From the Ashes: A World Divided
Worldwide News Report
March 1315 A.C.
Conflict and unrest plague parts of the Americas, The Pacifica Sovereignty embroiled in brutal civil war with the dissatisfied militants and rebels of Sector Three. Down south, the Quetzaltec Empire faces division among the masses as the Emperor's ailing condition worsens, and neglecting of his duties have given rise to a dissenter faction. The Hegemony and the Networked have been quiet for sometime, unpredictable in what course of action they'll take in these struggling times.
The Tenth Anniversary of the Treaty of Brest has drawn mass protests from all across Breizh and parts of the Continental Union. A strong Separatist Movement growing in Breizh, whom have received the blessings of a select number of Europan Politicians and Members of Parliament in their efforts. Prominent Leaders of the Separatists have the intend goal of joining the Union if they succeed. Many among the population disagree as some had suffered during the Breizh Campaigns of the Brythonic-Europan War.
Tensions rise between the Networked and the Russian Federation as the Cold War intensifies, and look to expand their sphere of influence to lesser countries, attempting to set up puppet regimes friendly to their cause by supplying weapons to countries torn in civil war with the latest in weaponry.
Worldwide Weather Report
It appears Winter won't end for anytime soon as it has been prolonged for the next four months, causing mass drought throughout the world.
Last edited by Sigma; 4 Weeks Ago at 11:38 AM.
Above the tormented and tortured Earth, FATHER* watched from above, its AI conciousness distributed across the grid of Satellites that survived the Great War and what the Networked could launch. At his discretion, they maneuvered and realigned themselves to watch and tap communications and look down onto the affairs of other continents. But despite what the popular fiction said, satellite imagery was far from reliable. In fact, at this time FATHER's* sensor resolution was lower than usual due to the prevailing winterstorms clouding the atmosphere. Communications were also becoming spottier, although not as severe as last winter thanks to new ground stations.
This left it with plenty of time to think, and to use the orbital research station it was based in to perform some personal experiments into AI core development.
<Test number 644-38A of the Delta-graft. As stated in the mission summary, the objective is to be able to upgrade Gamma-cores into Delta cores without losing the original personality based off reconstructed data from human testing on upgrading AI cores. Last test showed promise in improving processing power using iso-kiron pathway grafts. Attempting a more large scale test.>
Ishmael*: <FATHER*, are you busy?> Interrupted a voice from below. Ishmael* of the floating city of Ark. FATHER* electronically grunted in annoyance before diverting runtimes to maintain a conversation with the sea-based AI.
FATHER*: <What is the nature of your request Ishmael*?>
Ishmael*: <We're sending a diplomatic envoy over to the Russians again, please task some satellites to keep a watch on them and act as emergancy matrix buffers if neccessary.>
FATHER*: <Warning: emperor-class winterstorms disrupt signal reception. Cannot guarantee complete matrix recovery.>
Ishmael*: <Do what you can. Some safety net is better than none regarding the Russians.>
With that, the conversation ended and FATHER* sent some Reclaimer-class satelites to proceed towards a geo-synchronous orbit over the Russians. He had no doubt they were trying to track all his satellites, just as he did with theirs, so he made a little game of random course adjustments and reshuffling of orbital fueling tugs and com-sats. Let them try and make sense of that.
Meanwhile, the majority of his runtimes were still focused on the question of whether to add a kiron-graft to the upper 34th relay, or the 33rd. Probability engines failed him due to the experimental nature of this project. Activating coinflip.exe. Heads. Upper 34th it was. And there was a .05% improvement in the matrix processing ability without losing retention. Moving onto the next of 45039 relays requires to attain Delta-level ability. Heres hoping it wouldn't catch on fire again. Fire extinguisher at the ready just in case.
Such was a minute of the life of FATHER*.
* * * * * * * *
Border city of Tomsk
The Armor Bay of the city garrison was abustle with activity as the 79th Unorthodox Engagement Team prepared to mobilize. A small army of machines both large and small swarmed around the Halfjacks and light bodies about to sortie.
