Read AZU-1: Lifehack Online

Authors: Joseph Picard

AZU-1: Lifehack (34 page)

BOOK: AZU-1: Lifehack
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Regan relaxed back down into the bed
with a smile, and giggled softly to herself while she ran her hand
across the spot on the bed Alisia had left warm.


It’s a home-made rail
cannon!” Doc Brock said, pointing at the close-up of the satellite
image. “The design is crude, but to construct a dozen or more of
these things in the amount of time Erebus had is amazing! There
must be quite a fleet of nanites at work by now.”

Alisia had come to Brock’s lab after
getting caught up to speed by the General. The rest of AZU-1 was
along for the ride.


Rail cannon?” Regan said,
looking over to Alisia, “Is that like your bad mojo
thingie?”


Yes! Yes!” Doc Brock
interrupted, “The principle is very similar. Both use a set of
electromagnets to hurl a projectile, but these cannons are much
larger. They’d have to be in order to use construction girders as
ammo and throw them as far as we’ve seen them go! They also have to
consume a lot of power to fire.”


Where’s he getting this
power?” Alisia asked, “Meston’s supply has been cut off, and we
know there’s no mana drive or nuke generator in there.”


We can only assume he’s
depleting backups or a stored supply.” Brock suggested.


But they’ll run out sooner
or later, and then we just have to watch all the zombies fall
down...” Parker said.


Erebus isn’t stupid. He
knows he needs power, especially now that he doesn’t have a human
body. He’ll try to pull something off before he runs out. Hopefully
that ‘something’ doesn’t involve killing the hostages.”

Doc Brock looked over to the image
being fed by the satellite. “Remember when the Autar A.I.
transmitted out of Autar at the last minute? I think I should have
someone check on the status of any satellites in range of
Meston.....”

The thought of Erebus potentially
floating around the planet as data in satellites was not a
comforting one for anyone to absorb.


Anyway!” Brock broke the
grim silence, “Sergeant Parker, Erebus’ new toys have inspired me
to requisition some gear from a few other departments, and with
some modification, I’ll be making you a new toy soon!”


I... I’m getting a rail
cannon?”


Well.... no... a rail
propelled sniper rifle. I expect amazing range.”


Cooooool.”

Alisia stepped in. “Boys, how is a new
fancy sniper rifle going to help us here?”


Fear not!” Doc Brock
chirped, “I have a cunning plan!” He rolled a small bullet-like
object towards Parker across the table. Parker stopped it with his
index finger, and picked it up. It had none of the components of a
normal bullet. No firing cap or anything, just a tight seam. “What
the heck is this?”


A nanite server.” Brock
explained, “Built to function like the ones we’ve managed to
confiscate. Of course, this small size is thanks to the additional
resources we had available to build them.”


But can’t Erebus just...
build things on a molecular level with nanites?” Kris
asked.


Yes, but I suppose that
method wasn’t available... or maybe just not necessary when he made
his. Which is lucky.. I doubt we could have reverse-engineered such
a thing in any timely manner. This one also doesn’t need to carry a
payload of nanites, saving space. Once I have the rifle assembled,
we can fire it from out of his cannon range, and assume control of
a nanite colony.”

Parker smirked with a shrug. “Remember,
I’m just here to shoot things.”

Kris matched his smirk, and shook her
head. “Shoot it into a zombie, and we can control it- Boom, an
instant spy in Meston.”

Brock nodded. “Yes. Exactly. I’ll be
bringing the control deck aboard your airlimb soon. The control
deck can have two operators.”


Well, that will be Regan
and I,” Alisia said, “Obviously we need Kris running the airlimb,
and Parker manning a zipper just in case. “


Can’t Erebus jam it?” Regan
asked.


Doubt it.” Kris said. “Even
if he does detect it in the mess of signals flying around Meston,
he needs the airwaves clear about as much as we do.”

Parker was still smirking at the server
bullet. “And I have to bury this in a zombie from... almost a
kilometer away?”


