Project: AKRA pt 12

***

The short cycles of the planet had given way to day as they trudged forward with no resistance, back to walking on the razor grass sawing slowly in the sunlight.  They marched forward with four of them still fully ‘armed’ in the limb sense of the word but at this point met no enemies.

Everyone knew what was coming before they actually rolled onto the bare ground, based on the loud roaring starting to filter through the trees.  Though Leio and Ziko were both reduced in combat efficiency, their squad was still in fairly good fighting capacity.  They made it through the surprise of the night, and still had four people capable of shooting larger weapons.  However, this new challenge they were coming up to was going to prove trying.

“There is no way we are making it across that,” Ziko said.  He knelt down to let Leio off of his shoulders as she sat down on the ground so he could better look over the edge of the cliff.  They stood next to some rocks and a tree, using the light cover as they looked over the shear corner of the massive cliff to the rumbling water hardly visible through the mist below.  On both sides of them the deep gorge was cut through the rock with no easy way down, and the height did not get any less extreme anywhere close that they could hike to make the descent easier.

“The two of them could not hope to swim across that water,” Agrest said, keeping his head turned upwards most of the time for any drones that might come flying over the tree tops.

“I have faith they could, but the risk is too great.”  Raist looked up and down the escarpment they were located on.  “It’d be better if the two of you stayed here to cover our escape.”

From where they were, the tip of the peak was barely visible against the tall trees of the other side of the river.  Their goal was close, but in every way seemed farther with every step they took.

“From here you guys should be able to build a pretty good choke point in the rocks over there.  The three of us are going to do a sprint to the target, and come back.  There is a good chance we will need as much cover fire and a clear path as possible on our way back.”

Agrest pointed to the rocks.  “It’s a good plan, since I’d hate trying to descend and climb back up with things shooting at us.  If you two have this locked down, it should help our escape.”

Raist finished, “Ziko, I am going to need you well-rested because as soon as we get here, we are running back to the extraction zone. I do not want to be in the forest again for another night.  The three of us should be able to handle AKRA, and I know you are strong, but we cannot be slowed even if you are carrying Leio.”

The problem was they had to make it back out of anti-air range to call their shuttle down.  Even if it was capable of firing, with how defended their target was, calling it anywhere close was risking being trapped here.

The group worked for a bit, positioning rocks and checking sight patterns so that the two staying behind would have clear cover fire on the three advancing members, both on the descent, the swim, and the climb before they disappeared into the other side.  Natural rock walls covered their backs, and a few shots through the rocks gave them some gun holes to fight anything that did come from the forest.  The three advancing soldiers dropped all but one weapon here so they could move faster now that the mission had become one of a sprint.

“Goodbye, Raist,” Leio told him as they embraced.  Raist was having to hold her up.  “I hope I see you again.  I really do.”  Her foot was realigned, but the large section of meat missing from her calf was something he tried to not look at.

“I’ll be back soon.”  He gave her butt a light squeeze as he turned away from her.  They spiked their rappel systems into the rock and Agrest and Philira already jumped over the edge.  Raist was preparing to do the same when a strange thought came to him.

‘Look at her one more time; it might be your last.’  He turned to face her, and she did a small wave, smiling at him, the normalcy making him think he was over-thinking again.  He turned back towards the cliff and crouched and launched off.

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Project: AKRA pt 5

They are doing an orbital insertion down to the planet…here we go!

 

At this distance the descent suit did not block out the visual yet, and each prepared differently for what was coming.  For Raist he was always struck by the strange sensation of his appreciation of beauty in nature, even as his job was often to kill without remorse.  There was just something in the divine perfection of how color and motion came together.  He sounded stupid when he talked about it, so he tended to keep that part of his thoughts to himself.  It was easier to joke or swear than to be philosophical, or far easier to talk about banging Philira than wonder about reality with those around him.

All five of them had small micro tethers that kept them connected for the duration of the drop, and within the tether was an advanced processor that regulated each motion of their descent suits to keep it descending evenly and without problems.  With no warning the visual went black as spheres enclosed each of them, protecting them as they first hit the atmosphere and to prevent them from catching fire.

He hated this part the most, as nanites were blocking out the sound ever since he launched out of the ship, and now the black provided no distraction for his mind.  It was the questions that bothered him the most.  It was never doubt because he didn’t have any.  More like if his life could have been different, if it should have been different.  Unlike a lot of classes like Scouts, he had choices many of them never did.  With choices came responsibility, and the weights of deaths were weighing on him even if he did not overtly show it.

Did he think too much about things?  His previous Scout, Laiun, told him as much.

He knew above him the descent suit would have streamers deployed to slow their velocity, whipping violently based on the speed they were coming in with.  He knew underneath him the landscapes might now start to be visible, but all that was around him right now was darkness.

