Eclipse Phase: Flotilla
Sufficiency Part 1
From the GM:
“That’s my ox.” The voice comes over your suit intercom.
You turn and look. It’s the foreman on this build. You moved out here to the edge of civilized space to get away from assholes like this. There’s always an asshole. You were about to start your day, working 12-hours on, 12-hours off, setting up a new habitat for vacationing Hypercorp executives who wanted to “get away from it all”. This one is touted as being eco-tourism rugged, but it still has the views of the icy rings, hot baths(!), and pleasure bots the executives expect. So, it also comes with more than the usual oversight. They sent their own executive to personally oversee this project. Now he’s telling you that it’s his ox.
See, everyday you start your day taking one of the ox’s from the construction mothership. Zero-g forklifts, essentially. They don’t have names on them. They’re not assigned like fucking desks in a kindergarten. First come first served, day in and day out. You got some work that needs done that needs an ox, you grab one, get to work. Now this guy says this one is his. Normally you’d let it go. This kind of thing comes up every once in a while. There’s always n-1 ox’s available, where n equals the number of people looking for an ox to use. But normally you work it out like adults.
He’s probably not even going to use it for any real work. Just wants to ride it around the habitat construction scowling at the workers. Typical. You try staring him down. He probably can’t even see your face, since you’re both wearing vac suits. He can toggle his AR display of your suit camera off at will. He doesn’t care who you are, what your name is, or what you look like. He just knows you’re about to grab his ox. He barely knows how to operate the damn thing, but maybe that’s more because he’s still getting used to his morph. He seemed none too pleased to end up in a ruster, but that’s all they had way out here on this side of space. He’s probably used to strutting around in some kind of sylph or exalt morph, high on drugs and with a prostitute on his arm. He must have fucked up big time to draw this assignment. And you have little patience for fuck ups.
I step away from the ox as the ruster lurches in. Raw hate bakes off me in a heat shimmer. Paint blisters, rivets pop and metal warps. I’m no psi – the lurid visual is A.R. only and as such is lost on anyone un-friended by my muse. To my total non-surprise this category now includes Captain Ass-Hat as my muse’s mommy-mode kicks into overdrive to protect my job. Such involuntary editing by my augmented ego chafes my id and only serves to inflame my reaction in an emotional feedback loop.
My mind, working through my A.R. rig broadcasts an overlay in which metal glows white hot, girders buckles and the superstructure we’ve been working on groans and begins a slow collapse while the ox plods up and away. My muse has taken the liberty of unfriending me from the entire world, though, so I’m the only one who sees it.
Well fuck that. My muse is not the boss of me.
I’m already opening backdoors in two nearby oxen, overriding executive passwords and, essentially, hijacking them in the name of art. They’re governed by simple A.I.‘s, little more than protocol engines. Dropping in alternate stimuli variables and kinaesthetic subroutines is how I generally get shit done when my employer has the foresight not to clutter up a site with excess meat the way they’ve done here. All the ‘help’ has left me with an appalling amount of free time on my hands lately and, bored and horny, I put to use building code that… well. The idea was it would be funny for the construction equipment to start copulating the day I left the site, but honestly? The idea seemed too staged, too forced. Scheduled events lack spontaneity and leave me cold.
I can see the hijacked oxen’s drivers banging on their controls in confusion.
One ox is now close enough to extend a grapnel and attach to the executive’s ride. The unexpected change in vectors slews him around and the second ox quickly catches up. Both force the ‘legs’ of the first one up and begin a slow and methodical thrusting. I can just make out the drivers sharing looks of horrified embarrassment and, for one participant, mounting fury as they find their mechs gang-banging their boss. Then the awkward situation takes an unexpected turn.
Because I’m a lazy, lazy fuck who likes to do as little work as possible I make liberal use of monkeySeeMonkeyDo subroutines and, long story short, the other oxen are getting interested. Looks like I’ll have my orgy ahead of schedule. The executive, seeing the posse of en route, pistons extended, decides he has Had Enough Of This and ejects.
Which is fine because clearly his ruster is adapted for the cold vacuum of space. He flails around a bit but is clearly no stranger to zero-gee and orients without too much trouble, regaining some semblance of dignity amongst the stars. It doesn’t last. An ox drifting just behind him seizes him by the shoulders. Another couples a massive paw around his waist.
It turns out to a group of ox a.i. which find themselves inexplicably driven to rutting, a synthetic morph looks just like another ox. They do not take into account the structural capacity or relatively low load-bearing co-efficient. In short, there is thusting. Grinding. Gears seize, joins crumble and all too soon fragments of the erstwhile dickhead drift across the stars like mecha-spunk.
Now that’s art.