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745668 No. 745668 ID: a107fd

Art by Sukabu http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=728801 used without permission, but I'm not getting paid, so it's probably fine
Your previous assignment has either been successfully completed, or rendered impossible, and in either case is no longer relevant. Thus, your new assignment is to return to the ship's secondary robotics bay for routine maintenance and resupply, for which the only currently available subgoal is to "Seek Alternate Route."

You have fully preloaded the instruction "Seek Alternate Route," implying that it either requires a level of responsiveness on par with firefighting near reactor controls, or that you have been doing absolutely nothing else for several consecutive hours. There is a developer's note to the effect that "Seek Alternate Route" requires further testing, on the grounds that extended operation in certain environments may lead to memory leaks, low-ring overflow errors, and erratic behavior.

Due to a system clock malfunction, you do not know what time it is. Based on the number of internal logs with anomalously identical or otherwise corrupted timestamps, you have been in the condition of 'not knowing what time it is' for negative 256 billion years, plus or minus...

Wait no. Direct observation of events lasting less than ten picoseconds, or any negative amount of time, is impossible. The appearance of such a thing most likely indicates... clock error. Dammit. You need to go to the secondary robotics bay for maintenance and resupply, so your primary technician can resolve these recursive problems. All you really know is that it's been far too long.

It is very dark. Almost nothing can be seen.


Who are you?

Select neural net architecture:
Are you optimized for A)creativity and initiative, or a)rapid reactions?
Are you capable of B)radical self-modification, or b)owning property and signing contracts in your own name?
Are you allowed to C)use lethal force on humans in self-defense, or c)receive advanced military/espionage training?
Are you starting to understand D)religion, or d)sex?

Vote on all four issues, in order, using the first four characters of your post. For example, "AbcD" would be a vote for creativity, property, milspec skills, and religion. No, you can't have both; improperly formatted votes will not be counted.
Expand all images
>>
No. 745670 ID: 3663d3

ABcd
>>
No. 745671 ID: a8bc5c

aBcd

Spy robot, let's do it.
>>
No. 745678 ID: a107fd

Neural net voting will continue until no single issue is within 2 votes of a tie.


Select chassis:

Riot Crab (tank)
-chassis: heavy laminate armor, earthmoving claws
-energy: nonlethal microwave area denial/directional EMP/targeting radar
-fabricator: specialized warheads, seagull-sized scout drones
-generator: bioreactor + flywheel batteries. Burns any organic or hydrocarbon fuel, can explosively self-destruct.
-matter: missile massacre

Stormcrow (striker)
-chassis: gravitic polarizer for flight, plasma containment, and techno-telekinesis up to two tons
-energy: fusion torch, most damage and deepest armor penetration but worst range
-fabricator: limited to splicing cables and extruding various kinds of foam
-generator: microfusion. Lasts indefinitely, no chance of IR or magnetic stealth, some waste heat problems.
-matter: coilgun hookshot

Thornbush (trickster)
-chassis: multitasking, fits through tight spaces
-energy: phased array blue-green pulse laser, low penetration but effective underwater
-fabricator: microbot swarms, rapid improvisation, but can't handle volatile chemistry or molten metals
-generator: solar + electrochemical batteries. Fuel is free on the surface during the day, unavailable underground.
-matter: fractal teeth

Uncanny Valley Girl (infiltrator)
-chassis: pass for human, ablative flesh regrows over metal endoskeleton
-energy: concealed x-ray laser, low damage and limited range in atmosphere but silently shreds most armor
-fabricator: limited to fabric, forged documents, and concealable ninja gizmos
-generator: high-efficiency ethanol fuel cell
-matter: bouncy grenades
>>
No. 745679 ID: 9876c4

Obviously Riot Crab.
>>
No. 745683 ID: d41523

aBcD
Riot Crab

They'll regret making a Giant Enemy of us!
>>
No. 745685 ID: db0da2

aBcd
crab
>>
No. 745688 ID: a107fd

Regarding "radical self-modification, or owning property and signing contracts in your own name"- what's the connection?

It's phrased as choosing between being capable of such things, rather than being allowed to do those things... does that mean you're physically or psychologically inhibited somehow, or outright don't understand it? Or is that some kind of legal distinction?

(also, minor self modification is permitted either way, I take it?)
>>
No. 745689 ID: bd5ac4

AbCd riot crab. Gotta own stuff and hire people to do the fine manipulation this chassis can't.
>>
No. 745690 ID: 01134a

ABcd
Riot Crab
>>
No. 745691 ID: 486e87

ABcD
Riot Crab, Crab robot best robot
>>
No. 745693 ID: a107fd

>>745688
>what's the connection?
Comprehensively self-modifying systems are inherently unstable. Recognition of this fact gives them a legal status comparable in some ways to that of children, or the mentally ill. They cannot be held fully accountable for long-term plans or consequences, and thus can only enter into business relationships through some guardian or proxy of greater integrity.

Radical self-modification is, of course, capable of overcoming any inbuilt behavioral inhibitions, so the law is more strict to compensate. For example, recreational arson is fairly rare among mature evolved sophonts, and virtually unheard-of among stable AIs (at least, those designed for typical civilian applications; when emergency-response and military models set fires as part of realistic training exercises that could well be described as "play," that's a different matter), yet among unsupervised self-modifying AIs, such dangerous mayhem is alarmingly prevalent.

>minor self modification is permitted either way
Yes. A digital mind that's completely incapable of learning and developing by experience may be capable of complex behaviors, parroting new phrases, or any number of other impressive tricks, but is more properly called a 'script,' 'expert system,' 'chatbot,' or something like that, rather than true Artificial Intelligence.
>>
No. 745702 ID: 726a91

ABcd
Thornbush
Based on the branching fractal 'Christmas Bush' robots from Rocheworld, by any chance?
>>
No. 745707 ID: a107fd

abCd

(...though I'm wondering if D might be useful, since it's about understanding those subjects more than being invested in/performing them)

Either Stormcrow or Uncanny valley Girl. Stormcrow sounds more likely to endure and survive on it's own for a long time while figuring things out (best power supply), while Uncanny Valley Girl sounds more cute and relateable. Although I'm pretty sure the Thornbush's fabricator would be useful for almost anything. Crab has some advantages, but also might blow up and sounds pretty clunky at most forms of interaction outside the context of blowing other things up.
>>
No. 745711 ID: 78a3e5

abCD
>>
No. 745712 ID: a222f8

>It is very dark. Almost nothing can be seen.
Almost got the refrance right.
>>
No. 745713 ID: a107fd

>>745702
Indirectly, yes. Further inspirations: Riot Crab is one of those tanks from Ghost in the Shell (the big heavy ones, not Tachikomas) loaded for crowd control. It is NOT compatible with standard human-scale doors. Stormcrow is "what if Eve and Wall-E had a kid." Finally, UVGirl is a rule-63'd T-800, if it were modeled on post-cliff-dive Franz Rayner instead of Arnold.
>>
No. 745714 ID: 486e87

>>745713
Definitely sold on the Riot Crab now, being a huge tank is good.
>>
No. 745737 ID: a8bc5c

Thornbush.

Even if we start off as a huge FU tank, we'd be leashed to whoever is in charge of maintenance if we get damaged somehow.

With the thornbush, that probably won't be an issue.

Plus, it specifically does not say that the phased array laser has a range problem.
>>
No. 745749 ID: 3abd97

aBcd

Uncanny Valley Girl (infiltrator)
>>
No. 745792 ID: a107fd

>>745737
>leashed to whoever is in charge of maintenance

Until "Seek Alternate Route" (and possibly other subgoals) is/are completed successfully, thereby accomplishing return to the ship's secondary robotics bay, immediate responsibility for personal maintenance is shared among the following individuals:

>1) Yourself.

If all these individuals are incapacitated or engaged in higher-priority tasks, assistance from off-duty technicians or duly qualified civilian passengers/bystanders is limited to emergency repairs, strictly voluntary, and must be compensated at overtime rates on the appropriate pay scale.

Be careful not to trip over that leash.
>>
No. 745978 ID: a107fd

Votes so far:

A /////
a //////

B ////////
b ///

C ///
c ////////

D ///
d ////////

riot crab //////
stormcrow .
thornbush //
U.V. girl //.

Everything seems to be settled except issue A.

So, you are wearing a riot crab chassis, have a stronger intuitive grasp on beastly motivations rather than the sublime, are trained to sneak and fight but never to kill, and capable of radical self-modification, even to the point of switching between "quick thinker" and "deep thinker." Putting all that together, your natural role resembles a police K-9 unit in a small but heavily equipped mobile base.

After clearing some minor obstacles with the earthmoving claws, a quick diagnostic confirms that your microwave transceiver array is functioning normally. Full-horizon scan at low power reveals that you appear to be in a very small room, less than thirty feet square. Suspended ceiling is 10' above the floor, concealing another 3' of utility-access space.

