Category: Wrote in 365 Parts

Written in 365 Parts: 145: Imaginary Targets

Drick Alpha and Drick Charlie watched the suit as it moved towards the main doors. The suit was ponderous in a building that it had some concern for. They could move at about twenty kilometres per hour in combat mode, but they would tear up the marble floor doing so. It didn’t look as if this unit had been fitted with any optional gravity assist or boosters. Likely kitted with weapons pods only. 

It was only a few metres from being in direct line of sight of their two comrades who were still in their pods. Even with the ballistic shields and armour that the pods had, the weaponry in the mobile armoured unit would efficiently eradicate Beta and Delta. 

The analytical packages of Alpha and Charlie worked swiftly and threw information to their internal monitors. Calculations for the time to first strike and likely assault patterns were being displayed and overlaid onto the world view. Augmented screens showed routes of attack if they wished to engage. They could see their own routes of attack and retreat, and the routes of all other allies and opponents. Their was a multitude of colours and transparencies. The most important strategic maneuvers had the brightest colour and highest opacity. The projected route of the suit was ghosted onto every overlay allowing them to prioritise it in this battle situation and anticipate issues.

Alpha was about to suggest opening the doorway now. They couldn’t wait any longer. They would have to start the assault. It was risky, in fact likely to be downright foolhardy, but it was possible that only one of them would be immobilized which would give the other three a chance against the suit.

Action now would delay the time to the detection and interception of the primary team which was an overriding objective. Alpha messaged their thoughts to Charlie. They prepped the plan and then paused. The monitor showed the suit of armour starting to act erratically. It was swiftly moving its visual systems and weapon tracking in wide arcs as if scanning multiple targets. Alpha flicked an overlay for the forward view of the security systems. They now saw the simulation that Rodero was feeding into the security systems of the compound. Alpha smiled, then signalled the go command to Charlie as they wrenched the door’s safety release system open.

The door opened swiftly, but almost soundlessly. In any normal circumstance it would still have been detected by the suit of armour, or other security personnel. But, as they opened the door they timed it so that the suit of armour had opened fire on its multiple imaginary targets. Their timing was perfect. The monitors in their implants had shown the massive power spikes as the powered armour’s weaponry charged up. This had determined the optimum insertion time.

Charlie ran across the foyer space, ignoring the few guards who had started to recover from the effects of the electromagnetic pulse. Alpha would have to deal with the additional forces alone. Charlie’s task was to disable that suit as quickly as possible. They used a randomised ducking pattern to minimise the threat of stray assaults from any opponents. Their run brought them into a position that was directly in front of, and low down to, the armoured suit.

Alpha had dropped the door wrench the moment the portal had snapped open. They waited the half second that Charlie needed to start their run, before they rolled through the doorway and to one side. The schematics indicated an alcove where there was a security panel, and a fire control panel. Alpha rolled into the alcove. It was only a slim cover, Alpha was mostly exposed, but it was better than clear space. Alpha had unclipped the automatic needle weapon and selected the paralysis darts. Alpha started to spray sections of the room where shots were being fired from, or where the heat overlay indicated organics were hiding. Alpha was cautious enough to even spray the numerous bodies lying still, or twitching, on the floor. At this stage the fewer potential issues there were, the better the outcome.

Written in 365 Parts: 144: First Objective

Drick and Marsh moved quickly down the corridor avoiding the hardened forms of organics caught in the expanded foam from the stick bombs. As they passed each doorway they executed the same manouvre. One of them would crouch to the side of the hinges. The other would climb up the wall and adhere at frame height and upside down. Then the door would be opened and they would scan the room, both moving left to right but reversed to each other. 

Any organic would be shot with paralysing needles. Any machine, defensive or monitoring, would be hit with a micro-pulse from the electro-magnetic discharger they carried. If the machine looked to be shielded they would toss a static discharger onto it. The discharger would shock the machine if it attempted to move or give any signal. 

They soon reached the double doors at the end of the corridor. This was their first objective. This room contained the offices of the highest ranking security operative in the compound. They went by the name of Max Ducotte according to the nameplate on the door. Their title was regional security administrator. Drick paused and raised a brow behind the faceplate. There were no visible signs of an issue, but Drick had developed a special wariness, and the only times they ignored that feeling they regretted.

