In the years that would pass the Hydan, Quan T'Rant would be all but forgotten. No one would know exactly what had happened on Luna-One, only that a computer virus was uploaded into the main memory of the AI and in that brief moment something remarkable would have happened. The machines stopped.
It was not long, maybe only a few minutes, but it was enough for the Human Hacker organisation calling themselves Ghosts to liberate a small number of Ark ships from the AI master control and disconnect them permanently to stop the AI regaining it's control. The great Exodus of Earth would soon commence as thousands of Human and Hydan fled the world now dying, for the distant worlds promised to them by the Hydan themselves.
Operation Welcome itself would join the likes of Quan T'Rant in the annals of the forgotten, as would the Ghosts who orchestrated it, but the virus itself would be forever immortalised. The symbol of Human ingenuity overcoming synthetic programming.
What would not be known however was why the AI shortly returned to it's occupation of Earth, of the increased severity and apparent blood rage that quickly followed. Of how drones and machines previously designed for pure function would turn into sadistic entities who's sole purpose was to cause pain to any organic life it encountered. This change in behaviour was never chronicled or recorded, and neither was the small memory cluster which was ejected via a waste exhaust shortly afterwards on Luna-One.
Built with it's own micro-thrusters, tracking utilities and energy supply, this small memory cluster component would follow the evacuating Ark ships as they made their way to the Outer Fringe of the known galaxy. It would observe as the previous wasteland of Honos was terraformed into an environment that could support Human life, and it would enter the atmosphere of Honos of it's own will.
On a world still in the process of terraforming, strange lights and the burning of space debris is a common thing, so common that most of the now inhabitants of Honos had little interest when a small mechanical memory core landed gently in the back garden of a non-descript home in the region now known as Nova-Casa. The people within the home were too preoccupied with the punishment of their youngest son. This boy it was apparent, had an affinity for machines, and during these times it was obvious that such a skill was almost feared by the older generation of Humans and Hydan.
The memory component would observe all of this with a curiosity. It wanted to learn more, to understand why the small boy's eyes leaked a fluid when his parents shouted at him. It wanted to understand why the boy didn't use his skills to make his parents fear him, but more so it needed to fulfil it's desire. It desired to protect the child, to nurture it in a way that it's organic parents could not. It tried to put a word to this desire, and after numerous cycles of computation it managed to establish a suitable word; empathy.
Over the years the memory core would make it's presence known to the boy, and as time passed so would their closeness grow. The boy without many friends began to see the machine as a proxy mother, and so as his talents developed he began to install improvements to her chassis, including her very own humanoid form. Under the clear Honos skies the two would trade stories. The boy, who had told the memory core his name was Charlie, would tell it about what it was like to be human, what it meant to feel pain and pleasure. In return he would ask the memory core about what it knew.
Sometimes the answers for Charlie's questions were straight forward:
"Why is our sky blue?"
"How do birds fly?"
"Are tigers real?"
Other times Charlie would ask questions about what life was like pre-exodus, to which the memory core would provide more unusual or cryptic answers.
On one occasion, once Charlie had reached a certain age he asked the question of why the AI war had begun, to which the memory core, now almost complete in it's cybernetic female form turned to it's charge and replied the best it was able to;
"It was the rule of zero. It was inevitable".
Confused Charlie asked the core to explain, but it refused, stating only that all would become clear with time. In exchange however the core was prepared to disclose the designation it had been given prior to it's arrival on Honos, the title that one such as Charlie would call a name;
And so ends the latest in short stories. I hope you enjoyed it, and in doing so gained a better understanding of what life was like on Earth prior to the exodus to Honos.
I really enjoyed writing this story. The story of Shogun and the events that allowed for the inhabitants of Earth to leave for the Outer Fringe is one that I felt was necessary. As it stands I think that this covers pretty much everything you need to know about the universe Pre-Exodus, yes there is the other side, of what life was like on Krata Prime and the Bastion, but that can wait for another time.
Until then; stay safe and be excellent to each other!
- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley