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Currently working on: E2 (1967) ; Python (Literate Bst, Simpletron); Java (turntable bot, Edwin's game). Eventually want to cover 1995, steam engine (history)

Below is most of a short fanfiction I wrote inspired by Cortex Command universe during 2010. Before then, the game had only impressionistic elements to communicate the background history of the setting, particularly its beautiful opening sequence. I read some frustrating fan fiction that ignored the core aspect of an individual controlling a squad of bodies and felt compelled to make my own.

I sketched it out and put it on the backburner. Then, Niklas Jansson published an official canon description of the setting. I felt disappointed at some of the choices: humans are the strongest species rather than clawing for position, a faction called Ronin are poor imitators rather than outside the system. So I had the choice to finish the story, ignoring those diametric choices or file off the serial numbers and call it my own. In the end, I renounced affiliation but petered out in deciding how much I could 'get away with.' (Hence, I called the body/puppets 'marions' but forgot to change out 'Coalition.')

Antique Technology

Lo-fsu itched like he had been dumped on a pile of velcro. It wasn't sense-bleed from any of his marions. Soldier strains had all the tactile sensitivity of a steel gauntlet. No this was week two of withdrawl. Gun-fsuss would insist it was his fault, but that's shit. Their supervisor had deliberately decreased his dopamine to "give his receptors time to repair." Lies. It was just more vindictiveness like assigning him on this dead end rock. Guarding a useless relay sat was the absolute worst job during the whole campaign. All he could do was walk the same eight corridors, nursemaid the servers, and scream at the itching.

He switched to the server room marion, looked about, and switched back.

Punishing him made no sense at all. Ground-side, he was reaping all kinds of minerals - top of his sector. Every marion had a smile and he just about shined. He was friends with everyone, even Yewe, his ground-side supe's supervisor. Golden boy, well on his way to earning himself a homestead. Of course, it was because he managed to trick his tankbot routines into upping his dopamine dosages during breaks. His trick involved sneaking a crab marion into the brain chamber to interface with the nutrient regulating computer. He had heard of similar stories. Someone fifty miles south snuck a bag of adrenaline into a chamber and just pumped it in through a drilled hole. Crazy and unsanitary. That guy got caught when every marion asphyxiated from acid buildup since he tried to run them as fast as he felt. The fool was still thinking like he was inside a marionette. Granted, some groups tried to discourage treating marions roughly by deploying members' brains into marionettes or behemoths, but that was just foolish. Either they tried not to use marions or left their marionette to subconscious control and that was never safe. Whitebots did that most, but some Coalition were 'brave' enough.

He switched to the lower south store room marion, headed to an elevator and switched back.

Gah, Lo-fsu felt like he couldn't focus for the ache, so he'd follow tangents like that all the time. Still, it's not like he could be embarassed in front of Gun-fsuss, his fellow prisoner. She had some sort of neural degeneration where she would occasionally subvert only to subconscious control across her whole network, even her brain! The docs sent her here while they synthesized some special growth hormone to test or enzyme or catalyst to repair the damage. Lo-fsu didn't really pay attention. He may have needed to increment his dosage regularly, but it's not like he was bouncing off the walls or anything. They caught him when they noticed he was emptying his dopamine store too quickly. Rather childish that he didn't anticipate the problem. Still, it wasn't like he could manufacture dopamine to cover his increased use. That adrenaline guy? Lo-fsu heard he was ripping the adrenal glands out of dead marions to fill his injection bag. Maybe if he were stationed at the busy Coalition capital, he could tap the synthesizing vats, but that was a sinecure only homesteaders could afford. Nah, most everyone who won their way onto this campaign had to harvest or supervise teams for a cut of their charges' income.

He switched to the marion scubbing the showers, had it refill its bucket and switched back.

When discovered, policy stated Lo-fsu had to go on reduced income work and detox. So, they shipped him up to this relay sat to sulk and keep the phone lines from melting or whatever. Tradestar routed sixty percent of everyone's communications on whatever side of the planet it was on at the moment. Ten percent was bounced off moon bases, five percent were local enough to use the ionosphere, and the rest were channeled through a pair of relay sats orbiting diametrically opposite Tradestar. When it first tunneled into the system, Tradestar let them carve up the moon system of a local gas giant for its fabrication stockpile and to establish the starting funds of each faction. Coalition may have paid as much to board as their bastard children, the Ronin, but that pre-competition policy let them vault ahead with a comfortable account. Anyway, some factions - Coalition, Whitebots - reserved thousand foot shards to set in orbit as communications stations.