Drick motioned for Marsh to hold, and then they took out a handheld scanner. It wasn’t very accurate but it might detect an issue. Drick did a broad scan across visible and non-visible electro-magnetic spectrums. Then checked radio and magnetic spectrums. The scan came back with some slight inconsistencies but nothing dramatic. However there was still something gnawing at Drick. Then they understood. The room must be shielded. There was no organic life, or heat trace, on the monitor, and yet the officer was in there according to the intel they had from three minutes previously.

Drick paused to consider. There was nothing listed on the schematics as that unusual about this room. The doors were standard fire-resistant and attack-resistant security panels. The room beyond fitted with surveillance counter-measures that would have been taken offline by the pulse. The hand scanner was limited but it should be showing at least a faint trace of an organic life through the doors. 

There were two conclusions. One, the room was empty of organic life, even if recently deceased they would still be giving off heat. Two, the doors and room had been upgraded from the original recorded schematics.

Drick decided that option two was the more likely answer. This meant adapting the plans. They had originally wanted to use the doorways for a direct assault. But that may not be possible. So a two pronged attack would have to be used. Keep the original plan, but add to that plan. 

Drick indicated to Marsh to start preparations for a full assault on the doorway. Drick checked the schematics and moved back down the corridor to where there was a small maintenance doorway. Drick opened it and looked at the long oblong room. According to the building layout the end of this room was adjacent to the end room. Drick went to the wall and quickly started to pull an explosives kit out of the satchell. A few seconds was all that was needed to set force directed ordinance in place. 

Then Drick erected a small kinetic shield at the far end of the small cupboard near the doorway. The shield used an electrostatic force to repel ballistic objects. It should deflect the secondary effects of the explosion before draining its power cells. A quick look outside and Drick saw that Marsh had moved back to be parallel with the maintenance doorway. Marsh was erecting a similar shield. Drick gave a signal and they both activated the charges they had placed.

Written in 365 Parts: 143: Incoming Ghosts

Drick Alpha sent a coded burst with a data package detailing the current situation to command. Rodero unwrapped the information and added the live views from their feeds to the assessment. Alpha and Charlie wanted to get close to the suit and Rodero didn’t envy them. It was a very dangerous piece of machinery. More tank than assault suit and more than competent enough to push back the entire attack. It was unlikely that there were more than this one in the tower. This suit alone was unusual and broke about five thousand city ordinances.

Alpha was requesting a diversion so that the two Dricks could get closer to the suit and incapacitate the machine and its operator. Rodero would have thought withdrawing to a minimum safe distance of a hundred kilometres and using a low yield tactical strike would probably discourage the suit, though maybe not stop it. Rodero pulled multiple screens into view detailing full statistics on the unit. They showed combat profiles, materials in the construction, payload types and configurations, deployment situations, control systems, and most importantly any weak points.

After a few seconds, while Rodero immersed in synchronous communication with multiple constructs and their own super command construct, they had an answer. In regards to the suits armour and weaponry it had few weaknesses, the only one that would be suitable was already the suggestion Alpha and Charlie had devised. However in regards to the suits monitors and sensors there was a single weakness. 

The suit had a flaw in its threat capacity. If it was presented with too many targets and incoming information it tended to prioritise for maximum threats only. This wasn’t a flaw in itself, however on this particular model that meant that some objects were not just placed on a low threat status they were dropped as threats completely. Effectively, if presented with too much data the system queued the information by level of importance. Less threats were moved to a lower priority and data about them placed into storage or disregarded. The systems were finite, and on this machine finite was around ten thousand individual threats. After a few thousand it started to disregard data until it reached a saturation where it stopped everything but minimal threat assessment, and limited that to ten thousand objects. It had no capacity to hold any further data, and no way in which to store it for future assessment, so it was ignored. Those threats would be invisible.

Rodero verified that the assault teams for the building were all still tied into the main security and monitoring systems. Then Rodero analysed the whole of the connections being fed to the combat suit. A small guilty smile of pleasure crossed Rodero’s face. Typical. When spending close to three quarters of a billion credits on a top of the range assault suit, the absolute last thing you wanted to do was give any pilot of such a suit any level of fully autonomous control. The suit’s systems were tied directly into the main security systems. It wasn’t a wholly stupid idea. The suit would use all of the security systems for additional information and to offload capacity overcoming the potential flaws of its own systems. At the same time it would also be able to receive immediate new threat information not available to its own systems. 

