After a few amazing and mostly positive weeks of building these robots and toying with thoughts of guided, cluster-bot launching munitions, I am notified that the crew is stopping at the StarMech station for supplies and info. This station has such potential..unfortunately wasted on Wild West antics. With a little love, this station could easily police itself. But no, thugs run amok. Ahh, well...keeps gunwrenches like me in business I guess. They could at least bring some interesting firepower. The gung ho fella at the bar had the decency to bring Devastator pistols with modified flechette ammo. Totally sweet. Wow, is this what it feels like to be a tech-snob? Oooh, gatling rail-guns with depleted uranium ammo mounted around a laser designator/rangefinder on a gimbal. Yessss.
Oh, right...so the thugs are dead and Sam is not. Most excellent. In hindsight, I should have grabbed one of their flimsy supermarket sidearms. It's come to my attention that, past the comfort of my own laser torch, I do not have any personal defense. Hmmm, maybe I could create a sub-circuit thru my interface device(s) that uses electrical pulses to launch...something. An arc..hand..would use too much juice. Mini-sabots wouldn't be efficient. Standard projectiles take up too much space and would interfere with normal function of my interface devices. Maybe darts but toxins are, well...toxic. Lasers. Feasible. May need to see about upgrading my power cells for any sustained conflict. Oooh, maybe I could merge with a stationary and use those sub-circuits to siphon a smidge of juice to power the fingers of doom without melting my processors in the progress. I wonder if that's why there are no other Mechali on this station. Something to ask about.
One of these days, I plan on getting my shiny eyeball into a sabot rifle. If I could scan the operational mechanism, I could implement that into a ship-size weapon capable of punching holes thru some serious competition. The classic railgun is a solid enough platform, bu t it requires a much more efficient and self-stable feeding/firing mechanism. Unfortunate for me but much more positive for the denizens of this station, the weapon shops here do not carry military-grade firearms. There was no negotiating with the humorless DB99 Jerkbot running this store, but I got away with a scope and gunner's sight without having to chop off any extremities. I should probably brush up on my electronics before I try to feed these thru the ship sensors. Or I could go full-on weirdo and just integrate them straight to my face. Maybe I haven't been out in space long enough to justify that level of weirdness...maybe.
The Captain, Thoth, and I decide to go check out the shipyard for parts and materials. We get there and meet up with the Forem..../drool.
Syntax Error, Does Not Compute. Input Unrecognized. Shutting Down...
Syncing with Database...complete.
...meet up with the Forem....that optic is absolutely amazing. Would it be wrong to ask if I can merge with it? What would a human do here? "Hey, can I buy your optic a drink?" Ridiculous. Must focus...
It just so happens that this fantastic creature has a few fabricators available, neat. After some QA/QC, the Captain agrees on one and has it hauled off to the ship. A salvage operation like this led by an optic like that... any self-respecting Mechali could live here, except there are none.
GoTo Conspiracy Subroutine 6Z1...
The drones they use....hey, drones!!! Why didn't I think of that?!?! We usually have the inside of the ship covered for repairs, but the ship could definitely use a squid-bot with laser torch and suction arms to patch up damage to the outside. We could put one on a tether and launch it at a salvage operation or make mini-squid nanobots that we could launch cluster-style at an enemy ship. They could chew thru to the power core and, depending on our mass production capabilites, either be salvageable or programmed to explode once the enemy is neutralized. Brilliant!!! With the resources available in this yard, I could create whole product lines of personal and shipboard weapons. I wonder if this optically-enhanced angel would let me open a workshop here? It could be called "The Yargblat" or maybe "Interstellar Engagement Expo". No, I still have gigajoules of work on the ship to finish.
The ship...always get a tingly, banana flavor on the back of my tongue when I merge with it. Hmmm...
