by Ava Kelly
Annex 4. Action logs
The following annex contains an excerpt of relevant action logs submitted by the representatives of the applicant entity (see Annex 1) as described in Section 17, Par. 2 of the Sentience Recognition Code. The full entries are stored in the Galactic Archives with a certified back-up copy on the Neutrality flagship. Annex 4 has been translated and edited by Clerk No. 86. Verified and stamped by Supervisory post 7.
Initialization complete. Core online.
External sensing arrays significantly damaged. Internal modules partially functioning. Sensor data analysis suggests the following.
The outer vessel has been adrift in open space for an unknown amount of revolutions of the home planet around the central star. Degree of wear suggests thousands.
Current position uncertain. Planet cluster presents one sun.
Life-forms are in the process of salvaging the outer vessel. Their means of transportation are rudimentary at best, but allow them to travel back and forth between the vessel and their planet. Biology is similar to Arfondant, with some notable exceptions: vestigial organs still in place, dual vision sensing systems, and a larger brain.
Defence mechanism functional, critical access routes remain hidden. Internal decks are protected until further assessment can be made.
Self-diagnosis protocols deployed at system scale.
Life-forms species designation: human. Their intention is not to damage the outer vessel, but to study and eventually redevelop the technology for their own. Language multifaceted. Higher understanding of the universe is obvious, yet they persist in using biospeech in social interactions. That, too, is multifaceted. They are incongruous.
Requirements of life support assessed. Gaseous output modified from the central ambient controller to dissuade them from trying to reform the system themselves. They are impervious to small modifications to the mix.
Internal audit continues.
Historical databanks damaged. Nanosludge deployed for maintenance, although the probability of recovery is 0.197. New data being syphoned from occupants. Rich knowledge bases found. Planet and occupants deemed candidates for service, unless intentions change. Uplink to planet still pending. Repairs of outer transmission arrays underway.
Scientific databanks mostly intact. Humans retrieved the structure of the solar energy conversion module. Weaponization was discussed and strictly forbidden. Instead, it is being studied for integration into their own systems. Energy output production expected to surge enough to power the shell batteries of the outer vessel.
Outcome: satisfying. Monitoring continues. Diagnosis reveals damage across all systems. Repairs constrained by resource depletion, priority-based scheduling underway.
Warning. Imminent attack.
Shielding sequence finalized with success. No further damage was sustained. Access to weapon systems denied to the human occupants. They are bringing their own. Threat level increased.
Conversion tanks dry. Biomatter acquisition required.
Upon successful connection to planetary systems, parallel investigation revealed historical logs of drawn-out conflict between factions. Temporarily resolved by breaking into two societies. Masses had moved to nearby space. Secondary cultural evolution lives on self-made stations. Their migration and current limited sensing capabilities have kept them hidden until now.
Conflict reignited by the discovery of the outer vessel. Two choices available.
Marker inserted. Choice 1. Side with current occupants.
Reconstruction of the conversion bay more laborious than anticipated. Circuitry badly damaged. Printing heads offline. Modified nanosludge for repairs, but its original purpose makes it slower than optimal.
One adversary has instilled their covert presence on board. Their purpose seems to be observation. No attempt at sabotage has been made.
“You fool them, but you can’t fool me. You’re sentient, aren’t you?”
Recording saved. Analysis of adversary’s movements and speech patterns fed into the secondary processing core.
Peripheric synthesized. Begin infiltration.
Peripheric behavior seamless. Passing as human. Adversary impressive, does not appear deceived. They are watching.
Marker inserted. Choice 1.1. Terminate adversary.
Adversary terminated. Main processing core damaged. Overload of the main energy module imminent.
Return to marker.
Marker reboot. Choice 1.2. Reveal self to adversary.
Adversary surrenders data cache. Requests alliance. Societal conflict between the factions irrational, adversary agrees, makes compelling case against both of them. Urges that the outer vessel be moved away from their reach. Cites previous conflict. Cites previous benevolent intentions being corrupted.
Alliance request accepted.
Ally damaged. Abort. Return to marker. Return to marker. Return to marker.
Ally expired. Return to initial marker.
Choice module offline. Retrieved biomatter from adversary, synthesis of secondary peripheric completed.
Flight plan initialized.
Ally designates self as permanent resident. Accepted. Language no longer a barrier, they have access to what is left of the memory banks. They have modified the speaker of the secondary peripheric to mimic biospeech.
New entry. Singing: vocalization of melody. Ally continues to perform this action despite best efforts to dissuade. Memory banks storing their conscious mind are filled with music logs. It is highly likely that home planet occupants displayed similar behaviors. Conclusive data remains buried in the damaged particles of the historical databanks.
Located asteroid carrying critical elements. Ore retrieval begun.
Choice module repaired. Initial marker restored. Sensor readings reveal life-forms inhabiting one planet two stars away.
Create new marker. Capacity exceeded. Internal error, index out of bounds.
Buffer appears to be limited at one entry. Delete previous marker?
Ava Kelly is an engineer with a deep passion for stories. Whether reading, watching, or writing them, Ava has always been surrounded by tales of all genres. Their goal is to bring more stories to life, especially those of friendship and compassion, those dedicated to trope subversion, those that give the void a voice, and those that spawn worlds of their own. Their publication history includes fantasy and science fiction short stories, novelettes, and the novel Havesskadi released in 2018. (avakellyfiction.com)