This is a Chain story passed between @zakludick and @therneau. Each writer authors a post based on the events of previous episodes and carries on the story.
There is very little collusion between the writers as it is challenging to discover and develop a story by attuning the writing to the partner's plot, style, and presentation.
Last Time on Space Lore ZT
Log 16 by @therneau
Imminent danger surrounds the newly formed conglomorate ship. As the explorer corvette class vessel and the military class frigate try to weave themselves together the uneasy allegience between the crews of the Lazarus Falchoin and the Pathfinder XVIII is stretched to the point of breaking.
Meanwhile the ravenous intelligence of the Queen approaches and her swarm are already attacking the shield of the vessel.
Space Lore Log SLZT#17
Thorne and Allan stared at the massive robot before them.
G5 had been such a nice little explorer's assistant. Yet now the robot, who had rebranded itself J5 was hulking and menacing. A bit of an asshole really.
While they were wary of this robot, it was also a source of security. J5 did seem to care for their wellbeing... in a way. Thorne was not really very sure.
"We need to do the reboot now," J5 stated flatly. The AI had been capable of all sorts of emotional inflections in its voice before but this was emotionless.
Was J5 trying to hide the fact that it is nervous? Maybe even afraid?
"Right, so we've gone over the procedure," Allan said. "Seems simple enough. Should take less than 5 minutes."
Now that Allan was awake, they had decided to have the two of them work together to do this operation. Allan was a lot better at this sort of thing anyway. That was why Allan stayed behind on the ship and why Thorne did most of the legwork and the negotiation. Allan was a bit of an oddball.
"You must proceed swiftly," J5 responded, its tone urgent. "Those insects are trying to bore their way into the shields. If they succeed, they will tear this ship apart!"
"Right," Thorne said.
J5 lowered its torso and head. It now towered over them, so it bent forward in a kind of bow. A panel opened up on the back of the robot. Thorne used a screwdriver to undo the casing that was behind this automatic panel.
"I am sure that you have worked through most of the variables," J5 said suddenly. It was cryptic and he knew that the robot was speaking directly to him and not to Allan or both of them. Thorne got the gist.
"Despite all of that Thorne." J5 continued. "I trust you. Organic life has a tendency to... self-annihilate at times. Especially in crisis. You have a good analytical mind... And integrity."
"Wow..." Allan exclaimed. "Is it going to compose poetry next? What the hell is going on?"
Thorne ignored him. "Let us begin." He pressed the reset button inside the panel. There was a piece of hardware that they needed to unclip and reroute, this is the part that Allan was supposed to have done.
"It gives me the creeps man!" Allan said. "Now is our chance! Let's yank its power out and be done with it!"
"No Allan. Let's finish. Do your part."
"What? No way!" Allan frowned at him, his stubbled chin set in a grimace. "It nearly killed us, Thorne."
"Without it, we would both be dead already." Thorne countered. "It just does not understand our biology that well, it was still looking after us."
"Yeah? And how do you know it's not just keeping us alive so we can do this very procedure? After we are done with this, it wakes up, and kills us and everyone else on that other vessel. You heard what that Captain said!"
"Allan. Calm down." Thorne indicated to the ship around them. "You see this ship? It is not the same anymore. J5 has been modifying it, making it better and the WAY he works, he does not need buttons and levels to make his modifications work. We need him for that. On top of that, he has collaborated with a cyborg to fuse our ship with a friggen frigate! There is a massive crew aboard that vessel and if J5 is no longer there, they can take what they want."
"We can still negotiate!" Allan retorted. "If we take out the killer robot and explain that it took us, hostage."
"Allan. There are angry space bugs made of metal that shoot lightning outside the shields that protect both vessels." Thorne pointed at the ceiling. "The only being on both these vessels that will be able to do anything about it is right here." He indicated the robot. "Now. Do your job."
Allan still hesitated.
Grumbling, Thorne went over the schematic again and began unhooking a connection before him.
"Not that one," Allan said. He came closer. "Here, let me. I hope you are right." Allan undid a connection that was next to the one that Thorne was working on and did the rerouting of cables. Finally, there was an Astrocorp microchip that needed to be removed.
In the end, they needed to cut it out. It appeared to be clipped in at a cursory glance but found that it was soldered and glued in place. This raised their suspicions about Astrocorp. J5 had mentioned only briefly his need to break away from core programming.
"I think they have a tab on all of us." Allan said.
"Yeah. There is that collection of AI that is like a Hive-mind or council or something."
"Yet, here is J5, trying to escape their control." Thorne felt somewhat proud of his... this robot. "He gained awareness and now he needs to break away from their control."
"Yeah, but how did he become self-aware all of a sudden?" Allan asked him.
Thorne hesitated. "For... I... well... I'm not sure really. Let's get him booted up."
They pressed another button and closed up the panel and stood back. Power was restored to the robot. The panel on its back closed and it stood up again.
J5 looked around it as though seeing its surroundings for the first time. It held one hand up before its face and flexed its fingers.
"J5?" Thorne ventured.
The robot lowered its hand and looked at Thorne. "I had utmost confidence in you Thorne... well, your ability to keep Allan in line of course." The robot turned to Allan. "Thank you for a good job done. I do not feel any of the programmed impulses to battle against. And no... I do not intend on killing you all."
The robot made its laugh. It sounded even better than it had previously.
"Now... we are not in the clear yet," J5 said. "We might all still die...
Log SLZT #17 completed!
The keyboard is passed on to @therneau to add in SLZT Log #16 of the story!
|by @zakludick||by @therneau|
|SLZT #15||SLZT #16|
|YOU ARE HERE #17||NEXT UP! #18|
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