Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Silver Wings

© 2000-2001 Strata Drake of NEWST.

Chapter Three: Dig

The enemy attacked--but not in the direction of Nigel's group. Instead, it used one salvo of mini-rockets to knock out a few lights on the wall. Aireus waited at the front of the control room, sabre in left hand and his minirocket launcher armed on his right. Nigel crouched in preparation with his laser rifle alongside Shaera who was similarly prepared. Falco charge up his rail gun, and the other pilot, Lt. Bryson, stood at the far wall ready with his SPV rifle armed, charged, and aimed.

Nigel could hear the enemy taking a few more steps in their direction, sending ca-clank sounds echoing throughout the silo. Nigel muttered in Aireus's direction, "Do you think it knows about us?"

Aireus nodded. "Certainly. However, if it's what I'm thinking of, it'll approach slowly and as stealthily as possible--one reason to strike the lights first."

Nigel spotted it as it rounded the corner. "There it is!" Nigel took aim and fired a laser burst at the unit. The laser impacted the unit right in its flank. It countered with a quick pounce in their direction--right into Aireus. It tackled him with force, knocking Aireus backwards into the center of the room against the visual radar console, damaging it. Aireus forcefully thrust his sabre through the unit's torso, tried to lift it up, and in a backwards somersault, flung the unit off of him, through one of the glass radar panels, and against the wall.

Before Nigel or anyone else could react, Aireus clambered onto his feet, shouted "Clear out!", and launched one of his mini-rockets into the unit, which was now lying on the ground and rollnig over to get back on its four feet. It never did, as Aireus' mini-rocket impacted and shattered it, sending its pieces flying through monitors, consoles, and the room's window--and covering the entire room in a smoke cloud.

No one was hurt or injured by the blast, despite the close proximity of its use. Nigel put his laser rifle away and got back up, coughing slightly from all the smoke. "Aireus... did you have to do that?!?"

The smoke began clearing out into the silo. "This one time only. At the very least, they're armor isn't too thick to slice through."

Shaera got back onto her feet with Falco and Bryson. "What was that thing?"

Aireus responded. "Prototype security drone. Follow me..." Aireus walked out of the control room and back through the silo's entry door. Returning to the former hallway, Aireus led the way back to the research lab. He motioned towards Nigel for the data disks he had given him. Nigel handed the stack over to Aireus. Aireus switched on one of the terminals, and as a sign of power, it lit up. He inserted one of the disks (with a bright red "6" labelled on it) into the drive and accessed its reports. It projected a schematic onto the wall. Nigel looked at the schematic in shock. "That looks like Drake!"

Aireus nodded. "Protype class two security drone. Not designed by Dr.Nexus of our research department..."

Nigel examined the schematic carefully. "Wait a minute." He walked over to the lower-right corner of the projected schematic, with several signatures and a few logos typed on it. On closer inspection, he pointed at one of the logos, a stylish emblem resembling an F and a B comprised into one blue symbol. "This logo... I remember one of our early digs into a robotics lab back home near Renaissance; it had a logo like this one...."

Aireus continued. "Dr.Nexus designed the shape for the drone. It was a large-scale robotics corporation that provided the programming." Nigel looked back at Aireus as he finished. "I believe that it was called, the F.R. Brandon robotics corp."

Nigel shouted back. "I knew I recognized that symbol! We discovered one of their complexes near Renaissance back home. After we recovered schematics from the complex, Sheridan asked them if they could build Drake--and they did. But I never knew that--"

Aireus responded quickly. "Back in the old world, Nigel, the only things larger than militaries and governments were the technology corporations. The F.R.Brandon corp. spanned five different countries before the Collapse. It would be naive to think that they belonged to your former country alone." Aireus switched off the terminal and withdrew the disks. He looked around. "You should get these disks back to your research crew. They may be of help." Aireus looked around for a volunteer. Bryson looked back. "I'll go," he said, and he took the stack of disks from Aireus.

Nigel responded. "But not alone. Whomever is down here, they know about us, so security is going to be a step tighter. We've got to remain in one group--covering each other and that stuff aside, we don't know how many of these drones they've built." Nigel looked at Aireus. " we?"

Aireus shook his head. "I wish I knew, and you'll wish you didn't." Aireus led the way out of the room with everyone else following. They reached the double-doors at the end of the first floor generator within a minute. Climbing back up was a bit easier than expected, especially since only Lt.Bryson was going back up. Aireus helped him climb the broken staircase back up and back towards the surface. Aireus returned within another minute. He looked at Nigel. "He's back in your army now. As for us... perhaps we should determine who is living down here?"

