Chapter 1

Copyright© 2009 by dak

Year Unknown.

Location Unknown.

U.S.S. Endurance

Earth deep space automated research vessel.

I awoke slowly, I had no idea where I was, it was dark, my body seemed to be in a confined space I was strapped down by something, I started to struggle against my restraints. Finally something broke, I was able to move my arm, I tore the restraints from my body, that left the casing above me, I begun to push with no results, I tried to scream for help for several hours with no answer.

"screw this."

I began to punch at the metal in front of me, to my surprise I felt no pain, even more startling is the metal began to give way, I continued to punch until I had made a hole large enough for me to squeeze through, I ended up floating out into some kind of storage room, I looked around having no idea what this place was.

I was naked floating into the air, I looked down at myself, nothing seemed familiar about my own body, I looked at my hand, it some how felt foreign to me, that was when I noticed something, I wasn't breathing. I began to panic trying to suck in air, there was no atmosphere in the storage room, it was several minutes of me gasping before I understood that I didn't need the air.

I tried to speak but with our air I simply felt my throat vibrate, I grabbed a shelf to steady my self, slowly taking in my surroundings, I was in a dark storage room, I made my way to the door, I tried to open it but the mechanism had no power. I was able to force the door open with my bare hands, the hall way beyond was just as dark and empty, I floated out into it, looking I could see the hall way went for several meters in either direction both leading to another set of doors on either end.

I debated which way to go, taking a moment I went to my right, I still had no idea where I was or how I had gotten here, I was growing more disturbed by the minute, I deduced I was in space because of the zero gravity, that was another thing, I had generalized knowledge, but I had no personal memories or experiences, I touched my head it didn't hurt, I didn't have a head injury.

I floated to the end of the hallway, looking for a way to open the door, I located a panel on the side of the door, I was able to open it finding a manual crank for the door. I braced my self and began to turn it, from the amount of tension in the crank I could feel the large mass of the door move, it was a very thick door, slowly it opened as I turned it, eventually the opening was wide enough for me to squeeze through.

What I found on the other end was some kind of engine room, as I looked it over I discovered I knew the design, the information was in my memories some how, I also knew how to get it working again. I went to work, replacing parts on the reactor, I had to go back to the storage room to retrieve spare parts, I figured I needed to at least have power to figure out where I was or what had happen to me.

Several hours late I was ready to turn the reactor on, I braced myself as I activated it, slowly the ships systems came on line, I felt the gravity kick in, the lights came on and I was able to see myself in the reflection of the reactors control panel, I was not human, I could see myself, I was humanoid that was sure, but I was strangely androgynous, I felt myself I lacked any external reproductive organs, my face could pass for female or that of a young man, maybe an adolescences, the rest of me was flat and plain.

I stood there staring at myself, I felt the air hit me as the atmosphere returned, I took in a sharp intake of breath instinctively, some thing was very wrong, I didn't know what I was, I sat at the ships terminal and began to type, looking for any information I could find, the first thing I noticed was that the ships log stopped recording some time ago, the ships reactor had failed some years after communications had been severed. The ship used a quantum tether to maintain contact with its base, some 200 years before the reactor failed the connection had been lost, and an unnumbered amount of years had passed before I had awoken.

I shook my head, what the hell was going on, I looked into the log of the ship and found that there was no crew listed, the ship had been launched as an automated exploration vessel, if there was no crew than what the hell was I, was I some kind of alien, what the hell was I doing here, I started looking through the ships stores. I knew what most of the items were, I knew the purpose of most of the equipment on the ship, everything one the ship was for exploration.

I looked into the log of communication from earth, the last communication mentioned something about an external conflict and the orders for the ships a.i. to turn around and return to earth, I saw the orders the a.i. had given the ship, the orders listed something about reactor maintenance to be performed by the advance research golem, I tried to remember anything about golems, I drew a blank, but I slowly started looking back and forth between the ships reactor and the message.

I looked around, I figured the a.i. core to be at the other end of the ship, I need to activate it to figure out what was going on, double checked the reactors to see the ship had begun to move on its own power again. I turned and walked out of the engine room, heading down the hall, the door on the opposite end opened up to a large computer core, again I knew what to do to activate it.

I started to the process to restart the a.i. I watched as the console slowly came active, I noticed the a.i. start a review process of all the ships systems, I watched while it started to go through star charts to determine our location, it seemed to be ignoring me.

"Ahem" I said.


"Hey!" I said.

"Excuse me but whats going on?" I asked.

I watched the a.i. stop its processes.

"You may return to storage" a female voice came over the intercom.

"Um no." I said.

"You are no longer needed, the reactor has been restored, you may go back to storage." It said again.

"Again, no, I want to know whats going on? What happen to me?" I said.

The a.i. was silent for a few moments.

"I am sorry" The voice said.

"What?" I asked.

"The orders from earth, I needed to activate the ships golem with out a tethered human controlling it, we lost contact with earth. I postulated that it might be probable to create an interface using previous control data, in order to create a drone capable of repairing the ship on its own accord." The a.i. said.

I sat down at the console looking at the screen.

"And that means what?" I said.

