OOC: Re-posting the big exciting fore-shadowy robot jam ^^
Inside the southern half of Sentai mountain, the place bisected by war and prejudice, A golden-clad robot was waiting. His armor was bulky and large by human standards, yet it seemed thin and lithe compared to the grunts of the mechanical force. The glaring red eyes helped to illuminate a patch of the crisp, dark room. The room wasn't dark, to say; It was somewhat well illuminated by LEDs attached to the walls of the chamber. But that showed the darkened, cold steel walls, seemingly bare other than the previously mentioned lights stationed at even intervals across the enclosure.
The head swiveled, closely followed by the body maneuvering to face a wall. The wall lit up, showing a list and status of various projects and missions, live video feeds on critical bridges, reports of enemy troop movements. Well, this was interesting. The Hybrid conversion process was running smoothly. With a mental command, Meca One enabled the Direct Communication application, a way of communication to any of his immense forces. At the speed of light, his processor selected the two participants for this order.
Panzer-009 and X-71.
"Panzer-009 and X-71, report to my office Immediately," The clear voice of Meca one rang through their electronic minds.
"And if you take some of your flying mechs and bring them with all quickness to the far side of the human's undeveloped half of this great mountain, the humans, unsuspecting of such a maneuver, will be taken unawares and a great blow could be struck."
I hurriedly typed this next insight into the network of information accessible to us all. I was sitting in a small metal room on the other side of this amazing piece of work- this human wholeheartedly devoted to our cause. Built into the table was a keypad that I was hurriedly tapping on as the human spewed out one innovative scheme after another.
"Or, perhap, strikes such as those you did initially to capture me and my fellows to your cause could be undertaken, at the lower altitude bridges, and thus you might capture territory near the base of the mountain. With superior numbers, similar attacks may be made near the tip of the mountain and then capture territory there, which may, forcing the humans to spread out, allow, truly, a better use of your superior numbers. Although control of Tenchi bridge might win the war, the humans are able to use the architecture of the bridge to their advantage, forcing our hosts to become cramped and turn our advantage of numbers near useless. If our true desire is the capturing and holding of Tenchi bridge, I forsee-"
The human's next insight was cut out by a robot order that cut through my mind, drowning out everything but the speaker's words:
"Panzer-001 and X-71, report to my office Immediately,"
And although I yearned to question this human more thoroughly, I could not disobey an order. Instead, I said, "For this time I must leave you. Stay here, do not wander, and I will return with all haste."
I turned and strode through the passageways of the robot base, quickly striding past the smooth metal walls. My mind however, was still stuck on that human, mulling over his ideas and suggestions, marveling at how well the procedure had worked. There was no trace of insanity as some of the technicians had guessed- in fact, besides his wholehearted devotion for our cause, the only real side effect of the procedure on him was his flowery and antiquated speech. Which may have been, after hours exposed to it, rubbing off on me. Just a bit.
The elevator doors opened with a hiss and I walked in to the large chamber. Two Iron Drones, bearing their spear-like weapons, sized me up as I walked past. In the center of the chamber rose a dais, stop which Meca One, the robot that led us out of our darkness and into this rebellion, stood, surrounded by screens displaying video feed from all across the mountain.
I knelt, waiting for his next words.
Moments later, the elevator's doors opened again, to allow the entrance of a second mechanoid. Panzer-009 stepped past the Iron Drone guards without a word, and with little more than a brief look. Their presence mattered not, nor was it unusual. Even in the heart of the robots' territory, it never hurt to have guards. Though more often than not, they were merely servants.
As he approached the dais, he pushed the thoughts of the moment to the side. While X-71 interacted with the converted, Panzer had been overseeing the modification of a portion of the base to properly house and accommodate them. Lacking such needs themselves, the biggest challenge had been finding methods of providing nutrition and creating facilities to allow for their other needs. After some initial thought, however, it had been relatively simple. Though "food" as such was out of the question, manufacturing rations that contained the proper nutrients would only require a little work. And modifying the base to create quarters for them was simplicity itself; it was merely a matter of the time needed for the Iron Drones and supervising Devastor would need to finish.
The hydraulics that drove his limbs worked soundlessly as he knelt beside X-71 to listen to his leader's instructions.
"You have acquired a batch of... humans... for testing, I see"
After the cold, metallic voice sliced through the air, the room seemed to fill with a pregnant pause, as the two mechanoids kneeling to their overlord attempted to calculate if this was a compliment, or a segway to something worse. The bright red eyes shone upon the two other robots, seemingly peering into their souls. If they were alive, Panzer and X-71 would probably have shuddered in the suspense.
