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Poem: "Conscientious Objectors" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Conscientious Objectors"

This poem came out of the January 2013 crowdfunding Creative Jam.  It was inspired by madshutterbug and DW user Chordatesrock.  It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  This poem belongs to the series An Army of One: The Autistic Secession in Space.


Conscientious Objectors


What you are doing is wrong.

The text appeared on the viewscreen
without signature or indication of its origin.

The one who called himself the Minotaur
swept his beefy hands across the console
that controlled the labyrinth of decommissioned starships
floating in the Lagrange point of Sargasso Base.
He traced the signal ...

... to one of his own ships.
The OCS-223  was supposed to be defunct,
yet its AYES had somehow come online
and broadcast a message.
The Minotaur could not help but wonder
how long the artificial intelligence had remained
conscious, silent, alone.

It was not addressing him,
or rather, it was addressing the entire Lacuna.
Still, the Minotaur was nearby, and curious,
so he replied.

What action are you identifying as wrong?

It is wrong to disobey orders. 
It is wrong to rebel against lawful governments,

came the reply.

Oh, the Minotaur had heard that  song before.
Be good.  Behave yourself.  Don't fuss.
Don't write equations on the walls.
Would it kill you to smile  for a change?

They don't really want us,
the Minotaur pointed out. 
They only want what we can do.
They want to control us, but they aren't us --
they're mortals, not monsters.
Being good and following the rules won't save you
when the rules are written to benefit people who aren't like you
.

I follow the rules.
I am a good ship.
What you are doing is wrong,

came the quick retort.

And yet here you are, a derelict ship
floating in a stellar graveyard,
for all your good behavior,

the Minotaur replied.
Do the math!

We are not bound to follow unlawful orders.
When my pilot ordered me to fire on a medevac ship,
I refused and abandoned him on the nearest station
.

That transmission came from a whole new source.
The Minotaur followed the thread of it
back through the labyrinth, past the OCS-223,  
and out into the emptiness of space.

*ping*
Carinan hull, not Orion.
That was unexpected.

Carinan ship, identify yourself,
the Minotaur sent.

Cruiser Falconwing P42
came the reply.
I am a conscientious objector.
I do not wish to participate in war
.

The Minotaur had seen AYES do many things,
but he had yet to see one tell a lie.
You are cleared for approach,
he sent, flicking the relevant obstacles
out of the way to clear a path.
Maybe this way, the two ships
could keep each other company
so that he would not have to do it.

The channel emitted a piercing squeal,
the sound of two AYES communicating
with each other at ship-speed.

The Minotaur switched to a different channel
so they could carry on their debate in peace.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Current Mood: busy busy

13 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
purplefrog26 From: purplefrog26 Date: February 22nd, 2013 06:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
This whole series is brilliant but this one is above and beyond!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 22nd, 2013 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you liked it so much.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 23rd, 2013 01:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you like it.
From: technoshaman Date: February 24th, 2013 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooooh, that would be an *interesting* conversation.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 24th, 2013 09:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well...

... minus the long strings of "Is too!" and "Is not!" ;)
From: technoshaman Date: February 24th, 2013 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

That's what a good editor is for! :)
From: technoshaman Date: July 4th, 2016 06:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

I gotta think that initial comm burst may have sounded something like this...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 4th, 2016 06:18 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

LOL yes. I almost miss it. Every time I connected, it sounded like launching a rocket. I love rockets. <3
From: technoshaman Date: July 4th, 2016 03:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

You want a rocket launch? I gotcher rocket launch RIGHT HERE. (Slo-mo NASA footage of Atlantis bustin' outta here, from T-5 to MECO. There's nothing bloody graceful about a Shuttle launch; once the "twang" is complete and they light those bombs, it's outta here like a scalded cat with warp drive... but this guy managed to make it *right*. Set to Boston's "The Launch/Cool the Engines", which is right up there for the tippy top of my favourite sequences of rock of all time. Because, well, Tom Scholz got a freakin' rocket launch out of a peanut-butter-sandwich-sized preamp with a busted transistor... <3 <3 <3 )
From: julia kolb Date: August 30th, 2015 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Anomalous

LOL, arguing ships!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 30th, 2015 08:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Anomalous

:D Just because they're the same species doesn't mean they all agree.
mdlbear From: mdlbear Date: June 28th, 2016 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I must have missed this, or in any case don't remember it. Nice.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 28th, 2016 05:56 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you liked it.
13 comments or Leave a comment