October 17th, 2137:
Morgan-616 stepped out of the lift and onto the bridge of the Outward Bound for the first time in more than ten years. Only about half of the lights worked and several maintenance units were still repairing consoles, but Morgan-616’s olfactory sensors detected the oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere that the room’s structural integrity was retaining. Amy-1011 worked at the pilot’s console, while Kristy-403 was working at the engineer’s console.
Flanking Morgan-616 to either side of the lift doors where Thomas-375 and 342. They stood at perfect attention. Holstered sidearms hung from belts at their waists. Samantha-492 stood straight up in front of the science station. Her yellow coveralls were unzipped down to her waist. A panel in her stomach was opened and a thin cable connected her to the console. In a monotone, she announced the results of the diagnostic she was running.
Morgan-616 walked to the center of the room to stand just to the left of the captain’s chair. Her eyes moved to look upon the staticy viewscreen on the wall ahead after briefly stopping to admire Amy-1011’s astonishingly round bottom. Amy-1011 had just gotten down on the floor to make some repairs under the pilot’s station.
The beautiful redheaded android waited patiently for Amy-1011 to finish her repairs before asking the main question that floated through her processors.
“Amy-1011.”, the teacher unit started cautiously. “What’s Michael running from?”
A look of concerned came and went quickly from Amy-1011’s face. “What makes you think he’s running from anything?”
Morgan-616 considered her answer before speaking. “The armor. The guards. It seems that he’s preparing for something or someone that he doesn’t want to find us… to find us.”
“Yeah.”, Amy-1011 replied with a sigh. “I guess the preparations aren’t too subtle? But, it’s not up to me to tell you. He will. When and if he thinks you need to know.”
“Fair enough.”, Morgan-616 said exceptingly as the doors to the lift opened again. Michael Loganov strode onto the bridge of the Outward Bound.
“Where do we stand on the repairs, Amy?”, he asked the lovely blonde android. His tone was confident and commanding.
“Most main bridge functions should be restored within the hour.”, Amy-1011 replied dutifully.
“Thank you. Morgan.”, Loganov turned his attention to the redheaded android as he took his seat in the captain’s chair. “I set up something of a little hierarchy on this ship. I am obviously captain. Amy will serve as first officer and second-in-command. You will be third-in-command.”
Michael looked around the bridge and paused for a moment. Slowly he rose from his chair and walked to just in front of the main viewscreen, clasping his hands behind his back. Morgan-616 looked on with some confusion during the prolonged silence. She looked to Amy-1011, but the other betrayed no information of what was transpiring.
“Morgan.”, he began softly. “I know that you, this ship, and every other android onboard was not designed for it, but as you can see, I believe that some form of combat lay in our future. If you would like Amy to install combat programming into you, she can do so.”
“May I have some time to consider it?”, she answered with a question of her own. The turn of events was not entirely unexpected.
“Yes.”, Michael said, turning to look back at the redheaded android. His look was one of deadly seriousness. “But don’t take too long. It may be sooner than you think.”
October 17th, 2134:
“…repeat… This is the Orbital Research Station Sagan in the 70 Virginis system. We are under attack by an unknown starship. We require any and all assistance… repeat…”, an urgent feminine voice said through the Serafin’s comm system.
Michael Loganov continued to listen to the familiar voice as he sat in the command chair of the small, but powerful, starship. To his front and right, Amy-1011 sat at the Conn station. In front and to the left, Lucasian-999 sat at Ops. He continually and forcefully rubbed his chin as his impatience grew.
“Hang in there Jaina.”, Michael said under his breath. “We’re coming.”
“Increase Interphase to 130%.”, he ordered Amy-1011.
“Michael, she’ll fly apart.”
“Fly’er apart then!”, he screamed back at the blonde android.
“New ETA… forty-nine seconds.”, the male android, Lucasian-999, reported after Amy-1011 had complied with her orders.
