knew something, something that burdened him. Therapy didn’t seem to disrupt that effect.

 

The car came to halt and Greg opened the door.

 

“Hello again Gregory.” Charlie greeted him as he shuffled out of the car.

“Yes, hi. Please, follow me.” He spun around and started to move towards the decrepit hanger

“Sure.” Charlie noticed that he still dragged his feet when he walked. Greg hadn’t been working on the physical exercises that Charlie had prescribed him. He shrugged it off, it was only meant to help in theory.

 

The hanger didn’t hold an airplane, instead in the center of it was what seemed to two smaller hangers. Charlie soon realized that they were just two elevator openings when they got closer and Gregory pressed a button on the outside.

 

“This scans a fingerprint but there is an optical scanner at the bottom. We’ll get you in the system before you leave for your new abode.”

“Is that enough security? It seems like this is a bit more than top secret.”

“This is just a precaution, we’re not expecting enemies of the state to infiltrate this place even if they did know about it.”

 

“So what are you keeping down here there?”

“Your patient obviously.”

“I got that much. Can’t you tell me more about them?”

“I was going to leave it as more of a surprise but I guess it’s important if we expect you to do a good job…”
“So who is he? What does he need me for?”

“She… is an artificial intelligence… And as far as we can tell, she has depression.”

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The wizard of Coz

I always loved taking the subway, the cool clean Oz of the recyclers, the whooshing sound of the water in and out of the airlock at each station. I haven’t been on one since I was a child. My mother worked at the government building in the centre of the city, far from the Agropolis that our housing unit was docked at.

 

She used to take me and my sister with her because they had an onsite daycare.

 

Looking down from the bottom walkway I could see the rails on which the subway cars travelled. The flashing red lights almost invisible deep under the blue-green water. Air bubbled up as the nearby station prepared to eject one of those cars onto the rail.

 

I couldn’t smell the crisp acidic air of the lower levels because of my filtering mask. But I remembered the burning in my nostrils as clearly as I could see the waves gently lapping at concrete and steel under the walkway.

 

Out here in the open the air wasn’t safe to breathe anymore, not that it really was before even without all the Coz. That was probably one on of the reason Mom stopped bringing us with her. Our housing unit was sealed and the main function of the Agropolis besides making food is producing Oz from the Coz.

 

My filtering mask has an electrolyzer that can convert the Coz on the fly for about an hour before needing recharging. They were originally designed for maintenance men stationed in the high atmosphere monitoring stations but once the Coz got down to sea level it became the new fashion. Mine is a simple black but there are designer ones with angles and pastel colors. I wouldn’t call myself fashionable and I don’t usually venture outside these days anyway.

 

It’s probably been about ten years since the last trip I took on the subway and probably ten months since I last needed to leave the housing unit.

 

I stopped leaning on the railing, turning away from the waves like waking from a dream. The walkway was anything but empty. I’ve heard that our city has the largest population of those above water, I could believe it.

 

It would only take a few full breaths of the Coz out here to give mild nerve damage and that’s if you get your mask back on and don’t faint from mild asphyxiation. But even so hundreds of people walked by, several had full face masks, only one in fifty people used complete body covering suits.

 

I stepped into the crowd and followed the flow until I got to the subway entrance.

 

No-one followed me down the stairs. Usually only commuters took the subway, it was too expensive to use as casual transport around the city. Those who worked in the center of the city had their travel reimbursed as it was the only place you couldn’t live close by to. There were no Housing docks in the Agropolises there as it was all dedicated to filling workplaces or the manufacture of goods that require Oz.

 

My ears popped from the pressure change once I got to the bottom level. The station was clean black and white tile with fluorescent lights reflecting off every plastic advertisement enclosure hung on the walls. The enclosures were empty, apart from one or two which I think were just old PSAs reminding people getting off to put their masks back on now that they were off the subway.

 

The subway guard looked at me with her scanning blue lights. The last vestige of the robotic workforce, standing around looking menacing.

 

I made my way to the airlock separating the stairs from the subway platform.

 

“Please wait for the airlock cycle.” The guard said in her chirpy yet somehow aggressive tone.

 

She didn’t even want to check my ID or ask where I was heading today. I always hated that about the AI swarm, they knew everything there was to know on earth but generally kept it to themselves. No wonder we stopped them from taking all the jobs.

 

“Please enjoy your trip.” That same voice pushing me to get into the airlock and hurry along so it could put its processing power back into undoing entropy or whatever it was that they did with it.

 

I got in the airlock and was immediately blasted with that chilled crisp Oz. I rushed to take my mask off so I could savor the nostalgia for it but was not quick enough. For some reason I blamed the robot guard for this, even though I knew she wouldn’t have cared enough to rush the airlock cycle just for that.

 

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The future is all long hallways

The city’s police department took up one of the largest buildings in the city, not including the housing Agropolises. It doubled as a civil defence base with the firepower of a capital class ship. Capable of lifting off the ground and leaving the atmosphere in the event of planetary emergency. Unlike other buildings, which had compartments that would separate from the main structure before leaving Earth.

 

I walked down the white plastic hallway of the Nova’s floor towards the elevator. The walkway was empty, no posters or active screens. The only alleviation from the blindingly lit walls were the black, red and blue lines. Indicating where there were hand-holds in the case of low gravity, the way to the elevator and the way to robot processing. Not that robots needed that line to tell them where they were going.

 

The robotic police force which I was technically a part of came in three parts. The uniformed officers that patrolled the streets, the muscle, were given rudimentary intelligence. They could talk to people, assess dangerous situations and attempt to achieve peaceful outcomes. There is no empathy or emotional simulation in their programing, they cannot be threatened or bribed.

 

For more complex situations the muscle is connected to the brain, the second part of the force, truly artificially intelligent robots that can communicate orders directly to uniforms. These artificial life forms work together to make more human decisions around how the law is supposed to be interpreted. Of course keeping with the rules set by the earlier founders of the force, ultimately there is a human element.

 

The augmented police force, detectives and government agents are all born human. They can have any kind of cybernetic enhancement, usually the more the better.

 

I flicked on my AR, the hallway remained the same, no point in advertising in a place no civilian has ever walked. In the bottom right corner of my vision there was a blinking message icon, I brought it up. My hyperspace window had been approved, while the message was active on my AR it surrounded the edges of my focus in white dots that zipped passed like I was in a soft blizzard. I’m not sure why that’s still part of the marketing scheme for hyperspace transit rings. Even if you could see outside your ship in hyperspace no-one thought it looked like that.

 

An elevator arrived for me just as I got to them, I hadn’t requested one, the superintendent of the building had noticed that I was walking this way and that I still wasn’t on duty. It would have accepted me walking right past the open lift and taking the stairs, only adding more data to it’s profile on me. Likes to walk down twenty flights of stairs sometimes. I stepped into the elevator and held my hand over the control terminal to interface with the superintendent.

