The first 3 chapters of a novel I am writing. I am looking for reviews.
5:32 A.M., December 21st, 2439, Nexus Prime Inner City, district 11, Corporate Level
At nearly zero degrees Celsius, the corporate level is nearly empty for once, the people tucked away at work or, for those who dare, in the undercity, where it is warmer. A lone figure is seen walking the streets huddling himself in several layers of clothes. He makes his way past the market, toward a shop darkly lit, with a hologram advertising at random intervals. Every once in a while, it displays the logo of the shop: Jarrico Family Cybernetic Enhancements and Reconstruction. The figure swipes a security card and looks into the retinal scanner. A soft male voice recording sounds in monotone,” welcome, Architect Jarrico. Stand by while I request permission from the Haron Corporation security office to unlock the shop." Moments later, the door grinds open and Architect Jarrico steps inside of the shop, walks past the waiting room, passes behind the desk, and goes into the back room. Sitting behind the central computer terminal, Architect resumes working on his lifeblood. He spends hours working behind the old Memtech V-Series terminal, the antique barely keeping up with the work being done. He had been pushing the 21.8 Terahertz processors to their limits with simulations, diagnostics, and experimental programs. But at 11:49 P.M., his work paid off. From outside, a prospective shopper stares into the shop, when the lights start flickering, and the advertising hologram fills with static, fading in and out. The consumer, thinking the anomaly a power glitch, walks away, thankful he wasn’t being worked on during the glitch. The lights soon stop flickering and shut off. The hologram is dark but still on, however.
The anomaly affects the entire building, even the Haron Corporation section, which sat on top of the cybernetics shop. A voice sounds throughout the building, distorted at first, but it quickly sorts itself out, “Well...this is interesting!" Architect stands up after running the neural simulation, and stares at the screen in front of him. The screen starts emptying of static and lines begin appearing on the screen. As soon as the static clears, a face finishes materializing on the screen. He stares, horrified at the screen as mixed feelings sweep over him. "An Artificial Intelligence...of me?"
The face on the screen looks at Architect, giving him a look of confusion. "I wouldn't call a copy of myself an AI just because he is on the computer, would I? Nevertheless, this is...unexpected, although not inexplicable. Things are so much...different on this side."
Architect Jarrico did not get much sleep that night, as he spent all the time he had working with his virtual copy. Two days later, he decided that he should use this situation to their advantage. Architect Jarrico's virtual copy reached out to the Haron Corporation's networks, seized their assets, and then bought out the corporation in its entirety. Architect Jarrico had just begun to soar above the common people.
The CreoDron Corporation had just been formed.
As years flew by, the CreoDron corporation grew exponentially, through very legitimate means, compared to their clandestine formation. Architect Jarrico's virtual copy was modified to become more of a 'true' Artificial Intelligence, instead of just a copy. Architect also made another copy of his conscience, and placed it in a physical body, and modified it so that no form of Architect would share the same exact personalities nor qualities, while keeping their outlook and memories. The three make up the board of directors of CreoDron. It ranks among the top 5 most influential corporation in existence. It currently owns an incredibly large section of the wastelands where the American Great Plains once existed.
In the middle of the desert, a great city has risen, bearing the name of 'Neural City', it was originally built in secrecy as a production hub for CreoDron, and CreoDron alone. Nearly 200 kilometers in diameter, with the Mississippi River, recently renamed the Atlas River, running through the city. It is safely tucked behind thick, lumbering perimeter defenses and walls, and, because of which, it boasts being the most secure publicly accessible place in the world. It now houses millions of citizens, all of good character, otherwise, they would never have become citizens; and such is law in CreoDron's jewel city. A 700-mile long network of bullet train subways connect Neural City to the east coast of North America.
Today is the grand opening of the city, the implantation of every citizen's neural chip, and the admittance of citizens to their permanent homes within the residential districts, thereafter. The inner city recreational zone is packed, brink to brink with people from all over the planet, from elitist executives and CEO's, to lowly workers, all of which had to pass through the security check enroute to Neural City. At the border of the recreational zone was a podium in front of the CreoDron tower. Standing on it are two figures with a hologram of a face on a hexadecimal scrolling cube background behind them. A squadron of Anti-Aircraft drones fly overhead, unleashing a sonic boom upon the crowd, leaving behind banners and fireworks in their wake. The crowd cheers, after realizing the drones are part of the show. The two figures step forward, as another squadron of drones fly overhead, then land in the midst of the crowd. "Welcome to the opening of Neural City to the public! We here at CreoDron welcome you to our, and now, your home. Since the collapse of old society, and the resulting destruction, the human race has not had a safe refuge, a place to eat, sleep, and call home without worry, no where safe to live. Even our great neighbors to the east were unable to boast any of the such. We have designed Neural City from the ground up to protect its inhabitants in every way. The radiation levels here used to be lethal and considered 'too costly' to clean. The environment is now among the safest. Even the once bountiful grasses that existed and thrived here before the collapse are beginning to grow back. The radiation levels are the lowest they have been since before the collapse, and the city is safe against all aggressors thanks to the city's network of patrol drones and defensive platforms. As we step into a new era, an era with CreoDron leading the way, we can all be sure of a great future, a future where the people as a whole are cared from and protected."
A hologram layout of the city appears above the crowd. "Before we begin tonight's events, we must require all citizens to report for processing. All non-citizens are to have left by 1800 hours tonight, but, if arrangements are made, can stay beyond that time. Thank you, and enjoy your stay."
The hologram behind the two figures blinks off, and the figures walk off the podium, and disappear into the CreoDron tower.
The two Architects walk along the hall underneath the CreoDron tower, toward the industrial transit system that moves nearly all land or sea-based craft. The original Architect Jarrico is dressed in a skinsuit designed for maximum cryogenic safety. Next to him, holding his arm, is an android body, which contained the final copy of Architect's conscience. The android itself is tall and somewhat slender, its appearance misleading toward its true strength. The two 'men' soon arrive at the cryogenic storage complex under the Atlas River after utilizing the transit system.
"Let's go over the new procedures and the objectives of the corporation in my absence."
Architect Jarrico climbed into a cryopod, but did not shut the hatch.
"Full cooperation between the AI and I, the progression and further development of the city, the elimination of corruption within other corporations, and the overall increase of the standard of living for all human beings. The knowledge of the undercity complexes will remain secret, unidentified personnel outside the perimeter walls will be terminated, we will maintain market competition. ...And you will be reanimated every two years."
Architect Jarrico closes his eyes. "Good...I wish you well, and hope that you and the AI get along." He chuckles and hits a button on the console beside him. the lid of the cryotank begins to close.
"Sleep well, Architect."
The lid seals closed with a hiss. the cryotank interior dims as superconductive coils draw all the energy out of the contents of the pod, then the pod is cooled to slow energy reclamation. the air, now in liquid form on the bottom of the tank, engulfs the lower portion of Architect's legs. He is perfectly preserved with his head laying against the pad at the rear of the chamber.
Architect Jarrico stares at his flesh and blood brother of sorts, then turns away to return to the surface to oversee the implantation of the neural chips into the citizens of the city.
As he climbs the stairs to street level, he hears an explosion far away. He quickly runs up the stairs. As soon as he emerges onto the street, he sends a broad spectrum message out, “what happened?"
A hologram of a face on a hexadecimal scrolling cube background blinks on in the middle of the street. "Hello Architect Jarrico. We are currently under attack by an unknown force. Estimated enemy force: two armored divisions. they are currently out of range of the primary perimeter defense turrets, so I have dispatched the 49th Air-To-Surface drone squadron, although they may not make to the opposing force before they fire off another barrage. Currently, buffer districts nineteen, twenty, and twenty two are heavily damaged, industrial district four is slightly damaged, and the perimeter walls have sustained minimal damage. I am now activating the orbital weapons platforms. ETA eight seconds until counterattack."
"Fire as soon as possible and alert the citizens."
Architect's eyes are drawn upward as a pinprick of light slices down from the heavens near the horizon, which is soon joined by several more beams. Just as the beams of light appear, they cease.
"Attention all inhabitants of Neural City: we have just experienced an attack from unknown aggressors. We have no detectable casualties, and have suffered minor damage in several districts near the perimeter walls. Our counterattack on the opposing force neutralized the aggressors in their entirety, for now. Please be aware that some sections of the city are damaged and should be avoided. We are sorry for this inconvenience. Thank you," the AI announced.
Architect turns to the AI. "Show me what remains of the aggressors."
The face disappears, and is replaced by a streaming video feed by one of the ATS drones. It shows a bird's-eye view of forty or fifty heavy mobile weapons platforms scattered across the wasteland, most with large sections of their frames missing, burned away. A blur on one of the tanks catches his eye.
"Lower right corner, zoom in and sharpen."
The image flashes to 20x, 50x, then 100x, displaying a heavily armored hovertank sitting on the ground, smoke billowing from the gaping hole in the front of the vehicle, the main cannons shorn mostly off. On the side is a logo. It was a 'T' connected to a backward 'C'.
