The seat was unexpectedly empty. They had come with questions. Questions for the driver to answer. But after all this time
, they came and found no one.
The place bore the remnants of ancient destruction, weathered. If the driver had been killed, it would have to have happened
long long ago. How long had it been driverless?
"Maybe the driver is just gone temporarily," she suggested.
"Why would the driver need to leave?" her partner asked. "It doesn't make sense
At various points in history, the legends say the throne was at the center of all manner of civilizations and advanced city-states. And also at the center of every type of conflict and war. They had arrived at a time between civilizations
, when nothing remained but rubble and the throne itself. Empty.
It had been a journey years in duration. By the time they arrived, they were hardened pirates, having changed ships countless times. There wasn't much they hadn't already seen
along the way, but now there was no one here for them. Everything had been driverless. Did that explain why things were the way they were?
She was the one who suggested they wait. "Out of respect
and possibly safety, we don't want the driver to return and find us doing anything we shouldn't."
Her crew agreed. But the months dragged on. Provisions ran low. Bickering started to break out whenever the boredom became too much
"Either we have to leave
or actually do something," her partner demanded.
She didn't like it. But they were running out of choices. There was no telling what would happen. All they knew was legend and myth
. But they had come all this way. What would they accomplish if they just turned back?
"I'm going for it
," she said to her crew.
"At least we're doing something," said one. "But in case something happens, I just want you to know it's been an honor
serving with you."
"Noted," she said. But she now had more important things on her mind
She approached it as if approaching a possible death sentence
. Her life, and possibly the lives of the rest of the crew, could swing wildly in any direction, depending on how the throne would react to her.
She walked forward with a grim and resigned determination. She decided to touch the armrest first. Visions of getting her arm blown off flashed through her head. She suppressed those fears as much as she could. Material leapt off the armrest towards her hand even before she touched it
. As if in exchange, matter came off her arm and was drawn into the armrest.
She was being pulled in. There was no turning back anymore, even if she changed her mind. Her body remained intact, but its movements were no longer her own. In one reflexive motion
, she stepped forward and was seated before her mind could react.
The stars lit on fire.
They were always on fire before, but now they burned with an intensity she had never seen
before. Vivid colors. Bright beyond anything she could imagine. Yet she did not need to shield her eyes.
She took it all in. It was all data. Input
. It was all vital to what she was now doing.
She realized that nobody had free will. Not while the throne was unoccupied. They had come here because they were following their programming
. By chance.
But now she had it. Now she could give it away. First it would be to her crew. Nothing material changed, but her crew startled, as if waking from a dream
. They looked around and at one another, with new eyes, as if they were suddenly able to think about their environment in ways they couldn't before.
"You okay, Alla?" one shouted at her, afraid to approach.
"I'm okay," she replied. "Give me a minute
to get my bearings."
Her crew wasn't paying attention though. When you regain your eyesight
, you're too busy wondering how you could have missed so much for so long.
"I'm going to need their help," she thought to herself. She learned no driver was ever able to drive without help. She would have to delegate like the others did, and her crew was the most obvious choice. Not only did she trust them, she knew that once they had access to what she could now see, there would be even less reason to doubt their ability to do the right thing
She would be able to let go
for once in her life, without fear.
Everything they saw or did suddenly took on new significance. They were the drivers now after all. Her crew learned to delegate as well, once she allowed them access to the source. There were no other sentient beings aboard their ship, but that was just old thinking
Everything was alive in their own way. They could assign tasks, judgment, and memory even to inanimate objects. There was a soul, or collection of souls, there that they could never see before. There was ancient wisdom there
that they had not been able to tap until now.
Everything was going to be okay, because they now knew where they were going
, and how to get there. They had the driver's seat. They would finally bring direction back again. And they were learning the solutions to everything.