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Weapons of War

Chapter 4
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SLS 1107034-C(E)
Deep in the Kuiper Belt, Sol Star System
Terran Hegemony
20th March, 2767


"So this idea?" I find myself perplexed.

"Niops. My brother never had an interest in science and being as remote as they are there is no real military presence. Plus I know someone there. It is my best shot at a normal life." Helena hesitated.

<<"Not impossible. I will have to teach you how perform a jump though as my higher functions will need to be disabled to ensure their continued optimal functionality. I must also warn that with your stated desires we will not be able to move through inhabited systems. I cannot self repair a jumpcore failure.">>

Logically the risks are actually quite minimal given my current material condition and how long it has been since my last overhaul. Yet with my newfound emotions I find myself questioning the wisdom of the plan anyway.

A quick check of my listed inventory says I have enough supplies to sustain Helena for more than long enough. The only other issue is she is human. She needs gravity.

I do not have the fuel reserves to give her full gravity and my dimensions make imparting a spin on myself impractical.

Avoiding inhabited systems but optimizing for recharge time does allow a small savings. According to available data it will take 135.24 days to Niops from my current position.

This is within acceptable parameters for established human habitation in micro-gravity.

"Let us begin then. As you make your way to the command center I will cover some basics. While I am quite capable of doing the calculations the jump control computer has been isolated from my command pathways. As such it will be up to you to actually input the data into the navigation board of the jump control computer. This should be easy enough. The difficult part is it will take some time for the effects of a hyperspace jump to clear from my systems and thus my higher functions to come back online. While my higher functions are offline helm and weapons will be offline. I will also be unable to monitor and adjust your implant. In automatic mode you may experience more severe than typical mood swings as a result. Since we are jumping into uninhabited systems there exists the possibility that you may have to avoid stellar objects near the jump points. This possibility is remote but significant enough I feel I should also teach you how to pilot me."


One training montage later
Helena's perspective


Personal log.

I'm not even sure what day it is anymore.
Vicky has been my only companionship for over four months now. On the one hand I appreciate whoever tried to give her personality but she is still just an AI in many respects. I think I've developed a form of Stockholm syndrome as a result.

She's not exactly my captor but it is not like I can leave either.

Where would I go?

All my options are bad. Niops is the least worst though from where I am.

As an example of just how disturbing she can get I managed to pry out of her how I got onboard. Which led me to Corporal Tzulin. Or what Vicky said was useful to keep in case of emergency. Creepy as ****** but part of me has actually grown to appreciate that sort of ruthless pragmatism.

Then there is her attempt to make a better drone. I think I had nightmares about that thing for weeks after first seeing it. It was that creepy.

It's better now. Still looks janky and fake as hell but when it gave me a hug? Well okay at first it still scared the shit out of me but once I got over it I realized just how caring Vicky could be even if she was really bad at expressing it at times. Plus I didn't even know how bad I needed a hug until then.

Learning how to jump and pilot a WarShip has been quite interesting. I actually rather like it. Though as we draw closer to Niops I find myself wondering what will become of Vicky.

It also makes me feel guilty. I can't help but feel that I am betraying my sister, niece, and nephew by not getting involved in the fight. As much as Richard was an abusive brother his kids did not deserve what Amaris did to them and my sister also certainly deserved better.

But revenge won't bring them back and I'd be little more than a figurehead in a gilded cage if I did.

End log.


This is it. Time for the last jump. I hesitate for a moment.

"What is the matter, Helena?" Vicky's voice has an almost human quality to it now.

"I think it is just now hitting me exactly what the consequences of this next jump entail. It is entirely likely once I press this button I'll never see Terra again and I'm going to have to live with my survivor's guilt on top of that. But yes. No sense in putting it off."

I set the restart timer then shut down Vicky's higher functions.

Then a thought hits me. In a way what I am about to do is a betrayal for sure and a poor gesture of gratitude but it is also my best chance for a normal life.

I disable the restart timer then initiate the jump.

"Sorry, Vicky, but I can't have a seven hundred thousand ton shadow following me around.", I sigh.


unreality


Once my senses clear I move to the communications station.

I enter a particular frequency and encryption.

<<"Robert, you still watching this band? It's Tracy from college. I need a solid.">>

I waited. I knew it'd be a bit just from the light delay. But as the expected delay came and went I started to worry that Robert Rallings had stopped monitoring the private channel we used to communicate covertly during college or had been transferred.

(("Tracy? How'd you get out here? Never mind that. That's something we can talk about when you get down here. I'll have everything squared away with traffic control by the time you get on their screens. We got a lot to talk about it seems.")) Robert's voice was a welcome reminder of happier times.

I also found myself rather happy that Robert never figured out who I really was in college or since then.


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