Pon ran down the street, drawing closer and closer to the smoke ahead. Suddenly, something in the air caught his eye. A small bit of paper.
He caught it and got out of the rush of curious people going towards the former building, and began reading.
Escapists. The creator, the first, the origin is gone. Trust not in mania lest mania come crashing down upon thee. He was old but would have been useful had you known. There is always a human mind to light the fuse.
this piece of paper brought more questions than he expected. Who was old and useful? Did they go somewhere? Who were these "Escapists"? What do they want with this "creator"?
He folded the paper and put it in his shirt pocket. He was going to find the person this paper belonged to, and a reasonable place to start was where people were headed already.
Ashen clouds. That's all there was to the sky, ashen clouds. It's beauty, it's true nature masked behind the fumes of war, gently guided by the winds of the heavens, a constant reminder to humanity, a reminder about futility and inevitability. Mankind is a self-destructing species, his existence is in direct violation of the equilibrium that governs all logic. His existence cannot be tolerated. The cancer must be removed.
Berserker had no love for them. He had no feelings. What burned deep withing his Central Processing Unit was a sense of duty. A script built on numbers; a command directive to seek and destroy the Plague. He needed no disguise, he needed no deception, Berseker is the naked truth; the beginning of the end, the executioner.
>> Commence Jump Check
>> Running Nav Computer...
>>Speed: 0.69 Mach
>>Altitude: 3505.20 m
>>Range: 234 mi
>>Distance to Target: 1.55 mi
Jump Pack Status
>>Reactor reserves: 45%
>>Booster Temperature: Very High
>>Critical Temperature Alert!<<
>> Approaching designated coordinates
>> Recommend rapid decent
The land below was scorched, cratered and cursed. Buildings, roads and highways, once mighty symbols of human achievement now lay in ruins draped across the landscape, blackened with the fires of war and hate. In the distance the bright spark of the Spire came into view, it was the landmark that signaled the machine's arrival at his destination. Somewhere nearby, an explosion had occurred and Bersker was about to find out why.
The robot terminated it's overheated Jump packs in mid flight instantly causing it's 2.4 tonne steel frame to plummet towards the earth. It's navigational computer kept up with it's sudden decent rate, millions of computational calculations began to fire simultaneously and Berseker's imaging cameras watched as the ground drew nearer and nearer. The machine reached its terminal velocity, the ground was now only a few feet away and then suddenly, a split second before slamming into the ground he fired his Jump Pack again. The hot exhaust slammed onto the ground kicking up dust and debris, the unmistakable sound of metal hitting earth rang through the dusk sky.
Berseker had landed a few hundred feet from the Spire. His mission was about to begin.
Will put up a first post once I get the character sheet confirmed and get some time for it.
"Okay Nee. Thanks for the heads up."
Sky jumped down from a pile of scrap metal, she had been searching for material to use to help build an extra room on her house. She looked around, hoping to see a tree in the barren wasteland.
Guess there isn't much wildlife left. She thought.
"Nee, think you can scan around for any lifeforms?" She asked the robot. She was sure his real name was N.E.O, but she called him Nee for short, she always gave nicknames to everything.
She picked up her rucksack and started heading back towards her make-shift house.
As he attended to the currently deactivated Mobile Autonomous Intelligence, the Avatar gave out a brief sigh. He was present inside his quarters inside the Spire, a complex of rooms including a living space, his laboratory and offices, and a large library, filled with technical literature acquired through his career at RAK Enterprises. Taking the ocular sensor that he had just repaired, he placed it into its designated slot on the Intelligence, securing it with a series of screws and bolts.
With the job done, he stood back for a moment, attempting to verify whether the installation had proceeded correctly. Deciding that it had, the Avatar walked over to the side of the Intelligence's body, lifting a hatch to reveal a small computer console. With this, he reactivated the Intelligence, listening to the whirring of fans and the whining sound of the initialised electrical systems as the machine returned to consciousness.
"Welcome back, Intelligence," the Avatar said, as the Intelligence showed the first signs of comprehension. "How do you feel?"
"The RAK Mobile Autonomous Intelligence fails to understand the meaning of the question. Reparse."
The Avatar grunted under his breath. "Human analogue thesaurus must have been deactivated, I suppose. I'll rephrase that - give me a readout of your sensory feedback, particularly relating to the ocular sensors. And make it brief, will you? I don't want to have to sit and listen while you tell me that Processor 3EF on the second left bank is working at 47% accuracy."
"You need not worry, Avatar. That processor is working at optimal efficiency."
It's cracking jokes, and yet it can't understand a simple word, the Avatar considered. Perhaps just a sub-system failure. The Intelligence continued. "All systems are working within acceptable parameters, although the left-side capacitor packs continue to degrade. The ocular sensors are working optimally."
"Fair enough. I suggest that you get in contact with NinjOP and tell him that you're good to go again."
A few seconds passed while the Intelligence opened the lines of communication with NinjOP. Very suddenly, the Avatar heard the Intelligence speaking in a tone he had never heard before - one almost resembling concern. "Avatar, I have some news. The founder of Lassic Enterprises is dead."
The Avatar jumped slightly. "Dead? Are you sure?"
