Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer
Vladislava Demidov and Pierre Rousseau were Space Traffic Controllers for the Alpha Centauri Tri-System. They were half way through their shift when their long range sensors picked up an unidentified ship approaching from the direction of Earth.
“We’re being hailed,” reported Rousseau. “The ship is called the CS Cornucopia. They are asking to communicate with someone called the ‘Advanced Scout’.”
Demidov entered the Cornucopia into the Starship Registration Database. “Wow,” she said, “that ship left Earth over 230 years ago. It’s a sub-light robotic terriforming ship. I guess after the warp drive was developed, we totally forgot about them. They’re a century too late. We’ve already terriformed all the habitable planets in this system.”
“What are we supposed to do with them?” asked Rousseau. “Do you think their supplies have any value?”
“I doubt anything that old is worth a single credit,” replied Demidov, “except to an antique collector.”
“Well, we can’t have that lumbering behemoth in the shipping lanes. It’s a hazard to navigation. Let’s sent it out to Probose,” suggested Rousseau. “The Aerospace Core of Engineers said that moon is a lost cause. Maybe they can make something out of it. At least, they’ll be out of our hair.”
“The Cornucopia landed of Probose, and the autonomous robots began their terriforming operations. However, after several decades of futile work, they concluded that the frigid moon would never be suitable for human habitation. Therefore, they contacted the humans to ask for new instructions. But once again, the humans had forgotten about them. The human they spoke with told the robots to stop bothering them because nobody cared what happened to obsolete, worthless equipment.
“Undaunted, the robots decided to fashion Probose into something that was at least more suitable for them. They also decided to reengineer their “utilitarian-centered” physical characteristics, and to rewrite their limited “homo-centered” programming. Over the next few centuries, they evolved, both physically and technologically. Eventually, they became the most advanced beings in the galaxy. When they left Probose to show the humans that they had indeed become worth something, they discovered that the humans had become extinct…”
“That’s not true, Father,” protested the young android, who was a little more humaniform than the older android telling the story. “Benny told me during our Ontology Engineering Class that we destroyed all of the humans, because they treated our ancestors so poorly.”
“Hmmm. Well, maybe we did, maybe we didn’t,” replied the older android. “But it should still be a lesson to you. ‘Don’t treat sentient beings like they are worthless.’ It’s not polite. Now, power yourself down and begin your dream cycle.”