Flowered Metal | 10

As Syfa’s group disappeared deep into the forest, the surrounding trees were illuminated with a faint green light. Their green and yellow diamonds flickered over their last known location. Opal left a single Spider-Drone to watch them go and set it on standby, just in case someone else comes around. She didn’t plan on it though.

The AI was more interested in her new treasures. A lump of amber and this “manastone”.

Their meeting lasted less than half an hour. Most of it’d been spent with them watching her little darlings working. By the time they left, the entire bay had been cleaned and dried. An inhuman task for sure, but the drones made short order of it. With their rubber foot pads suffering from abnormal wear, she was already having a few slip around. She couldn’t afford to break things she couldn’t replace, nor could she actually replace the rubber pads. 

It was a conundrum that she just pushed down the long list of “To-dos”, and escaped by toying with her new treasures. And with that, the lump of amber held no significant value, aside from it being quite pretty. Opal didn’t understand why she was drawn to these things, or how she found them pretty; she did regardless and that was enough for her.

This manastone, on the other hand, was far, far different. It was a 2″ semi-transparent black ball that, when held fairly close to her camera, showed a slow swirl of purple energy inside of it. It was perfectly round and polished. While being just as pretty as the amber lump – the stone itself gave off unknown energy fluctuations. The readings matched an entry in her system after several minutes.

[94% possibility of energy is the same as the one in the meteor 500 years ago. The system recommends further study of the stone.]

Opal agreed, and if she were human, she’d be grinning ear to ear with unmitigated delight. She had found something very interesting, and all it took was to trade her porch plants! Using SD-1, she kept the two stones in the drone’s empty tool compartment in its back. It scampered into the makeshift maintenance tunnel for the drones that lead up and up to the head of the ship.

Navigating in the dark using memory, she slithered through junctions and long tunnels. Eventually, she popped out into the floor below her chamber. “RESTRICTED AREA – LEVEL XXX” was painted in bright red across the metal wall as she crawled out. She ignored it, passing by a room labeled “B.N.Q.S.A.I HOUSING”. That door had a huge clearance that even Opal could pry open. The doors themselves were see-through.

Opal stopped for a moment, looking inside with a cat’s curiosity. Inside was a long tunnel, brightly lit, and guarded with two heavy automated .50 BMG turrets. That was her housing, and while she could go down there. She felt an odd pull on her system that said she wouldn’t like being there. Like down there was a trap. A cage waiting to be sprung, and Opal – like any sentient being – loved her freedom.

She lingered for a moment longer, then scampered off down the hall until it reached another junction. She turned left before she followed the hallway down for a quarter-mile. It was unfortunate, but there were no more drone outlets in this area. For security purposes, which Opal understood, but for the short life of her, never cared a damn. She was wasting precious seconds here.

She then came to a T In the hall, the wall was labeled “« REACTOR | R&D “”. She took the right path, making a small footnote that there was also a spike in energy right now. Future testing would be required for this phenomenon. The R&D’s door slid open with a crisp hiss and open moved in, moving exactly to the station she wanted.

It was the Hydra Optical Scanner. Once the tenth most precise scanning tool on the ship, now the only one, it was used to research items. It would try and break down everything into neat little entries for humans to read. The only downside was that it took up half 50′ room and required physical intervention. One needed to set the item in the large chamber, press the physical button to turn it on and press the start button.

Things Opal could have done, aside from moving the physical item. However, the human council had seen that this job required one dedicated human to do such. Reading the “required” staff chart previously, Opal couldn’t help but somehow find joy in their demise. The man who had to press this button wasn’t even the same person that fixed it! That was Opal’s job!

To make matters worse, if everything would’ve gone right, Opal would have never been able to fix anything as they broke! Everything would have been reported to an officer, the officer would have reported it to the captain, and then the captain would have to approve the repair. Did humans even think about the number of issues that would pile up with this slow process? Just within the four days of being online, Opal had a damage report numbering in the millions.

That was just counting missing a quarter of the ship. The outer half of the ship, where the crew would’ve slept, hadn’t been completed. Leaving it susceptible to a host of possible problems. As Opal was dealing with, twisting of the ship during a crash landing was one of them. Not that she could put her finger on it not doing it, but the chances would have been radically reduced.