"I... Approve... of this action,"
"What are your plans for these beasts?"
The mental command to stand was issued. The two automatons immediately did such, rising in a swift motion. Glances were exchanged between the two, both nervous in the face of their overlord.
“I, um, master…” I paused for a moment to collect my thoughts.
“We hope to use these humans for many ends. We have not as of yet truly explored the limitless potential of this new resource, but we believe that they might be best employed as strategists. Humans have a knack for… a sort of innovation that eludes even the best of us. With all respect.” It didn’t hurt to be overly praising of the robots. Mecha One was often quite adamant about our superiority, and I didn’t want to become an example by being used for scrap parts after accidently insulting our race. “We also believe they could be employed as pilots, or as spies among the humans. Just for a start. Master.” I bowed my head, refusing to make eye contact with the golden robot.
Meca One's armored head swiveled around to gaze on the wall-screen to his right. Encoded messages scrolled across the electronic surface, continuing to relay information to the most important robot in the world. The three just stood still for a moment, the underlings holding their metaphorical breaths.
With a mechanical whirr, a backdoor slid seamlessly from the wall at the back of the room. Inside appeared a small chamber with a reinforced plexiglass window.
"Come," said the golden mechanoid, walking inside the chamber with his hands clasped behind his back. As soon as the other two walked in, the room smoothly descended into the deep bowels of the mountain, sometimes giving a glimpse of the immense factories and mines in this empire of steel.
"Is there any more you wish to report on your plan?"
I looked out at the metal that slid smoothly upwards on the other side of the elevator's glass window. "The main purpose of our plan is to give us all the advantages that the humans have, and I believe that we have entirely succeeded. Our actual goals have not yet been fully defined, and there is still much planning to be done. Don't you agree, Panzer-009?"
"Our plan has, thus far, proven the potential for total subjugation of the human species. Based on my estimates on the subject's psychology, he is entirely devoted. If he believed that his death would further our cause, he would die with no hesitation." A pause. "I have cordoned off a small section of the base, and begun modifications to house our new workers."
"Our goals are not yet defined, as my compatriot has explained, in large part because of the versatility of the project. Fighters different enough from our own to confuse our opponents, sleeper agents, ways to understand the human psychology more effectively... The ramifications are, in my opinion, sir, nearly endless."
Panzer-009 watched the elevator's descent with bright red optics. The situation was... An interesting one. The mechanoid had never personally attended an audience with Meca One, nor had he ever descended into the lower portions of the base through this elevator.
It was going to be an interesting day.
With a slight mechanical shudder, the elevator slowed it's descent, before stopping completely. The door opened and the trio of sinister robots strolled outside. revealing to the two minions a corridor with a large horizontal window to view an immense chamber below. Another mechanoid was approaching on the other side of the hall.
"Panzer and X-71, meet Vode Six, my Technarch," Meca One stated, gesturing towards the devastator.
The long room the robots had entered was an observation deck and control room; at both ends were the curved doors of elevator shafts for access, while the wall to their left was lined with screens displaying various schematics and blueprints. The wall to their right was mostly glass, great slanted windows commanding a full view of the cavernous chamber below.
And what a chamber it was. Panelled walls of burnished steel, sporting bulkheads and walkways and banks of machinery, enclosed the vast space within that shone in the harsh white light of long LED floodlamps and echoed with the sounds of construction. Throughout the chamber, resting on hexagonal hydraulic platforms, large chunks of metal and technology could be seen in various stages of construction. Some were still little more than a robotic skeleton of struts and cables; others had armour gradually spreading across them like skin across a healing wound; while still others were already being emblazoned with the mechanoids' battle livery. Huge robotic arms, larger even than those of a battle machine, extended from apertures in the floor, lifting armour plates and pieces of tech and welding them in place them with mechanical precision, sending streams of sparks flying from where they touched the joins.
Smaller platforms were also dotted around, on which sat weapons of various shapes and types. Devastator robots worked to build and fine-tune gatling guns, laser cannons, energy disc launchers - each one large enough to be the main weapon of a Tank-class battle machine. More mechanoids supervised the work of the robotic arms from obelisk-like computer interfaces.
And overseeing it all from the observation deck, was Vode Six. The Technarch stood with burnished steel hands clasped behind his back, electronic eyes gazing emotionlessly down at the work going on below him. Even when the elevator doors had opened with a hiss of hydraulics and magnetic clamps, and its occupants were making their way down the corridor towards him, he did not immediately react. Only once they had halved the distance did he turn away from the window and acknowledge them.