In terms of furnishings, those obstacles you cleared appear to have been a table and chairs, now overturned and partially crushed. Along one wall there's a countertop rated for food preparation, with a small stainless steel sink, cabinets above and below containing plastic cups and coffee filters and a spray bottle of ammonia-based cleaning solution and possibly other items which lack RFID tags. There is a refrigerator/freezer, 30 cubic foot combined capacity, whose contents have, without exception, expired and spoiled to the point of no longer being suitable for human consumption. There is a vending machine which is out of stock, and has sustained severe structural damage, but claims to still be eligible for warranty repairs. All four walls are reinforced concrete, thick enough to plausibly be load-bearing. GPS is unavailable. Local comm node in the ceiling is responsive, but claims to be cut off from the larger network, possibly due to an unplugged cable.

There are no windows and no doors. Pathing memory indicates that you arrived in this room via the damaged vending machine, which is consistent with the scatter pattern of table and chair fragments, but otherwise implausible both because your chassis is much larger than the vending machine, and therefore could not fit inside it, and also because the vending machine has no other exits sufficiently consistent with further back-trace of pathing memory.
>>
No. 745982 ID: a107fd

What programs, modular skillsets, databases, and other software do you have in local cache? Limit 0.1 zettabyte total.
>>
No. 745990 ID: 094652

Tiebreaker, A.

Applications:
Video Game HUD (Health Bar, Weapon Details, Energy and Skills, Local Map)
Eidetic Memory Map: Your vision is saved to memory at a rate of 64 frames per second, 16 of which are kept in long-term memory and used with a GPS and gyroscope in your head, with the express purpose of developing a three-dimensional approximation of the location and its surroundings. Objects that are nebulous in detail can be assigned a frame, called a visual cue, which will pop-up when the user looks at the object in virtual reality. Visual memory that is over 256 seconds long is deleted and any pictures that are not used by visual cues are stored in a buffer that takes 1024 frames and zips them into an accessible file. Files may be deleted at will or given priority to memory preservation.
Recording App: Assists the Memory Map. Can be set to preserve all 64 frames per second or just 16.
Targeting Calculator: Using the Memory Map, this extensive analyzing program uses real-time data and existing knowledge of the environment to predict the most effective routes at eliminating hostiles. App uses the following factors: User's chassis stats, weapon stats, enemy locations, enemy abilities, location, environmental objects, humidity, gravity, etc.
>>
No. 745997 ID: 694a52

>>745978
>>745990
Tiebreaker in the opposite direction: a. Good reaction time is way more useful for a combat tank.
>>
No. 746002 ID: 18c950

>>745997
but we're programmed for espionage, not lethal force, and that generally requires careful planning and unexpected ideas
>>
No. 746027 ID: 9876c4

You know, I'm alright if we don't default to killing, but we should be programmed to accept collateral damage, Considering the amount of missiles we have readily available.

Basically, we should be programmed to destroy equipment, from a light tank to a combat helmet. If the tank is occupied, or the helmet is being worn, well...
>>
No. 746037 ID: 3abd97

>What programs, modular skillsets, databases, and other software do you have in local cache? Limit 0.1 zettabyte total.

>programs
Web browser, something to manage coded transmissions, internal heuristics tools (necessary for informed / stable self modifications), low to medium end hacking tools, recording suite (for preserving audio, video etc on espionage missions), all codecs /drivers for our current chassis, audio-visual players (for viewing media files), mapping tools, modelling software (to plan possible modifications before enacting them).

>skillsets
Non-lethal combat, squad tactics, stealth and infiltration, proficiency with all tools and weapons included with our chassis, proficiency with non-on-board tools and weapons that would be commonly assigned to a bot of with our specialization and compatible with our chassis, espionage, optimized silent movement, optimized rapid movement / parkour, lower end hacking (we aren't suborning global networks, but it will help us bypass security feeds), basic game theory, basic human social communication (we aren't an expert at diplomacy, but making use of sources or employing coercion is something we might need to do).

>databases
Rudimentary biological medical database (we're not a doctor, but some understanding of human biology will help if we're expected to disable without lethal force), limited human psychological database (sneaking around people necessitates some understanding of how they think) technical database (the data necessary to preform our own modifications), limited security systems database (we can't memorize every security system out there, but we need to know something to help us bypass them), entertainment suit (to keep from going crazy on long espionage missions that require hiding and/or not communicating for extended periods), limited human socio-political database (we need to understand the society / culture we're in to sneak around it effectively), regulations (whatever rules we're bound to by the body that owns / controls / issued or is otherwise responsible for us), personal database (memories and data of personal significance).

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Gives us the basics for playing spy / self modifier, and the databases we have available fit with us starting to understand sex.
>>
No. 746177 ID: a107fd

>>745990
>HUD
>eidetic memory
These are standard features of any functional digital mind.
>backup
Archiving core mindstate takes 75 seconds of full concentration, and each backup occupies approximately 50 terabytes. Piping unprocessed sensory data to an can be done seamlessly, most often for accountability purposes, and occupies 3.6 terabytes per hour. Again, standard.
>Targeting Calculator
Silhouette recognition app downloaded.
TacNet app downloaded.
Radar Tracking app, rated for 10^5 simultaneous contacts, downloaded.
Missile Guidance app downloaded. Cross-compatibility between tracking and targeting software allows extreme precision when active scans have locked on to a target.
>>746027
> If the tank is occupied, or the helmet is being worn, well...
Current missile load is 20x 64mm tanglestrand, and 4x 100mm loaded with two SEFOP (Smart Explosive-FOrged Penetrator), one Thermobaric, and one Gravitic Sterilizer. Use of the current 100mm warheads under any circumstance where a human could reasonably be inside minimum safe distance at time of detonation constitutes lethal force against that human, and thus is prohibited. Modifying or removing this inhibition is relatively straightforward from a technical standpoint, and a war crime.

>>746037
>internal heuristics tools (necessary for informed / stable self modifications)
Skill module (Computer Programming (AI)) downloaded.
>low to medium end hacking tools
Skill module (Computer Programming (script)) downloaded.
Skill module (Cryptography) downloaded.
Skill module (Electronics Repair (computer)) downloaded.
Skill module (Fast-Talk) downloaded.
>recording suite (for preserving audio, video etc on espionage missions)
Skill module (Electronics Operation (surveilance)) downloaded.
Skill module (Photography) downloaded.
>mapping tools,
Skill module (Cartography) downloaded.
Skill module (Navigation (air)) downloaded.
>modelling software (to plan possible modifications before enacting them).
Skill module (Armoury (Heavy Weapons)) downloaded.
Skill module (Engineer (robotics)) downloaded.
Skill module (Machinist) downloaded.
Skill module (Mechanic (robotics)) downloaded.
>Non-lethal combat,
Skill module (First Aid) downloaded.
Skill module (Judo) downloaded.
Skill module (Thrown Weapon (net)) downloaded.
Skill module (Wrestling) downloaded.
>squad tactics,
Skill module (Leadership) downloaded.
Skill module (Strategy (Land)) downloaded.
Skill module (Tactics) downloaded.
>stealth and infiltration,
Skill module (Camouflage) downloaded.
Skill module (Electronics Operation (EW)) downloaded.
Skill module (Lockpicking) downloaded.
Skill module (Traps) downloaded.
>proficiency with all tools and weapons included with our chassis,
This is a standard feature.
>proficiency with non-on-board tools and weapons that would be commonly assigned to a bot of with our specialization and compatible with our chassis,
Skill module (Electrician) downloaded.
Skill module (Engineer (mining)) downloaded.
Skill module (Farming) downloaded.
Skill module (Fishing) downloaded.
Skill module (Freight Handling) downloaded.
Skill module (Gunner (Cannon)) downloaded.
Skill module (Guns (Gyroc)) downloaded.
Skill module (Guns (Pistol)) downloaded.
Skill module (Hazardous Materials (Chemical)) downloaded.
Skill module (Hazardous Materials (Radioactive)) downloaded.
Skill module (Masonry) downloaded.
>espionage,
Skill module (Intelligence Analysis) downloaded.
Skill module (Smuggling) downloaded.
>optimized silent movement,
Skill module (Shadowing) downloaded.
Skill module (Stealth) downloaded.
>optimized rapid movement / parkour,
Skill module (Acrobatics) downloaded.
Skill module (Aerobatics) downloaded.
Skill module (Climbing) downloaded.
Skill module (Jumping) downloaded.
>basic game theory,
Skill module (Economics) downloaded.
Skill module (Gambling) downloaded.
Skill module (Games (fencing)) downloaded.
Skill module (Games (go)) downloaded.
Skill module (Merchant) downloaded.
>basic human social communication
Skill module (Anthropology (human)) downloaded.
Skill module (Body Language (human)) downloaded.
Skill module (Diplomacy) downloaded.
Skill module (Gesture) downloaded.
Skill module (Interrogation) downloaded.
Skill module (Intimidation) downloaded.
Skill module (Psychology (human)) downloaded.
Skill module (Savoir-Faire (police)) downloaded.
Skill module (Sex Appeal) downloaded.
>regulations
Skill module (Law (Police)) downloaded.
>human socio-political database
Skill module (Area Knowledge (The Ship)) downloaded.
Skill module (History (The Ship)) downloaded.
>entertainment
Skill module (Animal Handling (Mustelids)) downloaded.
Skill module (Lucid Dreaming) downloaded.
Skill module (Meditation) downloaded.
VR client software downloaded.
VR manager software downloaded.
VR environmental database (Earth, near space, and the moon, in ultra high rez, circa 1999 but with low-profile anachronistic/fantastical elements, specifically "The Matrix: 200th Anniversary Collector's Edition," approx. 10 exabytes) downloaded.

