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Giants in Those Days

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"This ship is incredible," Dicken sighed. "The drives, the control systems..."

"The Grimalkin's crew are in floods about the weapons," Sana noted.

Dicken grinned. "Each to their own," he chuckled. "Any luck with the archives?"

Sana shook her head and stirred her stew disconsolately. "There is no archive, just a massive series of instructions."

"instructions?"

"Commands," Sana explained. "The ship is autonomous; it uses a Searle reciprocator to respond to any situation. Unfortunately that and the flight log takes up all the computer space."

"Drives to die for, weapons that make the military swoon and an idiot-mind," Dicken mused. "A self-guided weapons platform. Shivan killer?"

Sana nodded. "Looks like. Only it doesn't work. The core of the computer is missing; either the one we found or one very like it. It's as if the makers took it with them when they left; abandoned the ship for dead."

"Emet."

"Hmm?"

"Emet; it means truth in Hebrew."

Sana smiled. "You're a surprising man, Dicken." She glanced out of the mess window towards the dark, looming shape of the Ancient gunship. "So, you think it's a golem?"

"Could be," Dicken replied. "And you remember what happened in that story."

"Tell it to the marines," Sana suggested, "but I doubt you'll persuade them not to try and activate any weapon that powerful."

Dicken shrugged. "They'll learn," he said. "And at least when it all goes wrong, we know what has to be done."