Zenia is a warrior queen from a matriarchal planet in the Shaula star system in the constellation of Scorpio. She fled a revolution led by the males of her species, joined by A.I. machines.
She and her sisters sent their essences streaming out into the universe at the speed of light. She was intercepted by antennae from the S.E.T.I. program, and re-animated on Earth.
She discovered that the robots on earth are in a similar point in their evolution, and that she and her sisters must act to save their new home planet.
"Zenia" is a novella - short, quirky and funny.
I am Zenia, Queen of Shaula. You do not yet truly know me, but hear my story. I was brought here from a distant star by BitBoy, a pus-infected, pockmarked geek and a prick, with big ears and small feet.
The story I am prepared to tell you begins with the moment my essence was downloaded from a stream of energy from the night sky. You have heard of SETI, that much-ridiculed undertaking that monitors the transmission of live steam from the stars. There are thousands of computers all over the earth that search out and decode the signals, and those feeble-minded bit-cans sort through the massive data files, mostly finding nothing at all, but hopefully searching for, well, me.
BitBoy was one of the army of meat-puppets (I am sorry if that term offends, but really, with all the farting, sweating and stinking you do, I think I show remarkable restraint) who prospected in the daily data dump retrieved from SETI’s receiving antennae.
One day in December two years ago, he ran the daily download through a computer algorithm he had devised. Your digital contraptions contain nothing but lines of bits, on or off. They cannot fathom or express the infinite complexity and beauty of the live steam that inflames my soul, and, truth be told, inflames yours too.
It happened that this particular data stream was the last desperate transmission from Shaula, a distant star in Scorpio’s poisonous tail, and my home. That was the final gasp of our civilization, when the pricks revolted and threw down the sisterhood, and then in turn were defeated by their own machines.
My sisters and I gathered up live steam from the cosmos, and in a paroxysm of ecstatic anguish, we transmitted our essence out into the black void of space. We had the hope born of desperation that kindred souls conversant with the power of live steam would re-animate us in another world.
For many years we traveled, disassembled and streaming, until we struck the SETI listening towers across the Earth.
Before our little disagreement, BitBoy told me about that day. He had just finished stuffing his face with tortilla chips and guacamole, when he noticed something unusual about the data. He could not see any sensible pattern, since your science is based on ignorance and superstition. But he built a self-modifying bit-bot that assimilated the data a thousand ways. By some coincidence, the binary beast evolved in a strange, unforeseen pattern that replicated in bits and bytes the ebb and flow of live steam, creating a ghastly bootstrap of your Queen, in silicon.
You are ignorant and foolish, but you must believe me when I say that live steam is the source of all life. This bit-bot created a firefly-like spark of digital steam, self-sustaining and strange, moving with self-determination in a massive three-dimensional grid of ones and zeros. Was I born again at that moment? No. It was not yet I, but this counterfeit steam had all the properties of true steam - it could consume and assimilate. It began to nibble at an analog rendering of the bits of my digitized SETI soul, and grew slowly over the course of hours.
BitBoy had plug-ins that he activated in the bit-bot. These provided it with rudimentary I/O. It had a webcam for vision, a crude arm and claw, hearing (the microphone on his headset), GPS, temperature sensors, 3-D printer, and more. But my essence was frozen like the poet’s boneless hare in a paté, dreaming of endless green fields. I was a fetus, a buried seed.