MINI-READ Thirteenth Installment
This thirteenth mini-read installment ran for two weeks from 10/02/20 to 24/02/20 which features the fourteenth chapter of Participant In Entropia by Andrew Jenery.
Participant In Entropia
More Robots and The Great Land Grab
Stirring from my slumber within the confines of Fort Troy, I'm not certain if the 'announcement in my head' is from a dream or if I had remembered seeing it somewhere the previous day. I then make for the big display screen not far from the teleporter outside, only to find that it was no dream. There for all to see; not that there was anyone there except myself, was the same EBN info that I had seen earlier about yet further robot incursions at Fort Medusa and Jason Centre. Realising that this could mean right now, I decided to check two firearms that I'd recently acquired in exchange for three months of accumulated hides, armour parts, a lot of crude oil and stack loads of minerals and matters of various kinds.
The local Exarasours, Dakaibars and Fouls - mainly Young and Matures, were no real test however for the high-amplified Foxtrot Plasma and Isis LR59, so I decided to try them out on more difficult targets. Maffoid Warriors, Guards and other ranks not far from Fort Argus. I step onto the teleporter and select the destination from the readout, and I'm there in no time at all.
A few teleport-chip jaunts later and I'm facing a large group of Maffoids up on their usual rocky lair way off in the distance, just past the usual heard of Cornundacaudas. Pressing a numeral digit on the matter converter produces the plasma rifle in the next split second which I raise to the firing position in order to scan the group for a likely target with the optical scope. One of them breaks off slightly from the main group and I check that it's in range on the radar screen before firing the first 'pinging' round.
The Maffoid Guard starts lumbering towards me as I quickly check the creature's health indicator. Not much had come off, but then I wasn't expecting it to at such a long range even with a Foxtrot. The real test would be the next two rounds that I knew I would be able to get in before switching to the Isis carbine. The second bolt is much better, causing the Maffoid to stumble in it's tracks, even though it continues to keep on coming, and the third round of the annihilator causes it to yell out at me in pain.
Quickly I switch to the carbine, as the Foxtrot would now be too slow at such a short range. A few rounds later with the Isis, and it's all over. The Maffoid hadn't even managed to get within it's attack distance, which surprised me, so I was more than pleased with these new weapons. I now knew that I had a realistic chance of maintaining a concerted effort this time in a team set-up against the robots. Not just the odd one or two lower-generation drones here and there like before, but many of them.
I decide to call it a day with the Maffoids, as I wanted to save my ammo for the robots, and attempt to initiate the teleport-chip once again to get back to Argus, when as luck would have it, I'm joined by an old friend of mine. I obviously hadn't been looking at the radar scope for a some minutes and so hadn't seen the green-dot that was now in the middle of the dial.
“Greetings! How's it going?” This guy was from one of the highest-per-capita skilled societies and so certainly worth having as an ally.
“Not bad... Just tested some knew guns on a Maffoid to gauge their potential.” I was still carrying the carbine which hadn't gone unnoticed. “Great. Which model Isis?”
“LR-59! Didn't even know I was maxed-out on them, though this is probably kiddy stuff by your standards...”
“Ha, ha! You should be a politician... But not really, though a bit over the top for Maffoids I would have thought...”
“Yep! This was just a tester for bots at Jason's later, or Medusa, but I felt they were still a good enough challenge, although you're right - it was a bit too easy...”
“So I noticed John. Anyway, so what you doing now?” I inform him as to my little plan.
“Well, I'm thinking of going back to Argus and then Limnadian District to hit Jason from the north-west. If I teleport straight into Jason, I'll probably get zapped strait away and may never get out of the revive area...”
“Not a bad idea - very similar to what I would do. But you'll need to team though. You won't last long by your own whatever you've got. It won't just be drones down there, it will be everything!” He was right. I wouldn't last long at Jason's on my own, but it now looked as though I had the beginning's of a team. With his superior skills and no doubt fire-power, the returns would with any luck turn out to be quite good. “Can't argue with that. Why? You wanna team, or you're still gonna stick around here?”
“I came here to meet some people, not to hunt, but they haven't turned up - so why not. May as well get back to the TP...” I agree, then fire-up the teleport-chip and he follows suite. Soon we're both back at Argus so that we can take the teleporter there to Limnadian, except we are not exactly together at this point. He makes an understandable enquiry. “Where the heck did you end up? Can't see you near the teleport...”
“Well, I've landed - and this is the absolute truth, on the roof thingy... So I'll be a few seconds behind you.”