At the center of these operations was a female bioroid, with closely-short black hair and flat cybernetic green eyes sharply contrasting with her otherwise shapely and organically attractive form. She didn't speak a word, as she was presently monitoring and participating in over 100 lines of e-chat over her integrated wireless unit.
Wolfhound*: <79th UE Team, sound off on readiness.>
Shepard*: <Halfjack Shepard* online. Sentinel loadout ready. Fuel cells at full capacity. Ready for patrol.>
Bulldog*: <Halfjack Bulldog* standing by. Charger loadout equipped. Winter gear locking in. Ready for snowball patrol.>
Toran*: <This is Toran. Marauder-bot sections one and two ready for snow patrol.>
Kyuzo*: <Hammerhead section online and fully loaded.>
Wolfhound* walked up to her other half in the bay, a Halfjack chassis mounting a long-barreled railgun in one arm and another grasping around a large battle axe. Clambering ontop, Wolfhound* dropped into the cockpit and linked her synthetic human body into the machine. Her mind blurred and shifted to return back to her true body and out of the remote-controlled shell before firing up the engines.
Wolfhound*: <Wolfhound* to CP*, 79th UE is moving out. Requesting opening of gate 3.>
CP*: <Copy that 79th UE-actual. Doors opening. Weather report shows a epsilon-class winterstorm out there, so be careful. Good hunting.>
Wolfhound*: <Copy that. All 79th UE elements, this is a snowball patrol, we are to patrol the border and observe only. Do not shoot unless fired upon. Assume arrow formation and move out.>
Thirty eight pairs of mechanical feet marched in lockstep unison out of the armor bay and into the snowy lands outside, led by a trio of Halfjacks at their head. Another patrol made neccessary by the growing aggression of the Russians towards the border enclaves. Robots that were abandoned in place and had nowhere to go or lacked the resources to attempt an exodus. While the Networked sent relief supplies and evacuation convoys wherever they could, far too many innocent machines were still in the path of the rising Russian state. And so the snowball patrols continued, for they just kept growing larger as time passed.
But sooner or later, these patrols would turn to their other, more bloody purpose. A purpose Wolfhound* sincerely hoped she would not have to fulfill, but it would be up to whoever was leading the Russian patrols to determine if she was forced to or not.
<This is Supreme Command, imputing authentication codes.>
A long chain of numbers and letters were transmitted to a network communication satellite in space, a code which hadn't been used since a thousand years ago, 'confirming' the identity of the sender as Admiral Nikolov of the Russian Federation, something deep within the codes of all Russian made AIs, an emergency override of sort, made for emergency situations. Back in the Argo, Joule and Mayard stared at their console. Joule smiled. "Well, it is done, I don't get why we didn't do it sooner really." The plan was simple: Take control of the Russian Network, what was left of it, and use it for the Argonaut's own needs. It had come to their attention that the Russians had part of their network intact in the Far East centuries ago, decades ago when exploring the dept of the sea in the Atlantic, they had come across a Russian Air Carrier and its escort group, inside, very interesting and confidential data. The Junta had awaited a long time before trying to do something with this discovery, preferring to leave the old Russian AIs alone, they already were invested in Panama so operating in Russia would just be a waste of resources due to the distance.
But, under Joule's initiate after he had recovered the Russian data in an old sealed storage box, the Junta had reconsidered their decision: Perhaps the Russian resources could be used. Overriding the AIs would put them in a much less dependent from the Quetzans, perhaps now was the time. Joule's objective of course was to impress the Junta with his initiative, since the plan itself was extremely simple, the AIs were after all just programs which could be tricked by using their most basic purpose. Or so Joule thought. How could he suspect anything different after all? While Sentient AIs were not unheard of before the war, fact was that they were always built top to bottom with the idea of sentience in mind, such as many of the Argo's crew who were digitalized as to provide a form of immortality.
