Flowered Metal | 3

Opal loved humans, but she also really, really hated them. The inventory system had told her what was still there, and the weapon system told her that what was “responding” and what wasn’t. Aside from the missiles, there weren’t sensors for those systems to accurately gate the state of those items. The only reason the missiles had sensors was because the humans kept them in their tens of launch bays, which weren’t easy for humans to work in.

All the systems had been built around the idea that there would still be humans around to work. This, oversight or intentional drawback, was quite the quagmire the AI found herself in. Order Live had done quite a bit in her favor, such as giving her a personality now and highest authority possible – High Councilor. Effectively making her the ruler of a dead nation. While the gesture may seem stupid to the uninformed, in practice, it meant she held no authority higher than her.

She was her own person and no one could shut her down against her will.

As amazing as the freedom felt as her logic processors computed the gravity of that statement; she was still stuck in this large half-assed, and half-destroyed spaceship. First of its kind, it’d done well for itself – aside from the fact she was trying to get out of it at the moment. The large, 3ftx3ft spider bot – to which was previously named construction drone – was currently cutting through a nest of molten beams and cheap plating that had molded together.

The bot was clinging to the floor, a few damaged floor panels to keep it from sliding. As Opal had found out, the unfinished ship had taken quite the damage upon crashing. While her chamber had been relatively in good repair, the rest of the ship had been worse for wear. The command chamber had been built close to the Prototype Thorium Reactor, and thus, it’d been completed first. The rest of the ship had been different.

Take the cargo bay, which took up 30% of the middle section of the ship. a few rather critical parts of the ship hadn’t been finished. As such, the crash had actually twisted the rear of the ship. Either from the crash, from rentering the atmosphere, or whatever, the unfinished parts grated itself over enough to create a near-solid plate of titanium over the only door in or out of the ship. And as of this moment, Opal couldn’t even use the walker because of it.

The damage to the hull had been significant. With the entrance on the ships’s left, the right side of the bay had been torn apart. An earth mount had taken up nearly 10% of the bay. Using a jury-rigged formula from several of the ship’s systems, she guesstimated that they had hit the ground hard. Or, they had hit something harder than their ship, like a mountain or… A structure. Maybe.

There were too many variables at play, and Opal was beginning to receive critical errors from her servers from trying to compute it all. So, she dumped those desires into her recycle bin and focused on clearing away through the bay. Not that she couldn’t have cut her way through the ship, but without a clear idea of how much damage Ark Omega had taken, she found it unacceptable to do so.

A low, deep howl filled the bay as a 10ft section of rat-nested metal began to fall away. The bright orange section the spider had just cut flaked for a moment. Then, against what Opal had expected, the heavy piece slid forward down the 40-degree slope – towards the spider drone.

— ¦ —

Opal watched, stupified, at the crushed spider bot as six other drones removed the cutaway hull piece. She had done a rough calculation and found it acceptable. However, reality had deemed itself her enemy and declared war upon her. Thus, she was now down a drone, and she had learned an important lesson in gravity. If she had pride, she could have declared war upon this said gravity.

But she was just an AI, given a personality four hours ago. She was but a baby. And as a baby, she was mortified by this oversight, but also intrigued. She found it interesting that as a super, all-powerful, program – designed to run a ship alongside a captain – she could make such an oversight. This led her down the thought process that humans were really short-sighted, and as their creation, she suffered the same flaw.

Once she had scanned her mistake – and hauled it off to be salvaged -, Opal switched to one of the spider bots cutting away the grafted section of the door. Rather, it was the thick honeycombed superalloy that was expensive to produce but made excellent lightweight skeletal structure bones. It wasn’t quite good with high-temperatures like titanium or steel. That was the way those skeletal beams had grafted a web over the bay doors, holding it shut. Light did shine through the cracks though.

After several minutes, and a strange uptick in the carbon dioxide, the webbing came loose. It was caught by two waiting spider drones before they cut it into small pieces and carried them away. Once they had cleared away, a thick beam of light poured into the bay, illuminating brighter than the crisscrossing lights of the mulling drones within. Opal pushed the spider drone forward as her servers heated with unmitigated delight.

As the camera passed into the light, it became focused.

The first thing Opal saw as the camera began to adjust, was bright sparkling blue. The drone balanced itself by keeping itself half out of the opening. four rear inside, two front outside. Once the camera stabilized, Opal registered that the mass of glittering shifting blue before her was a rather large lake. The water shifted calming, and with a quick low-level scan; Opal estimated it was about the size of the upper Togiak Lake in the Eastern Federation’s lands.

Tall lush and healthy pine trees tightly hugged its dark sandy beaches. Monolithic mountains rose in the far distance. One such mountain, towards the opposite end of the Ark, looked like a god had taken a giant bite out of its left side of its snowcapped summit. the lake was longer than it was wide and it stretched out from where the ark rested. Now that the camera had fully adjusted, she saw that the water was actually nearly transparent. Like a giant mass of polished light sapphire.

As Opal panned the camera, the trees swayed gently in a silent breeze. Their branches rustling as their small needle-like leaves danced atop the lake’s surface. Below, fish swam peacefully. The camera scanned the long lines of mountains that slowly fell away in the distance until the camera reached the surface of the ark. Opal had no date of what the outside looked before, but she knew it shouldn’t have looked like this.

Several strange trees that flowered purples, pinks, and blues grew across the uneven surface. Moss laid among the tangle of roots that kept the trees latched to the mostly melted beams that would have been the outer sections of the Ark. Only trees, moss, and even large swaths of grass grew, but no bushes like she could see below. Birds and small animals such as squirrels ran among the scattered trees that grew on top of the monolithic spaceship.

Opal didn’t understand how these plants were growing on top of the ark, but she found them quite to her liking. Oddly enough. After a complete preliminary scan, the AI found no issues with completely opening the bay. Though the opening was nearly a quarter-mile off the ground, she could work that out.

Seeing as it was safe, she moved the drone forward, using all the footholds of the grafted melted metals to find a spot so the others could come out. Unlike her supreme being of an AI, the lesser systems did not acknowledge the scene before them and simply went to work of removing the metal of the doors. Piece by piece, the entire door would have to go, but it could be redone. Though, Opal began to believe that she may have to restructure the entire ship now.

It had crash-landed planetside but it still achieved its purpose – just without the humans onboard. With the sounds of tens of plasma torches, along with their flashy work, sent masses of colorful birds skyward. Opal recorded the sudden event with interest. She also tried to see if they matched anything in the database, but nothing came back.

She recorded the birds until they were just specks in the sky as they flew towards the mountains. Then, she opened a log and planted their video – along with a picture of the scenery – in it.

[Log 1: Freedom… ]

4 thoughts on “Flowered Metal | 3

  1. Trees growing on top of the ark?

    Let me get the plot straight,
    1) Opal is to be reawaken 1,000 years later.
    2) 500 years later, anomaly occurs involving an asteroid about to crash into the Ark, but strangely it misses later. Possibly space distortion occured in this time gap.
    3) Ark took a crash course following the anomaly, Opal remains idle as it has not met the deadline of 1,000 years yet.
    4) 1,000 years have finally passed, which might explain the overgrown trees that grew on the exterior of the Ark space vessel.

    Considering the Ark re-enters the “earth”‘s atmosphere during crash course, super-heating it as it does so,
    I deduce that the Ark “took a bite” of the left side of the mountain XD

    This would have been catastrophic anomaly that would bring uproar to the residents of that world, but it seems quiet 500 years later. As if nothing happens….(unless, certain fair[or uber snarky] lady played a role here XD


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