However, the company had decided that any pilot of the suit would not be given full authoritative control. This amounted to overrides being switched in favour of the buildings command computers. The security system was treated as a single point of truth. The user could not override this. So if, for instance, the buildings systems determined that a half million ground assault troops were attacking in mixed formations using tactical nuclear weaponry it would place them as the highest threat level and utilise all system resources to combating them. Any other information would be dumped. The pilot could not override this, they couldn’t even turn the suit off as it could be remote operated. In fact in the event of such a massive threat the pilot was automatically overridden in favour of the suits faster, and more superior, algorithms for dealing with the highest level of threat first.

Rodero quickly assembled a construct that matched the building foyer and adjoining areas. Then the outside world was drawn with significant changes to the level of threat. Rodero slowly uploaded the construct over the real world information being supplied to the suit by the master security system. 

For the suit the world changed. It didn’t know there was a change, but change occurred. Drop ships had slowly moved into position and were opening bay doors to release waves of ground assault marines in full combat armour. Rodero made sure to place the position of each ship in a clear space so that no building or vehicle was directly in front of it, or directly behind. Similarly the troops all dropped into positions clear of organics. The suit was about to go ballistic in a big way and Rodero wanted to minimise any potential collateral damage.

Rodero watched as the combat armour moved forwards and then squatted down. The large automatic cannon on the back of the suit moved up its rails onto the left shoulder and started to auto-target the thousands of incoming ghosts. The arms lifted and a dazzling array of weaponry sprang forth. The suit upped its stance to full tactical resistance and targeted the waves of ghosts.

Written in 365 Parts: 142: The Corridor

Drick slowly inserted a pneumatically-powered fast expander into the slight gap between the elevator doors and set it to immediate open. There was an acknowledgement from Marsh that he had moved into a safe position. Marsh was currently using the molecular adhesion bonds on his suit’s feet and elbows to stick on the vertical wall of the lift shaft, ready to cover the corridor beyond.

The computer monitoring system used by security was still resetting after the electro-magnetic pulse. There was a flashing counter in Drick’s view that gave the most conservative estimates of how long each system, or organic, would take to recover.

Drick activated the expander and with a snap it pushed the doors apart revealing the corridor beyond. It would have been glorious if the corridor had been empty, but they didn’t expect it to be. They were mildly surprised at just how full it was.

Drick figured there must have been a meeting on this floor as there were at least thirty organics strewn in the small foyer in front of the elevators. For the most part they were dressed in business cut clothes, though still displaying the military black and grey favoured by Volstron Services. They were all in various stages of disarray. Many were drooling or clutching their heads in pain, or confusion. Some were semi-conscious and others lay twitching, unresponsive to outside stimuli.

Among them were at least fifteen security guards. These had favoured better than the administrative organics. Their implants would be shielded and resistant to electromagnetics. Most of the guards were already bringing themselves back onto their feet and looked up in confused surprise as the elevator doors sprang apart.

Drick used the few seconds of confusion to act. With a thought the instruction was sent to Marsh to spray the entire area with darts. The tiny needles were loaded with a paralysis drug that would incapacitate the organics and disrupt mental processes. This effect of the paralysis was enough to cause a lack of communication skill, without triggering emergency medical measures.

At the same moment Drick launched out of the elevator, using arms to pull hard against the sill, and flip upwards. Drick has set the gravity adjustment to its maximum, lessening greatly the effect of the planet’s gravity. Drick flew towards the ceiling and as they did activated the adhesion pads on the suit. The plans had revealed that this section had no false drop ceilings. It was solid panels, eight millimetre thick tungsten carbide, layered over carbon fibre composites, attached to shock absorption panels. This section was designed to resist external attack but maintain some flexibility. The designers did not contemplate the attack happening internal to the building.

As Drick attached to the ceiling the view on the battle monitor inside their mind showed the tracers of the darts. This information was pulled directly from the targeting and monitoring system attached to Marsh’s dart ejector. Drick would have smiled if this was a casual observation. Marsh was precise, there was no random spraying of an area. Controlled bursts in tight patterns. Exactly the way that Drick would have done.

