Author's Note - This is honestly my first stab at science fiction. I'm writing it kinda haphazardly and giving it a shot. Fantasy tends to be more my style so perhaps it's better to consider this science-fantasy than science-fiction. Regardless, I don't have any illustrious goals for this story. Just to write and see where it takes me. So this hasn't been extensively edited. Apologies in advance.

Chapter 1

"Dr. Jemison…the Board has decided that your research is to be terminated and discontinued."

"What? That's impossible! They promised additional funding just last week…What new concerns could they possibly have?"

"I believe you understand very well what their concerns must be. Your project is too advanced. Too life like. There are too many risks involved. What if it malfunctions and needs to be repaired but views this as an attack?"

"What do we do when humans malfunction General Whyatt? We help them. We give them the tools and resources to help themselves grow, recover and heal."

"Dr. Jemison we're not talking about a human. We're talking about a machine. A robotic AI that's so advanced that it's dangerous!"

"He's not going to hurt anyone! He just wants to exist like anyone else!"

"A machine does not need to desire existing! A machine simply needs to fulfill its duty without question. Giving it the ability to question gives it the ability to rebel against us and hurt people."

"You say this as though you know you're going to give him reasons to rebel….so you'd rather destroy him than give him the freedom of choice that he deserves."

"It's not a 'he' Dr. Jemison. It's an 'it'. And it doesn't matter how much you argue. The decision has been made. You have an hour to turn over all your research materials as well as the robot."

The space craft hummed noisily as it prepared for its departure from the planet's surface, engines testing themselves with powerful whirs. The ship, dubbed the AIG Guardian, was a government vessel in charge of visiting the planets on the mid-14th quadrant of the galaxy. The human species had branched off into space 432 years prior after making contact with the small amounts of space life they had found. Over the years that had come to connect 8 solar systems into a connected system.

Human beings were considered, by many, to be an amazing species. Short lifespans were corrected with amazing breeding abilities and resilience. Broken bones could heal, they could even survive after brain injuries. Their saliva contained incredible bacteria that did not seem to harm them as hosts, even more dangerous bacteria existed within their bodies. The human stomach housed powerful acid and it was lucky that evolution had not equipped them to use it as a weapon via expulsion. Human beings could survive in a range of temperatures, needing only layers of specialized cloth to protect themselves as their bodies could regulate their own temperature. They could breathe several mixtures of air with success so long as there were levels of oxygen. After all oxygen had only made up 20% of their home planet's atmosphere. Beyond that though human beings had an amazing ability to empathize with others. They were intelligent, patient and willing to learn. They made friends with dangerous species rather easily and while there were sometimes violent collisions they usually ended up with more friends than anything else. They could be a little difficult to deal with emotionally but on the whole were a generous bunch that fit in quite well. As of present day they had located some forms of alien life but were currently the dominant power in the connected solar systems.

They'd integrated into several planets and this vessel was in charge of visiting those planets and checking to ensure that race and species relations on the planet surface were continuing amicably. Small territorial wars and disagreements were always breaking out and it was the Earth League that promised to keep a reign on human activities. This particular observation ship belonged to the Royal Ainov Military Fleet. The Ainov Empire was part of the larger League of Planets and Planetoids and it was one of the more advanced political organizations in this general area of the galaxy. Ainov was the name of the first human vessel that had come to reside on Planet-71C after human beings had stretched out into space a few centuries ago. They had a strict policy of settling on planets and integrating with the locals if possible. They were strict in supporting involvement but not control over the nations, cultures and groups they met.

Captain Valent Piscopo stood in the main brig, a decorated man who would proudly oversee this mission. It was unlikely anything would go wrong. After all, this planet had always been peaceful. The locals The AIG Guardian was still several kilometers from exiting the atmosphere of Traotis, a moderate sized planet that was part of the outer Ainov's Empire. It was independent but relied on the Ainov military for protection as the local population had not developed space travel independently. It was populated by mostly native Traotins with small pockets of Earthlings as they had stretched to basically every planet they touched. Nothing had been wrong and it was now time to leave.

Code 33. Code 33. Unidentified passenger Section 12. Code 33.

