The heavy metal slab slammed down on the ground, driven down by several metric tonnes of weight, crushing the grass flat.
Its owner didn’t notice. Unit 0236-Alpha’s several thousand subroutines were currently fully occupied with far more important concerns. The full weight of its positronic picobyte-grade capital processing unit were focused on but one goal: protection.
Priority assigned to effecting Prime Operator’s cardinal directive: infinite.
The heavy composite-metal frame weaved between the trees, paying no heed to the leaves brushing against it or the plants flattened underneath. One subroutine had evaluated the chance of the enemy’s crude audiographic recorder organs hearing the movement. P-value: 1e-300.
In the distance, far more cumbersome figures blundered their way through the woods. Homo sapiens, n = 3, bearing chemical explosive-based projectile weaponry. If the word held any meaning to him, Alpha might observe they crashed through the forest with no finesse whatsoever, intent as they were on making their way to the little hut.
It being a cutting edge combat automaton, however, this judgment only fed into his algorithms in one way:
Accuracy modifier: 130%.
Motoric actuators in its arms whirred as it hefted the heavy weapon in its hands. Multi-level optic sensors, auto-linked to satellite surveillance, swiftly evaluated other major predictive variables. Within moments, the several dozen subroutines assigned to the first-principle task had taken one million microsecond-length observations of the humans’ movement patterns. Its second-principle subroutines evaluated the enemy’s position along the x, y and z-axis, auto-interspacing the various trees, rocks and other obstacles, computed it as a four-dimensional data matrix and rapidly isolated its eigenvalues. The third-principle actuator, lastly, combined the information from the first and second-level data matrices into their optimal linear combination, auto-adjusted the direction of the weapon’s barrel, and squeezed the trigger.
The gun coughed. It spat out a 0.38mm-diameter enriched uranium nugget encased in a perturbed exoplasmatic envelope. The blue flash sent birds up, screeching, for miles around, and the bolt whipped through the woods in a microsecond, ending up vaporizing half the target’s torso.
The first-level subroutines had already taken into account the humans’ predicted response to one of its own suddenly reduced to NoCarrier status, virtue of having rapidly lost 22% of its bodily mass.
Aim was automatically adjusted.
The searingly blue flashes didn’t cease for a full 12 seconds. By the time it was done, a column of smoke and, as predicted by an obscure algorithm purely dedicated to satisfaction, likely a significant mass percentage of evaporated tissue, lazily curled towards the sky. A crude emotional diagram flashed on Alpha’s helmet display.
The unit hefted its weapon and went home, heavy corded microcarbon muscle fiber facilitating rapid movement regardless of terrain.
The wooden door stayed in one piece, as the unit’s strength had long ago been augmented by a delicacy modifier when around structures.
Inside, the small creature ambled up to it. It rubbed its soft keratin strand-coated skin against Alpha’s lower leg, making deep within its throat a rumbling sound. Frequency: 22.783Hz. It had long ago been associated by the higher functional metaroutines with pleasure.
Effecting Prime Operator’s cardinal directive: Achieved.