 

My ship had been taken out of the docking bay and brought to the launch terminal by the time I reached the hanger. I could say that I was one of the lucky ones who managed to have their own ship, unlike those would eject their housing compartment and use it for this kind of flight. I do feel lucky but I did put a lot of work into this ship.

A twenty six R eight Hellion that I’ve modified myself. Took me almost my entire service on the force to put her together. It was a lot of working credits just to purchase the chassis, not just because the market had just crashed when I bought it but the R eight series ended with the twenty six, ten years before I was born making it, basically an antique. The creation of hyperspace transit rings had lead to the discontinuation of a lot of commercial spaceship manufacturing.

 

As part of the universal bill of rights every living human was provided with healthy housing of at least one hundred and fifty six square metres in living space. Among requirements for air, water, food and recreation. Further amendments to that right had made it so the house had to be capable of exiting earth’s atmosphere in the event of emergency. Once the transit rings went online this meant everyone could take a long visit to the edge of the galaxy without the need of a faster-than-light drive.

 

It also put the commercial interstellar transport industry out of business, but I’m sure most of them bought shares in the transit rings.

 

The superintendent lowered my ship down holding the airlock at the end docking platform I was standing on. The red paint had started to get a bit worn due to small debris impacts but that only made me appreciate it more. I could see her registered name just underneath the wing ‘The Scutum Crux’. It was printed in black surrounded by an artistic impression of the galactic arm.

 

The door opened with a slight hiss from the small amount of decompression.

 

I entered and the door closed behind me. Interfacing with the ship immediately I started the exit sequence. The docking clamp moved us, me and my ship, to the docking bay exit. I reached the bridge shortly after we halted at the exit. The bridge was an empty gray room at the front of the ship, an R eight straight out of the factory would have had screen on the wall to display ship information but I never installed one during my refit.

 

Once my AR fully synchronized with the Crux I requested a place to sit, a chair protruded from the construct-gel I had covered the interior with. Now comfortably strapped in my new seat a set of controls formed in my AR. Not physically there, physical controls would be too slow, but tactile because my mind was directly interfaced with the ship.

Earth’s airspace laws only allow polarized magnetic boosters at this height. They didn’t need the added heat of exhaust thrusters, not that I had any on board. I flicked on my mag-boosters filling the hull with an exacerbated hum. The docking clamp let go and I was in free fall for a split second before the docks magnetic field repelled my ship’s.

 

The gray wall in front of me became an exact image of what was outside the ship. We could easily make glass that would be strong enough to withstand space but when space-time was stretched around a ship in traditional hyperspace only certain materials could polarize correctly, glass was not one of them.

 

I edged the Crux until we reached the end of the hanger. I was lower than Nova’s office now but the view of the city was just as enticing. The AR ads not picking up the ships sensors as a person’s augment, instead there were neon strips of white, red and green highlighting the airways, building edges and empty parking spaces.

 

The nose of the ship dipped and we fell down the side of the Police precinct.

 


 

So uh, Happy Holidays and New Years.

I was on holiday there myself for a bit. Then when I came back to work I had completely lost the rhythm of writing. Once I had finally got it back we had a heat wave and when I wasn’t too hot to write I was too tired to.

And thus ends my impromptu hiatus.  Until the next one

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I love a rainy night

This is kind of a continuation of ‘Taidan for fear’ so if you haven’t read that one, I suggest you go back and do that.


Nova turned away from me, giving away the truth of her appearance. She became a flurry of random pixels, a ‘snow crash’ was what I’ve heard some people call it. The holographic avatar was designed for face to face communication nothing more.

 

“What were you doing there?” She turned back to face me, the pixels realigning to my vision like stepping out of the rain.

“I could smell something dead.”

“Well of course you could, why didn’t you just call the Superintendent?”

“The super should have picked it up before I got there.”

 

I looked around me, Nova’s office hadn’t changed since I went on leave four months ago. Soft black carpet, small green couch and matching single chair. All immaculate.

 

Her hologram moved behind her long metal desk and appeared to sit. She wanted me to know that she was upset with me, holograms can appear however you want them to that didn’t have to represent your current state. Nova had made her avatar look like herself as many do, dark skin, big green eyes and purple, dead straight hair.

 

“We put you on leave for a reason. So that you could stop working so hard.”

“I had a nice vacation.”

 

I walked over to the window. Nova had a corner office with a window large enough to see the horizon. It was under the cloud layer which meant I could see the city tonight during the scheduled rain cycle. The reds and blues of the bustling metropolis twinkled in the water droplets. I could see my building from here but not my floor.

 

“It wasn’t long enough. So you’re staying on leave.”

“That’s fine. Have you followed my lead.”

“Yes.”

“Can you at least tell me what you found out?”

 

The hologram squinted at me.

 

“You aren’t planning on working this case.” That wasn’t a question.

“No, I’ve got tickets for an off world trip actually.”

“Fine then. We couldn’t find her missing tattoo in the Earth crime database.”

 

I shifted my weight onto my other foot but kept looking out the window. An automated police drone flew past on its way to the detainment entrance. It looked like it had a passenger, at this time of night it was probably vagrancy. Not that they wouldn’t have had a home to go to, but a lot of people get too drunk and can’t make it there.

 

“So we had Interpol check all the databases from the inner systems.” Nova liked to talk through all the steps. I half wished I hadn’t asked. “But there was nothing there either.”

 

I brought up my AR, still looking out the window. The view became a sea of colour and flashing lights. Advertisements. In the Real Reality, even in the Virtual one, advertisements have been regulated beyond affordability. Cannot be targeted at children, must be in context, cannot be for ingestible substances. But in AR those regulations don’t exist, they can’t be regulated, AR above the last floor of any building was declared free game and written into the Declaration of Virtual Realities and Matrices.

 

“But obviously you described it as a Taidan character so we had the embassy from that sector send us their database. As it turns out, that is the gang symbol for a Yakuza style gang they have out there called…”

“Fear.”

“Well yeah, but in Taidan. Not sure how they pronounce it though. There probably isn’t even one. The gang is supposedly based on the Taidan homeworld. They mainly deal in drugs, ones that are still illegal in that part of the galaxy, but they’ve been working up into the slave trade. We’re checking incoming and outgoing to see if we catch any of them in our space.”

 

“Can you send me any information you get regarding this?”

“You’re now added to the case file.”

“Thank you.” I turned away from the window and started to leave.

 

“So where’s the destination of your off world adventure? I hear that the Virgo Constellation just got a new luxury space station.”

“Not sure yet. Probably the Taidan homeworld.”

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The New Pilot

So I really struggled to write anything this week, I was getting over a cold/flu that was rather tenacious so I barely had the energy to be at work.
Anyway that means we’re pulling out of the archives, here is the first part to that Doctor Who fanfiction/spin off I started. Let me know if you would want to see more of it.

