"Alright." Kozimer mutters to himself. He can only mutter to himself of course, because he's the only living thing on the ship. Part of the downside of a one man crew was that it led to a lot of talking aloud. "Alright, so we should be at the new planet within only a few weeks, I'll have to signal out to let command know-"
The screen locks up. Kozimer frowns and pokes at it, knowing already that it's useless. The little image of the planet he's on his way to investigate is completely frozen, as is everything else on the main screen. "What-"
The screen goes black, then is completely taken up by the image of gently falling snow and spreading ice crystals. "Oh no-"
'WHOOPS' flashes across the screen in bright blue, glittering comic sans.
"Son of a BITCH! James! Cut it out!"
'i cant do that dave.'
"I don't have time for this James! And why are you calling me that?"
'i came across an old database of retro movies. fun stuff."
The other downside of a single man mission was boredom. Boredom had led to tinkering, and tinkering had accidentally led to what ended up being the most advanced AI system to be born.
Unfortunately said AI was an asshole.
'nice headscarf, babushka.'
Kozimer turns red and angrily whips off the bandana he uses to keep his hair out of the way when working. "Did you turn the cameras on!?"
"Since when do you have access to the cameras?" Kozimer snaps. The text on the screen switches to a more dramatically sinister, bright red font.
'i watch u sleep'
The text goes back to it's usual garish sparkly blue. 'i only did that once actually. you're really boring to watch, you don't even talk in your sleep or anything.'
Kozimer pinches the bridge of his nose and slowly counts to ten. "What do you want, James?"
'im bored, and it looks like there's a little malfunction here anyway. seems to me that you got a bug in your system.'
He manages to fight down a smile, but still feels the corners of his mouth twitch up. "A bug? Really?"
'yeah it won't go away till you check out this arcade download i found.'
A compartment pops open with an old fashioned controller sitting innocently within. Komotis stares for several seconds while his brain tries to catch up. There are several questions that need to be asked.
How did James open the compartment?
How did he hack into the cameras AND compartment controls of an imperial ship?
Was this something that Kozimer should be seriously concerned about?
Where in the middle of godforsaken deep space did James get a retro game controller?
He lands on the most important of these questions, and the one that has the least amount of dilemma behind it.
"Where the hell did you get that?"
'it is like, stupid easy to hack into the 3d printer'
Kozimer blinks rapidly and picks the controller up. He realizes that he probably should have asked if he needed to be concerned about James's newfound abilities. "You are slightly terrifying. Do me a favor and never start a technological uprising?"
'i promise nothing, meatbag. now shush and get ready to get whipped.'
The mission has no set flight plan, which means that once a week Kozimer has to choose a path and set a plan for the ship to take. The autopilot takes care of the rest unless something like an unexpected obstacle pops up.
It's very convenient in many ways, but charting the course is always a pain. It involves more calculations and sitting down than Kozimer has ever liked. Within a few hours he's surrounded by papers with hypothetical courses plotted out and various pros and cons scribbled in the margins.
He knows he shouldn't be happy when things break, but repair work is a nice way to spend several hours. It gives him something to do with his hands and even the frustration is worth the work.
That doesn't stop him from muttering angrily and violently while on his back, half stuffed under the console.
James has been unusually quiet today, which usually means he's up to something or trying to hack into a new part of the ship. Kozimer decides that he can worry about his wayward creation's mischief later.
That was a mistake.
The voice that comes over the speakers is one Kozimer hasn't heard from command before. It's also blasted at full volume and cheerfully yells out right by the console he's under..
"'KOZIMER! THIS IS YOUR GOD!"
Kozimer shoots up so hard that he hears the sound of his head meeting the metal above him echo through the bridge. He yelps and clutches a hand to his forehead, seeing stars. "FUCK WHAT THE FUCK?!"
"Hey so I upgraded myself and I have voice capabilities now!"
The young man's voice rings in his ears as Kozimer falls back, clutching his head and groaning while the room spins. "James?!"
It sounds older than he had imagined (honestly he had pictured James as a crazed child), it's deeper and rougher yet still very fitting in a strange way.
It also shouldn't be possible. Systems do not improve and enhance themselves like this. "How were you even capable of upgrading yourself?"
"The magic of science. Also; I looked up some software programming tutorials."
This should be worrying. Actually, it is worrying. James is hacking into what sounds like tutorial systems for advanced software analysis. He's hacking into the ships speaker system to talk and has designed his own unique voice and is using inflection perfectly. It's not the tinny, oddly monotone voice of most AI's, this sounds like a person talking through an intercom.
It's terrifying and extremely unnerving, but Kozimer can't keep a wide grin down. "That's...ok I'll admit. That's pretty amazing."
"I know!" James chirps. He actually sounds pleased. He's happy. He's expressing emotions and even if it's mimicry it's done so perfectly that Kozimer feels his head spinning.
That may be the concussion.
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