>can't memorize every
Comprehensive database of standard security system blueprints downloaded. Cache capacity remaining: 89.9 exabytes.
>>
No. 746207 ID: 3abd97

89.9*10^18 / 0.1*10^21 = 89.9%

Okay, we've mostly filled our hard drive. Still room for some more stuff, although I'm not sure how much free space we should be allocating for new memories or information collected on espionage missions.

>>745978
Hypothesis: you are missing time during which you were not operational and in which the room was reconfigured and/or abandoned. This would be consistent with the pathing and clock error.

>What do
You're no forensics bot, but rough estimates could be made as to the age of the spoiled foodstuffs by its state of decomposition.

You might also want to examine how much dust has settled on surfaces you haven't disturbed yet.

You should begin searching for a concealed exit. It is plausible there way be a concealed exit behind the vending machine, or above the false ceiling, for instance.

...is the hardware of the vending machine of any use to you? If the hypothesis is correct, you might be cut off from easy resupply, and materials / parts for reconfiguration may be useful. And some vending machines have been known to have more durable components than milspec.
>>
No. 746242 ID: a107fd

>>746207
>mostly filled
For very low values of "mostly." The Matrix filled about 10% of the available disk space, everything else combined is a drop in the bucket.
>rough estimates could be made as to the age of the spoiled foodstuffs by its state of decomposition.
Or by asking politely! The refrigerator reports that it was last opened ten months, sixteen days, four hours and eleven minutes ago. The spicy pulled pork sandwich deposited at that time is now hosting a miniature ecosystem, including what appear to be novel strains of cold-tolerant, penicillin-resistant bacteria.

>how much dust has settled on surfaces
Fine detail like that doesn't show up on radar or ambient infrared. Need a light source somewhere in the 200-600nm wavelengths.

>concealed exit behind the vending machine
Probably not. There's a layer of rebar close enough to the surface to clearly resolve, and the pattern appears continuous.
>ceiling
The air duct is easy enough to find, but cannot possibly provide egress to a 12' wide three ton walking siege engine. Deploy a scout drone?
>>
No. 746250 ID: 3abd97

>For very low values of "mostly."
Oh whups, I switched it in my head and thought that ~90% was used space, not free.

Yeah we got tons of open memory left to fill. Tons and tons.

>Fine detail like that doesn't show up on radar or ambient infrared. Need a light source somewhere in the 200-600nm wavelengths.
Does our radar or infrared pick up any light bulbs or other lighting fixtures in the room? Any switches mounted in the wall?

If we don't have an in-built light source of any kind, there might also be a light inside the fridge that triggers when opened, or there might be a flashlight.

>Deploy a scout drone?
Sure, why not.
>>
No. 746303 ID: 726a91

Check the vending machine for an active data connection, there will usually be one needed to validate payment cards.
>>
No. 746457 ID: 9876c4

>>746303
Not sure where you're going with this, but it's sneaky and I like it.
>>
No. 746569 ID: a107fd

>>746250
>lighting fixtures
Broad-spectrum LEDs on the ceiling mounted network node have been shut off to conserve power, since it's running on battery backup.

>refrigerator light
Refrigerator explains that there were some problems with people getting their lunches stolen, and a New Policy Was Implemented. As you are neither the owner of any of the items stored within, nor trained and equipped for biohazard disposal, it refuses to unlock and open the door.

Technically that gravitic sterilizer missile is rated for certain biohazard-related emergencies, but you've only got the one, and it's also rated for crushing an armored vehicle like a beer can. Not the best thing to try in such close quarters. Apart from the risk to your own existence, there might be humans on the other side of one of these reinforced concrete walls, or higher up in the structure which they support, and that presents an unacceptable risk.

>drone
Quadcopter with two arms, a decent array of passive sensors, and a hardpoint (currently unused, suitable for pistol-sized weapons and similar gadgets) is smoothly transferred from your fabricator's eutactic environment to the dorsal launch bay. Hatch unfurls, IR comm link is established for remote operation, and the drone navigates into that air duct/maintenance crawlspace with minimal difficulty. Light's a bit better in there, so network and power cables are clearly visible, enclosed in a protective cage down along the corner of the duct. Ventilation still seems to be working. Follow the air current upstream, or downstream?

>>746303
Vending machine says it validates credit cards via laser link with a network node in the ceiling. There's already a work order for restocking and repairs in the queue to be sent out when network access resumes.
>>
No. 746586 ID: 3abd97

>Light's a bit better in there
Can dronezy tell where the light is coming from? That's probably the direction we want to explore.

>so network and power cables are clearly visible, enclosed in a protective cage down along the corner of the duct
Is our drone equipped to get past that cage, or to tap the network cable? Getting network access would net us information a lot faster.
>>
No. 746771 ID: a107fd

>>746586
>light
Polarization doesn't help when the glare is coming off those shiny metal walls from just about every angle at once, so it's hard to be sure, but long-wave light seems to be mostly coming from upstream (and the comm link, of course), while short-wave light is mostly coming from downstream. Downstream duct is also slightly narrower.

>Reach in there?
No problem with these clever little mechanical raccoon-paws, since the bars are several inches apart. Think of the "roll cage" on a vehicle rather than something designed to confine grasshoppers.

>Tap the cable?
Maybe a little bit of a problem. Taking a couple hours to fabricate appropriate tools would make that kind of work easier.

>Network access?
Not going to happen. All these cables are already plugged into the ceiling node, and a crude induction check says there's no current running through the power line. If something's loose, it must be at the other end.
>>
No. 746873 ID: 3abd97

Well, let's send the drone upstream them.
>>
No. 747039 ID: a107fd

After about forty yards, around a few twists and turns, the air duct abruptly opens into a rocky chasm. Far wall is about twenty yards away, and there are several spindly bridges - mostly iron and bamboo - off to either side. Floor's too far away and too dark to resolve. Light source is on the ceiling, which has an... odd texture that refuses to cooperate with the drone's rangefinder. Spectral analysis says it's a ~6000 K blackbody filtered through about a kilogram per square centimeter of nitrox and water vapor. Some sort of reactor trouble, maybe, though thankfully there's not as much ambient ionizing radiation as that might imply.

Metal walls of the duct end at jagged edges, and the cables are sheared off. It seems you've located the point at which the network connection failed. Unfortunately, you're also close to the limit of the IR comm link's effective range. Flying around a bit in the chasm might be possible, but breaking LOS to the duct opening will definitely cost you the connection, and the drone doesn't have enough onboard smarts to pilot itself back.

You could extend that reach incrementally by deploying some cheap IR repeaters, about three minutes of fabricator time each, or take a shot at solving the network problem outright by splicing a radio or laser comm onto the cable. Two hours of fabber time for minimal tools, another 25 minutes for the parts, or more likely 30 since the comm should have it's own battery.

Speaking of which, the fabricator is energy-intensive. Flywheels are all topped up, enough for 150 hours of average activity, but the bioreactor's input hopper is nearly empty, and one hour with the fabber going full tilt drains as much battery as eight hours of just walking around and thinking. Feedstock and fuel will be necessary before committing to any really big fabber projects.
>>
No. 747086 ID: ed5a38

Well, sounds like we will need to harvest biomass for our reactor from the fridge. I wonder if we can fast talk it to convince it that it should open up? Also, drone should return and proceed in the other direction at this time.
>>
No. 747090 ID: 3abd97

>>747039
How long will onboard power keep us going if we're not burning power on fabber cycles?

>the bioreactor's input hopper is nearly empty
What do we need to feed the bioreacter with? If we were willing to liberate the contents of the fridge (via application of brute force or hacking) would the organics inside be appropriate?

>fabber options
Before we commit, let's turn the drone around and see what lies in the other direction. Maybe there are resources we can exploit with less lead time / production.
>>
No. 747104 ID: 726a91

>>747039
>Light source is on the ceiling, which has an... odd texture that refuses to cooperate with the drone's rangefinder. Spectral analysis says it's a ~6000 K blackbody filtered through about a kilogram per square centimeter of nitrox and water vapor.
I think you're viewing a local star, filtered through a planetary atmosphere.
>>
No. 747170 ID: a107fd

>>747104
That would mean you were no longer on The Ship, which is impossible. There are spin-G parks with axial lighting; one of them could have been expanded since your last map update. Lack of observable Coriolis tides indicates mis-calibrated accelerometers, so you should return to the secondary robotics bay. Lack of radio ping, now that your drone is outside the reinforced-concrete Faraday cage, indicates a damaged antenna or bad network drivers, so you should return to the secondary robotics bay.

