Am I alone in being completely uninspired whenever reading the phrase 'automated defences'? They seem to crop up a few times in Gatecrashing, serving as nominal barriers to the exploration of some tremendously interesting and profitable places (namely Penrose and Olaf) and I'm having trouble imagining how such defences --the specific workings of which are seldom described-- could so thoroughly deter any and all transhuman investigation.
Maybe it's because my limited imagination serves up only a scene in which a gun turret of some sort pops out of a secret wall-hatch to hose unwary investigators with flak or laser fire; surely not a wildly unexpected eventuality for a veteran first-in team exploring a deserted space hab of a vanished K-II alien civilisation. Surely the minds that built a habitat on the cusp of a black hole's event horizon, not to mention a fecking dyson sphere, would devise some pretty novel ways of deterring intruders.
It just strikes me that the 'automated defences' phrase is a somewhat lazy pretext for an otherwise wonderfully-conceived alien locale to remain unexplored. Why make the barrier to exploration be dull, characterless robo-hazards where there could instead be threats of genuine intrigue and weirdness?
If these systems are indeed as boring as gun turrets in the walls, what are some more interesting alternatives that could bolster the mystery of such dangerous exoworlds?
Time will perfect matter.