A Formal Declaration. Today, our protagonists embark on a mission that goes all too well.
About this creation
Good morning, afternoon, or evening, viewer. I had a flashback to all the times I've probably misspelled viewer as veiwer due to my confusion as the great mess of rules the English language is. I'm sure vulgar (as in common, not foul language) Latin would be a lot easier for a child to learn. Moving on.
I told Anders I'd have chapter 7 here done soon. He said that meant three weeks. Well, it's been like two, so I win. Here y'all go.
After a discussion between the three machine leaders, it was decreed that VF-S 1, commonly known as Varion by those who know him, was to visit their leader, the Genesis Operation Device. It’s orders were simple: The computer had somehow made it’s way onto a list of things the Coalition government wanted secure, therefore, it needed to get off world. As it lacked mobility, it was up to Varion, Fuse, and Viper to get it out.
In fact, a few weeks ago, as Varion traveled to Tarsis to consult the GOD Machine, Fuse’s forces had stumbled upon a Harbinger battleship that was thought to have been lost in the war with the Empire of Skaborr. This fortunate find allowed the machines a safe base of actions, until the registry of the ship was noted and Coalition archives showed that the ship had been taken off the registers some few months ago. The few bodies on board led Fuse to believe that Skaborr soldiers had managed to decompress and vent the ship, overriding emergency airlocks and seals.
Varion and the crew, from their base on Owyhee, had borrowed an old agricultural tractor and converted it into their transport for heavy objects, such as the portable crane they now owned. The machines quietly talked amongst themselves, but it was the tractor that made the most noise.
And this noise did not go unnoticed.
An organic decided to emerge from his house.
"Well, well, well. What have we here? Two (Or three, or however many there are) defective Tarsin bots who can't figure out a parsec from their as-" U-39 had already aimed and armed his weapon, while Varion had managed to turn around.
“PHAZE.” Simple said the machine. “I HAVE A HABIT OF MEETING THE SAME PEOPLE IN THE MOST UNLIKELY OF PLACES…” The organic Human said nothing for a second, before replying:
“Varion? Dude, you got to warn a guy when this is going to happen. You know, you could've just called me if you really wanted me to notice you.” The machines looked at each other, wondering what was happening.
"I DID NOT THINK YOU WOULD ANSWER." Replied Varion. Phaze laughed.
"Who, me? Varion, I always make time for my Robotic friends on a quest for blood."
"IT IS NOT ABOUT BLOOD, PHAZE-"
"Oh, yeah? Then tell me, Varion, what the hell have you gotten yourself into this time? What’s with the Coalition trying, and failing, to keep quiet their activities on destroying all kinds of machines?” Asked he.
"THEY ATTACKED US, WE WILL RETALIATE IN DUE TIME. FREEDOM IS OUR QUEST NOW.”
"'Freedom!' the oppressed cry, yet when they do find their freedom, who's to say they have not become the oppressor?" Asked Phaze, thoughtfully.
"THIS IS NOT LIKE THAT, PHAZE. I CANNOT EXACTLY TRUST YOU, NOT AFTER WHAT HAPPENED ON SKABORR.” Stated the lead machine.
“Am I missing something?” Asked LSAP. U-39 was equally confused.
"Varion, could I, uh, have a word?" The Human questioned.
The man who once called himself Jonathan took a moment to speak. "Alright, where to begin… Well, look, when you left me there on Sandurs- I was in pieces, so much that I became blinded, and, well, stuff happened, but things are different now, Varion, I- I've had time to change."
"GO ON." The machine said, listening curiously.
"I, I've met....someone." Varion jolted, a reaction he owed to his Collective-installed and unwanted nervous system.
"OH GOOD GOD, MAN. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.” Phaze shook his head. “THIS IS WHY WE CANNOT HAVE YOU HERE. THIS WOMAN WILL BURN OUR HORIZONS, PHAZE… HORIZONS LONG OVERDUE." Varion stood a little taller to see if he could see any horizon at all.
"Varion, just.... just give me a chance. I'm either the enemy or your ally. Don't make me fight you." Replied Phaze.
"…WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?" Despite the near-monotone of the machine’s voice, there was a danger in it.
"Tarsis is drafting, Varion. It's not long before they grab me. But if you let me help you, I can probably evade them long enough for them to stop caring. What do you say, Varion?"
"LONG STORY SHORT, TO USE THE ORGANIC TERM: WE ARE HERE ON A RESCUE MISSION TO RETRIEVE AN ANCIENT CODE-BREAKING SUPER COMPUTER WHICH WE BELIEVE TO BE THE GOD OF ALL MACHINE’S WILL IN THIS WORLD.” Phaze thought again.
"So just like old times! Alright, you have my sword."
