Rise of the CyberJackal

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Rise of the CyberJackal

Postby TShaw » Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:28 am

So, Anarchitect recently threw a nice favor my way and I thought I"™d surprise him by repaying the good deed. They"™re not to go unpunished after all. Such an interesting character he"™s been roving the ravaging the countryside with and yet no one really knows how he came to be. That may be mostly because none dare to ask him directly, or perhaps those that have asked did not survive the encounter. Whatever the reason for the dismal lack of information regarding his origins I attempted to remedy the situation, at great risk to life and if not limb then my sanity. So here is just one possible explanation of the misty origins of one of the world"™s most devious and devastating creations.

====================

Rise of the CyberJackal

Working late again at the lab again the jackal"™s attention was on the computer display before him as his gloved hands tapped the occasional command into the keyboard. He stared bleary eyed at the small screen, all indicators still in the green as the testing proceeded further through the process than ever before. As the canine leaned forward to peer at the computer as it scrolled through the multiple programming tests the end of the pen he held in clenched teeth taped lightly on the thick Plexiglas.

He moved back slightly from the containment enclosure and situated himself more convertibly in the hard lab chair. He kept his attention on the promising results he"™d been gathering for the last handful of hours as he heard the door to the lab hiss open and someone enter. Keeping his attention on the experiment and the multiple tests running on it was fairly easy while he was alone in the darkened lab. The jackal ignored the new arrival as he sensed them move to the far side of the room without turning on any additional lights. With the new occupant in the room his attention wavered a bit, thinking of the experiment he was leading finally nearing completion. And just in time too.

Years ago he and several colleagues had the bright idea of sending something other than robots that were little better than clunky hunks of articulated scrap out to explore the distant planets. Why not develop something to send out from the so promising nanite field. They"™d drawn up their proposal and in record time had gotten a contract, along with high security clearance, massive lab space and dump truck loads of funding. Now years later their project was almost complete, just in time for the next planetary launch in a matter of weeks.

The jackal"™s ear swiveled as the sound of the new arrival breaking his train of thought. Whoever it was irritated him with their discordant scraping and thud of something hitting one of the cabinets on the far side of the room. His eyes never left the screen of the computer within the containment cubicle, his hands encased in protective synthetic gloves hovered over the keyboard ready to enter commands to the testing program running. The testing was nearing ninety percent complete and still not a single fault in the programming and the canine was feeling the first eager twinges of excitement with success so near. Seeing his hands shake for just a moment from the sudden excitement he spared a glance at the small container of nanites. Dozens of test leads ran from the glass container where billions of nanites sat gleaming softly in mingled shades of gold and titanium that made up most of their microscopic structure. It was a thing of beauty to the scientific eyes of the jackal.

A dim shadow of movement on the far side of the glass containment cube competed for his attention. Doing his best to ignore the intruding presence he mumbled a brief, "Not now, please."

He continued watching the progress of the test program as it scrolled through the final protocols. Everything else was functioning perfectly with this latest batch. The collection of nanites could survive extremes of temperature and pressure the abrasive and corrosive affects they were likely to meet on other worlds. They could form limbs of various and rather inventive nature to manipulate and control solid objects in their environment from their own substance. They could detect a wide range of electromagnetic radiation, in effect see nearly anything that reflected or emitted light and heat. Best of all they could draw power from the same electromagnetic sources giving them an almost limitless power supply.

The canine was just waiting for the final test to complete itself and the project would be done, finally. That final test was the most important though. It would be a disaster if the nanites were to be unleashed on an alien world and allowed to replicate themselves endlessly. There had to be a limit on how many of themselves they could reproduce, a limit to their size if you will. Again the person sharing the lab with him attempted to intrude on his work. The fool was making a nuisance of themselves by bumping up against the enclosure.

