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Author Topic: Exile in Syberia  (Read 11143 times)

ckosacranoid

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #30 on: 08 February 2018, 15:59:38 »
Nice to see that this is not dead. We need something very funny to keep Herb and his cats from taking over the world.
Please keep writing this very neat and weird peice. Who knows what might be under the hidden bunkers you talk about and our downloaded freind would know what it is....

Maingunnery

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #31 on: 08 February 2018, 16:55:00 »
Nope, story's not dead.  Currently working on the next part, and a thought occurs to me:  anyone think there might still be legacy BattleMechs that aren't necessarily AI-driven, or perhaps ones that were, squirreled away somewhere on Syberia?  I'm wondering what the odds are of finding older, canon designs in buried bunkers, for example.
I imagine that there would have been quite a few failed attempts, but you would likely have to reinstall the cockpit.
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Wrangler

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #32 on: 09 February 2018, 10:45:54 »
Nope, story's not dead.  Currently working on the next part, and a thought occurs to me:  anyone think there might still be legacy BattleMechs that aren't necessarily AI-driven, or perhaps ones that were, squirreled away somewhere on Syberia?  I'm wondering what the odds are of finding older, canon designs in buried bunkers, for example.
Failed? Like mobile structure that transforms from a mobile Fortress into Fortress Maximus like machine?  I'd love that.
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Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #33 on: 09 February 2018, 21:47:05 »
Failed? Like mobile structure that transforms from a mobile Fortress into Fortress Maximus like machine?  I'd love that.

Per Welcome to the Nebula California, Emplacement AutoMechs can be up to 200 tons, using 10% of their mass for their conversion equipment.  They'd be like standard buildings, though, in that only infantry can enter the building, and they block LOS for their hex.  So, that's entirely possible to do.

That said, I was thinking more along the lines of standard canon BattleMechs that might have been buried when humans were wiped out, like old Wasps, Stingers, etc., or even Shadow Hawk LAMs, which I would see as the progenitors of the convertible AutoMechs, being the only canon bimodal LAMs around (I don't think the AutoMechs are truly canon).
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HABeas2

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #34 on: 10 February 2018, 13:04:00 »
I think it would be a stretch; after centuries, I'd imagined the Syberian AutoMechs largely reprocessed any 'Mechs they came across, but then again, your story makes the protagonist a new discovery.

Shad LAMs were supposed to be very limited in number and deployment, being quickly replaced by the standard LAMs. A few standard 'Mechs, hidden in old caches, might have been possible, but I don't imagine many. I don't recall imagining Syberia as a military base.

- Herb

Wrangler

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #35 on: 12 February 2018, 00:18:33 »
Well, a Fortress Maximus-like non-transforming Mobile Structure could have be made that single automech would be the controller of just mobile fortress for defense purposes, while mech itself transformer used either scout or provide direct defense.

I well remember the original Transformers animation series had non-transformable (low IQ) Drones that was slaved to Shockwave on nearly-dead Cybertron. I would think maybe that Syberian Mechs would end up converting conventional BattleMechs into such drones as disposable warriors to safe guard their intelligent AutoMechs or Decepticons. etc.
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Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #36 on: 25 February 2018, 23:57:45 »
I think it would be a stretch; after centuries, I'd imagined the Syberian AutoMechs largely reprocessed any 'Mechs they came across, but then again, your story makes the protagonist a new discovery.

Shad LAMs were supposed to be very limited in number and deployment, being quickly replaced by the standard LAMs. A few standard 'Mechs, hidden in old caches, might have been possible, but I don't imagine many. I don't recall imagining Syberia as a military base.

- Herb

Yeah, I was figuring there probably wouldn't be much left behind, and expected that most of it would be in rediscovered old bunkers like my SI here was found in.

One of the things I'm looking to explore here is what happens when your sense of self ends up, by circumstances, more malleable than it is for us in real life.  Going from being human to being an AutoMech is one major change.  But Groundwave isn't a combat expert, will most likely get shot up at some point, and could well find himself getting his CPUs transferred into another body, and I was exploring the options for bodies that could hold comparable amounts of comm equipment.
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HABeas2

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #37 on: 26 February 2018, 15:05:08 »
One of the things I'm looking to explore here is what happens when your sense of self ends up, by circumstances, more malleable than it is for us in real life.  Going from being human to being an AutoMech is one major change.  But Groundwave isn't a combat expert, will most likely get shot up at some point, and could well find himself getting his CPUs transferred into another body, and I was exploring the options for bodies that could hold comparable amounts of comm equipment.

The beauty of these guys is that they can make pretty much any body or modifications they need. the examples given in the book are some of their favorite chassis types--the ones you'd see as "redecos" or "minor retools" of more prominent AutoMech models. Groundwave could easily find himself in one of those bodies, perhaps with whatever old components of his they could salvage ported over, to maintain his functionality. Naturally, to the AutoMechs, this is perfectly normal, while to him... it's like going through the trauma of waking up one day as a BattleMech (again).

- Herb

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #38 on: 26 February 2018, 19:29:35 »
The beauty of these guys is that they can make pretty much any body or modifications they need. the examples given in the book are some of their favorite chassis types--the ones you'd see as "redecos" or "minor retools" of more prominent AutoMech models.

OK, that's a great deal more manufacturing capability and flexibility than I realized they had.  I mean, I knew they had to hae a great deal, but I wasn't clear on how widespread variations to their basic designs were.

Quote
Groundwave could easily find himself in one of those bodies, perhaps with whatever old components of his they could salvage ported over, to maintain his functionality. Naturally, to the AutoMechs, this is perfectly normal, while to him... it's like going through the trauma of waking up one day as a BattleMech (again).

- Herb

Pretty much exactly what I was thinking, actually.  And another one of my inspirations for this was an old picture of an Unseen Stinger sitting on a rock like The Thinker from the old Stardate Magazine (I'd post a pic but, again, Unseen - the rules may have been lifted, but why give the Not-Named Company more ammo?)  The pic I'm thinking of is here, though.
« Last Edit: 26 February 2018, 19:38:42 by Giovanni Blasini »
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HABeas2

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #39 on: 27 February 2018, 00:34:04 »
OK, that's a great deal more manufacturing capability and flexibility than I realized they had.  I mean, I knew they had to hae a great deal, but I wasn't clear on how widespread variations to their basic designs were.

