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USD: ~1 day after SubCore A-3123Y deployment

Location: Ackman Orbit, Asteroid Belt, A-3123Y Orbital, Mess Room


 

Alex nodded, continuing to explain what happened inside the ShipCore while the two of them were enjoying a non-kebab but still tasty chicken Caesar salad, “Nameless is a guy.”

“The ship’s computer is a guy.” Elis repeated back to her.

“He said he prefers us to use whatever pronoun we want.”

“It did, did it?”

“Everything is now operational on the Orbital, and with another AI running it, we can sort of be in two places at once. I’ve tasked A-3123Y with expanding its processing facilities and drone work force while producing the supplies we need to move the manufactory.”

Alex smiled and poked Elis.

“Once we have that facility, we’ll be able to restore it and Nameless says we’ll be able to begin construction of new ships then. They’ll have pure carbon nanotube hulls at first, but we’ll be able to expand into better composites later.”

Elis pointed a fork at her.

“Did you contact Thraker about the frigate? I don’t like the idea of leaving the Orbital here alone without security. There are miners floating about, and while I’m sure most of them are fine folk, some of them will be looking to score a hot FedTech refinery.”

Alex frowned, “There’s been a problem. Captain Harris took the Sharknose and left the system, leaving the company. Apparently, their ships are personally owned, and the ship captains are free to leave if they terminate their contract. The Captain-Major apologized and said he’d have the Silverstreak over here in three or four days.”

“Alex, I think we should have Nameless take off a few PDC-Ks and PDC-Ls and rig them up to the orbital. Just to be safe.”

“Nameless?”

[Recommendation: Allow A-3123Y to produce its own defenses. SubCore can produce armaments at a slow rate already. Four PDC-Ks can be produced in one day.]

Alex wrinkled her nose suppressing a sneeze, “That sounds good–the lasers probably would overload its energy systems right now, anyway. Can you message it to build up to 12 and make sure it has them in good coverage locations?”

[Affirmative: This unit will assist A-3123Y in placement locations.]

Alex had noticed that once they had handed off half of their drones to A-3123Y that those drones controlled by it had suddenly become much clumsier. She hoped that it would be able to learn quickly and somewhat blamed herself for putting all its points into improvisation.

[Notice: Tight beam signal received from A-3123Y.]

|Spitters of Fire|

|In my belly|

|Be forged|

Elis shook her head, “The rock is trying to be a poet.”

“It’s not a rock anymore, it’s an orbital station.”

“It’ll always be the rock that saved our asses.”

[Informative: If A-3123Y had not alerted sleeping Federation drones ‘our asses’ would not have required saving.]

“You’re both right.” Alex mumbled, but then a thought occurred to her.

“Nameless, when will A-3123Y build its avatar?”

[Informative: While A-3123Y has not disclosed when synthetization will begin, it will likely delay this until multiple NAI computronics compartments are operational.]

|Clittering steel shells beat|

|Collection Production|

|Our eyes will meet|

|After reconstruction|

Alex tilted her head, “Nameless, speaking of computronics… when will our next one be ready? I know we used the first one for A-3123Y, but I am really interested in seeing the personal Avatar upgrades.”

“Just don’t upgrade something to be crazy, like walking around with nanite hair.”

[Notice: A small amount of nanites are actively patrolling Avatar’s hair for damage. Additional compartment will be operational within the hour.]

“Oh. That’s why it is so soft even after I ran out of conditioner.”

Elis rolled her eyes, “We mortals can only dream.”

“Elis, if you were willing… I asked Nameless if he could give you a neural visual link. He’d be able to help you do all kinds of things like he does me. It’s a neat overlay on your eyeball.”

“No.” The answer was so sudden Alex did a double take.

“You won’t even consider it?”

“No. Leave it at that.”

“Alright. Sorry.”

“No, you are fine, I just don’t want that.”

Alex nodded and went back to focusing on her salad, and the two continued to eat in silence. At least until Nameless beeped again.