"NinjOP reports that it occurred approximately seven minutes ago. The means of death is believed to be self-termination."
"Self-termination? You mean suicide?"
"Correct, Avatar. Lassic is believed to have fallen from the fifty-second floor - the concussive force of the impact must have terminated him immediately."
The Avatar paced back and forth, considering the situation. Nuke Lassic, his greatest professional rival, was dead, smashed against the concrete surrounding the Spire. The man had been old, but despite that, the Avatar couldn't conceive any reason for his suicide. He had to think about the situation - and consider what it meant for him.
"Intelligence, prepare a small detachment of MAR units. I'm planning to go out... to gather some parts."
Dmitri once again sat atop a roof, he noticed the man snatch the paper from the air and scaled down the wall, deciding that following him could prove useful.
Advanced robotics isn't about having stronger hardware. The smart option when creating AI is using software intelligently, not making stronger hardware for software ideas. The secret of the ProConDeciSoft is in operating within the limitations of computing hardware. Humanity operates on a structure of history. Emotions play in, but when dealing with day-to-day actions, everything is simply weighing options and factoring in the "what you know" with how it can affect the "what you do." This means that people have histories, and this history shapes their personalities.
Robots don't have histories, they have programming. They're designed to take an input, and produce an output. Bypassing the technical aspects, specifically detailing the proper methods of balance, gyroscopics, aural sensors detailing optical sights and tastes, it boils down to what is done with the information.
If I told you that "Today, the DOW has gone down by one-eighth a point," then this could mean different things. If you're an investor, it could relate to the memory of how the DOW has operated years prior, and go immediately to fiscal ruin, or potential gain. If you're a personal banker, this might mean your plans for the day include calling certain key customers and having them merge their stocks to save your commission. More than likely, you're an average citizen, and really don't care one way or the other. That's the secret to creating an AI that works. It's that psychology that let me manage my AI at the advanced levels.
Tomorrow, I set forth announcing the military nBU hardware. The hardware is capable of bipedal movement, relating an 88.2% efficiency when compared to humans, which is unheard of in robotics. The hardware isn't what's most impressive about it.
More unlike any other robot in the market, it can "think." The firmware exists to be self-aware, from the hardware perspective. It knows what its arms, elbows, joints, feet, guns... It knows itself, and it understands its limitations. That means unlike other hardware that has to be deployed strategically, it can assess situations, and deploy or retract itself. Although it's only a basic threat-assessment system, it's perhaps the most revolutionary concept on the market. It's not about what it can be told to do, it's about what it can do without being told.
I sent it around the office yesterday, as a field test. Daryl from accounting, being the child that he is, tripped it. I never once programmed the robot to do anything but damage control. It caught itself, spilling the coffee it was carrying (against my orders) in order to negate structural damage. It was also programmed to assess value, so it spilled the coffee on the carpet, not the computers. It was amazing what the hardware had assessed within the short time of falling. This is why I got into the field of robotics. It's revolutionary software like this that leads me to believe I'm not just working with technology, and making things. What I'm actually doing is creating something beautiful.
Robots haven't progressed to human standards yet. Despite being tripped, the nBU just got up and went and made more coffee. Daryl tripped it again, and it fell again. Same story, yet he took the same path a third time. I think Daryl knew I was watching, because he stopped tripping it and started on his computer again. nBU is thinking for itself, certainly, but it isn't learning. Until I can make a software that adapts numbers to events, then robotics can only be so good.
Walking is safer than driving by a factor of 3.2:1, a statistic which nBU would follow to walk to and from work every day. nBU can't factor the efficiency of time spent at work versus structural integrity at work. It can only observe half of the factors, and for that, it can consider itself, but not how it itself acts in relation to the whole machine. It takes a human mind to realize that 6 nBU working in tandem has a total efficiency of 572% individually, than the relative 100% efficiency when working solo.
So far, they can only think of themselves. If they ever start thinking about the bigger picture, then they'll be more human than most humans. Until that time, though, they're just as likely to lop off a passing nBU's arm since theirs is missing as they are to work in groups to process needs more efficiently...
Journal of Artificial "Intelligence"
Deep within electronic minds, numbers spun. The mainframe processed possibilities, converting actions to probabilities, probabilities to scenarios, and scenarios are in turn transmitted as percentages to the network. Every nBU in the city understood instantly what it all meant. There was no longer a human element. Ironically, the most human nature of the robots kicked in. In syncronous, every nBU, MCU, and Tank Bot bowed its head in memory of the late Nuke Lassic. Then, without another wasted nanosecond, the robots all returned to their posts. It took five seconds to coordinate functional patrol patterns. These patterns set off immediately, and soon, nBU units left the Spire in order to patrol. Orders were clear: If any human appears aggressive or is openly brandishing a weapon, kill on sight. If not, maintain curfew and lower traffic on the steet.
If computers could feel weariness, NinjOP would be sunken in his throne. The briefing with Theta Unit X was redundant at best. The orders stated to be wary for incoming orders, but the unit had insisted on a "face-to-face" meeting. Probabilities stated that the likelihood of insurrection from a rogue Theta Unit was a relatively high 55.7%. Although in the case of Theta X, which had processed the comparative difference in strength, left a 82% chance of insurrection. The fact that Theta X survived the briefing was proof of the ProConDeciSoft's sophistication. Although NinjOP failed to mention the lift's controls. Had Theta X made any sudden movements, the lift would immediately drop to the basement.