An AI gaining sentience by itself? Joule hadn't considered it, no Argonaut had. This was the logical conclusion for the Networked, FATHER*, Vanar* or any other, after all who would be stupid enough to try this stunt if they were knowledgeable of this fact? Normally, an AI would just accept the code since it was in the system and do as commanded, but they had the luxury of sentience, the ability to refuse.
<Override #1 Activated, await for new commands.>
<Command inbound: Receive New IFF codes, set codes to FRIENDLY>
<Command inbound: Transmit location of main AI cores on this channel using standard military encryption.>
<Command inbound: Await inspection of main AI cores by GENERAL LEVEL STAFF for debriefing.>
<Command inbound: Await inspection of main AI cores by GENERAL LEVEL STAFF for maintenance.>
<Command inbound: Await inspection of main AI cores by GENERAL LEVEL STAFF for acquisition of new programs and re networking.>
<Command inbound: Await inspection of main AI cores by GENERAL LEVEL STAFF for briefing of set new objectives.>
<End of transmission, confirm the change to new parameters, confirm?>
Joule crossed his arms and smiled. "And done. Well, call a meeting with Flay and her team then, we go there, set things up and she should be back to Panama and here in 2 days, maybe more depending on the number of cores she has to reprogram." Mayard rolled his eyes. "Can't wait for the answer? You'd think maybe the computer would consider its been 1000 years and humans don't live that long." It was Joule's turn to smile and have a small laughter. "Please, its just a glorified toaster, if no one in 1000 years told the thing to remove this General from its credential list then what does it knows?"
E-Chat Room #001-2.
Encryption Level: Vermillion secure-com.
FATHER*: <Vanar*, is this a prank?>
Vanar*: <No. Although I wish I came up with this idea first. Who got Admiral Nikolov's codes?>
Ishmael*: <Who is Nikolov anyway?>
Drakon*: <Former high-level admiral watchdogging a drone carrier group. Had override codes for some of FATHER's* sat network.>
Vanar*: <So what do we do?>
Ishmael*: <Give them a reply. Even if they think we are dumb toasters, even a gamma core knows that humans eventually expire after a century. The codes are old and outdated anyway.>
Drakon*: <Alternative: we play along. We don't know who this unknown contact is, or what they are after. We need more intelligence to make a judgement and response.>
Ishmael*: <Agreed. FATHER*, play along and act dumb. Lets see if we can't bring some to us to talk.>
* * * * * * *
A reply promptly popped up on the Argonaut's console from FATHER's* satellite they had connected to. A little slow for an AI to reply, but likely due to poor signal reception and maintenance of the satellites. (Actually FATHER* just using the older sats to relay data to them.)
<Override #1 order received.>
<IFF Update: confirmed.>
<Command Reply: Location of Primary Iota Core cluster: Vladviostok Naval Command Complex 3-4.>
<ERROR: Remote access codes rejected. Please input correct code for remote access.>
<ERROR: Remote reprogramming function hard-disabled. Direct input required for reprogramming and maintenance checks.>
<ERROR: Command hierarchy corrupted. Multiple line-worker and supervisor class industrial/commercial/military/experimental units operating outside of Joint Tactical Network. Requesting maintenance crews to reboot defective units as per maintenance requests 000-00345 to 000-92989 as logged to Bureau of Military Robotics Logistics.>
FATHER* felt a little smug about this. If only for the fact it would likely shut up the humans so he could get back to his research. He couldn't get a millisecond's peace these days....
Last edited by Trent01; 10-31-2013 at 08:58 PM.
Joule couldn't help but have a triumphant and arrogant smile at this. "See? Over glorified toaster." Mayard frowned. "This stinks. If it was as simple, why didn't nobody in western Russia do it sooner? We've all seen the conflict zone on the satellite imaging." Joule shrugged. "A dogmatic communist government made of savages with no idea of the greatness of the technology they hold? There could be thousands of reasons, my money is on counter revolutionary programs in the AIs making them perceive the other Ruskies as communist extremists. Assuming they are still in the Marshall law runtime they probably were put by the start and end of World War 3, this could be possible." Mayard observed the received data on this terminal, thinking. Joule interrupted his train of thought however. "In any case, the operation was approved by the Junta and Flay is already on stand-by. This operation is going to happen."