 


Susan Campbell was old now, the oldest person on Earth was her title these days. She had never wanted to leave unlike many of her friends throughout the years who had made their way off world.

 

There was a knock on her cabin door. She silently cursed her strange ability to make friends with these humans, despite being far more evolved than them she could always empathize so well. She’d even married one, that’s what got her so stuck here in the first place.

 

She wriggled in her bed not really wanting to get up. There were another few knocks. ‘Ugh’ she thought then slid herself around the bed her joints complaining heavily. Sitting over the side she paused to breathe and gather strength. As she grabbed her metal cane she heard more bangs on her door.

 

“I’m coming, hold on!” What could possibly be so urgent that you’d pester such an old woman. Susan was already wearing her night robe, must have slept in it. She pulled herself up and hobbled towards the door.

 

Susan was not suffering from arthritis or any of those age granted ailments that humans suffer from, three hundred Earth years have just taken their toll. The human doctors, at least the ones still on earth, had tried their best to help but they couldn’t do much. They normally just wanted to try and give her replacement parts which Susan would never have agreed to. She always wondered how much different humans could be from her when she was able to have a child with one.

 

“What can I do for you?” Susan asked as she started to open the door. The warm breeze flowed over her, it was mid afternoon so she shouldn’t have been late for anything.

 

“Doctor?” Susan’s heart jumped in her throat, like it did every time people addressed her by her title and not her name.

“What have I told you about that Kalis? My name is Susan.” The man at the door was one of her many students, she had taken up teaching physics over the years, once the humans were at her level of knowledge anyway.

“Susan, something as appeared in the center of the campus that you should see, we think it’s might be time capsule based on its materialization.” He was tall with dark skin and even darker hair.

“Let me get dressed.” She shut the door quickly with a slam. Then she stopped and opened it again. “Sorry didn’t mean to slam it on you.”
“It’s okay, I’ll wait for you.”

 

She moved quickly now, somehow she suddenly had the energy to disregard the pain in her legs. It had been a very long time since she had met another time traveler. That Face of Boe was quite a character, he was the last Time-Agent she remembered touching down in this time period but they didn’t use capsules. Come to think of it she couldn’t remember if humans had ever used capsules to travel in time, maybe cabinets?

 

Susan was dressed in record time and almost at the door before she realized that she’d still need her cane. She stepped over to her coat rack which also doubled as her cane holder. She had a variety of canes these days as that was what people always seemed to give her as a present. Susan grabbed a blue wooden one, it reminded her of her grandfather so it was her favourite.

 

“Okay I’m ready Kalis.”

 

*

 

The Campus was about the size of a fishing village, the center was a large grassed area with statues of notable human academics and explorers. Susan had felt close to home in this park, the reverence for learning and science was something that sat deep in her hearts.

 

“Slow down Doctor Campbell, you might hurt yourself.”

“You said it was in the middle of the campus. Where is it?”

“It’s near the Marco Polo statue.”

“Ah yes, I remember Marco Polo.”

 

Susan made her way through the hedges and trees past Columbus, Cook and Clark before she started to feel tired. She couldn’t bare the pain anymore and took a seat on one of the benches just around the corner from the Polo statue.

 

“Are you okay Susan?”

“I am okay Kalis, just got too excited is all.” She had her legs outstretched and was flexing her feet up and down to promote blood flow.

“You don’t think it could be one of your…”
“My kind, no, they all died in the War. But I’m still hopeful that I’ll find a working dematerialization circuit. Even a broken one would be nice.”

“Where would you go?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea. Probably just see where I end up.” Susan smiled so hard that her face hurt.

“Not back to see…”
“No, I couldn’t go back on my own time stream, too dangerous. Anyway I think I’m okay now.”

 

Susan stood up, almost fell back but caught herself on her cane. She took a few steps to make sure she was stable. Satisfied she continued round the corner to where the Capsule was supposed to be.

 

She fell backwards and landed in a sitting position facing towards the statue.

“Susan! Are you okay?”

 

Susan opened her mouth but only said one word.

“Grandfather.”

 

*starting theme song*

 

“Kalis, Doctor!” A woman, about the same age as Kalis came running over from the blue Phone-Box next to the statue. Another of Susan’s students, the only other person nearby. “Are you okay?”

“Erin! Susan’s fallen over can you find an assistance droid or a medical student?”

“Don’t worry about me.” Susan grumbled as she tried to pick herself up. “Okay, maybe help me up.”

 

Erin grabbed her cane off the ground and gave it back as Kalis had got her back on her feet. Erin was about the same height as Susan, and had the same ghostly white hair despite being in her mid twenties. It was the new fashion around the college.

“You said ‘grandfather’ while you were on the ground there Susan, is this the Doctor’s Tardis?”

“Yes Kalis, it’s particular shade of blue is different but that’s probably normal with its broken chameleon circuit.”
“No-one has come out of it Susan.” Erin mentioned.

 

“Well he might be being cautious, you never know what kind of rationals his current regeneration might have.”

“How do you know he’d be like you remember?” Kalis asked as they got closer.

“Timelords might act like different people when they change face but he would always be my grandfather.” Susan knocked on the Tardis door. ‘I don’t blame you.’ She thought to herself, in response to any of the things he may have apologised for.

 

The Tardis remained silent. “Are you sure that no-one came out?”

“Of course, there’s always been someone here watching it since it materialized.” Erin responded abruptly.

 

“Guess we’ll have try and get in then.” Susan reached into for the handle, she heard the tumblers click open at her touch, the Tardis was keyed to her. “Grandfather?” She called out. No response.

 

Susan pulled the doors outwards, stepping inside. “Grandfather?” She continued to shout. As she looked around the console room.

 

“Wow!” Her students had followed her, their faces covered in happy surprise. The console room was huge, like a mansion and cathedral rolled into a chinese festival of lights. Susan walked right past the main console and made her way over to a small alcove on the left covered by book cases, there was a short little table in the middle of it.

 

A cup of tea was sitting on the table. Susan touched the side, it was still warm, that could have meant anything when it came to the internal timezones of the Tardis.

“Hey, don’t touch anything!” Susan called out to her students, they jumped back from the console and held their hands up to indicate that they weren’t. “Grandfather doesn’t seem to be here.”

 

“Where could he be?” Kalis asked.

“Anywhere in space and time. It would appear that he sent me the Tardis, maybe he’s in trouble, or maybe he’s just decided to settle down for once.”

 

*

 

“Susan, the war in Orion is taking its toll, we can fight the Mondasian’s easily enough with the glitter cannons but the other kind, they’ve upgraded.”

“This isn’t my war.”
“You helped us against the Daleks?”

“That was my war.”

“You must know of a weapon that we could use against the Cybermen.”

“I know of a weapon, but even if I could build it, even if you could power it, you would never be able to use it appropriately and I am not your soldier.”

“Then why don’t you piss off back to your home world, if you’re not going to help us.”