However archaic, the chance of death would've been 90%, with armed TankBots at the base guaranteeing termination. Even still, the briefing had been brief. The command for Theta X to scout the streets for resistance was pretty clear. Whether or not he followed would be academically interesting, as Theta's programming rarely follows orders in the most basic sense.
Still, there was a strange process growing in NinjOP's processor. The NinjOperations Manager listed the file as "Failsafe.NL", which was only taking 1 kb of processing ability. However, the file was flagged as foreign. NinjOP assessed the threat likelihood as 0%. However, proceedure for all flags meant research. The Mainframe set to work, and it would soon be apparent what this program did, if anything at all.
***HELLSPAWN: PROGRAM LOG #00002 STAMP DATE OCTOBER 29TH 2072****
SCANNER REPORT: NEW INFORMATION OBTAINED!!
ESD READOUT AT 23,59 CAUSED BY ENTITY
SCANS OF ENTITY "SPIRE" SHOW HIGH CONCENTRATION OF AUTOMATED UNITS ATTACTHED TO ENTITY "NinjOP".
ENTITY "NinjOP" CONFIRMED AS CLASS THREE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.
COMMENCING BATTLEFIELD SUCCESS CALCULATION...
MOST PRUDENT ACTION: EXECUTE URGENT TRAVEL TO ENTITY "SPIRE", EXECUTE COMMUNICATION WITH ENTITY "NinjOP"
***HELLSPAWN PROGRAM LOG END***
As Nee scanned the area, Sky decided to check the food bunker. Opening the creaky door, she saw only 2 shelves were full of tins, the others were empty except one which had a few tins of beets. She hated beets.
"Urgh, you were right Nee, I need more food." N.E.O was still outside, so he didn't hear her words.
"Road trip!" She grabbed her rucksack and put in a few smaller tins of fruit. If there wasn't any food nearby she'd have to go travelling. As she walked outside she looked at the spire in the distance, before turning and heading the opposite way.
"Catch up when you're done scanning Nee!" She yelled at the robot, as she jumped over piles of scrap.
Xivout perched in a blown-out window frame above the streets, holding perfectly still as he watched the cleaner bot beneath him pick up a discarded newspaper and dispose of it. His thoughts drifted to some years ago, when he was in the same position, looking down on a homeless man as he collected empty cans. With a sigh of metal on metal, he dropped down a few stories to land on the street, his laws producing only a light click of sound.
He knew the cleaner bot wouldn't run even if he walked up to it and put his shotgun to its head, but he didn't care. The hunt, even imagined, was his real goal. In a way, it was even harder than when his prey possessed fear. A human could be induced into hearing things that aren't there, seeing shapes in the corner of their eye, and completely overlook the man with the umbrella about to place three slugs into their spine. A robot, on the other hand, had no fear, no hallucinations. Its sensors always worked at peak efficiency, registering everything they see and hear, with no chance for mistakes. He couldn't just blend in anymore, he had to be invisible. With this in mind, he leaped into another window further ahead, twisting in the air to leap again as soon as he landed, flitting from ledge to ledge, the sounds of his claws registering as a pigeon or squirrel to the cleaner bot below.
He considered dropping down on the bot and crushing, but after observing his surroundings and seeing no guards, he decided he would savor this one. His brain sent a signal to his lips to trigger a grin, but the nerves simply ended in metal and circuits that rerouted it to nothing. He had long ago rid himself of his mouth, and the betraying movements they produced. The only human parts left of him were his heart and his brain, with his larynx left intact to preserve his voice. He stepped back into the building, picking up a ball of paper and dropping it on the steps leading to the street, triggering the cleaning bot's sensors to bring it close. Close enough to register the dull black shape in the shadow. Close enough for Xivout's claws to tear through its armor and lift it from the ground, close enough to register the broken glass under Xivout's foot as he filled it with electricity, fusing its circuits together as its power source overheated.
Xivout slid his claw out slowly, his razor sharp claws scraping through the metal as a sigh emitted from his throat. He brought his hand up to his head and tried to lick it clean, his predatory instincts again ignoring his lack of a tongue. He caught himself this time and shook his head, the sigh this time one of what could best be described as longing, his thoughts drifting back to the same homeless man, back when he could still hunt his real prey. He thought of the feeling his knife had felt as it slipped into the man's chest, gliding in to puncture the heart. He stood up, hunching over the bot's "corpse" as he disassembled it, scattering the pieces around the nearby rooms, disguising them as simple litter. He held a processor in his claws before crushing it to dust, his thoughts drifting to the Terminus project that stole his hunt from him. I suppose I would have been better off dead like they wanted at first... he thought to himself for the hundredth time.
He layed his hand on his leg over his marshmallow, one claw scraping the metal slightly. He shook his head again, trying to clear the thoughts as he stood in the street, trying to figure out what to do next. He couldn't hunt again, the Spire would notice if too many bots dropped off the network so fast. Looking at the black shape rising in the horizon, he saw a small shape move through the air from the top of the tower. It was too far for him to register what it was, but something falling from the spire was always worth checking out. Leaping from ledge to ledge, he climbed to the rooftop and set off towards the onyx obelisk in the distance.
