Please login or signup to add a comment to this paragraph.


Add comment   Close
Paul Day Paul Day
Recommendations: 14

Star Child: Prologue & Ch 1 (Part 1)


Share this writing


Link to this writing



Start Writing

More from Paul Day

I Know a Man in Pain
Upon a Memory
The Dream is Over
It’s the End of the World…Again!
Upon Reflection

More Books

Harley Bailey Harley Bailey
Recommendations: 29
Amnesis
Jennifer Killby Jennifer Killby
Recommendations: 6
The Legend of The Travelers: Willow's Journey
Georgina Connor Georgina Connor
Recommendations: 8
Lilith
Amanda Krumme Amanda Krumme
Recommendations: 18
Avery King Chapter One
Leonard a. Wronke Leonard a. Wronke
Recommendations: 23
Under the Double Star - Chapter One

Revised April 1. Sorry I had to combined the first part of Chapter 1 with the Prologue to make it all fit.


PROLOGUE (revised 1 April) Includes first part of Chapter 1


It was all so very long ago now. In all these years I hadn’t thought to write it all down. I guess I had been so busy, well, busier than most people would assume. After all, I did manage to run Destiny all on my own. Now I find that time is short. I haven’t many days left in me, I’m afraid. As I walk the gardens of our little village, it still amazes me even now that not all that long ago this was an alien world. I had kept a journal, but I had not written it with a view to others reading it. As it was it would have been quite uninteresting to all but the most determined mind.


Now, let me see, where to begin. Ah yes, it all began with a robot, a humanoid in fact. She was the very first being I ever laid eyes on that resembled anything remotely like myself. Of course I didn’t know it then, I was too young. But as I grew I began to realize that she and I were very different.


I had called her mother, had grown to love her, after a fashion. Wherever I went or was, she was usually not far away. She had raised me from a tiny embryo. When I was old enough, she showed me the cryo chambers and the tank where I was thawed out and then brought back to life.


I am, on this very day, 112 years old as years would be counted on Earth from the time of my actual birth. But if you add the time I was in a frozen state, awaiting the day I was meant to be, I am actually 1011. At least that’s what I had calculated, once I learned when Destiny had left Earth to take me to the stars. But I’m getting ahead of myself a little.


My name is Tamsin. Most people nowadays call me Tam. I have no idea who my biological parents were. In the years I have been alone, I have learned not to try to figure out things I will never have the answer to, like why they sent me across space on my own? I can only assume that a great catastrophe happened back on Earth.


Today is a great day of celebration, marking not only my birthday, but the very day 96 years ago at the tender age of 16 that I landed, along with my humanoid companion on this planet. I remember how strange it was stepping from the capsule onto ground no human had set foot on. On board the ship, which was the only home I had known, I had felt so alone, so many times. But here, on this huge planet, I never felt more insignificant. If not for my ever-present companions, I would surely have become lost in this world.


Fortunately for me and for humanity, the ones who had sent me here, had shown great foresight and I wasn’t as alone as one might imagine. You see, by some unimaginable miracle, I was pregnant.


And so I must tell this incredible tale, but to do so, I must go right back to the very beginning and relate to you the whole story, filling in the bits I did not know or could not have known, from the memory of my dear companion Destine.



* * * * *


Chapter 1 THE BIRTH OF DREAMS



I recall the very  first time I spoke. I must have been only a few days short of a year old. I remember what it was because of the reaction of Destine, the humanoid who raised me.


“No.”


She had asked me to finish my food and I flipped it off of the high chair and sent it smashing to the floor. I remember the cool, calm way she spoke to me as she carried me off to my room, where I spent the rest of the day sulking and bawling until I finally fell asleep.


It must have been an effective punishment because I didn’t do it again for quite some time. According to Destine, I wasn’t a difficult child, but I did have a strong will and an obvious sense of injustice. It’s hard to tell whether Destine showed any emotional attachment to me. She often spoke as I imagined a mother might about my growing up and not so much like a recording she played back in her mind.


I have often wondered what sort of impressive technology was used to make such a perfect representation of not only the human mind, but the human form as well. Destine had similar needs to me. She bathed, she dressed, she felt heat and cold, she even drank liquids, though she never actually ate anything. The only exception was to show me how to eat when I was very young. She only needed the most basic of minerals and liquids to keep her going. She had hair that grew, teeth that needed brushing and skin that needed washing. I saw her once in the shower and I remember thinking how beautiful she was. I had seen pictures and videos of real people many times on board Destiny and to anyone’s eye she would have looked no different.


