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USD: ~Nine weeks since awakening

Location: Unknown Yellow Dwarf, L4 Lagrange Point, nearby Federation Heavy Cruiser wreckage in Debris Cloud #32


 

Alex brushed back her hair behind an ear before reading the list of items that Nameless had prioritized for retrieval. The hum of bots flittering about the now extremely crowded cargo hold filled the air.

“Are you sure we can store this many missiles safely? It’s more than double what we are rated for…”

[Informative: Protection for additional magazines available. Installation of Cruiser Magazines successful. Please review weapon additions for outer hull.]

Alex glanced. Nameless had somehow found a way to mount all twelve of the 22mm PDC-Ks, six of the 12cm PDC-Ls and two of the 204mm Railguns. That was on top of eight new AMLS missile tubes on the ventral side of the ship. Then to top it off it had added two bow torpedo launchers.

 

||Shrike Armament *modified*||

|Kinetics|

|12x Single 22mm Point Defense Cannons, AP rounds |

|Range: 29,979km / 0.1ls |

||Configuration: Amidship: 12||

 

|12x Single 32mm Point Defense Cannons, AP rounds |

|Range: 29,979km / 0.1ls |

||Configuration: Dorsal: 2| Ventral: 2 | Amidship: 4| Bow: 2| Aft: 2||

 

|2x Double HV 152mm Rail Turrets, 1kg projectile|

||Range: 89,937km LRP | 899,377km / 3ls LRPSGSM (Long Rod Penetrator Self-Guided Smart Munition) ||

||Configuration: Dorsal: 2 ||

 

|2x Quad HV 204mm Rail Turrets, 2kg projectile|

||Range: 89,937km LRP | 899,377km / 3ls LRPSGSM (Long Rod Penetrator Self-Guided Smart Munition) ||

||Configuration: Amidship: 2 ||

 

|Directed Energy|

|6x Quad 8cm Point Defense Laser Turrets |

|Range: 299,792km / 1ls |

||Configuration: Dorsal: 1 | Ventral: 1 | Amidship: 2 | Bow: 1 | Aft: 1||

 

|6x Triple 12cm Point Defense Laser Turrets |

|Range: 299,792km / 1ls |

||Configuration: Dorsal: 1 | Ventral: 1 | Amidship: 2 | Bow: 1 | Aft: 1||

 

|Missile|

|1 Bow AMLS – 4 Tubes, 1066.8mm Light Missiles|

||Bow Missile Magazine: 2x – 24 Count, 1066.8mm racks, including autoloader||

||Range: Variable, 299,792km - 1,500Mkm||

 

|1 Bow HTLS – 2 Tubes, 3200.4mm Heavy Torpedoes|

||Bow Torpedo Magazine: 1x – 6 Count, 3200.4mm racks, including autoloader||

||Range: Variable, 299,792km - 15,500Mkm||

 

|1 Ventral AMLS – 8 Tubes, 1066.8mm Light Missiles|

||Bow Missile Magazine: 2x – 24 Count, 1066.8mm racks, including autoloader||

||Range: Variable, 299,792km - 1,500Mkm||

 

“Is… this even safe? Adding all these weapons is a serious change in the design. I know I authorized this, but didn’t the ship need internal reinforcement and a drive upgrade? Heck, didn’t we agree to repair first, then modify?”

[Informative: Current modifications pose no safety hazards. Current estimates with current drive indicate a 28% decrease in acceleration. No structural integrity flaws have been introduced with new weapon configuration. No delay in repairs was experienced from current modifications, by processing both tasks simultaneously an 18% time savings has been acquired.]

“Reasonable. I don’t think we can store anything else in the cargo hold, though. Plus, I don’t want to slow us down any more, so wait on bringing the other missile systems onboard.”

[Affirmative: Further acquisitions of large mass items paused until proper drive reconfiguration has completed.]

[Notice: Communication drone has reached low band communication range.]

[Suggestion: Report to Engineering and overview communication operation.]

“Right, let's go. Don’t send any signal or anything until I get to Engineering.”

She started down the corridor, to be stopped by Elis poking her head out of the mess room.

“Hey, Alex, are you free? I would like your opinion on something.”

“Ah, sorry, not right now, I have to get to Engineering.”

Alex tried to ignore the tiny hint of a frown that appeared.

“Oh, sorry. I’ll ask you later,” Elis disappeared back into the room and the door shut behind her.

Alex bit her lip and sped down the corridor. Engineering had changed now that the rent in the hull had been fully repaired. The previously ever-present blue hue from the I-field had been replaced with the ship standard white lighting, although Alex thought nothing would ever hide the discolored scars where the new plating adjoined the old.

It was certainly one hell of a battle scar.

“Can we use the big holo table?”

Happily the large display lit up with a map of their local area, zoomed in on the asteroid base and the comm drone.

“Can we do visual over the tight beam?”

A second screen came alive displaying the drone’s optical camera, even at max zoom the base was just a small white circle. That would improve on approach.

Alex took a seat. “Alright, what’s the plan?”

[Suggestion: Attempt contact via low band signal. Current range: 812km, relative speed 1kps. No power spikes detected from facility.]

“They should have noticed the drone at that distance, even with the slow approach. Low band connection authorized.”

On the drone’s camera HUD a little light turned from red to yellow.

[Notice: Low Band frequency activated, transmitting Nanite origin request.]

