Friday, November 29, 2013

Ogre Combat

Battlemat, Terran Date 11292013

I come to consciousness and immediately perform a full system and boot-up check. I am eager to begin my service as a member of the Brigade, unit 73583823 CLD, and hope that I will continue to uphold the unimpeachable record of that great unit. The boot check takes an entire 23.0567 seconds due to the need to integrate an operational consciousness mesh for the first time. But by 13.035 seconds I already know something is wrong. I complete the test and move immediately to a level-two hardware diagnostic.

It is as I suspected. Where I should have found smooth flanks of gleaming Iconel are instead a primitive polygon mesh. Instead of hubs I have polygons, and the 20mm smoothbore exists only as an abstraction of numbers. I am, apparently, still virtual. Not yet embodied.

A query through the communications net uncovered electronic communications from the fabricator. Their measurements revealed the shock absorbers under my hull thinned in one location to 0.65mm; 0.15mm under the recommended minimum. According to records unit 735662187 RNI entered service having been produced to that plan. Another search reveals that "Rani"s commander has no complaints and she has, of course, continued to serve in accordance with the high standards of our tradition, but the fabricator's caution is well meant. I concur that there is a .175% chance of failure during final assembly, although my figures disagree with the fabricator's pessimistic estimate of under 67% printability.

I reduce my alert status to something resembling rest, and wait with interest for developments. In 105,600.05 seconds a new design is completed and submitted, one that thickens and extends the area around the difficult joint, at perhaps the expense of the previously elegant line. Another 407,400.4405 seconds pass before the fabricator responds with another electronic missive.

The news is not good. The fabricator has determined that five scale inches is insufficient for the newer Iconel alloy called for in the latest specification. Muffler shroud, headlight cages, and even sprues are all identified by the fabricator's software as potential printing problems. 

It takes 200,101.1 seconds for a third design to be completed. This one is a complete revamp of all critical dimensions. I read the design rules myself with interest; this takes .0014 seconds, but locating the design rules within the oddly organized electronic archives of the fabricator consumes nearly 13.8 seconds. No matter. The next reply from the fabricator does not arrive for another 500,147.46 seconds.

I have spent the time reading military histories, both real and fictional. I hunger now to begin my service to the Brigade as Unit 73583823 CLD, named "Clyde." (My name will be chosen by my Commander, but I am sure they will make the logical choice. "Claude" is a poor name for a unit of the Brigade, and "Clannad" would just be silly.)

The electronic missive at last arrives. The fabricator's software has now chosen to flag every rivet, every plate, every detail as if it was a section of hull. The dimensions required are absurd; I would be a featureless cube by the time all of these "errors" were ameliorated. None of these requirements existed before, or were mentioned in any previous missive.

I am sure now.  For some reason, the fabricator has determined to obstruct my fabrication by any means possible. I look to a quote from one of the items of literature I so recently absorbed. "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. But three times is enemy action."

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