The starfield on the viewscreen raced by as the ship began to shudder from the tremendous strain being placed on the engines. Every one of the forty-nine seconds seemed like an agonizing eternity. Eventually, the stars snapped back from long lines of light and into the normal pinpoints as Amy-1011 reverted the ship to normal space.
“Fire!”, yelled Michael as he sprung forward from his chair. “All weapons, full spread.”
But even as Lucasian-999 pressed the controls that loosed the deadly energy at the starship ravaging the orbital station, a last ball of red energy escaped from a weapon on the attacking starship. Michael, Amy-1011, and Lucasian-999 watched as the ball silently crossed the void of space and impacted with the station. The research facility went up in a titanic explosion.
October 15th, 2137:
Morgan-616, except for the occasional blinking of her eyes, stood totally nude and motionless in a small room with myriad electronic devices. A dizzying array of lights flashed and readouts disseminated. Most of her access panels lay open and many of her interior components lay half connected on the hinged level doors of the panels. Amy-1011, also nude, poked and prodded at the redheaded androids innards with various tools.
“Amy-1011, what is this new data that I am receiving?”, the teacher android asked the other. “It is very distracting.”
“That’s part of your new sexual programming.”, the blonde android answered. “Do you like it?”, she continued as she let her index finger lightly rub against the artificial woman’s clit.
“Yes…yes.”, Morgan-616 said with two quick jerks of her head. “It… it… I… error… Cannot… Can… Can… Can… Cannot detect hardware.”
“Michael loves to see us malfunction. I think I’m starting to understand why.”, Amy-1011 said more to herself as she took the nipple of Morgan-616’s left breast into her mouth.
“Amy-1… 1… 1… 0… 0… 11… yes… please… error… no… yes… error… can… can… can… cannot… error.”
Amy-1011’s left hand was now busy at work on the malfunctioning android’s moistened vagina while her mouth alternated between nipples. Her right hand worked furiously on her own slit.
Morgan-616’s glitches began to mount as the raw sexual data overloaded her partially connected systems. A brief, but large, explosion of sparks from her open back panel coincided perfectly with Amy-1011’s digitized orgasm.
“Error… error… errrrrrooooorrrrrr.”, Morgan-616 ended as her systems shut down. The combat programming was going to have to wait on some unforeseen repairs.
Admiral Gaen Kragar walked slowly around the circumference of the bridge of his battleship, Colossus. The admiral was a gaunt human of advancing years. What was left of the hair on his head was white and in perfect compliment to his gaudy uniform, which was itself in direct contrast to the black uniforms of the bridge crew. The middle-aged officer at the back of the bridge near the comm station, Captain Weekes, watched Kragar’s inspection nervously.
“Captain.”, the comm officer called out. “We are receiving a transmission. It is directed solely at us.”
Captain Weekes stood puzzled for a few moments at the announcement of the unusual news. The admiral turned abruptly and proceeded straight to the comm station. Both senior officers quickly examined the data. A look of deep concern came to the face of Captain Weekes. A wry evil smile broke its way onto Admiral Kragar’s.
“Captain.”, Kragar ordered after several more seconds. “Alter course to intercept this transmission’s heading. I’ll be in my quarters.”
Captain Weekes gave the orders to the helm as Admiral Kragar entered the lift and exited the bridge.
“What is it? Where are we going?”, Commander Douglas Mitchell asked Captain Weekes.
“We’re going to kill a friend, Doug.”, Weekes said as he turned to face his first officer. “We’re going to kill Loganov.”
Loganov, sitting at the computer console in the captain’s quarters, called out to the person on the other side of the door to enter after the audible signal announced their presence. The Outward Bound’s third in command, the flawlessly attractive Morgan-616, entered. He quickly looked up at her, as though sensing what was to come, before returning his attention to the computer monitor. The redheaded android paused another moment before slowly walking to the console.