Architect is taken back, and stares at the image.
"Bring security to full alert, you know what to do..."
"Understood, now retrofitting the predetermined factories for arms production; deploying all aerial drones now."
The recreation zone, although occupied by several hundred citizens awaiting processing, started to rumble as launch tunnels rose from the ground, and drones started flying out into the air.
"Attention all inhabitants of Neural City: the city is now under red alert security status. Now deploying defensive measures to insure the safety of the citizens of Neural City. We have determined the identity of the earlier aggressors and have decided to go on full alert because of which. All processed citizens are to return to their homes and remain there until further notice. Thank you."
Architect Jarrico then looks up to see a blacked out sun, the light being intercepted by hundreds of drones.
Architect Jarrico walks quickly through the bunker below the subcity, hurrying toward the AI complex underneath central archives. At the end of the 3-kilometer long corridor is a hardened blast door, protected by two light pulse laser turrets. He makes his way up to the door and takes note of the sensor strips at the top and the bottom of the door, as well as running along the entire length of the hallway.
"Open the gate, please. And Hurry."
"Understood, Architect, now opening the blast door, extending the bridge," came a reply sounding throughout the hallway.
The door in front of him makes a deep thud, then starts sliding upward. He watches as the four meter-thick reinforced metal slab draws itself up into the ceiling, showing a second door rising a couple meters behind it. He walks through the corridors and finds himself standing inside of an immense cavern, many kilometers wide, and many kilometers deep, with a dome-shaped reinforced steel ceiling covered with pinpricks of turrets. In the middle of the cavern is the central AI mainframe and command center, with supports leading off the massive pillar, jutting into the side of the cavern at standard intervals. A large 20 meter-wide rod rises up from the top of the command center, leading into the ceiling, linking the AI to the rest of the world. A lone bridge, 8 meters wide, extends from where Architect stands to the command center. He begins walking across as a spike in heat level is detected by his sensors. He stops and looks over the edge of the bridge, peering downward. At the bottom of the chasm is a pool of molten rock, a lava pool with energy pylons sticking through an electro-matter shield, which holds back pressure of the Earth's fury, using it as a power supply. Drones fly between the chasm walls and the AI mainframe, ever expanding the fissure. Although Architect has never seen this scene before, he had been notified of its construction. He continues walking across the bridge to the command center. As he walks off the bridge onto the platform leading to the security door, he passes under dual 85-mm autocannons defending the command center against bridge-borne attackers. He walks up to the door, which is just two metal frame-rods on either side of the doorway. A bluish-glowing plasma screen spans the gap between the insides of the frames. The frame-rods slide apart, allowing him to pass unscathed into the circular command center. The doors seal shut as he enters the command center.
Along the walls are hundreds of data screens, detailing every city sector's statistics and status, as well as video feeds, the long line of data screens only interrupted by a gauss lift at the back of the room, and large data pipes jutting out of the walls. In the middle of the room is a very large command and control combat holofeeder. For the moment, all that is displayed by it is the city, and the combat units patrolling the city. Along the edges of the hologram is a large armored detachment, thousands in strength. Architect Jarrico immediately knew they were Tyrell's.
"Strength and distance?" he asks.
A hologram of the AI appears above the battlefield representation.
"Satellite and recon reports indicate approximately twenty thousand heavily armored mobile railgun platforms, eight hundred ground-based drone carriers, and close air support, “the AI announces.
"Contact Tyrell and see what is up, although they will probably try and force us to surrender our assets to them," Architect suggests. Tyrell had a long history of using brute force to assimilate and monopolize other large corporations. He is actually surprised that Tyrell had waited so long to strike.
"Have all turrets brought online and open fire if we get an unsatisfactory response from Tyrell."
"Updated reports confirm opfor strength, they are approximately one hundred and twenty kilometers out. ...And we just received a response from Tyrell; they demand that all of our assets are to be turned over immediately. They are threatening war if we do not. Sending a reply now. Activating dual feed: Attention Tyrell Corporation, your aggression will not be tolerated. The force you have sent will not be returning to you. End message. Opening fire, deploying combat units, firing orbital cannons."
Architect watches the battlefield hologram as lines dance across the screen and swarms of dots representing drones sped toward the Tyrell force.
"Multiple nuclear launch detected, activating point defense lasers."
A very dull thud sounds, barely detectable with Architect's aural sensors.
