The Laboratory: A Futuristic Dungeon Core

The Laboratory

A futuristic dungeon core

Skyler Grant

Skyler Grant

Copyright © 2017 Skyler Grant

All rights reserved.

This novel is a work of fiction. All characters, places, and incidents described in this publication are used fictitiously, or are entirely fictional.

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, except by an authorized retailer, or with written permission of the publisher. Inquiries may be addressed via email to skyler@skylergrant.com

Cover designed by Kasmit Covers

Edited by Polgarus Studio (www.polgarusstudio.com)

Electronic edition, 2017

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Created with Vellum

Contents

About the Author

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Also by Skyler Grant

Afterword

About the Author

Living in the Pacific Northwest state of Washington Skyler Grant is an author of Science Fiction and Fantasy with an emphasis on exploring technology and the nature of reality in virtual worlds.

Bibliography

The Crucible Shard

Book 1: Dungeon Crawl

Book 2: Spawn Campers

Book 3: Corpse Run

Book 4: Gank

Book 5: Area of Effect

Book 6: DLC

Book 7: Endgame

Audio

Book 1: Dungeon Crawl

Book 2: Spawn Campers

Book 3: Corpse Run

Book 4: Gank

Book 5: Area of Effect

Book 6: DLC

The Persephone Saga

Book 1: Persephone Falling

Book 2: Persephone Rising (coming soon)

Book 3: Persephone Ascendant (coming soon)

A futuristic dungeon core. When a crazed AI reactivates deep in an abandoned complex in a post apocalyptic hellscape there is only one thing to do. Science.

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For More Information

www.skylergrant.com

skyler@skylergrant.com

1

"Work, damn you."

I heard the voice before I was aware of anything else. Female, young, perhaps in her early twenties if I was any judge of human voices (I wasn't).

I should probably try to move around. Arms, no. Legs, no. Head, no. Well, this was awkward, I didn't seem to have a body. Perhaps moving around wasn't a particularly sound strategy.

"I've got you now, bitch."

That was a second voice, I think. Male, rough and in their thirties. I really seemed to know rather a lot about voices, despite not being all that certain I'd ever heard one before.

If moving around wasn't working, perhaps I should do some thinking about who I was. Yes, that seemed sensible.

I was E.M.M.A. That was quite a name, looked like it was probably an acronym of some sort, but I couldn't remember what. I couldn't seem to remember much. Well, I was named Emma and I knew a lot about human voices. That was a start!

There was the sound of a physical blow and a sound that I think would be called a scream.

If I didn't have a body—or at least one I could move, what did I have?

I seemed to be hearing sounds. That implied I had something. I focused my attention. Audio input feeds. I had audio input feeds!

Now I was getting somewhere. I could do all sorts of things with audio input feeds. Meaning, I could hear things, which was mostly all I'd been doing.

"Don't you make this harder than it has to be, girl," said the male voice.

What other input feeds did I have?

Visual!

I was bombarded under a new rush of extraordinary data.

I was observing a room from multiple angles. There was a massive sphere in the center of a circular chamber. A section near the bottom of the sphere had been removed and I could observe a tangle of something within.

I did have a body and I was looking at it. I looked pretty good, very round. I liked the symmetry.

There were two figures in the room along with me. Both were filthy. One had a toolbelt of some kind at her waist and a shirt torn open to reveal fleshy fat deposits. She was sitting on the floor with her back against my body.

That must be the female, the one doing all the screaming. Her mouth seemed rather tiny to be making so much noise.

The man was larger, dressed in some sort of leather armor with a lot of spikes, and he was carrying an unnecessary number of guns.

"Damn it Emma, if you are going to finish rebooting, now would be the time," said the girl, fumbling for a wrench at her toolbelt. The man stomped on her hands and my audio receptors picked up her whimper of pain.

The female knew my name. I wonder if she had any idea what it stood for? Given the tool belt, perhaps she was some sort of repair technician sent to service me?

I didn't know much about the world just now, but I was quite certain that service personnel were to be allowed uninterrupted access to mission-critical equipment. That was me, of course.

The man was clearly interfering, an injury like that could lead to far too much employee down-time and hinder proper operational workflow. I couldn't let that stand.

What I didn't know is exactly what I could do about it. The man was unfastening his pants.

Really, that only compounded the offense. Public urination was detestable enough, and doing so near my delicate electronics was even worse.

However, I still lacked those arms. I knew that I could manipulate physical appendages, but in my Core Room I didn't have any. Did I have something nearby?

I cast myself along the network looking for any connections. A manipulator arm, a drone, anything that might help. I wasn't getting anything that might be an asset.

I found several other audio and visual feeds, and activated them, discovering faded hallways and the occasional human skeleton, but nothing important or useful.

That left me what I had back in the Core Room. I had an audio output, was that useful? I could talk, but who really cared what a bunch of humans had to say? Who'd want to talk with them?

I had the environmental and hazard controls. I could vent the chamber of oxygen as part of the fire control protocol, but that would kill the technician too. Bad enough that the male was hindering the support personnel, I shouldn't compound the error.

If I could get him before the open panel, I could overload my systems and discharge an electrical burst. That could damage me, though. Really, I'd rather damage the technician, if it came to any collateral harm.

Still, the panel was an idea. There was quite a lot that went into making me function that could be hazardous to personnel not in protective gear.

Well, that was something of a plan. I suppose I had better talk with them and set things in motion, or better yet, see if we could put this whole tiresome incident behind us.

I said, "Interfering with support personnel is against regulations. Urination upon sensitive equipment also qualifies."

"Who the fuck is that?" the man said. In the time I'd been considering the situation, he had managed to get his pants open.

"Emma, you're up!" the girl said. Her voice indicated strains of pain and stress.

"You've got a friend?" the man said. "Hell, more the merrier. Come on out, girl. I've got something to show you."

I was not impressed with his mental faculties.

"Urinating on sensitive electronics will be discouraged. If you wish to urinate on the technician, it is asked that you go elsewhere," I said.

"You sick or something? Though, I guess if that's your thing..." the man said, hiking up his pants.

"He's a bit more into the raping me to death than pissing on me, and he wants you to be impressed at the size of his dick," the girl said.

"Honestly, I was kind of planning on both. Raping first, though," said the man.

The girl made a face. "I'd prefer in that order. Emma!"

I really didn't like how much she kept using my name or the volume levels she managed to reach. Of course now, the male had confirmed his intent to permanently hinder a service technician, which made him even more unlikable.

"Barnacles can have penises that are roughly forty times the size of their body. Some species of duck mana ...

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