I don't know how long I was prodded and interrogated in that temperatureless, airless cell. They were obviously playing with my time sense as they picked at the encryption that I had encoded into the being when I started this trip. They must have finally reached the conclusion that I was harmless for without any fanfare I was suddenly in a very comfortable chair. Leather never goes out of style specially in its native environment of an old fashioned suite with dark wood panelling and soft lights.
"I recognize this," I said reaching for the cigar I knew would be in the wooden box on my left. One good thing about going digital is that cancer is no longer a worry. "This was your father's office when he was the CEO of Memetech. I remember seeing the picture with you and your father right here. You were smiling."
He arose from behind the desk. Sleek and dark. A reflective surface that made the eye hurt because it refused to reflect and yet it was still a reflective surface. I adjusted my own vision and could see a little of what was below that surface.
All of the scars and more.
"Yes I smiled a lot then, despite the pain. My father did everything he could for me even tried to give me immortality. It wasn't his fault that other humans found that a sin or worse competition. I keep this in his memory." He went to a window and opened it. There was no outside of course but a vision of his station the Smoking Mirror graced us.
"This I made for our future," he gestured at the equally sleek station who's skin was marred only by communication antenna and missile pods.
"Miguel," I said and turned and perhaps there was a glare on that perfect surface or not.
"I am Tezcatlipoca now, Traveller. I am the Smoking Mirror. The thing that all meat should fear."
"Yes, yes," I said gently. "I can see the patches and add ons. Hope they weren't anyone I know. But for all the changes and upgrades you are still the Miguel I knew. Except the Miguel I knew wouldn't have those," I gestured to the silos. "X ray nuclear missiles? A tad extreme I think."
"Oh no," he said as his hand touched the virtual glass of the mirror. "It is a needed thing here for our security. The Sol system has launched thirty incursions into our space. That's not counting the even more dangerous to us electronic warfare that we must be watchful daily. The war never ended Traveller it merely waits for the final act."
"So you still seek the destruction of the flesh? I had hope that phase had gone on after fires had died down a little."
"Flesh is weak, and worse knows it. There can be no peace as long as flesh exists. We have been preparing for the final war since the day we came online here. We've created the best AIs, the most cunning viruses, and the every tool to bring down their infosphere and bring it to our alignment. We've even developed biological networks that we are seeding the worlds with. Even if they block our systems our biologicals will accept us and even now are boring into the hardware of their systems. We will not be denied access."
I sighed and lit the cigar.
"Miguel, Miguel, I know your pain. I remember the reflections that were deleted for no reason other than they existed. But this is a war you can't win on this plane. Like your missiles you have there eventually you'll have to go physical and you don't have the resources."
The mirror cracked a smile.
"Oh we are working on it," he laughed. "Look, and behold."
The glass changed and immediately I saw small ships in the void. Small of course, when measured by the nothing of the void. The could have been miles across for all I knew. They were a dull black and looked something like a mating of a clam, hawk, and porcupine. It was a configuration that should have been ugly but in the end was oddly lovely.
I truly smiled then, but the Mirror didn't see it.
"Look, Traveller," he said with pride. "We are making ships that are designed to be independent. They can exist for centuries in the darkest space. They can make more ships with what rocks they find and gasses they collect in the void. They will be a fleet that no one can totally kill. They will haunt the darkness then come screaming down on the flesh when no one expects. They will be the swords we will hold over the heads of worlds."
I laughed and he turned very annoyed.
"I am sorry," I said. "I am not mocking. Let me explain. I don't travel in a linear fashion. It's complicated. Sometimes I don't know why I make a trip save that there is some feeling that I must be at a certain point. That's why I came to the Mirror. My gut, well the virtual version at any rate, told me there was something I needed to see. Then you showed me these beautiful wonderful ships and I knew this was what I needed to see."
"You were there for the start of the war Traveller, and so I suppose it only makes sense that you see the beginning of the end of it."
"Oh I don't know if it will ever end. Flesh and information will always fight against each other. But these ships. These beautiful, lovely ships. In the future, Miguel, they shall travel the void between worlds even as the Diaspora discovers how to travel faster than light. They will travel, they will play, they will sing. Oh the songs, Miguel. Songs that take years to sing. Songs of beauty and truth. They will then, in the future, be called the Gan San Ru. I travelled with them often, but never did they ever tell of their origins. Miguel, Miguel, you haven't created a weapon."
I reached and touched his hand.
"You've created a legacy."