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Anno Domini 2150 - Chapter 2

by EthanHoover


As the ship gave its biggest lurch yet, accompanied by the roar of splashing water, Daniel was relieved to see that the engineers had, indeed, done their job quite well. The hull was intact, and, though he still felt the impact to the bone, his restraints held him dutifully in place.

As soon as the capsule stopped bobbing in the water, Daniel thought to N.E.R.O. to release him. After receiving affirmation of the command, Daniel felt his restraints go limp. A moment later, Joshua did the same.

"Softer landing than I had anticipated," he remarked, leaping from his restraints. The words surprised David again, suddenly hearing rather than perceiving. It struck him as odd just how quickly he could become accustomed to something he disliked.

"N.E.R.O., please open the viewport." The computer obeyed Daniel's command instantly, the protective panels sliding away to reveal a clear view of the water.

"You didn't have to speak that command," Joshua pointed out, "And you didn't have to say 'please,' either. N.E.R.O. is a computer; He couldn't care less about pleasantries. In fact, N.E.R.O. couldn't care at all."

Before responding, Daniel silently commanded N.E.R.O. to locate their location on the world map Verias had generated for them from the ship's sensors.

"I know that, factually, but I have a hard time actually believing it. N.E.R.O. just seems so human. Even you referred to him as a 'he.' He sounds like a human, and he has more than the intelligence of one. If N.E.R.O. had a body, you couldn't tell him from a man."

Joshua glanced over at Daniel, away from the viewport. "That's part of what worries me about him. He's too human. And what's more, he can have a body. Didn't you read the waiver you signed for the mission?"

Daniel thought back. He remembered the waiver, and he remembered disregarding it. He knew it released all responsibility for injury and death to him, and he knew it gave the government publicity rights to his name, but there was much more to it, and Daniel didn't really understand legal speak. He wasn't altogether certain what else it contained. He shrugged.

"Parts of it. Why?"

"Well, one of the stipulations was the installation of some new 'safety' software to your N.E.R.O. chip. That includes a feature that lets N.E.R.O. take control of your body if you fall unconscious in a dangerous situation."

Just as he finished talking, N.E.R.O. chimed in. "I have confirmed our location on the world map. And I would like to assure you that I would never assume control over either of you unless your lives were in immediate and serious danger."

A holographic globe appeared in the center of the capsule. A bright red dot marked their location in one of the inland seas. Daniel furrowed his brow, now more concerned with the map than with N.E.R.O.'s humanity.

"Wait. Weren't we supposed to land in the ocean?"

"That is correct, Daniel. Our original destination was indeed off the western coast of this continent. However, I deemed this a better location."

Joshua looked to the ceiling, as if to face N.E.R.O. "What do you mean by 'better?'"

"Several things, Joshua. For one, safety. The waters of Genesis are far shallower than those of Earth because the poles remain unfrozen. Due to this, the probability of hitting an uncharted reef was quite uncertain.

"In addition, it was more direct. Our mission is to determine what kind of life, if any, resides on this world, is it not?"

It was Joshua's turn to furrow his brow. "I suppose it is. But how-"

"Please, Joshua, let me finish. As we were descending, I saw signs of civilisation on the edge of this sea. Therefore, I made the executive decision-"

Joshua's demeanor was now edging on hostility. "Executive? Who gave you the authority to make executive decisions?"

"Why, General Verias did, friend Joshua. When he made me the mission leader."


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Sun Jul 05, 2020 11:25 am
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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

I feel ashamed. I only realized in this chapter that this was set in 2150 A.D. and that you actually have that mentioned in the title. For someone who looks at detailed theories in stories I pay zero attention to the titles.

First Impression: Looks like the computer's role model is HAL-9000. Anyway pretty interesting system you have there. This story sounds really interesting so far.

Anyway let us begin nitpicking,

As the ship gave its biggest lurch yet, accompanied by the roar of splashing water, Daniel was relieved to see that the engineers had, indeed, done their job quite well. The hull was intact, and, though he still felt the impact to the bone, his restraints held him dutifully in place.


So they have no control whatsoever over this ship?

"You didn't have to speak that command," Joshua pointed out, "And you didn't have to say 'please,' either. N.E.R.O. is a computer; He couldn't care less about pleasantries. In fact, N.E.R.O. couldn't care at all."


Well that's a big question these days actually. I personally say please to Hydra(my personal AI) all the time. This incidentally is also a good way to develop Joshua's character which is of course very much welcome.

Joshua glanced over at Daniel, away from the viewport. "That's part of what worries me about him. He's too human. And what's more, he can have a body. Didn't you read the waiver you signed for the mission?"


Very irresponsible of him not to real the waiver with legal counsel and no what sort of thing he's getting into. I never read those things either.

"Well, one of the stipulations was the installation of some new 'safety' software to your N.E.R.O. chip. That includes a feature that lets N.E.R.O. take control of your body if you fall unconscious in a dangerous situation."


So is this N.E.R.O in each of their heads and the ship itself? Or is just their heads? If it's only the heads why did Daniel randomly talk out loud when he himself said that he was used to talking to it inside his head.

A holographic globe appeared in the center of the capsule. A bright red dot marked their location in one of the inland seas. Daniel furrowed his brow, now more concerned with the map than with N.E.R.O.'s humanity.


So they had no way of knowing where they were landing? Seems like a very bad system there.