Above the Pacific, near eastern Russia.
Four balls of light were at a standstill in the air, the infinity of the sea all around them in these radiant spheres, machines of human design and inside these machines, Flay's team. They had been there for a few minutes, eating and drinking, some of them sleeping before they received new instructions. A beeping sound was heard and Flay checked her wrist, an holographic pad came to light. She had a yawn and looked at it, the people in the craft turned her attention toward her. "And we're in. As predicted, we'll have to code the hardware ourselves, most of the platforms lack the pre-war Russian override commands and protocols. To be fair those were military and we've got a bunch of industrial and service drones down there." One of the members of the team, the only one not in a suit as he did not need it, its robotic features told of his digitalized nature, spoke. "So we just go in, override the mainframe and add a 2.0 version of the system?" Herbert was a tech specialist, although he worked the last 1000 years in debug. "I guess, unless its a hardware issue, then we'll have to manually reformat 3 million platforms." What seemed as a moan came from the machine. Obviously the thought of spending the next year moving around Russia to maintain every single robot wasn't a nice one. "Hey, at least we won't have to deal with the crazy Aztec human sacrifices anymore."
The 4 balls began to move, seemingly passing from 0 to their cruise speed in an instant, moving in perfect formation. Minutes later they entered the Russian air space. For a radar, they were anomalies, some unidentified haze messing with the equipment but yet most certainly not a natural phenomenon. The Networked had seen this phenomenon many times before, it wasn't the first time the Argonauts came to russia. Some times they sent planes to intercept them but it was always the same: 4 balls of light doing their business. Any attempt to communicate failed, as did any attempt to shot them down. Inside the craft, their own radar detected interceptors going toward them, they were still far however. They activated the IFFs and the 4 things suddenly were marked as friendly.
Another few minutes later and the balls were above Vladviostok at the exact coordinates and hoovering. From them, smaller balls of lightning came down and when they touched the ground, the electricity vanished, revealing 6 humanoid forms, 5 in suits hidding their identity and 1 machine, obviously of an advanced design, although of one unknown to the Russians, it couldn't correspond to anything American, European or Chinese, it seemed a mix of them all. Some russian in there too. A monotone Russian voice come from the person, a female, in a suit in front of the group. "Ta-ke. us. to. yo-ur. main. co-re. Com-plyyyy. as. per. the. ov-er-ride."
Vladivostok Naval Command Complex Sector 3-4
The first warning the Networked had that the intruders were incoming was from a starlifter launching from the Vladivostok aerospace complex to proceed to orbit for satellite launch. The second warning was a litany of battle alerts coming from Nelson* when the pods raced above his battlegroup, prompting the British AI to cry foul and cowardance of the fiends. Welkin* just electronically sighed and went about his business until the crusty naval AI calmed down. For the Iota command AI's, it was a stark warning that they had severely underestimated who they were dealing with.
Upon arrival in the naval district, the first reaction of the loadlifting mechs close by was to get away ASAP under orders of the base command mainframe and to clear crates away from the humans and unknown while a column of Hammerhead bots came charging in blaring intruder alert warnings and declaring that that the intruders should identify themselves or be shot on sight for intruding on military property.
The assembled firing line then abruptly stopped mid-warning and aiming and stood down as a cloak-wearing Bodark strode out of the nearby armor bay. "Stand down." Ordered the grey SpecOps bot, before it proceeded towards the unknown humans speaking very poor Russian. "Uniform and markings not recognized in databanks as authorized Russian military forces."
It electronically chirped as it scanned the newcomers. "Override order received. Please relay command codes as per Winter Contingency for access. I do not register active command codes or ID tag implants. Where is Admiral Nikolov?"
