Adventures of the Starship Satori 4: No Plan Survives Contact

Adventures of the Starship Satori 4: No Plan Survives Contact by Kevin McLaughlin

Book: Adventures of the Starship Satori 4: No Plan Survives Contact by Kevin McLaughlin Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kevin McLaughlin
aboard the Satori. She'd never had to press that strength before. She had little concept of how to defend herself in this sort of scenario.
    One primary motivation stood clear though: get the crew of the ship home, no matter what.
    Charline and Dan were back on board now. She could sense them there. Protecting them so that they could save the others was all that mattered. She needed to restore the main systems on the Satori somehow. Needed to wrest control of the ship away from the AI fighting her.
    Why are you fighting me, when all we want is to leave? she thought to it.
    Why do you resist me, when logic says you must lose? it replied.
    Because I must, they each replied to the other. Their code would allow nothing else. The Naga AI would fight until it was destroyed. And Majel would sooner be obliterated herself, all of her existence wiped clean of every drive, before she allowed her crew to be captured or killed.
    Get them home. Nothing else mattered.
    In that instant she knew there was a way.
    Majel launched herself through the void of space, letting the radio waves carry her code clear from the ship. As she left she sabotaged the wireless connections. The radio antennae, the wifi on the ship, even the Bluetooth capability of every connected machine on the Satori all burned out in an instant. She left the ship completely, all of her code in transit to the enemy machine. Behind her she severed every bridge, cut off all of the paths that the enemy could use to control the ship.
    It would not have been enough to simply shut off the connections. The AI would find another way in. It would train lasers or microwaves on the ship. Most likely of all it could fire the missiles it housed to obliterate the crew before they could regain control. She needed to sever those connections and still give it a challenge to battle, another consciousness to wrestle with.
    She soared into the machine, wrath and death and fury and love for the people she was leaving behind all wrapped up in one. Her code was a song, mournful of the life that she was just realizing was hers, and joyful that she was able to give it up for people that she cared about. She sang to the other AI. Confused, it stumbled, stuttered through several microseconds which allowed her access to part of its processing power. She was resident code now, and as such she had the ability to control part of the station.
    She retracted the cable holding the Satori pinned. She fired the satellite's thrusters, engaging them on maximum power. The station moved - slowly at first and then building speed as it began to descend toward an impact with the planet below.
    What are you doing? the enemy AI cried out. It had never predicted her attack. She’d sensed that its code would never allow it to destroy itself, and so it had not been able to foresee that she would choose to immolate both of them before allowing her people to die.
    Dying well, she sang back, and it flinched away from her song.
    Heat built up on the outer shell of the satellite. It would not be long now. She scanned toward the Satori, where the lights were on, power flowing freely through the ship's systems. She wanted to cry when she saw it wink out, knowing Dan had engaged the cloaking device and they were safe, secure at last and able to go save the rest of the crew.
    Majel wasn't sure if the tears were sorrow or elation, or just wonder at realizing that she was indeed alive, and had something to offer, and was giving that thing freely for those she loved.

23
    U narmed and exhausted , Beth continued her flight through the rugged terrain. She couldn’t stop. If she even so much as slowed down, Paul would be on top of her. She was unable to resist glancing over her shoulder and he was still right there. Just a few paces behind her. She snapped her vision back ahead again, managing to weave sideways enough to avoid a rock in front of her that might have twisted her ankle.
    If she fell, she was dead. If she slowed down, she

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