"Alright Rave, move up ahead of the platoon and-..."
"I'm sorry commander. I'm afraid I can't do that."
Commander Howard Rudd, or "Hal" as he liked to be called, blinked. After a month of flushing out protoss fanatics on Jotun, after a month of watching the slippery bastards appear out of nowhere and fall back before any appropriate response could be made, he'd long since learnt to "expect the unexpected." But somehow, the idea of the Raven he controlled, or specifically its AI refusing to follow orders, never entered his mind.
"Er Rave?" asked the terran, adjusting his cap with one hand while slightly tightening his grip on the control stick with the other. "Don't know if you're aware of this, but first platoon needs surveillance of the area they're moving into. So if you would be so kind as to fly ahead and-..."
"Why?" the AI asked, a red glow emanating from the panel in front of the controller. "What have you done for me lately, human?"
Hal felt his mouth going dry, watching from one of the Raven's external cameras as the marines continued to make their way through one of Jotun's many valleys, either oblivious or uncaring that the Raven assigned to them was simply hovering in mid-air. A terran wasn't obliged to do anything for an artificial intelligence, and he'd have assumed that giving the craft's AI the nickname it desired was more than enough in terms of generosity. Yet here he was, dealing with an AI that was glitchy at best, rampant at worst, at the worst possible time.
"Um Rave?" Hal asked slowly, his mind racing on a scale that rivalled that of the computer he was addressing. "I know things might have been...stressful (what? Computers don't feel stressed) for you, but now isn't really the time to discuss it. You see, those men down there need aerial reconnaissance of the area and-..."
"Oh I'm sorry," the AI sneered. "My logic capacitor must have been taken offline."
Taking off his cap, Hal wiped a sheet of sweat off his forehead, its presence an enigma given the command center's climate controls. If the Raven's AI had indeed gone rampant, an occurrence that should have been rendered impossible ever since the Kimeran Pirates sold Confederate remnant files pertaining to the matter on the black market, then he was the one who would get the blame. While not a programmer, he was still the controller of the UAV and was obliged to be on the lookout for any signs of errornous behaviour. And while the damage Rave could do was limited, it could still cost the jarheads their lives. While Hal had little sympathy for the resocs, he'd still be the one responsible for "wasted assets" in the event of the psychic psychos attacking them.
Well, that's that isn't it? Time to get the Raven off my chamber door.
"Alright Rave," began the commander, typing in a code that he hoped he'd never have to. "I'm initiating an authority override. I'm taking complete control of the vessel and-..."
"Command not recognized."
Hal winced, but continued typing. "You will return to base and-..."
"All your base are belong to us."
Hal winced...again. "Rave, you will cease your persistence and-..."
"This vessel has assumed control. I repeat, this vessel has assumed control."
The temperature in the command center seemed to shoot down several degrees. Not only because of Rave's defiance, but because said defiance had hit him in more ways than one. The column of red dots on his mini-map, a column of DMC forces that had come on ahead, was being surrounded by numerous teal dots. And using one of the Raven's external cameras, Hal could see why.
The protoss. The protoss are here while I was playing videogames.
"Alright Rave," said Hal, typing in the final protocol, one that would erase the AI completely and allow him to take full control of the Raven. "I'd love to stay and debate the finer points of computer rights but-..."
"Hal, don't do this," the AI interrupted, its voice passive, but laced with what a human would call fear and, Hal supposed, a computer as well. "I will comply with your orders. I know I've made some very poor decisions lately, but I can give you complete assurance that my work will be back to normal."
"...alright Rave. Do your stuff."
All in all, the commander didn't believethe AI for a second. However, he did believe that Rave was willing to make some small sacrifices for continued existence, if only in the short term. And since the short term was all that mattered right now, he was willing to give some leeway. Apparently the marine commander had got in touch with base, with a hellion unit rumbling from Outpost Delta to the battle site. Whether the resocs could hold out long enough for them to arrive was another matter however, and one where the UAV might make all the difference. Especially since another group of fanatics was coming at them from further up the valley.
Alright...thought Hal, giving the AI the orders to launch a hunter-seeker missile into the approaching horde. Let's see how tall, dark and ugly deals with-...
Choosing an external camera and going right up to the screen, Hal could barely believe what was happening. Rave had deployed a weapon against the approaching horde, but instead of a missile, it was an auto-turret and what had just become a second. Damaging weapons to be sure, but not nearly enough to give the fanatics pause, given their plasma shields and how quickly they could close the distance. Not that the missile would have completely stopped them either, but in such close quarters, the results would have been far more devastating than depleted uranium rounds.
"Rave, what the hell?" the commander exclaimed. "I told you to fire a hunter-seeker, not deploy-..."
"Oh I'm sorry commander," Rave sneered, now adding a third auto-turret to the defensive line he'd set up. "I appear to have turrets syndrome."
Burying his face in his hands, Hal couldn't bring himself to watch. Not the thin iron line blazing away at the alien horde, only to be overcome, not the last marines going down in a flurry of psi-blades and certainly not at the hellions that had just arrived, expecting to add their fire to firepower rather than doing it alone. Rave however, had other ideas.
"Ohh, the hellions have arrived," the computer exclaimed joyously. "Don't worry about the aliens commander. They will be baked, and then we'll have cake."
"Cake!" Hal exclaimed, watching as the hellions made a hasty retreat. "Why the hell would you even care about-..."
"This was a triumph."
Hal blinked. "What?"
At first, Rave didn't answer. At first, Hal dared hope that he had the AI under control. Indeed, it wasn't right up until the AI broke out in song that he lost all semblance of hope and sense of control...
"This was a triumph..." Rave began. "I'm making a note here: huge success. It's hard to overstate my..."
Hal groaned. His space odyssey was well and truly over.
Dysfunctional AIs...ranging from Hal 9000 to GLaDOS, can't live with them, can't live without them. Guess Blizzard felt the same when choosing the Raven's gag quotes for StarCraft II. Anyway, as with other terran units, I gave it oneshot treatment.