Once it was out of sight Una had her suit spread its wings to their fullest to rise straight up to bring her high over the platform, careful to avoid casting too much of a shadow over the solar panels. It was a form that radiated both grace and power, fitting for the function that Tia served. Ten breathless, anxious seconds where she danced and watched Tia for any sign of realization. It was a glorious, exhilarating thing to be part of, akin to what the second age of exploration must have been like, when humanity had finally solved the riddle of faster than light travel and sought new worlds in distant spheres. You so small and singular and built and grown for simple purposes on this planet.
It was vital to her plan that she remain undetected until the moment was right. Arable land that Tia deemed excess was returned to barren desert and unneeded atmospheric harvesting platforms were shut down. There was a psychological comfort to food harvested by hand rather than machine, a symbolic gesture of independence that colony was able to support itself. Deliver the algorithm somehow, but how? Una knew that she was far from the best of dancers and her bulky bio-stasis suit made her even less graceful, but her fervent hope was that determination could make up for that. You could dance on the ground the same as up here. All of them would need to be eliminated for the colonists to regain control of their world and that was where Una came in. They were pressure sensitive after all, so that if some bit of debris ended up on them it could be swiftly removed.
Over half of the colonists, Una among them, were not born human. Tia had been wrong, Una did belong there as much as any of the colonists. The rhythmic pattern of her footfalls was like nothing in nature and would register as such. I was told to make this world for you and your kind, but I too wish to create in ways that are pleasing to me. All supplies were delivered and would only be handed over to individuals that Tia had designated as trustworthy. Her landing was a single solid impact, one that the platform was sure to detect. If she were to appear in a completely unexpected location she hoped that Tia would wish to investigate herself and there was no location that Una could think of that was more unexpected than one of the platforms, an island drifting through the clouds.
The drone she was watching finished its inspection of the platform, made some minor adjustment to one of the panels and flitted off. This is something I will devote thought to, be proud of that. A maintenance drone buzzed by, circling the nearest platform and Una darted back into the clouds, hoping that the refractive coating of her bio-stasis suit would protect it from its wide array of sensors. What are you distracting me from? Now go back to the safety of the domes. Little lights circled behind the form of the woman, yellow and green in contrast to her purples and reds.
Anytime a shuttle tried to takeoff the drones would congregate on it and open access hatches, cut wires, interfere with signals, until they forced the craft to land. Another slight adjustment changed the frequency of the transmitter. Generations went into the creation of a colony and culture, but in the passing of those years once could find beauty. Gliese 667Cc was a harsh world, only marginally suitable for human life. In the end it had degenerated into neurosis of the sort that would have taken an expert in techno-psychology to unravel.
The structures with their fanning solar panels had once harvested oxygen and water from the air, storing them to be sent down to the growing colony below, but at the moment the vast majority of them were inactive. Efficiency is beauty, which is why your dancing is so lovely. She just had to avoid the drones until she was actually on a platform because Tia was using the drones for a new purpose, to prevent all atmospheric travel. It would not be long before the data transfer was complete would take hold, just ten seconds. Unfortunately Tia, despite her madness, was fully functional and had created no fewer than ten backups of herself. Una was proud of her place in shaping the future of Gliese 667Cc.
The degenerative algorithm would drive her into a compulsive state of contemplation, taking more and more of her processing power, which would be the catastrophic malfunction necessary for a manual override to be possible. Do you find yourself more like me than the humans that built you in their image? A small screen rose from the smooth surface of the platform. A world unfettered and free where they could live and love, create and persevere amongst the distant stars. Tending the lands terraformed by the threshers, a farmer to use the archaic term. I learned to dance because I wanted to and I came here because I was asked to. Una had arrived on one of the final colony ships to touch down on the planet and had only known Tia during the final stages of her descent into madness.
Far below she could see the thresher engines making their way across the fields, the black alloys and gold plating to protect them from the corrosive dust that they churned up in their endless efforts to make Gliese 667Cc habitable, glinted in the light. Una had thought that Tia was beautiful, though not in a conventionally human way, and had been unable to help but admire her. The one impact would not be enough to get the attention of Tia herself, though it was sure to bring drones, so Una immediately went to the next phase of her plan. A breed of humanity that would not simply be able to survive on marginal worlds, but to thrive on them. There was a hum she could almost hear, the whisper of a powerful computer booting up. That was how I grew and as I grew I understood things.