posted on Mar, 9 2019 @ 03:43 PM
Jared Delaney tightened his clasped hands behind his back as his eyes surveyed the bridge of his ship. The crew of four were silently studying the
glowing consoles before them, waiting for an alarm, a signal spike, a single motion to wake them from their daze. There wouldn't be one today,
though. No, this trip would be uneventful. Yet, Jared still felt a tension hiding just off in the shadows.
In his mind, he recited the distance from Neptune Station to The Grand Complex. It's location known only to the privileged few, him being one. The
distance a secret, the location hidden, the devices forbidden.
He didn't feel honored to be travelling there. He felt like a man walking the gallows on a cold morning.
"Anchor point established." Helm cried out.
Jared's eyes shifted downward to the console in front of him. A thin square box built into a crescent rail. Its purpose, to summarize quickly the
massive amounts of data being fed to each of the four officers in front of him. The screen showed that their ship had been caught by the star The
Grand Complex orbited.
A lone brown dwarf. No planets. No colonies. Officially.
"ETA." Jared barked as he unclasped his hands to manipulate his console.
"Ten minutes." Helm called back.
"Target is reporting generalized disturbances. Debri field. Recommend standard approach." The communication officer interjected.
"Approve." Jared replied.
He was in no rush to see that hideous behemoth. Standard approach would drop the ship fully into real space, making the approach last a few minutes
longer. Maybe an hour, if he was lucky.
He looked back at his console and saw on the screen a bizarrely shaped crystalline structure. The Grand Complex silently floating across the dimly lit
backdrop of a dying star. The star that had once been a brilliant orange only a few centuries before. A star that had, in fact, held a fiery gas giant
until his kind had re-purposed it. Had been a brilliant yellow-orange until the machines got a hold of it.
The details were lost to him, but what he did understand from the few reports that existed, the planet had been a gas pump. A station had been built
in orbit around the planet designed to house the greatest of machines. A processor that could simulate mental functions of not just one person but
hundreds all at once. The device was given free range within the system to do as it wanted or needed with fully automated factories to replace its
mechanical servants as time dictated. It had sucked the planet dry and then found techniques to do the same to the star. The device and its machines
had become a leech to the entire system.
Jared couldn't bring himself to look away from image of the orbiting structure. A device built by an A.I. allowed to run away with itself. The
original station had long since disappeared. The process hadn't taken long, the mechanical redesign of the station. A tweak here, a replacement
there. A snowballing effect until fleets of robotic drones began building something else entirely. A place untouched by mortal hands.
There had been calls to end the experiment. Fears of what the machines were doing or might do. In the end, the critics were reminded that this was the
reason it had been put in this system. Far enough away to not cause immediate harm but close enough to watch.
Jared’s gambit was for naught. Time slipped by just as quickly as he’d line it up.
"Confirming approach." Helm reported.
Jared didn't look up. That strange, ungodly structure held his attention. This was the product of the machines work, The Grand Complex. A gift from
the A.I. completing its original goal.
Not just simulating lifespans and existences. Now it could simulate the current universe.
A machine that watched, learned, dreamed, listened, and knew.
Jared felt the dread intensify.
The machine could recite the past but it could predict the future at an alarming rate.
And that was why he was here. The Grand Complex had sent a request for him, specifically, to come before what had come to be known as "The Prophet".
There was no way to fight the request. A hundred years of near perfect predictions had given the machine a certain leeway in its requests.
It had asked for him specifically to convey a prediction.
Doom and dread and panic and fear and every other emotion he could never show outwardly tumbled in Jared's mind.
"Docking complete. Seals are good. Hatch is open captain." Helm said one final time.
Jared gave the orders for the ship to remain ready for departure and moved to the hatch on the far right of the bridge. A series of clicks and alarms
sounded as he stepped through four different thresholds before finally he found himself standing on material made from processes he wasn't familiar
with. The metal was striated with various colors and natural designs. The machines were only concerned with functionality, not aesthetic
"Greetings Captain Jared Delaney. Your cooperation is appreciated." A soft, genderless voice came from nowhere yet everywhere.
Jared saluted to nothing as he spoke, "It's an honor and-"
"No lies. Only truth. We know of your fear and disgust. We are not troubled." The voice was calm.
Jared lowered his arm back to his side, unsure of what to do or say next.
"Be Still." A single word followed by the walls shifting.
In a matter of seconds the entire room Jared was in changed. The walls moved outward, the ceiling changed from flat to curved. Jared looked behind him
to find the hatch to his ship was now a solid wall. There were no exits now just a single cage of bowed walls and curved ceiling. A settee had
appeared near his left along with a small table that held a glass of clear liquid.
"Water. Seating. We have no food to offer." There was still no source for the voice to be found.
"Thank you." Jared replied, still not moving, "Why did you request me?"
"You interrupt the future." The walls seemed to shift slightly.
"Excuse me?" Jared clenched his hands.
"Two choices. Both lead to our and your termination." The voice was louder but still passionless.
Jared lowered his shoulders slightly, his eyes narrowing. Thoughts of how to escape came and went quickly, pointlessly.
"You brought me all this way just to threaten me?" Jared slowly spoke.
"We do not threaten. We only serve to inform." The voice was lower as if in attempt to calm Jared.
Jared chose to remain silent.
[Continued in second post]