Falco was a bit wary of that prospect, but agreed, as did Nigel and Shaera. They returned down the hallway. Aireus stopped them just before rounding the corner. "I was afraid of this..." Aireus drew his sabre; the distant sounds of a dozen metal feet hitting floor could be heard.

Nigel grabbed his lasr rifle. "More drones?" Aireus nodded. "Precisely. They probably heard the commotion and are checking out the control room. That more than anything else would convince their masters that we're down here."

Nigel shook his head. "How many of those things can they build?"

Aireus responded. "It's more complicated than that. According to their preliminary schematics, they have four operative modes. They were designed for inner security maintenance and the elimination of breaches. 'Search' mode is their exploratory state; the mode that would keep them on the prowl for intruders. If a breach is suspected, they'd most likely switch to 'Detain' mode, where they investigate breaches. It's a bit slower than searching, but more precise. Then they have two attack modes--'Subdue' and 'Destroy'." Aireus glimpsed around the corner. "They're probably in 'detain' mode and investigating what happened right now. Once they're finished with the control room, they'll split up in all directions to locate anything unusual--namely, us."

Nigel looked back. "So what options do we have?"

Aireus stepped out into the open. "This is going to be dangerous, but..." Aireus launched one of his mini-rockets into the silo from the intersection. It flew off into the silo, towards the far end, and impacted against a far wall, knocking out a light. Nigel, Shaera, and Falco rounded the corner just behind Aireus, each with weapons armed. Aireus looked at his launcher. "Six shots left."

Sure enough, the security drones reacted to the lure. Nigel counted eight of them as they walked out of hte control room into the silo, first looking in the opposite direction, then at them. The group of them switched on a set of headlights to identify the group of intruders.

Aireus shouted "Now!", and fired a mini-rocket into the group, shattering one and scattering the rest. He ran into the silo, sabre drawn, and engaged the drones at close range. Nigel looked at Falco and Shaera. "Don't just stand there--let's back him up!" Shaera and Falco charged up their weapons and followed Nigel into the silo as he opened fire.

Aireus has incapacitated a third drone by now, using his sabre to slice through its four-legged propulsion and disable its offensive systems. Nigel and Shaera double-teamed against another drone, lasers hitting it square in the face and knocking its headlights off-line. Falco took careful shots at the drones with his rail gun, hitting it in the muzzle and shutting it down in one shot.

The remaining four drones armed themselves for some combat of their own with low intensity shoulder-mounted lasers. They opened fire. Nigel took a hit in the shoulder of his jacket. It hurt, but at least the jacket offered protection as he returned laser fire and Aireus dismantled another drone. Falco scrapped his target with a few more rail shells as Shaera offered cover fire for the group.

Everyone felt a sigh of relief as Aireus diced up the last of the drones before re-holstering his sabre. He kicked a few pieces of debris off of the floor and down to the bottom of the silo. "Everyone all right?"

Nigel holstered his weapon. "A bit dinged, but I'm okay." Shaera looked around. "Think they'll be missing those drones?" Falco was quiet, pretending to blow some steam off of his rail gun. Aireus pointed to the left. "There's an access stairway in that direction to the lower levels. Keep those weapons hot, we're going to need them."

Aireus led the group towards the staircase--or more accurately, a ladder--and jumped down to the lower level. Nigel, Shaera, and then Falco, climbed down the ladder. Nigel spoke up. "So, Aireus, besides security, what else can those drones do?"

Aireus looked back as they kept walking across to the other side of the silo. "You saw their weapons. Prototype schematics allowed them to be armed with any portable weapon system. Most have lasers and a cutting torch, but a few others have minirocket launchers. With the right numbers and the correct directives, they can be made to do anything."

Falco kept watch behind them as they approached a door. "Anything?"

Aireus opened the door slowly, and the coast was clear. "They do have self-diagnostic circuits built right in, but with their small generators, their rate of repair is extremely slow--perhaps a day or two for full repair. However, their shape would make them ideal scout units--they leave little of a traceable radar signature and in the right weather are as silent as a cat." Through the doorway was a hallway leading to a group of quarters for soldiers. It was empty. "In addition, with their cutting torch and F.R.Brandon-designed intelligence routines, they can perform repairs on each other with an astonishing rate--a broken mech leg could be put back on in an hour by another drone." As they approached another intersection, Aireus stopped them. "More of them."

