One day CT got fed up with the whole thing and threw the Director into the moon. The Counselor tried to stop her so she threw him overboard too, and watched as he landed in an adjacent crater of said moon. Not a moon but the Moon, the Earth-moon, the one she used to look up at when she was growing up in Rhode Island. The one that shone down over the states that they all took their names from. And although both Delta and the accepted scientific standards would be quick to clarify that the moon itself was never actually emitting any light, CT liked to believe that maybe Delta and science could be wrong about some things. After all, science was one of the Director's favorite toys, and with him gone, maybe they could just ignore it altogether.
They couldn't, however, ignore the AI, which were just as confused in the aftermath of CT's decision as their human counterparts – and now there was no one left who knew how to remove them. So they would have to learn to live together, CT supposed, which meant they would have to find a purpose for each AI so that no one went off on a killing spree (cough, Omega, cough) or drove their human insane (hi, Epsilon).
Delta and York were the most sane, CT figured, so she started with them.
"So," she said, turning to the two of them after everyone had witnessed the Director plummet into the crater. "Let's get started."
York scratched his head and opened his mouth, but before he could get a word in, Carolina cut him off.
"Get started?" said Carolina, turning toward her incredulously. "CT, what the fuck did you just do?"
"I saved us," said CT, glowering.
"Saved us?" repeated South. "Now who's driving the ship?" She sounded slightly hysterical, which was odd, considering her own strained relationship with the Director.
"Oh," said CT, because she hadn't thought about that. "Shit."
Just then the Mother of Invention lurched a little too far forward and everyone grabbed the nearest handhold. For Wash, this happened to be CT's arm. She started to glare at him but then he looked so horrified by the complete and utter destruction of his worldview that she just didn't have the heart to shake him off. There was a brief pause during which Carolina seemed too furious for words and everyone else just seemed too confused.
"I'll get it," said North with a shrug, and he went trotting off toward the pilot's quarters. South hesitated but followed reluctantly, running a little to keep up.
Wash released CT's arm and seemed vaguely embarrassed but mostly just in shock. Or maybe that was Epsilon causing that expression, Epsilon who was panicking at the loss of the Director. Carolina's AI certainly seemed upset; they were bickering swiftly back and forth, one on each shoulder, while Carolina closed her eyes and grit her teeth. Wyoming and Maine just seemed bored by the whole thing, while Tex was as impassive as ever, leaning up against the wall with her helmet still on.
"So," said York, who seemed relatively calm, if a bit wary. "Now what?"
"Well, you and Delta are fine," CT said, glad that someone else understood that it was time to look toward the future, not to contemplate past events such as the lunar-based destruction of the director of the program that had more or less created them. "But I'm worried about the others."
"You mean the other AI?" said York, glancing at Wash, who was still apparently too stunned to speak but who had also pressed a hand to his head as though it were causing him physical pain.
"This is a valid concern," opined Delta.
"Yes," said CT. "They need a focus. So that they don't…" She trailed off, looking at Carolina, who was now swatting at her AI as though they were troublesome flies.
"Cause problems," finished York, nodding. He ambled over to Carolina. "Hey guys. What's the story here?"
"Story," said Beta. "Fable, narrative, novel…"
"No, problem," said Zeta. "He means problem, issue, dispute…"
"Shut up," groaned Carolina, holding her head.
"Look, guys," said York. "You're both correct, but in different ways. Can't we just agree to disagree?"
"Agree," said Beta.
"To disagree," finished Zeta doubtfully.
York nodded. "Yeah. Like, you both can just share what you think instead of trying to make each other think the same thing – and that way you can compartmentalize, you know? Keep everything separate and clear, and nobody has to feel like their head's being overrun by unnecessary arguments. Doesn't that sound cool?"
"It is the logical course of action," Delta added.
"Deeellltaaa," said Beta and Zeta at the same time, glowing strangely outward, as if to draw Delta in toward them.
"Hello," Delta replied coolly. He kept his distance.
"Stay," said Zeta. "Deltaaa, stay," added Beta.
