The cyborg with no name…
A black metallic vessel showers itself in sparks at the height of day, as its systems come to life once again. The desert night that enveloped it was long and cold, before the central star shone above and bathed the arid landscape once again. The stellar panels flush underneath its armor thirsted for energy to convert, and the high sun fed it in droves. Pulsating waves of fluid electricity run across the arrowhead-shaped craft, stopping at the gaping hole on its stern, right before the exhaust vent rims. Consoles sputter into activity, indicators lighting up one after the other as the adjutant AI reboots and takes its programmed self-diagnostics.
Propulsion systems integrity, 30%, atmosphere-only. The engines cough, and return to dormancy. Telemetry systems integrity, 0%. The starmaps at the helm remain dark, with only the rays of light piercing the mirrored viewport lighting it up. Hull integrity, data insufficient, estimated at 0% pressure-maintenance capability. All manner of debris litter the area where the hole sits above. Life-support systems integrity… 82%.
The AI commences a sweep of the ship for lifeforms. 7 deceased bodies, 3 native. Green scanrays trace outlines of 3 Accretians, splayed across the bridge at the fore. It declares two to be irrecoverable with the amount of repairs required necessitating a return to an armory of at least grade 2B, with one still pooling plasma inside the chest cavity where the powerplant should be. It stops at the last one, and determines salvageability as it did with the others. The cranial housing is completely severed and nowhere to be found inside the ship, but the body seems to have sustained insignificant damage, save for one leg loosely dangling from the pelvic servos. The adjutant inspects the other two for spare parts. Robotic arms spring from crevices in the scaffold of the bridge and begin to lasercut through the refused corpses: a leg from the first, and sternum plating and the head and optics from the second. Neither of the braincores, however, pass integrity diagnostics. Both were truly dead.
The adjutant scans the remaining foreign deceased. Its scanrays net over small but heavily armored individuals, detecting them to be fully biological and separate from the material encasing them. Short ears and lithe builds betray what the AI already knows from this observation: the foreigners are Bellato. It evaluates the status of the organic matter, searching for a candidate for a braincore transplant. It finds only one suitable candidate from a male subject. Its braincore was virtually all but deceased; only a pinch of electromotive forces remain coursing through the mass.
The AI’s spindly tool-arms slice through already-mutilated exterior flesh, and then into bone, exactly at the depths it needed to do so. Within seconds, the braincore lay exposed to the ship and its relative emptiness. Insectoid tendrils numbering in the hundreds begin to encircle and grip the biological material from the arms, and the arms pull – veins and nerves snapping and sloshing as the adjutant gently moves it towards the open cranium of the reassembled Accretian. It sets it down squarely inside the bowl of the head, and starts to bioweld the circuitry. Needles and lasers dance atop and inside the mass of now-technorganic entity, including its other extremities and parts. In minutes, the optic casing is closed, and the remaining power from the initial systems checks is redirected to life-support. The tool-arms retract. A surge of fluid electricity zooms from a lone tendril that just attached itself to a rear chest socket, still bare before the back plating is folded in. It lifts up the body a few feet above the air, and it injects the burst of power.
The few open lights at the bridge flicker and turn off. The Accretians optics turn on, a bright shade of red.
“Bellato shock squadron, incoming. Boarding party imminent. Counting four spacewalkers, individual trajectories directly in conflict with this ship. Initiates, prepare for impact.”
The commander at the helm veers the craft in a tight roll. The initiates are unperturbed, clinging tight to the walls as they scurry along the interior in zero gravity, rushing impromptu repairs on one subsystem after the other. The ship careens towards a bright orange planet.
“Two, determine route to planetside.”
“2.17 clicks, commander,” the initiate replies. “Current bearing is feasible. Current velocity is sufficient. Planet gravity will enable atmos entry and precipitate landing. Flat land only, zero liquid or plasma bodies detected on immediate surface.”
“Three, deploy internal armaments.”
“Affirmative, commander,” responds the other initiate. It vaults from the port to the starboard wall and presses on a console, revealing lasrifles with bayonets. A launcher frame sits on the rear of the compartment. Three prepares the small arms and floats them to his shipmates.
Loud thuds echo through the ship, announcing the presence of their erstwhile visitors.
Releasing from his cockpit and grabbing a lasrifle, the commander relays more orders. “Deployment procedures locked. Initiates, prepare to defend this area. Priority remains on preventing Bellato access to the telemetry database.”
A thundering reverberation resounds throughout the whole ship. The bridgeway bulkhead closes up and maintains the pressure in the bridge, but the initial salvo of breaching explosives does enough to break the hull and vacuum the belowdecks.