Forced at the intrusion to look up at the other momentarily he only saw what he assumed one of his colleagues in a hooded sweatshirt that concealed his face in the darkness of the lab. The interloper stood at the far side of the testing enclosure staring through the glass at the vial of nanites. The normally mind natured jackal positively growled at the rude interruption and uncharacteristically grumbled, "Leave me." Looking back to the computer he was disgusted to see a red line highlighting the current test, a caution of another dismal failure on the screen.

The frustration too much for him the jackal slammed his fists down on the inside surface of the test cubicle muttering expletives around the writing tool still clenched in his teeth. His dreams of enormous success dash once again the jackal leaned in and placed his forehead against the cool glass, waiting for the numbing emotion of defeat to pass. He looked up at the hiss of the door opening again to see the hooded figure leave the room.

He slowly shut down the test and began disconnecting the leads from the glass bottle of the gleaming nanites. Halfway through isolating the nanites from the test equipment he was distracted by a flash of light behind him strong enough to cast his shadow on the far wall of the lab. Looking around for the source of the flash he stared in shock at the other end of the lab and the equipment controlling the large vat of unprogrammed nanites blazing, the flames already licking the ceiling.

He stared at the flames for a moment dumbfounded. There were ignorant fools who had protested against the project on the basis furs shouldn"™t be allowed to spread their destructive and polluting ways through the universe. One of them must have gained entry to commit this sabotage. The twenty-five liters or so of nanites were safe enough in their containment vessel, but the jackal was in serious danger from the heat and smoke being generated. He turned back to the testing enclosure franticly trying to draw his hands from the clinging gloves. With his hands still trapped he felt more than saw an intense flash from the other side of the containment cube. The light was so intense it blinded him.

Screaming at the sudden pain in his eyes and searing heat he felt on his exposed flesh he failed to hear the pen drop from his mouth and hit the floor. Incredibly he smelled the pungent scent of singeing fur and the sickly sweet smell of burning flesh. Blind and with the horrible scent of his own burning flesh clogging his nostrils he barely felt the impact of an explosion throw him across the lab. Slammed against the wall he would have fallen unconscious but for the intense pain of his own flesh burning. His tortured brain cataloged everything, even the thought that the ignorant saboteur had likely destroyed the project, and was even now killing him.

Twisting and screaming in his sudden torment he dimly registered a sudden soothing cooling sensation as it spread over his right hand. Even as the pain receded from his hand he realized the respite was likely due to nerve endings being seared away. Barely conscious of what was happening to him he used his cool and seemingly unaffected right hand as a bludgeon against the searing flames trying to devour the rest of his body. He blindly twisted and rolled on the floor in a desperate effort to douse the flames attacking his flesh from everywhere.

Through several agonizing moments he beat against his own body, mercilessly attempting to save his life whatever the cost or temporary damage. Slowly the same soothing cold spread across his tortured frame, his desperate howls of agony dieing as the welcome coolness seeped deeper into his searing flesh. As reason began to reassert itself he realized as he struggled to draw a choking breath that even if he escaped the searing heat clouds of chocking smoke always accompanied fire. He dimly recalled hearing from somewhere smoke and not the flames was the cause of death in most fires.

The ease with which he now drew breath had to be his lungs filling with fluid. Frantic to escape death by the searing flames he staggered to his feet in a tremendous physical feat as he gained his feet. As he turned his head to scan the room for an exit he realized his vision had returned, somewhat.

Oddly enough the choking smoke seemed not to affect his sight, allowing him to see every structure and fixture in the lab. He could even detect the hottest areas of flame that had now engulfed the entire room. With the realization the whole room was ablaze and he felt as though he could draw breath normally without choking he rationalized in his mind that his perceptions meant he had succumbed. He looked behind himself searching for his dying body only to find nothing but heat soaked and charring wall. The jackal stood amid the roaring flames thinking that as a post life experience this was a fairly interesting one.

Looking down at himself expecting an ethereal body he instead saw flames reflected off metallic looking hands and claws. Inspecting the rest of his body he noted a patchwork of the same reflective substance covering. His exposed flesh looked normal, except for the fact it was unaffected by the enormous heat within the room. Touching his unaffected side he noted even his fur seemed proof against the withering heat generated by the flames. He stood amidst staggering heat unaffected, considering and evaluating his observations.

