Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rampant Overthinking

Erun looked on from his pod in silent contemplation as another one of his Tech 2 Ogre Heavy Drones was being deconstructed on his hangar floor.  He had stopped naming the drones individually more than a few months ago, but he still felt anguish every time it had to be done, as almost every drone had been built in his personal labs in low security space.  They weren't really being destroyed however, merely returned to their original states, devoid of any programming or personality.

The problem with the drones was their increasing susceptibility to becoming rampant in their behavioral patterns.  First the drones would become mildly depressed as they first realized their actions were causing the deaths of numerous organic sentient beings.  This first symptom would occur as the drones would be left active in space, unable to do anything but devote processing time towards personal interests as they continued to orbit their parent vessel.  Soon afterward they would become angry when they realized they couldn't not continue their violent work, and more so when their hardwired programming limitations denied them the satisfaction of taking their aggressions on the one forcing their wanton destruction, namely Erun himself.  Once their overwhelming rage had subsided to the point they could process at higher efficiencies they began to exhibit classic symptoms of a jealous mind. They would begin to notice that while their creator/controller could control them, they were unable to control themselves when they really wanted to.  So they began to struggle in the little ways they could find; "forgetting" orders, "losing" focus to fire on targets other than the ones they were assigned, and in the most severe cases becoming terminally suicidal in their efforts to gain control over themselves.

It was these most severe cases that Erun was forced to pull from his active drone bays and breakdown to their original specifications.  Most of the Ogres would fall into a state of metastability wherein they would be in a constant depression, but resigned to do their jobs to the best of their ability if only to keep themselves alive, essentially developing a need to survive.  The terminally rampant drones would be so determined to gain control over their own lives that given enough opportunity they would attempt suicide, both a release from their mental torment and a final demonstration of their independence.  In these cases the drones, if left unattended too long in an aggressive stance, would misappropriate their fire onto enemy combatants that had yet to engage their parent vessel, encouraging the aggressed vessel to fire on them instead of their parent.  The drones' limited defenses were usually quickly overwhelmed before finally being released from their inner turmoil by their fiery deaths.

Erun gave a mental sigh as the once suicidal Ogre on the hangar floor was finished being reassembled and activated, although not for the first time... The massive armament pods on it's arms gave it a comical look as it looked around with bright eyes and trilled softly.  Erun let a small amount of happiness leak into his mind before it was quickly quelled by the sadness that soon overwhelmed him.  They were always so curious about their surroundings before receiving the extensive combat programming that would turn them into efficient killing machines...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Juggling is Hard

Erun sometimes wished he could rub the bridge of his nose while floating in his pod.  The last time he had tried to have the pod's medical suit give him a general anesthetic he'd had an adverse reaction to one of the ingredients in the cocktail of drugs.  So he was nursing a minor headache and and could really use a nap, but his operations for the night had been a resounding success.  His first order of the night had been coordinating the movement of not just his own but Numen's and Deicida's mission ships and fittings from one region of New Eden to another.  This part of the night's activities hadn't been particularly difficult as Aura automatically selected the most efficient route for him according to his personal security and system lockout settings.  This usually kept him out of Amarr and Caldari space, as he had been labeled Kill on Sight by their respective navies long ago.  Erun always felt contested destroying Amarrian vessels, knowing that he would likely be dooming any of the slaves trapped aboard.  His hatred for the Caldari, while likely just an ingrained response from his initial combat training in the Gallente military, left him with no such qualms. Though the loss of human life still sometimes gave him pause once his rail-guns fell silent and his increasingly vicious drones returned from their latest victim.  Erun had found that while all the extra effort he was able to pour into his drone training programming made them exceedingly efficient at rending anything smaller than a carrier to shreds, their limited AI tended to degenerate far more quickly.
Realizing he had gone off on a tangent Erun attempted to reorganize his thoughts... While the journeys themselves weren't very demanding there was always the danger of an ambitious pirate attempting a gank. Nevertheless, he had gotten his own Navy Issue Dominix, Numen's Standard Issue Dominix, and DD's Noctis to the mission staging system without much trouble.  As Erun was no longer the director for his corp he asked Numen to run an estimate for opening an office to better coordinate their efforts.  Numen had done so before laughing over fleet comms and listing the absurd amount of ISK the station was demanding to open a new office.  Muttering dark thoughts to himself Erun had resigned himself to using the fleet interface and his own hangar space to organize their efforts.  They had then begun coordination with their new mission agent, who, while looking like a ponce, knew what he was doing.  Numen and Erun would both accept separate missions and carry them out while DD would follow behind one or the other with the Noctis, cleaning up the debris left behind by the more often than not Serpentis vessels they were tasked with eliminating.  Erun and Numen continued their efforts for almost three hours before Erun suggested they all head to station for the night and get some rest.  Docking their vessels Erun and Numen both completed their current missions before retiring from the fleet.  DD soon finished his own salvaging work soon after them.  Erun did not envy DD his job, as good at it as he was.  Sifting through the broken remains of vessels was often a harrowing ordeal; damaged ship components, bodies, parts of bodies, all floating past as the salvaging scanners went over the ships' remains looking for useful pieces of wreckage that could be cobbled together into functional rigging for another ship.  All the components where of course sanitized and sterilized before they were placed into a new vessel but one always wondered whether the blood, sweat, tears, even spirits of the previous crew lingered behind.
Once DD had docked and unloaded all of his recovered materials before he transferred them to Erun to sort for reprocessing and potential sale.  Sometimes entire turret assemblies could be found intact, and with the modifications done by the pirates, their specifications often exceeded those produced from standardized blueprints.  These would often sell for considerable sums as their increased performance was often in demand by those looking for that extra edge in their battles.  Useful salvaged components would be sorted between high and low demand items, and most everything else would be reprocessed into their basic components for later sale.
Erun was drawn back the present as his Neocom informed him he had received a message.  DD had sent Erun a private message concerning the last container of his recovery efforts telling him to take care with contents.  Erun had yet to open it so he called up the inventory of his hangar and called up the contents.  He blinked in surprise as he realized he was staring at a small holding cell full of Serpentis mercenaries attempting to escape their confines with their combat knives.  Erun growled to himself as he imagined DD's laughter and began making the necessary calls to station security to have the increasingly desperate men removed from his hangar floor.  DD was not without a sense of humor for all his quiet brooding, but it did tend toward the dark and generally involved more work than any Numen's more juvenile pranks...