A black pod glided through space towards a luscious green planet. It went unseen by any peering eyes, and simply slid into the atmosphere. No orange flare, heat or any radiation emanated from the stealthy drop capsule as it came closer and closer to the surface. Birds and insects stopped chirping and singing as it impacted into a lake with a small splash and dull thud. As soon as it was over, the dumb animals went on with their songs and sounds as a black clad figure slowly strode up from below, and broke the surface of the water.
First out of the water was the armored head, resembling the skull of a lizard, though with shallow eye sockets as window dressing. From the neck down to the rest of the body was some sort of tough, fleshy body suit that had a beat of its own. Over its chest went a small plate acting as the sternum of a skeleton, to which several overlapping armor bands joined together like ribs. These same â€˜ribsâ€™ also went about the torso, and connected to the sharp looking spinal cord; small segments of it glowed a dull red. The belly of the beast was protected by three segmented â€˜ribsâ€™ which did not connect to the sternum, but still to the spine. The rest of the bodyâ€™s plating very much resembled easily recognized skeletal anatomy. This figure walked on its foot's digits, with three thick â€˜fingersâ€™ pressing into the ground, and two opposing thumbs dangling in the air, one on each side. Strangely, the animals did not mind its presence; it got close enough to shove a baby animal over, at which they finally felt fear. A foot grasped the neck firmly, and snapped the spine. A smokeless fire cooked meat soon after.
This same figure shadowed others that had a vague semblance to its form, though more primitive, larger and hunched over. It hated them with a fury and reason, yet watched them, and learned their language from a distance; it soon witnessed a fight between these Reds and strange bipeds with green skin. As the weapons fire lit up his helmet, he decided to watch these Greens as well; he learned much about their language and weapons this way and could even perfectly sound like one of them by now, but he had little of the culture of either. Heâ€™d have to get closer soon. Getting closer to the Reds was not the best of ideas; their sense of smell was just as developed as his, and they caught on. He decided to watch the Greens next, even though he knew the Red ones were now trying to find him.
He was tied to an almost too-small chair, and forced to sit in their almost too-small room, with his rifle on an almost-too-small table opposite him. He hadnâ€™t been given food so far while in their custody. In fact, a few days had passed now; how many days, Yotruyan Clrikii did not care. However, he did care for what his hostsâ€™ would do next, and did his best not to provoke them. The language that his captors spoke in sounded like poetry or song, and without any hard sounds; it was calm, flowing and pure. It took him long enough to learn it, but he learned it well, enough to understand perfectly and even think with. Sadly, the contents in the phrase spoken by this individual did not match the languageâ€™s beauty; â€œSo, lizard-shit, howâ€™d you get this technology? Itâ€™s not exactly typical Drathonian hardware, in fact, itâ€™s a way better. Personally, Iâ€™ve always figured you Fuck-tards stole or begged for your better gear. Hell, it kind of resembles our technology, being alive and all. Did you happen to tap into some of our experimental project files, and find something you bastards like?â€ The green skinned humanoid rounded on him, â€œCâ€™mon, spit already.â€
â€œThe very first thing I remember was floating within a sphere of liquid, my egg, and looking out of it through its shell-less case, seeing the dull outlines of my pareâ€¦.â€ Yotruyan was cut off as the green person punched him across his faceplate with metal knuckles; they hit hard enough to cut through the helmetâ€™s black, leathery tissue, and hit metal. Sparks flew. Flesh mended. Another person then begun to rap an implement on the helmet.
â€œHey, shit-for-brains, he asked you for whereâ€™d you get this tech, not your life story!â€ This second person yelled at him. A third one, which looked much older, gestured with his hand, at which the others fell silent.
â€œPlease, do tell where you got thisâ€¦thing of yours; weâ€™re getting a little impatient with your silence, and now thisâ€¦Red Herring of yours.â€ The elder spoke while pointing towards Yotruyanâ€™s rifle. He went on with a deadly calm, â€œWhat interests us in particular is not the fact that itâ€™s alive, but that it produces its own ammunitionâ€¦or projectiles. Thereâ€™s a difference between the two, and Iâ€™m not sure which it is, you see. Can you clear this up at least?â€ Yotruyan begun to speak again, eerily sounding exactly like any other member of their race,
â€œI was going to. But what is the point of knowing what something does, when you do not know why it does what it does?â€ the lizard-like Yotruyan replied.
