May I Write of Heroes – #5: Arc
I struggled with this one for a while. This kind of character is not very easy to write.
The halls were empty. It was both positive and negative.
On the plus side, I didn’t have to worry about hurting anyone. I went full force, connecting my line to the metal door frames and zipping along at near light-speed. But finding no one meant I had to travel from room to room, and continue looking. No one in the training center, no one in the recreation rooms, no one in the command center. I was never given access to the announcement system. I could just seep into the interface, but I’d be scolded. Fortyseven isn’t a harsh leader normally, but he can be a little frightening when he wishes to.
Damn it to stasis.
It’d be far easier if the base wasn’t equipped with phase barriers. The defense against outside forces traveling through the walls gives me the same disability. In here, I’m practically another physical body. It’s a horrible feeling, but it makes me understand the handicaps of my team members. It had been more than three seconds since I felt the distress beacon. Three entire seconds. Everything could be over by then!
A life form. The Gerandi, Briggid.
No, never mind him.
I’ll skip him.
I had enough trouble dealing with the humans. Gerandi are even slower. And Briggid, for all of his strengths, wasn’t exactly a laureate of his people. He was loyal, but not the one to whom I would break this kind of news.
Another third of a second. Fortyseven himself sat in a large, leather armchair. I’ve been told that compressible, porous filling coated in malleable sheets has some level of comfort for solid-creatures. Similar to our buffet fields. Fortyseven seemed to be enjoying it. He was partaking of his pipe and staring at a large fire.
I arced to his side and braced myself. Communicating with solids never sat well with me. It wasn’t the act, I didn’t have the same prejudices as my generators. It was just so damn difficult. Fortyseven was vastly adept at traditional telepathy, but he couldn’t tap into Takicell thoughts. So, I had to ‘speak’ to him just like all the others.
I vibrated the air around my form, becoming visible and emitting waves that he could interpret as sound. It always took so damn long.
“Fortyseven. A Frontrunner transport has been destroyed just north of docking bay E24.”
He took a breath from his pipe and let the smoke billow from his mouth. I hated when he teased me.
“Yes, Arc. I’m aware.”
So I took an eternity finding someone just to discover the whole trip was for not? That is the story of my existence.
My vibration pattern changed, sped up only slightly. This made my color go from a pure orange, past yellow and through to green.
Fortyseven cleared his throat.
“So, my energetic friend. Why did you find it so interesting?”
The air bubbled with my response.
“Infiltrator scouts were transporting something. The server transmission was encrypted, but I picked up enough to know it was important.”
He considered it for a moment.
“By the time we arrived, the cargo will be gone. There’s no point.”
I pulsed, expelling pent up electrons I’d gathered during my travel.
“They’ve left already. The attackers were a newer, lower faction. They have a level five transport, very ‘noisy’. The reason it’s urgent is because they left behind a semi-functional scout. Its memory won’t erase.”
The smoking stopped. The pipe went through the air in a soft spiral pattern towards it’s stand. The fire dimmed and died. Electronic lights raised in intensity to take up the darkness. Fortyseven was intrigued. More than that. He understood.
“Take the point, I’ll make Joan, Trailer, and Kobul aware of it. They’ll meet you at the exit port in ten.”
Then he showed his speed. Before I could leave, before I could send my line out, he spoke again.
“No, wait. You’re getting a five man team. Take Haywire.”
Great. An untrained, unwilling shield. Well, it didn’t matter much to me. Shields and fields didn’t need to interact much. I was getting Joan and Trailer, they’d have my back. Kobul knew what he was doing on a mission, I wouldn’t have to micromanage him. I had a team. As they go, I had a satisfactory group.
“And, Arc… Bring it back.”
He looked serious. He never let us leave a scout in the field. I couldn’t understand why, but I followed orders.
He waved me off and took a step towards his quarters.
I zipped through the building again. The exit port was at the bottom, I was at the top. The distance wasn’t difficult to close. A quick shortcut straight down the staircase shaft, take a few lefts, a right, and done. By the time Fortyseven’s foot hit the floor, I was at the port.
I sent a signal to the computer. The protocol language hadn’t been difficult to learn, and since it’s a rule that it must be universal on the planet, knowing it gave me a sort of skeleton key.
<Activating arc-shell system;
configuration stealth walker;>
It was as large as the most massive exemplar I knew of. The suit was a substantial investment on Fortyseven’s behalf. It showed his faith in me, it showed me that he was willing to make sure I was welcome. Had it not been for the suit, I would still be on the moderation squad.
Joan was the first to arrive, Trailer right behind her as usual. They helped open the containment area. Both were equally confused as to why I was in charge, but the human male had the most trouble accepting it.
“Listen, Arc, I like you and all… but you’re a dick.”
I connected with the system’s computer, using the speaker to reply.
“I don’t see how being any species’ genitalia – which I most assuredly am not – has anything to do with this situation, Trailer.”
Joan apparently thought something was amusing. The male tried to clarify to the best of his ability.
“You think you’re smarter than everyone else.”
“I am smarter than everyone else. I have a pure energy form which allows immediate transfer and storage of information. Your brain relies on chemical and organic translation of electrical signals. I am practically your thoughts, if you take away the superfluous grey matter.”
He wasn’t grasping the concept.
“See, that’s what I mean. You’re a dick.”
The suit’s visual readout activated. Kobul creeped his way along the ceiling. Joan caught a glimpse and gasped. She recovered quickly. I don’t think she liked him much. Most of the solids didn’t appreciate him. Perhaps because he was just so very different from them.
I was different from everyone. Therefore I had an equal disconnect from them all. I felt it was better that way.
The boy finally arrived, looking lost. He and I had never met, but I studied his file when it was created. Another human, young for his species, physically underdeveloped. Fortyseven claimed that his capabilities were vast. I didn’t see any data to confirm it.
But the man had never made a bad decision before.
Trailer and Joan helped the child into a suit. The boy stared at Kobul. I gathered that he wasn’t used to beings with twenty appendages. I suppose he wouldn’t be.
It took too long for them to finish readying themselves. I checked the signal waves. The scout was still trying to erase itself, a security procedure to keep faction info a secret. An intact scout memory unit was a prize. It would tell us the last fifty missions at least, added to the basic hacking resources concerning the location and address of the server and possible the base itself.
“Are we ready?”
I received three nods and a chortling sound from Kobul. They were never able to make a translator that output from his language. He could understand us, but he had to communicate through noises and gestures. Even through that rudimentary language, he proved himself to be smarter than the humans.
Posted on 05/06/2012, in Hypostatica and tagged aaron shively, concept, errant studios, fantasy, literature, musings, sci fi, science fiction, story, Story a day, writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.