Government Shutdown Part VIII

I apologize for not getting updating my journal earlier. One casualty of the government shutdown I hadn’t expected was the wireless spectrum. Without the FCC to protect our wireless spectrum every jackass with the ability to emit wireless signals has been jamming FCC licensed users. Even HAM radio is unusable without the oversight traditionally offered by the government. I was fortunate to find a place with a physical Ethernet connection so I could update all of you outside of the United States on our current crisis.

My last journal entry ended when I found a place to race in an abandoned home near Cedar Lake. The night passed uneventfully, except for the sounds of screaming that are ever present in this lawless world. It appears that the gangs in this area have been wiped out by the killbots. The killbots seem to work on an exterminate and leave pattern. They enter an area, kill everybody in that area, and move onto the next area. From what I can tell the majority of killbots are moving west. If I had hunkered down instead of escape I would have eventually been killed when the killbots swept my area.

I awakened at sunrise to continue my journey into Minneapolis. Breakfast consisted of a few nonperishable items that I scrounged from the home. It wasn’t delicious but it extended the food supply I was already carrying. Believing the killbots had moved on I decided to return to the derailed train. My goal was to disassemble the two destroyed killbots in the hopes of finding some kind of exploitable weakness. Fortune shined upon me. While both of the killbots were disabled, one still had a functioning computer I was able to jack into (take that “survivalists” who never recommend placing a laptop into a bug out bag). After analyzing the software I was able to determine that the defense contracts wrote the code in a hurry. There were a lot of sloppy mistakes and several unreadable Perl (but I repeat myself) scripts running several important functions. Most importantly I was able to find the code that identified killbots to one another. Inside the killbot was a small transmitter that served as an IFF (identification friendly or foe for those of you who don’t operate in fields of operation). I was able to salvage the IFF and wire it to one of my spare flashlight batteries. With this IFF in pocket I should identify as a friendly to any roaming killbots. Sadly, the IFF in the other killbot was damaged in the exchange of fire so I had no viable backup. However, I did obtain something of greatly value from the second killbot, a portable rail gun. In their hurry to get the killbots online before the government started operating again, the defense contractors mounted weapons made for humans on their killing machines. All one needs to do is hit the release mechanism. The killbot also had a good quantity of ammo for the rail gun so I was in business.

Carrying a .308 and a rail gun would prove impossible so I tied my reliable companion to the rack on my bike. There was no way of knowing how reliable the hastily made rail gun would be so I didn’t want to best my life on it. On the other hand, the .308 was worthless against killbots so I wanted the firepower the rail gun gave me.

Carrying my bike over train wreckage I continued by journey north. After clearing the field of wreckage I was able to continue biking down the trail. As expected, without the government to keep the trail in tiptop condition, the ride was rough. Within minutes I extended to the meadow. The meadow gave me good line of sight of the surrounding area. To the east I could see the Minneapolis skyline. Like everything else the grand skyscrapers of the city were ablaze. I began to doubt that any government survived in the city but had no other plan of action so I continued my journey. Even though the highways were in such disrepair they hadn’t collapsed yet. Not having to traverse collapsed highways sped my journey up considerably.

As I passed under 94 my heart stopped at the sight of another killbot. Unslinging the rail gun as I hit the dirt I was astonished that the thing hadn’t opened fire by the time I was up on my knee and aiming the rail gun at the walking monstrosity. It was looking right at me so I knew I saw me. It appeared as though the IFF I salvaged out of the fallen killbot worked. Getting ballsy, I walked up to the killbot. It made no effort to attack me. Deciding to leave well enough alone I got back on my bike and began heading towards Target Field. That’s when the fucking killbot started following me. When I moved it moved, when I stopped it stopped. Remembering that these things work in teams I assumed that the previously independent killbot was trying to join up with me. The ramifications of this were dire. What if failure to communicate with it lead to it killing my ass? It would almost certainly gun down anybody else who crossed my path. I had to disable it before continuing. It didn’t try to stop me from plugging my laptop into its computer. That’s when the idea dawned on me, why disable the killbot when I could reprogram it? Having a companion would make my life easier. The killbot obviously possessed skills I lacked, which is always important when building a party in an RPG. My intelligence trait was far in excess of its but its strength, perception, and speed were in excess of mine. Together we may be able to survive the lawless United States.

I lead the killbot off of the beaten path. Part of me wanted to disable it while I reprogrammed it to avoid it automatically firing on any person passing through. On the other hand, I wanted the thing online in case any gang members decided to roll through. Too damn bad for anybody else coming down the trail. It took me the rest of the day and most of the night to reprogram the killbot. Inside the code I found a function called escortMode. As it turns out, the killbot could be commanded to protect a designated target. I decided to designate myself as the designated protected person. To complete the designation the killbot needed to scan me. Several minutes passed as it scanned my outline, infrared profile, face, hair color, eye color, skin color, and fingerprints. How far would its protection go? Would it fire on a killbot that was trying to kill me? I had no way of knowing but the IFF in my pocket would almost certainly prevent any killbots from attacking me.

By the time I finished everything up it was pitch black out. All of the smoke from the burning buildings obscured the moon and stars. I imagine it is how the sky always looked before the EPA stepped in and regulated the amount of pollutants that could be emitted into the atmosphere. I found a small cubby-hole to rest in. With the killbot watching over me and the IFF in my pocket I wasn’t too concerned about any roving gang members or other killbots icing me in my sleep.

I awoke again at sunrise. The killbot was still standing there scanning the area for any potential threats. After a breakfast consisting of dehydrated ham I finished up a little programming on the killbot. Killbots have Wi-Fi cards in them. I assume they use them to scan for Wi-Fi signals, which is usually a good indication that humans are around. With a little work I was able to use it to connect to my phone. Even with the unregulated mess that was the wireless spectrum, I was able to get a connection to the killbot’s Wi-Fi interface so long as I was within a few feat. Opening an SSH connection (the default user name and password were both “root”, I changed them quickly) I was able to rely commands to the killbot.

With my new metal companion I continued moving into Minneapolis.