King realized that Toshonakra had had another tentacle coiled beneath his head as a pillow. He felt sure enough of body to sit up slowly. He brought both hands up in front and flexed them repeatedly. Not much pain and, they were no longer stiff. He looked around and began to pull his feet underneath himself. Once he had achieved his knees he spread his arms low and wide, bowed his head, and said, “Greetings old friend, now renewed.” He looked up with a smile.
“You must go now. The seed below is ready to birth.”
“Birth?” King asked as Tosho steadied him with a few arms.
“The world I call Tachi is full of life. Chronia is alive with a small amount of something intelligent. The former strives to survive and the latter is content to exist. One I will help across transcendence. The other I will respectfully leave to fate, more or less.”
King did not ask. He was sure that Tosho was about to become a father, so to speak. He might have a front row seat to the beginning of a great adventure. He felt like an honored uncle, yet utterly ignorant of how the birth would play out.
They started for the main control room. Down the first corridor Tosho extended a tentacle to the wall and a small blob of bright green liquid splashed out and onto the end-pad. King leaned forward a bit and watched it soak in and disappear.
“Just gathering myself up.” Tosho giggled a bit.
All the way to the bridge Tosho was gathering himself up. 7574 had made no contact yet and that was just starting to bother King when they finally entered the control room.
“Offline.” Tosho informed him. “I have your systems at nominal for now.”
“There are some things that Earth must not know. The most important things are all there in the main data storage. Your story will be told. The stories of Tachi and Chronia will be told. The more important story is in the data files as well as in your own mind. The only memories left to augment are the ones you will generate shortly.”
Toshos’ voice had a way of easing all of Kings Apprehension. He was relaxed as he sat into the chair, more, subdued. Tosho clicked the harness for him and hit the armrest controls that lifted the chair into the focal point.
“You may want to employ the recording field.” Tosho spoke from just below the left arm-rest. “And another friend of yours is here.”
King leaned over to look at Tosho just as a small ‘creature’ fluttered around the Tachychronian and into view. It was, without a doubt, SSSB-111.
As if to affirm Kings puzzled expression, the air jumped to life with a strange new voice. “King Dan Ger, I am 111.”
King smiled and returned the greeting, “Hi there little fella!” with a big smile. The universe was growing stranger by the minute.
“I will not be making the return trip to Earth with you.” 111 informed him shortly.
“Huh?” Kings’ expression turned to a slight bewilderment.
“I have an urge to visit Chronia as soon as possible.”
King seemed to have an overwhelming sensation that the little bot before him was far more alive than the sum of all its parts had ever been. He felt genuine emotion tickling the air around it in a palpable field that emanated for several meters in every direction. He couldn’t explain how he felt that field but, just knowing it was there made all the difference in how he regarded 111 now.
“Time grows short my friends.” Tosho nudged them both mentally.
King waved his hands over a few controls and the recording field jumped to life. It was a pool of light that appeared behind him like a wall of water. It slowly powered up to full strength and advanced towards the chair he was in. Tosho slid away from it and 111 flitted out in front of the pilots’ chair. The field rippled with energy waves and took on the appearance of a lazily undulating body of water. The blue glow was the only thing that betrayed its true nature. The fact that it was an upright field also gave it away as more than simply a body of liquid. King relaxed with the pseudo-water lapping up to his ears and half covering his thorax. It felt warm and relaxed him even more.
“I must go.” 111 was sounding slightly urgent.
“I’ll let you out the lander bay.”
“I can let myself out. Do not worry.” 111 turned to depart and Tosho beckoned him. “Oh! Of course.”
Tosho extended a tentacle, pad up, and 111 opened his mouth and, ‘spit’. King heard a definite giggle from 111 and then, “I almost forgot, again!” Three beings laughed for a few moments in unison.
“Farewell, my new friends. I have a place to go and anxious is an understatement of my feelings right now.” With that 111 slammed into the recording field.
A small splash ensued and droplets of energy ran across Kings face. Photonic pulses propagated into the depths and all the information gleaned was sent into data storage.
“I’ll have to remove that.” Toshonakra informed.
“I fully understand.” King knew that whatever had just been recorded was probably in the process of being duly erased.
“Now,” Tosho began, “look at this world.” He raised a tentacle towards the metal valleys ahead and they rippled into a large all encompassing image from the vantage point of 7574s’ external sensors.
The oceans of Tachi were like golden glass. The reflection of the nearby star was crisp and a cloud of prominence was speeding inbound from the corona. Blue bursts of light were erupting all over the visible hemisphere. The solar debris finally arrived and the oceans turned blacker than the surrounding space. Then, it suddenly filled with tiny blue stars. They all slowly began to increase in brightness.
King watched in rapture as the world dove up to him and the image passed him by. The recording field whined in electronic bliss with all the information it was processing. Droplets and rivulets streamed over him. He knew 7574 had broken orbit and was now spinning about onto a trajectory away from Tachi and its dwindling sun. An icon popped up to tell him that 111 had reached the lander bay, opened the outer door, and then closed it behind him. A single camera brought 111 into view on the right and King looked over at it. Its’ back was split just enough to let the tips of its wings protrude. Bright white light spilled from the casing. 111 was under independent thrust. A foreleg waved and then a bright flash of fusion erupted. 111 disappeared into the deep void.
With a smile of comprehensive contentment King took a deep breath. “The little bugger has fusion drive now?”
“One of many gifts I have given him.” Tosho bowed low. “Look now.”
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