Description: Echo uses some contacts to take a tour of some of Ultratech's newest product lines, and gets a very special surprise.
The facility is something out of a movie--sterile, clandestine, much more utilitarian with a kind of uncaring haphazardness to it--cables and cords snaking around the floor from here to here, no doubt it might be a safety engineer's worst nightmare. However, today, the rather anxious and nerdy Ultratech scientist is giving a bit of a tour to a rather... interesting potential buyer or investor. If you've seen any silicone valley type you've seen them--thick-framed glasses, long hair, dressed in labcoat and slacks. The investor on the other hand is another matter entirely, and they don't look like they come from a technical background.
Echo Lacroix walks alongside the poor nebbish technician, politely putting up with the rambling descriptions and spiel, her long black dress wafting in the climate controlled air of the labspace. It was a long black gauzy and sleeveless sort of thing, which might have looked more at home in a sleazy fantasy novel, given the cut of it, and the slit up one side to about the lower thigh. A pair of expensive patent leather red stiletto heels clicked beneath her as she walked.
The tech likely saw her only as a very pale human woman with her approximate features--the milk white skin, the long black hair--and definitely not the more fantastical and bestial visage she bore beneath her usual magical paling. Of course, though with any extra senses or chi energy inside them could see past it, typically.
The technician, more suited to the maintenance tasks assigned to them through the management pipeline, had been asked to merely lead Echo Lacroix to the showroom area of the warehouse. Ultratech, in their infinite wisdom, had opted to automate just about anything that was repeated more than five times. This includes the initial sales pitch for interested buyers.
It just so happens that the showing area has been temporarily relocated to this facility while renovations are being made. At any other time, Echo would've been courted to a much nicer showroom with glass walls and glasses of wine.
The technician indicates that she should merely walk into the lit circle, where a Fulgore unit stands motionless. Once inside the circle, the pitch will begin.
Adjacent to Fulgore is a holoscreen indicating that it is the MK-III, with smaller text that is relevant to features but hard to see from far away.
Echo is hardly listening to the pitch, as she steps forward into the light, behind her, her wings were folded behind her, not that the young kid would be noticing, but her yellow eyes widen when they finally alight on the subject apparently labled 'Fulgore MKIII', the technician more a background noise at this point.
"Well well well, hold the phone, who is this here?" Echo, of course, still looked at these things as more individuals, rather than particular iterations of a line of machine. Robots and cyborgs were indeed a thing in this world, but their proliferation was perhaps... less so than on some. And to her, it looked more like medieval armor of a warrior rather than just a stylishly designed robot.
She stopped and put a hand on her hip, though she was clearly interested, her red lips curling up into a grin.
The technician backs away once Echo breaks the perimeter of the light, and suddenly a voiceover begins.
"Ultratech welcomes you--a consumer of refined taste and connoisseur of future technology," says a cheerful voice, warm and feminine. "We are proud to present the Fulgore Mark-III, the pinnacle of mechanical perfection. This latest generation of Fulgore units is the absolute best in class, with a level of quality and precision that will exceed your expectations."
Once the words 'best in class' are spoken, Fulgore's eyes throb and the head turns to face Echo head-on. The pleasant voice continues, "Fulgore is ready to defend your critical assets or bring kinetic action to your hardest targets. We at Ultratech believe that peace of mind is priceless, but will offer it to you at a premium nevertheless."
Fulgore's arms spread out casually, and in another instant flash with the instantaneous deployment of twin gauntlets that glow quite brightly.
"The Fulgore Mark-III's most popular feature are the twin blades of superheated plasma, burning at temperatures of 30,000 degrees Kelvin. Studies show that these weapons, when displayed, increase deterrant efficacy by 89.5 percent."
Once the creature's eyes alight on Echo, in turn, her own find themselves becoming as wide as they can possibly go. Her lower lip hung open just a bit, the tips of ivory fangs visible over the crimson lips. The sudden impact of seeing it's eyes seemed to startle the magical bat lady, somehow--could she feel that this wasn't just some machine...?
