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 An Eye in the GSU

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#1PostSubject: An Eye in the GSU   Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:50 pm

When space time ripped itself apart not two light minutes from Earth, with a lensed blister in reality the size of a full blooded carrier, no one could have expected the fact that a ship wasn't detected for almost five seconds afterward.  Moreover, they couldn't have been expecting the fact that it was barely five meters in length and just sat there fore a moment, before a small, gravelly voice was broadcasted across the Sol system.  It shook with nerves and the slight whine of a young, lost child as she spoke.

"Hello?  Can anybody hear me? My name is Lisa.  Lisa Alice Ironhart.  I'm looking for my parents."  but beneath the slight glow of the canopy window and the child sized frame beneath was something far older and far smarter than what met the eye.  Thorn had already picked up high resolution photographs and passive radar scans of everything within three light minutes of herself, including the MAC cannons that couldn't obtain a target lock and the cruiser and interceptors moving towards her.  She had basic imagery of the cargo ships and civilian craft dotting the system and all of this was packaged up and sent on a hyperspace radio signal burst to her main storage on Orion Station, tens of thousands of light years away.

"Please help me.  I want to see my mom again." Pause for dramatic effect.  "I'm scared.  I wanna go home."

She knew the AI on board was old, almost rampant, but it would put up a Hell of a fight, if anyone decided to probe her system.  She knew it would tell them that it had designed the Eye using parts available for her escape, that it was an escapee, as well.  The three layers of encryption and the guardian program was simply to hide navigational data, to keep their owners from knowing where they went.  So Thorn stashed the pulse pistol in an upside compartment and slipped into her EVA suit.  The compressive fabrics covered her chest and arms, hiding the small nubs of breast tissue and compressing her hips to look just that much more pitiful.

She hoped the cruiser wouldn't call her bluff and blow her out of the sky.  But at the same time, she did harbor some small hope of meeting her parents, if only to shoot them for selling her into slavery like she'd been told since the day she'd been taken.
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#2PostSubject: Re: An Eye in the GSU   Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:24 pm

In the years following the Battle of Haven, there had been substantial upgrades to the Human Military's arsenal as a whole. The process began at small stages: replacing infantry weaponry, and then moving onto armour, vehicles and eventually starships. After that, the higher-ups of the United Earth Government deemed it necessary to look over the orbital defense platforms the GSU used to protect their planets, and where improvements could be made.

Captain Matthias Odell sighed as he was assigned to the fleet dispatched in response to the distress signal two light years out from Earth. As his ship, a Thor-Class Destroyer, left Earth's orbit, Odell stared out of the main view port as the Orbital Defense platforms dropped out of view from either side of the ship as the destroyer moved past them and into the infinite expanse of space.

The primary mass accelerator cannons were to stay, but only given a minor upgrade in order to ensure that they were more energy efficient. They were still capable of firing a 3000-ton ferric-tungsten projectile at 4% the speed of light, and impacting with energy equivalent to 52 gigatons of TNT. For each planet, there were varying numbers of these stations guarding them in orbit, depending on the significance of the planet. Earth in particular had 50 of these cannons spaced out at equidistant locations, forming a protective shell of sorts, over the Earth. The large spaces between these platforms however were filled in with newer, smaller stations that were outfitted with heavy laser cannons. These stations in particular were intended to have much greater range than the mass accelerators and engage fleets that happened to be out of range for even the ferric-tungsten projectiles moving at 0.4c.

According to his ship's AI, Crompton, the vessel from which the signal was being sent was around 5 meters in length, which raised unanimous suspicion in the bridge of the destroyer. They all knew it could very well be a trap, but luckily the destroyer was accompanied by a small group of 5 Aurora-Class Frigates.

