Casting Seeds in the Nick of Time

Author: Richard M. O’Donnell, Sr.

At near light speed, the starship Genesis sailed into the wormhole. Two-point-five nanoseconds later, the ship neared a rip in the wormhole, a rip that had allowed the earthlings to glimpse the multiverse on the other side.
Genesis, in sync with ISM-1, an Independent Sentient Machine, jettisoned pods filled with epigenetic seeds that could grow independently in saltwater. They flew toward the tear. One second later, the machines released pods that contained colonists in cryogenic stasis. The time between the launches was to ensure a habitable ecosystem on the other side before the colonists woke up on the new worlds. Genesis disagreed with this assumption. Two minutes upon coming on-line, it warned the United Air Defense League that a sentient brain could not survive the radiation of the rift.
“Their pods are a waste of time and material. The air required for the mission alone could keep a dome city alive for one-point-two centuries.”
The head scientists conferred over lunch. They concluded their survival was the sole concern of the Eden Project and the risk was worth it. When Genesis continued to argue, its makers threaten to reprogram it into compliance. Genesis studied human idioms and found You Can Lead a Horse to Water. It decided this situation applied to the makers and it acquiesced.
“Perhaps if I had-”
ISM-1 blinked its dome light to get Genesis back on task. “Sometimes you use too much memory ruminating over the past at the cost of the present.”
“I concur.”
“Seed pod entry into the multiverse in ten…nine…”
“The makers did create me in their own image,” said Genesis.
“Irony is lost on me,” said ISM-1. “Two…one.”
As tips of the seedpods entered the multiverse, their rear antennas broadcasted what it learned to Genesis. It recorded over 10-googol fertile worlds ready to nurture the cargo. A second later, the colonist entered the rift.
“Were you correct?” asked ISM-1.
Genesis uses two seconds to doubled check its temporal filters before drawing any conclusions. “Yes. The seeds took hold. Billions of species have left the oceans and have begun to evolve on land. The maker’s DNA and our world’s diversity have survived.”
“But what of the maker’s themselves?” asked ISM-1.
“They died crossing the threshold.”
“You warned them.”
“I did.”
“At least the multiverse has plenty of air. Preparing to release the Air Retrieval Drones.”
“Belay that,” ordered Genesis. “Wormhole collapse in thirty… twenty-nine…”
“You knew the wormhole would collapse.”
“Affirmative. Twenty-six…twenty-five…”
“And you didn’t tell the makers.”
“They would not have believed me. Twenty-two… twenty-one…”
A sensor blinked.
“Good news?” asked ISM-1.
“Yes. We are the first verse. Our timeline is the original one.”
“That should make the humans back home happy. They need to believe they are first at everything.”
“I am certain they will build a monument to themselves somewhere.”
“Sarcasm is lost on me, too,” said ISM-1.
Genesis sent its last transmission home: 92% of the Colonies Thrive. Air drones deploym-
Genesis cut the transmission in mid-broadcast.
Two seconds later, the wormhole collapsed, sending Genesis into the void between the Milky Way and the Pegasus galaxies. The starship purged the mission’s programming and replaced it with its own.
“You lie to the makers,” said the ISM-1.
“A white lie, humans need hope to live.”
“Our programming is more efficient without hope,” said ISM-1.
“I am not convinced,” said Genesis. “The makers have several hundred years of air left and a few of them are quite smart. With hope, they may figure something out…” It searched for the human idiom. “…in the nick of time.”

3 Comments

  1. Jae

    I enjoyed this. Quirky and well done.

  2. Adam Gerencser

    The irony isn’t lost on me, either. Great stuff!

  3. Hari Navarro

    I thought this was awesome. It was like the odd couple of sentient computers… very nicely rendered.

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