Staff Sergeant Karen Liu
Eos II Scouting Mission: One hour before Planetfall

There are two things I dread in life: Space battles and planetfall. We never got to that near magical part science fiction promised with the impervious forcefield and teleporters. Instead every hit could blow you to pieces or leave you to die slowly as life support fails. Planetfall leaves you feeling just as vulnerable you strap into your assigned seat and wait at the mercy of inertia hoping nothing goes wrong and the ship doesn’t explode in tiny bits.

Both of these deaths have something in common; they won’t ever find your body.

Instead you wake up naked on a slab in a body bank wearing a skin you’ve never ever seen and the technician tells you it’s been a year since you had your mind backed up and all that time, you’ve lost it. Maybe you feel in love, became happy, discovered the secrets of the universe. Doesn’t matter it’s all gone forever and you’re left wondering at night what you lost. And it piles up, soon enough you find yourself with decades of your life stuck in a black void…

“To Every Personnel. Please remain at your assigned station. We will be entering atmosphere in approximately seventeen minutes and thirty-seven seconds.” The voice came out of the speakers around the ship feminine but noticeably synthesized. I wasn’t quite familiar with our AIs, It was Calisto I believe. “Private Reynolds, your seat’s security measures are not properly locked. Please rectify the situation.”

“Fucking AIs…” The man in question muttered adjusting his seat’s security measure. “Give me the creeps, always quietly watching and analyzing anything you do.”

“Quiet dumbass.” Another Marine said, Caporal Burnoose was her name. “The Captain’s brother’s a digital.”

“Those crazy jeevers who want to become AIs? Can’t be true. Is it?” Reynolds asked. “Hey, Liu. You’ve served with the Captain for the longest, heard anything about it?”

I sighed. It really wasn’t my place or job to give gossip about the captain but with seventeen years working together, I knew her the best of anyone on board.

“It’s true, Rashid and her used to be stationed together but he moved to Dreadnought management. Everyone but the Captain is Navy in her family, it was her little teenager rebellion to go for Marines. Now shut up about it, if you want to know about the Captain, ask her directly, I hate gossiping.”

He muttered something that was probably rude but it was out of my earshot.

“Atmosphere break in three minutes.” The AI announced.

Soon enough the ship started shaking with mild turbulence, meaning we were entering the atmosphere. I closed my eyes and started praying.

lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh

The End

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