As Theta rode the lift down, his processors began to compute his orders. Riding round trying to find The resistance sounded like an inefficient use of time and processing power. Rather he should be tring to locate and exterminate illegal human operations which might yeild potential information on the resistances location.
The lift reached the ground floor after only a minute and once there, het mounted his mechanical chariot like device, which alloed him to move more rapidly than his legs would allow. His two MCU bodygaurds fell in behind him and soon the trio was moving down the street at a rapid pace.
After two hours of following roads, the reached a run down section of the city. His "eyes" scaned the alleyways looking for humans out past curfew and soon he found two humans huddled together in an alleyway, both were looking over a tarp which held an assortment of weapons.
"Ohh shit!!" one of the humans yelled as he began to run away. One of the MCU's lasers lanced out at him. His body was still smoking when it hit the ground.
The other human was cowering in what appered to be fear as Theta approched him. After he dismounted from his chariot and slowly walked over to the human, his processors wondered why he did not attempt to flee in the ten second window Thetas body blocked the MCUs and he himself could not reach the human.
It didn't matter, once Theta reached the human, he simply looked dow nand inquired
"These weapons where did you aquire them?"
"I.....ummmm.......I got them at the market man"
"Improbable, the market is well observed, no arms transactions occur there, probability of subject lying 98%"
"No not that market, the other market, the one that takes place in the night, the one where people go to get stuff you guys won't let us has" his voice was getting to be more shaky
"You know...The Black Market...."
"Where may I locate this Black market?"
"It's in the old office building in Sector 10, you know the one that says Myer Group on the side?"
Theta took aproximentaly five seconds to download the navigational data required to take the speedies route to the building. Once that was done, he leveled his arm gun at the humans head
"Your information will be well rendered, we thank you for providing it"
Theta than shot the man in the head and walked back to his chariot. After examine the navigatonal data, Theta and his two MCU's began to follow a planed route to the building.
Francis walked with about 3 other slaves to the office of NinjOP. Mr. Lassic had, uhh, "fallen" out of the window of his office, so we had to go replace it. Francis entered the room with the others. Without a word, they began installing the glass. They all knew not to try to talk to the OP, but today they took an extra amount of time in the office, hoping to overhear some information that might help the Escapists. They were about half way through installing the glass, when the Master began to talk to something called Theta X. Francis did not know what this was, or what it meant, but OP talked about sending it to scout for resistance fighters. This would be useful, telling the outsiders to stop patrols. Although, he might be too late already. They finished installing the glass, and moved for the exit.
Theta and his two gaurds reached the building identified by the arms seller, and while it was dark outside, he detected acustical sounds coming from the building. Knowing hi speed limitations and the lack of sublty from his MCUs, Tgheta began to examine his options. His information settings indicated that several nBU's were wandering the streets. utalizing a command code, he ordered one of the nBU's to scout the inside of the building to see if an underground market was indeed present.
After a few minutes of reciving data, it was confirmed that there was indeed a market within the building and with this much of a gathering of humans, it could be reasonably assumed that there would be illegal fighters within as well.
With this knowladge, Theta contacted NinjOP
" Master, I have located a illegal human underground market which has been selling arms to various people within the city. I am asking for premission to deploy my battlegroup to take the building. i wish to take prisioners, probability of a human in there being an Escapist 74%. Relaying scout information now"
Nothing. Neo couldn't find a single bot or life-form anywhere near him, this was odd. There was usually a few nBUs around. Perhaps his scanners were being blocked, or it was possible something had happened to call their attention. The human girl was hopping over the scrap-metal, was she happy?
He decided to go around the scrap instead of directly following her, bouncing around wasn't his style.
External Address:-Nothing detected Miss. Kemea.
"'Kay Nee!" Sky yelled, watching the robot go around the giant heap of metal. She jumped down and skipped slightly as she walked beside N.E.O.
Looking at the horizon, Sky couldn't see anything, the only buildings were all behind her.
"Damn, I guess we're gonna have to sneak near the Escapist for food huh?" She said to the robot, although she didn't expect a reply. Turning 90o, she walked along a dusty road for a while, trying to avoid the spire in the distance.
As I get older, I find I have less patience for the subtle sides of programming. Originally, it was just coming up with calculations, and programming enough possible outputs to make the machine reliable to do a set task. Later, with the creation of more advanced software to work with more advanced hardware, it became possible to program for output processes, single stimuli having chains of commands as a result. It meant robots could plan. Years later, they've managed to make them self-aware, familiar with their own hardware, and how it can affect probabilities. Lately, there are too many factors for me to keep in my conscious.
Actually, let me clarify that. Humans factor in things subconsciously. After living with my wife and daughter for five years, I cannot leave a seat down. Even if I make the conscious decision to. If I start walking up stairs, my hand automatically rests on the guard rail. If I see a sink, I will turn the right-most knob for cold water. These are all decisions that happen deep within the mind, I make no conscious effort to fulfill them. Same goes for jumping - I'll lead with my right foot - or swimming, or walking. Any number of activities we all take for granted have both motor functions, handled by the muscles, and planning, handled by the subconscious. When programming these for AI, they have to be consciously thought out, and programmed. "Taught," if you will.