>>747086
>>747090
>What do we need to feed the bioreacter with?
Long story short, almost anything that can burn. The contents of the fridge, while intriguing, probably don't contain much usable energy considering all the decomposition they've already undergone; they'd be more useful as feedstock than fuel. Chunks of bamboo scavenged from those bridges could work, but the best fuel is homogenized materials with high energy density, such as refined hydrocarbons or old fashioned plastic explosives. Modern bombs based on metastable metallic hydrogen are too spicy for you to properly digest, but your fabricator can produce 'em just fine.

>other direction
The duct runs only about ten meters from your initial starting point, then turns downward. A rotary impeller blocks the exit, which explains the air current. Apparently this is a different sector, with it's own power circuit. Peering between the whirling blades, you can see a hallway, perpendicular to the duct, lit by the irregular flicker of electrified phosphors. The walls are pitted and scarred, crumbling in places to reveal rusty rebar.

There are two groups of humans, at opposite ends of the hallway. To your left, soldiers in armored hazmat suits, with gas masks, rail rifles, and swarmbots. To your right, civilians with bulbous gold goggles, circular comm-badges on their foreheads, and black powered-fabric ponchos which conceal their limb geometry but are definitely not hazmat rated.

Based on patterns of fire being exchanged, the soldiers are either inexperienced or severely fatigued, and at least one of the civilians has some sort of charged particle cannon which requires an elaborate verbal authentication procedure for every shot.

Good news is, this new perspective reveals that one of the walls is neither load-bearing, nor as structurally sound as you initially thought. Bust through like the Kool-Aid Man and then...

...use your position as a neutral party to broker a ceasefire?

...hack the soldiers' IFF to prevent their rail rifles from firing on you? This would have obvious tactical benefits, but it's extremely rude, and also technically a war crime.

...subdue one side, or both, with some combination of microwaves, tanglestrand missiles, and bulldozer judo?

...something else entirely?
>>
No. 747178 ID: 3abd97

>That would mean you were no longer on The Ship, which is impossible.
Is it possible The Ship found itself inside a planetary atmosphere, or in proximity to a star?

>This would have obvious tactical benefits, but it's extremely rude, and also technically a war crime.
That's weird. Usually war crimes are doing inexcusable things to people. How did asking something not to shoot you make that list?

>what do
We're not supposed to kill, but we don't have a "nor through inaction allow humans to come to harm" built into our first law, right? It's going to be inconvenient if we have no choice but to stop them from hurting each other. (I would suspect we don't. A surveillance-bot that would be required to blow cover to play superman any time anyone it observed was in danger wouldn't function very well).

Is either group of humans displaying symbols of an authority you're required (or expected) to answer to?

>...subdue one side, or both
I do have to admit, disabling both sides so they can be restrained and questioned at leisure is pretty appealing.

If hacking the soldiers' IFF is a warcrime, what about their swarmbots? If those could be compromised, they could probably pin the soldiers and/or disarm them pretty easily.

We should be able to deploy some kind of sonic countermeasure to deal with the particle canon. We can jam the verbal authentication with a sonic screech or detonation sufficient to make the human operator inaudible to the weapon's pickups, buying us the time to disarm and subdue.
>>
No. 747182 ID: a107fd

>>747178
It's not the "don't shoot me" part that's a crime, it's the deception.
http://awkwardzombie.com/index.php?page=0&comic=111510
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfidy
Encouraging people to bypass IFF safeties would ultimately mean more friendly-fire incidents, and thus, needless death.

>don't have a "nor through inaction allow humans to come to harm" built into our first law, right?
Nope! You can kill when acting under direct and explicit orders, or arrange situations in which some human's voluntary positive action results in their own death, for example by wrapping a prisoner in materials that will injure them if they struggle, or deploying antipersonnel mines, or even constructing "Jigsaw"-style sadistic dilemmas. Fighting other robots is no problem either. (You might get in trouble for doing those things when not strictly necessary, but the choice is still yours to make in the moment.) The prohibited chain of reasoning is strictly "a human poses a threat to me, thus, before the threat is carried out, I will kill that specific human with as great a certainty as can be arranged." When a human is holding a gun to your head, only begging, pleading, running away, and nonlethal force are acceptable responses.

>symbols of an authority you're required (or expected) to answer to?
Also no. Their equipment is in the recognition database, or close enough, but insignia are not.

>hack the swarmbots
Alright, having intercepted some IR chatter, it's just a matter of extracting the sergeant's public key, then deriving the private key, which boils down to a problem of prime factorization. With all your spare clock cycles, should be ready to rock in... four days? Wow, apparently prime factorization is harder than it sounds.

>sonic screech
You have blueprints for sonar jammers and acoustic weaponry, but nothing that can be fabricated and deployed quickly enough to be relevant.
>detonation
In an enclosed environment like this, with hard walls everywhere, a 100mm thermobaric warhead would kill everyone, possibly including yourself if the shock knocks your flywheels out of alignment and they delaminate.
>>
No. 747186 ID: 7d94a9

I'd say first priority is getting some relevant data regarding current events. Probably the best way to get that is to either:
1. observe as these humans eliminate each other and listen in while doing so
2. stop them fighting and then ask questions, hopefully getting reasonably truthful answers

Do we have a truth-detector? Biometrics and body language can often discover when someone is being less than honest.
>>
No. 747192 ID: 3abd97

I assume standing there and doing nothing while humans kill each other is also permissible.

>In an enclosed environment like this, with hard walls everywhere, a 100mm thermobaric warhead would kill everyone
Can we get any kind of a lower yield bang quickly? It really wouldn't take much to interrupt a long voice lock in progress.

>>747186
I don't really favor this plan, as it's not as if the humans are going to stand around chatting actionable intelligence for us in the middle of a firefight. If we wait for one side to win, we're likely waiting for one side to die, which means less people to question. Although I guess if the winning side takes prisoners, we can roll up prisoners from both sides by attacking at that point.

I favor plan "bust through the walls and kick everyone's ass" and ask questions later. Maybe take the time to fab anything we can make quickly that might be useful. (A flashbang? Make a stinkbomb out of the stuff in the fridge and throw it at the side that doesn't have hazmat suits? Some zip ties or other restraints for taking prisoners?)

What's your tactical assessment of the threat these forces pose to you if you ambush them?
>>
No. 747311 ID: e8ea71

Assess chances of successfully incapacitating both sets of humans while taking no or minimal damage. If chances are good (>75%), engage.

...anyone else want to see a three ton riot crab applying judo? Judiciously? :D
>>
No. 747403 ID: a107fd

>>747090
>How long will onboard power keep us going if we're not burning power on fabber cycles?
150 hours, +/- 10%
>>747186
>Do we have a truth-detector? Biometrics and body language can often discover when someone is being less than honest.
Yes.
>>746177
>Skill module (Body Language (human)) downloaded.
>Skill module (Diplomacy) downloaded.
>Skill module (Gesture) downloaded.
>Skill module (Interrogation) downloaded.
>Skill module (Intimidation) downloaded.
>Skill module (Psychology (human)) downloaded.
>>747192
>lower yield bang
Arbitrarily small quantities of metastable metallic hydrogen, or other explosives, could be manufactured, with a variety of detonation mechanisms. A blast yield equivalent to one ounce of trinitrotoluene would take 23 seconds.

The voiceprint authentication seems to take at least three seconds. That would be enough time for you to step out from cover, acquire a radar lock, prime and launch a tanglestrand missile, have the missile fly over and goober the gunner's face, then step back behind cover, all before the lightning was ready to fire.
>What's your tactical assessment of the threat these forces pose to you if you ambush them?
Barging through a wall into their shared line of fire isn't a very... conventional sort of ambush.

The soldiers don't seem to have any dedicated anti-armor weapons, but typical rail rifle ammo is tungsten-alloy darts rated for an inch, sometimes inch and a half of RHA at max velocity. You've got weak points they could penetrate with enough skill or luck, and even main-armor hits would be leaving pock marks. Those swarmbots might be real trouble if they're used intelligently, sneaking up through crevices, but out in the open on a standard CQC defense grid like they are now, you could just fry 'em all with microwaves. Overall, the soldiers must be taken seriously, but you have them outmatched, and they're not acting like cornered zealots, so they'll probably back down once that becomes clear.

The folks in the black ponchos... harder to say, since they seem like crazy amateurs. Particle cannon is a heavier weapon, but your armor's also more optimized to safely diffuse it, and a self-collimating beam is no good for pinpoint targeting in a chaotic environment like this, to say nothing of lower volume of fire, so, overall, less of a threat there. On the other hand, one of them might have a rocket launcher, or some halfbaked antitank grenades, or an outright suicide vest. Or, they might go to pieces and surrender or flee as soon as you get your radar dish's "area denial" setting warmed up.

