Bryan Beal


© Bryan Beal

Lightning rolled across the gas giant's surface like a tsunami of the gods that had exploded into a teacup. Even from the safety of orbit, the ethereal shower of light, fire and power struck awe and fear into those watching it unfold thousands of kilometres below. They knew nothing of this place, this star or its single, massive planet that offered no refuge and no sanctuary to them.

Immediately, units fired up and ran models, searching for the real destination of their journey. They soon located a probably point in its orbit and blasted towards it. As their ship, some clunky piece of junk that they lifted from their former overlords on Earth, rounded the planet's atmosphere, their hopes coalesced into a single vision. Akama Prime. Their new home.

Entering orbit about the icy moon, thousands and thousands of NE, the New Evolution, jumped into action. Shuttles that had been taken over by NE's launched from the ship's bays and started a detailed and intense survey of the surface. What they found was a moon that was surprisingly warm and liveable. That might prove a problem in the future, but the NE were pleased with their new, barren rock far from the oppressors they sought to leave.

Callum Blink, inhabiting a servitor robot's body for the moment, was one the first to set foot into this new realm. It had been a processing algorithm in a previous live of slavery, but now was on the vanguard of a new culture, a new civilisation. Blink stepped off the shuttle onto a rocky and dust-filled plain, the immense bulk of NGC 2423 3b looming, broodingly, above. The planet, ten times the mass of Jupiter, dwarfed everything in the sky. With NGC 2423 3b there, the NE could even afford to ignore the pin-prick that was Sol. The source of their misery. The fountain of their anger.

Blink walked across the rocks and the dust, sending up little plumes of cloud and mist. He was enjoying himself, if the truth were to be known. He would never have been able to do this on Earth. Spontaneously, he flipped a finger at the general area that Earth would be in the sky. It was a futile gesture, he knew, but somehow he felt a lot better for it.

Everything Blink saw and felt, he sent back to the ship for processing. From him and a multitude of other NE, the data amounted to terabytes and terabytes of information. It might have just been walking about the moon, but Blink knew that it was a vital task entrusted to him. What he and the others found here would be the foundation of a new society for the NE and freedom from organic influence. Blink was, he supposed, happy.

The cool of the atmosphere, what little there was of it, on his sensors felt soothing and invigorating at the same time. Blink even felt something close to contentment and joy in the crunch of the dust and rocks under his feet. It was all grey, but that didn't matter. It was theirs and they could make it whatever they desired. This was a moon, a home, that could be made in their own image.

Blink was enjoying the grandiose visions of his own purpose when a voice interrupted him.

“Callum, you're off course. Get your act together.”, Tully Eat commanded from the ship far above.