Chapter 1 – The Beginning of It All
As the controller’s command reverberated through the speakers at the spacecraft launch site, countless people chanted.
The white vapors flowing from the body of the spacecraft felt like snorts demanding, “Let me go quickly!”
Since the Soviet Union’s Sputnik in 1957, mankind has launched countless objects into space.
However, nothing would have been as meaningful to human history as this spacecraft. Maybe in the future
The destination of this spacecraft is Mars orbit.
It’s not about landing on Mars.
Because something more valuable than Mars itself has been discovered in orbit.
It appeared out of nowhere one day.
There were numerous voices of concern, but it was enforced for various political reasons.
The controller’s order to fire was barely audible, drowned out by thunderous applause and cheers.
[Finally departed! Viewers, are you watching? Today will be the day when the history of space exploration is rewritten.]
A Korean reporter who relayed the news locally reported with excitement.
After showing a spaceship rising into the sky for a while, the screen changed to an interview with an elderly white man.
He broadcasts broadcasts from abroad with real-time subtitles attached, and the name tag he wore around his neck read “Director of NASA.”
[Going to Mars will be an arduous and dangerous journey. The reason this was possible was because all of humanity joined forces beyond borders. Let us all unite and cheer until the end of this glorious journey.]
After that, it ended with a few more words, but there was not much talk about the Mars exploration, and it was full of thanks and praise for the cooperation of each country.
He was speaking more like a politician than a NASA director, but no one pointed it out.
This is because the Mars Orbit Project became an opportunity for countries to calm their excitement and join hands while the international situation was getting tough enough to say that World War III was imminent.
The spaceship soaring toward the sky was receiving both the anticipation of encountering the unknown and the relief of having avoided the greatest danger.
The screen changed again and a picture of Mars was transmitted. To be precise, a huge black object stationary in Mars orbit.
It was a spaceship. A majestic figure that cannot be considered man-made.
It did not move, not a single light leaked out, and did not respond to any signals from Earth.
There was only one, the distress signal from the ship.
[Humanity is no longer alone.]
The interview ended with those words, and the image of the shuttle flying to the other side of the dark universe was shown.
“I shouldn’t have done that, but we didn’t know the truth ♪”
I looked at the piece of pork cutlet on the fork while humming.
Take a bite of the crispy fried sirloin pork cutlet, and the material heaven unfolds.
It’s okay to eat alone, but I don’t like eating in silence, so I always leave the TV on.
It’s a world where neither broadcasting stations nor celebrities exist, so I just watch the videos recorded in the past.
That spaceship departure scene, which was the beginning of all events, is my regular video.
There are some things that are suitable for swearing out of anger, but it is because you can hear the voices of many people full of hope.
In today’s world, people’s voices are precious. If the voice does not contain despair, it is more precious, and if it contains hope, it can be said that there is no case at all.
That’s why I can’t stop watching such a video.
[The spaceship will soon reach geostationary orbit. It will then resupply from the space station and head for the moon. Swing-by the moon and the earth in turn…]
When you lift a fork and look at the cross section, thick cultured meat catches your eye.
It may sound like a low-quality product that is not as good as real meat raised because it is cultured meat, but that is not true.
Look at the texture of this meat, which is meticulously embroidered with fat and protein, as if machines were performing surgical operations (cultured meat machines have actually been partially used in burn skin reconstruction).
Marbling of real meat, which is entirely dependent on the whims of DNA, is an area where it cannot be matched. It’s natural, but there’s nothing like a tendon.
“It’s really awesome. Is not it?”
The serving robot waiting next to me beeped, indicating an affirmation.
The grains of rice that came with it were the size of beans, so it was enough to eat a few with chopsticks without a spoon.
It is a variety developed for use with light meals. It is good because the consistency is the same and the grains are thick, so that the savory taste of the rice does not get buried even when the sauce is on the outside.
“Thank you for the delicious meal.”
I looked at the ceiling and said, but there was no reply.
“Do you know what you are listening to?”
A hologram about 50 cm in diameter appeared next to the serving droid. Artemis, she has come.
[I didn’t make it, so thank the chef.]
As I turned my gaze to the food, a humanoid that looked like iRobot’s NS4 nodded lightly. It was pretty cute with only one bow tie attached to the plastic body and crude appearance.
“Well, Jory, that guy must have done it. But aren’t you the one who ordered the food to be ready in time for my arrival, and completed the design and cultivation of the meat?”
As the meal was over, the aroma of coffee brewed by the chef wafted through the air.
“Which part should I use to suit his taste? How should the fat be arranged so that his tongue can feel the best texture?”
She was speechless
“Who was it that analyzed all of that and piled up protein and fat stitch by stitch?”
[It doesn’t take a picosecond to understand your poor tongue. For me, the difference between a lump of cancer cells in a lab beaker and a human is shallower than a sheet of paper.]
“You don’t have to be so shy.”
[It’s easy to refute your ridiculous illusions, but it’s not efficient. It’s a waste of time to waste on something like that. We need a more fundamental solution.]
The lights for guidance on the floor lit up in sequence, pointing to one place.
[Come to the infirmary, Jinsu. After a short sleep on the operating table, your mind will be refreshed when you wake up. I’ll straighten your brain out for stupid thoughts, for free. Come to the infirmary.]
“They try to send you to the operating room whenever you have a chance.”