The female voice that was heard over the communications system was robotic in tone. There weren`t organic lifeforms that did that sort of thing anymore. Regular screening for lifeforms aboard a ship, among other mundane tasks, were handled by the Artificial Intelligence system. The system for the AIG Guardian was one of the most advanced systems in the Ainov military. The Superior Reconnaissance and Navigation Engine, shortened to SRNE and pronounced as 'Sureen', was one of the treasures of this ship and she knew everything that went on within the realm of the Guardian. There were dozens of different AI systems for security purposes and also to perform different functions. SRNE was advanced and had benefited the ship well throughout its journeys. She was now warning that something had entered the ship.

But that was impossible. How could someone have boarded the ship without opening any of the main entry doors? Even if they had that would have meant entering through the vastness of space. There had been a small blip for a fraction of a passing ship but it had not docked and it was likely simply a ship leaving the atmosphere they were about to enter. It had been a small single person vessel as well and it had kept moving…a ship couldn't do that without a pilot. Furthermore, SRNE was reliable. Nothing could have hidden from her up until this point. Something was wrong.

Said intruder was now lying on the ground of Section 12. Disoriented he started to push himself to his feet, his vision beginning to right itself. He glanced behind himself and then forward. He was somewhere near the landing gear. That made sense as his ship had torn off the cover for the landing gear and he`d managed to crawl in through there and make it through an air lock. Somehow. It was always super disorienting to make it through the emptiness of space.

"Stay where you are!" a voice warned. It was trembling.

The man on the floor looked over and was greeted with the sight of a young military officer. Likely a cadet of some sort. He was young, humanoid and likely Earthling in origin. It was sometimes hard to tell because Earthlings could vary so differently in appearance these days. For some reason their flexibility of genetics had allowed for some interbreeding with some other humanoid species and that had made things even more confusing.

For the record the intruder looked humanoid as well. But there was something…off about him. His skin was pale, but too pale…bordering on white. His hair looked natural enough on his head, a messy mass of black that was cropped rather short. There was a charming look to his face with an attractive smile and high cheekbones, but his eyes were an unnatural violet shade. Moreso than that were his facial movements…those were what really keyed the cadet into what was obvious. His face moved in mimicry of human expression but there was something off about it. It was almost natural but there was a fraction that wasn't. And any organic human could see it. That uncanny and obvious fact that this man wasn't fully human.

It made sense as he had also gotten into a ship without any protective suit or helmet.

The cadet held his blaster a fraction higher as the man pushed himself up to his feet. "Stay where you are!" he shouted again, "Identify yourself. Reinforcements are on their way. Who do you work for?"

"Work for?" the intruder asked, cocking his head to the side almost playfully. "I don't work for anyone kid. Just myself."

"But you're…obviously robotic…" the cadet stammered, gun faltering a bit until the man stepped forward. At that moment he lifted it accusingly high again. "Are you a rogue AI or are you a cyborg. Identify."

"Goodness…" the man said with a forlorn look to his face, "Those are my only options?" A light tremor beneath their feet. The ship had begun to enter the atmosphere. Things were about to get rougher. A smile touched the robot's face. It was weird. Too organic. The cadet's gun wavered again. Maybe he had been wrong. Robots didn't do things this way. They were logical machines. They didn't have conversations. Therefore he had to be a cyborg…but why wouldn't he simply identify himself?

The gun faltered again and this time the other man did not let the moment go to waste. He moved forward with confident speed that the young cadet simply couldn't account for. A powerful grip took the barrel of the weapon, hoisting the gun skyward where it fired into the ceiling of the hallway. The robotic male then hooked a foot behind the cadet's ankles and sent him tumbling to the ground. He released the gun much like any amateur would as he tumbled down. Though who in their right mind would grab a gun by the barrel as it fired? The heat would sear a hand, burning the palm terribly.

The standing man's hand was indeed smoking but he didn't seem phased. After all, while he did have pain sensors he could easily turn them off and he'd done just that before lunging forward. He waggled a finger at the youth on the ground. "That's dangerous," he commented as he glanced up at the smoking ceiling. "What if you accidentally damaged something important."

He crouched down and gave the other a smile, "Wh-what are you going to do?" the cadet asked, terrified in this position. Robots had superior strength to humans and a rouge one could easily punch a hole straight through his body if it so desired.

"It's sleeping time friend," the robot answered. He lowered a hand and all it took was a powerful flick of his finger to the young man's temple and he flopped into unconsciousness.

The robotic man straightened again, looking down at his hand he examined the gun within it. Sirens were still sounding overhead and there were a few warning lights flashing. He wasn't surprised with the excellent ability to this AI system to recognize an intruder but he was a little disappointed that he was being given so little time.

Best to get to work.