[Notice: Operational preparations for return to Ackman station are now commencing. Low storage space requires usage of multiple inner compartment free space areas to store excess goods that are not vacuum safe.]

“Thanks, Nameless. I mean for taking care of it, not the planning to stuff things on our heads.” Alex answered, before glancing at Elis, “So would you like to help me go over the personal Avatar upgrades when its ready?”

Elis looked at her and tilted her head and let out a sigh, “I can’t say I am pleased about it, but yes if you want, I’ll help you look over the options. We can do it while I’m fitting you for your power armor, so let’s head to the armory when we are done eating.”

A big smile erupted on Alex’s face. “Thanks! Honestly, I felt sort of lost doing the SubCore thing, and that was inside my own head or something.”

“Well, it’s no wonder you got lost, if you were inside your head–its hollow.”

Alex puffed up her cheeks and stared at Elis.

“You walked yourself into that one.”

 

USD: ~1 day after SubCore A-3123Y deployment, after eating

Location: Ackman Orbit, Asteroid Belt, A-3123Y Orbital, Armory


 

“Elis, stooop. You’re squeezing my boobs.”

Elis stopped and stared at her flatly.

“Stop complaining, they aren’t that big.”

Elis pressed harder until the side armor plates on the MK4A clicked into place. That was the final piece required and the suit lights flickered to life as the internal haptics activated.

Alex wiggled, “Is it supposed to be this tight?”

“Of course it is, it should adjust to your body shape and fit snugly. Really once the suit is set to you, it’ll feel like a second skin.”

After a moment Alex smiled, “Oh. It is getting better. Great, I can breathe again!”

Elis took a breath and wiped her forehead, “What am I going to do with you.”

Alex face lit up, “Watch a holovid?”

“Nice try. Didn’t you want me to help you set up your… thing?”

“Oh! Nameless, is it time yet?”

[Notice: NAI Computronics compartment initialization has been completed for over ten minutes.]

“Why didn’t you tell us!”

[Informative: You appeared to be having fun, and an analysis determined that interruption would have delayed your progress.]

“You… were just having fun, watching Elis squeeze me to death!”

[Notice: This unit did not detect any hostile squeezing.]

Taking a deep breath, Alex calmed herself despite the laughing smile Elis was pointing her way.

“Let’s see the stuff, Nameless.”

|Avatar Nanite Upgrade Framework v1|

|Physical |Projective |Utility |

|Points: 100|

“Looks like we get 100 points per compartment, was the same for the SubCore.”

[Affirmative: There are 100 individual computronics nodes per compartment. Cost is approximately 25,000,000 SE at current prices if all resources are purchased from Ackman Station.]

Elis whistled, “That’s some pricey stuff. I guess the biggest cost is the manufacturing time though, since the spaces aren’t that large?”

[Informative: Processing and Manufacturing are the highest cost modifiers. Multiple rare resources are required for computronics substrate.]

Alex wondered which tab to look at first, then decided to go with them in the order they were listed. She was happy to note that this system was much more detailed than what she had seen in the SubCore room. Maybe that was because this one was made more with her in mind.

|Physical ANUF|

|Strength Enhancement: Utilizing nanite deployment the Avatar can enhance muscle fiber contraction strength. Results in an increase in muscle density and ability to produce force passively. Regulating Nanites can be overridden to allow Avatar to trigger a sudden massive increase in force at the risk of self-injury. |

|Agility Enhancement: Utilizing advanced nanite heuristics and nerve fiber optimizations, user can increase all levels of dexterity and agility allowing an increasingly exceptional fine control of Avatar motor movements. Passively increases Avatar reaction speed and allows Avatar to temporarily activate extreme mental processes to slow down perceived time. |

Alex blinked, these seemed SUPER useful to her, but Elis looked confused.

“Hey, I don’t have the fancy eyeball display, remember? Mind sharing?”

Alex nodded, “Nameless can you please duplicate this to the monitor for Elis?”

