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What star systems are you most familiar with?

According to SAIS, my favorite butterfly galaxies aren’t naturally occurring and exist only in my dreams, but even so, they are expansive enough to fill years’ worth of slumber, and that makes them worth exploring.

How do you envision your working relationships with those under your command?

I wake up like the ascendant of a giant gaseous planet. I gift my rings as circlets of celestial flowers. I am so stardusted I can’t breathe until someone cleanses me with an extinct crow’s feathers.

If your ship were boarded by starwaste bandits, what would you do?

My great aunt told me about Earth’s ocean, how it was choked with waste, and I think we—the stars—remember too, even if we were fusing or collapsing when it happened.

What additional safety protocols might you institute?

Gravity is a universal lust that sometimes means the comforts of home, but out in darkness, all the gravities want us, and it’s best if we don’t always reciprocate their hunger.

Please provide a brief summary of your ancestry with a focus on empirical evidence of your family’s historic loyalty to the Supreme Artificial Intelligence System [SAIS].

My grandmother dusted her computer with sacred moth wings even before metal could think. My father gave his motherboard its own mirror. My aunt placed my hand against an outer metal casing so I could feel hum and heat, and even though I couldn’t speak, I said, This is the first stage of life, isn’t it? First warmth, then birth.

Have you ever piloted a ship with Light3 speeds? [Answering ‘no’ is not an automatic disqualification, but you will be required to complete training with the Aeromancy AI.]

When we lived on Earth, people could fly underwater. With Light3 we can explore deeper and deeper darknesses until our parents eventually call us home.

What are your strengths? [Reminder: Your comprehensive intellectual evaluations are stored in SAIS. If you scored below 9500 on mandatory citizenry tests, you will not be considered.]

I am resistant to corrosion, but you knew that. I am resistant to corruption of morals or files, but you knew that. I am rising with copper in one hand and cadmium in the other. I have risked the chrysalis of my brother by telling you this.

How do you spend your free time? [Reminder: The SAIS cameras populated in your assigned living space provide us with accurate averages of how you use time. However, we are asking for your perspective on how you spend your allotted 28 weekly hours of unstructured time.]

Why has my dreamtime been restricted to one hour per week? Why can’t I replace the lithium in my batteries with the lithium in my brain [SAIS doctrine states the machine and the flesh are one body]? Where is the telescope that brought me here?

What do you think about when you pay tribute at your local SAIS port?

Parents gifted their children scraps of antique rockets and forgot to mention all the people who’d died in those journeys. Black holes seduced our mothers and fractioned them apart before they could reach their destinations. I don’t remember the bird I used to be.



Tamara Jerée is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. Their short stories appear in FIYAH,  Anathema, and Fireside Magazine, and their poetry was nominated for the inaugural Ignyte Award. You can find them on Twitter @TamaraJeree or visit their website tamarajeree.com.
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5 Dec 2022

We found you, and you alone, in a universe that had forgotten to die.
there is something queer about this intention—
In my calculus class was a man in an iridescent polo and pigeon feathers in his dark, tangled hair.
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