Chrono Continuum Chapter 18
Glenn straightened. He took one last look at his surroundings, and headed back to where he thought they had been when the battle had begun. He glanced around nervously, half expecting Clairdena to jump out of nowhere. He slowly realized that she wasn't going to do so. That wasn't how the Hellbound operated. They would come, alright, but it would be be in lightning quick strikes. Everyone would have time to heal in between, but the Hellbound would be stronger every time. Failure would never stop them. They had never, and would never give up until victory was at hand. He sheathed his sword. Sighed. Ran his hand through his green hair. They were safe. For now. He took no comfort in it.
Lucca stood, brushed herself off. After a moment of search, she put the gun away in its holster, carefully. She sighed, and went off to her equipment. It didn't take long. She could see that Glenn was nowhere to be seen. She gasped, and her gun whipped out, almost of its own volition. She looked around, berating herself for her stupidity. The first thing she should have done was find Glenn. Sha soon spied footprints, in an obvious fighting pattern. The pattern worried her. Glenn was a somewhat light man, although heavier than Frog. For that reason, he left fainter foot prints than did Clairdena. Following the course of this set, she saw that he had been mercilessly driven back. Blood was splashed every so often on the ground. She followed, concentrating on the battle that had unfolded. She could imagine what happened as she followed. Step. Turn. Swing. Punched. Hit again. Knocked down. Back up.
She suddenly glanced up, and seeing a man, fired instantly. He yelled, quickly, and jumped aside, into a small bush grove. Lucca walked toward it, arms out straight, trigger finger ready. A rustle in the bushes. Seemingly out of nowhere, a blade appeared, the tip pointing at Lucca. Lucca followed the blade with her eyes, tracing it to gloved hands, a white and blue tunic, a green tunic, and finally, a handsome face with green hair. Glenn. Lucca sighed, as did Glenn, both lowering their weapons. It took a few moments, but Glenn managed a chuckle. Lucca shook her head at this man's nature, and smiled. Glenn stepped out of the bushes, smiling, glad to see Lucca alive. Eventually, Lucca stopped smiling and asked, seriously, "So... is she dead?"
Glenn shook his head. He put his hand to Lucca's back and they began to head back to their equipment. "No, Lucca, she hath not left her earthly body." He smiled to himself. "Well, being truthful, she has. Long ago. But after she and the others returned from whence they had gone, none hath been able to slay them. 'Tis for one, or several chosen ones, would be my guess." Lucca glanced to him.
"Chosen ones?" Glenn glanced back, and waved his hand vaguely.
"Think nothing of it. I hath a wild mind, and it doth play games with ideas. I often ponder, if they art humans, they art but mortal. No human can live throughout all. 'Death findeth all.' 'Tis an old saying among soldiers. Death cometh for any mortal, but seemeth not to find these, p'raps because he hath found them once before. Still, it seemeth to this thinker that one man oft changes history. P'raps 'tis up to one to rid us of this evil. Or one for each. Oh, to think what such a person would be like..."
"You know, Fro... Glenn, you just might be talking to one." Glenn's head turned to Lucca.
"Thou meanest that Drissom hath..."
"No, unfortunately. But I helped defeat Lavos. And you're an alternate of someone who did the same. And how many times has it happened that one Hellbound is sent after one person? I think something might have chosen us, or at least me, to be in this line of work. Chosen..." Glenn shook his head, pondering. He began to muse, out loud, "I wonder... 'Twould seem that we all art in the grip... of the hand called 'Fate'."
"All right, bot. Let's see how you fare with this one." Prometheus' eye-globes turned up to his captor, a tall man with a dirty beard. A few beeps sounded, followed by his best simulation of a sigh.
"Please, sir, I have asked you repeatedly to stop referring to me as 'bot'. You may call me 'R66-Y', or 'Prometheus', or preferably 'Robo'." He stood anyway. The man was still a few feet taller than him, but he was clearly afraid of the android. Proven by the way that his hand shook as he held the taser. (Do you spell that with a "z"?)The shock it would provide would be little hindrance to Robo, but he had no intention of escaping. These people were willing to sacrifice their lives to keep him from doing so, and Robo didn't want that. He walked out of the cell.
He sorely missed some of his parts. The healing/self-repair devices for instance. And the retractable arm-cannons. And the foot-wheels. True, he had gotten rocket boosters and other new parts in exchange, but he still missed them. They had been part of him. Parts that Lucca had made. The trouble had started about two weeks ago. That's when the time-displacement waves had come, shattering his world.
Two Weeks Back (for him)
"No, James," Robo instructed, using the teen's proper name. "The wire has to twist counter-clockwise, else the power flow be obstructed." Jimmy nodded, fixing it with a pair of pliers, and went back to the complex circuitry of the arm. It was a technology education class. And who better to teach it than Robo. He had extensive knowledge of any and all systems, simple to complex. No one could figure out how. He seemed to be a particularly strong guard bot from the turn of the millenium, although his running time showed only a decade or so of life. Technology beyond any of them was embedded in his system. Removing one piece could destroy the rest.
And to further the mystery, not only was he intelligent, emotional, and spectacularly knowledgable about present-day tech and beyond, he had a programming block that kept out the best hackers in the world. And he could operate outside of parameters. He had once even lied on someone's behalf. He felt awful about it, however, and after the situation was resolved, he told the truth. Still, the fact alone that he had lied led people to believe that he couldn't possibly be a robot. Robots were computers with bodies. Robo wasn't. Some people thought he was an alien. He didn't respond to accusations that he was a time traveler from the future. Atropos, now known mainly as Attie, was a similar, but lesser mystery.
