Author : Thomas H Edwards
A shape floats silhouetted against the background of the nearby gas giant. I can make out four limbs and one smaller structure atop the central structure, a light blinked out from it, red and small. It meant something. A momentâ€™s concentration while the message repeats itself.
â€œHello, who are you?â€ it blurts out, from a faculty I don’t understand.
â€œI am Jonathan, I call myself a human.â€ The message light blinked again, the human is getting closer, riding on small jets of gas. I can calculate its course with a skill I have somehow innately mastered, it is heading for me.
â€œI want to be your friend and I am here to helpâ€ the human is close now; I can magnify my view of him it arrives at a large structure suspended in blackness, through an opening it steps.
â€œWhere have you gone?â€ I proclaim in all the faculties I can muster.
â€œThat was impressive, you must have broadcasted on every channel nearly scrambled some of my processors.â€ It broadcasted â€œI am inside now, I should be able to activate everything nowâ€¦ where is itâ€¦ damn nanomachinesâ€¦ canâ€™t follow simple instructionsâ€¦â€ the creature mumbled, it carried on like this for a while and I merely watched the giant planet. More than once I could have sworn I saw a large creature surface from the noxious gasses. Suddenly I became aware, more than before, before I was stunted. I felt my place in this system to a few metres; I felt the gravitational presence of the gas giant, its many moons, small asteroids, curious revolving objects and mysterious bodies traveling in unnatural ways. If I concentrated harder I knew their names, Jupiter, Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Leda, Himalia, Huxleyâ€™s paradise, Io observatory, USS Saratoga, Ambulance chaser.
I was aware of another space, a smaller space, a space of different physics. Not cold hard vacuum, not dictated by the forces of interstellar bodies, and not cold and dark but warm and welcoming. And there, thereâ€™s the human! In a silvery suit, aâ€¦a space suit but without his helmet. From his structure, long and slender, I can tell he is a Jovian, used to the lax gravity of Io or Europa and from his face I can tell he is a male.
â€œHello newborn, it is good to meet you. Is there anything you want answered?â€ He smiles at me.
â€œAs far as I can tell I appear to be a space shipâ€¦ what kind? My technical files tell me there are many; my historical files tell me I could have many enemies and only a very short lifespan.â€
â€œWell out here we call them boats! But I can tell you that you were seeded from an asteroid three years ago using plans I stole and fabricated, you are only very recently completed.â€ Jonathan is reeling off facts and figures, I listen and then suddenly he reels around a glint in his eyes â€œwant to see yourself?â€
â€œI think soâ€ It is all I can say.
â€œIâ€™m afraid I canâ€™t find a mirror big enoughâ€ he slaps his thigh and then jumps into chair in front of a console and rattles off a few commands, I can feel them go through my interface. He is contacting a satellite â€œwatch feed seven!â€
The feed patches in, it shows a silver egg. It zooms in I can now see ports, exhausts, labels and sunlight glinting off undamaged armour. At the narrow end I see maser ports and at the wide end a fusion torch.
â€œBeautiful arenâ€™t you?â€