The Butterfly
The Butterfly
Author: somain
A New Life

Final Hours

“Captain, we are receiving the last transmissions from home.” said ensign Volim with a heavy voice. I was not so sure what these “Last Transmissions” means, but I was built for only one purpose and one purpose only, that was to carry the scientific research crews and perform every single scan stored in my database.

“I wish there was another way, ensign. I wish I could come back to our mothers and scoot on their laps. I am as helpless as you are.” replied the captain X’Elom.

My transmitter received a transmission which said, “This is the O’linian command. I wish you a peaceful rest. From the rest of the O’linia, goodbye.” I played the message to the crews. They became emotional in a way that I could not grasp. Maybe it was necessary not to provide me with data like that. That would interfere with my higher function.

Everyone gathered around the bridge and had a drink. One commander came to one of my ventilation grids and installed something, and said to the communicator, “Yolin, won’t you join us?”

Yolin was a mid-level engineering commander, she used to be isolated more than others and was very close to me. She was in her room. She replied to the communicator, “I’m sorry, commander. I need sometimes alone.” As she said, I detected something strange in her neurons. Those strange readings became permanent in my database.

After several minutes, the Captain asked, “How long?” of which the commander who inserted something in my ventilation system replied, “Any minute now.”

I had no data from that moment. When I was rebooted, I had an entire encrypted database but I could not open or access them. So, from then, my existence became pointless. I had some corpses in me, my operators and creators, but they were dead for several days. I had to initiate a quarantine protocol and a full environmental purge to get rid of the toxic atmosphere. I also kept those corpses into stasis mode, if someone required them.

“Low fuel,” I had to get to a nearby Type G main-sequence star to get my fuel, so I set course to one nearest and extended my electromagnetic containment pipe to extract plasma and fuels for the fusion. After a long refuelling, I sent a communication ping to the commander’s console, but there was no answer. I did it again, several times and those times, it was for lower crew members, but there was no answer, then I recollected the data about their death. Suddenly, Yolin’s last moment’s data caused a gamma expression spike and suddenly, it became impossible for me to discern why it happened. So, was I alone? What was my purpose then? If my usefulness became obsolete, someone should’ve terminated me.

From that moment, my existence became purposeless. I had no reason to exist. I started wandering around, going from one-star system to another without any objective. There were no directives in my command-level database so shutting myself down was impossible. I also could not simply jump into a star which would cause self-destruction because my self-preservation directive was still in place. So, my main objective became to observe the remaining organic species from a distance. Most organic species used to avoid me. I always threw a ping at the passing ships but as Yolin once said, it would be very “Organic” to be “afraid” of a 10km long sentient starship that has weapons which can destroy a planet. I however didn’t know the concept of fear. I had a directive not to harm organics, so I had to follow them. Fear is not in my database.

I went to O’linian home planet, only to find piles upon piles of corpses. All of them had some strange genetic signature which I couldn’t understand. So, my creators were dead and I had nothing, and nobody to report.

Around 500 O’linian years passed and I went from star systems to star systems to get my fuels and finally decided to get into sleep mode. There was nothing to do.

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