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Edited by Solus06: 8/12/2014 8:33:30 PM

Short Story: "Not Enough"

[i]It's not enough... [/i] That thought echoed in his mind, echoed until it seemed his whole existence could be defined by that one idea; it simply was not enough. Forged to fight an ancient war, crafted with Golden Age technology so complex that even he couldn't understand it, designed for one purpose and one only... to defend Humanity. His kind had been reactivated, their memory wiped, in order to fulfill that very purpose. But he was so much more. Perhaps Humans didn't intend to give their creations sentience, but then, they had never fully understood the Traveler or its capabilities. Nonetheless, he and his kind were gifted with the same sense of self that burdened their creators with the question, “Why am I here?”. For him, that question was already answered. And yet... And yet what separated him from the ones who had fashioned him? The essence of what made him himself, what gave him a sense of “I”, was that so different from the 'soul' which some of his makers insisted they possessed? He was just as capable of pondering the questions which occupied their minds late into the night; questions of purpose, of meaning... of destiny. But none of that mattered now. Standing amid a crush of vehicles just outside of the walls of the Cosmodrome, the only thought which occupied his unfathomably advanced processing cores was, It's not enough. The Darkness, the antithesis of the existence which had for centuries uplifted humanity, had levied the entire crushing weight of its abysmal intentions on their vast empire, sending them scurrying like rabbits back to their hole, hiding underneath the Traveler's skirts. And they were still being pushed back. Some had tried to flee, escape the impending doom which was closing about their neck; they met their destiny on the edge of the Deep Black. Those who had returned were no longer 'human'. The survivors of that fated trip took refuge in the Reef, but some brave few of those who had first turned tail and run came back to earth, came back for one last gasp of effort against the falling Night.... He was jolted back to reality as an Awoken next to him took a round to the chest and collapsed without a sound. To his right, a Human jerked and twisted as his arm exploded in a spray of blood, showering everyone nearby with the color of failure. That same failure dripped down the cold metal face staring out at the enemy. He couldn't feel the warmth of the blood, but somewhere inside, he could feel Despair. He thought he knew his purpose, but could such a thing retain its meaning in the face of such overwhelming helplessness? His existence was meaningless, his purpose unfillable, and yet mechanically, doggedly, he fought on, laying waste to every enemy in sight, buying precious second after second for those behind him to escape. And still, it wasn't enough. Humanity was doomed to Fall as they had Risen; swiftly and completely. He was struck in the leg. His gyroscopic sensors immediately compensated for the sudden inertia and fed his artificial muscles the proper signals to keep him upright, keep him useful, and then another round struck his steel skull. Warning systems blared in his conciousness, telling him to stop, to hide, to retreat, but he refused to listen. Reeling from the impact, he took cover behind a vehicle, the engine steaming, the occupants dead. If machines felt rage, he had long passed that point, fueled not by injustice or hatred, but by his own uselessness. That rage kept him firing again and again, as his steel body was slowly chipped away, his senses dulled, his movements slowed; and finally, he saw the regal robes and headdress of a Hive Wizard appear above him, both clawed hands raised and glowing with a sickly light. The Russian wind failed to chill him, whose mechanical body could withstand temperature far above and below that of his creators, but this creature hovering above his broken body made him shiver. One hand lifted, the glow intensified, a look of hatred twisting its already grotesque features; he lifted his own almost lifeless hand to ward off the impending blow. Pain and darkness overcame him, and his last thought as the light in his eyes dimmed was, [i]It wasn't enough...[/i] [i][b] The Cosmodrome, Centuries Later:[/b][/i] The harsh wind kicked up dust around three Fallen scouts picking their way through the ruins of rusted vehicles long devoid of life. Heedless of the bleached bones scattered as far as the eye could see, the Vandal raised his sniper rifle and peered through the scope. A small object was wending its way through the twisted steel wreckage, seemingly searching for something. It buzzed in and out of the ancient metal frames, looking here, then flying quickly over there, its single blue eye examining this and that for some inscrutable signs which only it could decipher. Suddenly, it stopped, it's several parts rapidly rearranging themselves around its spherical core, and expanding into a crackling blue sphere perhaps twice its size. Then it gave off a flash of incredibly bright light. “Guardian... Guardian? Eyes up Guardian!” The metallic voice penetrated his dim consciousness, as did the pale sunlight. The wind whipped around his head, but he couldn't feel its chill. A sensation of rising up from deep water slowly began to ebb as his sensor packages came online and his processors began to hum. As the darkess slowly, almost reluctantly, lifted from his eyes, the strange being continued to speak. “It worked... You're alive! You don't know how long I've been looking for you.” The thing hovered and bobbed with obvious satisfaction at its achievement. He looked down at his hands: in his final memory, they had been melted and deformed by the dark energy which had consumed him, along with countless others. Now they were whole and functional. Just what had happened? And what the hell was this floating piece of geometry talking to him? As if sensing his question, it spoke again. “I'm a Ghost. Actually, I'm your Ghost. And you... well you've been dead a long time. So, you're going to see a lot of things you won't understand.” The understatement was striking. A sudden howl in the distance attracted the orb's attention momentarily, and then it turned back to the metallic form standing before it. “This is Fallen territory. We aren't safe here. I have to get you to the City.” ….................. As the Speaker returned to his collection of arcane books and other strange items, a sense of purpose began to well up in the Guardian. Centuries ago, it hadn't been enough. But now... now it just might be. by Xeryon If you enjoyed, read a story by a fellow fireteam member.

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