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Binata Complex

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The crew of the Binata Colony Ship was well aware of the possibility that they would fall victim to the Belated History Effect--that by the time they approached their destination, space travel technology would have improved so much that ships launched later would arrive first. Still, the idea of taking the earliest human voyage to reach another habitable planet from Earth made the risk acceptable, even if none of the original crew members lived to see it (the ship was designed to hold multiple generations of inhabitants). But according to the Binata Complex itself, severe meteorite damage sustained in Benthic Space very nearly prevented any of the crew from reaching its destination at Kappa Ceti. Much of the ship lost atmosphere, and the surviving eleven crew members were trapped in a small internal chamber.

Working with only a few days of oxygen, surrounded by the inner workings of the ship's highly experimental crystal-matrix AI and armed with some of the most powerful scientific minds of their generation, the crew of the Binata chose a cold kind of life over death by suffocation. They accelerated the growth process of the crystal beyond safety parameters, and it quickly filled the chamber--simply growing through and assimilating the nerve structure of each human it encountered.

The shipboard AI and the minds of the crew fused, generating a new collective intelligence that was able to subsist on starlight. The Binata Complex was born.

At least, that's how the Binata Complex claimed it happened, when it limped into port at Kappa Ceti nearly a thousand years later. By that time, faster ships had long since leapfrogged it, and the [Eastern Rim Consortium]? was growing in power, but no one had ever seen an entity like the Complex. Attempts to verify its origin story by direct investigation were met with polite refusal, followed shortly by massive retaliation; the Complex had hundreds of years to assimilate micrometeorite matter into its growing crystal lattice, and it had developed some unique and deadly weaponry.

With more raw material available to it, the Binata Complex was soon repaired and enhanced, capable of modern-speed spaceflight; it gained powerful influence as an interstellar courier and occasional ambassador, with its effective immortality and vast knowledge serving it more formidably than any weapon. Its second disappearance, just after the Kelvodian Exile, was suspiciously convenient for certain parties jockeying for influence--though it is unknown if any single power at the time could have actually destroyed the Complex. It has never reappeared since.

One of the many odd footnotes in the Complex's existence is the matter of the time and place where its host, the Binata Colony Ship, had its disastrous meteorite encounter, and where the subsequent genesis of its collective sentience took place. Working entirely independently, Alexander Ducant and [Xerxes Smith]? both pinpointed almost exactly the same set of space-time coordinates. Smith was working with data furtively scanned from the Complex, astronomical surveys and ancient historical records; Ducant used only the predictions of the Bifurcative Spacetime Strategy Theory.

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Edited September 27, 2004 7:21 am by 12-220-213-168.client.insightbb.com (diff)