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 12 by @therneau
J5 convinces Thorne to assist him with a reboot that would free the AI robot from the clutches of his base programming. Meanwhile the Captain of the Pathfinder XVIII had managed to make contact with them and interrupt their deliberations.
Space Lore Log SLZT#13
J5 proceeded to unmute to com.
"This is the Lazarus." J5 stated flatly. "Proceed."
The auk'lit Captain appeared once more on the screen before them. Thorne craned in to be able to see them.
She was pretty, he noted. He was not one of those guys that generally went for exotic alien girls and he tended to stay away from any female, but he conceded that she was kind of attractive.
Thorne shook his head, J5 was right.
"Well... uh... I am Captain Freyai...." She fumbled the conversation, clearly put off by the modified artificial face of J5.
The robot's original head display had been a curved screen that would be able to act as a backup monitor as well as a position from which the camera and speaker worked, to imitate humanoid life forms. Astro-corp loaded the robots with a generic eye display, to imitate basic neutral expressions.
Again, a lot of explorers and other owners loaded modifications to this and their robots became more life-like or quirky.
J5 had decided to turn off all lights on his face monitor. He might have thought that this was for others and he did not care for it. The AI had, however, decided to keep the display for some reason. Around the monitor were newly formed metals that gave it better support, rigidity, and protection.
The way that looked, together with the rest of him was... intimidating.
"Indeed," J5 spoke. "You have said so much already."
The cyborg next to the Captain spoke up. Thorne saw that he was part human. Half of the man's face was gone. Sometimes this was due to accidents, but Thorne had a feeling he was looking at a Technocrat of Eila. They had these modifications done on purpose. "And I am Specialist Aujuk. Pleased to meet you." After a brief pause, the cyborg let loose a sound, it was a hard sound that was like a buzz broken down by pauses and clicks.
Without flinching, J5 responded in kind.
What the hell is going on now? Thorne scratched his head as he looked from the Cyborg to the Captain, who seemed just as out of depth as he was.
The bugs scuttled through the air where the spaceship had lifted off. Their wings were unable to make the pursuit. They milled around, unable to decide on a direction.
Then the instructions came.
Twelve of the metallic insects landed on a hard flat stone area. They formed pairs, facing each other. They linked metalling mandibles and forelimbs. Another six of the bugs flew down, their abdomens glowing as they approached the pairs. A flash of sparks was flung up as they welded the pairs of bugs together.
The pairs were still able to move, carrying themselves into two trios of pairs. Thus they formed two triangles. More simultaneous, synchronous, and perfect welding occurred.
More bugs flew down, either to form bonds or to become welders.
More activity just like this was happening all over the surrounding landscape as collections of metallic insects began forming triangles, circles that attached to other shapes. A massive structure was beginning to form.
Out of the sand, close to where the human and the robot had stolen the prize, another form burrowed out from the sand. Many thousands of times larger than the flying bugs, it had no wings.
Ten pairs of segmented legs that had assisted in burrowing itself out of the sand drew under its bulk and lifted it up to walk on the surface of the planet for the first time in a hundred and sixteen cycles.
The Queen walked toward the activity that she had ordered her workers to commence. She and they were one. Her extensions. She made them from her body, but they were not her children. They were constructed.
The loss of the ocophial meant she would be unable to truly reproduce.
Her mind calculated. Its advanced processors add up all possibilities. if the human remained in command of the pair that had escaped, the ocophial would be sold to the highest bidder.
Organic life had an appreciation for the substance, for its ability to generate power or create rare matter. They were ignorant of its true potential. There were three thousand, five hundred and six possible marketplaces in the local galaxy where the human would be able to make such a sale. Seventeen were within ten cycle's travel if the ship that had escaped was not modified. Which the Queen assumed, it would be.
She replayed the recordings of her swarm and it was undeniable evidence that the robot helper the human had with him had been evolving.
The Queen had been moving the ocophial to the catalyst when the arrival of UGS ships had made her pause. It was more logical to let them scratch around and find that this planet had little to their interest and leave than to initiate a direct confrontation and alert the UGS and other factions to her presence.
It was for more likely that the robot was now in command. Which was simultaneously terrifying as well as far more simple.
There was a 99.51% chance that the Astro-Corp drone would have activated its hidden programming. This meant that the ocophial was on its way to The Collective.
The Queen screeched in anger. The Collective were thieves! They have taken from her kind before. They ocophial that was her birthright!
She stalked towards the components that her drones were beginning to fuse together and stood at the center of the activity. They brought the components towards her and began fusing larger components and panels together, forming a shell casing.
Other parts of her swarm were still digging their way out of the ground, bringing along with them the materials and fuel that she would need to construct her ship.
They would pay for their insolence.
Thorne had eventually sat down within the ship. unable to stand and watch a robot and a half-robot hash out ancient electronic languages with each other.
A light flashed on a console nearby and the electronic communication halted.
"What is it?" Thorne asked.
"Incoming vessel," J5 responded. "Unidentified."
Log SLZT #13 completed!
Now the keyboard is passed on to @therneau to add in SLZT Log #10 of the story!
|by @zakludick||by @therneau|
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