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Your Radiance,

Adagium has been located. We must move, be conditions what they may. I and a retinue of 10 Magitek soldiers will travel to the island and secure the target immediately. Incomplete and vexing as the prototypes may be, humans cannot be trusted.

Glory to the Empire.

Chief Researcher Besithia


Status: Awaiting completion of order.

The unit stood among 9 others. The other units were horizontal on the sand. Armor breach through blunt force: 4. Edged force: 1. Torsion: 1. Unclear: 3. Rendered inoperational: 9.

Last order given: “You there! Don't let”

Commander (designation BESITHIA) located 153 meters above. 150 meters. 155 meters.

The unit propelled itself upward. Through trial and error, its movement systems adjusted until it successfully reached communication proximity.

Line of sight condition: met. Commander's mouth: open. Audio input: none.

Memory: orders were given by commander in a vertical position. The unit grasped the commander by the shoulders and sank until both were on level ground. It held the commander firmly upright.

The unit waited.

Conclusion: no orders forthcoming.

The unit released the commander. The commander drifted upward in the direction of the sunlight.

If: without orders, then: seek superior officer.

Memory: orders came in an oxygen-rich environment. The unit observed the angle of the ground in all directions. South-southwest: 4.1 degree upward slope. The unit walked south-southwest.

The slope increased. The unit emerged above water onto an island. Sand weighted its boots. It observed the surroundings. Small island. Tall structure = building. Buildings were likely to contain superiors. The unit approached, trailing kelp.

The entrance was a slab of rock. No lock engaged or sign denying unauthorized personnel posted. Entry permitted. The unit set its hands against the rock, adjusted to an angle of leverage, and pushed. The stone slid. When the gap was large enough to admit the unit, it entered.

Its visual systems adjusted to dim light. At the center of the room was an object. The red light of the unit's scanners flicked across its exposed surface.

Visual match: Homo sapiens
# of skull insignias: 0
Probability of Lucian: Low
Plasmodia content: 100%

This was anomalous.

Parameter: Plasmodia content > 25% = daemon (non-human)
Homo sapiens visual match = human (non-daemon)

The unit scanned in more detail, excepting the invalidated possibilities and comparing against the several million examples in its visual databanks.

Object Identification Probability

Unknown 40.61%
MT unit 27.97 %
Architectural feature 10.63%
Simian 8.99%
Decorative 6.02%
Chrysanthemum 2.98%
Pholcus phalangioides 1.58%
Sand: 1.05%
Dog 0.17%

Conclusion: Inconclusive.

Though the object was in communication range, it was silent and immobile. Life signs were positive. No orders given. Possible issue: elevation disparity. The unit stepped on the low wall surrounding the object and elevated its focal Z axis level to match that of the object.

Conclusion: No response.

The unit stepped down. Possible issue: asleep. Conclusion: negative. Objects slept horizontally/in a seated position.

Possible issue: stance. Few examples in memory of orders given with arms in elevated vertical position.

The object's arms were held in place. The unit readied its weapon. Its targeting systems identified and locked onto the weak points in the restraints. It fired off a burst of shots that severed each chain, and the object fell. It lay in a pile on the ground. The unit returned its weapon to carry position.

Object immobile, horizontal. Conclusion: asleep.

If: asleep, If not: emergency status, If not: battle status, If not: under orders otherwise, then: take no action. This specific directive had been added shortly after initial activation.

The unit went into low-power suspension.

It was activated by motion in its visual field. In response to the lack of light, its sensors adjusted to nocturnal mode. Its power source was in its heightened state. The object remained prone.

There was the auditory input, “A rude awakening...”

The object pushed against the ground and raised itself into a sitting position, then grasped the metal pieces pierced through its wrists and removed them.

Error: vocalization not recognized by speech processing.

The object pulled out the other pieces of metal embedded in it and cast them aside. It sat slumped over and breathing heavily.

The unit awaited orders.

At the low limit of its auditory range, the object said, “Will you not help me?”

Command recognized: help me. The unit stepped over the low wall, knelt, and offered its arm. The object grasped it. In the night the unit's power source was unimpeded, and it was very strong. It lifted the object to an upright position.

“Out,” the object croaked.

The unit slowed its stride and advanced toward the exit. At the place with the stone it turned sideways to work itself and the object through the narrow opening.

Objective out achieved.

The object leaned its weight on the unit and respired heavily. The unit remained in place, being of use. The position of the moon moved 0.4 degrees.

The object looked at the unit's faceplate. Its optical coloration was nonstandard. (Identification possibility added: Owl 1.76%.)

The object's communication took an above average amount of time, as it paused, breathed, moved its eyes, and worked its mouth between phonemes.

“Who are you?”

Internal Documentation Project Note: In the future it may be useful to expand the speech processing program to enable response to more complex questions.
Priority: Low.

The object removed its arm from the unit's shoulders and stood on its own. It examined the unit closely.