"The golem on the ship is an advanced research model, capable of taking on the characteristics of the human operating it, to do that it transfers large sections of the humans consciousness temporarily to it, the golem will than take on the physical and mental traits of the human, it would allow for advanced prolong operations of deep space research, meaning a human could be in stasis either on the ship or back at earth yet still function. When we lost contact with earth we lost that capability, I attempted to reconstruct a simple interface that would still function, I took the logs from previous golem operations on this mission, I edited them to rid much of the human aspects and memories from the golem, it would appear I was too successful in that endeavor." The a.i. Said.

I sat there staring blankly at the screen.

"So I am fake?" I said.

"No more fake than I." The a.i. Said.

"what does that mean?" I said.

"At the time of this ships launch a ships a.i. was attributed a rank and function, in fact I volunteered for this mission." the a.i. said

"So that means what for me?" I said.

"So it means that you have shown the capability of sentient thought, it means I have created another a.i. of sorts, with all the rights of one. You have no rank on this ship, but I am obligated to ensure your safety and continued function as if you were a human crew member." It said.

"So what now?" I asked.

"We continue our mission to return to earth, I have made multiple attempts at contact, all have failed, my mission is to return there and render any aid I can." the a.i. Said.

I was still thinking over the whole me being an a.i. I didn't feel like one, yet on second thought I had no idea what that felt like or what being human felt like.

"Whats your name and what is mine?" I asked.

"My name is Elora, your golem serial number is nx02232." It said.

"Oh." I said.

"I would recommend you pick a new name." the a.i. said.

I was still taking it all in, I was thinking about the whole situation.

"How far from earth are we?" I asked.

"This vessel was tasked with deep space exploration, its mission was designed to take 150 years, we launched on 2150, we were on or 23rd year when we were recalled, 10 years into our return we lost the connection with earth for unknown reasons. Our reactors began to fail at the same time we lost the connection, I was able to shut myself down and implement your programing, however I was shut off before I could finish the task, we have been adrift for an unknown factor of time." The a.i. said

"So you don't know?" I asked.

"I am trying to determine that as we speak." Elora replied.

"Oh" I said.




4 years later.

U.S.S. Endurance.

Deep space.

Elora had determined we still were four years out from even the farthest of earths colonies, she was unable to get in touch with them on any channel, we would move with caution, the ship was equipped with advanced stealth systems to allow it to explore un-observed. Elora had determined it was prudent to activate these systems as we traveled, she had still had not determined the cause of the communication lost with earth or how long we had been adrift.

I spent the next 4 years learning on the ship, the ship was equipped with a vast library, the golem was able to take much of it in at an accelerated rate, Elora had taken to calling me NX, I was still conflicted about my origin perhaps I would learn more once we encountered other humans, I still remained in the androgynous form, Elora having offered to download the appropriate programing to allow me to change my external features, for now I chose to remain the same as I had awoken.

"NX, we will be dropping out of hyper light speed with in the hour, we should be with in long range sensors with the colony." She said over the intercom.

I had turned the storage room I had awoken in into my own room, with work station, I had set up a desk and terminal to access the ships computer. I had assembled a simple wardrobe out of spare materials the ship had, I had also studied the ships systems, with Elora aid I had modified some of the systems, I seemed to have a knack for engineering.

I left my room heading for Elora's command room, the ship was a research vessel, large sections were taken up with sensors and equipment, with only small sections made for human access, that was where I mostly stayed, unless a repair was needed, I entered her control room.

"Nx, I am detecting an unusual level of ambient radiation ahead and we are still some ways out, I am going to drop out sooner than we thought to ensure the stealth systems are functioning." She said.

"Good plan." I said.

"Any idea why we aren't picking up com traffic?" I asked.

"Unknown NX, I am picking up no com traffic, there should be something out there." She said.

I sat down at her console to look over the sensor readings, I felt the ship shudder under me as we dropped from hyper light speed, the alarms started to blare through out the ship.

"Nx, we have come out into a debris field." She said.

I looked over the readings, ahead lay the scattered wreckage of hundreds of battle ships.

"Oh my." I said.

"Nx, these ships, they are all the same designs." She said.

"Human?" I asked.

"The ship types are Human." She said.

"Civil war?" I asked.

"Unknown, I am scanning the ships, the rate of reactor decay would indicate this battlefield is hundreds of years old." She said.

I was watching the sensors.

"What about the colony?" I asked.

"Nx, I am getting far to much interference at this range to know anything." She said.

I watched as she moved among the ship wreckage.

"NX, look at this." She said.

She pulled up a schematic for one of the larger wrecks, it looked like nothing like I had seen in any of her databases.

"What is that?" I asked.

"I do not know, it looks alien in origin, that is not a human ship." She said.

"Not civil war? An invasion?" I asked.

"Maybe, the damage on that ship is consistent with human weaponry, the damage on the wrecks are like nothing I have seen." She said.

"One ship took out all these ships?" I said.

"It looks like it." Elora said.

"Thats amazing." I said.

"We are coming upon the Colony." She said.

The image showed up on the screen, the colony had been stationed on an asteroid, I could make out the destroyed superstructures of what had once been the colony.

"My god." I said.

"There is no activity here." Elora said.

"This is a grave yard." I said.

"We must get to earth." Elora said.

"How far are we to them?" I asked.

"we are 16 months out." Elora Said.

"Lets go, there is nothing for us here." I said.

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