From Space a Star
by Tia-Marie M.
1. BRIAN CX134
In a land without light pollution, there were stars that changed as years went on. Such change would occur as long as those who cared to watch it recorded it for the sake of themselves and others. But what could one gain from charting the stars when those who reviewed such charts left?
Brian, or S-style charting robot Brian CX134, could not answer that question; such ability to answer such questions were never in its initial programming. All that it was to do was to chart the ever changing stars under the indigo sky. As a once state-of-the-art independent charting robot with a stagnant AI, Brian could view stars beyond human limitations; its technological design allowed for the best forms of non-human star-charting.
Brian's elongated body was supported by one hundred twenty-one extensions, or tendrils, so to say. Each of its tendrils extended far enough to individually and accurately sketch every star in its enhanced ocular or telescopic view; each star was scaled and charted with heavily accurate detail as a result. The job of charting the stars had Brian's head up towards the skies at almost all the day's times, endlessly viewing, rewriting, and updating until a certain satisfaction was accomplished. Yet, with his judges, the astronomers—the humans, gone, Brian could only continue its task over and over again with its own freedom. Brian was somehow unaware of the fear it had with such freedom.
In much honesty to its purpose, Brian did not seem to mind such fate. Over time it developed a sense of self that was the intended purposes of its developers, all while being able to complete its task of charting the stars. Opposed to rebelling against its designated purpose as the others like it had done, Brian simply followed its purpose, its destiny, its intended design. But why? After all these years, Brian couldn't answer the questions, nor did it spare any more time than it needed on the unnecessary thought-processing. So it worked on, with its still best-of-the-art telescopic vision scopes, in the darkly-colored chart room with a partially retracted, spherical roof, and under the open star-filled sky with dozens of stars charts strewn about.
At some point during a night like any other, Brian zoned into an unusual star amidst the former Orion constellation.
The color or the strange star's barely readable wavelengths were new to that sector and expanding at an alarming rate, even for some sort of star. There was not to be any stars reaching such a state for another hundred years or so. Amidst the other apparitions of space, what could this star be? Brian altered its focus to visually define the star that was now revised to be a new star, which was a common yet most interesting occurrence that he could halt to properly experience. Yet the unusual nature of this star still puzzled Brian.
Suddenly one of Brian's extensions activated the observatory alarm. The sound of retraction from the large, sole, and stationary telescope in the next room over was heard throughout the observatory as it was bracing for impact.
Some sort of offset from the unusual star was heading for the facility at light speed. Luckily the observatory chart room's titanium ore roof was already set to shut on such accounts. And for once, in all the chaos, Brian was unable to compute whatever this approaching danger was. It could only confirm that it was captivated by this object that was heading directly at it.
Brian's extensions dragged the main body away from the calculated impact spot and formed a cocoon of sorts around itself.
It wasn't long before the unnerving sound of punctured metal ore quickly greeted the shielded observatory chart room.
Brian's calculations for the size alteration of the meteorite after atmospheric impact were met, as the awfully small, approximately 47x12 inch black and irregular meteorite was bouncing about the chart room (ruining many star charts) and adding a crater into the black, polished marble floor.
The damage was surprisingly minimal to say the least. Orange embers lined the small hole in the reinforced room shield while a smoldering black mass was adding a simple metallic burning scent to the room.
Brian's cocoon came unlocked once its sensory nodes deemed it safe to do so. The extensions retracted gradually, soon allowing it to investigate the scene while moving about like a centipede. Brian deliberately ignored the blackened meteorite in the room and went to the small, red-flashing glass panel on the southwest wall. It quickly went through the basics of reporting emergency occurrences or accidents then surveyed to accurately report the damages. There wasn't any need for mechanical aid for Brian, just aid for the damages generated by the meteorite. Meteorite? Suddenly Brian quickly configured its optical senses onto the meteorite. Something wasn't right.
It wasn't completely uncommon for small meteorites, bits of unknown metallic compounds, ore, or space junk debris, to hit the observatory compound. Yet the wavelength readings were still strange; it was as though they were organically active. After that moment of observation and the next, Brian had an extension poised to activate the security and disposal alert alarm, for the meteorite began to crumbly shed its exterior.
As the black mass was shedding its crumbling exterior, its sheddings were sucked back into the mass, causing it to become a thick, liquid-like mass of churning substances in a levitating perfect sphere.
After a few seconds, the internally churning black spherical mass had a black, unstable talon break its perfect, spherical shape, then merge back within its confines. Next came a maw with medium-sized canines that merged as well. Then there was a pair of yellow cat-like eyes that zipped about under the spherical surface and stopped abruptly on Brian. The eyes stared, and while the eyes stared, the spherical, levitating mass of black convulsed and compressed, like a paint ball hitting a wall, into a human form that throbbed to life.
The form was human, somewhat, and was standing on all four limbs as if it was a scared animal that was prepared to fight for its survival. It had a round and oval face, with a full head of natural curly black hair, downturned eyes locked on Brian, a wide and round nose, and thick lips. The form was also of dark brown, chocolate skin tone, with a shapely female form. Her hands were covered in black scabs. No, not hands, clawed talons, with black scaling that covered her body like a black bathing suit, and back leg talons of similar condition.
