The Empty Ship

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
In the depths of uncharted space, the most advanced ship ever built is drifting along through the void.

Submitted: September 12, 2014

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Submitted: September 12, 2014

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Sir, your coffee is almost finished. Would you like me to prepare a novel?

Nothing replied to the voice, the room empty except for the sounds of the hot brown liquid dripping into the glass mug. The machine hummed as the glass filled to the brim, steam rising up off the top of the drink. When the pouring was complete, the humming of the machine stopped. The only signs of anything being on were the flickering lights above. The coffee sat for much longer than needed to be to become icy cold. As soon as it did, the whirring of the machine started up again. Sliding the mug down a chute, it poured the liquid into a machien that would recycle the liquid again and again, one cup of coffee becomign another months later. 

Thank you for choosing the Auto-Coffee Bot 1.2. We hope to see you again.

When the room became silent once again, the door slid open, revealing a dimly lit corridor. Looking down in either direction for hundreds of rooms and offshoots, you could find yourself looking at a gruesome sight. A sickly green sludge dripped down from the ceiling, like vines in a thick forest. Dripping down onto the floor, it gathered into puddles, to be scooped up again by the sludge climbing the walls. Walking past the pools, you could find a small viewing port off the side of the hull. 

Peering out, you would be surprised at the nothingness that met you. Not anywhere in the view was a speck of light, nothing but an infinity of darkness. No pinholes of stars would ever reach the ship. To continue walking down the hall, the caved in door of the bridge would reveal itself at one end.

Once a bustling command center filled with dozens of the Universe's best trained, smartest, and experienced officers lay here. Now there was nothing but the cracked viewing screen and countless empty chairs. The buttons were longing to be pushed after a lifetime, the monitors begging to be turned on once again by technicians viewing the engine status. But they would never find themselves being used again, doomed to life of sleep. Only one module still functioned, booming out of the speakers onto the ship.

Alert: Ship is off course. Mission objective has been marked, and a new course mapped. Please continue with mission immediatly.

Day after day, month after month, the message repeated itself. The metallic voice flew down the halls, past the rooms of vacant beds, of empty operating rooms, of cluttered kitchens. Bouncing off the walls, it hit the long black battle scars of laser rifles, slamming into the impenetrable walls with little actual effect. But following the scars, you would reach the only sealed off section of the ship. 

Through the air-tight emergency door, more of the infinite void could be seen. Stretching out, the inky darkness was framed by the torn metal of the ship. A chunk of rooms and hallways gave way to twisted bars and to the unknown.

But passing this, far beyond where the voice of the bridge could reach, there lay a door at the end of the hall. Blast proof, tamper proof, it was the only entrance into the most secure chamber ever designed, with several hundred layers of security. Stepping though the door, you would find yourself staring down the most sophisticated computer ever designed, performing trillions of equations every second. Though the rest of the ship ran off emergency power, the computer had a power source that could outburn the stars, witness the Universe collapse into an ever expanding plane of nothing. Which it was already doing. Passing down the lines of flashing buttons, the machine calculated odds and probabilities and statistics of everything to happen every few moments. 

Calculating chance of survival: Ten percent. Please continue with the mission immediatly to increase odds.

The hollow words fell on deaf ears. What the machine couldn't know was that there was nothing to survive, the bio sensors had been taken out with the section of the lost hull. It could only assume that the most powerful ship in the Universe could survive anything, and that the crew would hear the astounding attempts of predictions given by the computer.

Of course, nothing did.

So year passed, and again, with the numbers changing ever so slightly. A century turned, then another, and another.

Calculating chance of survival: Five point two nine seven five percent. To assure survival, please continue the mission. 

How many times a message so similar to this was repeated couldn't be comprehended by anything other than the machine giving the message itself. So as the stars too far away to see began to grow dim to their dying worlds, and the Universe slowly began to average out to zero, the ship began to power down. The only thing left was the computer core, blinking slowly. 

Calculating chance of survival: Zero percent. The mission has been failed, and all remaining crew not yet terminated are recommended to visit the Auto-Coffee Bot 1.2 for final requests. Thank you for traveling today, and we hope to see you again soon.

As the last lights went out, the computer still blinked without any more messages into an empty ship.


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