Chapter 6: ATLAS – Last One Left
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Atlas hopped down towards the next runway. He and Angelique had the furthest to go before reaching their spacecrafts. They had a long journey ahead so they talked and discussed things as they moved.

Atlas looked at Angelique with concern. “I keep feeling like I’m forgetting something.”

Angelique turned around, hopping through the air as she did. She started to bounce backwards facing Atlas as she moved. “I think we’re all feeling that. This morning we didn’t think we were going to go.”

Atlas shook his head inside his helmet. “No, I think it’s something real.”  

Angelique was a natural at moving in spacesuits. She raised both hands and shrugged. “It’s too late now.”

Atlas almost tripped, thinking too hard and not focusing on his skip-walking technique. “Oh, I remember now. It wasn’t important to the mission. But it’ll be a bit of a surprise to the other two when they find out.”

“What is it?”

“Lex.”

Atlas could see the confused look on Angelique’s face. “I installed an AI called Lex onto each of the spacecrafts when we were at the terminals,” he explained. “It’s a supercomputer designed to manage all the information we store. There’s a lot of petabytes of information each of those spacecrafts are holding.”

Angelique turned back around. “So what?”

Atlas almost tripped as he walked. He wasn’t used to such a long spacewalk. “Well I installed an older version. It can’t speak.”

Angelique raised an eyebrow. “What use is an AI that can’t communicate with us? Especially one designed for managing all the information we have.”

Atlas started to puff as he hopped along. “I know. Let’s hope our main Ship AI can do most of the translation.”

He pointed at the card inside his suit pocket. “That security card Trillion handed to you gives you complete access to your spacecraft and ‘Ship’, your spacecraft’s AI. Change the codes to something you can remember so that you’ll always have complete control.”

“I thought they were unhackable,” Angelique said, as she waved goodbye to Icarus’s spacecraft as it raced through the sky’s.

Atlas nodded. “You’re right. They aren’t hackable. But you never know.”

*

After what felt like running a marathon, the two of them arrived at Atlas’s spacecraft.

Atlas hugged Angelique. “I’ll see you in a few thousand years.”

He could see tears in her eyes again. She was sad but couldn’t wipe them away. She held him tight.

Atlas pulled away, knowing she still had a long way to go before reaching her launch pad. He didn’t want her to linger any longer than she needed to. He remembered Ship’s warning about other spacecraft heading their way. He knew if he kept her too long, she risked getting trapped on Mars.

Every second counted so he turned around and jumped into the elevator. Pressing the button, he started to ascend.

Atlas watched as Angelique watched him ascend. He made a leaving gesture with his hand, willing Angelique to get going. Seeing his gesture she began her journey towards her launch pad. Atlas watched as Angelique hopped away, much faster this time without him slowing her down.

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