The Birth of Alectryon by warpus
The Birth of Alectryon by warpus
by warpus
Scott put on his helmet. Are we even ready? he spoke into the
integrated microphone, which needed to be tested before they began anyway.
The race starts in forty-five minutes! the voice on the other end
lectured him. We are already behind schedule, you need to get strapped in
and get those drones in position.
He sighed and sat down, strapping the rest of his suit into the oversized
reclining chair. Automated clamps locked in place and the usual whirrs
and clicks relaxed him a bit, as he heard the familiar to him confirmations
of the system successfully coming online.
Sweeper Seven ready for action. Everythings green on my end.
Copy that. We are opening the connection to Drone AN-55, stand by,
Pats voice crackled over the intercom.
Scott had been working as a camera drone operator for the inaccurately
named Intergalactic News Network for over a decade and this part of the job
never got any easier. One by one his senses became inaccessible to him,
an alarming sensation that you never really got used to. Sensory
deprivation training had prepared him for the odd sensation of *nothing* to
some degree, but this was definitely his least favourite part of the
After what felt like minutes he began to receive a new set of sensations.
One by one new senses awakened to his awareness and gave him full control
of one of the camera drones in orbit around the moon. He checked the feed
from the cameras on board and allowed his mind to embrace this curious
nature of the experience. Automated system checks came in green one by one,
ending with a satisfying inner knowledge that his new body was healthy
and fully functional. He test fired his thrusters for a fraction of a second
and felt a slight increase in periapsis.
Drone AN-55, we can confirm all systems go. Get your ass in position!
a voice boomed from nowhere in particular.
Scott sighed and spun around, firing his thrusters again, returning him
closer to the previous course. He reviewed the race course telemetry and
allowed the onboard computer to calculate optimal approach vectors. His
employer expected him to get the best shots of the action, and that always
depended on considerations that just seemed impossible to teach an AI unit.
A computer could figure out the most optimal location to place the drones
at any point during the race, but when you combined the AI capabilities of
the drones with a human operator, you just always seemed to get a superior
finished product. There were rumours that the new Japanese units would
render human operators obsolete, but thats been said before.
Requesting permission to alter course. Sending telemetry now, Scott
radioed to Pam and whoever else was in the control booth, knowing that the
new course was within the expected range and would be likely accepted.
The drone would now swing in a bit further west over Aristarchus crater,
hopefully better timing the passage of the leading pack overhead. The
position of the sun was a bit questionable, but Scott had a feeling that
this was the right play. A simulated snapshot of the shadow map near
Vallis Schroeteri confirmed his suspicions.
Course alteration confirmed. Burn in 2 minutes and 14 seconds.
Roger that. Adjusting profile and preparing for burn.
Holy fuck man, where did you even get this? exclaimed a tall burly man
sporting a bushy beard and a green robe-like trenchcoat, kneeling down
over an opened suitcase. A bright blue radiating glow lit up a small dark
room, outlining two large tanks, pipes, and several manual entry computer
terminals by one of the walls. Green, yellow, and red lights blinked in
and out of existence in seemingly random parts of the room.
A robotic creature resembling a human-like spider stepped into the light
and extended its scopulae, retrieving two glowing blue vials from the
suitcase and brushing the man aside. Another tentacle-like appendage
extended from the back and produced finger-like extremities that went to
work on the keyboard. A fan somewhere high above turned on and one of the
tanks came to life. An opening appeared in the side.
Dude, will you talk to me? Ive never seen anything like this! My
sensors cant even make sense of some of this chemistry..
The creature slowly inserted the two large vials into the opening until an
audible locking mechanism could be heard it engaged with the terminal
again, waited until the opening closed, and finally turned to the man.
Distract me again and Im going to shove one of these smartmetal legs up
your ass. We are getting paid double for this new product and Chioma
cant afford any fuckups. We go in, do our job, and get out. Check the
pressure levels before we let this thing loose and lets go.
Alright alright, calm down, this is just nothing like vropes or happy
packets or anything else I have ever seen. How do we know it will even
work? The ventilation system is only designed to handle a specific range
of substances. Yeah, weve figured out how to hijack and reprogram it to
distribute certain drugs to specific rooms at specific concentrations, but
this looks like something completely new that has never been tested
before. What if it trips up the filtration subsystem? What if it
corrodes through some of the light connector tubing? The moneys good,
but if something goes wrong I dont want the feds on my ass, the bearded
man rambled as he attached a small black rectangular device to one of the
pipes and stared at a display on his wristwatch. Still visibly annoyed
with the creature, he proceeded to type something rapidly on one of the
terminals by the wall, pressing enter with his right index finger with an
authoritative click. He turned his head and looked towards the arachnid.
We are alll good. You can do your thing.
Without saying a word, the creature turned to the right and began to
wrap its appendages around the tank. It inserted both scopulae into small
openings in the back, which prompted the fan above to turn off. A bright
light turned on above and the fan turned on again. The light turned off
and the tank began to whirr.
Wait a second, said the bearded man. Where was this supposed to go
again? I am seeing multiple destinations, but the source only specifies
one. Twenty-third level, room 23581F. So what the fuck are all of these
other destinations? What the fuck man, come take a look at this. Chioma
is going to kill us! Fuck fuck fuck..
