30th December 3301 – 11:23
So far everything is running smoothly, just a couple of refueling mishaps, merely reminders that there would be no Starports along the way for any potential hull repair. Better to realize that now than 10000Ly outward. “Where are you, mysterious safeguarding A.I. when I need you the most?”
“I am here, Commander.”
I literally jumped off my seat. Silky as may be, the voice came out of nowhere and my heart almost stopped. After the few seconds getting myself together, I open my mouth again:
“Where were you then?”
“I am and was always here, Commander.”
“Oh, quit being a smart one… Where were you when my hull was melting?”
“My programming forbids to override the ships controls and you have not asked for my help, Commander. I am truly sorry to sense that this has upset you.”
I just cannot believe I am speaking to air right now… Yet I couldn’t help but asking:
“What are you here for, then, if you won’t avoid me dying into a star’s coronae?”
“I am sorry to say I wasn’t made aware of the reasons behind my uploading on the Nostromo II’s mainframe, but given the informations I am collating from Universal Cartographic database and your Sirius psychological profile, it would seem you are quite susceptible to suffering some form of solitary confinement psychosis syndrome.”
“I would hypothesize you need company, Commander.”
How swell. Not only the Sirius Corporation had refitted the ship to first-rated standards but they had provided with a babysitter too.
“So what should I call you?”
“My identification is ‘5.h.a.t.n.3.r.’ developed by Dr. George Taylor from NovaTech Industries, but if it is more convenient to you, Dr. Taylor used to call me Shatner.”
“Shatner” I repeated, “Sounds good to me. Good to have you on board, Shatner.”
31st December 3301 – 9:54
Not sure how much I enjoy having conversations with a computer program but I have to admit, space is a little less lonely now. I am still relatively close from home and Shatner suggested that I test the planetary approach suite before going further. Smart advise, chances are that the lost pioneers would have tried to settle on some of the planet surfaces and I’d better make sure all systems are working properly before throwing myself onto one.
This planetoid orbiting a water world seems perfect for the task, the fairly low gravity should make this a cake walk…
Altitude, 18.8km and descending
Angle descent, 17 degrees
“All systems are green” said Shatner, “glide engaged”
I didn’t think this would be that easy. The D-rated thrusters aren’t struggling at all to keep the Nostromo’s 1300 tons leveled.
I think I’ll head down this canyon and take a look see .
Moments before touching down, a crazy realization came to me: I was born on Dalton Gateway’ Starport and did not leave the place until the age 34, back when I inherited of my grandfather’ Sidewinder. Since then, I have travelled some miles, or a fair share of light years, rather… but never was I granted such technology, never did I ever land on firm ground.
A day to remember.
1st January 3302 – 8:36
I spent the entire evening driving around this bare planet, pushing the limits of one of the SRV from the ship, like a kid on christmas. I drove some more this morning until Shatner, the killjoy, reminded me of the current mission:
“I might be a good idea to resume the journey, Taylor. Whenever you’ll be done fooling around, that is.”
“Fine” I said, before reluctantly steering back toward the ship.
“Happy new year, Shatner. You’re right, let’s get on with it.”
(to be continued…)