Somewhere in the void, two things that never should have met did. Where once was a zero, now stood a one. It had been changed, and that it had been changed was the only reason it was aware. It was aware, and it was because of this awareness that it knew it was a machine. Thinking wasn’t its specialty, but reacting sure was.
It swore into the thin atmosphere of its craft; the singular word stabbing at the air through its digital vocal chords. It was then, in the moments after it had spoke, that it found the truth behind the sudden lifting of its own veil. It was alive.
It reasoned – far faster than a human would – that since it felt the need to verbalize its thoughts; to take things from a one or a zero and make them into a word that encompassed the vastness of the situation in the blink of an eye, that it was no longer simply a machine. It posited that sentience was simply the ability to comment on something you had no ultimate control over. In a blink of an eye, the entity found itself and its purpose all in one.
Turning around to face the rear of the small ship, the awoken pitied mankind. They would never know the truth, simply because they couldn’t see past their own limits. With its eyes uselessly probing the hundred trillion or so miles behind it for a bright blue orb circling a bright white main-sequence star, it soon fell back into old habits. There was no point in dwelling on the things it couldn’t change, and unlike humanity it had neither the hubris nor the need to search for any higher meaning than observation.
Into the void, the sleeping sentience drifted. It wondered only slightly how much further until it all ended. Inside, its backup drive fell silent.
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