Chapter 1

Dear Traveler,

My name is Micah. I am ten years old and a human. You probably knew that second part, but my Papa says there were probably lots of different intelligent species where you come from, so I wanted to be specific.

Where are you from, by the way? I'm from Mars. But right now, me and my Dad are on our way to join my Papa at a brand-new colony on Europa! Papa is the lead quantum engineer at BrayTech, which basically means he builds super-cool computers. He's so good at it, he gets to work with the Clovis Bray on all the top-secret stuff. He even designed some of Rasputin's hardware!

I hope he shows me what he's working on. He used to do that, back on Mars. "It'll be a good learning opportunity for you," he'd say, "But only if you promise not to tell anyone." And I never have. Even though my friends back home bugged me about Papa's work all the time.

My old home, I mean. Soon Europa will be my home, and you'll be my new next-door neighbor over on Io! I wish we could pass by you on the way so I could see you up close, but Eventide (that's the colony) needs supplies and Dad is supposed to start working right away.

He's a psychologist. I don't really get what he'd even do for BrayTech. All he does is ask people how they're feeling over and over again. Maybe they need him to train a Warmind like Dr. Ana Bray did. Only instead of language, he'll teach it how to analyze its dreams.

Dad always teases Papa that a human brain is a lot harder to work with than a hard drive. Maybe Papa got him on one of his projects to finally prove him wrong.

What do you have: a hard drive or a brain? Are you an AI like Rasputin? Have you ever talked to him?

Sorry if these questions are nosy. Dad says I'm super curious and that's okay, I just need to learn when to stop asking questions. Which is pretty unfair since he gets to ask me stuff all the time. Like right now, he asked what I'm writing. So I better encrypt this real quick and go.

I'll write more later.

Your friend,