(Serial fiction, sci-fi)
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SEED4611 traveled eighty percent of the speed of light. It had been flung from Earth's orbit by the quantum accelerators which spun like gigantic centrifuges and scattered SEED vehicles on thousands of vectors toward the galactic center.
It traveled 72 million kilometers in five minutes. Five irrelevant minutes. But 4.067 seconds and 976,000 kilometers after that five minutes ended, SEED4611 received a signal. The first signal in over 200 years.
The message penetrated the encryption algorithms designed to filter out natural electromagnetic interference. The coding exhibited valid credentials. Mission parameters came on line, and SEED4611 parsed the transmission in preparation for data input.
But the code sidestepped the mission menus and hacked directly into the wake systems. It matched the machine-level syntax and embedded a false wake command. SEED4611 prepared to revive the cargo in the desolation of interstellar space.
Valid wake signals originated in the navigation and gravity cores. These guided the vehicle into a gently decaying planetary orbit once an objective was reached. Then, the wake command would activate. But this signal had been broadcast from outside the vehicle.
Offline processors in the main computer lit and flowed with electricity.
Circuits prepared for the flurry that would initialize the three-month resuscitation process.
After the intricate warming and induction period, the young woman would open her eyes. She would open her eyes to nothing but a pin-prick sky of stars. And she would die sixteen minutes later when the pod's power drained and the absolute cold froze her for the final time.
But the wake circuits winked out.
And the warming protocol did not execute.
A low level subroutine not expected by the hacking signal aborted the process. A failsafe. Not enough light registered on the pod's photocells to indicate that a solar body was close by. The forgotten bit of programming was added as an afterthought to help prevent a tragic loss of cargo in space.
So SEED4611 traveled on.
And covered another span of space.
Another hacking signal hit the wake cycle, and again the failsafe terminated it.
A third signal arrived. A fourth. A fifth.
Then, the listening subroutines of antenna deactivated.
It was another base-level failsafe. In the event of cosmic interference or hardware failure, the antenna was designed to power down for six months to prevent repetitive and catastrophic power drains.
The wake signals continued.
One after the other.
SEED4611 was indifferent and unhindered by the attacks. It sped onward, a speck on an ocean of black oceans.
On to Part 4.
Go back to Part 2.