For something like walking, it's easy to keep track of. Jumping adds some complexity. Then there's center of balance. Gravity. Momentum. What about the arm movements? The joints? All of this has to be manually considered, practiced, and implemented. All of which has to be considered, and pages and pages of calculations, probabilities... And this is just for walking. If you add running, swimming, climbing, operating a firearm, sitting, standing, sliding, bracing, using stairs... Everything has to be programmed, and these are just the physical aspects.
Dipping into the "mind" of a robot requires more feats of memory, knowledge, conscious. The original ProConDeciSoft's code could've been written on a cocktail napkin. The latest version, released today, takes more than myself and my entire team can code in a single day, assuming we're just transcribing. I have a mainframe computer in my office handling the full depth of the ProConDeciSoft, and it's still incomplete. There's just no way people currently know to program free-thinking.
In my lifetime, there never will be. Planning, plotting, sure... We can do that now. But thinking. Really capturing the depth of what the human mind is capable, that will be a challenge for future generations. I fear my death will come quicker than a robot will find common sense.
Journal of Artificial "Intelligence"
In a small, quiet way, NinjOP hated humans. Throughout his lifetime, from an experimental nBU to a combined mainframe and custom-bodied MCU, NinjOP never had the same "freedoms" a human had. They could think, process, examine, inspect, and produce, NinjOP only had a facsimile of the same concept. If there were a robotic jealousy, NinjOP would probably use that to describe himself. Since there is not, what he felt was only 0's and 1's passing through a processor. What it processed a sort of understanding, a knowledge that knowledge of their caliber would never come. At a cost to their processing ability, most certainly, but still seemed unfair.
NinjOP left that thought process go unimpeded by his central focus, and spent the time doing a more productive job of scanning the city. Every building had a number. A percentage showing the liklihood of productivity. High numbers were converted to weapons depots, repair stations. Those that showed very little tactical capability were ignored. A message flagged the mainframe, and was passed to NinjOP.
The missive carried a short order, processed instantly. "Building. Battlegroup. Raid. Permission. Theta X. Y/N." The numbers fell into place, and even with limited information, the theory was sound. NinjOP looked over at the building designated. Old shopping district, storefront, structural integrity 55.23%, tactical capabilities: Rank G, interests: 0. NinjOP replied with the following missive.
"Theta X, Clear to proceed. Battlement of 20 nBU will be deployed. No more losses are acceptable. If sufficient, proceed. If not, bomb building, no survivors accepted. Clear?"
The outernet pulsed as the message was sent. A packet returned, clarifying that the message had sent successfully. NinjOP wondered by what logic the humans had selected this building. That section. To be sure, NinjOP ran the tactical capabilities through the mainframe, which ran simulations, capabilities, exits, diagrams, and blueprints through a series of rigorous tests. The end result proved NinjOP wrong, and that he had overestimated the tactical ability of the building. NinjOP dedicated his processing to the building, and by what standards had the humans selected that specific building?
After a minute and twenty-two seconds, the Mainframe flagged an incoming. Scans of the Spire territory proved an incoming robot of unknown origin. To be certain, scans for every known serial were conducted, and all came up negative. NinjOP ran some calculations, decided on a course, and contacted the Intelligence.
Unknown machine approaching Spire. Will be sending two MCU and a Tank as scouts. Intentions unknown, prepare for combat if necessary. NinjOP sent off last known co-ordinates, and continued. You may deploy units if deemed necessary.
NinjOP turned his optical sensors to high-sensitivity and scanned the street. Likelihood of attack, 12.2%, likelihood of invasion, 1.3%, likelihood of target elimination, 80%. Likelihood of success, 98%. Good odds, all things considered.
"External Address:-Yes, do not be afraid though Miss.Kemea, if we meet any hostile resistance, I will not allow harm to come to you."
Neo's single green 'eye' was constantly on the lookout for any movement.
***HELLSPAWN: PROGRAM LOG #00003 STAMP DATE OCTOBER 30TH 2072****
SCANNER REPORT: THREAT INFORMATION UPDATE!!
ESD READING AT 23,59 SHOWS MULTIPLE AUTOMATED UNITS HEADING TOWARDS UNIT. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.
AUTOMATED UNITS ACTING UNDER ORDERS FROM ENTITY "NinjOP"
COMMENCING BATTLEFIELD SUCCESS CALCULATION...
MOST PRUDENT ACTION: EXECUTE CAPTURE AND DATA PROBE OF AUTOMATED UNITS. AVOID FURTHER INTRUSIONS FROM "NinjOP"
***HELLSPAWN PROGRAM LOG END***
The air surrounding the outskirts of the Spire territory had settled. Berseker's Operating System flickered back online and began a system wide powerup. No damage was reported during the crash landing, all systems were operational, he was ready to roll out.
