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.