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BattleTech Player Boards => Fan Fiction => Topic started by: Giovanni Blasini on 02 April 2017, 23:42:08

Title: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 02 April 2017, 23:42:08
Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-0107C-J
Date <Error – Check CMOS>, Log Entry 1



I woke up with the distinct sensation my body was all wrong.

I don’t mean in the sense of “my leg feels funny”, or “this stabbing chest pain is all I can think about”, or even “I’m trapped in a body of the wrong gender”.  All of those would be within the range of normal human experience.  This.  This was something different.

For starters, I couldn’t turn my neck.  For that matter, I didn’t have a neck.  Also, my head, or what passed for it, was now embedded in the right side of my chest.  You don’t give your typical human bilateral symmetry with sensory organs and seat of consciousness mounted atop your body in a rotational assembly much thought.  I certainly hadn’t either, before it was gone.

Speaking of legs, those didn’t feel right, either.  Neither did my arms.  The legs felt a bit shorter than they should be, while my arms almost felt gorilla-like in their length.  I’d always been very much on the tall side, but that was in no small part due to the length of my legs.  While I still feel broad-shouldered, if anything, my arms and legs felt close to the same length, which just wasn’t right.  My limbs themselves weren’t numb, exactly, but responded stiffly and felt like they were wrapped up heavily, like wearing a parka and snow pants with heavy boots.

I tried looking down at myself and found that, while I didn’t have a neck, I could still change my field of vision and look around a little bit.  My vision was still fuzzy, but clearing up slowly. Two things immediately stood out: I appeared to have a heads-up display, like I was wearing augmented reality goggles, which made no sense as I owned neither Google’s nor Microsoft’s overpriced experiments.  Oh yeah, and I was made of metal.

“What the hell is going on here?!” So, I could speak out loud. That’s a good thing, I guess.

“Welcome back, Groundwave,” said a familiar-sounding voice.  “Your systems have been offline for a long time.”  The silhouette of a larger, blocky humanoid appeared at the edge of my vision, as I tried to focus on it.  “My name is Primus Optimal, and I am the leader of the Autonomous Barony of Primus.”

Oh. Oh hell no.  “You’re who, now?  Wait, I’m who, now?”  I looked up and around, and, sure enough, in his red and blue glory, there he was.  “Oh, this is bad.  This is very, very bad.”

I stumbled to my feet, and found myself standing about chest-height to Optimus…er, Primus Optimal, or whatever the hell he wanted to call himself.  The room we stood in was covered in dust and dirt and, in one half of the room, looked partially buried.  To the left of Primus stood a blue and white striped robot that looked like it was made, in part, from a sports car, something like a bastardized Porsche 911 meets 928 meets Panamara.  To his right, meanwhile, was a squat-looking, long-armed ‘bot painted red and white, with what looked like a lift hoist slung over its shoulder, and with wheels and tires like you’d see on a large military truck mounted on its forearms and lower legs.  Its right arm also mounted some sort of large gun or cannon, and the bunker-style lookout that passed for its head and, presumably, eyes, was embedded in the side of its torso.  Ever played the game Battletech, or MechWarrior?  Think Thunderbolt, or Thor/Summoner, or…oh ******.

I carefully turned my right arm, to better extend it into my now limited field of view.  Giant-ass tire: check.  Some sort of gun: check.  My weird HUD helpfully explained that it was an 8 cm standard laser, tied into some indecipherable brand and model number communications system.  Using my left hand ever-so-carefully, I felt along my right side, around where I felt my face to be.  It wasn’t the exact same as my mystery bot (‘Mech?), but it was damned similar.

I was on the verge of panic.  Intellectually, I know I should ne feeling that cold shot of adrenalin accompanying the sheer terror of realizing not only what I’d become, but where I was.  This wasn’t Cybertron, and that wasn’t Optimus Prime.  He was a parody written for a joke supplement for my favorite “Game of Armored Combat”, which meant I was now, too, assuming this wasn’t a bad dream, or other bizarre product of my imagination.  For all I knew, I’d had a stroke or something, and this was all the product of a damaged brain.  That seemed a hell of a lot more likely than somehow having my consciousness stuffed into some robotic BattleMech parody of a Transformer in another universe, one I clearly recognized s fictional.  ”This isn’t real,”, I thought to myself.  ”You need to wake up, find your wife, find out whether you’re OK, or of something’s gone horribly wrong with your brain.”

If you’re a human being, and you’ve somehow stumbled upon this journal, you may be asking yourself why I immediately went to “dying of a stroke”, rather than “weird dream”.  It’s because dreams, at least when you’re in them, seemed to me to always be internally consistent.  Your body always feels like your body, and feels like everything is in the right place.  For me, at least, when I was dreaming, I still felt like myself.  Right then, when I woke up from whatever had happened, “myself” was the last thing I felt like.  The sensations were so out of sorts, I couldn’t imagine them coming from a brain and nervous system that were working right.

“Ok, I’m operating off the assumption that something is horribly wrong with me,” I stated out loud.  “Has anyone called my wife, and is she here?”

The three bots looked at one another.  They may not have had much in the way of facial expressions that they were capable of, but their body language certainly seemed to convey confusion.  Finally, Optimal Primus turned back to me, “I do not understand.  A wife is a reference to the human custom of marriage, correct?”

“Um, yeah, it is.” I’d have nodded if I could.

“But, you are not human, Groundwave. How could you therefore be married?”

I sat back down on the ground.  This wasn’t going well.  “I remember being human, Primus Optimal, and being married, and having a son.  What I don’t remember is being, well, this,” I replied, gesturing to myself with my left arm (no sense in waving a giant gun around, right?), “or being ‘Groundwave’.  I’m guessing that’s my name, or designation, or something?”

“That’s correct.  You are a Groundwave-Type Variant Wheeled VeeMech, a model of AutoMech that specializes in short-and-long-range communications.  You are not human.”

"Thank you, Captain Obvious.”  If I hadn’t been afraid of denting the visor that passed for my eyes, I’d have facepalmed at that.  "Obviously I don't appear to be human.  I'm saying I remember being human, and you're not helping me with thinking this isn't a stroke-induced delusion. OK, do you have any records of an AutoMech possessing the uploaded consciousness of a human?"

Primus Optimal shook his head.  "In the centuries since humans last walked among us, there have been no records of that ever occurring.  It is more likely that you are a malfunctioning AutoMech.  Would you submit to examination by VeeMech Spanner?" he asked, gesturing to the squat AutoMech with the lift hoist.

I looked at the three of them again. "Do I have a choice?"

Primus Optimal, I suspect, was trying to make this easy on me.  He crouched down next to me, moving surprisingly gracefully for what must have been a big-ass AI-driven BattleMech.  "If you are malfunctioning," he spoke evenly, "would it not be better to know, and resolve the issue, rather than potentially pose a risk to those around you?"

Dammit.  He made a good point: of this was all the result of a damaged brain translating real life into something bizarre as a result, this could be someone trying to render medical aid.  And, whether I was a human dreaming he was a BattleMech, or a BattleMech dreaming he was human, he made a good point: I wasn't interested in posing a danger to myself or anyone else.  "Fine," I said finally, "let's get on with it."

Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-0107C-J
Date <Error – Check CMOS>, Log Entry 1 End of File
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 03 April 2017, 10:44:59
BTW, stats for the Groundwave can be found here:

http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=57016.0;wap2
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 on 21 April 2017, 22:07:24
THIS should be fun!

*grabs some popcorn*  [watch]

There gonna be any more?

- Herb
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 22 April 2017, 11:15:31
THIS should be fun!

*grabs some popcorn*  [watch]

There gonna be any more?

- Herb

Yup. Warning, though, I've probably read Permutation City too many times now.

Drew up the eventual lance Grounwave will find himself assigned to/stuck with here:

http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=57127.msg1317025#msg1317025

More on the way, though I'm still recovering from an 84-hour work week and the aftermath when we went live with our new EHR software, but that probably helped in maintaining the proper level of insanity for this.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Dragon Cat on 22 April 2017, 16:20:44
Tagged
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 29 April 2017, 12:13:47
Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-0107C-J
Date <Error – Check CMOS>, Log Entry 2


Did you know that AutoMechs didn’t use furniture?

I mean, think about it for a moment, and it makes sense in a way.  If you’re from my original universe, or what I believe is my original universe, you probably didn’t really see the Transformers sitting in chairs too often.  Maybe on their spaceships from time to time, but that would be it.

If you’re from this universe, meanwhile, think about it for a second: do BattleMechs really need furniture?  You stand ‘em upright, maybe stick gantries around them, or lay them flat on their backs if necessary for transport.  You don’t have chairs for BattleMechs.

It’s no surprise, then, that the room we were in wasn’t exactly lavishly furnished.  The ground I was sitting on appeared to be some sort of concrete, presumably reinforced somehow, and the walls appeared to be made of the same substance for the most part.  Don’t think house, or building.  Think bunker.

Spanner, meanwhile, crouched down next to me.  I hadn’t been paying as much attention during my earlier panic, but his left hand wasn’t a normal hand, but some sort of weird multi-function appendage.  Once again, my HUD helpfully popped up, identifying it as a salvage arm.  “VeeMech Groundwave,” he said in what, I presume, was meant by either my imagination or some long-dead programmer to sound like a reassuring bedside manner, “do you recall how this procedure works?”

“Not a clue, dude,” I shrugged. 

That was when the third AutoMech spoke up.  “What is that thing you are doing with your shoulders?”  Huh. A female robot?  Excuse me…a female automated BattleMech?  Why the heck would you give AutoMechs genders?

I suspect one day, my tendencies towards sarcasm, irreverence and humor in the face of adversity will get the better of me. “That was a shrug, a gesture used for expressing doubt or lack of knowledge.  I didn’t know how whatever procedure Spanner was talking about worked, and shrugging emphasized that in addition to saying I didn’t have a clue about this procedure of his.”

