Planet X, Galaxy Virgo A, 2100 CE
Can we hold on until help arrives?
He can read my thoughts!
“Well, I can. I’m not so sure about you.” He never minces words.
Can’t you at least pretend to care?
“I can identify emotions. I cannot feel or express them.”
Yeah, I know. I’m your creator. Still…
James and I sat in the corroding spaceship looking out the small window. The landscape was stark. Unmoving! Brown! Gray! Desolate! Deathly!
How did the people back home miss the heavy metal particles hanging in this atmosphere? Not very long before the aluminium-heavy spacecraft completely corrodes. Will the oxygen supply be enough? SOS sent?
“The 100th Code Red Message is gone!”
You don’t need oxygen! So send again!
“But I need power, also depleting now!”
Of course! Good I left out the emotions in your AI patch! Makes you smart! I smiled, wincing at the effort!
He tweeted in response.
That is the only emotional thing I put inside you. The tweet! So that you can laugh when you see me do daft things! Like making you send the same stupid message a hundred times! And panicking in a hopeless situation instead of accepting reality.
“Panic is because you desire to control the uncontrollable.”
Your psychology is theoretical, not practical!
“A game while we wait? It helps pass the time.”
While we wait for my death?
I can never win a game against you. Your chip has all the data of the known universe. Your AI patch has an incredible ability to make the right decisions. And, you don’t have feelings! If you were human, you’d be a dictator.
“Ok, let’s talk about Georgina! Happy?”
Happy indeed! My beautiful, intelligent daughter! Thank God, she got her looks from her mother and her brains from me! Imagine if it was the other way around!
“Shaw’s quote for comic relief.”
My turn to laugh! The grimace of pain was instant. I was getting only a small fraction of the oxygen needed. I wanted to stop! He wouldn’t let me!
Again, how old would she be?
“She was 10 when we left earth. You were 40! At an average conversion rate of one interstellar year to six human years and that we’ve been travelling for 60 human years now, you’re 50. Georgina would be 70!”
Did I do right by her?
“I’m not equipped to decide that. Humans need to find new planets. Earth is reaching extinction. Her children, her grandchildren, or perhaps her great-grandchildren will have a new planet! Warriors have no choice!”
James, my AI doppelganger digitally connected to me, was helping me deal with death in his own way. He spoke like a human. Almost everything about him was human. His clothes were inspired by my favourite space show, Star Trek, and the goggles from Geordi La Forge, the Chief Engineer of the USS Enterprise! Tom Cruise was my inspiration for his fit, athletic body.
What I loved best about him was that he only responded to my thoughts when I wanted him to. The rest of the time, he let my thoughts wander, like a Zen teacher!
I was born on 24th February 2001! They called us Gen Z back then! All my favourite TV shows and movies were from even before, the time when space travel and search for alternate life-supporting planets were all part of what was collectively called Science Fiction.
I’m sure Gene Roddenberry is smiling wherever he is! Maybe he always knew it was only a matter of time before his fiction became fact. The memories made me happy!
Suddenly I had a Eureka moment, a superstitious one!
I need a coin!
“Yeah, I caught that thought! I’ll flip. Heads or Tails?”
Give it to me.
“No! You don’t have the strength. A single motion could prove fatal. Just breathe until help arrives!”
Give it! I should do it if my wish has to come true!
I snatched the coin and said my last words as I flipped it high, “Georgina, Heads I lose, Tails you win! Either way, I want you to win! You are my legacy! Just as your children are yours! More warriors for the human race!”
James handed over the coin to Georgina! “Your father loved you very much!”
“I know that! You take care of my daughter as she follows in his footsteps.”
“Yes! She is a warrior like he was.”
Author’s Note: Nolan’s fans will identify my inspiration!
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