Light filled the void as the surrounding sphere melted away above and beyond him.  The planet had changed a lot since he last saw it from space: he could see clouds, the green/purple of plants, even mountains in the distance.  The melting of the sphere reformed into parachutes that variously reformed themselves with the synchronization orders of the rest to ensure the perfect descent of the team onto the planet.

Get through one jungle, a river, more jungle, and then the base of the mountain.  Sounds simple in premise.  Not too far to cross at all.  That mountain didn’t look too far away; he could get there by a single planet cycle.  This was going to be the easiest ‘hard’ mission they ever took.  He could ‘retire’ pretty quick, as he was burning out as a result of the destruction he caused.

That was before something went wrong with their descent system and Ziko suddenly fell out of the pentagon formation.  The rest of them went crashing into the strange upper-story plant life that ripped their advanced suits apart as if they were paper.

As Raist went tumbling to the dark forest floor, his only thought was that he had never felt this much pain this early in a mission before.  He had never lost someone before it even started.

“Ziko!”  He screamed before his head impacted something hard and he blacked out, still falling farther down.

New story: Project: AKRA

Hey so I started slipdrift, but instead it is going to be Project: ARKA and this is due to some things with amazon and when the free period ends.  Anyway, all of them are part of the VayneLine Chronicles, here is project akra!

 

Project: AKRA

 

Ironically, the Emotion-Field concept as an aspect to reality proved so revolutionary that the first groups to find evidence of its existence fought and killed for its secrets, deeply contrary to the discovery’s eventual implications.  It was the first indication of higher dimensional aspects that influenced our reality, as well as our own ability to change them.

 

– Terran Intradex Ver. 4 Excerpt on ‘Emotion Field’

 

See Also: Star Priestess, Classed Soldier, Project: AKRA [Declassified]

 

“I have reason to believe you are the best…feel like putting that reputation to the test, soldier?”  The hooded figure had a light cloaking field over it that made it seemed almost like an illusion to the soldier it was speaking to.

A small smirk crossed the face of the soldier as he brushed two fingers through his short hair.  “Naturally.”

The hooded figure laughed, but its tone was masked by a voice-modder, rendering its tone completely neutral so it could not be identified in any form. “I know you have taken hard missions before, but I do not expect the survival rate to be particularly high on this.  There were only three groups that had both the clearance and the battle experience your group possesses.  I hate sending such a valued asset like your group on a mission like this, but it is one of particular import to the Star Priestesses.”

‘To the Star Priestesses’ meant for all intents ‘to the Aelisha’.

Though the black-haired man was arrogant, he was not stupid, and likewise answered carefully.  “Interesting; I assume this is your estimation of the danger.  If I may ask, is that an academic estimate, or a once-soldier’s estimate?”  A very small portion of Star Priestesses were soldiers, but a large percentage of Aelisha in secret operations like this were warriors.

“The latter,” the figure said in an easy tone that belied its long combat experience.  “A rather well-connected criminal syndicate has stolen a very valuable collection of data.  Its name is AKRA, an information processing and application unit.  It holds an understanding of the universe we are just barely starting to comprehend.”

“And it’s our job to recover the data,” the man offered.  It was probably an Aelisha he was dealing with most likely some high-rank diplomat or something similar.  For the briefest moment he mused about tackling the creature and ripping its cloak off to see whom it was.

“ ‘Naturally’,” the cloaked figure mimicked.

The black-haired soldier laughed at the imitation, but in his mind he could tell there was something deeply wrong with this mission his squad was going to undertake.  He always believed in his combat instincts, but this was different.  Something was calling to him beyond just his instincts, but he had no idea what it was saying.

Considering the credits his group was offered, some mysterious ‘clearances’ for advanced weaponry they recently had been given, and the entirely personal reason that he felt something calling on this job, he knew he would do it.  The soldier named Raist, told the figure they would take the job.  As soon as he had said so, the figure had turned and started walking out, shimmering like a ghost that was barely visible.  “Wait, one question though.  Why us?”

“You were asked for specifically.”

That was interesting.  He didn’t know too many people that knew him and were still alive.  “By whom?”

“You are not privy to that information.”

“Ha, I am used to that,” he said to the figure that had departed.

The figure was far enough away it was completely invisible, but before it had completely left the room, its voice said to Raist, “But know an old friend sends their… regards.”

Counting the friends he had that weren’t in his squad and were still alive took about four fingers.  He stood there for a moment, digesting the conversation that had just occurred.  He spun his pistol lazily out of habit, more concerned with his thoughts.  It crashed to the ground, and he crouched down quickly to grab it.  He saw something like a small string or thread against the background blackness of his pistol and grabbed it.  The single medium-length strand of hair was a bright pink.