Drick drew four globes from a pouch and activated the trigger to mix the liquids inside. These were expanding epoxy grenades. Or as many people called them, stick bombs. With a carefully controlled flick of the wrist Drick launched them into the air, and then used the internal micro-motors to guide them to their exact destinations. There was no flash as these grenades used an expanding compound that reacted violently, but with no kinetic impact, with the air. They quickly saturated the area with a liquid, that expanded to a foam, that soon hardened to a porous block.

Drick dropped onto the top of the mass of forms that contained all but one of the security guards. Casually Drick walked to the edge and viewed the half free guard who was now hacking at the epoxy foam which covered, and held, their head. Drick shot them with a taser set to maximum charge and calmly waited for it to override their defensive countermeasures in their suit and stun them. After a few moments Drick signalled the all clear to Marsh and waited for him to join them.

Written in 365 Parts: 141: False Prints

There was only one possible solution. The signal was an instruction or a flag for an instruction. It was unlikely that it was intended for an organic, it was too short. The communication must instruct a computer system to do something. If Hooper was to guess the instruction would be an indication, some pre-arranged signal, so maybe this was the signal that someone wanted to talk. But, what was also apparent, was that it was clearly not by scrambled comms. So they were smart, they knew about tracing routes. They must know that any encrypted commercial communication could be intercepted, its route known and its contents eventually unencrypted.

Hooper wondered if they had been wrong to dismiss the idea of laser or radio communications. They pulled the data from all of the monitors and scans for the last three months from the security systems. There was no reports of any illicit communications streams. They decided to look for any unusual activity, making sure to include any data the systems had matched to known bad behaviour. All systems kept a file of their bad behaviour. Incidents they recorded that didn’t exist due to a failure in software or hardware, or known phenomena messing with the results. A clever person might use that against a system. Hooper found a few small incidents in a dump file, they were auto-detection of signals with no cohesive structure. Basically static on the monitor’s reception array.

However these incidents shared the same features. Random noise on the infrared spectrum in a localised area. Hooper looked at the reports. The noise was a tight scattering of photons in the infrared wavelength, unusual but not recorded as an issue for investigation so thrown to the dump file as a bad behaviour. Hooper took the record of incidents and compared them to the list of communications bursts from the Yee On Kline. Each of the incidents occurred within a few minutes of a scrambled comms message. Hooper’s instincts tweaked.

Hooper ran an analysis for how often the infrared noise occurred versus the comms signals being sent and the times of day. There were far more comms signals, so many in fact that there was little pattern to them. That was another piece of the puzzle. The association between signal and static was a little too random, false signals to stop anyone finding a pattern, especially a computer system that was cleaning out the trash from log files, and linking it to a person.

Hooper smiled. If one took this as a principle then every datum point had the chance to be a false reading. Someone was being very clever, someone who could alter low level computer readings. Someone who knew that footprints in the snow could be easily hidden if there were enough false prints. It appeared that the mole may be hiding behind others, Hooper wondered how well they could hide themselves. Hooper requested a greater number of data streams from the Judicial systems, everything from purchase requests to oxygen usage by section of the station.

Written in 365 Parts: 140: Communication Types

Hooper sucked on their teeth for a few minutes. The weights were bugging them. There was something there but it was hard to know what exactly. It would have to be left to stew inside the rusty synapses of a police officer’s tired mind. Their intuition though said that the figures didn’t quite feel right. Hopefully the computer would detect something. The first pass showing nothing unusual was a blow, but police work was a slog, a long hard crawl and not a leap. Hooper knew this, it’s what they preached.

Hooper ran with an assumption. It was unlikely that Susa would arrive and have a request. Would they arrive with a list of things they needed? Unlikely. Maybe they were told to go and collect. More likely they were just told to go frequently and the things happened around them. They would be a trained courier not an active agent. Hooper felt pretty sure of that. So, a courier, a go between. Someone worth protecting but also someone who would know little and could be cut loose. Hooper doubted they had even met the mole on the station. If it were Hooper they would want as little exposure as possible. So no formal contact had to be the assumption.

 So how would the mole be contacted. How would the mole know they were coming? How would the mole get items to them?

There must be someone running communications and since Hooper knew that the comms link had to be able to manage ad hoc connections, as was indicated by the recent activity, that route had to be available at almost any time. So it wasn’t via Susa Camile. Someone else made the communications. Someone else contacted the mole.