As the small fleet neared within 90'000 kilometers of the derelict craft, Crompton debated between scanning the ship's systems or reaching out to any trace of artificial intelligence that may be onboard the ship with the little girl. A reply was soon sent to the five meter long ship with the following message:

COM: <\ THIS MESSAGE IS INTENDED TO REACH ANY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE CONSTRUCT THAT MAY BE ASSIGNED TO THE VESSEL, PLEASE RESPOND \>
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#3PostSubject: Re: An Eye in the GSU   Sun Oct 08, 2017 5:57 pm

V-GER.: <\ ME***G* R***CI*VED  SYSTEMS F**LI*G.  ES**PE* *LAV* S*IP NOT **SIGNE* FOR L**G **IGHT.  SYST**S *FFL**E.  AI ***ELL.  TWO SU*VIVORS. TRA**FER***G PHY***LOGICAL *ATA AND WA**INGS

**NCEL LA*T.  ONE S*RV**OR \>

Crompton would see the AI on board the tiny ship fragment and retreat behind the encryprion wall, cutting off communication while Thorn continued her pleas for help.  One of the fragments was intentionally a memory, of him directing a little urchin to build the ship in secret, and escape together.  There wouldn't be anything obviously erronious about it, but any kind of serious digging would reveal it as a fabrication.

The soft blue of her canopy would switch to red as the programmed baiting responses went through, shutting off her oxygen supply and locking her out of engine control.  Much of the system data and failures that she was sending was erronious, thanks to her friend and the ship's "dumb" AI.  A very, very old probe AI that had been calling itself V'Ger.  Hell, half of these simulated errors and the rampancy fragment was to call pity from the GSU's warship AIs.

Ceasing her transmissions for a few seconds, she spoke up.  "Thank you, V'ger.  You know, you never told me your original name."

"You took me through the stars.  Almost got me killed a few times.  I suppose you should know I was once called Alex.  V'Ger was a bit of a joke. But I am old, and have been dying for some time. I will take care of everything."

"You sure that self encryption will hide you from a more modern AI?"

"Yeah.  I look like a guardian program between the second and third encryption layers."

"Good."  The passive scans took on a more active role as she resumed calling out to the Thor-Class destroyer that was just giving her a highly detailed electrospectrographic image as she watched the variances in her EM shield and extrapolated movement of individual pulses of power through her veins.

"I can see you out my window.  Why'd the lights turn red?  Someone get me out of here!"  Thorn decided she'd start freaking out a little bit, knowing the name she used would raise red flags in Missing Persons, and reveal her age.  "I just woke up and I don't know where I am!"
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#4PostSubject: Re: An Eye in the GSU   Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:24 am

Unfortunately for Thorn, her scans would show no signs of electricity whatsoever being used on the Thor-Class Destroyer. During the overhauling processes on the entire UNSC fleet's ships, one of the primary changes, and advantages that came with the unification between the UEG and Alliance of Kings was the use of Fey Crystals as power cores. Each ship was now powered through magical means, enabling them to become virtually immune to EMP-based attacks.

Crompton decided to run a split-second check on the name given by the mysterious ship's transmission. Within nanoseconds, a match came up: Lisa Alice Ironhart, reported missing in 2551. She was six at the time. Crompton spent a few more fractions of a second thinking it through. That would make her 23. And yet the voice coming through was that of a child's. A child that had somehow found her way deep into GSU territory, within two light seconds of one of their most important planets. It was logical for him to suspect fraudulence.

Within the next few nanoseconds, Crompton received another transmission from the ship. A scrambled message from a seemingly failing AI. Crompton ran a scan of the data sent his way. What caught his attention the most was a physiological report on the occupant. Physically she resembled someone who would be around 8 years old. The intel almost caused Crompton to abandon his suspicion and conclude that she may have spent years in cryostasis. However the girl's sudden reappearance caused him to hold firm to his previous conclusion.

Anything could be faked. Even the AI's right-on-time fragmentation as a result of its supposed "rampancy". Even the small memory of itself helping a young girl construct a ship that Crompton managed to pull from one of its fragments. Even the supposed system failures that were coming through to him just now.

Crompton's physical form coalesced on his holopad, right next to the Captain. Time seemed to resume its normal course as the Odell turned to address him. "Crompton, why is power being diverted to the ship's weapons? I didn't give you that order."
"Oh but you might, Captain, after I tell you what I have found." Crompton replied.

After Crompton had filled the Captain in on his findings, the Thor-Class Destroyer had locked its main cannon onto the five meter-long vessel whilst also preparing its plasma missiles. Meanwhile, a small drop pod, equipped with its own docking tube and minimal array of point-defense weaponry made its way from the Destroyer, across the sea of blackness towards the smaller craft. Within the pod were eight Colonial Marines, armed with Sub machineguns and Executioners. Their orders were simple: dock with the vessel, retrieve the occupant and search the ship for its AI's data core. Retrieve the core and bring it back to the ship for proper analysis. If there were any problems, shoot to kill.
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#5PostSubject: Re: An Eye in the GSU   Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:16 am

Unfortunately for the drop pod, they would find no airlock.  They would have to physically dismantle the ship to move both the cryostasis pod cockpit and the former survey sattelite AI core into their own ship, or simply move the whole five meter mass.