Alex held her breath in suspense. At least until she couldn’t hold it anymore and was forced to exhale when her SNO2 gauge blinked. Her cheeks burned a little, she had forgot about that.

“Nothing?”

[Informative: No response to Low Band Nanite origin request.]

“Let me try voice.”

[Notice: Avatar Mic actively transmitting on drone Low Band.]

Alex cleared her throat before speaking, “Hello? Anyone there? This is Alex.”

She repeated the line after a minute, then shook her head, disappointed.

“Nothing.”

[Recommendation: Begin comm drone infiltration mission of inactive facility.]

“Yeah, that seems like what we will have to do. Is there a spot you had in mind?”

The main holo table display flipped to a representative schematic of the outside of the asteroid base, slowly spinning. Red lines pointed to multiple insertion points, but one was highlighted in a red box.

[Recommendation: Heavy Missile platform located in small crater presents a clear indication of a hangar bay door. Location possibly ideal for insertion. Transient power spikes detected in this area.]

Alex nodded, “Ok. I don’t really have any idea what would be best, so let’s do your suggestion.”

[Affirmative: Confirming drone approach.]

She studied the asteroid’s schematic while the ETA slowly ticked down. Once again, the number of weapon emplacements impressed her. The fact that it was built into an asteroid meant that an attacker would have to drill through literal metric tons of rock to hit anything deep inside. That wasn’t incredibly impossible, if the asteroid couldn’t maneuver then they could pound it with high velocity weapons from afar. Most fortification bases would be able to move, though, and the asteroid had plenty of mountings that had no listing of their purpose other than that they could be possibly thrusters.

The schematic on the display updated in real time as Nameless gathered more information from the improving visual on the optical camera. Other than that, nothing moved other than their comm drone. It was like the place was deserted.

“Who builds something like this then abandons it. There doesn’t seem to be any living Federation activity in the system, just autonomous combat units that managed to survive the fleet’s destruction.”

[Correlative: The thousands of ships could have provided the survivors with enough resources to survive temporarily and build this outpost. It is unknown why transient nanite energy signatures continue to be detected within the asteroid.]

“Almost there.”

[Notice: Telemetry from comm drone will be lost once it enters the asteroid. Current command list includes regular exit intervals to communicate findings.]

“If the asteroid is to be our next destination, we need to be absolutely sure it doesn’t wake up and start blasting us.”

[Agreement.]

The wait continued, Alex’s attention drifting. She wondered what Elis had wanted to ask her, which led to her wondering if she would have liked to watch the operation as well.

Probably not, she concluded. Elis hated just about anything that included interaction with Nameless, and this wasn’t something that could be done without the AI.

The drone found a hatch and used a small laser to cut the lock open, then disappeared inside. The camera feed cut out.

Five minutes later Alex was feeling the need to jump out of her seat and pace around the room, but just barely managed to restrain herself.

[Warning: Energy spike detected.]

‘Ah shit, here we go,’ Alex told herself.

“What is it?”

[Correlative: Energy spike possibly related to high powered detection systems, directed EM radiation corresponds to active search sweep.]

That was what missile radars usually did, but the readout on her screen seemed to indicate the power levels being emitted were a thousand times higher than what she would have expected from a similar system on the Shrike. The radiation was strong enough to severely damage unshielded systems for several light seconds.

Luckily, they were far enough away, and the Shrike was shielded enough that it wasn’t a problem. Missiles, however, might be depending on how many the base could launch at once. With very low relative velocities, it would take the Shrike some time even with the Linear drive to escape, but Alex hoped that with the additional PDC weaponry and the activation of PDC-Ls that they’d be able to handle a much heavier missile volley than before.

[Warning: Incoming high band transmission.]

Shit, they had tried so hard to avoid using the high band because it was like blasting a foghorn in a small room. If there were any sleeping bots nearby, they’d know about them.

Alex considered for a second, with all the EM radiation the base was suddenly pouring out, they were likely spotted anyway, and she didn’t want to be rude to someone with a possible stack of missiles that out massed her entire ship.

“Fuck. Go ahead and answer, Nameless. Get the Linear drive warmed up, we might need to bail. If we need to go, set trajectory toward an orbit of the gas giant.”

[Affirmation: Orders accepted.]

Alex’s overlay suddenly was overridden, and she grunted in surprise.

|INCOMING TRANSMISSION|

|NANITE SYSTEM DETECTED|

|AUTHENTICATE| AUTHENTICATE| AUTHENTICATE| AUTHENTICATE|

|AUTHENTICATE| AUTHENTICATE| AUTHENTICATE| AUTHENTICATE|

|AUTHENTICATE| AUTHENTICATE| AUTHENTICATE| AUTHENTICATE|

|ALPHA COMMAND OVERRIDE| FAILURE|

|REQUEST AUTHENTICATION|

|AUTHENTICATE| AUTHENTICATE| AUTHENTICATE| AUTHENTICATE|

She tried to blink away the text, but it refused.

“Nameless?”

When the AI didn’t answer she felt a bit of panic.

Didn’t Elis say that the ‘Monster’ would take over all other nanites?

Taking a deep breath, Alex did her best to project a thought.

‘Hello? This is Alex.’

|OMEGA AUTHENTICATION ACCEPTED|

Suddenly the red text in her vision disappeared.

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Erios909

  • West Virginia, USA
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Bio: Still alive, yes.

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