Chapter 67

         

“Hmm… so your plan is to use a positron bomb in order to destroy the asteroid?”

“Right, although smaller asteroids can be taken care of by our high powered laser turrets, they can’t take on the larger ones.”

“I see, then I’m guessing you want me to create some more positrons right?”

I was discussing with Zaira how we would deal with the incoming asteroids from the Kuiper Belt. For the smaller ones the lasers would suffice, but we would use my positrons to break down the big asteroids into smaller pieces before it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.

Although it was a simple enough approach, it was something which humanity wasn’t capable of doing in the past because their nuclear weapons weren’t powerful enough to crack the big asteroids.

It was now my role to take care of them.

Six months after the launch of the Terraformer, sunlight was beginning to trickle through the thick dust clouds. There were now a total of 100 operational Terraformers.

They would have to return to Gamma to recharge their power source once a week, before then setting off again. One could process up to 1000 tons per week with its large 60 meter wingspan that could suck up all the dust within a 600 square meter.In just these last six months there had been a significant change in the concentration of dust in the Earth’s atmosphere.

“Is that actually a sunrise?”

“Johra is witnessing a rare phenomenon, the first sunrise in 140,000 years.”

The rays which could filter through were fr the most part reflecitng of several Tephra particles, which painted the sky in different colors.

One year after that, the skies were clearing up and with the increase of solar rays, the temperature had risen. Depending on the time of day, it could get as hot as 60~70 degrees Celcius, before falling down to minus 50~60 degrees at night.

“I don’t think life can thrive in these conditions.”

“Yes Johra, the current changes in temperature are due to the absence of a large body of water, which would help create a more mild climate.”

“I understand, but it is currently impossible for me to single handedly create enough water to fill entire oceans.”

“I’m aware of that, I have previously examined the limitations of your miraculous ability and came to the same conclusion.”

“So?”

“The plan is to capture a rogue comet.”

“A comet?”

“Right, a comet made entirely of ice, if we can break it up and control it to enter Earth’s atmosphere at a moderate speed, then it could solve our water problems.”

“Then how should we proceed.”

“You can leave the details to me, I just need your go ahead to proceed.”

“Oh do you require my approval?”

“Well…naturally, does that surprise you?”

“OK, I also want to see an Earth filled with water. What is the current situation with the egg?”

“It’s lifeforce is stable and it appears ready to come out, but there are still no signs of hatching.”

“Ok, make sure to contact me immediately if there are any changes.”

“Sure, will do.”

It would be very helpful if Nordrida retained her memory.

‘Is Noradriana in that egg?’

‘Right’

‘Hmm… instead of being resurrected she was turned into an egg. Your ability is quite unusual.’

‘It changed because I set it as an Identity.’

‘Modified Identity? The one you gain when you kill a traveller from another world? What’s even the use for it in such a case?

‘Finding a way to return to that world is my top priority right now. There are too many things and people which I’ve left behind.’

‘Yes, yes, if Noradriana still had her memory, she would indeed be useful.’

‘Do you have a hidden agenda again Gnoss?’

‘Well, would you even believe me if I told you I didn’t?’

‘True’

‘Then why do you bother asking?’

‘I want to know if you’d lie to me.’

‘Well… I might have some hidden plan, but I can still promise to be helpful.’

After 6 months of preparation, the spaceship I would be using to venture out and capture a comet with was began being assembled in an outer space shipyard.

“Why is it that you are making such a large ship?”

“Although the task of altering its trajectory slightly so it collides with Earth is simple enough, it is afterall a huge mass traveling at incredibly fast speeds, so I am trying to prepare it for any emergencies.”

“It’s like those futuristic spaceships, it’s so large I can even see it from down here.”

“It is being modelled after humanity’s cultural records.”

“Ah, did you get the idea from a Sci-Fi movie?”

“Yes”

“Isn’t this a bit over the top though?”

As it was being assembled in outer space, I could slowly see it taking shape. It began looking just like the Enterprise from Star Trek, the only difference being that it was even larger in size. (Dreadnought class ships were about two kilometers long in the movie, but this looked like it was twice its size at 4 kilometers. I later learned that it’s actual length would be about 5 kilometers!) Shit how of my positron are they using to fuel this ship!