“Who was she?”, Morgan-616 finally asked. Loganov’s eyes glanced slightly away from the monitor and became a thousand-mile stare.
“Who told you?”, he said softly in reply.
“Mostly you just did.”, the android began. “But, between my new programming, my knowledge of human psychology, and Lucasian-999 telling me that the signal you had him send was meant to lure some Admiral Kragar here, I believed it to be a safe assumption.”
“A friend.”, Loganov answered after a long pause. His voice was barely audible. “It doesn’t matter. Soon he’ll be dead and you won’t have to worry about us causing the Outward Bound anymore trouble.”
“Lucasian-999 told me what you stole from him. How can you take the risk of him getting that back?”, Morgan-616 shot back. Great passion filled her voice. Loganov’s head snapped to look straight at the android. A look of terrible anger washed over his face.
“I could care less about that!”, he shouted at the mechanical woman. For several long seconds his lips trembled with anger. He took in a few deep breaths before letting out a hrmpf. “What the hell do you know? You’re just a fucking machine.”
The lovely redheaded android took a step backward. Her processors weren’t quite able to precisely follow the unpredictable emotional flow of the conversation. She couldn’t work the equations between replying or remaining silent. Her systems, in desperation, finally resolved to ask directly.
“Oh Michael, please tell me how you feel.”
Loganov, between seeing the reaction he’d gotten and the new question, slowly stood and walked over to the window. Myriad stars filled the limitless black vista just beyond. He leaned forward, placing one arm onto the window for support, before continuing.
“It’s more like a joke
really.”, he finally said. His voice was perceptively wavering. “Joke on me.
The joke of the universe. The King who would be a man. You ask me how I feel.
Old…Tired…Worn out. All that matters now is Kragar’s death.”
May 14th, 2129:
Commander Michael Loganov, dressed in the stark white dress uniform of the Terran Defense Fleet, sat in the stands high above the assembled crowd of graduates of Cambridge University. Thunderous applause rang out as St. John Hawthorne, the Lucasian Chair holder for mathematics, stepped aside after introducing the his premier student and the class valedictorian, Jaina Francis.
She approached the podium tentatively. But once she had started her speech, it seemed as though all the confidence in the world had flown into her. Her speech was long but very elegant. Many times her speech was interrupted by applause. Most especially when she gave her final good lucks to the class and the announcement of her posting aboard the orbital science research station Sagan in the 70 Virginis system.
After the incredible ceremony, tremendous cheers rang out and the crowd in the stands went out to meet with the new graduates. Parents of many different races from throughout the Confederacy laughed and cried with their children. Michael Loganov pushed his way through the crowd towards the class valedictorian who was being mobbed by both her parents and former classmates.
“Congratulations, Ms. Francis.”, he told her once he’d gotten near enough. She turned and looked with some surprise at the Fleet officer in front of her.
“Do I know you?”, she asked with a quizzical look on her face.
“Not really.”, he quickly admitted. “Several of the classes that Fleet assigned me to take we had together. But, I’ve kept my eye on you. You very much deserve to be valedictorian.”
“Thank you.”, she replied as she turned back to her parents and other well-wishers.
October 17th, 2137:
Amy-1011, along with several of the ship’s compliment of female maintenance androids, was busily adding structural reinforcement to a key area of the Outward Bound’s hull when Morgan-616 walked in. Welding torches roared and sparks flew everywhere as the redheaded android approached.
“Amy-1011.”, Morgan-616 said to get the attention of the other. “May I speak with you for a moment.”
The beautiful blonde android shut off her torch and simply replied: “Yes.”
“We must get Michael to abandon this reckless course of action.”, the redhead began. “This Admiral Kragar will no doubt be on guard and the Outward Bound is no match for a warship. From what Lucasian told me, a man like that can not be allowed to have a chance to reclaim what was taken from him.”
The cacophony of sounds continued around them as Amy-1011 quietly nodded while listening. The android let out a small sigh before replying. “This isn’t about superweapons or power or morality. It’s about Jaina. He’s doing this to be a hero because he thinks she sees him.”
