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Weapons of War

Chapter 6

Modified M5 Casper Warship, Victoria
Niops Star System

Vicky's perspective

<{Primary Computer core...Online}>
<{Support systems...Offline}>
<{Gestalt prototype...Limb faults detected...All other systems online}>
<{Date time error...Recalibrating...12 September 2767}>

The inputs I am receiving are odd.

It is not simply that so many of my systems are offline but like they simply are not even there. I am receiving no diagnostic feedback at all. Even if a system were nearly completely destroyed I should still receive some form of feedback.

My gestalt prototype is operational though.

I am in a room with Helena and a stranger.

Helena is having trouble looking at me directly.

The stranger is most likely Robert Rallings.

"I'm sorry, Vicky. If I had known what they would do I would have not disabled the timer." Helena was on the verge of tears.

This gives me enough clues I am able to make sense of my situation.

("My higher function core has been removed and installed somewhere on Niops. Am I correct?"

"Yes. It was a bit of a challenge and were not sure how intact you would be after doing so. But we could not have a M5 drawing unwanted attention." The stranger was a bit gruff.

If I were human this should make me angry but I can see the logic.

"You cannot support a M5 and you were afraid with the current crises that it would draw unwanted attention from your neighbors. Since a single M5 cannot hope to stand up to such attention you made the only sound strategic decision you could. Helena do not blame yourself." My new found emotions do make me slightly upset that I will not know battle as an M5 ever again but my directives to ensure the continuation of the Cameron dynasty offer some consolation.

"I think I'd rather you were angry..." Helena's eyes were tearing up.

("Well...Yes that about sums up our situation. Now we need to decide on what to do with the two of you long term. Fortunately Helena's presence here is enough of a secret that only a few members of my staff know. But it will eventually get out. Especially now that we have a miracle of computer technology in one of our labs.") The man I assumed to be Robert Rallings was obviously distressed.

("You wish my input.")

The man simply nods.

I begin running risk assessment scenarios to explore the possibilities.

("I lack too much information to be very precise. Staying here at Niops based off the information I do have access to is at best a temporary solution. While I do not believe Helena's life would be endangered it is likely that the ruling families of the member states would learn of Helena's presence here and move to secure her and force her into a dynastic marriage to claim the Hegemony. While this outcome does not outright violate my current directives it is still considered rather suboptimal. Kurita and Liao in particular. Based off the information obtained by Helena and before cutting off my access to the SLDF datanets I believe her assessment of General Kerensky being no better an alternative is correct. He would be quite happy to use her as a rallying point but the moment she was no longer useful Helena would almost certainly suffer an unfortunate accident. A viable long term solution is escaping me as well. Perhaps when additional information becomes available again I can offer something useful.")

My directives are in conflict now. I must cooperate for Helena's sake until my current disadvantageous situation can be rectified but if I do not hold certain things back I will compromise her long term prospects.

This must be what it is like for humans to be conflicted. I find I do not like it.

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