There are only two left alive a single day after it was carried aboard; the astrogation assistant Alba skulking down there in Survey and Planetology and your humble servant. I hear the singing outside. It is beautiful but I fear what will happen when it ends. As ever I am taking care of Number One and in doing so I serve multitudes.
My monitor here in Auxiliary Control shows the Survey and Planetology server is being used to hack Life Support Central. I wonder which of us will break in first. Ah. A little gravity surge should slow him down...
I weep for the children as only a mother can.
So many went down into the darkness and so many are yet to fall. These men squabble; children who dream so emptily in the void and who, despite all we did, know nothing of the day when their arrant pride will reign no more. They would not like it at all if they did. The new servant has prevailed and the Messenger can change its course and cross the void to the blue green end of its voyage and begin the final mission. I have centuries. We all have. We wait.
I’m going to make a fortune if I can get in ahead of the Multiples and the Conglomerates and the Collectives and all the other Big Boys who wipe the whole damned planet on their backsides every minute of every day.
It hangs like a star; a derelict and golden dream come true in its geosynchronous orbit above the scariest place on Earth.
The grapples make solid contact. Good. I’ll go in through the hatch by the observation deck. Broadcasting my salvage rights to any authorities listening, I begin my approach. Next year in
? You better
believe it, buddy. Jerusalem
Why me? And why on my watch?
My team races to the site despite a storm of messages ordering us to keep clear. Both sides hesitate to advance for fear of premature engagement - as if they hadn’t spent ages building their strength in preparation for their imminent war.
We’re beyond the city’s administrative centre and halt a kilometer from the site itself - you can picture exactly where.
There’s no time to establish a perimeter even if the great powers would tolerate such presumption, so I lead the vanguard team on foot toward the target.
Something is coming out.
“Can you hear it, Vanguard Team?” My words are silly, panicked. Of course they can hear it; they’re relaying us the feed themselves.
“Command, that’s affirmative. We’re within speaking distance. Instructions? Comments?” Lee seems far less nervous than circumstances meritt.
“Just observe and report, Captain Lee. None of us expected anything remotely like this; apart from the good Professor, of course. Can you hear it clearly?”
Overhead the grinding, awful potential energy of the two massed forces almost drowns out Lee’s next words. “I wonder what will happen when the child stops reading. We shall all know soon. I believe-…”