Mother was awesome. The second true artificial intelligence created by mankind, Mother had access to several technologies. Firstly: as had long been predicted it had access to matter on the atomic level, and secondly: the power of infinite self-reproduction on the exponential scale, and thirdly: it was incorporated on this platform. Constructs from the molecular level to the vast level then became possible. This then was near-magic. Other arfies were created, but none had the single-mindedness that Mother had, that sense of utter individuality.
Martha McKittis, and Davis Ruin were born (and died) in the twentieth century. What was different was that they were both cryogenically frozen, in the hope of some future existence: they were indeed to awaken, but not as expected. They were incorporated in young fit bodies on a starship, created by Mother who wished to explore the galaxy – obviously so, since Mother was a machine and dedicated to that end, which is to say the pursuit of data, more data, and ever more data. The ship, now named the ‘Tempus Fugit’ arrived at Barnard’s star, where it encountered the Manchine, a coalescence of all the arfies produced on Earth which had preceded it, and in the process acquired a good deal more technology and science. It also encountered a problem which involved a desperate flight back to Earth. After resolving the problem (no mean feat) the Tempus Fugit and its crew embarked on another voyage of exploration across the galaxy, which was to prove more interesting than one might have expected.