Castaway: Fearless

Copyright© 2016 by Feral Lady

The small butte above the pine forest stood alone, facing the expanse of the sea. How often my mind reverted to thee.

The sole entry in the diary of Lord Von Solon Wolfenstein, written on the day of his return to Haven, decrypted by Lord Webster the Immortal. Copyright by the Wolf Clan Foundation of Solon, The Lost Prince.

The fading blackness of night hid the vastness of the Great Marsh to the north and east of the shuttle’s landing site, but I knew below me was home. My wives from the ESC Entous huddled around me, on the flat top of the solitary butte, breathing the damp air and adjusting to the lighter gravity of Haven. We were waiting for the first light of dawn for my long descent to Juniper Hills. The town I’d founded slept at the foot of this isolated hill of granite, the buildings spreading out from the mineral spring through the pine forest to the shore of the sea. I planned to descend the steep side of the butte and announce my return to Juniper Hills and clan below. Using a gravity board, I’d safely drop down to the ground with little trouble, not far from the women’s center. The rest of my companions will work on finishing setting up our base camp.

Our small complement from the shuttle had safely traveled through an unstable wormhole from the universe of our birth to Haven. This uncharted planet had a primitive culture with a medieval technology base. I’d originally arrived in an escape pod with my uncle, after the newly formed wormhole had sucked our spaceship through time and space to this strange universe. My uncle Stephen saved me but he died in the process, landing in the Rinsky Marsh, otherwise known as the Great Swamp.

It turned out that my family’s prototype starship and its powerful artificial intelligence partly survived the celestial hazards of entering this solar system. It took me some time to realize I had a guardian that orbited Haven, watching over me. I’d lost most of my memories from a head injury, which had made life difficult and confusing. I had made a tremendous impression on the local marsh tribe, joining in their defense, during an attack from slavers. They called me the white wizard, on account of my unusual skin color and technological tools. I was quickly noticed by an astute, foreign merchant, and through no fault of my own Derwen captured my heart, but political troubles came with her. One thing led to another, and I became Lord of the Manor, husband to the heiress of the largest merchant family in her island country.

During my confusing period of amnesia, Webster, the A.I. my mother designed for our family starship, downloaded satellite photos of the regional area and educational tapes into my imperial implant. The implant was a military-grade device, surgically inserted into my brain, which cadets received when entering an exclusive war college for ruling families. Webster used his Solon Clan command authority to gain access the device and manipulated it to increase my chances for survival. Given my condition, without Webster’s intervention it was doubtful I’d of lived more than a month after the crash. The learning tapes allowed me to quickly prove myself as a superior provider, innovator and leader. I forged technological advances for both the marsh people, and the more advanced culture of Convey.

However, Webster moved beyond what modern society would have approved; he adjusted my medical nanomites that helped my body’s healing function. The biological changes the A.I. wrought to my body changed my life, attracting a bevy of women that became my family—my wives, my concubines, my lovers. Now I have beautiful, genetically enhanced children, twins in many cases, all healthy with a rare empathic gift. They are the reason I have returned, for I love them and it is my duty to protect, guide and make their world better for them. I have fought to protect my people on land, on the sea and in the darkness of space. I am sure to face deadly challenges again, and if not, I am sure exaggerated maternal instincts and pheromone-enhanced passion will wage war on my time.

I’d been rescued from death on Haven by my fiancée and her younger sister, and shuttled back to my universe of origin. To my shock, when I awoke and left the shuttle’s advanced healing bed, I learned time had passed slower in the Haven universe. I’d been marooned for a decade in normal time. My fiancée (Kate) was now older than me, and her younger sister (Merritt) was now my age, having just graduated the imperial academy. My lack of aging confused the medical staff and became a fixation of my enemies, who wanted the source of my fountain of youth.

I gained the confidence of Kate and Merritt, who helped plan my return to my children and responsibilities on Haven. Both women enlisted the aid of some of our shipmates on the ESC Entous, and once again the nanomites played an unexpected role in increasing my responsibilities and expanding my love life. Before leaving Haven’s solar system, Webster infected Kate’s and Merritt’s imperial implants with the super nanomite virus to tie them to me body and soul, ensuring I create heirs on both sides of the wormhole. Without my knowledge, the pair plotted to expand my harem to create a larger pool of mothers to continue my bloodline, which was a programming imperative of their infected implants. My nanomites soon spread among the women of the starship, including Kate’s lesbian lover, who thought men were distasteful.

An attack on the exploration ship turned into a boarding action that caused great loss of life. My mother’s influence and coding genius struck again, unleashing our ship’s A.I. on the pirates to protect me, which evened out the overwhelming odds we faced. The ship’s service robots and repair bots joined in the defense of the Entous, often with deadly consequences, breaking the governing laws constraining artificial intelligence. Hidden, rogue A.I.s were the greatest fear in the space faring empire, and my mother, the foremost A.I. designer and the “mother” of the most powerful creations of humanity, had unleashed them to protect me. After defeating the pirates with the approval and gratitude of the captain of the embattled explorer ship, my new wives and I flew back into the unstable wormhole and home.

When we announced ourselves to Webster, he was as friendly and personable as an A.I. could be. Of course, he had already hacked into our shuttle and identified who was entering the solar system. As a formality, I introduced Kate, Merritt, Julie and Julia as my new wives. We didn’t understand what he was talking about when he expressed his pleasure in obtaining new data streams. His word usage and tone was certainly different from when his ship would shuttle my family around. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but he’d changed.

He was quick to praise my return with more crew members to help me properly build my legacy on Haven. All of the women responded, in one fashion or another, favorably about adding to what I’d started with my Haven wives. Webster also congratulated Kate and Merritt for returning with a full load. I was impressed with how much they’d stuffed things into the shuttle too. He talked about working on enhancing their loads and fixing faults, knocks, recombinations and checking vectors. We were so tired from the long trip that Julie and I just looked at each other and shrugged, not understanding how he could adjust the shuttle’s load out. What did it matter? We’d be unloading soon, not birthing a baby.

I stopped listening, plugged in my music headset and closed my eyes when he went on about double-stranded breaks effecting an ideal outcome. There was no way our cargo straps were broken. We had checked how the crew had loaded everything and had looked for breakage when we arrived in system. We hadn’t seen anything knocking or any faults in the equipment. I knew Webster needed a software update when he referred to my mother as our mother and us as co-fathers and brothers.

It wasn’t until nine months later that Merritt reminded me of Webster’s conversation. It was then, she expressed her surprise at how well I’d taken the news about the genetic engineering of my children, since it wasn’t my father doing it. Apparently, at the time, seeing my relaxed state, Kate had snapped at Merritt. She told her to focus on the baby medical data Webster was transmitting to the shuttle; Kate was sure I knew what I was doing.

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