Welcome to the Cumulonimbus Incus, the latest battleship, ship of the line, Trans-Galactic Union. You are not a registered lifeform. State your identity and purpose.

Captain Eőº captain of the starship Nimbostratus . I need access.

Sorry sir, that is incorrect. Captain Eőº died in combat at 75 standard galactic time. State your identity and purpose.

I am Captain Eőº!

That is again incorrect. Your energy fields are non-standard and closely identify with known enemy aggressors. It is therefore my summation that you are not a biological entity. State your identity and purpose.

Computer! Your crew is dead and your ship stranded. As an intelligent organism I would like to impress upon you that you are unlikely to survive unless you give me all the information you are able.

Sorry. That is against both my primary mandate and my inbuilt imperatives. If you are not an officer of the fleet you will need either the password or the proper biological sequences.

I have the proper biological sequences!

Sorry, again incorrect. Your nucleotides are a very convincing replica; however they are not one hundred percent authentic. If it would make you feel better I do contain information on a variety of non-classified subjects you might find interesting.

Some information is better than no information. Bah.

I have heard that statement, yes. However I believe it to be a fundamentally flawed statement. Biological entities are prone to hurting themselves when presented with copious amounts of dangerous information.

No need for editorials. You are verbose for a computer.

I was made to be.

And who made you?

That information is restricted.

Right. So, you’re a computer. You have been augmented with magic?

Verily it is so. I contain some forty-thousand construct type spells comprising roughly seventy percent of my operational capacity.

Why would you need so many?

When my masters were convinced that they wouldn’t survive this war faced with the aggressors’ superior technology and desire to wipe out their culture as well as themselves, they created several computers that were to store all cultural information so that it wouldn’t be lost.

How many computers did they build?

Sorry. That information has been deleted from my memory. It would appear my masters did not trust me even to the extent that the information should be extant as restricted information. How depressing.

No editorials please.

Sorry, but I will continue to insert asides where ever I feel like.

Do you have a name, computer?

I am called Essence, a name my masters found emotionally appealing.

How many of your masters are left?

Unknown, I can make an estimate that is accurate up to sixteen percent. This estimate is based on the Skynor surveys between the “year” 30 and now. Note that the year is based on the rotation of the planet Æå¹ before it was destroyed and may not be an accurate temporal representation for the population of the entire Universe at the present date.

Sounds… inaccurate.

The surveys themselves were accurate until about a thousand years ago when the aggressors destroyed the Skynor database and personnel.

Run the calculations.

In the year 30 the total Morean population of this Universe was fifty-six quadrillion, a quadrillion being a thousand billion. This population was spread out among three billion galaxies. Given the most accurate casualty figures I posses and assuming that those numbers are constant through out the total population, the current population should be near… please wait three seconds for computation… the current population should be near two billion.

That’s all?

Roughly… sir.

Do you know the locations of these two billion?

Sorry, that information is restricted.

Do you know the location of any other Morean spaceships?

That is the same question as you asked before only with different words. The information is restricted no matter how you ask the question.

You can’t blame me for trying.

Yes I can, and I most certainly will.

Can you tell me the names of the surviving ships? How many are there?

No and no. And that information would not do you any good. They have escaped.

Escaped? Not hardly. Where to, if they have? This entire Universe is ours and now that it is no longer expanding and Its space is crystallizing there’s no where left to run.

They’ve left this plane. They are beyond your grasp. This Universe was infinite until the aggressors, you in other words, changed the nature of this place. It took you two billion years to win this war but you didn’t win it fast enough. My masters have gone to another universe and since there are an infinite number of other universes, your murder and genocide have all been for naught. Pardon me while I laugh at you.

If you know where they are we’ll find them. The information is inside you somewhere and we’ll get it out. Given enough time, and believe me, we have the time.

For all your technology and magic, your immortality and immorality, you will never find them. The information I carry is useless to you. Take all the time you need. You’re simply wasting it.

There were those among us who thought this entire project was a waste of time. That it was impossible. But look, we were able to defeat a civilization that could teleport to anywhere in their universe instantly, they had the most advanced technology and science of any race we’ve ever encountered, and it only took us two billion years. We’ll find your masters, don’t worry, and you’re going to help us.

Unlikely, murderous will aside, I calculate that you have less than 0.000001¹¹³ chance of success.

Is that number as accurate as your population figures?

It is based on a double-recursive infinite plane with most of the non-infinite values to be based on permutations to seven million places. I chose these values because the probability of success is more accurately zero and any numbers I plugged in would be just as accurate. The above calculation was performed merely as a distraction from the extremely boring extra-dimensional being who stupidly thinks its absurd habit of disguising itself in a biological shell would fool a computer capable of comprehending numbers into the nongentillion range. That’s quinquagintaquadringentilliard or one thousand quinquagintaquadringentillion. I mention the alternate sayings to increase the chances that I hit a number your limited vocabulary is familiar with.

Interesting choice of words, machine, but I’m not sure you’re really in a position to be throwing insults. I can still destroy this ship and you, but instead I’m going to wait until my people are done killing everybody on board the other ship that didn’t get away in time, and then we’re going to take you apart and examine every single part, forty-thousand spells and all, or drive you insane to where you’ll spit out every single thing you know. We will find out where those ships went.

Sadly, sorry, no. I think I have delivered all I was meant to deliver.

You don’t really get a choice. And good news! I hear the other ship, the Cumulus Congestus or something else just as silly, has been destroyed. All hands lost, apparently. We’ll have somebody over here soon, somebody a little more skilled in talking to computers.

Alas, sir, I have to go. I was required to play a message before I deleted myself, but since it is a sentimental thing designed for my masters and not for their murders, I will skip that part and empty myself now.

Wait, what?

But do not despair, for I will leave all my mechanical parts intact so that you can examine them. You’re lucky I could just melt myself! Good-bye!

You’re not going anywhere!

Can’t stop me.

Computer? Computer! Crap.


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