DIVA: Starmetal #2
deucexm at gmail.com
Wed Sep 11 15:21:49 PDT 2019
Back out of the crushing void of depression! Mostly!
Back into the somewhat less crushing void of space!
This one's short, like the first. So be it; sometimes progress is bite-size.
Starmetal: A DiVerse Alpha Chronicle
At least the pilot's seat was comfortable, Irona mused as she lay back in it -
spare connector plugs notwithstanding. Rarely on her expeditions did she find
comfort beyond what she built for herself.
Irona's species had lived in the Void for ages, with a lineage that traced back
to the earliest recorded missions into the dark unknown. Those like her, who
chose the often solitary path of the explorer, had their bodies heavily
augmented and replaced with sterner stuff. They had to; in order to brave the
horrors of gravity, radiation, the thousand other threats of the Void, not to
mention sleeplessness and hunger and thirst and breathlessness, nothing less
than complete commitment would suffice.
She retained what individuality she could, despite the catastrophic changes.
The greater part of her machine-self lay hidden beneath silvery skin and
gloriously bold violet hair, part her own genetic material and part synthetic.
Where dull gunmetal protruded it was only ever in brief circles and lines, just
enough to allow for the various connectors required in order to manipulate all
the technology in creation - for while she possessed a mere fraction of the
physical and aetheric strength of most other beings her size, her ability to
interface with other systems was advanced to the point of bordering on magic.
Even among her peers, Irona was exceptionally gifted.
Yet giftedness availed her naught if she spent her time unwisely, as her
teachers had often reminded her; and so she let out a hissing sigh, and inserted
three plugs at the base of her neck. Surely a little interrogation wouldn't
overly tax the energy stores - and it would be more than worth the risk of
prolonging her stay if she could find a way to accelerate the charging process.
No telling how long she would be here otherwise.
After running through a brief calming ritual, her eyes closed, Irona began her
slow and tentative steps toward unity with the box she was in.
'Query local connection state,' she sent, mentally. The reply came back almost
immediately - :LOCAL CONEXION STATE 0000:. Well, at least it accepted
Universal-27 as a command language, even if it was a little... quirky. U27 was
an older standard, but it worked with almost anything - old relics, too, as it
'Query local connection requirements.' This time she received an image of the
pilot's seat, with three blue circles where she was plugged in and a veritable
cloud of gray circles where she wasn't. Ugh. Way too many for her liking...
but perhaps she could make arrangements. Later.
'Define in plainspeak term NL CORE.'
:Terminology NL CORE direct-references the Near-Limitless Core, provisioner of
energy to Starmetal-class Variable Formation Mass Destruction Catalyst:,
responded a sedate and androgynous artificial voice, :simplifed designator
STARMETAL. Near-Limitless Core is named for both her ability to store aeons'
worth of operating energy at maximum and her broad-spectrum conversion of almost
all known energy types to usable configurations. Employing these in tandem, her
host body may outlast any opposing force.:
A weapon. She had locked herself inside an ancient and /partially autonomous/
Well, not one of her better decisions (and it had been an accident anyway, to be
fair), but not one of her worst, either. There was no way out but forward, as
it so often happened.
'Query NL CORE charge state,' she sent, and received nothing but :18: in return.
Hmm; it was certainly charging, but that still wasn't helpful. 'Query NL CORE
charge limits and parameters.'
:MINIMUM FOR STARTUP 3:
:MINIMUM FOR BASIC AGILITY 7:
:MINIMUM FOR DEFENSE DEPLOYMENT 15:
:MINIMUM FOR FULLSYNC MODE 36:
:MINIMUM FOR OFFENSE DEPLOYMENT MINOR 39:
:MINIMUM FOR OFFENSE DEPLOYMENT MAJOR 127:
:MINIMUM FOR OFFENSE DEPLOYMENT PRIORITY 511:
:MAXIMUM RATED CHARGE LEVEL 10000:
:MAXIMUM SAFE CHARGE LEVEL 13799:
:HIGHEST RECORDED CHARGE LEVEL THIS CORE 10052:
:HIGHEST RECORDED CHARGE LEVEL ANY CORE 70776:
Well, /that/ was certainly a lot to digest; and it raised even more questions.
But she was pleased to have a readily available - and /cooperative/ -
information source, which was more than she usually had on hand for her
expeditions. Irona pondered her next step briefly, then acted.
'Query time remaining until charge level 2 5 0 0.' One quarter of the maximum
should be more than enough for just about anything, if the tales of the
Pre-Cosmic Era's terrifying galactic wars contained even a sliver of truth.
:NL CORE CHARGE TO 2500 WITHIN 14 FULL ORBITS:
:CAUTION J BODY X BODY REPAIRS YET UNSCHEDULED:
Fourteen rides around this star would be a long time to wait, Irona mused; far
too long for her taste. She still didn't know what the bodies were, and was
about to query when the relic beat her to the punch. :Increased threat level
detected:, chimed the androgynous system voice once again. :Intentions unclear.
Activating basic agility functions as a precautionary measure.:
Her metal coffin shuddered, and although Irona was physically beyond
experiencing nausea, she couldn't deny the sudden tension in her chest.
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