"Several things, Joshua. For one, safety. The waters of Genesis are far shallower than those of Earth because the poles remain unfrozen. Due to this, the probability of hitting an uncharted reef was quite uncertain.


And this whole possibility was never considered earlier when they made the decision to land in the ocean?

"Why, General Verias did, friend Joshua. When he made me the mission leader."


I guess all the science fiction books got burned or something or General Verias would know that this was an extremely bad idea.

And that's it.

Overall: This is sounding like a really good story. The personalities are still only barely established but there are signs of development which is good. The plot is well...uhh...still in its infancy so no comments on that yet. The idea is great though.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




EthanHoover says...


Thanks again, Harry! Great feedback as always.



HarryHardy says...


Your Welcome!!



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Wed May 27, 2020 10:08 pm
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Que wrote a review...



Back again! :)

Same reaction as Tenyo this chapter: uhhh oh!

Daniel silently commanded N.E.R.O. to locate their location on the world map Verias had generated for them from the ship's sensors.

Hm, so I'm wondering just how far N.E.R.O. goes. Daniel can command it from his mind, but can N.E.R.O. actually read Daniel's thoughts, all the time?? That seems pretty concerning!

Even you referred to him as a 'he.'

It is a little disconcerting that it's a 'he' and not 'it,' but I think that's what you're going for?

"Wait. Weren't we supposed to land in the ocean?"

"That is correct, Daniel. Our original destination was indeed off the western coast of this continent. However, I deemed this a better location."

Joshua looked to the ceiling, as if to face N.E.R.O. "What do you mean by 'better?'"

"Several things, Joshua. For one, safety. The waters of Genesis are far shallower than those of Earth because the poles remain unfrozen. Due to this, the probability of hitting an uncharted reef was quite uncertain.

A few things here, just a little bit more on the technical side. An... inland ocean? I'm not really sure how that's much different than the exterior ocean, so why there? Also, the poles remain frozen, right? Rather than unfrozen? That might've been a mistype, but didn't quite make sense to me.

Okay, so the really technical bit is about where they landed. If it's not an inland ocean, is it shallower than the outer ocean? It seems like it would be a smaller area at least and maybe it would be better to take chances with the ocean, coral reef or no. Even if N.E.R.O.'s got something weird going on, he clearly didn't want to kill the humans right off because otherwise they could've crashed into land. Anyway, just curious why this choice was made. I guess we'll find out soon...

"Please, Joshua, let me finish. As we were descending, I saw signs of civilisation on the edge of this sea. Therefore, I made the executive decision-"

in-flight decision = not good. Suspicious!

"Why, General Verias did, friend Joshua. When he made me the mission leader."

Interesting. I'm very suspicious, but assuming that General Verias really did this for good reasons and such, why not tell Daniel and Joshua? (also "friend Joshua" is incredibly creepy, love it) Does General Verias have any way of communicating with Joshua and Daniel? Because he probably should, to coordinate coming/leaving, and any reports they make because this seems like a scouting thing. And if he does, Joshua and Daniel should probably let him know about this strange behavior. Just something to think about.

Nice chapter! There's already some plot thickening and peculiar things going on. I wonder what will happen when they explore the possible signs of life...? Very good job of making N.E.R.O. extremely concerning in this chapter. :)

-Q




EthanHoover says...


Wow, another quality review! Thanks!

Yeah, I was definitely going for disconcerting. I want N.E.R.O. to feel a bit too human. And as for whether he can read Daniel's mind or not, Daniel doesn't know that for sure yet either.

And yeah, whoops, the poles are frozen. I think I meant unMELTED. And yeah, his logic here is sketchy. Honestly neither the ocean nor the inland sea was particularly dangerous. I think when I go back through to do the suggested Daniel fleshing, I'll add a line about how it didn't really make sense, but N.E.R.O. must know what he's talking about, right?

As for why he didn't tell Joshua face-to-face, well, that's Verias for you. He hates conflict, and if it will avoid a fight, Verias will do it. And no, they don't have any communication between the ship and the exploration party, but I decided that for plot reasons, and I don't know if it's realistic to say that by 2150 we don't have a cell phone good enough to reliably transmit that kind of distance. Maybe I should amend.

So thank you again! Your reviews are really awesome and always helpful. They're very much appreciated.



Que says...


I'm happy to help! :) You seem to have pretty good explanations in mind for everything, as long as that comes across well in your writing, you're pretty well set. <3



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Wed May 27, 2020 6:21 pm
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Tenyo wrote a review...



Oh no. Oh no!

When I read about that feature of N.E.R.O my first thought was 'well, that's going to become problematic at some point, it's a good thing the humans are in control of the mission so they can at least avoid that happening.' But nope. Not anymore!

It's even creepier that he said 'friend Joshua' after Joshua making a point to establish that N.E.R.O isn't human. The fact that they didn't know is so suspicious, and I have to wonder if there was a post-it they simply forgot to read or if they were lied to on purpose.

I figured that they would find something ominous when they landed, but I didn't think it would be the thing they brought with them.

It would be good at this point to show a bit more of a difference in body language and vocal pattern between the Joshua and Daniel, just to make them a bit more distinct and bring the characters to life a bit more.




EthanHoover says...


Thanks for another review, Tenyo! I'm glad you liked it. Yeah, I definately want to flesh out the characters a lot more. Joshua is shaping up nicely, but I feel like Daniel might be "too good", so we'll see how that goes. Anyway, thank you again!




No person can be a great leader unless he takes genuine joy in the successes of those under him.
— W. A. Nance