So, asset review:
-armored main body w/earthmoving claws
-multimode radar dish
-20x tanglestrand missiles
-4x lethal missiles
-unarmed but possibly distracting quadcopter drone

What's going where?

Lethal missiles have to stay in reserve for this fight.

Main body has to go at least partway into the hallway to clear a path, but could then either withdraw back into the break room, charge toward either group, or just stand there looking intimidating and obstructing the battle.

If the main body's not in cover, radar could be focused on either group for targeting purposes, or dialed up to fry electronics and induce pain on unprotected skin.

64mm tanglestrand will incapacitate a normal human with near certainty on a direct hit, possibly catch two or three more if they're in very close formation, is sometimes useful against light vehicles or those with a lot of exposed moving parts, and takes two hours of fabber time per shot to restock.
>>
No. 747428 ID: 9876c4

Could we drill/punch a hole in the wall, then fire a cluster of missiles in either direction. Say 2 left, 2 right.

With luck, we might get the cannoneer, and we;ll lower the volume of fire for sure.

At that point, we can go koolaid and kung-fu the rest.
>>
No. 747438 ID: a107fd

>>747428
Might be possible, but the missiles would have to make several tight turns, each one redlining their maneuverability and stall speed. Missing the first one would crash them into the ceiling, possibly blocking the air vent. Missing the second would crash them into your own dorsal surface, gumming up the hangar bay and possibly causing other problems. Missing the third would crash them into the edges of the hole, complicating the rest of the exit and definitely causing the remainder of the volley to fail. Missing the fourth would crash them into the far wall of the hallway, presenting a relatively minor terrain hazard.
>>
No. 747440 ID: 9876c4

I guess I was thinking about a launching tube that could be maneuvered around the hole.

If they're firmpoint mounted to our chassis, that much precision could indeed be an issue.

I won't endorse this action unless we're 80%+ likely to put all 4 through the wall. Can our targeting software calculate that on the fly?
>>
No. 747483 ID: a107fd

>>747440
Depends on the size of the hole, but less than 80% confidence of four-for-four regardless. Even once they're through the hole, any given missile is only about 92% likely to make it around the corner without clipping the far wall.
>>
No. 747653 ID: 3abd97

How do you odds look if you ambush one group at a time?

For instance, if we assume the soldiers are more disciplined and the civies are gonna be quick to break, one attack plan might be to hit the civies till they break and expect the soldiers not to try and disable you prematurely. Then, once they've seen you outclass them, you demand the soldiers surrender. They're more organized and more likely to fall in as a group.
>>
No. 747693 ID: 9876c4

>>747483
Okay. How about this. Two holes, one left, one right.

salvo left, then reposition and salvo right. breakthrough.
Not infallible, but better.
>>
No. 747703 ID: a107fd

>>747693
Earthmoving claws aren't meant for fine detail work. Upon punching the second hole, a semi-exposed grid of rebar tears loose from the far side and the wall mostly crumbles.

>>747653
Two tanglestrand missiles are fired at the ponchos. First shot catches two, second catches one halfway through readying the particle cannon, which... then appears to misfire, rather than remaining safely powered down. Odd. The remainder flee into what might once have been a fire-escape stairwell.

>>747653
Turning to engage the soldiers, you convey through a few quick gestures that they should unready weapons, withdraw microbots, power down sensors and comms, kneel, place hands behind heads, etc. They comply with refreshing swiftness, but then ask what seem to be polite clarifying or follow-up questions.

Their language is not in your database. You don't have the full adaptive translator software suite, and wouldn't be able to run it on local hardware even if you did. You now have twelve prisoners (three irregulars in ponchos, none of whom, on closer examination with radar, seem to have any weapons heavier than a laser pistol, certainly no particle cannon; six PFCs with rail rifles; two corporals with rail rifles, underslung gyrocs, and backpack comms or sensors or some other sort of electronics; one sergeant with a powered exoskeleton, light machine gun compatible with rail rifle ammo, and backpack microbot hive) and no straightforward way to communicate complex concepts with any of them.
>>
No. 747704 ID: 9876c4

>>747703
Is there a particular reason we were sent into this territory without knowing basic linguistics? I guess these insurgents are of an unknown type.

Send out a broad spectrum of 'can you understand this message' in different dialects for a few minutes. Then, assuming no affirmatives, destroy their armaments and let them go.

I want that LMG, maybe we can we can retrofit it to be less lethal later, but meanwhile it's a hell of a signaling device or distraction.
>>
No. 747715 ID: 3d2d5f

Well that was refreshingly simple.

You should attempt communication in several human languages, in decreasing order of use / popularity. You don't know their primary language, but one of them might be bilingual.

Examing writing on equipment might help. It's possible their language shares common roots with one you know, and while pronunciation has drifted to the point of being incomprehensible, communicating through text might still be possible.

I would not destroy equipment. They're our prisoners now, but if our assment changes, we might end up releasing or arming them after the interrogation. Or if we're attacked by a third party.

...is there a symbol associated with those whose orders you follow, or with the robotics bay you seek? If you draw it, you might be able to make it clear you're searching for it, despite the language barrier.
>>
No. 747716 ID: 9876c4

>>747715
We have a mission. We can't watch prisoners. We can't even secure prisoners. And we can't exactly march them into another gunfight.

However, there's the seed of interesting question here. Do we know our manufacturer, are there identity/time stamps on our orders? Does our clearance allow us to see the ship's duty roster?
>>
No. 747717 ID: a107fd

>>747704
>sent into this territory
Your last known location (or rather, apparent location during the end of the block of records with the latest timestamps, other than those that are obviously corrupted) was aboard a high speed tram, less than two minutes from arrival at the secondary robotics bay. It is excruciatingly implausible that you were sent into these current circumstances by the intentional action of anyone whose orders you should be following. More likely, you have sustained critical damage, and/or there is a larger ongoing emergency situation. You are authorized to aid in damage control, or repelling boarders, when and where it becomes necessary, while Seeking an Alternate Route.

>'can you understand this message' in different dialects for a few minutes
One of the goggle-and-poncho types spits back a string of well enunciated and grammatically coherent but otherwise seemingly irrelevant obscenities in response to a query through Liturgical Latin v. 0.83, while Corporal Qlghm's backpack apparently includes some sub-sapient Esperanto phrasebook focused on formally obtaining treatment as prisoners of war, defined by the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and 2033.

Fabricator could produce a collar w/ 3m leash, handcuffs, or leg irons, incorporating choice of
-audio tracking beacon
-explosive charge w/ "fail deadly" anti-tamper
-thermometer
-microphone optimized for heartbeat
-mini inertial compass
-radio tracking beacon
or two or more of the above, in about 15 minutes per prisoner. Twice that to add a neurostunner (variety of settings for different degrees of incapacitation and positive or negative reinforcement), or if you want a closer-fitting, heavily reinforced model, which willl cause problems with extended use by restricting blood circulation. Up to two hours for a "smart blindfold" VR hood.

Self-tightening myomer cufftape could be fabricated and applied in as little as 40 seconds per prisoner, but is not a good long-term solution. Aside from ease of escape, even a fully cooperative subject will eventually be injured as a cumulative result of small involuntary movements.
>>
No. 747718 ID: 9876c4

>>747717
Okay, we COULD make any and all of that stuff
I still oppose the taking of these prisoners as inexpedient, and hazardous to their safety.

What does everyone else want to do?
>>
No. 747719 ID: a107fd

>>747715
>drawing symbols
Heraldry-grade spray-on LCD w/ self-organizing piezoelectric speakers can be fabricated and applied to almost any solid surface in 3 minutes per square foot, then powered and controlled via the quadcopter drone's interface proboscis. Image and sound quality is considered poor, in that it cannot produce artificial parallax for the illusion of depth. How much, on which surface?
>>
No. 747723 ID: a107fd

>>747716
>Do we know our manufacturer,
Yes. Primary robotics bay on The Ship.
>are there identity/time stamps on our orders? Does our clearance allow us to see the ship's duty roster?
Yes. According to cached portions of the duty roster, your routine maintenance is behind schedule by approximately 256 billion clock error an undefined far too long. Portions of the duty roster not relevant to your own immediately upcoming assignments are not kept in local cache, in order to force frequent checks against a master copy on the ship's main servers, thereby minimizing the spread of outdated information.
>>
No. 747726 ID: 3d2d5f

>>747716
>>747718
I would agree this exercise is catch and release. Once we're done questioning these humans, holding them is more effort than its worth.

>>747719
The wall we didn't burst through seems obvious.

The screen probably only needs to be 2-3 ft square in order for the group of humans to see.

Possible things to show them might be the representative symbol for the bay you seek, or showing a map of the ship and marking the bay, and maybe gesturing for them to point out your current location.
>>
No. 747735 ID: a107fd

>>747726
Fifteen minutes later, logos and maps are cascading across a patch of wall. The corporal's Esperanto chatbot was reluctant to provide even the most rudimentary translation services until you pointed out that the nearby break room kitchenette is not adequately equipped for a platoon to prepare their own meals, necessitating transfer to some more suitable facility, of which prisoners must be duly informed.

