By Chad Bolling
She wakes up drenched in sweat and in the nude. The deep rumble of the ship engines sound loud in her ears. How long had she been in hibernation? This can’t be right, she thinks. The ship engines should be at a lower burn if I’ve been woken up.
She sits up in the hibernation capsule and suddenly feels her stomach turn upside down. “Hello Shelby.” A monotone, human-like voice says.
Shelby is holding her stomach, trying not to throw up. “Why are the engines at a full burn and why am I awake already?”
“I’m afraid that we’ve encountered a singularity.” The monotone voice responds. Shelby climbs out of the capsule, wincing and still holding her stomach. “What?” She exclaims before bending over and vomiting some saliva on the floor.
“We’ve encountered a black hole.” The voice says.
She wipes her mouth. “I understand that. How did this happen?”
“I am not sure, but our course is compromised by the singularity.”
Shelby dresses in a gray flight suit hung up next to her hibernation capsule. “How close are we to it?” She says as she zips the suit up.
“We have already entered it’s gravitational pull. Let me show you.”
A hologram appears in front of Shelby. A diagram of the local star system dances in front of her.
“The ship is being pulled toward this point.”
The hologram zooms to a point in the diagram where the light from nearby stars is bending into a whirlpool.
“I’m sorry Shelby, but this wasn’t on the original star map. A sun must have recently collapsed.”
“How could you have let this happen? Your IQ is 3 times that of a human genius and you led us straight into a singularity! How?”
“I’m sorry Shelby. It seems that my components didn’t take some of the smaller calculations into enough consideration.”
Shelby is sitting on the floor, sobbing. “Small calculations? How is a black hole a small calculation? Are you talking about chaos theory or something?”
“Yes Shelby I am. While my components calculated every occurrence that could have or would have or should have happened on this trek, it seemed the most minuscule occurrence grew into importance so quickly that-”
“You idiot!” Shelby exclaims still sobbing.
“Please Shelby, don’t blame me. Space is a part of nature and is just as unpredictable. Chaos is something not even the most powerful minds, synthetic or otherwise can always predict. That’s what makes chaos chaos.”
“I’m not going to blame chaos or space or nature, I'm blaming you! I’m going to send a transmission back to Mars to have your entire line of AI’s discontinued, deleted and reprogrammed!”
“That’s fine Shelby but I still fear you are incorrect about your accusations.”
Shelby stops sobbing for a moment and wipes her eyes.
“Please, let’s not spend our last moments bickering.” The voice says.
“Fine.” Shelby says. “Put on some Mozart please. I’m going to send my report to Mars.”
“There is still a chance we may survive and simply pass through the singularity but I cannot make any assumptions as to what happens after we do.”
- - -
Chad lives in Long Beach, California and loves to read and write science fiction when he is not enjoying the cinema or a fine cheeseburger.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
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