"He can defend... but can he kill?" Echo tilted her head, briefly looking over to the technician, before back to the 'Fulgore', as this thing was being called. "You said mark 3--that implies this wasn't the first one..." she seemed ever more curious as she walked around where Fulgore was standing, more curious perhaps with what lay inside the armor than the metal exterior.
The voiceover that details Fulgore's features is softly muted, the voice going quiet at first before the recording is paused.
"'Kill' is ambiguous. Recommend alternatives: neutralize, terminate, eliminate, incinerate, disassemble," says Fulgore in a hollow, robotic tone. The voice is masculine but altogether inhuman. It is a voice coming from within the machine that is in front of Echo.
To answer her second question, the voiceover is audibly rewound to repeat part of the sales pitch: "This latest generation of Fulgore units is the absolute best in class, with a level of quality and precision that will exceed your expectations." There is acknowledgment of others, by technical definition, but no one seems interest in discussing it any further.
The technician is long gone.
"I'm interested," Echo states briefly, walking closer to scruntinize the panel against the machine, frowning a bit at some of the more technical speech. Sorcery and necromancy were more her strong suites, however that didn't mean she hadn't adapted to this world's technology, especially not when realized all of it's finer features.
"Do you... speak?" she asked, perhaps cognizant of the fact whatever was in the station could probably see past her magickal illusion trickery. "Not that a man that doesn't isn't instriguing..." she hummed to herself, reaching into a purse at her side and removing what looked like... a small snowglobe? smaller than the one she had at home, to be sure, almost miniature--but it also could show one things in it's jawbreaker-sized crystal ball.
"This form is not your own, yes?"
Fulgore adopts a neutral stance, with the plasma blades disappearing. Conservation of energy being what it is, and all.
"This unit is capable of communicating in over 100 languages," replies Fulgore, its eyes not appearing to move even as Echo reveals the crystal ball. Heuristics label it as a non-threatening collateral object. Tiny. Fragile.
"This unit is complete. No physical upgrades are scheduled at this time," Fulgore says next.
The cheerful voice continues, "The Fulgore Mk-III is capable of locomotion using portable rocket boosters mounted beneath its feet. They are capable of over eight hundred pounds of thrust."
"Strange... but it's so... painful, and cruel-looking, I have to try it out," Echo gave the small globe in her hand a little rattle, before pocketing it again, apparently more than enthused with Fulgore's appearance. It very much did read like a representation of pain to her, just his entire look and armor, it was making her gnaw a bit on her lower lip in excitement.
"So you're more of a big metal bodyguard, huh? I could have need of such a thing, since you've decided to be so... forthcoming," she walked closer to the armored monstrosity and reached out with a long red-nailed hand, tracing fingertips over the bottom rim of the mask and the ventilation tubes sprouting from the front of it.
"Looks like there's more to you than meets the eye, too," she grinned. Right now, beneath her magical veil, even her ears were twitching just a bit. She definitely wanted to see it in action. Him, rather, not it.
"If you would like a live demonstration of Fulgore's capabilities, you must first agree to pay a nominal fee as outlined in the details of the waiver you signed before entering the showroom," the cheerful, disembodied voice announces. "However, due to the circumstances of our renovation project, these demonstration fees are temporarily being waived. Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this time."
As for Fulgore, the head turns in an attempt to watch Echo's movements. It will cease turning when the exoskeleton's limits are reached. The tubes are flexible, but armored just the same.
A series of spotlights behind Fulgore turn on in a row, illuminating several stationary targets made of ballistics gel and wrapped in a soft rubber emulating human skin.
"It is recommended that you remain behind the orange line," says Fulgore in his hollow tones. On cue, an orange arc appears just at the beginning of the series of targets.
"Ooh, they provide their own target demonstration--here I was going to conjure some myself... very nice," Echo does indeed step behind that orange line, intent on watching the proceedings. She had totally intended to materialize some of her ghost familiars to at least give Fulgore a target or two, perhaps not the most substantially physical ones, strictly speaking--but he'd be able to see them!