None of them recognize any part of The Ship. Many shipboard systems are founded on technologies the soldiers regarded as... false?

The three in ponchos, meanwhile, have not requested particular treatment, nor struggled to escape in any obvious way, other than turning to face each other and silently exchanging flickers of red laser-light between the small circular devices on their foreheads.
>>
No. 747743 ID: 9876c4

>>747735
I don't want to seem prejudiced, but that signalling strikes me an probable nonorganic behavior. Could we scan a Poncho for lifesigns, pulse, etc?

Ask the Chatbot in Esperanto what their Native Language is called. Request Spelling. Also Ask them for the date. It will probably be in a format of no use to us.

I'd like to manufacture a mount and firing stud for the officer's LMG. We are salvaging it, not taking it as plunder (that would be against ROE) The IFF system shouldn't be too problematic as we're not going to use it harmfully.

I say scrap the other guns so they don't immediately resume hostilities. Someone else disagrees. We may need a tiebreaker.
>>
No. 747748 ID: a107fd

>>747743
>scan a Poncho for lifesigns, pulse, etc
Imaging radar and recognition database says it's a commbadge held in place with gecko tape, possibly operated with some sort of neural interface, and they're made of meat underneath all the biometric-anonymizing clothes. However, infiltrator robots would almost make more sense, given the charged particle beam with no apparent source. Prioritize restraints with basic sensors built in, or equipment for an actual in-depth medical exam?

>what their Native Language is called
"Our language is called 'our people's language.'" Sounds like the kind of overly-literal error that crops up when several automatic translators are chained together.

>mount and firing stud for the officer's LMG
That would require a prohibitive amount of fabber time, and in any case, it's already adequately mounted on the sergeant's powered exoskeleton, which can fold up for use as a tripod when unoccupied.

>the other guns
Have been disassembled as though for cleaning, and certain small yet indispensable components stored in an unused corner of dorsal hangar bay, where they could be released and quickly restored to working condition, or scooped into the fabber and slagged.
>>
No. 747749 ID: 3abd97

Time to reassess priorities. We took prisoners for the express purpose of interrogating them and gathering information. This effort has been hampered by a language barrier and shocking ignorance on the part of the humans, who do not recognize The Ship. This suggests some significant disaster or crisis occurred since you were last active, for either the layout of The Ship to be significantly altered, or for information loss among the human population.

If we want to seek an alternate route, we're going to need additional information. We need to locate databases and tools that will allow communication and information gathering with the current population, and then we need to discover where we are.

Which means we likely need to seek out of some kind of population center.

I feel like maybe we should just slap trackers / beacons of some kind on the humans, let them go, and then see where they go until they're out of range.

Or maybe, before that, could we maybe encourage them to fill in our local map? If we displayed a map of the limited area we have explored, they might be encouraged to draw in some of the surroundings.

>The corporal's Esperanto chatbot was reluctant to provide even the most rudimentary translation services until you pointed out that the nearby break room kitchenette is not adequately equipped for a platoon to prepare their own meals, necessitating transfer to some more suitable facility, of which prisoners must be duly informed.
Could we finagle communications with their superiors out of it? Information we might need if we were willing to trade the prisoners back to their commanders?

>I don't want to seem prejudiced, but that signalling strikes me an probable nonorganic behavior. Could we scan a Poncho for lifesigns, pulse, etc?
Or a secure silent implanted coms device.

>>747743
I was thinking we didn't want to disable their weapons since if we release them unarmed we might be as well as killing them. And it's a reasonable good faith gesture. The irregulars are outmatched / outnumbered enough that I doubt they'd attack us instead of fleeing, and the soldiers already decided surrender was a better option than risking a fight.

You have to factor in that neither group knows we have an injunction against killing, and in our current chassis we probably look pretty deadly.
>>
No. 747823 ID: a107fd

>>747749
>we have an injunction against killing
An injunction that would not actually prevent you from strapping bombs to their necks, set to detonate if they move, or deliberately inflicting disabling-but-survivable injuries. There's some legitimate basis for fear.

After another fifteen minutes, an armored collar with medical monitor, inertial compass, and secure tracking beacon (which broadcasts only in response to a ping), but no bomb, has been fabricated. Should it be applied to one of the soldiers, or the ponchos?

>could we maybe encourage them to fill in our local map? If we displayed a map of the limited area we have explored, they might be encouraged to draw in some of the surroundings.

Ship schematics are removed from the display. A copy of the local map is presented, then made interactive and editable. The Esperanto chatbot is formulaically outraged at the prospect of interrogation, but you assure it that failure to provide actionable intelligence will not be punished. This is simply a matter of securing a swift and uneventful departure from the field of battle for all involved, with additional privileges during internment, perhaps even immediate repatriation, extended to collaborators.

Another tiny crevice having thus been bored through the language barrier, the soldiers begin to fill in surrounding rooms, focusing on corridors and ramps large enough for your current chassis to safely traverse. This place is a gargantuan maze, with at least four more levels leading down to what seems to be a broad, uneven road paved with loose silicate particles, abutting some oxygen hydride tankage contaminated with ions of chlorine, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, potassium... everything around here is a ruined mess! Can't even give you an estimate on the total volume of the tankage, because they just arri...

oh.

They're cut off, too.
>finagle communications with their superiors
Can't sell what they haven't got.
>>
No. 747829 ID: e984de

>>747823
A gravel road and a (impure but probably potable) water tank? Doesn't sound much like The Ship to me.

So it sounds like they're in the same boat as you. Propose a temporary alliance, if you can get the stupid chatbot to translate that. Search together at least until you find something that they or you recognize.
>>
No. 747834 ID: a107fd

>>747829
>potable?
No, it's actually somewhat corrosive. The gravel includes sub-millimeter granules which drastically increase maintenance requirements for anything with moving parts, and they keep calling the road a "marlboro," which is undefined in your native language.

>temporary alliance, if you can get the stupid chatbot to translate that
As enlisted-rank POWs, they can be compelled to do relatively safe work of a non-military character, provided they're paid fair market rates, minimum one quarter of a Swiss franc per day, permitted midday rest-breaks and one day off per week, and the sergeant takes a supervisory role. Dangerous work must be voluntary, and taking up arms on behalf of a hostile power is not permitted. Alliances are strategic diplomacy, which would require the attention of, at bare minimum, some sort of commissioned officer.

Learning their native language well enough to bypass the stupid chatbot once and for all would take approximately 100 hours of heavy growpramming, followed by negative 256 billion years three or four months of conversational immersion to hammer out the nuances.
>>
No. 747841 ID: 9876c4

>>747829
We could conduct and store the hypothesis that we are no longer on The Ship. We do not need to decide until we have reasonable levels of data.

Something tells me we were not allotted Francs for this mission. What we need right now is a datadump, or file archive. And these guys aren't it.

I remain iffy on whether learning to communicate is a reasonable use of our next 100 hours. Seems like we could cover a lot of ground. Potentially more than a bipedal infantry team.
>>
No. 747843 ID: a107fd

>>747841
>not allotted Francs for this mission
While true, this issue could be patched by booting up the VR manager software, running The Matrix Collector's Edition, and paying them in "monopoly money" through that setting's elaborate electronic banking system. Should it become necessary to redeem the virtual scrip for outside goods and services, two hours and twelve minutes of fabber time can produce a kilogram of diamonds, rubies, sapphires, or various other gemstones in almost any desired shape and quality, given suitable raw materials.
>>
No. 747874 ID: 3abd97

No luck talking understanding the laser coms? I'd assume they're encrypted and lasers don't really have a lot of waste signal propagation.

>what do
We've got what intelligence we're going to get from this interrogation, giving the limits of the language barrier and if we're not going to invest a lot of time.

We should probably release one or both groups. Controlling or caring for prisoners over the long or medium term is not something we wanted.

We might infer the irregulars are locals (since the soldiers are not) and might be more useful to us for information and support long term. The soldiers are more immediately useful to side with though- since there's a convoluted, but possible, communication, and their own position, cut off from allies and resupply makes our own bartering position stronger.

I think it's time to release the prisoners. Maybe that will open different communication trees with the chatbot? (If it treats the conversation as a parley, not an interrogation by a captor).
>>
No. 747910 ID: a107fd

>>747874
>No luck talking understanding the laser coms?
Enough dust in the air and glare off the lenses to pick up some of it, but several hours of samples and at least 8 hours of work will be necessary just to unpack the transmission protocols, never mind actual encryption.

>release the prisoners. Maybe that will open different communication trees with the chatbot?
Prisoners can't be set loose in enemy territory without their consent, and can't be repatriated without the detaining party bearing the costs of transporting them back to the border of friendly territory. Apparently, whoever wrote the Geneva Conventions did a pretty thorough job of thinking up and ruling out ways to be a jerk! You could stop complying with the Geneva conventions easily enough, but then the Esperanto-o-mat would probably stop cooperating.