They waited, silently, at the base of a T-shaped hallway intersection, and heard a group of drones heading their direction. Aireus motioned them back into the quarters area. "Their visual scanners only have a 150 degree field of vision. If you're quiet, we may go unnoticed--for now." Aireus backed away from the intersection as the telltale ca-clanking sounds of four-legged security drones came closer. A group of security drones passed across the intersection. Even from Nigel's position, he caught a few glances at the drones. Their resemblance to Sheridan's pet mech was uncanny--marching on four hydro-pneumatic legs each, with some stylish armor plates running along their upper flanks (presumably to deflect radar scans), and two shoulder mounts containing small laser batteries. Their heads contained two multi-spectral front sensors with a few audio sensors running down along the side and a cutting torch along the lower jawlines. Even the armorplating on their heads was specially shaped to reflect and deflect radar signatures, in somewhat of a V-like shape.

Nigel counted the drones--three total--as they passed by the intersection. The last drone must have heard something, for it stopped immediately after the intersection and looked around with its sensors. Aireus stood still against the wall as the drone came back for a second look. As soon as it rounded the corner, Aireus sliced it in two with a single, powerful slice of his sabre. He quickly motioned to Nigel for them to come along. Nigel, Falco, and Shaera walked out of the quarters and looked at Aireus. He responded. "They always roam in packs of three. One scouts ahead, another down the sides, and the last takes up the rear. I took out that group's backwatcher. It will take at least two more intersections before the other two notice their missing partner. That's all we'll need to get to the next room down." He led the way down one branch of the intersection, following the group of drones. Nigel, Shaera, and Falco backed him up as they walked.

Two security drones ambushed them at the corner. Aireus reacted almost instinctively, slicing through one drone's legs and dismantling its laserbanks. Nigel, Falco and Shaera filled the other drone with their fire and shut it down. Aireus looked down at their scrap heaps and salvaged the two laserbanks off of one and stowed them in a shoulder-mounted storage compartment. He turned towards the group. "Or maybe one intersection..."

Falco looked back. "I take it that's the rest of that group." Nigel looked back at Aireus. "Tell me again what these drones can do."

Aireus responded. "With similar intelligence programming, they can do anything Drake can...except for flying; they don't have any hover engines for the job. Their routines function best when placed three to a group--there's some bug in their routines that prevents groups of four or more from working effectively."

Nigel looked back down the hall. "There's another group coming soon. We'd better get out of sight." They kept moving down the hallway to the next intersection, with a set of double-doors on one side. Aireus motioned for everyone else to get by the door, out of sight. Aireus watched as two members of the next drone group arrived at the corner and examined the two disabled drones. Aireus looked at Nigel. "Theoretically, with sufficient numbers and the right directives, they can even construct more of their own using scrap metal."

Nigel shook his head. "Now, I've heard everything...."

The third member of the pack joined the other two drones as they began cleaning up the scrap metal from the previous group. Aireus looked at the doorway in the alcove. It was locked. Using his sabre, he sliced the lock off of the door and opened it. "If I'm right, this passage should lead to one of the amories."

Falco kept watch down the hallway. "I think they heard us..." Aireus led the way through the doors with everyone else following behind. On the other side, Aireus shut the two doors and wedged them shut with a piece of scrap metal.

As Aireus's description proved, this was indeed an in-base armory. However, all the weapons were missing from their holders. Aireus examined the cases. "The weapons contained within were withdrawn by authorized personnel. Whomever is down here, they know it inside and out."

There were sounds of the drone group marching by, outside in the hallway. The uninterrupted clanking of their feet indicated that all was clear and the drones didn't stop to investigate the doors. Aireus looked up at the vent in the ceiling. He then walked over to one corner of the room, picked up a metal case, and set it down unerneath the vent. He climbed up and broke the vent open. "This is one of the maintenance tunnels. It should get us past some of their security traps, if not the drones." Aireus climbed up and in.

Nigel followed him up into the shaft, followed by Shaera and Falco. The shaft was about four feet high and four wide; not enough to stand, but pretty spacious as shafts go. It was an unsettling spaciousness, though. Nigel shouted ahead to Aireus. "What did they use these shafts for?"

Aireus replied back. "If you're going to build an underground base, you'll need somewhere to stand while you dig up the soil, right?" Nigel got the picture. "That's all? It's large enough to fit a few security drones..."

Aireus looked back. "Are you implying we should hurry? Mind you, you don't know how large these installations get."

Nigel shouted at Aireus as they kept moving along the shaft. "Where should we be heading, anyway?"

