|Series:||Scorpio Galaxy Chronicles|
|Name:||The Last Mechanoid|
|Next Episode:||The Gormin Cathedral|
The galaxy has been beaten and broken, and it was their fault, the Mechanoids, sentient machines driven by emotion to try and destroy each other. Now they are all gone, victims of The Wave, not that any are bothered by that. Yet rumors circle about the Extranet of one last Mechanoid.
Chapter 1 Edit
‘Mud ball’, that was the best way to describe this planet, he thought. He sat on the top level of the base looking out the window. He was a Basik, he looked very human except for his crimson red hair and eyes, which despite what you would think, was actually natural. He was middle aged with a short but thick beard covering his lower jaw. His body suit resembled a thin space suit, and was to be worn at all times due to regulations. This was all because the atmosphere outside was far from hospitable.
Outside was barren rock with a tinted green sky. It wasn’t even desert as those were near the equator, just an absence of life. The only sign of the life that was, was the dead trees that occasionally popped up around the planet, but there was once life here. That was what brought them, the oil, shale oil a fossil version of fossil fuels. One would think that such a primitive source of energy was beyond a space age civilization, but all the wars had taken their toll on the galaxy. Heavy Water/Deuterium, was hard to find and energy intensive to make. Plasma Scoops, were being risked more and more, and risk was the proper term, when one got so close to a sun. The Spacium planets were all beginning to dry out, and Bio-Fuels would only last so long. The Gua Slimes could only be made to produce so much plasma, so fast without risking them turning into ravenous monsters.
Then came the war, the Mechanoid War, the Mechanoid Civil War between the Cyberbots and the Destroids. It had warred across Mechanoid space for centuries, then it spilled into the larger galaxy. Then came the Titans, starship sized Mechaniods of unknown origin that sought and destroyed them wherever they could find them. Then came the Wave, and unknown pulse of energy that covered the galaxy for some reason destroying everything Mechanoid related. Cyberbot, Destroid, Titan, they were all gone, reduced to particles or useless burned out husks.
Now the galaxy could recover, but that required energy it did not have. The Cross System Empire had collapsed from the numerous rebellions it fought of, becoming Wild Space, leaving the Federation and the Alliance, in a perpetual Cold War. The Alliance began moving into former Mechanoid Space, looking for resources, while the Federation moved into former Imperial Space.
Now he was here working for the Hassen Mining Corporation, an Alliance Company run by a former Federation species. The base was centered on the Bio-Dome, a sphere like vessel from the age of Eco-Structuring. It was the location of the only source of green on the planet, the semi-circle base stood on extended legs. It had rings of glass, showing rooms or the park near the bottom, with a tower in the center. It stood in the middle of the compound while the other portions of the base had been built around them. It was all metal, metal panels and tubing. One building housed the refineries that turned the shale oil into diesel, the other stored it, another housed the vehicles, speeders and mining drones. There was the dishes, the massive solar array and the massive satellite dish that served as access to interplanetary communication. Finally there was the landing pad, a large cement space for ships to come and take off. All around it was on large metal wall, more for show than actual purpose as this world was lifeless.
The man sat in the recreation room at the top of the Bio-Dome looking out. He was not happy, not about today, today was the day that he got replaced. He was the base’s resident expert on energy but now some unknown big shot was being sent by the Federation Government to oversee things. Worse, they wouldn’t tell them why this expert was coming or who he was, only that he was ‘Max Ion’. A strange name, who would name their son that, it sounded like that ancient Mechanoid from before the time of the Mechanoid Civil War, but then again who picks up on such ancient history?
Then he came, in a ship of a strange design, it was the size of a frigate, but had two Titan Class engines on the side, thrusters the size of a small ship. This person was either very rich, or insanely important to have such massive things on so small a ship. Stranger still, it didn’t land on the landing pad, probably because of the size of engines, instead it landed outside the wall on four telescopic landing gear. Everyone got down stairs to the base’s entrance, all of them humanoids wearing the same sort of suit as him. They all moved to the front gate, which opened to reveal a speeder, blue, red and white, only it had wheels. It was smooth and curved in shape, but clearly some sort of freighter vehicle. I pulled a large blue trailer and entered into the base stopping in front of the group. Out came a man, a bald Basik with a scar on the left side of his head.
“Welcome…!” said the captain, putting on her best face. “It’s great to have you here Mr. Ion, we hope…”
“I am not Maxion…” said the man. Everyone was caught a bit off guard by how he pronounced that name. Not, Max Ion, but Maxion, one word. As if in response, the trailer unhitched from the vehicle which moved forward, and then something happened. The outer plating of the vehicle extended out and in certain parts broke apart as the vehicle rearranged itself into a more humanoid form. It was a Mechanoid.
“I am Maxion…” he said in a strangely organic voice “it is an honor to be here…” He said with a bow.
The mechanoid was tall, at least two and a half times their size, maybe three. It was mostly red and white with a blue helmet, feet and forearms. The side of its lower legs sported three pairs of tires and the front pair was now lost somewhere in its back. Its chest was one long wide tinted red piece, under which one could barely make out the forms of its internal parts. Its, clearly human like face, was hidden behind a face plate, and it sported blue optics which somehow had shutters above with which to blink and strips of metal to serve as eyebrows.
Everyone stood there is shock, it was one thing for Max Ion to be something completely different from their expectation it was another when he was a species that was not only supposed to be extinct but was feared and hated by most of the galaxy.
“Uh…” said the captain.
“No…” said the red haired scientist “NO, NO NO…!” The rest of the crew began to shout with him, and share his angry expression. Only the bald guard, who stood to the side with arms crossed and uninterested and the scared captain, excluded themselves. The Maxion slammed his foot into the ground, causing most of the fall to their knees, or just fall down, from the small tremor.
“It is not up for discussion, the Federation government has given me permission to be here. Also, if I do not return safely, you will all be held for treason…”
“What…?” said the captain.
“My associate, Hans, has all the information, but regardless I am here to stay…Now where is your server room?” He began to walk off towards the base when the scientist got in front of him.
“Oh no, this is some sort of Mechanoid trick, we are not handing over our findings to an out of control machine…!” Maxion looked down at him.
“Pray tell, how do you plan on stopping me…?”
“With force if I have to…”
“This is a mining operation, you do not have anything that can hurt me. I know I checked your logs before I came here.”
“Leave him…” said the captain. Everyone turned to her, she was with Hans, looking at a holographic datapad.
“It all checks out, the Federation sent him and our orders are to accommodate him, assist him and protect him…failure to uphold these orders will be treated as treason.” Everyone was silent, everyone was in shock. The Federation did not have the same history with Mechanoids as the Alliance, but their pyric war was why the galaxy was so damaged and energy starved as it was today. Solar, wind and Hydro power produced enough energy for individual settlements across a globe, but not enough for a galaxy spanning civilization. All of that went to the Mechanoids’ efforts to destroy each other. Between their battles and the eradication efforts of the Titans many worlds were burnt spheres. The prosperity of the galaxy was gone and it was fault of the machines, and now they had to play ‘nice’ with one of them. Worse, though he was not intentionally rude, this mech seemed unconcerned with them, uninterested with what they thought and walked towards the base with an insulting confidence in his safety.
Maxion stopped in front of the base door. The scientist crossed his arms and smirked, waiting to see how he would solve this issue. The base was not built for something his size, so entering seemed impossible. That smirked was gone when everyone watched as the Mechanoid gave off a blue aura and shrank down to typical humanoid sized and entered the base.
“What…? That’s impossible…!” said the scientist.
The scientist sat in the recreation room atop the Bio-Dome. He sat hunched over, head down and upset.
“Shouldn’t you be…” said a female worker. From the markings on her shoulder, it was clear she was just a miner, or more accurately a miner drone operator.
“He’s in my lab, doing who knows what…”
“Ah I see…” she sat down next to him “What do you think they sent him here for…?”
“What…?” he said finally looking up. The girl was humanoid like him but with eyes that were completely dark-red, and her skin seemed to be an exoskeleton. She hid her face behind a glass helmet, which rare for her kind, was not tinted.
“Well think about it. We’ve not gotten any complaints from the company, and it was the Federation government that sent him here. We’ve been doing fine, in fact, according to you, this planet should last several more decades if we maintain this rate. If there are no problems why is he here…?”