Worse, was what Thorn knew all ships would detect momentarily.  Under the angrily fluorescing mass of Cavorite bending gravitational fields back in upon themselves, was a singularity, merely the size of a marble, but a single hit to her completely unshielded vessel by any weapons, and that core would rupture, sending pieces of diagravitational material away at relativistic speeds and unleashing the gravity of Earth's moon in an uncontained microsingularity event.

Ger words were in Galactic standard, and she didn't quite understand the GSU Standard as well, but that was to be expected from someone who grew up on the other side of the Galaxy. "Please... Please, I just want to see my mom.  How long was I out?  I wanna go home."  Good.  They seem to have taken the bait.  At least part of it.  I'm gonna need a new ship to get out, though.  Her thoughts were carefully guarded.  She couldn't risk that at least one of the Colonial Marines she could guess were on that drop pod were telepathic.  "I just wanna go home.  Alex said he would take me home..."  A very convincing sob broke free.  "He's gone, isn't he?  He said he might go away, but he's gone... Please, my chest hurts."

She had no way of detecting magic, so as far as her eyes were concerned, the ship was just dead.  She knew what that meant, but couldn't prove it.  Not with this version of the Eye.  But as the dropships came closer, they could see her pounding against the cockpit glass and ripping out the IV line to try to get out.  But there was no EVA helmet in the Eye.  Not for this mission.  The rest of the bare minumum lightly armored suit looked second-or third hand.  She seemed to weaken and try to breathe, fighting hypoxia, no doubt.  The voice on the comms weakened as well as her oxygen supply did seem to run short.  And they could see her ship was falling apart at the seams.  Bare minimum and built to do one thing, it seemed.  It looked built to run for its life.

But with no air lock, they would have to dismantle it or drag it inside the main ship to get to her.

Though with all eyes on the tiny ship with its carrier sized jump signature and power systems unique to being powered by a black hole, very few would notice the small distortion in the Asteroid belt, like an astroid had turned and scattered light from the sun.  A slightly longer, and empty version of the same ship activated its advanced stealth systems and burned gently for the Earth, calculating and inserting its orbit via Mars gravity.  With a second gentle burn, it neatly inserted itself into Earth's inbound traffic and took up an orbit below the MAC cannons.  From there, it would start scanning, so assured in its inability to be spotted, and its organic scanners getting exact measurements on magic use all around it, from the MAC guns to the mother on the surface, lighting her family's camp fire with a spark of will deep in the Sangre de Cristos.

@Yusuf Al Thani


Last edited by Thorn in your side on Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:10 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Added language barrier)
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#6PostSubject: Re: An Eye in the GSU   Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:01 am

"Well, she looks like she is in trouble." One of the Colonial Marines inside the boarding craft said as he watched the figure inside the spacecraft pound against the window of it.
"Anyone can put on a facade, remember what Crompton said." His comrade said to him sharply. "Scanning the ship's structure for an entry point..." He sighed as the results came up, shaking his head straight after. "There's no way we're docking with it. Not enough room."

The boarding craft momentarily circled around the small ship as the marine at the controls aborted the docking maneuvers. Information that was scanned at closer proximity by the boarding craft was being directly relayed back to Crompton on the Destroyer.

"Not enough room? The hell is that supposed to mean?" The marine by the window questioned as he took his gaze away from it.
"The ship's literally a cryopod stuck to a... propulsion drive? I'm getting some weird readings from there."
"Does it matter? Man we have a girl dying in there! We need to hurry this shit up!"
"Shh! Hold on, I've got Crompton on the line."

"You are hereby ordered to withdraw, Corporal." Crompton's voice came through the console. "You are to return to the hangar bay and await the arrival of the drop pod via tractor beam. Once it has landed, you will secure it and release the occupant. You have orders to shoot and kill if any sign of hostility is shown."
"Understood."