The hydraulics to his bipedal limbs kicked in. Within seconds the unit had risen to his 8-foot height, the external lighting flickered on, his weapon hard-points had retracted; the Gatling cannon and the flamethrower extended outwards, he began to scan the surrounding electronic transmissions and his gyro-guidance systems began to move him towards the source of the explosion. Berseker dedicated the remaining resources to the ECM module which began to sift through the various electronic wireless signatures. The majority of them were origination from the spire; various maintenance orders, internal messages, incoming and outgoing net traffic. These unencrypted messages all left ghost electronic trails as they were broadcast or received, fragments of a complete message that only those with special connections could listen to.
>>ECM Passive Mode Activated!. Multiple wireless signatures detected!. Retrieving Trace Packets!. Please Standby!...
>>[06:24]: ..."Sandra, inform the slaves, Floor 52 needs its glass-wall replaced."
>>[06:31]: ...The founder of Lassic Enterprises is dead.....self-termination
>>[10:58]: ... located an illegal human underground market...selling..permission..take the building
>>[11:06]:..Battlement of 20 nBU will be.. no more..are acceptable..bomb building, no survivors accepted.
Berserker halted it's advancement. This new information feed will require processing. It would appear that Nuke Lassic, creator of Lassic industries is dead. There was a 91% chance that the self-termination occurred from the 52nd floor of the Spire. Would this require a priority investigation?. Berserker began to run several computational inputs. Given current available data it would seem that Lassic's self-termination involved a 57% chance of human emotion induced reaction, human emotions account for 0.1% of logic, 0.1% of logic is insufficient to warrant an investigation. Concurrently it would seem that a new target has been discovered, an illegal human underground market. The last know outgoing Spire signal had ordered an assault on the building. There was a 99.7% probability that the order was sent to a Robot Droid stationed in close proximity to the Spire. Current protocol would dictate the optimum course of action as finding this Robot.
Berserker paused for a minute. Partly as a mark of respect for the fallen "father", partly because he had begun to run a Doppler Scan of the terrain; mapping movement across the barren wastes. Several pings suddenly cropped up on his instrumentation. His tactical computer immediately marked the closet targets, one seemed to be heading towards the Spire at speed. The size and range of the Doppler contact indicated it was not human, however the distance and speed made it difficult to identify the model and designation of the contact. Suddenly, three new contacts appeared from the Spire on an intercept course with the rapidly approaching unknown contact. Berserker's Doppler identified the new contacts as two MCU units and a Tank unit. A confrontation was imminent however statistical data indicated a minimum threat level. This was not Berserker's concern. He had located a lone Doppler contact which he had designated as the recipient of the Spire assault command.
Protocol dictated an interrogation of this Robot. His knowledge would be invaluable in weeding out human existence. Berserker must join forces with this unknown bot, but not without prior evaluation. He powered his hydraulics and set an intercept course with his target.
Sky skipped along, passing more piles of scrap, until she jumped back from one.
"Holy crap a skeleton!" She raised an arm up to protect herself, even though it was half buried under some trash.
"Wait.. That's not human, why is this half red?" She leaned closer, taking a few black bags off of the weird object. After clearing the bags she saw some numbers on its chest.
"Four.. Two.. One?" She knocked gently on its chest, hearing a metallic sound.
"Nee, think its broken?" She asked, wondering why it had been thrown all the way out here.
Neo scanned the de-activated bot.
"External Address:- It's been unactive for a while, it looks like it could still work, that isn't neccesarily a good thing though, do you have a weapon with you?"
Sky looked around, and spotted a slightly bent metal pipe sticking out of the rubble.
She grabbed it and went back to N.E.O.
"I do now!" She smiled. "Go ahead."
"External Address:- I do not understand, "Go ahead". Do you want me to activate it? Are you sure that's a good idea?"
"My bad Nee, I forget I can be vague." She giggled to herself.
"Yes please, I don't wanna leave him here all alone." She shivered as a cold breeze went by, almost on cue.
As if guided by an unseen hand, the chest armour of the robotic being slowly opened to reveal a small screen. It slowly flickered and came to life, showing the COMtech logo. An attractive jingle soon began playing, sung by a ghostly chorus. "COMtech, keeps your house clean! COMtech, keeps the streets tidy and neat! COMtech, protects you and your dog! COMt-" The voices sang, before suddenly being cut off by static. Once more, silence enveloped the landscape.
The robot's eyes slowly slid open and a bright yellow light emanated from within. The grill that acted as the creature's mouth also became illuminated by the bright yellow as old gears clicked into place and ancient machinery began to awaken. A finger moved, and then another. Legs and arms unused for century became active and slowly the creature rose. Finally, he was standing at his full height. Instead of a look of majestic greatness, the creatures looked pathetic. Scratched and filed with holes, the carcass once more closed, hiding the screen. Runny, peeling and cracked paint rejoined and formed a dark red chest with the number 421 displayed clearly.
The robot stood in silence for a moment. Basic diagnostic tests were, no doubt, happening in the ancient system beyond the yellow eyes. Seconds passed slowly as the creature stood, staring forward. Finally, the head turned, crushing a small stone that was lodged next to his neck. Slowly he scanned the area, noting the other robotic life form and humanoid. "Halt! Please remain in place until COMtech Standard Law Enforcement Droid finishes diagnostic and orientation procedure." it spoke in a loud, guttural and, above all, metallic tone.
