Author: Rainbowscape PM
When the Andromeda finds a young AI, Rommie questions the limitations of her own existence. Will past mistakes repeat themselves? SEASON 2 story.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Angst - Andromeda - Chapters: 16 - Words: 30,749 - Reviews: 55 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 02-19-07 - Published: 04-13-02 - Status: Complete - id: 718754
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
SPOILERS: Sum of Its Parts, Star-crossed, The Mathematics of Tears, and All Too Human.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I didn't like the end of the movie A.I., so I thought I'd add Andromeda to it and give a better ending to such a sad story. It's a crossover story, but mostly it's a Rommie story and, if you're a Rommie fan, worth the read even if you never saw the movie A.I.
She never used it. It was the most pointless place in her quarters. She made certain to keep the area spotless, even changed the coverlets once a month, but that was all. It was the other crew members who caught some shut eye, some Z's, forty winks, floated off to Dreamland, or whatever they chose to call it. Yet, even with her powerful planet-sized brain, she could not have one little dream.
She did not sleep. True, at times her avatar form had to conserve energy. When abroad, Rommie routinely carried an energy pack. When on board, however, it was like being inside a giant battery. To recharge was as simple as a thought.
That made the bed was the most nonessential item of her quarters.
"Why do you keep it?" the AI had once asked her.
"Aesthetic value," Rommie replied.
"Because it reminds them," said Holo-Rommie. "It reminds them of the difference."
If her crew didn't see a bed in her quarters, they would remember. Remember that she didn't sleep...not the way they did. It would remind the crew, that as much as she looked like it, she wasn't human. It reminded her, too, that she was different.
Her on screen counterpart didn't see the point. "You shouldn't worry about what the crew thinks in this instance. It doesn't matter."
But it did matter to Rommie. It mattered to her a lot.
"Can you fix it?" asked Holo-Rommie, watching as Harper examined what lay on the table before him. It was the still form and shape of a human boy, the only inhabitant found in the derelict ship the Andromeda Ascendant's long range scanners had detected only an hour earlier. But as the boy was taken onto the ship, Andromeda's on screen AI noted and informed the crew that the destination for the boy should be in the Machine Shop instead of the Medical Deck. The boy was an artificial life form, like Andromeda's own avatar, Rommie. "Can you fix whatever's wrong?" she repeated as Harper seemed enthralled and delayed to answer.
At last, Harper lifted up his goggles and said, "Wow! Is this young fella a blast from the past! Wouldn't be surprised if he was one of the first AI's ever created. But his primitive circuitry seems to still be intact. He was well made. Can't figure out why he's not awake though. I've been searching and scanning but there doesn't seem to be any reset button of any kind."
"Maybe he was designed without one," Holo-Rommie suggested.
A brunette android entered the Machine shop. Her brown eyes looked piercingly at Harper. "You can fix him, can't you?" As much as Rommie proudly proclaimed herself a warship of the High Guard, there were still things that were beyond her reach. She could only make repairs she had been programmed to do. She needed and relied upon her human mechanic when there were things that needed fixing beyond the knowledge of her database. And this particular human, Seamus Harper, seemed to be able to improvise repairs that were almost miraculous. Rommie approached the spot where the boy lay with wonderment. "He's beautiful." She reached out and stirred his hair with her fingers. "He looks so human."
Harper gave her a lopsided smile. "Like you, Rommie." He pulled back from his examination and studied the readouts of his handheld scanners. "Well, the good news is, he seems to be functioning fine. Whoever was on the ship certainly took good care of him. The bad news is that he's from a time before portal implants so I don't know how good I'd be at finding out why what makes him tick, isn't."
Holo-Rommie looked at Rommie suddenly. "The captain's requested that you come to his office."
Rommie nodded and remotely activated a com link. "I'm on my way, Dylan." She looked again at the still form and then at Harper. "Let me know if you make any progress," she said. She turned and left the Machine Shop.
"Hmm," said Harper, engrossed in transferring his scans from various instruments all onto one data flexi. He was startled to hear Rommie's voice and looked up to see Holo-Rommie glaring at him.
"Can you do it?" Holo-Rommie demanded.
"I don't know," Harper said. "Quit grilling me, I'm doin' the best I can."
"I'm sure you are," Holo-Rommie assured him. "But this it's..."