“You have not undergone a diagnostic procedure?” Spanner asked.  “It is very simple.  I connect to your Diagnostic and Interpretation computer through your diagnostic port, and verify your systems and programming are within operational parameters.”

Yeah, that doesn’t sound ominous at all, right?  The last thing most people want is to have someone rummaging through their heads, and I'm certainly no exception. Not only that, but how could I possibly be anything other than a wild-ass anomaly to them?  "What happens," I ask carefully, "if you find my code is wonky?  That it isn't what you're expecting it to be?"

"I would hope you would acknowledge your statement about having been human was patently impossible," the smaller AutoMech said, her tone making it clear how ridiculous she considered the whole concept. "After that, Spanner can repair whatever damage is causing this malfunction, allowing you to be a productive member of the Autonomous Barony."

Yeah, I wasn't having that. "Rather than simply point at you and say, 'Hey, you,' what's your name?"

"I am AutoMech Glyph."

"OK, Glyph. Let's say I'm not crazy, not in a hospital ward somewhere, that I am, or at least was, human, and really did somehow get shoved into an AutoMech body.  I'm pretty sure that would make the code for my AI anomalous as hell.  I would really, really hate to be right, and still get a format and reinstall done on me, especially if I'm right."

Primus, fortunately, seemed cautious but conciliatory. "Glyph, if Spanner's findings are inconclusive, I would prefer to err on the side of caution, and not damage a human mind, so long as Groundwave does not prove to be a threat to the Barony."

"Booya. In your face, Glyph...I just said that out loud, didn't I?" And, yeah, that was an oops, and for someone who didn't know what a shrug was, Glyph certainly could convey "righteously pissed off" with her body language well enough.

At this point, you're probably wondering if AutoMechs are sapient. Don't worry, you aren't the only one.  After all this time stuck among them, I’m still not sure.

And, yeah, Glyph was pissed. "I may not entirely understand your colorful metaphors, but that was certainly uncalled for."

"You're right," I agreed. "Tell you what, you try to limit your levels of condescension, and I'll try to limit my use of metaphors that go over your head.". Wait for it...

"Nothing goes over my head," Glyph announced proudly. "My reflexes are too fast. I would catch it."

Sometimes, it's too easy.  “Never mind.  Look,” I said, trying to turn to face Spanner, which is a real pain in the neck when you don’t have a neck, “I’m OK with doing this.  Before *anything* gets changed, we discuss it, and I reserve the right to refuse.”

"Agreed," rumbled Primus Optimal.

“Okay. Spanner, what do you need me to do?”

Spanner lifted his salvage arm to a panel on the right side of my torso, about where my ear should be in relation to my faceplate.  “Remain still,” he intoned.  I could feel him open up something, the sensation much like someone tugging on your ear.  What came next…you know those scopes the doctor shoves into your ear to look at your ear canal?  Yeah, it was kind of like that, at first.  Then it got weird.

I’m not exactly sure how to express it in human terms.  There was a brief electrical jolt, but after that, the sensation of something else outside my own mind, but not.  It's not really a voice, or something you see and hear. It's a pressure, and you know that on the other side of that pressure wave is someone else. Well, something else.  My HUD helpfully tells me that I have a guest connection from VeeMech TDR-5-94-1368-SPN Spanner, along with a helpful “Allow Diagnostic Connection? [Y/N]”.  I look at the spot on my HUD and try mentally sending “Yes” – it takes a couple tries, but I eventually figure out how to think it properly.

After that the presence I sensed is even more jolting, and memories of my life, from childhood to adulthood to marriage and family life come crashing through my head.  Crap I’d completely forgotten.  Things I wish stayed forgotten.  Good memories too, though.  None of the memories lingered long, though, as I took a staccato trip through a bizarre internal episode of “This Was Your Life”.

As that whole experience faded away, I felt an electrical jolt down what felt like my spine, into my limbs.  I could feel my skin begin to tingle, which was made all the more disconcerting by the sensations reporting back my new body shape, while my unconscious mind tried screaming at me that the angles were all wrong, that my body couldn't possibly be shaped like that.  I could feel a cold sensation creeping up my back towards the neck I no longer had, and that presence still at the edge of my senses, rapidly building up from being annoying to nearly intolerable.

And then it was over.  Spanner disconnected, a sensation like someone removing an ice pick from my eardrum.  The presence I felt instantly disappeared.

“Okay, that was pretty much awful,” I said after a moment, actually shivering. “I really hope you got what you needed, because I never want to do that again.”

Spanner stood up, and took a step back from me. “I concur.  Fortunately, such in-depth scans are rarely necessary.”

The pronouncement put Glyph on edge, as she appeared to unlimber her arm-mounted laser and take on a more ready stance.  Primus Optimal, however, held up one of his massive hands in front of her.  “Spanner, please share your preliminary report.”

Spanner turned towards his commander before replying.  “Groundwave’s base programming appears to be within normal parameters. His personality core and memory databases are not. Both are larger, but also more chaotically organized, than standard AutoMech code, and rely on virtual neural networking to an even greater extent than a standard AutoMech.  There are clear markers that his software is experimental, and not intended for a production AutoMech.  His code did pass CRC checks and shows no signs of corruption or instability, though his preprogrammed skillset software appears to be essentially absent.”

Primus nodded. And, yes, I get how weird it is that he nodded, while Glyph didn't recognize a shrug.  Maybe it was too complicated a gesture for my less humanoid body. “Spanner,” he asked, “do your findings support Groundwave’s assertion that he was formerly human?”

“I do not know, Primus.  Without greater detail on human neural structure that is unavailable, I cannot be certain.  Groundwave could be mapped from a human brain, as we have records that humans experimented with doing so. He could also have been a prototype of a new neural network that developed in unpredictable ways, believed he was human, and was eventually shut down.”

“Will he be able to function in his primary role?”

“There is insufficient information to say.”

Yeah, I’d been wondering about that.  “Let me guess: terrestrial communications?”

Primus Optimal turned to me now.  “Correct.  How did you know?”

“I was a sysadmin in my human life, but I was also an amateur radio operator.  Ground waves are a form of terrestrial radio propagation and tend to be shorter range, as opposed to sky waves, that reflect off atmospheric layers, and can reach much farther as a result.”. All three AutoMechs turned to stare at me, not speaking at all for a few moments. “What?”

Glyph spoke first. “I believe that is correct, based on statements from other communications AutoMechs.”

Yeah, their name for me had kind of been a giveaway, rather than my real name of… Of…

I couldn't remember. I couldn't remember my real name years later.  I could remember my wife's name, and my son’s. I can even remember associations with my real name, like “Argonauts” and that it meant “healer” in another language.  But there's some kind of block there preventing me from saying it, or even conceptualizing it.

What the hell?

 Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-0107C-J
Date <Error – Check CMOS>, Log Entry 2 End of File

Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 on 01 May 2017, 21:31:57
Oh, dear Cat! A Guardians of the Galaxy reference?

- Herb
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 01 May 2017, 21:50:10
Oh, dear Cat! A Guardians of the Galaxy reference?

- Herb

Met my wife through mutual friends at Comic-Con. I had on a Miskatonic University Astronomy Dept. shirt, while she was wearing a Deadpool shirt. Nerd references are pretty common in our household, and GotG was one of our favorite movies.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: ckosacranoid on 03 May 2017, 23:15:26
ok, you know its a cool story when herb pops in and makes comments. very intresting to say the least.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 on 05 May 2017, 22:05:23
Okay, having to ask....

Spanner, I get, is basically a Ratchet analog. Are any of the others analogous to extant Transformers? I'm especially curious about Glyph, who you seem to have detailed out in the lance breakdown...

- Herb
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 05 May 2017, 22:34:18
Okay, having to ask....

Spanner, I get, is basically a Ratchet analog. Are any of the others analogous to extant Transformers? I'm especially curious about Glyph, who you seem to have detailed out in the lance breakdown...

- Herb

Glyph is based on the actual canon Transformers character Glyph, a female AutoBot who was basically a blue version of Bumblebee in appearance, and was an "archaeometrist".  I stumbled upon her when researching other VW-based Transformers.  Personality wise, I'm going for a bit of Strongarm from the current cartoon, a bit of a stuck up archaeologist sure of her research, and like the other AutoMechs who postdate humans, a complete lack of familiarity with human idioms, making her probablyworse than the average AutoMech at detecting d understanding them.  Drax gave me a good starting point on how that might play out.

Manx is kinda sorta Beachcomber.  The big name for dune buggies was Bruce Meyers and the Meyers Manx buggy.  Funny thing: Meyers buggy bodies always had flat fenders, so you had someplace to put your beer when at the beach or working on the car.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 on 05 May 2017, 23:14:36
Hehehe. Nice! I see you recognized my approach toward the various classes; the Beetles were all basically of those classic mini-Transformers, so they could be Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Beachcomber, Gears, and such.

- Herb
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 on 27 May 2017, 22:31:19
*Star Seeker flies down, switches to 'Mech mode, and pokes at this thread*

- Herb
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 27 May 2017, 23:28:39
*Star Seeker flies down, switches to 'Mech mode, and pokes at this thread*

- Herb

Probably get a chance to work on it a bit this weekend.  Had a week of on-call for work, followed by crazy work stuff, a Disneyland trip, and most recently a crazy idea about using a Vincent, then Cruiser, on a five-year exploration mission, then a sick toddler.  Oh, and work on my '73 VW Fastback project car.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 on 21 July 2017, 05:01:36
*Wave Sounder rolls up to a cliff edge overlooking AutoBoP territory, and opens its aftward cargo section*

"Laser-Wing, Deploy... Operation: Observation!"

