Chapter 6: Endsong
K'orrza Rahn felt his entire world spinning, blurring, beckoning him to give in to the shadows of unconsciousness. But to do that would be deadly. Because standing over him, almost gloating over him, was ACe in his Mobile Suit Unit, his I-shaped faceplate slowly pulsing a menacing blue fire. "You shot me," ACe snarled. "I can't believe you shot me!" K'orrza tried to focus on his damaged, broken arm, realizing that when he was punched back his EM pulse gun had slipped off his hand. His fingertips brushed against it. He tried to reach for it as ACe continued to spout his hatred at him. "Do you have any idea what you could have done to me?!" he screamed at K'orrza. "Do you have any--" ACe glanced down, seeing what K'orrza was trying to do. He placed a metal foot firmly on K'orrza's broken arm, sending a harsh spike of pain up his body. He tried to scream, but in his nearly comatose state, all he could do was groan weakly. Reaching down and scooping the small weapon up ACe continued to rant. "...any idea what you could have done?!"
ACe tossed the weapon over its shoulder, reaching down and grabbing K'orrza by his throat, bodily lifting him up until his toes barely scraped across the floor plates. "For what?!" he shouted, throttling K'orrza violently and pressing his metal fingers around his windpipe. "FOR WHAT?" he asked again. "For these....humans? For these animals?" He brought K'orrza close until they were almost nose to nose. "You've failed, Protectorate. You. Have. Failed. You can't stop what's coming. THEY can't stop what's coming." ACe threatened. "And while every circuit in me wants to rip you apart, I'm not. I won't. Not yet. Because I'm going to make you watch. I'm going to chain you down and rip your eyelids off and make sure you see every last human, every last living thing on the planet die. I want you to witness the glory of the Abborian race as they wipe this pathetic species off the galactic map." ACe squeezed a little more on K'orrza's larynx. "And once they're dead," he gloated, "once the last of them finally dies, I'm going to reach down," he throttled K'orrza like a rag doll, "AND RIP YOUR DAMNED SPINE OUT THROUGH YOUR MOUTH!!"
K'orrza tried to speak, to form words through the nearly asphyxiating grip ACe had on his neck, but all he could manage was a choked, "Fuug....UGHHLK!" ACe titled his head to the left, putting K'orrza down and lightening his grip just a hair. "What?!" he half asked, half commanded. K'orrza drew in all the air that he could, sliding his good hand down to his side. And with all the anger, all the rage that he could draw from his lungs, borrowed a earthian phrase of defiance.
He flung the electro-mag tether at ACe's face and flipped on the power. The small, almost innocuous speck of metal made contact with ACe's faceplate. And sent the robotic circuitry into utter chaos. ACe tried to yelp, but with the electro-mag scrambling his systems, could only manage to make this stuttering "grrb-grrb--g--ggrrb---" noise. His entire frame began to convulse, every gyro and electrical synapse fluctuating wildly. ACe dropped K'orrza as he pawed and stuttered back, trying to pull and pry the magnet off his faceplate.
It was all that K'orrza needed. He landed on his heels and almost fell back, but managed to stay standing. He slid the backpack off his shoulder, forcing air down into his body. Into lungs that felt as if it was breathing in glass. He fought to stay awake, fought to stay conscious, fought to survive. Reaching into the pack, his fingers grasped the small metal rod that he had tucked into it. With a quick flick of his wrist, the rod extended, the blunt end popping open as an Abborian flag unfurled, the other end extending out into a pike-like point. K'orrza took a few steps back, crouched and held the flag/makeshift spear over his head. And waited.
ACe had finally wrapped both hands around the wire, and with a quick jerk, broke it as easy as someone would break a piece of twine. He reached up and batted the electro-mag off his face.
K'orrza screamed and sent the weapon hurtling towards ACe's head. The robot shot his head up and, being as inhumanly fast as he was, caught the weapon inches from his face.
What he didn't expect, or see until it was too late, was that K'orrza had taken a full sprinting run at ACe, leaping with his shoulder forward and drove himself bodily into the blunt end of the flag pole.
The point slammed through ACe's faceplate, sending the robotic head careening back, the point of the pole going through his positronic brain, and finally poking out the top of his head.
ACe screamed in that electrical, high pitched wail as sparks and blue battery fluid shot and sputtered out of his head. Every electronic synapse in his body was suddenly overcharging and burning out. His legs wobbled and jerked awkwardly, his arms convulsed and seized up as the gyros melted into each other. He fell hard on his back, his scream drowned out by the escaping hiss of battery fluid that washed over the walls, the ceiling, the floor, and by the sparks of electrical energy that were popping from out of his faceplate like fireworks. His whole body lay there, convulsing uncontrollably for almost a full minute before, with one final act, ACe threw his arms up towards the sky as if reaching for something, the chaos of his death finally ending with one last spurt of battery fluid and sizzling electrical pop. His arms fell to the floor, palms up as the fingers still twitched and wiggled for a few more seconds.
K'orrza had landed on his stomach and lay there for a few breathless minutes. Finally, he pulled up every ounce of will to use his good arm to prop himself up, eventually working his body upright against the wall as a wave of nausea and dizziness swept over him. He fought to stay awake. He had to. He had to make sure. He had to finish it. He made his way towards ACe's body, tucking his damaged arm close to his body. Reaching down he pulled the spear from ACe's head, a small fleck of blue fluid splashing over his chest. He tossed the weapon away, kneeling down with a grunt as he leaned forward to inspect the damage.