 

‘I would if I could’ Susan remembered that conversation from a few years ago, when she had started building her own time machine. Her machine wasn’t going to be needed any more.

 

“Well, I’m going to find him.”

“Find your grandfather? You’re going to leave in the Tardis?”

“Yes. And I might not be coming back. So you best be off.” Susan pointed to the door.

 

Kalis and Erin looked at her, the happy surprise replaced with a terrible longing. “Okay fine, you can come, but don’t complain if you never get home.”

“Thank you Susan!” Kalis cheered.
“But how can we find your grandfather, The Doctor?” Erin stepped in.

 

“The fast return switch.” Susan pointed to a section of the console “This little feature will push the Tardis back along her own time stream.”
“But you said that going back on your own time stream is dangerous.”

“Yes I did, but of course if you paid any attention in my classes Kalis you would know that Time Lord Tardises are the absolute forefront of temporal engineering. The Tardis could even, in theory, be used to hold a paradox in place, she won’t cause any damage when used appropriately. The only problem would be, going beyond the time space continuum but we should have plenty of leeway in that regard.”

 

“How would it go beyond the continuum if it was only going back on it’s own time stream?” Erin was suddenly very curious.

“Tardises can also travel between universes, also if goes before it’s own creation or if the button gets stuck down.”

“Oh.”

“Not that I would like to do any of that.”  Susan pushed a button on the console and the tardis doors pulled themselves closed. “Let’s go!” She clicked the switch on. The centerpiece of the console started to rise and fall as the Tardis lurched to life.

 

“But Susan your home and your belongings.”

“It’s just stuff Kalis, I have everything that I need right here.” Susan pushed a few buttons on the console, the tardis dematerialized and groaned its familiar vortex entrance noise. Susan beamed happily at the console. ‘It’s good to be home.’

 

*

 

Susan made sure to push hard on the fast return switch to turn it off. Pulling on the materialization lever the Tardis slowly re-entered time space. Once the main lights turned back on and the console stopped flashing she spoke again.

“We’ve landed.”

“Where?” Erin wondered while Kalis made his way to the doors.

“Not sure. Last materialization point of the Tardis at least. No time travel though, same time exactly.”

“There’s no way to know?”

“It supports life, and it’s about Earth size. Some low level radiation, nothing dangerous.”

“Can you scan for your grandfather?” Kalis turned away from the doors ready to push them open.

 

“Good idea.” Susan twisted a few knobs and pushed a button or two. “He’s not here.” She was disappointed. “We should look around though. Find out what happened to him.”

 

“There’s a whole planet out there, he could have been anywhere.” Erin thought outloud. “We might need to split up.” Susan walked around the console flicked a few switches, twisted a dial and pushed a lever upwards.

“I’ll get you some keys then just in case we do split up.” Finally she tapped on the keyboard by the main monitor which suddenly produced two identical Yale lock keys. “Here you go.” Kalis put his hand out first and Susan put one of them in his hand. She then pushed the door control button and Kalis ran right out.

 

“Uh I don’t think this is actually a good idea.” Kalis’ voice shook with terror.

“What is it?” Susan made her way from the console out the door and looked up at what Kalis was staring at.

 

It was a huge metal sculpture about the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

 

“Dalek.” Erin had come outside as well.

 

“We should leave.” Kalis said still very afraid.

“No.” Susan pushed the doors to the Tardis shut. “If my grandfather was here then he will definitely need our help.”

 

They had materialized deep inside a dense jungle, the towering dalek monument they saw was one of many they could see just over the treetops. Susan started to walk in the direction of the closest one.

“But we can’t fight them! We have no weapons!”

“We don’t need any weapons.” Susan continued walking, Erin chased after her, Kalis hesitated until they were almost out of view before he ran to catch up.

 

*

 

“You’ve fought the daleks twice, you know how dangerous they can be.” Kalis had not given up trying to make them leave.

“More than twice, you are right they are dangerous. I came to find my Grandfather, you didn’t have to come with me.” Susan was leaning on a tree regaining her strength.

“Kalis, you can go back to the Tardis if you want, we’re just going to look around, these monuments look like they’re ancient anyway, the Daleks are probably long gone.” Erin was very calm and collected.

 

Susan straightened out again and continued to move. Erin went with her, Kalis begrudgingly followed.

It was only few more steps away but the dense trees made it hard to find a direct path close to the metal. Finally they had come upon it, both Susan and Erin smiled ever so slightly, Kalis was still in his mood.

 

“Interesting. This design is different to other Daleks”

“Perhaps a vortex streamlining? They used temporal shifts to travel in time didn’t they?” Erin postulated.

“But the ones that attacked Earth had time travel and they didn’t have these angles.” Kalis entered the conversation. “Maybe they added larger power units?”

“That’s the spirit Kalis.” Susan beamed at the return of his curiosity.

 

“YOU WILL DESIST YOUR INVESTIGATION!” Susan, Erin and Kalis all froze. Then slowly turned to face the Daleks behind them.

“Hello there.” Susan smiled at them. “We were just admiring your statue. Very good likeness.” Kalis looked at her, his eyes wide in disbelief.

“YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!”

“Now hold on just a moment!” Susan started to hobble over towards the Dalek. “You can’t just go around exterminating anyone who sees your artwork, that’s no way to get good reviews.”

“Surely you want to know how we got here?” Erin asked.

 

The Dalek twisted it’s eyestalk between Erin and Susan.

 

“YOU ARE A TIMELORD! YOU WILL HAVE ARRIVED BY TARDIS!”

“Correct.” Susan continued to move towards them “And would you ever find that Tardis without me telling you where it is?”

“YOU WILL COME WITH US!”

“We sure will. Come along Erin, Kalis.”

 

“Aren’t you a Time Lady Susan?” Erin started to wonder as they trudged along the path through the jungle.

“Well no, Time Lord is a rank of High Gallifreyan rule, I never technically received that ranking.”

“Isn’t your race Gallifreyan then?” Erin continued.

“That could refer to any of the life on Gallifrey, we appreciate the distinction, so most beings say that it is our race.”

“Surely you have a better name for yourselves?”

“Of course, which in English means Time Lord.” Susan struggled to keep moving at the same pace as the daleks, Kalis held her up acting as a second cane. “It is a bit arrogant but the idea is that we lord over time so we are Time Lords. You can be a Lady that lords over something, not that it matters anyway because we can switch between genders.”

“Oh I see, Lady and Lord is only for gender nouns whereas Time Lord is actually a translation from a word that means to lord over time.”
“Exactly.”

 

“YOU WILL BE SILENT!” The browner of red Daleks in the group screamed in its usual tone.

“Just trying to fill the time till we get there.”

“WE HAVE ARRIVED!”

“Ah. That was quick.” Susan looked at the metal wall in front of them, there were two other Daleks on guard outside an open door. One of them had one large gun on it instead of gun and plunger. Kalis looked at Susan with a question on his face, Susan shook her head not wanting to annoy the Dalek’s further.

