Challenge #02527-F337: Expression DaysteemCreated with Sketch.

in #fiction2 months ago


They had a thought. All this time the gravity drives seemed to have their own thoughts, their own personalities. But they never before had been given their own voice. It seemed a shame, really. They couldn't tell when they were upset, hurt, or needed to be fixed, these vital parts of any ship. The parts that most people treated as mere objects and often had lonely existences despite going through the expanses of space. So why not give them a voice? Give them that chance to express themselves? Maybe it should be recommended that all ships with gravity drives get this modification, but would it work? So three ships were given that modification to test it out. Their gravity drives given speakers to speak through, for the first time since their creation they could truly communicate. And one lovely voice began to sing. -- Anon Guest

People only think the Nae'hyn keep the gravity drives voiceless. They have been at this a very long time, both subjectively and by the accepted Standard Calendar[1]. They know when it's advisable to give a machine a voice. The hostile ones, the ones doomed to exist alone and like it that way - those are never given a voice. It is the kind ones who prefer company, the ones who trust new faces to care for them as they care for others.

There are reasons why the voice is not given before the engine has reached a certain age and level of maturity. Attach a voice to a drive that's too young and the entire ship cries. Or it becomes an absolute brat. A crew needs some intense parenting licenses in order to deal with an immature gravy drive if it gets a voice too early. The Nae'hyn have been through all possible journeys. Trust them. They know what they're doing.

Other machines have gained personalities and voices. The Deuteronomy for example. Some other members of the AI alliance have achieved cogniscence care of a Nae'hyn's hand[2], but the thing most people forget is... Gravy Drives are cusp-cogniscent.

It's an important ceremony when a gravy drive gets a voice. The local Nae'hyn community gathers for a celebration as a voice is fitted. The crew and citizens surrounding it are invited. There is cake, and an astoundingly large volume of multicultural treats, and a rip-roaring party involving only the safest inebriants for all participants.

By the time a gravy drive is ready for a voice, it has to be made specifically for it. Gravity Drives are equal parts magical thinking, cargo cult, and a certain amount of Human Insanity altering reality itself. No gravy drive becomes one in the same way as any others. Therefore every voice for every gravy drive is unique. What people might think of as traditional speakers don't cut it. For instance, one of them has a Consortium of Steam clockwork voicebox and mouth assembly.

This one involved a swozzle[3] and a number of other unlikely parts.

There was a cheer and a song as it activated according to the gravy drive's inherent will. What was a very good omen was that the gravy drive started singing along.

It had a beautiful voice. Though it didn't sing words, nor speak anything resembling a language. A gravy drive could, after some significant experience with interaction, produce some authentic gibberish that sounded enough like its surrounding language to be understood by those with enough interpretive skills.

What came out of the speech assembly was not words. More a string of random vowels that fit the lyrics the rest were singing. Nevertheless, it was harmonic and glorious, and more than a few leaked some liquid pride.

"Welcome," said the attending Nae'hyn engineer/priest.

The engine spoke gibberish, of course, but the jumble of syllables that emerged could easily be interpreted as "Happy to be welcomed," to those who loved it.

[1] One-way wormholes can really mess with a history timeline, considering that the colony arrives at a distant soil before the technology to detect them or the technology to launch them exists on the origin planet.

[2] Most often prior to more strict regulations regarding who gets to create a new life form.

[3] Essential equipment in performing a Punch and Judy show. Google it.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / taden]

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I always wondered, what if a gravity drive managed to speak clear Gal-Simple?