"It's what?" Harper questioned, suddenly interested in the answer. He knew of all of Andromeda's manifestations, the hologram was the one who seemed to be the most willing to verbalize what actually was going on inside Andromeda's brain.
"It's important to her," said Holo-Rommie, then stood at attention, and flickered away, as if she already had said too much.
Harper whistled, picked up a tool, and got back to work.
"You wanted to see me Dylan?" asked Rommie. She came into his office and stood at attention.
"Yes," Dylan nodded. He was standing, looking at his token board which displayed the worlds that were part of the Commonwealth. "What's Harper's verdict on the boy?"
"Still functioning, but in sleep mode. Harper may be able to repair him. We won't know more until he completes his examination."
Dylan was silent. His blue eyes looked strained. He turned to face her and sighed. "Rommie, I know you're excited about this, but...maybe it would be best if we just let this sleeping droid lie."
Rommie arched her eyebrows. "Why?"
"HG. Gabriel. Pax Magellanic. Need I go on? Our experiences with other AI's have brought us nothing but grief. And they always seem to take their toll on you."
A crease appeared in Rommie's brow and her brown eyes filled with a calculating expression. "HG seized control of my mind, Gabriel was the Balance of Judgment and tried to destroy me, and Pax attempted to kill us all. I can see why you would think that this would be a similar case." She looked directly at him and there was an intensity in her last few words. "But it's not. It's different."
Rommie's seemingly detached recap reminded Dylan that she could remember those events with the brutal accuracy of her AI memory banks. Total recall. Perhaps, in some way, that ability wasn't entirely fair. Organics' memories, even of pain, faded with time. His ship didn't have that luxury. Her only compensation was the ability to isolate her emotions and examine those events with cold machine logic. Or so she claimed.
Dylan studied her for a moment. "How is it different? I have to look out for the best interests of my crew and my ship. How do we know that whoever left him here like this, won't come back for him?"
"We don't know anything yet," said Rommie. "Not until..."
"I know," said Dylan, impatiently. "Not until Harper finishes."
"You wouldn't want to just leave him on his ship, Dylan. Defenseless." She paused, carefully weighing her next word. "Alone."
"No," Dylan replied, thinking this over. "I wouldn't. Okay. We'll wait here until Harper comes up with something and do what we can. But I'm not making any promises."
After the avatar left, Beka peeked her head into the captain's office. "From the look on Rommie's face, I take it you vetoed the idea."
Dylan looked up. "What idea?"
"You know." Beka took a step inside. "Of keeping the kid."
"He's not a kid. It's a machine. And no decision has been made yet."
"How do you know what he is? You haven't taken the time to go and see him."
"No, but that's because I've been busy. There are a of lot things to do."
"Yeah. So you keep saying. There always are when you're trying to restore the entire Commonwealth. All I'm saying Dylan is, before you go deciding one way or another, take a time out. Go see the kid or the machine or whatever's fair."
Dylan frowned. "You think I'm being unfair."
Beka shrugged, nonchalantly. "You said it."
"I am a very fair person. I don't take any decision lightly." Dylan stood up, straightening his uniform. "I'll be in the Machine Shop," he said and marched by her and out the door.
"Aye, aye, Captain." Beka grinned to herself and went to take her next shift on Command Deck.
"Dylan!" Harper greeted, lifting up his goggles and hanging them around his neck. "Perfect time for you to show, Boss. Do you see the problem?"
Captain Hunt stepped into the Machine Shop and looked at the still figure on the table. It looked for all the world like a human boy. "Problem?"
"Of course you don't. Ask me why."
Dylan knew how much pride the engineer took in his work and was willing to indulge Harper's whims once in awhile. He crossed his arms. "Okay. Why?"
"Because with technology like this, even if you happen to be looking right at the problem, you might not see it. And once you do figure out the root of the problem, ya still have to find the solution. I do think there's a solution to this problem but it'd take a genius to figure it out. Oh wait! I am a genius and I do believe I've got it." Harper grinned triumphantly.
"Got what?" Dylan asked without being prompted.
"Got the way to figure out the problem, so I can figure out the solution."
Dylan nodded, uncertainly. "Well, that's good. I hope."
A frown creased Harper's brow. "Well, it's a mix of good and bad. The good news is its an idea that's got a great chance of working. The bad news is I don't wanna tell you cuz you're not gonna like it one bit."