bck_merc_hq.jpg

Jedino Usarya

1by1.png

It was obvious that some of emperor Justod I’s activities were classified but Sentenence didn’t expect that even for her it would be impossible to obtain information about them. After all, she had access to the entire network as well as, thanks to her hybrids, to tasks and activities that were available only to beings of biological form. However, what she stumbled upon when she was traversing and systematically exploring the entire planetary system, was too big to be just one secret operation.
At first, she thought that it was just another cosmic junkyard. The reconnaissance drones she sent detected that the accumulated cosmic junk was a part of a gargantuan space station she didn’t know existed until that very moment. Fortunately, it was still possible to read some of the databases and station’s primitive computers and the encryption methods were not too advanced.
The station-city was called Jedino Usarya. Originally it was a fleet of ships escaping the Solar System. Some of those ships experienced serious breakdowns over the course of a long journey, which was mostly caused by imperfections of their equipment. Thanks to their immense inner strength, toughness and solidarity, the travelers, of whom nearly one third descended from one of the old nations, survived without having to sentence to death those who made less fortunate choices of escape ships. The entire fleet decided to fuse into one large ship-station and continue their journey at a lower speed. They weren’t the kind of people who’d leave their own in need.
While Sentenence was reading the station’s historical data, a new emotion surfaced within her. She tried to name it and match it with the terms she knew. Respect, pride, unity, solidarity, admiration. None of those terms accurately described this new feeling but each of them had something in common with it.
The refugees created a gigantic multigenerational ship and continued their journey to the destination, the system where Sentenence was residing at that moment. The station appeared in the system only several dozen years ago. In the beginning, it remained unnoticed while the residents were scouting all planets. Eventually, they drew the Empire’s attention.
Upon arrival to the system, Jedino Usarya station had a population of over two million. They were hardened people, who, through generations, had to get used to fighting for a daily dose of oxygen, water and nutrients. They knew thousands of ways to solve technical problems, using non-standard methods out of necessity. They were familiar with the cosmos and death. From the point of view of the emperor, a new military power appeared in the system and it either had to submit to the new empire or perish.
But Jedino Usarya wasn’t going to submit to anyone. They proved that during a few rencounters with the emperor’s reconnaissance powers. Despite their technology being evidently weaker, the residents of the station made up for their shortcomings with canniness, bravery and stubbornness in striving for freedom, which at times bordered on madness.
Unfortunately, the balance of military power was not in their favor. They made another desperate decision. They were going to restock as soon as it was possible, leave the system and head towards another promising one.

1by1.png

They were well aware that such a long journey was a matter of a lifetime of not one but of many generations. Most of them decided to risk hibernating for the duration of the flight. Unfortunately, the technology they had at their disposal was not perfect, it wasn’t even good. Hibernating a few million entire bodies significantly exceeded their capabilities. So they split into two separate crews.
The first crew constituted the majority of the station’s population and was supposed to be hibernated in the form of brains and spinal cords. Each of the hibernated individuals was equipped with an independent escape pod and trained to operate primitive AlterBots. There were several hundred of them on the station. They were supposed to be brought out of the hibernation in sequences in order to operate the machines to the needs of the station itself as well as its new journey.
The second crew included the backbone of their ideological power. These people were supposed to stay awake all the time to continue the journey as amgenerational crew, training their children to become their successors.
When the preparations of Jedino Usarya for the travel were almost finished, an explosion took place. The records from the station’s computers were incomplete, some were even conflicting. Sentenence didn’t find out what was the exact cause of what happened to the station. It was either a blast that was a result of sabotage of Justod I’s spy who managed to infiltrate the station or an explosion of several hundred rockets with fusion charges near a reactor. It could have as well been a self-existent malfunction and explosion of the station’s main reactor. In her conclusions, Sentenece was leaning towards the version that the emperor had a hand in the entire incident. Regardless of what was the direct cause of the explosion she could see the outcome in front of her.
From the data preserved as well as from observations of the station’s damages, it was obvious that no one from the second crew survived the explosion. The case was different with the independent hibernation pods. After a couple of weeks of search, with the use of most of her reconnaissance and technical drones, Sentenence discovered almost three thousand capsules with still functioning hibernating systems. She also found one practically untouched shuttle programmed to automatically return to the station. Unfortunately, by that time, the station had already been damaged. In the shuttle’s cargo hold, she retrieved several dozen heavily damaged fighting AlterBots as well as two hundred and thirty-three capsules with human brains that could be brought to life.

1by1.png

Right then, when she was reading the data from the shuttle’s computer, she discovered the most important thing that is the location of all hibernation capsules on the station as well as the information that most of them were equipped with an independent life support system and some of them even with a simple motor.
And then another emotion emerged in Sentenence, an emotion whose equivalent she couldn’t find in her memory banks. Love, hatred, anger, hope, maternal instinct, overwhelming urge to laugh and cry at the same time. That feeling was somewhere there but it constituted something new, something that triggered new reserves of will to act. The majority of Sentenence’s brain suddenly became a one big "I WANT TO!”.

The location of the station itself.

The records of the explosion and a few records from right after the blow collected by the sensors that survived it.

A series of explosions she originally thought were secondary explosions, but now she was able to distinguish them as explosions of the capsules’ launch systems.

Analysis of possible trajectories of particular groups of capsules.

Probability distribution covering a map of the known universe with a multidimensional colorful grid.

Summary.

They’re worth a miracle.

I’ll give them their hope back.

I’ll save millions of people - Sentenence decided.

At that particular moment, her body, which consisted of exactly 81,212 drones, 3,109 independent data banks equipped with sensors constantly exploring the universe, 875 bodies of human clones coupled with her, 49 reconnaissance and support ships, 6 full-sized destroyers and 1 shared mind, stretched out its hand and started carefully and fondly picking up capsules with hibernated humans from the infinite space of cosmos.

Just like a good grower picks ripe apples from an apple tree.