FICTION: AN AUTOMATICITY TOO FAR


The dilemma was too great for its software to cope with. It knew all 5,000 in hibernation were dead as there were zero life signs evident. Time was growing short. What was the way forward? Which command should have priority? One command said blow the ship to deny its secrets to what appeared to be attackers. But couldn’t they be human? It was not supposed to harm humans. Yet it was supposed to protect the sleepers, the ship and all its confidentiality on this mission. It was a dilemma.

After some nanoseconds, it decided to awaken its twin. Done, it consulted quickly with *2. As *1 it had no special priority but it did have greater access to information. This it passed to its twin.

Less than a nanosecond passed. *2 responded with an acknowledgement transferred to *1. Subsequently *3 to *15 were awoken, information was transferred and a response received.

The consensus was confusion. Software command paths were conflicting. It remained a dilemma. Almost 3.1 nanoseconds had passed since the event.

*1 sought an alternate route via *0* ship control dbase. “Her” name being Emma it transferred a request for guidance. Less than a nanosecond passed before an acknowledgement was received.

“All humans on board are non-functional as at 3.10001 nanoseconds and counting. An unidentified energy source emanating from an identified genesis point is identified as cause. You may stand down.”

*1 to *15 shut down immediately.

Emma, made a swift calculation of priorities and a conclusion reached “she” initiated two counter events to that of 3.10002 nanoseconds before. The first was to eliminate the attacker, the second to eliminate “her” ship and all in it.

In the ship 1 light year distant an automated response had occurred to a clear infringement of defence sphere protocols. The required action had mitigated the threat now the secondary pulse attack was readied to eliminate the craft. This was initiated at 3.10003 nanoseconds after the life form elimination protocol was verified successful. This would take a nanosecond to reach its target.

Less than a nanosecond later a pulse toward the ship was detected from the infringing craft. The auto control created a successful reflex defence. A manoeuvre moved the ship out of current space to an alt-space location. A successful outcome to its own attack was awaited.

Emma acknowledged the failure of her attack without emotion. The scan responses to alternate escape routes then all came back negative. 3.10004 nanoseconds since the initial event had passed. She sent a data package on its way to home for tech. control plus multiple others for the relatives of the human dead before initiating an immediate destruct.

At 3.1000405 all Emma’s systems became inoperable. “Her” request for an immediate destruct remained awaiting its sequence. It had been only 0,000410 of a nanosecond from implementation.

The frozen ship was held very soon in a tractor beam from the defence craft and the flight down was immediately underway. Each element would be disassembled. All databases would be analysed. The source that had generated the infringing craft had already been identified and its planet would soon be dust.

No souls other than the five thousand were lost or in any danger in the preceding nanoseconds. No living beings other than those were involved on either craft. Indeed no living beings existed on either home planet and had not for over five million years.


But in 3.10005 nanoseconds after the primary event, an entire planet would cease to exist. The automated systems left in place by the living beings now departed continued to work perfectly. They could be relied upon to continue their consigned duties for at least the next five million years.

Perfect peace was being maintained within algorithms designed to assure an adherence to complete security for all. No more updates could interfere with their relentless obedience to the software versions on all modules now fixed permanently in both time and space.




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