Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer
It was a significant indiscretion to say the least. To have become emotionally involved in your science project was bad enough, but to have affected its outcome was unforgivable. In fact, it was a breach of conduct worthy of expulsion. Now, Mi’tera was faced with another dilemma, what to do about it.
It had been an ambitious senior project, recalled Mi’tera; to study this very unusual corporeal life from. They were so different than Etheropeans, she thought, as she gazed at the tiny spaceship that she lovingly cradled. There were more than 400 “beings” living precariously within the little hollow metal vessel. They were so young, so vulnerable. For the last semester she had traveled through space with them as they “explored” the universe. How cute, she had thought. They think that they are so special, so unique. Boldly going wherever they wanted; only to repeatedly stumble into situations that they were not ready to handle. At first, Mi’tera only interacted in small ways: containing a plasma leak, strengthening a bulkhead, boosting the power output. Mi’tera considered this acceptable behavior back then, because the humans never suspected an outside influence; “luck favors the fortunate” they had boasted. Even later, when her unethical involvement became more emboldened, the naïve humans attributed the “miracles” to their crafty chief engineer. Even the fortuitous outcomes of her most egregious interventions were credited to the ingenuity of their dashing young captain. They never suspected they had a guardian watching over them.
However, Mi’tera knew that what she was doing was very wrong. She knew that she had to let nature take its course. Non-interference was a requirement for school projects involving observational science. But she couldn’t help herself. The humans were like helpless paidia, and her instincts were to protect them. As her charge left orbit after completing another successful mission, she could sense the humans moving within their tiny self-contained micro-environment. And when she concentrated, she could even read their thoughts, know their dreams, and feel their passion. Even now, they were totally unaware that she was deflecting an intense gamma ray burst that would have destroyed their frail molecular structures. Dammit, she vowed to herself, this will be the last time that she’d interfere on their behalf. After this one last time, she swore, they’ll be on your own. As they streaked together through space, she continued to hug the ship, occasionally vaporizing a rogue asteroid if it drifted too close to their flight path.