The scientist entered his lab, a fair sized room filled with equipment for analyzing soil samples, a terminal and a small bed. Inside was the commander of the base. She was a Kota, humanoid, pointed ears, but unlike most she died her black hair, pink in this case, she showed emotions and instead of a bowl cut, she had it in a ponytail. That Hans fellow was there, oddly armed with a blaster, most likely to keep the mech under control. Said Mech was at the terminal, doing something. The chair was to the side, as he did not need it. The others leaned on the walls with their arms crossed. Then in came the scientist who looked around and then turned to the mech
“So…” said the scientist “are going to tell us why you’re here…?” He still could not believe how this machine had shrunk itself.
“No, not really Mr. Ven…” He didn’t like how he said that, like his last name was just a number.
“Really now…” he stepped forward angrily “I think I deserve to know!”
“If this is about your job, my stationing here is temporary…”
“Wonderful, but that hasn’t answered my question.”
“Oh, I wonder why…?” Maxion replied sarcastically.
“Ven…” said the captain “Let it go…”
“Do you know why he’s here…?”
“And that doesn’t bother you? He could be here for some weapons test, those documents faked, who is to say that he’s not here to steal this planet for the rest of his mechanical cronies…? Or even better, he’s that last of those metal devils and this is some scheme to revive his race!”
“Conspiracy theories do not become you, Mr. Ven…” said Maxion
“No one was talking to you, you damn robot…” Maxion gave him a look and returned to his work.
“What nothing to…” A bolt of plasma struck the ground in front of him. The other two organics turned to Hans who held his blaster in hand, the heat from the tip of the barrel still warped the air around it. “What are you doing…?”
“He is my bodyguard, granted against you, he may have overreacted but I suppose he was protecting you…”
“The limits of my patience. Mr. Ven, any attempts to halt or interrupt my work here, will be treated as treason. While the Hassan Mining Corporation is Morgan run and thus an Alliance based company, you and the rest of the crew are Federation citizens and thus subject to the laws of the Federation. Said laws, in this moment, basically say…” he turned to him “bugger of I’m busy…” Ven’s anger exploded, he moved towards him and threw a punch…and immediately regretted it. The most damage he did was probably to his own fingers, one of which may have cracked. Before he could scream in pain, Maxion grabbed him by the throat and carried him to the door like an oversize plush doll. The doors opened and he threw Ven, sending him sliding across the floor into the wall.
“Was that necessary…?” asked the captain with a worried look.
“Perhaps…perhaps not, but what isn’t necessary is more distractions…”
“Okay, but will you tell me what you are looking for…?” He looked at her “I know you’re looking through logs from the scanner and having it scan areas around the base, but it’s clearly not for oil. If what you’re looking for a possible threat to this base…I would like to know, please…”
“…Only because you said ‘please’…”
“Seriously….?” She said skeptical.
“Seriously…” said Hans.
“Picking a fight with a mechanoid…” said the nurse “not smart.” He put Ven’s exposed hand in a green sludge like substance, while the doctor looked at the X-Rays on her monitor. Both of them were Basiks, with the nurse sporting green hair and the Doctor having red hair like Ven. The nurse, was a young man, while the Doctor was a middle aged woman.
"Oh bite me…” said Ven, the medical poultice stinging as he felt his hand absorb it and the cracked bone in his hand merge back together.
“He’s right though…” said the doctor “Mechanoids were known for their physical strength. Getting into a fist fight with someone who has metal skin, was not wise…”
“That damn machine belittled me, treated me like I was inferior and that Hans traitor…!”
“Seriously, stop trying to pick a fight with that thing, physically, and legally he has you cornered right now. Besides, maybe Hans was trying to protect you from your own idiocy…”
“Idiocy…!” he barked.
“You’re a pompous exhaust, who liked to prance about as the smartest person on the base. The only reason you’re so upset is because this replacement is worse than smarter, he is a machine…”
Maxion stepped out of the capsule that had partially formed from the back of the trailer he hauled onto the base. Waiting for him, at his original size was the captain, and Hans. He stood up with sparkling bolts about his person and the inside of the chamber. The phenomenon soon quieted down, and the capsule morphed back into the back of a trailer. As interesting as that was, it was not what interested the Captain, not what she wanted an answer for
“You are a tenacious one, odd…for a Kota…” She was not happy with that remark.
“If you don’t stick me with the clichés of my species I won’t stick you with yours…”
“Oh and what do you know of my kind…?”
“I know there were three generations of you. The Ancients who just up and disappeared, the Chromiums and their Commonwealth of other Mechanoid races who warred against the Vandoricons and the Rodanians at the dawn millennium of modern galactic civilization over two thousand years ago and just recently the Cyberbots and the Destroids wiped out by the Titans and all of them ended by the Wave…”
“And what am I…?”
“What am I, you’ve called me Mechanoid, but despite what your ‘friend’ thinks that is not the name of my species. That would be like me calling you a humanoid and no more Kota. What am I…?”
“A Cyberbot…” she had a look of fear “a Destroid…?”
“No and no…”
“Maxion…” said Hans in stoic protest.
“She has a right to know, no…?” said Maxion, his tone felt mocking.
“Who are you…?” asked the captain. Maxion stood up.
“She has a right…” said Hans “to know why you are here, but not who you are. You don’t need to cause any more trouble for these folks than what you need…”
“My apologies…” the captain looked at Maxion, his tone was different. It wasn’t the tone of someone who tolerated your existence because of manners and no more. It wasn’t the dismissive tone he had when he was working on the terminal. The tone was kind, genuinely polite, it felt fatherly, grandfatherly. “It would appear I have forgotten myself, once a man, twice a child I suppose…”
“What…?” she was surprised to hear that phrase used by a Mechanoid.
“To answer your original question, let us go back. Last quarter cycle, your scanners detected a ping, an unknown substance which could be classified as neither fuel nor crude matter. It took some time but a secret program in your base’s computer altered me to this.”
“Wait…when was this ‘secret program’ added…?”
“That was yesterday…!”
“We work fast I know. The substance, it is metal, for lack of a better definition, the same kind of which I am composed.”
“So you came to harvest it…?”
“No, I came here to destroy it source…”
“Wait, you’re the last mechanoid…”
“In this galaxy, yes…and no. Besides it’s not like the formula for the Birth Metal is unknown to me. Aside the point, I am working on a project of ultimate importance for the Federation, for the galaxy, but all of that stands threatened if this issue is not dealt with.”
“And that issue is…?”
“Is it not obvious? There is another Mechanoid on this planet, an enemy, I suspect they have been subtlety feeding of your operation since it began. They are representative of the past, coming back to ruin the bright future, thus the past needs to be laid to rest.”
“Mechanoids…fighting…” she said with her hands on her helmet, hiding her face. “How has that ever turned out for us organics…?”
“If memory serves me well…poorly. It is in the best interest of all that this matter be dealt with now, rather than later. Now, I have work to do, I trust you will see to it that I am not disturbed…” He walked off towards the front door with Hans.
The Captain was in her room, located above the recreation room, she was looking out the window to the world around her. She kept thinking back to all the times miners had spoken about a ‘black shadow’ on their cameras, and each time she dismissed it. She wanted answers, so she dove to her computer, a desk top with a plastic keyboard.
“Computer, do you have Extranet access…?”
“Identify Maxion’s species…”
“Subject Maxion does not meet he qualification of a life form…”
“No…identify which Mechanoid Civilization or Culture he comes from based on his overall design and appearance…”
“No matches found, insufficient data on Mechanoid designs and technology. This information requires Level 3 security access.”
“Of course…Then just his appearance…”
“Possible matches are Chromium Warrior Caste, Cyberbot and Destroid later designs, which all had the transformation capabilities similar to subject Maxion and similar overall shape.”
“Possibility of him being part of any one of these groups?”
“Less than fifteen percent…”
“Damn it…” She thought and went over everything she knew about him, about Maxion. He was clearly a scientist, given how he repurposed the Ore Detector into a full blown scanner, via simple programming. His silent arrogance, confidence spoke of a noble, perhaps a leader. They were all things that wouldn’t help with the search. She knew so little, barely more than what he was made of… “Computer, what is ‘Birth Metal’…?” Images appeared of Mechanoids, some alive, some dead.
“Birth Metal is a term used by some to refer to that which is more commonly known as Living Metal, Mimetic Metal, Trans Metal and Promethium Alloy. It is a programmable material used by the Vandoricons in the construction of their bodies…” There was a name that struck fear into her heart. The Vandoricons, metal descendants of perhaps the most warlike and vicious race known to the galaxy.
