Our favorite machine protagonist returns to your screen, only to yield it to world development devices!
About this creation
Good morning, afternoon, or evening viewer. Eighteen years ago, I was but a newborn. Now, I am a legal adult, except where that under 21 stuff gets involved. Anyways, this summer, I told Danny Morgan I'd finish Precipice or be called Awesome-o-saurus the Failure. Obviously, the equinox was 9 days ago, and still no Precipice. So I made a deal, I do this instead, and be the Failure for one day. I'll save it for when I'm feeling especially forever alone I guess.
So, here we go. 8 pages on Word, many pictures, and improved everything. Unlike George Lucas, when I remaster something, I make it better, not worse. I hope you like this one more. It's goal is to elaborate on just about everything I glossed over in the first run. I won't actually re-do the whole series, just the beginning. Plus, the new canon Ian and I have been working on pretty much de-validates everything in POAM, Haywire, Circuits and Destruction, and Precipice. Without further ado, I present, Inspection 2.0!
-Warpship Black Tide, personal vessel of Lord Visetharis
“I'd be very much pleased if you would tell me why we are out here, my prince.”
“We are here because we have no other choice, Rathys.” Said Lord of the Third Fleet Aemowes Zakithys, Prince of Thyrenda and heir apparent to the throne. “And my good friend Thûzorôs Visetharis offered transportation. I will trust the Lord of Ai-Kaion over some barbarian any day.”
“My liege would be... Wise to trust the Lord.” Agreed the calculator's interpreter, Serys. The Thyrendi shook constantly, a side effect of years of alcoholism on his behalf. Rumor had it that Thûzorôs had picked him up off the streets of Laharô, capital city of Hethorîon. “He has flown into the Lost Realm twice, and now he is paying a visit to the most august Îrudzîshan-Tarat.”
“The Great Foundry.”
“In its prime, it would be a sight to behold.” Stated Aemowes.
“It still is...” Admited Rathys. He was a young, barely old enough to leave his tribe. But Aemowes needed a protege, and Rathys fit the bill. “Even broken, I have never seen anything like it.”
“Twenty-million gold marks will buy you enough alloy for a small vessel. Forty-million will get you enough to decently armor a battleship. Eighty million, and you can build another Fortress of Silence.” Announced Lord Thûzorôs. “But eighty million gold marks is no small matter.”
“That's the entire income of my father's Kingdom in three decades” Replied Aemowes. “Not even the industrialists of Mikô-Îrud can spare that much. Nor even the Emperor.”
“And thus, why our Coalition can ill-afford great wars. Our finest ships are our oldest, our newest are our worst.” Said the Lord of Ai-Kaion, smiling darkly. “Is it no wonder then, that our diplomatic methods are webs of shadows and espionage?”
“Zakithys the First fought alongside King of Kings Bâlôs Taizâris, at the height of our power. I fear both of them would be saddened to see how far we've fallen.” Agreed the Prince of Thyrenda. “But we are not here to discuss ancient history. The locals know you, Thûzor, will they take your word I am not here to do harm?”
“They will. Though the men of Metontek-Sôl are still unknown to most, it is known that Tarsis faces some persistent enemy in a faraway region.” Answered he. “They will not trouble you if you do not trouble them.”
“Excellent. Thank you, friend Thûzor. This wouldn't have been possible without you.”
“Might I ask, Aemowes, why you are out here in the first place?”
“Royal business.” Replied the Prince after some pause.
“And does that royal business fall under Imperial jurisdiction?” Asked the Lord of Ai-Kaion.
“What the Emperor doesn't know won't hurt him today.” Said Aemowes craftily. Thûzor gave a knowing smile.
-The Great Foundry, under Sarthîm control-
“Ten thousand years ago, the armor of our finest ships was forged here, and then shipped to Tarsis, Thyrenda, and other such planets. All ships are sent to Tarsis in the end, though. The Emperor would be a fool to loose his monopoly on Warpspace engines and weapons installation.”
“But not anymore, my prince?” Rathys asked, over the din of distant machinery. The place was very loud, and looking like it could fall apart at any moment. The Foundries were some of the most fought-over objects in all the World, they all bore the scars of battle, and none moreso than the Great Foundry.
