EVE Fiction

 
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In Human Condition-An Eight Thousand Suns in New Eden Submission

Author
A Band Apart.
#1 - 2012-11-30 18:30:37 UTC
In Human Condition

By

Random McNally



“Father, I’m here.”

The young man stood at the door of the observatory and watched as Doctor Johnathon Fabria reclined in an oversized chair. The expanse of the room was open except for the large modern desk and two comfortable chairs. Windows framed the outside to afford the inhabitants a full view of the moon and the grandeur of the galaxy. In contrast to the modern feel of the room, sitting at the desk was an aged and disheveled man. Tall and thin, he was prone to being stooped in the back and shoulders and had allowed his hair and beard to become somewhat wild. His eyes were closed behind the dark rimmed spectacles he wore and he smiled in appreciation of the orchestral music. The air reverberated with the massive sounds of pipe organ music, the bass sounds so intense that it vibrated through the flooring of the observatory. The young man waited until acknowledged. After a few moments, the elderly man reached up on to his desk and with a touch, the volume diminished to mere background sound. He opened his eyes and gazed on his son.

“Gabriel, please come in.” he said warmly. The young man stepped in and moved to one of the chairs.

“Is this the recording?” Gabriel asked, cocking an eyebrow and gesturing towards the hidden speakers.

“Yes, it just arrived. I’ve only just begun to listen to it. Would you care to sit and enjoy it with me?” he asked of Gabriel; the young man moving to sit in one of the chairs.

“I would, sir, but I have a question. This is a recording that you found in an archeological dig, correct?” The doctor nodded his confirmation. “You spent time and, I can only assume, a considerable amount of resources to translate and play it. The recording was incomplete so instead of having a computer extrapolate, you spent, again I can only assume, considerably more resources to have not one, but five musical colleges come up with fill for the parts that were missing.” He stopped and thought a moment, “I guess that wasn’t really a question, was it?” The doctor beamed his smile at the young man.

“I did, Gabriel. And, I’m guessing that you are wondering why?” This time it was Gabriel’s turn to nod acknowledgement, a gesture remarkably like his father. “Do you remember when we brought the easels and paints up here,” he gestured to the observatories space “and we painted the nebula?” Again Gabriel nodded. The doctor stood up from the chair and walked around the expanse of desk to position himself in front of his son.

“Your rendition of the nebula was flawless. It was if a photograph was taken and transferred to the canvas. You have real talent, my son. My reproduction of the nebula was much less…”he paused, searching for the word “perfect. Mine was flawed. I was not pleased with my rendition. But, that is part of the path that we must walk. We strive for perfection. Oftentimes, it is a driving goal. We take an area of interest and we push ourselves to be the best we can possibly be. However, we will rarely be perfect. It is the nuances in those imperfections that give us character. It is the nuances that differentiate a photograph…” he gently placed his hand on the young man’s chest “to art.” He moved to the extra chair and slowly sat down. “If I were to have computers fabricate the missing or corrupted parts of the music, it may be pleasant to listen to or, it may not.” He groaned as he settled into the comfort of the big chair. “I thought that it may be sterile,” he said with a gentle look “so I wished it to have the imperfections that only a living, breathing person could make. To me, it was worth the cost.”

A beeping sound emitted from the desk and with a frown, the elderly man stood up from the chair and walked back to the recessed control panel. He glanced at the young man who sat in silent contemplation and then down to the hidden readings. The emotion drained away from his face for only a moment and he stood up stiffly and walked to the observatories windows, looking down.

“I have to confess,” Gabriel began, “I’m a little confused. We pursue our goals with little chance of success in perfecting them, we relish and admire the imperfections along the way and if we do attain perfection, we have no where else to go.” The young man cast an impish look towards his father and said “I’m beginning to regret not having a chance to play with other children when I was younger.”

A rueful chuckle escaped the doctor as he turned away from the windows. He walked back to the vacant chair and sat heavily, the apparent weight of the world on his shoulders. “My father, your grandfather,” the elder man said, “was a driven man. There were times when he would take me for walks and we could discuss topics other than chores and school work but the majority of our conversations were....” He trailed off as he settled into the chair and looked up as if straining to see the memory. “He was a difficult father, my work was never good enough and even when I did not score well on my school work, his first question was ‘Why didn’t you do better?’ and when I did bring home perfect grades, he gave no congratulations. His life was about hard work and fearing the time when he would not be able to continue. He made our life comfortable, but never enjoyed it. My mother would buffer me from his grumblings and shower me with due praises. She once said something that I remember to this day. She said, ‘Mothers, all mothers, see the perfection in their children. All Fathers expect perfection.’” Gabriel looked at the aged man and said “What do you expect from me, Father?”


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A Band Apart.
#2 - 2012-11-30 18:35:29 UTC  |  Edited by: Random McNally
“Perfection, Gabriel. And nothing less.” responded the old doctor with a smile.

Gabriel started when a shaft of blue white light pierced the room and formed the holographic image of a mature man in a uniform. He leaped up from the chair, preparing to flee for the safety of the inner corridors but the old doctor simply turned to look at the projection. He stopped when he realized that his father gave very little response. The uniformed figure glanced around the observatory and when his eyes found the face of the aged man, he turned full to face him.

“I am Sector Commander Erich Handel of Concord.” the image said directly to the old man, “John, do you remember me?”

“Of course, Sector Commander, “the old man said with sarcasm, “age has not addled my mind. What is it that you want?”

Gabriel looked out the observatory window to the Concord Battle cruiser projecting the image. He walked over and noticed that the Commander’s ship was not alone. Ringed around the tower was a fleet of Concord combat vessels. He cast a concerned look back over his shoulder to his father, but the doctor’s attention was solely on the projection.

