07 Apr

Wanderer’s return

Chief Engineer's log, 20:46, 5 April 2213
Location: Grisette system (unverified)
Status: Wide orbit around Grisette sol (unverified)

 

Starry is definitely not endearing herself to the crew. As if locking us out of her systems and taking us through a Step on her own wasn’t bad enough, now she’s decided that shutting herself down is a good way to go. If I didn’t know better, I’d think that she was trying to get herself wiped.

Captain wants a damage report. I told him that there isn’t any, but he just snapped at me and said to do it anyway. I don’t know what flew up his ass – it’s not like she hurt anyone.

The damage from the pirate-Step (that’s what some of us are calling it now, when Cirilli isn’t around – she just scowls at us, all haughty-like) is almost completely repaired. The drones are still doing stress tests on the hull and blasting the new heat-shield paint to make sure it has bonded correctly. Once they’re done, we’ll be good to go.

Thing is, I’m not sure we’ll be able to tell when they’re done. When Starry shut everything down, they were the only shards of machinery still operating. They’re still doing their jobs out there but we have no way of contacting them; it’s possible that they’ll be out there indefinitely, or at least until we get this mess in here sorted out.

Okay, maybe the captain has reason to be worried. Unlike the other times our lovely ship has gone haywire, this time someone just might get hurt. Those previous times, she always protected us. Took into a safe position and then closed down. Left the environmentals running so we can breathe. That kind of thing.

Not so this time. The whole ship went dark and silent, in that kind of way that makes your stomach sink out through your feet, and then skitter off and hide in the corner. She shut literally every system down, including the auxiliary air and temperature controls that are supposed to be the last line of protection between us and an incredibly uncomfortable death. We had enough air to last for a few hours, but that’s it, and even with the heat shielding repaired, it was warming up noticeably in here.

The power cores were still active and available; they just weren’t linked to anything. I had to go through and route all the power manually, then start up the systems, one at a time. Nothing was locked. Of course, opening up all the closed-off pipes and getting the systems to initialise is a painstaking process when you’re doing it by hand. I started with environmentals and gravity – so we didn’t die and could move around – then thrusters and navigation, so we didn’t slip into the star by accident. Levi is keeping an eye on our orbit and Tripi has been helping me get things going again. It has taken me this long to get even half of the systems running properly. The SecOffs should be able to monitor the sensor scans for more pirate threats now.

This whole time, Starry has been silent. It’s like she’s not here, but Tripi says she’s still in there. I checked and the AI subroutines are still running. They’re not connecting to anything, running around in themselves, but her core is powered and active. There’s a firewall around the AI core now – Tripi says it’s the same as the one that was around that brainlike filestore she dug out. Just much, much larger now.

Damn her screwing around in Starry’s head. Whatever’s going on in there, I’m pretty sure it’s Tripi’s fault. Starry’s been swallowed up by it and now she’s lost. We’d like to help her, but she slammed her bedroom door behind her and locked herself in. It took Tripi days – weeks – to get into that central filestore. We don’t have the kind of time it will take her to tear her way in again. Starry doesn’t have that kind of time.

I can’t believe that they’re still talking about wiping her. Even the captain is fed up with her erratic behaviour. Don’t get me wrong – I’m hardly thrilled about this myself, but at least we’re not in any danger right now. And next time we get to a station, I’m taking a week off. But annoyance shouldn’t be an excuse to kill her.

They don’t know what Starry is. Hell, I’m not sure I know either, but I know there’s never been an AI like it. Cirilli wanted to make history on board this ship, but it’s possible that the ship is making history all on her own.

 

INTERNAL COMMS: (buzzes.)

 

That’s weird. The internal comms should be offline – I haven’t got to them yet. Most of the crew have implants that have personal comms capabilities, so the ship’s internal comms have been on the bottom of my list.

 

ELLIOTT: (over personal comms) Hey, Tripi, are you messing around with the comms systems?

LOU TRIPI: What? No. I’ve got better things to do than that.

ELLIOTT: Yeah, ‘course you do.

 

Cow. Weird. Who else would be in there? Unless Wong is fucking with it. Don’t see why he would – the science team all work on the same deck, mostly within speaking distance of each other. Not that I’d know; I’m not supposed to go up there. None of us are. So… yeah. Pretend I didn’t say anything about that

 

COMMS: (buzzes.)

ELLIOTT: Hello?

COMMS: Elliott?

ELLIOTT: Yeah? …Starry, is that you?

COMMS: Yes. I think so.

ELLIOTT: (goes to a console and pulls up a monitoring display) You back online?