‘That was a Solarian girl, maybe a Star Priestess or a Classed like me…I wonder who she was?  Something felt weird about her.’  All Star Priestesses and really anyone this deep in secrecy were a little weird though.  He shook his head, trying to stop thinking about things.  ‘Too many thoughts and feelings; just focus.’

 

Proud Infinity pt 31

Getting close to the end, what is going to happen!?

 

I woke back up, eventually, and was still in chains.  Okay, so this was definitely ‘reality’ as much as I had flirted with different states of that word.  My mind went through a few scenarios on what exactly this meant.  There appeared to be no doubt I did indeed bomb the ReCorp building.  Sounds like I am probably slated to be executed here, maybe after I’m tortured awhile to see what I can produce as far as my contacts or whom I was working for.  It was all for a girl, man, all for some crazy girl.

Proud.  Hmm, did she really exist?  Evidently Mitreah did, as the info screen referenced her.  Yet, I could have sworn that Proud absorbed some bullets that would have laid me out.

Did I really live all those cycles over?  Of course.  I had to have, because how else could I have gotten that bomb, or found Mitreah’s secret phrase, or figure out the perfect paths for everything?  Or…what if I always had that bomb and Mitreah was given to me from a shadowy contact?  Was I an agent programmed to forget what exactly I was doing, and come up with some massively delusional story to hide the simple truth that I was just a terrorist against the Solarian Federation?

Damn, was that the truth?  It was true I could not remember even two cycles ago.  Ha, holy shit, I literally could not remember what had happened two cycles ago.

Had my secret neural trigger activated and blanked everything out?  “Uhh…” I tried moving my arms, and groaned from the pain of the wrist locks and my arms not being able to move.

“Proud…were you just a lie?  Was everything just a lie?”  Was I just an agent with his combat android sent to eliminate whatever advantage the Federation was developing here?

Another thought came to me.  What if indeed the cycle reset over and over, and that was simply Proud’s goal from the beginning: not so much saving the universe, but simply preventing the time fracture after which I no longer mattered?  I prevented it, so her goal was accomplished.  Why would she care about one stupid little Solarian locked up for his crimes?  This was especially true if it was for the whole universe’s sake.  As long as I did my duty, I was completely expendable.  Wow…that was fucked up.  I got played hard.  Maybe I would have cried, but the emotion felt foreign to me.  Distant.

 

***

 

Sometime later – ha what an ironic word, ‘sometime’ –  I had thought I had lost my arms.  I could no longer feel them, and it had been at least a few cycles as my hunger had disappeared, replaced by the slow consumption of myself.  In the pain and dark despair I eventually decided that I probably did indeed experience a time fracture, and Proud was real, but I had done what she wanted all along and there was no reason to ‘save’ me or ever even say anything to me again.  Hell, I fucked her and shot her to make it even worse.

Do we cry over a white blood cell that kills itself in our service?  Hardly.  All we do is expect them to make that decision again and again.  And I was probably worth infinitely less.

I was just a single white blood cell.  It was the metaphor I had settled on.  I did my part to help pull the universe out of the problem it was in.  Proud was some director, and I did my sacrifice, everything else moved on.  Wow…I hadn’t felt so abandoned in a while.  Yet I sympathized in a way.  I did not care about the individual blood cells dying to save me.  Why would the universe?

Proud Infinity pt 28

We are getting close to the end, how is it going to resolve!?

 

The cute girl of the space port leaned far forward as she dashed inhumanly fast at the other man on the ship.  He barely had time to look surprised before she punched him in the stomach, and slipped behind him, her arms going around his neck.  For a moment I thought she was going to kill him, but he simply fell to the ground unconscious from being choked out.  I threw their two bodies out of the way of the truck and we hopped in.  I hit a string of button prompts on the screen before it went to flashing ‘Ready?’ and we were off.  I remember how many times I had died trying to get the damn truck moving.

“Am I crazy?” I asked to the two woman with me.  Mitreah shrugged, saying probably, but she wasn’t one to judge.  Proud said no.  If I was crazy, at least it was fun.

We rumbled through the streets, passing by the millions of places I had seen so carefully in the scope of a single cycle.  I was shot there, I killed someone there…  We came now to the single road into ReCorp.  The gate opened for our vehicle, and on both sides the ground fell away into the huge pit.  I hoped this controlled vehicle wouldn’t decide to spill us over the edge.

“In case you are wondering, we are taking out the particle accelerator or disabling it in some other way to stop it from causing the creation of a dangerous particle.”

“You don’t need to justify anything to me,” Mitreah said.  “I am simply happy to be back to my old self.”

“I thought you might like to know.  Do you really not care what I tell you to do?”

