Written in 365 Parts: 110: In the Killing Ground

Drick dropped into the client program that was being used by Marsh. They were not alone in the construct as Boomer’s team was connected to the same environment. Drick monitored their activities via the overview system before dropping into the main construct. The team was running tactical simulations of different environments and fighting conditions, using a variety of weaponry. Marsh must have logged almost thirty hours on the weapons so Drick was keen to see the level of progress.

Drick called up the stats packages that allowed a full dissection of the entire of the team and their performance, and made sure to run comparative reports. Drick raised a, simulated, eyebrow. Marsh’s statistics were good, not off the chart and nowhere close to Drick’s own but the level of progress was impressive. Likely a by product of their entire life being simulated, they responded well to the environment conditioning.

The real test would be in meat space when they would have to deal with organics and not highly specialised computer simulations. Only the highest levels of artificial intellect could mimic organic randomness and responses. Drick noted that Rodero had applied a larger number of intellect based processors and subroutines than the usual simulations. Clearly they had interpreted Drick’s instruction, for a cliff drop approach to fast track learning, literally. That was good, it meant the artificial constructs would be sufficiently different to automated system responses. Though the largest number of systems they would encounter were likely to be robotic it was wise to be fully proficient against a flesh based intellect.

Drick flashed to everyone that they were joining the simulation and appeared in the centre of their group, as they were being attacked by hostiles. The enemy was using a formation that had the team surrounded on all sides. It was englobement with a killing ground.

“Welcome to our little slice of hell.” said Marsh as Drick appeared.

“Seems like fun.” Drick commented, “how is it going?”

“Well it was going well, too well. So the damned system upped the complexity and challenge and now we are fairly hosed.”

“Yeah it isn’t good,” said Drick.

“Is it trying to prove that some scenarios you cannot win?” asked Marsh.

“Probably,” said Drick, “it is likely to have calculated an impossible situation based on your previous performances.”

“Joy,” said Marsh, “so that makes life simple. If we can’t beat them, we leave.”

Drick raised an eyebrow, behind the mask of the combat suit they appeared in, as Marsh took an armour piercing mine from his backpack. He flipped it projection downwards on the floor and then rolled rapidly away. Drick did the same but used an end over end flip to avoid being shot, as their nearest cover was across a field of fire.

A moment after Drick had reached a wall that shielded them from the blast the mine triggered. It was powerful enough to shake the floor and walls, a cloud of dust and debris filled the corridors. Drick switched to infrared while moving towards the hole in the floor which was easily wide enough to drop through. They were not alone as the entire of Marsh’s team took the same route. As Marsh dropped through they set a motion activated explosive on the rim of the hole. On landing they ran at high speed with the rest of the team following.

They made fifty metres before the blast triggered and a wave of energy lifted them all and sent them flying along the passageway. Drick had switched the suit to nullify the effects of gravity so that they could float in front of the wave of force. They noted with interest that about forty percent of the team had done the same, including Marsh. Some others had found cover, only one was left tumbling, cursing as they span.

Suddenly the simulation ended with a mission complete statement and a set of statistics. The construct faded to a firing range simulation. After a moment Marsh hit the un-opaque setting on his visor. “Looks like we won again,” he said.

“Ow,” came a voice from the team member who had tumbled.

Various statements of “you are one mad ass,”  came from the rest of the team which Marsh took with a gleeful smile.

“What’s up Drick?” he asked.

“We need to talk, and drink, you are definitely going to need to drink while we talk.”

“Hey it can’t be that bad, we did well in that situation and I think I have improved.”

“It’s not about the simulation,” said Drick, “see you in meat space.” Drick logged out of the construct.

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