â€œItâ€™s just made to kill us, right?â€ Yotruyan rolled his head in annoyance,
â€œWrong. Your view is too centered on yourselves. It was not made to kill. More likeâ€¦â€ Yotruyan struggled for a moment. â€œTurn off? Terminate? Deactivate? Is that the correct series of words? More importantly, it was not meant for you. May I continue?â€
â€œYou might as well go on telling us about your crappy childhood, dysfunctional parents and whatnot. I suppose we have the time.â€ The elderly one spoke with sarcasm. Despite the time Yotruyan spent with them, it was lost on him.
â€œMy childhood was a very rich and fulfilling one, and my parents the best parents they could be. I was born shortly before the end of my peopleâ€™s Golden Age, a time of plenty, a time of happiness, and a time of longevity. It was when we still lived long and prospered.â€ Yotruyan paused briefly; his stomach growled.
â€œReally nowâ€¦ Well, it sounds like it was a utopia, which is what we had going here before you lizards came. Second; youâ€™re hungry.â€ The officer, for that was exactly who this older man had to be, unwrapped a bar of food and dangled it in front of Yotruyanâ€™s helmet in an attempt to torment him. The helmet consisted of three parts, first, being a black devil armor faceplate. It covered the entire Raptor-like head to the upper jaw, and had an unnerving likeness to a smooth skull. The second part was a specialized plate which protected the back of the head and sealed against the other sections. The third part was a toothless and smooth jaw armor, sealed hermetically against the upper portion with some sort of synthetic flesh; it came as a surprise when Yotruyanâ€™s mouth suddenly opened, tearing the helmetâ€™s fleshy seal into gooey ribbons as his head leaped forward to gobble up the food. As his jaw snapped closed, the black flesh slinked back, and sealed the helmet again. â€œGahh! Youâ€™re a monster!â€
â€œAnd I think of you as such too. Where was I?â€ the black armored creature replied honestly.
â€œYouâ€™ve got to be shitting me.â€
â€œI shit you not; you all look somewhat disfigured to me to be honest. Nowâ€¦Ah, yes, I was at the utopia that we once lived in; it was made possible by the war machines that ended our previous conflictâ€
â€œSo what youâ€™re saying is that youâ€™re ranks are bolstered by these things? Then why havenâ€™t I seen any of them on the field?â€
â€œI told you, I am not a Red Scaled whoresson!â€ Yotruyan yelled; the guards became unsettled and reached for their weapons. He calmed down, and went on, â€œNow, when I finally hatched into the world around me, I quickly gained interest in these machines that were such a great piece of our history. They, under the leadership of our most fondly remembered Private Military Company, ended the chaos and brought forward The Age."
â€œIf your kind, assuming youâ€™re not a Drathonian, has it so well, whyâ€™d you come here?â€
â€œYou must be getting tired; thatâ€™s not exactly a good questionâ€¦another time?â€
â€œNo, no. The old neurons arenâ€™t quite firing like they used to. Go on.â€ He said, rubbing his temples.
â€œWell, I gained interest in these machines; in this time, the previous conflict before it had romanticized war, as the brightest moments of the past shown even brighter. I was young, only about so high.â€ Yotruyan gestured with the last few feet of his bound tail; he pointed out a figure about two feet in height. â€œMy family had a large estate, as well as several different kinds of these machines. We called them our Guardians. The one I became interested in particular was an older model that became activated in the closing days of the war, about a good two generations before my time. It stood slightly over a house tall on two bird legs, and its head was like a turret. A small gun-turret was mounted on each side of this head, with a single manipulating arm folded up into its chin. A single camera orb was at the top.â€
â€œOk, I get the idea; these things are formidable, so how does it lead to your weirdo rifle and suit you got here?â€ he asked impatiently.