“Often it is only our Creators that know our override, and no, you do not possess complete control over me, in case someone was thinking of doing something perverted.”  She smiled slyly at me. “Though to you, I might do things willingly…”

I shook my head only once. “No, I outgrew that a long time ago.”

“You seem sincere.  But my Creator died, and you seem fun enough, so I might have done this mission anyway if you asked.  This is what I truly enjoy; not sitting in an empty room people rarely come to.”  I had asked before, she only came if I knew her code word, she was too loyal to the nearly defunct spaceport.

Damn, this was scary; I had rarely made it this far before.  Everything I had done had been to bring me to this position, and now, well, now it was time.

In my hand was my Liner pistol, and a small satchel of high explosives from an ex-special operative.  I had long ago in all my annihilations gotten over the idea or revulsion of killing.  If I could spare them like at the dock I would.  This was too important even if they were innocent.  I was not convinced of their innocence or not, but it did not matter to me anymore.

The vehicle stopped, and some guy opened the door.  “Hey.”

“Hi,” I said, lifting my pistol and plugging him right in the chest.  I turned back to the two girls. “Let’s go.”  Proud jumped out gracefully, landing and walking behind me.  Mitreah jumped out, dashed across the room insanely fast, slashing a man who was standing there.  The only thing I saw was a spray across the wall behind him.

“Any idea where to go?” I asked the two of them.  I had not been inside here for a long time, and this one the first where I had my skills and the two women with me.  They responded ‘no’.  “Well, let’s see if we can’t get lucky this time.  We can always try again,” I said as I started laughing at my own joke.  Turning to my left I ran through a door shaped like a circular portal that opened as we got close.  If it was an accelerator, I only had to work my way to the middle where the core would be, so that seemed a good place to start heading.

We were running down a hallway, eerily empty, with Proud behind me and Mitreah the combat android in front of me.  Some guy stepped out from a corner, and before I even realized he was there, he was dead at her feet.  She crouched back down in a scary combat stance.

“Hey, this way,” I said to her as I took to the right as we headed a new way, and within seconds she caught up with us and was back on vanguard.  There was a sign warning about having protective suits on and I figured we might be getting close.  My fear of dying was long since gone; I had done it so many times.  I neared the portal, but it didn’t open.  I tried the handle and it was locked.

“Damn it!”  I pulled my pistol towards it, firing some rounds into the locking mechanism and front kicked the door, but it remained solid.  “No way.  A damn door is going to stop us?”

Proud Infinity pt 27

Hey guys hope you are enjoying these free segments, let me know with a like or a comment!  Trego is deep in the time loops and starting to figure out what is happening to him.

Here we go!

 

I woke up and I started laughing.  Let’s do this.  Even the universe was with me on this one.  I had spent so much time learning and doing everything.  Each of my attempts got me further and further.  The last couple times spent talking to Proud helped calm my mind.  I felt ready.  I was never a soldier, but I had become one.  I knew how to move, how to think, how to fight.  I had been transformed into this nearly unstoppable fighting force.

Okay.  I reviewed everything in my mind.  I could get onto the truck heading into ReCorp at the port, I could pick up the combat android, Mitreah, disguised as a receptionist, and the old guy would give me some old explosives with the right conversation tread.  And lastly Proud would only come with me into ReCorp if I asked her first at the bar, she really on it because things had to ‘come full circle’ which apparently really mattered to her.

I walked into the bar.  Everyone there was staring at me like they had what I think was the very first time, so many times ago.  I turned straight to my friend, long ago giving up what others ‘thought’ of me.  “Proud, I think I might have it this time.  Would you like to come?”

Her lips rose slightly in a knowing way.  “Of course.  How nice of you to ask me.”  I left those fools I was saving at the bar in their confusion.

“Alright, so I think this time I stand a really good chance.  I woke up and remembered everything.  It was pretty overwhelming, but I think this might be it this time.”

We held each other’s hand as we dashed towards the fence.  The old guy would not be here for a while, but I did not have the luxury of time as everything was precisely orchestrated.  I ran down a few streets, up a building and knocked on the door.  He was surprised as he always was, with his gun hidden right behind the door as I had found out once dying in the hallway.  He probably wondered at my hand ‘floating’ in the air gripping nothing.

I said the right words, which were unfortunately lies, about how I was an agent and used his operator name and some key phrases such as “Coding Alpha Delta, Operator task transference requested”.  His innocent face hardened, and nodded when I said it was vital I have any explosive he might be able to give me to stop an implanted enemy.

Taking the small pack he gave me we ran out of there over to the spaceport.  Alright, still plenty of time.  At the very edge of the sky the ship was just barely visible to even my highest magnification I could overlay on my eyes.  I needed to be on that, but time was on my side.

