Flowered Metal | 11

Opal’s camera scanned the darkroom with SD-1’s camera, the flashlight illuminating several different machines – robots to be exact. While the AI’s luck had been slightly misaligned in how she found things, she didn’t look the robotic gift horse in the mouth. Her program had a surge of errors and misfires, displaying the rise of joy in finding something that wasn’t half the height of a human, or a behemoth of a death machine.

The room itself must have been an actual maintenance bay. Several different machines were in various states of repair. And as Opal slowly crawled into the room, the first one she gravitated to was not the hulking 6ft Multi-Purpose Battle Luxury Droid – which was considered the epitome of luxury warbots – but the adorable maid drone that sat just past it.

Just like the MPLD next to it, it was simple in its design. Sleek, but still somewhat modeled after a human in a stripped-down way that only robots could do. It lacked any sexual connotations, suggesting it may have been for a minor. Its large empty eyes were pitch black. A quick scan reported that the robots onboard cameras were several levels higher than her IFV, and she wanted it. 

It even had a cute little metal bow-tie!

But alas, her luck was not all-encompassing. The little maid-bot was still missing its two arms and its maintenance port was open. Several thick cables ran out, down to the floor and over to a terminal. Much to her dismay, the MPLD was actually in a completed state of repair. Either that, or it was a programming issue or the technicians never got to it.  Opal looked up at the hulking warbot with hesitation.

The bot was more humanoid than the small maid-drone, but what it made up with its humanoid build, it lost in its clearing intimidating warbot design. If the maid was for a child, then this was meant for its parent. With bipedal legs and two arms attached to its close-to human torso and head, it was clear that this was – for all intents and purposes – designed to kill.

Its head was 2ft tall and 5ins wide and two feet long, with a single large black tinted half-dome for its only eye. Opal didn’t have to scan to know this would equal, or surpass, the quality optics of the maid. Its metal plating was glossy white, accented by vente-black servos for its joints. Even with all the painstaking detail given to look luxurious, it was still modeled after the UA’s recently announced MPD.

Its armor plates were rounded out slightly to give it a softer look, like how Samsung was blocky but Apple made things more round. Which was an accurate comparison considering there was an actual Apple logic etched into its forehead. Opal had several databanks on Apple, if only because they were contracted to build the higher-end suites.

The cost-to-return ratio was not within Opal’s acceptable parameters, reports did show that they were the only contractor that had actually completed their jobs – considering one of those rooms was Opal’s command chamber and its surrounding boarding rooms. Made for VIPS and the captain. They just weren’t rooms Opal needed into at the moment, so she never explored them. But she should, now that it came up.

Considering these two luxury bots were here, their occupants must have been here. With them being here, there may be useful information. Not on how the world came to an end, or why the munitions-to-life support systems ratio was so messed up, but they may have the real manifest. Not the fake one Opal had.

Pulling herself from plotting, the AI ordered the drones to detach the MPLD from its maintenance bay and hull it into the main bay for rebooting. Those drops were UGVs to their core, which meant, it’d be Opal’s new body from now on. Even those small arms could be put to use now. She looked back to the maid-drone, thought about it, and ordered it removed as well. The whole room was going to be torn apart, so it had to be moved if she was going to keep it.

The drones mulled around here as they began to fulfill her requests. Opal moved onto the next assembled drone, which was similar to the MPLD, but its military version. Like the Spider-Drones and its large daddy IFV, it followed the spider-theme. Only this time, it had a human torso and stood at 10ft tall and sported thick reinforced arms with a massive plastic shield and a mini-gun.

It was empty of course, being in maintenance and all, though Opal was kinda impressed by how much humans hated spiders while copying their legs. It was lost upon Opal that she didn’t like them either, but she was still intrigued by it.

— ¦ —

Four hours later, back in the main bay, Opal was testing the MPLD – now called BD (BattleDrone) – after charging its battery cells. Oddly enough, there was minimal damage to the unit, and what was there, was mainly coding issues. Poor coding in its servant protocols, and several ill-fated sections that’d – under the right circumstances – would lead the bot to murder everyone should error appear. Though that may have not been a poor coding piece, but rather a clever assassination protocol.

She only had the heavy version of the MPD and that wouldn’t have been a great comparison to its “Civilian” model.

But Opal was never one to let sleeping dragons be, and completely revamped the battle-drone’s software into a true piece of art. With the help of several world-class programs doing the heavy-lifting, for all intents and purposes. Being as it may, Opal ended up reducing the operational file by nearly half when she axed most of the legal redundances. Most of the protocols were mainly there for it to operate when its connection gets severed and it wouldn’t have access to them via the cloud.

