Literary Extravaganza: Part 2
Justification for this Literary Extravaganza is centered around our book-inspired posts, or in other words take this as a Sci-fi genre related to AI, space travel, and a highly advanced technological society.
“Captain on deck!” yelled the XO from the command bridge, all command officers snapping to attention.
“At ease,” responded the Captain as he walked up to stand beside the XO. “Commander, what’s our current status?”
“We’re going through the pre-flight checklist as we speak, sir,” said Commander Sharon Fisk handing over the checklist to Captain Leon. “We’ll be ready to launch in 15,” She continued.
Reaching out, he took the datapad from her. Even after three years serving under him, she still anticipated his every move. Sharon Fisk was the prodigy-officer of Captain Leon. Having graduated from flight school at 17 in the top of her class, she entered the Solar Protectorate’s command school. After only spending 2 years there, she became one of the youngest Executive Officers of a fully equipped Battle Cruiser in history.
Looking at her now, it wasn’t the first time he had noticed her beauty. With intense jade green eyes, fair amber hair, and soft beige skin, Sharon Fisk set herself apart from others. That paired with the aloofness she expressed toward any romantic approach made her quite the enigma to males and females alike in the Solar Protectorate. Frankly put, she was more intrigued by her career than by any attempted courtship.
“Alright,” he responded, taking notice of the pleased smile she made to herself, “keep me posted.”
Walking through the command bridge, he carved an imposing figure. At 6’6” and weighing 270 lbs of lean muscle, he absorbed the eyes and attention of everyone on deck. Christoph El’du Leon, Captain of the SPS Calvin, decorated war hero and explorer, savior of the battle of the Quasar Nebula was a statue of a man carved from something harder than stone, with pale cerulean eyes and hair the color of desert sand.
In the eyes of his crew he had achieved near godlike status.
The bridge of the SPS Calvin was laid out in a tiered fashion. The captain’s chair along with the XO and the first lieutenant were situated on the top tier in the center of the bridge. Below those were the helmsman, main power, primary weapons, and navigation officers. To the left was communications, shields, and systems diagnostics. To the right, auxiliary power and weapons.
Large display screens acting as both viewports and Intelliglass data screens lined the front of the bridge. They hummed and buzzed as navigational, power, and operational analytics scrolled across the screens. Behind those was a retractable blast armor paneling that had been reinforced with a new titanium alloy to better secure the bridge. In the event of an attack, it was designed to immediately slam into place, thus protecting the ship’s bridge and its officers.
Looking out the viewports now, Captain Leon saw the last vestibules of maintenance ships and engineering technicians armored in grav-suits zipping about as they finished up their list of tasks. Nodding his approval at the speed of operations, he turned back to the XO.
“Commander, I seem to recall having a new Chief Technical Officer assigned to the Calvin,” Captain Leon remarked as he looked over the ship’s manifest and new crew flight list.
“That is correct, sir.”
Pointing, she continued, “He is standing over by the auxiliary display screens.”
“Sir! I am OTIS, Operational Technology of Integrated Superintelligence,” said the AI as he approached the bridge and saluted with fist to chest. “I’ve been assigned by Command to be the new CTO onboard this ship.”
“I can read,” Captain Leon said from behind the datapad. “And why, I wonder, would I accept a robot on my ship, despite what Command says?”
“I am more than just a robot, Captain,” OTIS responded, feeling somehow perplexed as he examined the Captain’s biological composition and brain synaptics. Continuing, he said, “I have been specifically requisitioned by the Academy of Science for this ship as an integratable superintelligence, meaning that I am synced with the ship’s computer at all times. It is my duty to give detailed reports of the ship’s status, fix any and all problems that arise with greater efficiency, and greatly increase the security of our systems. In testing, it was simulated that my presence would increase the overall efficiency of this cruiser by 60%. I have also…”
“That is quite enough, OTIS,” Captain Leon cut in, losing patience. He locked his piercing blue eyes with OTIS’s bionic ones, and said in clipped tones, “I alone hold the right to decide who stays and who goes aboard this ship. So, as far as you staying on as CTO or not, will remain to be seen. Report back to your post and continue your pre-flight preparations as acting CTO.”