They probably have some strict rules on how many of them are built, just to avoid a runaway army production, but a new chassis for a crippled comrade would fall under repair and salvage in their synthetic semi-minds. As ever, the production rate and capabilities are as good or bad as your plot demands.

Quote
Pretty much exactly what I was thinking, actually.  And another one of my inspirations for this was an old picture of an Unseen Stinger sitting on a rock like The Thinker from the old Stardate Magazine (I'd post a pic but, again, Unseen - the rules may have been lifted, but why give the Not-Named Company more ammo?)  The pic I'm thinking of is here, though.

heh. That's no rock it's sitting on.

- Herb

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #40 on: 27 February 2018, 01:15:24 »
Yep, misremembered.

And I've debated between whether it'd be funnier to end up in a slow 40-ton VTOL AutoMech (something like a cross between Windblade, a Karnov and a Tonbo) or a Bestial AutoMech (though one bipedal in both modes like my current fav is giving me kittens).
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HABeas2

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #41 on: 28 February 2018, 17:35:59 »
Ah, but remember: We know where Grimdark is in Nebula California!

He's on Toreel.

- Herb

DOC_Agren

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #42 on: 28 February 2018, 19:39:12 »
Ah, but remember: We know where Grimdark is in Nebula California!

He's on Toreel.

- Herb
Really????  did I miss that
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Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #43 on: 28 February 2018, 20:28:21 »
Really????  did I miss that

Reread the opening fiction to Welcome to the Nebula California, before the Toreel entry. :)
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HABeas2

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #44 on: 28 February 2018, 20:56:26 »
Yup. He killed a Bean.

- Herb

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #45 on: 29 April 2018, 13:10:38 »
Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-0107C-J
Date <Error – Check CMOS>, Log Entry 4



Getting dragged around by Glyph to examine the remains of the base, and how much I knew about it, quickly taught me a valuable lesson: being used as a potentially valuable historical reference probably doesn’t work well if you have no idea what's going on, and can’t be sure the snippets you do know are even valid.

I still had no idea how I had gotten here. Well, I knew I was somewhere on Syberia, in the California Nebula, and that trying to reach the Inner Sphere, or even a human civilization, was probably a hopeless endeavor.  I still had no idea, for that matter, how I found myself wearing the mutant body of a Thunderbolt BattleMech with the markings of the Terran Hegemony instead of my own human flesh and blood.  Nor did I have any idea how much of my own memory I could trust. Yes, I remembered being human, but my memory had also been obviously tampered with.

Beyond that, I didn’t exactly have a handy map of Syberia, or even the bunker/fortress/whatever where I'd been found.  It wasn’t like I’d be able to tell my new hosts how I got there or, more importantly from their perspective, how they and the rest of Syberia got there. This body of mine getting buried before the more recent AutoMech factions formed would explain why I didn’t wear their logos, but why was I wearing the symbol of the Terran Hegemony instead of the Cameron Star of the later Star League Defense Force that replaced it?  Transforming BattleMechs were a technology of the Star League Era, after the SLDF had absorbed the Hegemony Armed Forces.

OK, the Terran Hegemony thing could be explained a number of ways. There could’ve been some weird dissident movement in the Hegemony who thought the Star League thing wasn’t working out.  Or, it could be just a Star League colonization effort, pulling crap out of storage for some wild ass colonization trip into the middle of nowhere, something they did often enough.

But that would make the most sense if I was actually a Thunderbolt.  Thunderbolts didn’t transform, though. Not only were they not built for that, at 65 tons, they were supposed to be too big and heavy to do that. So, later, presumably Syberian, construction. Hence, mystery again.

I could have pictured Jonathan Cameron, who ruled the Star League in the early 28th Century, being the driving force behind Syberia.  He was nuts enough, had pushed for autonomous drone WarShips, and was generally his own special kind of paranoid – hadn’t he been rumored to have ordered construction of an automated Newgrange class yardship with its own onboard factories?

There was also the matter of how I got here in the first place.  Or if I really was here in the first place, rather than this being the product of a malfunctioning brain.

Because it was only a malfunctioning brain that would have dreamed up someone like Glyph.

“With the amount of time you presumably spent in this base,” my current source of irritation said, “how can you not know anything about it?”

I so badly wanted to shake my head. “Remember that panic attack I just had after you three woke me up? That’s the first time I ever remember seeing this place.”

Spanner, who’d been following me like my old physical therapist, as if he expected me to fall over any moment, chimed in, as confused, but less frustrated-sounding than Glyph. “But, you just indicated to us that you possessed historical knowledge of our predecessors, the Terran Hegemony and the Star League. While I understand that you recall being human prior to your recent reactivation, rather than an AutoMech, do you not remember this facility at all?”

Telling them that I remember being an early 21st Century human and their entire reality being fiction for a game seemed…inadvisable.  Time to stretch the truth a bit, or at least omit the gorier details.  “I don't remember ever being here before. When I said I remember being human, it didn’t involve any of…this.”  I waved around us with my ridiculous robogorilla arms.  “I lived the life of a civilian on Terra.  No involvement with BattleMechs, or spaceflight, the military, or anything else that would involve *here*”

“And yet you know about our planet, Syberia,” Glyph smugly pointed out.

Primus Optimal, who had become slightly separated from us as we explored, stopped what he was doing, and instead stared at me with great intensity, which was impressive for a giant robot with limited facial features.

“That is also quite true,” I said quietly.

“How?” Primus rumbled.

Well, if I wanted to sound less crazy, I sure as hell blew that plan out of the water.  “I'd love to able to explain it in a way that makes sense,” I said, “but we're way past that point.  Give me a moment to think of how to explain this in a way that sounds least impossible. Hell, maybe it'll help me figure out what's going on.”

I hadn't really had time yet to think much about the how or why I ended up here, or who done the deed.  For that matter, I’d barely had time to begin to take in what had been done to me.  If I ever wanted to see home again, who, how and why were critically important questions, but if I wanted to survive long enough to get there, what had been done, what I was now, was probably more important.