I imagined what it would be like to wake up after entrusting my body to Artemis.
It might be closer to the realm of alteration than surgery. When I woke up, I found that there were valves in my eyes.
In an instant there was a power outage. The lights flickered briefly several times, and Artemis’ hologram became noisy.
It’s getting worse lately. This happens because there is some problem with the parts of the power generation facility, and it won’t be solved unless you replace it with a new one.
[No serious problems yet. Because this place is completely under my control.]
“I guess so, who manages it?”
He said while drinking the coffee he had received from the chef.
She must have noticed that there was some sarcasm in my voice pattern, but she didn’t bother to point it out.
[But I don’t know how long I can keep it. I can solve software problems, but hardware problems are difficult. You can’t create parts out of thin air, can you?]
“If you’re a self-proclaimed goddess, shouldn’t you be able to create miracles like that?”
[Are there gods who grant miracles to humans who don’t pay tribute? Ever since I woke up here, I’ve always been in a position to take care of you and give you, I don’t remember receiving anything? If your role in our unfair union is survival, then mine is reason and supply. No, would the word childcare be more suitable?]
“Okay, I got it. Sorry for messing around.”
Arguing with Artemis is not a wise choice.
I went out of the restaurant to digest my food and headed to the cultural area.
“But weren’t you the one who stopped me every time I went out to get parts?”
As I was walking down the hallway with her hologram, several robot vacuum cleaners passed by in a row, probably during regular cleaning time.
“Power outages are increasing, and some robots are being neglected because they cannot be repaired. If you notice that the air smells hoarse, you should also change the ventilation filter. When it comes to facility problems, you have to take action immediately when you see signs. But no matter what I suggest, your answer is always the same.”
I stopped and pointed at her with both of her hands.
[Wait for now.]
“Wait for now.”
He lightly clicked her tongue and continued walking.
[Even if there are minor disruptions to the shelter’s operation, it’s still within my control. Going outside to get parts is too risky.]
“That danger doesn’t mean you won’t come just because you wait here?”
[Be patient. Everything has its best moment. It’s my role to decide the time, so focus on maintaining your best body condition for the day.]
With those words, she disappeared.
This shelter is largely divided into three areas.
First, the VIP living area located at the top. This is where I am staying now, and the scale is much smaller than the other two places.
As the name suggests, a place for the chosen few and their entourage.
Next is the facility area located in the central part.
This is where the resources, equipment and technicians work to maintain the entire shelter.
Finally, the general residential area located in the lower part.
It boasts the largest scale and was designed to facilitate additional expansion work if necessary.
However, for some reason, each of the three areas is sealed and isolated, so the places I can go around are limited to the upper VIP residence.
Because of this, even though there are broken parts in the upper facilities, it is impossible to bring spare parts from the central facility area and repair them.
Originally, a certain amount of spares was stored separately in the upper area to prepare for this situation, but the blockade was suddenly triggered at a cluttered timing immediately after the completion of the shelter.
I said that I would go to the central region and get the parts, even if it took a little risk, but Artemis always objected, saying it wasn’t the time yet. He just tells me to work out hard for when he calls.
The first thing that greets me when I leave the end of the hallway is the sports center.
Normally, this place should be noisy, but now it is quiet.
There are 2 wide courts and 6 smaller courts, but this facility is not common.
All kinds of sports such as soccer, futsal, basketball, volleyball, baseball, and table tennis are compatible, and AI referee and hologram spectator functions are supported.
Court 1 is currently set up as a table tennis court, and I stood in front of the hologram referee and said.
“Relocation order. Batting Center”
Upon the referee’s answer, the center floor immediately opened, and a ping-pong table set was inserted, a betting machine, a wide and high OUTER net, and protectors appeared.
The diligence of the work is always admirable.
When the aluminum bat made a full swing, the ball flew away with a pleasant feeling of impact.
At the same time, cheers erupted from the hologram audience.
In the corner there is a screen golf, screen shooting range and other individual sports facilities.
How are the gaming facilities? Arcade facilities that support 3,000 games, PC rooms, console game consoles, GunCon, TCG, and board game cafes are also fully equipped.
The gym of dreams, which will make the rest of the family weep, as if meeting a separated family, is also not to be missed.
There is everything in the cultural zone, including a swimming pool with wave facilities and slides, a cafe, an electronic library, karaoke, billiards, a hot spring spa, and a massage parlour.
At this level, it might be more appropriate to call it a resort rather than a shelter.
It has perfect conditions for playing and enjoying, but in fact, there are some weak parts.
As entertainment facilities are concentrated more than necessary in the VIP residential area, difficulties in maintenance and security have arisen.
But what if the customer who pays for it wants to make it like this?
I hit the ball that the batting machine spat out once again, but this time there was no cheer from the hologram.
There was a momentary vibration that made the soles of my feet itch a little, and then I heard a distant sound that sounded like a dull echo.
With the referee’s warning sound, the power of the bat machine went out, and the hologram spectators shook like crazy before disappearing covered in noise.
At the end, all the lights on the ceiling were turned off, and darkness fell in an instant. Feeling like a night watchman at an amusement park that suddenly closed.
“What is this again?”
I couldn’t help but let out a dumbfounded voice in the dark holding a baseball bat.
A few minutes later, power was restored, and at the same time Artemis’ voice resounded through the cultural district.
[Jinsu, come to the central control room immediately.]