Rise Of Legion.
|Posted - 2015.07.17 22:41:00 -
 - Quote
"MCC Destroyed. TacNet Shutdown in Progress."
The numbers started counting down in my ocular implant. 20 seconds. That's as far as they'll ever trust us. Ever since they found those meat popsicles, and that the implants they carry come with a side effect of random violence, anyone who was in the program was doomed to live a life of constant boredom and pain.
Still, the signup bonus was good: the promise of immortal life! The recruiters failed to mention that you will never get to touch another human again, unless you count meleeing a clone's face in. After the surgery, you wake up in your new permanent cage: six or so walls in a station orbiting who knows where. Doesn't matter where since you can transport your consciousness across the galaxy in moments.
15 Seconds. I see some figures on the opposite ridge, moving towards me. They know I'm going to be a pile of nanite refuse very soon. They will be too, but at least they can keep their BPC items since their MCC is still active to relay the licenses. But if they aim just right, maybe they'll get something more out of it than just the biomass credits.
You'd think that a future where anything can be produced through nanotech that everything would be free. Far from it. With every suit, every gun - for all I know every bullet - has to be licensed to build using a maker. And on each of them is a chip with that license as a stamp of authenticity. If it's destroyed it's gone forever. But if the destruction nanites weren't as thorough the license can be recovered and transferred to another's ownership. The mechanics behind it all requries at least three doctorates in quantum cryptography, which is to say the least beyond my paygrade.
10 Seconds. I blast one in the head, and bring my sidearm to bear as the second closes in. As the SMG starts pouring bullets, I can't help but wonder about this world we're on.
Empty, toxic, yet populated with structures that mean something to someone. Long ago, our ancestors seeded this galaxy with countless colonies, factories, and research facilities. These are all that remain after the fall. Now, they're an untapped resource for the empires and factions throughout New Eden. Send some quite literally disposable ground troops in to clear out any opposing forces and claim it. What they do with the place afterwards I've never been able to figure out, it appears the same way each time I'm sent to defend or reclaim it.
His shield goes down in seconds, and the armor soon after. He falls back into the red sands, and twitches as the bioregulatory fluids pour from the holes his spent dropsuit. I lean over and tap the mask on the side of his helmet, revealing what they've turned us into.
Those pod people above us got the better deal in that their clones actually resemble people. There's a reason us ground pounders never show our faces to the outside world: there's no point in cosmetics when you're a dead man walking. White and pasty, like an undeveloped fetus that managed to keep growing. Cybernetics protude from the skin like boils, limiting the life of the clone but granting speed, stamina, mental agility, and a great threshold for pain. Despite the last enhancement, we've found ways to overcome it in all sorts of ways. Anything to pass the time.
5 Seconds. The downed clone stares back at me, and grins his perfect vat grown teeth that have never eaten a meal in their short life. "Good. Game." he spits at me. He must have mentally triggered his nanites, as soon after he evaporates into a low-lying cloud of grey ash. As I'm sifting for the glimmer of a chip in the cloud, I tense up as if anticipating something by instinct.
Footsteps. The sound of a cloak disengaging, and then: my vision goes grey as I see two plasma hot knives protrude from my chestplate, heat visibly rippling off in waves. I can feel the nanites working already, erasing my existence until:
I emerge from my bed into my cell back on the station in who knows where. The new eyes take a few minutes to adjust to the lights, and the displays in the room power up as I stagger through. I flail my new muscles at one, fingers passing through the dancing lights. Everything in the room is either projected or bolted down for our safety, they say. Wouldn't want to waste a clone, they say. Sometimes I think they keep the quarters as spare as possible to have us take contracts just for the change in scenery.
I check under the bed for the bolt I've been loosening for the thousandth time: Tightened again. Either someone keeps coming into this room to tighten it or the room itself is rebuilt every time I leave it behind. Haven't figured out which yet, though if it's the latter they haven't charged me for the turn-down service.
Walking over to the contracts console, I review the salvage from the battle. Overall it was a bust, but there were some armor modules worth hanging onto. I move to the contract search function. While we are regenerated into clones with every transfer, we somehow still need to sleep every so often. Still, one more battle is better than spending another waking minute in this cage.
"Scotty, give me something quick"
"Sure thing, boss! I've got just the thing!" the overly enthusiastic A.I. piped. I fall back onto the couch and wait for the deployment, staring at the ceiling lights and wondering if there's a pattern in their flickering.
Moments later, my eyes reopen in a cloning station on some remote world. Battle already in progress? Dammit, Scotty! I open up my NeoCom interface and check the status. Sure enough, I picked a great time to join; Most of the defenders had left the battle, leaving their MCC wide open for the null cannons to tear down its armor. I see the last round hit the MCC in the TacNet visual before I hear the all-too-familiar words: "MCC Destroyed. TacNet Shutdown in Progress." I close the NeoCom, look to the distance and see the all-too familiar shillouttes coming towards me.