This week with Arlene and Jeff:
..."And before you ask, the General's people use the 'portal' to visit these other places - these planets in other star systems, other dimensions, even. It's fascinating to sit and listen to Jeff tell about some of those places. Sergeant Gomez there," she said, nodding her head in the direction of the man as he slid a box toward the assembly area, "saved Jeff's life on a mission when Jeff was shot by a sniper. He was minutes, at most, from death when the Sergeant came up with the idea of putting Jeff into one of Ship's machine-like things that looks something like a coffin. It turned out to be one of her healing chambers. During the time Jeff was in the chamber being healed, he and Ship got to know each other and she realized he was a Prime."
"'She?'" Eileen wondered aloud.
"Yeah, Ship is a she."
"Oh," Eileen returned, vaguely, obviously not understanding, or else not believing.
"Ship had been waiting a very long time for her Prime to arrive and take command, but he never did come. Even though Jeff was from a different race, he was a Prime, so she decided to accept him as her commander. The decision is locked into her programming and can't be reversed, even if a Prime from the race that built Ship's brain should arrive at some point in the future, which, considering the time involved, seems not at all likely.
"That race had left her brain and equipment in a vast labyrinth of mountain caverns with orders for her to build the ultimate fighting starship while she waited for her Prime and crew to come join her. She knew from her data banks that her master's race was at war for its own survival, and consequently, had hidden her on a backward world in a dimension far from its own. Her builders purposely did not include even the slightest hint of the race's home dimension or the star system in that dimension that the race called home.
"Most races in Ship's home dimension are telepathic, and she had little or no experience, recorded or otherwise, in communicating with non-telepaths before Jeff and his team came into her cavern. But she and Jeff managed to communicate enough for her to eventually find our dimension, galaxy, and after a further search, Earth. The General took over Ship with Jeff's permission, and tried several pilots, but most went nuts when they tried to mentally mesh with her. Eventually, she's learned to better communicate with Jeff, Arlene and some others without driving them crazy, and has learned to use speech to communicate with the rest of us."...
Have a goodun;