“Ha, ha! OK - I'll meet you there - see you in a bit...” Not long after, we're both at Limnadian and then heading for Jason. We both new of course, that the myriad of drones, warriors and other robot types, would be tied up dealing with other colonists, which would enable us to sneak in unobserved by Robot Command. It would be paying less attention to us then lord knows how many other colonists already there, which really was the whole trick.
“...We did well BTW in the recent land grab outcome - ck c killers came joint second, we came first, and got awarded with some chomper DNA. Don't know if you've been following it...” We continue running at full pace. “Gratz! Yep, I've been reading-up on the info on and off. Don't know how M-T-S always seems to do so well...” The unmistakable forested hillsides slightly right of centre just below the horizon, tells me that we're not far from Jason. “Thanks. Well it's like anything else - you gotta put money into something to make money out of it, and use the right equipment.”
“True...” Nearing the point of no return where the robots were concerned, made all too evident by the mass of red and green dots on the scope - although far more red than green, we agree that the best tactic is to work in tandem against one robot at a time from the open, flat causeway leading up to the teleport area. “OK - lets stop here. Some are now just within max plasma range which is what we want... You got laser pointers?”
“Yep, on both - and optics on the plasma... So what do you reckon? Either side of the clearing, so we can get them in a crossfire?”
“Exact - and make sure we both hit the same one, and only one, at a time. We don't want the whole lot on top of us...” The pattern was now set, and we knew exactly what to do. A few minutes later and we're about 150 yards apart, either side of the causeway. I raise the Foxtrot and point it in the direction of a red dot that has broken-off slightly left of centre from the main group. It was also getting closer to a few green dots; colonists - so I had to be quick if I was to target it first.
I zoom in with the scope and ID it to be a Drone Generation 02, which would be a good starter. I fire a round strait into it's mid-section and it starts running towards me in true metal-zombie fashion as if it's on rails. In the next split-second, the team leader sends another plasma bolt strait into the drone's visor that hopefully would leave it completely disoriented, which it did, as the drone then starts going towards him. We then switch to the more rapid-firing carbines and start firing at will as it manages to get a few well aimed shots of it's own on us in return. Seconds later and it's in a crumpled metallic heap between us as he utters a mild warning. “They'll know we're here now, but we should be able to get a few more before they come at us in numbers...”
“I get you. But it looks like most are tied up with other hunters... How about that Warrior 04? Looks like it's just idling.”
“Why not. Do you have a rocket launcher? We'll need those after we've pinged it with the plasmas.”
“I have a Skildeck I've done OK with.”
“That'll do. We'll ping it together - it'll confuse their servers...” At that, we send two plasma bolts into the Warrior's defences at exactly the same time, and true enough, it seems confused in the first few split-seconds as to which of us to run towards. In the end it sort of zigzags erratically as it alternates its own fire, first at him and then myself, which wasn't entirely ineffective, even so. Ominous dents and divots start appearing in my Vigilante harness and arm guards, although probably nothing was happening to his Eon armour, so it was time for me to get serious, or end up at the revive, which would be embarrassing to say the least.
At the critical moment, when it is no more than thirty yards away from me, I fire a high explosive projectile into it's mid section, forcing it to whirr and stutter in its tracks and causing it's laser fire to not so much hit me, but to pass harmlessly over my head by mere inches. The leader then sends another rocket into it, and soon the robot is caught between us in a hopeless game of something in the middle. It also falls in a heap not far from the deceased drone seconds later.
We were now on a run. We manage to get three more Drones, two Warriors and one Attacker - by far the hardest which nearly got both of us, in the next ten minutes or so. At the end of it all, we have a considerable pile of robot parts that we can sell for serious money, which was really the whole point.
“Good! We've done well. I'll get my matter-divider to quickly split this all up. I'll set it to 50-50. Then I've got to get out of here and back to Limnadian as we only have a few minutes before the whole lot will be on us, and I gotta meet someone!” The device kicks-in and transfers the pile of parts via conversion-beam in seconds, and the usual virtual trade window appears in front of me shortly after with my half of the loot in it, which I transfer into my personal inventory.
“Good idea, I'll be teleport-chipping back there myself. I would have needed more ammo anyway...'
“OK - I'm sure we'll do a team again - and keep skilling! It's harder once you start passing the middle levels and start going towards the top one's, but it's worth it in the end as you get dividends. later!”
He initiates his teleport-chip, then disappears in a flash moments later, and I follow suite. This wasn't because I wanted to do anything more for the day, but simply because it was going to be much quicker than trying to enter the teleporter at Jason. There were still too many robots.
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.