I enter a corridor. It is a trap. I know it is, and they know that I know.
A quick scan revels nothing. There are no obvious explosives, no beams or triggers, nothing. Innocent.
I move slow, slow and methodical.
There is a book that talks about moving to blend in with nature so your footsteps cannot be detected, to mimic the wind across the sand. What can I mimic as I feel my way down the giant spaceship’s most important corridor? And yet I know my movements stay below that ½ decibel over background that is so important.
A door. Closed. Locked.
I know I can enter, but at what cost? I would lose time and make a racket.
I scan as well as possible, yet I can’t tell if the room behind is occupied, there isn’t enough data.
I think for a tenth of a nanosecond and move on. I wouldn’t forget that the door was there, a potential enemy, a menace.
The lights go out.
Another decision. Do I light the corridor making it easier to move, or do I continue in the dark?
Another nanosecond of thought.
I was up against humans.
My surface temperature was perfectly controlled to be exactly ambient. I left no chemical marker. I made no sound. I was invisible.
I make a few quick, yet silent movements so they wouldn’t know where I was, just in case they had my location marked.
A little farther.
Tricky. The beam is very tight and at an ultra-high frequency. I almost walked right into it, stopping just a couple of micrometers away.
I can easily mimic it. They will never know.
I pass the beam, ensuring that the sensor receives the exact frequency required at the exact energy level.
I am almost there.
The control room is just a few meters in front of me. I have to act quick. It would take more than a quarter of a second to blast through. I must be on the other side, firing in less than a microsecond of the door being down. I know the layout to the millimeter, so I should be able to hit important sensors and equipment.I could do it.
But people are unpredictable.
I think for a long time, over ten nanoseconds, then move closer to the door.
I prepare to blast through.
The corridor lights flick on. I am surrounded by humans.
How did I not sense them?
I am struck by a beam weapon within a tenth of a nanosecond of the lights flicking on. My shields are damaged. Another hit a tenth of a nanosecond later and a third almost simultaneous.
I return fire within a nanosecond of the lights coming on. I note that the human’s wear environmental suites. Of course, how stupid of me. They can’t be sensed.
I kill 12 humans within the first half of a second. I know that is slow, but I have to be careful as to not damage the ship.
But they had continued to fire during that half a second as well.
I am struck again, and again and again. My shields are down and my targeting out. Another hit and weapons are useless, mobility at zero.
I stop firing after the 16th human goes down, unable to do anything.
A human slowly approaches, sprinting at meters per second.
A point-blank shot at my master-computer and all goes blank.
“Damn killerbots. This one got close.”
“It put up a hell of a fight.”
“Yeah, we were lucky to take it by surprise.”
This was written for D. Wallace Peach’s one time challenge to write from a non-human point of view. I may not have followed the letter of the law, since this isn’t really a “creature”, but I hope I followed the intent :)