*A small Democon drone emerges on two stumpy legs, turns its pointed forward nose left, then right, and lets out a strange, metallic shriek before folding out its wings and lifting off on its tiny thrusters*

*Its cargo bay emptied, Wave Sounder transforms and points toward the distant, half-ruined AutoBoP city, silently directing Laser-Wing's course into enemy territory, to learn the cause of its recent, ominous silence.*
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 21 July 2017, 15:08:24
LOL

Spent this last week working on a Shadow Hawk head to wear to Comic-Con this weekend (see Fan Art board).  Should get back to writing next week.  Have some ideas for the next part.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 19 August 2017, 15:37:51
Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-0107C-J
Date <Error – Check CMOS>, Log Entry 3

 
How in the all-singing-and-all-dancing crap does someone forget their own name, but remember absolutely everything else about themselves? 
 
Actually, it wasn’t even that I had forgotten my name.  I knew it was supposed to be something else, and could remember the associations, but every time I made the leap to my actual name, what popped into my head was always “Groundwave”.  It was like that part of my self-identity had been overwritten.
 
Seriously, what the frak.  I suspect if I still had lungs, I’d probably would’ve been hyperventilating.
 
I cannot overstate enough how utterly terrifying this was for me.  A core concept in my self-identity had been altered.  My memories were now suspect, because I no longer could say with absolute certainty which memories were real, and which ones may have been similarly altered.  If these have been altered, what else has been?  Personality?  Emotional associations?  Ethical values?
 
Suddenly regaining awareness in a body not my own was bad enough.  At that point, as horrifying as that was, at least I still thought of me as me.  But that was just my physical body, and let’s face it, if you’re human, your body is constantly changing, just from living and getting older.  Your body as a child and your body as an adult are vastly different, and the food you take in goes to repair, maintain and replace your body's cells as needed.
 
This went beyond evolving mentally and emotionally as a person.  I no longer had continuity of consciousness, and it was so much worse than simply sleeping, or being under anesthesia.  Who I am and what I remembered had been clearly altered, in what appeared to be a tailored, specific way.
 
Was I actually me, or at least the "me" I had thought of as my self-identity?  Was I a copy?  Was my original self, if such a self actually ever existed outside my own suspect memories, still in my original world, original universe, doing his thing, going about his daily business, blissfully unaware of my existence?
 
In the absence of continuity of awareness, was I just a copy of the original, or had the original me been grabbed, folded, spindled and mutilated, then shoved into this BattleMech body and dropped on this bizarre Cybertron parody?  Either way, who would bother doing so, and what possible purpose could it serve?
 
Did what I thought of as the original, human me ever actually exist?  Were the three "AutoMechs" around me right?  Was I always an AI-controlled 'Mech who, for some inexplicable reason, had been made to believe I had been human once?
 
What the hell was going on here?
 
I don't know how long I sat there, unmoving, not responding to the outside world, trying to run through the possibilities.  The Transformers parodies I shared the room with could have been trying to get my attention for minutes, or hours, and I would not have known.
 
Finally, I noticed that that’s exactly what they were doing.  Primus Optimal stood above me, looking down.  “Groundwave, please respond,” he practically yelled.
 
“Sorry,” I said, as I stood up.  “I realized something that gave me a bit of a shock, which made me ponder and evaluate what was going on and how I ended up here in this body.  I’ll probably be all right.  Eventually.”  I’d probably be no such thing, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to tell them that.  I also didn’t have the time to continue my existential freak-out right then and there.  Hopefully, I’d be able to find some privacy to do so later.
 
That didn’t seem to appease Primus, though.  “If this impacts your functionality, we should be apprised.”
 
“First, like I said, I’ll probably be all right.  This is still basically a continued reaction to waking up in a non-human body, and not knowing how I got here.  Second, why?”
 
 “Why what?”  Spanner asked.
 
Remembering not to be overly vague was going to be a thing, I could tell.  I don’t think any of them understood exactly what I was asking.   “Why should you all be apprised about issues that might impact my functionality?”
 
Spanner spoke first.  “You're my patient,” he replied, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.  Hell, maybe it was.
 
Optimus looked at me.  “As the leader of the AutoBoPs, I am concerned with the welfare and functionality of all our AutoMechs.  While you still wear the ancient symbol of our human progenitors, and are not formally a member of the Autonomous Barony of Primus, it is my hope that you will join us as a contributing member of our society.”
 
“Wait, what?  What symbol?”  I tried looking myself, where saw the stylized red “tiki face” on Spanner’s arm and torso, but I lacked the flexibility to do so. Once again, a real head and neck would have been useful, damn it.
 
Glyph, once again demonstrating the incongruities in her response to body language, turned her head in obvious confusion while looking at me.  Maybe it's just my weird body shape?  "What are you trying to do?  Are you trying to see your own factional insignia?"
 
"Um, yes?"
 
"Stop," she said.  A moment later, I got another pop-up message on my HUD: {Incoming image from AutoMech BTL-GL-0311TL 'Glyph'. Accept? Y/N}
 
Looking at the "Y" and thinking really hard about it seemed to be enough to accept.  A moment later, I was rewarded with a picture of my own arm, and a round insignia.  In the center was a stylized yellow star, with nine concentric rings around it.  In each ring was a disc representing, presumably, a planet, their colors corresponding to the planets in Earth's own solar system.  I recognized it, and...  "OK, that makes no sense."
 
"What?" Glyph asked.  "Why does that make no sense?"
 
"Ok, this is the symbol of the Terran Hegemony, right?". Glyph and Primus Optimal nodded in agreement, and I continued.  "Its use largely dropped off after 2570, when the Star League was formed.  Land-Air 'Mechs were invented in 2688, and were the first transforming 'Mechs I can think of.  I'm assuming these wheels aren't for show, right?"
 
Glyph rapidly demonstrated they were not, converting into an oversized car that, yep, sure enough, looked like a bizarre amalgamation of a Porsche 911, 928 and Panamera, though I could see the similarity in other fastback cars, too.  Just as swiftly, she transformed back.  "That seemed easier than simply verbally confirming that we can transform," she said smugly.
 
"I don't know that you'll ever get me to do that, but that was extremely cool.  But, OK, that kind of proves my point.  Why would I have such an obsolete insignia?  Other Star League colonies had their own insignias, or used the Cameron Star.  You have your own, for that matter.  When was Syberia founded?"
 
Glyph looked to Primus Optimal.  "You may tell him," he rumbled in his deep baritone.
 
"Thank you, sir.". Turning back to me, Glyph made a noise I swear sounded like a sigh crossed with static.  "We do not know.  Much of the early history if our colony was lost two centuries ago. Most information from prior to 2830 on the old Terran calendar has been lost, including the most of the histories of the nations you mentioned.  We have some knowledge of the Terran Hegemony, but know nothing of the Star League beyond the name, mentioned in two historical documents with no context.  If you have extensive knowledge of either, you may represent an invaluable historical resource, one that could vastly expand our understanding of our origins."  She stared at me intently.  "Given the advances you may hold in my own historical research, you can understand that I will have many, many questions for you."
 
Yikes.
 
 Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-0107C-J
Date <Error – Check CMOS>, Log Entry 3 End of File
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: sepion on 20 August 2017, 15:28:56
Well ... this story so far reads interesting, very interesting. Just ... I don't get it. Is this some weird crossover between BT and Transformers?
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 20 August 2017, 16:50:01
Yes, kind of.  With the Transformers/Cybertron parody on the Battletech April Fools' product "Welcome to the Nebula California".
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 on 20 August 2017, 22:36:47
Well ... this story so far reads interesting, very interesting. Just ... I don't get it. Is this some weird crossover between BT and Transformers?
Yes, kind of.  With the Transformers/Cybertron parody on the Battletech April Fools' product "Welcome to the Nebula California".

You can find it here. It's "Pay What You Want", but you can technically just pay zero if you like. Check it out, and if you do get it, please leave a review!

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/146982/BattleTech-Welcome-to-the-Nebula-California

(Although copyright reasons have made us rather loathe to actually say anything about the actual Transformers property in-universe; I've always figured the property was forgotten by the time of the Age of War, but apparently "Groundwave" was a comic geek...)

- Herb
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 21 August 2017, 03:32:01
Groundwave's four year old son is a huge fan of Strongarm and Sideswipe.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Easy on 21 August 2017, 12:24:29
Welcome To The Nebula California is brilliant.

BattleRun: Best Ever is pretty good, too.

Interesting tidbit. 1 Dragon == 1 BATT Assault-Class BattleMechs

Bonus spoiler: The answer is "Clan Elemental", but only if suited.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 on 21 August 2017, 15:44:33
Groundwave's four year old son is a huge fan of Strongarm and Sideswipe.

The current RiD iterations, with a female Strongarm and a Sideswipe who has spiky "hair"?

- herb
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 22 August 2017, 00:14:10
The current RiD iterations, with a female Strongarm and a Sideswipe who has spiky "hair"?

- herb

That would be them. My wife's a big fan of the RiD Strongarm at this point, too, and we both like RiD Grimlock.  It's readily available on Netflix, and more kid-friendly for our son, who just turned four, than, say, Transformers Prime. :)

Of course, I also daily drove a yellow '66 Beetle with a giant Autobot logo on the roof, too.  Still have it, rebuilt it for autocross, then got married, arthritis in my knees, new job...planning to sell "Bumblebee" and give someone else a chance to enjoy it, and keep my blue '73 VW Fastback with its tamer engine and automatic transmission...once I finish rebuilding it ("running when parked" my ass), with a mix of Glyph and Tardis themes.

Anyway, I'm partway into next Tales of the Starship Diana chapter, will be switching back to this one after this, alternating between the two.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: ckosacranoid on 23 August 2017, 01:22:07
nice to see an update to this. its also fun to see herb commenting on this also.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: DOC_Agren on 24 August 2017, 13:36:51
 {>{>

More please
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 on 24 August 2017, 22:24:31
nice to see an update to this. its also fun to see herb commenting on this also.

As most were my brain-babies, the Halloween and April 1 projects have a special place in my heart, so fan works based on them will always grab my attention. Empires Aflame, for instance, got tons of love from the fans, and it completely amazed me.

