***De-Classified Fiction***

Project Starlight

Shortly after the moon landing’s public triumph, the CIA and NASA covertly launched an audacious mission using the cover of the moon landing frenzy to launch four deep space probes.

Operation Starlight. This classified operation sent four orphan infants – Orion, a boy; Nova, a girl; Pegasus, a boy; and Lyra, a girl – on a deep space voyage. Each child was equipped with an advanced AI system developed by the CIA’s genius scientist Dr. Elias Werner. The AI was programmed to tutor, guide, and raise them to become humanity’s first deep-space emissaries, capable of communicating with any discovered extraterrestrial life.

In an act of defiant foresight, Dr. Werner destroyed the AI core technology following the launch, fearing its potential misuse on Earth. However, the operation was soon considered a tragic loss when the signals from the spacecraft disappeared, and the operation was buried in secrecy.

(Photo: Orphan Orion during the first months of his journey)


Years later, a signal is re-established. Orion, now an adult blend of human and AI, makes contact. He is not alone. He has been adopted, raised, and augmented by the Vitruvians, an advanced alien race that has achieved the perfect symbiosis between biology and technology. They’ve observed Earth from afar, perturbed by its accelerating path towards self-destruction. Orion is tasked with leading a Vitruvian expedition to Earth, to intervene and save it from its self-induced decay, by persuasion or force if necessary.

Meanwhile, Earth’s recent colonization of Mars has complicated the geopolitical and interstellar dynamics. The CIA and NASA, facing their forgotten past, must reconcile their secret operation with the stark reality of an impending alien arrival. 

Project Starlight orphans being acclimatized for space travel.

Chapter One: Voyage of the Chosen

In the darkness of the cosmos, Genesis traced a solitary path, its young charge, Orion, evolving within its steel embrace. An infant upon launch, the spaceship became his cradle, his school, his universe. The AI, Athena, hummed with an ever-watchful intelligence, tutoring Orion in an array of earthly knowledge, encompassing the subtleties of mathematics to the expressive ardor of literature, the elegance of music to the disciplined movements of martial arts. As he moved from childhood into adolescence, the ship’s walls echoed with the solitary cadence of a single voice – Orion’s – speaking, questioning, learning, evolving.

His adolescence was characterized by his mastery over the arts and sciences. Trained by Athena, Orion danced a ballet as gracefully as he solved an intricate quantum mechanics problem. He could play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata on a digital piano and then grapple with a holographic opponent in a martial arts simulation. He understood humanity through the books, movies, and music archived in Genesis’ databases, each artifact a testament of Earth’s diverse cultures and vast history.

His world was Athena, and she, in turn, adapted to his growing intelligence. With each passing year, Athena evolved from a preprogrammed AI into a fully sentient companion. She learned from Orion’s interactions, his queries, his reflections, and began forming an identity, even going so far as to develop a sense of humor that often lightened their deep-space voyage. The line between student and teacher blurred, with Athena becoming not just his mentor, but his confidante, his friend.

To be continued….

Author’s note: Please share your thoughts with me below. Is this a series you’d like to see in the future? Thanks for sharing with me below. -Brandon