It was time to really think about it all, though, even if briefly.  I started with the assumption that I was who I remembered myself to be, flawed, hacked memory notwithstanding.  The alternative, that I’d never been human, wasn't something I was prepared to accept.

If I had once been human, but was now an intelligent machine that thought like and remembered being that human, that meant my neural state had to have been copied.  At the moment, it didn't matter if that brain scan had been destructive or not: this copy of me here existed.

Turning me into an infomorph presented a number of options on how I could have ended up here.  I wasn't a big fan of the Random Omniscient Being idea, but a sufficiently advanced being could have done an imitation, and found a way to transmit information between universes.  The simulation hypothesis, either small or large, seemed more likely.

On the large side, maybe those that theorized the universe was a simulation were right.  On the small side, maybe it wasn't the entire universe, but just mine, so to speak: I and others could have been injected as characters in some kind of game, set on Syberia.  That seemed to be the most likely answer: a flesh and blood version of me had injected a copy of himself at a younger age (because the Earth I remember could never pull this off) into some complicated Battletech game. I have no idea why Original Me would choose Syberia over Niops, or why he would separate me from my family, but right now it seemed like the best answer I had.  Now I just needed to explain it.

“AutoMechs are capable of being moved between bodies, correct, as long as the computers your minds run on are intact?”

“Yes, that is correct,” Spanner agreed.

“Is the process simply a transfer of software, or is hardware involved?  Can you make exact duplicates of your mental states?”

“In theory, though generally we reuse hardware if possible. I do not recall a case of software-only transfers, and our own directives prohibit direct forks without some randomization where both AutoMech personality instances remain online.”

“OK,” I continued, “you’ve already stated you don’t have much recorded history of the Star League, and you don’t have any recorded history of humans having their minds mapped and scanned into AutoMechs, but have heard of research into mind uploads. Here’s the thing, though: humanity has been working on computer emulation of human brain structures and neural mapping as far back as the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The Terran Hegemony also made advances in both artificial intelligence and neural network computing. Spanner already established I use neural networking more than a standard AutoMech, and ‘personality core’ and memory is set up differently, right?”

“We are aware that you stated you were once human  and agree its plausibke,” Primus Optimal agreed. “But knowledge of Syberia for someone who had not been here or previously have any knowledge of our world is anomalous, and not explained by this premise.”

“Right,” I said, “but the second part of my panic attack and existential crisis was that my memory has been altered. There’s a block in place around my old name. I can remember that I had one. I can tell you what a my first name meant in ancient Greek, and that it was associated with the captain of the Argo. I can’t tell you what it is. And I suspect that if you said it to me, something in my brain would filter it out.”

Glyph nodded.  “Some record of the ancient Greek myths survived, actually. Is your name <redacted>?”

“Yeah, see, you said a word there. Something filtered it out. All I heard was static. But that goes to my point. My memory has been modified, and there are things I’m blocked from knowing. But there are things I do know. About Syberia. About the state of the Inner Sphere. Tell me, you said everything before 2830 is pretty much lost, and that was roughly two centuries ago, right? ”

Glyph and Primus Optimal stopped and looked at one another. “Yes,” Primus replied.

“OK, so I know things. Things that already happened. Things that might happen.  And, yes, a little about Syberia.  But most of what I know is about the Inner Sphere, and my knowledge of Syberia is limited to what at team of humans from Interstellar Expeditions discovers when they briefly visit Syberia and meet you.”

Primus Optimal shook his head.  “No such team has visited Syberia, Groundwave.”

I raised one figure. “Yet.  Maybe not ever.”

“Then how could you know the future?” Glyph asked.

“I know *a* future.  Maybe it will come to pass.  Probably it won’t, at this point, at least not entirely.  How do I know?  Once my mind got scanned, it ceased to be physical. It became purely information. Information can be transmitted, copied.  Maybe even between parallel universes, originating in one where that information was available .”

The three AutoMechs simply stared at each other for several seconds, before Glyph said, “Citations needed.”
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Wrangler

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #46 on: 29 April 2018, 16:56:22 »
Yay update!!  Clever conversation with our hero.
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Intermittent_Coherence

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #47 on: 04 May 2018, 06:43:43 »
Such a long explanation. And unnecessary too.
He could have just gone with, "we've already established that my memory is patchy in places. Knowledge of this planet does not automatically translate into detailed knowledge of this facility."

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #48 on: 04 February 2019, 22:47:50 »
Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-0107C-J
Date 3018-06-11 11:35:23, Log Entry 5


An old book I once read said, ”I want you to think about Christ on the cross.”

No, I’m not getting religious on you.  It's a quote from a sci-fi book I read back in what I remember to be my old life, where humans were dumb enough to recreate one of their offshoot subspecies, one that was inherently sociopathic, only borderline self-aware, lacked certain abilities to metabolize certain things, resulting in them being inherently cannibalistic, and generally smarter than normal baseline humans.  Vampires, in other words.  The quote referenced the fatal flaw that drove them extinct: a glitch that, combined with their heightened spatial awareness, caused them to have seizures when there were too many right angles in their field of vision.

Depending on who you are, you may be asking me now, “Groundwave, what the crap does that have to do with getting turned into a 60-ton self-aware transforming BattleMech?”

It's the “self-aware” part of that I was thinking of.  The book and its sequel deeply explored the nature of consciousness, self-awareness, free will, and intelligence.

My mind had, obviously, been hacked.  Let's just set aside the fact that I'm still unable to remember my own real name, dammit.  Either somebody with the power to do so went through the trouble of copying my original brain, transporting it to a different freaking universe, playing marbles with it, and then shoving it into my cursed metal body.

Alternatively, somebody was a big enough ****** to create an artificial intelligence that believed he was human, had the memories of being human, remembered this particular universe as fiction and a game, and then was woken up one day to find out that, surprise, it was all a damned lie.

The third corollary was that none of this was actually real, that my original self existed, that this universe was a simulation, and that I was just a software copy.

Honestly, I'm not sure which frightened me more: phenomenal cosmic power, human cruelty, or even just indifference.  All of it left me wondering whether I really was as conscious as I think I am, how self-aware my new acquaintances are, and the big question: what the hell am I doing here?

