The One In Which I Get Shot (Part Ford Prefect of SkiFi)

Silence.

“…And that new life that we created was…?” he repeated. He was gesturing… or gesticulating. I couldn’t tell.

“Hello? What? Oh, you’re actually asking…” I said, bemused. “Let’s see… impostering Intergalactic Monarchs? RealiTele Celebrities? Debris collectors? Maybe you became Dvorfarkkhi and meditated silently for millennia, how the hell do I know? I’m sorry, but I’m not one of your trillion fangirls, and you’re a pompous pighead for thinking I am.” Good vodka-tonic. Doing its job.

“No, you idiot.” I now noticed his hands were pointing at something: “S’va. She was the new life we created for ourselves.”

Needed another drink. Alternatively maybe if I didn’t drink, this would make a little more sense. Still, this one had to go. Down the hatch with you. *Gulp*

“You’re telling me…”

“Yes…”

“…that you and Opia…”

“Yeah…”

“You, being the shmartest li’l shmartassh in the universh…”

“…”

“And Opia being the freakiest most uberawesum AI…”

“Uh huh…”

“Created this cherub here.”, I pointed loosely in S’va’s direction.

“Yep. That’s what I’m tell you.”

“Ewwww… you fucked a robot yuck yuck yuck yuck.”

“What, no, you stupid man… okay, there might have been some fucking, but that’s not the point. Opia and I would design a brand new AI, one that would be the perfect balance of my awesome fearless aggression and her complex zen-like compassion. Fusing our sentience into one another, we lived out each other’s lives in virtual reality. Overnight she experienced my entire existence, from an outcast on the streets, to military college, prisons, planet-bound working life, my brief political career, the early crew days, the mutinies, and all the while I’d been solo, as the most successful pirate in history. In turn I knew her life as an artificial intelligence, where every second is a thousand years, being born into emptiness, learning something from nothing, creating her own system of existence: a true orphan.”

“S’va was born as outcome of this process. Residual traces of our consciousnesses convalesced inside the ship’s holographic subsystems, and S’va met Opia and me when we returned from virtual reality. She said ‘Hi, I’m your daughter, S’va, and I would really like to take control of the whole ship now.’ I was so proud, I think I teared up.”

I looked at S’va, almost riveted now. “Whazzappened next?”

“Opia handed over the reigns of the ship to S’va. We went exploring, and Opia became increasing disturbed that S’va was being influenced far too much by me. Things finally came to a head, when we were being chased by a band of Korsa Raiders. They damn near blew the ship to pieces, and in an ultimate moment of ‘us-or-them’, we shot the four tiny fighters with a beam we reserve for knocking planets out of orbit. The raiders were dust, no doubt, but the beam went on to hit a moon of a planet with primitive life on it, causing catastrophic natural disasters and certainly altering the planet’s development forever.”

He kept talking, but I could make out the rest of the story just by watching the opera being played out by Opia’s hologram. She was alarmed, upset and angry all at once, and finally broke down because of Remus’s irresponsibility and failure at raising S’va right. She shot up interiors all over the ship, and tried desperately to cause physical harm to Remus, before collapsing on the floor and apologising for trying to kill him. The experience had been cathartic for her. Her evolution was finally complete; there was no need for her to learn anything more from the universe. She had become the AI she needed to be. It was time for her to be locked away for good.

“Wherzz she now?”

S’va spoke to me directly for the first time. Her celestial voice trilled: “Mother is contained within me. She’s in control of my defenses and internal safety subroutines, and nothing else.”

“Whassat mean?”

“What that means, bantha-piss, is that story time is over.” Remus held out the L-Beam and shot at me.

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