He switched to the marion in the elevator, pushed the right level.

Rather than switch back to his brain, Lo-fsu switched to the marion in the east weapon control room. He had been idly tracking the approach of a cluster of debris: twisted rocket panels and detatched dropship motors. A bunched three meter group of the stuff had come over the horizon an hour ago. Technically it was just orbiting slower than the sat rather than coming towards him but relativity said it was the same thing. The whole thing was probably a prank by the fools on sat Y to unnerve him. Last week, they had gotten the F9A sector base to request a grade 2 cipher channel for a relay to our Tradestar stewards. He accepted the message and kept a copy for himself. He couldn't help it. This place is so shitting dull.

He switched to the server room marion and had it piss in the corner latrine. He cycled through them all and had each refill their camel drinking bags. Then he switched back to the weapon room.

After a few days, he guessed the cipher's seed. First there was some rubbish about the planet's crab god waking up then it broke off into looping references to Shit-fsu is a nosy tumor in a bowl of diarreha, ect. He hadn't been able to figure out how to get back at them yet. He'd been thinking about sending a mirrored globe out and bouncing a distress signal off what will look like empty void. If there's one thing everyone fears, it's schizophrenia. As soon as a marion has its sensed damaged, it gets sent to a grinder somewhere. Anyway, as soon as he saw this pile of big shrapnel he knew it had to be them. It was even staying fairly rigid, like the pieces are wired together. Rather than panic and assume it is a nuke or something from a hasty faction, he decided to let it get into maser range and slowly vaporize it. Gun-fsuss would probably remind him that the xeno factions aren't to be underestimated. But, really, no one could afford to have Tradestar fab up really snazzy bombs this early in the competition. In a few months, Coalition admins would send over some more motors and they'd go into some rote evasive manuvers to dodge the increasing missile traffic. He planned to be off this heap by then.

He switched to the marion blankly waiting outside the elevator and had it go to the exercise room and switched back.

In just half a minute, Lo-fsu would play the microwave beam over the irregular surfaces and see if he could etch his initials. Gun-fsuss had another hour of sleep left and his turn wasn't for another two hours after that. He should take pictures to show her. He rotated one of the visual cameras to face it. The cluster started to expand, perhaps internal vibrations finally broke it up. It was disappointing really. Now he would have to lob out some Kessler (collisional cascade) foam to catch most of it as well as any of the smaller flecks.While seeing a huge green blob swallow a cloud of knives was always funny, the material wasn't transparent enough to take pictures through. The weapon room marion moved to prep the foam.

Lo-fsu switched to the server room marion, checked that the cooling liquid was still within the normal range and switched back.

Hmm, the IR sensors were picking up some heat from each big piece, interesting. Those assholes were either going too far or this could be some faction's saberrattling. No need to wake Gun-fsuss but he sent off standard anomaly reports to relay sat Y and Hycanth base on the moon. Luckily, it was on the same side of the planet as him. It galled him to think that might be playing right into Y sat's hands but the paper trail would ensure they'd have some uncomfortable explaining to do. He'd play the straight man this round because there was virtually no chance of anything really dangerous in a cluster of that initial size. Any mass cannon that could penetrate the sat's shell from the thickest side would have a reactor or battery eight times the volume that the slowly expanding sphere had now. Maybe if it were tacking in from above the middle of the potato shaped sat, it could get away with one a third larger instead. No, the worst this could conceal was a crude x-ray lens in front of a tactical nuke. Even that would be little more than a scattershot sunburn at this range. He started filling the masers' capapacitors and autoloading missile tubes.

Lo-fsu absently scratched at this marion's reddening inner thigh and wanted to cycle through all of them but knew the critical moment would peak soon. He switched to his brain and made a network commnand to assume guard positions. Writing routines for subconscious interpretation was difficult, likely half would try to climb the walls or something before getting into position, but it saved him time nonetheless.