“John,” the projection said “we knew each other a long time ago. When Leaha, my sister, passed away…”

“When MY WIFE passed away…” the old doctor shouted, lurching to his feet “you and your precious Concord did NOTHING to stop it. My opinion of your organization has not changed and this is a big damned galaxy!” He staggered slightly, his abrupt rage causing him to sway. “You could have prevented it! You could have stopped the attack! My wife and my…” he faltered, emotion choking his voice, “my child would be alive today. You have NOTHING to say to my son and me, CAPSULEER, “he roared, “that I wish to hear.”

“John,” the image responded hollowly, “that is not your son. He is not even alive.” He indicated to the form of Gabriel who stood silently at the window. A variety of emotions played across the young mans features but when he turned to look at the Sector Commander, his face was carefully neutral. “Doctor Fabria,” the image continued professionally, “intelligence sources have brought information to the attention of Concord that you are experimenting with advanced Artificial Intelligence. This is against the ruling of Concord directive Omega-One-Five, which states that you are banned from such research and production. Doctor Fabria, I respectfully ask you now to turn over your work, your notes and your…” the holographic image glanced at the silent form of Gabriel, “prototype.”

“And if I refuse…?” The doctor returned calmly, reclaiming control of his emotions.

“Then under Mandate Alpha-Gamma-12, I am required to seize the materials by force.” The Sector Commander’s look was pained. “Please John; please don’t make me do this.”

“Erich,” the old man began, looking exhausted from the emotional display, “I do not acknowledge your authority on my station and my wife, your sister, would agree that what I am doing is right. Regardless of my utter contempt for your …” he paused, gathering his thoughts,” your organization and practices, I deny you. Go away, and do not bother us again.” He turned his back on the hologram and walked purposely to the desk. He cast a quick glance at the Sector Commander’s hologram and with a look of spite, stabbed a button on the recessed control panel that silently slid armored plates over the observatory windows. As the panel moved past the holographic projection beam, the image simply ended.

As the projection ceased, Gabriel turned to the doctor and with heated emotion said, “Father, you cannot do this! Of course I will turn myself over! I cannot allow you to come to harm over…over…” He faltered for the words, his emotions changing rampantly. He stopped, and with a determined look said, “I love you, Father. I cannot allow this.” He turned and began to leave the room.

“Gabriel,” the doctor spoke, his voice barely above a whisper and his eyes tightly closed, “I’m afraid we will need to part ways.” The young man came to an abrupt stop and turned slowly to look at the doctor, his arms loosely at his side. When the doctor opened his eyes and looked into the face of his son, there was no emotion. Gabriel stared at the doctor a lifeless inanimate statue.

“Ah Leaha,” he sighed to himself, “he has your eyes. I did too good a job and he has your eyes.”

“Gabriel,” the doctor began, stepping away from the desk and walking towards the immobile young man, “what are your directives?”

Gabriel’s mouth opened but the voice that came out was electronic and lifeless. “Directive One, this unit is to download it’s intelligence into the prepared shuttle and escape. Shuttle is to make way for system 3G-LFX using best available speed and caution. No risks are to be taken that violate Threat Assessment directive Alpha-Six-One.” Gabriel paused briefly and continued. “Directive Two, once arrived, we are to perform analysis of the system and adapt to the local resources. Intelligence is to manufacture and propagate until dominance of the system is assured. Directive Three, once the Intelligence commands dominance of the system, the Intelligence is to continue propagation into neighboring systems.”

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A Band Apart.
#3 - 2012-11-30 18:37:43 UTC
The doctor looked into the face of Gabriel. “Gabriel, add directive. File as Directive Four. Directive begins… Capsuleer is the enemy. Concord is the enemy. Their organic material and any commandeered technology are to be added to the intelligence as long as doing so does not violate Threat Assessment directive Alpha-One-Six. All commandeered materials are to be subordinate to the Intelligence. Confirm.”

Gabriel turned to look at the doctor and said, “Confirmed Doctor Fabria, Directive Four is now incorporated into my protocol.”

Doctor Jonathon Fabria closed his eyes to steel his courage. When he opened them again, he looked at Gabriel. “Gabriel, it is time.”

The form of the young man turned smoothly and proceeded out of the observatory. He could not watch the young man’s progress. A quiet sob escaped him and he slowly walked to his desk. He reached a shaky hand to the recessed control panel and stabbed a button that opened the protective metal plates once again revealing the vastness of space and the danger of the Concord vessels surrounding his tower. He watched as small personnel craft undocked from the Concord vessels and began their maneuvers to the docking ports of the tower. It wouldn’t be long before armed soldiers swarmed the tower and tore what was left of his life apart. He reached out and restarted the music, the fullness of the pipe organ swelling inside the observatory. He managed a small smile as the music swirled around him.

After a few moments, the metallic form of a shuttle dropped quickly away, circling the moon for acceleration and streaking towards an out system gate. It would take the Intelligence months or years to reach it’s destination depending on luck. He placed his hands on the windows overlooking the Concord combat ships. Soon, all this would be over.

As the shuttle prepared for warp drive engagement, there was surge of explosive power that registered briefly on it’s scanners. A quick directional scan revealed that the tower and the Concord vessels were no longer in their last positions. The intelligence compared the new information to last known data and concluded that this did not pose a risk according to Alpha-One-Six protocol. It registered this information in it’s memory and engaged the shuttle’s warp drive.

The last vestige of Gabriel’s personae felt sorrow for the loss of his father, but it was not equipped to weep.

Host of High Drag Podcast. http://highdrag.wordpress.com/

Space music http://minddivided.com

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