Aireus responded. "After this intersection, there's a drop to the next lower level. There are only two places in this installation where the owners could produce the security drones they're using. One is on the lower level. The other is two levels down..." They turned the intersection, and as Aireus predicted, they found a vertical shaft leading downwards. It was spacious enough to stand up in before grabbing the ladder and heading down one floor. Aireus led the way down the ladder with Nigel, Falco, and Shaera following. Aireus opened a door at the bottom of the shaft. Their view of the room was obstructed by partitions and metal crates. Aireus led them into what turned out to be a storage facility--a warehouse of sorts. There were faint and echoing sounds of security drones roaming about the area. Aireus looked around one of the crates and spotted a few drones. Turning back to the group, Aireus said, "this is a storage space. Two groups of drones here; however, the farther in we go, the more drones we're going to run up to. Any ideas?"

Falco shook his head. Nigel looked around at the crates and noticed a reflection of the drones in one. "Aireus; these crates are reflective. If we aim our lasers just right, maybe we can disable the drones from here?"

Shaera nodded, and submitted her own idea and withdrew a shrapnel grenade from her jacket. "How effective would these grenades be?"

Aireus looked at them both. "As a weapon, or a distraction?"

Nigel responded. "Both." He withdrew a grenade from his own jacket, hit the detonation switch, and lobbed it around the corner. It bounced into the open and rolled to a stop. Sure enough, a threesome of security drones approached it to sniff it out. In five seconds, the grenade detonated and took out the drones in a single burst. Nigel and Shaera together fired a spray of laser bursts into the metal crate, reflecting them into the open (although the crates absorbed about 50% of the laser's energy). When the dust cleared, three dismantled drones were visible in the room with the second group of three drones investigating the casualties. Shaera took her own grenade and tossed it out into the open--but unfortunately, without arming it first. Aireus shook his head. "What's the idea here?"

Nigel watched the reflection as the remaining security drones investigated the grenade. Because it was not armed, it did not explode. Nigel looked at Shaera. "Did we forget to arm that grenade?"

Shaera shook her head, and withdrew a remote detonator from her jacket. "Let's see, that grenade's compound number was 0335, so..." and with a few button taps on the device, the grenade detonated, scattering pieces from both drone groups across the room.

However, the second explosion set off some sort of emergency alert--red lights filled the area and a distant alarm sounded. Aireus shook his head. "You can forget about any other sort of easy going from here on. With alarms tripped, we'll be lucky if we find drones that aren't set on 'Destroy' mode..." He armed his minirocket launcher and gripped his sabre as he led them out into the open of the storage room.

A door on the right opened, and three groups of security drones entered the room. Aireus fired a minirocket into the group, causing them to scatter before he engaged them. Nigel, Shaera, and Falco took cover behind a few smaller crates with their rifles and began firing.

Aireus quickly dispatched a few drones by himself. Though agile, the drones were also pretty fragile against Aireus' attacks, and they proved vulnerable to lasers and rail shells as well. One of the groups approached Nigel's position from three angles--front and two sides. Nigel and Shaera disabled one of the drones, while Falco took out another, but the third managed to get the jump on them--literally, and it came down, metal feet first, onto Nigel, pushing him against the ground. Shaera jumped back and fired off a shot as Nigel tried to get the metal drone off of him and as Falco picked off another drone.

Nigel managed to shove the drone aside to the ground, and he hit it with the flat of his laser rifle. Shaera unloaded another burst into its sensors, and Falco turned to give help, putting a decent hole through its torso with a rail shell. It reeled from the hit, and Nigel finished it off with a few more complementary laser bursts. They turned their attention back to Aireus. He had dismantled three drones by now, but the remaining three managed to pin him against the ground. Falco shot one of the drones in its head, knocking it off of Aireus and allowing him to push the other two aside and get back on his feet. He jumped backwards to a corner of the area and picked up his dropped sabre. When one of the drones tries to pounce him, Aireus held his sabre out and shish-kabob'ed the drone. Nigel, Shaera, and Falco took out the last drone.

Aireus used his foot as a brace when he withdrew his sabre from the now-defunct drone. The alarm was still active. Aireus picked up a scrap piece from one drone and wedged one exit shut with it. Nigel, Falco, and Shaera approached from their position behind the crates and were on guard for more. Aireus opened another door and motioned for them to follow. "This one should lead to one of the production facilities."