However, this was going to be Opal’s personal humanoid husk for the foreseeable future. The maid drone was a complete mess. Its program was in complete disarray. From a cursory diagnostic scan, someone had inputted a virus that would have killed its ward. It was caught in time, but its arms were completely damaged. And Opal didn’t have the resources to build a new one, nor did she had the inclination to reverse engineer it at the moment.

In fact, she just decided to mark it all as a loss and set it aside for another time. She had a few ideas brewing in her processors that could be used. That would be if that large building facility she was trying to remodel was what she believed it was though.

When it was all said and done, BD was an acceptable shell to use. If not ugly. Its servos moved smoothly after a basic maintenance check was done and she’d oiled and greases its internals. If she had to place the reason it was in good condition, it was because the maintenance bay had been sealed and the machines held no fluids. However, Opal was beginning it was something to do with the energy that knocked the Ark out of orbit.

Opal flexed her new fingers, watching the soft rubber covered limbs move. She moved the arms up and down. She went through the basic motions the program would have done itself. But she may or may have not deleted its LLAI out of spite for trying to remove her connection, so she was doing it herself.

Inside the new hexagon bay, Opal discharged the charging cable from the drone’s chest and locked the access bay’s armor in place. The newly build bay had been cut out of several of the Spider-drone’s bays before creating room-sized bay for her new toy. Oddly enough, Opal could swear the ones who’d been misplaced were upset. She looked over to the metal pile were several drones were hammering away at metal debris with… Vigor.

They stopped and looked over at her for several moments before going back to beat the plates even harder… She may or may not have tinkered a little with their LLAIs, but Opal wouldn’t admit it even if you threatened to delete her.

As of right now, none of the bays would be permanent. Now that she was refurbishing rooms into tunnels, and the complete lack of humans. There was no need to take their comfort into account. She would have to go back to the drawing board, but she was going to become that crazy cat lady who’d fashioned their home for their pets than themselves.

Except, for spider-drones. Which was way cooler than those fleshy attitude laced fur bags.

—¦—

Now that she had her new toy up and running, Opal went back to help with the construction. Finding that maintenance bay had been a boon, granting several useful tools for Opal and her drones to use. Such as sawblades, lots and lots of saw blades. Opal would’ve liked something akin to a photon-blade or maybe a laser cutter, those things were still considered volatile tech in her systems. That would be something to experiment later with.

For now, half the team set aside their plasma cutters. While quieter and space-saving, Opal’s gas reserves were already hitting the 50% mark. She was only getting started on revamping her ship, and she had to choose her battles, The plasma torches would have to be saved when cutting the hard outer hall where it’d eat the blades up. The inner ship, discounting its structural skeleton, used thin aluminum and steel plating; depending on their assumed uses.

With that in might, Opal took the helm in cutting out the walls in larger sections where panels couldn’t have been removed. Considering humans and their “low-budget designs” that was most of the room itself. The ship hadn’t been made with refurbishment in mind. Or if it’d been, it’d been done in a way that the contractors would have made a fortune on the bill.

All of which, became moot when a robot was doing it. Without having to worry about cutting, burning or shocking herself, Opal tore through the walls at a pace even the Spider-drones couldn’t match. If only because they couldn’t reach the ceiling without creating a cute robot pyramid. As much Opal liked seeing that, she wanted this venture done quickly. With each passing minute, the other team was completing more and more. At this point in the build, they were already stripping out the factory now that they’ve been outfitted with the saws.

The room below the maintenance room was, in fact, in her blueprints. It was a Sector-Node room. One of the many rooms that house that sector’s power systems, support systems, and general information housing. Opal had access to it but at the moment, there was a power failure that pulled it out of her reach.

As the drones pulled up the titled floor, it became easier to work. No longer did they have to adjust for tilt, and just clung to the rafters. That was when they found the issue. Using the BD’s bright LEDs, she illuminated a hole that’d been ripped into the bottom floor’s roof; the electrical wires and piping below were ruined. Thanks to the section it’d happened, the thick electrical cables and steel pipes had taken the brunt of the damage. and the floor panel was still reusable.

Since the ship wouldn’t implode if they cut-away a few rooms at a time, Opal and her drones ripped the floor out. Once this was done, Opal saw the node room was completely torn apart. Thousands of small holes littered the walls and surroundings terminals. The section where the hole had been, turned into worst. The floor and nearby wall had a gaping crater torn into it. Skeletons littered the room, most of them holding pistols and shotguns.

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