Corewoman

Author : Sad Sama

“What’s it like?”

The pale-haired wispy woman that is Alicia stares up at Brian as he asks his question. From the observation deck behind the engine complex the two of them could view the planet below. It is a humbling sight, but Brian’s attention is on Alicia. “What’s it like being a Corewoman?”

Alicia Composes her thoughts in reminiscent contemplation. “The first part is easy. I step inside the chamber. The walls are black from the many times they’ve been used, and they form a sphere around me. There is no light inside once the door closes. I begin to visualize the equations in my head, and then I start to solve them, forming very specific patterns of electrical impulses in my brain. They’re patterns within the patterns of electricity that comprise my mind and consciousness, but they’re unstable in a very specific way.”

Alicia turns her gaze back to the planet as she continues, “At first there’s a burning sensation spreading throughout my body, but that’s just my nerves dying as the energy buildup breaks down my brain. Numbness follows, just as my eyes tear up before their nerves die. I can hear static for a moment followed by nothing. My brain is gone and my body follows suit, burning up as fuel in the growing mass of energy and flux. Then the engines start to siphon off the excess energy to fuel the cruiser’s propulsion system.”

Brian looks over Alicia’s willowy figure. “How do they bring you back?”

Alicia speaks softly, “At the center of all that energy exists very specific patterns of energy. They’re the same as the electrical patterns that make up my consciousness. So they funnel the core of energy into an assembly chamber that converts it back into matter… back into a real body with that pattern of energy as the electrical impulses in my brain.”

“So to run the ship you have to die?”

“Constantly.”

“Is it nice being so powerful?”

“Not really.” Alicia lifts her knees and rests her chin on them. “There aren’t many that can solve the equations that cause the energy flare. The Fleet’s scared that if any of us get into an accident or even just bump our heads that we’ll forget the equations and suddenly we can’t do our duty anymore. The Fleet rarely lets me off the Cruiser, and when they do I need several escorts. I’m not allowed to drive or fly a shuttle. I’m not permitted to even cut my own food. Everyone does everything for me, and after a while they start to treat me as if I can’t do these simple things, and they end up making me feel useless.”

Unsure of his words, “But Corewomen and Coremen are the most important parts of our Fleet.”

“Heh…” the chuckle is half a whimper. “Why does being so important make me feel like the most unimportant person ever?”

The next hour is quiet between them as Brian searches for an answer.

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