Space Time Inc. [Book 1 - The Experiment]
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by James Pittaro
Category: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Description: The year is 3809AD . The Altex Corporation has many research and development facilities, scattered around the far corners of the Imperium. Mankind has reached across these vast distances using the newly developed H-Drive technologies, and has also being toying with the very nature of the universe itself. But these experiments have unforeseen consequences, as a squad of Altex Corp space marines are about to find out. Fast paced action, set in an amazing future universe.
eBook Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon Publishing, 2010 Double Dragon eBooks
eBookwise Release Date: April 2010
19 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [208 KB]
Reading time: 118-165 min.
Those guys were awesome; trained in the best holo-suites, and using top notch implants. They were undefeated with a savage reputation for not taking any prisoners. Now they've been sent to this chunk of rock in the middle of an asteroid field, to infiltrate a secret research base. The orders were simple. Rescue any survivors, and shut down the main Artificial Intelligence controlling the whole show. Well it sounded simple at the holo-briefing.
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Chapter 1: Landing
The troop carrier, Ulysses, rapidly descended through the vacuum of space, over a rocky plain on the far side of the asteroid base's defence grid. The solid armoured hull extended landing gear, as the star ship hovered in the grey barren silence. Energy shields sparkled with bits of dust kicked up by her sudden descent, towards the dusty rock. Moments later it landed and opened up a large air-locked cargo door, at the rear of the ship. The team of Imperial space marines spilled out of the back, weapons at the ready. Four android commandos followed, and a heavy support droid trundled out after them, into the hostile terrain. Establishing a defence formation they scanned the area.
"Roll out to the first waypoint."
They moved at a cautious speed, to the top of the first rocky hill. They wore armoured space suits with personal energy shields; the best equipment the corporation and 39th century modern ultra-science could offer. The team spread out and moved away from the landing zone.
"This defence system could be 'hot', and if it is, we do everything by the space marine's holo-book," said the Commander.
"Yes, Sir," the men replied using their comms links to communicate through the vacuum of the airless asteroid. When the squad cleared a safe distance, the Ulysses lifted off, and swung her guns in the direction of the facility. Retracting lifter pads and blasting up into the black star sparkled sky. Soon the receding glare of her engines disappeared into the darkness.
The support robot was an intimidating piece of military hardware, heavily armoured and equipped with an array of awesome firepower. They sent the towering machine in first to see what happened. The droid was protected with a third generation energy shield, and was immune to most fire power; including nano-swarms. It reached the top of the hill and scanned the perimeter of the research base. Suddenly the intimidating machine was under fire from a barrage of energy weapons from the bases defence system. Its shields flared up from the high energy impacts. The unit responded by locking down the source of all incoming fire, and calculating the best tactical response. The squad had seen this all before, and knew exactly what was going to happen next. The support droid engaged the enemy with long range energy weapons, which unfolded from armoured housings. The droid's secondary weapons system was also ready to fire. An array of micro missile swarm launchers, with mini-nuke warheads streaked off; locked onto a number of targets around the base. The ground rocked with the force of multiple explosions, as the base defences withered under such methodical firepower. Soon energy blasts from the explosions, had silently destroyed everything, in dramatic eruptions of wildly destructive fire. The support droid was undamaged. The Commander looked at his tactical visor through the robot's sensors; as could every man in the squad. They all saw what the war machine was 'seeing', over laid onto their own fields of vision. The Commander possessed the control protocols, and for the moment was just letting the titan do its destructive work. Powerful particle disrupters sending multiple blasts of tightly focused energy to carefully targeted coordinates. The result was total devastation of the base's perimeter defences in 35.69 seconds. Then a powering down as the deadly weapons retracted back into armoured housings. The robot's tactical array confirmed the base defences were destroyed.
The Commander was satisfied.
"Okay, men let's go; androids first." The commandos responded by advancing before the squad. A few seconds later the twelve men and the medical-droid advanced from the rear. The large support droid was positioned on point, and they sheltered behind its giant frame, edging closer to the bunker entrance of the complex. The only way into the underground research facility was through a four meter thick duralloy blast door at the front of this. All around them the broken remains of the base's surface defence system lay in ruins.
The android commandos arrived first, and advanced around each side of the bunker entrance, to protect the team's left and right flanks. The support robot stopped a few metres from the door. The Commander looked through its 'eyes' at his objective. Scrolling tactical data concerning the composition of the door and possible defence systems was brought to his attention. The door was heavily shielded and contained a number of possible surprises.
This research complex was like many others the corporation had scattered and concealed throughout Imperial space. But most of them didn't go rogue and kill their human and clone operators. No-one from the base could be contacted for over seventy two hours now. The master Artificial Intelligence controlling the base had severed its connection with the Imperial network; the command and control system they used to coordinate all embedded technological systems. The empire was vast, and three corporations jostled for control over it. These guys worked for the largest one; the Altex Corporation, and were loyal company men. But this time the team had not been given the full story. Sure they had a complete tactical read out of the perimeter defences, but what was contained inside the research facility was a complete mystery. There could be anything in there. So send in the team that's prepared for anything, who always get the job done.
The Commander issued the order.
"Support robot power up main disrupters."
The robot went through the powering up sequence, and unfolded those deadly energy weapons pointing them directly at the door of the bunker.
"Everyone find cover."
The Commander initiated the 'lock and fire' sequence. Like his men he ran and ducked down behind some rocks. The support robot projected a devastating twin pulse of fire at the door instantly; but the pulses rebounded striking the robot's own shields. The onslaught of energy continued, but was constantly reflected back by some invisible field protecting the door.
"Droid shields are down to 56%, Commander"
Still the firepower blazed and reflected back.
"Droid shields are down to 33%, Commander
"Cease fire! What the hell's protecting this door, Johnson?"
"Get over there and see if you can hack it."
"Yes, Commander, I'm on it."
The fire stopped and the support robot went into standby mode. Johnson broke cover and went over to the door. There was a standard military interface port behind a small protector plate. He used his toolkit and produced an interfacer; a small pod with a neural-connector on it, and inserted it into the link. Johnson examined the results on the iris overlaid scan of his bio-morph computer implant. Part of his brain was enhanced with a surgically grafted and highly advanced Artificial Intelligence. The other guys had similar implants specialised to their own roles. But Johnson was the computer expert and he was great at his job.
"So what do you think, Sally?" That was the name he gave to the implant's A.I. as it was programmed with his wife's personality; but not her knowledge.
"Well, darling I'd say we've got some kind of encryption here."
"I thought as much. Can we crack it?"
"Darling; everything can be cracked in time."
"How long will it take to crack this encryption?"
"Seventy five days, fourteen hours, five minutes and sixteen seconds, honey. I could give you it down to the microsecond."
Johnson looked back at the Commander and shook his head.
"It can't be done, Sir."
The Commander was disappointed.
But nobody had any good ideas.
The Commander uplinked to the Control.
"This is Commander Williams. As you will be aware from our data streams; the external defences have been destroyed. However the door into the research base is using an unknown security protocol, and is impervious to fire, over."
"This is Control. Secure the area, we are sending a specialist to assist you."
Gamma radiation in the area was high, as a result of the exploded mini-nukes, but they were completely safe from it inside their suits, as well as from the serious vacuum of space. The gravity on the asteroid was set to 1G, the same as it was in most places, which had been utilised by the corporation. Now they waited for the specialist to arrive.
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