Robo had messed with her, with her permission, and she came out with new internal programming capabilities, allowing her to grow into a personality. A similar programming block was fixed within her as well. As the years went by, the two developed together, becoming more human by the week. Robo had gone through so much that he was already quite mature in his humanity, but it was a joy for him to see Attie grow into it.
For now, he was teaching technology at a local highschool. He knew that the children were the key to the future, something he knew well enough about. He occasionally pondered the idea of making a "child" for him and Attie. Perhaps one that they could upgrade yearly, growing as a human child would. He... stopped. Looked around. Something wasn't right, and it wasn't the students. His scanners turned on almost without thought, and he picked up something far away. And moving closer. Something that only he could see. He braced for impact as the wave slammed through the wall, leaving something entirely different behind. The wave moved on, faster than anything Robo had ever seen, short of the Epoch warping. His vision sensors shut down temporarily at the flash of light, which would have blown out his vision systems, had they not reacted instantly.
The light cleared to reveal... darkness. Robo switched his optic sensors back on, and didn't notice much of a difference. The sky was dark, cloudy, except for one area that the light shined through, to illuminate a huge tower, and a city around and throughout. He didn't have time to appreciate this, however, as a huge beast approached. It was humanoid in shape, but dark, darker than its surroundings. Huge blades sprung directly from its elbows, leaving it handless. Obviously designed for battle. Its head was not normal, either, as it appeared to be the head of one of the Canus genus, or dog family. One huge fang protruded upward from each side of the pointed snout. To Robo's further surprise, it floated ten feet above the ground. It stopped, and pointed beyond and behind Robo, and from its mouth came a noise more like a thunderclap from five feet away than any roar Robo'd ever heard. The worst was yet to come.
As Robo watched, dozens, no, hundreds of smaller beasts massed behind it and glided past it, completely silent. Robo ran, but kept his head turned around to see what these beasts were. A flash from above revealed what Robo now realized was a battlefield. What he saw made him turn his head back around and let loose his wheels, speeding along. One word did this. Golems. Hundreds of them. All right behind him. And gaining. Bright white light shone forth as he turned on his arm-light, a flashlight Lucca had been wise enough to install next to his arm-gun. He remembered her smiling as she mused, "Light, in the same arm as shadow magic."
He soon realized that he was on a path. Logic dictated that if the golems were moving on that path, then he should get off it, but that thought stopped when he saw a fork in the road. He couldn't tell if he should go to the right, where a dome stood in sight, or to the left. The golems could be traveling along either one. Knowing he had a 50% chance of guessing wrong or right, respectively, he decided. He activated his random number generator, a leftover from his original programming. He decided that an even number would be left, and odd would mean right. He activated it, and kept track of the numbers.8436... It was still going on, and the fork was approaching.84363473... He was very close. He decided on the left. 843634737. He turned right at the last possible moment, but didn't stop. He turned his head to see if he was being followed.
Another flash of lightning showed masses of golems, all moving... left. Robo would have sighed, but doubted anyone would hear it. What was the point if not to express ones's self? He slowed to a stop, and watched the golems move on. At the end glided the first beast. He stopped at the fork, and looked right at Robo. Robo gave thought to escape, but decided that his beast would catch him whether or not he expended that energy. A flash of lightning shined on the creature, but illuminated nothing. It was pitch black in the light. It eventually turned, following its comrades down the path. Robo turned back to his path. He began to walk, but was soon stopped by a sound behind him. He turned just in time to see a net flying at him, and then it struck. The net stuck to him magnetically, and released a powerful electric charge, overloading his systems. He shut down.
Two Weeks Later
It had turned out that he had come to the human camp. He didn't know much, but it seemed that the humans, robots, and Kingdom were fighting over, well, everything. The first camp had removed his weapons and several useful parts and was about to take him apart completely, when another time wave struck, sending him to an even more distrustful camp. Appearing in the middle of an enemy camp isn't usually good. Since then, wave after wave had struck, some bringing good changes, and many bringing bad. This last camp was different. The men here played games to release tension. A favorite game was the Arena, in which a person or an animal or a robot fought another from one of those three categories. The fights were to the death unless a human was the one losing, in which case the winner was awarded something and kept for another fight. Property and money were often bet on games. Ties resulted in no loss or gain.
At first, Robo had gone into the Arena not knowing what it was, and killed a very vicious animal that had attacked him first. He'd decided not to fight any more, but had heard that some animals and people had been let free if they weren't already free, and had won many battles. Robo decided to fight for his freedom, but on a condition. Two, actually. One, he wouldn't have to kill. And two, that he could bring one person to freedom with him. The leaders of the competition, gamblers at heart, liked the idea, and took the deal. But, of course, Robo now had the hard battles. He had to earn his way out.
The guard grabbed him and pulled him out of the cell, into a table, which shattered. Robo was given debilitating manacles to keep him weak so he wouldn't attack the guards. Now it kept him from defending himself. The guard was about to turn up the taser's power, but a rattling from behind made him glance back. One of the prisoners, a human, yelled out, "Leave him alone. He ain't done nuthin' to you! Besides, you'll be in trouble if he's not in fighting condition." The guard turned down his weapon, grumbling, and dragged Robo behind him. Robo looked to the man in the cell, who raised a fist in salute. Robo beeped. This was probably going to be the beneficiary of his second condition.
I thank you for your offer, but I do not really fit in here. To tell you the truth, I do not feel like I fit in anywhere or at any time period in this world...
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