After a short hallway, Aireus led them into a large space. A production machine was at work against one wall. There were no drones in this room, but more dangerously, a group of cyborgs were operating the machine. Aireus hailed their entrance with a mini-rocket aimed at the headpiece of one cyborg, disabling it in one shot. The other two cyborgs turned around and noticed the intruders. One ran off through an exit, while the other produced a military-class machine rifle and took aim.

Aireus was upon the cyborg before it could get off a shot, and he quickly sliced the cyborg's armpieces off, followed by a run-through of its headpiece. Nigel cringed at the action, but when it was all clear, Aireus reassured him. He tossed an armpiece in Nigel's direction, and it hit the floor with a thud. "Nothing to worry about, Nigel; even these cyborgs are controlled remotely. Rest assured that their operators have seen us in action."

Nigel looked at the production machine. "What about this device?" Aireus responded, "Simple." Taking his sabre, he destroyed its control panels in a sum five slices, broke several of its power conduits, and finished the job with a minirocket into its release conveyor. When he was done, he looked back at Nigel. "One production device shut down. There's one more in this base, one more level down. After that, you can forget about the security drones."

Not so, however. A group of three drones entered the room from behind them, opening fire with a warning-spray of laser bursts. Everyone took notice and returned fire, disabling one. The other two pounced down upon them. Falco knocked one out in mid-air, while Aireus tackled the other. A few slices from Aireus and a few shots from Nigel and Shaera finished off the group while Falco took out the other straggler.

Aireus pointed to the other door. "The cyborg escaped. If we don't hurry, they might send a whole garrison of drones back in our direction." Nigel's group took the hint, and Aireus led them out of the production room and into another hallway, with security alarms still sounding.

The next room they arrived at looked like a secondary control room--they were near another missile silo, with two nuclear missiles inside being used as silent power sources. There were a sum total of seven cyborgs and three groups of drones in the room waiting for them. The cyborgs opened fire with machine rifles as soon as they entered, sending everyone running for cover. Aireus let off a minirocket and scrapped two cyborgs, while Nigel and Shaera focused on one drone at a time, while Falco started shooting out the security devices in the room.

Aireus jumped out into the action, taking one drone group by surprise and disabling them quickly. Nigel and Shaera finished off another cyborg as one other cyborg escaped (presumably for reinforcements) and Falco disabled that one. Aireus ran across the room as two groups of security drones tried to fire at him, but instead hitting each other and a lot more control panels in the process. Aireus sliced another cyborg in half as Nigel and Shaera took out a security drone. The remaining three drones pounced on Aireus and tackled him. Aireus countered with a dangerous move--launching a mini-rocket at point-blank range, scrapping them but inflicting some damage on himself as well. Nigel and Shaera kept up their laser fire against another cyborg while Falco continued firing at another foe.

The last enemy cyborg fell, drone parts littered the room under a layer of smoke, no control panels were left functional. Aireus was damaged somewhat, but assured them that in time his own diagnostic systems would fix him up to full status. Even Aireus was nearing his limit--his metal sabre had several dents and scratches in the blade (dulling its effectiveness somewhat), his own armor looked like it needed a repainting, and he was down to his last two minirockets. Nigel and Shaera had laser batteries to spare, and Falco reloaded his rail rifle with a fresh dart clip.

Aireus then led the way out into the missile silo. They were on the top level of the missile silo, and Aireus identified several metal protrusions (spanning from the missile to the wall) as power conduits between the modified warhead and the rest of the base. Falco took them out, three darts per span and eight spans total (at which he had to reload with another fresh clip of darts). The lights flickered momentarily as the base's power systems adjusted to the lower output.

Trouble was brewing, as four groups of drones (two groups from each of two entrances; twelve drones in total) entered the room. Aireus engaged the drones, disabling one, as Nigel and Shaera offered cover fire against the other group. Falco kept firing at one of the overhead power conduits. The drones engaged Nigel and Shaera quickly, pouncing in their direction and forcing them to roll to the side. Falco kept shooting overhead, while Nigel managed to knock one security drone into the gap between platfom and missile (at which the particular drone fell six floors straight down to a smashing defeat). Shaera resumed her fire against her opponent, Aireus used the hulk of one disabled drone to knock out another, and Falco's endeavour was successful; the power conduit broke loose from the ceiling and fell, breaking a hole through the platform and smashing three drones in the process. Aireus knocked another drone down six floors, while Falco switched targets to assist Aireus's efforts.

