Its some day. Some time. Some year. Who knows.
When you traverse space so much that time gets lost on you, you get lost in time. For years out in the regions in between, where only the navigators of old once burned their fuel looking for the next discovery.
We are not on such a mission, not so noble a cause. We’re hiding.
But from what I do not know. I am but a pilot. I was actually held hostage for a time by the other passenger of this vessel. She was a criminal, with numerous bounties placed on her from several planets and governments. I say was, because to everyone’s knowledge, she no longer exists. Only to me is she real, alive…and dying.
As a pilot, I am used to deep space. The cold, the radiation, the subatomic particles that pass through my being for femtoseconds, only to disappear and disturb me no more…they don’t bother me. But to her, a mixed breed alien and human, she was not meant to exist outside her home planet. She tells me of it often, a warm place, with cool breezes and a blue-green sky, 2 moons and a cold, close sun. She misses it, but we both know she cannot return.
She knows the laws, and she knows the timing. Every day she checks the computers, the transmissions, the networks. She monitors every detail of the workings of 12 systems. She has long paid her sentence, a prisoner to a small cell in space. She knows who will honor that, and who will honor me. But the time is not yet come…yet she is running out of time.
My ship is quite nice. It is a light cruiser, designed for 3 passengers, and luxurious accommodations for the lucky travelers. At least, so the ancient advertisement for the ship said when I bought it, second hand, for just a few thousand credits. Sadly, the previous owner was a man of science, and discovery. He replaced most of the nice rooms and detailed cabin spaces with computers, equipment, and speed modifications. But thankfully, one good cabin remained, and after a time, I let her have it. I could sleep in my chair, in the lounge, or almost anywhere. I was a messenger, or a freighter. I could be anything. But for now, I was a prison master.
I didn’t talk to her for months. Of course, who would? You’ve just been forced away from family, friends, familiarity…all at gun point, all against your will. And by having this done, you’ve unwittingly signed up for 2 years of drifting. I never asked for this…but I suddenly realized neither did she.
About 3 months in, my food synthesizer quit working, and had I not broken the silence and freed her from the rusty cage she cornered herself into, I may have well died. Instead, we formed a friendship, an understanding. I could pilot and fix the hardware. She could navigate, and fix the software. I was under no obligation to help her, yet in exchange, we would mutually exist in this loneliness. That’s when I finally learned her story.
In her system, there was an outbreak. An engineered software virus was infecting the computers, eventually leading up to the crash of a passenger vessel, killing nearly 200 tourists from all over the galaxy. It was finally back traced, and the initial infection was, as it goes, my friend’s computer. An already skilled programmer and hacker, she denied such a crass thing, and offered her computer for free search. It was there, in the hands of the government, they discovered the development tools and files for the virus, and to the galaxy, she would forever be pinned with the deaths of 200 innocent people, sentenced to death, with no trial to speak of. That’s when she fled. She needed time, patience, and resources to figure it out, and figure it out she did.
She’s vastly smart. Infinitely deep. She has the speed and power of any super computer, but stored within her very head. She was able to prove her innocence in her sabbatical of solitude, but only with the unique setup I possessed. A floating, flying research lab in the middle of space, undetectable by most radar, yet powerful enough to sustain. To survive.
The government planted the files. They were trying to remove her father, a king, from his throne, and wanted to use a large controversy to gain their wishes. Despite this, he still reigns to this day. Yet he alone is why she can’t go back. The plotters saw their plan backfire, that the king was strong for his people, even throughout the investigation, and he, under the pressure from these evil men, put out the death warrant for his own daughter. If she can survive, she will inherit the title of Queen, soon, and her father will step down. She hopes that she can make it back in time to escape her father’s order, yet regain the control, and reveal the truth.
But its some day.
I find it more and more strange, being with her. I hear tales of these situations turning into relationships, the two individuals becoming star crossed lovers. But we’ve both kept our heads, and our hearts. We care, almost as if we were sister and brother, but as we care, we cannot.
She is fascinating. I studied alien anatomy at the academy. Most of the other guys took it for kicks, but I found it genuinely interesting. Had I actually had the heart to take the tests, I may have passed, and become a physician, but instead my backup plan became my primary. But that study was invaluable, as I do believe my minimal knowledge has let her survive this long. I owe her noting, but I have put myself at personal discomfort for her. She desires warm atmosphere, with cool breezes, while I prefer the cold, damp feel of my own homeworld, a rather rainy planet. I owe her nothing, and she cannot promise me repayment…yet I still perform.
But I woke up this morning, and something was wrong. She was not at her place at the table. I found her still in her bed, whispering for home.
It was then I decided to take action. To get the truth out, to clear her name, to restore her authority and rights.
To let her know…It was me.
It was I who had created the most devastating virus in the world.
It was I who dumped it to the nearest planet I could find.
It was I who was also affected by it so badly that I had to make a quick and dangerous stop on the very planet I had dumped it to.
She was right, though. The government, who had the entire development sector of my hard drives, dumped it on the princess, who I now carried to her salvation and my grave. The reason I couldn’t fix my own food synthesizer was that I had vowed not to program ever again. I wielded the power to take lives, yet I couldn’t bear to take my own.
I quickly arrived, landed, and made my confession with the one caveat: that my care would be extended towards the soon-to-be queen.
Then as I lay there, immobilized in the electric chair, I heard a voice. Stronger and more powerful than I ever knew, yet familiar as I knew it for so many years. I nearly passed out. I was pardoned.
Pardoned. My sentence was similarly served, so to speak. She saw that, and freed me from my bounds.
But its some day.
Someone knows…but I don’t. Nor will I ever know again. As pleased as I was to see her safely home, I could not face my own self. My reflection disgusted me, and I wished not to exist. But I thought it was nice, the darkness of space. I cast myself amongst the stars, vowing never to return. I’ve sealed my own fate, but its one I’m willing to accept.
So here is my final message to the world: pass the gun with care, but have the strength to pull your own trigger. Even a fool gets lucky in his days, and even a wise man can stumble and fall.
I fear I am contradictory, but read my message, you may soon understand. I hope I can impress this upon another, as I commit my existence to nothing.
Its Tuesday, 1132, 2701.