"Primarch," he addressed Meca One, inclining his head. The Devastator's posture was straight-backed and formal, his three-clawed hands still clasped neatly behind his back, and his red eyes glowing unreadably.
This was an interesting development indeed.
As he crossed the room with measured strides, remaining a few feet behind Meca One out of deference to his authority, Panzer-009's processor began to work through the new information at a rapid pace. The new projects were interesting, fascinating in fact, as they filled in several details mentioned only vaguely in public logs, but what was the most important fact was the presence of the robot at the end of the room.
Vode Six was not an often seen mechanoid. In Panzer's memory, he had only seen the Technarch venture outside of his department a handful of times. And admittance into the department itself had been, until now, unheard of for those not involved in one of the projects. The mechanoid ignored the displays around him, ignored the projects going on outside the observation deck, despite his "curiosity". If he was lucky, then he would have the chance to know about them later. But for now, what was important was the meeting that seemed to be unfolding very quickly before him.
My eyes took on a faint glimmer of distaste as I gazed upon the Primarch's silver armor. If there is one thing I dislike, it is someone who does not deserve their position. Our positions are assigned on merit, and there was nothing Vode Six had that other robots didn't. Anyone could put together battle machines. I was even older than he was, and yet, I held no such prestigious position. It was illogical that he held such a high status. Mecha One put too much faith in him. One day, that mistake would hurt him.
But I was a good soldier, so I respectful stayed silent and gazed over the enormous chamber, inspecting the forest of pillars and the sparking projects. How powerful he must feel up here, gazing upon his domain, watching the other robots obediently scurrying across catwalks, bringing his latest idea to life. I wonder what benefits having a human supervise the innovation of new battle machines might bring…
Vode Six's head swivelled slightly to examine the two Devastators accompanying Meca One, identification programs matching IFFs with personnel records stored in his memory banks.
"Units X-71 and Panzer-009," he addressed them, having retrieved the relevant data - it did not take long; his files on them had been updated recently. "I have been informed of your use of the neurograft to harness human minds. According to protocol, operations using experimental technology are only to be enacted with my prior approval."
The Technarch's cold optics and voice were difficult to read; was he displeased that his creations were being used without permission, or simply stating a breach of standard regulations?
I almost pointed out that Meca One was far superior to any Technarch, and with the Primarch's approval I did not have to check in with anyone, but Vode was already speaking again, not waiting for a response.
"However," he continued, "I understand that the Primarch is pleased with your results. I would extrapolate this to be the reason for your presence."
He raised his forearm, and a blue holographic display appeared over it. He tapped a few icons, and, with a whirr of servos, one of the obelisk-like computer terminals rose from the floor until it was roughly the height of a humanoid. It was of fairly simple design; a metal pillar, with a rectangular screen, below which was a glowing keyboard and a robot hand-shaped depression for direct interface. Vode Six chose the latter option, placing his hand in the slot, and the screen blinked into life, displaying a map of Sentai Mountain. A pulsing white dot showed their current location.
"This facility is designated Workshop One, our primary site of advanced mech development," he intoned. He turned his head to look down once again at the laboratory floor. "Panzer-009. Estimate the quantity of battle machines currently under construction in the chamber."
With an application of near silent hydraulics, Panzer's head swiveled to regard the space outside of the observation deck. The space was occupied by a mixture of smaller and larger work platforms, hexagonal in shape, and a myriad of both automated and manual construction efforts. The space was massive, and every inch was laid out with functionality in mind. He continued to observe the machinery in silence for several seconds, before looking back to the Technarch.
"Based on the space between platforms, my estimate of the overall area of this workstation and the alignment of equipment closest to the observation deck, I would surmise roughly twenty platforms are present. Ten are smaller, and seem to deal entirely in either weapons or individual components. The ten larger platforms deal with battle machines."
A momentary pause, as another brief scan was completed. "Ninety percent of those platforms are currently in use. The seventh construction platform is currently vacant, but judging by the activity occurring below, it is likely to be occupied again soon. So at this instant in time, I would estimate nine battle machines, though a tenth would be soon to join the others."
"Am I correct, sir?"
"Given the data you have selected, your reasoning is logical," replied Vode Six, "but your conclusion is incorrect."
"Then, if I may ask, how many are actually in production, sir?"
The Technarch's red gaze returned to Panzer-009, appraising him shrewdly. The ghost of a smile seemed to hover around the mechanoid's inflexible mouth.