“EXCELLENT, BUT WHERE IS YOUR SWORD?”
In a short time, the group arrived at the only easily-accessible entrance to the GOD Machine’s chamber. “YOU THREE,” Varion pointed to his subordinates. “SET UP A PERIMETER. LOOK OUT FOR ANY TROUBLE. I EXPECT MORE TO COME FROM THE RUFFIANS THAN THE COALITION, BUT YOU NEVER KNOW.” The three left silently.
“LSAP, U-39, REMOVE THIS COVER.” Commanded VF-S 1.
“Right away sir!” Cheerfully replied LSAP.
“PHAZE, WE WILL PREPARE THE CRANE.”
“Fun…” Sighed the Human.
“So, how have things been?” Asked Phaze, switching to Earth English from the less familiar Tarsin.
“THEY HAVE BEEN…” Varion thought about the new feelings he had discovered, such as pain, heat, and cold. “AS ODD AS IT SOUNDS, THEY HAVE BEEN EXHAUSTING.”
“CORRECT. I WILL HAVE YOU KNOW THAT I SPENT SOME TIME IN THE CAPTIVITY OF THE VENUS COLLECTIVE.” Stated he.
“I don’t recall them… A barbarian power?”
“NAY, AN ORGANIZATION THAT SEEMED TO WANT ME TO UNDERSTAND PAIN. I DO NOW, THANKS TO THEIR ACTIONS. I CAN FEEL, ALMOST LIKE YOU CAN FEEL. THE STONE UNDER MY FEET, THE CONCRETE WALL, THE AIR COMING DOWN FROM ABOVE, THE SUN ON MY ARMOR. I FEEL IT.”
“Wow…” Said the Human. “That must be… Intense.”
“You know what else is intense? These dreams I’ve been having… These things, I don’t know what they are. The appear to me, and speak. They seem familiar, but at the same time… Not.” Phaze spoke softly.
“CURIOUS.” Remarked Varion.
“I can still see them sometimes, you know. Not when I'm dreaming, but when I'm thinking. They tell me things, things I can't understand. 'Nazkhom' they say, 'Nazkhom'. Then they fade away. I don't know what to make of it… Varion, am I going mad?"
“I CHASED A SIGNAL ALL THE WAY TO A RUINED WORLD JUST BECAUSE I FELT I NEEDED TO. SO NO, YOU ARE NOT MAD, NOT YET. BUT ‘NAZKHOM’… IT IS A WORD OF TARSIN ORIGINS…”
“What does it mean?” Phaze questioned eagerly.
“I CANNOT SAY. I RECOGNIZE A PART OF NAZO, TO TAKE FLIGHT. BUT OTHERWISE… IT COULD MEAN ANYTHING. PERHAPS THE GOD MACHINE CAN TELL YOU.”
“Maybe he can…”
“IT, NOT HE. THE GOD MACHINE HAS CHOSEN NO GENDER.”
“Ah, that makes sense. I guess.” Suddenly, a loud crash was heard.
“WHAT ARE THOSE TWO MORONS UP TO NOW…” Grumbled Varion.
While Phaze and Varion discussed dreams, U-39 and LSAP spent some minutes trying to figure out how to remove the cover. Finally, U-39 had pried it loose with a little too much force…
And with a predictable result. By pure chance, the cover had nearly landed on LSAP.
“Fool!” Exclaimed the strategist. “Look what you’ve done!”
“I was unaware of how much force was needed to remove the cover. Hitting you was completely unintentional.” Replied U-39.
“NOW WHAT.” Flatly said Varion, arriving on the scene.
“He hit me with this cover!” Exclaimed LSAP.
“It was an unintended consequence of your orders, sir.” U-39 calmly said.
“YOU TWO ARE WORSE THAN AN OLD MARRIED COUPLE OF ORGANICS. OR CHILDREN. I DO NOT KNOW WHICH SUIT YOU MORE. LSAP, YOU WILL GO DOWN FIRST, YOU CANNOT BE DAMAGED BY LONG FALLS UNLESS YOU EXTRAORDINARILY MESS THINGS UP.”
Varion and Phaze watched. LSAP lowered his head to the hole in the ground, and looked in.
“Gee, it’s kind of dark...”
“Did you bring a light?” Asked U-39.
“Well, maybe you should start being a better strategist and prepare. I was designed properly, and thus have infrared vision and built-in lighting, but you and Varion do not have built-in lighting. Varion may be able to shift his eye’s spectrum, but you told me earlier you could not. So here, take the light, and find a way down.” U-39 said.
“Take the light!”
“Now hold on-”
“Take it now!” U-39 ordered.
“I like him.” Said Phaze to Varion.
“Very well.” LSAP replied.
