Was he a firefly or a pupil in the eye of the sky? Such mad thoughts rattled around his cryogenically cocooned head. His ship, a discus slung out of earth’s gravity well, chased the comet tail of an alien artifact speeding away. Curiosity propelled the ship, sent by folks who had no damned common sense.
He was part of a frozen crew that waited for a faulty computer to defrost them to a ship with no means of propulsion. That last bit he only knew because his cybernetic half prevented him from going completely under. Said electronic part was plugged into the misbehaving cpu and wrestling with lines of code that some idiot had installed to keep his software from tinkering with the ship’s mainframe. As if that would stop his AI.
Meanwhile, his organic half fought the chemicals that tried to push him into unconsciousness. If they would actually sink him down low enough not to dream in digital, then he’d quit fighting them. But no, his body chemistry didn’t work like that. And that all brought him back to his original question. Why did they make this plastic dragonfly-class ship with weak wings–er–faulty engines?
Damn drugs, they were sucking him down faster than he could resist. He clung to consciousness by a slim margin. His cyber half would have to dicker around with passwords and protocols without him. Text scrolled across his vision interrupting a long free association session that focused on eyes and things that rhyme with fly.
The text read: AIs don’t dicker, Al, they annihilate.
Point taken. Very funny, he thought at his cpu, or as he liked to call it, his better, computerized half.
Access granted–the words flashed up superimposed over his field of view which had consisted of the white plastic lid of his coffin–er–cryo-bunk-tank-thingamajig. The ship’s mainframe unlocked, opening like a flower to the firefly buzzing around its binary center.
The needle digging into his arm withdrew taking its cold sludge with it. His mind cleared and just in time too because a warning light started to flash. And he finally remembered the title of that book, the one that this ill-fated adventure reminded him of: The Mote in God’s Eye.
The Mote in Gods Eye is by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle; it’s a work of science fiction and I recommend it. It’s a great story about alien encounters.