 

*

 

The Daleks lead them through a series of hallways, Susan walked through them confidently. Kalis and Erin were more hesitant making sure not to make any sudden movements. They passed many other Daleks on their way to where-ever they were being taken. Some were of the same design that Susan had fought long ago, some were gold plated, others with the larger base were painted bright colours.

 

Every doorway so far was open before it had even come into view except the one they had just come upon.

 

“OPEN!”

 

There was a dull thump and a twang of metal as though a seal was opened. The door started to slide upwards making a slight grind as it did. The trio saw the bottom of a Dalek casing under the door.

‘Dalek Supreme’ They all thought, roughly around the same time.

 

“Hello Doctor.” This was not a Dalek voice. “I assume you are the Doctor. You have similar genetic markers but not exactly the same.”

 

The door opened fully. It was not a Dalek but a man, he was sitting in the casing like it was a wheelchair. His face was burned, deformed and his eyes sealed shut, but he had another eye shining blue in the center of his forehead.

 

“I do not know you, but how do you know the Doctor?” Susan stepped forward.

“A different Time Lord? Interesting, how is it you came to have the Doctor’s Tardis?” His casing twisted as he moved his hand very slightly in a pointing motion. Two Daleks pushed the blue box into the room via another door.

“How did you find it?” Kalis shouted.

“Dear boy, my Daleks are always on the lookout for this Tardis.”

 

“This is my Grandfather’s Tardis. How do you know him?” Susan’s voice was stiff.

“The Doctor? Your Grandfather. He is my greatest enemy.”

 

Susan leapt forward, far more nimble than she should have been. She pulled up her cane and held it in two hands. She landed on the Dalek casing and pushed her cane up against his throat.

 

“What have you done with my Grandfather?” Susan screamed at the top of her lungs.

“EXTERMINATE!” All the Daleks in the room pointed their guns towards her.

“Wait!” The man shouted over them all. “I haven’t done anything to your Grandfather, not recently.”
“Where is he?”

“I don’t know!”

 

Susan pulled herself off the casing, taking her cane away from his neck.

“Who are you?”

“I am Davros, creator of the Daleks.” He explained as he rubbed where he was being choked. Kalis and Erin looked at each other quizzically.

“You’re running a bit of patchwork operation here Davros. Daleks of all different designs. My Grandfather must have put you through the ringer.”

“Not without losing his entire race to us.” Susan’s eyes went wide, and her knuckles went white gripping her cane.

 

“Daleks were the enemy of the time war!” Erin’s words fell out her mouth. Susan went quiet.

“Oh you didn’t know. Your Grandfather never told you about the time war? How he sacrificed the Time Lords to kill us and didn’t even succeed?” Davros started to laugh, his shrill voice echoing through the hallways. “Take them to a cell, we might have need of hostages later.”

 

Erin and Kalis looked at Susan, she just looked at the floor silently.

 

*

 

“The Daleks defeated the Time Lords in the time war.” Kalis paced around the cell.

“They couldn’t have, if they had won they would have wiped out all other races in the universe.” Erin responded, the cell was more of a garbage disposal, there must have been enough Dalek parts laying around to build two full casings.

“But you said it yourself they were the enemy and we know the Time Lords lost.”

“Maybe they both lost. These Daleks are hardly an army now, maybe the Time Lords did enough damage, like a nuclear mutually assured destruction.”

“How do we get out of here? Can you see any other opening?”

“No. We’ll have to wait to see if they bring us back to Davros. They’ll probably try to make us open the Tardis.” Susan finally spoke. Erin and Kalis looked at her, she was sitting against the wall looking at the floor, completely silent.

 

“Susan?” Kalis knelt next to her. “Susan are you okay?”

“I’ll be okay Kalis. I’m just remembering something.”

“What are you remembering?” Erin asked softly

“Long ago now, before either of your parents were born, back when… after my Alex passed away.”

“Susan, you don’t have…” Erin tried to stop her.

“A Time Lord came to earth to speak to me, he was dressed up in clothing from the nineteen eighties. Can you believe that? For masters of time they never get it right.” Susan let out a short laugh. “He asked me to come back to Gallifrey, re-enroll to the academy. I asked why they would suddenly let a renegade back in. He said that they had changed the rules, I pushed and found out about the time war. I knew the Daleks were the enemy but he didn’t tell me, I could feel it.”

 

Susan flipped over her cane and used it to pull a piece of Dalek over to her. It was one of the baubles that would normally stick out the side, it was actually a metal sphere.

 

“What are we going to do Susan?” Kalis sat next to her.

“We’re going to build something to use as a distraction.”

“What could we use a as a distraction?” Erin asked.

 

“Remember back in temporal linearity two zero five when I went over the concept of Functional and dysfunctional dematerialization?”

“No I didn’t take that class.” Erin stated.

“I did, functional dematerialization is when you disembark from space-time and enter the vortex in a way that you can safely re-enter. Dysfunctional is when your time stream is severed and unravels out of space-time. You said that Dysfunctional dematerialization is only theory though.” Kalis answered

“Well I lied, Dysfunctional dematerialization is just hard to get right. Most time faring races have figured a way to do it in a roundabout way.”

“Weaponized time technology!” Erin gasped.

“Yes Erin. Normally though their methods just leave a wound in time perfectly capable of being restored. Only one people ever mastered both dematerializations.”

“The Time Lords!” Kalis pointed his finger like a gun.

 

“Perfect Demat will remove a being completely from time with no trace. Every Time Lord that goes through the Academy is taught how to make the demat gun.”
“What? Why? That’s crazy?”

“I don’t know why, but they all have it sealed behind a barrier in their mind only accessible under extreme duress or expert hypnotism. I however was taught how to make it by my grandfather.”

“You could build this gun with these parts?”

“Not a chance.  Wouldn’t do much good anyway, it could only be powered by Rassilon’s Time Key. However I think I can make something that will do the trick.”

 

*

 

“I did not get your name Time Lord.” Davros was sitting close to the Tardis.

“It’s Susan. My Companions are Kalis and Erin.”
“Companions, yes, that is what the Doctor always had with him. His greatest weakness.”

“Ian and Barbara?”

“I am not familiar with those names. Sarah and Harry, Romana, Tegan and Turlough, my list goes on and on.”

 

“Are those my Grandfather’s companions names?” Susan hobbled towards Davros non-threateningly.

“Many of them, they weren’t all there at once of course, the Doctor does lose them at an astounding rate.”

“How did you come to know My Grandfather? You weren’t there on Skaro when we defeated the Daleks with the Thals.”

“My Daleks were not defeated by the Thals!” Davros shook with anger.

 

“Oh did he not tell you, how your Daleks were beaten by simply turning off the power switch.” Susan smiled ducking down to make sure that he could see on her face.

“Do not taunt me woman.”

