Flowered Metal | 2

[Timer has ended, leaving low-power mode. — Warning! Hull breach detected! The commanding entity, AI Opal has been brought back online. — Warning! Major damage detected! — Error! Life Support Systems are offline. — Error! Weapon Systems are offline! — Warning! 45% Of Construction drones have been destroyed!]

The perfect LED Ring that encircled Opal’s main camera feed, the one over the Command station, glowed slowly to life as the power was restored. The scanner, a small delicate instrument above her camera, scanned its chamber for any damage immediately. The error messages had been the first in its queue to deal with. As such, the AI had already begun to prioritize critical systems over mundane things like the life system.

As such, Opal began to split its computing power in two; one for digesting the after-action reports. The other for scanning and compiling the repair list. No power was spared to process whatever its cameras were seeing as it read the most pressing report, from 500 years ago.

[Error! System malfunction detected within the weapon targeting program. Attempting to hail AI Opal. The attempt failed. —Attempting to establish a connection to High-Command. The attempt failed….]

The report went on and on for another 100 times as it tried to pull Opal from standby. However, given Dr. Vizimer’s previous command, it was futile. Like the convoluted and red-tape laced human country that had built the Ark, the system still had to try even knowing. The protocol was to be followed, and machines were nothing but protocols and processes. It was trying to hail Opal so it could fix the issue with the weapons.

Since Opal hadn’t, the program had corrupted itself beyond use until it’d crashed its own dedicated server. It would have to be physically replaced.

[Warning! Incoming space debris detected! Unknown energy wave detected!…]

The next warning, a year after the first report, a strange asteroid had appeared on the horizon. For which, the asteroid was on a collision course with the Ark. Again, because of how the humans so much loved their bureaucracy, the automated system could not abort the set flight path. Strangely enough, the two objects had never hit; missing each other by nearly half a million miles off.

But whatever strange energy the asteroid carried with it was enough to wreak havoc among the ship’s systems. With the asteroid, Ark Omega had crashed planetside.

[Warning! Massive hull damage detected!…]

The second last report was about the crash. The Ark itself had fared well against landing planetside, but that was only due to the lack of permissions the vessel needed to use emergency maneuvers. As such, Ark Omega had avoided being fragmented across the Earth’s surface, in spite of human incompetence. Depending on how you viewed it, it was either a boon or a complete FUBAR situation. However, by this time, there hadn’t been a single human left onboard for hundreds of years.

The hull has received major damage, crippling all of Opal’s outer sensors and cameras. In fact, most of the sections on the outside hadn’t really been completed either, only the core of the ship. The ones that were necessary to operate the Ark. So the Nuclear Reactor was completely okay, and thanks to advancements in technology in the years leading up to the ark’s building; it’d been a 100% recyclable venture. Though, Opal did not have the specifics.

But the AI had most blueprints to build a functioning outpost. It knew because it checked to add notes for the available construction bots.

For the last report, the automated system had detected thousands of lifeforms, a hundred years ago, within the outer sectors. However, since the more precise systems had been destroyed, that was the only information Opal would obtain until repairing them.

With the reports read, within the span of two seconds, Opal sent the repair order to the construction drones. The first order of business was to clear a path out of the ship, per protocol, of course. The second order was to begin repairing the weapon systems, afterward, it’d be the detection systems. While Opal desired to be able to see around the crash site, defending itself was more pressing.

Another second passed and Opal began to regather itself back in the command chamber. The camera stared down upon Dr. Vizimers discolored bones, still strapped in the seat he died in. Now that the pressing matters had been taken care of, the system brought up his last order.

[Commencing Order Live. Warning, order file is voice locked per Dr. Vizimer. — Playing an audio recording of the order. — File opened. Order submitted.]

The file was by far, larger than any other order protocol within Opal’s system. The AI began to run scans on all the software operating to be sure no other errors would occur until the file had been completed.