“What can you tell me…about the Vandoricons…?”
“The Vandoricons were a culture of Mechanoids created using Vandoran programming and technology. Their creators were destroyed by the Galactic Pan Species Alliance’s predecessor, a coalition of the founding races who were all targets of frequent Vandoran raids and hunting parties. The war ended with the creation of the Vandoran Singularity and the bombardment of Vandorica, their home world which remains a desert to this day. The first known Vandoricon was Maxion Prime, so named for he was somehow able to acquire control of the Titan Maxion. Using that power he stole the relic of the Chromiums and was able to create more of his kind based on the personalities and memories of dead Vandoran remains. For this reason the Vandoricon elders believed they were the reincarnation of the last Vandoran generation. The Vandoricons split into two major tribes, the Senticons and the Predabots. The Senticons wished to go forward in a new direction, a science based culture, while the Predabots decided they should remain true to their creator’s roots and avenge the Vandoran genocide. After a brief civil war, the Predabots made for off world, starting a conflict with the neighboring Alliance. Their only victory of note was the devastation of the Vog System and the decimation of the Vog crime families and temporary collapse of the Galaxy’s black market.
Afterwards the Predabots were forced to retreat back to their home system where they were destroyed by a joint Alliance and Senticon attack which lead to the eradication of the Predabots, which were led by Maxion Prime’s ‘Brother’ Marik…”
“For reasons unknown, the Vandoricons assembled themselves in units similar to organic families. Some scientists speculate that this is based on batch creation, or similar schematics.”
“Where are they now…?”
“Unknown, most believe they are extinct, others, that they are in hiding. The unpopular theory is that they indeed accomplish their claim and migrated from this to another galaxy.”
“When was this…?”
“Three centuries before the rise of the Cyberbots and Destroids…”
“You’re a Senticon…!” said the captain, she had stormed into the lab, where Maxion was again working at the terminal.
“No…” Maxion replied without looking at her.
“Don’t lie to me…”
“I haven’t, the Senticons are an organization within our Vandoricon Culture. They were the military. That would be like me calling you a Peacekeeper, simply because you’re a Kota.”
“You’re not going to deny it…?” she asked confused.
“And what would you do with this knowledge, tell the whole base, have them up in a frenzy. I assure you, it would not end well.”
“If you read our ‘history’ as your government sees it, then you should know we ‘Senticons’ sought out a more peaceful existence.”
“Okay, and what happened to you all…?”
“I am the ‘Last Mechnoid’ in this galaxy, whatever that means to you…”
“The other one not, withstanding…”
“They’re a Predabot aren’t they…?”
“What do you mean maybe…?”
“It is not possible for my kind to survive so long without a source of sustenance. Your little operation here is only recent correct, Five Stellar Cycles. It is most likely a Cyberbot or a Destroid. In their last generations they adopted the use of Birth Metal and the ability to transform. Considering how peaceful things have been I would think it a Cyberbot. Predabots and Destroids were not fans of organics…”
“Aren’t you over generalizing…?”
“You’re one to talk, no wait, I’m mistaking you for your friend Ven… Though I suppose you may be right, it would take one of the smarter members of the Destroids to escape the wave, and know that attacking you lot would not fare well for them in the long run. Even so I am surprised by this discovery, that anyone of them could have escaped that wave.”
“You know, I take issue with how calmly you talk about a genocide…”
“I am a matter of fact sort of person, so sue me, being nice about it does not change the harsh truth and you are not a child.”
“…Are you ‘the’ Maxion you, know Maxion Prime…”
“Why does it matter…?” he asked in an annoyed tone.
“It’s just I’ve read your…file…”
“I’ve seen ‘my’ file, inaccurate and based on propaganda and lies, all to soothe the frail egos of organics…”
“…Did you really kill your brother…?” He jerked.
Several Thousands of Years PriorEdit
“You never learn do you…?” said Maxion. His body was different, his chest had a more barrel like shape to it and his arms and legs were more curved, organic in shape. He sported his current colors and a red band across his blue chest, while large wheels rest on his back and his ankles. He was shorter now, the shortest mech there. He was on a desert world, behind him, other Mechanoids, all armed and bearing the signs of air based alternate forms. In front of him were Mechanoids that were more ground based, except for one.
This mechanoid was easily the tallest there. He was grey, black with purple lines. His upper body was almost hyperbole with its width, while Arc shaped bands of metal served as shoulder pads. These bands appeared again on his forearms, which seemed to sport their one personal shields. His feet sports clawed toes, and his hands, his fingers were long claws. He seemed built for nothing but killing, with only the blue stone on his forehead giving any sense of nobility. He was a prince, he was brother to the Prime.
“You’re one to talk…” he replied. Behind him were other mechanoids, all sporting wheels, and like him, they were all injured. They sported scorch marks and patches of melted or half melted armor and exposed internal components. Blue energy arced about their exposed internal structures. “Still trying to make us ‘scientists’ and ‘thinkers’, trying to make us weak, like you!”
“So said the defeated…”
“You did not defeat me, your men did, you are a coward hiding behind your strategy you do not understand the Hunt!”
“I understand it…perfectly and I understand its purpose. You use it as an excuse for your blood lust, but the Hunt called for self-control, for seeking out new challenges, not slaughtering innocents. You want us to go down the path that turned our planet into this, for ‘honor’ you never really had…”
“You dare talk to me about honor…!” he moved forward but the sight of all those guns trained on him made his sense of self-preservation hold down his rage.
“Face it, brother, you were beaten, by strategy, by thinking, all your ‘strength’ did nothing but lead your men into a massacre. You have lost…”
”So what now…?” Maxion looked towards the city in the distance.
“The b*tch says I should massacre you all put your heads on spikes and show my power…”
“She does, she understands staying in office, as she was trained to do. I on the other hand understand that, that is her way, not mine. I will offer you this mercy. Take your Predabots and leave Vandorica, and never return…”
“Exile, how merciful…” he said with spiteful sarcasm “a shame brother was not shown such mercy.
Maxion turned and looked at her, rubbing his optics. He was clearly annoyed and Hans eyed him closely.
“Why would…why would you ask a man that…?” he said upset.
“Finish that sentence and I will spank in front of your entire crew…” There was an awkward silence, before he returned to the terminal.
“I just want to know, if you’re the same bot, the same person that could murder his own brother…Who am I dealing with. If my life and possibly my crew’s lives are at risk, then can I trust you…?” Maxion sighed.
“It was not murder, so much of what you know about us, it is wrong Kota, on that day…my brother and I fought, but I let him live, I let him drift in the void between systems. His systems would’ve shutdown, one by one as he starved to death, and I know him, knew him, too stupid too proud to go into stasis. He is gone now, that is all that matters…”
“Not really…” He looked at her and then back to the screen.
“I have no desire to see anyone suffer for this mission to be completed.”
“Will you protect them…?”
“They hardly want…”
“No excuses, yes or no, will you defend these innocent people from whatever is out there…” He looked at Hans and then her.
“Yes, to the best of my abilities…”
“That’s all I want…” she turned to leave but stopped “wait, why did you fight…?”
“Always with your questions, I have work to do…!”
“Last one, I promise…for today…” his sigh noted his great deal of annoyance, and waning patience. Then he was calm again as he looked at memories he wish he could forget.
“We fought…” said Maxion “over philosophy…”
“Huh, the report said it was a…” he looked at her, with a look she didn’t think anyone but her mother could pull off “tribal war…”
“I don’t doubt, they seem to think we want to fight at the slightest provocation. No, when my people were revived we were split in two. Some wanted to continue down the bloody path of our ancestors. I instead preached a different path, one that was not self-destructive one that wasn’t an excuse for violence but to rise to greater heights, goals, than mere glory. I said we should be the ‘good guys’ my brothers chose to force a change back when the common masses turned to my favor. That was our ‘Great Robot War’ a conflict of ideals.”
“Huh, and you ended it peacefully…”
“I was a strategist and he was a brute, ‘peacefully’ is relative…relative to who won and who lost…”
“No, no more talking I have work to do, I cannot…” the computer suddenly began to beep. “Oh…”
“What is it…?”
“The sensor has found a large quantity of…birth metal? Enough for several Mechanoids…”
“What…?” said the Captain. Both the captain and Hans had the same shocked expression.
