Planning on the Fly

Planning on the Fly

“Sir… sir?” repeats ART, asking the Rocket how to proceed. The first pass from the aggressing Martians had rendered the Phoenix Dawn’s gunner pod inoperable.

“You still have your forward cannons right? You’re still in this fight,” exclaims the Hero.

“Well the issue is that there are two Falcon-class Interceptors and an Kite-class Gunship,” says the Rocket as he rolls the Phoenix Dawn into an evasive barrel roll, leading the Martian ships into a chase. “If it were just the Gunship we would be fine, we could out-run and out-maneuver him. If it were just the Interceptors, again we would be fine, the gunner pod would make quick work. But this is a coordinated hunting party and we are there quarry. It will be nigh impossible to destroy those fast-movers with the cannon and the forward guns, and we only have one missile left. Without the gunner pod, they’ll wear the shields down and then they pick our ship apart or the Gunship will get us, take your pick. We need something and we need it fast” finishes the Rocket in frustration. 

“ART,” begins the Inventor thoughtfully while staring at several diagnostic readouts on one of the many holo screens glowing in the pilot’s cabin, “the diagnostic reads here that the issue causing the gunner pod failure is a loss of sensory systems and that the pod is still mechanically intact?”

“Affirmative,” replies ART, his voice sounding garbled as the Dawn suffers another hit from the relentless, pursuing Martians.

“I remember reading the files on the computer while trying to repair the Dawn, and this used to be an armored transport with a whole combat crew. A crew member would work the gunner pod,” continues the Inventor. 

“Yes, but when it was requisitioned we converted everything to function via the ship’s systems and ART,” says the Rocket, his knuckles white as he pushes the stick straight down, throwing the Phoenix Dawn into a dive. 

The Inventor grabs the captain’s seat trying to finish his thought, “If I could devise a way for the ship to respond to my input, I could serve as ART’s eyes.”

“You could provide aiming input through one of the data pads on the shelf by captain’s chambers,” offers ART, “I will have to create a very primitive software to allow this function. It will take a little time.”

“How long?” asks the Rocket impatiently.

“Ten minutes, by my estimation, sir.” replies ART.

“I think I can buy us some time,” says the Rocket, the intensity emanating from his face and tone, “ART turn off navigational and flight assist. I want full control and you use whatever bandwidth is freed up to create the software.”

“I do not have bandwidth, what kind of simple operating system do you think that I am sir,” replies ART with a sudden but strong disdain. 

“WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS, DO IT NOW,” yells the Rocket.

“We’ll talk about this later,” says a dejected ART as several systems flash red and tones beep to inform the Rocket he indeed has full control of the craft.

Narrated by Brandon Warner

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