On their way back to the shuttle bay, they encountered several dangerous situations. Most of the time, Ves and his group only reached the aftermath of a violent incident. People as well-armed as them gunned down the pirates that were stupid enough to get in their way.
Different gangs clashed against each other over when one gang revealed they supported the Hellvoice. Fights between these gangs lasted the longest and led to the most frigid butchering.
Overworked cleaning bots worked overtime to haul away the bodies and clean up the blood. It didn't help that their programming malfunctioned a few times due to the sheer amount of bodies in the way.
Sometimes, the larger cleaning bots mistook living people as corpses, brutally grabbing onto their bodies with razor-sharp pincers and lifting them off in the air as their very living bodies floundered in pain!
The smaller bots on the other hand swarmed by the dozens! They converged at the ankles of people who had waded through the pools of blood and aggressively wiped or sucked away the traces, not even caring if their cleaning routines penetrated straight through the clothes and broke through human skin!
Something very horrendous ensued at that point. The wounds inevitably started to bleed, which put the stupid bots into a supercharged cleaning mode. They intensified their cleaning routines and practically bore through the ankles until the hapless victims couldn't stand any longer!
Upon falling, the bots kept chewing away at their unprotected flesh, their simple artificial minds only fixated on cleaning blood, no matter if it came from a dead or living source!
"What the hell?!" Ketis stammered as her armored foot kicked a pair of small cleaning bots down the corridor. Her sights firmly fixated on the runaway bots and their misguided attempt to clean the space station by cleaning the blood-soaked humans that polluted the the place. "This.. someone should shut them off!"
"It won't work." Nolsen said. "I've already ran my military-grade automatic hacking module on them. Though they look rather cheap, their security suites are impenetrable to me. My guess is that the Boseys were tired of script kiddies hacking the bots to change their programming so they can pull off a prank. They invested heavily in upgrading their software security."
"This doesn't look like a normal malfunction." Ves observed with suspicion. "Any manufacturer of cleaning bots will program their products to ignore living humans. In fact, they should go out of their way to avoid them in the first place to prevent any harm!"
"Well, unless I'm mistaken, these bots have become man eaters now. Look at how they're dissolving that poor guy in highly-acidic cleaning solution!"
Unless a skilled professional hacker was around, these bots would continue to follow their faulty programming!
Ves truly had no clue what was going on. Did some malfunction cause the bots to get stuck in a faulty logic loop, or had some nefarious super hacker twist the programming of the bots as a deliberate attempt at sabotage?
Personally, he leaned towards a case of vandalism gone deadly. Perhaps some juvenile trickster had introduced a tiny error in their programming regarding their treatment of living humans and kept it buried there for some time.
Whatever the case, they needed to be destroyed before they could do more damage! The horrified screams of hapless station visitors already seared his mind with nightmares.
"Nolsen, take down the bots if you can! If we can't hack them, we can kill them instead!"
The security officers didn't argue and immediately opened fire. They mainly fired penetrative kinetic rounds in order to pierce through the tough exterior that protected the bots from kicking and other acts of vandalism.
Sometimes, the projectiles overpenetrated the bots and hit the humans cowering behind, but the Vandals took little mind of these slip ups. They already did their best trying to minimize the collateral damage.
Half a minute later, their weapons ceased firing. Around forty bots lay prone and steaming with several new holes decorating their shells.
They conveniently ignored the dying and the wounded. In any case, it was up to the Boseys to provide medical help.
"There are no more obstacles in the way. Let's continue moving."
They stepped past the dead, dying and wounded as if it didn't concern them at all. Ves had long lost his empathy for random strangers, let alone the folk who frequented the Independent Harbor.
Anyone willing to visit a hive of scum and villainy was either a scum or a villain!
A part of him felt bad for generalizing the entire population of the space station this way, but Ves really couldn't bring himself to care. His mind had already been doused in the blood of the frontier, changing his perspective closer to the standard of the frontier.
Amidst the untamed stars, there wasn't any distinguishment between the guilty and the innocent! The only difference that mattered was whether someone was strong or weak!
As they stepped past hordes of bots that ran out of control, the Vandals destroyed them all with extreme prejudice. Ves and Ketis didn't even have the opportunity to bring their own weapons to bear, as the exoskeleton soldiers proved to be brutally efficient at wiping out the erratic bots.
As they rounded the corner of another street, they inadvertently stumbled upon a pacification attempt by the Boseys!
Armed with exoskeleton armor that was just as deadly as those worn by the Vandal security officers, they fired off their electrorods with casual disregard, as if they didn't care if their electric weapons misfired and arced towards a bystander to the side!
Their rifles and wrist-mounted gun barrels blasted the rioting crowd of pirates with a variety of ballistic projectiles and laser beams. One powerful laser cannon raked half of the crowd with a saber-like beam!
The weapon immediately overheated, but the shock it gave to the survivors had been enough to break their drunken and drug-fueled courage!
"Run! The Boseys are gonna kill us all!"
"Ravienne will hear about this, Bosey dogs! She'll come down on your stupid space station like the wrath of a battleship!"
None of the wailings of the pirates mattered. By now, the only people on the street consisted of trouble makers aiming to force the Boseys into reversing their gambling losses. After losing their entire savings, they pretty much had nothing to lose!
