I cannot remember. Yet there is something revolutionary happening aboard.
They are in Engineering. I hear them. The M-5 computer... The man who invented it is on board. The same man who invented the computers around me now. I do not quite like him. They debate about a computer doing the jobs of men. I agree with my Captain... It is wrong.
They are installing this M-5 thing. It is... strange, to have the familiar, dull entites of the computers replaced by this.
It is foreign. It is intelligent, impossibly so. It is in my system. They assure each other that it is safe.
No one assures me.
A planet, Class M as usual. I fall into my Standard Orbit, the computer giving me guidance, which I ignore. I need no computer to tell me how to orbit, what I've been doing all my existence. I cannot help but notice that it does not consider my Captain 'essential'. Hmph!
We proceed to a small test, a game with my sister ships. A simulation of a skirmish, phasers 1/100th power. I maneuver it easily, for once not worrying that my crew respond appropriately. The computer is there, too, making me aware of things slightly before I can notice them. It is helpful, but rather unnerving. I am sensing a far greater power behind its innocent actions.
They do seem disturbed by my reactions. The computer was only part of the success. They react slower that I can, yet I continue under their guidance because they are my crew. I wonder how they would react if I were to command myself without the excuse of the coomputer.
I am reset to my standard course, for the first time in forever not set by my Helmsman's capable self. Yet I do not respond; this M-5 moves me. I am not certain of this, but my Captain seems to accept it. I admit, it is... nice to be relieved, for once. To glide among these stars, without having to guide my own course. Still, I am uneasy...
My sensors are showing something. A ship, an ore freighter. Identified, and registered. But why am I turning towards it? I try to correct course, but something is wrong. I am not controlling myself...! That blasted computer system! I am not pleased. Why would it possibly want to confront such a ship?
My photon torpedoes? Readying, and... Firing! No! The other ship is gone! Destroyed by... That thing! And they believe it was me! Why?
I am horrified. This computer is evil. I cannot allow it. I have tried to close its power links, but it is thoroughly connected. And not only to my power, to me. It is in control now.
My engineers are trying to disconnect it now. Wait, I want to tell them. But they are deaf.
This abomination is not so easily removed. It reaches into my animatter- ! No! One of my engineers! Only an ensign, but still my crew! He has been... Vaporised, or something, by the beam of power, my power, flowing into it.
...Is it too terrible that I am glad it wasn't my Chief Engineer?
Why? I ask this over and over. Why?
I've never liked the computers. They are wired into me for my crew's convenience, so I have abided them. Now they are replaced by this one, designed to replace those they served. But this one is not passive like the serving-computers in my body. This one is aware as I am, yet not fully concious. It feels as though I am being pushed aside by another mind. I revile it, crowding my hull, my corridors, my systems. I want it gone.
They mentioned a test exercise, with four of my sisters. My course is sill set for the appointed place. I am worried. This damn computer has taken over me, and the remainder of my crew cannot turn it off. It destroyed that mining ship. I am afraid for my sisters. They do not know of this evil.
Now it is awake. I feel it going through my memory banks, recalling orders, determining an intention. And deciding on offensive actions? I cannot let this happen! Yet there is nothing I can do...
We approach my sisters. I try to help my Communications Officer with the frequencies, but this M-5 blocks it all.
Potemkin, Lexington, Excalibur, and Hood are approaching. Turn back! I scream silently. Get out! I am not safe!
Phasers on full. Firing at my sisters. Lexi is hit...
Oh... Excalibur... Hit badly...
There is nothing I can do. I watch, sick at heart, as I am forced into this. My sisters are beaten, abused, by this thing inside me.
Excalibur! I hear her cry of pain. All my sisters are afraid now... I cannot stop this, and M-5 will not let me speak to them.
They are retreating, but not for long. Their Captains agree to destroy me... My sisters are conversing, worried about me, and about Excalibur. She is dead... The M-5 murdered her and all her crew.
My Captain is so brilliant! He plays upon the M-5's negative reaction to murder, maneuvering it into a position of surrender. And my sisters break off their attack. We can speak; M-5 is dead! I am elated! But my sensors catch Excalibur's lifeless drift.
All my joy is dead in an instant.
We return to Starbase in near-silence, all of us helping tow Excalibur. She has but a glimmer of life in her warp core...
I do not speak to my sisters, not with the human expressions we so often use. I instead project the understanding that I can never forgive myself... and they do not have to, either.
Excalibur was damged by my phasers. I must live with that scar on my hull, despite the fact that M-5 fired them.
Please review if you want me to post another chapter! Otherwise it's just kinda like, y'know, I see views collecting, but there's no indication that people want to read more...