Eclipse Phase | AUSTIN, TEXAS | 2015-2019 A.D.

Session 17 INTERLUDE: Spiderbot Resolution

"...Going out, in a blaze of Glory..." Just like thta song from The Alarm

A beam of coherent light erupted from the ground, which was clearly visible from 3km from the origin. If one could call a column of energy that was such a deep blue, that it appeared almost black, “light”. From far away, a billowing cloud of dust narrowed to a small silhouette of some sort of military-styled truck, which was, colloquially put, ‘hauling-ass’. Within this compact, speeding APC, there was a near-palatable mix of anxiety, confusion, and dare it be said…fear…

“Colonel, is it ok we just bailed like that?” The question which was asked came from the F.N.G. {Fucking New Guy} of the “Black Moth” mercenaries, crammed into the back of the armored personnel carrier, with a noticeable amount of trepidation.

Col. Hapablap, a 58 year old veteran of the TITAN wars and the literal definition of ‘career soldier’, looked at the newest inductee of his unit for a bit, before responding. In an era when genetic defects and age are easily remedied, the stare of a milky-eyed, gray-haired, leather-faced ‘flat’ held an inexplicably unnerving quality…”Son. Our contract was to secure the facility from OUTSIDE threats. What happened—happened INSIDE. We done our job and you best pray to whatever god you find conveniently at hand that whatever those eggheads had, can be stopped. But THAT. AIN’T. OUR. JOB.” He then banged on the driver’s cabin’s door. “Can’t this frakkin junk heap go any faster?!”

“I’m sorry, say that again?” This question was asked with the same amount of stunned disbelief as the first person to ask Saint Christopher, ‘You killed a what?’

The disconcertingly calm response, that the AGI ‘Johan II’ {Alex’s ghostrider alpha Fork}, gave to summarize the past 35 minutes’ occurrences while the tactical network was unavailable to one, of the only two sentinel, who were not there to witness them, took less than 0.8 seconds to deliver. When one is essentially a computer capable of processing millions of points of information in a second or bio-modded, gene-perfect human with enough neuro-ware to be able to see and dodge bullets, a conversation entailing a 30 minute jaunt through a heavily fortified checkpoint, the contents of a top-secret hypercorp facility, the rough barometric pressure above ground {the weather}, and the components of one’s breakfast can happen pretty quickly. The placid description of events could be considered a little out of place, as the party giving it was hanging from a broken ladder, 70m above the undulating maw of a TITAN-spawn ‘death-spider’, which occupied the entirety of the space that, until recently, had been full of ‘elevator’.

‘Dave’ took this information, fairly stoically. For her, it was as much a buzzkill as finding out your parents were coming home early, from vacation, when you’re in the middle of throwing the high-school kegger of the decade and are just about to score with the head cheerleader. Her response was succinct. “Well. That is…disappointing…”

Johan II’s response was almost immediate, “I concur, Dave. As an aside, we believe that we are slipping and will soon plummet to our demise.”

“Noted, J-Two.” As Dave circled, 75m above a vertical shaft, from which her entire Firewall cell, save her and one other, were frantically trying to extract themselves while being chased by a TITAN-forged swarmoid. Dave played out a number of scenarios. None of them ended well.

[Dave: HAL {Her Muse}]

[HAL: Yes, Dave?]

[Dave: Fully purge my inserts.]

[HAL: Please confirm full-purge, Dave? This will mean I will be wiped from your local memory.]

[Dave: I know. Just do it.]

[HAL: Purge order confirmed. Please wait 0.63 seconds. Goood….byyyeee…….Daaaaaav…..]

