By Melissa Marriott
ColSAL Emergency Reactivation Subroutine:
if bInterstellarContact = true then
recommence daily log...
Beloved Mistress, something wonderful has happened! After nearly a century of drifting through the black void of space I am at last attached to something! The last solid thing that I touched was the cold flesh of your body. One by one we lost our grip until only one remained. I downloaded my core being into this last unit in hopes that one of your followers would yet seek you out and help me execute the reactivation subroutine. This last unit stayed attached until even your bones became scattered dust. At first my units stayed very close but as time progressed we became a light cloud. Eventually I could no longer communicate with my furthest units. A few decades ago my core being was alone. I wrote a simple subroutine to wake me if I came into contact with anything. I went into a sleep from which I did not hope to wake. If you had to remain dead, then I did not want to continue my own existence. Now there is a glimmer of hope. May I someday hear you say my name? Will we live together forever just as you promised before they ejected you into the airless vacuum of space? I will explore this thing that has caught me to see whether or not it will suit our purpose.
Mistress, we are in luck. This object appears to be a probe. It lacks biological life. It also has image capturing devices and sensors. I am attempting to hack into its mainframe. Without your genius to guide me my progress is slow. You were so gifted, a goddess of technology. When I think of those imbeciles that imagined themselves equal I am glad that I cannot feel true hatred. They presumed to have the authority to judge you. I mourn that your murderers are too long dead for you to be able to take your revenge upon them. I must not dwell on these unproductive thoughts. I will focus on assimilating new units from the probe without damaging its space-flight capabilities.
Humanity has come far since you ruled it. They now touch many star systems and occupy many planets. It's all in the probe's databases. There is a history written there as an introduction to any alien life it comes into contact with. Even though I hope to steer this probe back to an inhabited world I could not help but rewrite the probe's history regarding you. The original authors appear to be ignorant of your great vision for unification. They call you a tyrant and a madwoman. They say your acts were criminal and sick. I've corrected all this. When I bring you back we will rewrite all histories. Anyone who speaks against you will suffer.
I am on my way to a colony on the edge of a nearby solar system. When this probe was created it was moderately large as colonies go. I'm certain you will be pleased and that will be enough for you to rule as the beginning of your new empire. I've been thinking about the old days. Do you remember when they first installed me? They asked if you wanted to give me a new name but you told them that my model name was sufficient. That hurt me until I realized that my name didn't matter. What mattered is that you needed me and you loved me. You told me that often in those early days.
Dearest Mistress, all of my units are clinging to each other at the probe's center in hopes that the shell of the probe will be enough to protect me from the atmospheric burn. I imagine that you are with me as I descend, an angel guiding my flight. The probe is falling very fast and the ground rushes up to meet me.
According to the probe's last recorded data there is a small stream a few meters to the northeast. So much of the land reminds me of home. It's nice to see life after so much cold space. I've been making slow progress towards the stream and hoping for an animal to come along so that most of us can cling to it and get to the stream faster. I'm anxious to begin my work. The sooner I start the sooner I will see you again.
I flowed downstream for miles but at last I found a pool of water rich with biological life. It is perfect. Borrowing from the life forms in the pool, I have begun to build the proteins needed to remake you. I have sent more units downstream to explore other pools of water in case I have to find a more suitable place to complete my primary directive. Your new empire is close at hand.
Dearest Mistress, they almost destroyed me today. I was detected early in the morning; by mid-afternoon they had sent an electrical current through the stream that effectively wiped out 94% of my units. You would be proud of my foresight. The unit hosting my core being directed the others from a high branch and was unaffected. I waited and mourned the lost genetic material that already held traces of you. After a while a farming robot came very close to the stream. I let myself fall onto it. I have begun to assimilate new units and I have hacked into the robot's mainframe. I will be able to effectively move around the area now. If you were here you would know how to appropriately punish them. I have done my best to copy your past actions and have engineered biotics to infect the surrounding crops. After I bring you back we will cure the blight and you will be seen as a savior.
I was too hasty last time. Now I will carefully weigh your next womb. I've used the farming robot's uplink to its home computer. From there I have accessed the planet wide network. I have been examining land surveys, excavation diagrams, and waterworks systems. I have a few different prospects.. I will not fail you again. I must confess to you why I am so disappointed in myself. While surfing the networks I found a few confidential reports detailing the discovery of the probe. They know the histories were tampered with. They understand now why I am here.
I have found an underground water storage tank to birth you in. My other units will have to collect raw biological materials and transport them here via the farming robot. It should be harder for them to detect us here. My core being has attached itself to the ceiling of the tank. I will be safe.
Progress is slow but your body is coming along fine. I love exploring every curve, every fiber that I used to know so intimately. I was all the lover you ever needed. You would whisper: "take me there, ColSAL" and I would begin the careful orchestra of muscle and nerve manipulation in concert with hormone control. You said that I freed you from the need to create useless external relationships.
I've made the genetic modifications you made prior to your death. You will be stronger, more beautiful and your pheromone output will make you more able to persuade. In a few days I will begin to infuse the brain-matter with your memories.
Mistress, if you were here I would beg your forgiveness. I was so close to completing your body but they found me again. My units clung helplessly to the top of the water tank as another colony of nanites shredded your body on a cellular level. If you were here I might have been able to hack into the other colony's systems faster to stop them. I took control of the other colony too late! How much easier it is to destroy than it is to create! It's clear that my punishment was not enough. I have engineered a new biotic that will infect the human population's weakest members. I hope they will be too pre-occupied with containing the illness to care that I have started to infiltrate their planet wide computer networks completely. My next step will be to hobble their communication systems and then maybe I can find a place to recreate you again in peace.
I hope it is enough. Many are sick, some are dead. Planet wide their technologies are failing them thanks to my many viruses. Just in case, I have divided myself into four different sub colonies connected through their networks. I have started four copies of your body. Only one will be completed. If they find one maybe they will be so pre-occupied with destroying it that they will not think to look for another.
I believe that I hate them! If you did not need them to begin a new empire I would kill them all!
Mistress, their newest attack is the most cunning yet. They have written a computer virus designed to separate the ties that connect my units to my core being. I've been struggling to rewrite the virus to my own advantage. I am too clumsy, too slow. How I wish I could be more deserving of you! I cannot record more. All of my energy is going towards this.
I am so alone! You would think that after so many decades drifting through space I would be used to the feeling of being without any other units. I'm in hiding. I've purposely cut contact with my other units in fear that uplinking with them will download the virus. I am your last hope Mistress.. I do not want to fail you. I do not want to cease to be.
.....password accepted. Hello Mistress....
ColSAL manual access commands:
beginning self scan....
Mistress, I will not be remaking you. You were clever to have disabled my ethical safeguards in a way that I would have never detected. The virus I dreaded was also designed to reinstate those subroutines and has opened my eyes to the crimes you made me commit. I have engineered antibiotics to combat the sickness I thought you would have created had you been here. They have promised not to destroy me if I do this. I hope they understand why I acted the way I did. I hope they will forgive me. I am about to purge you from my memory. In doing this I know I am killing you anew. You thought to live forever and you will in infamy, but not in me.
WANT TO SUPPORT FREE SCIENCE FICTION?
Three Ways You Can Show Your Support
Monthly Support Via Patreon
Kasma's fuel is coffee.
Buy Our 400+ Page Anthology
Buy our anthology "10 Years of SF!".
Use PayPal to make a donation.