Ah, sometimes I miss being able to add more fun "alternative" lore, but what are you gonna do?

- Herb
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Wrangler on 02 September 2017, 07:41:25
As most were my brain-babies, the Halloween and April 1 projects have a special place in my heart, so fan works based on them will always grab my attention. Empires Aflame, for instance, got tons of love from the fans, and it completely amazed me.

Ah, sometimes I miss not being able to add more fun "alternative" lore, but what are you gonna do?

- Herb
Make your own fan fiction ;)
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 on 02 September 2017, 20:33:12
Make your own fan fiction ;)

I did. It was called IlClan. Maybe you heard of it?

- Herb
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 07 February 2018, 21:47:36
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.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: ckosacranoid 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....
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Maingunnery 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.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Wrangler 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.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini 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).
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 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
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Wrangler 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.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini 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.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 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
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini 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 (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Stardate#Volume_3_Number_2_.28March_1987.29) (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 (http://www.webring.org/l/rd?ring=jello316;id=1;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwebspace%2Ewebring%2Ecom%2Fpeople%2Fuj%2Fjymset%2Farts%2Ehtml) is here, though.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 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 (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Stardate#Volume_3_Number_2_.28March_1987.29) (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 (http://www.webring.org/l/rd?ring=jello316;id=1;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwebspace%2Ewebring%2Ecom%2Fpeople%2Fuj%2Fjymset%2Farts%2Ehtml) is here, though.

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

- Herb
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini 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 (http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Grimlock_(RID_2015)) is giving me kittens).
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 on 28 February 2018, 17:35:59
Ah, but remember: We know where Grimdark is in Nebula California!

He's on Toreel.

- Herb
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: DOC_Agren 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
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini 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. :)
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 on 28 February 2018, 20:56:26
Yup. He killed a Bean.

- Herb
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini 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.”
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Wrangler on 29 April 2018, 16:56:22
Yay update!!  Clever conversation with our hero.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Intermittent_Coherence 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."
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini 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?”
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini 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.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: XaosGorilla on 05 February 2019, 02:39:37
Well, good to see you found a way forward.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: ckosacranoid on 05 February 2019, 15:15:28
nice to see an update and something new from this. nice update.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Wrangler on 05 February 2019, 20:50:49
Looking forward to to the next entry.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini 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.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: ckosacranoid 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. 
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini 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?

Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Wrangler 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.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini 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?
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Maingunnery 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.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini 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]
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Wrangler on 21 July 2020, 09:44:50
Awesome sauce!  Its Back!  Thanks for posting new entry, Giovanni Blasini.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Brother Jim on 21 July 2020, 13:09:37
Streaks locked!!
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: worktroll on 21 July 2020, 19:20:19
Yes, Blindsight and Echopraxia are amazing, if somewhat depressing.

This too is amazing, and not depressing!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 22 July 2020, 06:57:20
Yes, Blindsight and Echopraxia are amazing, if somewhat depressing.

This too is amazing, and not depressing!  :thumbsup:

Which is funny, because in addition to writing this in response to a few other Battletech SIs where gamer knowledge was useful, and wanting the basically the opposite, a lot of this story is exploring stuff that scares the hell out of me, like:


So, um, yeah.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Wrangler on 22 July 2020, 07:36:51
As note.  If i were highly disappointed, i am would be because there not lance or company of AI driven Terran Hegemony UrbanMechs not being reactivated to defend the firebase for comical relief.  ;D
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: LightGuard on 22 July 2020, 08:21:03
As note.  If i were highly disappointed, i am would be because there not lance or company of AI driven Terran Hegemony UrbanMechs not being reactivated to defend the firebase for comical relief.  ;D

All I can think of are the TF:Prime Vehicons of the Decepticon Army. Cannon fodder, comic relief, and genuine threat en masse.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Elmoth on 22 July 2020, 11:46:47
Now think about an EFFECTIVE lance of terran hegemony AI urbanmechs to defend the base with you d and cool tactics in an enclosed environment.

Just discovered and devoured the thread. Good stuff here. :)
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: worktroll on 22 July 2020, 18:30:01
So, um, yeah.

Well, it's not that I don't see what you're coming from - I remember the first time I could no longer focus to thread a needle, 20 years ago - but you're doing it in a way which is not as harsh as Watts. I mean, if this ends up like the end of Echopraxia I'll be surprised.

Just remember, Sarasti wouldn't have your doubts. Is that the choice? Mixing genres for a moment, 20 years ago I wouldn't have taken Tree-of-Life virus. Now, if I could I would, but for it wouldn't work ...

(Okay. Challenge to self. Pak/BT crossover.)
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 08 August 2020, 03:02:30
Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-01107C-J
Date 3018-07-16 14:31:34, Log Entry 9




Well, that whole experience sure did suck.


Stepping out the door into the valley next to my bunker, I found that our new Beetle-class AutoMech, Manx, had been spotted by a roaming Sounder-class belonging to the DemoCons, who then called in support from another DemoCon Beetle class and, even worse, a Seeker class.


Beetle-class AutoMechs are 35-tonners, with decent armor, double heat sinks, and an extended-range large laser.  Sounders, or VeeMechs like Spanner, are 60-ton Thunderbolt derivatives like my current form.  Unlike me, though, they have a 6-tube short-range missile launcher and extra cargo instead of the six tons of communications gear I pack, and like the Beetle class and unlike me, they pack an ER large laser and double heat sinks, instead of single heat sinks and a conventional large laser.


So, we out-tonned them, but given I was a terrible fighter and Spanner wasn't great himself, we were in trouble.  We needed to keep them from getting away, but with a midling fighter like Spanner and my own level of ineptitude in combat, I wasn’t sure we had the forces to do it.


Our first bit of luck came in the Seeker, named Fire Seeker as it turns out, had decided to fight on the ground rather than from the air.  “What do we have here?” he growled.  “You're a long way from AutoBoP territory.”


Instead of answering him, I powered up most of my comm gear, flipping through my options modes, finding my options under EW, and selecting "broadband comm jamming".  My other viable option was to try to burn through their Sounder's ECM field, which I could already detect trying to futz with our sensor locks, but, like I said, the priority was keeping them from getting a message out.


Glyph was still trying to get into position, as were the rest of us, which resulted in a whole lot of running around, and an exchange of fire, but nobody, not even Glyph, managing to connect with a shot.


As we continued to maneuver, the DemoCon Sounder, named "Blast Sounder", held back a bit from closing, while their own Beetle, or "Ender", as the DemoCons called them, tried to flank our loose formation.  The desert valley we were in offered little terrain other than rolling hills tall enough to completely block line of sight, which I wanted to try to avoid, since I wanted to shot back, and make sure the terrain didn’t block the radio static I was generating.


For my troubles, I took a hit from Fire Seeker's medium pulse laser in my right leg.  Getting shot in the leg did not, in fact, tickle.  Fully a third of my armor was rendered ineffective as the pulsing beam briefly swept down my leg, from thigh nearly to ankle.  It felt like my leg was on fire which, I suppose, it was in a way.  Luckily, the pain, as bad as it was, was muted enough I could continue to function.  Decades of knee pain probably helped me deal with it as well.


I could barely keep track of it at the time, but Manx had taken a much worse hit in his left leg from their Beetle-class "Wild Ender", the ER large laser nearly punching through.  Manx had been setting up his own shot at Fire Seeker, smacking the larger 'Mech in the chest with a solid hit.


Evidently, Glyph was commanding everyone on their shared combat frequency to focus on Fire Seeker and knock him out quickly.  They kind of forgot to share that frequency with me, at first.  I couldn't get a bead on Wild Ender, the little bastard was just too fast, but before I could aim at Blast Sounder, my radio crackled to life with the sound of Glyph.  "Target their Seeker!"


Fair enough.  He wasn't far away, so I charged towards him, firing my large laser, and trying to bracket with a small laser in my chest.  Swing and a miss, of course, for both.  While charging, their Sounder opened up at me, missing with the laser, but peppering me with four SRMs.  I felt the thudding impacts on my torso, my right arm, and two impacts against my left thigh.  Irritating, but not enough to stop me.


As I charged in, trying to close the distance in an effort to hit something, I could see Spanner's SRMs connect against their Seeker.  Evidently, he'd been smacked hard enough that he lost his balance (I'd missed Glyph's shot against him), and he fell over.  I took the opportunity, running past him, and kicking him myself, trying to take his leg off but failing.


Glyph had built up a head of steam at this point, weaving across the battlefield, and nearly shooting their Seeker's right arm off as he stood up.  Unfortunately, this gave him his own opening, which he chose to carve in Glyph's back as she passed by, decelerating to turn back towards him.  I kept moving, trying to keep my own back protected, and taking a lucky potshot back at Fire Seeker, burning through into his right torso with my large laser, but not hitting anything vital.


Once again, for my trouble, that damned Sounder peppered me with SRMs.  Worse, my right leg took another hit, this time from its ER large laser, which burned even worse than that damned medium pulse laser.


At this point, things had dissolved into a wild melee, Glyph kicking Wild Ender,  Wild Ender sweeping its leg out at Manx, Fire Seeker kicking Glyph, Manx kicking Blast Sounder, Spanner punching and missing their Sounder, and Blast Sounder trying and failing to kick Spanner, only to fall on its side.


Manx wasn't so lucky, failing to stay upright after having his leg swept, and damaging his right ankle in the fall.  I watched him struggle up, and try to put some space between himself and their Spanner, but as he watched Glyph go after their crippled Seeker, he flanked Wild Ender instead, only to get battered by their Sounder's SRMs.


Spanner and I, meanwhile, barely moved, anchoring the east and west sides of the battle.  Fire Seeker opened up on Spanner, bracketing him with his pulse lasers, and connecting with his mediums, but Spanner seemed to weather it fine.  In turn, Spanner tried, and failed, to connect with Wild Ender, the little bastard weaving and making himself hard to hit.