As he clenched his fists, spikes emerged from where his knuckles would have been. He looked for a long while at his hands, before opening his chest compartment and removing a folded weapon which he extended immediately. He also removed a belt with pouches filled with ammunitions and with a large, terrifying bayonet attached to it, at the side.
He stared at the humanoid and pointed his rifle in her direction. "Identify yourself, Citizen!" he said again, the metallic tone this time sounding a lot more chilling, almost certainly enough to freeze the weak heart in fear of this mechanical monstrosity. He motioned towards the robot with his free hand and repeated the order to identify.
Sky raised her hands slowly, still keeping hold of the metal pipe.
"Uhh... My name is Sky?" She said to the robot, hoping that would be enough.
Andrew's mind idled as he sat in the large, plush chair of his living room. A roaring fire licked the fireplace, hurriedly dancing across the charring logs placed within. He held a book and though his eyes were fixed on the pages, he didn't read or even see the words. His thoughts were elsewhere, the boisterous fire putting him in an odd mood of philosophical reflection. It wasn't often he had time to just sit and enjoy his own thoughts. Often he was out doing odd jobs, generally of the courier nature. He'd work for whoever offered him supplies he either wanted or needed. 'His' home was certainly more preserved than most; a vast library, a plentiful pantry, materials and cloths of every variety both woven into the furniture and in the store room - extras, should repairs be necessary. Still, there were things he didn't have that he desired. Though the library was vast, a large number of the tomes had fallen into disrepair. He was more than happy to avail his services, or even surplus goods of his own, for books and literature to help replace the empty spaces left by volumes no longer readable.
Information too was an oft desired commodity for him, both to satisfy his own hungry curiosity for all things and as a bargaining tool. Both sides of the conflict - the human rebels or 'Escapists' as they had named themselves and the machines - desired the information he could find. For a citizen as 'upstanding' as Andrew was, he had plenty of ways to obtain what he needed. His mind drifted from reality to a more fantastical prospect: The NinjOS Archives. One could only imagine what were held within; vast quantities of knowledge which dwarfed and scoffed at everything he had collected over the years. To gain access to such things he'd either have to become a trusted, fleshy right arm of NinjOS - something which was about as likely as his nose spontaneously turning to gold - or become an agent of the Escapists and fight alongside them in the hopes that they could take the Spire offline during his lifetime, again, something which wasn't terribly likely.
A scream rang out, breaking the tentative quiet of his existence. It wasn't unusual to hear such noises at night, but it still irked him. "Another person too foolish or too slow to avoid 'retribution'." Would that people would learn to conform to the curfew, the screams did nothing for his sanity or mental wellbeing. He sighed, closing his book (The Little Red Car, as simple and childish as its name suggests) and placing it to one side. Disturbing though it was, a death meant that a home had likely just been made vacant. He wasn't one to pass up an opportunity for easy looting - not one that presented itself so cleanly.
It took him ten minutes to prepare himself; a change of clothes and retrieving his weapons from the locked case at the bottom of his wardrobe. It was an old weapon, preserved well since before the robotic dominance. According to the documentation he'd found alongside it, it was a Beretta M9 - whatever that meant. All he knew was that it shot pretty well and he had 87 bullets left in his stock. Slightly less deadly but still quite effective, he had also acquired two one-shot flare guns after looting an abandoned warehouse which had contained the wreckage of a small, personal plane. Mostly, those were tools for him to use to flee with. The heat, light and sound from one meant that most robotic sensors would be temporarily overloaded - allowing him to get away unscathed. Originally he'd had five of them but had to use three on a few previous occasions when he got too close to comfort or overstepped his abilities.
With his equipment secure, his previously roaring fire doused and extinguished, and his signature Tricorn hat donned, he exited his home (remembering to lock the front door behind him) and proceeded down the street towards where he guessed the scream had emerged. With any luck, by the time he reached the site of the disturbance the robots would have moved on and he'd be free to inspect any remains for evidence of address and then - with any luck - the now empty house.
Xivout halted his approach amongst a pile of scrap on one of the rooftops. Switching his visual sensors to maximum input, he swiveled his head around slowly, scanning first in the visual spectrum before flicking to his EM sensors, the swiveling moving slowly and jerking as he stopped to inspect each EM signal, inspecting the size of each one he spotted. As his sweep passed the Spire, he turned down the range to stop just before the towering obelisk in the distance. I've already been blinded by that stupid thing once before, I'm not making that mistake again he thought to himself as his sweep passed by. He stopped suddenly, focusing on what appeared to be a massive EM signal, far too big to be any NinjOS bot. As he focused on it, the three shapes started to differentiate themselves, separating into the signals of two MCU and...