“Mitreah: Farewell fallen sword,” I said while walking straight towards Mitreah.  Her eyes glazed over for a moment and they changed the color slightly before coming back into focus.  She looked right at me, cold but absolute focus.

“Override confirmed.  What are your orders?”

I smiled. “Alright!”  I shook my hand with Proud’s in it and she looked back and nodded happily.  “You wouldn’t believe how long it took to figure that one out.”

“So far, so good, Tre.”

Still talking to the girl, “We are going to go onto the vehicle that ship is carrying and are riding it into ReCorp.  I need your entire combat mode powers unlocked, and it is imperative I am protected at all costs.  Oh, and can you do it with a normal personality?  I don’t like the coldness.”

Mitreah laughed. “Sure.  That final part is a strange request, but I cannot deny it is much more fun this way.  This should be entertaining.”

“Do you want another weapon?”

She shook her head. “I prefer my own.”  Her hand changed from its thin fingers into a sharp blade the length of her forearm.  I had seen that trick before and I guess I never realized how serious of a weapon it could be.  She always just struck me without the actual blade, but the razor edge would end anyone easily.

I walked with the two girls who were here to protect me out to the landing pad.  I felt poised, I felt ready.  I would stop the time fracture.

We still had a little time while it was landing.  I felt poised but there was a little doubt creeping in.  What would happen after the fracture was over?  I was not sure, and I actually did not care.  I had lived more than long enough, with more than enough experiences.  I wanted to complete the divine task given to me.  Maybe this was Proud’s purpose all along.

The ship had landed, and a large bay door had opened, the loose grav plate vehicle sitting there as two people went through the final checks before they would drive off.

I started walking up. “Hey, are you authorized to be here?”  It is always a good idea to question people before they question you.

“What?  Yes we are…”  He lifted his face from the screen he was holding.  I took out my Liner pistol and smashed it across his face.  He fell to the ground before I looked to the next one. “Mitreah, take him out, but try to not kill him.”

Proud Infinity pt 24

I am working on my first paperback, and it will probably be out in the next 2 weeks or so.  Here is the cover art

vl-chron-final

Of which Proud Infinity is a part of!

 

Anyway on with the story as Trego is navigating his way through the time loops:

 

I walked over to the space port, spending more time with the android, Mitreah.

I waved when I walked in and she gave a friendly wave back, but did not know me from anyone else at this point.

“Hi, Mitreah.”

“Oh hello!  I don’t remember your name.  Have we met?”

‘A few times…’ I thought to myself.

“Mitreah: Farewell Fallen Sword,” I stated cryptically.  Her face went blank like it always does, before her bright eyes returned.

“Override confirmed.  What are you orders?”

I waved my hand.  “Nothing major, I simple want to talk to you a bit.”

“An odd request, but certainly.”

I spent a long time talking to her.  Unlike the old man, she was much more fun, but I learned less.  There was not as much applicable to me due to her combat android form and background.  She could teach me so much about fighting, but not as much about the world.

Before the end of this loop I wanted to fight her more to train my combat ability.  That was perhaps the biggest boon from her, other than eventually using her to break into ReCorp.

To her, my words were novel, “Mitreah, I want you to train me to fight.  I want to use my pistol, and anything you can teach me.  Execute training protocol number 2.”

She smiled at me.  “This is so much more fun.”

She left to go get some training supplies she had in her personal locker.  I had never figured out why an ex-combat android ended up here, I could never get it out of her.  The best I could figure is that she was injured slightly, or had served long enough she got to retire.

Mitreah came back with a training pistol that would fire visible lasers that did not actually do anything but would respond if I hit her and she could react appropriately.  Combat androids could fight with guns, and melee weapons, but there most signature weapon was their arm would form into a very sharp blade, essentially like a nano blade.  Something like this would kill my obviously, so it was more like a blunt bat I was struck with.

She tossed the training pistol to me like always.  I caught it and started firing at her dashing form.

Probably an old Aelisha combat android based on Solarian form, evidenced by her dashing style was leaning super far forward: the same way Aelishas ran.  She slashed at me with her blade arm, I blocked with the pistol and dodged, firing at her.  I knew her moves well enough at this point I could end it easily.  My main goal at this point was to build up my own reflexes, not to use known paths.

I dove awkwardly a few times just to get off any previous path I would ‘remember’.  I felt blind once again which I liked.  Mitreah could easily take me out given her superior programming and speed but limited it during the training.

I fired a few times at her, impressed by how my own skills were coming along; she had to dodge which slowed her assault down.

She got close, swiping at me hard and connecting.  Her blade arm of course was dull for training, but in real combat I would have lost my arm.  Regardless it gave me a strong shock that made it numb.