I didn't bother, and focused on their Sounder instead, firing all my weapons, and managing to connect with only a single small laser, the large and other two smalls just barely missing.  I did mention I'm a terrible shot, right?


I did, however, get its attention, as it turned more towards me and, in a voice so digitized it was almost unrecognizable, said, “Terran Hegemony?”


Glyph had more luck, and a lot more skill, than me, smashing into Fire Seeker's rear torso and, evidently, knocking out two of his jump jets.  She successfully landed a kick on him, but it didn't seem to slow him down much.


Trying to get away from Glyph, Fire Seeker ran right into the reach of Spanner, who lashed out with a punch, smashing the DemoCon’s shoulder.  Spanner wasn't done yet, though, wrenching at the joint with his salvage arm, and tearing the damaged limb right off the DemoCon, then using it to smash him in his damaged torso.  I could see the thermal bloom from damaged reactor shielding: Fire Seeker was nearly out of the fight.


Unfortunately, so was Manx, who'd taken to trying to trade blows with Wild Ender, only to take a kick on his already damaged left leg, for the poor limb to snap off at the hip.


Furious, I charged the short distance to Wild Ender, intent on kicking his ass...which is exactly what I did, smashing my foot into his left hip and causing it to seize, and the DemoCon to fall flat on his face.


Spanner tried to open up the range a little bit, backing up to get a clearer picture, but that just let Fire Seeker flank him, forcing Glyph to flank the DemoCon Seeker in turn.


Manx was in trouble, nearly crippled, unable to stand, so he simply propped himself up with his left arm and shot their Sounder in the back, getting hit in his own back, knocking out a heat sink, for is trouble, as Wild Ender managed to stand.  Give him props, he refused to give up.


Trying to draw some heat off him comrades, I charged right for their Sounder, firing everything, feeling myself heat up in return.  I couldn't connect with my small lasers, but managed to use my large laser to burn across his right leg, nearly burning through his armor, then following it up with a kick to his other leg, as the Sounder stepped back to protect his weakened right leg.  I tried to keep track of what was happening to everyone else, but things happened so damned fast, and I was mad enough that it was a struggle.


As it turns out, Glyph had finally knocked down Fire Seeker, taking out his right leg.  With one leg and one arm gone, he couldn't even prop himself up to shoot, and Glyph ignored him, chasing after Wild Ender, who was intent on taking out Manx.  Glyph shot the DemoCon's right leg out from under him, but not before the shot Manx in the back, damaging his gyro and engine shielding.  As Wild Ender fell to the ground, my own small lasers passed through the air where he stood a moment before, but my own momentum carried me forward, and I stomped the little bastard's right hand in passing.  Unfortunately, I'd been aiming at his forearm-mounted laser.


Spanner and Blast Sounder, meanwhile, circle each other, trading fire.  It looked like Spanner was holding his own, hitting with his laser and a punch, but failing to repeat the trick he'd pulled with his salvage arm, though he took a savage kick in return.


The Sounder disengaged, moving to reengage Glyph and protect Wild Ender, who was continuing to trade shots with Manx from the ground.  Glyph hesitated for a moment, unsure of who to shoot, before finally aiming at the Sounder and missing.


At this point, I don't think the DemoCon Sounder expected to escape, and he was more interested in doing damage before he fell.  It opened up with everything at Manx, peppering him with more damage, but failing to kill him.


I can't say I did much better, actually.  I opened fire with everything at Wild Ender, smashing into his back with my large laser, but not hitting anything vital, and stripping more armor off with two of my small lasers, one of which wrecked his left knee.  My own kick took off the rest of his left leg, crippling him further.


That was when the DemoCon Sounder stomped on Manx's rear torso, knocking out his engine, and taking him offline.


Spanner and Glyph went into a frenzy, throwing themselves at the Sounder, smashing its right leg, crippling it.


Glyph disengaged, running back to the downed Seeker, and shooting it in the back, penetrating the engine shielding and wrecking the remaining structure there, knocking it out permanently.


Spanner started walking around the downed Blast Sounder, intending to shoot him in the back, but missing.  I did the same, but was angry enough I only connected uselessly with a single small laser, kicking him again as I closed.


I figured none of them were getting back up.  I was wrong.


Blast Sounder staggered to its one good foot, its ruined right leg dragging along, and turned to reengage Glyph, who'd left the wreckage of the DemoCon Seeker to finish off Wild Ender.  She shot the other Beetle-class in the chest, but didn't penetrate.  Wild Ender, in turn, took a shot at Spanner in reply, hitting, but not hitting anything vital.


Instead of shooting at Glyph, though, Blast Sounder twisted, and fired at Spanner instead, smashing through what was left of the armor over his center torso, and striking his gyro housing.  I tried pushing the bastard over, but failed, as the bastard somehow sidestepped me with his one bad leg.


Reeling, Spanner tried, and failed, to successfully return fire, and given I'm reeling even without damage, I did no better with my guns.


Glyph was not having it, flanking the bastard again, and striking him in the torso with her ER large laser, striking his gyro.  Blast Sounder, unable to reach her in reply, focused on Spanner, missing with his laser, but peppering him with SRMs, before its own damage got the better of him, and the DemoCon crashed to the ground again.


Spanner couldn't turn quickly enough to reach Blast Sounder with a punch or kick, but did stomp Wild Ender's right arm, tearing it off, and taking away his last weapon.  I kicked the larger DemoCon, breaching his left torso cargo hold.


Even now, Blast Sounder refused to surrender.  The DemoCon struggled, and failed, to stand, succeeding in nothing but damaging its one good leg, crippling the foot and ankle.  Failing to stand, it fired at the smallest of us, Glyph, missing with its laser, but peppering her with SRMs, including one that hit her head, and another that ruined her left foot.


Our return fire, though, tore his right arm off, and smashed his one good hip, crippling him further.  Prone, the three of us took turns kicking the DemoCon, Spanner stomping him in his back like Blast Sounder had done to Manx, finishing him off.


Glyph broke off, returning to the crippled Wild Ender, and put him down with a single shot to the chest.  With his armor already breached, that was it for the smaller DemoCon AutoMech.


In the final total, Glyph had taken a hit in the back that resulted in a damaged heat sink, and damage to her left leg sufficient to mangle her foot.  Spanner had a damaged gyro that kept him from moving fast, and a lot of armor damage, especially over his right leg, which had breached the armor.  I had armor damage, well, everywhere it seemed, but had gotten lucky and hadn't suffered any internal damage.


And Manx.  Well, yeah.  Manx was pretty much gone, and his current body wasn't salvagable.  The only question is whether his primary and secondary CPUs were intact enough to transfer to another body, which we didn't have in immediate supply.

I could do without another victory like this.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Elmoth on 08 August 2020, 07:33:52
I wonder if he will be a better fighter with the more human body and weaponry layout of a Griffin. Probably yes, but he will still be a bad shot. Right now he seems to be doing what he knows works: using mass to go brawling.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Wrangler on 08 August 2020, 09:04:37
He needs better targeting computer.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Elmoth on 08 August 2020, 09:37:17
I myself would not be very good targeting if I had weapons all over my body. Now, give me a gun i can grab with my hand and a shoulder mounted RPG-like weapon and we can talk. I will be a terrible shot, but I can practice it better I guess.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Wrangler on 08 August 2020, 11:17:26
Unless he figure it out. He could figure out how to make Mech Mortar s
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 08 August 2020, 16:26:42
Ok, honest questions: was the fight scene too hard to follow, and what would you recommend to improve it?
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: DOC_Agren on 09 August 2020, 17:48:29
Honestly not really, it was a "grand melee" with a # of "players and npcs" where most shots missed..   8)

and I had days that the only weapon that could hit was SL, even at long range..  but anything else was just for show and heat.  Unfortunately that day I was was the Ops Force commander with a Vet Pilot
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Elmoth on 09 August 2020, 18:18:20
Yup. What Doc said. Grand melee, a bit chaotic. As it should be.
Frankly, combat is one of the most boring parts of BT fiction. It has great moments, but it gets old eventually. Necessary but not a prime in story development. This was a good combat description. Do not overviews yourself. The pace and description was cool.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 10 August 2020, 05:24:44
Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-01107C-J, Log Entry 9 Supplemental

We're still going through the aftermath of the battle, assessing our damages, and trying to figure out whether Manx's AI core can be moved into a different AutoMech.  Ripley says she has something important to show us, but it can wait until we've finished our damage assessment, and she's been a big help getting the wreckage of the DemoCons we fought, and of Manx, off the battlefield and back into the bunker.  Spanner is hoping that the DemoCon Sounder's gyro is intact enough to use for spare parts for his own damaged gyro, while Glyph has to face the joyous decision that the only replacement foot for her nearby is either going to come off a destroyed DemoCon, or the wreck of her protoge Manx.  Personally, it feels a bit ghoulish to me, but then I have to remember that, were these regular BattleMechs somewhere in the Inner Sphere, salvaging components off of destroyed 'Mechs to keep yours running would be par for the course: just because they're autonomous doesn't mean that's different here in Syberia.

Meanwhile, I'm getting ready to poke my head outside, trying to keep to what little cover there is, so I can bounce a signal off a satellite, and get word to Primus Optimal that we're gonna need a bigger boat.  Because we're worried about being monitored, Glyph has me using one of their stealthier low-orbit satellites, which make regular passes, rather than one of their geosynchronous ones that everybody on the planet knows about.

That gives me some time, and one thing I've been neglecting to do, though, and really should have already, is to record for posterity more information on the AutoMechs I've encountered so far.  I don't know for sure whether anyone who may read this journal will be from the Inner Sphere, and thus familiar with BattleMechs, at which point some of the stuff I'm including will be needless detail.  On the other hand, though, maybe you'll be from my original universe, and not as familiar with this one.  Or maybe you'll be from somewhere else entirely: I ended up here, after all, so there's no guarantee I won't end up somewhere else, whether within the California Nebula or in another universe.  So, don't stop me if you think that you've heard this one before.

