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Tronfest 2017 Fills

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Baton

 

The disc is the classic weapon; doesn’t use precious energy, versatile, good range, easy to aim, easy to add upgrades. On the downside, it’s what your enemy expects you to use, so even petty Resource Hogs developed shields and defense tactics built around disc combat. It’s also the first thing an enemy will confiscate. With everything you do, learn, and are stored on your weapon? When your public function is lightcycle champ, and your actual function is the Administrator’s best set of hands, that calculates out to way too much risk. Really, Ma3a is far too benevolent for jobs like this. She needs to stay benevolent. That’s why Mercury was coded – to take on ugly tasks and uglier threats.

 

The baton Mercury clips to her side is a trickier weapon to use. It uses energy to activate, upgrades are harder to obtain, and the best results require close combat. A lightcycle rod is considered a utility item, however, not a weapon. They even let the condemned jocks on the Game Grids carry them around openly after they have the discs locked up for “safekeeping.” So she can walk around with it in even the most restricted sectors of any given system, and no one thinks anything of it.

 

Or, like this Ransomware crew, the enemy will confiscate all her subroutines and disc, but leave the rod in easy reach.

 

Mercury shifts in her bonds, listening carefully to the gang’s lieutenant tell everything to his boss. Yeah, Email server four. Come in via a kitten picture. Hold the archives hostage. Their User wants to be paid in Bitcoin to some account with a Russian ISP address. It’s all in the bag. Well, he thinks it’s in his bag. Mercury knows it’s in hers. Gotta love it when she doesn’t even have to interrogate these null-units. And there’s a trick to getting out of energy ropes. No matter how tight they think they tie it, a little push and pull will loosen it up…

 

There! Baton in hand, a little twist one way, a turn the other, and pull the ends, exposing the sparking core. The ropes short out in a flash and a whiff of ozone, and the lieutenant turns around. Mercury’s ready before he knows what’s coming. She jams the ends into the circuit lines on his chest, grinning all the while as he twitches and screams error messages before collapsing into voxels.

 

Grab his subroutines and access codes, snag her disc from the archive bin, and head upstairs to take out the rest of the cell. Looks like their User won’t be getting his Bitcoin and Ma3a’s people can keep carrying out their functions without undue threat.

 

She pats the baton at her hip. Truly, it’s the most reliable partner she has.