“Don’t try to dodge the question. How do you know the Doctor?”

“He was there when I created the Daleks, he tried to stop me from making them.”

“To stop the Daleks from ever existing. Why are you still around then?” Susan put her hand inside her coat.

“He couldn’t do it, he had the switch in his hand but his precious laws of time wouldn’t let him. He failed. Like he will. Forever.”

 

“But I won’t.” Susan grabbed the grenade out from her coat and slammed it down into where Davros connected to the casing. It dropped below where he sat, there was no way he could reach it.

“What have you…!”

“EXTERMINATE!”

“Wait Daleks! I have put a bomb into the casing of your creator here.”

“How did you get a bomb? How did you get it into this chamber?”

“I made it out of Dalek parts you left laying around. Now Daleks, despite all your fancy appendages you’ve gotten yourselves none of you would ever be able to get it out without hands.” She waved her fingers at the closest one.

 

“Daleks stop. What do you want?” Davros’ voice started to break

“First, allow me and my companions to leave in the Tardis.”

“Daleks do not fire on Susan or her companions.” Kalis and Erin power-walked over to the Tardis, Kalis fumbling with the lock for a moment before ripping open the doors and jumping inside.

“Secondly, are you sure you don’t know where my grandfather is?” Susan started to back away.

“No! No, I have no idea! Get his bomb out of me!”

 

“Not this time Davros.” Susan flipped around and darted towards the Tardis.

“Daleks kill her!”

Susan managed to dodge the laser blasts as she ran. Kalis was standing in the doorway yelling.

“But Susan you can’t leave the bomb!”

“Get in there Kalis!”

 

A bolt hit her in the shoulder. She tumbled and fell on top of Kalis.

“Shut the doors Erin!” Kalis screamed out “Susan are you okay!”

“Get… us… away.” Susan managed to get out between breaths.

“Already done, starting dematerialization.” Erin called out from the console.

 

There was a loud popping sound and the tardis shook violently. “Our dematerialization was interrupted. I can’t start it back up, I don’t know what to do!” Erin shouted again.

“Doesn’t… matter… now… out of the fire…” Susan pulled herself up with Kalis’ help.

“You were hit by a Dalek blast, how are you not dead?” Kalis asked.

“Takes more than that to kill a Time Lord.” Susan took a deep breath “Not exactly how I wanted it to happen but if I’m glad I waited otherwise I’d be two bodies down now.”

“Huh?”

“You might want to stand back.” Susan’s face started to glow.

 

Kalis stepped back now having to cover his eyes. Susan got brighter and brighter filling the whole tardis with white light. Kalis and Erin had to look away.

 

“The light is gone now.” This wasn’t Susan’s voice. Kalis looked back able to see again and saw a different woman standing in Susan’s clothes. Her hair was brown and much longer than Susan’s had been, she was significantly younger. “I’m sure I told you about regeneration.”

 

*Introducing Hayley Atwell as Susan ‘The Doctor’ Campbell*

 

“You told us, but you never did it. You said that Time Ladies could choose to regenerate, we thought you had run out.” Erin started to walk over.

“Because I let myself grow old? I just wanted to make the most of it, I only get thirteen goes.”

“Can’t you also choose what you look like?” Kalis asked unsure of himself and his surroundings.

“Mostly, if I hadn’t been shot then I would have been able to do some test runs.”

“Test runs?” Erin asked.

 

The new Susan twisted around to the face Tardis doors without answering the question. She grabbed the door handles.

 

“You can’t open that they’ll kill us!” Kalis shouted.

“Kalis, you remember the words but never took it in did you.” Susan pushed open the doors. Outside there was only jungle.

“Huh?” Kalis ran up to the doors. “But that blast would have only reached a couple of the Daleks.”

 

“Davros made the Daleks.” Erin started to type into a keypad on the tardis console. “He never existed, the Daleks never existed.”

“Correct Erin. Passing grade.”

“But, how? If the Daleks never existed how do we remember them? How do we even exist? The Daleks reshaped the state of our world!”

“Erin?”

“I didn’t take temporal linearity but I think it’s because we were functionally dematerialized from our time stream.”

“Correct again, why did you not take that class?”

 

“It clashed with Xenobiology and I was already taking temporal construction.”

“You did see the note about how they were complementary courses?”
“I thought I could just retake it, but then your movement degraded and you didn’t do it the next year.”

“Fair enough Erin. But yes Kalis, that has all been changed now. The Daleks are gone.”

“Our homes? Our Families? They’re gone, never happened.”

“No Kalis, not gone, the timestream that has them still exists it’s just not part of linear time. Once I find my grandfather he can make the Tardis go back there. If you really want to be a part of a time that has them in it.”

 

“My family is there! How could you even say that?” Kalis started to back away from Susan.

“Your family has a history of genetic defects caused by Dalekanium poisoning!” Susan went into a flurry, throwing her arms around. “The Daleks were never supposed to invade when they did and it took me over two hundred years to get humanity back on track!” Her eyes closed and she fell face first onto the wooden floor of the Tardis with a thunk, she began mumbling to herself in a sleepy haze.

 

“S-Susan!” Kalis shouted jumping forward to help her.

“She’s okay Kalis, she’ll need to recuperate after the regeneration.” Erin pressed a button on the console closing the tardis doors. “Help me pick her up and we’ll put her over in the sofa chair over there.”

 

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Taidan for fear

I think my upstairs neighbor is dead.

There is a pungent smell seeping through the decayed seal between our compartments. It could have just been an animal stuck between my ceiling and her floor. Although the only things I could imagine getting in there would be a pigeon or seagull but I’ve never seen a bird get this high. A rat would have had to climb from the bottom and they probably wouldn’t get past the environmental filters on the first floor.

I’ve been out of town the last few weeks so I couldn’t draw any further conclusions.

The ceiling didn’t look any different, no stains or liquids. My bare walls and floor were just as normal. I entered my kitchen, nothing out of the ordinary. My refrigerator greeted me and told me that it was empty except for a few condiments that weren’t due to expire for a few more months.

I told it to order a restock and it complied.

We didn’t really talk, me and my upstairs neighbor. I’ve only met her once or twice in real life. Once, when she moved in because she wanted to apologise for the noise the moving bots made when they brought in her stuff. The second time and maybe third time was in the elevator when I had come back from somewhere.

I replayed those memories from my datastore.

She was a beautiful woman, in that traditional kind of beautiful where her smile was infectious even when she was hiding it behind half glances and her dark hair. I couldn’t find a memory where she told me her name. She had a tattoo on her shoulder, it was a character from the Taidan language.

I didn’t know that we managed to translate the dead scripts we had found on their homeworld.

My onboard translator gave me the meaning without me even asking. It meant fear, but in like a substantial noun kind of way instead of just a concept. I turned to leave the kitchen and my refrigerator advised that my groceries would be delivered shortly. I told it to pick them up from the mailslot as always.