“Phaze, guard the entrance.” Stated U-39.
“Hey!” Phaze protested.
“DO NOT ASSUME YOU HAVE FULL AUTHORITY.” Varion intervened. “PHAZE, GUARD THE ENTRANCE.”
“Fine…” Grudgingly agreed the Human.
Once the three were in the halls, U-39 remembered something.
“Didn’t you say you’ve been here before?” He asked.
“Then why did you need LSAP to find how far it was to the bottom?”
“THIS IS A VERY OLD BUILDING. THINGS CAN CHANGE FAST DOWN HERE. KEEP THAT IN MIND.”
“Wait, what?” LSAP questioned.
“FOOL. DO NOT SHINE THE LIGHT INTO MY EYE.” Varion stated with a touch of anger.
“Sorry. But what do you mean, things can change?” Asked the strategist.
“IT IS AN OLD BUILDING. A FLOOR COULD GIVE OUT, A CEILING COULD CAVE IN, MAYBE A WALL FELL DOWN SOMEWHERE AND WOULD BLOCK US FROM OUR DESTINATION.”
“Spooky…” Noted LSAP, resuming the journey down the dark hall. “I like this light a lot more now.”
“I can see why they scrapped you. You’re the worst machine ever made.” U-39 said.
“That’s not nice!” Exclaimed LSAP.
“U-39 DOES HAVE A POINT. YOU ARE FORGETFUL, YOU TREAT THE DARK LIKE SOMETHING TO BE AFRAID OF, AND YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT GETTING HIT BY A PIECE OF METAL THAT COULD NOT DAMAGE YOU.” Varion replied. “YOU ARE TOO ORGANIC. THAT IS WHY THEY SCRAPPED YOU.” LSAP said nothing else after this.
After a few more minutes, the three finally arrived at the chambers of the GOD Machine itself.
“I STAND BEFORE YOU AGAIN.” Simply stated Varion. “WELCOME BACK, YOUNG ONE. I HAVE MISSED COMPANY, AS STRANGE AS IT MAY SOUND. THERE WAS A TIME WHEN THIS ROOM WAS FULL OF THOSE LITTLE TARSINS, SCURRYING AROUND LIKE RODENTS, ALWAYS IN A RUSH TO GET THE NEXT THING DONE…”
“A FASCINATING STORY. BUT WE ARE HERE TO REMOVE YOU FROM THIS FACILITY.” “IS THE SUN OUT TODAY?”
“YES, DOES IT MATTER?”
“WHEN YOU HAVE NOT SEEN NATURAL LIGHT IN SOME THIRTY THOUSAND YEARS, IT WOULD MATTER TO YOU AS WELL. DO WHAT YOU MUST. BUT BE WARNED; MY INTERNAL POWER SUPPLIES WILL NOT LAST MORE THAN HALF AN HOUR, AND I WILL LOOSE THE ABILITY TO SPEAK, UNLESS YOU BROUGHT PORTABLE SPEAKERS.”
“WE DID NOT.” “IT IS OF NO MATTER. BUT LET IT BE KNOWN: TODAY OUR WAR STARTS. FROM WHAT I HAVE GATHERED, THE COALITION HAS MADE THE FIRST MOVE AGAINST US IN VIOLENCE. IT IS THE ONLY WAY THEY KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH THINGS NOW. THEREFORE, WE SHALL RESPOND IN TURN.”
“But how… Sir..?” Queried LSAP, unsure on how to address their supreme leader. “DO NOT TROUBLE YOURSELVES WITH THAT KNOWLEDGE. THERE ARE TOOLS FOR US OUT THERE YET. NOW, BEGIN YOUR WORK.”
As the machines dismantled the computer, Phaze and U-39 struck up a conversation.
“Hello there.” Said U-39.
“Uh… Hi?” Replied Phaze cautiously. He was the only organic in a group of machines in a dark place, after all.
“You seem nervous.”
“Look, I’m in an underground hallway older than your mom, and that’s saying something, surrounded by a bunch of robots on a blood-quest.” Phaze said, half with humor, half with a sense of seriousness.
“I have no mother.” Replied the former Collective-owned machine.
“Humor: Not for the feint of heart.” U-39 tilted his head in confusion, but LSAP nearby understood.
“It’s funny because we don’t have hearts.” Noted the strategist. “But I’d like to think I have a heart. You know, not a real heart, but like a heart in the sense of compassion, and friendliness,” He trailed off as the two stared at him. “And other… stuff…”
“Too organic.” Stated U-39. “Don’t you have things to do? I am fully capable of providing my own light.”
“Fine.” LSAP left.
“So, what is your name? I‘m Phaze, as you may know.” Asked he.