“Not anymore. We bargain for what we can get, but ever since the Loiarî lost this region, we've never had the strength to gain it back. Thyrenda is not all-powerful, and we could not hold an entire frontier. They did not listen though. The curse of a minority period: Factions, negligence, and corruption. Poor Kairôs suffered for his father's madness, mother's ambition, and regent's stubbornness.” Aemowes lamented. “But the past is done with. We do the best we can with what we have, as the gods willed it.”
“So it is.” Rathys nodded. “You are to meet someone here, I take it?”
“Yes, the Tamethor. Some kind of Tarsin title, I believe.”
“Oh! There's a word I know!” Rathys blurted in excitement. “It means something along the lines of 'foreman' or 'manager,' mixed with 'judge.' The word is from a degenerate branch of Tarsin. The Tamethor runs the Foundry.” Explained he.
“So it would seem. I just hope we're not getting more than we bargained for.”
It was not long before Aemowes and Rathys found the Tamethor. Much to their surprise, he too was Thyrendi. “Ah, Prince Aemowes. Welcome to the Great Foundry. Can you not feel the presence of something bigger, here?”
“No, I cannot. I feel something eerie... Ancient... Disturbing.” The Prince responded.
“Is there any differerence between our examples?” Mused the armored Thyrendi. He removed his helmet. “But on with business. I am Ferysir, chief of this venerable machine. My human clan calls me Tamethor.”
“Very well, Ferysir. I have come for what my agents negotiated for.” Aemowes told the chief.
“Do you have my payment?”
“Do you have my apparatus?” The two stared at each other for a moment. Ferysir slowly gestured to an inconspicious crate. Aemowes nodded, and waved his guard forward. They deposited a chest by the table.
“One hundred Imperial gold marks. Accepted currency of the World, these will buy you whatever you can bargain for with them.” Said the Fleet Lord.
“I am most pleased, Prince.” Commented Ferysir, clicking his claws together. “Sometimes I wonder why I stay out here... Oh, that's right, your father exiled mine. Perhaps you will grant me right to return to my home planet?”
“If your apparatus works as you say it does, I'll restore you to your lands. If I can find you again.” Agreed Aemowes.
“I'm sure you will. Have fun with your new toy, Prince. I do hope you keep it safe.” He nodded to the commotion at the bar.
Aemowes gave a slightly mocking bow, as Rathys, the soldiers, and he set back to Black Tide.
-Owyhee, Aeaea System, Kingdom of Thyrenda-
“Owyhee... Wetter than I remember.” Remarked Aemowes, looking through the tank's periscope.
“We're in one of the equatorial jungles, my prince. We approached from the other side of the mountains, last time we were here. Though most of the planet is rather dry, the weather patterns over here lend this region a particular moistness.” Rathys explained. “Given your family's habit of turning Aeaea into a lost and found for refugees, exiles, and the unwanted, it is no surprise the displaced Earthmen who settled here got the name changed so fast.” There was some discontent in the Kingdom over the Zakithys tribe's alleged selling of territory to anyone who wanted it. “I mean no offense though, my prince.”
“The gods see us only for who we are, not for what we are.” Aemowes recited from The Judgment of Ladra, an ancient parable. “Thyr would have it that we welcome all with good in their hearts to this Kingdom.”
“Do you really believe that?” Rathys questioned, almost skeptically.
“I believe in the power of economics, dear Rathys. Higher populations lead to stronger economies, just look at Tarsis.” The prince stated.
“But the Tarsins don't have any established deities.” Protested Rathys. “They-”
“-Worship knowledge to the extent it might as well be religion. Gods have nothing to do with a state's success or failure. We keep ours because it shows us our part in this World, Rathys.” Aemowes interjected. “End of subject.” The Fleet Lord's protege frowned, but said nothing more. In time, he would come around, as most young Thyrendi did. The tank rumbled along in silence, their driver pointedly not making conversation.