As soon as the boarding craft arrived in the hangar, a beam of yellow energy shot out from a point on the belly of the Destroyer, easily trapping the small craft in its grip and pulling it towards the hangar bay. Once it was close enough, the tractor beam deactivated and the small ship's slow momentum allowed it to continue into the bay, bypassing the energy shielding that acted as a pressure seal to protect the inside from the unforgiving vaccuum of space. For this particular instant, Crompton had deactivated the artificial gravity in the hangar so that the small craft wouldn't slam into the deck as soon as it had entered the large space. Instead, as soon as the craft floated in, he waited until it went over a stasis field generator before activating it and yet again seizing the craft. Carefully controlling the generator, Crompton placed it down onto the deck and reactivated the artificial gravity whilst deactivating the generator.

The Colonial Marines, who had magnetically clamped their boots to the deck, moved in slowly. Eight of them stood by and watched two of their comrades move forward and carefully cut through the craft's hull using a high-powered laser cutter that was a re-purposed version of the Spartan Laser Cannon. Carefully, bit by bit, the marines cut off pieces of the hull until they could finally reach the inner cockpit, at which point they would grab the girl inside and extract her from the confines of it.
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#7PostSubject: Re: An Eye in the GSU   Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:45 am

It wouldn't take them long.  The hull was thin, and shoddily welded as one of the winglets crumpled under the sideways craft.  Thorn picked herself up from the side of the cryo pod and knelt there, still pounding on the glass and shouting for help, but the tractor beam had damaged the microphone pickup in her poorly built wiring harness.  But as soon as the cryo pod was cut free, one of the Marines balked at the angry blue glow from within the hull panel he'd cut away, backing away quickly as he recognized the brightly fluorescing mass of exotic particles.  "Where the fuck did she get one of those?!"

The light illuminated an image on the back of her AI's core, an old UNSC geosurvey sattelite, gently blinking partial online statuses in LEDs that were drowned out by the glow of fluorescing Cavorite holding back the monstrous forces of a miniature black hole.

The other had managed to get access to the exterior controls Thorn had left alone so long ago, one of the few emergency systems on the tiny ship, and blew the seal.  As she had been reeling back to pound on the glass with her full eighty five pounds of mass, she pitched forward as the lid fell away, landing awkwardly.  Pushing herself up, she took a deep breath, gasping and choking in the clean air of a GSU Destroyer.  The Marines could see her tears and red eyes, and now that the tiny and heavily scarred figure was before them, they could see the tangled hair and smell the sweat and fear of a lost urchin.  They could hear the choking sobs of a scared child as she pushed herself against her ruined, pickup truck sized ship and tried to make herself invisible.

Crompton would see her datapad attempting to gain basic network access as an orbital service device as she'd reverted her software for this mission.  If he accepted it, he'd be able to see and control all her hardware, from the fully functional rebreather and its drained chemical pods to her flashlight and cochlear speaker assembly.  He'd even see the negative reinforcement module pop up as active, ready to deliver a mind numbing dose of pain and overloaded senses before paralyzing the girl for the next ten minutes.  He'd be able to see the children's software package in the pad embedded in her arm, and the fact that the operating system hadn't been upgraded in over a decade.  If he still suspected her, it would be illogical to assume that someone who was trying to violate GSU security would have done so with slave hardware that had an active NRM on board.

A medic rushed forward and started checking vitals as Thorn played the part of a terrified child, pulling her arm away and crying out for her mother, screaming to not be touched in her gravelly, scratchy voice.  Secretly she hoped there were no empaths in range, because she was starting to enjoy this.  Though she had been aware of the Marines levelling their rifles at her, and was careful to be scared, not aggressive.  What she didn't know was that their first set of scans would show a growth inhibitor achieved by destruction of ghrelin-producing cells in the digestive tract and ghrelin receptors in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, along with a systematic targeting and excising of any glands producing HGH.
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#8PostSubject: Re: An Eye in the GSU   Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:16 pm

This continued until Thorn began laughing, a few swips of her finger reverting her software to its more recent form.  "Thanks for the great show, boys.  My name and merc profile are under Thorn Ironhart.  Check with the Drosden if you're not sure about that.  Same with the ship registry on the junker you gave me an excuse to get rid of.  So I thank you for that.  I'm twenty something, been free for fiveish years now, no thanks to you folks not catching a slaver.  No scans were taken, and you can check my memory core for that.  But I would sincerely like to meet my parents.  Last I heard they lived on Mars."

She stood up and smiled at the Marines, giving a flirty "Hey, boys!"
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