Aireus was now down to three opponents; if he was not tiring by now, he would have finished them all. Falco quickly switched to another fresh clip and kept firing at Aireus' opponents. Shaera finished off her opponent, while Nigel kept on the lookout for more drones. With their help, Aireus finished off his opponents, sweeping them off of the platform and down to the bottom floor of the silo. Nigel looked at Aireus. "How many?"

Aireus responded tiringly. "Sixty. Fifty-one drones and nine cyborgs." He looked back at the group, then examined his sabre. "I may have been built for combat, but even I have limits, and they are approaching those limits."

Nigel sighed. "And it only gets harder from here, right? Seems like all our luck's been going that way, lately..."

Shaera, in the midst of examining the wrecked control room, found one terminal still functional and called everyone over. "This looks like a radar display..."

Aireus followed the group and examined the screen. "More precisely, it looks like a map." Aireus pointed at the center of the screen. "Here we are, next to these two missiles..." He pointed at another location on the monitor. "And, there we were with the other silo....we've walked two miles."

Nigel sat down for a minute. "Two miles?"

Aireus looked at the display. "Hm. By this map, the lowest concentration of security drones is down one level and through the near door--not far from this base's other production room."

Nigel looked around; still no signs of approaching enemies, and the blasted alarms had finally shut off. "Everyone; think we can do it?"

Falco looked at the terminal which displayed their next destination. "Pretty simple; do, or die."

Shaera responded. "You know it's bad luck to say things like that, Falco..."

Aireus led the way. They circled around the first nuclear missile, located a ladder leading down one level, and climbed down. Aireus then pointed the way to the next doorway. Using his sabre, Aireus sliced the door right off its hinges and busted it open. Inside was yet another hallway, and at the other end, a staircase leading to the other production facility.

Aireus motioned for them to follow. They did so, and walked into an elevator. Aireus pressed one button on the elevator and it descended another level, dropping them right in the middle of the second--and largest--production facility.

The elevator descended into the middle of the production facility. When the elevator stopped, the four walls retracted into the ceiling, leaving them in the middle of a room the size of a level 3 tank factory, and in the middle of trouble. They were surrounded.

There were a total of thirty drones and ten armed cyborgs waiting for them. Nigel gave a sad order to the group. "Everyone stand down; it looks like they win." Across on one side of the room, a doorway was open and eight more armed cyborgs entered the room, each supplemented by a triplet of drones. The room had three production machines on another side, and Nigel could identify a familiarly-shaped large rusted hulk. Here, in the lower production facility, were the remains of the Nova Sea Dragon.

Without mentioning a word, the eight cyborgs motioned for Nigel's group to follow them. They did so, even if only to avoid defeat at the forces of 54 active security drones. The cyborgs escorted them through another maze of hallways and corridors, and placed them all in a holding cell.

Nigel holstered his laser rifle and sat down on a bench. "I don't know how we're going to get out of this one..."

Falco holstered his rifle as well. "Isn't curious that they let us keep our weapons?"

Nigel looked back at Falco. "There was an old-world military tactic. If you can get your enemy to subdue themselves under your control, chances are that they'll stay subdued. Considering the odds, I figured that tactic was worth a try."

Falco responded. "And it worked. But now what? Who are these forces?"

Nigel thought about it for a minute and came up with the answer. "Now that I think about it, those cyborgs, the rusted hulk of the Nova Sea Dragon... could we have found the Red Dragon?"

The cell seemed to shudder. The lights dimmed for a moment and several navy-blue lights lit up alongside the wall in sequence. Falco looked at the wall. "We are moving..."

Shaera looked at the wall lights, which appeared to flicker slightly. "I thought the Red Dragon was defeated three months ago..."

Nigel looked up. "So did everyone. But apparently not..."

Falco caught a glimpse of something from one of the wall lights. "Nigel; take a good look at this." Nigel did so. The blue lights weren't lights at all, but actually windows. As Nigel looked out the window, he spotted something pass by. He recognized it as an arctic shark.

Falco shook his head. "That's why they didn't disarm our weapons. We couldn't break out of here even if we tried--we're underwater!"


(click and drag to reveal answers)

Where do I draw the corporation name "F.R. Brandon" from?

The F.R. Brandon corporation, or "FRB" for short, is known in this saga for groundbreaking discoveries and work in the realms of robotic adaptable-artificial intelligence, thus laying the groundwork for drones. I composed the name as an in-joke to our modern-day electronic "Furby" toys.

What is the difference between the security drones' "Subdue" and "Destroy" modes?

The difference should be an easy one, drawn from the definitions of those terms. Subdue instructs a drone to capture an opponent (injuring them if necessary), while Destroy means just that.