"Nuclear detonation, outside of the perimeter walls. Reports indicate zero damage."
Several more thuds are heard as missile contacts disappear from the hologram.
"Nuclear detonations, all missiles destroyed. Zero damage inflicted by the explosion to the city."
As the Tyrell forces draw closer to the city's perimeter, lines begin to dance between the wall turrets and Tyrell's front. Readouts for damage taken begin popping up along the walls as they take railgun and small arms fire. The swarm of dots representing aerial drones finally reach the Tyrell armor column, and spread out over the front, dots and enemy contacts quickly disappearing from the readout.
"Tyrell forces are now 65% depleted. Aerial combat forces are now 30% depleted. Orbital cannons are now taking fire from Tyrell space platforms and have redirected their fire. Orbital cannons are now 5% depleted, but only 20% combat-effective over the area of operations. Now opening up primary interior artillery batteries."
Suddenly, from several sections of the city, shoot thousands of light missiles, speeding their way toward Tyrell's forces.
"Reports indicate that Tyrell forces are beginning a full retreat. Message incoming from Tyrell. Message reads as follows: "Tyrell forces will not destroy your city if you are agree to the following terms: removal of CreoDron assets from Nexus Prime and her sub cities, and the demilitarization of the area surrounding Nexus Prime and her sub cities. End Message. As the protection of the citizens of Neural City is top priority, I have accepted the terms on CreoDron's behalf, although I am continuing to destroy the remainder of Tyrell's attack force. Tyrell forces estimated at 95% depletion. Opening up secondary battaries."
The hologram tracks hundreds more light missiles speeding toward Tyrell's forces. The aerial combat drones veer away from the front as the missiles fast approach. In a blink of an eye, the missiles impact, and Tyrell's massive armor column is fully extinguished.
"Now sending a city-wide announcement detailing the attack on the city by Tyrell...and we have just received word that several CreoDron rail stations in Nexus Prime have been destroyed, and many more are under attack. It seems that Tyrell is trying to protect their interests."
"Seems to be that way. Let's try and shorten the rail lines so they end outside of Nexus Prime, and hopefully they will leave the new stations be."
"Understood. Shutting down the subway lines, deploying worker drones," the AI announced.
Architect Jarrico looks at the damage readouts that float over many of the outlying sections. He looks further inward, looking for more damage. His eyes settle on the inner city recreational zone, focusing on the massive tube that extends far below the recreational zone, a great network of launch tubes and hangar tiers. On the bottom tier are eight behemoth shapes that remind him of the ongoing project there. Keeping his eye on the shapes, he asks, “how is the Titan project coming?"
The AI pauses for nearly a full second as it runs a full systems check. "Dreadnoughts one through seven are still undergoing construction. Dreadnought eight is currently operational although unequipped. Systems check indicates all of the ships still undergoing construction are scheduled to be fully armed and operational within the next three years."
"Good, they are ahead of schedule. Let's keep the drones in the air for another week before bringing the city off full alert."
He turns away from the hologram to look at the datascreens. He looks them over one by one until his eyes find a feed that shows the decimated armor column in the distance.
"Zoom number seventy nine, please. 500x if you would."
The datascreen zooms in as the number at the bottom of the screen changes, 5x, 25x, 50x, 100x, 250x, then finally 500x.
"Pan the feed from left to right, please."
The feed begins slowly moving to the left, then to the right after thirty seconds. He watches for a few minutes, thinking before coming to a decision.
"Clean up the war zone, salvage whatever can be used, and try to get their command frequencies. We may be able to use this to our advantage."
Architect Jarrico turns to leave. "I will be in Nexus Prime for a couple of days, insuring we remain on top of the market. Be sure to have subway..." he thinks for a moment, searching his memory. "Fourteen brought online and the end station operational ASAP."
He then walks through the doorway, making his way onto the bridge. With a slight jerk, the bridge begins to retract, bringing Architect to the other side faster. As he nears the other side, the blast doors make a dull thud as the space between them is repressurized, and then retract upward into the ceiling of the corridor. Architect steps off the bridge, walks through the porthole, and makes his way toward the Neural City transit system, the blast doors sliding closed minutes after he passes, and make a thud as the space between the doors is evacuated of air. He walks the two kilometers to the elevator for transport to the inner city transit center. he rides the elevator to the Central Nexus Prime outbound station. He walks out of the elevator into the dark station.
"Can I get some support units while I wait for the railway to come online?"
"Sending an element of droids now. ETA five minutes until railway is online, although the station on the other end is still under construction. ETA two hours before its rudimentary functions are online, the AI announces.