But there was, underneath it all, a sort of mechanics to her. The way she spoke so deliberately, with a certain detached coolness, she could not completely disguise, no matter how she tried.


“Do you sleep?” I remember asking once.


“Yes, I do.” Came the cool response.


“Do you dream?” I persisted.


“Sometimes,” she said, becoming impatient with my prattling.


“What do you dream about?” I insisted.


“I think it’s time you were in bed.”


“But I want to know. I dream. I dream all the time. Please tell me.”


When she took me to my room and put me to bed, she sat on the end of the bed and looked strangely thoughtful, then she turned to me and I will never forget what she said.


“I dream sometimes, but not very often, that I am like you.”


“You mean human?”


“Yes.”


It was a revelation. I wondered whether her programing included the ability to dream and decided it wouldn’t, because such programing would serve no useful purpose for something whose primary objective was to look after the ship and raise the first child born in nearly  nine hundred years.


When I was preparing to write this all down, I had occasion to ask her what working on the ship was like all alone. She seemed genuinely surprised by the question and gave me that very same look she had all those years ago. She took her time with her answer.


“Lonely.”


It seems such an obvious answer, but I still cannot decide whether she intended it as a literal response or an emotional one. I prefer to believe it is emotional, because that would make her more human than machine and somehow more like the mother I had always dreamed about.


Following on from that I pressed her about the details about how she first came to consciousness and what sorts of things she had to do in preparation for our arrival after so long in space. These were all questions I had never even thought to ask when I was on the ship, but I really wanted to know, not just for this book, but to help me understand the purpose behind it all.


So, she obliged and started to recall, rather eloquently I must say, the events leading up to my birth. Here then, is the story as related to me by Destine.


“I remember feeling very cold. When I opened my eyes for the first time I was floating in a gelatin substance, partially turned to ice. There were all sorts of tubes and wires connected to every part of my body. Above me and around me was a curved glass cylinder. Suddenly there was a loud sucking noise and the fluid slowly drained away from my body. I had been programed to expect all this of course, but having only just awakened, I was in what you might call a daze.


I tried to lift myself up, but had no strength at all in my arms. I turned my head one way and the other as the glass cylinder retracted from both sides. Once I had gained my strength, I pulled out the wires and tubes and fell out of the tank onto a slippery, green, wet floor. I lay there shivering for some time, occasionally vomiting up fluid from the tank. When at last I was able to stand, I staggered over to the alcove which would become my resting place for much of our journey. In the back of the wardrobe was a gown. I put it on and felt much warmer.


I remember the first time I saw my reflection in the steel mirror above the bench. My first reaction was to spin around expecting to see someone behind me, but when I turned back around to face the mirror, I realized it was my reflection. Strange as it might seem, they don’t program you to know your own reflection.


My first job was to clean the mess on the floor and then plug myself into the ships log. I was programed to look for anomalies and was happy when it appeared there were none. From there I checked the dates, times, events and other records. According to the ship’s log it was the year 2922 as recorded on Earth and we had been in space for nearly 873 years. The very next thing I had to do was to transfer all the recordings and data collected from the ship into my internal memory. I went to the alcove and in a small drawer, I found a cylinder. I unscrewed the lid and pulled out a document. These were my orders. I committed them to memory and destroyed the copy.”


A this point in the story I stopped her.


“This is the first time you’ve told me any of this.”
I said, trying not to come across hurt.


“I know,” she answered.


“Well, what was in the orders? Now I am intrigued.”


“I can imagine this all comes as a surprise, but the people who programed me had their own reasons for doing this. You see, I don’t know what happened on Earth. I don’t know why they sent us across space to this particular planet. I don’t know why I was given instructions this way and then commanded to destroy them. And I’m sorry to say, I cannot tell you what those orders were.”


At this point I had to stop her again.


“You mean you can’t or you won’t tell me?” I said, feeling a little indignant. I remembered well the times I had reason to doubt her word.


“I cannot. My programming won’t allow it. I want to, if the truth be known, but I cannot and I will not. To do so would be to break a very serious protocol.”


Link to this writing

Share this writing


Next: And Fernando makes Three 2 - Fernando, Commandante y jefe