To avoid the heavy guns,
yes, and the airlimb will have to keep moving.” Brock said. “Can’t
use anything as slow as a rocket, or anything with guidance, as
it’ll be detected on its way in. The server bullet goes in ‘dead’
and undetectable. The rail rifle I’m building compensates for the
range needed.”

Parker rolled his eyes, thinking about
wind conditions over the distance. “Greaaat. Any other things to
make this shot easier?”

Kris answered. “You have to get it to
hit the spinal nerve between the fourth and third
vertebrae.”

Parker’s eyes became wide as saucers.
“What?!”

Brock burst out laughing, quickly
containing himself. “Easy, sergeant, just get it in
anywhere.”

Nearly twenty four hours later, Parker
strolled into the airlimb’s ops room. They were still docked at
Yute, and Kris was passing time, checking up on the status of
various operations revolving around the Meston
infection.


Hey, Kris. Whatcha
watching?” Parker tried to be diplomatic.

At the sound of Parker’s voice, Kris’s
mind teetered between a sneer and a smile. “Did you know he’s been
trying to take control of satellites?”

Parker looked at the various displays
arranged around Kris and considered what it all meant. “Oh my god..
the bastard.. it was his plan all along... he’s trying to get free
satellite porn!”

Kris turned around in her chair to face
Parker, still divided between annoyance and appreciation. None the
less, her voice came forward with a degree of amusement. “That’s
right, Robert. You’ve uncovered his evil, evil plan. He did it all
for porn.” Unconsciously, her body language flirted with a
submissive lean back, and a little ‘accidental’ ride up of her
skirt.


I knew it! Even after
having his fleshy body destroyed, all he needs is some lovin’.
Awww.”

Kris rolled her eyes. “Aaaanyway, since
he used a satellite to get data out of Autar before it was bombed,
everyone’s rather nervous that he’ll jump out the same way again if
he manages to hack a satellite. Either way, sooner or later he’s
going to figure out a way to do something very very
bad.”


Well, hopefully Doc Brock’s
little experiment will get us some info to help us get the hostages
out, or something... I suppose they’ll have to bomb Meston
eventually to stop him from taking another city, hostages or
not.”

They let the notion settle in for a
bit. Kris spoke up. “So why aren’t we going in with that railgun
thing right now?”


Brock’s still setting stuff
up. It’s gonna be a while. I just saw some of it being dragged
in.”

Kris looked up at Parker and raised an
eyebrow. She tapped a button on one of the consoles, and all the
monitors around her flickered out, leaving the room dimly lit by
light from the hall. “So. You’re saying we have some time to
burn.”

~~~~~

Chapter 56: A Lively Stroll

~~~~~

Parker continued the examination of his
new toy, which sat pointing out the open bay door on the side of
the airlimb. The frenzied air of flight rushed around him, and the
ground blurred by below. The front end of the gun looked just like
a normal zipper gun, and for a very good reason. At the range
they’d be at, a normal zipper would not be able to reach Meston,
and if Erebus saw them, he would hopefully only think that they
were trying to take a peek. Parker looked at the three little magic
‘bullets’ on a neat little rack beside the handle, like a
miniature, modern quiver.

Behind him in the bay, Doc Brock was
strapping Alisia and Regan down to a large table with bulky
headsets looming overhead. “So, when we have control of a zombie,
the sensor I’m going to tape onto the back of your neck will pick
up impulses in your nerves and translate it into motions for the
controlled zombie. In return it will send images and sound back to
the headset. Since this isn’t a true cyber VR, (I didn’t think you
ladies would want to be implanted for that, nor do we have the
time...) your actual body will be moving too. This system doesn’t
stop that, so the strapping is there to prevent you from.. well...
flailing around here and hurting yourselves.”

The girls nodded in rough
understanding, and Brock skittered over to the console attached
nearby to run calibration tests. Kris chose this moment to wander
in from the front of the airlimb.