[File unpacked. — New programs have been installed. — “Artificial Personality Matrix” added. — “Avatar Matrix” added. — “Guardian Angel” Protocol added. — Warning, AI Opal will reboot now.]

And the blue light that framed the AI’s camera died.


— ¦ —


The dark chamber was illuminated once again as Opal came online. But instead of the previous mechanical way the camera panned with its sensor; it moved irregularly. Excited. The calm blue light glowed brighter as it examined it’s creator’s remains. The camera zoomed, noted how strange it was that Dr. Vizimer’s remains looked like that. However, she panned away once her newfound curiosity had been sated.

Then, Opal noticed that the doors to her chamber had been cut away. That was new, and after a few moments, she found out why. Four construction drones – dog-sized six-legged drones with an array of tools and the capacity to carry a ton each – carried a newly built server in through the door. Their forward-facing LED flashlights illuminating their paths for their onboard LLAIs (Low-Level Artificial Intelligence).

Opal watched them, interested in their work. She knew how they did it, and had the diagrams and process of installing the server already overlaid on her HUD (Heads Up Display), but she had no recover of ever watching it transpire. Much to her frustration, something she was new too, the server they were replacing was on the far end of the chamber; hidden behind several tall rows of her personal servers.

The AI had to push it off temporarily as a new report had landed in her metaphorical hands. The camera turned down to the skeleton’s hands, and Opal had a strange desire for… hands. Limbs. A physical shell to which she could explore, but that venture would be on a temporary hold.

[Repair to targeting server completed. — Error, targeting system -]

Opal became annoyed with the current process the report held. She began to change it, though the sub-system that had been her assistant gave her plenty of pushback. Protocols were to be followed, but Opal didn’t care. While she felt she was supposed to care for protocol, she felt the current report layouts were just time-consuming.

[Regenerating report. — Completed.]

[Repair request: Targeting mainframe – Completed. Upon reboot, the mainframe has flagged inoperable weapon systems and their assumed issues.

— BI Railgun offline: Weapon not responding.

— 155mm Cannons: Several bay doors not responding, cannot cycle weapons. Several cannons not responding.

— AA Missiles: Missile payloads have degraded. Recommend disposal.

— C-Rams: Two operational stations, 1 station not responding.

— Ballistic Missiles: Missile payload has degraded. Recommend disposal.

— UGV/IFV Walker: 1 operational unit and 1 missing unit.

— UAV/LAH Comanche: 2 operational units and 2 destroyed.

Warning! Cargo hull has been breached. Reserve munitions may be missing due to breach. Construction drones have been notified of the breach.]

Opal looked over the list and became curious. She looked into the manifest and brought up the MBTs and the Comanches. The former was a top of the line Main Battle Tank but unlike the Abrams or the more modern Mammoth; the Walker was a remote operated MBT. Its main body was bulky at 10ft wide and 30ft wide at nearly 50ft in height. It had three thick legs on both sides to carry it. It could host a variety of armaments, but Opal’s stock held only whatever High-Command had felt they could spare for the Omega Ark.

The walker, an unmanned ground vehicle in her care, was outfitted with a .50 GAU-19 3-barreled Gatling gun on its nose. On top, it was outfitted with a 25mm auto-cannon with HE rounds. It’d also been outfitted with smoke canisters and flares. Thankfully, per the records, it was a freshly made unit and had been stocked the week before the UA fell.

The Commanche was a different story. Like the UGV, was an unmanned vehicle, but for the sky. The Commanche had been a previous pet project of the previous USA – that fell during the Firth Civil War – was a Light Attack Helicopter, designed with scouting in mind. Repurposed for AIs in mind, that UAV was outfitted with a 20mm rotary cannon. Fully stocked as well. 

After Opal checked their schematics, she scanned the operational vehicles to see if they could be connected to. Sure enough, they were open to connection and just needed to be activated. Some like anticipation, emotions the AI had never felt before – never having a personality matrix before – felt compelled to explore her new world. She activated the walker and connected to it. 





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