The Shipboard Computer (Part I of SkiFi)

(This is the first post in the SkiFi series, a recent experiment of mine. If you would like to read this from the beginning, please click on the title of this post, and then click through the series. Otherwise, scroll down to the most recent post on this blog. “Share and Enjoy!”)

 

“I don’t see how this is possible.”

This was an odd thing to hear the shipboard computer say.

Not because it had a particularly good grasp of everything; it didn’t.

Nor did it lack the linguistic ability to articulate its opinion so lucidly; it didn’t. In fact, since the discovery of the semantomites*, this was quite normal; almost overnight, machines everywhere in Exospace began to display sentience, and express feelings. Today, most coffee makers and toastes spend their free time translating Russian mathematics into Hawwaiian alphabets, translating them back, and having a good laugh over logic lost in syntactical irregularities.

It was odd because I’d just asked it to calculate our warp trajectory to the nearest Fabric Rupture – something it should be able to do in its sleep.

(to be continued)

*Semantomites are subatomic beings that had been enslaved by humans for hundreds of years, to carry zeros and ones across electrical synapses. Their human slave-driving masters would zap entire nations with energy pulses, and the semantomites would scurry across the breadth of their lands to deliver the message. What surprised the semantomites – indeed, shocked them deeply, even – was the alarming dearth of vocabulary of their overlords. Semantomites themselves had a keen understanding of every known language in the universe (with the exception of Dvorfarkkhaven, of course; The Dvorfarkkhi people haven’t spoken to each other in a billion years, and are quite content keeping it that way), so they didn’t fully comprehend why their masters couldn’t just give them complex messages all at once to deliver, but instead chose to torture complete continents of poor semantomites with billions of energy pulses of zeros and ones just to get this message out: “P3n1s 3n14rg3m3n7”. Semantomitic leaders finally decided it was time to parlay with the strange primitive flesh-beasts who had a nasty penchant for pain.

Humans didn’t fully comprehend why at exactly the same time all over the world in every known language every single electronic device asked: “Why do you torture us?”

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