[Affirmative: Duplicating Avatar HUD to Armory monitor display.]

Elis turned to start reading and Alex continued down the list.

|Physical Reinforcement: Utilizing multiple reinforcement techniques Nanites can provide Avatar’s skin with a protective sheath. Avatar bone density and durability can slowly be permanently increased by carbon nanotube reinforcement. Avatar internal organ structure will be protected by internal nanite sheathing. Active usage can prepare countermeasures for expected dangerous stimuli. |

|Biological Modifications: Utilizing nanite interference, Avatar can modify multiple human hormone levels as well as adjust metabolic parameters. This includes slowing, accelerating, and stopping certain processes. Examples include: pausing reproductive cycle, rapid hair and nail growth, fine tuning growth hormones, and preventing depression. Active usage can remove toxins, radiologicals, and biological impurities. |

|Nanite Rerouting Alacrity: Improvements to nanite processing allow faster re-distributions of Nanite tasked with Physical priorities within the ANUF system. These improvements require permanent allocation of ANUF points. |

“Wait. What?” Alex blinked while reading the last one. “Re-distributions? You mean, I am not just locked into one or the other, I can switch between them?” Alex murmured while thinking of the possibilities.

[Informative: ANUF abilities are selected by percentage allocation. Points will be automatically distributed according to percentage. Certain abilities require permanent allocation, this is noted in their descriptions.]

She had come to the bottom of the list, with gray boxes with Xs in them if she tried to scroll lower. “That is all for Physical then?”

[Notice: Possible other entries detected, however a research facility and dedicated processing work is required to determine all ANUF possibilities. It is possible we can develop and achieve greater heights than our progenitors.]

“Research sounds expensive, also like a long-term goal. Let’s look at Projective next.”

|Projective ANUF|

|Kinetic Projection: Utilizing nanites, user can achieve a cohesive cloud of any shape or size controlled by Avatar mental direction. Requires metallic feed material in an area to create a nanite swarm. Deactivation or unconsciousness renders all nanite swarm units inactive to prevent rampancy. |

|Teleoperative Processing: Utilizing neural connection to ShipCore, Avatar can personally take remote control of multiple electronic systems including remote pilotable aircraft, drones, ship systems, and terminals. Range limits can be increased with extra ANUF point allocation. Standard range: 1000m |

|Electrostatic Manipulation: Utilizing nanite movement allows Avatar to create static electricity. Nanites can be used to store, transfer, and discharge this energy. Consumes a large amount of Avatar energy storage. Includes safety protocols for protecting Avatar from electric discharges. |

|Nanite Correlation: Allows the Avatar to increasingly combine multiple ANUF active abilities into new ones, altering or enhancing their effect. The power of these modified effects is limited by the level of Nanite Correlation. |

“Alex, I recognize some of these.”

Alex turned to look at Elis who had a blank expression on her face. She was obviously not enjoying this, and Alex felt a bit of regret at asking her to help.

“Elis, I’m sorry. I didn’t consider how you might feel dealing with nanite things considering your history.”

Elis shook her head, “I will be alright. It’s good I can give you some advice. Especially on these ‘Projective’ abilities. I’ve seen them in action.”

Alex blinked, “Against other nanite avatars that you fought?”

Elis nodded, “It’s hard to tell the difference between an Avatar and the MainComputer controlling things, so I don’t have much to say about Teleoperative Presence. However, it was very, very common to see all Avatars using Kinetic Projection and Electrostatic projection.”

Elis found a bare piece of metal, then a black marker and started drawing stick figures. If it wasn’t for how serious the information was, Alex would have joked about her artistic skills.

“The Kinetic thing allows basically… waving your hand and you can dissolve stuff or even block bullets with a bunch of nanites. To create the cloud they have to eat something, and usually I didn’t see the Avatar put things back together the way Nameless repaired its room.”

[Informative: Avatar creation ability is a separate skill, please refer to the utility tab for more information.]

Alex nodded for Elis to continue.

