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Drone Hunt Part 3

Posted on Tue Apr 17th, 2018 @ 2:20pm by Lieutenant Colonel Jonathon Hayter [Hawkins] & Lieutenant Commander Mel Torma

Mission: New Horizon
Location: Hidden Cliff Hanger Bay

/// ON ///

... Previously ...

"Holy shit... the Resolute" John stated as he stood there for a moment. "Wait till David sees this..."

... continued...

The upper levels of the hangar were converted to a aviary of sorts, with racks for the hover scout drones to plug into to recharge. Each drone, be they walker or scout, moved with a purpose. A silent, unspoken purpose, but there was an efficiency to it. In front of Hayter and Mel, drones were moving heavy concrete slabs out of the way of a passage down to a lower level. It was down here, beneath the hangar and beneath the concrete and steel, that their destination awaited them.

Three steps from the bottom of the stairs, and the temperature dropped ten degrees. It was cold down here, and it got colder as they approached a primary chamber. A bunker, perhaps. There, in the cold fog and in the dimly lit room there was a sphere set into the floor. The sphere was easily three feet wide, dark, with lights dancing along the surface. Around it in the floor were rings, perhaps to house cables or other components. It didn't look easily portable, but it obviously made it here somehow.

Behind the sphere were a series of monitors, showing various calculations and projections happening at a speed that boggled the imagination. Procedures were adopted, tested, implimented, and then promoted or rejected almost at the speed of thought. Terraquads of data poured into the system, and were evaluated and acted on with similar precision. The system was silent, save for the dull hum of computer equipment that seemed almost universal.

One by one each of the monitors went black. Then, the middle-most monitor turned on, and line after line of text began to appear.

:: TE 3075 itteration epsilon ::
:: Inquiry - Are you well?

Mel blinked, then gave a nod, "I am well."

:: Inquiry - Are you in danger?

Mel shook each of her heads, "No. This man is my friend."

:: Inquiry - Why are you here? Danger.

John's complete confusion as to seeing everything thus far was almost too much to really comprehend but now they were standing before a completely unusually designed A.I. structured in a highly unusual fashion, by which he wasn't accustomed to. But there was no doubt that he would as he had with Mel. Still, there were answers that he needed and to see all this was highly irregular to see what he and others had designed and built was not, was overrun by drones of a species that they had barely had met. Now they were everywhere.

"Shall we play a game?" Hayter raised an eye brow and slightly smirked but straightened up as he figured that none of them would understand. "We came back to Memphis Island because it is our home and other reasons. A better question is, why are you here?"

There was an upsurge of activity along the surface of the central sphere, before the screen began to display a result.

:: Location considered safe at time of arrival. Parent ship and escort attacked. Assailant identify unknown. Pursued. Forced landing.
:: All lost. Request logged. Decision made. Protect remains. Protect wreck. Protect location.

Mel gave a nod, holding back some emotion at the thought of the loss of all hands on a Dalacari ship. "It was a good decision. You did the right thing." and though there was no visible response, her words seemed to have an impact on the tension in the air. The drones that were in the room with them seemed to perk up.

:: Locked seal required unknown biometrics. Scans of sealed areas showed no immediate threat to location or self. No action deemed necessary regarding sealed section.
:: Time for recreational pursuits noted. Available for recreational activities in four hours, seventeen minutes, sixteen seconds.

Mel gave a giggle, "Don't look surprised, you did ask."

One of the monitors flared back to life, showing the picture of a woman. Silver hair, black uniform with hints of red here and there, with admiral pips on the collar.

:: Request for defense of location logged by Admiral Stele.

What appeared then on the screen was, for lack of a truer term, Name Rank and Serial Number. A most apt authentication of identity.

"Admiral Stele? You mean Vanora Stele, asked you to protect this place?"

:: Affirmative. Request logged at .

"So there was an alliance after all with the Federation and the Dalacari people. That's good," John looked over at Mel as he smiled slightly as he shrugged.

Mel gave a pair of smiles, "I guess this means you guys let us into your club." she giggled, and even went so far as to give John a nudge with her hip, "Lucky you."

"At what cost though?" John questioned as he sighed before he looked over at the pair form. "Alright, I'm going to call you TE for short..." He looked back at the monitor. "Status of the Resolute?"

"I hope it was over mutual respect and appreciation, as opposed to dire need for military allies. All we bring to the table would be our drone technology and our..."

"... defense accord with the Ts'usugi." Mel pointed out, while the screen behind the Thinking Engine churned out a grand report.

:: Current status of starcraft designate Resolute. Matter containment nominal. Antimatter containment nominal. Atmosphere generation nominal.

