Book of Space Lore - Log SLZT: 3
This is a Chain story passed between @zakludick and @therneau. Each writer authors a post based on the events of previous episodes and carries on the story.
There is very little collusion between the writers as it is challenging to discover and develop a story by attuning the writing to the partner's plot, style and presentation.
Last Time on Space Lore ZT
Thorne and G5 discover a chunk of ochophial the size of a fist. Easily the greatest score of Thorne's life... if he gets out of there alive!
Proximity scanners indicated something was coming for him, many of them...
He crossed another 50 paces or so when he heard Alan’s voice clearing up.
“Active red! Active r.. Get out of th... They’re movi.. everywh…” he heard Alan say.
It is now @zakludick's turn to add a link to the story in Log SLZT #3 of Space Lore.
Space Lore Log SLZT#3
The sand around Thorne began to vibrate.
There was a scuttling sound, like a billion scratches all happening at the same time.
"G5! Get out of here!" Thorne did not wait around to see if the robot would follow him, though there was very little chance that the machine would disobey him, nor misunderstand.
He moved as fast as he could. His suit was not really meant for running but Thorne locked the location of the pod in ahead of him on the HUD. He managed a rapid jog.
Behind him, there was a crack of discharged energy. Thorne glanced back to see an arch of bright yellow energy striking out in three directions. Each of the bolts connected to a black shape that began to rise in unison to the drone of wings.
No biological life forms should be able to traverse the surface of this world. The atmosphere just did not support life at all. So how then...
A crack of yellow energy lashed out at Thorne, striking over his shoulder and cutting a swathe of dirt into the air. There were hundreds of them. They definitely appeared to be insects. Bulbous abdomens hung low as they powered through the air on rapid wings.
The remaining sunlight had begun to dim, giving more power to the light green lenses that made up the compound eyes. They were robotic! A swarm of miniature bots. It was impossible to think that each robot could be controlled remotely as individuals. Instead, it would only be logical to think that there must be some sort of program that controls the movement of the swarm.
Whichever it was, it was high tech.
And it was trying to kill him!
His only consolation was that in the thin atmosphere of Vorcia III the winged bots did not seem to be able to pick up much in the way of speed. Their wings whined at full speed, but they followed after him at a crawl. Fast enough to follow him at his pace though.
Several bolts of yellow energy crackled towards him. The aim of these bug robots seemed to be getting better. Each strike coming closer and closer to Thorne's pounding feet. Any moment now one of them would find its mark and...
A whine of rapid tracked wheels made Thorne whip his head around. G5 had lost all of the mineral specimens. The square bodied machine had folded out to its full height, which was well over Thorne's head. He had chosen this feature in his Assistant robot because it allowed Thorne to load crates and other heavy equipment into trucks or spaceships.
Now the robot was using its height and its two large articulated arms to put a shield between Thorne and the insect bots. Only G5's head unit was kept to a minimum in its body, depressed into the chassis with only the top of its optics lenses poking out.
Just then, a blast of yellow energy hit the robot in the back as it drove after him. G5 shuddered but kept coming. "Do...zzzzt... not stop... escape."
"Right." Thorne increased his pace. Who knew how long the robot would be able to last taking hits like that. There was still a lot of ground to cover, which made Thorne wonder: what did he think he was going to do once he got to the pod?
Assuming that G5 managed to shield him for that long.
"Thorne! What... tion... .... good reading .. you." The comms blared into Thorne's helmet.
"Alan! Can you read me, Alan?"
Only static answered Thorne.
He heard another bolt of energy strike the robot. Then another. An angry whine came from the robot. "Really? This is... not good."
"What? Who said that?" Thorne looked left and right as he jogged. His breath ragged, scratching his throat. He despised sweating inside his suit. He did not have a decent dehumidifier built into it and steam was a very real problem with the Heads Up Display.
"Would you move your little meatstick legs faster human?" A deep voice growled. "I can't get hit by these things all day."
"G5?!" Thorne looked over his shoulder. The robot was still driving behind him, though it had taken out several of its articulated tool arms. They were assembling some sort of device in front of the robot as it drove.
"I never liked that designation." Several latches clicked into place and a mechanical drill rotated another nut into place on the tool arm. "I prefer J."
"What are you doing?" Thorne could not believe the conversation that he was having with his robot. He did not buy such an advanced AI, nor had he and Alan installed any such emotive reactions. Besides the fact that the robot seemed to carry an opinion about its name, it was constructing something that was definitely out of protocol.
"Why, a nail gun, I believe." The robot replied while it folded back its tooling arms. "Though I do believe that I have made a few improvementzzz...." The deep robotic voice stuttered as another bolt of yellow energy seared into it. "...zzzz to it."
The robot's lens eyes were flashing colors that it was not installed with as though there was a light coming from the inside of the robot. G5... or whatever it wanted to be called... twisted on its chassis, moving its front end to face the threat while following Thorne.
A staccato of blasts rang out, followed by metal-clashing sounds. "Take that you vermin!" The robot cried out in an exultant tone. Thorne wondered if there were preloaded features on his robot that merely had been hidden and the developers only unlocked them when people paid money for them.
That would be something typical to what those dealers would do.
The route slanted up from here steeply. This would cause Thorne to be exposed to the robot insects and their yellow energy arcs. He hesitated.
"What in the name of source code and bearing lubricant are you waiting for human?" G5 all but roared at him. "We are not having a picnic on the moon of Takar V! Get your meatbag up that hill! I will hold them off!"
Without thinking about it, Thorne followed the instructions. It was only after he was on the fourth and fifth step that he realized that the robot had just barked him an order.
What the hell had gotten into G5? What the robot was doing much more than unlocked feature code to make the robot more characterful. When he got to the top of the hill and looked back his suspicions were confirmed.
The robot was pelting the insect swarm with nails and the insects returned fire on it. It was as though the swarm had decided that Thorne was no longer of any consequence. After another volley on the robot, a hatch opened up on its back, out of sight of the swarm.
G5 was firing at the swarm, driving backward up the hill and building something new all simultaneously. Thorne knew for certain that the robot did not have anything near that kind of processing capacity. Besides, these tool arms were supposed to eject through its front side, how did they come through the back?
"Thorne? I have a visual on you." Alan's voice was clear over the coms. "What is happening over there?"
"I am not even really sure." He backed away from the robot as it crested the top of the ridge. It held out its new weapon or some other device. Thorne was not sure actually what it was. There was a dome-shaped dish at the tip of it, probably created using a component inside G5 that was somehow improbably transported outside the chassis. From this nozzle area, there were copper and silver coils looped around it and more insulated cables connected to the robot's arm.
The weapon crackled to life, archs of energy that started out identical to that of the swarm's lightning. The archs then changed from yellow to blue.
G5 levelled the weapon at the swarm...
Log SLZT #3 completed!
Now the torch is passed on to @Therneau to add in SLZT Log #4 of the story!