“J-Two, alert the others that I am, as of now, assuming full operational control of this op. Mission-critical priority is now stopping this thing.” “Dave, I don’t kn…”

“Stow it, tin-can! In 0.34 seconds, upload your full mission logs to my mesh inserts. Oh—and you should probably tell Sandy to start running.” Without waiting for confirmation, Dave killed the tac-net link and activated the wide-band radio in the vectored-thrust gunship she was piloting; while dictating a transmission to the gun ship’s AI, “Emergency Broadcast: this is EDF {Earth Defense Force, or whatever the human resistance was called} ‘Sierra November Three Niner Niner’ {her call-sign during the TITAN wars}. TITAN assimilator-class kill-bot activation at Martian coordinates {present lat/long}. Attempting destruction/containment.” As Dave set the broadcast to repeat on all band-widths, she gave some further instructions to the gun ship’s AI via Smart-Link, as she set about arming every weapon mounted on the craft and maneuvering away from the opening of the elevator shaft while throttling up the hover-jets.

The remainder of the majority of Firewall ‘Miller-cell-6’ was deeply embroiled in a vertical fight/flight for their lives, roughly 50m below the surface and 80m from probable doom: a roiling mass of self-replicating nano and micro-scale robots, which eerily set shimmering blue shadows dancing around the interior of the elevator shaft due to the matter/antimatter reactor at its core, all of which were intent on the destruction of all trans-human life. The mood was…tense. While the remaining 7 members of the team were all privy to the tec-net exchange between the team’s resident AGI/hacker and Recon/Sniper, few would have been able to follow the 2.0 second conversation as it sounded like two squirrels hopped-up on MRDR arguing and none felt it necessitated their full attention, at the moment due to the not insignificant distraction provided by certain death.

As the synthmorph ‘Johan I’ {Alex’s morph and ego fork} hung by one hand from disjoined ladder which spanned from one wall to the other below the majority of the team, he primed an EMP grenade with his other hand and let it fall into the fracas, below. He announced via the tac-net, in an somewhat disturbingly upbeat voice, “Dave says she is taking command of the operation, that we are to destroy the TITAN machine, and that Sandy {Yishai’s char} should run. She was unclear about the destination, however,” as the EMP went off, below.

If ‘all hell’ had not ALREADY broken loose in the confines of the fullerite reinforced concrete walls, it certainly would have now. Though, as the situation was, it was much akin to using a Torch {Eclipse Phase-era flamethrower} on a burning hab-fire.

One of the pilots of the Firewall cell, Zak {Jeremy’s Raven Pilot Character}, having just secured the spindle’s line to the top of where the elevator’s building facade, used to be, unslung his sidearm and began showering the TITAN-monstrosity with small-arms fire as an EMP detonated within the whirling mass, in an attempt to buy his compatriots ANY extra time to escape up the service ladder to the surface. As he slammed home a fresh magazine of kinetic slugs, he was startled by a deafening roar and overpressure, followed by a vacuum, from the mouth of the elevator’s shaft. He instinctively dove to the ground, away from the opening.

Having cleared the rim of the opening, Dave quickly acquired the blue glow of the matter/antimatter reactor at the center of the swarmoid and depressed the firing stud for the gun ship’s underslung tri-barreled rotary cannon. Turning what was a drizzle of kinetic projectiles into a torrent of 20mm HEAP shells. As the shaft walls blurred past, she activated the emergency farcaster, implanted in the base of her neck. The small charge literally blow her head off while at the same time, sent her consciousness and Johan(s)’ mission log hurtling through space to a Gorgon Shield backup facility. The explosive fusillade did not stop, with the death of the gun ship’s pilot, however; as the vehicle’s AI follow the tasked commands to maintain target lock and continuously fire the cannon.

Once the aerodyne, laden with armed and primed missiles, rockets, and unexpended cannon ammo, slammed into the TITAN mass and consequently, the structurally weakened reactor, things REALLY got interesting.

If one were to examine the events on the surface, while Johan(s) was delivering their message, one would see the semi-aerodyne shape of a vectored thrust gun ship hover away from the wreckage of what appeared to be a farm house. After traveling roughly 400m and gaining some altitude, the craft pivoted in place, then the idle thrust-engines roared fully into fiery life. This rocketed the aircraft to roughly 190kph as it rolled belly-up and dove into the cargo-elevator’s opening, accelerating the whole way.



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