As they arrived in the armory, through one of the service corridors, Fleet Captain Bobby Birondeau ordered the ship to produce four nanofluidic stealth armors as well as one nanofluidic containment device to house their target. A nanofluid was composed of nanites that assembled themselves to look like a golden fluid when not in use. As they entered through the archway, their clothes were flash combusted by the smart room.
The assembler spurted a compact sphere the size of an orange, that he took upon his head and let the fluid cover his naked body. He closed his eyes as the suit formed itself and covered his face and nuts. It was a most peculiar feeling, like being caressed by a cold liquid brush. He felt the suit link itself up to his symbiotic AI and power up. Two independent shoulder turrets and two fluidic pseudopods formed between his waist and armpits. He noticed that the edges of his suit became fuzzy, because of the smart stealth material it was making itself out of. It rapidly flowed into a matte black form that seemed to absorb ambient light. Contrary to major nanofluidic suits, this one’s power signature was basically irrelevant, to hide whilst moving into attack positions. He went to his locker and clipped his unique intelligent plasma sword into the right hand release that he had mentally commanded to be formed by the nanofluid; the intelligent sword booted up within a few nanoseconds and got busy getting a download and profile from his symbiotic AI as well as a potential target resolution of the enemies. This one hadn’t been updated or upgraded in a while, thought Bobby. And why should it? The plasma sword had been around for centuries without going through any relevant changes. He checked that the suit based armaments were functioning within normal parameters and grabbed a Hochenheiser multi function assault weapon from weapon assembler.
The rifle was the size of a large submachine gun, but packed quite a punch. Its surface was matte black, made out of a nanomitec fiber that adapted to the wearer’s grip and relative size. Naturally, it didn’t possess a trigger of any kind. Those had been discontinued eons ago when the symbiotic AI was developed as a military application. The rifle was very light, aided by gravitic emitters that laced its core. It had a bit of a plastic feel to it, like most modern appliances. It was equipped with a variety of firing solutions, from phase varied frequency lasers, high explosive pulse bolts, wide beam coherent light, beams of high energy electrons (BHEEs) (to puncture and destroy), pulse laser swaths (to blind), micro nano-plasmic flamer, micro nano-plasmic acid projector (to disintegrate by plasma flame or plasmic acid), neuronic whip (to induce pain without doing any permanent physical damage, though psychological damage was probable; nothing that could not be repaired by a neuromancer), deathbeam (a coherent cone of neural disruption that worked on synthetic, artificial and biological life) and a variety of fléchettes that could be programmed into the gun’s assemblers. It was a great all in one solution that had been in use for some time.
In the history of humanity, there hadn’t been an evolution yet of the laser weapon that had surpassed the basic premise of it. Coherent light was lethal to most living organisms. The telltale sound of a laser firing was feared and hated among the known universe. And with modern gravitic technology, which powered the weapon from the ambient gravity, it never ran out of juice. This was a recipe for disaster among unenlightened humans. Disasters, genocides and unspeakable crimes had been committed in the universe. However, modern warfare didn’t involve ground troops per se. Unenlightened Robotic technology, using up to Stage III AIs were used as canon fodder in wars. These units weren’t considered either conscious or aware enough to qualify as full blown AIs. From battle droids to battle mechs, the modern warfield was thoroughly automated.
Though the posts shunned full out war, they had other means of fighting theirs. Why involve precious posthuman lives on planet bound conflicts, when you could incinerate the planet directly from space with a world class capital ship? Why deploy legions of robotic soldiers and battle droids when you could insert a team of specialists, destroy the enemy leaders and completely demoralize them? Not all post factions thought alike, even if they all participated in the fleet command structure, they all had their own ways to fight wars. He had heard of an obscure faction that had used smart plagues to destroy their enemies. Another one had released an engineered nanovirus to bioform their enemies into themselves. But the days of interstellar wars were past, at least for the moment. There was a relative stability in the known universe, fostered by transenlightenment and by the longevity of posthumanity. He couldn’t speak for baseline humans. They would fight their wars, buy weaponry from posts and fight some more. It was hard to imagine that the posts stemmed from the baselines.
If the technology evolved, unless incredible leaps had been accomplished or discovered, the ships assemblers would manufacture new weapons and equipment that was up to date with the latest specs from the fleet. The ship itself possessed the ability to evolve, to improve itself. Through the allweb, it downloaded periodic updates, the latest subroutines and improvements when they were available to synchronize itself with the rest of the fleet. The whole fleet subsystems were run partly by a giant AI, housed in a dyson sphere located near Sirius Major. Most of the systems were automated. It was one of the few AIs that were still under posthuman control. Most of the Stage I+ AIs had seceded centuries ago from posthuman affairs, but a few remained here and there, including the aptly named Gaïa which ran the Fleet’s undernet through the allweb. Gaïa had asked to be permitted to stay at its task, since it considered its functions too important to involve itself with the AI war. The Fleet was quite happy to oblige, because to try and replace it would have been quite a problem. Naturally, Gaïa was under contract nowadays. Couldn’t have it any other way.
The suit itself possessed an array of different shields and fields. They were mainly stealth and camouflage fields as well as a few gravitic application shields and magnetic ones. One of the more intelligent ones allowed the wearer to smartly dodge incoming attacks by slowing down opposing attacks with a focused flux of the micro gravitic engines that laced its make-up. Another one tried to disrupt the fields of incoming plasma melee weapons. Since incoming laser based attacks were uncommonly deadly and hard to block, the suit was supra cooled to diffuse the incoming energy. Also, the place on the suit that was hit became reflective picoseconds before the blast struck. Some of the energy could also be absorbed, dissipated and used against the enemy. The suit’s AI was slaved to the wearer’s symbiotic AI to maximize functions and defense options. The wearer’s strength and cognitive functions were also augmented. The most advanced version of nanofluidic armors were only useful to posts; baselines’ didn’t have the necessary processing power to handle them, nor the reflexes.
Meanwhile, he saw from the back of his suit that Kobayashi had grabbed the heavy nano-plasmic flamer that doubled as a phase varied laser gatling. Urnu and Orca grabbed the same Hochenheiser assault weapon that Bobby had taken. Nano disassembler bombs and micro fusion bombs were added to their wrist launchers, unintelligent plasma melee weapons were added and they were ready to go.
One of the most useful sprays used in the modern battlefield was a mixture epoblow, a mixture of adhesive jelly and microscopic anti-matter pinhead warheads; the larger bombs were easily detected in a sabotage mission, but the pinheads had a good chance of being overlooked if the crew and automated systems were distracted enough. Distraction implied otherwise engaged in another part of the war operations theatre.
What most baseline humans didn’t know was that even if the posts rarely gathered armies to attack, a few of them could destroy battalions of baseline humans if properly equipped and trained. Especially if they had a surprise advantage.
* * * * *
To be continued
Previous: The Crew
Galactic Rim: Encounter, Chapter I
Galactic Rim: Flashbacks, Chapter II
Galactic Rim: The Admiral, Chapter III
Galactic Rim: The Robots, Chapter IV
Galactic Rim: The Council, Chapter V
Galactic Rim: The Navigator, Chapter VI
Galactic Rim: The Crew, Chapter VII
* * * * *
tizzie, Evan Sims, heavylift, ataradrac, Wanda Wisdom, Jonathan Woodside
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