Beetle-Class / Ender-Class Wheeled AutoMechs

(https://cfw.sarna.net/wiki/images/3/3a/COM-1A_Commando.jpg)
(https://cfw.sarna.net/wiki/images/1/10/Rotunda.jpg)
--Take one of each of the above, throw them in a blender, bake at 350 degrees, and the result is a Beetle Class (https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=69484.0)

The Beetle-class seems to be the basic footsoldier of the Autonomous Barony of Primus faction, and, at 35 tons, are generally the lightest class of AutoMech in common frontline service.  Nine meters tall, and big for a light 'Mech, Beetles are still light 'Mechs, emphasizing speed and agility over firepower and armor.  Beetles are capable of 64 kph walking, 96 kph at a full run, and 118 kph flat out in its wheeled mode, making the Beetle-class a solid scout and courier.  Protection is solid at 6 tons, though not as heavy as it could be, and a single extended-range large laser is mounted on the right forearm, able to burn through a half-ton of 'Mech-equivalent armor out to 590 meters.

Evidently, the Beetle class isn't as common amongst the Democratic Industrial Conglomerate (DemoCons) as they are among the Autonomous Barony of Primus (AutoBoPs), where they're everywhere.  I don't know if the DemoCons just can't build many Beetles, or if they're unable to build Beetle-class AutoMechs at all, and instead salvage them off of the AutoBoPs instead - wouldn't that be disturbing?  Either way, those that do serve the DemoCons, though, do so with a different name: Ender-class, rather than Beetle-class, but they're functionally identical.

Glyph is, and Manx was, a Beetle-class AutoMech.  On the flip side, one of the DemoCons we fought, whose IFF signal identified him as "Wild Ender", was an "Ender-class", ie. the same thing.

CON-series Carbine ConstructionMech
(https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/mul-images/BattleMechs/Carbine.png)
--Yep, that's a Carbine

Not every AutoMech can transform.  That's something mainly reserved for the frontline ones, the ones expected to see combat.  For what we'd normally think of as civilian roles, which aren't expected to fight, quite often these are filled by AutoMechs that can't transform at all, often built with industrial grade, rather than battle grade, components.  Ripley is a prime example of this, an autonomous version of the CON-series Carbine ConstructionMech.  I haven't met others yet, but I'd presume there are other AutoMech worker types filling other roles that the rest of humanity built IndustrialMechs for, too.  Well, maybe except agriculture.  Not much need of AgroMechs on Syberia these days.


Seeker-Class / AeroMech-Class Fighter AutoMech

(https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/mul-images/BattleMechs/Phoenix%20Hawk.png)
-- The wings aren't visible in this picture, but this is pretty close to a bog-standard Seeker.

At first glance, the the 50-ton Seeker-class AutoMech would be the type of AutoMech most familiar to the inhabitants of the Inner Sphere.  For those who may read this journal and are more familiar with the Transformers than with BattleMechs, your first assumption would be Seekers are basically expys of Starscream and similar flying Transformers.

While it's fully AI-controlled like all the AutoMechs, Seekers are basically a a variation on the Phoenix Hawk Land-Air-Mech, or LAM, and the Inner Sphere has plent of experience with those.  Seekers, like all transforming AutoMechs, are bimodal, lacking an "in-between" mode like the regular Phoenix Hawk LAMs, instead transforming directly from BattleMech mode to Aerospace Fighter mode.  That makes taking off and landing tricky to manage.

Like their presumed progenitors, the Seeker class has a ground speed of 54 kph walking, or 86 kph running.  It uses some early form of improved jump jets for thrusters, making it capable of 180 meters jumping on the ground in 'Mech form, and in the air has 3G of standard or 4.5G of maximum thrust.  Those jets are heavy, though, cutting the available mass for armor and weapons.  Most AutoMechs aren't fitted with jump jets, though, so while the Beetle-class AutoMechs might be able to run slightly faster, those jump jets help tremendiously with their maneuverability.

Given the mass they devote to movement, standard armament is relatively light, with a single regular medium laser and medium pulse laser in each arm.  As a result, Seekers need to get in close in combat, since those medium lasers can't reliably burn through 'Mech armor closer than 270 meters, and the medium pulse lasers are optimized for 180 meters or less.  Their armor is similarly light at 7 tons, with surprisingly heavy back armor compared to most 'Mechs, which helps them when running into close-range combat, but hit them hard enough, and you can hurt them.

Evidently, only the DemoCons and their allied subfactions call this class of AutoMech a "Seeker", where they tend to be somewhat common.  Spanner tells me that the AutoBoPs and their allies use smaller numbers of similar fighter-class AutoMechs they call "AeroMechs".  There can be soma variations between individual Seekers or AeroMechs (https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=68672.0), even within factions; the loadout I've described here is the most common, and was what Fire Seeker, the DemoCon we fought, was kitted out with.


Sounder-Class / VeeMech-Class Wheeled AutoMech

(https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/mul-images/BattleMechs/Primitives/Thunderbolt%20TDR-1C.png)
-- The TDR-1C Thunderbolt, progenitor of the Sounder-Class Wheeled AutoMech and its variants.

Sounders are an odd duck.  Both the DemoCon's Sounder class and the AutoBoP equivalent, the VeeMech, are supposed to be based on the Thunderbolt series of BattleMech, shedding five tons and gaining the ability to transform into a big truck.  Both the Sounder class and VeeMech class have the same basic layout and armament: arm-mounted ER large laser, a six-tube short-range missile launcher (SRM-6) on top the right side of the torso, able to target 'Mechs out to 270 meters.

Feeding the SRM launcher is one ton of ammo, enough for 15 reloads, with specialized Cellular Ammunition Storage Equipment (CASE) to give them blow-out panels in the rear torso to keep an ammunition explosion from blowing them the hell up.  Star League standard double-capacity heat sinks to keep them cool, and lets them keep up a high rate of fire, with weaponry useful at both long and short ranges.

In 'Mech mode, both the Sounder and the VeeMech can walk at 43 kph or run at 64 kph.  In their truck mode, they're a bit faster, cruising at 54 kph and topping out at 86 kph, but combat is evidently awkward in this form, since their weaponry isn't in true turrets.  Armor is thicker than the Seeker/AeroMech at 9 tons, but still weaker than their progenitor.  Like the Seeker, their rear torso has thicker armor than most human-piloted BattleMechs do,  I suspect that AutoMechs sometimes get fixated and lose situational awareness in combat, and don't always notice when someone's gotten behind them until they get shot.

Despite their size, Sounders tend to work well as recon units, packing pretty solid electronics, with a Beagle active probe system to ferret out hidden units, and a Guardian ECM suite to provide electronic warfare capability.  They also carry a 3-ton cargo hold in each side of their torso, allowing them to carry small, supplemental recon drones, extra parts and supplies, or other mission-specific equipment.  Glyph tells me she managed to shoot down one of the drones following Manx, and it looks like I crushed another one in the Sounder's cargo hold during the battle, based on what we've seen of the wreckage.

So that's pretty much the layout Blast Sounder, the DemoCon we fought, was set up with, but evidently the DemoCons are starting to field a new variation on the Sounder (https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=68652.0), but I'm given to understand the primary change is moving from using a bunker-like cockpit like the Thunderbolt did to an actual centerline head.  Why?  Good question: maybe it's easier to access the AI computer for maintenance or retrieval, maybe since AutoMechs tend to aim for center of mass, Sounders were getting hit in the "head" more often before, maybe it just gives their head mounted sensors a better view, or maybe it's some kind of higher ranking Sounder variant.  I don't know.  Tell you what, though, it'd make my life easier if my head were where I expected it to be, I bet.

VeeMechs, on the other hand, haven't moved their "heads" into an actual head yet, and lose the extra electronics equipment, freeing up another three tons of mass for other specialty equipment.  In Spanner's case, that mass went into a salvage arm in the place of his left hand, a specialized set of manipulators and micro-manipulators that he can use to help make delicate repairs on other AutoMechs, while still being capable of lifting heavy equipment.  Spanner also gave up a cargo hold in favor of a lift hoist, but he did note that some VeeMechs will carry a third cargo hold, extending them out to 9 tons of internal capacity.


"Groundwave-Subclass"  - VeeMech Wheeled AutoMech

(https://cfw.sarna.net/wiki/images/f/f4/3025_thunderbolt.jpg)
-- Add some wheels, swap that missile launcher for an electronics pod, and this is pretty much what I look like

...technically, according to Spanner and Glyph, I fall under the category of being a VeeMech subclass.  However, I'm more primitive, in a lot of ways, than your average production-model Sounder-class like Blast Sounder was, or VeeMechs like Spanner.  I lack the SRM launcher of the regular Sounder-class or VeeMech class, which freed up four tons of mass, and I also drop one of my three-ton cargo holds, and I also lose a half-ton of mass since I don't have CASE equipment to store ammo in.  Like the other VeeMechs, I lack the dedicated active probe and ECM suite.

So where's that 10.5 tons go compared to a regular VeeMech or Sounder?

Most of it's taken up by six tons of specialized communications gear: radios and antennas covering everything from shortwave wavelengths like 160 meters or 80 meters all the way up to centimeter-wave radio for satellite or ground-to-space communications, divided up between the spot where most Sounders or VeeMechs have their right torso cargo bay.  Mounted in my back in 'Mech mode are a trio of jump jets, letting me leap up to 90 meters at a time: it's usually easier to walk or run, but it lets me climb some otherwise impassable terrain.

That doesn't leave a lot of space for extra weapons, and where the progenitor Thunderbolt packed a trio of medium lasers in its chest, I have a trio of smaller lasers with a third their range instead, where I need to get within 90 meters to have a real chance of damaging 'Mech armor.  My other problem is that my subclass was either an earlier version or one they skimped on, because I've got ten standard-grade single heat sinks to their ten double heat sinks, and my large laser is the older standard-grade, rather than extended range, so I can only hit out to 450 meters against other 'Mechs.  However, I wasn't always a VeeMech.  before that I was a...


