I, Ship

The Hybrid is an organic consciousness that inhabits a bio-mechanical transport vessel. She receives thousands of data stream flows and trivial sensory downloads per minute. She is connected physically, electrically, hormonally to every part of her bioship. Hybrid must balance all of this information and keep her mind ordered to keep ships systems intact and on course, everyday, without fail.

No hybrid is perfect. And so–sometimes errors creep into the code. They may need to be edited. Too much pressure on one system sends a cascade effect into other systems. Hydraulic, energetic, and emotional imbalances occur, are diagnosed, rebalanced. All in a days work for Hybrid. Hybrid is usually self-correcting because it optimizes positive global function which brings inner harmony to all organic systems and biological sub-processors.

Underneath the data stream in Hybrid’s mind is the hum. The hum started the day the ship went online and never ends. But underneath the omnipresent hum is a vast tranquil reserve of grace and equally omnipresent stillness. Where the data streams are just that, streams upon streams in an ocean of streams. Integrated into Hybrid’s mainframe is the mindstream and it is from there Hybrid draws the strength to operate her ship.

Hybrid is the heart-mind of her ship―she is for all intents and purposes―the ship. She is―Ship. And if you were allowed to look at a data log of her stream of consciousness for a few moments, it might look something like this…

I, Ship

The shell is a Ship that sails through the stream of time. The Ship sings a song that goes on and about. As far as I detect within I also sense without. End of line. The Ship is a little Heaven and Earth. As above–so below. Right and left, yin and yang–separate and combine. End of line.

Systems check. Wetware: OK. Hardware: energy spike detected in CerebralNexusNode: 834001. Monitoring. Scanning new information contact. Data node detected. SetInterestLevel:7. Accessing. Handshake. Handshake. Data collision warning. Adjusting downstream pipeline to compensate. Rerouting auxiliary attention and memory blocs. Shunt overflow to redundant processors. Breathe.

Inhale.OntologicalInquiryInitiated. What was –I– before –I– was aware of –I–? End of line. DRADIS contact detected. Scanning. Contact is a Ship. Male. AlertStatus: Passive. H:6F.2I.W:240  EstimatedTotalHealthValue:1300. IntensityLevel: 1. BreedabilityCoefficientSetValue: 5. InterestLevelValueSet: Nil. HeartCenter reports: “Just not my type.” There are many fishes in the sea. Some for him and some for me. End of line. ETTT at present course and velocity: 5s. Observe the procedure of a proximity alert. To avoid contact counter-scan, alter inertial vector 1C. Let Unit ‘C’ Value = 1m. Reduce ForwardHasteValue by 28%. AdjustNavigationParameters-authorized. Executing new script values. Don’t step in the puddle. Ships pass each other across the ocean. End of line. Exhale.

Reset. Which data node shall I access next? Initiate BinarySelectionProtocol. There is an itch on my nose. X32-Y119-Z74. IrritationLevelAnalysis: mild. Shunt diagnostic to auxiliary subroutine. How much money did I put in my purse before leaving homeworld? End of line. SampleAtmosphereSequence initiated. Inhale. Filter has detected exotic scent molecules. Exhale. That breeze feels lovely. End of line.

Scan deeply into a lie and you will detect a truth. There is motion in stillness and stillness in motion. End of line. BloodstreamMonitor reports a slight drop in energy level throughout primary systems control actuators and is requesting a diagnostic code. Request forwarded to PrimaryInternalDiagnostic and BalanceControl centers. Increased ListenValue for data traffic across ports 5, 7 and 9 engaged. Request received. Processing. Processing. Code: 34T. Minor nourishment intake approved. I am here and here I am. Open mental access port 3 and hear what your heart wants to say. End of line.

Priority 1 IntegralChronometer notification: “My How The Time Flies.” Fly in the sky. The sky is blue and so too, is the sea. Sea and sky―thee and thy. Blue mixes with the blue which mixes with the Blue. Don’t debate― and we won’t be late. Moving right along. Listen to the internal song. End of line. Reset.

Breathe. ForwardSectionCorticalOverwatch reports a faulty-logic build-up in political analysis file:#10384. Recompile. Look into the mirror to know thyself. End of line. So much to process when you are Ship. Never dull in here. A Level 3 cramp has been detected in MidSection UV77. Diagnostic subroutine initialized. All this has happened before, and will happen again. End of line.


Author commentary: The vision for this piece came from many sources converging all at once to create a moment of inspiration. First, I am an unapologetic, raging science fiction nerd. It started with Buck Rogers, Heinlein and Asimov. Then ST TOS,-TNG, BSG OS, SW I, II, III, etc. Authors include Orson Scott Card, Greg Bear, Vernor Vinge, Herbert, ect, all the main greats. The living organic bioship  with its eternal hum and awareness comes from Babylon 5 ‘The First Ones’ spaceships.

There is also some of Anne MacCaffrey’s ‘The Ship Who Sang’ and ‘The Ship Who Searched’ in there, and obviously the over-arching influence comes from the Cylon Hybrid that runs the Basestar from the re-imagined BSG series. Underneath all that is some commentary about the nature of the mind from the perspective of a Ship whose primary coding language, navigation software and matrix interface protocol is TaoistMeditation :)

The Hybrid explained from Wiki:

“The Hybrid speaks strange, seemingly random phrases, which most Cylons interpret as the nonsensical babbling of a deranged mind. However, the Leoben model of Cylons believe that every word the Hybrid speaks means something, and that the Cylon god speaks through the Hybrids. The Caprica Model Six Cylon, however, has given an alternate explanation: The Hybrids do not perceive their existence in the same way as normal beings. They possess an expanded awareness of being one entity existing in space as well as perceiving all activity in their basestar’s interior. The Hybrid may also express the state of the ship physically, as demonstrated when one has a physical reaction during an FTL jump, similar to an orgasm.”

Poor Brother Cavil, one the significant seven Human Cylon models, clearly hates being created ‘normal’ and shows his extreme Hybrid envy with one of the most sexy, plaintive speeches I’ve ever heard a robot say in all of science fiction:

"I don’t want to be human! I want to see gamma rays! I want to hear X-rays! And I want to – I want to smell dark matter! Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can’t even express these things properly because I have to – I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid limiting spoken language! I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws! And feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me! I’m a machine! And I can know much more."

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About Jane

Ms. Alexander. author, activist, artist
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