Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I think that self-limitation is the major limiting factor for most people in the world."
- Frank Herbert

Skyball  
  Remote-controlled UAV.  

I launched a skyball-an aerial drone-for one last look-see before we went in.

The image on the screen tilted and swooped dizzily as the skyball skidded and slid across the sky. It was having trouble navigating in the wind. After a moment, though, it figured out what it was doing and the image steadied into a long glide...

I nodded and tapped at the keyboard, bringing the drone lower. The image turned slowly as the skyball circled the nest. I punched for scanning. The image shifted colors then: blue for cold, red for hot, yellow for in between. Most of the screen was orange. I had to turn down the range.

The corrected scan was mostly green and yellow. A faint orange track led to the dome. Or away from it. The track was at least an hour old.

I glanced at Duke; his expression was unreadable. "Scan the dome," he said.

We knew that the worms were hot when they were active. But we also knew that when they went torpid-which was usually during the hottest part of the day-their body temperatures could drop as much as thirty degrees. That was why the earliest mobile probes had failed to register their presence. The worms had been too cool.

We knew better now.

The worms went deep and they went cold. Men had died to find that out.

The skyball came in low and close now. The dome filled the screen. I punched in a sonic-scan overlay. There was something there, all right-a dark blue mass, mottled with quickly shifting colors. It was large and deep below the surface.

The screen said it massed four tons.

"That's a good-sized family," said Duke. "Can we take 'em?" 

I was wondering the same thing, "Denver says the gas is good. This is at the upper end of the range, but it's within the limit." 

"How do you feel about it?"

"I say go."

"Good," said Duke. "So do I." He thumbed his mike. "All units. It's a go. I repeat, it is a go. Proceed to your final positions. This is it."

We were committed now. There were no more Go-NoGo points. Duke leaned forward and rapped our driver. "Come on-let's move!" The big rollagon trundled forward, up a small ridge and then down the long slope on the opposite side.

I pulled the skyball up and directed it to circle the dome on a continual scan. If there was any change in heat level, it would sound an immediate alarm. We would have between ten and ninety seconds' warning-depending on the worms. I checked my earphones and mike. This was the most dangerous part of the mission. We were too vulnerable to ambush on the approach.

From A Day For Damnation, by David Gerrold.
Published by Timescape in 1985
Additional resources -

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from A Day For Damnation
  More Ideas and Technology by David Gerrold
  Tech news articles related to A Day For Damnation
  Tech news articles related to works by David Gerrold

Articles related to Surveillance
LA Subway Scanner, As Seen In 'Total Recall'
Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
IJOP Integrated Joint Operations Platform China's Minority Report?
Kuri Robot Roams Your Home, Taking Pictures

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'

Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.