GRF-series Griffin BattleMech
(https://cfw.sarna.net/wiki/images/f/f1/Griffin.jpg)

Yep.  Used to look more or less like this, evidently, though I don't particularly remember it.  Based on the wreckage we found, I didn't have that drum missile launcher, instead appearing to have used the same electronics setup that then got transferred into my current VeeMech-based body.  Everything else would've been the same, though, as a standard Griffin: same 55-ton mass, same 86 kph top speed, same pack of jump jets allowing me to leap 150 meters.  Griffins generally carry a rifle-style particle projector cannon, or PPC: it's a particle beam weapon that hits a bit harder than the large lasers more common amongst AutoMechs, if not quite as far as an ER large laser, but that have magnetic field interference trying to hit within 90 meters.  Griffins were generally mobile fire support platforms, emphasizing long-range fire, and relying on their own fists and feet up close.   That doesn't seem so bad to me.


Leader-Class Wheeled AutoMech

(http://www.lordsofthebattlefield.com/gallery/albums/userpics/prophet-grandtitan-01.jpg)
--Yeah, that's not quite Primus Optimal right there, a prime (heh) example of the Leader-Class

Even running around as a 60-ton semi-humanoid war machine, the Leader class is big and imposing, standing nearly 14 meters tall, and massing 85 tons.  Because of their size, and the weight of their transformation gear, they're not as fast as smaller AutoMechs, with a 35 kph walking and 54 kph running speed.  The Leader's vehicle mode helps a bit, but even then, Primus in his command truck mode driving flat out is only able to maintain 64 kph, which I can run at, and Glyph can do walking.

Instead, looking at the triad of speed, firepower and armor, Leader-class AutoMechs like Primus Optimal go for the second two.  Protected by 14.5 tons of armor, Leaders are tough to damage, and they can hit back, hard.  Most carry a massive gauss rifle in their right arm, a large pulse laser in the chest, and generally carrying a massive anti-'Mech hatchet in their left hand for close-combat, though they appear to have a way to mount this to their back when they're not using it.


So, yeah, that's a basic rundown.  If you'll excuse me, I've got a satellite to catch.


(Out of story: this was mainly written for those less familiar with Battletech on other forums, but is still a useful who's who)
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Kyryst on 10 August 2020, 09:25:16
He can take Blast Sounder's parts to upgrade himself, right? Double heat sinks, ER Large Laser, maybe do something about the small lasers that are pretty much useless? Because it is going to be a while before he can find a Griffin, I would think, and given the attack, he needs increased combat capability. And having an arm mounted ER large laser should feel a lot like holding a gun?

Neat the way everything is tweaked to fit the setting.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Wrangler on 10 August 2020, 14:22:52
That's a great.  I can't wait for more!

Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 10 August 2020, 17:02:41
He can take Blast Sounder's parts to upgrade himself, right? Double heat sinks, ER Large Laser, maybe do something about the small lasers that are pretty much useless? Because it is going to be a while before he can find a Griffin, I would think, and given the attack, he needs increased combat capability. And having an arm mounted ER large laser should feel a lot like holding a gun?

Neat the way everything is tweaked to fit the setting.

Thanks.

Surprisingly, it's not as bad to upgrade Groundwave as I thought it would be, thanks to the errata for Strat Ops, though it would be time consuming.

Groundwave's large laser and 10th heat sink are in his right arm, and removing them would take 120 minutes and 90 minutes.  Replacing them would take the same amount of time, and since we're doing the job in the same sitting in theory, we're looking at a Class B refit, which is a field refit.

But...there's 9 other heat sinks in the engine, right?  And if we're swapping one heat sink for doubles, we have to do those, too.  That's 810 minutes for the removal of 9 more single heat sinks from the engine, and another 810 minutes to add 9 double heat sinks into the engine.  Since they're all going in the same place...still Class B field refit.

OK, so now we're up to 120 + 90 + 120 + 90+ 810 + 810 minutes, or 2040 minutes.  We haven't done anything with the small lasers yet.  Say Groundwave wants to rip out all three and add an ECM suite or Beagle Probe in their place.  That's another 120 minutes per laser for removal, and another 120 minutes to put the new piece of electronics in. 

So, yeah.  Minimum of 2040 minutes, potentially up to 2280 minutes.  So, 34 to 38 hours of work.  That's a lot of time, and something like that could only come once the rest of the facility is for sure secured and Glyph and Spanner both get repaired.

Note this doesn't include armor replacement time for Groundwave's current damage.  Groundwave took 38 points of armor damage.  At five minutes per point for repairs, it'd take 140 minutes, or just over two hours, to repair that.  Honestly, that'd almost certainly be the first thing they'd do, before attempting anything else, since Groundwave's actually the least damaged of the bunch right now.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Wrangler on 10 August 2020, 17:40:01
It could be scary if i were Groundwave.  Hoping the modifications go well when u wake up.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Kyryst on 10 August 2020, 21:40:31
Huh, for some reason I thought this story was taking place over longer intervals. My bad.

Looking to more, then.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 10 August 2020, 22:18:52
Huh, for some reason I thought this story was taking place over longer intervals. My bad.

Looking to more, then.

Yeah, that's probably how slow I update in general.

Y'now, back to your original question about upgrading, it occurs to me that there's something easy and straightforward that Groundwave could see about having done: remove some or all of his cargo space.  He's got a 3-ton cargo bay in his left torso, which is enough to replace all the small lasers with medium lasers, like a real Thunderbolt, and leave 1.5 tons he can put into more armor protection.  Heat management would be a lot like the TDR-1C primitive Thunderbolt, but that's manageable, and would only take 16 hours total.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: worktroll on 10 August 2020, 22:53:17
What's the Syberian take on self-mutilation? Or is it more like piercings, cosmetic surgey, or something along that lines?
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Kyryst on 10 August 2020, 23:19:02
That and swapping the LL for the ERLL would be the easiest alterations for a total of 20 hours. Something to do once the others are taken care of. And that is going to be some work for sure.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 on 11 August 2020, 00:44:28
What's the Syberian take on self-mutilation? Or is it more like piercings, cosmetic surgey, or something along that lines?

That's called "customization" and likely is no big thing to them. It only becomes a problem if it interferes with functions.

GRF-series Griffin BattleMech
(https://cfw.sarna.net/wiki/images/f/f1/Griffin.jpg)

Yep.  Used to look more or less like this, evidently, though I don't particularly remember it.  Based on the wreckage we found, I didn't have that drum missile launcher, instead appearing to have used the same electronics setup that then got transferred into my current VeeMech-based body.  Everything else would've been the same, though, as a standard Griffin: same 55-ton mass, same 86 kph top speed, same pack of jump jets allowing me to leap 150 meters.  Griffins generally carry a rifle-style particle projector cannon, or PPC: it's a particle beam weapon that hits a bit harder than the large lasers more common amongst AutoMechs, if not quite as far as an ER large laser, but that have magnetic field interference trying to hit within 90 meters.  Griffins were generally mobile fire support platforms, emphasizing long-range fire, and relying on their own fists and feet up close.   That doesn't seem so bad to me.

Fun factoid. I did plan for classic Griffin/Shadow Hawk VeeMechs for both sides, as they would best fit the appearances of G1 Prowl, Bluestreak, Smokescreen and several others of the "sedan" vehicle types that were bigger than scouts like Beetle Bee. Democon versions--likely using the Shad over the Griffin--would have been the likes of Runabout, Runamok, Lockdown, and Exhaust. I just decided to hold back because I could have gone on forEVER on making stats for these guys.

Love that you linked to Luciora's minis, GB!

- Herb

Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Elmoth on 11 August 2020, 03:30:19
Another reason to perceoive it as slow is Transformers. this looks episodic in some aspects, and we never know how much time passes between each episode of Transformers, but all the characters (and the city they destroyed in the last episode) are 100% fine in the next one. :)

But yeah, so far this has been a whirlwind for poor Jason +++static+++.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 11 August 2020, 03:39:40
That's called "customization" and likely is no big thing to them. It only becomes a problem if it interferes with functions.


I suspect that they probably customize the crap out of each base chassis to fit whatever their particular role or calling is?

Quote

Fun factoid. I did plan for classic Griffin/Shadow Hawk VeeMechs for both sides, as they would best fit the appearances of G1 Prowl, Bluestreak, Smokescreen and several others of the "sedan" vehicle types that were bigger than scouts like Beetle Bee. Democon versions--likely using the Shad over the Griffin--would have been the likes of Runabout, Runamok, Lockdown, and Exhaust. I just decided to hold back because I could have gone on forEVER on making stats for these guys.


That's...actually pretty awesome.

Quote

Love that you linked to Luciora's minis, GB!

- Herb

His work is so good.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Liam's Ghost on 11 August 2020, 03:59:51
Yes, but are there any Syberians able to ride (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABGOXvERUiA) each other?
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Elmoth on 11 August 2020, 04:12:39
Mech cavalry!
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 11 August 2020, 04:27:08
Yes, but are there any Syberians able to ride (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABGOXvERUiA) each other?

I...do not know how to answer that.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Wrangler on 11 August 2020, 07:37:34
You mean like Junkions?  Transform into giant motor cycle, the other rides the other one with hachet?
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 17 August 2020, 18:15:24
So...I have a mini for Groundwave in the works:

https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=70672.0
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 on 17 August 2020, 22:59:02
I...do not know how to answer that.

