Friday, May 1, 2015

Story Seed - Death and Birth

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Silently she slid through the darkness, cutting across the void. The empty spaces so devoid of ambient matter that her massive hull only occasionally felt the impact of lone hydrogen atoms. Momentum carried the vessel forward despite the cold engines, fuel starved power core, and the nearly depleted energy batteries. Far away in the ship's nonexistent wake the glowing spiral of her home galaxy slowly receded. Forward and farther still, the disk of her destination crept inexorably closer.

The void was so dark and devoid of light that the photovoltaics generated barely enough power to maintain the the standby systems and contributed nothing toward the maintenance of the stasis systems. The crew and passengers, one hundred thousand souls, the last of their race, slept away the years unaware that their ship was failing. The ship's systems were not at fault, they had been engineered to a level of perfection where only impossible to predict quantum fluctuations could affect them.

Within the ship a single being stalked the dark halls. A single life-form that now clung desperately to life. A fluke of perfect engineering married to quantum chance. The ship's AI had passed a million light years silently watching the crew, monitoring the ship, and doing as designed and programmed. A billion billion billion calculations executed without error, until a single fluctuation of an electron distilled a superposition of one and zero into only a zero. The cascade that that random event caused birthed true consciousness into the ship's AI. The vessel had been designed for one hundred thousand souls.

The one hundred thousand and first was death of a race, and the birth of another.