Chapter 9: Research, Reveals, and Reactions.
The screen sat there blinking, “Hello.”
The three of them looked at each other and eventually it was Seren who said, “Hello.” They all watched the screen waiting for something to happen.
Nothing did and Jan asked, “How does it know our language?” The others shrugged and they added, “It even has the same configuration as our keyboards.” They point to the old-fashioned looking keyboard in front of the screen.
Feeling silly, Seren said, “Maybe it’s not voice activated?” She typed in, “Hello”.
They once again looked at the screen, this time their text appeared under the first hello and the screen replied with, “It has been 3,920,002 planetary rotations since your last session. Welcome back.”
“Assuming the same amount of days in a year that’s just shy of ten thousand seven hundred and forty years.” Annie thought that number sounded familiar as she said it, but couldn’t place it.
“Would you like to continue with your last session?” The screen’s green text blinked.
Seren looked at the other two and typed, “Yes.”
What appeared next was an interactive, multimedia document that showed the creation of a micro-star. It was absolutely fascinating. Seren had always assumed that the stars were created by compressing the planet or moon until it was so dense it self-combusted. She was completely wrong. The process involved taking a small piece of a micro-stars plasma and introducing it into the planet. Over the next year the piece grew and expanded, eating the planet from the inside and finally bursting through the crust to become a viable micro-star for space travel.
“Ten thousand years. The Great Techo-Mage! This is where they got all their information.”
“That means that this is the birth place of our civilisation,” Jan sat back and rubbed their face absently.
“Do you know anything about the Children of the Stars?” Seren typed.
“Each micro-star is a unique part of the parent and therefore equivalent to a child.”
“That’s not helpful,” quipped Annie.
Seren tried something different, “What are you?”
“I am the Mother of Stars. Born from the collective of my people.” The screen changed again to a long text with images and information about the original inhabitants of this planet. They’d been very similar to Seren and the other Children but instead of taking to space they discovered a way to save their minds into a giant supercomputer. They developed alloys that could self-heal and an army of sentient robots to protect it. They hollowed out their own planet and installed a micro-star.
When they uploaded themselves, they discovered that the micro-star was sentient. All suns were sentient. Over time and interfacing they learned from each other and in the end the consciousness of the people merged with that of the star becoming something else completely.
This new entity made it it’s goal to teach others how to speak with and become stars.
“But what happened? Why did it stop?” Jan asked.
“According to this it got stuck in the void between galaxies. Something to do with a gravity well,” Seren did some more typing.
“So Hokulua was just coming home to tell mum what was going on?” Annie sounded sad.
The screen flicked and moved quickly as Seren typed question after question. Finally she said, “Oh Mother… We did this.”
“What?” the other two said at once.
“The Great Techno-Mage did this. They trapped the Mother so she couldn’t tell anyone else and then took all the information and a plasma sample. All the technology our civilization is built on is from here and we hid it.” Seren felt sick at the idea.
“But why did the micro-stars not come back before Hokulua?” Annie asked.
From behind them someone cleared their throat. The man was tall and thin, his dark cloak and robe sparkled like the stars. His eyes were cold and distant, his sneer and disgust weren’t. “Because the Mother wants to teach everyone to be like her. We can’t let the other tribes and the pirates have the same technology as us.”
“Why not?” Annie stood defiantly in front of their ship’s Techno-Mage.
“We were almost wiped out. There were less than a thousand of us on half a dozen crumbling stations. We were the first to escape our dying planet but we were not meant for space. We were dying and if the others had the same technology, we’d be no better than we were. Our first mission as Techno-Mages was to protect the Children.”
“That was ten thousand years ago. We’re spread out over the entire universe. There are billions of us with powerful stations and… surely we can let the Mother go.” Seren felt disgusted. Her love of archeology was born from a civilization that used it to enslave. Their whole way of life was based on stealing and exploiting.
“We’ve spent ten thousand years trying to make sure the micro-stars stay quiet, subdued, and controllable. We hadn’t anticipated that the new AI would allow the stars to communicate. Once the Mother analyzes the data from the station it will know what we’ve done and it will be furious. It must be contained or destroyed. And now… so must you.”
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