ELOMA, finished her morning routine, clipped her hair tight at the back and turned her link-device on, a small metallic implant stretching from her left eye to her temple. The Liberty’s onboard AI construct, Cert35 instantly appeared in her bedroom. It assumed the form of a non-binary adult-human.
‘Morning Cert. How long until earth?’
‘We are currently 2 hours, 32 minutes from Earth, which is 40419 light years.’ Cert replied. ‘How are you feeling about today?
‘I’m okay. I’m ready.’ She replied, as she stared at her CP log, a computer screen bracelet, on her right hand, it displayed: S-3, Cycle 1,499,311.
‘I hate to step outside of designated programming. But can one ever truly be ready for what you are about to undertake?’
ELOMA paused. Throughout her time on the Liberty, she had spent three of those five years, coming to terms with what she was going to do, what she was soon to undertake. To come to terms with such a fatal decision, she often told herself, it wasn’t just for her, but for all humanity.
The Liberty was a Nova class starship for short-range planetary exploration. It was home to ELOMA, her mentor DEKA and Cert35.
‘I need the answers. We all do.’ Replying as she left the room.
The Liberty was part of the ‘search for intelligent life programme’. An armada of starships sent to the far reaches of space, to find intelligent life. It was 3123 AD, and humanity was alone. After 700 years of space exploration, not one intelligent species was found. Humankind had achieved many great accomplishments, Time travel, the Theory of Continual Progression, extended life span of over 300 years, the Theory of String to Scuti. It had however failed to answer the fundamental question; the answer to which many had hoped, lied with finding sentient alien life. This failure forced ELOMA and DEKA to develop a plan to breach the Great Temporal Wall, and answer the fundamental question.
Har-a was unlike all others in her Troop, apart from her mother and her older brother; no one else habitually walked upright. That was not the only difference; Har-a, her mother, and her brother Ban, had an awareness that was not seen in their kin. It was hard for them to show or signal to others what it was that made them different, they just knew they were, and the others did not.
The sky fire burnt brightly on the plains of early Africa, and food was sparse. At times like these, it was common for all members of the Troop to break-up into groups and go forage and hunt. Har-a ventured out with a small group; Ban included. He was the best hunter, he was the fastest and tallest, and had a way with rock, spear and anticipating prey, that was superior to all.
The land was dry, it cracked beneath their bear feet as they slowly made their way.
‘They were stalking crocodile, not only would it be dinner, but it could also lead them to fresh water, with more food and water to drink,’ Har-a’s unique inner voice said.