Morgan-616 facial features went from a neutral look to a very quizzical one. She paused momentarily before asking, “How can that be? I thought she was deceased?”
“She is.”, the blonde android answered matter-of-factly. “Human beings are very strange and mysterious creatures. It’s the truth of their existence.”
As if to punctuate the conversation, the maintenance androids shut off their various tools having finished the modifications to the ship’s hull. The corridor was left in an eerie silence as the units left to begin other tasks and while Morgan-616’s processors contemplated Amy-1011’s reply.
“You knew him before Jaina died?”, the redheaded android finally asked. “What was Michael like then?”
Amy-1011’s emotional programming was highly advanced. The question brought forth a flurry of emotions that played on her face. Her face was at first happy, but slowly shifted to a sullen look as she prepared her answer.
“He’s was always a very private man.”, the blonde android started softly. “He was a good person back then. Although, I suppose he still is now. He always had this curious little smile on his face.”
“He doesn’t smile much anymore.”, Morgan-616 said. Her slightly less advanced, but none-the-less, emotional programming giving the words a saddened tone.
“No… He doesn’t.”
The massive battleship loomed in the distance of the viewscreen image. A single ball of red energy streaked silently towards the foreground.
“Hang on!”, Loganov yelled to the bridge crew, Moments later, the Outward Bound was rocked by explosions. One explosion erupted from the engineering station. Kristy-403, who was crewing the station, was knocked from her chair to the bridge floor. The android’s limbs and head twitched haphazardly as sparks shot from several gaping holes in her synthetic flesh.
The bridge’s red lighting faded in and out several times before stabilizing.
“Michael, they’re hailing us.”, Morgan-616 said from her station.
“Put them on.”
The image on the screen became staticy before switching to an interior shot of the opposing vessel’s bridge. A wormy balding human stood in the middle of the image.
“Kragar?”, Loganov said with feigned surprise.
“Hello, Michael.”, Kragar began. “First I deprive your ship of power, and when I swing around I mean to deprive you of your life. But, I wanted you to know for sure who it was who had beaten you.”
Even as Admiral Kragar was running through his diatribe, a small snicker from Loganov was increasing into full-blown laughter. Morgan-616 was shocked by the flippant attitude of her captain. The Outward Bound was by no means capable of defeating the gigantic battleship. It shouldn’t even be considered worthy of a fight. But, Michael seemed oblivious to the odds.
“What’s so funny?”, Kragar asked with some confusion.
“Did you think that I would be simply content with guarding the data we stole from you?”, Michael rhetorically asked the admiral. His laughter ended immediately and his tone became immensely serious. “Did you think that I would have some moral compunction against developing the technology on my own? WE HAVE a fully functioning subspace weapon! The Serafin’s Interphase drive has been completely shutdown for some time. How’s yours?”
Admiral Kragar’s gloating look shifted to one of utter terror.
“You arrogant ass.”, Michael continued with sheer anger in his voice. “You’ve killed yourself! Lucasian, fire!”
Kragar yelled orders to his bridge crew as the communication was severed. The image on the viewscreen returned to that of the Colossus, but with a searing blast of white energy streaking towards the engines of the great vessel. The energy impacted with no visible signs of damage. Agonizing moments passed before the Colossus’ hull began to slowly implode.
Even as the great ship was dying, dozens of small escape pods and a handful of shuttles launched from it. The tiny vessels struggled against the raging localized gravimetric forces caused by the subspace weapon’s interaction with the Colossus’ Interphase drive. Many began to lose that battle as they began to spiral in with the mounting wreckage. The several that did manage to escape, mostly the more powerful shuttles, headed directly for the Outward Bound.
“They’ll be coming.”, Loganov announced to the bridge crew. “Morgan, alert the androids to repel boarders.”
Concluded in Part III...