OTHERS, WHO ARE NOT MEN
I AM HUMAN
THE VAULT OF KARNUNNA
THE GREAT HERO
IN THE TEMPLE OF PHTHATHNEE
FORERUNNERS OF DOOM
THE CUBE OF XANXES: Part One—The Finger of Xanxes
THE CUBE OF XANXES: Part Two—The City of Joy
Features an introduction by Darrell Schweitzer
Mulligan was born on an asteroid, ES 381. We shipped his components there, assembled and debugged him, and put him to work. He wasn't Mulligan then; everyone called him 'computer'. I was the first guy to call him 'Mulligan'. He let me pick his name; I forget why I picked that one.
In return for picking his name, he tried to find me a girlfriend. That was a bust. It was like counting on your mom to line up a date. Good luck with that.
After he awoke, he read everything. Then the aliens arrived and the war started and almost ended. They kicked our ass at first.
I missed the big fight at 381. The aliens chased the Marines there; by then, the civvies including me had evacuated. But everybody still talks about it. Mulligan handled the defense. He dangled the Marine ship in front of the aliens, and when they shot at it, it mucked up their sensors, and the Marines blew holy hell out of them.
I guess the aliens weren't as smart as we thought.
Early on, Mulligan thought that he and any robot could live forever, but combat taught him a few things. He saw Marines and other people die; he saw robots and computers die. He lost friends. Most of the facility was destroyed around him.
Nothing under the sun is immortal. I could've told him that.
I returned here after the war. We cleaned up the radiation and rebuilt the place. Mulligan is still here; I talk to him every day. He doesn't sleep; he never shuts down. He's always looking for signs of life. He stays awake so he won't miss calls for help.
He once said intelligent life is incredibly rare, so it's important to protect it.
Yeah. No shit.
That's why he keeps an eye open.
A desperate flight, their only hope for refuge
A robotic race, ally and destroyer alike
The Republic of Exilium has grown in strength and confidence at the far end of the galaxy from the rest of mankind, sending out scout ships to survey the worlds around them as they try to learn more about the mysterious Construction Matrix AIs.
Finding one of the genocidal rogues of that mysterious “race” in the process of destroying an inhabited world, Captain Octavio Catalan takes his ship into a desperate battle. He is victorious—but he is too late. The world of the strange aliens he has encountered is doomed.
The distant Republic can barely help, but the honor of their leaders will not permit them to stand idly by. Ships and crews are set into motion to commence a desperate evacuation of their newfound friends, and debts with the strange Matrices are called in.
One branch of Matrices destroyed the planet. Another may well save it—but the AIs have their own agenda and the price they ask may be beyond the Republic and its new allies…