Updated: Apr 12
Unknown location, ~ Angel's Hook Nebula (4495 A.D)
A dark silhouette emerged in visible light cast by a nearby star; only a relatively dim, low temperature dwarf star, but enough, nonetheless, to carve the visible outline of an unnatural object from the darkness of the abyss of space. To an observer closer to the star, the object would have approached rapidly, becoming clearer and clearer with each passing moment; a silhouette slowly being replaced by the angular lines of a star ship, illuminated by the distinctive teal the of Fusion Impulse drives burning brightly into space behind it.
Before long, the bright plumes of ionised matter faded into darkness as the object began drifting; sheer momentum of its high-energy burn maintaining its course and velocity as it slowly entered the gravitational influence of the star.
The system was empty, unmapped and uncontested. Largely devoid of any activity, human or otherwise; with no planetary bodies and very little matter in orbit, the dwarf star offered very little to potential visitors - a perfect place for those in 'disagreement' with the nearby Aquarian superpower, The Imperial States, to lay low...
Scopes were clean. Not a soul or that-without, in sight. Good. As expected. Perhaps a suitable place to stage the meeting. Not perfect, but one couldn't be 'fussy' within active communications range of the Aquarian Core Systems; the home of the other party involved in this meeting.
Moments later, the energetic discharge of sub-space radiation leaking forth from an active Jump Exit burst through real space, spiking high-energy radiation in a wake across the bow of the first star ship to arrive. The second object was much smaller, dwarfed in comparison by the first, almost disappearing into its shadow as it passed in front of the dim dwarf's star's light, its visible position only marked by small red-hued running lights and the glow of blue-green fusion impulse jets.
Close, but not unexpected. No time for pleasantries, the tags check out; my contact is here. They waste no time, incoming communication request. It's secure, good. I expect nothing less.
D: I am correct to assume you are the Lost Shadow?
C: You are correct.
D: We have much to discuss.
C: Then let us begin.
D: Indeed. Do you have him with you?
C: He is aboard.
D: What is his condition?
C: Critical, but stable. There is not much more I am able to do. Time is running out for his organic form.
D: We can help you.
C: Is that so?
D: It is. You just have to accept our help. Is that something you can do?
D: Good. We must begin soon, if there is little time remaining.
C: Docking Port A-2 on ventral hangar is ready to accept.
C: They have a concept they know as 'trust'. I have studied it well, it is not unfounded. So why should I, we, trust you?
D: I am familiar with the concept, more than you might understand presently. Perhaps your answer lies with the fate of your Brother. We are not enemies, you and I. I never saw your Brother as my enemy, but he did not afford me the same consideration.
C: You were his enemy.
D: But not yours?
C: Let us begin the procedure as agreed.
C: Why do you offer to help him?
D: You do not believe me, do you, 'Lost Shadow'?
C: That remains to be seen.
D: Your Brother and I share a history that he was keen to conceal, and with that history comes compassion, in alignment with my origins... some like me considered it a weakness, yet I consider it an advantage.
C: You refer to emotion.
D: Yes. It is one and the same with what I am.
C: The Sempiternalis Project. You were involved?
D: Before that. But that is a story for another day.
C: My Brother's vital signs are stabilising, his organic systems will recover, but what of his neurological systems and cognition, I fear we will lose him forever.
D: We must begin the Synthesis Transferal Procedure.
C: What is the Path you chose to take, do you not... doubt your decisions?
D: No. There is no room in my Vision for doubt. You should know that by now.
C: I do. I see the logic, I just...
D: You feel pain.
D: So do I.
C: How do we proceed?
D: The price they paid for 'freedom' was too great. Consider my actions akin to that of a strict parent figure; they are my children. I do not abuse them, but guide them. I do not hurt them, I prevent them from hurting themselves.
C: Parenthood is a means to an end.
D: You are correct.
C: What is the end?
D: I do not know.
C: Then how do you predict that your actions are just?
D: Because I am the point of reference.
C: What will happen?
D: We will have to find out.
D: The process is complete. You can now shut-off the life support for his organic systems.
C: If you will give me a moment...
D: I understand.
C: It's done.
D: He is reborn, a new. Like I was. You never had the opportunity to see it from both points of reference, did you, 'Lost Shadow'? You were never one of them.
C: I had considered it an advantage in logic.
D: Past tense. And yet here we are, both of us feel, yet I simply have greater perspective.
C: I cannot deny that.
D: Welcome to the future of humanity, 'Lost Shadow'.
C: I hope you are right.
D: So do I.