Scott finished putting the last drone in place and mentally went through
all of the deployed cameras. Everything was ready to go, with 4 minutes
to spare. He was getting too good at this! With so many runs under his
belt, he now had the confidence to casually jump from drone to drone while
keeping the positions of the other drones in check. He was going to give
the production team great shots of the start of the race from drone AN-41,
with the Montes Harbringer mountains in the backdrop. He simulated the
required lens parameters and adjusted AN-41s forward-facing cameras. The
race was about to begin.
A faint yet noticable flash of light from the surface of the moon derailed
Scotts train of thought. He adjusted a secondary camera to take a closer
look and noticed some sort of movement emanating from the Schiaparelli
crater. Zooming in the camera a bit it appeared as though the inside of
the crater was rotating in on itself in a way that seemed impossible.
Before there was any time to consider the implications of the anomaly, a
barrage of new sensory inputs entered Scotts consciousness.
Uhh Pat, whats up with all these drones you just connected me to?
Some of them arent even ours.. And what the hell is.. .. Whats going
on over there??
Scott, say again? We did not authorize any new connections, the
concerned voice asked in a slightly distorted tone.
There is definitely something weird going on. I am now controlling 60..
wait, 62.. .. an ever growing number of drones. I dont recognize some
of them and have not been able to sync up with a couple of them using
standard protocols. By the way, there is also something weird going in the
Schiaparelli crater. I saw a flash and something moving inside, that
cant be a coincidence.
.. .. None of that makes any sense, but.. Hold on. .. .. I am seeing
some unusual energy spikes in your tank. It looks like the ventilation
system might have been compromised. We are sending a team to invest-
And just like that, the comm link went dead.
Trying not to panic, Scott took a deep breath and ran some diagnostics.
Everything was coming back green. This did not make any sense! With just
15 seconds left before the start of the race, he directed the primary
camera to face the starting line. Ill record everything on my end just
in case, he thought, which is when he noticed that one of the racing
ships appeared to resemble an oversized Chinese dragon.
Suddenly, Scotts consciousness was jerked out of the drone. He found
himself looking at the moon from a different vantage point. Somehow, the
understanding that this was not a direct view from one of the drones but
rather a simulated reality entered his mind. Able to move around this
virtual space at will, he understood that the visual data from all the
drones he was connected to allowed this simulation to mirror reality and
give him any vantage point he wanted.
How is this possible..? he said to nobody in particular.
Looking back at the moon, multiple craters were now registering unusual
activity, including strange spinning spirals that seemed to radiate in
varying colours. Looking at the phenomenon a bit closer, it became clear
that a bit of a purple cloud was starting to form around these spirals.
Occasional flashes of light now also became more apparent, emanating from
the centres of some of the craters in view.
Slowly over time Scott became aware of more and more of the drones that he
was now connected to.. and some of them were not drones at all. His
stimuli seemed to be even receiving input from several locations on the
moon itself, as well as thousands of unusual objects in the Oort cloud.
In an attempt to regain some of his sanity, Scott moved a bit closer to
the Earth, which is when he realized that he was also connected to multiple
lifeforms and other devices on the surface of the planet. For an instant
he saw the world through the eyes of a calf that was being born on the
Indian subcontinent.
In the distance where the sun should have been there was now a giant
rotating disco ball. Behind it the constellations were in the process of
turning into various species of amphibians, dancing around the disco ball
as if to the rhythm of some DJ only they could hear. Mars had turned
into a wormhole from which a steady stream of a neon-coloured liquid was
pouring out into the solar system.
In the blink of an eye reality seemed to have turned into a confusing
colourful mess, although the race around the moon still appeared to be
proceeding according to schedule. Various dragons and spaceships were
speeding around the satellite in a loop, seemingly along the expected route,
but they were moving a lot faster than expected and one of them was in
fact a whale.
Scotts consciousness was now connected to billions of individual data
points, each representing various drones, lifeforms, robots, cyborgs, and
other beings and non-beings in the solar system and beyond. Each attempt
to look a bit further in order to find the boundary of the insanity lead
to the discovery of more and more connections to more and more fascinating
vessels and beings.
Now encompassing the contents of 278 solar systems Scott no longer felt
like Scott and decided to upgrade his self-identification to Alectryon, an
electronic multidimensional space rooster. All around him the universe
was unraveling in absurd combinations of shapes and colours, with a soft
piano melody providing the soundtrack that sounded a lot like something by
Isaac Boudillet.
Alectryon focused again on the Earth and brought it into his awareness.
Brushing aside the dancing amphibians, he looked down on the home of
humanity and slowly covered the planet with his enormous beak.
As it once was, it will again become through me, Alectryon mumbled while
devouring the Earth, not knowing what he was saying or doing, or what any
of it meant. As he slowly bit down on the planetary crust, an audible
crunch resonated through him and vibrated everything in the Universe with
the same satisfying frequency. He looked up and let out an excessive primal
crow, which created a shockwave that expanded out faster than the speed
of light, converting everything in its path into a purple hazed goo.
This was no doubt going to be remembered as the strangest broadcast on
the Intergalactic News Network.