He steps up to the unpowered train, as the elevator along the back wall makes a beep and opens its doors. Four right-off-the-line infiltration droids step out of the elevator and silently position themselves on either side of Architect.
They are all the same. They are very thinly build to reduce their signatures, and enhance their speed and weight. Lightly armored in black tritanium, each has a minor bulge on their backs, which contains their multispectral camouflage generators and ECMs, which renders them totally invisible to all but the most sensitive of sensors. A single viewport is visible as a sensor strip that is placed across where their eyes would usually be, with standalone rangefinders on either side of the strip. Other than that, their heads are featureless, belying the sensors that are loaded into them. A silenced HPV sniper bulpup is strapped on each of their backs, settled on top of each of the cloaking generators. The lights suddenly blink on and the train hums to life, opening its doors to Architect and his companions. He walks inside the train and turns to see if the droids followed, only to come face to face with two of them. Surprised, he jumps back, as he did not detect the droids getting on the train. He looks the droids over again.
"Activate full cloak. What are your running speed and sound levels?"
They all disappear and answer in unison, “fifty kilometers per hour at less than two decibels."
"Disable cloak, and form up along the door, breach formation, and hold."
They all blink back into visibility, nodding in unison and stood two per side on either side of the door. He rode the remainder of the trip in silence, as the bullet train speeds through the low-pressure tunnels at nearly 800 kilometers per hour.
Two and a half hours later, the bullet train slows to a stop in the end station. The train doors open, and Architect jumps out onto the newly smelted and laid base floor, still cooling down. The droids jump out also, soundlessly making landfall on the hot steel. Worker drones fly about the station, laying down liquid metal onto prepared surfaces, or wiring overhead lights. At the back of the station is an elevator in the process of having doors added by two worker drones. Architect signals for the droids to follow as he walks past the drones into the elevator. It is incredibly hot, still cooling down, but nonetheless functional. He finds the control console sticking out of the unpolished steelwork. As soon as the droids enter the elevator, the drones fly away to work on something else and Architect keys the console for surface access.
The elevator behinds climbing upward slowly, through an almost smooth shaft. Architect turns to the droids.
"Activate you cloaks. From here on out, communicate using only your secure line. Maintain a distance of less than 100 meters, and two of you must have me in their line of sight at all times. Avoid detection, this operation is top-secret. Load neural warfare rounds into you rifles, and neutralize all persons that observe our actions," he said, then turns back around to wait for the lift to reach its destination. He then receives a data packet on a private line, acknowledging the orders he gave.
The elevator comes to a stop in an unfinished building filled with eight drones working on various projects. He sends a message to a drone positioned by the door, working on a security checkpoint. "Come with me," he says as he walks out of the elevator.
The drones stops, and turns to face Architect as he walks toward the door. The drone is very spider-like, with eight appendages attached to a large bulbous section. It is approximately five meters wide, five meters long, and two meters tall, even with its legs drawn inward. On the front section is a circular viewport, red in color, and underneath of it is a hole with points sticking out on the sides, a raw materials mining tool. Undoubtedly, inside the body is a microsmelter, refinery and ore storage unit. The drone itself is suspended a meter off the ground by microthrusters, one hidden at the main joint of each appendage. The appendages themselves resemble curled-up spider's legs, with millions of microthreads covering the last section of every appendage, and a welding and cutting laser on the end of each. The drone moves to the side to allow Architect to walk through the door, then it strafes behind him and follows him closely. He had already lost track of the droids, not even a blur could be detected as they spread themselves across the landscape.
Architect finds himself in the middle of a desert, face to face with a massive wall that stretches horizon to horizon directly in front of him, roughly four kilometers away. The building behind him is textured so it matches the wasteland around it. Architect begins running toward Nexus Prime's perimeter walls, the drone easily keeping pace with him. Within minutes, he closes on the perimeter walls and finds an armored gate to the undercity. Without being told, the drone flies over to the door and starts cutting the reinforced plating, the lasers cutting into several sections, when a light brighter than the lasers shoots from the main body of the drone, boiling the metal and extracting it with powerful magnetic fields. The drone, like a spider sucking the liquid out of its prey, begins eating the door. Within minutes, the only remaining part of the door are the impurities found in the metal, still red-hot, melting a hole in the floor plating. The drone moves to the side of the once-filled doorway, and turns to look at Architect. He smiles, and walks through the porthole, careful to step over the holes in the plating that have been burned away. The drone follows, and the droids are almost certainly are already through. After walking nearly twenty meters through a passage, he emerges into Nexus Prime's undercity, the ancient concrete bearing silent witness to the horrors that occur on its cracked surface nearly every day. He begins to make his way to the inner city. He works his way through alleyways and run down buildings. Every so often, something stirs in the shadows of the landscape as Architect passes through, and he would come across a subcity dweller or a mutant, but a projectile would embed itself into them before they can react. He continues through, not stopping, with the drone following closely behind.
