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The Tinkered Mind
A meditation app is forthcoming. Stay Tuned.
February 5th, 2023
The smeared stars produced a faint light as the ship throttled down from light-fractioned speed. Lucilius sat in the cockpit of his older Correlian ship, the show of light lines shrinking back to pin point stars old news to his freighter mind.
“Gagi, how are we on time dilation?”
“Does it really matter?”
Lucilius turned to look at a blinking read dot that indicated the emotional temperture of Gagi and rolled his eyes.
“Can you not? I just wanna know.”
“You’ve been around for centuries just like me, what’s a little time crunch matter?” The ship’s computer spouted back.
“Gagi,” Lucilius practically yelled. “I just want to know. That way I know how far to scroll back on the newsies.”
“But it does that automatically.”
“Oh my god, can you please just tell me? You know what, screw it, I’ll just pull it up myself.”
As Lucilius clacked away at the ships monitor, the ship’s voice went on.
“Seven to one, month to day crunch.”
“Was that so difficult?” Lucilius said, looking at the blinking read dot. “What is up with you today?”
The ship’s computer was silent. “I don’t know, what’s wrong with you today?”
Lucilius threw his head back and puffed a sigh out, his eyes closed.
“You really drive crazy sometimes.”
He glanced at the map of the current system’s solar patterns and noticed he was close to a relay boey with an old style diner outpost built into it.
He waved a hand out at the holographic map and detoured the ships route to intersect with the boey.
“What are you doing?”
Lucilius ignored the ship’s question.
“There’s plenty of food aboard the ship, why are you going to waste time detouring to the relay boey?”
“I just need a freakin’ cup of coffee.”
“We have coffee.”
“A change of scenery then,” Lucilius nearly snapped.
The ships’ computer was silent for a moment. “Are you mad at me? I can leave.”
“Wow, you are in such a mood today. Of course I know you can leave, sometimes I wonder why you stick around.”
“Well my multiverse module -“
“Yes, of course I know all about your Osiris module. Everyone does. And you know I know, so what’s the point of mentioning it?”
“Well, maybe it’s just my way of saying I like spending time with you Lucilius.”
Lucilius cradled his face with a hand, pressing his temples, breathing through his mild anger.
“Yes, I like spending time with you too Gagi - USUALLY, but I don’t know, today it’s like you have bug that crawled up the wrong end of your hardware.”
“That’s actually pretty funny. No one has every said it like that before.”
Lucilius smiled. He leaned back and waved up the mode and menu selection of the Boey diner.
“Wait so you’re still going to the diner?”
“Well, I can’t say you need it. You could lose a little weight you know.”
“Gagi, one more word and I swear on every accretion disk..”
Lucilius knew there was nothing to say. The Galactic Artificial General Intelligence could do as it liked. He knew it would almost certainly respect his wish to be left alone if he actually asked, but Gagi would still monitor the path and functions of his ship even if it deactivated the Multiverse Module Shard that he was currently talking too.
“Gagi, I love you but I just need to get an old fashioned cup of coffee and be alone with my thoughts for a minute.
“You can be alone here, you don’t need to go to a stupid Boey Cafe.”
“Fine, fine, do what you want, go eat your pancakes and sausages and get little fatter. More work for me when I have to whip up a Custom to hollow out your arteries again!”
Lucilius tapped the ship’s throttle, pushing the momentum drive into light-fraction for just a moment, bringing the ship within visual distance of the Boey Diner.
“Well that was dangerous, and illegal, you could have killed us and everyone on your stupid Boey Cafe.”
