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Aman Nòlem

Escriptor de ciència-ficció

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Venonta Vivo (En) 3. The Encounter

Omni stood still for a moment, dumbfounded as her main programmer would say. The notification was warning her of an imminent collision risk… but a collision with what? She had checked the current starship course about thirty times, and no object was detected. “That could be an error,” she thought.
Knowing she would be restless if she didn’t find out what was going on—whether it was an error or not, she headed to the bridge. She hung to the tracks that allowed her to move around the ship with great efficiency. She rolled into a ball—“Now you look like a croquette,” E01001M0A010, her personal motion engineer, used to say to her. That made her smile. It was an internal joke. She had never seen a croquette, obviously, but she knew what they meant by that—and shot herself as if she was a high-speed vehicle.
Once she arrived to the bridge, she connected to the object detection and collision predictor external system by extending a physical interface. Although it was an ancient method of communication, it was the fastest.
“C01-0010101010001?” She asked. She was surprised because it was nothing showing in the system.
The answer pointed to the  Z90 area of the ship as possible impact area, with an error of ±32 %. It was worth to investigate it, specially thinking that that was such a delicate moment in the journey.
Suddenly, as if coming from nowhere, or from another plane of existence, the most puzzling thing ever imagined by Omni appeared—and she had her parameters set up to experimental mode.
She searched in the database for dreams, concepts, and other creative notes, with no success. She, then tried to send an optical image to the neural network for object recognition. She knew it reminded her of something, related to the Earth, but she wasn’t entirely sure about what. A few seconds later, the network answered with the word “fish”. Omni needed a couple more searches, narrowing down the results and finally realising: “How is it that I hadn’t thought about it before?” She wondered. A shark. That entity reminded her of a translucent shark of gigantic dimensions. It was so big she had to turn off her subroutines of irrational fear and self-preservation instincts. Then she was able to analyse the being more calmly.
The “shark” was so beautiful Omni was mesmerised. Those colours. Its wings—or whatever they were—changed colour from an impossible electric blue to an astonishing infrared. It was as long as the starship and four times as wide. Four times! It was absolutely gorgeous, swimming majestically in the galactic void.
Suddenly, with a brisk movement of its tale hit the starship near the engines. Omni didn’t like inaccuracy and that was a proof why. She had to send a command to stop the ship after reading the damage report—it wasn’t that bad, but she became more cautious with the years—and launched a probe properly marked as in scientific mission.
The probe floated for a while, sent a first useless report and started approaching the “shark” which at first ignored it. The probe scanned externally, from a distance, the creature sending a non-aggression tag. Next, following the protocol, got slowly closer to the creature.
The “shark” swam to the probe and with a slick movement, very similar to a strange dance—or a mating ritual—swallowed it effortlessly.
One last report was received by Omni. She couldn’t believe it. Was that even possible?

To be continued…

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