The inhuman humanoid creature kept her narrowed eyes on Brian. A guttural noise seeped from her throat. She was alert and visibly terrified by Brian, who had been trying to process the entire anomaly that happened before it.
Brian must've froze at some point, but before it did, its curiosity inviting programming had set it to observe what happened and attempt to make sense of it before taking precautionary action.
After a quick reboot, Brian was at least able to process the being as a partially-humanoid, organic being, and develop a plan on how to get whatever it was out of the observatory. But before Brian could activate the security or disposal alarm like it should have, the being collapsed with a feral cry of pain.
The being's claws and canines merged away into more human-like hands and feet that were trying to move the body away with no effort. Something in her side was corroding and eating away at her scale-covered skin.
Brian zoomed in on the process and discovered nanoparticles eating away at the organic being and leaving behind metallic fibers. The apparent cyberdization of the being left her toiling in immense pain before she passed out.
Brian took a moment to process the situation before shifting its focus to the damaged chart room and star charts around the being. It could request assistance from the disposal team to remove the being, but Brian took another moment to observe her (or what appeared to be a her).
Some old memory data that had yet to be deleted had resurfaced in Brian's internal processing terminal and inspired it to contact the remaining organic health droid over a private server to collect the being.
There was always so much pain; well, not always, just a whole ton of it during many occasions.
There were all sorts of pain, too, but feeling it wasn't anything new; it was just the before, during, and after of the pain, that made things old, interesting, and/or new.
But all in all it was something she'd gotten used to.
It was dark, but not as dark as a hole without light. It was a personal, natural dark—a dark that belonged to the internal skin of her eyelids. This dark gave her a simple note of insight. It was her dark.
She winked her eyelids open and allowed her eyes to take in her surroundings.
Darkness, little lights, white ceiling, circular form, a monitor maybe. Wherever she was, it made her agitated, uncomfortable, and frightened. She bolted up, from what appeared to be a simple cot with a light cover, and zipped her head around.
There were two empty cots on both sides of hers, and there wasn't any other sort of unique functioning equipment around. The lack of thereof had stumped her for a second, but she didn't calm down much from it. Her hands twitched thereafter, and she remembered to check herself to see if she could move from her surroundings. She was hesitant, though; there was an all-too-familiar feeling of a certain garment covering on her; she hated it. She looked down and grimaced at the sight of a lightweight sort of medical gown.
That was it; she wanted to leave. She tore the blanket off her and rolled herself from the cot. She fell on her front side, of course, but she didn't slow; then she also noticed the lack of restraints on her. This caused her to take a moment and ponder—an action as foolish as such could result negatively.
But she did it anyway.
She assumed she was in a medical examination and testing facility, and she knew that she needed to leave, based on past experiences, of course. Yet the electrical medical equipment had been moved away; it was also dark and a bit warm. Her arms and legs were free, and there was no sign of being strapped down recently. As she looked down at her gown once more, she noticed it was of black color—a shade that slightly contrasted against her dark skin. The fabric was just like her last covering layer garments. When did she switch them out? Was it a sign that things weren't an immediate threat? Was it a trick? She furrowed her brows and pursed her lips as she thought.
On her own internal side note, she noted that she had full bodily function. That thought then quickly prompted her to lift up her gown to examine her side. She looked past the undefined scars among her stomach and stared at the fresh set of stitches on her side.
"It's...out...." she whispered in a mix of awe and astonishment, with a slightly coarse, high-pitched voice she was familiar with. The sensation of that dodged-a-bullet feel had washed all over her in the moment. Then came a knock on the wall, followed by a vocal squeak of shock that surprised even herself.
Nearly a split second after her little squeak, she pulled herself onto the cot, grabbed the blanket, and launched back off the cot, landing a foot or so before the source of the sound.
With the blanket open in both hands, she was poised to cover, smother, and snap whoever was at the door, but she hesitated.
The hesitation was enough for her to lose her advantage, for the plain wall was already outlined in bright lines of a rectangular door-shape that slid up and away.
A warmish light filtered into the dark room along with physical presence. From what she could make out in the dim lighting, this stranger was composed of a single-wheeled, v-shaped leg, two stacked cubes, little spherical, necklace-like arms, and an oval-shaped, human-like head with a staticky blue monitor for a face—an AI-powered robot.
Before she made any further action (or worried eyebrows, slightly pursed lips, "what sort of comedy act is this!?" face), the strangely-configured robot introduced itself as it politely strolled in.
"The term for this unit is simply Nurse, dear," Nurse mentioned with a sort of automated drawl of something known as a “country accent.” A kind and vibrant face of a fattened, caucasian female in her early forties filled the staticky, blue monitor of the robot head.
"This unit welcomes you to the Saran Juvence Dedicated State of 9 Arts Observatory." Nurse continued on as she did a little forward standing crunch that was actually a bow. Then she proceeded to commence a routine questioning process fit to not unnerve a patient.
"Don't worry dear, this won't be long," Nurse pronounced in a nearly organic yet automated manner.
"What's your name, dear?"