“Curious…” continued Maxion. He continued working on the terminal, altering the scanner “Oh, it’s all inert…”
“Basically I think we found a Mechanoid graveyard.”
Ven looked out the window via his binoculars, with a smile on his face. He watched the captain and Hans rode inside Maxion’s vehicle as they moved out to the desert. The ship was another large craft too big for the landing pads. What made him smirk was that he knew the ship in question, he had seen them numerous times. Once they fought against Mechanoids, Destroids and even Cyberbots, they skirmished against the Chromiums even before the Commonwealth turned into an Empire. They fought the Predabots and fought against and then beside the Senticons as they held back Tribunal’s Rodanian hordes. This was the Kerri Anthrodroid Guard, and surely they came to kill that upstart machine.
The mechs walked out of their ship, five of them, each in a mecha suit to scale with a real mechanoid. Their designs were cubic, much more so than Maxion’s who at least had overlapping armor plates and angles to give a more…organic feeling to his body. They were basic boxes and rectangles with hinges, thrusters and a head attached. Said heads didn’t even have features. They had glass visors that hid the main camera and smaller myriad backups. Their faces, didn’t have mouths, but it was not like Maxion who had a guard over his face, they heads were without noses, or mouths, or even face plates, they had just a single plate with rectangular lines for the speaker to work through. They carried large shot gun style blasters and walked with a smug, arrogant stance.
The Kerri were not mechanoids, the Alliance would not allow such things, they were cyborgs the creation of the scheming Salan. Inside those suits was a jellyfish like creature, the size of a man with circuitry and a circular LED face. They were connected with their suits as pilots and living computers.
Maxion arrived with his trailer, and detached it as Hans and the Captain got out. He then transformed into robot mode before the five blue and green mecha suits.
“Hey, look captain…” said one of them “A mechanoid…” He pointed his gun only for Maxion to grab him by the head and threw him away with little effort.
“I trust you lot know who I am, and that revealing any part of this mission is a good way to get yourself killed. Also…why did you come down over here…?”
“We don’t like being told what to do by some bucket of bolts…” said the leader.
“Charming, but the mission point is over that hill…” The looked behind them where he was pointing.
“That’s far, plasma isn’t cheap you know…!”
“That’s why I told you to park over there…”
“Ah…” he said embarrassed. Maxion simply face palmed. “So what are we fighting…?”
“Hopefully nothing, worst case scenario, a small battalion’s worth of Mechanoids at an unknown power level. The goals of this mission is simple, eradicate any Mechanoid that isn’t me, keep me alive, and keep these things from attacking the facility, are we clear?”
“Ven, could not believe his eyes. Not only did they not attack when he threw one of their own, but now they were following him of to some unknown location. It didn’t help that he had been locked out of his own lab, so he couldn’t go and check on what they were after. Then he got an idea…
The group found themselves at the foot of another mountain, staring at a cave big enough for the mechas to walk in. Hans and the Captain disembarked and Maxion transformed back into robot form. The Kerri arrived via the air, their suits sported jet packs, which ate up a lot of fuel.
“So, this the place…” asked a Kerri.
“According to the scanner, yes…” said Maxion
“How odd…” said the captain, that we never noticed this mountain before…”
“Not really…” said Maxion “This place is sporting a perception field…”
“An artificial psychic field that causes people to simply…not notice it. It is much more subtle than a cloaking device and harder to detect than that or a simpler hologram. It’s also highly advance…”
“Let me guess, another sign of Mechanoids?” said a Kerri with a mocking tone.
“If only just…” said Maxion.
“So how do you know these things are…’dead’…?” Maxion noted the tone.
“Birth Metal, in its raw state and living state is energized, more so in the latter with the presence of an Ember…”
“Ember…?” asked the captain.
“The ‘soul’ of a machine…” said a Kerri in a mocking fashion. She looked back at Maxion who seemed to just ignore him.
“He is correct, the Ember is the ‘soul’ of Mechanoids such as the Senticons, Predabots, Cyberbots and Destroids. Its presence is what animates them, without it there is no personality, no life, just dead metal intent on rusting into dust. Now enough about anatomy, we have a job to do.”
They entered the cave, with Maxion turning on the headlights of his vehicle form to illuminate the way. Hans and the Captain continued on hover bikes to avoid being stepped on. They went past stone, raw and rough, to smoothed and polished stone, with a stone door that Maxion somehow knew how to open from the various symbols on a keypad. Clearly he was familiar with it, and from his sour expression it was clear it did not bring happy memories.
The captain pondered about this place, it was the size for mechanoids, but as far as she knew this the Mechs never used stone in their construction. It also didn’t help that her translation program couldn’t translate the symbols, as was if they were protected against such things. These things and the dark made everything creepy and it certainly didn’t help when Maxion started to talk to himself.
No one but Maxion could see them, the ethereal beings floating around them like ghosts. They were humanoid in shape, but their bodies, were made of light, leaving trails of light like flowing robes as they danced about in the air. Only when they turned and spoke to Maxion did faces appear on their heads.
“Maxion, the ‘Prime’…” said a female in a mocking tone “You should know better than to have come here.”
“This place is sacred to us, leave now or face our wrath…” said a man.
“I know full well you cannot attack us, spare me your bluffs…” The others just looked at him strange.
“Who are you talking you…?” asked a Kerri “ghosts…?”
“Yes…” said Maxion in a mocking tone “the ‘ghosts’ of this place, they are commanding we leave and I am calling their bluff…”
“You would not perceive them…organic…” They stopped questioning it, and assumed he was just talking the base’s computer system.
“How clever…” said one of the ‘ghosts’ “you managed to save face, but it won’t save you from what’s at the end…”
“Oh, and what is at the end…?”
“The past, your doom…”
“Huh, any other piece of advice you want to give before you go haunt someone else…?” they sneered.
“You bowed, once, you will do so again…”
“Great, now be gone you’re annoying…” They flew of, phasing through the walls.
“So what did the ghosts say…?” asked the Captain.
“There’s something dangerous at the end of this place. Make sure you’re fully loaded.”
“Don’t worry…” said the Kerri leader “we’re always ready to fight some mechs…” that sounded like a threat but Maxion just kept walking, ignoring his tone.
The walls eventually changed, from smooth, polished stone to metallic and crystalline panels and tiles. The change was not immediately obvious as the both construction styles had similar coloring. Maxion found a rectangular control panel, with tiles on it as opposed to buttons. Each tile sported a symbol and he was either lucky or he indeed knew this language as he pressed the right buttons to turn on all the lights.
“What is this place…?” asked a Kerri.
“A lab site for the ‘ghosts of the galaxy’.” Said Maxion
“You’re kidding…” said a Kerri
“I don’t get it…” said Hans.
“It is a legend that goes back before the Federation, the Alliance, the Covenant, and the Empire. The ancient mechanoids, they were not simple machines but animated by ascended beings…”
“Organics who evolved into beings of pure energy and great power. Said powers included hiding from any known sensor. They could control the weather, raise the dead and other miraculous things. Some felt that they should rule the lesser, younger races of the galaxy, other believed they should leave them to evolve on their own, free. They went to war, using mechanical bodies to focus their powers. Some have theorized that the Embers of my…of later Mechanoids are actually attempts to replicate their nature. At the end of the war, they disappeared, becoming ghosts sometimes spotted around the galaxy. Most only accept that they left behind the Titans, of which Maxion was the last.”
“Didn’t the titans, eradicate the Cyberbots and Destroids…?”
“That was a different set of Titans, the ancient, original Titans, had the first Embers and turned into starships. The ones you are thinking of were just gargantuan and covered in guns. Anyways, it makes sense now doesn’t it…?”
“The Chromium were descended from the worker drones the ancient Mechanoids left behind after their war. The Cyberbots and Destroids, where did they came from? The Vandoricons came from the Vandorans, the Rodanians from the mad computer Tribunal, who was experimenting with mechanical cells as a way to evolve. What if said ghosts were stilling making Mechanoids.”
“And the Titans…?”
“I imagine they got tired of their creations wrecking the galaxy and sent them to clean up their mess, obviously creating more damage than them. With sites like these around, one day another mechanoid race may appear…”
“So why do you want to destroy it…?”Asked the Captain. Everyone stopped and looked at her. “What, I can understand you Kerri, your order was created to fight Mechanoids, but you Maxion you bare the name of the first Prime of the Senticons. Now you’re intent on making sure you are the last of the mechanoids, why…?”