I left my apartment and went up a flight of stairs.

There wasn’t any police tape in the corridor or over her door physically or in the Augmented Reality space. I was kind of hoping there would be, because if someone had been found dead and it wasn’t a murder then I would have seen it on the newscast no matter where I was.

I knocked on her door, there was no answer.

My AR flicked on as I requested and I sent a virtual knock there was no response. I asked the central computer if this room was occupied but I wasn’t allowed to query other compartments information. I did a quick check on Facebook to see if I could find her page, she didn’t appear to have one or it was private, I wouldn’t blame her.

I put my hand on the access panel, it beeped and blinked red denying my access. The gears in my arm spun up quickly and I crushed the panel.

Once the door was open the smell spilled out into the corridor. In my AR I could see that this floor was now on security alert. The police would be here shortly even if I hadn’t already alerted them by using my arm like that in the building. I took a step inside and the lights flicked on. She was there on the ground surrounded by blood soaked carpet. Her apartment filled with modern furniture that was sprayed with blood.

I made sure not to disturb the crime scene as I knelt next to her.

She was definitely dead, her skin a pale purple and her head and arms were contorted. Must have been dead for a while as her body had started to swell and parts of her were turning green. With the way she had landed, face down, I could see the back of her head under her hairline. There was no memory core interface, some people had it further down their back but her dress was ripped open and there was no sign of it.

I don’t think she’s ever had a memory implant, she wouldn’t have been uploading her conscious to the cloud.

Her tattoo was gone, it was cut from her body, I couldn’t see it around the room but I wasn’t making any more steps to limit my disturbance. The smell had long since been filtered out by my internal bio-hazard detection. I used my AR to bring up a list of compounds my nose detected, all the signs of death but also faint traces of Cocaine and Heroin. Not illegal but definitely curious, a fleeting high when compared to the kind of experiences augmentations can give.

She wouldn’t be able to be regenerated without a memory backup, she only had one life.

I wonder why someone would want to take it away.


Leesandra is probably going to sit down for a little while guys. I think I may have gone into it half-cocked again but I really don’t want to reboot her again. So we’ll leave her where she is until we can piece together a plan.

In the mean time we’ll be working on Whiskey and Maeve (I hope).
And just exercising my writing muscle when ever I can with what ever I can. This means that there are going to be a lot of short stories on here,  a lot of them won’t make complete sense and may or may not be part of something bigger. I hope you enjoy this.

In other news its my birthday so Happy Birthday to me.

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Leesandra 19

The black patch of space that Leesandra couldn’t make out started to contort, although it seemed more like the ship she was on was actually what was moving. Part of it suddenly lit up and she could finally make out some of it. It was a ship, a gigantic ship, almost as big as Alpha-Hydra’s dock. It was a continental class ship.

 

The ship itself didn’t seem very unique, it was made from the same mesh of High tensile carbon fiber and Steel polyalloy that Alpha-Hydra was. The greys and blacks partially hidden from view by stripes of green paint.  Leesandra shook off the look of awe on her face and tried to remember where the name plate of continental class ships was supposed to be printed.

On the starboard side of the bow. It wasn’t there, at least it wasn’t if she had remembered which side starboard was.

 

“How do you guys have a continental ship? And why would you have a base in an asteroid if you have one?” Leesandra asked.

“We only finished building it last year it was pretty hard to do it without a dock, the Asteroid was a better staging ground for recruitment.” Merah answered.

“What’s it’s name?” Leesandra let her curiosity run away with her.

 

“Enterprise.” Bronwyn said without a flicker of hesitation.

 

No-one else spoke, the bridge was silent apart from the dull hum of the engine and a few muffled beeps.

 

“Are you serious?” Leesandra blinked a few times. “I mean, okay… but really?”

“Yes.” Bronwyn continued. “It is supposed to reflect that spirit of exploration, the goals of humanity that we’re supposed to have.”

“To boldly go where no-one has gone before?”

“Yes, obviously.”

 

Leesandra didn’t get up from her seat but shifted her weight around. She couldn’t shrug off the idea that this was some kind of elaborate hallucination before she died of asphyxiation, and the ridiculousness made that seem even more plausible.

 

“Okay, you’ll really have a tough time explaining why you can’t just pack up and leave now.”

“This ship is the first step in our attempts to get out of this solar system.” Merah swiveled around in her chair to face Leesandra “Inside the Oort cloud is a series of anti-gravity well probes, there is no way to for us to make a break for it without being disabled almost immediately. Those same probes will alert the inter-planetary fleet, which will destroy us on site.”

“The fleet is only like 5 capital ships you could easily outrun them on normal drive.”

“It’s actually like 3 continental ships, and they won’t have the same gravity well handicap.”

 

“Oh…” Leesandra licked her lips as she thought for a moment. “What are the other steps to getting out of the solar system?”

“Bring down the inter-station government, eliminate the probes, help Kybers and humans alike to finally reach the stars.” Bronwyn tapped on her fingers to count each step.

 

“I feel like that second step is a bit more like a staircase.”

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Leesandra 18

Merah and Bronwyn pulled Leesandra to her feet once her limbs had repaired. She followed them through the ship to the bridge. It was up a flight of stairs and not even a minutes walk away from the cargo bay.

“So what did you mean by ‘it isn’t true’?” Leesandra asked as Bronwyn sat down in the seat in the middle of the room. There were two other seats on the bridge, one on either side. A man sat in the one on the right, his hair was cut short and was a gingery brown, he didn’t turn around and seemed to be busy working.

“Kyber-kind isn’t at the level of development that you think it is.” Merah answered as she sat in the left chair.

“What do you mean?”

 

“Currently you would think that we’re reliant on the sun for energy. That we are reliant on mined fuels to get around. That artificial gravity wells are only just being tested and would be far to energy hungry to be useful.” Bronwyn swivelled in her chair.

“How is that not the case?”

“Shortly after leaving Earth kyber created stable and sustained artificial fusion.” Bronwyn smiled.

“But…”

 

“Nick, set course for Yankee plus four X-Ray minus five, stay on this Zulu. Maximum speed please but give us leeway of about six hundred kilometers.” Bronwyn called out to the man at the righthand station.

 

“Is maximum speed really necessary ma’am?” He turned in his chair and didn’t seem very impressed by what was currently happening.

“Yes absolutely, I’m trying to show off here. Take a seat Leese.” Bronwyn pointed her hand to the back of the room. The wall seemed to melt away and fold itself into a seat. Leesandra wasn’t impressed.

 

“The course is set ma’am. All hands prepare for maximum speed.”

“Engage the engine Nick.”

 

Leesandra looked out the main window, the stars sitting motionless in the void. Suddenly the view screen flashed white and the stars were gone. In their place was a black patch that she couldn’t make out.

 

“Jump complete.” Nick seemed to grumble.

“See…” Bronwyn said as though she was expecting Leesandra to have a revelation.