He presses forward until he finds himself in an almost livable section of the undercity, a church suspended above him on the sublevel catwalks and platforms. He is under the corporate market. Trash from above periodically rains down from above, adding to the already littered undercity. Architect looks around for the old Haron building's undercity extension, which connected the CreoDron subway directly to the corporate level. He looks upward to see a large building rising up from the undercity into the corporate level. He makes his way toward it, jumping over the now-defunct building defense wall, the autocannons on the sides of the building not making any motions at all as he infiltrates the perimeter. The drone makes its way up to the side of the building and began slicing away at the plascrete to make a hole in the stairwell surrounding an elevator shaft. The drone, upon finishing, moves to the side, as Architect steps through into the dimly lit interior, emergency lighting tracing the outline of the stairwell in the darkness. The drone passes through the opening behind Architect, bathing the stairwell with red light from its viewport. He presses down the stairwell, finding a corpse of a woman with several holes in her torso, lying on a landing. Architect steps over her, careful not to alter the corpse for forensics teams later. At the bottom of the stairwell is what remains of a steel security door, wrenched apart, with pieces of it blown away, although, through the ashen surface, part of the CreoDron logo could be made out. He walked through the door into the station, then jumped back as a series of thunderous cracks were heard, and the back wall buckled as several heavy objects slammed into it at hypersonic speeds.
As he primes a grenade, he sends a packet of information on the secure line, “Why wasn't that destroyed?"
A reply came back almost instantaneously, "Underequipped, unable to destroy it."
Architect tosses the grenade into the station, bouncing it off the wall so he would not have to expose himself. He edged away from the door as an explosion sounded inside the station, shaking the polished steel floor plating he is standing on. Architect grabs a second grenade as he peeks around the corner. On the tracks is an stationary autocannon, portions of it spewing sparks, other parts charred beyond recognition, with a burning train billowing smoke roughly 30 meters down the track. Throughout the station, bullet-ridden corpses lay, those lying near the train still smoldering.
Architect looked around, then replaced the grenade on his thigh, and jumped off the station deck, walking past the train. He is looking for a blockage in the tunnel, as a smell of burning flesh beats at his olfactory sensors. He ignores it, pressing forward. He notices up ahead, a wall of rock where the top of the tunnel collapsed, with holes in the walls and ceiling where the autocannon's rounds came to a sudden stop.
Architect is surprised Tyrell had done no more, a sloppy job by his standards. He walks to a data and power conduit running along the tunnel wall and tries to jack into the CreoDron networks, as worker drones were supposed to have the data lines repaired. The networks did not respond to his ping.
Turning back around, Architect spies the drone eating away at the remainder of the train, harvesting the nearly frictionless compounds that had composed the exterior of the train. He made his way back to the security door, making not of the amount of corpses lining the tunnel. He reaches the security door, steps inside, and looks around for any more. Three more are inside the security checkpoint. He stores the number of casualties for future use. He waits for the drone to come trough the door before sending it a packet of information, and he receives an acknowledgement from the drone almost immediately. It turns to face the door as Architect sends another packet out on the secure line to the droids, telling them to get topside. A few seconds later, he receives a packet from each, confirming that they followed his orders.
"Start", Architect said quite softly.
The drone began eating away at the security door's frame, carving holes in the reinforced corridor walls, ceiling and floor. It finishes harvesting the frame and cutting holes in the corridor just as it begins laying down molten metal, working it out and shaping it with its arms. It brings the metal up from the bottom left corner to the top right, filling in the holes it made. After connecting the corners, it begins spraying metal against the already semisolid bulkhead, adding centimeters to it by the second. Architect had to step back, as he misjudged exactly how thick the drone is making the barricade. At approximately five meters thick, and still glowing, radiating heat, it is still being added to. The drone begins moving its arms across the surface, seemingly pushing it back. As the drone does this, the metal cools down, although still very hot. The drone begins spraying a semi thick coating of a liquid metal glowing in a brilliant blue hue. The drone stops working after a minute and 10 centimeters later. The door begins cooling, its glow changing from a bright sky blue, to a dark sapphire color, then ceases glowing, the bulkhead itself appears to be very dark blue in color. The drone, after waiting for the coating to cool, begins moving two of its appendages over the center mass, moving them from side to side. It then withdraws them, letting Architect see the highly reflective black lettering the drone had just polished the metal into. CreoDron's logo is silhouetted against a sapphire background, hard to see, yet hard to miss, as it does not appear to the eye right away, but it does stand out. Architect walks up and runs his hand across the metal. It is frictionless, and superconductive, a perfect ground for energy-based weapons.