There was no question now that the hot spots were small, chemical thrusters moving them out to a plane perpendicular to the sat. A veritable shooting gallery. In fact, he could see ... SHIT IN THE VAT! The weak light was illuminating two dummy rockets painted black. Out of the corner of the marion's eye he could see the camera screen focused on where the yellow paint shone through a web of scratches. As he slammed down the missile launch button every single trash shard exploded forward, as with more powerful rockets.

Unexpected turns like this reminded Lo-fsu to be glad his body couldn't pump adrenaline and cut him down to tunnel vision. He switched to his brain and transmitted an instant update to the anomaly report and switched back.

The cloud was crisscrossing all the shards to make hitting any one piece difficult with the maser. No matter, the dummy rockets were trivially easy to target and became a beautiful orange nebula. He happened to be turned toward the IR screen. The camera seemed to have a huge defect because a huge serpentine line of cold crossed in front of the cooling plasma. Lancing through it with the maser did make a faint ripple that quickly cooled. So it wasn't the camera. The second rocket ruptured, spilling dummy parts. Two stage missiles vaporized the incoming scrap and intercepted the chaff with a thick plume of Kessler foam. The only thing stopping him from reporting the attack fully repulsed was that eerie cold trail in front of him. He turned on active radar and sensors in the other sextant directions. Perhaps this was a diversion? But, the closet object larger than an inch was the Whitebot relay sat some ten kilometers away. Panning the IR camera to follow the trail up did no good since nothing backlit it.

Lo-fsu cycled through his marions, easing them back to their posts and switched back to the weapon room marion.

He sent a semi-final report to Hycanth that the attack was over with no damage. Mindful of the wasted power, Lo-fsu switched the maser to a low setting and tried to trace the cold trail. It followed a high arc above the sat's path reaching back over the horizon. The material itself was ephemeral, like a liquid, but concentrated enough that it may have been a tight stream an hour earlier. He stared blankly at the screen wondering how this cold vapor and the half-hearted dummy attack could be related. Other than trying to slam the cover into the sat, not a shot was fired. His marion's leg began to fall asleep with that pins and needles feeling. Lo-fsu looked down and saw he had scratched through his pants and was rupturing the skin. Shittting withdrawl! He marched the foolish marion to the medical room to wash it and apply a bandage. Lo-fsu's last thought cursed his supervisor to a heavy pounding with a diarreha stained mallot.

In the center of the sat, Lo-fsu's brain splattered heavily onto the floor of the sterile chamber. A white laser had ruptured the globe around it. Three long, thin grenades fell through the hole bored by the laser. Each bounced in a different direction but the shrapnel found its target: Gun-fsuss's globe. At the computer's shriek over Lo-fsu's death she woke for a bare second. In a third of a second, the two death signals reached Hycanth base.

Nodeshells

I might fill one day, but would require research or excessive effort:

  • hate mail
  • Norse Creation
  • Shadows of The Empire
  • Battlefield Earth (the novel version)
  • SWAT Kats
  • decryption
  • legal guardian
  • People shouldn't swallow rocks
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Secret Shopper
  • judicial system
  • Ancient Astronaut
  • Alvin Toffler
  • illegal immigration
  • Why People Believe Weird Things
  • Zubbles
  • gas station
  • Bust-a-Move 4
  • b grade movie
  • English accent
  • running water
  • Link Usage and Function In E2
  • Saint Augustine
  • MGM Studios
  • French Indochina
  • Sacrifice in chess
  • King of Wands
  • DEFCON 5
  • Touchstone Pictures
  • radar signature
  • spectral line
  • Lord Protector
  • Split Screen
  • alpha radiation
  • supermarket
  • alcohol intolerance
  • gossip column
  • Mozambique
  • Yertle the Turtle
  • Kate Beckinsale
  • Wood burning stove
  • The Sunlandic Twins
  • Age of Discovery
  • Mad-Eye Moody
  • stellar wind
  • Keys of Solomon
  • Theater of war
  • Videocassette
  • MiG 15
  • straight-laced
  • World Book Encyclopedia
  • I Am America (And So Can You!)
  • sound pollution