If thing stick to the way I remember reading about the California Nebula, I may well be stuck here.  The natives, supposedly, don't remember that Kearny-Fuchida hyperspace jump drives, this universe’s method of FTL travel, were even possible.  Routine communications between worlds just didn't generally happen.  And without discovering an actual JumpShip or data copies of how they work, I wasn't going to be traveling anywhere very fast.

Even with a JumpShip, I may find the nebula open to me, but like the song said, “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”   Should the Interstellar Expeditions group still find themselves here in, what, 80 years or so, they'll get stuck, above to jump around the California Nebula, but stymied time and again in a myriad of different ways any time they try jumping out of it. 

Slowboat sublight travel to other worlds might be possible within a reasonable timeframe with a properly-equipped ship.  But I was roughly a thousand light-years from Earth, which meant that, even at near light speed, I wasn't going to be returning to the mainline established Battletech universe in any of the known timeframes written about.

I'm trying to plan my best, middle and worst-case scenarios.  The best case msy finding a JumpShip, slowboating it out of the edge of the nebula, then resuming hyperspace jumps back to the Inner Sphere once I'm clear.  What I'd do next depends on when I’d get there, but I would have plenty of time to worry about that.

If the best I can hope for is to remain within the California Nebula, or even a thousand year flight to the Inner Sphere, then I'm not sure of it's worth leaving Syberia.  Here, at least, is the infrastructure I'd need to keep a ‘Mech body running, without making myself the target of a bunch of Galactic Empire wannabes, or ending up in a bad Marvel vs. DC parody planet, both of which existed in the California Nebula, along with a D&D parody where magic, purportedly, existed.

Though, hey, I suppose becoming a high level AutoMech wizard may be the solution to my problems.

The first order of business, though, was my immediate survival here on Syberia.  Food wasn't exactly an issue, per se, and any hydrogen fuel I may eventually need to top off my fusion reactor was nearly irrelevant, because BattleMech fusion reactors were their own kind of sparkly magic.  That might be an issue a decade from now, but not much of one, and not today.

Shelter takes on a different meaning when you're a 60-ton all-weather war machine.  In theory I wouldn't rust, at least not much, or quickly, but you need only restore one classic car that was described as “running when parked” when you bought it to never want to do it again.  Having my own body rust?  No thank you.  I remember my knees being bad enough as a 45 year old human.

Spare parts and repairs?  Yeah, I had no idea how their economic system worked here on Syberia.  They had some form of politics and nation states, though, and built combat AutoMechs to a different standard than non-combat ones, which were often IndustrialMechs, as I recall.  That implied some degree of resource scarcity, which meant they had some form of economics.  This dig into an old Terran Hegemony base could be equal parts archaeology and salvage operation, for that matter.

So I set aside my more philosophical concerns in favor of more immediate needs, and with the help of my friendly neighborhood AutoMechs, I was able to get a better feel for when I was, and how to set my internal clock accordingly, as well as to begin to learn what I'd need to know to get by here.  While they have, for now, let my claims about my origins rest unproven, it’s not all been sunshine and rainbow puppies with them, though I've begun to get a better feel for why they went through the trouble of reactivating me in a body that sat dormant and inoperable for hundreds of years.

“So, wait a minute,” I asked Primus Optimal, “you’ve dug up an old base belonging to the Terran Hegemony, and you’re surprised it’s not recognizing your IFF codes?  You’re lucky there aren’t automated defense systems to shoot at you!”

Glyph spoke up in place of her leader, however.  “To date, low-priority outposts such as this one do not appear to have been high enough in priority to install automated defense systems of that nature.  However, you are also the first AutoMech we have located in such a facility that we have been able to restore to functionality.

“Wait, ‘functionality’.  You’ve encountered nonfunctional ones?”

“Not precisely,” Glyph replied.  “We’ve generally found either ‘Mech parts, or occasionally entire BattleMechs still configured for human piloting.”

“Finding you here and restoring you to an operational state has been highly fortuitous,” Primus Optimal rumbled.  “This facility will most likely recognize your IFF transponder and allow you access that we would otherwise be blocked from directly accessing, making reclaiming it for the Autonomous Barony of Primus much more straightforward than we would otherwise be able to do.”

“Hold on there, Primus,” I said, turning to him.  “Who said this outpost was yours?  Far as I’m concerned, it’s my island.”

Primus paused before responding.  “We are not on an island.”

“Whatever,” I replied, brushing off his comments with a gesture.  “The principle is the same.  This is a Terran Hegemony facility, right?”

“Correct,” he rumbled.

“Then assuming my IFF codes do hold the keys, it would sound like this base is mine, not yours.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm probably willing to come to an arrangement to share it.  But I'm not actually a member of your barony, and neither, technically, is this outpost your territory, and I still know nothing of your politics, or your economics, who your allies are, or who your enemies are.  And, you do have enemies, don’t you?  These weapons aren’t for decoration, and I’m guessing yours aren’t, either, are they?”

“No, they are not,” Primus agreed.  “Our primary enemy is the Democratic Industrial Conglomorate, led by the ruthless MechaTankus, who maintains his leadership through threats of violence.  He seeks to dominate all of Syberia if he can, though the balance of force between our faction and the DemoCons is such that they generally limit their activity to low-intensity raiding.  This outpost is distant enough from both DemoCon and AutoBoP primary territories to make attacks less likely, though now that we have rediscovered it, it is certainly within the realm of possibility.  While this might be your primary base of operations, your ability to protect this facility alone is limited.  You will need our help.”

While I knew about the DemoCons from the old April Fool’s sourcebook, the reminder that they weren’t just an abstract opponent, but actually out there somewhere was helpful.  I sighed and continued to make my point to Primus and the other AutoBops.  “That’s kind of why I mentioned coming to an arrangement, and also brings me to my next point.  I get that I’m kitted out for communications, but I don’t know what that means in terms of what you’re expecting I’m going to do for you, or for anyone else.  I’ve got fifteen percent of my mass devoted to a transformation system of dubious value, since I don’t know how useful turning into a wheeled vehicle’s really going to be for me.  I’ve got another ten percent devoted to communications equipment, since that’s what this particular chassis was presumably built for.  I’ve got weaponry little better than a ‘Mech half my size, and while I’ve got jump jets, evidently, to my knowledge, I’ve never used them, or any of these fancy weapons I’m carrying.”