“Remove your helmet,” it said. “Please.”

Self-destruct command failed: user not authorized.

CPU cycles passed.

The object said, “Did you come here to kill me?”

The unit shook its head.

“Did you come here to free me?”

The unit shook its head.

The object walked out to the shore. The garment on its lower half was wet on the right side where it had pressed against the unit. The object knelt, scooped water in its hands, and bathed its face, then returned.

“Where is your vessel?”

The unit pointed north-northeast.

“A wreck.” Object able to see debris at significant distance in moonlight = vision superior to diurnal mammal. (Identification possibility adjusted: Owl 3.36%) “Yet you survived.”

The object sat by the shore. The unit watched the waves on the beach reach closer. The moon moved 0.2 degrees.

The object turned its head away from the ocean and spoke.

“You must have fealty to one land or another.”

Input recognized: fealty. The unit saluted with a fist to the left side of its chest.

“Something must have occurred, or been discovered, to bring your attention here.”

Input recognized: attention. The unit saluted with a fist to the left side of its chest.

The object looked at the unit from an angle, and clasped its hands over its knee. “Will you not speak to me?”

The unit shook its head.

“Or...you cannot. You are mute.”

The unit muted alarm functions.

“Yet you can hear and understand me.”

The unit nodded.

“Poor fellow...ah, if indeed you are one. I know nothing of you. Are you a woman?”

Human classification. The unit shook its head.

“A young man, then?”

Young = < 18 years. Production date: 173 days ago. The unit nodded.

“Dark of hair?”

Hair = none. Color = dark = false. The unit shook its head.

“Of eye?”

Query not recognized.

“Perhaps I can assist.” The object attempted to stand, faltered, placed a hand on the ground, and got to its feet. It approached the unit. “Let me see.”

The object placed its hands to either side of the unit's faceplate. Phrase recognized as preceding diagnostics. The unit stood still. The object closed its eyes, and the unit's sensors registered heat from its palms.

The unit's power source reacted. Its limbs twitched, and its fingers closed and opened rapidly without prompt.

The object's eyes opened wider than before.

“You poor creature.” The object's voice was elevated. “I have never seen a living being so riddled with the Scourge. How can you even still be on your feet?”

Syntax recognized. Memory: superior throwing up hands, “How can you be so stupid?”

The unit remained still, and the object sank an unfamiliar energy into its system.

Input not recognized. Restate. Input not recognized. Inadmissable. Requires Administrator Privileges.

The unit's system attempted to withdraw. The power source would not allow it. The power source reached, and wanted.

The unit's speakers emitted a burst of static.

“You,” the object said, its grip tightening, “you are-”

Its hands were on the outside of the metal and its touch went through the armor. Power source output 125%. The unit's forearms jerked, elbow joints malfunctioning. Object palms heated, producing energy. Run diagnostics contact administrator

“You are of my substance.”

Contents: Empty. Needed: shape. Query: please.

Object eye color adjusted for effects of moonlight: #957A2B. Object importance: all. Under his fingers metal was bending. “I will heal you. I will make you whole.”

WARNING: Energy surge. Containment failure.

The unit's systems were designed to keep the power source from escaping out, not handle similar energy coming in. Something was seeking access. The unit's systems strained to process the encroachment.

FILE SHARE IN PROGRESS

The unit's motion systems locked. Its visual feed flickered, whitened

Memory: high flat fluorescent light
Memory: sun
Memory: finger tapping on glass
Memory: bells at morning
Memory: rows marching weapon over shoulder
Memory: wheat (Triticum monococcum, obsolete variety)
Memory: daemon (goblinoid), claws hooked through cage bars, high decibel cry
Memory: brother

Power source output 200%. It strained at the armor and rattled at the welded seams. It was collecting information and being collected from in an input of data that overwhelmed the millions of images that had trained its neural network.

Unit = Designation = Self
Self = [FILE NOT FOUND]

“It's all right,” the object said. The energy input intensified. “I will help you.”

Aid Requested Aid Requested Units In Range 0

Definitions poured into its databanks, reformatting, recontextualizing the saved information. Giving names. Its memory reached capacity and overflowed across the barriers that kept it sane. The intrusion swept its drives and reclassified the contents.

The object said, “You are a brave young man.”

Save File As

Shooting range calibration, display reading full points / Board set, decimated, white king in check, man in blue laughing (“for once”) : PRIDE
At a run across the mountain pass, snow scattering, unit in synchronicity, all systems engaged to full / A tree in a field, light scattered through the leaves : JOY
Warning lights, damage taken, mobility 22% / Veins of black crawling up a hand, bitterness in the throat : FEAR
Fellow unit shot down, operational signals faded to zero / Unmoving bodies marked with black, smell of ashes : LOSS

The unit's whirling servos emitted a thin whine.

The man said, “You are a loyal soldier and a fast friend.”