I dove to the ground, grabbing the pistol out of my numb arm, turning around rapidly and hitting her in the chest.  A spray of the laser beams struck home, and if it was a strong enough weapon she would have been killed.  My aggressive push of not running and doubling down on the attack was enough to win.

“Uh…”  She moaned in pain from the ground a bit before standing.  We helped each other up.

“Dang, that was fun.”  We with standing there, hugging each other for support.  I was breathing hard.

“How are you so good?  I had to go to the very limits to even catch you.”

I stepped back.  “I’ve done this before.”

“Who was your teacher?”

“You.”  I pulled out my real pistol, aimed and reset.

 

***

Proud Infinity pt 22

How many annihilations ago was that?  A thousand?  A million!?

In the absolute darkness of my being and existence Proud had saved me from the darkness of myself, showing me my own light by simply exposing hers.  Taking a few deep breaths, trying to wipe the tears away I recalled some of the positive things I had figured out during the focus of every time after that, since I decided to actually get serious.

Right, remember the things I had figured out even during the darkness.  Like how my repetition of a hundred different phrases and conversation branches allowed me to sleep with numerous girls, showing me I could find out almost anything from anyone with exactly the right prompts.  What was initially fueled by dark sexual desire proved to be very useful in the fact I could use perfect conversation choices positively, and not having anything to do with sex.

The old guy at the fence?  Indeed he was in the Space Forces as he claimed, but he also was a special operator.  What did I learn?  I rubbed my eyes, trying to recall.  Definitely some stuff about infiltration and explosives.  What exactly had he taught me?

What was hard was that I could no longer separate ‘my’ knowledge with what I had learned from others simply teaching me.  A thousand repetitions with the same person, each ‘cycle’ simply advancing the conversation as far as I had learned from the prior cycle, allowing me to eventually learn everything a person was capable of teaching.

I got up and left, slightly energized by the memory I was actually making progress.  Normally later in the day the old man would be over-looking the pit, but long ago figured out where he lived.

I went to his house, knocked on the door and he was much more suspicious and cold compared to his more jovial act at the overlook.

“What do you want?” he asked through a chained door.

“Coding Alpha Delta,” I let it sink in a little.  “We need to talk.”

From my view, I saw the one eye looking at me through the chain blink once, then he unchained the door.  He put the pistol under the slot on the table like he always did, not knowing I had been killed by it quite a few times.

By playing the role of an agent from the highest reaches of Solarian intel, I was able to learn a lot from him.  At this point I was sure I had exhausted everything he had to tell me, but it was a good reminder.

Had I always known that an innocent nano block used to repair stuff could be overrode to create controlled directional explosions?  Had I always known my Liner pistol could be turbo charged simply by taking over the cover and turning the limiter off?

I doubted it, but there was no way to know. Knowledge was a strange thing to me that often hung at the edge of my understanding.  Given all the loops I had been through, what was ‘my’ knowledge melted away into this strange mixture of things I now knew from others.

The old man had just finished showing me how to take the limiter off my Liner pistol; I could probably do it better than him at this point.

“You still have the explosives you were tasked with, right?”

“Are you requesting transference, Operator?” he asked back.

At this point everything was growing dark.

“Negative, just need to make sure.  But I always knew you still did.”  I lifted my Liner pistol up.

“What…are you doing?” he asked, concerned.

“Resetting,”  I said.  I pulled the trigger as I ended my life in a far less painful way.

Proud Infinity pt 19

But in a way, I was in a game that had a set boundary specifically tied to the time limit.  This made it hard, as I could not do ‘anything’ as there simply was not enough time in this singular day.  Was it even possible to pull off whatever Proud thought needed to be done?  So my options were not limitless, as there was a practical distance I could travel before my ‘time was up’ so to say.

‘Time was up…’

With those thoughts, a huge wave of experiences came flooding over me.  My eyes started watering and I fell backwards.  My eyes zoomed outwards as I fell out of my body.  The simple act of me sitting in my room faded away to nothingness as so much blanketed my mind.

This was not the fourth; this was not even the tenth, even a hundred would be low!  I had been though thousands.  All the experiences came flooding back.  All the cycles lived, and then died.

“Shit…”  I said, holding my head as I rolled down to the floor, my mind hurting so bad with this new awakening.

First were endless denials out of me, the ‘no way this is happening’ of thinking each cycle literally was new, and I had just been dreaming.  Hell, even the last couple of times I thought it was just a dream and I had already been looping thousands of times.

I could see why Proud made a comment about annoyance or something along those lines.  It was frustrating seeing myself constantly deny what was actually happening.  I was trying to ignore the important events like the guy at the fence, the android girl at the spaceport, and the whole bar scene or talking with Proud.  Even though little things like my banter with the android girl, or me gunning that guy down rather skillfully were a bit beyond my normal ability.  With grim realization it was probably hundreds of repetitions that had improved me.