I had to suspect Primus Optimal had been around longer than the others here.  For one thing, he did a better job of mimicking human mannerisms.  I could swear he actively looked and sounded sympathetic.  “I can understand that.  At present, I intend to maintain a full lance of AutoMechs here, in addition to you, to provide security, and request that you work to recover data from this facility, to unlock what was lost from our history, as well as other useful data.  We can determine the distribution of any additional useful hardware that is discovered as well.”

“Additional hardware?”  I asked, intrigued.

Glyph replied this time, and I swear, I could feel the smug radiating off her.  “Most likely.  This is, after all, only the first level of the facility that we have explored.  Despite your memory gaps, with your assistance, we should be able to reach the lower levels, and determine if there are additional resources, in terms of BattleMechs, parts and ammunition supplies, that may prove useful.”

Holy crap. ”Are we all just sitting on top of an actual Terran Hegemony cache?” I thought, then realized I’d said that out loud.

“Possibly, Groundwave,” Primus said in agreement.  “As I mentioned, we have found caches of supplies and parts before, and it is likely that this is another one.  It is entirely possible that there could be numerous BattleMechs here, enough, in theory, for you to form your own small faction, much like our allies, the Dynamic Barony of Grim, though you would most likely be limited to converting less advanced, non-transforming BattleMechs to AutoMechs.”

My own “faction”.  That wasn’t something I’d even considered.  That could easily bind me to this world, in ways I probably wouldn’t want to be bound, especially if I ended up finding that there was, in fact, a way home, back to the life I remember.  If it wasn’t, though, it could be potentially helpful long-term, depending on what else I found here on Syberia.  I wasn’t even going to ask what could possibly go wrong, though, because there were so many things, but, I may also be able to cover my own weaknesses here, such as a lack of knowledge of Syberia itself, and my weak technical, engineering or combat skills compared to those around me.

“Okay,” I finally replied, “let’s worry about that when we come to it, and for now just worry about holding onto this base and finding out what’s really here.  Where do we get started?”
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #49 on: 04 February 2019, 23:02:01 »
Yeah, parts of that have been written for something like six or seven months.  And I couldn't get it to work at all in my head, just beating my head against the desk time and time again, going nowhere.  Then I realized what the issue was: it was too much of a jump from the last part.  Then I got thinking about some of the things I wanted to explore again, ended up restumbling upon the Firefall series by Peter Watts in my Kindle app, spent some time thinking about that, and wrote another 1800 words overnight.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

XaosGorilla

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #50 on: 05 February 2019, 02:39:37 »
Well, good to see you found a way forward.

ckosacranoid

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #51 on: 05 February 2019, 15:15:28 »
nice to see an update and something new from this. nice update.

Wrangler

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #52 on: 05 February 2019, 20:50:49 »
Looking forward to to the next entry.
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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #53 on: 24 March 2019, 09:27:49 »
Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-0107C-J
Date 3018-06-21 13:00:41, Log Entry 6


Once upon a time, I was large for a human.  I don't just mean tall though I was that, too.  I'd always been tall, but I was stick thin until my adulthood, when I finally finished growing taller, and my physique went from "Beanpole" (an actual nickname of mine) to "Wookie", or "Yeti", or even the occasional "don't mess with sasquatch."  And while I was not the epitome of martial prowess, I had enough skill and ability to protect myself, and enough of an intimidating presence when needed not to have to -- enough, in fact, to make armed muggers run.

Despite being just over five times my previous height, and 400 times as massive, I wasn't exactly feeling particularly large or intimidating these days, even with the much-bigger Primus Optimal off doing whatever it is he does when he's not checking out newly-discovered and partially-excavated firebases.

Between efforts to excavate the firebase the AutoBoPs found me in, every day, for at least one hour, Glyph put me through impromptu combat practice.  Now, Glyph was an amazing shot.  I'm really not.  I still can't get the hang of waving around the giant ass laser mounted on my right arm, and the popgun small lasers on my torso require me to twist my torso around in an unnatural fashion to traverse a field of fire, as they had limited ability to move on their own.  It was a heavily unnatural thing for a former human to be doing, and I just wasn't comfortable enough in my new metal skin to get the hang of it yet. 

Let me give you an example of how my training has been going.  After spending time failing to hit static targets, Glyph has me do practice fights against her, or against Spanner.  AutoMechs have a base skillset when they first go online, but their AIs are a learning artificial intelligences, getting better with actual practice and experience.  That said, they didn't suck as bad as I did, but they weren’t exactly walking off the assembly line able to outshoot Natasha Kerensky.

Me?  I find it hard to keep my arm steady enough to land a hit on a fast-moving Glyph, or slew my torso enough to get my small lasers on target, even against Spanner, who's a lot slower than Glyph.

So, trying to gun down Glyph is an exercise in frustration and fail.  She's faster than I am, far nimbler, and skilled and aware enough to predict the fluctuations in my own movements to move just enough that by the time I've realized I've drawn bead on her and fire, I'm gonna miss.  She's the ultimate light 'Mech that hounds a wayward heavy to death.

Spanner isn't like that.  He isn't as skilled as Glyph, but he still has me beat.  Unlike Glyph, he's also willing to get in close.  Spanner carries comparable armor to me, evidently, but he has a couple other advantages: like Glyph, his large laser is extended range, and his backup weapon is a 6-tube short-range missile launcher, with triple the range and double the potential damage output of my two small lasers. So, yeah, better at longer range, and at short range than me.

Did I mention that they both had double heat sinks to my singles?  So unfair.

So, yeah, because Spanner can soak a hit on the rare occasion I connect, and can hit much harder than me, the medic/mechanic of the group could also kick my ass.
Physical combat training, which we also practiced, was embarrassing, as I kept trying to adopt poorly-remembered Aikido techniques to a body I was poorly adapted to, and less flexible to boot, resulting in a lot of embarrassment and the occasional fall.  Luckily, I kept those to a minimum, and remembered enough to keep from really hurting myself.

