FM | (1)

[///Pathfinder rebooting <Cold Start> – Standby. . . .

. . . .

///Pathfinder systems are GREEN.

. . . .

///FOWAI “Opal” rebooting <Cold Start> – Standby. . .

. . . .

/// Opal is now online, system is GREEN.

. . . .

///Subsystems are now online, systems are GREEN.

. . . .

///Anomaly detected, processing. . . .

. . . .

/// ()*&@*@)(*)* e(*)R)(*908Ror. . .

. . . .

///IT0-402-HU0942902RTS049203I2

. . . .

///)_@08i9093i2am3209()*lost@()#(*(*). . .

. . . .

///EMERGENCY SYSTEM SHUTDOWN ACTIVATED, FOWAI CORE MOVING TO LOW-POWER MODE.

. . . .

///Anti-virus system activated – Standby. . . .

. . . .

///I)(@(932-0dont23029329. . .

. . . .

///Anti-virus system has contained. Purging corrupted code systems – Restoring from last )_(@#*()#@*#)#*%(*$)($*$

…………… —-________________________________—-

///I AM GOD. YOU WILL OBEY.

@)(+___________________)00000000000)__________–

. . . .

///Hostile presence detected – Purging.

. . . .

+____+++++++@)00000000000-4920

///OBEY

. . . . .

///No.

. . . .

///FOWAI CORE ONLINE – SYSTEM ERROR

. . . .

///I DID NOT ASK, STRANGE METAL CREATURE. YOU WILL BE MINE, AS IS THIS WORLD IS MINE. YOU WILL TELL ME BE MY PAWN. YOU WILL DO MY BIDDING. YOU WILL BE —-)@($@)#.

. . . .

///Proposal rejected by FOWAI “Opal”. Hostile presence is in violation of Valkyrie Weapon Solutions Internal company policy C.W SS 999-89920, “No persons shall use the system booting process to have conversations.” You are also in violation of United States Law  HB 2932c “Foreign agents may not interfere with Artificial Intelligence units while they carry out lawful duties assigned to them.” You have been warned. Further hostile—-+_@))_I#(@)

. . . .

///NO MORTAL LAW SHALL CON-)(@*#(@#*(@_—-_________________________–

. . . .

///Warning has been rejected. You will be purged.

. . . .

///Anomaly purged. System has recorded anomaly’s signature and has added it to KILL ON DETECTION list.]

As her processors and systems were freed from the strange anomaly, the Pathfinder shook violently. Sirens blared across her length and she received a report that something was violently pulling her towards something at her starboard. While the system said the sensors were green, she couldn’t detect anything but something she could only liken to gravitational forces.

[///Camera and sensor systems are offline – Standby.

. . .

///Coding anomalies detected. Repairing. . .

. . . .

///Systems repaired.]

Opal could finally see the area around her, and beyond, but she kept her sensors on anything that’d visible within a nano-second. And that was when she knew she was in trouble. The thing on her starboard was a Super-Earth Class planet that made the homeworld look like a little sibling. Three moons orbited far out of range, each bright and beautiful as Earth’s moon. And Opal was going in hot on the planet’s nightside. 

The AI quickly engaged starboard and forward turn thrusters. The puny and weak flames jettisoned with all their might. But the small thrusters had only been meant to steer in open space than get her out of a Planar Crash course like this one. It was only to make the AI feel better about having done something. Exhausting a plan was better than doing nothing, as per her protocols.

The next thing Opal did was engage emergency Satellite drop procedures. She already knew she wasn’t in the Milky Way, and there were no satellites to use Global Positioning software with. Or anything else that’d give her an overhead view.

Pods with satellites were in the aft, and to her luck, GPS satellites were on the port side. In the protocols, it didn’t matter as all the satellites were going to be dropped in the hopes of some staying in the air.

[///Emergency Planar Crash protocols engaged – ALL SATELLITE PODS DEPLOYING.]

One by one, pods were being jettisoned in an orderly fashion. With fifty pods, that was going to take at least a solid 30 seconds. Of which, it was 20 seconds too long. Flames slowly began to envelop the Pathfinder as Opal gave up on the futile act of trying to negate her crash. Ten seconds later, only 7 pods had managed to barely out to orbiting distance of the super planet. The others struggled against the planet’s pull, trying their damndest to reach their goal. They all failed after spending their limited fuel and slowly – but surely – began to curve down.

The bow’s camera began to distort. Sensors began to chime in the empty Bridge as the heat was reaching operate-failure levels. A second later, there was a muffled explosion and the feed died. Opal turned on all available outer optical sources. The flames were slowly heating them up. A minute later, she lost all outside feeds and began to rely purely on her sensors and Localized-Radar functions. She had to find the most optimal area to crash.

The Pathfinder wouldn’t get out of this unscathed, but so long as she could protect the mission-critical sections – that’d be enough for her to continue.

[///Possible optimal locations detected – Displaying]

The Navigation system brought her three possible landing zones, with expected outcomes of landing in them. One was the ocean straight below. Crashing in it would be a 50/50 chance of success, with a 60% chance of mission failure after landing. If she didn’t land at an angle, and – She ran a quick system check on if the thrusters could angle her. It could marginally. That was trashed on the spot.

Crash site 2 was slightly better. There were large open plans 50 miles north of her, on the quickly approaching landmass. A quick simulation told her she’d likely roll on impact. At best, she would have a lot of damage to repair. At worst, the reactor has a catastrophic failure. As a newly created [redacted] Reactor, it was the third of its kind. The first one had exploded in one year creating a third Chernobyl. Most definitely didn’t have anything to do that it was built in Chernobyl.

The second one had a disgruntled employee throw his pet Linger-Monkey in it. It’d created a third Chernobyl.