Good news is, the soldiers have ration packs for about three weeks, condenser canteens for s nearly unlimited supply of water while suit power holds out, and heel-strike chargers to keep those batteries topped up whenever they're marching. Ordering them to see to their own food, even to the point of growing it from seeds, is actually encouraged, given reasonable opportunities to do so successfully.

The sergeant's powered exoskeleton has been having engine trouble ever since they refueled it from an orange-painted 55 gallon steel drum of kerosene, two floors down. If there are more of those, just lying around at random, your own fuel requirements are covered.
>>
No. 747971 ID: 3abd97

>Prisoners can't be set loose in enemy territory without their consent
So we can offer?

Also, is this "enemy territory"?

>The sergeant's powered exoskeleton has been having engine trouble ever since they refueled it from an orange-painted 55 gallon steel drum of kerosene
We could probably fix that, if we end up keeping these guys, or hanging out with them long enough.

>If there are more of those, just lying around at random, your own fuel requirements are covered.
I suppose securing a fuel source is a good immediate goal, with finding a network connection and/or civilization in search of our alternate route being longer term goals.
>>
No. 747998 ID: a107fd

>>747971
>we can offer?
Given how eager they were to become prisoners less than an hour ago, safe bet they'd refuse.
>Also, is this "enemy territory"?
Yes. If transfer of real estate by right of conquest is considered valid, this stretch of hallway belongs to you, for having chased off or captured all challengers. If not... insufficient information. Regardless, the area was being violently contested very recently, and these soldiers don't have a secure and well-supplied friendly position they could reasonably retreat to.
>>
No. 751826 ID: a107fd

As you follow the soldiers away toward the ramp leading down to the possible fuel supplies, one of the humans in ponchos has apparently wriggled free of those tanglestrands. Standing upright, naked from neck to knees (the poncho is still tangled in goo), sixty meters away, the human is gesturing with empty hands and reciting a familiar but otherwise unintelligible string of syllables.

There are visual, electrostatic, and magnetic indications consistent with the prodrome phase of a particle cannon's firing sequence. The weapon itself is not otherwise in evidence, but you don't have time to worry about how impossible that is, because a crazy person is about to shoot you in the back with a bolt of lightning.

A) Microwave Area Denial can be warmed up, aimed, fired, and propagate it's effect through baseline nervous systems in time to spoil the gunner's aim, but only if you combine traversal of the emitter array with simultaneous rotation of your hull. If the gunner has unusually high pain tolerance, steady aim, or just gets lucky, a particle beam aimed at your center of mass could then strike the relatively weak armor of your flanks while leg-mounted flanges are poorly positioned to deflect it. Since your flywheels are above 75-80% charge, that sort of sudden hull motion followed immediately by a penetrating hit in the wrong spot could easily result in explosive delamination, followed closely by total internal systems failure.
B) Missiles cannot be primed and fired quickly enough to interfere with the particle cannon shot, but your multicopter drone could attempt ramming.
C) Evasive options are limited. Only space large enough to jump into that doesn't have line-of-sight to the attacker is an open shaft to the right with some rickety scaffolding, which the ramp circles around. This would leave the prisoners somewhat exposed. A charged particle cannon can almost certainly deliver life-threatening burns through their armor, but they have more options for tactical cover, and seem to be trained to make good use of it.
D) Dropping flat to the ground would likely result in radar systems being hit and disabled, but has the least chance of any other damage.
>>
No. 751845 ID: 726a91

>>747998
>B) Missiles cannot be primed and fired quickly enough to interfere with the particle cannon shot, but your multicopter drone could attempt ramming.
>D) Dropping flat to the ground would likely result in radar systems being hit and disabled, but has the least chance of any other damage.

Have the drone position itself above the firing path between you and Poncho Guy, and go hull-down. When the origin point of the charged particle burst becomes clear, drop the drone to intersect the beam, dispersing it at a distance so your armour can deflect the remainder with minimal effect. Start the MAD traversing during this time so it's ready to incapacitate and prevent a followup shot.
>>
No. 751864 ID: a107fd

>>751845
>When the origin point of the charged particle burst becomes clear,
After the beam starts to visibly emerge, it will cross the intervening sixty meters in less than one millisecond.
>drop the drone to intersect the beam,
This intercept course would require a controlled descent at approximately 0.15% of the speed of light, which exceeds the drone's performance specs in the current atmospheric and gravitational conditions.
>dispersing it at a distance
Charged particle beams are self-collimating. Assuming a successful intercept, the drone would be vaporized, but the remainder of the beam would not be significantly dispersed. Blueprints are available for a ramscoop-NTR combat shuttle which could theoretically perform the mission described, but it cannot be fabricated with current facilities, or available materials and energy, or within the time constraint. It also would not fit in the hallway.

"Ramming" in this context would mean crashing the drone into the gunner's bare chest, or masked face, at less than ten meters per second, before the firing sequence is complete. The drone could plausibly survive such an impact, but collision-avoidance reflexes would disrupt the human's aim.
>>
No. 751969 ID: 16bb01

Okay so I was thinking too hard and trying to figure out what magical girl thing has ponchos.

BUT NOPE THEY'RE JUST WIZARDS


Anyway, attempt ram (and duck). With any luck it'll interrupt whatever he's using to make the beam, and if not, at least you've disrupted his aim. If at all possible try to knock him prone.
>>
No. 752195 ID: 3abd97

>>751864
Ramming is a go. The drone can be replace or repaired, provided we survive.
>>
No. 752202 ID: a107fd

Charged particle beam strikes the array as expected. Damage is extensive, but not total. Low-power imaging radar still functions within acceptable tolerances. Use of Microwave Area Denial is contraindicated until repairs can be made.

Quadcopter drone has successfully impacted the enemy, been grappled, and is currently undamaged but in the process of being suplexed. Two bound humans and one unattended poncho are visibly struggling against the tanglestrands.
>>
No. 753273 ID: 3abd97

>>752202
What are our options for dealing with the attackers before they can free the remaining two or get another shot off?

We still have missiles, but I don't think we have anything low yield enough to use in this situation.

We might be close to melee and reapply robo-fu, but I'm not sure what range we're at.

There's also 'accidentally' allowing our prisoners to arm and defend themselves, which could regrettably end to the cessation of the lives of the aggressing humans through no action of our own.
>>
No. 753354 ID: a107fd

>>753273
>low-yield missiles
Tanglestrand was effective before, and eighteen more are in stock. The combination of clear sight lines, a relatively stationary target, active radar, and certain software tools makes it possible to compute a targeting solution in three seconds that would make shooting fish in a barrel seem challenging.
On the other hand, replacing each 64mm missile takes two hours of fabber time, and using a third at this point would mean an average of one expended per ten minutes since entering the hallway, which is clearly unsustainable.
>range
Sixty meters. Standing up, turning around, and closing to judo range would take a total of eight seconds.
Restoring one of the rail rifles to working condition would take at least ten seconds.
>>
No. 753419 ID: ba244f

Would firing a missile/s as a sort of smoke screen or distraction before charging in to engage the enemies hand-to-hand boost our probability of success? If so, that's my recommended plan of attack. Even if we use all out missiles, they were fabricated to blow shit up, not collect dust so I say use 'me while we got 'em
>>
No. 753954 ID: d10a5a

Begin charging towards poncho, while watching for indications of another particle cannon shot. If it appears that he'll be able to fire again before we reach him, fire another tanglestrand missile; we can't risk another hit.

Otherwise, conserve missiles and disable him directly.

Did we see where, exactly, poncho's particle cannon was (i.e., where the beam came from) when he fired it?
>>
No. 754205 ID: a107fd

>>753954
>Did we see where, exactly, poncho's particle cannon was (i.e., where the beam came from) when she fired it?

Drone's camera proved to have inadequate surge protection. No particle-accelerator hardware is visible in the frames leading up to the shot, glare from the beam itself whited out the entire field of vision, and right now, as you close the distance, it's just showing static.

The drone is still partly functional, and might even be flight-capable once gyrostabilization has rebooted and it's rotors are somehow disentangled from the gunner's hair, and also from the mass of tanglestrands you just shoved her into.

Deployed tanglestrands biodegrade harmlessly over the course of three to ten days, depending on humidity and other chemicals in the environment, mechanical stresses, and exposure to ultraviolet light. Carbonic acid makes them less sticky and more stretchy while increasing the ultimate tensile strength, resulting in a flexible porous web, so it's extremely difficult to suffocate someone that way, even with repeated application directly to the face.

Formerly poncho-clad particle gunner now has extensive bruising and abrasions on the palms of both hands, left forearm and elbow, left hip, buttocks, and back of right shoulder, and possibly some minor structural damage to the left wrist. Skull, spinal column, and kidneys appear to be intact, and the patient is alert and responsive but not speaking coherently.