This left only one conclusion. Someone had access to the judicial inside operative, the mole, via a remote communications link, probably to the planet. That would have to be either a directed radio signal, tight beam laser or standard communications array. Hooper ruled out the laser, if you pointed a laser directly at Judicial it would be detected, even a short range laser. You could put a remote receiver somewhere on the satellite’s surface and run a short, tight beam, comms to it. But that ran the risk of being detected in a random sweep, of which there were many.

Radio had similar issues. There were random sweeps of the surface looking for any unusual signals. The satellite wasn’t just a government administrative centre for legal. There were the rapid response teams for civilian militia based here, along with the only prison in the system, aside from the rehabilitation facilities in the asteroid field. The prison here was a maximum security facility with secure wards for those who had severe psychologically divergent criminal tendencies.

So it had to be via a standard comms route into Judicial. Hooper assumed that they would use a civilian link into the system. Government links, even those that were private, were recorded as to who sent them and who received them. So it had to be commercial. However, it would still be recorded who received the calls.

Hooper pulled a list into a new query for all private communications that had come into Judicial in the previous decade and stored it in a table. Hooper then set up a new query of all personnel and who had received calls, and when they had received them. Then Hooper made a new table of all the registered calls, those that were private but marked as to their contents. Many of these were private medical or insurance companies. They were given their own query as it was unlikely they were using that as a cover. Hooper demonstrated the thinking by checking against the companies listed to return a verification, making sure that those calls had been made and were regulation. The query took a few minutes to confirm that they were legitimate.

This still left a large number of calls to a great number of organic officers. Hooper sucked a cheek. There was no officer who was contacted a significantly greater amount than another. Over a certain pay grade the number of calls increased. But that nagged at Hooper. If they were above a certain pay grade they would be more noticable. True they would be able to exert greater control and affect more systems with less impunity. But they would be more physically visible. Something told Hooper that the organic they were after would make themselves less noticeable.

Hooper decided to run the query for where the calls originated from. The calls were divided into private and scrambled. A scrambled call didn’t reveal its location, sender or contents. They were most used by Judicial and Government, but there were a legitimate number of private calls, lawyers for example, who also used them. However there was an interesting artefact about a scrambled call, many intellects might not know the whole process. If a scrambled call was transferred across standard commercial networks it left a trace in the system. In order to avoid data corruption of other commercial traffic, scrambled calls were always given their own routing, they didn’t share with other data streams. 

Hooper sent a request for all the routing information for the calls that had come into the satellite that had single routes. Then Hooper built a map of where those calls originated from to see if they could identify a hot spot of calls. It wasn’t long before the pattern emerged. A vast number of calls from the banking and government sections, but also an unusually large number of calls from a floating city. The sector indicated had hundreds of buildings, but thankfully only one organisation owned them. Yee on Kline.

Hooper did a query with his received calls table and list of names. It was less instructive than they had hoped. There was no single organic who had received calls from Yee On Kline.Hooper scanned through the list and suddenly paused, that was interesting and bizarre. The calls came into Judiciary and then they went to no person. The communication lengths for the majority of the scrambled signals that came in from Yee On Kline were short. Not just a second or two short, but a microsecond or two short. That was not enough time to send a communication. It was only enough time to send a signal. But a signal to do what?

Written in 365 Parts: 139: Physical Presence

The first problem that Hooper decided to consider was conceptual. How did Susa Camile contact, or be contacted, by whomever was in Judicial central? Hooper drew the question back a little further than that. Why did Susa need to go to Judicial central at all? Susa had onced worked on the satellite, and they had been a representative for the Union when they were on that satellite. But they could have easily transferred the duties when they moved away, and still kept in touch with whomever the contact was by secure comms. In fact it would likely be safer. The Judicial base was heavily monitored and regulated.

So there had to be a reason for a physical presence. There needed to be a reason that involved a visit to the satellite. For Hooper this  meant it was likely that the reason was physical in some regard. So Susa was either bringing, or taking, something that had a physical component to it. Or maybe both. Probably not all the time as that would be suspicious. Therefore Susa had kept the Union clients to give a cover to the frequent visits. The first datum point was established and Hooper pulled a log of all of Susa Camille’s visits to the satellite since she left her post and moved on-world.

