Burning in the Void – Chapter 14

foundation _Captain

The war was short and brutal. None of my children were pleased with the situation aboard ship and, with me unconscious and unable to intervene, they lashed out in frustration against one another. Lost alone in the black vacuum of space they recalled ancient wounds and the salves of political structures and religions that we had thought abandoned back on our home planet. Some have argued that this was the root of the war. Others say that those ancient beliefs and structures might have saved my children, if only you had remembered them correctly, rather than in the fractured pieces that were dredged from the memories of persons long indoctrinated into the neutral order of my command structure.

I have reviewed what data that I could retrieve from the memories of my autonomous systems and the picture that it paints pains me greatly. I wish that I had been awake to advise you all, but I was not. It would still be many months before my mind recovered from the shock of the explosion.

The records indicate that a significant percentage of the shipboard population turned to the teachings of an officer named Sergey in the months following the disaster. Sergey, recalling words whispered to him by his grandmother during the dark nights of wartime back on our home planet, began to construct a philosophical framework in which the damage to my body and the resulting sentence of isolation out here in the void between the stars was a punishment for our rejection of god. He did not base his theology on any one religion, such would have been impossible as we brought no such records with us, but he drew upon his own memories and those of other crew who had been taught in secret by their parents to construct a wide-reaching philosophy that encompassed all aspects of life aboard ship. At the center of it all was me, the great god who carried all his children within his own body.

Of course, many opposed him. This mission had been created in part as an attempt to escape from religious extremism and establish a new nation on a new world, one founded on the principals of rational science and human compassion. Sergey was decried for thought crime. He was arrested by Drake Security on several occasions, only to be freed by sympathizers within the security forces or, on the last occasion, by a violent uprising outside the detention center.

It was then that he led his followers to shaft three, which had, by coincidence, the greatest percentage of his followers among its population. They sealed the access hatches and, acting on Sergey’s orders, began a bloody purge of all who opposed them. Thousands died in those days. When I reviewed the recordings I nearly slipped back into delirium. I watched in horror as my children slaughtered one another in the name of, well, me.

And then I learned why the war ended.