“Electrostatic is a dangerous one. There was a time when my team was boarding a nannie ship and the Avatar had this. Dropped an EMP-like shock on all of us that fried our combat suit computers somehow. That was a real cunt punch, and half the teams were lost in the assault because of it.”

Elis frowned, “This last one is probably related to the Correlative thing, but one high ranking nannie that we did take out was able to manipulate their own body. It was using Physical Reinforcement, but then it turned one of its arms into a gun, definitely using Kinetic Manipulation. Then it shot us with a railgun. So Electrostatic Manipulation probably as well.”

Alex swallowed; she’d need to be way more introspective if she was going to figure out all the ways these things could interact. “I wouldn’t have thought of that in a million years… Let’s see what’s under Utility.”

|Utility ANUF|

|Creation Utility: A specialized nanite computer nodule permanently installed in Avatar that allows for on the fly programming of nanite constructs. These constructs can either be produced purely out of nanites or fabricated from mundane materials and then deployed. Requires Kinetic and Electrostatic Manipulation and Nanite Correlation Projectives. |

|Energy Density: Converts empty spaces in Avatar’s body to store energy in nanite pockets. Directly increases the amount of nanites Avatar has immediately available, as well as increasing ability to metabolize energy from food and other sources. Dangers include risk of fire, and rapid degeneration during a rampancy situation. |

|Nanite Cohesion Enhancement: Additional nanite processing nodes stored within Avatar’s body increases the time Avatar can prevent rampancy. In emergency disconnection cases automatically expels nearly all Nanites from the body and shuts the remaining ones into maintenance mode until Avatar regains consciousness or expires. |

|Nanite Connection Protocol: A multi-discipline approach to increasing Avatar range capabilities by deploying miniaturized high-powered transceivers inside Avatar body while improving Direct Neural interface connection protocols to be more bandwidth efficient. Current Range: 25km |

“Three categories of four each, with a bunch of blank boxes showing each category might have more.” Alex mumbled to herself.

[Notice: No Avatar Efficiency or Cognitive upgrades currently exist, recommend research to improve upon Avatar shortcomings.]

“I’ll improve on you by painting your room purple.”

Elis shook her head, “So what are you going to do?”

Alex smiled, “I want the ability to reallocate points on the fly. Some of these have costs higher than others though, so I am not going to be able to get much… at first. More computronics will be awesome!”

“It’s going to mean we need a bigger ship, I guess. I think we are already stretching the poor corvette’s design, even if it was some sort of jack-of-all project, I doubt they envisioned this” Elis laughed.

“Ok, let me show you what I was thinking for now.”

Alex went through the list quickly, mentally selecting the things she had picked out. Really, the best thing on the list was the fact she wasn’t going to have her period anymore. No more being jealous of Elis’s implant and lack of monthly suffering.

||Avatar Nanite Upgrade Framework v1||

||Points:0 ||

||Physical ||

|Strength Enhancement: 5 |

|Agility Enhancement: 5 |

|Physical Reinforcement: 20 |

|Biological Modifications: 5 (reproductive cycle, paused) |

|Nanite Rerouting Alacrity: 10 (permanent) |

||Projective ||

|Kinetic Projection: 10 points (permanent) |

|Electrostatic Projection: 10 points (permanent) |

|Nanite Correlation: 10 points (permanent) |

||Utility ||

|Nanite Cohesion Enhancement: 25 points (permanent) |

 

Elis had a surprised look, “I thought you were just going to buy everything. I for sure thought you would take the Teleoperative and creation ones.”

“Not yet. I could take those in an emergency, but I wanted to keep a lot of free points for the re-routable physical abilities. They also cost 50 points each, and I don’t have that many points yet.”

[Informative: Avatar ANUF settings updated. Avatar adjustment period will last approximately forty-eight hours.]

[Notice: Operations completed; ship is ready for departure for Ackman Station.]

Elis coughed, “By the way, who named it ANUF?”

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Next: Chapter 33 – A Mission

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Erios909

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