Dark Star Survivor
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209 Machines of Confusion
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Dark Star Survivor
Author :Enraged_Bear
© Webnovel

209 Machines of Confusion

Shutting down the sensors that blocked their way turned out to be easier than Zoey had anticipated. All she ended up having to do was command her swarm of drones to block the emitters, and just like that, the way was cleared. The sensors seemed to ignore the swarm of spider drones because they were machines, and thanks to that, blocking the sensors with them did not set the defence system off again.

Despite that, Zoey was not so trusting of this place. She and Max carefully made their way forward while she maintained a hair-trigger state of alertness, ready to activate her defensive arrays at the first sign of trouble.

They made their way to the end of the tube without incident, stopping in front of the large door and the wall panel. The panel itself was strange, a blank copper plate with a sort of coupling or receptacle in the center. It looked like where one would place a key, if you had one.

But Zoey had no key, so all she could do was run a scan with her interface and hope she could decipher the system and somehow get the door open. Once the scan was complete, she was able to replicate the internal structure of the panel using her interface so she could study the design.

Once again, the panel had no wiring or electric subsystems, only fluid chambers and pistons all linked by some conduits and sections of piping where the oil would flow through. It was foreign to Zoey, but with her engineering experience and knowledge, along with the help from her interface, she was able to identify what sections of the lock needed to be manipulated to operate the system.

She checked and rechecked her work before using her Aether Engineer talent to fabricate a key that fit into the receptacle. Then she carefully inserted the key into the panel, monitoring the internals with her interface as she did so she could see if something went wrong.

Surprisingly, the key slid home with a satisfying click, and a moment later, there was the sound of distant machinery and metal protesting as the door's locks were released one by one. Zoey and Max took a step back while this took place, wanting some space while the door opened. Zoey was a little tense, but excited as she wondered what they would find, and Max was stoic, his only intention to make sure Zoey did not get hurt.
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With a hiss of steam and grinding gears sounding in the walls, the large door finally opened to reveal an engineer's worst nightmare. It was so bad that Zoey involuntarily scrunched her face when she saw it.


Behind the door was perhaps the worst mess of machinery that she had ever seen. There was only one small area that was clear, and the rest was a mess of machinery so convoluted and messy that it seemed impossible to make heads or tails out of any of it.

The two of them carefully stepped inside, avoiding the exposed crankshafts and motors that whirled around them to pump oil through the pipes in the room. Looking around, Zoey still could not make any sense of what she was seeing in this place. Why was this mess closed off behind two massive sealed doors?

She ran another scan, and displayed a holographic projection of the room in the air before her with her interface, looking for anything that could give her a hint. After several minutes, Zoey still had not found what she was looking for, and was getting more and more confused by the room's extremely strange layout. The entire thing seemed to be designed to confuse her.

Surprisingly, it was Max who came to her aid, quietly pointing at a particularly messy section of the holographic display. When Zoey looked closer at that section of the room, she spotted some sort of terminal hidden behind a mess of machinery and pipes. She had thought that it was part of the room's structure when she looked over it before, but now that Max had pointed it out again, it seemed like that was not the case.

Zoey smiled at Max in thanks and got a bashful little smile in return. Then the two of them gingerly picked their way through the room to the terminal, and found a rectangular box with a blank copper plate on top.

It was here that Zoey encountered another roadblock. No matter what she did, she could not elicit a response from the terminal. A deep scan revealed that this was the focal point of the room's systems and fluid conduits, but she was unable to activate it no matter what she tried. But just when she was getting frustrated, her interface blinked at her with a strange notification.

[INTERFACE ACCESS REQUEST FROM [DARK STAR SHARD]

[ALLOW? {YES} {NO}

Zoey stared at the request for a moment before she remembered the conversation she had with that strange echo inside her inner world. Could it be the same echo trying to help her again? Zoey did not hesitate for long, and selected yes on her interface to allow access to the Dark Star Shard.

Whatever would happen, she felt that it couldn't do any harm to see what it was about...

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