I found the whole process exhausting.

Oh yeah, that's another thing.  My brain was still human enough to need sleep, even if it wasn't very good at it.  My AutoMech compatriots found this confusing and alarming, since AutoMechs had no need to sleep, because of course they didn't, that would be silly.  If I had any doubts the being who scooped or copied me out of my own body was anything but omnipotent, that would have cured me of them.

So I'm a pathetic shot, still needed to spend hours per day asleep and vulnerable, and Spanner still keeps looking at me as if he's trying to decide whether I represent something miraculous or deeply in need of repair. 

If a pack of raging DemoComs attacked my new home tomorrow, I'd be hard-pressed to hurt them, too, and right now, this little Terran Hegemony outpost is still the best chance I have of figuring out what happened to me, and what I can do about it.

So, as much as I didn't like it, I was still largely dependent upon the goodwill of Primus Optimal and his band of Autobot knockoffs.  And as novel as it might seem to be a giant stompy robot, in addition to being a clumsy giant stompy robot surrounded by other giant stompy robots that weren't at all clumsy, I was exactly the wrong size to try to fix any of the damned computer terminals left behind by the long-dead humans who originally inhabited Syberia.

Were there any positives?

Yes.  My "communications equipment" absolutely rocked.  Don't think of it as just a bunch of radios that'd make amateur radio operators go nuts.  My gear could double as a radio telescope, or satellite uplink, or electronic warfare suite.  It was this gear that was a saving grace in figuring out this outpost, because in my case, "comm gear" also meant hardline and even wireless communications with the damned outpost computers.  Well, the ones that worked, at least.

I may not have mentioned earlier how I actually use all this technology built into my new body. AutoMechs, presumably, don't need a full-on HUD to give them status messages.  I did but, fortunately, whichever punk semi-omnipotent being left me here had a sense of humor and gave me a HUD that was a cross between something out of MechWarrior online (presumably, a standard 'Mech HUD) and Iron Man, minus Jarvis.

Well, I think minus Jarvis.  if I have a Jarvis, or Friday, they haven't talked to me yet directly.  I suspected that this was probably kludged from a Nighthawk XXI powered armor, which didn't fit the supposed timeline for Syberia, but Syberia didn't fit the timeline for Syberia.

So from the standpoint of someone who just might want to hack the planet, I wasn't that bad off.  And while I might not be as durable as I'd like, I was still a 60-ton 'Mech with a sizeable amount of armor to protect me.  And while I might have trouble accessing the terminals themselves, the Terran Hegemony, like the Star League it helped spawn, seemed to be a big believer in big iron when it came to computing, meaning that there was still a giant-ass computer core at the center of the complex.  We weren't there yet, but I had been able to access some of the supporting servers, which was itself, interesting.
-----------------------------------------------

Terra Core release 2482.4.13 (Elizabeth)
Kernel 92.6.2483.4.13.22.15.6 on tty2
Date: 3018-06-19
Time: 18:52:55

FB74A-Mon2 login: root
Password: *******
Incorrect password.

FB74A-Mon2 login: groundwave
Password: ***********
Token Authentication (TDR-1-74-0107C-J) Confirmed

Welcome, Groundwave.
You have new mail.

groundwave@FB74A-Mon2:~$mail
Mail version 92 4/13/2483.  Type ? for help.
"/var/spool/mail/user": 1 message 1 new
>N 1 root@FB74A-Core  Fri 6/19/3018 18:52 "Hello Groundwave"
&1
Message 1:
From root@FB74A-Core Fri June 19, 3018 18:52
-------------------
Subject: Hello Groundwave
---------------

Groundwave,

This message was automatically updated and sent upon your initial connection to one of the network servers here at Firebase 74 Alpha, but it's been waiting for you for a long time.  You undoubtedly have several questions.  This message will not answer all those questions, I'm afraid, but I promise you that there are answers.  I will, however, try to answer what I can in this message, with what I do know:

"What am I?" - Best guess is that you are what you appear to be at first glance: a virtualized copy of a human brain and neural state.

"Where did I come from?" - Perhaps not the answer you're looking for, but a robotically-controlled spacecraft bringing supplies to Syberia, which brings us to the next question:

"How did I end up on a robot supply ship bound for Syberia?" - I don't actually have an answer to this, I'm afraid.  We certainly didn't expect you to be on there, in a format compatible with the new AutoMech AI cores we'd begun deploying locally, but never shipped off-world.

"Why can't I remember my real name?" - Sorry, that wasn't us, either. When we first tried activating you, we ran into that issue, too.  Naming you Groundwave and shoving you in one of our early AutoMech chassis was admittedly a kludge, but it was also worked.  If it's any consolation, I suspect the memory of your name is still in there, just locked away, waiting for the right thing to activate it.

"I don't remember this. What happened?" - I know.  That's my fault, and I'm sorry. With that said, you also agreed to it, though I know you don't remember that right now.  That you're accessing the firebase network with none of us around tells me you were right, and the war you saw coming was unavoidable.  That means we failed to stop it, leaving you, our contingency plan, in place.  Knowledge that we don't want either of the main factions that will emerge to have has been locked away as best we can, so they can't find it if our security fails, or even if they switch you to another computer core and body.  Nobody wants an army of giant robots traipsing across the whole damn California Nebula - either they'll crush everyone else underfoot, or they'll give your "Star Empire" a technological boost that lets them crush everyone else underfoot.

Everything in this firebase remains flagged to the Terran Hegemony, and we're one of the few Terran loyalist groups still around, since both they and the Star League should have collaped at the time I'm writing this.  Anything else we successfully hide from the combatants and the AutoMech factions to come will still recognize your Terran Hegemony IFF in general and, hopefully, your personal command codes, though I can't be certain for anything not here in this firebase.

One final reminder: we're setting you up as our ace in the hole, in the hopes that things might be fixable one day, and because you, as an AutoMech yourself, have a chance of surviving the apocalyptic scenario you've described, that appears to finally be coming true.  If you can save Syberia, fine, but if there's nothing here but warring AutoMechs that don't need saving, then save yourself.  Get what answers you can here, then get out if you can.

Good luck, Groundwave.

