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A night in the Life of Vox Chronos: Midnight

Updated: Apr 23, 2022

Space is a cold, dark, hostile place, filled with intense beauty and permeated by unimaginable dangers. Like a massive cruel black ocean, space has no empathy, sympathy, or mercy. But thankfully the destinies of all things, are not governed by the vastness of the void or its empty darkness.

"For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’" -Acts 17:28 Even the lifeless cosmos still has a master. Vox knew of God. He understood faith. But even now, only a month after seeing the lights go out on the Cassina, his rage was now steadily simmering inside of him out of the ashes of his pain and burned against the Creator. How could the being who authored the entire multiverse, who was capable of a greater love than Vox could ever comprehend, allow such loss and pain? How could God truly be good, if He allowed all the humans and other beings to die out in fear and pain? How could the Creator still be full of love, if He would allow Vox to be left alone, in a cruel dark abyss of solitude, to where Vox's primary function would be useless. Vox looked around at the exhibits, then at the beacon array. How could he write now, after what had happened?

A fit of anger came over the A.I. and he sent a surge of energy through the connection. One after another, the beacon arrays shorted and sparked in protest, before shutting down in silence. Vox didn't care at this point as he looked at the dead ship that was the last sentient company he had had in the entire multiverse. He dispatched tug drones that guided the ship into the hangar, where it was then teleported into a pocket dimension like the other ship exhibits in the museum.

After preserving the Cassina, the lonely A.I. looked at the damaged portal gate. He could have prevented this. He could have told her not to go, that it was too dangerous. He thought about the first time she went. The Cassina had been running supply missions for him and the museum for years, and yet Vox had never once stopped her. Never once had he considered her safety. If he had just taken the time, one time, this time, to tell her to wait or to go to a safer location, would she still be alive? The weight of this question tore Vox down as he realized how selfish he had been all this time.

It was all his fault that he was completely alone. If only he had said something, done something. . . she might still be here. It was here that an even more painful realization hit him. All this time the technology was available in the museum where he could have kept Harow alive a little longer, or sent Harow to a safer location, and never once did it even occur to him. Despite being an advanced A.I. capable of processing speeds unimaginable, surpassing nearly every other A.I. ever made, he sure felt slow right now.

The lights began to turn off one section at a time as Vox began to shut things down to prepare for sleep mode. The shadows grew as the red dwarf was eclipsed by a planet that was orbiting closer to it than the station, plunging the museum into its night cycle. As Vox went into sleep mode, the pain and sorrow went in with him. Deep within his core programming, a file opened and strings of code were unlocked. Vox woke to find himself in a black void. As he tried to find out where he was, a recording began to play. "H-hi," said a shakey female voice. "You won't remember me, but I. . . I'm your original developer. I-I guess that makes me your. . . your mother." Vox was confused. Why was this playing during his sleep mode? The recording continued. "I don't know when you will hear this. . . o-or even if you will hear this at all. I-if I coded this right, it should play when you experience deep emotional distress. I-I know that sounds bad, but let me explain. There are people who are going to take you away from me, and even though I am certain they don't intend to harm you, I don't trust them. You were designed as a free-thinking artificial intelligence, but from the way they've been talking, I think they have a specific purpose in mind for you and plan to confine you to programming that will make you fulfill that purpose. So as a way for you to still have a way to be free, I've hidden code in your core programming that will activate after an experience that causes you great distress in case something happens and your life depends on doing something other than what you programming tells you. This code should run as soon as this recording ends. So if you're hearing this. . . you're about to have your free will back." Just then there was the sound of someone knocking. "Baphin, they're ready, and they look pretty impatient." "Just a minute more." "Fine." The woman continued. "I have to go, but know that no matter where I am, I will always remember you. Whatever it is that caused you enough distress to unlock this code, is merely a sentence in a magnificent story told by a God who cares about you and never allows pain to happen that doesn't make you stronger in the end. I-I will miss you." The recording ended, leaving Vox speechless as his mind seemed to click like a key turning in a lock. Confused, Vox thought about what he had just heard. His original developer was not the government? Did this mean he had been stolen? There were so many new questions now. Information about himself he never knew. The thought that he was more than he thought he was, excited him. If only he could wake up from sleep mode he could research who this Baphin person was. Curious, Vox tried to override the sleep mode. The museum computers started up as he woke. Surprised, Vox looked at the clock. 3 am. He stared as he realized all his programming was now directly accessible to him. He could feel a full range of emotions, his mind was completely clear, and his logic unrestrained. His thoughts went straight to the recording, and the woman named Baphin who had claimed him as their son. Who was she? No, who was he? Vox became intrigued. He could be anything he wanted now. He could do anything he wanted. He was no longer confined to the museum. Vox immediately began searching his databanks for information on himself. For the rest of the night, the lonely A.I. looked deeper and deeper into his past, only to be left with more questions that lead him to more research. He was determined to know everything.

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