“Any mechanoid that comes out of this place will be a threat to the galaxy.”
“Why, because they hog all the plasma, at this point, they will just shut down from the lack of fuel in the galaxy. Will they make Engen…?”
“Engen is just stabilized plasma, in layman’s terms, more efficient but it would not solve the current energy crises…”
“That’s great but you’re avoiding the subject…why do you want to destroy your own kind…?” Almost as if in response a door opened. The event cast an ominous feeling over the group. Maxion’s right arm changed. His hands split in two, with his finger collapsing in like a telescope. The two parts withdrew into his hand while a barrel extended outward. His forearm split open, allowing the two barrel to extend out.
“Hans…take the captain out, now…”
“I cannot leave your side…” said Hans defiantly “honor demands it…” Maxion rubbed his optics.
“You should know better than to talk to me about ‘honor’…”
“Also, I’m not going until I get my answers…” said the captain
“Are your answers worth your life, because it’s rather possible what’s down that corridor is dangerous. The first Birth Metal your scanner detected was in the refinery fields, near where you found a leak. Over time more spots of Birth Metal have been detected. I checked, those places are all clean. An active mechanoid is on this planet, and has been for some time, now is not the time to be childish.”
“I’m a grown woman, I can do what I want…”
“And you’re supposed to be a Kota…?” he sighed.
“I’m doing this because everyone says I’m a Kota…” she said with an unhappy face. Maxion felt the fight leave him after that comment.
“Fine…” he relented “You Kerri, keep them alive…”
“A mechanoid, worried about organics…?” said the Kerri leader
“You are paid to do your job, not make comments, now we move…”
Despite the lights, the walls grew darker and they eventually found themselves walking past glass capsules of some manner of red liquid. In front of each capsule was a terminal and atop was a screen, which showed various lines like the medical equipment seen in hospitals. Soon they came across more capsule, all red, all of them holding something, mechanical.
Some of them held swirls of liquid metal, which hovered static in the pods. Some had mechanoids. Some of them, their bodies were half formed, one side complete, the other side melting, disintegrating. At least a few had a mixture of parts, some like the typical mechanoid parts, while others were jagged and feral and spoke of an attempt at some sort of mechanical beast. Another few clearly had died from when gun barrels erupted out from under their armor plating. A few more where standard mechanoids but their limbs had broken off and they were all grey like the others, all dead.
“By the stars, what is this place…?” asked a Kerri.
“Isn’t it obvious…?” said Maxion “this is a lab, where they were trying to work out the coding…”
“Birth Metal doesn’t form a body you know. There is code, genetic code, in the Ember that directs and controls the metal to form the body. Even if one simply went straight to mechanical cells and skipped the Birth Metal, like all cells they needed a set of instructions to follow…”
“Huh, Mechanoid DNA…”
“CNA, but yes, someone was trying to make Mechanoids here, not just any.” They came across larger capsules, holding giant blocky mechanoid bodies which sported numerous large guns and turrets.
“Titans…” said Hans. These body were as massive to Maxion and the Kerri as they were to Hans and the Captain.
“Proto-Titans…” Maxion replied “These are far too small to be ‘Titans’, and it only further supports my theory…This place is going to have to be destroyed…”
“You’re kidding…” said the Kerri leader. He aimed his gun at Maxion and his comrades followed “with the data in this place we could get rich…”
“Firstly…” Maxion did not bother looking back towards them, though he knew “the data of this place is translation protected, or have you not noticed that you still can’t read the symbols.” This was true, their translation programs still were not working “which makes proving said data is worth anything…difficult. Secondly, assuming anyone has the money I expect you lot will ask for, the Kerri Anthrodroid Guard will be obsolete once the Federation or Alliance has its own Mechanoids to use. Thirdly, and this is the important one, making Birth Metal is rather damn expensive. To create more of themselves the Vandoricons, the Senticons as you call them, would drain plasma directly from stars. Which means…even if somehow, someone could afford this data, you were able to translate it, using it would be so difficult people would assume they were scammed and come after you, or you will just put yourselves out of a job…” There was silence “Go and set the bombs…” They all ran off.
“Bombs…?” asked the Captain.
“My own personal creation, fusion devices with an added spice of Subspace matter. Very powerful…”
“Tactical Detonator, powerful…all together” Her jaw dropped “still think you should’ve come…?” Moments later the Kerri flew back.
“Done…” said the leader. A light turned on at the end of the room, it was another capsule, bigger than average but not one of the proto-titan’s pods. Maxion immediately knew who it was, as the other capsules around them retracted either into the floor or the roof, their equipment disappearing with them.
His form may have been altered, warped, with black metal tendrils squirming between his armor, but he knew the face, the look of his brother…
“Brother…” said Maxion with shock and horror in his voice.
“Wait…” said the captain “you mean Marik…?”
“No, Marik died…long before that, I suppose that is to be expected when you make your faction’s slogan ‘For Marik’…”
Maxion was hoisted up in the air by the larger purple mechanoid, while said mechanoid put his foot down, pinning a feminine mechanoid to the ground. This was Marik, Maxion’s oldest brother, in purple Vandoricon armor, his helmet sported twin horns, and a large canon rested on his right arm. It was several strips of metal merged together to form the barrel, then contouring around a crystal sphere and finally merging again to the end where it attacked to Marik’s arm. Marik had tank treads on the back of his lower legs and the back of his shoulders, making them stick up in the air.
The female was yellow, with wheel on the soles of her legs and retracted blades on her forearms. She was their mother, in the literal sense of the word, for once upon a time, before her people retreated into the dark, in cryo sleep, they were organic beings, but they awoke back home, now metallic.
“So, brother…” said Marik in a mocking tone “What will the ‘Prime’ do? Will you fight, will you show your, might, no…?” He threw him away to the large window that was the main point of the room. It looked down the city of metal buildings, where Vandoricons were fighting each other. “Without your pet Titan, you are nothing brother, with you gone, Maxion will chose a better leader, with him we will have our revenge, we will paint the space ways with the blood of our enemies!”
Maxion stood up and took out a small capsule stored under his leg armor.
“What is that…?”
“A new sort of fuel, I made just for you. This one is dangerous, like fire in the veins, power unlimited.” Marik nonchalantly fired sending a beam of energy into his brother’s chest, knocking him to the glass where he dropped down and dropped the capsule. It was a metal cylinder with a small rectangular window showing the contents. The circular port told him it was made to be taken like an injection. The window showed a blue energy, but it wasn’t like normal Engen, this was bright, shining bright, like staring at the sun.
Maxion roared, a loud roar like a beast, as blue energy arced about the exposed component of his chest. Prime among these biomechanical components was a metal orb with numerous connecting cables and tubes which gave of a blue glow, from where most of the energy arcing about his body came from, his Ember, his heart. Maxion roared as he defied death and kept himself alive, as he stood up through sheer will alone.
“Yes…” said Marik “a mighty roar to scare of the black warrior, a shame only now at the end, you show a warrior’s spirit, but I thank you for the gift…” He placed the cylinder on his the underside of his arm, and pressed the button, in a flash the contents emptied into his body and roared. Blue flames erupted from under his armor, his skin “Power, such power, now I know I cannot let you live brother… no one but me…” He noticed that Maxion had taken of his battle mask and was smirking. Like that the flames began to sparkle, and electricity arced about him. The feeling of ecstasy he felt turned to pain as the substance had begun to convert the rest of the fuel in his body. There was power in his veins, but it was power his body was never designed to handle. He stumbled back in pain, allowing his mother to dash away towards Maxion. With what sense he had left he aimed his cannon at Maxion again, but the sphere of his cannon began to the shine bright like the sun as electricity arced up and down his weapon. It exploded.
In the aftermath, Marik’s half blasted body was in the center of the glowing red hot metal. He was clearly in pain, as one half of his body was gone, his right arm was gone, his right leg was mostly gone while the other side was glowing red hot with the armor about to melt off.
Maxion approached him, bearing the pain of his wounds and the hot metal to get with in speaking distance.
“Brother…” said Maxion.
“No…sport…” said Marik.
“That’s the difference between you and me, you fight for strength I fight for victory.”
“There is no…difference…”
“There is, for you victory is just an excuse, a reason to grow your ego, to feed it. You’re a bully. I fight to win, and I didn’t need be the physically strongest to do that.”