“Adjutant, remove all power from the stern to the bridgeway and redirect them to the bulkhead shielding here.”
“Affirmative, commander,” the ship’s AI acknowledges.
Clanking metal against metal echoes from the bridgeway outside as the intruders navigate their way towards the pilots. The sounds stop, as even the engines were cut off.
A soft clatter thumps the bulkhead wall, its shielding flickering for a splitsecond.
An explosion louder than the first rings out, and a bright flash soon after it bloats within the bridge.
The being explores his surroundings: what seems to be a ship devoid of power and movement. He raises his hands one after the other, inspecting them front to back.
Empire Accretia lives on, it thinks, as somewhat familiar reboot algorithms run through his cybernetic nerve system.
It swivels around and checks its rear, then walks towards the inert dashboards. It taps on the console to no response, then reaches for an emergency power lever above its head. It pulls, and while it clangs readily… nothing happens.
The AI must have transferred its core functions to it, it concludes. An emergency procedure, but according to the self-same essential programming it is running on now, nothing more than a backup until it could be cleansed at origin worlds. It then searches for other databases within the sequences it is now fully aware of. Nothing turns up.
It hears a voice, but not externally. A recording, perhaps? But the databanks are empty of non-essentials.
It muses on where this voice comes from. Furthermore, it muses that it can… muse? The AI must’ve been faulty, or the transfer… corrupt. It thinks it needs to run communications back to the nearest Empire origin world.
Nevertheless, it continues its surveillance, and comes upon the dead that lay in the bridge. Two of the brethren, it recognizes. One without a leg. It looks at his own, which looks the same as the other’s remaining. The being thinks it may have been part of this ship’s crew. The other has no head, and its ribcage exposed. It touches its chest, but feels nothing, other than a sturdy breastplate.
It then finds the other bodies strewn about. Armored, but not Accretian. Small ears. Bellato. It thinks on how that the core programming recognizes these things.
Whatever armor they had was shredded by some sort of high-caliber incendiary, from the markings over what’s left. One of the bodies, however, was extreme in its state, compared to even the rest. The skull is cracked open, albeit neatly, and the braincore is absent.
The being kneels down in front of the bloody corpse. The freshness indicated recency. It ruffles through the effects worn by the man before it. The armor was in tatters, and the body within just the same. It finds a pair of metal sheets attached to a chain encircling the smallkin’s neck. Identification, it thinks.
Sgt. D. Diamanthus, Union Marine Corp, Special Forces
A wave of thought crashes through the being’s thoughts. It pieces together its observations. The missing parts. It’s survival of something that apparently destroyed all else in the ship. The… echoes, it now hears.
It stands up. It knows it has no need for Bellato thoughts, if indeed the smallkin gave his braincore for his repair. The soldier did not give it willingly, it was sure. Something will have to be done about that, it thinks.
It tests its vocal generators as it looks upon the grisly aftermath.
He commits the name to new memory. He stoically runs the AI’s nerval cleanup routines. His optics flicker, but he remembers the name. He does not remember the sound of the echo. He speaks again, in a low guttural grate.
“Diamanthus… me. My… self.”
The bulkhead bordering the bridge has a large hole, depressed by some sort of explosion. He exits, briefly touching the molten and jagged walling. He walks down the bridgeway and towards the bright light at the end. Another breach; the external one, he surmises. The ground was around twenty feet below. Thinking to test his body, he drops down, easily, feet sinking into the soft sand of the desert. He eyes the ship, from outside this time. An arrowhead, black and glossy in parts, but damaged and worn in most.
He scans the horizon – flat and orange for as far as he can see… until a reflected ray of light blinds him for a moment.
He starts to walk towards it.
Today’s reveal is that tomorrow comes the final part of the stories of Outlaw, the upcoming new wild-west parallel of Novus! What awaits our three outlaws? What awaits players of PlayPark RF Online when the new speed server cycle launches? Find out tomorrow!
- Outlaw is the home of three special characters who will play out in live in-game events
- 15x EXP server mods across the board, all the way from the server-opening! The parallel of Outlaw is said to be filled with an energy that our story-characters are seeking to take advantage of, and this it seems enables ultra boosted EXP and other gains!
- Completing your Outlaw run (mechanics to be released soon) will earn you a special set of amulets said to be owned by Quida, Fiero, and Diamanthus, and these rewards will be limited to the upcoming cycle.
Boom! See you soon in the killing fields, dear readers!