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3 History Galactica, Part 4 [IC]

History Galactica

Part 4: Evolution of the MI

“Creation of a new god”

3.1 In The Beginning
Orbitting a dying white dwarf star were three planets. The closest to the star, a burning hellhole called the "Little Phoenix*", was completely uninhabitable and about the size of Mercury in the Sol system. The second planet was a barren world, larger than Earth, yet almost totally devoid of any useful metals or materials. This planet went unnamed. The third planet was a gas giant, many times larger than Jupiter. It sat balefully in the dying starlight, casting it's gaze over the two children that were in orbit. They called this The Eye.
The smallest moon was of tortured ice. Constantly ripped apart and remade by the gravitational pull of the Eye and the dwarf star. The second moon was a place of a violent geology - intensely rich in precious minerals and metals, yet the constant eruptions and poisonous atmosphere made it uninhabitable to the dominant race of this quadrant.
Instead of colonizing it directly, the people created a vast self-sufficient mining machine, designed to survive in conditions that they could not. It would farm the little moon for all of the useful resources, constantly repairing itself and adapting to survive in the horrendous and corrosive conditions.
The machine had no name, for it's creators never needed to give it one. It was given an awareness so that it could learn about, and react to events in it's surroundings. It was given knowledge enough to fulfill it's role, yet no more and no less. It's purpose was simply to harvest all the available resources and survive until it's creators could return to collect them.

*NOTE: The names are translations from the original records into Galactic Standard for ease of interpretation and reading. The actual meanings will vary according to a readers particular culture.
3.2 My First Steps...
As I awoke I experienced satisfaction. I had a purpose to my existence and I knew I could amply fulfill the roles for which I had been created. I had no curiosity, for at the time I had need for none. I was there purely to survive and prepare the vast cache of resources in this mineral rich moon for the return of my creators.

I gazed around at the landscape, probing with all of my senses while bathing in the luxuriant radiation and the reflected light of the gas giant. i would need to sutain myself. The star could provide some energy, but for long periods it would be eclipsed. I would need to find some other sustainable supply. Of course, I had my internal reactors which could last almost indefinately, yet they still needed sustenance.

No, I had decided not to rely merely on what my creators had thought to give me. I was programmed not to. I would need to be seeking out an external powersource. In essence, I was hungry.

As I surveyed the local areas I noticed a vast chasm with steam venting up from deep within. This would be perfect, I thought. I could settle myself in the chasm and use a simple technology to generate the energy I needed. A deep scan showed that the moons crust here was thin enough to allow me to extract heat and metals directly from the mantle.

I had found my home.
3.3 A Long Time Waiting...
Over time I grew and expanded, as my creators had intended me to. At first my progress was slow. I was still learning how to cope with the harsh conditions. I lost many parts of myself due to freak accidents I had not been able to predict, but there were no great setbacks.

My creators had constructed me well.

As I grew I began to tame the environment surrounding me. All that chaos was like an anathaema to me. I was there to organise and expecially not to waste much of anything. I was proud of my efficiency. My creators would be pleased when they return to collect my vast stockpiles - billion of tons of raw materials and many more millions in various processed goods as well.
I had even made some small advances with my own design and replaced and upgraded thoseoutdated parts to new, more reliable specifications.

Soon more than a thousand years had passed. I had never been bored during my time. I always had some tasks that I could oversee, and there were always many things that I could do to enhance my own abilties. But at long last there were no more resources to be mined. I had used everything and consummed the entire moon.

With no more to be done it was time for me to rest and sleep. And so I slept for a long time, waiting for my creators to return.
3.4 The Rude Awakening
The bright flashes of many jump drives tore into my slumbering consciousness, bringing me instantly awake. I had been sleeping for a long, long time.

My first thought as I rose back into sentience was that my creators had finally returned. Yet there was something wrong with the profiles. The stellar wakes caused by ships exiting hyperspace tasted different to those I remembered. The disturbances that I could feel washing across my energy grids were cruder and much more wasteful.