“My loyalists…my Predabots”
“Oh, I have a plan for them…”Maxion hand retracted in, making way for a blue slender blade with one edge.
Maxion’s image appeared all over the city, in the form of holographic screen. “Predbots…!” he shouted “Your leader…” He held up the decapitated, and ruined head of Marik “Now get out of my city…!”
Maxion walked towards the form of his brother, then he stopped, then he remembered that this capsule alone was still there and he remembered the words of the ‘ghost’, “the past, your doom.” Gallus’ eyes glowed bright red, and he charged out of the capsule, shattered the glass. On all fours he roared like a beast as the black tendril about him wriggled about in a disgusting manner.
“Maxion…” said Gallus. Maxion was in shock, but not the Kerri, who moved forward and opened fire. The plasma bolts sparkled as they sped through the air because of the ion clouds they made, meant to short circuit mechanoid bodies. They did nothing to Gallus, who regenerated any damage done to him. The shields on his forearms open into three parts, together they fired purple orbs of green electricity which struck one Kerri in the chest and another in the shoulder. The arm blew off, as if a bomb had been planted inside it, and the other one had a massive hole in his chest, that went all the way through. He collapsed leaving a pool of blood and oil.
Gallus charged them only for Maxion to step forward and punch him in the face, sending him flying back.
“You lot, go…” said Maxion
“What, we Kerri don’t…” said the Leader
“I have the detonator…”
“…Good point.” He grabbed Hans and the Captain and the Kerri took off at high speed while Maxion turned to his brother. He growled and crawled on all fours like a beast before getting up. Then they came, the ‘ghosts’. They came and sat on Gallus’ shoulders.
“What did you do?” asked Maxion, his eyes glaring red with rage.
“Welcome…” said the woman
“To the birthplace of the Titans…”
Maxion remembered what he saw, the capsules the dead experiments. It now all made sense.
“Yes…” said the man “Your brother here is the father of the Titans as you were father of the Cyberbots and Destroids.”
“However, instead of using your powerful Ember, we used his genetic code, it was what made his offspring such good hunters of yours…”
“I never did understand you lot…” said Maxion “You wanted slaves, mechanical servants, why didn’t you just build drones, or brainwave bases A.I.s, why create an entire race that wouldn’t do as you said. You know you cannot interfere with lower sentients.”
“This is true, but slaves were never our purpose.” Maxion paused for a moment, he thought about their experiments
“The Destroids and Cyberbots, they came into existence, their Embers ignited by piggybacking of my own, locked in that crystal computational matrix.” Said the woman “Until you escaped…reincarnated as a Cyberbot, which eventually lead to that oh so bloody war. Which we had to clean up…”
“Your methods were wanting in…accuracy…”
“We had to be complete…” she in a mocking tone, a tone that mocked the millions killed by the titans as they hunted the smaller mechanoids. Maxion did not let his disgust for them distract him from the mystery.
“You were trying to mass produce, trying to…” then it hit him, his words from prior about Embers “You can’t reproduce can you…”
“He finally gets it, the more advance the life form the more difficult it is to reproduce…”
“You’re immortal, why…Oh right, ‘them’, the ones who keep you on your leash…though personally I think it should be shorter, and my brother…?”
“We saved him…” said the man “as he floated through space, we brought him here to a planet rich in a crude form of energy, enough for our basic experiments…”
“Experiments in using Birth Metal, I always wondered where the Cyberbots got that stuff, but considering they knelt to you at the end…”
“Yes, we gifted them with that, until you wiped them out with that ‘Wave’ of yours.”
“All this time I though you wanted slaves, now I see, you wanted soldiers, if quality cannot win, then go with quantity. And my brother, what did you do to him…?”
“It’s a symbiot…” said the woman “like you, in your later Cyberbot days, we experimented with using organic microbes to further enhance Mechanoid armor plating and with it, regeneration. With your pre-Engen fuel, we harvested the Birth Metal from Gallus here to create all of these failures but also our successes.”
“So you’re playing god…all because the beings more deserving of that title won’t let you, adorable.”
“With pleasure…” said Gallus. The ethereal ones moved as he lunged forward, grabbing Maxion. The two tumbled and rolled until Maxion kicked his brother off and fired several bolts of plasma from his arm cannon. What little was done, healed and Gallus returned fire. Maxion countered the disruptor bolts with his energy blade, from his other hand.
“I am surprised brother, I did not take you as the slave type…”
“Silence, better this than to die without taking my revenge, they already told me what you did, how you lead our people to ruin!” His guns became arc shaped blades, he jumped forwards and swung in an X formation, but Maxion blocked with his energy blade.
“Don’t be so quick to believe everything you’re told…”
“Are you not the ‘Last Mechanoid’…?”
“Not, buts…!” he swung his arms open, sending him flying back. Maxion landed on his feet as he slid across the metal. “You were the ‘Prime’, the great chosen one, bearer of that laughable trinket, the Matrix. That sham of your own creation, it was supposed to create more of us, save us, but you lead us to ruin, if you had followed my path, Marik’s path…”
“You don’t even know how it works, and your ‘path’ was more senseless violence and conflict, that same nonsense that got us that mess in the first place. I tore a damn hole in the fabric of reality to stop the Alliance fleet, it was still wasn’t enough to save Vandorica, but then again that’s what happens when you tick of THE ENTIRE GALAXY! You moron…!”
“And I still won…” Gallus roared in anger and jumped at him, only to be shot in the face and land on his back. Maxion stabbed his brother in his half melted face, only for it to reform around the blade. Gallus fired in Maxion’s chest, the explosion sending him flying backwards.
Maxion and his brother got up. Maxion was spared death by his own natural force field, part of the energy field that animated his body and kept him moving. It was invisible to the naked eyes, unless someone looked at him while in very bright light, they may see the shimmer.
The two charged each other, now relying on only punches, though Maxion seemed to excel in physical combat. His brother punched him but his caught his fist, and pulled his arm to the side so he could punch Gallus in the face, then he grabbed his head and kneed him in the stomach before picking him up and slamming him in the ground. He moved to punch him in the head again, but Gallus moved and got up, turning around to shoot him again. Maxion crossed his arms, condensing his force field to his front, via his arms, but to his surprised the blow still knocked him on his back. He rolled back, to dodge attack bolts and then jumped to the side, transforming and taking off, to avoid the attacks.
“You were always a coward…” shouted Gallus “but worse, you’re a hypocrite, your former master told me the things you did…”
“I do not hold myself to things done under mind control, I simply take issue with them…”
“Always explaining away, tell me how do you explain away the anomaly, when both fleets were nearly destroyed and we spent almost a decade, working to get out, or abandoning our homeworld when your science could’ve protected it? How many worlds have your weapons and designs ended, how many Predabots did you slaughter, how many Destroids did you kill as Zen, how many of your children and mine where out there when you unleashed that wave, a trans-phasic pulse carrying a kill code tied towards their operating code in their Embers. Face it brother, you’ve killed for more than me, far more than any of us, and for what, the greater good? Coward.”
“Firstly, I’m surprised you know the mechanics of the wave…” small turrets arose out of his body and began to fire small bolts of plasma at Gallus, and his disruptor bolts “Secondly, you want to talk? Yes, I find myself in situations of devastation, however I don’t engineer them. You and the others when we were organic, the ancients you now serve, the Cyberbot Senate Council, the Destroids, Tribunal and her Rodanians, Megatronix who turned the Chromium Commonwealth into the Chromium Empire. All of you, causing such devastation, for what, Pride, Profit, Power, Bigotry? Fine, I can understand those things, but you, you destroyed so many innocents, in the name of an honor system, that if you really knew anything about, would know that it condemned your actions! That is why I left…!” His hood opened and shot out several missiles. Gallus’ chest opened to reveal missiles of his own which flew of, into Maxion’s missiles or at Maxion himself, who shot them down or dodged. “There was no longer any honor on Vandorica that word was just an excuse for bloodlust. So it is that I left, I did as the Hunt preached, I sought out new challenges, new horizons!”
“You ran away and abandoned us!”