The inhabitants of Owyhee were as diverse as the rest of the Aeaea system. There was probably at least one member of every race from the Nine Realms. And soon, there would be one different than any other. Aemowes was not set against any particular race; he would work with anyone that could offer skills, no matter where they came from. That was how Dr. Thompson of Sôl, as the Tarsins called him, ended up working for him. The Earthman had a brilliant way with computer and machines. And Aemowes shared just such an interest.
“Excuse me, my prince,” Began Rathys, breaking the silence. “But why are we bringing that little gadget into the middle of a jungle?”
“Secrecy, Rathys. Secrecy.” Cryptically replied Aemowes. “You'll see soon.”
“Might I ask as to the purpose of a facility this far from any landing strip?”
“I might be a prince, and a Fleet Lord, but that doesn't mean I can't earn a little money on the side, does it?” Aemowes knocked on the side of the vehicle. “Outside of here is a lush, fertile, and dangerous environment. The King of Kings' men will not come looking here; and I can keep our own away. If we were to get out now, we could be lost for years in here, Rathys. It's the perfect place to keep things you'd rather not have found.”
“Like what?” Rathys asked, narrowing his red eyes.
“As I said, you'll see soon.”
“Prince!” A soldier, probably Tarsin, exclaimed as he snapped to attention. “Welcome, my lord, we were not expecting you so soon.”
“Consider it a special surprise.” Remarked Aemowes.
“Are you here for-” Began the guard, only to be cut off.
“-No, no, not yet. This is for Project Cysera.”
“Ah. Come right in then, my prince.” Aemowes and Rathys went deeper into the complex. The Fleet Lord had not been here often, most of his meetings with Thompson happened in the cities of the more-accessible Koren.
“We are greatly pleased to be hosting someone of royalty. I do hope our accommodations are suitable.” Said the soldier.
“This facility was designed to my specifications, I think it will do finely.” Stated Aemowes. “At least the walls aren't yellow this time.”
“Again, my lord, we wasn't expecting you. Accept our most humblest apologies.” Said the other Tarsin. On a second thought, Aemowes decided he wasn't Tarsin at all, but rather, an Earthman. His tense was off, a common mistake in the Thyrendi tongue for outsiders.
“What's done is done. I am here for something new.”
“He gives me the shivers, he does.”
“He's just a big hunk of metal, what's it going do?”
“Kill you in twelve different ways in six seconds, Jim.” Dr. Steven Thompson looked up from his work at his fellow Earthman, Jim Reynolds.
“See? Shivers!” Insisted Vailar, the Thyrendi, in the throaty drawl of his kind's accent.
“If you're so afraid, why are you here?” Asked Reynolds. “You eat anything else on your planet for breakfast, you can take down a robot, right?”
“It is not a question of breakfast or robot, Reynolds.” Vailar gave the machine a suspicious glance. “It is of morality.”
“He sleeps now, unaware.” Continued Vailar, adding in broad gestures as he spoke. “But in his life, he will need to choose whether he is for good or for evil. This creature was created by us mortals, and we are fallible. Who is to say if he will make the choice to walk in the light of gods?”
“He is.” Thompson stated firmly. “You teach that it is entirely up to use which side we take in your cosmic struggle. He will do what he thinks is best.”
“I don't know, doctor.” Reynolds looked from side to side. “This ain't exactly legal, now is it? And if VF-S 1 here does go black of heart... I don't want to be around for the consequences.” Confessed he.
“I don't think he will. Treat him with respect, and he will do the same for you.” The aging doctor said. “The crystal matrix has performed incredibly over the last fifteen years, growing and developing much like a mind of our own. Varion has fears, doubts, hopes, dreams, just like us. Whereas we have skin and blood, he has metal and hydraulic fluid. That is as great as the difference gets.”
“I just have a bad feeling about this, that's all.” Admitted Reynolds. “This could go terribly.”
“Or it could be the greatest achievement since the nuclear bomb.” Thompson lodged as a counter-argument.
“Atomics are not all that impressive, doctor.” Vailar piped up. “The jump-drive is far more important.” The doctor sighed; recalling he was as far from Earth as he could get. Sometimes, he missed his home planet. So did many other of the UNE refugees that had been settled on Owyhee, by the grace of King Zakithys. But there was no going home now, at least not for Thompson. He would be dead by the time the uppity planet was subdued by Coalition forces, and twice dead by the time it would be allowed to interact with the other Nine Realms. Prince Aemowes said that the Emperor planned to make a tenth Realm out of the former territory of the Earthmen. “What is taking him so long?”
“Who can say, with something this complex?” Thompson thought out loud. “We barely understand what we've created.”
“That makes me feel safe.” Remarked Reynolds.
“RUNNING SYSTEMS CHECK: SYSTEMS NORMAL.” Vocalized the machine in a harsh, metallic voice.
“Good morning, Varion. Did you sleep well?” The doctor asked, as he had done many times before.
“AFFIRMATIVE. MY ENERGY RESERVES ARE AT MAXIMUM, AND MY INTERNAL TEMPERATURES ARE OPTIMAL.” Announced VF-S 1. It stood for Variable Function, Sentient 1. Over the last thirty years, Thompson and Aemowes had worked together on mechanical things, and started a series of simple machines called the Variable Function series. Of course, such a thing was only semi-legal at best. Sentient 1 was their first successful try at creating a self-conscious brain that actually worked. Combined, VF-S 1 was the result. It had taken fifteen years for him to learn and mentally develop, almost at the same rate as a human. The crystal matrix was not a computer, and thus, nowhere as fast.
“That's good to hear. Prince Aemowes is on his way, he says he finally found a portable coolant system.” Replied the doctor.
“About damn time.” Commented Reynolds.
“Dealing with the Sarthîm is never easy, even for us.” Vailar pointed out. “They hate Tarsis as Tarsis hates them, and sadly, we of Thyrenda are often grouped with Tarsis just for our oath of fealty.”
“SARTHÎON HAS CONTROL OF THE FOUNDRIES, DOES IT NOT?” Asked VF-S 1, breaking his silence.
“Indeed. They are degenerates, if the Tarsins are to be believed. Naught but barbarian conquerors with little culture of their own and even less regard for others.” Said the aged human, as he checked the computers. “This is propaganda. From the few interactions I've had with the Sarthîm, they've developed a society far different from our friends of Tarsis. They just have nearly opposite ideals.”
“So it is.” Announced the Lord of the 3rd Fleet, strolling in. “Good day once again, Doctor Thompson.”
“Good day, my lord.” Thompson bowed in respect, as did Reynolds. Vailar kneeled, as did Varion.
“HAIL, MY PRINCE.” VF-S 1 stated.
Aemowes was the liege of both Thyrendi and machine, thus, they were required to demonstrate their submission. Despite the obvious and eerie similarities of the two species, Varion's frame was modeled after a Thyrendi, not a human.
“Rise, subjects and citizens.” Aemowes replied, nonchalantly. “We've got work to do.”
“I managed to acquire the cooling apparatus.” The Thyrendi picked the device up out of its box. “It will be able to regulate VF-S 1's internal systems, and dispel excess heat. Then, he will be free to move about the complex.”
“AM I NOT FREE ALREADY?” Asked the machine, perplexed. “IT IS A SIMPLE MATTER OF STAYING CONNECTED TO THE SYSTEM...”
“Which is not true freedom, Varion.” Thompson interjected. “With this device installed, you will be able to go anywhere, any time, so long as you've got enough coolant fluid and are otherwise in working order.”
“PERHAPS THIS WILL BE GOOD, THEN.” Varion nodded, as if in thought. Thompson knew he was indeed thinking, and that this was behavior acquired from watching what was around him. As far as the doctor and prince were concerned, this project was a total success.
“I think it will be the best thing that's happened to you since we brought you online.” Aemowes agreed. “But it'll need to wait. I have traveled a long way these past few weeks, I feel the need to kill something.”
The next day...
“Good morning everyone.” Aemowes greeted happily, from behind the doctor's desk. “The final phase of Cysera is beginning. What shall happen?”
“Freedom of movement.” Thompson replied.
“What could this lead to? How much would we be fined if Tarsis ever found out what's happening here? Who can say...” The prince of Thyrenda continued to monologue.
“Probably somewhere in the order of a couple thousand marks, my lord.” Reynolds suggested, while carrying the ladder.