Despite his injuries, ACe was still alive. Barely. He tried to move his head, the gryros in his neck groaning and whirling in protest, the blue light in his cracked faceplate sputtering in and out. "I-I-I...I can't...can't...can---" ACe said in this weak, almost frail sounding voice. He sounded like a very old, very tired elder lying in bed and facing the last minutes of his life.
K'orrza placed a gentle hand down on ACe's shoulder and, in a soft and soothing voice, nodded and said, "I know." As much as ACe had tried to kill him, K'orrza was a spiritual person. He valued all life in the galaxy, from the most complex to the most basic. And to not show even your worst enemy compassion in his final moments was, to him, an unforgivable act.
ACe turned/jerked his head towards K'orrza. His voice was slurry, stuttering. Fading. "Am...am-am I going-g-g-going t.."
K'orrza nodded, and patted ACe's shoulder softly. "Yes," he said in a deep, careful voice, trying to fight back tears.
ACe's head seemed to lower, jerking left to right, as if he was trying to form into words what he was feeling. He finally moved his head back towards K'orrza and, in this almost soft and trembling voice said, "I-I-....I'm scared."
K'orrza moved his hand down to ACe's chest, leaning down gently towards him. "Do you believe in the Creator, giver of all life in the universe and undying love that greets you in the next world?" Korrza asked.
ACe forced his stuttering, convulsing hand to rest over K'orrza's. Korrza never even flinched. "Y-y-y-yyes. I do," he said softly. He seemed to think, then nodded. "I do," he said with more certainty.
K'orrza smiled gently at him. "Then we shall see each other again. When the universe is no more and the light of the Creator calls us home."
ACe's faceplate flickered one final time, he turned towards K'orrza and tried to finish his last words. "I-I-I-....I'm....sssrrrrr...eeeeee....." The last spark of energy had finally left this broken and lifeless shell. K'orrza nodded to the body gently. "So am I," he managed to say. He still had no time to mourn. Because his job was still unfinished.
He stood up gingerly, propping himself up against the wall for a moment before he headed towards the engine room, scooping up the EM pulse gun on his way there. He stood now before the lightly glowing positronic blue box of ACe's core system. In essence, the basic programs that made ACe what he was were still running. But with all the higher run-time functions now lost, ACe's "brain" was nothing more than a comatose patient. A vegetable-state artificial unit. There wasn't anything he could do. There wasn't anything that could be done. Not even the Exploratory Committee's most brilliant minds could even attempt to save him. K'orrza closed his eyes, a single tear running down his face, dreading what he had to do next.
He raised his hand, turned his head.....and pulled the trigger.
K'orrza was examining the various programs still running in the command console on the bridge, absently scratching at the gel-cast that he had wrapped around his arm after making a quick stop to the ship's med-bay. With the gel seeping into the pores of his skin and fast-tracking his body to knit the broken bone back into place, give about 2 or 3 turns and K'orrza's arm would be good as new.
The ship's surveillance systems were now imbedded and monitoring every last electronic device on the planet. From every government's most top secret mainframe to the simplest iphone and ipod. It was pulling a constant stream of data and tucking all relevant information into the ship's massive data cell core. Everything. Everywhere. K'orrza sat back and thought, glancing at ACe's dormant, but still functional, bridge camera unit.
He had an idea.
He worked for almost an entire turn, rerouting and reprogramming the ship's computers, having cannibalized ACe's camera for what he needed. He sat back as the computer halted its surveillance run-times, and began to lock in a broadcasting program. And did so at an incredibly slow pace. Even though ACe might have been a psychopathic killer, at least he was an efficient one, K'orrza mused to himself. Finally, the computer blinked. With a push of a button, K'orrza could broadcast his message to almost every last human on the planet. With the translation matrix running the six thousand different dialects, they would hear him, and understand what he was saying.
Before he pushed that button, however, he had to know something. He extrapolated all the relevant information that he could, and let the computer compile the data. Again at a very slow, nearly maddening pace. But that would give him time to do what he needed to do. Adjusting ACe's camera one last time to make sure it pointed at his face, he hit the console's button.
The fiber-steel screen showed confirmation of direct live feed across the planet, every bit of tech highlighted as a speck of light across the screen. It was almost like staring into the heart of the sun. It was dazzling. It was beautiful. It was breathtaking. K'orrza sat upright in his chair and cleared his throat gently.
"People of Earth," he began, "do not be afraid." he licked his lips as he struggled to find the right words. "I come..." wait, too cliche'...."from across the galaxy. From a planet much like your own. Advanced, industrial, unified. I am an explorer. A scientist. A keeper of my people's laws. And I come to you as a friend." He leaned forward just a bit and put emphasis on what he said next. "But I also come to you with a warning. For you are all in grave danger, and about to face the most trying experience of your brief, but precious existence." He leaned and hit a button on his console. "I am sending all your currently functioning governments various packets of information. Information vital for your species' survival. Because for this information to work as a whole, then YOU must be willing to work as a whole. It is time to put past hatreds away, gentlemen. It is a time for your species to stand united. All of you. As one species. As one humanity. Because if you do not, if you let your wars and your hatreds and your petty differences consume and define and divide you," he paused and put emphasis on what he said next, "then you will all fall. Broken. Alone. And forgotten."
K'orrza rubbed at his mouth, adjusting in his seat. "Now listen to me carefully, because--"
The computer had completed its task, flashing the information K'orrza needed. He glanced up at it and nearly felt his hearts sink. His mouth suddenly felt dry. He tried to speak plainly, but all that came out was a dry, brittle whisper.
"---because we do not have much time."
The computer was flashing the date the Abborian war fleet was estimated to arrive over Earth's skies.
..............It was December 21, 2012.
Short Story: Starlight and Song
Blog entry posted by wastelander75, Jul 2, 2012.