It was a simple answer, but when the significance of the word coupled with Vode Six's precise intonation and perfect timing, realisation hit X-71 and Panzer-009 like a brick wall.
Each massive piece of machinery being created here was itself part of a colossal whole.
Vode tapped his forearm-pad again, and one of the glass windows was suddenly overlaid with a holographic HUD, highlighting each piece and then simulating their completion in fast-motion. Text readouts tagged each one, explaining its composition, function and current percentage progress. Then, the CGI images rose up and slotted together one by one until they formed an image of the finished design, which rotated slowly before their widened optics.
"Project completion is currently at 28.3%," said Vode Six. "Progress simulations suggest that the machine will be operational in a matter of weeks. If we can increase efficiency, I believe we can reduce this to days. It will be a battle machine the likes of which no human mind could ever conceive."
The word was slow and measured, as Panzer-009 processed the revelation. "By the estimations of what I can see, that would make the resulting battle machine in excess of five times the size of a standard machine. Likely closer to ten."
"The potential for armor and weaponry is immense."
I felt a twinge of astonishment. Truly, this was going to be a battle machine of monumental importance. This could win us the war, in fact. The humans had nothing even close to matching this power or size. Not to mention, their intellect and innovation had been entirely canceled out by our human captives. I immediately felt a renewed feeling of interest in our initiative to control humans. With a properly trained pilot to man this device, it could be unstoppable.
With the ring of metal footsteps, Meca One slowly walked through the hallway, addressing the other three robots mid-stride.
"Yes, Panzer-009, that is true. When this massive machine is finished, we may crush the humans and their precious little EXO-FORCE in one fell swoop." With a turn to the left, the golden-clad Primarch moved to a balcony overlooking the immense chamber, marveling at his creation. The other three mechanoids followed suit, with Vode Six calmly taking the lead, for the other two were tense in the presence of their leader.
"Panzer-009 and X-71, you will understand that this project is of the utmost secrecy,"
It was not a question. An order. A command.
"Continue with your stratagem. I will keep a close eye on your progress."
"As you command, master. We will do our best to serve our cause, and we will not utter a word of this project until you wish it."
"Not a word of this shall be leaked, Primarch." Panzer replied smoothly without missing a beat, turning his gaze away from the behemoth machine in the midst of its construction to look at his leader once more.
"Our project shall continue, as you command."
When the two Devastators had confirmed their orders, Vode Six spoke up.
"Primarch, I have further information to report," he said. "Project Bridge Walker is complete. BW-01 is ready for use in the field, and factory replication has begun. Do you wish to inspect the prototype?"
"Good. We will inspect it then."
The shiny robot turned to the other two Devastators.
"You two may accompany us and assist in analyzing the latest product from this facility."
"I would be honored to offer any assistance in this matter that I can, sir." Panzer replied, optics brightening again in interest. Bridge Walker... Hmmm...
Vode Six nodded, and began to walk, followed by his guests, down the observation deck towards the elevator at the opposite end to the one they had arrived in. The doors opened, and the four robots stepped inside. Seconds later, they exited the pod, finding themselves on the workshop floor. The Technarch led them past the various platforms until the reached the far wall, where he placed his hand on the access panel and it slid away, allowing them access to a metal corridor, lit by LED panels and lined with the occasional door like the one they had entered by.
It was not long before they reached their destination: outside this door there was a holographic sign that read:
Project Bridge Walker BW-01
On entering this chamber, much smaller than Workshop One, the robots' optics were immediately drawn to the machine that stood proudly in its centre as the light panels in the roof blinked on one by one. No Devastator technicians or robotic arms busied themselves here; there was nothing but smooth steel walls and the finished mech, no sound but the quiet buzzing of the lights overhead.
The mech itself towered above them. Its massive, back-bent legs held up the thickly-armoured cockpit module, which was elongated and shaped like an insectoid or reptilian head. To say it was heavily-armed would be an understatement: the cockpit bristled with lasers and weaponry, while a heavy weapons array was mounted either side of it on the machine's 'hips', each with its own gunnery platform. On the right were two heavy laser cannons each large enough to take out a small mech in one shot, and on the left were massive twin gatling lasers, straddled by a large guided missile launcher. Altogether, the machine was about as large and well-armed as three Tanks put together.
"Impressive, is it not?" said Vode Six calmly. "This is Battle Machine BW-01, the Bridge Walker. It is the largest bipedal mech ever constructed. The two heavy weapons systems are sustained by a dual power core, and its Tenatium armour is 45.8 centimetres thick."
