I play and run role playing games. One of those games is Eclipse Phase. It’s a sci-fi setting. About 100 years or so in the future when we have just about begun to colonise the solar system. It’s transhumanism. It’s about the singularity. It’s great.
Tomorrow I will be writing part 3 of The Swimmer but currently it is 3 am so this is all I wrote today for my 1k. It is the first party of my characters backstory.
“This is Captain George C. Westmoreland of the USS Constellation, you have three-hundred seconds left to transmit your real ID, Manifesto, telemetry and actuate automated docking procedures or you will be fired upon. This is your final warning.”
“Sir, Please. As we said, our ID is linked to the Neptunian mesh. We are currently requesting a translation that is compatible with your system. We are a small transport vessel carrying geological samples from Proteus to the Argonaut research station in Paris, Earth, we did not know we had violated United States…”
“Your place of origin is Xiphos and you have three lifeforms on board your ship, not two. You have 250 seconds left to comply or we will destroy you.”
Lara’s muse said: “SOB’s just cut seventeen seconds off the clock.”
Koheim’s muse retorted: “What do you expect, he’s already decided to blow us to hell.”
Koheim shouted out: “QUIET. Both of you. Find something, some kind of beaurocratic excuse to stall them, I don’t care what.”
Lara continued to float over the creche, praying. She messaged Koheim as she repeated mantras:
<We have to tell them Ko. There are no more options.>
Koheim’s hands danced over the haptic controls whilst simultaneously subvocalising commands to the Solomon’s AI.
Lara messaged: <We had a good run Ko.>
Koheim’s slammed his fist through the haptic controls, shattering the hologram, feeling the forcefeed back buzz along his wrist. His Remade’s emotional dampeners were straining to contain the swell of conflicting impulses that threatened to break his concentration.
He whispered: “Prep Judas.”
Lara’s enhanced hearing easily picked out Koheim’s words. She flipped herself, threading her toes into a hanging net for balance. Head towards the floor she adminstered to the hardwired controls of the cot. Judas, oblivious, continued to paw with his tiny hands at the holographic solar system that revolved above his tiny head. Comets formed each time he touched a planet, eliciting squeels.
When the solar system disappeared Judas began to cry.
Lara picked him up carefully, hands through the zero-g-harness. She lied to the baby in whispers, “It’s going to be okay, okay, it’s going to be okay.”
“This is Captain George C. Westmoreland. You have 120 seconds remaining.”
<He has a thing for titles doesn’t he? I’m going to need more time than that Ko. Do something.>
Koheim activated the ship’s weapon systems. Three long range rail guns emerged from their hidden beds, swiveled in silence and aimed at the distant cruiser. Lara reached the escape pod. She started to arrange the harness. Koheim smoothed down his black uniform, fumbled in a drawer for the discarded medal, and affixed the Order of David to his chest. He grabbed his monofilmant sword and belted on its sheathe, then arranged his face into a snarl. Koheim’s muse said: “I haven’t seen that look in awhile. Reckon you’re about to give that yank a real good scare.” Koheim narrowed his eyes and hooked his feet into the straps on the ground, forcing himself to appear standing in zero-g.
“Hail him. Holo.” thin spears of multicolored light painted Koheim’s stick straight body, flickered, then held.
The Constellation accepted. George C. Westmoreland was bald as well, his head oddly symmetrical compared to Koheim’s high, pale peak. Westmoreland’s eyes were a stark, penetrating blue that almost wavered when greeted by Koheim’s white, almost pupiless eyes, his too pale skin and pointed teeth. George Westmoreland’s face remained blank, whilst his XO’s made a disgusted expression. “American.” Koheim began. “I am Koheim, of Xiphos. I am an Ultimate. You and your crew are pondscum. We have three railguns. When they fire the damage to your ship will be superficial at best…however…we are targeting your most populated decks. A Ticonderoga class cruiser such as yours carries families, yes? How old do your offspring get before you implant cortical stacks? Even if we die we will make sure to rid the future of some of your disgusting chldren.”
Westmoreland’s expression did not change.
Koheim continued. “We also have on board a human child. I am transmitting you proof now.”
Westmoreland’s eyes glazed over as he stared at something only he could see. It took him a good long minute to digest the information. In that minute Lara finished prepping the pod. She floated back to Koheim, staying just around the corner and out of the frame. Westmoreland spoke: “What are your terms?”
Lara messaged him, vocal this time, her voice strained. “Ko, no, we can’t, if they take us they’ll know what we did, they’ll dissect him, please, I know it’s hard but…”
<It’s just a dramatic pause Lara. I agree with you.>
Koheim sneered, “American. You will let us continue unharmed to our destination or we are ejecting the child in an escape pod without life support. YOU have sixty seconds till we do.”
Westmoreland allowed one eyebrow to rise.
Koheim messaged both muses. He instructed them to weaken their own security measures, specifically in regards to weapon systems and the escape pods own network. <Already done Ko. Your muse crawls at a geological scale>
<Stop trying to make me laugh you lunatic>
<Might as well go out with a smile baby.>
Twenty seconds later the Solomon’s railguns were subverted by the Constellation’s hackers. A few seconds after that the hackers launched the escape pod remotely, with life support still functioning.
Westmoreland nodded at someone off frame. He intoned “By the homestar-act of twenty…”
Ko cut the feed. He turned to Lara, shoved towards her and embraced her. He disabled the emotional dampeners. “I will see you in paradise Koheim.” Koheim could not speak, he only stayed, inhaling her, tangling her hair in his hands. Lara said: “Guardian angels will watch over Judas. Be at peace.”
The ship’s AI sounded klaxons.
Koheim wept for the first time in his life.
“Inshallah.” Lara said.
From the Constellation’s bridge Westmoreland watched The Solomon burst like a metal ball, tiny flames dancing silently across it’s shattered hull.
“Let bring that child home boys. Then scan for any stacks and toast ’em.”
His crew cheered. By the time The Constellation returned to Ganymede Judas had been renamed John, and Westmoreland’s executive officer, Rebecca Clarke, was legally his mother.