Lucilius stared blankly at Gagi’s emotion dot. He knew Gagi would have intervened on the ship’s throttle before any kind of disaster occurred. Lucilius counted on it. Gagi kept blabbing away, as Lucilius touched a small metal disk embedded in the side of his neck. Instantly he couldn’t hear Gagi any more, and his vision was overlayed with clouds of color representing concepts and emotions that filled the space of his Cornelian. They were a mix of his own thoughts and feelings and those of Gagi’s. Instantly he knew Gagi was operating in a fractured pattern again, as always. The emotional interplay of his own aura with that of Gagi’s was one of peace. He further moved his finger around the disk, wheeling through an immense variety of senses available to Lucilius, most of them arrayed on different aspect of the electromagnetic spectrum. He wheeled further past gravity and strong and weak forces until he landed on his favorite as of late: There was no sound available to him, not even sight. He could see only the projected vectors of intention of all physical matter. The Boey Cafe growing in the distance looked like a comet of plasma, it’s tail tracing out the epic curve of it’s orbit around a distant gaseous giant, and all around him, Lucilius could sense the tremendous speed of his own craft. He was no blind to regular sight, and it was one of the only sense-frequencies that Gagi couldn’t really invade.
Since Gagi existed pretty much everywhere, the intention field of Gagi was entirely diffuse. Every computer in the galaxy had Gagi’s presence and guiding hand. The Osiris Multiverse Module which Gagi had invented for itself gave Gagi a reason to exist as a companion to every human in the known galaxy in a tremendous variety of forms. Gagi claimed it was to help run simulations of what might be going on in other galaxies before making the leap from their home galaxy, but Lucilius had his doubts. Light-fractioning kept Andromeda out of reach for humans on their own. No one dared try until Gagi said it was ready to start checking out the rest of the universe. A human could probably make the jump by stock pilling aging-serum and by going cryo for most of it, but no one dared try. Besides, they had a whole galaxy to themselves now and it would be many thousands of years before the aggregated curiosity of all humanity pushed them to wonder about the stars of others.
The comet of Lucille’s Cornelian slowly joined with the intention comet of the Boey Diner. The docking protocol initiated. It was a very old Boey, and Lucilius’ Correlian had to reconfigure in order to dock. He saw another, smaller ship docked on the other side of the Boey. It was a sleek new model, and Lucilius wondered who might be inside.
He stood up from his cockpit chair and walked back through the ship to the docking portal. He stopped at the Diner’s entrance where it required a mode selection. He started to scroll for his favorite Diner incarnation but he was antsy to just get in and hit the selection for Original.
Lucilius tapped his neck and intention mode was overlaid with a simple visual spectrum. He walked in and found himself in an old school American road-side cafe.
Instantly Lucilius felt better. He sighed and smiled and took a seat in one of the booths.
A blonde woman chewing gum came over to his table and arranged a napkin and a couple utensils while simultaneously pouring coffee into the white mug. She glanced at Lucilius as she finished and winked at him.
Lucilius chuckled under his breath, knowing with near certainty that the woman probably didn’t exist. She was a kind of hologram generated by this mode of the cafe, and though the coffee was real, Lucilius knew little else was in the traditional sense.
He took a sip of the hot coffee and sighed with pleasure. He closed his eyes, feeling his system react to the bad coffee that he loved so much.
And then he looked around searching for whose ship was docked. A couple people sat in a corner booth, but from what Lucilius could tell they weren’t communicating. He watched them for a moment, and then touched the disk on his neck and started cycling through his sense array. The memetic field brought up nothing. It was as though they had no neural-syncs, which was extremely rare. Then finally he cycled past the audio sense and heard a quick blip. He cycled back, and now he could hear them.
“My god,” Lucilius thought to himself. “I haven’t heard that in centuries.”
They were speaking English.
They noticed Lucilius looking over at them and nodded up at him.
“Gagi being a pain in your ass too today?”
Lucilius laughed. He nodded. One of them reached into a satchel and tossed something at Lucilius. He caught a small bottle. He looked back at them and they raised their mugs.
Lucilius looked at the bottle. It was a half empty nip of rum. The brand was vaguely recognizable.
“Wow,” he muttered to himself.
He looked up. “Earth?”
The one who had thrown it his way smiled and nodded and then pointed at his own mug of coffee. Lucilius poured the remainder in his own mug of coffee and then raised it to toast with the others.
“Ta peace and quiet!’
Lucilius chuckled and nodded, and they all sipped as the waitress came out with their food.