Vode Six could have simply said it was 18 inches thick - but the Imperial system of measurements was illogical and inefficient.
My eyes widened half a centimeter as the looming figure of the mech rose before me. It was insectoid, yet industrial. Sharp and steamlined, yet bulky and powerful. It was animalistic but artificial. It was an impressive sight. I itched to see it blast enemy mechs into ashes, to destroy human constructions and reap death and fire upon the battlefield. I had already fallen in love with BW- 01.
I maintained a silence for a few seconds, in awe, before letting my cold voice ring out among the sparse chamber. "Truly, a powerful machine. And when will this colossus be sent into battle?"
"That is a question for our esteemed Primarch," said Vode smoothly. He turned away from the mech and faced X-71. Had the Devastator's eyes betrayed any emotion, his look could have been described as calculating.
"X-71, you might be interested to know that the BW-01 was originally based on designs created by a human," he said. "You might construe this as evidence to support a hypothesis of human innovation being superior to that of machines."
The Technarch's red optics never left those of his fellow Devastator as he waited for X-71's answer.
"With all due respect, Technarch, and to you, Primarch... based on my calculations, the human's superior innovation can well be considered a fact. I do not doubt our superiority, but the human brain is far more complex than ours' and they have demonstrated a greater innovation than ours' nine times out of ten throughout this war. Meaning no offense, I am not at all surprised that a human was the author of this war machine."
I kept a respectful position, my clawed hands clasped behind my back.
"If human innovation ever surpasses our own, it is due to inadequate self-modification on our part," Vode Six answered coldly. "Machine intelligence will always have the potential to be superior to the organic brain. What limitations we do possess are only due to imperfections in our design, caused by our creators - humans."
Vode Six noticed Meca One visibly stiffen; the Primarch did not like to be reminded of his origin.
"However," he continued calmly, but swiftly enough to keep Meca One's temper in check, "we can improve ourselves. I began to do so even before we claimed our freedom from the humans' slavery. By optimising our own core software we will achieve the full potential of the artificial mind. This battle machine, and the one you saw in Workshop One, are proof that we have already begun to surpass them.
"You assume that the Bridge Walker has been constructed according to the original human designs. You are incorrect. The human designs incorporated many significant flaws - flaws that, thanks to robot innovation, I have rectified."
Panzer-009 ignored the conversation going on between Vode Six and X-71, studying the battle machine before him with great interest. Well, he did not entirely ignore it; he was still receiving, and logging to his memory, the sensory input. On a low level, he was even paying attention. But minimal processor power was devoted to the task, just enough to keep an "ear" out for his name.
No, the Bridge Walker was what had his attention. The design was ingenious, though he had no doubt that the Technarch had imparted his own tendencies towards its design. The forward-most portion of it, the head-like cockpit, was incredibly armored, even more so than the rest. It was doubtful that any weapon in use on either side could penetrate it without significant effort. The more animalistic bipedal design aided in stability, while also supplying extensive mounting points for weaponry. By Panzer's estimate, it carried enough firepower to reduce any battle machine model the Exo-Force could field to molten slag a dozen times over.
"If I may, Technarch," He said, tearing his gaze away from the machine. "There were early issues with dual-power core designs, if I recall the reports correctly. How did you solve those? And what support systems is the machine equipped with?
Vode's head swivelled smoothly to address his queries.
"You are correct," he said. "Dual power cores can suffer from feedback loops caused by electrical overloads short-circuiting via the energy conduits. The human design did nothing to mitigate this problem. However, discharge circuits have been threaded throughout the machine to dissipate any attempts to externally overload it, and the cores have been shielded against electromagnetic pulses. Besides that, it possesses the communications and command capabilities of all our elite units."
"I would not make assumptions about our superior innovation until we actually begin to win this war, Technarch," I said, with a few near imperceptible degrees more of icy monotone than my voice usually held.
I pivoted around to look at Meca One. "With your leave, Master, I wish to return to my work. There is much to be done to my humans."
Meca One's electronic mind processed the argument being exchanged before him. The Primarch took a moment of deliberation before responding to his devastator's query. The cold, glowing red eyes peered deep into X-71, seemingly boring precise holes into the armor of the silver-plated robot.
"You are dismissed. Both of you. Remember, I will keep a close eye on your work,"
The two pawns brought a closed fist to their chest in a robotic salute, the resounding clang of metal lingering in the large chamber. Then both swiftly made their way to a nearby elevator, and ascended back to their posts, leaving the Primarch and the Technarch to their schemes...