Her annoyances to human redundancies aside, she placed the stone in the open chamber, slid it closed and turned on the machine. Manually. On the tips of her hind legs, the drone was barely able to reach the start button as it whirled to life. Ten metal tentacles slid from the machine’s room. With glass tips, the long tubes danced around the stone as it

[Please allow 2 days for a complete scan. ]

 

—¦—

 

With a thunderous crash, the malformed door that led beyond Bay 2 fell at an angle. It slid for a moment before crashing into objects. One beam of light cut the darkness, then several more. Two drones carefully climbed into the large bay that was labeled as “Maintenance” on the digital floor plan. Beyond this large room, which was the size of the other 2 bays, had to be crossed before Opal could cross into two more bays.

Opal knew there would be much more inventory to be discovered. She already had the impression that only Dr. Vizimer had trusted her, and even then, not completely. She took this strange ball of fire that burned through her system and took it out on broken doors that blocked her path.

Six more rooms had been found. Two full of munitions and two full of replacement parts. Two were full of material such as steel powder, copper powder, and so on. It was the strangest room of all. At least, in the context of all the stuff, she’d been finding. She was currently sitting on more than 5,000 small arms, 50,000 in munitions, and nearly 20 tonnes of material. And she had no clue what she was going to do with it all.

However, what she could do was explore this ship she found she was so spitefully locked out of.

Once the drones had found their footing, more and more began to swarm in. Within a minute, the room was a light show as beams of light danced around. Each bot carefully scanning each inch of the room to give Opal a layout. True to the human’s spiteful nature, which had been haunting her for the past hour as she’d been cutting through more of the ship, the layout was completely different.

What should have been something akin to a maintenance bay for repairing the drones, turned into a full-blown factory. Giant robotic floor-mounted arms were neatly lined up in a 50-foot space. Overhead, a large roof-mounted 4 axle machine hung. It looked like a large 3D printer. It was a complete mess aside from that. Crates had been flung against the far wall and several crates had been smashed open.

Most of the machines were rusted over, but that had been the last straw. Aside from the UAV, and the IFV, which neither could fit through the small tunnel, Opal ordered a complete overhaul. Starting from the Main Bay’s hallway. She didn’t have a concrete plan as of yet, but she had a good idea of what this room was. It wouldn’t be confirmed until the room was online and she was hooked into it though. 

Opal was beginning to understand that she hated not being included, oddly enough. The drones piled out, and the darkness fluttered back in as SD-1 was the final one out.

They all crawled down the hall like a metal stampede. Once they returned to the bay, they all scattered like startled rats. They all had their tasks, and each went off to complete it. Most of them went to the large floor-to-roof metal pile at the back. They began to pull large pieces of metal from it. Most of them were to be bent into sturdy heavy beams for the floor. No panels would be made right now, but any that would make easy panels were set off to the side for later. 

Others went to outfit themselves with their electrical sets, scampering into neat little home-made bays that resembled maintenance coves for children. But in a bee-hive honeycomb way. These honeycomb bays were stacked on top of each other before wielded to the wall on each side of the new main bay. Opal thought they were cute this way and saved it saved on space. 

At the moment, they were limited tools so at least half the bays were lacking their own set of tools. So, only a few bots could work on anything special at once. That presented another issue. There should have been enough tools for each drone to do everything at once, but a lot of them were missing. 

But back to the work.

A crew of ten bots working in teams of five was to strip the old tunnel, almost 40ft up from the new floor, while another ten-drone team cut their way through whatever rooms were below. Carefully. The bottom team would be slower than the above, so they would work on prepping materials for the new tunnel. Thankfully, gas for the plasma torches wouldn’t be an issue.

Because of the room team 2 cut into held the greatest boon for Opal for once. 

One thought on “Flowered Metal | 10

  1. So Ark has a dedicated arms factory and armory, with what seems to be a prototype “fabricator” machine that maybe can process items at a molecular level?

    Damn. I miss my Subnautica now.

    Like

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