A body in motion remains in motion until acted upon by an equal and opposite force. But what if that motion is more of a slow shuffle followed by a hunched lumber? What is equal and opposite of a slow shuffle? How about a deadly disease? YES!!! I am well aware of the concept of self-fulfilling prophecies and psychosomatic aggravation of minor conditions...but I've also melded with a LOT of shady items. In retrospect, my hands are like little dirty whores. Whores who are long overdue for their checkup and now have to pay the fiddler. I don't know how it happened, but it did. This flesh is dying. I've contracted some type of terminal disease and now have just over a year before this flesh fails me. Again? What once may have been a notion, or another random fleeting thought is now solidified. The deal is sealed. I have 15 months to prepare Leroy to be the new me.
He's going to need some serious upgrades in the processing department. I can handle upgrading the mechanical elements once he's me, or I'm him, or we are one...or something. Oooooh!! What about a smaller, detachable entity that may be more ship-friendly that can hook up to Leroy for external operations!!! Yes! Well, I've got a while til my ship is ready and the Walker will be doing some travelling, so this gives me time to draft a plan for my new body and get Leroy calibrated and make the necessary adjustments to his frame.
A tiny part of me hoped this wouldn't be a necessity, but it is what it is. This may not be quite the dramatic conclusion my ancestors came up with, but hey, it's just me out here. There's no Mechalus gestalt taking place anywhere nearby and, if there is, I didn't get the memo. No great racial counsel or scientific thinktank on the Progression of our Proud Race, no bipartisan committee. It's just me. So fuck it. Here "we" go.
The more I look around this fascinating grave and then turn to watch Leroy work, the more it hits me. The only connection I have to a race that, until now, has been a bedtime story is this flesh. The same flesh that no longer exists on these corpses, if you can call them that. After completing my first order of business and gathering all the "bodies" I could find and moving them here in the engineering bay, I got a bit worried. Bits of metal that used to be probably fascinating implants are the only remnants of these people and their history. A history that will be lost if I don't get this heap fixed. What were they called, the ones who split off and melded with their ships? It's only been 30-some years since I've heard the stories. So appalled by the destruction our superiority caused to a practically unarmed society, they completely abandoned the flesh and became one with their ships then just left. The more I sit here, the harder it is to remember why that was supposed to be wrong. Something about the flesh makes us humble, or some such bullshit. Maybe if Leroy were smaller, I could find a way to implant him with my conscious. Maybe there's something in the memory banks of this ship that can clue me in to how the "Outcasts" permanently melded with their ships. Project #2 will have to be building a new body for me, just in case. Well, with that in mind, it's time to get back to work...
Between Leroy and I, it wasn't too hard to get this chunk of ship sealed off. We got it tethered to the command deck and have been slowly pulling the pieces together. The "no thrusters" thing puts a dampener on doing anything quickly. Get the pun? Heh heh. Thrusters and dampeners, get it? Have to make sure my new self has a sense of humor, sheesh. The engineering bay has proven to be a bit useless on back up power. Through some sick blessing, the sunlight shines aplenty on the wreck, so I've been taking short trips around to see if there's any solar cells still functioning. I'm kind of leary about hooking back up to the main reactor until I get a better grasp on where the conduits go. Last thing I need is for this giant hulk to suddenly get motivated to move when I've barely started getting the pieces together. Weee!
Bigger picture: getting this mess back to a working ship isn't happening. There are enough materials to make a working satellite and possibly a little mobile scrap hauler boat thingy. I wonder how much Angel Eye would charge to give me a hand once I get power and comms up. It certainly wouldn't hurt me to see her again, anyway.
Once upon a spaceship dreary...
So, this is what happened to my people. Well, this is the end state, anyway. Still have yet to determine what actually happened here.
Priority One - Sustained Operational Stability
Once Leroy the Most Amazingest SalvageBot Ever (official title pending) and I get this...catastrophe secured, I will most definitely have to do some gumshoe work and figure out Why this huge awesome ship is now in bits and pieces. I send Leroy to get the big bits of this chunk cleaned and cleared while I start getting the bodies (what's left, anyway) set off to the side. Is this what happens when we die? The flesh rots but the essence of our difference stands the test of time. Maybe the technocrats were right. Flesh is weak. (Yarg looks at Leroy with a sense of envy.)
Many of the systems have taken serious damage, apparently collateral as there is still residual energy flowing thru a few systems. Got my work cut out for me, here.