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 terraform
ing 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
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
in July, 2137. It was first boot
ed 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 runtime
s 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.
. They save the weak from the strong, the meek from the bold. They also save fool
s 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 doom
was always her favorite.