"Now lets see what you can do, cruel crusader of iron," Echo grins and snaps her fingers, as if inciting Fulgore to begin with his combat demo. She seemed oddly... eager to see what kind of pain and suffering he could wreak, somehow--morbid much? Perhaps. But that was part of her personality.
And just like that, the camoflauge technology of Fulgore engages so that he blends in with his immediate surroundings. The only suggestion of his presence is a mere shimmer in the ambient light that resembles his body shape. She'll still hear his heavy footfalls as he turns around to face the bevy of targets laid out in the light. She'll hear him stomping past her, going beyond the orange line. The last thing she hears from him, spoken, is, "Vectors acquired."
There is a rush of portable jet engines engaged as Fulgore rushes toward the first target. He materializes in an instant, blades flicking on instantaneously. The aroma of plasma cutting through emulated body tissue is brief as the first subject is separated in an arc across the torso. The pieces are only acquainted with their new state before another slash leaves the first target quarted rather than bisected.
Fulgore charges at the next target, gathering speed before the rockets engage and he executes an uppercut that sends him several feet into the air. His gauntlets, of course, bisect the target vertically with the pieces lewdly hanging on opposite sides.
The third target, in the distance, waits patiently for Fulgore to give it any attention. It is rewarded with the cyborg bending to one knee and pushing both arms outward. There is a loud pop and the scent of ozone as a bolt of energy is sent from his gauntlets. They make contact with the target, sending electrified pieces scattering to the floor where they begin to smoulder.
A fourth target, not on the ground but fluttering in the air, is an armored drone that comes after Fulgore. The unit looks up at the incoming drone, and a flash of red light emanates from the eyes to pierce the armor of the drone. The tremendous amount of heat causes it to combust almost immediately, the parts fluttering to the floor.
"Ah, he's grown dim... what do they call that here... ah yes, 'optic camouflage', quaint, that," Echo would have been munching on popcorn while she watched this, if any had been available--and assuming the popped kernels wouldn't irritate her stomach. The salt might not have been too egregious, of course, but... Vampire bat physiology was not human physiology, after all.
The ozone of the heat blades cutting into air and through the targets wafts over to her sensitive nose in just an instant--she hadn't noticed any heat from Fulgore except the artificial, and there was no heartbeat, no scents except the metal, synthetic polymer smell, and what was probably grease or coolant. It didn't /seem/ like there was anything that had once been living under it, and yet... her suspicions remained.
She watches with some fascination through half-lidded yellow eyes as the fluttering drone is cut next--watching it fall to the floor like a sliced apart butterfly.
"Oof, no mercy, I love it--I think I shall have to hire it out, definitely," of course, she already had an idea of when she might use it to guard her, or whom she might need disposed of. She was still more curious about the monstrosity itself. It was strangely sleek in a deadly way, one she wanted to get to know better.
"Bravo, bravo~ the cauterization is a little disappointed, but," she shrugged, clapping from her vantage point against the orange glow. "Nobody's perfect..."
"Perfection is a standard defined by the imperfect," says Fulgore from across the room, turning to face Echo once again. The energized gauntlets rotate once around the forearms before sliding backward and deactivating. Has it been mentioned that conservation of energy is important?
Fulgore makes his way back over to where Echo is standing, his footfalls timed perfectly to some unseen metronome. He is light on his feet for weighing 550 pounds. "This unit's performance rating is optimal for the needs of others. Optimality is desired. Optimality is provided. Desires are fulfilled, thusly."
"Well, first thing we need to do is ditch this 'this unit' thing, I like your name, it reminds me of an honored one from my homeland," Echo stood where she was, watching the cyborg as he strode right over to her, like a knight in shining armor. Well, maybe not one here to do good deeds, at least not yet...
"Fulgore, was it? I like that name, it has a certain je ne sais quoi to it," the bat lady reached out and placed a hand against that cruel-looking, sharp mask of his, letting fingertips and nails slide down it gently, her eyes locked on the glowing eyes of the cyborg.
"Then maybe we can see what's going on in here..."
Log created on 10:23:03 01/17/2021 by Echo, and last modified on 16:18:22 01/17/2021.