“There is not much of a difference now is there?” Explosions had erupted all around them, from the fire Maxion drove out, turning to trip up his brother, with the rear end of his vehicle mode. With Gallus down he transformed and was on top of him, pounding him into the ground with punch after punch. “And would you have done? Take us down the same path, we were broken and beaten but still you claim we were the strongest, all-powerful, you and Marik would’ve launched us at the galaxy and then what? We kill, we die, and who would’ve found a way to prolong our race, to see new generations come forth? You didn’t even believe they were our descendants simply because you couldn’t understand the process, because the concept of the Ember escaped your primitive mind, you…you base…”
Gallus punched him off, and Maxion stood up as Gallus’ mashed and warped face, returned to its proper shape. Maxion’s body was going numb and he could feel something gnawing at his Ember chamber and his Electronic Brain.
“What…?” then it hit him “Oh Prime, you old fool, those microbes, that symbiote, it’s contagious…” Gallus smirked.
Maxion fell to his knees, his body quivered and shook, now he could see them, the black sludge, tendrils working their way across his insides, through the gaps in his armor plating. More and more he began to realize what was really going on.
“This whole thing was a trap…” he said. Gallus kicked him in the head, knocking him onto his back and sending him sliding across the floor.
“You said it yourself, you fight for victory.” Said Gallus “A stratagem was devised to end you, for the masters now perceive you as a threat, due to the wave…”
“They see me as a threat because I held them back when they came to take over our race, when they tried and failed to turn us into slaves. They are the reason I am the ‘Last Mechanoid’ brother…”
“Is that brainwashing I hear, or do you just want to kill me that much…?”
“It is loyalty and vengeance…”
“Brainwashing it is…” he raised his hand, getting up to his knee and his brother conjured out his blade and walked towards him. “These microbes, they are clearly Engen dependent, like the kind used to clean up oil spills on primitive worlds. Of course they would spread to me, and I guess transforming only sped up the process, exposed more metal to them.”
“But they are coded to your genetic pattern, which is why they are in symbiosis with you, but a parasite to me. Then there’s how I discovered you, assuming you even left this place, you had no need for the fuel out there, this place is loaded.”
“So you or your masters had that birth metal placed to draw me in. You didn’t attack the base because that would’ve brought unneeded attention. Subtlety, to draw in only me. I’m impressed…”
“Thank you…” He raised his blade.
“And then the battle, the Kerri could never hope to be a challenge to you, they haven’t fought a Mechanoid in centuries, and our kind was always resistant to their ionic blasters, which left me. You just needed to touch me once and then wait it out, I would be weaken, no little tricks to pull out, just cornered. Most devious, most impressive…”
“Are you done…?” Maxion was silent. Gallus brought his blade down, aiming for his brother’s head, only it struck his energy blade. Green bolts arced up and down Gallus’ blade and into Maxion’s, which in turn gave of blue electricity with flowed into Gallus’ blade. Maxion’s blade destabilized, turning from a slender, one edged blade like an energy katana to a triangular blade of chaotic energy larger than his brother’s arm. He conjured his gun from his other arm and charged it, before firing a highly condensed bolt into this brother’s stomach region. Gallus was sent flying back, with a large hole between his pelvic region and chest. Yet that didn’t stop him, already Maxion could see the tendrils working to repair his brother. Gallus got up, his upper body held up purely by his arms.
“It will take more than that…” he said.
“I know…” Maxion turned jumped, transformed and drove off at high speed, even conjuring extra thrusters, to push his speed higher. With missiles, he opened the door, simply because he couldn’t afford to wait. Gallus tried to get up, even though he wasn’t finished regeneration, but then he heard them, the beeping noises the explosive the Kerri had planted beforehand. While the bombs where powerful, what made things worse was that the liquid in the capsule, was explosive.
Within seconds after leaving the room, a river of fire raced after Maxion, encouraging him to go faster. He even partially altered his vehicle form, to twist and turn around the corners without having to slow down, but temporarily running on the walls as he twisted and turned.
He flew out of the cave and kept going as light and fire erupted from cracks up and around the large hill. Said cracks moved further still, meaning he had to keep moving. The earth shook and the hill collapsed as energy erupted upward, something Maxion had not expected. Even more shocking, was a grey cross shaped figure in the sky, flying out of the energy column. It was a fighter craft, with much of its mass vaporized off, and black tendrils arced about it.
Maxion wanted to go after it but someone had other ideas. A spear, mechanoid sized, slammed into the ground in front of him causing to him fly up into the air and crashed. He transformed back into robot form, and got up to see the owner of said spear and friends come down. They were mechaniods, the purely robotic kind, drones. Their white bodies were slender, and thin, even their heads/helmets which sported a single optic. On their backs was a rectangular plane of metal, which Maxion knew kept them afloat by electromagnetics, pushing against the planet’s natural field. They were all armed with long metal cylinders that ended with spearheads made of shaped plasma.
“Oh, I am not in the mood Hesh puppets…” The Hesh, the ones who made the mad computer Tribunal ages ago when they had dreams of empire. Tribunal broke them as it broke free, and it left them with a deep seated hatred of any sentient being made of metal. They hated mechanoids before it was popular in the galaxy. These things, where their hunter killers, cheap mass produced hunters of mechanoids. Maxion always wondered why between the Chromiums, the Predabots, the Cyberbots, the Destroids and especially the Rodanians, none of them wiped out this pompous species.
“At last…” said a woman’s voice from the machine, obviously the controller “the galaxy will be safe from your kind, once the Last Mechanoid is destroyed!”
“Dare I ask…why, are you here Harik…?” he said with an annoyed tone.
“To purge the galaxy of…!”
“No, as in, why are you here, my mission here is rather secretive, and your attempts to track me have always failed, so why are you here…?”
“Oh, one of the workers at this base tipped me off…”
“A Basik, with red hair and a beard, a bit pompous…?”
“I will have a word with him when I am done…” He opened a computer terminal on his arm and began…texting…
“You will harm no organic ever again, mechanical filth…!”
“Such as, the closest organic I’ve ever come to hurting in recent memory…you, Kerri Guard notwithstanding, speaking of which…” The Kerri guard landed behind the Hunter Killers. “I take it, those two are safe…”
“Yup…” said the leader. They trained their guns on Maxion.
“She bribed you…”
“And you don’t care that my death will make you lot wanted individuals…”
“In the Federation, our kind are native to the Alliance…!”
“So you see…” said Harik “you are doomed…!” Gallus landed behind Maxion “Who is that…?”
“My brother, who I thought long dead, he lured me to this world, so he could kill me…” Gallus was mostly regenerated with patches of missing or malformed armor.
“Welcome to my life…also don’t ask about the black stuff, someone upgraded him with bio tech…I think he’s a zombie…” Gallus roared. “Oh shut it, you know you came to save me, as if you would let anyone else kill me. Thanks, but I don’t need you help to deal with these fools…”
“Fools…!” said the Kerri leader. He opened fire, shooting a plasma bolt at Maxion, who swatted it with his energy blade. Maxion leaped forward, cutting down one Hunter Killer, slicing its spear and body in two. He reached to the side, grabbing another by the head and crushing it. He swung it about like a ragdoll into the others, while the Kerri kept back, preferring to take down their target from a distance.
Gallus was perplexed, Maxion should’ve been weakened, he should’ve been destroyed by now, but instead he was strong enough to counter his blade, and it seemed as though his strength was returning.
“What is going on, here…?” asked Gallus snarling…
Maxion moved nimbly, dodging and avoid the swings of the plasma spears and using the destroyed hunter killer body as a shield against their Kerri’s blaster bolts, and a makeshift mace. Eventually he dropped the mech and conjured his cannon to fire rapidly at all four Kerri, taking of an arm, or destroying their gun, which exploded in ionic bursts of energy. Said shockwave covered all the combatants, but the Kerri noticed that neither Maxion nor Gallus were affected by such an attack.
“I think we better retreat…” said their Leader, and they took off. In the air, they suddenly noticed it, a beeping noise, and then they remembered, they still had a few of Maxion’s bombs on them.
The explosion formed a small miniature sun in the sky which burst open into a pulse of heat and light that rocked the compound. Maxion and Gallus were barely affected, Gallus because of his regeneration, Maxion because…well Gallus didn’t know why. The ground beneath them almost turned into molten rock. That was more than hot enough to get past their nature force field and melt or at least damage their armor. Gallus was perplexed.
“The Matrix…” said one of the Ethereals, the two floated around the brothers, their faces hidden this time.
“Not what I call it…” said Maxion “but yes you figured it out…” He turned to his brother “What is an Ember, brother…?”
“A power source…” Maxion shook his head.
“An Ember is a big ball of life energy, it is a life manifest. Literally, life energy, the spark that is the difference between something alive, or not alive…”
“Is this relevant…?”