“That doesn’t register, sir.” OTIS blurted out.
Noting the heated coloring in the Captain’s cheeks, he eagerly continued, “Captain, my assignment did come directly from command. If only you’d let me prove myself, you will not be dissapointed.”
“Listen to me, AI,” the Captain said quietly, suspicion deepening. Damning those optic circuitry eyes, he continued, “You overstep in assuming you belong on this ship. As far as I’m concerned, until I speak to your Admiral, you will be confined to acting CTO.”
“Pending further investigation, of course,” Captain Leon ended with a shrewd smile, while pointing to his work station. “Now, return to your post and do your job.”
“Yes, Captain.” OTIS said, disheartened as he walked back to its station. OTIS noticed the looks of the other crew members, and wondered what they might think of him. In retrospect, the Captain’s disdain wasn’t actually too surprising. His kind were relatively new and hadn’t been given such prestigious positions as to what he’d been assigned.
“Captain, ready to disembark from Scysil Space Station.” Commander Fisk reported, dutifully ignoring the near insubordination conversation that had just occurred.
“Thank you, Commander. Helmsman Colger, take us out of the docking station with ease, if you will.”
“As you say,” responded the helmsman. Helmsman Henry Colger, now that was an interesting looking fellow; short with pudgy eyes and a receding hairline. If it wasn’t for his uniform, you’d mistake him for a lowly janitorial crewman sick with a huularian flop sweat. However, any melan, or AI for that matter, with a modicum of intelligence would know him as the Henry Colger, one of the best, most devious pilots in the Hammer Armada. To be flying with him was a special treat and something Christoph had been pushing for for the last 18 months.
As the SPS Calvin embarked from the docking station, OTIS checked with the ship’s status logs keeping track of the data coming in from the sensor arrays. So far everything appeared to be functioning at optimal power from the central core, inertial dampeners and anti-gravitational systems were responding correctly, and the jump drive was being prepped for initial jump.
“Captain, we’ve made it out past the defense system.”
“Very good, Helmsman.”
“OTIS, is the jump drive primed and ready to go?” asked the Captain, seemingly unperturbed by his previous remarks.
“Yes it is. Our power engineers reported 5 minutes earlier that the inertial dampeners and anti-gravitational systems are up and running, and we’ve received an optimal reading from the power core.”
“Very well,” said Captain Leon. Turning he said, “XO patch me through to the crew.”
A chime sounded overhead, followed by a low hum.
“Crew of the SPS Calvin, this is your captain speaking. Most of you know that we are headed toward the Ashtare System. What you don’t know is that as of 0300 hours this morning, our long range communications on this space station received distress calls from the colonies that lie out along the planetary systems there. Before a response could be sent, transmission was cut from their end. Command has assigned the task to go and observe what has happened.” Captain Leon said in his baritone voice.
“Because of the distance,” he continued, “our jump drive won’t make it in just one jump. Navigation has calculated the jump route and it looks like the trip is going to take just under 14 hours to get there. I’m setting our alert priority to level 4. In the meantime, all personnel will complete their current tasks, commanding officers will assign shifts for everything else.”
Completing his transmission, he looked to the view ports and said, “Mr. Colger, if you don’t mind, set appropriate power level and initiate jump.”
“As you say,” Helmsman Colger said, moving the lever up, “Jumping in 5…, 4…, 3…, 2…, jump.” Unlike everyone else, not only could OTIS hear the soft purr deep in the ship build as the power levels rose, he also was monitoring it through the integrated sync. There was a slight click as the jump drive caught and The Calvin launched away.
“Commander Fisk, you have command. I will be in my quarters,” Captain Leon said as he turned to the XO. “You can reach me on my room’s com system, if you require anything further.” As he headed towards the lift, OTIS saw him look in his direction and it made him wonder what Captain Leon was going to do next.