He stared at his hands, one covered with metallic reflections of flames the other seemingly normal. He drew clouds of toxic smoke into his lungs without the slightest hint of a cough reflex. He could see clearly through massive amounts of obscuring smoke. He dimly registered the relentlessly destructive heat, and merely cataloged it as a parameter of his environment. Best of all, he mentally felt expanded, larger, greater and much more capable than ever.

He lifted his head and laughed uproariously, delighting not only in being alive but vastly improved. He was capable of anything now, he could"¦

He casually strolled over to the containment vat of unprogrammed nanites easily pushing away obstacles that were bolted to the floor sending them careening across the room. Seeing his own reflection in the shiny surface of the round cylinder of the nanite containment vessel he cocked his head a bit and appraised his new appearance. One eye was gone, apparently burned away from the heat and replaced with a large bored camera eye that glowed red and seemed sinister even to his senses. All across his form glinting patches and lines of reflective material showed through his fur. Tapping at one such patch experimentally he discovered the reflective bits melded to him felt just as real and sensitive to his touch as his original flesh.

His right leg looked as shiny and metallic as his arm. Scanning up and down his form he cataloged the apparent changes, right eye, right arm and right leg. Something devastating had happened to his right side the likes of which he mercifully could not recall. He oddly noted a piece of Plexiglas sticking from the right side of his chest, the edges of which were even now slowly melting. Likely the pain of the injury had been submerged in the more intense pain of his burning. As he pulled the melting piece of plastic from his chest shiny metallic fluid poured from the wound and covered a large portion of that side of his ribcage.

The flame retardant jackal lifted his right arm to stare at the appendage. As he concentrated on his fingertips they narrowed to wicked claws, sharp enough to pierce nearly anything on this earth. Rearing back and swiftly bringing his arm forward he plunged his taloned hand deep into the vat of restless and waiting nanites, spreading his fingers within the thick fluid. He stood in the flame of his outer world sending out his will to their nascent form nesting in their own dim world. They being only empty vessels joined with him, instantly subordinate to the dominance of his greater will.

As the last of the nanites flowed into and merged with his form he pulled his arm free, looking again at the clawed appendage. It now rippled and flowed with awesome power, massive and cruel in its gleaming perfection. His once damaged leg too had grown and thickened. His augmented leg from his powerful thigh down to the talons of his thick and mechanically muscular foot appeared able to rend and crush anything.

A moments thought and six additional appendages snaked free of the rounded dome of nanite material that had formed on his back. All six accessory limbs thick cable-like and resoundingly tough and resilient, each as capable as the other of forming any appliance or device at their tips he desired. Power flowed through him, heady in its rush, exhilarating in its depth, blissful in its sharp intellect. Delving into the new reaches of his mind to explore his new capabilities he saw that even size was unlimited to him now. The nanites having failed that final test before that foolish act of saboteurs had given him an even greater boon than this gleaming perfect body he now possessed.

The once mild and polite scientist and architect of the project had truly died in the fire. That same fire that currently raged around his new form set by the profoundly thoughtless anarchists. He was now reborn in the flames of anarchy, and rising like a phoenix from those flames came a new god.

He was now Anarch-CyberJackal.



(Posted with permission. Gotten from said individual at a great distance, even then it may not have been far enough for safety. If I am not seen or heard from again, send no search parties, its far too hazardous.)
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Postby zukezorin » Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:49 pm

I would love to have seen more, but I know how storywriting goes :wink:

Was this his idea or yours? It's not at all what I expected to be the cause of a partially mechanized body. Why the nanites would stop, or wouldn't just rebuild his body as it was, I don't get.
What I pictured was more of a Baxter situation ala Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles . Successive damage and battle replacing parts and portions of his body, with himself making improvements along the way.

Hmmm....Anarch ending up as Baxter did. 8) Now there's an entertaining mental image.
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