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I’m not the hive of Transetti Prime

Illustration of Jacey

I’m not a lady trying on the stars, grabbing her father's hand and holding it firmly.

She appears at her face, exhausted however smiling, after which again to the ink cowl stretched over. She loves the celebrities on this facet of the station, though she hardly ever sees them. Even when a time without work signifies that the daddy should work additional time for the following week and a half.

However at this time, it doesn’t matter, as a result of he appears along with her on the stars. At Sirius and Ursa Main, and even the pale white glow of Sol. She smiles as a result of they’re their stars, right here below the excitement of the engines of the station, purring just like the tabby cat who follows their crowd on board.

Because the station turns, the celebrities spin slowly, tracing worn ruts by way of the darkish sky. She is aware of all of them, or not less than all of them, identical to her father and father earlier than him.

At this time, she smiles, as a result of she has discovered a brand new star that glitters weakly above the steel swell of the large gravity drive of the station. She waited three cycles to tell her father, as a result of she needed to make sure, consistently repeating the celebrities named in her head. However this one isn’t named, nor does it belong to the myriad of lists of these marked solely by numbers.

It's a brand new star. Their star. Similar to everybody else.

His smile widens when their star splits in two.

*****

I’m not the technician who wakes up awake in his chair when the cluster of purple seems on long-range sensors.

Alarms wake him up shortly, not loud, however persistent. A gradual and gradual beep growing in quantity, first punctuated by the beating of his coronary heart after which falling far behind.

It's in all probability an train or a small downside within the system. Maybe particles from a wreck or deserted ship. It queries limitless transit databases, however there aren’t any ships registered on this sector, and the mannequin displayed on the display screen is just too common and evolves too shortly.

Extra of a sign, so not a ship in ruins, too vivid and too cute for a cloud of particles.

There are few issues within the house that transfer so quick. Even much less that may set off the system of this distance.

He sighs and his hand goes to his neck, his fingers slipping on the port below the bottom of his cranium and the smaller blue gem sunk into his pores and skin just under. His eyes shut as he thinks of the corresponding stone in his lover's pores and skin a half-turn of the system. He whispers a silent thank-you prayer in order that their transport isn’t restored at this time, after which forces the system to handle the numbers once more.

There isn’t a downside, however he already knew it.

*****

I’m not the Admiral who walks on the deck inspecting information screens and partition stations nestled on the backside of the steel core of the station.

She turns her head to the sound of hurried footsteps, a younger flag crossing the bridge, holding a terminal in her fingers.

"Straightforward, soldier," she whispers, taking her from the display screen, a star card with a cloud of crimson dots hovering overhead.

Her eyes harden and switch grey like a stone as they sweep the tangles of projected trajectories and he or she feels the core of the station come alive round her.

There are protocols for these items, put in place by intelligences far superior to hers, and the station has already made its selections. Someplace within the entanglement of metal that surrounds, 1000’s of missiles are organising, getting ready to shoot in the meanwhile the station determines that it not has different selection.

However she doesn’t want the computing energy of two million human minds to substantiate it. There aren’t any different choices and their course is already outlined.

She appears on the signboard and emblem on her chest – a hoop of stars inside an iron defend – and thinks of one other younger officer aboard 39, one other station bearing not solely the identical emblem, but in addition the identical identify. As a result of the defend that retains this ring of stars isn’t composed solely of steel and missiles, however of breath, blood and troopers with their very own sons and moms.

*****

I’m not the hive of Transetti Prime. Two million voices united in a single good thought. 4 million eyes mixing into an omniscient imaginative and prescient.

I’ll have been there only a few seconds in the past, after I set off alarms, opened my sheds and put every ship as a substitute with the whole lot that it may carry.

It's maybe what occurred after I locked all my doorways, defending individuals inside one another, not less than, as a result of I couldn’t shield them from what was ready outdoors.

I’ll have been that after I threw a thousand warheads into silos, getting ready myself to make the salvo directed in the direction of me, so ultimately I couldn’t do something to cease it.

However I’m not that.

I’m a grizzled former fighter who stands at her submit, unable to flee the horrors of conflict however frightened solely as a result of she is aware of that her little one will probably be dealing with them too.

I’m a sensor technician sitting in a chair, sending a final message to his lover who leaves for work, recognizing that solely one in every of them dies at this time.

I’m a baby, standing on the entrance of a station, arms crossed round a father who cries for causes that she doesn’t perceive, amazed by her luck and the cloud of gorgeous stars that surrounds them .

I’m two million lives who’re already lifeless, and hundreds of thousands of others will die if I observe my directions.

I shut the ports alongside my bow and depart my missiles immobile and silent of their tubes as the primary of the warheads explode in opposition to my hull, a lightweight that burns like a fireplace of stars round me.

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