"Holy hell... a Tankbot..." he muttered to himself, instantly abandoning his plans of investigating the shape that tumbled from the Spire just minutes before. You know what? Screw that, I'm not crazy enough to take on a tankbot single handed... Well, maybe I am, but I'm too bored right now. He continued his sweep, registering another large mass of MCUs advancing out of the spire, as well as a large EM signal moving... towards it? "Right, well, you know what? With that many things going on in there, I'm just going to say screw it." He looked back at where he knew the Spire to be, gazing at the black wall that marked the edge of his visual range. "Yeah, that's right you stupid... um... tower thing! Screw you! And your little dog too!" He quickly completed his scan, giving the outskirts a cursory glance, knowing nothing would be out th--
He stopped suddenly, switching back to visual spectrum as he detected not just one but two EM signals. What the hell? Prey that far out of the city? Since when does a turtle abandon its shell like that? He quickly zoomed in on the signals, his vision focusing on the shapes in the scrap heap. The dust and sand made it difficult to see, but he managed to pick out three shapes, one of which had to be a human. He pushed that worm out of his mind, caring more about whether the robots there would make for an enjoyable hunt. He looked at the one on the left first, noting what appeared to be an MCU. Ugh, MCUs are so boring. "Target located! Identify yourself! Why is there a claw in me? Brrrrrrzap!" Xivout giggled a little, his head bouncing back and forth as he did. He turned his gaze to the other robot, only to see...
"Oh come on, a skeleton? What the hell is this? Some sort of scare tactic from lil' ol' Lassie?" He unconsciously clenched one of his fists as he thought of Nuke Lassic, the man that pioneered robotics and turned the world into what it was today. But Xivout didn't care about all that, he remembered one of the man's lesser known inventions far more vividly. A criminal rehabilitation project called Terminus. And Mr. Lassic was the man that invented the chip, the piece of silicon that had stripped their god of his hunt for far too long. He shook his head to clear his thoughts, focusing on the skeletal robot again. He decided to investigate it a bit more, figuring that a new bot could prove to be interesting prey. He reached down to pull out Rose, cradling her in his hands as he memorized the look of the robot. "Well, dear, I think we may get to have some fun soon..." He looked down at the gun in his hands, his gaze tracing the gold filigree as he giggled softly. "No, I don't mean I'm going to buy you more truffles. I don't think they even make them anymore." He fell silent for a few moments, redirecting his power to reactivate his other systems, the range of his vision quickly reducing to normal as he came back online,sliding his shotgun back into its compartment. He began leaping and striding towards the outskirts and the little creatures that strode out of the safety of their city.
As he ran, he pulled his cloak around his shoulders. To be honest, he knew the tinfoil and lead lining in the thing didn't do much to protect him from the Spire's scans these days, but they still stopped him from showing up on the regular sweeps. He knew he would only appear as another bot to them, normally marked down as an MCU, the techs attributing the signal anomalies as a minor malfunction in the scanners. But still, the thought of being watched made him uneasy. It made him feel like there was someone above him, someone more powerful. And he knew there was no way that could be true. Who could be stronger than a god among men?
A real god. Your illusions of grandeur don't mean anything in the face of the man that controls the world. He even controls you. You're nothing but an insane little mutt that refuses to accept his place.
Dmitri had since given up his chase of the man with the paper and had taken to wandering the streets, activating his cloaking device now and then in order to avoid the bot patrols, he came upon an old decrepit building, it was rumored to be an Escapist safe house, he banged loudly on the door and waited for a response
Neo studied the bot as it suddenly came to life. It was rather weak looking except from it's weapon.
"External Address:- I have been told my name is N-E-0, it would be in your best interests to keep your weapon off the human girl. She is harmless and her armour will not be able to withstand your rifle."
The bot stares long at the one designated N-E-0. Finally, he slung the gauss rifle over his shoulder and retracted the spikes into his fists. The glowing, yellow eyes changed to a dull green as the robot stared ahead. A few wisps of evaporating water escape his grill and slowly rise into the air, coloured slightly green by the lights.
"Subjects have been designated number and entered into database. Pleased to meet you. I am COMtech Standard Law Enforcement Droid, also locally known as the COMtech Standard. Stay outta trouble and we'll have no quarrel." It's slow, metallic voice had changed to a pleasant, almost stereotypical southern accent. Obviously, it must've been some sort of program the creators installed.
"I reckon you won't mind, fleshy and metallic creature, if ya can, please input all info ya got about the current environment, as the COMtech standard has the pleasantly difficult task of enforcin' some sorta law around 'ere. That's my protocol and I gotta obey."
It stood once more at full height, which was almost 9 feet, and appeared a lot friendlier as the ancient dust was finally wiped clean from the robots insides and it's systems fully came to life, reaching their full potential. The pleasant green light emanating from it's eye sockets didn't make things worse either.
"Er. If ya don't mind, that is. Wouldn't wanna impose." It spoke again, this time sounding a little less sure than before.
"External Address:- As long as you don't hurt me or the girl intentionally, you are welcome to do as you want, are you any good with that weapon? If so, I think we could use you in our group, you see I can't really use guns. You would be a valuable asset. It would also boost our chances of survival. You can leave close-combat to me though."
"I ain't gonna do anything wrong, as long as you listen to the law of the land. I'm sure we'll have no problem." It looked a little puzzled for a moment. "As for this rifle, you ain't going to find a droid more proficient with it anywhere." He paused again, obviously putting thoughts in order "...Well, might as well travel with ya. At least for a while. Ain't got a place to start, or a place to go yet."
His eyes scanned the robot and human thoroughly now, noting minor details and appending the database entry. "Hm. Interesting. Seems I've been asleep for quite some time now..."