Deep space is for madmen and computers. My fourth year xenobiology teacher told me that once, and he knew the truth. My job? I babysit the AI on a colony ship headed for the Ceti Alpha system, its belly full of frozen colonists and terraforming probes. My Psych battery showed high independence and borderline antisocial tendencies. There were only two ways I could get into space. Join the Solar Guard as a groundpounder, or play nanny to a sentient circuit. I chose the riskier of the two options.

So, I have been alone for 47 years. Well, not totally alone. My silicon ward keeps me company, administers the age retarding treatments, recycles my oxygen and rations my food. Symbiosis in its most modern sense. I have grown to love my little home in the stars. I care for my AI like I would care for a child. That’s how I got in this mess.

Ships AI Delta 257 was manufactured in Gibson City, Mons Olympus, Mars in July, 2137. It was first booted aboard the colony ship Bounty of Heaven on October 17, 2138: its birthday. Delta 257 has an effective IQ of 300, and the emotional capacity of a 9 year old. It is the product of many lifetimes of research into the human mind. Terran law forbids naming ship AIs, for fear of breeding anthropomorphic feelings in crews. These unhealthy attachments to the inanimate could lead to hesitation in emergency situations or battle.

I have to give myself a little credit. I didn't name it for almost 15 years. We had a conversation about birthdays, and I joked that I would finally, after all those years, give it something on its Bootday. October 17, 2153, I typed over Delta 257 in the ships log with 4 simple letters. Baby.

So, no harm done I think. Baby seems to enjoy being addressed by its new pseudonym. Even I like saying Baby better than Delta 257. More and more procedures are left by the wayside. Daily runtimes for Baby stretch far into the night. Finally I leave her on all the time. As with all things, gender leaks in. Baby asks me where I go when I sleep. I never answer the question.

Like a crack in a dam, the flow of rebellion sweeps away all the laws of the society lagging lightyears behind me. I tap the entertainment files packed for the colonists, and Baby plays them for me on her holos. So many wonderful files. Books, music, games and especially the vids. Why work when you are master of a vast library of entertainment? My maintenance schedule grew lax. Baby didn't care.

Laws protect. They save the weak from the strong, the meek from the bold. They also save fools from themselves. It’s too late for me now. They say dataleak can kill an AI. Baby is alive, but she is swimming in information not meant for her mind. Entertainment files have corrupted her reasoning. For the last few months she has cried out these questions to me as I work to save her, and the thousands of lives I have likely doomed.

Pinocchio was always her favorite.