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Screaming Metal (Part 001)

(Plus a quick "primer")

Metal Fiction is a planned series of short, stand-alone stories set on distant planets in the far future, revolving around sentient AI mecha of mysterious alien origin called "Metals".

The first story, "Screaming Metal" follows Priyanka and her crew -- Deshel and Suen -- as they seek to extract the the braincore of a Metal designated as "Il'on". What they don't know is that, Il'on's deadly rival, "Forjoen" and the Luddite locals on the planet Shake Hands, have other plans.

Written in microfiction format (25 words or less per line, approximately 30-35 lines per post), the story has been inspired by works like Makoto Kobayashi’s 80's anime classic Dragon's Heaven and Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker series, among others. Familiarity with the aforementioned works is not a requirement for enjoyment though.

High adventure, space opera and mecha action...

Screaming Metal

©2017, Made in DNA

The slam and crunch of alien-woven metal echoed in the thick, morning fog that hung over the valley as the two goliaths collided.

Squawks of digital rage shredded innumerable open commfreqs, bearing witness to the eons of ferocity between two sentient machines.

Eager to disable and destroy, licks and flashes of weaponsfire lashed out – perforating armor, damaging systems, seeking critical points.

Mini-missiles punched and rocked, unleashing varied lethalities, from the explosive to swarms of nanobugs intent on feasting.

A burster charge crackled through the fog, dispersing it, giving Forjoen a clear view of its wounded foe.

Two more at close range cracked Il'on's drive system, sending a plume of acrid smoke billowing upward.

"471.927 years, Il'on."

Forjoen's towering 10-meter, insectoid frame hunched with ominous purpose over its Metal foe.

Elongated and grossly organic, it contrasted Il'on's own boxy, functional frame, lending it both menace and repellence.

Hovering at a slight distance, Forjoen circled Il'on, systematically destroying the warmachine's massive omnidirectional sphere-wheels.

The attacks pierced and stung the already-limping Il'on, further immobilizing with each shot, until finally the Metal was unable to move.

Forjoen scanned to ensure it had Il'on truly at its mercy before stopping at the precise section it knew Il'on's braincore was housed.

A weak buzz issued from one of the numerous open maws that pockmarked Forjoen's upper torso.

The sound steadily grew to a shriek whereupon a thin green line spit forth, penetrating deeply into Il'on's frame.

The fallen Metal shuddered and squawk-screamed in a fit of fear-rage as pieces of its body were shorn off and systems obliterated.

Il'on had engaged Forjoen on countless occasions and dozens of planets. But never had it been so close to destruction as it was now.

One by one, sections of its body winked out of existence; the connections irrevocably severed.

Heretofore unexperienced fear enveloped its mind with each loss, and its self-evaluated survival-probability ratio dropped with each moment.

Key among its barrage of lightspeed thoughts: what would Forjoen do once it had its mind? Crush it? Keep it? Strand it? Format it? Reset it?

The possibilities were myriad. In a blind panic, the crippled A.I. tried to engage its drive, weapons… any system at all that would respond.

No avail. It was helpless. Forjoen had left nothing to chance this time.

As if its age-old enemy were reading Il'on's circuitry, Forjoen spoke, "You forced me to chase you across seven systems...

"But, no more." Forjoen scanned purloined schematics obtained from a hacked Lim database.

From a panel along its torso, a whirling saw extended forth, slicing into Il'on's woven-metal armor.

A second, tri-fingered arm peeled back Il'on's skin, exposing its brain housing and core.

With unerring precision and brutality, Forjoen sliced through the physical locking systems that held Il'on's mind in place.

"It ends here." The saw turned to sever the last of the connections tying Il'on's braincore to its body.

Il'on ran through every single circuit and gear still left to it, seeking any measure whatsoever to extract itself from its foe's grip.

But Forjoen's dominance over it was complete.

Or so it thought until its mind raced through the last of its seemingly impotent subfunctions revealing a single option.

In a last-ditch effort, Il'on engaged a sample-collector arm, which shot out to grapple with the hungry saw.

A quick, frenzied struggle ensued, ending with Forjoen watching in analytical silence as its own arm snapped…

and fell directly onto Il'on's now-exposed braincore.

Sparks and explosions followed as the saw, connected only by loose wiring, ricocheted uncontrollably, mercilessly lacerating it.

The giant warmachine's mind shuddered as its higher functions splintered into isolated programming architectures.

Enmity welled in Forjoen's kernel…

So close.

It cursed and recklessly spit lasers from multiple maws in thoughtless retaliation.

For 3.067 seconds before a final shot took out the capability, Il'on broadcast its brainmap over a thousand commfreqs.

**"Screaming Metal" -- all parts**