Figured I would post this here. The first part of the Taghmata Mortera's experience of the Death of Innocence.
The collected might of the Taghmata Mortera hung in orbit above the world of Mars, resupplying after long campaigns in the galactic west. Titanic macro-haulers shuttled back and forth between the fleet and the surface of the red world, bearing much-needed supplies, whilst many ships of the Taghmata sat within docking cradles in the Ring of Iron, repairs performed on the damaged warships. "At this rate, I calculate full readiness will be achieved in ten days and thirteen hours." Reported one of the Magi on the bridge of the Glory of Summer, an optical mechadendrite turning to peer at Archmagos Mortera.
"An unusually imprecise calculation, Magos Itrax." Mortera turned to face Itrax, her human body reclining in the command pulpit in a manner not unlike the leaders of ancient, feudal Terran nations, the vast array of machinery adjoined to the back of her head steadily coiling and rearranging behind her.
"The constant dust storms make precise calculations rather more difficult, Fabricator-General." His binaric reply was laced with codes of apology. "I will be able to provide a more precise estimate once I confer with the Glory of Summer's meticulation engines, however the necessary calculations will take some time."
"It is of no great consequence, I believe your analytical skills will be far better spent continuing the exemplary work organising of the resupply operation you have done so far." Magos Itrax did little to suppress his noospheric bleed of pride that accompanied Mortera's praise.
"Of course, Fabricator-General." The optical mechadendrite swung back round to peer at displays and manifests, Itrax chattering away in binary cant to various shuttle pilots, and tech-priests arranging the movement of resupply materiel. Mortera resumed her observations of the activities of her fleet. The sister battleships Lance Held High and Point of No Return were both undergoing repairs in the Ring, resting in adjacent berths. The venerable machine-spirits of the twin ships would only grow restless if separated, causing inexplicable faults until reunited once more. ~And many of my order would like to claim machines lack emotion. Pah.~ Mortera permitted herself a brief sense of satisfaction in the affirmation of her long-held beliefs, before turning her attention to the next ship. The cruiser Aspect of Zeal had been all-but destroyed, the hull almost split in two during an ambush by a xeno reaver fleet. However, the machine-spirit would survive, and under the careful ministrations of the priesthood the ship would be made battle worthy once again.
Mortera's passing inspection of the Taghmata was cut short, however, by a transmission across the Martian datanet. ++This is Magos Genar of Antionradi Forge Temple. Alert: Reactor core overloading, we are unable to prevent it going critical.++ The Magos' transmission was heavily laden with panic. ++Estimate facility destruction in thirty seconds. To anyone receiving this, prepare for scrapcode attack.++
Mortera immediately set her fleet to red alert, a scant second before the scrapcode assault reached the Taghmata. Five of the implaced bridge servitors erupted into flame almost instantly as their augmetics were reduced to ruin by the attack, whilst three Tech-Priests too slow to unplug themselves from their stations or otherwise shield themselves had their brains flash-fried. Magos Itrax let out a binaric scream of pain as the djinn-viruses tore through the unprotected portions of his augmetics, his optical mechadendrite reduced to slag as it catastrophically overheated. Mortera suppressed her own agony, injector rigs flooding her system with painkillers as her mind automatically partitioned itself to weather the assault. Outside the bridge, the results were no better. Fires erupted within manufactories and across decks as circuits were stressed to destruction, an entire macro-cannon battery ripped asunder as ammunition was detonated.
Beyond the Glory of Summer, the ships of the Taghmata were suffering similarly, an entire deck depressurising on the Excessive Gravitas. A Carcharidax-class void-automata, a massive, frigate-sized automata built for void-warfare, howled across the vacuum of space before being destroyed as its plasma engines overloaded. Still recovering from the initial assault, Mortera broadcast to the Tech-Priests aboard the Ark not killed or otherwise incapacitated by the scrapcode infection. ++As many as you can spare, I require your assistance. Interface with the Glory of Summer, this assault must be beaten back.++ Thousands of Tech-Priests replied in the affirmative. ++Custos Prime to the bridge, defend my physical form.++ Her bodyguard cohort hurried to respond, as Mortera interfaced with the Glory of Summer, her consciousness delving into the wounded machine-spirit of the Ark.
The hidden space of knowledge of an Ark Mechancium was a glory witnessed by only a fortunate few within the ranks of the Mechanicum, brilliant lines and grids of pure code stretching into infinity. Constellations of data shone brighter than any star around Mortera, even the tiniest of lights containing pure knowledge incalculable in value. However, what had mere seconds ago been a gleaming centre of learning and information was now a battlefield. Data clusters burned with an intensity that threatened to destroy the minds of the careless in but an instant. For a moment, Mortera was alone as she watched the scrapcode attack tear its way through logic-cores and numeration-arrays, straining to enforce order around her virtual presence, before more minds joined her. From the lowliest Adept to Archmagos Dominus Crastus Mhal himself, every able mind the Glory of Summer could spare flooded into the space, each one bearing some of the strain on Mortera. Some of these minds were eradicated as the wounded spirit of the Glory of Summer fought against the infection, destroying those unfortunates in its attempts.
Regardless of the loss of these Tech-Priests, the strain on Mortera lessened, and with other minds enforcing the order she had recreated within this hive of data, she began to strive onwards, some capable minds assisting her in cleansing the djinn-viruses from the Ark, cluster by cluster. In the far reaches of her awareness, the crews of the other ships in the Taghmata were attempting the same, seeking to prevent any further damage until the infection was purged from another ship. Once a single ship was purged and shielded from reinfection, the minds that strove to save that ship could move on to assist the others. Until then, the Taghmata needed to prevent the spread of the scrapcode if the Taghmata was to survive this attack.
Edited by Talonair, 26 January 2017 - 08:19 AM.