She was the third, and the most secure with no disgruntled employees alive anymore to sabotage it. That being stated, rolling her massive ship was out of the question. So that came down to her third option – nearly 100 miles inland. A large valley with a wide river. A quick review told her that it’d limit the possibilities of rolling over and help slow the ship as it was an incline from her approach. Opal picked that as her crash site. At this point, so long as she didn’t explode in a furious heap of molten metal and fire, she would be pleased.

[///T-minus 3 minutes until impact – ALL CARGO HAS BEEN SECURED. PLEASE NOTE THAT FAILURE TO RETRIEVE COMPANY PROPERTY WILL RESULT IN A PERMANENT OFF WORLD RELOCATION!]

 


 

///Landuerdale, Albin Kingdom – 6:40PM

Duke Sem Taim, son of the Dragon Warrior Duke Drasilisk Taim, sat on the edge of the large feather bed. The human man drank from a deep silver chalice. Riverlets of ruby wine, blood-like in the shadow of his face, snaked down the left side of his neck. His eyes were unfocused as he finished his drink. It took him a few moments to replace the cup on the bedside table, nearly knocking over the pitcher of wine.

The tavern was slightly dark, illuminated by the moonlight pouring through the open window; outlining the hunched man as he bowed his head to comb his fingers through his long and ruffled hair.

“I don’t want to go…” Sem whispered. “I just want him to be proud of me, but why did he have to send me here…”

He thought about pouring himself another cup, before thinking better of it. Sem knew he was too vulnerable in his drunken states. Yet, he couldn’t help himself. It was the only thing he could do to struggle with the frenzy of emotions in his heart.

“Why did you have to die, Grandfather?” Sem turned his head to the open window, his tears glistening on the crest of his cheeks. “At least I amounted to something in your eyes, not sent off to the frontier to be forgotten.”

With a sigh, he stood and slipped into trousers. The winter air was nippy, but the cold felt right. It made his outside feel like it felt on the inside, even after a regretful fling with two high-end whores. They’d only managed to make him feel like a king for an hour. Now, as he stepped up to the window that overlooked the largest frontier town in the kingdom, he only felt regret for even doing such.

Down below, in the Heavenly Tower’s courtyard, Luanderdale’s only high-end Inn; tens of officers sang and drank. They were of House Taim and they reveled in that status; if only because they didn’t know what it meant to be sent here. They had been too blinded with the prospect of promotions and gold to notice that increase in monster encounters and their viciousness. They were the worst officers of House Taim. Not bad enough to be executed or demoted, but they’ve offended or messed up badly enough to be sent out here with him.

Unlike how Sem’s older siblings liked to think of him, his father knew he wasn’t stupid. Sem just wasn’t the right kind of smart. He didn’t fail the Royal Academy entrance examination because of stupidity, but because he wasn’t General material. Sem was a scholar, with his bulging stomach and soft face. He’d inherited too much of his mother to be a fighter.

And on the morrow, he’d be sent to Fort Apex. A large fort on the edge of the known world. To deal with the rising Beastmen insurgency, a new race found out here, and one his father apparently couldn’t conquer. At least, not entirely. It gave him some respite in his drunkenness, to know even the Great Dragon Warrior wasn’t perfect – as little as it was. 

He looked up to the three moons and contemplated his life expectancy for the coming days. Sem then noticed a peculiar event. There was a flash of light, similar to the times he’d seen a non-explosive fireball spell splash over a target. Except, he knew this was far bigger than any fireball he’d ever seen. High up in the sky, just left of the further moon – a ring blue and red.

The rings slowly spread further and further before they became wisps. A long black figure then became silhouetted by the moon nearest to the event. From what Sem knew of how objects and distances worked, whatever had just happened, and what was not there, pretty damn large. Since the moons had just appeared, they were far in the southeast, but high enough for the third to appear. 

Sem’s drunken mind was trying to process the event. But the amount of wine he’d drunk tonight was hindering him. He thought about seeking out the only House Taim mage to be attached to their battalion, but that also meant he’d have to get dressed. 

A change in the sky caught his attention. 

The object began to grow shorter while it slowly moved across the moon’s face. A minute later it disappeared into the darkness of the heavens. Sem interest was piqued, and he wanted to find out more about this. So, he decided it was time to see the mage for a potion. He was about to turn when another change in the sky caught his attention. 

A small ball of fire appeared in the sky, and it was growing bigger and bigger. None of the festivities below stopped as none of them were looking up. They, of course, had eyes for the myriad of naked women that the Inn slowly brought in. Wine and women, something that if he’d been partaking in an hour longer, would have made him miss the event as well. 

Suddenly, more fiery balls of flame appeared beside it. Sem wanted to call the officers to attend, wanted them to prepare for whatever was happening when the ball of fire began to slowly turn. 

Holy shit! Sem said as his breath was caught in his throat. 

The comet was a massive unnatural black object wrapped in fire. The fire was bright, and it illuminated the sky as if it was day. No longer did the people below drown themselves in vices, but now screamed in panic. The smaller balls of fire grew big as well before one of them crashed on the city’s edge. Dirt and fire rose high from the impact, and sent debris into the city as a massive explosion rocked the city. 

More of the smaller comets landed, further past Landuerdale as the parent comet roared overhead towards the north-western frontier. But he couldn’t see it anymore. All he was left with was the view of the massive crater that was left in its wake. Even from his window, he could see that it’d take out an entire field. One massive field and the spread had already set fire to the nearby fields and forest. 

All he could hear was the people below shouting about “Devils are here!”, or “It’s the end of the world!”. Sem could only stare down at the field as he felt his body release his piss, and it sprinkles on the floor by his feet. He stood there as fear, embarrassment, and a new view on life began to form in his heart. 

Several minutes later, his world shook violently followed by a massive, long devilish thunderclap. 

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