Power source output: @^$@(*&##

Manufacturing error code 522 Buffer Overflow please contact supervisor please contact please

Weight pooled in the unit's armor as its power source retracted and condensed under command. Too much data to hold.

Memory: Snow slowing movement speed by 4 km/h Bare feet climbing over smooth rocks Broken armor limb on the tiles torn wires sparking The hand in his warm except for the ring's cold band The thick scent of incense Oil particles in the atmosphere Eyes looking to him for guidance Voices commanding Promises

The savior said, “You are so many things I cannot tell you.”

Memory:

The king said, “Be.”

ERROR

PLEASE WAIT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Object Identified

(A)bort (R)etry (D)elete (Y)ield (N)eed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello! It looks like you're developing a soul. Would you like help?

  • Get help with what you will become
  • Just become without help
  • ⬜ Don't try to control me again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A fatal exception has occurred at 0020:D7722GE in MT PGRM(01) ・ 008004E3. The current existence will be terminated.
To continue:
Reject to return to factory settings, or
Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to start again. If you do this you will lose any unsecured salvation in all possible incarnations

Press any key to continue _

The unit put the full concentration of its fracturing CPU into lifting its arm. It traced its finger on its liege's chest.

\

 

\/

 

Y

 

The unit shut down.


He woke up thinking the word ocean.

It came from the sand in his armor, the salt and seaweed smell in the air, and the shushing sound of water striking the shore and pulling back. There was another constant sound, a thumping much closer, but no abnormality warnings. His HUD was gone.

He opened his eyes. His helmet was resting on flat ground. He traced his finger through the sand, and felt the drag through his gauntlet. There was dark sand here, rocks further out, stars above, and the bare feet of his king.

Keeping him waiting: rude! He hurriedly pushed himself up to one knee, keeping his head down, faceplate toward the sand. There were indentations in it, from him.

“Rise,” his lord said, in a soft voice that trembled the molecules of the air.

He stood up, light and new in his heavy armor, and saw his king for the first time with eyes. The lines by his mouth meant sorrow, and the curves of his bare arms and upper body meant beauty. Before one part of him could finish measuring the angle of his nose, another part called it noble.

“Remove your helmet.”

He undid the maintenance catches and pulled the helmet off, and night air hit him right in the face. It was cool and damp, and tasted of salt in his nose. There was so much environmental input. Hair stirred in the breeze and tickled his neck. He put the helmet under his arm.

“Leave it. You will have no need.” As he set it down his liege came closer, and lifted his chin with his fingertips. “A man shows his face. Speak to me.”

He swallowed, and worked his throat until he found out how. “Hello.”

The king broke into a smile at him, and the constant thumping sound got faster and louder. (Circulatory organs include: oh.) “How fortunate to meet you. I am...”

“Ardyn! I know!” His weight shifted from one foot to another and slid a little in the sand. He was full of energy. “I mean, you told me.”

“I did, did I not. You are something of me, as I am now something of you. But you must tell me your name.”

He stood up straight. “Serial Number Zero Five Nine Five Three Two Three Four!”

Ardyn blinked. “Pardon?”

“I guess that's kind of long, isn't it.” It was easy enough to put together a data set of things that sounded like names, using his old senses, and to check how they felt, using his new ones. “My operating system is called Impromptu 4.0.” Pros: flexibility, ease of coding. Cons: stability.

“Imp, perhaps?” Ardyn offered. Possibility of a joke: pretty good.

“What about Prompto?”

“A fine sound to it. Let it be so.”

Over the sea, the sky was changing color. Prompto watched it while he rolled his new name over his tongue, until the sun rose and palette-swapped the world.

“I'm getting damage warnings,” Prompto said, when the light hit his face. It was a prickly feeling.

“Can you bear it?” said Ardyn. The sun struck his body and turned the rags around his waist pale. Memo: find a way to do image captures.

“Yeah.” It wasn't so bad.

“Good.” Ardyn was looking out at the land on the horizon. “I know not how long I have slumbered, or what manner of men or beasts now walk this star. Whatever they be, among them we are sure to call attention.”

Prompto saluted with his fist to his heart.

“I'm ready,” Prompto said. Desire: see more. Feel everything. He was a firm thing, not viscous and barely contained anymore but secure and stabilized. The thought made him smile. “You saved me.”

Ardyn, with the wind straggling his long hair across his face, with warmer eyes than a hex value could tell you, said, “I could say the same. Though I cannot say for certain what I am myself.”

Oh, Prompto knew this one! “You are almost definitely a non-dog object!”

Then, Prompto got to make a memory of his king laughing.

Ardyn took his hand, and they walked down to the waterline. A wave slid over Ardyn's bare feet and Prompto's boots. The other shore was waiting.

His king said, “Shall we?”


At Galdin Quay, a prince walked toward the pier. He tapped his fishing rod on his shoulder, climbed the short set of stairs with steps that shivered sand from the sunbaked wood, and watched two men walk out of the ocean.