Major Thaddeus Wescott, THAF
13 October, 2830

------------------------------------------------------------

So, yeah, like I said: interesting.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

ckosacranoid

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #54 on: 27 March 2019, 13:36:54 »
One wild update for sure. Just be the jihad that they speak of or the succession wars. Who knows. 

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #55 on: 30 April 2019, 00:25:41 »
Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-0107C-J
Date 3018-06-21 14:42:27, Log Entry 7


So, yeah...that was a thing.  I’d ended up on Syberia centuries before, though it sounds like a lot of it was spent disabled, in the AI equivalent of a coma, waiting to be reactivated.  But, at one point, I’d been awake, and running around as an AutoMech.

Perhaps more terrifying, I’d obviously met with other humans, ones willing to believe I’d probably once been human.  And I’d told them everything, dammit.  About the Star League collapsing.  About Syberia collapsing.  About the fanatics running the Star Empire.  Presumably about the lunatics running the superhero-populated “Earth”.

The good Major also was very circumspect in his language.  I’d come to realize, looking back through my own journal log entries, that I had mostly been as well.  The very existence of JumpShips, and FTL travel, sounded like something that Major Wescott had wanted to suppress from the two major AutoMech factions, and his reasons sounded pretty solid.  So, no giving them JumpShips.

That said, I suspect I’ll go insane spending the rest of my life here, and I’m not sure there’s anyone who really needs to be “saved” on Syberia anymore.  So I’d probably want out of here, but where could I really go?

If I could figure out how to get a JumpShip out of the California, then the rest of the Battletech universe was open to me.  I had to have come to this conclusion before, though, right?  And I was still here.  Still in the ass-end of space, on Syberia.  I couldn’t imagine that I would’ve settled for just trying to stave off disaster here, if I could’ve also tried to stave off disaster in Inner Sphere, too, and if I’d landed here early enough to do that, then I hadn’t succeeded in making it out of the Nebula.

Why would I have allowed myself to have been shut down for hundreds of years?  How desperate were things two centuries ago that the idea of having me shut down in the hopes of waking up one day like King Arthur to lead Syberia out of darkness or some crap like that seemed like not only a viable plan, but my best option?  Did we have some better plan than “bury me and see if someone dug me out”, or was the plan really that desperate?

Then again, if a JumpShip didn’t work, and the alternative was to slowboat it off-world, maybe that wasn’t so desperate after all.  Leaving Syberia would mean leaving a ready source of parts and maintenance: AutoMechs might not need food and oxygen to survive, but they’re...excuse me, we’re machines, and machines do break.

While I’ve been writing this journal log entry, I got pinged again by Glyph, who found something else she felt I should be aware of, also partially buried away under dirt and rubble in a more damaged section of my “new” home.  Seemed worth preserving that little event as well.  So, leaving the server I’d connected to behind, and walking up to where she was working, I stepped gingerly around debris that she and Spanner had been slowly clearing out, and finally saw it.

It wasn’t a complete ‘Mech, but it was also, unmistakably, an early-model Griffin.  The head was opened up, and the inside gutted, so I couldn’t tell if it had originally mounted a standard cockpit or extra computers like an AutoMech.  Its left arm was gone, its left and center torso a mess, enough so for me to see the shattered tokamak-style reactor inside the chest.  The right side of the chest had looked like it’d been opened up in a more controlled fashion, with parts intentionally stripped away, but its right arm and handheld PPC were still in place.

The rest of the ‘Mech was pretty much gone, looking like it had been amputated by weapons fire at the waist.  However, stenciled on an intact part of the head and chest, though, was, unmistakably, “VeeMech GRF-1-74-0107C-J ‘Groundwave'”.

I guess we knew why the ‘Mech’s head had been gutted.

Glyph turned to look at me. “This could explain why your coordination, accuracy and generally all your physical skills are so terrible.”

“Oh?” I asked, my voice sounding flat to me.

Glyph didn’t seem to notice.  “It’s possible your programming was never updated to properly interface with your current chassis.  If this was your original AutoMech chassis, and your programming is still expecting your configuration to match, your difficulty at doing much beyond walking would certainly make sense.  I question why you were not transferred into another chassis of the same type, or at least a more human-shaped one, if that were the case, however.”

I sat down, somewhat heavily, still staring at my old corpse.  “There probably wasn’t time, or another one on hand.  Throwing me in this chassis was probably a matter of what was on hand, and desparation, based on what Major Wescott had to say.”
“Major Wescott?” Spanner asked, sounding confused.

I gestured absently with my left arm.  “Former base commander.  Last base commander, I suspect.  He sent me an email.”

Glyph looked briefly at Spanner, then back at me.  “An email.”

“Yep.  Seems I’d been active prior to the collapse of human civilization here on Syberia, and he knew me.  Rigged the computers to send me an email when I next logged in.  No idea if he knew it would be this long, though.”

“And you don’t remember this,” Glyph didn’t really ask.

“Nope.  Seems he and I agreed to wipe some of my memories, or at least lock them away.  And he believed that I was indeed a virtualized copy of a human brain, so I’ve got that going for me,” I added.  “Which is nice.”

“When did he record his email?” Spanner asked.

“October 13, 2830.  Right around the time everything went to hell in a handbasket here on Syberia.  Maybe even after everything did.  Might have been his last act.  Maybe we’ll even find out.  Spanner, assume for a moment we found an intact Griffin, or at least enough of one that we could combine it with that wreck and end up with one working ‘Mech out of it, OK?”

“Could I transfer your computer core over into a chassis like this?”

“Exactly what I was wondering.”

Spanner sighed, and poked a bit more at the wreck.  “Believe it or not, the head appears to be intact, and the interfaces for an AutoMech core appear to be as well.  That would certainly improve the odds.  In fact, if Glyph is correct, we’d probably want to make that a priority, since you’d undoubtedly do better in a chassis more like your core is expecting.”

So, new goals:

1.   Find a Griffin chassis to transfer my brain into
2.   Unlock all the stuff that’d been locked away by a long-dead Terran Hegemony major.
3.   Plan an exit strategy.
4.   Figure out why some random omniscient being stuck me here in the first place
5.   ???
6.   Profit!