“In any case, your contacts got the design completely correct, it shouldn't take more than a few minutes to install.” Continued the Earthman soldier, after taking off his heavier armor for more mobility.
“Looks like Thûzorôs knows the right people then. I'll support the boy's claim for the County of Ai-Kaion without a doubt now.”
“YOUR CONCEPT OF HEREDITARY RULE IS A CURIOUS ONE.” Varion announced. “IT PROVIDES STABILITY THOUGH LONG-TERM LEADERS, YET, THE WRONG LEADER CANNOT BE LEGALLY REMOVED, THUS PROVIDING A WINDOW FOR GREAT INSTABILITY.”
“That's why the gods gave us coups.” Replied Aemowes. “How do you think they got rid of Esîôs IV?” He referenced the tyrannical, brutish, and final ruler of the Karônis dynasty.
“Isn't he the one that gave Koren the title of 'Penitentiary of the Coalition?'” Asked Thompson.
“The very same. Ever since his exile to this system, we've been getting other troublemakers ever since.” Agreed the Fleet Lord. “They give it a dangerous, and yet, honest atmosphere. I like it.”
“Honest?” Grumbled Reynolds. “If that's what you call honest... Anyways, I've finished the installation, my lord.”
Varion slowly stalked forth, investigating his new-found freedom. “See? About twenty times better than being hooked up to that cooling tower back there.”
“INDEED.” The machine agreed.
“Excuse me, my prince...” Rathys started to say.
“DOCTOR, I INTEND TO SEE WHAT LIES BEYOND THIS FACILITY.”
“Very well.” Thompson complied. “I'll get the guards to open the doors...”
“What is it, Rathys?” Questioned Aemowes. “I want to see what my creation thinks of real trees, make this fast.”
“It's rather alarming. Early this morning, the Royal Port Authority on Koren received a transmission-”
“Sarthîm?” The Fleet Lord suggested, grimly.
“No, worse. Chancellor Kantaris.” Rathys answered. “He requests your presence on Thyrenda.” Aemowes was quiet for a moment. Kantaris was the Chancellor of the Archive, second only to the High Chronicler. And the Archive had ears everywhere.
“You're right, Rathys. That is much worse.”
Fun but-not-really facts:
-Development of machines like Varion is illegal under the Emperor's law. Thus, the secret-ness of this project. But, Aemowes is the fresh prince of Thyrenda, he thinks he can get away with it.
-Sarthîon is an old Tarsin colony since gone rogue, well beyond the Coalition, and seat of a confederacy composed of all races willing to fight the dominion of Tarsis. Too bad Earth has no way to contact them, let alone, know about them in the first place. They have intermittent wars with the Coalition.
-The Foundry model was made in ten seconds flat, I would have gone bigger, but simply didn't have the time to make something symmetrical yet nearly derelict on any higher scale.
-King of Kings is the Thyrendi translation of “Emperor.”
-On Owyhee, a mix of Thyrendi, Tarsin, and English is the common language. In a few generations, it'll be a completely new dialect.
-Thûzorôs Visetharis, Lord of Ai-Kaion, is not the clear heir to his father's position of Count. Because he is the son of Count Taros's first wife, the son of Taros's second wife also has a good deal of claim. Tarsin inheritance law says only the most worthy will succeed in such a case.
-The Archive is the Coalition's version of intelligence agency and state church rolled into one. Where, as Aemowes says, knowledge has become a virtual religion. Though the High Chronicler's faith has made significant headway there...
Stay tuned for Philosophy of a Machine: 2 2.0! Coming soon to an Awe's page near you!
Quoting SISE .
Cool story, bro. But pardon the ignorance: If Varion has the form of a thyrendi, why his sig-fig looks that way?
Well, bodily form. Of course, his head is completely different, but if I had any drawing skills, you'd see a vague mirror of anatomy. Of course, Varion's much bigger, thus allowing more detail, unlike Aemowes, who is but a minifig.
'EMP' Phazonix (Grand council of the BoTC) .
September 30, 2011
I like it
September 30, 2011
Cool story, bro. But pardon the ignorance: If Varion has the form of a thyrendi, why his sig-fig looks that way?