Seven

There were twelve crew operating The juggernaut Another Destiny 7. Three data scientists, Three HER specialists, Three engineers, two first officers and a lead officer.

“Please find a seat.” Mika asked them in a authoritative but silky manner, perfected over many hundreds of cycles. A cycle was still 365 days, but with no signal solar or lunar patterns to control it and with other potential planets already seeded and many more to come, the NEST kept AD time as cycles. He suspected as new planets grew up, they would in turn refer to local time or AD time but as yet none of the three potential planets they had seeded were big enough warrant it.

“Are you going to tell us what’s going on?” The female first officer asked.

His clone brain displayed a bewildering amount of data about her in the limitless data window buried inside the GOO that made up its brain. He demanded that Sally make it something he could understand, reminding her he wasn’t an AI and still preferred his dick to serial processing power.

“Dee,Right?” He asked pulling her name at last from the data.

“Yes sir, First officer Dee Liam.” She looked down.

“Dee.” He said pulling her gaze back up. “In good time we will tell you why we’re here. But for now there are obvious reasons why we can’t.” He nodded for her to relax a little and he witnessed signs of her doing so. The clone was trying to pump thousands of data points into his mind about her response and associated potential criminal connections to those responses. He banished them preferring to use his eyes.

“We know it’s something to do with the data, we got locked out and can’t contact anyone apart from Xana. Are we under arrest?” Robert Gilmore one of the data scientists asked.

“No your not under arrest, but Another Destiny 7 is, considered a crime scene. Which is why Xana had to physically and logically restrict you at our request.” Mika disarmed Robert with a smoldering second look. Their joint crime scene cube showed his heart rate climbing and the AI suggested he might be hiding something.

“Stop flirting with him, poor guy!” He used their personal I-Link (PIL) to chastise her. They both new lust not guilt was raising his heart rate. She nodded a silent response.

“I have tried to reassure you all on several occasions I was just following protocols.” Xana the ships AI chimed in. He asked the ever snooping NEST if Xana was in on the genocide details and he was told no.

“Ok look here’s was going to happen. Mika here has an army of agents who are going to come and spend several days with you, if not weeks, humanely asking you a lot of questions. You will all be treated under the Proper Codes of Conduct laid down by Another Destiny.” He paused and looked around theatrically.

“The rest of our teams are going to arrive and comb over the ship physically as well as mine all the computer and AI logs. So I’d get comfortable and if anyone has anything they want to get of their chest now is probably a good time.” Digbee paused.

“It’s just for personal use.” One of the engineers sobbed. “I never tried to sell it, store it after a rotation or keep it, I just missed the real thing!” he put his head in his hand mumbling swear words. One of Mika’s clone army appeared from nowhere.

“Why don’t you go with agent Tun and tell her all about it.” Mika guided him to the agent and they both disappeared.

“Xana?” They queried.

“He grows a small amount of HTC grass in the Hydroponic Food Chamber. Smokes it in the recycle pod where the air filters suck the smoke away. I reported it a year ago but was told to leave it as a non issues.”

“Ok make a show of questioning him but get him back into the proper interrogation ASAP I don’t want this to be some bluff.” Digbee said.

Drugs weren’t banned in AD but most of them were manufactured and introduced into your avatar through the GOO or simulated. If you were in a carbon rebirth or clone you could gland recreational drugs. But old fashioned grass. That was new one on him. He smiled to himself.

“Ok if there’s no other questions, we will leave the team to it soon.” Digbee walked away from the group and around the command deck. It was the same as all the AS Juggernauts, very sparse. Actually it was more like an old red room, or at least the modern version of one. The was really no need for any physical monitoring equipment as everything was piped straight into people’s heads or shared in common virtual cubes replicated in people’s Brian’s not unlike the one he and Mika were sharing. There was an impressive holo projector in the center that could show pretty much anything you asked for at any place in the room. It was currently showing their relative position to earth, the three seeded planets behind them, and the position as best it could fit them in of the other 11 AD juggernauts or ADJ’s as people called them. Some of the ADJ’s were stopped around planets inspecting them while the rest were at FTL moving in their own expanding pattern of expansion and exploration. The rest of the center was just replicators for food and ship things that broke. There were the odd set of black tables and chairs sprouted out of the floor with items on. He wandered around looking at the tables. Mika joined him.

“Thoughts?” She IPL’d him.

“Way to early to say, I thought I’d give them a few minuets to stew.” He IPL’d back. Stopping to look at the food contents of the table he was at, he barely recognised the food or the game being played at the table.

”They do realise that, it’s a very crude tactic.” She chided him.

“I know, but sometimes blunt it good.” He retorted winking.

The camber was circular and he was nearly half way when he saw a table with game on it he recognised very well and headed for it immediately and surveyed the status. One of the intriguing things about being shown an alien chess game in play was you had know idea how long it had been going for if you didn’t know the skill level of the player. Also this table only had one chair.

“Who’s the chess player?” He called over his shoulder. Half the pieces were gone on both sides, and it looked like text book strategies had been used to get here if the formations we’re anything to go by. But the players were just starting to diverge into their own strategies and subtle shifts.

“That’s my game.” First officer Tanner said standing. But many of the crew play. That was all wrong, and ignoring the legacy shiver running through his fake body he beckoned Mr Tanner over.

“You seem like an accomplished player Officer Tanner?” Digbee said facing him, Tanner had walked over.

“I’m somewhat accomplished, but Xana is a formidable opponent. I’m trying to learn.” Digbee left a silence. “Do you play?” Tanner enquired a little uncomfortable now. He was showing signs of anxiety both on the optical and AI telemetry cube.

“When I have time yes. Any reason your plying alone and not the other crew members?”

“Erm, no I supposed not. I don’t erm recall why. Perhaps I started a shift alone when this game started.” He stopped and Digbee noticed him force himself not to lock his hands together. His anxiety levels were rising fast. Digbee tapped the table.

“I’d watch the attack here own the left. I think Xana is dummying you on the right but has moved that Bishop way ahead of schedule.” He smiled broadly at Tanner and walked briskly back to the the crew. Mika paused a moment frowning at the table.

“I want all transcripts of all the games his played, who with and at what times.” He dropped the command into to investigation channel.

“Of course.” Xana replied.

Benzo was awake and about to be rebirthed, he had approved the list of others. He wanted to be at the HER pods when he came in.

“Mika, get your best minds of the history of Drew Tanner. Filter out the usual shit I’m looking for any connections we may have missed to New Earth. I’m going to meet Benzo, coming?”

“No I’ll leave you to your male bonding for a while and get on with some real investigative work up here now your through with your judgemental hunch, legacy PI routine.” The irony of her words lost in the IPL stream.

Drew…. had to be a coincidence but he hated his hunches he had learned to trust them over the years. He sent out a mine bot to find his Drew and if he was not in deep sleep, ask if he wanted to have a chat. While there were many differences between AD & Dearth a lot of people still communicated. Even though every word and conversation was logged and analysed for sabotage of any kind. His Drew was one of the best chess players he ever met, Digbee had only ever beaten him one and he almost one beat Hector, who had on that particular night seemed overly social and insisted on playing Drew. Another fake shiver.

“Mika, translocate me to the POD rooms please.”

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