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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?

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