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Self Configuring Modular Robot (Chapter Cover)

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Chapter 32 - Self Configuring Modular Robot[]

"He told us to prepare them, well, turns out, we don't have...

...enough time to do it and be subtle." Natasha Kerensky thundered.

"Where did you get these numbers?" Melissa Steiner-Davion asked.

"I got them from several sources-okay, Wolfnet got them from several sources, but the key ones came from Rhonda Snord and your husband's domestic intelligence section." the Black Widow admitted, "Of course, he didn't get the real ones because between the source and your husband. The source was Comstar and they doctored it to look less pressing."

"WHAT??" exclaimed Melissa

"MIIO screwed up, but MY agent didn't-we stole a copy of the report before it was edited by the mole-and you can say 'thank you Natasha for killing that prick who almost cost everyone everything ever' and I'll even be gracious." Natasha told them

"So that's the origin of your disagreement?" Morgan Kell asked.

"Not really. Jaime's still looking for a less intrusive solution. The problem is there isn't one. There's not likely to BE one, there might've been one back in 3041 or '42. Definitely was one back in '33, before the ****** things figured out how to go dormant during a jump, you know, when the smallest ones were still the size of my hand instead of the size of a ****** grain of rice...and it's confirmed by other means. The Clans, the people who sent us are coming, namely Kerlin died. Their leader currently leader Ulric is good but he's up against a lot of factors in the homeworlds that were under control before those morons from Comstar stumbled onto the cluster."

"You cut off contact, how did you find out?"

"I still have friends and orders or not, they still talk to me." she scowled, "SO! Here's the deal I gave the Archon; You need to re-form the Star League, you need to do it to save yourselves from the self-replicating robots and you need it to fight off the invading Crusaders...or at least to be strong enough that they can be forced to negotiate, you're not going to get there with subtlety anymore, because we don't have the time."

"How much time do we have?" First Prince Hanse Davion asked.

Natasha's scowl deepened, "Your boy Arthur's analysis says you have five years based on the variables my people slipped his little sibko of scientists."

"A what?"

"The gifted kids." Melissa stated, "One of my agents is there to protect them from one of ROM's people that got into our staff. They've slipped Arthur the raw numbers data and a thought experiment, as an extra credit problem...and we've got five years, our analysts confirmed it after I had a look at the data he turned out. Elizabeth's prediction is three years, I choose to be optimistic, because if it's three years we're all already ******."

"So it's true you assembled a think-tank this quickly?" While Coordinator Takahashi Kurita wasn't enthusiastic about the potential for a summit, he sent his disappointing son Theodore to represent the Dragon.

"Yes." Melissa stated, "We did...Hanse did, I went along with it, now I'm glad we have."

"You didn't invite Comstar?" Chancellor Romano Liao had been the doubtful one, but then, she'd come anyway.

"No." Melissa stated, "I didn't. They're the ones who've been helping bury this and keep us distracted."

"You should have." the Celestial Wisdom commented. "We initially thought it was YOUR weapon."

"It's not, it really isn't." Hanse noted.

"I gathered that or I would not be, we have genetically altered, sculpted, obsessive warriors coming, likely through your front door, and a robot apocalypse on our back porch..." she glanced a hate-look at Candace, "and you want to form the Star League anew."

"That summarizes nicely..."

"Shit. I knew it was real." Arthur Steiner-Davion glanced at Penny Doons. "Five years?"

"She said Liz claimed it would take three." Sierra commented.

"Well...I have nightmares." Elizabeth Ngo shrugged as the pin-cameras tracked the adults in the 'secure' room. "My numbers are maybe influenced by my jump-dreams, sorry guys."

"No problem. Do we know what to do yet?" Arthur asked.

Liz spread her hands, "Not really? If they're surviving jump space to spread then an EMP won't cleanse an infestation."

"Spores." Yvonne had found her 'niche'-while the others had only a passing interest in biology, she'd found it far more engaging than their mechanical, electronic, chemical and physics activities, and she had, by eight, gained her proper place as the gang's 'bio expert'. "Spores can survive where the plants and fungi they form can't. it's why you can find the same mold on just about every planet human beings live on."

"Huh." Liz frowned. "Yeah, that checks...So, if we can stop the spores, we can stop the growth?"

"Special Project time?" Terry asked.

"Yeah, Terry, stick close. You too Jess, our Engineers need to spot our screw-ups. Penny, you and Liz get on theorizing the materials science to make a self-replicating robot the size of a grain of rice that can handle EMP. Sierra, you and I will get on just how compact the code needs to be to fit on it, and likely compression methods. I'm thinking it's a heuristic learning algorithm, but it's got some core instruction sets. We might be able to virus or hack it after an infestation's begun, or change the behaviors, Vonnie, you're our floater-figure out how lifeforms do it, and what kind of 'biology' these things might have, work with Jess and Terry on possible odd angles of attack, we need to be able to show the adults at least three possible solutions that can be at least started in Lizzie's time frame, and put your mind to thinking about how these things will counter our moves."


"We're superheroes, you know that right?" Terry observed.

"Only if we win. points are for breakthroughs that lead somewhere. Let's get to work." Arthur, too, has found his 'true' place in the group-and it was one his father might even approve of-the Leadership.

"Fizzies?" Liz asked.

"I'll call the kitchen and get us some." He promised, "And donuts? or do you want something healthier?"

"Donuts works, maybe those ijero filled crescent things from last Sunday?"

"I'll put your order in separately. How do you eat those things?" he asked.

"I like them."

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