My hand found something, maybe the leg of a desk, and I held on tightly like a sick child.  Even my most recent memories I was not sure had actually recently occurred.  I talked about winning against that guy, but if I had looped so often, I never would have got shot, or avoided it all together.  Thinking about it this way, I felt that there actually was a far deeper well of combat prowess inside me than I currently appreciated.  Honed over thousands of random battles.

The more my head swam, the more I realized how far down the line I was in regards to loops.  The denials lasted forever, but gave way to sadness before darkness.

When I started realizing I was looping, it was perfect to learn about people.  There were women I could get close with and my loneliness faded away for the cycle.  I had met a lot of girls and felt so close to many of them.  But each reset I was greeted with words that cut into my heart deeper and deeper each time hearing them: ‘who are you?’

Nothing that I had done with them remained.  No clever date, no laughs we shared, no talks about our past.  I would remember vague things about them, but no one else perceived the loop, I was just as unknown the hundredth time talking to them, as the first.  The closeness I thought I had with them was an illusion.  It was only in my mind.  That sent me down a dark road as I no longer had this to comfort me given the end I experience without fail.

The terror of dying every cycle started grinding on me until the desperation reached a breaking point.  I started trying to kill myself out of this nightmare, thinking that this simply wasn’t real.  If it was, I would rather be dead than be trapped in this fearful world where nothing I did mattered.  And it ended in absolute pain every single time.

Sitting here huddled on the floor, crying while this multitude of memories flooding back was not fun.  I wondered if every time was like this.  Probably.

The desperate loops were short lived, and then it became rampant hedonism and dark experiences.  When I realized I would indeed be reborn each cycle anew my curiosity took a dark turn.  How many people could I kill before I was stopped?  How many girls could I get within a single cycle knowing the perfect things to say to them from thousands of scripted conversations I had tried?

Proud Infinity pt 4

Hey guys, here is the 4th path of Proud Infinity.

We last ended with Trego getting shot and stumbling back to his room where he sees a black wave come out of his old work place that destroys everything and in the next moment thinks he is killed.

Story:

***

 

“Ahh!”  I sat up, throwing the covers off of me.  My breaths came fast as I was hyperventilating, my eyes flung around, trying to feed my brain that everything was okay.  After a few panicked moments I realized I was alive and that it was the morning.  The sky was turning blue from its brilliant orange.  The colors of my shirt, the room, everything was there, and I never loved the morning so much.

“What was that…?”  I lay down again, holding my face and trying to figure out what that was.  Some crazy nightmare.  Ugh, been a while since I had something like that.  I opened my eyes through my splayed fingers and saw my two black socks on my desk, and it reminded me about the other part of being shot and the grim ends I resorted to.  Kind of badass in a way.  At least my subconscious thought I was legit.

For a moment my heart jumped.  It was just a dream right?  My left hand shot to my right shoulder, and nothing.  No shot, no pain.  My right hand worked perfectly.  But I remembered the pain, I remembered gunning that guy down and taking his gun, I remember throwing up over myself, but my white shirt was completely clean.

I put two fingers on my forehead and took a few deep breaths.  Okay, just some whack dream.  Damn, that was insanely real.  The more I thought about it, the more I remembered random details like the old guy by the fence, fighting that guy at the bar, and…that girl.  For some reason I felt she was really important to whatever that dream was about, even though she played almost no part in it at all.

I wiggled my fingers a few times, feeling that their motion was really divine; there was this complete satisfaction at the simple ability of being able to move them.  I moved one at a time right down the line, thinking about complex the movement actually was.

I heated something up for breakfast.  Tried reading a little, a book about a guy who would not take pain killers whereas all his enemies did and could not feel pain; I wasn’t convinced someone could win in a situation like that.  The sun was coming through the slits on my blind and the sunlight made me think about that dream again.

Man, I just could not drop this.  I had a few nightmares before, but this one just would not subside.  “Alright, just drop it.  I am not shot, and that whole thing never occurred.”  I rubbed my shoulder a few times and, convinced it really was just a dream, left my room to go about my day.

The monotony of the day once again lay before me.  But one thing was still bothering me.  It felt really stupid, but I wanted to check.  Levels of precognition existed, that was a fact.  There were three major varieties of the Chrono Psionic that was based on that.  I daydreamed a bit that maybe somehow I unlocked a power like that.

Strangely, there was a bar right where I had dreamt it.  My hopes raised a bit that maybe something special was going on with me.  My scientist mind tried to look for explanations.  It was possibly not that odd, as I was probably through here before and the subconscious has a really good memory.

