Thursday, February 6, 2014

Reunions. In Space.

I really should have called ahead. I'm stranded in orbit outside a spaceship wearing nothing but a lab coat, and it is freezing. And there's no oxygen, and the full unfiltered power of the sun is bad for my complexion.
I broadcast my position using FM radio, across a variety of frequencies (I can only hope this constitutes the space-age equivalent of ringing a doorbell).
As I waited, I took a moment to admire the scenery. One nice thing about space is you can't beat the view. I looked down on the continent of Europe, and saw the sun rise across  he Mediterranean. I looked at the stars. For millennia, they had served as inspiration for humankind. "One day," I promised myself, "one day I will have the means to visit those stars, and to conquer and study all that I see."
Finally, I turned to the big giant spaceship that was right in front of my nose. The Archives. It is shaped like a space station in a good science fiction movie: a large disk spun for centrifugal gravity, ith a long antenna socking out the bottom. "One person build that," I thought to myself. "He created that and filled it with knowledge from across the universe, and I made the weapon that killed him." I feel a rush of pride and guilt at the same time.

After a couple of minutes (133.2 seconds. I have a digital clock in my head), I hear a reply (I also have a radio in my head. Science is cool). The signal moves to infrared, and I realize it's a crappy video (even godlike aliens from across the galaxy still have the same fundamental rules of bandwidth). I see Lucy's face. No, I see the New Archivist's face. No, I see Lucy's face. I decide to focus less on semantics and more on what she's actually saying.
"Phoenix! Great to see you. I would love to talk with you, but I have an urgent meeting on Earth, and I'm afraid I cannot reschedule. That being said, if you could come along, I would most appreciate it."
What? The was prioritizing her cosmic mandate to study the culture, history, and science of the planet Earth over me?
"Great! To what hotspot of human achievement are we going? The Louvre?"
The New Archivist walked out of an airlock and rocketed towards me. In contrast to my lab coat, she was wearing some sort of silky material. Clothing is important when your skin can withstand asteroid impacts and solar temperatures. Because even though I can withstand nuclear blasts, my lab coat can't. So if I were unfortunate enough to be the victim of a nuclear strike, I would find myself standing in the middle of a city-sized crater buck-ass nude. For the sake of my own modesty, I planned to ask The New Archivist to hook me up with some indestructible underwear before the next nuclear holocaust.
"Phoenix!" She gave me a hug. I've never been much of a hugger (few supervillains are), but I hugged back. She cleared her throat (hard to do in the soul-sucking vacuum) "No, not the Louvre. Guess again."
"Alright, I'm always up for a challenge." I communed with the supercomputer in my brain.

A word about that supercomputer. Years ago, I build myself a cybernetic assistant, named Noetron. More intelligent than the average human, but much less touchy about subjugating his every moment to the study of pure science. He ran my lab, my house, my robotic armor, and my armies of automaton minions. That being said, he wasn't the most secure artificial intelligence (any supergenius off the street could hack into him in just a few years), so I didn't exactly want him running my beating heart or interfacing in my brain. So I incorporated some new ideas and downloaded a simplified version of him onto the magnetic monopole superstructure permeating my body (my body computer was far more powerful than the one's Noetron runs on, but just downloading that much code would take weeks.)
Noetron had the personality of a butler. Neurotron, on the other hand, had the personality of an asshole. Who are you calling asshole?
You. Now, we're going to go through all the New Archivist's recent activities to try to figure out her next destination. There's no way I'm letting her stump me.
Okay, she seems to be on a weird places streak. I'd give her less than a ten percent chance of going to any sort of artistic or scientific center.
Alright, I think. Spatial reasoning time. Where is she headed?
Neurotron thinks for a fraction of a second, and her possible trajectories fan across my field of vision (have I mentioned that science is cool?). The most prominent line ends near New York. "Wall Street?" I call out.
"Is that your final answer?"
"To bad, it's wrong."
I can do this. Contact Noetron on the ground. Tell him to look into this 'appointment.'  And she's trying to get a good sample of human culture. Let's make a checklist. What do humans care about. Google phrases. Look into speculation online.
Two minutes and three guesses later, I guess Las Vegas, Nevada. And to think I left my wallet at home.

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