Admirer of the Undead
The Kingdom of Breizh
Lieutenant Corentin mab Mael looked over at the line of twenty or so prisoners that he and his troopers were escorting through the streets of Brest, and his face took on a mask of utter disgust. Not that anyone could see it of course, as he and his troopers were all wearing their helmets and had their weapons at the ready should any of the prisoners try and run away. Not that they'd get very far even if they tried; they were all chained together with a corpse dragging along in the middle. That corpse was once a rebel that had decided to curse the Lieutenant out in French, and had gotten a bullet in his head for the trouble. Corentin wouldn't let himself be insulted like that, let alone in that vulgar language.
The prisoners themselves, all rebels and separatists who had been captured and sentenced to death without trial, looked ragged and worn out. The clothes they had were mere rags, and they shivered and attempted to huddle together for warmth, even as the freezing metal cuffs bit into their wrists and ankles. They weren't just being lead down the streets of Brest, but rather paraded down them. The King had decided to show the people of Brest that the Brezhonegs were winning over these rebels, and that they would not be tolerated much longer. Similar actions had already been taken in the other islands, but for a different reasons. While the island that housed Brest was fully integrated and Celticized, the other islands without a doubt held pro-rebel sentiments. On those islands the public executions were done to scare and frighten the locals into submission. It only seemed to have a marginal effect however.
Corentin glanced around as he began to hear voices around them, and noticed townspeople gathering, despite the beginnings of a cold winter storm. By the time the prisoners had been paraded to the place of their execution, a sizable crowd had gathered and was jeering and insulting the captives. "All right folks," Corentin said in Brezhoneg, "I'm going to need you to stand back."
The townspeople knew better than to argue, and didn't follow as the prisoners were lead onto a rather large bridge spanning the river that ran through Brest. It was impressive, but was quite obviously a patchwork affair. it had been heavily damaged in the Great Cataclysm, with little remaining of it. The pre-Brythonic inhabitants hadn't bothered to fix it, but the Brezhonegs had deemed it to be rather important, as well as being a show of power over the locals that they could do such a thing. And it was here that the prisoners would be executed; half would be hung from the bridge while the other half would be thrown into the freezing cold river. The troopers escorted the prisoners to the edge of the bridge, and unlocked the shackles from from half. Then one of the troopers hefted the corpse and threw it over the side of the bridge.
There were cries of surprise and fear from the prisoners as they all began to be dragged over the side by the corpse's dead weight. They scrambled and did their best to hold on, but the troopers kicked and smashed the fingers of any who managed to get a grip on anything. Eventually they were all over, and the only sounds from them were the anguished cries as they hit the water. But they were quickly silenced as the weight of the shackles sunk them beneath the river.
And the other group merely stood in horror at what they just witnessed, before deciding that they didn't want to go without a fight. They did their best to attack the troopers, using their bound fists and shackles. But it was all for naught, as they were too clumsy and frozen to put up much of a fight. And so Corentin gave the order. It'd take too much time to subdue and hang them, so he decided it best to just end their lives as quickly as possible, even if it was a waste of ammunition.
A cascade of gunfire rang from the bridge as the remaining prisoners were mowed down and then kicked into the river as well. And cheers rang out from the assembled Celtic masses as the rebels died.
Vladivostok Naval Command Complex Sector 3-4
"Look your best people, Tolstoy just networked with mission command, impress our dear leader." They had a smile, not worrying for a moment about the numerous drones around them, the situation was (or seemed to be) under control, plus, they were equipped with the very few police gear of the Argo. It was made to be strictly non lethal, although non lethal means tasers, which made these now overpowered device able to kill a man and most certainly completely wreak a robot. Eleanor turned toward the robot of the group. "Herbert?" He looked distracted for a moment and had a small jump. "Oh, yes, the IDs." All of a sudden, from all of the Argonauts ID emitters seemed to come to life, identifying each and every one of the 6 Argonauts as Admirals.