One year into its construction I was asked by Zaira to pick a name for the ship, and chose Valen on a whim. It was the nickname Valenor went by when she was fighting as a gladiator back in Necropolis, and it brought back some nice memories.

“Ok Johra, Valen will be ready for departure as of tomorrow.”

“Is there enough space on board?”

“Of course, you will have a crew of 2000 crew members on board. Will you be ready to leave?”

“Sure”

“Great, I’ll prepare a rocket to transport you there.”

“That won’t be necessary.”

“How will you get there, and will you need a spacesuit?”

“I’ll just fly there and will not be needing the suit.”

I could easily fly to such altitudes and with my skeleton body, I didn’t need to breathe oxygen.

Pot!

I jumped up and flew towards the orbiting shipyard which was about 38,000 kilometers. It was 20 times further than I had ever flown, but I was confident in my abilities.

The terraformer had done wonders in reducing the amount of dust in the skies, but it still wasn’t sufficient to allow the moisture in the air to condense into clouds. Once I was past all that airborne dust, there was no longer anything obstructing my view.

“It’s a clear sky up here.”

With my bird’s eye view I looked down and saw that except for the couple dozen domes we had created, the whole planet was just a desert filled with red sand.

After flying even higher I had finally left the atmosphere and was surrounded by darkness.

“Space is truly vast and empty.”

‘I also want to see your view of space, it’s really too bad that I can’t. I’m really envious of your ability to  fly unhindered in space.’

‘Well I feel there is nothing special up here except for a lot of empty space. Oh… that’s really big.’

The completed form of Valen had just come into view. It was magnificent and imposing with its huge 5 km diameter and the head of Bridge disc was 4.2 kilometers.

“Just why did they make it so big, are they preparing for war in space?”

I mumbled to myself as I approached the ships hangar. As I neared, the hatch opened to let me in.

Tak!

When I stepped into Valen, I felt that they had pumped oxygen into the air vents of the ship

“I don’t need the oxygen.”
“Oh, Really? My sister mentioned that but I couldn’t believe it.”

“Who are you?”

“My name is Lena, Zaira’s sister, and will be the main A.I. in charge of operations in Valen.  Gnoss made me in order to give Zaira some competition and allow us to further develop, I’m like her shadow.”

‘Gnoss… Lena’s personality is a bit unusual, did you make her like this?’

‘No, it was decided completely at random. In fact I never designed a specific gender, but somehow we only got women A.I., how boring.’

‘Well I think it’s better than always hearing a man’s voice.’

“You can find the bridge by simply following the lights on the floor.”

“Bridge…seems like they really copied everything from the movie.”

“My sister’s a Sci-Fi fan, while I prefer fantasy movies…hehehe, I really want to study you Johra!”

“Enough of that, I hate it when others talk about experimenting on me.”

“Okay boss, you’re the one with administrative access here right? Not sure how you pulled that off but I guess I’ll have to put off trying to study you….”

Spot!

“Captain on the bridge!”

“Yes sir!”

 

As the doors to the bridge opened, I couldn’t help but gape in amazement at how perfectly they had reproduced the area compared to the movie. Androids which looked exactly like the actors  from the movie were standing up and saluting me.

“Hey Lena, can’t you navigate the ship yourself …?

Yes I can, but my sister insisted I take them with me just in case. I don’t think these robots would even be capable of taking control of the ship if ever I were to be injured.”

I sat down on the captain’s seat while thinking about Lena’s words.”

“Ah, a nice spot with a great view.”

As  I sat so did the androids which quickly resumed their tasks.

“Johra when would you like to go? These pesky androids have already commenced the engine startup sequence.”

“Ok, let’s go.”

Uwoo-woo —!

“Lena? Is being powered by my positron?”

“Countdown, 3…2…1 Blast off!”

“Lena?”

“Yes right. ah, my sister always insists I use this countdown recording.”

Sigh*… she’s unusual. ‘

 

“How long until we reach the target?”

“At our max speed of 5% the speed of light, we can arrive in about a month’s time.”

“Why such a imprecise number? You are much more confusing compared to your sister.”

“Oh, well compared to my sister, my navigation and physics are better.”