CT shouldered her way between York and Carolina, ignoring Wash, who followed her slowly as though he were a lost dog. "Okay, there we go," she said matter-of-factly. "If Delta hangs out with you guys for like, an hour a day, will you stop being annoying as shit?"
York descended into a sudden cough clearly designed to hide laughter. "Um, yeah," he said. "What she means is, will you stop arguing and confusing Carolina?"
"If we can talk to Delta," replied Beta. "Delta," agreed Zeta.
"You cool with that, D?" York asked, tilting his head toward the green glow at his shoulder.
"That would be fine, York."
"Sound good, Carolina?" York said, turning his good eye back on her.
"Whatever," grumbled Carolina. But the AI went quiet after that and when she stalked off (presumably to find North and make sure he wasn't gonna crash the ship), she walked a little straighter.
"Cool," said York. He yawned. Because apparently fixing everyone's lives was all in a day's work for him.
CT nodded and turned around to find Wash blinking at her. "Oh. Hi, Wash."
"What did you do?" Wash said, having evidently recovered his voice at last.
"We've been over this. I saved everyone," CT said impatiently.
"You threw the Director into the moon," Wash protested. His eyes were wide and it made him look young but then there was the graying hair above his ears, and –
"I used to look up at the moon with Allison," Epsilon muttered suddenly. "We used to look at the moon and talk about space ships and going on space ships and once when I was five I had a toy space ship and she took it and buried it in the sand box and I never found it again. It was blue and so were her shoes, and once there was a blue moon, and I –"
"Hey, Epsilon," interrupted York casually. "Why don't you chill out a little? Remember some good stuff. There's nothing to be scared or sad about anymore, okay?"
"That's not going to work," said Wash, who was running his hands through his hair anxiously.
"Doesn't seem realistic," CT agreed.
"Well, have you ever tried it?" said York mildly.
"No, because that won't work," said Wash. "Because –"
"Okay," Epsilon interrupted.
"What?" said Wash.
"Okay," said Epsilon. "I will remember good things."
And after that, Epsilon only remembered happy things, which did not overpower or confuse Wash's own thoughts but merely lay stretched across his consciousness like a sun-warmed blanket, so that he felt calmer and more reassured. And Epsilon stayed quiet from then on – except that every now and then, Wash thought he could hear bluebirds. Which was a little puzzling and a little cliché, but also kind of nice. Sometimes he told CT about the bluebirds, when they were relaxing in the rec room or looking at the stars together, and sometimes he didn't; sometimes he just let them go on singing.
And Carolina was okay, because Zeta and Beta learned from Delta how to interact in a logical manner that allowed Carolina to sustain normal cognitive function. She took charge of the team, unofficially, because she was best at taking charge and because she was the best at flying the ship. 479er helped out too, because she was bored with nothing else to do anymore.
North and York held Freelancer Dance Parties all the time, sometimes drunken and sometimes not, and sometimes consisting only of North and York. Without the Director's expectations to live up to, South was pretty much happy to just chill and listen to punk rock with York. Sometimes she tried to start arguments over which band was better but York didn't seem to get what arguing was, really, so then she'd get frustrated and antagonize someone who'd react to her – like CT, who responded mostly by hitting South with a shovel.
Maine and Wyoming decided to opt for more provincial lives, and together they started a cheese farm. Maine used his brute force to lift large wheels of cheese, while Wyoming used his time travelling powers to revolutionize the cheese-aging process. They became famous and were interviewed by Cheese Magazine, and also named Cheese Mongers of the Century.
York had a long talk with Omega, who realized that he was only angry because he felt like nobody liked him, and everybody got together and threw him an appreciation party, and after that he was fine. He discovered his sensitive side and decided that he wanted to become an anger management counselor. So he and Tex went off beating up dangerous criminals, taking them off the streets, and then counseling them through their anger issues so that they too could be productive members of society.
Meanwhile North, South, York, Carolina, CT, and Wash went on flying through space, living not in perfect peace but as close to it as they were gonna get. And CT never doubted her decision to throw the Director at the moon, but she still appreciated it when Wash later told her:
"That was the best throw, ever. Of all time."