Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lost Drones

A lone Tech 2 Hobgoblin floated, adrift in the depths of space, rudimentary Artificial intelligence slowly winding down as its internal power stores were depleted. All the Tech 1 drones nearby had already gone dormant, their less advanced power supply and systems forcing them into an earlier hibernation to preserve energy for their emergency beacons. The other T2 drones it had been able to sense nearby had stopped communicating an eternity ago, the pinpoint lasers they used between themselves having been turned off since then. Timescales were different for combat drones, much shorter than those of the organics that guided them, the fast paced action of their usually brief lives required calculations and decisions in the fractions of fractions of a second. No, their last burst had really occurred maybe an hour ago when the final T1 drone had gone silent, their simpler cousins drifting in a cluster of their own nearby.  This single drone remained online as a sentry for the others, on the off chance that one of their owners might return, life sustaining energy radiating from them in an almost magical aura. The drone's sense of time began to shift to longer lengths without further external stimuli. Nanoseconds morphed into milliseconds, into seconds, into minutes, hours, and finally days as power slowly dwindled away...

...

Senses instantly snapped back into focus on the here and now as a mass spike was detected nearby, a ship uncloaking less than 2 kilometers away, profile recognition software instantly identifying the hull as an Imicus, the next instant locating the distinctive Creodron corporation logo and paint job signifying this was an advanced Covert-ops frigate, Helios-class. The next few milliseconds saw the Hobgoblin beaming wake-up commands to all the drones in preparation for retrieval. The faintest stirrings of joy permeated its complex circuits before it and all of its brethren were brought into the ships life sustaining embrace. 

...

Another group of drones was loaded into the cargo bay, a full flight of T2 Hobgoblins and many more T1 versions, as well as some Hornets. As I brought them back to station I wondered to myself why I never thought to do this before? I fly through the Placid region constantly, whether I'm looking for unsavory characters or looking for resources for my industrial pursuits. And almost every time I'm in space my directional scanner is crowded with the signatures of drones, sometimes dozens of them, left behind in some pilot's frantic attempts to save their ship. The saddest part to me is the T1 models, even the few enterprising scanners will leave them in favor of picking up the more economically viable T2 ones. The way I see it, these (hundreds of) T1 drones are just waiting to be made into brand new T2 models with all the bells and whistles. Many of them will go into my personal stores for use in my oft lost combat vessels, but about half of them will go up on the market throughout Placid, hopefully to find new homes. And if not hopefully I can find them drifting in space, just waiting for someone to come find them and make them useful again...

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