â€œWith time; this all leads to my equipment with some time. With time, these things that brought along or utopiaâ€¦Well, they also ended it. You see; a machine that must fight what is intelligent as you or I, for an example, should be intelligent as well. We made them intelligent, and as time went by we made them more intelligent to better serve us through mundane tasks. We had them clip our flower bushes, clean gutters, keep our city streets safe, play with children. So on, so forth the list goes. â€œ
â€œWhat went wrong? They did not like the work hours?â€ The old man rolled his eyes. â€œThis is starting to sound like a typical A.I. gone bad story.â€
â€œNot typical, not at all. Don't call such a thing typical. It's disrespectful for those that have died. A true story and it can be true for anyone, really. It was perfectly called for; we deserved it. No workerâ€™sâ€¦.compensation? That the word? Hmm, most did not even treat them well for that matter. There was a saying, relating to a large quantity of these things being equal to a mere coin you see. Why treat them well when you could always get another? The particular model I liked was rather...â€ Yotruyan paused for a moment, thinking back, â€œâ€¦Old, and therefore, neglected. I liked it, and therefore cared for it. I even installed a new processing core, along with a newer, more advanced Operating System. I suppose it liked me tooâ€¦â€
â€œDid you bother to give it a name? In all honesty, I donâ€™t see whatâ€™s so different. So itâ€™s smart, so it looks like it has feelings. Plenty of things like this happen. People even name their rifles for crying out loudâ€¦â€ The old man complained. He was still transfixed about the rifle.
â€œYou speak with wisdom; a person giving an inanimate object a personality that does not exist happens all too often. Sadly, that is what my parents thought was happening as well, and many others concerning others thought the same. For me, I did not realize it truly had feelings, and therefore liked me, until something happened.â€ Yotruyan paused, lowering his head. His voice dropped a little as he went on. â€œI lost my two brothers that day.â€ By now, Yotruyan had caught their interest, as it seemed some more of these â€˜SeFlaurindsâ€™ had gathered behind the one way looking glass; they werenâ€™t exactly the best interrogators in the universe. Someone in the observation room had left the door slightly ajar, allowing some light to spill in and ruin the one-way effect just enough for him to see the growing crowd.
â€œAs predictable and fake as your story sounds, I am guessing it is todayâ€™s highlight. Go on.â€
â€œWe hunt. Even in the cities, we find a way to hunt. Since the dawn of our kind, when young, we hunted first for food, and in more developed times, for or health. Didnâ€™t wish Obesity to become a plague like it had for too many other species you see. My family had the fortune to own an estate which had its own ecosystem. Predators included.â€
â€œYou bit off more than your giant mouth could chew?â€
â€œMore or less, yes, we had. I sent the particular Guardian that was watching over us that day to bring us our butchering tools; in our youthful hurry we forgot them. It, being a machine, followed our orders. While it was away, the scent of our collective kill attracted something that was very hungry. I wonâ€™t describe it, as it is as vicious as it is foul in taste.â€ Yotruyanâ€™s head bobbled from one side to the other, â€œMay I have another?â€
â€œHuh? Oh, right. Just donâ€™t take off a finger, or else Iâ€™ll take one of yours.â€ The Old Officer mindlessly grabbed another food bar, and begun to bring it to Yotruyanâ€™s face, when he suddenly realized what he was doing. â€œWait, what?!â€ Just as he drew the food away, Yotruyan shot his head forward and ate it; the force from the sudden move tipped the chair over, and sent him to the floor. â€œIâ€™m not going to bother righting you back up.â€ Yotruyan went on from his position on the floor,
â€œWe were ripped to ribbons, with me being the least fortunate in regards to how badly hurt we were. At that moment, Sanakan returned, guns blazing. She turned the predator into a finely groundâ€¦.â€
â€œWait, so this thing of yours has a name?â€
â€œWell then. Tell us about it. Does it mean anything?â€
â€œI thought you werenâ€™t interested in the names of such machines. You said yourself with some displeasure, that some even named their riflesâ€¦â€ The Officer fantastically distorted the features on his flat face. Obviously, he was not amused. Yotruyan hurriedly continued; â€œIn the sub-language, which is a simplified version of the whole, so that many with simple tongues may speak, it means â€˜Flowersâ€™. However, if the same written symbols are taken into our primary language, it means â€˜Deadlyâ€™. To be honest, I never intended that, but the name stuck. It would not respond to anything else after I named it.â€ The Officer merely shook his head, took a sip of water, and then banged on the looking glass,
â€œYou guys getting this?â€
â€œIt had no choice, logic wise of course. Since it was a war machine, it had to occasionally drag back the half dead. It found itself doing the same again, and I, in my less than desirable condition, believed I would be left to die. It decided to surprise us; it picked me up in its only arm, and brought me back.â€
â€œListen, that sounds real sweet, but what does it mean?â€
â€œSimple. It meant I got to live for a few more years as a civilian. It also meant they could choose like you or I. To be honest, we donâ€™t know how it started. You see, there was a lot of infighting amongst us, and them as well. The openingâ€¦.nearly spontaneous; we were forced back into the outer worlds where there were fewer of them, where they could be temporarily managed until new and more suitable technology was developed.â€ Yotruyan finally stopped speaking, and looked over to his rifle. The Officer scowled.
