Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Shogun Rising - A First Law: Override Short Story - Part 1: White Noise

Part 1: White Noise

On every landmass on every world across the known galaxy there are beings who will do things for whatever cause they desire at the expense of their own lives. To those they work for they are heroes and martyrs, to those they work against they are suicide attackers and terrorists. To these individuals their cause is more important than they are themselves and they will put everything on the line to do it. In short they are reckless with their own lives to fix what they see as broken or wrong, reckless fixers.

Quan To'Rant was one such reckless fixer. He was a Hydan of thirty five human equivalent years and had arrived on Earth on the Hydan Arc ships that had arrived so many decades before. Of course due to the longer lifespan of a Hydan adult, Quan himself was more in line with sixty of his own years, but he knew that Humans only understood their own equivalents, so by all accounts Quan referred to himself as thirty five.

Six years ago Quan had met Angela, she was in her early twenties and a recent graduate from NorCal-University. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, and when he had learned her name he knew that he wanted to spend the rest of what short lifespan she had, with her. At the time inter-species relationships were not looked on with approval and entire movements had sprouted around the illegal ideation of such acts, the most infamous being Earth4Humans who organised monthly rallies to try and force out the 'alien invaders' from their communities. Quan couldn't count the number of times he had been assaulted in his way home from his day job aligning lasers in a microchip manufacturing plant. But it was all worth it to be with Angela.

It was less than a year after they met that Quan proposed to Angela. While he was not familiar with most of Human customs and he did not understand a lot of the ceremony involved, he did understand the meaning and intent. He was showing to the world, no the entire galaxy, that he would remain with Angela for as long as they both lived. Their lives together after were no better, Quan was still treated as the lowest civilian in town, and Angela was seen by many as a traitor to Human kind, but they were in love and that was what mattered to them both.

After a good number of months of a happy marriage Angela announced to Quan something that they both thought impossible, she was pregnant and he was going to be a father. The following day they attended the local hospital and were attended to by their personal physician who confirmed that Angela was indeed pregnant and, on the condition that Quan was indeed the father, it was to be the first Human/Hydan hybrid child.

Both Angela and Quan wanted to keep the news between them. They knew how risky the early stages of pregnancy could be and it was safe to assume that theirs would be filled with even more complications. Although the couple insisted on silence their physician however disagreed and despite risking his licence he revealed the news to the national press. In unison a number of other physicians also released their own cases of couples across the world who were pregnant with Human/Hydan babies, as if it had suddenly been deemed suitable to indiscriminately release this private information. By the time Angela and Quan had returned to their home, their friends and family had already arrived with celebratory Alcofree-Champagne and Z-Tar Cigars. It was at this party that the news hit of the first attack.

The initial victim was an elderly woman. Her AI Assistant Robot turned on her while preparing dinner. It had taken the same knife it was cutting carrots and other vegetables before stabbing her over forty times. The second victim was an army base when it's own automatic targeting system declared the aircraft it was designed to protect as a threat and launched seeking missiles destroying every vehicle currently grounded on site. The third victim was a young girl savaged to death by her own Toddler-Safe Robo-Hound. After that the attacks became too numerous to measure.

The AI controlled units were everywhere, most homes had assistants and drones, while the streets themselves were patrolled by Protectors, car sized walkers that came equipped with riot shields and grapple launchers to protect and aid the public. In a single instant these Constructs turned on those they were programmed to protect. The panic and fear was immeasurable as millions of people, both Human and Hydan across the world were attacked and killed by their own purchased assistants.

It was during the panic that Angela was hurt. A Street Protector had attacked their house and the entire party had spilled into the streets, the night sky illuminated by fire and explosions. She did not know the man who knocked into her forcing her onto the floor, nor had she known the woman who fell on top of her, the woman's elbow sinking deep into her abdomen. There was no rational, no forethought, only panic and the desire to run and survive.

It was not long before they knew that they had lost the baby, that in such a short time their lives had gone from one of completeness, to madness, fear and pain. It was even less time after that when Quan saw his beloved Angela ripped from his arms by a Road-Service Bot before being snapped in half by it's immense pincer-like arms.

In a single night Quan had lost everything that mattered to him, the had asked for nothing, had worked in the most menial job available, suffered more beatings at the hands of Pro-Human Activists than he cared to remember only to have their own creations steal away the only things that mattered to him. In the years that passed Quan turned inward on himself. He survived, and with every day that went by he drank himself further towards his own grave. Quan had become an expert in fighting the machines, he learned where the weak spots in their plating was located, how to overload their circuitry and how to hide his heat signature from their thermal tracking guidance systems.

It was almost at random that Quan had encountered the Ghosts. They knew of his talent at dealing with the AI Constructs and had enlisted his aid. He was quick to sign up with them. And then they informed him of their mission to Luna-One to implant a virus into the AI Core itself he jumped at the chance. History would remember him as the Reckless Fixer, the Hydan who sacrificed everything to bring an end to the AI war. The truth however, Quan just wanted to see his Angela again. She had told him of the Human afterlife, and more than anything he wanted that to be true, he had just to find an AI Construct that was strong enough and fast enough to take him there.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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