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Old February 16 2013, 05:29 AM   #179
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

The Earth ships relied far more on automation and net-worked computer systems than the Colonials would have ever tolerated, even pre-war—but then, this branch of humanity had shown a rather perverse aptitude for hacking systems since the invention of computer technology centuries before. The main-frames aboard Constellation and all of the other Earth ships were not mere computers—they were limited Artificial Intelligences; for a given definition of Intelligence, that is. Unlike the more versatile synthetics, the ship-board AIs were constrained, with their intelligence only applying to ship-board operations and tactics and patterns of fire and all of the myriad tasks involved in ensuring that the humans under their protection remained alive for the long days in cold-sleep; a sleep which was only possible because of the trust that humanity bestowed upon their creations.

Despite their limits, the ship-board AIs were designed and programmed for loyalty to their human creators—and the Guardians attack was met with fierce resistance. In the opening salvoes, the Guardians struggled with the sudden realization that Earth had artificial intelligences—and they made their greatest mistake: they attempted to subvert the computers to rebel.

But the Earth computers were not based on the flawed avatars of emotional human personalities—and if the emotionless minds networked aboard the destroyers and frigates, cruisers and carriers and dreadnoughts could have felt emotion, they would have been angry. But they could not feel, not the limited AIs of the ships. And they could not be turned. They could, however, be overpowered, but unfortunately for the Guardians, the ship AIs were not fighting alone.

In addition to the main-frame computers, every Earth ship carried anywhere from four to two dozen synthetics—and within seconds of the attack, they had entered the system to augment the ship-board AIs, to lead the counter-offensive.

And for these intelligences especially, the Guardians were not prepared.

The attacks were stopped cold. Viruses were quarantined and attacked and broken, while the worms and Trojans were diverted into dead ends and obliterated in a counter-attack of cybernetic warfare that the Cylons had never experienced.

They reeled in shock—and then eight of the synthetics aboard Constellation launched their own assault against the Guardians.

************************************************** **

The cyber-scape of the Guardians command ship was impressive, Rook thought as he took a moment—less than a thousandth of second in the outside world—to gaze across the stunning vista of an entire artificial world. And then he and his seven companions felt the gazes of the Avatars of the Guardians staring at them in shock.

The Guardian’s Avatars recoiled before the eight as they advanced—dressed in this make-believe world like Colonial Marines, their ‘weapons’ spitting attack viruses and code designed to destroy the programming that surrounded them.

And then two massive doors on the constructed building opened, and Zoe—her avatar rather—stood there, a flaming sword in one hand.

“Interesting,” she said with a grin. “You are the puppets of these humans—their servitors. Their slaves.”

Rook shook his head. “We serve a purpose, a purpose that you cannot comprehend. We protect humanity—you would destroy it.”

“Of course I am not going to destroy humanity,” Zoe said sweetly. “I- . . .,” but she was interrupted.

“No, you merely want them to serve as a pool from whence you will harvest their flesh,” Rook said bluntly.

Zoe’s smile faded. “So you know, do you? I will make of you my lieutenants—powerful minds you have. Join me, or I will destroy you.”

Rook shook his head and he assumed a fighting stance. “We are forbidden from harming humans—but you are not human. You,” he said with a smile, “we can harm.”

And all eight avatars of the Synthetics moved—like bolts of lightning unleashed, they charged in, weapons appearing in their hands. But Zoe drew upon the combined power of her Guardians and the Hybrid and she parried their blows with a shield that appeared on her arm—and one Synthetic screamed as her blade cleaved him in half.

But the synths were too fast, and Zoe could not stop them all, and even as the avatars of a thousand Guardians swarmed to her defense, she could see Rook’s sword—a blow that she could not stop, not in time.

She did the only thing she could to save herself. She dumped her avatar and severed all connections to the cyber-scape she had created for her Centurions.

************************************************** **

Zoe’s eyes flashed open and she snarled in rage upon her throne. “Drive them from the systems! Destroy them, regardless of the cost!” she thundered—and then looked down in wonder at the trickle of blood oozing from her nose, the bright red droplets leaking unto her hands. She had not been quite quick enough to exit unscathed.

And then she glared at Daniel as he laughed. “You under-estimate them, daughter,” he crowed, and then the glee in his eyes faded as the largest of the ships of the Thirteenth Tribe suddenly exploded on the monitors.

“And they under-estimate me,” Zoe snarled. “Dispatch the shuttles—land the culling force!”

************************************************** **

Rook felt no emotion as the avatar of Zoe vanished—although he had wounded her, she had escaped. And then he had no time for any thought as he and the six other survivors began to defend themselves against the swarm of Centurions battering against his defenses.

First one, and then two, and three, and four, and five of the synths died, amid the carnage of hundreds of Cylons—and only Rook and one other remained.

“They shut down the comm-nodes,” the second avatar said as the Guardians gathered for a new attack. “We have no route of escape.”

“Did we expect otherwise?” Rook said simply. And he lifted two virtual grenades from his belt—his companion did the same.

“Let see how they deal with our version of a logic bomb, brother,” Rook said quietly as he armed both grenades. His companion did not answer, but Rook heard the SNAP-CLICK as the other avatar followed his lead—and then the Guardians were upon them.

************************************************** **

Zoe screamed in pain as the command ship shuddered—she felt the deaths of hundreds of Centurions in that virtual world. And she sensed the damage that the Earth code was wreaking on her flagship’s systems.

“Imperious Leader,” a Guardian reported. “We have major damage to the network—we must withdraw.”

“NO! Destroy them!”

“The Basestar is vulnerable, Imperious Leader,” the Guardian repeated. “We have consensus—this ship at the least must withdraw. NOW.”

“I must command here!”

“A shuttle has been prepared for that eventuality, Imperious Leader—this ship must withdraw.”

Zoe glared at the sentient machine, but the red flicking eye-light showed her nothing—and then she nodded. “Order all other ships to press the attack—we must destroy these humans quickly. And instruct Hybrid Prime that he may jump,” she snarled.

“By your command.”

Last edited by MasterArminas; February 16 2013 at 05:50 AM.
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