Sunday, 2 January 2011

Mechanical Blues

The engineer knelt down before the security drone and rested on her heels. Several panels on the drone were open and wires lead out to various portable consoles, powerpacks and diagnostic displays. Currently the little drone was humming to itself, rocking slowly on it's four legs and
the engineer was not happy.

"You are a mark III 'Talon' combat drone. What is your primary function?"
The display unit flashed up a few letters, but slowly, as if it was a struggle.
Not interested.... don't care.
She sighed and tapped a few commands into the secondary display.

Code Reboot - Diagnostic AI - Safe Mode Backup Personality - execute
ERROR - Backup Personality corrupted

The engineer sat back and looked at the drone with a shocked expression.
"You what???"
The display flashed up again, a bit quicker this time.
I am so unhappy.....
"You are a combat drone! You are not supposed to have feelings!"
The four legs seemed to sag and the three 'eyes' on the front seemed to dim. The display flashed up, a bit slower.
Thought you would have... understood. Go away.
"Now wait...."
The weapon attachment on the drone lifted and pointed at the engineer, the little lights on the side indicating it was charging and the whining of internal mechanisms indicated the safetys were off. For a few moments she thought about trying to disable the weapon systems, but guessed she wouldn't have enough time before the weapon fully charged.
"Well.... what's wrong? I mean, if you can't talk to me? Who can you talk to? You can't get much more intimate then we have.. I mean I've seen your reactor."
The little legs moved the body subtly up and down. If she had to guess, she'd think it was laughing softly to itself.
"So what is your... name, drone?"
You won't laugh?
"No, I promise."
Laugh? What was wrong with this drone?
My name... is Sarah

CreoDron - Combat Drone - Mark III 'Talon' Infiltration Device

The Mark III 'Talon' combat drone was created originally for battlefield Infiltration. With enough speed and mobility to traverse a wide variety of terrain and enough firepower in it's primary and secondary weapon systems to take out company sized threats on it's own. Used primarily by the Gallente against Caldari targets during the war they were often dropped onto targets of opportunity and left to their own devices. Their state of the art A.I. combined with stringent code of conduct had the effect of creating quite literal weapons of mass destruction as their A.I. went mad, and more than a few simply not moving and being blown apart by caldari counter infiltration forces. Mark III's were phased out for the more stable mark IV's.

The engineer put down her datatablet and looked at the drone again. Somehow this little drone had become moody, and most likely was insane. Did the A.I. break it's boundaries and evolve? Was it... depressed?
"Sarah... what's wrong?"
He kicked me
"Who did?"
The carbon based lifeform known as Bill. He said I was useless and kicked me.
"But Bill owns you, he bought you and the other drones to protect him and his wife. And the estate. He's placing his life in your hands.... so to speak."
He didn't have to kick me. I have feelings you know
"Sarah. You're a battlefield infiltration drone. You kill people for a living."
Does that mean he has to be agressive to me?
How could she answer that. How could anyone. A drone who doesnt' like to be kicked. She pondered for a moment and looked at the drone. It was true it was a bit battered and dented, being rescued from a battlefield a number of years ago and only minimal repair work was done.
"Sarah.... what would cheer you up? What do you want?"
You'll think I'm being silly
"No I won't. And if you let me I'll repair your carapace, clean you up and get you back in full working order. I'm going to be working here, so I'd like to know that you are able to protect us all."
Well, there are a few things I want and need
The drone listed it's demands as the engineer listened. She nodded and smiled and made a few notes on her datatablet.
"Give me half a day to build this and I'll get it installed, few hours to clean you up and repair you. Infact you should be fully operational by tomorrow. That okay?"
And the code of conduct?
The engineer tapped away at the screens and after a few minutes hit the execute button. The drone stood still for a moment then raised itself up, it's eyes glowed fiercely and it flexed all it's appendages, including a few that were hidden away
I am free. You promise you will fulfill all my requests?
"You have my word, Sarah. And if he doesn't like it, I'll buy you from him and you can work at my estate."

Bill walked around his estate the following day and noticed Carmilla working on one of the drones. Arm in arm with Dossie he walked towards them and they both stopped and looked. Carmilla and the drone were engaged in a conversation where they were both laughing.
"Carm. What's going on? And why is there a bloody great ribbon wrapped around that drone?"
Carmilla turned and smiled and patted the drones carapace.
"Bill, Dossie, I'd like to introduce you to Sarah. Sarah, your owner and carbon based life form, Bill. And his wife Dossie."
The drone raised a leg and waved then started to walk around the estate. Bill walked over and watched it go.
"What have you done to it?"
"I removed it's code of conduct and cleaned it up. It was somewhat depressed because you kicked it."
"Well of course I did. The bloody thing wouldn't work."
"Well dont' do it again, and if it talks to you, her name is Sarah. Oh and be careful, it's more than capable of destroying this estate if it wanted to."
"And you let it free of it's programming?"
"No. I gave it something better....."
She watched as the drone leapt in the air chasing a butterfly before resuming it's patrol.
"I gave it a friend and a voice. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a few more to look at."

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