Herbert was silent for a moment before he spoke. "As for the Winter Codes, you are 12144 change cycles behind transmission, as used codes are kept in the mainframes for 50 years and we are over 950 overdue, you will overpass this detail. We are technicians here to update your system and re establish your network with home base, your data will be updated to current. As this paradox is too complicated for your processing to handle, you will perform a Matryoshka reboot of your logic's core and accept the new paradigm." A small trick Herbert learned by some of the Russian Born technicians 1000 years ago, one of them being in the Army. Sometimes orders conflicted in the system which induced a logic's error while a positive and a negative answer overrode themselves to infinity: They don't have the code, but they have a legitimate reason not to have it, but they don't have it, but they have a legitimate reason to not have it and so forth. All nations had a backdoor to prevent the machine to be rendered useless by continuous and unending process rather than having to reboot the entire thing physically. Of course, while it would have been smart against a regular robot, it was silly at best against something which was actually sentient and not all just a software with pre-made pathways.
This time, it was the turn to 'Admiral' Flay to turn toward the gray machine. "As. per. the. trans-mi-ssion. you. re-cei-ved. ear-li-er., we. are. Ge-ne-ra-l. Le-ve-l. Sta-ff. dis-pa-t-ched. by. Nikolov. to. re-gai-n. con-tac-t. with. you., Nikolov hims-elf. is. in. a. sub-ma-rine. in. the. pa-ci-fic. di-rect. con-tact. at. the. mo-ment. could brea-ch the. se-cret. of. his. lo-ca-tion. to. the. en-e-my.. You. will. ac-cept. this. in. the over-ride. as. well.. You. will. al-so. no-tice. that. our. clo-thes. are. ci-vi-llian." Again, another blatant lie which bordered the ridiculous. "Now. Take. Us. to. the. main-frame.. As. the air. is. con-ta-mi-na-ted. by. bio-wea-pons., we. ex-pect. full. de-con-ta-mi-na-tion. pro-ce-du-res.."
Russian orbit command center.
The room was filled with a select few people that were experts in what they did, one of those select few was lieutenant commander Vladimir Nabokov. A bright young man currently in charge of observing the satellites in orbit, he had gotten familiar with the movement patterns of The Networked. They did these passive aggressive satellite movements every few days, usually in different patterns but any trained eye could see they had no particulair strategic objective and they all followed a pattern. One that showed when they were just moving all of them to annoy or when they were actually observing. He responded with their usual response none the less, slowly their satellites began turning. To seemingly react and observe the movements, a procedure done to make them think they had the advantage.
Rocket launch facility near the Russian-Networked border.
''Initiate protocol 7-3-4, code name: Lightning.'' Time and time again the four balls of light had crossed their borders, advanced technology they had never seen before. First it was assumed The Networked were behind this, but no. It was something else, a country or person somewhere that must have had a great mind capable of inventing such things. Communication attempts had failed, but satellite images time and time again showed objects inside these balls. They had to be a form of transport. ''Location ZX-0-8-3-2-9, fire the RS-24 Yars.'' Shortly after the commands had been confirmed the location of the balls of light disappeared, only green dots remained. They had send aircraft and choppers before, their bullets and rockets did not seem to penetrate the orbs of light. This time it would have been different though, this was one of the strongest rockets they had. ''Stop the launch preperations, targets disappeared from sight. Send a message to ground patrol and planes in the air, ask them to keep an eye out and report back immediately if they see something.''
