“Along the Moonlight Ridge” (SciFi short story)
So that’s it. The Moonlight Ridge. I consult my holomap to determine the location of the first bunker and set the navi on autoroute. Traveling to one of Luna’s most famous plateaus, ha. That was a pretty touristy affair once. Back when people spent the savings of a lifetime, just to come here. Here, to this godforsaken place. Nowadays you get paid for it. Not as well paid as it would be fair, especially given the risks, but what is fair? You do what you have to do.
Warning. Warning. Warnings everywhere. All across my HUD, the warning signs flash in bright red. The voice of my exo’s OS complains loudly. At least two autoturrets detected. Some rockets inbound, of course. That damn AI… Hunting this relict down will get me some nice credits but I prefer some easier targets for this shabby kind of reward. I’m not even in the bunker and the AI’s cold attitude already goes on my nerves. Time to dodge. And to pull the trigger. Circle strafing. Dodge and fire. Full-speed circle strafe. Dodge. Fire. Fire. Done.
The bright red on my screen disappears while the molten metal glimmers on top of the bunker. I park the rover right in front of the entrance. Walking is no fun. The orange-yellowish mass runs down the synthetic walls. White sparks vanish in the dark as fast as they’ve appeared. Nice.
The rover’s needlenade upgrade was worth it. And they said I should do it the smooth way. Try to hack your way through, they said. Ha, those damn fools from the tradehub. That’s the reason why those bums are there and not here, out in the field, making cash. Worthless backwater trash, living in of and from the data trash of the past. Who needs to hack rogue systems if you could just burn it all down? But that was just the easy part anyway. No reason to celebrate. There are still a few server racks that need to be cracked. The towers did not fire so well coordinated for no reason.
The outer perimeter cleared, I blast through the entrance into the inner bunker. Absolute darkness, as I venture through the long hallways. Even have to turn on the uLEDs to see what’s in front of me. Too much nanodust in the air. There were some rumors about tech crates and a special secure storage locker here. Damn, maybe I blew them up while I forced my way into the AI’s nest… Ha, who cares, there’s always something salvageable to sell anyway.
Entering the main server room, I’m astonished how there is… Nothing. No advanced assault drones flying in. No fancy rocket drones shooting around. No kinetic barriers going up around me. No EMP power junctions loading up to discharge. No nothing. What the hell, where are you, rogue relict?! Is this place a total failure? Did I just spend my time and a good amount of needlenades just to find out that you hide in one of the next bunkers?
As I already want to leave this deserted place for the next metallic tomb, I get a glimpse of a small data port behind a broken wall frame. Odd. My eyes wander all around it before I recheck the perimeter too. Smells fishy. But the rogue one’s usually follow a straight approach if they want to drag you down in the undead dust. Especially this relict rogue one. Maybe the data port is one of the last remnants of this place’s former function? Sometimes, you get valuable codex data from these… Let’s just see…
Scan successful. Mid-century datastreams, solnet search indexes, comm & tech logs. Nothing fancy, but hey, might be still worth some credits from those crazy historians at the tradehub. Download successful. Easy cash for some digital junk of a long gone past. Hm, this might cover the nades. That’s something.
As soon as the wifi connection to the data port is cut off, I notice something. Small points of light begin to flicker at the edge of my periphery. What?! I turn around quickly. The white spots are getting bigger and more numerous. They come from nothing. From everywhere. Accompanied by rapid outbursts of loud audio noise. Drilling into my membranes. God damn it, what the hell?! Has it made connection to the damn dust? No way… argh… a relic is not capable of that…
Frenetically trying to switch the modes of the visual spectrum… and to shut down all the audio channels at the same time. Do. Something. The whole HUD becomes a mess of visual crap, before it turns black. What the hell is going on here? What’s going on around me? An attack? Too bad… in all of the audiovisual confusion I realize only late, that even the prosthetic limbs of my exo wear said goodbye. I can’t move anymore.
The abilities to see and move have disappeared completely. Damn. At least the audiovisual rape of my brain is over. That’s some progress, if you like to call it that way… If there was a medium for sound waves here, I could even hear what’s going on around me. Yes, well, too bad, I guess.
Resting, like a statue. In the midst of these ancient high-tech walls. My exo, a cybernetic coffin in a metallic tomb. Surrounded by… God knows what. Damn it. Hope the backups will kick in soon. Would be best before my life support systems… Suddenly, the distorted voice of my exo OS mumbles: External data kernel update successfully completed. Reboot sequence initiated. Thank you for using MS EXO.
Moonlight Ridge on YouTube
Trackdata of Moonlight Ridge