Stars Blazed in the Night Sky

Stars Blazed in the Night Sky

It wasn’t much of a planet.

Actually, it isn’t a planet, Dragon interrupted in the tone he’d come to consider ‘helpful.’ Rather than a flash of annoyance, Kantis couldn’t help but smile.

Right. Well, I suppose if you think of it as a moon, it’s got a lot going for it. It wasn’t a barren, lifeless lump of rock; he had to give it that. Most of the surface was covered in fuzzy, fragrant purple grasses. Its oceans were small, but he had no intention of becoming a mariner.

The gas giant his new home orbited kept the moon awash in the kind of radiation that jammed communication most of the day on most days. That should force people to obey his wish about emergencies only. While he remained accessible, emergency had gone from everyday military activities to spectacular appearances. If someone had to come all the way out here to speak with him, they were likely to look for easier solutions.

As Kantis scanned the virgin plain, he couldn’t help imagining what Salis would have done with the place. It would have made a fantastic little colony. He could see where Salis would have wanted the house, and where he would have broken ground on the farms. In the distance, a looming mountain would have been assigned an observatory, the center of their scientific research.

He shook his head and jerked his gaze upwards. The fading scar of their entry into the atmosphere lingered among the unfamiliar stars blazing in the night sky. He might have been able to identify a few, if he cared to. He hadn’t chosen this place for warmth and comfort. He wanted to escape.

Are you sure you want to go back to sleep? For an AI devoid of all emotion, Dragon certainly had a poignant way of expressing longing.

It won’t be the same as last time. You’ll be sleeping too.

I’m not sure my maintenance mode can be compared to biological sleep.

Are you worried you’ll be too aware of our surroundings? Of the passage of time? The AI might insist he had no concept of fear, but he could understand its artificial anxieties. It had spent a long time drifting through the void alone.

I will be unaware of the passage of time until I am activated and check with the database in the main computer. That is the nature of the program.

Then what are you worried about?

I am incapable of ‘worrying’ about anything Kantis-

Is that so? You’re doing a passable job at it.

I cannot tell if that was meant to be a compliment or an insult.

It was a joke.

The AI made one of those whirring sounds that Kantis tended to think of as scepticism. Silently, he pressed the AI to speak, using their connection to convey his desires without words.

I merely mean to point out that you slept for such a long time. I did not think you meant to relive that portion of your life.

It’s quite a bit different if my body isn’t doing anything while I’m asleep. Besides, Dragon, I’m tired. We’ve been at this a very long time. Longer than any Caltaran lifespan he was aware of, even in the days after they took to the stars and started using cold sleep to skip the years passed while traveling the vast reaches of space. Anten might have beaten him otherwise.

As a machine, I am incapable of sharing your sense of fatigue. All of my parts are in top working order, as per our latest upgrade.

Don’t you ever feel slow or inefficient when it’s time to upgrade?

Once, the AI admitted after the briefest pause to consider. Usually I don’t notice the difference until the upgrade is complete.

Kantis drew a deep breath and released it as a sigh. Well I need a rest. It isn’t exactly as if people are going to forget about us.

But that’s what you want, isn’t it?

The AI’s circuits had been integrated into his consciousness for several centuries and it still disturbed him how easily the computer read his deepest thoughts. Not that he had ever actively tried to hide the truth from his companion. They made a deal long ago that bound them tighter than any set of soul mates. It was only that he hated hearing his deepest, darkest thoughts repeated so casually in a moment of vulnerability.

Not forever, he insisted as he turned and made his way back to the shelter where the ship waited. Just for a little while.

This marks the beginning of our second year of prompts. I’m hoping to introduce some more variety (so less Domerin ^^;; ) and more new characters into this year’s rotation; starting with an intro to Kantis! If there are any characters you’re particularly interested in reading more about, please let me know and I’ll make sure they get more camera time ;)

Please check out what my writing partner did with this prompt!

And if you’d like to join our weekly prompt writing, send me a link to where you post and I’ll feature it every week.

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