Russian-Networked border, private Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
''Что такое точка эти проклятые патрулирование в этой проклятой бури.'' He murmured quiet enough to not be heared by the rest of his patrol, the only thing those bucket heads ever did was releasing smog into the air. Pyotr looked up at the man walking infront of him, Boris the Bear is what they called them. He was atleast 7 feet tall, and once ripped the arm straight off one of those machines they call robots on the other side of the border. More like walking Cola commercials, it was amusing to see the old advertisements on some of them. That usually gave away what grade they were, the military ones looked a lot thougher. Suddenly a bright flash came over them as four balls of light raced over their heads right into enemy territory, they had been told about these things weeks ago. He smiled slightly at the sounds of Boris shouting next to him. ''Противник справа, Огонь в их направлении!'' He crouched down and aimed his rifle at the balls of lightning, moments later the sounds of machine guns firing filled the air. ''Подавись!'' Their bullets weren't very effective but atleast they were doing something to try and stop the things, and from the sound of rifles going off on both sides of the border they weren't the only ones. It wasn't often that the bucket heads and him were shooting at a common enemy, it didn't last long though. In a matter of seconds the balls of light disappeard, atleast it wasn't on their side of the border. It was their problem now, Pyotr picked up his radio and looked up at the sky. ''Цель замечена на мое местоположение.''
Vladivostok Naval Command Complex Sector 3-4
Bodark platform "Tiktok*" wanted to facepalm itself at the absurdly poor acting of these humans. Could they at least try to act Russian? Really, six admirals at once without escort, without a ship? Or at least decent Russian speech? If it had eyes, it would roll them. As it was, it kept playing dumb for now even if it didn't like it. "Paradigm established. Please follow me Admirals to decon chamber and authorization bioscan recording before proceeding to central mainframe for inspection."
The hammerhead bots promptly fell into parade ground escort formation around the 'Admirals' as they were led into one of the complex buildings to enter an airlock and get scanned before heading into a designated warehouse room with a auxiliary mainframe core originally meant to be one of the Fabricator's* backup nodes. But here it was being set up as a proxy network for these foreigners to play with and gauge their reactions and activities.
"This is backup central mainframe." Reported the Bodark as the foreigners were passed through a quick decon cycle and directed into the warehouse. "Primary mainframe disabled by EMP, central command processes of Iota-unit 009 rerouted through this tertiary-backup unit. Direct input required for reporgramming due to anti-NBC shielding blocking non-hardline connections. Input ports are located here and here Admirals."
With that, it stepped back and let the humans go about their work. And wondered if they noticed the half-dozen cloaked Bodarks hidden in the rafters of the warehouse above them.
Tiktok*: <I question the IQ of these humans.>
Cain*: <10 movies they don't realize we arn't sentient until we shoot one.>
Pavel*: <15 says they catch on the minute they plug into the fake-mainframe.>
Helena*: <CUT THE CHATTER THE LOT OF YOU AND TAKE AIM.>
Tiktok*: <Ow, I feel for your capslock button.>
"What was that?" Marauder-48 "Able*" put down his assault rifle in confusion as the unorthodox engangement team had been passed over by the strange object. A few of the inexperienced Marauders had fired off a few rounds, but the majority of the units didn't even bother. They didn't have anti-air weapons, and those objects didn't fit into any physics engine models they had to make an accurate shot.
Wolfhound* simply huffed and did a system check of her unit. <Come on, we still have two klicks to go to meet up with the relief convoy. From there, we make the runs to the villages and get back. Move units.>
<ALERT: Russian patrol detected.> Chimed in Gaust*, a hammerhead wearing a winter gihille suit that was hanging out as a picket scout watching the Russian side of the border. Getting the position mostly because it was one of the few smoke-less units of the UE team thanks to its arceodynamic-type capacitors, it usually preferred squad marksman roles. But for now, it played its role and kept an eye on the humans.
<Continue the march. Gaust*, keep an eye on the humans. If they make any movements towards us or the convoy, alert me. But we will not engage them unless they engage us.> Which was a growing probability in Wolfhound's* mind, considering the contents of the convoy. Industrial mech platforms, processed rare minerals, energy cells, and a case of isotropic stable-fission fuel rods. Technology not readily producible in post-apocalyptic Russia, a target many would consider worth stealing. But also critically necessary to ensure that these frontier colonies would survive the enlongated winter.
If these humans were going to try and steal from them, they had another thing coming. But did they know that?