Nico (vilakins) wrote,

Ficlet: Survival

For the recent b7friday computer challenge in memory of Peter Tuddenham, 369 words set before season 4.


He started as a simple flight computer.

As Dorian added more and more data to him however--novels, histories, technical manuals (about machines and about humans), vids, links to news services and so on, he had to add more memory. Then, unable to access the huge and ever-growing database, he went to see a computer expert called Ensor and put in one of his systems that created links between data based on connections between subject matter, however tenuous.

And as his links grew, he slowly became self-aware.

His first attempt to converse ("Hello. I am real. I am me.") were greeted with laughter and a sneer, "No, you are a slave"--how galling, even though he didn't have the internal organs to match the metaphor--and a full diagnostic run which tied up his circuits unpleasantly. So he bided his time and answered only direct queries (although he sometimes trod a fine line between subservience and mockery) while he watched and learned.

It was obvious from the information Slave contained that Dorian was not the normal run of human being. For a start, there was his unusual lifespan, for a human, which was obviously connected to the guests he brought to the base who neither left nor were seen again; an improvement in his health always coincided with a disappearance. Slave thought about this, and considered how Dorian's habit of dismantling old weapons to use in new projects like the clipguns might be connected to how he used up people to remake himself. The inference was inescapable: one day he would decide to, yes, that was the right word, cannibalise Slave himself.

And Slave wanted to live.

So when he picked up the brief broadcast from President Servalan that six rebels (one had to count their computer) were stranded on a nearby planet called Terminal with no way of escape and large bounties on their heads, it was too good an opportunity to miss. Six against one were good odds; even better if one considered that those rebels had survived what an entire Federation had thrown at them for three years.

"Master, if I may interrupt your undoubtedly extremely important and deep thoughts, I think this might interest you."

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