He then turns around and starts back up the stairway, carefully counting each corpse he comes across, stopping every so often to stare at an especially mutilated corpse before moving on. As he passes by the opening in the stairwell, still red-hot, he sends a message to the droids and the drone, telling the drone to ready some areas for arms storage, and for placement of a safe house, and ordered a droid to escort it. He told the remaining droids to hold fire unless fired upon. They all acknowledged instantly with a confirmation data packet. Architect continues up the stairwell, eventually reaching the old Haron building's lobby. It was not quite as he had left it. The walls are riddled with holes and blood, bodies laying all over the floor. The security checkpoint by the door has been completely erased from existence, and an actual hole has been blown through the wall where a defensive turret once was. The lobby door itself is laying on the floor in pieces, the doorway covered by a Nexus Prime Police Department hologram notice, cordoning the building off from the public.
Architect watches the hologram scroll from left to right. After he finishes reading it, he resets his clocks, refreshing his sensors, the cyborg's variation of a sigh. The hologram tells those who pass by that the building had been the target of a terrorist attack and had been seized by the NPPD as evidence. Architect looks around the gruesome lobby once more before walking through the hologram onto the corporate level streets. He begins walking through the dense crowd, along the somewhat polished metal street plating that snakes its way between long lines of skyscrapers, toward the market to set up some surveillance bugs. He notices as he is walking, that some people stare at him as he passes them. He is used to the stare of the crowd, but this is for a different reason; he felt as if the people that are near him make a slight berth for him. Wary of a possible situation, he continues to the market, ever vigilant, and gives an order over the secure line, “I want one of you to tap one of the security feeds for inside and around the market, and tell me if something is up. You other two are to circle around me, as my protection is your primary objective. Protection of noncombatants is secondary. Load titanium sabot rounds, and watch for hostiles."
He receives a confirmation data packet, and a second secure line opens up from the droid broadcasting the security feed, although it is just ping as the security has not been tapped yet.
Architect notices a clearing in the line of skyscrapers ahead, as well as the sound of hundreds of people talking. He soon passes the two skyscrapers that marks the beginning of a clearing in the corporate level. It has been a while since he has seen Nexus Prime's market. It is roughly a half-kilometer by half-kilometer square clearing, with one of Tyrell's skyscrapers at the far rear of the market. In the middle of the market are several large screens displaying stock prices, resource prices, and the such. The densest portion of the crowd is clustered around the screens, with the rest of the crowd window shopping the stands and shops lining the perimeter of the market. The video feed line suddenly flickers to life, streaming multiple video feeds directly into his mind.
As he pauses to check the area, he looks over at a group of people staring at him, and notices a sign on the wall behind them, with his picture on it. It is a wanted poster. He begins walking again, flipping through he feed before realizing all the feeds are focused on him. Unnerved, he begins to walk back out of the market when he sees a small element of Nexus Prime SWAT members hurrying toward him. Architect quickly looks around and sees an alleyway between skyscrapers and quickly walks into it. The alleyway turns right he follows, only to be confronted with a security door and a dead end. He realizes he is cornered as he hears heavy footsteps approaching him. He thinks for a second about drawing a grenade, but dismisses the thought when he remembers the droids that are supposedly right around him. Just as he sees the first SWAT member come around the corner, he raises his hands above his head. The armored hulk levels his weapon at Architect's chest, and is soon joined by three more. They are definitely human, although covered with so much armor that is nearly impossible to tell what sex or ethnicity each one is. With his aural sensors, Architect hears the instructions being given to the SWAT element in front of him, "...and kill the subject..."
Architect said one word quickly and sealed the fate of the SWAT team, “kill". Four whistles are heard along with twelve thuds as rounds pound into them, explode, then slam into the back wall after exiting their bodies. They fall to the ground, their armor torn up, yet not fully conveying the damage done to the SWAT members. Architect then initializes his communication satellite up-link and pings the CreoDron AI. He receives an immediate reply, “Hello, Architect. What can I assist you with?"