The list continued. Every single system on the Resolute was listed, categorized, and then the Engine moved to the next system. Everything from the major systems such as propulsion, shields, and weapons all the way down to the system responsible for detecting spilled water on the carpet. Everything was mentioned, everything was cataloged. Finally the Thinking Engine finished its report.

:: Starcraft designate Resolute condition Nominal. Matter reserves for fabrication units at 85% capacity due to usage by this unit and drone suppression forces.

"So your drones are starting to use part of the ship to repair and replicate?" John countered as he raised an eyebrow interested in what he had heard but wondered if there was for any concern whatsoever.

:: Appropriation limited to replicator mass reserves. Structure and systems remain nominal.

The marine looked over at Mel and sighed slightly as he tried his best to ease her mind. "I sure hope the Federation didn't use your people as well. But sense this Engine seems to have some missing data, we can't really answer as to what the hell happened."

"If they did, they'll learn fast that our idea of combat is to order in the drones." Mel commented, "The missing data could just be due to such a long time of activity without..."

"... technical maintenance or pruning." she mentioned. "Though, Thinking Engines are usually very capable, they just aren't designed to be actual computers. Hook one up to an..."

"... actual computer system, though, and you're set."

"Well, we do have the Resolute," John suggested as he shrugged and looked at Mel. "The ship is nominal, but are its stealth systems still capable of being used."

"That's a question I can't answer, Hayter." Mel offered. "I can find out more once we're all aboard."

"T.D., how long will it to get your body on the Resolute and have the ship ready for launch?"

:: Projection - Translocation of this unit will take four hours.

"That gives them more than enough time to finish up at the hospital but Hawkins feels that there is a threat heading their way. T.E., can we borrow some of your drones to help with the possible threat?"

:: Inquiry - Is this possible threat a threat to citizen Torma?

There was a slight pause from Hayter as he looked at Mel and rolled his eyes as he looked back at the monitor. "Yes... citizen Torma is in threat just like you all are as well if they were to figure out how to get in this hanger. I am requesting assistance as your drones seem to be well capable."

:: Purpose of query: Establish priority
:: Priority 1: Citizen Torma
:: Priority 2: Associate Hayter. Name inferred from dialogue.
:: Priority 3: Thinking Engine designate TE 3075 itteration epsilon
:: Directive 2: Defend Dalacari and allies
:: Statement: Hayter is Citizen Torma's ally
:: Assistance request approved. Allocation of Drone forces to follow:
:: - 40% on station to defend hangar location, hangar contents, and this unit during relocation
:: - 20% reassigned to relocate this unit to starcraft designate Resolute
:: - 40% reassigned to defend Citizen Torma and her allies

"The Thinking Engine will be offline for about twenty minutes at the start and end of the installation process. The drones will run a power feed from the ship to the primary induction..."

"... port to keep the Engine, for lack of a better term, active. This way, it can continue to direct and learn from the drones while the installation process is going on." Mel explained. "That's..."

"... how we move an Engine back home, anyway. It's bad luck to beam an Engine." she warned. Funny, the Dalacari never seemed superstitious before.

"Being on the Resolute will make more sense but I put my money on the captain taking advantage of a running, flying ship," John explained as he checked his weapon before he looked up at a side monitor. It was showing a scan of the islands, showing life signs. He stepped up to it even more and swore under his breath.

"Hey T.E., can you scan in on the hospital section?" he requested simply.

Mel gave a nod, as though allowing the action to be considered. The activity along the surface of the sphere intensified for a moment.

:: Compliance. Allocating Recon One Six Delta through Recon Two Seven Epsilon. Scans begin. Results in eighty seven seconds.

There was a pause as the scans began, and the scans were processed. Then on one of the other screens, the results of the scan were displayed.

"They are about to be surrounded, we have to get going, now..." he looked over at Mel. "You can stay here, or go with, but the drones may be the only way of getting them out of this pickle."

Mel thought about it for half a second, "Lead on. Besides, any order that needs to be given to the Drones that I give will be followed without hesitation." she pointed out. Then she pointed out the scans, "There's more."

"What do you mean, more life signs?" John asked as he looked at the monitor and his question was quickly answered as he watched the zoom out and the zooming of the sixth island that had been brought up by ch'Koro's sensor scans. "Its a damn base... How long have they been there?"

:: Three years, seven months, eighteen days.

"We got to get going," He looked back at Mel once more before he looked back at the alien A.I. shell and the central monitor. "Thanks, T.D."

:: Inquiry - Can this unit be of further service, Citizen?

Mel gave an honest pair of smiled, "No. You've been perfect. Thank you."


John Hayter


Mel Torma


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