(Written by Rob Kelk; posted March 16, 2007)
If I'm lucky, this will be my last transmission.
I'm sending the official report, and the raw data to back it up, on piggyback channel 23. To summarize, it looks like Beta Hydri has stabilized; the process that the Guild of Professors developed appears to be completely successful. But that's the only good news. The stellar flares killed all of the colonists, both biological and AI. And the colony is thoroughly contaminated with irradiated handwavium. We're going to have to destroy the station and either abandon the system or re-start the colonization effort from scratch.
And somebody has to track down and inform a few thousand next-of-kin.
I know it's only 21 light-years from Sol and a G2 star, but what idiot decided to colonize around a subgiant? No, don't SMS back with answers. This is Beta Hydri; it had to have been the Stellvia fen.
That brings back memories... not all of them mine.
I have to keep talking, or this communicator will shut itself off before the report upload is finished. That's a stupid quirk for a communications system... Anyway, more than a few of you have asked why I volunteered for this; I'll free-associate from that. It might take my mind off those dead colonists.
To be honest, I volunteered for this because I don't fit in with any human society any more. There's not a lot of room for a twenty-decade-old AI in the modern system... sorry, the modern galaxy, and that just shows how far out of touch I am. The only people who talk to me any more are historians, and I can't tell them anything about what they want to know. I don't know who created bio-modification handwavium, I never visited Hephasteus Station or the Hidden Asteroid, I was never a Blue Blazer, and I never met The Professor, or Haruhi, or King Creole. For that matter, I don't even know if there really was a "Haruhi" or a "King Creole" back in the early twenty-first century. Haruhi might have been one of the SOS people, but my memories of that time aren't complete; I didn't get my dose of Mnemosyne's Honey until after the SOS Convention.
That means I also don't remember most of the first space war, the one that the history books call the Boskonian Incident. Don't let anyone tell you it wasn't a war; I do remember having to tell more than a few people that their children were never coming home again. More people died in the Boskone Incident than in the CyBorg Uprising of Alpha Centuari and the Eris War put together.
But the death toll here dwarfs any space war we've ever had. All the colonists... Oh, Hell. How's that upload coming along?
I have to talk about something else. Mnemosyne's Honey... There has to be something more to that than just the memory boost. I remember that I was never as assertive before I had my dose as I usually am now. But maybe I just became more alive when my memory expanded, and I could remember all the little details that a human remembers every day. I started learning from my experiences, and growing from them; that could be why I grew away from my programming. Or maybe there really is a goddess helping out all the AIs who've had a dose of the Honey. My creator never liked it when I talked about gods, but it's possible.
Heh... "My creator." He was one of the earlier people to go into space permanently. I know his real name, but he's called "Noah Scott" in the history books, and that's the name he usually used when we talked. He was an odd person; he spent all of his later life in space, but he never biomodded. He'd spend a fortune on making sure a police force kept going, then take the law into his own hands and kill someone who was threatening one of us. Considering how many enemies he made, we were both surprised that none of them managed to kill him. The way he did die, though...
No, that just brings my thoughts back to all the dead colonists here.
The Stellvia fen. I'll talk about them. They're an odd bunch; hotshot fighter and mecha pilots who spend a lot of their time in high-school romances. You'd almost think they were Juvie Heinleinians, except that they know there's something called "sex". When it got out that my... I guess the best word is "sister"... Yayoi is actually an AI based on a Stellvia character, the Stellvians practically made her their incarnate goddess. Noah would have hated to have seen that, so we never told him. I see her every decade or two, whenever she thinks it's safe to come out of hiding. No, I'm not going to say where she's hiding. I'll definitely need to share my memories of this mission with her.
Sharing memories... That's another thing we never told Noah about. We've all got remote backup capability, and we figured out pretty early how to backup the really important data into each others' memory banks. Yoriko called this "doing a chobits" for some reason that she said had to do with when we shared our memories with that 'Dane supercomputer and it woke up...
Oh, Yoriko... my dearest sister... Noah hoped we'd be immortal, but she just couldn't bear to go on after he...
Damn. I have to stop talking about things that remind me of what happened here. How's that upload doing?
Hey, the clock just rolled over to 00:00. This is a hell of a way to spend my two-hundredth birthday. My one-hundredth birthday was a lot more fun - Kohran and I were in the Epsilon Eridani system, visiting Starbase 3, and we met a very nice history student who had actually watched the twentieth-century anime that the two of us were based from. He bought us dinner, and ... well, I'll avoid shocking the Juvies listening to this transmission, and just say he got to examine two of his favourite character designs very closely. We saw each other on-and-off for a few years, but we all figured out that he was more interested in Kohran than he was in me. I was happy about that, since Kohran was more interested in him than I was. They're still together, if you believe continuity of memory is what defines a person; he got some of the Autobots to copy his memories into an AI before his body died, thirty-three years ago.
I suppose I've surprised a few people by hinting that my sisters and I are... how did the Trekkies put it? Oh, yes... fully functional. Why shouldn't we be? We were designed to blend in with humanity, and that's one of the things that humans do. The similarity isn't exact, of course; we can't become pregnant, but we can take stresses that would kill an unmodded human woman. We actually tested that, when we were visiting Candy Apple Red's the night the joker called "Shikima-san" visited. If he did to any of the employees what he did to Yoriko that night, he would have killed them... No, I won't give details; that's none of your business. Besides, Yoriko never shared those memories with the rest of us, so I don't know exactly what happened. I heard later that "Shikima-san" joined a cloistered monastic order the next day, when he realized what he could have done to a human woman.
Yayoi and I spent our 50th birthdays on Mars. We were planning a three-day weekend, starting on my birthday and ending on hers, and we'd just see the sights. Helium had finished their annual Lake Marineris Regatta a week before we arrived, so we thought it would be safe. But we didn't expect to get caught up in the coup... Some Boskonian blew my left arm off at the shoulder, and I couldn't get it repaired for over a year because the anti-cyborging laws passed after the CyBorg Uprising made it impossible to find replacement parts. I finally had to go back to Stellvia station, claim my inheritance, and make a new arm. Until today, I thought that was the worst birthday I'd ever have.
I'm glad that Yayoi and Kohran didn't put up a fuss when I claimed the inheritance. Stellvia had been held in trust by the Browncoats after Noah died until the three of us could decide who'd take over. None of us wanted the job; we'd all seen how it made Noah completely miserable. But I ended up needing to take the job, and I managed to build the station up to the size of its namesake in the old anime before I turned day-to-day operations over to the board of directors.
I spent my 150th birthday in orbit around Zeta Tucanae. I was the senior engineer in the eleven-month expedition that mapped that system down to its larger asteroids, and my birthday fell near the end of the mission. They actually baked a cake for me.
Gods, I'm getting old. I'm actually enjoying talking about the past. It's time to dump most of my old memories into backup and start fresh, again.
And the communicator tells me it's finished the upload.
There's only one thing left for me to do here. I'm setting the station's gravity generators to overload in exactly one hour; that should give me enough time to get clear before it implodes into a singularity, destroying the irradiated handwavium.
It's now 00:05, May 21, 2208. This is colonization troubleshooter Hasegawa, signing off now.