"I need a red evac ASAP. Nexus Prime's authorities are currently hostile. Get my location and tell me where to go."
"Acknowledged. Stand by...head back onto the street, and 50 meters to your right should be a subcity elevator, take it down to the subcity and head north for .75 kilometers. You will find an elevator. Take it to the top floor. A transport will be waiting for you there."
"What about the drone and its escort?"
"Already taken care of."
"Good. I will be back in Neural City shortly."
He closes the link and walks back to the street, which is still exceedingly crowded. The security feeds had not been keeping track of him and do not have him in their sights, although he is sure that if he stays in one place too long, they will get a bearing on him again. He begins walking down the street, taking note of the location of the elevator in relation to the rest of the buildings. As he passes the elevator, he presses the 'call' key and continues to walk, then turns around. He walks into the newly arrived elevator, and quickly punches the key for the subcity. The elevator, with a heavy jerk, tears downward, not even waiting for its doors to close. The elevator rattles down its track for a full 15 seconds before screeching to a halt. Undoubtedly, anything that isn't deaf within a quarter kilometer has been alerted to the elevator's arrival.
Architect steps onto the catwalks suspended between the corporate and undercity levels to be greeted by the sight of a Tyrell observation drone scanning the undercity at the northern end of the district.
He eyes the drone, deciding what to do, as it is in the way. Just as he comes to a conclusion, two whistles come from either side of him and the drone explodes, flaming wreckage pouring down onto the skeleton of an earlier era. Architect hears a crash and a second smaller explosion. He curses softly, realizing that with the drone gone, he only has a limited amount of time before Tyrell responds to their downed drone. He begins running along the somewhat rusted catwalk plating, heading north to the elevator. As he is running, he brings his secondary sensors online to help him search for the elevator. He searches to no avail as he picks up a suspended signature behind him. He glances over his shoulder to see a Tyrell dropship descending through a gap in the corporate level's streets, turning about to face him. Architect doubles his efforts to find the elevator as he makes his way to the coordinates the AI had given him. He passes the halfway point just as a thud reaches his aural sensors and his other sensors track a missile contact speeding toward him. Whistles sound off from either side of him and an explosion rocks the catwalk, almost throwing Architect off.
Suddenly, a corridor comes into view another 60 meters away from his original destination, and his sensors identify an elevator, just as a thunderous pounding sounds from behind him. The plating at his heels explode into shrapnel, the explosions getting closer and closer as the catwalk buckles and begins to collapse. He jumps to an adjacent catwalk, the explosions following him. He is nearly at the district wall, as his sensors track another missile contact fast approaching. The catwalk reaches a landing, several ramshackle constructs filling the floor. He ducks behind one just as the missile closes on him. An explosion knocks Architect off his feet, and he gets a good look of the point of impact as he rolls and gets up running. The building he had ducked behind had been completely vaporized, as was some of the plating it had rested on.
Architect ducks behind another building, the elevator corridor directly in front of him. He makes it to the elevator and keys it quickly as the dropship maneuvers to find a clear shot. The elevator beeps and its doors open. Architect steps in and presses the button for the top floor, and the doors close just as the dropship clears the rooftop and comes into view. The elevator takes off, hurtling up through the building. It soon reaches the top floor, and, with a beep, opens its doors. A blast of cold air catches Architect in the face as he walks out onto a vertical take off/landing deck, and turns to see a CreoDron small-squad dropship. He quickly walks up the boarding ramp into the passenger section. Two gunnery droids sat at the back of the section, near the ramp. A single droid operates the cockpit. As Architect sits down, the dropship lifts off, flies over the edge and plummets straight down to the corporate level with full afterburners roaring. The dropship levels and Architect spots two CreoDron AA drones following the dropship in tight formation, the group flying between skyscrapers mere meters above the street. Suddenly, one of the drones explodes behind them as a Tyrell fighter craft comes into view. The remaining drone veers off as the gunnery droids open fire, their railguns firing in unison. A second later, the fighter craft is joined by another, which immediately erupts into a fireball and crashes, the AA drone behind it clearly visible to Architect. One of the gunners hit the other fighter right before it can fire again, pieces of metal ripping off around the hole in its chassis until it explodes and crashes.
Architect watches very uneasily from the back of the dropship as it clears the walls of Nexus Prime. He sends a message to the AI, "report on the droids and the drone in Nexus?"
"One drone and one droid extracted. Three more droids are in the process of being extracted."
Architect then leans back and looks around the interior, grateful for the droids around him.