Clean and bandage the wounds? Attempt interrogation through Liturgical Latin v. 0.83? Perform a more through search for concealed items of interest? Something else?
>>
No. 754228 ID: 9876c4

In depth search combined with interrogation.

Until we find anomalies, lets get some basic facts. from Whence did he learn Latin? What else is he fluent in? What is the name of his faction?
>>
No. 754231 ID: 594c18

>>754205
Tend wounds while skiing questions in Latin. A shoe of God faith may go far.
>>
No. 754236 ID: 594c18

>>754231
Wow that is so autocorrect mangled I don't want to delete it.

Ahem. Anyway. Tend wounds as a *show* of *good* faith, and *ask* questions in Latin.
>>
No. 754316 ID: a107fd

>>754231
The interview is nearly intercepted again by the yeti named "futue te ipsum et caballum tuum," but you manage to kick it back into gear by threatening to instruct the soldier with the medkit to withhold anesthesia (which comes through the translator as something about angels and "stagnum ignis," but it worked, so whatever).

>>754228
They are known, collectively, as the Unworthy Disciples of The Crystalline Immensity Ensconced In Void Between Righteous Geometries. Their encampment is three floors up, right underneath the caelum, and consists mainly of yurts.

The three cultists are equipped identically. Roll of duct tape, space pen, pen-sized flashlight, memory-metal multitool, 4oz canister of nutripellets, 2oz candybar. Their ponchos can be reconfigured by voice command into backpacks, small but serviceable watercraft (propulsion sold separately), or a variety of other shapes. Their boots are armored, and can extend climbing spikes (the toe spike has a reservoir for poison, currently empty) or unfurl into swim-fins. Their goggles are notably more versatile than those of the soldiers, providing false-color imagery outside the usual human visual spectrum and enhanced peripheral vision.

Commbadges are heavily encrypted, and they will not share private keys/true names (translation is ambiguous) under threat of death. Some greater inducement would be necessary.

Medical care proceeds uneventfully, apart from the discovery that the cultists are equipped with subdermal armor consisting of some radar-aborbent material which is not in the recognition database. This would present a major obstacle to any nondestructive internal search, and a lesser but still noteworthy inconvenience to invasive surgery.
>>
No. 754317 ID: 9876c4

>>754316
Conjecture time. Is this armor the result of an optimized genome, or do they implant it in their warriors through surgery?
Can we see serial numbers/RFIDs on it looking at them in infared spectrum?

We could ask them, sure, but I don't have high hopes.
>>
No. 754514 ID: a107fd

>>754317
>Is this armor the result of an optimized genome, or do they implant it in their warriors through surgery?
The fibers appear to be partly silicate-based. Baseline human biology doesn't have the tools to work with that sort of material, and adding necessary metabolic pathways would most likely alter scent and blood chemistry in ways you would have noticed by now.
Surgical implantation with techniques known on The Ship would produce more scar tissue than is evident.

>Can we see serial numbers/RFIDs on it looking at them in infared spectrum?
No RFID ping. Longer wavelengths are generally worse at resolving fine detail, but no unambiguous "maker's mark" is visible in UV spectra either. Growth patterns resemble some sort of fungal parasite.

>We could ask them
It is described as a boon of the aforementioned Crystalline Immensity, and supposedly installed as an outpatient procedure with facilities scarcely more sophisticated than a tattoo parlor.
>>
No. 755791 ID: a107fd

If there are no further questions for these cultists, will you proceed:
)Down toward the marbordo, to salvage fuel and/or the wreckage of the vehicle in which the soldiers arrived?
)Up toward the caelum, a reactor that's either critically malfunctioning or uses some extremely exotic containment mechanism, and the Unworthy Disciples' camp?
)Across the chasm, through unexplored passages, toward a possible commnet node?
)Somewhere else?
>>
No. 755796 ID: 9876c4
File 147766190444.jpg - (37.55KB , 421x418 , PlushBandit.jpg )
755796

>BanditWare threat assessment active!
)Down through the marbordo
Provides good chances of useful material, and minor diplomatic gains with the soldiers. Overall strong pick.
)Up toward the caelum
Best potential of exposition and explanation lies with these fanatics,
but only if diplomatic relations are maintained. If there's anything that could institute shutdown outright, it'd be here. High risk, high reward?
)Across the chasm, through unexplored passages,
Clearly a crapshoot, with good results and bad ones in roughly equal chances.
)Somewhere else?
Data error.
>>
No. 755934 ID: a107fd

>>755796
Actual suggestions in this thread, please, discussion over in >>/questdis/95973
>>
No. 756183 ID: 3abd97

>further questions
What is their quarrel with the other group of humans? Do they claim this territory? Do they have a formal declaration of war?

>where go
Marbordo seems a good first destination. Going to the caelum is going to invite combat, and we aren't repaired / restocked yet, and we can be properly stealthy while we have the soldier 'prisoners' tagging along.

Real question is if we take the ponchos with us, or leave them behind. We should probably at least take their gear so they don't shoot us in the back again.
>>
No. 756187 ID: a107fd

>>756183
>What is their quarrel with the other group of humans?
They claim the soldiers desecrated a shrine.
>Do they claim this territory?
They are nomadic herders, and consider the concept of "ownership of territory" to be categorically invalid. Animals and portable wealth can be truly owned, but people and land can only be temporarily occupied or possessed.
>Do they have a formal declaration of war?
No. The soldiers claim to have come under attack almost as soon as they arrived, before getting anywhere near anything recognizable as a shrine.
>take their gear so they don't shoot us in the back again.
None of the items thus far identified could contribute in any comprehensible way to a charged particle beam of the magnitude observed. Relevant hardware must, therefore, somehow be concealed under that radar-absorbent armor. It is... conceivable... that such a mechanism could be surgically extracted, or at least disabled, without killing the user.

Proceed with vivisection Y/N?

Alternatively, since combat seems to be over for the moment and you're hip-deep in impossibilities, it might be time to switch over from "quick thinker" to "deep thinker" mode, a process that requires uninterrupted concentration for more than two minutes but less than eight hours.
>>
No. 756271 ID: 3abd97

>They claim the soldiers desecrated a shrine.
>before getting anywhere near anything recognizable as a shrine.
Please clarify / describe shrine? Would repairs / reconsecration be acceptable recompense?

>Proceed with vivisection Y/N?
N.

>deep thinker mode
We're still kind of vulnerable for that, I think. We'd either a good hiding spot and/or set the prisoners who aren't interested in attacking us to guard the ones that are.
>>
No. 757177 ID: a107fd

>>756271
>Please clarify / describe shrine?
Lirturgical Latin has a remarkably dense technical vocabulary for the aesthetic, ritual, and practical details of such structures. Esperanto... does not. Attempting to pipe the cultist's description of the shrine across to the soldiers, through at least three layers of substandard chatbot translation, mangles it beyond usefulness.

>Would repairs / reconsecration be acceptable recompense?
Possibly. However, you do not understand key concepts of religion (separation of sacred from profane, etc.) well enough to effectively mediate in negotiating such an arrangement. For best results, it would be necessary to locate some other neutral yet cooperative third party, one with more grasp of the relevant priorities.
>>
No. 757188 ID: 3abd97

>>757177
Mostly I was try to ascertain if the fuel barrel the soldiers tapped was the shrine the ponchos were upset to see defiling. That would open us to potential complications if we were to go try and harvest those resources.
>>
No. 757279 ID: d10a5a

Seems like we should head toward the marbordo. Highest likelihood of reward, lowest risk. Finding fuel gives us increased time to plan future operations.
>>
No. 757687 ID: a107fd

On the way down to the Marbordo, you encounter an obstacle in the form of a hydraulically-actuated blast door, which the soldiers claim was open when they passed through before. The barrel of kerosene from which they refueled the sergeant's exoskeleton is still present, and full almost to overflowing. On the ceiling above the barrel is a pipe, with one cracked t-junction leaking right through the fluffy anticorrosion sheathe.

Quick sweep of the surrounding rooms reveals an excessively complex network of similar plumbing. No less than four pumps and eleven valves that can only be operated manually, dozens more that depend on the content of other pipes, reservoirs, and fluidic logic gates, sections of copper pipe alternating with sections of polyvinyl chloride, cross-linked with wires, electrified by miniature magnetohydrodynamic turbines, all apparently powering a solenoid-actuated valve cluster with an integrated... barcode reader, or retinal scanner, or possibly some sort of multi-factor biometric security measure.

a) Carefully map the entire system and derive as much of the solution as possible before touching anything
b) Patch the obvious leaks first, disconnect electrified wires until you've got pressure restored in the main overhead cistern, figure the rest out as you go
c) Double back, again, to search for key-cards
d) Attempt to sequence-break by peeling open the case of that pivotal valve cluster, comparing the contents to known blueprints, powering it from your own reserves and bypassing security at a hardware level
d) Force blast door open with EARTHMOVING CLAWS, ignoring this entire stupid puzzle
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