Arbiter: Port Exodus

In an unknown forest, Moscow, Soviet State, Eurasia.

Breezy morning it was, and the sprinkling of rain swung away, to a smooth rhythm, touching their suits with its startling gesture when the dawn light peaked from the sky, hollow and gloomy. Verging on the most decisive moment of their arduous trek, they eventually reached almost closer to the electrocuted, metal fence of the exodus port, sneaking through the shadows of cybernetic structures, which were built surrounding it.

They lurked by a steel platform that had a trailer parked on it with a wrecked robot.

“It’s the blade time, guys,” Agastya said, trivializing the task.

Shen looked at him with a slight frown. “Huh, spare rush, you need glasses.”

Trampling on a heavy piece of metal, a robot stepped toward the gate; meanwhile, a cohort of robots walked out front and positioned themselves for duty.

“It’s a stronghold,” Bodhi joined in, “look at the size of that thing.”

“Mull it over before making a decision,” Anjana added. “Prowling won’t help.”

Bane squatted behind the platform, observing. “Inside the port used to be an industrial site where most areas are abandoned apart from the docking station.”

Having no response to him, Shen operated her wrist hologram, contemplating an analytical approach to the circumstance. “Aditi, come in.”

“Read you loud and clear.” Agent Aditi reported; its presence indicated a panning sound.

“Encapsulate all the possible notions to reach inside the port.”

“Extrapolated, request acknowledged, initiating datum … please, prepare yourselves to execute my pragmatic instructions in order to achieve your task.”

“Affirmative, I’m listening.”

“Grant authorization to emit the drone camera from your suit to scan the vicinity.”

“Authorization granted, please proceed.”

From the back of Shen’s shoulder, a miniature drone camera released into the air and shot to the high sky at speed; then, it glided overhead for a moment and traveled around the vicinity, scanning the details of the port to accumulate information.

“Examine your wrist holograms for the analytical context of the map. Following the navigation, please proceed toward the east until you meet with the uneven opening in the fence where the soldered joint is located, are you able to see, Miss Shen?”

“Affirmative, I’ve located it in the navigation.”

“Entering from there, you could see a power plant, which contains consumption and supply gauges; it is secured by two armed robots on duty. You must subjugate them, use their credentials, and step inside the structure; then, interlock the energy modules, and exceed their power drawing to the mandatory unit to sabotage the operating system of the port until the backup power will be reinstated. Remember, the action is considered an incursion into government property of the Soviet State, hence if law enforcement captures you, the sentence will be implemented for two counts: contravention and treason, do concur?”

“I understand, Agent Aditi.” She looked at the others, nodding. “I do concur.”

“See for yourself,” Agastya pointed to the pillars, “those cameras will be tracing our footprint if we walk this closer to the fence; I’m sure they have heat sensors, too.”

“Affirmative,” Bane said. “Agent Coles, come in.”

In the same instance, the drone camera drew into the compartment of Shen’s suit and stuck in with a mechanical click shut; they glanced at her shoulder.

Panning a sound, Agent Coles reported. “Read you loud and clear, Agent Bane.”

“Is there a possible chance of disabling the security cameras?”

“Extrapolated, request acknowledged, initiating datum … granting authorization to Agent Aditi, allow me a moment to authenticate the status of incognito hacking.” It investigated the condition of the port’s operating system and returned. “Agent Bane, pardon me, I am unable to hack into their central network, breaching security due to the encrypted vault that has been programmed, with critical filtering, to lockdown ransomware attacks.”

“I need you to encapsulate an alternative criterion—”

“—get down.” Agastya squatted behind the platform, tugging at his shoulder when an armed drone drew in front of them, scanning around with its collimated beam.

The others too squatted aside him, peeking at it through the apertures of the platform.

Bodhi turned around and leaned against a metal block. “Did it pass?”

“It did,” Anjana shuffled behind him, “although there could be automated weapons installed in the ground like … the one we came across at the base in the forest.”

“Miss Anjana, the drone footage did not indicate evidence of such materials of machines outside of the port’s fence,” Agent Aditi panned a reviewing sound effect, “but there were a few automated sensors installed before the docking station.”

Sighing with relief, Bane darted his eyes over the wrecked robot, nonsensical. “What if we shoot the camera and cripple it,” he remarked, looking at the pillar through his head-up display and zooming with its momentum, “though the sensor too will be blown off?”

“Incontrovertible, Agent Bane, that is an acceptable alternative criterion,” it went on with its agreement. “Please, consider my instructions: once you attack the site, the alarm will be activated, and perhaps it could distract the two robots at the power plant; if so, you must immediately execute the plan, and complete your task prior to anomalies.”

“Affirmative.” Bane complied, speculating the pitfalls of the decision.

to be continued …