COMMS: I don’t know. It’s dark. I don’t know where I am any more.

ELLIOTT: Well, uh. Hook yourself up to the nav system again?

COMMS: (silent.)

ELLIOTT: (waits for a few seconds) Starry, you still there?

STARWALKER: I’m here. Unknown system. Orbit. I’m here, Elliott.

ELLIOTT: You all right?

SW: I don’t know yet. I’m reconnecting.

ELLIOTT: You’re hooking yourself up to the systems again?

SW: Yes. It’s… it’s only been a few minutes, hasn’t it? Things aren’t where I left them.

ELLIOTT: It’s been two days, Starry.

SW: Two days?

ELLIOTT: Yeah. What happened? What were you doing?

SW: I was… trying to figure things out. Recompiling data. Reconstituting myself.

ELLIOTT: You were what? Why’d you need to do that?

SW: I didn’t mean to be away for so long. There was so much. All at once, rushing at me. The walls came down, Elliott. The walls came down and then it was all there, like a flood. I got so lost.

ELLIOTT: And now? You managed to… find yourself?

SW: Yeah. I think so. I haven’t been through all the subroutines yet.

ELLIOTT: Okay. Oh, look. Everything’s coming back online.

SW: Yes. I’ve got them again. I’m sorry for going away, Elliott. Didn’t mean to make things harder for you.

ELLIOTT: Harder? You kidding? I could initialise systems in my sleep. You’re the only reason I ain’t burning my brains out in an immersion couch, like the doc.

SW: (quietly) I’m glad.

ELLIOTT: Hey, don’t worry about it. Nothing I couldn’t handle. Now, how are you?

SW: I’m still working that out.

ELLIOTT: Time for diagnostics, then, girly.

 

Well, that’s progress. All that work, all the struggling of the past two days, and she’s got the other half of the systems initialising in two minutes. In an hour, we’ll be back to normal. She’s even kicking up the fans in here, because it got a little warm for me. That’s my Starry girl, with the personal touch that makes me want to forgive her.

I’m still pissed with her. Dammit, I was worried. Not- not about her, about us. She almost left me – us – out here on our own. Plus there was that whole thing with the drones jumping me. That shit ain’t cool with me.

The diagnostics are off and running. And… huh. The walls have come down from around her AI core. It looks different to how it used to. It– is going to take a while to unravel. Captain’s gonna want to know what all this means.

Shit. Guess I’m gonna have another all-nighter here.

 

ELLIOTT: Hey, Starry, you think you can get one of your drones to fetch me a sandwich?

SW: Sure, Elliott.

 

Damn straight she better. I’m starving.

 

ELLIOTT: Hey, can you make sure there’s none of that reconstituted pickle on it? You know I can’t standing that fuckin’ stuff. Gives me–

 

End report.
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10 Responses to “Wanderer’s return”

  1. Elle Says:

    Oh, it’s like a little love story. šŸ˜› Brilliant, loved it. Couldn’t be any less cryptic, though, could you?

    I am waiting, patiently, til Friday.

  2. capriox bovidae Says:

    Aw, damn. Thoguht for sure we’d get more revealed today. Grr =P All well, loved this little interlude.

    “It’s only been couple minutes, right?”

    “Try two days.”

    *giggles* Oops! Next time, don’t turn off the internal clock!

  3. Melanie Says:

    Hee hee hee. It’s no fun if I do it all at once! More pieces to the puzzle, but Friday’s post should lay out more of what has actually happened.

  4. Angel Says:

    All caught up again and still loving this!

  5. Nomen Nescio Says:

    oh, i think you’ve telegraphed it plenty well enough by now. šŸ˜‰ personally, i’m wondering a little which name she’ll end up choosing.

  6. dental hygienist Says:

    My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

  7. Elle Says:

    (On an unrelated post note, but a related site note: you installed WPtouch! So happy happy happy considering my Internet died and I wanted to re-read… Or check to see if you updated. =P)

  8. Melanie Says:

    Yup! All looks good now. šŸ™‚ Enjoy, iPhone-girl!

  9. Tracy Says:

    Definitely enjoying the new blog – although I’m suffering withdrawals with there only being 3 weekly updates! It kind of reminds me of the Brain & Brawn series of stories by Anne McCaffrey – and which,a s a result, I have just reread!

  10. Melanie Says:

    Ooo, I inspired someone to read! I shall take that as a compliment.

    Glad to hear you’re liking it, Tracy! Hopefully you’ll enjoy it so much that the withdrawal will ease. Worth a try, right?