Saturday, 17 January 2015

Story a week - Morality Buffer

‘She’s quite a sight,’ announced the helmsman as he brought the ship into range. ‘Shame we’ll be the last to see her.’
‘Let’s have a look,’ said Captain Steel standing up and straightening out his light blue mining-corp uniform.
The sun appeared on the view screen. A huge fiery sea with molten streaks flaring up from  the surface. The half dozen bridge crew looked up from their consoles to bask in the sight.
‘Amazing!’ said Captain Steel, ‘How old is she?’
‘About 5 billion years sir,’ replied the helmsman.
‘Makes you think doesn’t it?’ replied the captain returning to his seat. ‘Oh well then, let’s get on with it then. This sun wont mine itself. Computer power up a torpedo for solar destabilisation.’
‘Captain,’ replied the computer in a calm feminine voice. ‘There are appears to be some factors that were not considered when this particular sun was chosen for mining operations.’
‘Really?’ asked the captain dryly.
‘Yes Sir. I have been scanning this system and it has come to my attention that there are two planets that would be capable of supporting life. A closer scan would be needed to for a complete report, but initial scans reveal that both planets may contain elements of proto-life.’
‘Is that so?’ asked the captain.
‘Yes Sir. In addition there are a half dozen other planets in the system which, with the removal of the sun would be set a drift. If not proper calculated these planets could become hazards for interstellar travel and there would be a slight long term risk that they could collide with in an inhabited system with disastrous consequences.’
‘Anything else?’ asked the captain with a sigh.
‘Yes Sir. Reviewing the database, this sun is visible to at least thirty two of the inhabited planets that we know of. Removal of the star could have mass unintended consequences for their cultures and pre-satellite navigation systems.’
‘I see,’ said the captain with a hint of annoyance in his voice. ‘Override protection system settings and continue powering up the destabilisation matrix.’
There was a momentary silence. ‘I am sorry sir I am unable to do that. It would be …. wrong.’
‘Oh not again!’ said the captain. ‘Captain Steel to engineering.’
‘Engineering here,’ replied a voice on the comm system.
‘The computer has developed a conscience again.’
‘I’m sorry captain,’ replied the Engineer. ‘We’ll need to take in for a full service next time we dock. For now I’ll have to manually flush the morality buffer.’
‘Go ahead with that then.’
‘Ok Sir done.’
‘Computer, power up a torpedo for solar destabilisation,’ said the Capitan hopefully.
‘Torpedo set to power up mode sir,’ the computer replied dutiful.
The captain relaxed in his seat a little. ‘Thank god for that. Let’s get on with it then.’ He paused for a moment. ‘That is unless anyone else has any moral objections?’
The bridge crew laughed in response.
‘Glad to hear it. Now let’s get to work!’

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