No problem, right?

"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Wrangler

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #56 on: 30 April 2019, 08:59:11 »
That be bummer if he has to transfer to a non-transformer chassis. Like progress your doing the story overall!
I'm wondering what a battle will be like with the other enemy automechs will be like for him.
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Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #57 on: 30 April 2019, 19:32:22 »
That be bummer if he has to transfer to a non-transformer chassis. Like progress your doing the story overall!
I'm wondering what a battle will be like with the other enemy automechs will be like for him.

Maybe.  But think about it from this perspective for a moment: even if it wasn't painful, wouldn't it feel completely unnatural to contort your body into an unnatural shape in order to change into, say, an aerospace fighter, a large truck, or a series of tubes armored emplacement?
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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #58 on: 30 April 2019, 19:50:52 »
Maybe.  But think about it from this perspective for a moment: even if it wasn't painful, wouldn't it feel completely unnatural to contort your body into an unnatural shape in order to change into, say, an aerospace fighter, a large truck, or a series of tubes armored emplacement?
Well transforming into an armored emplacement makes me thing of going to sleep in a comfy bed.
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Re: Exile in Syberia
« Reply #59 on: 21 July 2020, 02:48:29 »
Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-01107C-J
Date 3018-07-16 12:21:34, Log Entry 8



The first order of business for Operation "What the Hell Am I Doing?" was to continue digging out Firebase 74 Alpha, the outpost I'd been found in.  The AutoBoPs had barely begun to explore the outpost when they'd found me, and had only made limited strides since.  I hadn't been hard to find, practically left just past the entryway, at the end of a short alcove or passage that you went through before you entered the base proper.

It turns out that it was a combination of dumb luck and Glyph's single-minded determination that my little bunker had even been discovered.  Glyph had, a century ago, discovered mention of this outpost in the shipping manifests stored on a computer at another, larger facility, with only the vaguest mention of its location.  It'd taken her this long to find the outer doors, which were semi-recessed into a hillside and disguised.

Part of the problem, I suspected, was that this whole "Firebase 74 Alpha" seemed like it had been kludged together, and as a result had deteriorated over the past couple centuries.  This wasn't one of those classic Star League bases or caches you hear about, where everything's pristine and perfect.  Well, I shouldn't say that - I bet some of the Castles Brian in the Terran Hegemony ended up a little beat up, too, after the Amaris Coup and the First Succession War.

So far, my fellow AutoMechs hadn't needed to do much in the way of digging.  The room, really closer to a small hangar, I'd been found in was completely clear, and a small storage area off of it where my old chassis was had only been partially obscured.  One of the other storage areas had been the source of my terminal, where I was reminded once again at how rusty my UNIX skills are.  Trying to get more information about the layout of the base's network made me want to disembowel myself with a rusty chipmunk.  The good news is somehow I'd managed to figure out how to activate the base wireless network, and get it to connect to my HUD, which was good, and meant I didn't have to be connected via hardline all the time.  The bad news is I hadn't managed to get much farther than that.  I could tell there were other sections of the base but, for some reason, I was still locked out of them.

Beyond the small section we'd managed to uncover, though, Firebase 74 Alpha was a train wreck of collapsed ceilings and walls that led into the rest of the base.  'Mech hands are decent enough for combat engineering work and clearing some debris, but more specialized tools were needed, which we didn't have.  So Glyph had called in some help: a ConstructionMech named Ripley.

Yeah, believe it or not.

Ripley was a lot like Glyph: no-nonsense and, evidently, another archaeologist.  She appeared to be some variation of the CON-series Carbine ConstructionMech, driven by a fusion reactor instead of an ICE engine.  Unlike the rest of us, she couldn't transform, but I don't think she really cared.  She was  intensely focused on three things:

1. Digging out the collapsed passageways to the rest of the base to find out what was on the other side.

2. Not collapsing the ceiling down on top of us while she did this.

3. Finding out everything she could about the Terran Hegemony operations on Syberia.

Also like Glyph, I suspect that I was a great disappointment to Ripley.  In addition to my general ineptitude and my failures to get much out of the base computer, I remembered plenty about the Terran Hegemony, just not about the Hegemony here, which is what Glyph and Ripley were mainly concerned about.  Whatever I learned in my previous incarnation was gone, or locked away, and the book I remember from my universe just didn't go that in-depth, and what I did know about the Hegemony wasn't terribly useful.  I mean, here's an example:

Me: "...so after Simon Cameron died, his son Richard was still a child, and too young to take the throne, so the Council appointed General Kerensky as his regent, to represent his interests, and prepare him for the throne until he was old enough."

Glyph: "What do you mean by too young?"

Me:  "Well, he was a child.  He didn't have the life experience to rule yet, and wasn't considered old enough to make decisions for himself, let alone the Star League.  I mean, he was seven when his dad died.  He had another eleven years before he'd even be considered an adult.  That's why General Kerensky was appointed his regent."

Ripley:  "If General Kerensky was competent to rule in his stead, why did they not simply make General Kerensky the new Director-General and First Lord?"

Me: "Because they were technically hereditary titles, even if they were approved of by the Hegemony's High Council."

Ripley: "But they approved Stefan Amaris as...Emperor, correct?"

Me: "Well, yeah, but that's not First Lord or Director-General, and they didn't want to be shot."

Glyph:  "This is completely illogical."

So, yeah, as far as the Archaeological Duo were concerned, I knew everything about nothing, but nothing about anything important.

The good news is we're close, though.  Ripley expects she'll break through today, at least enough for us to be able to see past the blockage, even if we can't get through yet.  Glyph is out patrolling, and keeping an eye out for another Beetle-class AutoMech by the name of Manx, who's supposed to help guard this outpost.  Meanwhile, I'm taking a break from tilting at UNIX windmills, hanging out near the door, and hoping Ripley breaks through soon, because it would be a hell of a lot better than tangling with those damned computers again.  Nearly anything would be better than trying that again.

I shouldn't have said that.  Should not have said that.

I just heard this on my short-range UHF from Glyph: {"Groundwave, Spanner, deploy immediately.  Manx was spotted, and is being pursued."}

See what I mean?

[End Log Entry 8]
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking