MINI-READ Eighth Installment
This eighth mini-read installment ran for two weeks from 02/12/19 to 16/12/19 which features the ninth chapter of Participant In Entropia by Andrew Jenery.
Participant In Entropia
Scanning The Miner Bot Generation 4
Some hours later I was back on Calypso after another spaceship ride and looking at the auction entries in Fort Argus for a scanner. I knew very little about scanners, as I had never used them before, but something that someone had told me back on the asteroid, meant that I simply had to have one.
The info was, that you could point a scanner at any intelligent entity, such as a creature, mutant, robot, or even other citizen and transfer innate or programmed abilities and skills to one's self via telemetric modulation. Different abilities would be gained according to what was being scanned. I was interested in a particular class of robot that allegedly I could gain further mining and probing skills from, as I needed as much of these as possible. There was of course another way of getting more abilities, other than by learning from scratch which took for ever, and this was by inserting skill-implants. These were often very expensive however, and you had to get different implants for different skills, and the insertion process was not entirely painless either. Scanners on the other hand were relatively cheap and could be used to gain almost any skill.
I was also told, however, about one very potential and hazardous drawback. That certain entities did not like being scanned if they thought you were a threat, which simply meant being too close, or if you were wearing amour or carrying weapons. There was also another problem. Being able to even approach the robot I had in mind in the first place whilst trying to avoid the robot drones that usually protected them, which meant wearing amour and using weapons, as otherwise you would surely experience temporary retirement. Catch-22!
I muddle through all of this in my mind for a few more moments, but then decide that I want to get on with this if I am to do it at all. I had mapped out a good idea of what to do anyway, and if it didn't work the first time, I could always try again. I quickly purchase a scanner that was in a good state of repair, at least going by the statistics-readout and then head for the teleporter. The best place according to the one who told me for finding a 'Minor Bot Generation 4', was due north of a large stable near to a well known land mark on Amethera, Treasure Island Castle. I knew both the castle and the stable buildings very well, although I had never ventured too far away from either for some reason, probably because of the arduous and awkward terrain that made getting anywhere very difficult.
I arrive next to the teleporter at Treasure Island Castle a few moments later and then duly head for the stables which is some distance away. The southern-end was as I last remembered it, more or less level with the terrain, but I had forgotten that the northern side of the complex was effectively cordoned-off on three sides by sheer walls of rock. Fantastic!
So, to be able to go further north of the stables in the first place to find the minor bot, I would first have to circumnavigate the immediate area by going either due north-east or north-west, which would take up more time, however I considered that this was little inconvenience if it meant being able to get good mining skills for virtually nothing. In the end I go north-east as it made no difference judging by the crevices on either side, and then head straight north after reaching the top.
Soon I'm in open territory, and running full-pelt as if I am in some sort of marathon; because that's how it felt at the time, and then suddenly I notice a spangle of red dots on my trusty old direction finder. Immediately I stop to study it more closely and see that there are five dots in all. I put the plan into action by producing the plasma rifle that I had exchanged for the oil and then quickly attach an optical scope that I hadn't used in ages, mainly because it reached a high level of decay fairly quickly and was expensive to repair, but now it was essential. I scan the horizon with the scope and note that the nearest four are drones of various classes. The fifth and farthest one was the Minor Bot. I fire one plasma round, and sure enough it stops mining and starts to come at me. This was the advantage of this fantastic weapon. Being able to ping it at long range but without disturbing the intervening drones because they were still too far away to positively ID me. Besides, if they had done, they would have come at me already.
I quickly about-turn and head back towards the stables, constantly checking my scope and remembering to slow down every now and then to make sure that it kept following. Soon it was time to attempt the next and most important part of the plan, as I once again approach the stables, only this time from the other direction. There was no time to dwell on anything as the Minor Bot was now almost upon me. If I was suddenly retired, I would have to go through the whole process again, which really I didn't want to do.
I quickly remove my amour and return it to my personal inventory in the usual matter-reducing fashion, before jumping over the edge and plummeting down the sheer drop, but manage to land safely as always due to the anti-gravity aids on the soles and heels of my boots. The direction scope shows that the red dot is right behind me, as I proceed with the one last vital step needed to effectively trap the robot. I quickly dash for a very narrow gap between one of the sheer rock faces and the edge of the stable's foundation wall, and then stop when I am certain that the robot cannot possibly follow because the gap is too narrow for it, before turning round and assessing the situation.
The minor bot had indeed followed me over the edge, but - and as I had hoped rather than calculated, it had stopped more or less where it had landed and had not advanced any further towards me. I had only run into the gap as a final precaution, just in case it had. It was taking off the amour that had done the trick, as it no longer considered me a threat. The citizen on the asteroid had told me, that once I was no longer a threat to the robot, and providing it followed me down to the bottom, that it would start mining again and that this was the time I could begin scanning.
This is exactly what the robot started to do - mine. It mined none-stop for ten minutes or more in the same spot, then moved slightly a few paces sideways, before mining for another ten minutes. Then it moved again, and mined again for another ten minutes or so - and so it went on. And on, and on, and on. I had scanned the robot during this entire phase almost to the point of monotony, and at no time did it approach me at all. It was almost as though I was invisible. As boring as this was, it had made the scanner purchase very worthwhile. After an hour or more, I had gained a whole string of mining related skills and abilities, and the truth was that I could have stayed there for almost ever, but boredom in the end got the better of me.
End of this mini-read installment. Click here for the next chapter or chapters of Participant In Entropia which runs from 29/06/20- 13/07/20.