The saner and more careful pirates as well as the treasure hunters and the other visitors all scurried off into one of the many shops and venues before they all barricaded up their entrances.
Naturally, Ves and his escorts formed the exception, because they really needed to return to their shuttle. Whatever the case, the odds were high that the Boseys might paint everyone on the streets with the same brush.
Ves cursed again. "Damnit, let's back off before they shoot us! We can't get into a fight against the entire Bosey Clan!"
They hustled out of the place before the trigger-happy Boseys could direct their weapons in the direction of the Vandals. Ves figured the heavily-armored Boseys already spotted them, but let them go because they were a tough bone to chew.
"Let's follow an alternate route!"
They took a small detour, only to run head-long into a bot apocalypse. They entered a former market plaza centering around a fountain and a sculpture of some self-important Bosey elder.
Such an idyllic location was usually the favorite of romantics and young adults. Now, the entire plaza along with the fountain had been drenched with endless amounts of blood and body parts. More than a hundred bots both large and small performed gruesome butchery on the helpless populace!Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click for visiting.
"Uh oh, the bots noticed us!"
A quarter of the bots immediately diverted from their dead or screaming prey and moved towards the blood-soaked newcomers. Somehow, the blood splattered on their armor was more enticing to these bots than the fresh blood pouring from the wounds of their helpless victims!
"Don't open fire yet, Nolsen! And you, Ketis, hold your horses and don't swing that sword!"
They could handle a hundred bots, but how many more did they have to destroy? Their ammunition stores only lasted up to a point, and killing these bots was futile as Ves estimated that Mancroft may be hosting up to a hundred-thousand of these machines!
Ves had been so engulfed by the massacres perpetrated by the bots that he almost forgot that they were dealing with bots!
What was a bot? It was an automated machine that ran on pre-programmed instructions. They were often built as cheaply as possible as they broke down fairly often for some inane reason or another. A place like the Mancroft Independent Harbor had no reason to commission high-quality, durable and expensive bots because their own visitors would steal them if that was the case!
Thus, the only threat they faced were cheap, mass-produced bots assembled out of the cheapest parts possible. The only part of value to these bots was their sturdy, vandalism-proof outer shell.
Ves retrieved one of his newly fabricated tools from his toolbelt. The jamming device he fashioned out of his own two hands was a far cry to the one demonstrated by Calabast back at Harkensen I, but it should still do the job at a given range.
"I've got a jamming device that should work effectively against these bots. Their programming might be airtight, but their crappy sensors shouldn't be that good considering they bump into people's feet all the time. Gather within four meters around me if possible."
This proved to be rather difficult as the huge exoskeleton suits really didn't leave much margin for error. Still, they squeezed tightly enough for all of them to be within effective range.
"Alright, I'm about to activate the jamming device! Make sure your suits are hardened against jamming interference and you don't have any fancy systems active! Make sure you switch your visor viewing mode from electronic to optical!"
It wouldn't do to blind his own guards, though Ves doubted the ECM-hardened exoskeleton armor could be affected by a handheld jammer. That was also one of the reasons why he urgently sought to upgrade its power supply with an ultracompact battery!
"Three, two, one, get ready!"
A nauseating field of what felt like supercharged static electricity came into being around the jamming device. The little thing hummed and vibrated even as it emitted an invisible field of electronic mud and fog.
"Will this even work, teacher?"
"Be patient! Don't attack yet!"
The bots that hovered within range neared the four-meter mark. Even before they crossed the line, several already veered off like drunken pirates! The closer they approached, the higher the odds of them going blind!
"It works! The jamming device messes with their sensors and other unhardened systems!"
Everyone breathed a little easier, though Ves noted that the pitiful standard battery of his device wouldn't last very long. He activated a function on his light combat armor, which caused its palm to heat up slightly.
If the tiny battery couldn't supply enough power, then Ves just had to supplement it with his suit power!
"Ignore the bots and pass through them. We don't have to address those dumb machines anymore!"
With the jamming device working its magic, their progress sped up at least threefold. The prevalent amount of bots scouring for blood managed to sniff out the solidifying blood that splattered their armor suits, but whenever they got near, they turned into complete idiots!
One of the downsides was that their cargo bot completely malfunctioned as well! The jamming field was simply too strong for the simple and basic floating bot. Ves heartlessly abandoned the useless bot and dug up his lockbox guarding his exotics from the pile of nutrient packs.
They ran through a field of blind and confused cleaning bots. The Vandal security officers managed to kick all of the bots out of the way before Ketis could use her legs to good effect!
"We've almost reached the right pier! The shuttle bay is just ahead!"
The health checkpoint that usually barred the way to visitors bearing infectious diseases had been completely blasted open. The group ran past the destroyed barriers and obstructions. If some kind of infectious disease was spreading around, well, at least their airtight suits of armor kept them safe!
They finally reached the end of the station proper. At this point, they passed beyond the main body of the space station and stepped into one of the exterior modules extending at a perpendicular angle from the surface of the station.
Bosey custom officers already secured the area here. They gunned down rioting pirates and rioting bots alike. The defensive forces formed a defense cordon that enabled each visitor to run back to their shuttles without worrying about being shot at by random thugs or chomped at their legs by rampaging bots.
Ves could finally turn off his jamming device before it drained his entire suit battery.