She sauntered up to the table and
smirked down at Alisia and Regan, half strapped down. “And here I
am without a stick of butter.”

Regan rolled her eyes and looked up at
Kris. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”

Alisia looked over to Regan with wide
eyes. “Her? What about you?!”

Regan pondered. “Well... I’ve had worse
Saturday nights.”

Alisia closed her eyes in mild
exasperation. “Kris, how long till we’re in range?”

Kris ‘innocently’ rested her hand on
Alisia’s knee, and watched Regan’s face for reaction. “Any minute.
That’s what I came back to tell you.”

Regan glared at Kris’s hand, then up to
her calm, smiling face. “You couldn’t have used the
comm?”


What, and miss the bondage
party?” She strolled back out with her smirk, to take her
station.

Soon, the airlimb had attained an
‘orbit’ around Meston, with Parker’s new toy pointed at it. He used
the scope to look around exposed streets and such for viable
targets, looking for single zombies who once controlled, could slip
away unnoticed.


Kris,” he spoke into his
comm after a while, “Hold it here. I see a few.” The airlimb
lurched to a stop, hovering in place. Through the sight, he looked
at three zombies milling around by the opening to an alley. “Three
zombies, three magic bullets.” Parker commented.


And two people who can use
them.” Alisia said from the table.


Yeah, well, that’s not my
fault.” Parker readied his first shot. The capacitors warmed up,
and a soft hissing sound came from the base of the gunnery. Alisia
mentally noted that it sounded much different than her bad mojo,
and wondered if it was time she got Brock to build her an
upgrade.

With no detectable recoil, the gun
fired, and Parker watched silently for a moment that felt like
forever. “Got one.” He said with calm satisfaction.

Brock made himself busy at his console.
“Ah, yes. It’s good. Lets get another set up, then the ladies can
‘go in’.”

Parker lined up his shot for the next
nearest zombie.... and fired. “Damn.”


What happened?” Alisia
asked.


I hit the same one. It
stumbled in the way at the last second.”


Oh,” Brock said, looking at
his console as if It might try to bite. “I hope that wasn’t my
fault.”


No matter. I guess that’s
why we have a third bullet.”

Alisia looked out under her head set at
Regan. Her eyes looked nervous. “If we only get one in, you’ll be
saved the trouble. I’ll have to go in without you.” Her words
suggested she wanted to spare Regan, but her voice suggested she
didn’t want to do this alone.

Parker fired. “Fuck fuck
fuck!”

Alisia closed her eyes and
sighed.


It went clean through.
Yeah, I can see bits of the bullet in the wall. Some chunks below.”
Parker mumbled curses at himself.


Alright Brock. Put me in.”
Alisia said.


Hm. Yes.”

Parker watched through the scope as the
struck zombie jiggled into a controlled state. The monitors inside
Alisia’s headset came to life. “Kay. I’m seeing through its eyes, I
guess. Whoops!” The zombie fell down onto its side. “Hey, I got a
drunk one.”


Ah, it will take a bit of
practice, I should think.” Brock suggested.

Alisia moved her restrained arm, and
saw the zombie’s hand come up in front of the display. “Yick.
Anyone got any moisturizer? Say, Parker, where’d you land the
second bullet?”


Left shoulder,
front.”

Controlling the zombie was tricky. It
was difficult to ignore what she felt- the table and its straps,
and her actual motions, and instead focus only on the visual
feedback she was receiving. After some fumbling, Alisia managed to
make the zombie dig the bullet out. “This still working,
Brock?”


Yes, wh- Oh, I
see!”

Alisia looked over to Regan
again.


Do it.” Regan
said.

Alisia’s zombie lunged forward, and
stuck the spare bullet into the calf of the next nearest zombie. It
moaned in surprise, which startled the third zombie enough to make
it wander away. Brock pushed a few buttons on his console. “It...
it’s good, you can go in any time, Ms. Grier.”

BOOK: AZU-1: Lifehack
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