“See what?” Leesandra asked confused.

 

“We just traveled approximately 5 AU, is what she is trying to get at.” Nick spoke up but didn’t turn around to face her.

“What?”

“Yes, two thousand five hundred light seconds.” Merah answered her.

“In under a second? It isn’t possible.”

 

“It’s not possible to go that fast, correct. However that’s not what we did.” Merah continued. “Using the gravity well tech we can manipulate space around us, so technically we didn’t really move at all.”

 

“Okay, so this makes even less sense. How could you possibly have a hard time leaving?”

“Kyber have had this technology for years now. And the first thing the governing kybers did was find a way to stop it from working.”

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Filed under Kybers - Leesandra

Didn’t finish a chapter in time #7

So I’ve been crazy busy the last few weeks. Was kind of surprised that I actually got a Leesandra out, not last week, the week before. I managed to get that Harriotskelli Plays out, but to be honest Quake Champions wasn’t anything exciting so making that was actually hard work. Most of the other videos I make I actually have fun making, but it can’t all be fun and games.

 

My next few #Video_Goals are some highlights and probably Dawn of War, but should also be picking up Elite Dangerous soon which will be jammed with the lads.

 

Of course I am working on the first part of Whiskey’s story at the same time. Which I’ve now named (spoiler) Sour Blood by the way (let me know how you feel about that). As well as trying to fit in time for Leesandra.

 

I have a bit on my plate when it comes to all that, not to mention my actual every day job which will come first even if it wasn’t the only thing paying my bills. Talking about my actual job, they sent me to Australia for a day this week for a conference. I know I’m becoming an adult because I actually feel like I got something out of it and it was all about about my work.

 

During my time there I had a little inspiration of the Science Fiction variety though. In normal circumstances this would help me write for Leesandra, but this is for a more contemporary timeline.

 

*

 

I exited the airport into the cold, it bit into my fingers and arms like wolf that had been gnawing on snow all morning. Even though I knew I’d be flying from summer into winter I could never have packed for this. New Zealand’s cold was different from the mid-west, it was the Antarctic wind.

 

Trying in vain to keep myself warm I pulled my sweater up over my nose. At least it stopped my teeth from chattering. I pulled my phone from my pocket, instantly regretting it as another gust picked up. A black electric car pulled up in front of me and it’s back door opened. I hadn’t called a car but I knew it was coming.

 

The personal concierge app had connected to the in-flight wifi and ordered a ride, the plane would have given up it’s flight details on request. Knowing that I hadn’t made any calls or received any emails regarding my travel arrangements it prompted me while I was catching up on a Netflix show. I had instinctively pressed yes.

 

I got into the self driving car, the leather seats were softer than i was expecting leaving me both comfortable but uncomfortable at the same time. There were no front seats, this was still jarring as right up until my teens I can remember my parents sitting there in front of the wheel.

 

The door closed as I pushed in my seat-belt. I barely noticed as it slowly pulled away from the curb. My phone buzzed in my pocket and I winced thinking about how cold it was the last time i took my hands out of my pockets. Shaking off the unreasonable fear, I slid out my hand holding my phone and looked at it.

 

The screen was on but black except for an alert.

 

‘Would you like to book a hotel for your stay?’ It has already checked my emails and found my return date. I pressed ‘Yes’ and the screen went black again. It would have already set up the booking, single room, higher than the third floor and a bar of dark chocolate waiting for me. Just how I liked it.

 

I looked out the window of the car into the cloudy sky. We passed a couple of old street signs giving rough distances and speed limits. It dawned on me that I hadn’t seen any billboards since I departed the airport.

 

Fumbling at my pockets again I dragged my phone out from the depths and held down the main button.

 

“Why are there no billboards?” I asked out loud.

“Checking…” My phone responded with the voice of Mufasa, just as I had set up. “The Anti-Advertising bill of…” There was a loud honk from a car next to me, damn human drivers. “… In simple terms has disallowed all signposting in publicly accessible areas. This bill was met with multiple protests from both major business entities but also small…”

“Yeah, that’s enough.” I said as I stuffed it back in my pocket.

 

The rest of the drive was quiet. The car slowed to a stop outside of the Hotel that was booked for me. I climbed out and it took off just as smoothly as it arrived. I looked down the street. It seemed so bare without posters and billboards. Then I noticed the green, there was flowerbeds and trees every few metres.

 

Wind hit me again. I shuddered as though my soul had left my body. I need a jacket.

 

I pulled my sweater up over my mouth again and took off down the street.

 

“I see…” I said, talking to myself “They are allowed to have their store signage up.” I had spotted a men’s clothing shop. The door was closed but the lights were on. I pushed on the door and let myself in, warm dry air washing over me revitalizing my senses.

 

“Welcome, how can I help you?” I turned up towards the greeter, for a few short moments I would have sworn, that this store was managed by a human being. Eventually I could see that the gentle and kind face that I saw was not organic. There was always something about the texture of the skin that didn’t look right, even when it’s made to seem like they’re wearing make up. “Would you like to see our winter collection?”

 

“Yes, thank you.” I responded looking about the store. It was about the size of a large wardrobe. The walls were covered in posters with different male models wearing the clothing brand. The greeter stood behind a semi-translucent white plastic desk.

 

I walked up to the desk, the top of it had lit up and was now displaying the stores logo twisting around slowly. The greeter tapped their hand on the desk and it faded to another screen, a catalog of winter clothing. “Just a jacket please.”

 

“Sure thing.” The greeter acknowledged and the screen changed again, now displaying several styles of jacket as worn by pale torso. It was using my exact measurements to create this body double

 

“Bring that one up.” I pointed to one that would have come down past my hips.

“This is our Ram’s Head jacket, made from synthetic Merino wool, no animals were exploited to create this item.”

“I’ll take it.”

 

“Please wait a moment while we find one in your size.” The greeter walked, no, glided away out to the back room. They weren’t going to search for my size out back, that was just something all store robots say. Right now they were probably standing in front of a small machine that was chugging away at synthesizing my order. Generating the wool from a fluid pumped into the top and weaving it into the brands trademarked ‘Ram’s Head’ jacket.

 

I would know, I used to run maintenance on those machines.

 

For some reason I suddenly remembered a random out of context memory from my childhood. It all a blur except the sound of my father voice. He was talking to someone on the street, they were holding a sign, I don’t know what it said but I can guess.

 

“Machines won’t ever replace me. They could never do the kind of work that I do.”

 

I think that was only two years before the last car repair closed it’s doors. I can remember that year a bit better it would have been the same year that the United Nations bill of human rights was updated to include a living wage.

 

“Here is your jacket sir. Have a nice day.” The greeter smiled at me

“Thank you.” I took the clothing out of her hands and I smiled back. I pulled on the jacket and stepped outside without hesitation.

 

The year after I quit my maintenance job was the same year that currency was abolished. What could money mean when every task worth doing could be done for free.

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