On the Brink
Robotics and electronics expert who likes using his remotes to do the dirty work.
Dalton Mcclinton was tickled pink when he signed on with Chadroot & Merck (C&M). The company lived at the cutting edge of cybernetics and Man-Machine Interface (MMI) development, and they were small, agile, and full of sharp minds. It was a perfect match. Dalton’s work revolved around taking his robotic concepts and creating what amounted to remote hosts for human “pilots.” He had the chance to see some cutting-edge MMI work in his first few years with C&M. He was absolutely in love, even if the work meant weeks at a time working on a remote satellite. Dalton was never very big on hanging out with “normal” people, anyway.
Then came the day where Dalton got his first real taste of what it was like to be in the cross-hairs of a metacorporation.
Because C&M had been too successful. Not greedy, not stupid, just too successful. They’d hit on something huge, and they weren’t just going to let someone buy them out.
Dalton happened to be at a remote section of the research station when the shuttles arrived. Three of them. Fast attack craft.
The first thing they did was take out the main antenna array, crippling comms. Then they attached and injected a knockout gas to the station’s life support. While that was at work, they began a boarding action. C&M had security, sure, but they weren’t up to taking on a full-out assault, not something run by a big metacorporate assault team. Dalton was sure it was metacorporate, although he could never tell which.
Dalton tapped the station’s security vids. There wasn’t anything else he could do. He saw a lot of his co-workers die in the first few seconds, gunned down in cold blood. He saw others hunted down and dragged from hiding places. And that’s when Dalton realized the assault force was using genies . . . psis.
Only two people were kept alive in those first couple minutes—Dr. Linda Hua, the key researcher, and Alex Chadroot. Dr. Hua was allowed to watch Alex Chadroot’s slow torture and execution, then given an opportunity to join him, or join “someone else.”
Dalton decided he had one chance to survive. The fast attack craft were docked near some of his better research work. Dalton activated two of them and set them into action. There were still assault team members on the station, and at least one psi. Dalton had one of his remotes focus on who he suspected was a psi while the other dealt with the fast attack craft.
While running the first drone, Dalton managed to take the psi out by knocking it into a garbage compactor. The assault team quickly took the drone out, freeing Dalton to take over the second drone, which had been arranging flammable chemical containers in the hangar bay where one of the attack craft sat. Dalton triggered an alarm in the hangar bay, drawing the craft’s crew out. The drone then detonated the flammable chemicals and clambered aboard the craft to make sure it was secured. Dalton piloted the craft through the drone, pulling it around to a less-overrun section of the station. Even so, he barely made it aboard, and only after taking a few bullets for his trouble.
Dalton made it back to civilized space. Barely. He took three lessons from his time with C&M:
1) The metacorporate strike team used genies—psionics—to track everyone down on the research station and to help subdue/kill them. Dalton underwent a mod to help against psionics.
2) The metacorporate strike team used a gas. Dalton underwent another mod to implant a gill-like system that gave him a better chance against gases.
3) The metacorporate strike team came after the company. The entire company. Dalton will never work for a company again. Freelance, sure. But be connected to a company? Never. He works under fake identities and stays off the Grid under his real identity. He’s had so many identities, he’s not even sure he can remember his real one. Actually, he works hard to suppress his memories of his old life.