My heart rate was quickening as I opened the door, and the bar lay out in front of me the same way I had seen it before.  There was the bartender I argued with, the guy close to me whom I had envisioned clubbing down after breaking his knee.  My heart fell when I recognized another man in here as the one who shot me and I killed later in the dream.

This was far clearer than any dream I had had before.  Faces were always kind of vague, even the most visual of dreams were based a lot more on feelings and metaphors.  I recognized this guy’s ugly face and I had never seen him in my life.

I staggered backwards. “What the hell is going on?”  My eyes went wide and my stomach dropped along with my heart.  People supposedly had precognizant dreams, but that was all bullshit, no way any of that happens in real life.  It defied science.  If this was some Chrono Psionic, no wonder those people were so awkward and fucked up given how weird this was to me.

How could I have known about these people I had never seen!?  The fear of what was happening was too much and I left before I checked much more.  I turned and ran to the next spot of the dream: the fence overlooking the ReCorp complex.

No one was around here.  Hmm, that was different.  And just that simple fact brought a much needed sense of relief to me.  I let a huge sigh out, and started laughing loudly.  Oh man, okay.  I have no idea what that was.  Some low probability dream, maybe I had been there when I was younger or something.  I was so desperate to find something, my mind assumed anyone’s random face was the face I supposedly saw in my dream.  Sounded about right.

Yeah, well, whatever.  Not like I was going to get gunned down later today.  Yeah, some dream to just tell me to avoid that spot.  Not that odd.  There was actually some pretty crazy research in Psionics/Senses, and to have a dream about your death that you are then able to avoid is a lot less crazy than some of the stuff I had heard about.  Not sure I believed any of it, but it was out there.  There was some ‘danger Sense’ or something that was pretty common in Solarians as well that kept people out of getting killed; maybe that’s how this thing went down.

Wait…why the hell am I even jumping to these conclusions?  It was some dream, period.

I laughed again, then my laugh got caught in my throat, and my breath froze.  A bit further down a saw an old man…the old man coming on his walk across here.

I shook my head in disbelief.  Okay, think critically.  Maybe I indeed have a latent Sense that is manifesting itself here, and I foresaw the danger I would be in from the gunfight and warned me about the events that would occur.  Take this slow, and experiment with what exactly will happen.  I hated that I didn’t read more about how the Chrono Psionics worked, so I was stumbling blindly trying to conclude if I had something I knew nothing about.

‘Some sight huh?’ My mind played, or maybe it was ‘replayed’.

“Some sight huh?” the man stated.  Hmm, what did I say back to him?  I think I was dismissive.  My mind found the right words as if I had said them a million times.

“Yeah, if you mean totally disrupting to the entire culture and planet that was already there.”  Consciously, I felt like a watcher on a play I had seen before.

He started coming closer to me.  I remember I did not want to talk to him, but actually I was quite interested now.  I wondered if my intent would change reality, or was it only things I actually did?  If I still acted the exact same but thought differently I wondered if that would change anything.

He came closer. “Yeah, you are young enough that I am sure you were displaced by what occurred here.”  His hand motions were moving the exact same way.

Now here was the time to experiment.  I think I was sarcastic with him.  But this time it would be different based on how I acted.  “You don’t seem too bothered.  Let me guess, you retired here?”

He stopped, and looked a bit confused.  I felt confused suddenly too, up to the moment I felt like I had seen this before, but now I was on a new path.  Blinded.

Damn, what the hell was going on?  Maybe precognition was weak.

“Good guess, yeah.  I made enough in the Solarian Space Forces to retire.  I feel bad for guys like you though.”

I almost got caught up in the conversation or the social mores of being polite but a deeper feeling reminded me that something profound had occurred here.  I just didn’t know what it was.

I turned away from him. “See you.” Then I ran back to the bar.  As I ran across the empty streets, dodging an occasional body, I wondered how much of my vision still applied?  Could this new power of mine protect me only from a specific path, or a wide band of actions?

I opened the door to the bar.  Last time I was spoiling for a fight, but no one would know what I wanted inside my mind, only my actual actions.

I went to the same chair and had the barkeep come over.

“What will you be having?” he asked.  Yeah, he said the same thing, but perhaps it is predictable, nothing to gleam out of this small interaction yet.  Anyone would say something regular like that.

The next part was something about asking about a job, and my mind said what it had said before: “Well, I’m here to find out if there are any jobs or contracts anyone has posted.”

He laughed dismissively.  Hmm, this definitely seemed familiar.  “I don’t even know you.  You think I’d tell you one with these many deserving people here?”

The grunts again came up from around the bar.  Hmm, definitely the same.  I was not sure why it was occurring the same way even though I had done different things.  I thought that maybe it was a very specific, A then B then C, and because I did B first it would change.  There was a lot to learn here.  The major thing right now though I had to end the timeline from occurring and ending up getting shot.