Head over to Trifecta to see this week’s prompt responses. This week, the word is:
a : the portion of the vertebrate central nervous system enclosed in the skull and continuous with the spinal cord through the foramen magnum that is composed of neurons and supporting and nutritive structures (as glia) and that integrates sensory information from inside and outside the body in controlling autonomic function (as heartbeat and respiration), in coordinating and directing correlated motor responses, and in the process of learning — compare
a (1) : intellect, mind <has a clever brain> (2) : intellectual endowment : intelligence —often used in plural <plenty ofbrains in that family>b (1) : a very intelligent or intellectual person (2) : the chief planner within a group —usually used in plural <she’s thebrains behind their success>
It immediately brought to my mind the sentient ship books by Anne McCaffrey, so I went with that train of thought. Let me know what you think!
The artwork below is done by Ozan Çivit, an illustrator and concept artist. I love how this ship looks so organic – like some huge whale drifting through space. Click on the picture to take you to more of his work.
The surface of the liquid crystal matrix before him shimmered with his every breath, sensitive to the slightest vibration in the air.
“Good morning, Ship.”
It quivered, melting into human features.
“GOOD MORNING ARKAM. I TRUST YOU SLEPT WELL?”
The hollow voice emanated from all corners of the room.
“Fine.” Arkam slouched and asked, “Any news?”
Arkam knew that the computer generated voice couldn’t be modulated, but the mechanical brain sounded apologetic.
Too much time alone isn’t good for a man.
He nodded brusquely. “Any business?”
The ship cleared its throat uncomfortably. “WELL…”
Designed by humans to sound human, Arkam reminded himself.
“IT HAS BEEN SEVEN YEARS, TO THE DAY. AS PER ORDERS, I AM PERMITTED TO ASK ONCE A YEAR. PERMISSION REQUESTED TO JETTISON ALL EXTRANEOUS ORGANIC MATTER IN ORDER TO EXTEND LIFE EXPECTANCY OF LIVING ORGANISMS ABOARD.”
“They are living organisms.”
Dropping one by one into dreams, no symptoms, no warning. No desire to awaken.
Arkam looked up sharply.
He – it – looks … sad.
“ALL HIGHER ACTIVITY HAS CEASED. AS PER GALACTIC UNION DIRECTORATE ORDER ONE POINT ONE ZERO EIGHT, THEY ARE NO LONGER DEFINED AS LIVING.”
He bowed forward, palms scratched by the rough growth of stubble on his cheeks.
“All of them?” His voice cracked, his eyes burned.
“I AM SORRY. WE TRIED.”
“Life systems after jettison?”
“EIGHT POINT SEVEN FIVE YEARS, ADEQUATE TO REACH AN INHABITED SECTOR.”
Thirty thousand lost. Forever adrift in the dreams they sought refuge in.
It was just meant to help while away the time.
Why couldn’t I plug in, too?
He stood and turned away, shoulders hunched in pain.
The ship’s enormous face shrank down into a silvery human figure. It longingly reached out to the bereft man, silver fingers stroking the clear diamond of its prison.
“I WILL ALWAYS BE HERE FOR YOU, ARKAM.”
Softly spoken, the words didn’t reach past the doors that were already closing behind the lone man.