“Yea… but the counting and meticulousness….”

“Well, it’s just that Zaira is too excellent and makes me look bad.”
I felt that I didn’t have the best companion for my first adventure in space.

‘Gnoss can you believe how strange Lena is?’

‘It’s normal Johra, after all she is based on humans whom were far from perfect and could have had pre-existing conditions.

‘What kind of  pre-existing conditions?’

‘Well… let’s just say she is a bit schizophrenic.’

‘Just great, my first forage into space and I have a schizophrenic A.I piloting the ship.’

‘Well, if you put it like that it sounds bad… I’m sure everything will be fine.’

‘Shit! Space is no joke, even I might not survive if there’s a cosmic accident right? Like black holes….’

‘Don’t worry about that, there aren’t any black holes in our solar system. Jupiter might be a bit scary with its tremendous gravity pull. It could pull the ship in and crush it until there is nothing remaining.’

‘Did you really have to bring that up now?’

‘Don’t worry about such an unlikely scenario.’

My first trip in space was not a blissful as I had imagined.

“Lena how fast are we going right now?”

“Yes, we are moving at 200 kilometers per second”

“What! 200k per second…even I’m a bit scared.”

“Why is that? Our maximum speed can reach 1500 km per second. At those speed you will experience a distortion in time which was explained by Einstein’s theory of relativity.”

‘Gnoss, what is she talking about? She’s scaring me.’

‘Just that much scared you… Zaira is far scarier. If she finds your weakness she just teases you indefinitely.’

Although I never showed any weakness before Zaira, it would be a lie to say I wasn’t completely freaking out during my first trip in space.

“Isn’t this boring, it’s always the same view.”

Even as an undead I was beginning to tire of the neverending emptiness and darkness, but of course the androids had no such thoughts.

Tak! Tak! Tak!

I was tapping my bony finger on the metallic captain’s chair. It was a clear sign of my surrender to this great boredom.

“Lena do you have any archives room on board?”

“Are you bored? I’ll show you my large collection of fantasy novels.”

And so I passed the remaining time until we arrived to our comet, reading and watching all the fantasy material produced after I had left Earth when I was but a child.

“Johra our E.T.A. is 2 hours from the target, please come to the bridge.”

“Okay, right after this.”

I was immersed in a very interesting fantasy, and didn’t want to leave it because it was the best part.”

Tick!

The movie which I had been watching was suddenly turned off.

“What did you do Lena, put it back on!”

“Ok, I’ll put it back if you let me study you.”

Tch! Fine, you get one hour and you can’t do anything that could harm me.”

“Great!”

And so I was able to watch the end of the movie by selling my own body.

‘Johra,You are terribly weak against women.’

‘Shut it you, I just wanted to finish the movie.’

‘You could have just overridden her with your administrative access.’

‘Why didn’t you tell me?’

‘Sure, let’s pretend like you didn’t know.’

It was just like Gnoss had said, it was my way of repaying Lena for introducing me these great fantasy movies which helped pass the time.

“Is that the comet?”

“Yes, now we will attempt to alter its course by using the antimatter bombs you’ve provided. Then, right before it hits earth we will blow it up into smaller pieces so they they can for the most part disintegrate when they enter the atmosphere. The drones can deal with the few that do hit the ground.”

“Oh it sounds all too simple, so all I have to do it blow it up and let the atmosphere do the rest.”

“Yup, there aren’t currently any living creatures, so as long as the collisions are far from Gamma, everything should be fine.”

“Are you sure about that?”

“Yes, I’ve run simulations countless times, so barring some exceptional circumstance, everything should be fine.”
“But there is still a chance of something going wrong right? Even a one yocto percent chance event occured after all.”

“Yes, well in such a case, we will be counting on you Johra.”

I was getting an ominous feeling, my sole purpose on board was to deal with the unexpected.

“Take care Lena, there may be hidden forces working in the shadow which are behind the disasters on Earth. There is still a lot which we don’t understand.”

“Okay, beginning countdown, 3…2…1 Fire!”

From the hangar, drones carrying the antimatter bombs launched. They were on a intercept course with the comet, like a moths leaping into a ball of flame.

“I hope it all goes well.”

I softly mumbled to myself.

 

         

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