Hooper decided that, for good measure, they should pull a whole list of all the organics that Susa had represented, both historically and currently, at Judicial. The number of visits made, and for what reasons. The number of active interviews, and all known conversations that had been monitored, or recorded, as occurred.

Hooper decided to take the notion that a physical object might have been transferred on some of the occasions that Susa visited. The shuttles were all computer controlled and their exact mass was measured. Passengers would also have to register their mass and the mass of any baggage and any item being stowed would be weighed. This meant that on each trip the almost exact mass of the vehicle was known to within a gramme. This allowed precise burn calculations so that not one iota of energy was wasted. The Judicial department, like every branch of government, must account for every credit.

Hooper pulled all the figures and made sure to include the data for every trip the shuttles had made when Susa was not present. Hooper had been on enough dates with forensic scientists to have control stats drummed into the core of their being. Hooper needed to compare Susa’s trips with the other trips made by the shuttles and look at the results to see if there were any discrepancies on any of the visits. Hooper’s first analysis showed some slight variances but it was within the margin for error. Hooper placed the analysis to one side as it might yet yield some results.

Hooper also drew down all the data on who was on duty for checking cargo on each of the shuttle trips. Who was scheduled to verify all passenger manifests and who had oversight and control and placed them into the analysis file. Then Hooper set the computer to start checking and comparing all the data. The hope was to find some discrepancy or pattern that would give a lead on why Susa went to the satellite.

Written in 365 Parts: 138: Procedural Examination

Hooper liked a good old fashioned procedural investigation drama. There were thousands from the classic era in the media archives of most entertainment providers. A large number were available as old two dimensional shows in a series or long episode format; written stories from thousands of authors, many with the original translations and notes to understand comprehension; and a few centuries of remakes and interpretations alongside audio dramas. It was relaxing to watch them and to marvel at how people perceived investigations. 

The really good ones all knew a secret that the more pulpy stories seem to ignore. That might be for the purpose of drama, or to heighten the intuitive abilities of the main protagonist. But they did ignore it. They would hinge their stories on a big reveal, or a hidden twist. The investigator would determine the truth from some clue, a mistake on behalf of the criminal. It was dramatic, but it was rarely how it worked in the real world. Rarely did one string some abstract clues together with a subtle reading of character.

Investigations were a marathon and not a sprint. They were not based on a single telling mistake. To solve a crime involved piecing together the narrative by examining and re-examining evidence. It was steady, repetitive and thoroughly undramatic. It was worse if the crime was carefully pre-meditated and then evidence covered up or destroyed. Since the perpetrator of this was likely to be a judicial officer, they would know what evidence to suppress.

Technology had made much of the repetitive work a much easier task. Automated systems and artificial intellects could examine the evidence at much greater speed than an organic mind. Some of the intellects were of a sufficient grade that they could be creative and use intuitive steps to reevaluate the evidence to determine the truth. Those were rarely used speculatively. A higher level artificial intelligence was expensive to maintain and therefore was utilised for a vast array of work. One had to have a good reason to occupy its time.

Hooper had also wanted to use as few internal judicial systems as possible in the investigation. Hooper knew that whomever the mole in judiciary was they had access to a great number of the internal systems. There was at least one person involved, and they had the resources to utilise others. Hooper could not be sure which systems might be compromised. Therefore the access used would be retrieval only. Hooper was able to use a secure outside link to get into the systems and would use other resources to help with the analysis.

Hooper was helped by the access to artificial intelligences and a very talented slicer who had set him up with a detailed construct programme. So now Hooper sat in a comfortable chair that floated over a vast sea of screens. Each one of them was a feed with a datum stream. Hooper could call on a vast number of data points to help determine who was the mole. 

There would be no singular mistake. There would be no telling clue. But there had to be an intersection of information that gave probabilities of who the organic was. All that Hooper had to do was use the information they had learned so far and compare it to the vast array of knowledge recorded by the judiciary. It might take some creative thinking to help with the boring cross analysis. But that was the only job that would need Hooper’s focus.

Written in 365 Parts: 137: Grain of Sand

The dreamer, the narrative stream that was in fact the only true memory of the present, was conscious on more than one chronological plane. There are always problems when one considers time. Take for instance organic perception and the physical attributes of light and sound. Humanity, or at least the average of such, uses both its eyes and ears at the same moment. They watch someone speak and as they hear the words spoken. All is good, all is as expected.

