My crew walks within me. Their footsteps tap a trail along my spine, moving from rib to rib on the way to the bridge. The ship is an extension of me. I am the brain connected to the sensory system, but when the nanobots in my blood synch up with those in the metal and wire nervous system of the Solar Republic Vessel, Transcendence, it is hard to tell where I stop and the ship begins. Physically, I know my body hovers in the spherical Navigation Chamber in the center of the ship. But in all the ways that matter, I am everywhere at once: a hunk of the most expensive nano-metal in space, carving a path from the capital on Mars to the colony on Triton, spinning along a horizontal axis as I go.
A request for outgoing communication fires through my brain. A bridge officer, Jordan Banks, is in the quarters he shares with five other crewmen. He sits on his bed balancing a hand held personal terminal on his thigh. He wants to call his wife. According to the crew logs, officer Banks's wife is ei