Mushroom Killzone

Summary: An explorer is ambushed in an autumnal forest.

Jihun Park descended slowly into the autumnal vortex, descending beneath a blood-colored canopy. He scanned behind each rocky outcropping on the hillside, pointing the muzzle of his gyrok carbine at each. A fungal shelf grew beneath out from a dead tree that loomed at the summit, with withered wood like a skeleton's claw. Leaves crushed behind it.

Park saw the drone emerge with guns blazing. Mushrooms sprouted from its worn polymer frame, and its propellers buzzed like a rusted saw. He dove for cover behind the nearest tree, weaving a line of erupting dust behind him. He cut past the dead tree, hoping it granted some additional cover. Even with his alacrity, he only needed a split second.

The rogue drone fired into the dead tree, sending it crashing to the forest floor below. By the time it fell, Park was clear. The drone struggled to reacquire its target, relying on unmaintained sensors exposed to the elements for years. A hiss in the air was the only herald of its doom.

Park saw the drone fall like a rock, plummeting with greater celerity than the dead tree. His smart gyrojets, his gyroks, needed only a second to lock on. He reloaded his weapon, in case other weapons platforms emerged. Like many other drone hunters, he cleared the old border regions of autonomous weapons and rogue drones. Like an ancient hunter, he took his kill back to the edge of the deserted forest, so for a proper appraisement of the bounty and salvage.

It was a good haul.