mendanddefend_archive: (scary source code)
Bob, Guardian 452 of System Mainframe ([personal profile] mendanddefend_archive) wrote2007-11-20 05:34 pm
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It's been three cycles since Bob realized what this place is. He's searching with a purpose, now, following the data-tracks to see where they converge, looking for where they come in and go out. Eventually, one of them has to lead to an input/output port.

This isn't going to be easy, even when Bob does find the I/O port. No one in his world has ever figured out a way to contact the User directly. And even if he manages it, there's no telling when, how, or if the User will answer back.

But what choice does Bob have?

The data flows are getting more concentrated. He has to be close. And then, suddenly, there it is--a dense stream of data, like an inverted waterfall, streaming out of the floor and into a floating receptacle to be directed onto the data-tracks.

It's fast and incredibly complex. Bob couldn't hope to manipulate the bits as they go by. But maybe...

Glitch: shield. His left hand morphs into a wide, circular platter--just wide enough to--yes! It blocks the data flow completely if he puts his arm into the stream. Bob pulls his arm out, then puts it back in again, in a beat as regular as any clock. He makes a pattern of thirty-two beats repeated over and over.

Off on off off on off off off. Off on off off off on off on. Off on off off on on off off. Off on off on off off off off.

01001000. 01000101. 01001100. 01010000.

H. E. L. P.

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 05:05 am (UTC)(link)
Ironhide's been through a lot in his years of existence, to the point where some of the younger Autobots claimed that if anything could go wrong with a mech's systems, it's happened to him and he's survived it. That's not quite the case, but he's never bothered correcting anybody about it. He likes the reputation it gives him.

Kinda annoying when there's an actual glitch in his systems, though. Especially since his optics were working just fine the last time Ratchet checked him over, before they left Cybertron. Slag.

Well, he's just gonna shut that subsystem down, recycle the power, and see if it's still switching out on him when it comes back up. Not like he's got a whole lot else to do at the moment.

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 05:15 am (UTC)(link)
Slaggit! All right, integrity check time. Physical connection layer test first on all available circuits. That's a regular disruption. Something might've gotten knocked out of place. He'll start the programming scan once he's ruled out a vibrating distortion.

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 05:24 am (UTC)(link)
All systems physically normal, which means the malfunction's programmatically generated. He's nowhere near the stage of travel isolation where he'd start spawning off processes just to keep himself company, so that implies something's been inserted. He's had diagnostic code loaded and left to run in the past, but Ratchet didn't so much as glance at his ports last time. This is something else. This is something that he's never detected before. Something that's been in there and dormant enough for him not to notice.

Were Ironhide a human, he'd take the opportunity to scowl and crack his knuckles, but he's not. All he does is trigger a full internal security sweep of all input-output code, active and stored, and immediate isolation of any subsystems found to be carrying any programming that isn't Autobot in origin.

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 05:41 am (UTC)(link)
The darkness doesn't last long. There's light- not blinding light, but light- coming from every wall, and down from the ceiling and up from the floor. A bland, female voice speaks, communicating on a data level too fundamental to silicon life to need specific language:

"Intrusion code detected. Point and faction of origin unknown."

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 05:59 am (UTC)(link)
There are a few silent nanos of processing before the voice notes, "Mainframe was subdued by Autobot forces and rendered inoperable at the Battle of Tyger Pax. Stand by."

The light acquires a certain harsh quality, and the next voice that speaks is male, considerably lower and more menacing.

"You have ten nanoseconds to explain how Megatron managed to upload you into my systems without me noticing before I wipe your storage sector down to the particulate storage level, Decepticon code fragment."

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 06:10 am (UTC)(link)
"You're in one of my optics," the voice points out. "Someone had to get you out of Mainframe's storage after he was killed. Nobody else got close enough to the wreckage. If you think I'm going to help you get back to the 'cons with whatever layout data you've picked up since then, you'd better check your logic cycles for bit rot."

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 06:13 am (UTC)(link)
"My. Left. Optic. Don't play dumb. The difference between Autobot and Decepticon code and design isn't that big."

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 06:20 am (UTC)(link)
"Too slagging right you're inside a Cybertronian. What in the Pit is going on here?"

No one's ever accused Ironhide of being a genius, but you could never call him dumb, either- and frankly, this codeling that he's talking to at the moment isn't reading at all like any self-operant program he's ever encountered. Starting with the fact that it can talk at all, for one thing.

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 06:33 am (UTC)(link)
"The only Cybertronian I have records of that went by the designation 'Mainframe' was one of the most dangerous Decepticons we've ever gone up against, and he's been dead since before any of us left Cybertron," says the voice. "If he's not home, then where is?"

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 06:37 am (UTC)(link)
"... aw, slag... How in Primus' name did you get all the way here if you're from Earth? We didn't get that kind of data feed off Ghost-1."

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 06:40 am (UTC)(link)
"Human ship, designed from tech they got off Megatron," says the voice, sounding disgusted. "Went through a wormhole and wound up crossing our path. We're headed for Earth, but it's gonna be a while before we get there."
Edited 2007-11-09 06:40 (UTC)

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 06:48 am (UTC)(link)
"Wouldn't be going at all if it was up to me, but that's where the Allspark's ended up, so that's where we're going. You got any ideas for foldspace drives in mind? I'm all auds."

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 06:58 am (UTC)(link)
"Estimated arrival time's something close to thirty-five Earth years," says Ironhide, whose tone manages to indicate that this is an annoyance, but not one of any kind of significance.

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 07:07 am (UTC)(link)
"Next to how long we've been traveling already that's nothing," says Ironhide. "That a problem?"

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 07:15 am (UTC)(link)
"Hnh. Now I know for sure you're not Decepticon. No way they'd code something that short-term."

Ironhide? Cynical about his tenants? Naaaah.

"You don't have a stasis lock mode?"

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 07:22 am (UTC)(link)
"Earth tech." The tone's loaded with contempt. "Never mind. You cycle all your active data into particulate storage and shut down the rest of your i-o feeds to save power. Soon as you get fueled up again you're back in the same state as when the lock came down. For you, I figure it's cycling pretty much everything into particulate storage."

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 07:29 am (UTC)(link)
"Gotcha. I can allocate some storage space for you and shut down that sector for a while if you really think you can't hold out that long."

They left Cybertron close to ten thousand Earth years ago. Ironhide's still having trouble with the idea that anybody could consider thirty-five years a problem.

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 07:33 am (UTC)(link)
"No big deal. I've had to shut down more for a lot longer during the war."

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 07:42 am (UTC)(link)
"It shouldn't. It's a state transition. A mech who goes into stasis lock goes out and comes online without anything changing in between. Same for the particulate being allocated." The walls around Bob drop and the roof fades away. On the ground a dashed track of green light glimmers into life.

"This way to the storage sector." Pause. "You got a name, or is it Guardian?"

[identity profile] 2007-11-09 07:44 am (UTC)(link)