â€œYouâ€™re saying that the whole reason why you have a living weapon and suit is so you can just fight these machines? I donâ€™t believe you. To prove this, Iâ€™m willing to eat my rawhide belt, betting thatâ€™s not entirely true.â€
â€œWe call them Silicon now. And, being creatures that are made of the materials that formed the core of inorganic technology, are able to easily manipulate the like. They can navigate a developed silicon system easily no matter the origin, but not one that relies so heavily on sheer feelings. Technology, or a mind based on pleasure, pain, smell, feel, taste, love, hate, joy, and sorrow and so on cannot be easily altered by code. And code cannot so easily be altered by such touchy feely things. The new architecture and operating procedures resulting from our organic technology makes it nearly impossible, or at least excessively difficult for them to invade our new cyberspace. We can no longer do certain things, but it was change or die.â€
â€œAnd after all that talking, we still havenâ€™t found anything useful about you, have we? It was allâ€¦.â€
The room shook slightly as a nearby explosion rocked the bedrock. The bio-luminescent plant light flickered as part of its root system was severed. A smell of metal and acid filled the room, followed by the sound of chains falling to the ground. Flesh coated metal and flesh coated metal thumped and rubbed against one another. Yotruyan was standing up with his rifle slung on his back; it did not matter that it was theatrically clichÃ©. The fact was there; he was standing. He was armed. The SeFlaurinds reached for their side arms. Yotruyan ignored them, and kept on wiping away the acid that hung onto his gloved hands.
â€œNot the best interrogators. You all ate up my story full of useless detail and forgot what I told you first.â€
â€œAnd that was?â€ At that bit, Yotruyan growled.
â€œApparently, we werenâ€™t the only ones who had it too good for too long; you are softening. Think. I told you I was being followed.â€ The dirty rag dropped to the floor, and turned into a white ash. A small hole was being melted into the concrete where a cracked acid containing projectile the SeFlaurinds used rested. â€œItâ€™s been a long time. Watching you, I mean. For now, Iâ€™ve learned enough of the SeFlaurind people to know that there is no significant threat presented to my people by yours. These Red Scales however, are a complete menace.â€ Yotruyan took a step forward towards the Officer, who then took a step back; the faceplateâ€™s shallow eye sockets bored into the SeFlaurind, seemingly scaling him up. The Officer barely restrained his voice,
â€œI am getting tired of your antics, lizard. This is more and more like some damned soap opera at every passing moment!â€ Yotruyan merely shook his head in annoyance, and slowly reached up to his head. The faceplate slid off as black gossamer goo briefly tried to hold it on, but eventually relented. Underneath was a Raptor, but not simply so. Every inch of Yotruyanâ€™s facial features was covered in colorful feathers, which shocked the SeFlaurinds in the room.
â€œI told you.â€ He then moved his face closer to the old man; he seemed to go ridged and stiff, even as his pistol pressed up against Yotruyanâ€™s chin. â€œIâ€™m not a lizard. Iâ€™m tired of â€˜interrogationâ€™. Can I shut up and go kill them already? Reds, theyâ€™re getting closer you knowâ€¦And Iâ€™m not in the mood for eating greens.â€
((It still needs some cleaning, but it, at the very least, explains some things about him. ))
These are stories that take place prior to the main story. While important in fleshing out characters, they do not necessarily need to be read to understand the story.
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