It was cold in the spook tent. I was in a cryogenic womb made from space age canvas, fiberglass, and fans.
It was dark save for the glow of monitors and the Christmas light array of blinking LEDs.
There in cramped quarters we traced the paths of several drones. It was a microcosm of full spectrum dominance. Sea, air, and land were at our fingertips. Yes, I said land.
I sat below the image of a grinning witch. The toy at my disposal was the HAG – I . High Agility Ground Intelligence or the Hag Eye.
These were devices as experimental as PLATO itself. I’d played with early iterations in a highly controlled environment. This was the wet test, Thornton wanted deployment data, and so here we were putting her through her paces.
Despite being glad for the feel of cool air I soon grew to hate it. The jungle outside was bad but this cramped, sterile, ice box was built for the comfort of machines, not men.
“Cut me a sample.” Cooks voice crackled in my headset.
The robotic spider never ceased to amaze me. My horizontal trajectory became vertical. Some of the multijointed legs flashed briefly in my field of vision. Then I behold the uppermost branches of the Kapok tree.
Ascending to the impressive height of a hundred and seventy some feet I paused before a patch of leaves. Briefly striking a hotkey combination engaged an automatic process. The reason for this tent was manifold. We were transmitting data back to a neural net in Langley. HAG – I was not only being tested but trained.
I watched in fascination as the little abomination adjusted itself and a slight mechanical whirring informed me that its tiny mechanical arms were coming online. A clamp and some sharp calipers emerged. The little circle of dots that appeared on my monitor informed me that calculations were under way.
Then slowly methodically the clamp extend and closed around a branch bearing the lance shaped leaves, and several pepper/nut like seed pods. It then proceeded to cut with the calipers just above initial grip. The branch came loose and Laura adjusted herself. I’d decided to call this particular HAG machine Laura after my exes mother.
A-Seq; Complete, the green font at the bottom of my screen informed me, I was pilot again. Slowly I made my way back down the trunk of the tree. Branch in hand mind you. Laura was primarily a surveillance device. There was no storage container. The only reason she’d been equipped with arms, and other tools, was in case there was a need for quick conversion for bomb diffusion.
We weren’t about to insect scuttle our way back across two and a half miles of jungle though. A few feet from the base of the Kapok sat a gaping mouth. The mouth was open and a little metal ramp led to the depths of the beasts bowels. Laura scuttled her way inside.
I switched to night vision. There was a darkened pad in the corner. I placed the branch on the pad. It opened and swallowed the sample. I pressed another hot key combination and watched as Laura took her place in the pen next to her sisters.
Though I couldn’t see it I knew that the gaping mouth monster closed its jaws and wheeled its way to the most open patch of canopy it could find. Schmidt’s aerial machine descended and attached itself to the calipers atop the mobile garage.
Our toys were homeward bound.
Unfortunately another short abomination. I work the AM shifts and have been waking up at eight/nine PM the past couple of days. Really hoping to resolve this bullshit soon. Probably going to post more than twice this week to make up for my constant cock ups. Cheers and thanks for reading.
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