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Nasr (H minus One Month, 17 Days)
"Only three at a time?" I asked Nicky.
The young woman shrugged. "Our transit site doesn't have enough power to move them all in one transit. Too many things around here can't have their power shut off for it."
"They're going to have to be transited from here to Mars." I pointed out. "Maybe we need to expand that site's capacity."
"Why not use another transit site altogether, anyway?" Nicky asked. "Our facility lacks the space for all of them to be close enough for a transit too. It seems impractical."
"It could be helpful I suppose. I haven't submitted my operational suggestions to the UN security council yet."
"We've never deployed these kinds of soldiers before. We don't even have decent terminology for them. You people call them monsters as a whole, but they aren't completely human. They won't act like infantry, drones or any other military outfit I compare them to." I said.
"YOu havE BEEn learnINg thEM THen toO." Hecate suggested. I nodded at the holo of the old woman the AI used.
"Of course. I've been prepping a series of Daemons to command them. Even then, no one knows what their total capabilities are. The monsters have never certainly pushed themselves or their abilities." I said. "This is a new form of warfare, and I've been improvising since I got here."
"Even that thing with making them repeat the same event over and over?" Nicky asked.
"You mean the groundhog test?" I smiled. "That sort of thing tells to get people learning fast."
"What do groundhogs have to do with it?"
"Oh." I paused. "Two words. Bill. Murray."
"Now you are just confusing me more."
"SOMe peOPLE can't BE HElped." Hecate told me. "NICky, it is a claSSIC ComeDY. CUte, one MIGht sAY."
I blinked. "The super-intelligent AI knows about 90s movies. I didn't expect that."
"Not everyone has seen everything." Nicky said. "Major, it looks like things are ready for the transit."
"Good. Set it to Nubia. We'll start transiting them in fifteen minutes. You have the coordinates?" I asked.
"Of course. Setting them in." Nicky waved her fingers in the air above a Circle. Lines glowed and flowed in a holo as she did. She set the transit up, messaging the monsters to enter the site in sets of threes.
Her hand hovered over the holo of the activation. All Nicky had to do was wave her hand through the red transparent light, and we'd begin the in-field training. She never did.
Instead, the window looking out to the monsters cracked and shattered. Glowing energy motes clung to the pieces, as a an arm reached through the opening she'd punched through. An arm of one of the monsters. It moved lightning fast.
Nicky had her back to the window. The arm and fist snapped into her. She tumbled away, flying into the wall across from the window.
"What?!" I screamed and moved toward Nicky. I should have gotten some sort of weapon. I should have gone to the Circle, and used it to Conjure something from the printers in the room.
Instead I did what I always did. I ran after the body. Nicky's body had slumped down against the wall she had hit.
@Charlie: @Nasr_Muntaqim, stand back from her. She's not what you think.
Nicky still had a pulse. I gazed up at the arm that had thrown her. The massive hand of one of Miri's monsters. At the end of that far too long arm, I saw Charlie's short black hair.
@Charlie: @Nasr_Muntaqim Its... it's not what you think it is.
"Charlie... How did you-" I paused in thought. The glowing motes from before. Whiskey had helped her weaken the glass and carbon fibers, enough that Charlie could punch through it in one blow. A part of my rage took a second seat to my fear.
Charlie could manipulate dreamspaces. But Whiskey could create and alter materials quickly. If the two of them were working together, that could be worse.
Nicky stirred. Charlie reached out for her. I dragged Nicky away from her.
@Charlie: Look at her ARM!
A sharp pain. Then my left arm felt hot and wet. I looked at it. Something black had pierced my left forearm. Blood splurted from it.
"Too late." Nicky's voice sounded digitized. She slid up. Black coating covered her arms. Nanosheath.
I blinked. "Nano... sheath..."
Nicky hissed at me. Her eyes were bleeding. I fell back. I stumbled back toward the Circle. I needed a weapon, something to help fight her off.
Nanosheath. Of course I panicked. Pygmalion had invested and designed it as a form of armor for soldiers in the field. It would create carbon fibers as an extension of the soldier's body.
The coating would keep the enemy's slime from infecting a subject. Even better, it would provide laser sharp and organic weapons that could function in almost all situations. The Enemy could create zones that prevent electronics from functioning for long periods.
The problem had to do with where the carbon fibers came from. Materials came from the wearer. The coating took from bone, flesh and blood. It could do amazing things. But it would cost your life. The by-products of creating an carbon sheath stronger than steel left toxins. No soldier had lived longer than a few days after using it.
We had used in the field. All the time. At the battle of Fuegos we'd lost more soldiers to the Stheath than the Enemy. They were called the Berserkers.
@Charlie: She reprogrammed the Transit.
I looked at Nicky. She blended into the surrounding around her. I put myself next to the Circle. But I tried to keep an eye out for her.
I tapped the Circle that Nicky had been about to activate. I looked at it. It took a moment for my BrainSys to understand it.
A transit point to the sun.
"You have got to be-" Lights flickered out above me. "Alright. Charlie, please remove your fist from this room."
@Charlie: You sure?
"Charlie, I can deal with Nicky." I thought about it for a minute. "You'll be more help not being in my way."
@Whiskey: C, move! Did you get her?
"Ok." I said. "Quiet for a moment. Charlie, good job."
@Whiskey: quiet? something went quiet?
I accessed a part of my BrainSys I'd left alone for awhile. It had been there ever since Haven. A reminder of everything I'd lost. My faith at least had kept my spirit up. Memories had faded.
#InTransitMonsters part 18. My #FirstDraft continues. Technology as messiah, not main evil. This one will feel a bit out of place, I think. Or maybe it'll work.
I might continue skipping to parts like this that feel like they kick the plot more forward. I want to give Nasr a flashback too.
Thanks for reading!