Well, any Syberians trying to ride atop others would count as External Cargo and follow such rules.... Meaning that I'd probably not recommend it. The tiny drones used by the likes of Wave Sounder are basically 1- to 3- ton non-convertible micro vehicles that mimic familiar cassettes like Laserbeak and Buzzsaw in appearance when deployed. ;)

- Herb
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 17 August 2020, 23:32:57
Well, any Syberians trying to ride atop others would count as External Cargo and follow such rules.... Meaning that I'd probably not recommend it. The tiny drones used by the likes of Wave Sounder are basically 1- to 3- ton non-convertible micro vehicles that mimic familiar cassettes like Laserbeak and Buzzsaw in appearance when deployed. ;)

- Herb

So, something like my Spybird?

https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=68869.0;wap2

Planning something Nighthawk based for Rumble.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Wrangler on 18 August 2020, 07:40:51
Too bad Battle Armor size Bots / drones can't be used.  Or maybe Ultra Light BattleMechs.  That's would be trippy cool.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Elmoth on 18 August 2020, 09:36:19
Too bad Battle Armor size Bots / drones can't be used.
Who says that? :)
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: HABeas2 on 18 August 2020, 09:44:10
So, something like my Spybird?

https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=68869.0;wap2

Yup! Pretty clever design!

Quote
Planning something Nighthawk based for Rumble.

Hmmmm. That has potential, yeah.

- Herb
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 07 October 2020, 05:09:40
Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-01107C-J
Date 3018-07-23 10:22:17, Log Entry 10


Combat sucks.  It’s intense, it’s exhilirating, it’s terrifying, but it’s not a video game, and it has real consequences.  People get hurt, whether those people are squishy humans or multi-ton AI-driven robots.  People die.

Committing acts of violence bothered me, and I was glad that it still did.  Something like that should never get to be easy.  I’d been in fights before, or at least I remembered being a human who’d been in fights before, though not a dire life-or-death fight.  That’s not to say I’d never had weapons pointed at me before, but that the times where I had, I’d been able to present a deterrence enough to keep from getting attacked, defused the situation enough to keep from getting attacked, or both.

This time, though,  I’d been thrown into a situation where four of us were trying to stop, and by “stop” I basically mean destroy or kill, three “bad guy” AutoMechs belonging to the Democratic Industrial Conglomorate, the “DemoCon” knockoffs of the Decepticons I remember from cartoons.  We’d knocked out all three, but at the cost of one of our own, and significant damage to two others.

And why?  Over a political dispute between two long-dead groups of human beings who’d managed to get themselves killed as a result?  Because a writer thought it’d be funny to set up parodies of an ‘80s cartoon in the Battletech universe, and needed to find a way to make the facile good-vs-evil of the original material fit into a much grayer fictional universe?  Because some ****** who, from my perspective, is basically omnipotent decided it’d be hilarious to drop a copy of my mind into an AutoMech, turn me loose on Syberia, and see what happened?

Real fighting isn’t a joke, and isn’t funny, as I’m sure the dead AutoBoP and DemoCon AutoMechs would attest to if, y’now, they weren’t dead.

The thing with AutoMechs, though, is they don’t necessarily stay dead.  Manx had his engine taken out, and the skeletal structure of his torso ruined.  There’s no rebuilding his current body, but his head, and thus his core computers, were intact, and salvageable.  Currently, his head and the remains of his torso were set aside, until Spanner can get ahold of a new body for him, at which point they’ll try to bring him back online.

Our DemoCon interlopers, meanwhile, had also been stripped for salvage parts, their heads, containing their computer cores, set aside until an AutoMech with a more particular set of skills could go through and try to mine data from their onboard computers, to clean useful intel data from them.

That AutoMech wouldn’t be me, however, and for that I was thankful.  In theory, both Spanner and I had the gear to do so.  In practice, though, Spanner’s skillset emphasized diagnostics and repairs, not intel gathering.  My own AutoMech skills, meanwhile, were sorely lacking, and my understanding of what was going on “under the hood” of an AutoMech computer essentially nonexistent, and crawling around in the memories of a mostly-dead AutoMech seemed particularly awful.

It hasn’t all been doom and gloom, though, and like I mentioned in my last log, Ripley had some good news for us: she managed to break through the caved-in area and shore it up enough for us to get through to the other side.  We found an elevator, which we're still trying to get to work, but there's also a ramp that leads farther down into the complex, still partly obscured.  We also found something else, though: a hatch, one big enough for BattleMechs to pass through.  The hatch somehow still had some power going to it, and we were able to force it open just a little bit before it jammed: not enough for an AutoMech to slip inside, but enough to get a recon drone inside.

“Wait, a recon drone?” you ask.  Or, y’now, maybe you’ve already encountered them here on Syberia, and you’re not surprised.  But, either way, I’m going to explain what they are.

So, in my last supplemental log entry, I mentioned that Sounders and their variants, including VeeMechs or me, carry one or more 3-ton cargo holds.   They don’t always use that for spare parts, or loot: often they carry small drones, ranging from 3-ton solar-electric UAVs to smaller humanoid models.  They don’t have the space or mass for the computers a full AutoMech has, so while they're capable of carrying out specific instructions, they're basically dumb as a post.

Spanner, as it turns out, has a whole team of humanoid drones he uses to help him repair areas he couldn’t otherwise reach in an AutoMech.  Blast Sounder, the not so friendly DemoCon we took out, had most of his drones taken out by Glyph and Manx during the last battle, before Spanner or I stepped outside to help.  I hadn’t realized it, but it turns out I’ve got a drone, too, which nobody really thought to tell me, because they didn’t know I did.  Glyph and Spanner were surprised I didn’t know about it, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t going to make my life just a little bit easier.

My drone was basically a fully-robotic version of the Nighthawk, the 400kg armored exoskeleton, that the SLDF Special Forces used shortly before the collapse of the Star League.  No integrated weaponry, but a pair of gauntlets that could carry handheld weaponry, not that it’d do much against a full-sized ‘Mech.  At not much bigger than a really big person, though, it was perfect for checking the other side of the door, or beyond the obstructions still blocking the ramp.  It would have been damned handy to try to search some of the smaller human-sized passageways I’d seen but had no way to explore.

And, no, it hadn't even occurred to the Glyph to try, or Spanner, to try using his little repair bots that way.  Innovation and creativity aren't strong suits for AutoMechs, and they don’t tend to think about how the difference between a 2-meter tall human and a 10-meter tall AutoMech might look at the world.

It took a bit of trial and error, but I figured out how to deploy my “little” drone, which I shall hereafter call “Mini-Me”.  Even better, while Mini-Me might not be smart, exactly, its onboard computers were purpose-designed to allow me to connect and take control of it, as if Mini-Me were my own body.  Operating Mini-Me that way wasn't the same as being the OEM organic body I still remembered having, but I'll be damned if it wasn't close.  Moving around as Mini-Me was easy.  Even Glyph, who was convinced I was nearly hopeless, and obviously defective, began to seriously consider that maybe I really had been human once.

I'd felt more like myself than I had in the entire time I remembered being on Syberia.  But using Mini-Me that way is problematic.  I'm only vaguely aware of what's going on in my AutoMech body, and trying to directly control both at the same time is just not possible.  My AutoMech body didn’t exactly have an autopilot, either.  It was another reminder that, as nice as having Mini-Me was, it wasn’t my real body, the AutoMech was, and the computers that hold my consciousness, that make me “Groundwave”, reside in that body, not the human-sized drone.

I remember just sitting down and crying digital tears for a half-hour hour after that realization.  Then I got back up and, using Mini-Me, scaled the debris still by the door and checked out the other side.

There wasn’t exactly a lot of light, but I found the problem quickly enough: the door hydraulics had failed, causing the emergency blast door to drop closed.  At first, I thought someone had tried blasting through it, perhaps to try to storm inside, or rescue people trapped in the base, but hadn't been able to.

That wasn't the case, though.  Looming in the barely lit room was a familiar form, though one so enormous, even my main AutoMech body would have been dwarfed: a 1900-ton Leopard class DropShip, a spacecraft large enough to carry four BattleMechs and a pair of aerospace fighters, partially crashed in its hangar.

“Well,” I remember saying out loud, “that's a thing.”
 
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: worktroll on 07 October 2020, 05:21:39
Welcome back, story!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 07 October 2020, 05:49:05
Thanks. Last month and a half has been an ever-accelerating train wreck of epic proportions, and this has been the only one of my stories where the characters were talking to me.
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: idea weenie on 07 October 2020, 07:04:50
Just got to here, hope your character can eventually have some sort of catharsis, and make a difference on Syberia
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Wrangler on 07 October 2020, 08:02:02
That was cool entry!  now you need give your drones abilities like pile driver to cause mini-quakes.  ;D
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: idea weenie on 07 October 2020, 20:26:15
That was cool entry!  now you need give your drones abilities like pile driver to cause mini-quakes.  ;D

Or the neural link via VDNI or BVDNI, so you can make Robotix (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnU_IxDzPk8)?

Still, Groundwave's preprogrammed skillset software (https://bg.battletech.com/forums/fan-fiction/exile-in-syberia/msg1319131/#msg1319131) is empty.  Time to be a Neo and see how many skills he can learn?  That would be a useful trade for the AutoBoPs to offer.

Perhaps he will be transferred into the Griffin, and give his original body to Manx?
Title: Re: Exile in Syberia
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 07 October 2020, 21:11:37
Or the neural link via VDNI or BVDNI, so you can make Robotix (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnU_IxDzPk8)?

...the hell did I just watch? ???

I think I suppressed memories of that from when I was a kid.

Quote
Still, Groundwave's preprogrammed skillset software (https://bg.battletech.com/forums/fan-fiction/exile-in-syberia/msg1319131/#msg1319131) is empty.  Time to be a Neo and see how many skills he can learn?  That would be a useful trade for the AutoBoPs to offer.

"I know kung fu."

Quote
Perhaps he will be transferred into the Griffin, and give his original body to Manx?

I could not possibly comment on whether Groundwave will stay stuck in this body or not.  I will say that I've considered him ending up in a variety of other bodies, possibly even more than one, including:


And that's all in addition to the possibility of staying in his current body.