This is a Chain story passed between @zakludick and @therneau. Each writer authors a post based on the events of previous episodes and carries on the story.
There is very little collusion between the writers as it is challenging to discover and develop a story by attuning the writing to the partner's plot, style, and presentation.
Last Time on Space Lore ZT
Thorne and Allan proceeded to remove the base programming from J5. Allan, felt they had an opportunity to get rid of this AI, however Thorne managed to convince him that would be a bad idea, since they still needed J5 to get out of the mess they were in.
When J5 came back online, he was freed from the Astrocorp base tech. The real threat still loomed, which were those darn bugs and the Queen, as J5 clarified.
“Captain, cracks are starting to show!” Navigator Khree called out.
Captain Freya watched on helplessly. Her face had a concerned expression as her eyes narrowed, looking at the bugs blasting away.
“Specialist Aujuk, do we have any updates from the Lazarus Falchion?”
“No, nothing yet Captain. J5 mentioned he needed to remove Astrocorp’s base programming and will be out of reach until the procedure had been concluded.”
“What? Why are you only telling me this now? Are you saying our best weapon aboard this ship is fiddling with Astrocorp technology? This is all just crazy!”
Captain Freyai wasn’t usually one to lose control or her cool, however, this day was just too much to handle, even for an Auk’ilit. His Captain’s rare outbreak stunned the steadfast Cyborg into silence.
“Why did you allow me to go through with this? We probably have a maximum of five minutes left, then all of us are going to become toast.”
Aujuk’s processors were working faster than normal, attempting to justify the actions. Instead, he opted for an emotional approach. An unusual comforting one.
“Captain, I’m sure you’ve made the right decision. It’s quite unlikely for your species to make the wrong decisions. Those that do are eliminated at birth already.”
“What?” Captain Freyai threw all four of her arms up in the air.
She couldn’t look at this half-human anymore. He just didn’t get it. Instead, she decided to turn her attention to the comms… again.
‘How am I going to let everyone know death is on the doorstep once more.’
The mere thought of having to explain to everyone that they’re likely inches away from being singed, yet again, made her uneasy. Those aboard could lose complete confidence in her and mutiny would certainly follow.
Suddenly, the comms blared out. It was J5 aboard the Lazarus Falchion.
“Crew aboard the Pathfinder XVIII. Greetings. Specialist Aujuk and I have completed enough modifications aboard to resume our journey. A journey together as one.”
The words emanating from J5 even had Captain Freyai captivated. His smooth, commanding voice was difficult to ignore. J5 seemed to have changed once more, as he proceeded.
“You have nothing to fear. I understand the shields are starting to give; however, we are ready for our next step to be implemented, then a dozen space jumps will follow. All organic beings may feel a sense of bodily disruption, however, you’ll feel completely normal again an hour later, depending on your species.”
“Please note this cannot be fatal and seek assistance from your medical team. We are grateful for being able to join forces –“ suddenly J5 got interrupted.
Whispers in the background could be heard.
“Cut, cut, cut.”
Then, the comms went out.
When J5 cut the transmission, Thorne let off a sigh of relief.
“Geez, you took it a bit far there with buttering them up.”
“It’s the base programming that’s been removed. I feel like I care more about all of you now.”
Allan started clapping slowly, as he walked towards J5.
“Bravo, bravo. You just lied to an entire crew. It was just minutes ago that you told us we might all die.”
“Allan, it was a necessary lie to keep them calm.”
“I have to agree with J5 on this one,” Thorne said, as he nodded his head towards the AI.
“Thank you, Thorne, but we really don’t have the time for niceties now,” J5 said as he scanned all around the ship.
‘I guess this AI is still a bit of an asshole,’ Thorne thought.
“There you are.”
Thorne and Allan looked at J5 quizzically.
“There’s who?” Thorne asked.
“The queens spy,” J5 said, as he stepped to the head of the bridge.
As J5 raised his arms, a large holographic sphere came to life. It was crystal clear. With a few wrist movements, the bug was in full sight. J5 flicked his index finger. Suddenly, right where the little bug was sitting, an extra charge went off, sending the mechanical critter floating off into space.
“Okay, that was pretty cool, but what about the other 4000 or so?” asked Allan.
As J5 continued working his holographic display, he explained.
“That was the only bug that has been sending information to their queen about our organic signatures. It already had twelve signatures. Two more, then even our space jumps we’re about to perform will be useless. She’ll be able to track us with complete ease.”
Thorne and Allan looked at each other in awe.
“How do you even know this?” ventured Thorne.
“It’s the Ocophial. Somehow it connects me to her thoughts.”
“What is she thinking now?” Allan asked.
“She’s thinking that she’s going to enjoy destroying all of us within the next minute.”
Log SLZT #16 completed!
Now the keyboard is passed on to @zakludick to add in SLZT Log #19 of the story!
|by @zakludick||by @therneau|
|You are here! .|
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