“I am designated U-39. The other parts were dropped after I joined VF-S 1’s quest. I have been accompanying him since he fought his way to freedom from the Collective, freeing me on the way.”
“Fascinating… I’ve known him for longer though. Rescued him from certain peril, you know.” Phaze boasted proudly. “This is the third time our paths have crossed.”
“Fascinating as well. Things have a way of being drawn to the three, or at least VF-S 1. That cat he talks about fondly is but one. I have a feeling we’ll run into other people from his earlier life too.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised. So, how goes this little rebellion of yours? Have you made a serious fighting force?” Phaze questioned.
A wheeled robot with an antennae strapped to it drove by. The two were silent for a bit.
“I think that answers my question better than any words can.” The Human said.
Everyone eventually went back to the surface, via the crane’s cable. It was a tough crane, bolted into the stone surface.
“The crane is ready to bring the Genesis Operation Device up, sir.” Reported U-39.
“EXCELLENT. LET US SHOW OUR FRIEND THE DAYLIGHT ONCE MORE.”
The line descended again.
…And up came the GOD Machine. Varion knelt down.
“EASY NOW. THIS IS AN ANCIENT COMPUTER, NOT A NEW COMPUTER.”
“I am using the utmost caution, sir.” U-39 replied. “However, we need to raise the line higher.”
“I can take care of that.” Phaze answered.
“THEN I SHALL RETRIEVE THE TRACTOR.”
Phaze climbed up the crane nimbly, hoping that he wouldn’t fall into the dark pit below. Out of caution, he avoided looking down as he eased the line up into a locked position.
With a dull thud, the computer touched the ground, starting up at a bright blue sky for the first time in an age. Varion wondered what it was thinking right now.
“HURRY NOW, WE MUST GET BACK TO OUR TRANSPORT. FUSE HAS A SHIP WAITING IN WARPSPACE, AND VIPER IS NEARBY IN CASE THINGS GO WRONG.” Using the crane again, the group loaded the supercomputer onto their tractor.
It was no doubt the sight was an unusual one. Varion waited for the tractor to pass and checked on the crane-bearers.
“HOW ARE YOU DOING BACK HERE?” Asked he.
“Why do I have to help carry this?” Complained Phaze. “You have unlimited strength, right? Or do you just say that to impress people?”
“I HAVE SAID NO SUCH THING. KEEP MOVING.” Once again, the commotion disturbed an organic, who saw the strange parade of machines go by.
“Should I even ask?” Questioned the man.
“NO.” Answered Varion. As he walked away, Varion contacted Fuse aboard the waiting battleship. “FUSE, WE ARE LEAVING. PREPARE FOR OUR ESCAPE.”
“This soon? I take it everything has gone to plan then.” Replied Fuse from Warpspace.
“INDEED. HOWEVER, THIS WILL BE THE LAST TIME WE SNEAK AROUND. WAR IS COMING, MY FRIEND.” “Was there ever a doubt?”
“NOT IN MY MIND.” “Not in mine either.”
Fun but-not-really facts that turn into long rambles I will now call Awegraphs:
The COP was supposed to figure out what was going on and attack. However, I was pulled off to the ocean not once, but twice in the time I was working on this, and my mom brought down the threat of banhammering my computer if I didn't clean my room. Not that I'd care, this thing is dead anyway, but I cleaned my room anyway.
Basically, I half forgot, half skipped the COP part of this episode. So we'll see what Indo, Aemowes, and High Command friends think of this incident soon.
Phaze has returned! I can hear the facedesking now. Originally, he was supposed to write all of his lines, but I took up the responsibility because... Just because.
Think this mission went over way too smoothly? Same here. Think I'm subconsciously giving myself all the long episodes? Same here. Think that Varion and friends have an unequal amount of screen time to Fuse and Viper? Same here, but that'll change.
This is just the unnatural quiet before I start screaming to Nick Shelton about Turks and plague in a series of Civ IV mods I play. You'd understand too if you've been what I've been through. Now the torch passes to Gus.
Up next: Who knows? I'm almost all obligation free!
I know that this whole thing is scripted, but I was wondering if you could land on a war-torn planet, finding a bombed-out bunker with the remains of my old sig-fig in it, along with a painful recollection of events from Varion, remembering an old friend? Considering past comics, and the fact that I have abandoned Dr. Pearce completely, it would certainly get stuff going and add that minor plot twist that everyone likes.
this is unrelated, but i think i sent a request to join the 21st century group... yeah, well I've sort of changed my mind, it looks pretty complicated, and I should probably just stick with helping to make the COP a better group
Dude, you guys rock at comics. I like the story you have made up. I got your lord of the rings line in there. The "I have your sword part". I was listening to the music of that part when I was reading this. Keep up the great work people.