A large alarm blared across the Resistere Futilis as Vale and Sky climbed down the side of the ship. The side of the ship began to curve inwards as they passed the deck, forcing them to hold on to each rung tighter as they moved.
Landing onto a small deck, Sky took his knife and pried open a grate. Vale took a step back. She didn’t want to go into any more small spaces. “Is this really the best way to get to the engine room?”
It’s the one with the least amount of AI’s.
Vale stared at the dark entrance. “Fear is a strange thing. I fight monsters without being struck by terror. But put me in a small space and I feel completely helpless.”
Sky’s blue eyes filled with calm determination. You can do this. We won’t be in there long.
She took a large calming breath and swallowed her fear. “Let’s go.”
They moved through the dark quietly. Sky gave Vale a small gadget so she could have her own light, calming her slightly as they moved through the confined space. She kept her eyes on the screen, ignoring the walls pressed in close to her body. Stay calm. Keep going. This will be over soon.
They moved in silence for several minutes when suddenly a loud crash ripped through the air duct, separating Vale and Sky as a rip pulled apart the grate under their feet. Vale fell through the opening and felt her body crack against a hard surface ten feet below. She groaned, squinting against the change in light. Sitting up, she saw an AI the size of an elephant standing over her.
A deep grating voice hummed to life from deep in the AI’s chest. “Vale Vita. We have been looking for you.” It reached down and picked her up, its hand wrapping with ease around Vale’s waist. “You have been listed as a threat to the AI directive.” A deep blue glow shot from its eyes and poured over Vale’s body. “A small thing like you seems more like a nuisance than a threat.”
Vale caught Sky out of the corner of her eyes. He was sliding down a pipe near the duct, moving towards her. She glanced around the room. They were in a large open space, warm air wafted through the room and the sound of roaring machines told Vale they had reached the engine room.
She caught Sky’s eyes and offered a quick shake of her head before glancing over to what she believed to be the engines. Sky paused. No other AI’s were in the room. If she could keep this one distracted long enough that would give Sky enough time to destroy the engines.
She turned her attention back to the AI. “If you don’t see me as much of a threat, you can always let me go.”
The AI squeezed her harder. “You are wasting your words, small creature of little threat.” Sky brought her arm up, transforming it into a spear before she slammed it into the AI’s face. The metal sliced through its eye and the AI let her go. Her spear got caught in its eye yanking her to a stop. Transforming her hand, she had just enough time to slip free before it slammed its hand into his eye, startled by his sudden lack of sight. She fell downwards and slammed her hand into his chest before she could fall any further.
The AI began to flail wildly, angry at its sudden lack of sight. Vale cut a larger hole into its chest and quickly climbed inside, afraid of getting thrown off. She took a moment to appreciate the intricacy of his interworkings. Gears the size of her body, wires cleanly organized into sections, mechanisms that quietly worked in tandem across the AI’s chest.
Tugging on a wire, she used it to climb upwards. She held onto the wire fiercely as a large metal hand punched through the AI’s chest.
Startled, she climbed faster, ignoring the large fingers that began to rip inside. “I will find you!” the AI shouted angrily. Moving further into its chest, Vale dodged several fingers and began to climb again. She spotted a large set of gears above and made her way towards them. One good tug should do it. As she reached for it, she felt a sudden yank on her injured leg and let go of the wire. She hit shards of metal as she was pulled back through the AI’s chest, her skin ripping as she moved.
She transformed her arm and wrapped a large shield around herself, deflecting a blow as the AI slammed her against the ground. Yanking her back up by her leg, it held her up to its good eye. “What do you have on your arm?” Vale transformed her arm back into a spear and shoved it towards his good eye. The AI caught her spear and let go of her leg. She dangled in between his fingers as he inspected her arm. “Where did you get this?”
Vale struggled to pull her arm free, but she learned of her arms one weakness in that moment. She couldn’t shift her arm while the AI had her spear in between its fingers. “Why? You looking to get a few upgrades?” she asked angrily.
“This is stolen,” the AI said reaching to pry the metal from her skin. Vale reached for a knife she had in her boot and pulled it free, throwing it towards the AI’s good eye as she felt something in her skin above the metal pop. The AI screamed in protest as the knife met its mark and let her go. She fell through the air and turning her arm into a hook, caught the hole she had made in the AI’s chest.
Rolling inside, Vale climbed wildly. She felt something in her shoulder rip and chanced a glance. A large tear sat above the metal in her shoulder.
She spotted the gears above her and transformed her arm, surprised when it sent a rip of fire through her body. With a large hook, she looped it into one of the holes in the gear and yanked.
She was met by a groan of protest as the gear fought to continue moving. She pulled harder, feeling the tear in her arm grow. A scream ripped through her lungs as she fought past the pain and continued to pull. Suddenly the gear stopped and bent under her force. All of the gears shook, struggling to continue. The pressure grew until bolts and screws cracked, spitting out of place.
“GET OUT!” The AI bellowed. Vale began to race through the unstable chaos, sliding back down to the opening. Forcing her arm through another painful transformation, she began to slash a sword along every wire she saw. Sparks filled the AI’s chest cavity. She raced for the opening but was met by a wall of lightning, blocking her path. Shoving her sword into the light, she began to soak it up into her arm. A pinch of pain filled her body. The rip, it’s making it hard to keep the lighting from my body.
She felt the pinch grow until a low painful hum filled her body. She soaked up just enough to get through the opening, and using her sword for support, began to climb down the outside of the AI.
The AI teetered, losing its balance as the inner workings shut down, and fell. Vale only had enough time to jump before the AI crashed to the ground.