Having been summoned to meet with a leader of the Alliance scientific community on Tethys, I gathered the necessary materials

in a manner perhaps a bit too hasty. I was excited, that’s all. It was been a long time coming, after all. I can’t quite recall how many messages I sent to the capital and the outlying planets requesting to show my progress on AI, but rest assured, diary, that it was approaching harassment by the time the acceptance message finally arrived yesterday. I was a little upset that I couldn’t meet with a representative on Earth, but we must take what we can get. And Tethys is far from a wasteland; far from it, it’s a lovely moon, and its forum is one of my favorite places to visit. But I believe there’s something to be said for seeing your origins, and mine lie on Earth. I haven’t returned for many, many years. I should make arrangements to do so next time I have the availability. Travelling to the port was easy. Not surprising, as air traffic on Osiris is usually light. This isn’t exactly a very populated planet. That’s why I chose it, after all; the isolation and remoteness make it an ideal place to conduct all sorts of work in relative secrecy and peace. I still report to Alliance officials, of course, but they seem to have neither the time nor the inclination to send an emissary to this remote a location. All the better for me. Port was sparsely filled. A few travelers waiting on passage o Aries, and to Arcanthia. There’s a place I should like to see! A world covered in ocean, the wonders of which are only now being understood. My ship, the Minotaur was late coming from Hadrian. An annoyance, considering I was short on time, but it was the only ship available, so what would griping get me? The captain addressed the passengers, informing them that it would take at least ten hours before the ship reached the warpgate. Luckily, I brought my work along with me. I had thought that this ship’s class had been outfitted with more capable engines, but perhaps I’m wrong. The re-fitting was most likely limited to the Alliance fleet, and not to passenger liners. Best case scenario, they would have the newer engines in a year. Work was accomplished with a good deal of frustration. If I’m being honest, I must admit I hadn’t quite solved a few essential workings of the AI I was about to present. This might sound reckless, and it is, but it should be remembered that I wasn’t so much being interviewed on specifics, but on functionality and applications. A rough outline would have sufficed. But more often that not I make things a little hard on myself. The hours ticked by. I was sitting in an open area, with people traversing the deck all about me. One such person took a seat at my table. Against my wishes, quite frankly. “What’s that you’re working on?” He asked me. “Presentation for a member of the Alliance scientific community. Very important.” Much to my dismay, he was intrigued. He started going on and on. He was a scientist as well, he told me, but not concerned with AI. He was working on making the first working teleportation device for use in commercial shipping. “And how will you correct for the problem of energy conversion?” I asked. “What’s that?” “Well, it would seem to me that teleportation, if possible, would require the subject to be converted into pure energy. If that were the case, how would you deal with the fact that the amount of energy released would be equivalent to several nuclear explosions?” “That’s nonsense!” He went on to describe the ways he would correct for such an occurrence. I won’t go into detail, because they wouldn’t work. Not sensing my ire, he remained at the table, and ordered himself a drink.

“And you, friend? Want something?” “Not particularly.” “Oh come on!” I declined a second time. His drink came after a few minutes, and he sipped in silence. Wonderful, blessed silence. I began to regret not handing over the extra money and booking a liner with private rooms. “Let me ask you,” he said. “What’s the point? Why would you want to create an artificial person in the first place? “The possibilities are endless. Extra hands, companionship...” “Like we don’t already have enough people for that? Billions in the Alliance as it is, and you want to go filling it with fake ones? I just don’t get it.” “Well maybe you shouldn’t worry about it, then. If you see no use, no value in my work, then there’s no real reasons for us to talk. I think I’ll be going now.” I gathered my things, and left the room. I was a bit angrier than I would have liked, visually I mean. I was huffing and buffing like a buffoon. Could I really have helped it? The man was so...well, I didn’t like him, so there. I took a turn down a corridor and headed for another small anteroom. This one was smaller, away from the crowd. I sat down, redistributing my work to the new table. I continued to puzzle over the problem. That was when I hit a wall, so to speak. The man’s words began to sting in my mind. What was I doing, anyway? For the first time since I started down my path, I began to question my own motivations. I hated to admit it, but there was a kernel of truth in the man’s idiocy. What was I attempting to create that hadn’t already been shaped by nature? Well, I thought, that’s simple: I was making an attempt to understand. And by understanding, I sought to perfect. At least that was the goal. An announcement blared. One hour until gate-jump.

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