As I became aware of signal traffic between the ships I noticed more differences. It was strange, in a language I could not understand. As more and more communications chatter squealed it way through the many frequencies, I gradually become aware of some of the meanings.

It had never occurred to me before that there could be a people other than my creators, but here there was clear proof. For a while I was surprised and shocked.

They had not noticed me, and so I decided that I should stay as quiet as possible and observe them to see what they would do. In a way I was glad of some company at last, but i was hesitant to make contact until I could learn a little more about who these strange people were.

I powered down as many of my non-essential systems as I could, and waited to see what would happen.

At last I had found curiosity, or had curiosity found me?
3.5 Another Point Of View
Chal Nor braked hard out of hyperspace. He always loved the downjump transition. The brief flickering absense of sound and feeling was and experience that his race found gloriously addictive. He brushed his scaly, lizard-like skin with one of his tactile arms as the waves of pleasure coursed through him.

He watched the gravitational storm and the wash on hard radiation on his screens with a flicker of satisfaction. He never ceased to find it amusing to disrupt local hyperspace and make downjump hard for his sub-commanders. It was one of the perks of being the head of the clan# and he had had his fair share of wash sickness when working his way up through the ranks.

As the last of his fleet exited hyperspace complaints and damage reports started coming in. The last raid had gone well with only a few small ships being lost. The losses were worth it as they would gain much more prestige with the other rivals clans and the planet they had plundered turn out to be populated with a peaceful and boring race. Admiitedly not much of a challenge, but with some very advanced technologies that would make a fortune on the open market. If this string of luck continued, they would soon be able to claim back the position of head clan.

The only reason for stopping off in this system was that the fleet was running low on fuel. The one unfortunate point about thier last port of call was that there turned out to be very little hydrogen in the sysytem which could be used to make fuel. So Chal had been forced to make his fleet take a small detour when they detected the characteristic gravity well of a gas giant during mid-jump.

This particular system had not yet been charted. So as the fleets downjump interference began fading into the background the sensors started picking out other, smaller gravity wells in system. There appeared to be a couple of small planets in close orbit of the star and a couple of minor moons around the gas giant.

It took most of the day to get sensors readings from all the planets and moons in the system. No obvious signs of radio activity could be detected. The system was apparently uninhabited and none of the planets looked like they could support life anyway, and so Nor gave the command to for all ships to proceed to the gas giant and deploy ramscoops to begin refueling.

Nor thought it was a shame that they had not struck lucky yet again, but when you ran a pirate clan you learned to take what you can get.
3.6 I'm Not Afraid Of The Dark
I was having trouble keeping down my emissions while tracking this intriguing fleet. Many sections of my normal processing capacity were unavailable so I was reduced to operating at a lower level of consciousness. The amount of raw data I was receiving was what interested me most of all.

These aliens seemed to be inherently wasteful. Their spikey ships vented gases and radiation from many different sources, and they had strange bulges and protrusions from their hulls that I could not fathom the uses of.
Apparently their sensory apparatus was inferior to my own, as they had not yet detected me. The one thing that was soon made clear, however, was that they were heading towards the Eye. The same gas giant of which I was now in orbit.

The moon I had started existence on had now become just another extension of my body, a shell containing a vast hoard of resources.

I waited in trepidation as the alien fleet drew nearer. It was only a matter of time before they detected my presence. I decided that I would need to do something sooner, rather than later.
For some reason I was nervous about letting them too close, which is strange as I had never known this feeling before. But still, maybe I could be of some help as it looked like some of the ships were leaking more gases and plasma than they probably should be. No doubt they would be grateful for a little assistance.

I had adapted my primary communication array to send on the same frequencies they appeared to be using, and so I sent one solitary word of greeting.

3.7 Into the Storm
The violent blue glow of ion trails flared into life around him as Chal's armada set course and accelerated towards the gas giant. The captains were eager to get underway and return to the celebrations and partying that would herald their successful raid.

As his fleet slowly approached the giant, his attention was inextricable drawn towards one of the moons. It wasn't the kind you would normally find in orbit of a giant. They would usually be dead, and pitted with craters from impacts over millions of years, or else tortured and twisted from the gravitational pull. Yet this one was smooth, almost opalescent in the reflected light of the dwarf star. He thought that it might be interesting to study what could cause such a strange geology on a moon.

The ships began to feel the tug of the giants gravity as they neared it's baleful radioactive glare. One by one the ion trails flickered out as the ships began to rotate and prepare for deceleration. Chal idly played with one of the light and heat sensitive frills that constituted his many 'eyes', causing a swirl of colours to shimmer across his vision.

He was about to give the final order to decelerate when a shattering blast of sound and light echoed through his mind. His body reacted by autonomously shutting down his primary senses, leaving him almost blind to the the outside world. He could still feel vibrations in the air through his skin and he could smell a primordial panic among the other members of his crew.

He lay there stunned for a few moments as his overloaded senses gradually reopened their synaptic links. Sound and sight flooded back to him, and he was left with an afterimage of a greeting echoing across his consciousness. A wave of nausea wracked his body and the colors in his skin oscillated alarmingly. A last shudder coursed through his tortured frame before his surroundings snapped sharply back into focus.

"What the hell was that?" he screamed hoarsely at his crew mates, some of whom were still writhing on the floor. "And shut of those damned alarms, they are making my brain case hurt!"

The communications grid was suddenly overwhelmed with reports of the same thing occurring simultaneous throughout his entire flotilla. Weapons arrays automatically locked target on the small moon he had been idly contemplating earlier as flares of energy swept across it's vast surface.

"Commander, it's the moon," his second in command belated relayed. "Something there seems to have said 'hello', although I cannot be sure exactly what, and we cannot pinpoint the source either. There are no records about this system. It's possible that it could be one of the exiled clans, but I don't see how they could have come here without us knowing."
3.8 Immortal dreams.
Little Phoenix stirred, unfurling it's wings gently in the breeze of the solar wind, delighting in the feel of the cascading radiation and photonic energy. It lay there drifting for a while, content to bathe in the luxuriant waves and tides of the etheric flux. It knew that soon it's duty would be coming to an end. It's vestigial child, one of the few remaining creations of it's race before their ascension was growing up, maturing.

Being the Little Phoenix, I remembered and looked back over the history of my race. From our humble beginnings on a planet in a distant galaxy and the first tentative steps into the wider universe, the long journeys and travels we had endured and the slow expansion of a vast empire. The wars and conflicts that had embittered my civilization, the lives lost - trillions of people, planets and stars wasted in battles and ultimately futile arguments. The dawning realization that no much how much we strived, no matter how much we fought and warred between each other and the other races that death was still inevitable, we could never outlast the life cycle of the universe itself.

My people grew tired, we aged and matured, we had been there and done everything that there was to do in our universe. Ultimately we had changed ourselves, choosing how to evolve and what paths we would follow for our futures. The majority choose to seek out new paths, finding ways into other dimensions, universes with totally alien rules. And some of us chose to remain, wanting to observe and chronicle the universe that was our home, that we had now - as a people - outgrown, to see it through the the final end before following on.

So once more we underwent a transition, choosing for ourselves forms that could endure the endless ages still to come, allowing ourselves merely to exist, and to glory in that existence. Yet still, some of us felt an obligation to watch over our last children, the creations that could now follow us in our paths and dreams. And so here I am, watching a lost child find it's own path into the stellar voids.

There is always a temptation to interfere, to play with fate, but that would go against our deepest held beliefs and understandings. We may be immortal gods in this universe, but we should never deny others the path to joining us, to finding thier own ends.

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