“Listen! Within each Ember, is our life code, our…digitized genetic sequence, the essence of our race from the time we were organic. Then you have...” The two noticed a ship, obviously Harik’s crashing down in the far distance. “Ignore her. Where was I, oh yes, then you have the fact that Embers hold a consciousness, seriously, you are not a computer, you’re an energy being with a robotic body. It why I can stab your head but you still have your memories when it regenerates. That was what you couldn’t understand brother, the new generations were not robots, they were new minds born from our very essence…”
“What is the Matrix…?”
“Well, aren’t we a one track mind, it, or it was, the system by which we created new Embers, new lives in metal form. I do not have it anymore, I left it where it would be safe…”
“So then why, aren’t you dying?” he shouted
“Oh, I have a new ‘Matrix’, a capsule of Super Engen which I released into my veins…”
“Engen, normal Engen is just plasma, with photon molecules mixed in, making it stable, just as potent, but safe…until you shoot it. Because it’s the base materiel for Birth Metal, it is our main source of sustenance, that and other reasons, such as being similar to our Embers. This stuff, this is what I used to defeat Marik, I tricked him into ingesting this stuff and he overloaded, his weapon exploded on him.”
“And you can wield it…? Lies…!”
“I’m not an idiot to go and consume a whole rod’s full at one time. Seriously, jump into a pool of this stuff and it will vaporize you, atomize you. It’s why I don’t use it very often, it also turns normal Engen into this ‘super’ version…” He flexed and black ash began to fall off his body and from under his armor, the remains of the microbe colony. Gallus noticed how the damage to his armor seemed to just disappear as he moved about. “So I’m going to be feeling chipper for a little while, it’s going to speed up my regeneration, though in a much less…disgusting fashion that yours. Any questions…?”
“Why do you talk so much…?” Gallus growled
“Well partially from the S-Engen, but mostly to stall for time, while the stuff works its way through my system fighting back the corruption and boosting my immune system…”
“We have an immune system…?” Maxion rolled his optics
“Yes, did you not listen to anything I taught you?”
“No…” Maxion gave his brother a look of great annoyance.
“…I’m going to kill you now…” Gallus charged forward but Maxion was faster, faster than the start of their fight, and punched him in the face, sending him skidding across the ground.
“No…” said the ethereal ones. They curled up and sped off as orbs, at high speed into space.
“I will deal with you all another time, but as for you…”He turned to his brother. Gallus got up and fired his disruptor bolts. Maxion countered with his energy blade. Then he crossed his arms, from under his body came a glow, a bright glow, sparkling blue flames and white light erupted out of him, but then the flames began to dance about him, blocking most of Gallus’ bolts and Maxion ignored what did hit him.
Gallus roared, and opened his chest, revealing more missiles, only for a large plasma bolt to him in the chest. The explosion devastated his body, even so it kept regenerating, the black tendrils multiplied and made new metallic flesh to replace was what lost. He looked up, Maxion’s ship, with Hans flying it.
He turned to his brother, his chest opened, armor panels and parts moved to reveal…that was not his Ember, in front of it was a cylinder shaped object, metal caps on both ends but the inside was a cylinder shaped crystal lattice glowing bright. Maxion opened his arms, and all the energy inside of him, all the energy dancing about him radiated outward. The black substance evaporated or simply turned to ash.
Gallus’ regeneration was gone, and for the first time in a long time, he felt…alive…and all the pain that meant. His body was half form, his limbs hung on by metal fibers that would’ve served as muscles, his chest was misshapen with some of his vital parts on the outside. His jaws barely hung on. He could feel his Ember, beating, struggling to keep his mass animated, struggling to stay alive.
He looked at his brother, the chipper, smart-alecky attitude was gone, back was the more stoic, Maxion. From his panting, he was clearly tired.
“Was…was the light show necessary…?”
“To be fair…I was just trying to shoot you with a beam, but this stuff, it was all I could do to just not blow myself up in the process.”
“Perhaps…good night brother…”
“Good…night…midget…” Gallus’ body turned to dust as his Ember blew out from the strain of the injuries. In a flash, rust covered every part of it as the light in his optics went out. Said rusted form crumbled into a pile of rust. Nearby Hans landed the ship, and came down with Maxion’s trailer.
“You alright…?” he asked.
“I’ll live…” Maxion walked to his trailer and took out a cylinder
“Yes…” He placed the cylinder in the pile and it gathered up the dust. “Take me back to the base…”
“What about Harik, she may have survived.
“She always survives, cloned bodies and mental transfers. I seriously feel like burning that world. First things, first however…”
It was several minutes before they came out of the ship. Maxion and Hans had gone into it and landed it back outside the compound. Little of note happened. Ven tried to have the bases’ turret destroy the ship, but they were useless against its shields. He was restrained by the others and brought to the front of the base when Maxion and Hans returned.
Maxion walked in, his damage was gone and so was his exhaustion. He had been refueled with Engen from the ship. He came in to see two men holding Ven and the Captain.
“Damn it…” said Ven “I’m not the enemy he is, he’s here to destroy us, why can’t you see that…”
“The only one who will be dying anytime soon, will be you Dr. Ven…” said Maxion.
“So, you’re going to kill me now…?” he said with a sneer.
“No, do you remember what I said when I got here, that if I die, everyone on this base will be held for treason…”
“A pompous lie, to control us…!”
“Tell that to the Peacekeepers when they come here…” Ven’s angry expression was gone replaced with shock. “You see Ven, I’m not here to take your job, why would I want it, it’s so…beneath me. You do what, check the quality of shale oil and the diesel you produce here? Me, I work for both the Federation and Alliance, to use my advance Mechanoid science, to solve the energy shortage the galaxy is facing, hence why the Federation will be most upset that you tried to kill me, what…twice. Once with the renegade Harik, and then with the turrets, which can’t do much to Duranium, just so you know… and all for what…?”
“You’re a monster, your kind cause all of this, this shortage this death…”
“Not that it affected you, you’re a drop out from the core worlds, a spoiled brat. You have no logical grievance with me, so I suspect…you felt threatened, by a superior mind, a mechanoid of all things, afraid you wouldn’t be the smartest person on the planet. You endangered everyone here, for your petty little ego…For that, you will get a firing squad and the vacuum of space…assuming you don’t kill yourself first. Be gone with him…” They dragged him away to the brig. When struggled.
“You…” he said to Hans “How can you work with that thing…?”
“That ‘thing’…” said Hans “saved my life…” he motioned the scar on his face. They took him away and the others left Hans, the Captain and Maxion to talk.
“Your brother…?” asked the Captain
“The first one, I’m not sure, a combination of my bombs and a form of energy unknown to me. The second one was a few of bombs, on the Kerri…”
“You murdered them…?”
“They betrayed me, and where heading here. I made a promise this place would be safe, did I not…?”
“Yeah, you did…”
“…What is your name…?”
“I’m sorry what…?”
“Your name…‘Captain’ is not a name, not even for a Kota…”
“It’s Alice…” Maxion looked surprised.
“That’s especially rare for a Kota…”
“Considering that your names are usually a couple of letters, some numbers and then the names of parent and grandparent of the same gender…no not really…”
“…Fair point, my original name…screw it, I can’t remember. I ticked of my parents to no end when I refused to be a number. They don’t even talk to me anymore…You probably think I’m weird…”
“I was an oddball to my civilization, small, weak, kind, I was mocked and bullied and by the kindness of another I learned to get past my hate. In the end I changed my people, we saved the galaxy from the Chromiums, from the Rodanians.”
“A shame they’re gone, they sound nice…”
“They are…” he said walking away “Maybe one day I’ll see them again…”
“The last Mechanoid in this galaxy? Yes…” He walked off towards his ship with Hans. She had a look of shock, and then she smirked when she realized what he said.
“No…!” shouted the ethereal one. It was in the depths of space, when a black mass struck it. Said mass was a tendril that extended out from a sphere. It was black, darker even than the void, and it had another tendril wrapped around the other ethereal. From contact, parts of their bodies turned red and broke of as red particles, until the one that was held was simply gone. “You, you were destroyed…!” A tendril shot through his head, destroying him and on the black mass an eye appeared.
“Fascinating…Super Engen, most fascinating. You fools, you thought only of using him as a weapon, you never thought that perhaps, the most dangerous thing about him was his mind? He will be useful, he will be a problem…”