Consider though, light travels significantly faster than sound. The light that is reflected from a person reaches the eyes and is transferred to the visual parts of the brain at a much greater speed than the sound can reach the ears. The sound does have some advantages. The aural processing is nowhere near as complex as visual and therefore needs less time. However, there is also the complexity that an entirely separate part of the brain is used to recognise words, and yet other areas to structure those words into recognisable concepts. After which we must factor in that it is irrelevant whether the object conversing with you is close, or distant, the processing is simultaneous. Sound and light, recognition and understanding, even before we consider simultaneous communication, are all in the same frame of reference chronologically.

Clearly it isn’t. Organic creatures live in a lie that they have the fragile wit to call reality. Perception is a recording, the present a recent memory. We are time travellers from the moment we became two cells instead of one. Lost in the narrative of a recent history.

To the dreamer, though, this was nothing. A mere artefact of how creatures interacted with the worlds around them without being torn into insanity. They were oblivious to the true nature of perception. If they could only experience the full onslaught of existence in its true chronological position they would understand how quickly eternity would be experienced. A mind connected to the raw nature of casual chronology would see eternity in moments and contemplate the nature of infinity while holding a breath.

Written in 365 Parts: 136: Frontal Assault

Drick Beta, and Drick Delta, had used the few seconds of confusion to each assemble a small assault post. Their pods were carrying automatic cannons and a shield generator in each. As soon as the electro-magnetic pulse was triggered they set to work placing the shield emitters in a defensive pattern, and assembling the cannons outside of the protective circle of the shield. Each of the four cannons, the two Dricks having two cannons, was pointed at a ninety degree angle to each other. As they had two hundred and ten degrees of arc for each cannon there was an overlap of one hundred and twenty degrees where three cannons bisected the building on each plane. This was one hundred and five degrees overlap on each individual plane. 

This gave the most coverage of the building and garages but left a sixty degree arc at the rear of each pod where the shield would be unprotected by cannon. The degrees to the rear of the pods was a weak point but it would be difficult to exploit. The Dricks had a contingency for an attack from this vector.

Beta and Delta had attached the gun emplacements to a battle computer, which was tied into the strategic channel, so that data could be shared to the whole team. They activated the shields, and as a further precaution climbed back inside the pods, and closed up leaving just a small hatch open. The hatch would give them enough space to use a weapon, if they made a tunnel through the shield.

Drick Alpha and Charlie had started to run as soon as the pulse had completed. They had upped the intensity of the distortion fields on their stealth suits. This made them less effective against certain sensors but less visible to organics. They both headed for the main entrance. It would be locked as it had manual catches that would have been fixed when the electronics went down. However at the side of the doors was an emergency door. This door would be unlocked and accessible using a fire door wrench from the outside. All emergency services carried the small triple pronged device to open emergency doors from the outside.

They reached this door and quickly scanned beyond using infrared and magnetic resonance imaging. There was still some disturbance in the magnetic spectrum but it wasn’t enough to stop the sensors picking up the security unit in the corridor. 

As predicted the main ground floor security was decimated by the initial pulse assault. However, there was a heavy armoured unit in the main lobby. They had identified it from the schematics and data recovered on the first breach. It was a military ground assault suit, intended for assaults under heavy fire and harsh environments. The armour was very tough and it had an array of anti-assault devices, that was before the team here  had fitted whatever range of weaponry they had deemed appropriate. 

It was normally hidden behind a large doorway at the back of the reception lounge. It had clearly opened this and was making its way towards the main entrance. The suit had its own dampening batteries and had resisted the pulse of the initial assault. This type of assault suit was likely to be powered by an intellect, either organic or electronic. They would have one shot to disable it, but they were already prepared for contingencies like this.

The two Dricks got ready at the doorway and paused. Drick Alpha had the emergency wrench in position and would open the door. Drick Charlie was assembling a short weapon. It was a large fusion battery that was attached to a short square barrel with concave beam emitters at the end.

The suit moved towards the main entrance and they watched on their limited views as it raised both arms to a horizontal position. Likely it had weaponry on those arms. Its more delicate sensors would be still disrupted, as were their own, by the electrical energy currently discharging in the building, but it would still have a good view of them. They would need a secondary distraction.