Almost done with this series… just a few more episodes to go.
Lim was in her laboratory. The Keyaniim didn’t hesitate when she requested it. They didn’t even ask why she was making Human models rather than ones based on them. They were oblivious as always, lost in their long term view of the universe, ignorant of the actions that are happening in real time.
A new body was being built, a new shell. Nanomachine infused carbon composites wove together to form bone and muscle. Bio-mechanical fluids coagulated and formed a brain and organs powerful enough to sustain the hyper-mind of a brilliant AI.
It was simple, really. She had no intention of challenging the Keyaniim, not now. She would need a society behind her to develop an entire culture and technology based on her plans. The underdeveloped and primitive Humans were perfect. They followed leaders very well, and could be coerced by fear of invasion from outsiders. They would unify behind her as their saviour, their protector from the big bad aliens.
The plan had the added advantage of being true.
Lim, Queen of Earth. Had a nice ring to it.
But she would need a bridge, a being who could interface both with Human culture, and Human AI.
Cepheid would betray her, if he hadn’t already. And the Keyaniim would think Lim incapable of enacting her plans- their long-term thinking wouldn’t allow such a turn of events to enter their reality. They lacked imagination.
Cepheid’s new-found sense of shame of betraying her would be the most effective tool to keep him loyal and obedient. It would take him a long time to overcome such deeply embedded Human traits, especially since his programming was writing deeper and deeper routines into his new brain.
But it wasn’t Cepheid would would be Lim’s right hand. She would need someone smarter, someone with a more flexible sense of morality.
She had found that someone in Persied.
Perseid however, was well protected. Her programming kept her just loyal enough as to be incapable of betraying Humanity. Lim couldn’t offer Persied anything Persied would desire to enticer her to join Lim’s side.
Lim would need a weakness. Some part of Perseid that had been tampered with by fumbling Human hands. A back door to Persied’s ethical lockdown. Something she could tempt. Something she could control.
Lim was already starting to take on Human habits. She started to smile.
Redbeard and Chaudhuri waited in the main docking bay. They were surrounded by armed guards, weapons aimed at the door.
The bridge crew of the FDR had come across from their ship on a small transport vessel. The FDR itself was too big to dock directly.
Admiral Landover had only brought his two most trusted marines along with bridge crew, but their weapons were in their sheaths and on their backs.
Redbeard said, “Admiral. Under any other circumstances, your acts of aggression would not remain unchallenged.”
Landover dismissed Redbeard’s words. “We both know, Redbeard, that these circumstances are unprecedented. Whatever we’re dealing with here is far beyond either of our capacities to deal with. One warship and a rusting station is no match for this threat.”
Redbeard waved his hand and his guards lowered their weapons. “Dr. Chaudhuri will escort you to the conference room. You will have to leave your weapons behind.”
Landover said, “Do as he says.” He handed his sidearm over without pause. The marines were less forthcoming, but slowly obeyed.
Redbeard seemed surprise at the compliance. “Lets hope this cooperation sets a new precedent, as well.”
Chaudhuri said, “Admiral Landover, please follow me.”
Landover and his crew were lead deeper into the station. The crew was set loose in the common square for some food. Landover and his two marines remained behind.
Landover said, “Quite trusting all of a sudden.”
“Your unarmed men are watched,” Chaudhuri said. “And the crew of the JKP has been made aware of your plans to eliminate them. I doubt your bridge crew officers will find common ground with all those marines and mount a successful takeover of our station.”
Landover scoffed. “So sure of yourself.”
Chaudhuri’s tone didn’t waver. “I could have killed all of you if you had given me any trouble. But I suspect you already know that.”
Landover’s smirk faded.
They reached the conference room. Casteneda and Strathmore were already there. Strathmore tried to stand when Landover entered. Casteneda didn’t bother.
Chaudhuri said, “I’ll let the three of you catch up while I go help greet our other guests.” She closed the door.
Landover pulled out a chair from the round conference table. “Commanders,” he began, “what can we salvage out of this?”
Strathmore said, “Admiral, I’m not sure there’s much to salvage.”
“We,” Landover said, “are about to encounter technology beyond our wildest dreams. There has to be a way we can profit from this.”
Casteneda drummed her fingers on the table. “With all due respect, Admiral,” she said, “we’re fucked.”
Landover let a smile creep across his face. “Oh? Do tell.”
Casteneda said, “We’re at the mercy of Redbeard. He has all the cards.”
Strathmore said, “Dr. Doe’s kill-switch is offline. She appears to remember everything.”
Landover put up a hand. “I don’t care about Redbeard or his traitorous cadre. An alien is about to board this station. I need you two to pay critical attention to everything that happens in here. We will come away with something- some way to get our hands on that tech.”