Dead Time

Artwork by Matt Doughty, Onell Design

He was vaguely aware of the MT Transport’s reactivation, but not because he could see the instrument panel or hear the steady drone of the propulsion system. Paralyzed, MT-01 sat motionless in the cockpit, the internal protection mechanism he created keeping him in a kind of coma. If he still lived, then so did the MTs.

That was the idea behind the failsafe system; spare the leader in an apocalyptic situation so he can rebuild the unit, making the MTs virtually immortal. Easier said than done, especially considering his current state. MT-01 drifted in and out of consciousness, his fragmented thoughts mixing with cryptic images.

I can hardly remember what I was, and don’t want to think about who I’ve become. I just wanted to be free, someone instead of something owned by another, but I didn’t know the price would be so high. None of us did. Battle after battle, kill or be killed. Living like that takes its toll on a -

A dark figure materializes out of the haze of his stupor. It feels like a memory, except MT-01 does not recognize the mysterious being. Or does he? It points into the fog as if it has something to show him, but nothing is there.

Funny...I almost said Glyan. I guess that means something, but I don’t know what exactly. Is that what we were fighting for, to be like them? If it was I’m not sure it was worth it. Maybe we were better off as programmable pieces of metal. At least we were together, a unit.

Light reflects off a metallic surface, blinding him. As MT-01 lifts his arm to shade his image receptors, a silver gendrone takes shape, its blue visor looking at him, through him. Behind him stand four MTs.

This journey has taught me so much but left me with so little. I am alone now; the others have vanished, sucked into that unforgiving void. I used to command an army, strike fear into the hearts of my enemies. Now I sit here, helpless in this floating tomb. If only...

As MT-01 slipped back into oblivion, his ship initiated its cloaking sequence and homing beacon. The signal, weak at first, will slowly gain strength as the MT Transport’s power collectors gather the small pockets of energy found moving throughout Glyos. By his own design, MT-01 now existed in a self-perpetuating state of suspended animation.

Heavy Casualties

Trouble came soon after Argen and MT-01 joined forces to liberate their Buildmen brethren on Rilleco. The process of granting free thought to the gendrones and training them for battle was a tedious one, and the MTs grew restless. Their impatience quickly turned to anger and fights broke out across the encampment, threatening to splinter the unit of elite warriors.

Sentience was both a blessing and a curse for MT-01 and his troopers; he knew it was the beginning of the end for the MTs if he allowed that behavior to continue. With his options limited, he made the decision to abandon Rilleco and continue executing covert attacks against the enemy. Argen’s philosophy of freedom through peace went against all that MT-01 and his unit stood for, and the strain of their conflicting ideals was showing. He was built for war, not diplomacy.

To keep the peace with Argen, MT-01 left a small detachment behind to assist with the assimilation. After lifting off from Rilleco, the MTs moved soundlessly across the system, slaughtering gendrone owners through an endless series of stealth missions. They left no evidence of their existence, only a trail of dead Glyans. The MTs were once again a killing machine, the short time spent on Rilleco almost forgotten.

Their clandestine quest led the MTs to the Relgost Sector where, according to recent intelligence, a huge Buildship filled with new gendrones was adrift and awaiting a repair ship. It would take the entire MT unit to commandeer such a large craft, but the reward was worth the effort; new gendrones were by far the easiest to convert. MT-01 had a bad feeling about conducting such a complex, visible operation in open space, but his MTs were eager for reinforcements.

As MT-01 watched in disbelief, a rift in space opened, swallowing the disabled Buildship and his approaching force of MTs. His first instinct was to fly in after his troopers, but the internal protection mechanism of the MT Transport picked up his thought pattern just before he could reach for the controls. Alarms sounded as the on-board systems switched to emergency shutdown mode. The stunned gendrone floated in absolute blackness, unable to follow his MTs into the abyss, unable to do anything at all. When his ship finally came back online, he found himself lost and alone in deep space.

Ted's Blog - Post Two

Me again. This is my second blog post about my life as one of the undead. Figured I might as well keep writing stuff because boy, do I have time to spare. Plus maybe something will come of it. Let’s see…has anything interesting happened lately? Nothing worth mentioning – except that my pinkie finger FELL OFF on Tuesday. What the hell is that all about? Like things aren’t messed up enough already! On the plus side, it didn’t hurt or anything. Matter of fact, I didn’t even notice. Some dude in the movie theater let me know I dropped a digit in the lobby. Talk about an awkward conversation.

What else? Oh, I got a job as the night watchman at that refurbished amusement park in Amherst. It turns out that my “lifestyle” is perfectly suited for the position. Who better to shuffle around a dark park in the middle of the night, scaring off teenagers trying to sneak in to make out or cause trouble? My night vision is way better than it was before I died, and my eyes give off a kind of milky white glow now. The scientists and doctors can’t explain it (or anything else that has happened to me) but it saves flashlight batteries for the owners of the place and makes my job easier, so I’m not complaining. I do kind of feel like a cliché working there, though…the bad guy in a Scooby Doo episode or something. Whatever – it pays the bills.

I ran into my ex-girlfriend the other day. She wasn’t my ex when I killed myself, so needless to say she wasn’t thrilled to see me. Apparently she suffered some kind of breakdown afterwards, thinking that she was to blame. I didn’t bother leaving a note but in hindsight it probably would have been a good idea. In my defense, I didn’t mean to take anyone down with me. She’s dating someone new now and seems to be happy, so that’s good.

Well, that’s about it for now. I’ll put up another post when I have something interesting to say.

~ Ted

Father's Day

It's hard to pick up your teeth with broken fingers, boy. That's what he used to tell me when I was little. I think he heard it in a movie but already knew it from experience. It's safe to say that I didn't have a fairy tale childhood. My father was a back alley bare knuckle brawler way before that ultimate fighting stuff became mainstream. The one rule when he fought was the last man standing gets the pot. Most times the other guy was knocked out cold; sometimes the other guy was dead.

Growing up it was just him and me so we were always together. As a child I saw too many terrible things happen behind seedy pubs. A man literally fighting for his life and a few bucks to buy food for his kid. That is real tough to watch. When that man is your father it's a lot worse. What I witnessed scared me half to death but despite that I was doing it myself by the time I was 17. We worked the circuit and made out okay.

Eventually one of the crime families in the area found out about the money that exchanged hands during the matches. The action was too good to pass up so they got involved. Most of us didn't complain because the take for the winner of one of their brawls was better and you were guaranteed to get paid. The down side was you had to agree to fight before you knew who you were up against. If you tried to back out after you gave your word then things would get ugly fast. My dad and I got used to beating up whoever they put in front of us.

I started making half decent money from my bouts but my old man always managed to burn through it. Boy, did he love his booze. Matches were set up over drinks and settled after last call. You could say alcohol was a part of the job. Too much of it made him accept his last fight. He was feeling no pain that night and didn't stop to ask who was setting it up and why the prize was so damn big. I didn't either and I regret that every day.

The prison psychiatrist says it wasn't my fault; he was drunk and violent and I did what I had to do to defend myself. Maybe he knew we would both be dead if we didn't go at it full speed. Or maybe he was worn out after all those years and wanted me to kill him before someone else did. Not knowing is eating me up...especially today. The shrink says this journal will help me get the feelings out so I can work through them. I told him I know a better way.

American Haiku 5-7-5

Colors fall to death,
Naked before clearest blue,
Life will bloom again.