Salvatore Ambulando’s Detritus: Namesake

I used to fear that so much of my little pieces were going to waste. It wasn’t that I felt posting them as part of my blog would negate their viability for other markets (it won’t, by the way, if you know what you’re doing), it was that I felt I wouldn’t be able to create but a certain amount of fiction in my lifetime. Like if this represented a large percentage of total creative output, I was totally squandering it in a medium that won’t get me anything.

Well, no worries. I’ve come to learn over the last two or three years of spontaneous fiction, especially spontaneous science fiction, that I’m not going to have an issue coming up with ideas.

While this story can be expanded upon, its not going to be. This is it for this Taggart. It’s a sci-fi collage, hastily glued with old school paste, some of which I’ve eaten.

And now I have a tummy ache.

The ground sped towards him in the forward HUD, and Sergeant Alvis Taggart braced himself for the impact. Collision alarms assaulted him from every direction in the tight cockpit of Exotech Mechanized Assault Suit.

The blast from the enemy plazmortars had knocked him from his perch along the 351st’s stealth assault vector, and as he fell, he noticed the rest of his squad continued along their mission path.

The fall was considerable. The 351st had taken a lightly fortified route through a rocky area that hid the enemy’s waste disposal plants. Clinging like insects underneath rocky outcroppings over sheer cliffs, they had infiltrated well into enemy territory before encountering heavy automated resistance. These plants were apparently more important to their enemies than first assumed.

Sergeant Taggart, imprisoned in his heavy assault vehicle, plunged towards a giant piece of machinery attached to a wide vat of glowing blue sludge.

“Radiation levels are increasing dramatically. Collision imminent. Primary thrusters offline. Compensatory maneuvering insufficient at current velocity.”

The AI spat error after error as the helpless soldier descended towards what he assumed would be his demise.

Taggart collided with a heavy conveyor routing spent fuel rods from enemy space cruisers into the vat of waste. Laser shears, used to cut the rods into smaller pieces, ripped through his suit at midriff and Taggart spat blood inside the mechsuit as he slowly rolled along the conveyor towards the waste vat.

***

“Secondary energy source detected. Nanorepair sequences initiated. Compensating for radiation. Organic systems failing.”

Taggart could hear the AI attempting to extricate itself from the vat, but in the HUD all he could see was the glowing blue of waste.

“Initiate sequence 33,” Taggart gasped. The suicide sequence would take a few seconds, and then he wouldn’t have to worry about where his legs were anymore.

“Database corruption detected. Sequence 33: Unknown command. Integrating with organic components.”

It took Taggart a moment to realize what the AI had just said. “You can’t do that. Order 26B.” 26B was a failsafe that prevented AI-assisted mech units from attempting to integrate their cybernetic systems into a human body. The AI’s were programmed to prevent the death of their human operators, but after several “abominable” hybrids as a result of the AIs going to far, the Terran military had installed all mech units with the 26B failsafe.

“Order 26B not recognized. Integrating with organic components. Secondary energy source overloading current configurations. Adjusting systems to compensate. Energy levels increasing exponentially. Compensating. Compensating. Compensating.”

Before Taggart could scream, his brain shut down.

***

Inter-Terran System Emergency Data Stream:

WARNING: ALL INTERPLANETARY VESSELS

Following the destruction of Titan and the Terra-Jovian Asteroid Array, all non-military traffic in this system is hereby prohibited. Pursuant to the binding interplanetary decrees as ratified in the signing of the Io Treaty, all military vessels are to report to rendezvous T9-AA13.

Encrypted orders can be uploaded using SigmaTrans at TR34.50.H77

***

THREE MONTHS LATER:

The Terrans had been fighting near Saturn against an alien insurgency that called themselves Andromedeans. Now, mercenaries from all parts of the galaxy were streaming into the Sol system for a piece of the action and to assist the combined armies of the former foes against a new “anomaly”.

Captain Threx Banner had never been to Mars, but now he took his rag-tag team of mercs into orbit to see what this “anomaly” was that had both the Terrans and the Andromedeans running scared.

Dropping below the man-made atmosphere of the planet in a loose configuration of stolen military vessels, the mercs quickly saw what it was they faced.

Across all screens on their flagship, a blue cyber-enhanced human face appeared.

“I am Taggart. You have been classified as a destructive virus. Prepare for cleansing.”

It looked like an Exotech Mechanized Assault Suit, but it was a thousand times too big and eerily glowing blue.

Captain Banner flicked a finger at the hula dancer figurine on his control board.

“Farewell, me buckos,” he said.

***

Indeterminable light years away, an organism with advanced intelligence observed a strange phenomenon in a distant galaxy.

Over the last three cycles of his planet’s orbit around its red dwarf star, the organism had noticed the galaxy turn gradually blue.

Taking one of his optical appendages away from the observation unit, the creature noticed the blue glow was now visible in the inky blackness of space by his naked eyes.

The creature quickly began to fill out the forms to have the anomaly named after him.

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