Chapter 17 Mausoleum
"How many of these things are there?" Olivia sighed. Stepping away from the river, into some bushes, she suddenly screamed and disappeared from view.
Dustin stumbled to the bushes, ignoring the robots that were charging towards him. He held Jake to him, and slid down into the hole she had made. Nanobots streamed out of him, slowing his descent, and blocking the robots from following.
Landing beside Olivia, who was crumpled on the stone floor, he quickly looked around for threats. The room was empty save for a stone sarcophagus. There were the remains of a doorway behind him, and the ceiling, where they had fallen through, was dripping wet from the river.
"Olivia, are you alright?" he asked, checking out the ceiling, to see if the robots were getting past his nanobots.
"I will be. Damn robots," she muttered.
"This looks like a good spot to let everyone rest," Dustin said, laying Jake down carefully on the floor. It was cold, but dry.
One side of the room looked like it was about to collapse, so he sent more to reinforce it, before heading to check out the sarcophagus. Sending the nanobots to destroy the alpha bots, he used the excessive amount of nanobots to reinforce the walls so they wouldn't collapse while they were there. Olivia crawled over to Jake, and sat in a more natural position.
"At least I don't feel sick at the moment," she whispered, exhaustedly.
Pushing the lid of the sarcophagus to the side, Dustin paused. There were stairs going down. He could hear water dripping below. After a moments thought, he pushed the lid back and went over to Olivia.
"Why do you think there are three military bases on this planet, so close together?" asked Olivia, laying down gently.
"The only reasons someone would colonize a planet is if it had something they wanted. Either space to live, or materials to take. Since there are three military, and not just standard, colonies, I would lean more towards this planet had something they wanted."
"But the sun started going weird, so they had to leave. Do you think they got what they wanted out of it?" Her eyes were starting to flutter, and he hoped the PED was able to heal her enough she could get some sleep. He sure planned to.
"I don't know. I'm kind of hoping they left us something we can use."
"Well, the last base didn't have shit for us. It was so bare, I was surprised we found those computers."
"It was funny how the alien knew exactly where to go to get to them, too."
"Yeah," her voice was soft, just on the edge of sleep.
Dustin sat quietly for a few moments and was soon rewarded with her soft snores. Flipping his PED open, he started to work on the program for the bots to build another PED. Having worked on so many of them by this point, he knew what he was wanting them to make.
'PED, evolve me so that I can stay alert a bit longer. I need to complete this without messing up.'
Dustin took a breath, and suddenly felt much more aware of his surroundings. He could see that the far wall was actually being held up by tree roots and would have crumbled a long time ago. It was a good thing he had sent the nanobots to reinforce it. The door also looked strange, and when he stared at it for a couple of minutes, he realized that it had been bricked up at some point, and the bricks had collapsed.
Turning back to his PED, he started typing. He wanted to incorporate a few changes. Their PED's were too large, so he wanted to make them smaller. That only made sense, since Jake's arm was much smaller. Also, being able to use the nanobots, meant he could shrink the components. The memory components of the storage bots, were much smaller than the ones on his own PED, so he fully intended to use that to upgrade his and Olivia's PED's as well.
When he was done programming the nanobots, he sat back and watched them go to work. Most of the action was too small for him to actually see, but when they started putting pieces together, it was incredible. It was almost as if a web of nanobots had formed in the middle of the room, and supported in the middle of the web, this tiny PED started to form.
When it was done, several hours later, Dustin was out cold. He had drifted off to sleep about halfway through; the exhaustion had caught up to him.
Jerking awake, he immediately scanned the room. Olivia was still asleep, curled around Jake, probably for warmth, and Jake was starting to look very, very bad. The color of his skin was pale and bluish, his eyes were sunk in, and the bump on his head had turned into a nasty purple and green. Seeing that the PED was done, still suspended in the center of the room, Dustin copied the program data he had typed to create the AI that ran both his and Olivia's PED's and downloaded it into the new PED.
'PED, monitor the new PED and let me know when it is ready to place on Jake.'
(IT WILL TAKE 15 MINUTES FOR PROGRAMS TO LOAD AND THE NEW DEVICE TO BECOME CAPABLE OF INTERFACING WITH THE NEW HOST. THE INTERFACING WILL REQUIRE 10 MINUTES, AND THEN IT WILL TAKE AN HOUR FOR FULL INTEGRATION BEFORE IT CAN ACCOMPLISH SATISFACTORY EVOLUTIONS.)
'Can it be placed on him now, so that it can start with all of that as soon as it can?'
Nodding, he reached out and gently took it from the nanobots that were holding it up. Turning to Jake, he held up his limp arm, and gently attached it to his arm. Wincing for him, he remembered the pain of the needles being shoved into his own arm. It was good that the boy was unconscious. He just hoped he wasn't too far gone for the new PED to fix whatever was wrong.
"Dustin?" Olivia's words sounded softly in the empty room, echoing gently all around him.
"Do we have anything to eat? I'm starving! Also, could we start a fire? It's freezing!"
Grinning, he turned to the hole in the ceiling. He could fix both of those a lot easier than sitting around for that PED to do its magic would be.
"I'll be back in a bit with wood and food, just keep an eye on Jake and don't let him take off that new PED."
She nodded and brushed some hair out of the boy's face as Dustin used some of the magnetic bots to jump up out of the room.