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Of Man and Machine

Eldritch
classifications: Science-Fiction / Action

Released! Enjoy!

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Prologue

0500 hours

Imperial Combine Army Headquarters

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The blare of the black telecomm woke up the Captain, his eyes opening slowly to welcome the new morning entering his sleeping quarters. He sat in his bed, shaking off the night’s grogginess, and now fully awake, picked up the communicator and put it to his ear. A deep male voice sounded from the other side.

“Capt. Torres? This is Major Hawes. You are expected at the Research and Development facilities by 0530 hours. I’ll send my men by to pick you up at 0515.”

“Yes sir. May I know why I am expected at the R & D facilities?” he answered as he began to get dressed.

“All in due time Captain. Up to now, that is classified information. You'll know as soon as you get here. “

A low click sounded from the other side of the telecomm, and the Captain proceeded to pick up the rest of his uniform and get dressed.

“What would they want with me in the R& D division?” he thought to himself as he finished getting dressed and entered the bathroom attached to his quarters. He pressed a button in the wall, and picked up the toothbrush. In a flash he brushed his teeth, then picked up a comb, putting his head under the faucet, cool water hitting his head, wetting his straight brown hair, trickling down his neck and waking up what ever part of him was still asleep. He turned off the faucet with the click of a button, and began combing his hair, excess water dripping onto the white floor under him.

Torres heard two knocks on the door and walked out of the bathroom. “Captain, we’ve come to pick you up. Major’s orders.” said a female voice over the door’s intercom. He wiped away some dirt from his heavy black boots and pressed a button beside his door. The door slid sideways with a hissing sound, revealing a man and a woman with black uniforms similar to his. They saluted, and he returned the gesture, signaling them to be at ease by lowering his hand. A glance at their shoulders revealed the Wolf Face insignia. Elite Division. “Why send Elite troops to escort me to R& D? I’m sure it can’t be that important.” he thought to himself, before adding “, Or that bad”. He walked behind them to the barrack’s main door. The reinforced steel moved aside as they walked into the cool morning of Lekania. Torres raised his head, gazing into the horizon as the rising sun shed its light, millions of beams spreading their brilliance across a shattered world.

Torres followed the lieutenants to their transport, which hovered silently over the paved ground.

”Pardon me, but we haven’t been introduced yet.” said the woman, sitting in the driver’s seat. “I am Lieutenant Katherine Isabella Chisholm, Elite division.”

“And I’m Lieutenant Gregory Soleil” said the man, as the three got aboard the small transport.

“So what’s this whole thing about the R & D department needing me there?” said the Captain as the transport took off, engines humming as they advanced into the complex of buildings ahead, great giants of metal and concrete, looming over the landscape.

“Well Captain, that's classified information, and we haven't been fully informed on this operation either." answered Katherine, as their transport sped by the Intelligence Command Center.

“So, it’s as big a surprise to you as it is for me?”

“Yes. Well, I guess we’ll all find out soon enough.” replied Soleil.

Finally, the transport arrived at the R & D building. The gigantic edification was a true masterpiece of architectonic and technological work, iridescent Metaglass cover glistening in the sun. The transport hovered down to the landing pad, and the Captain stepped out, along with Lt. Chisholm and Lt. Soleil.

“Well Captain, welcome to the R& D building.” said Soleil.

“Come on, we’ve got about 5 minutes!” said Chisholm looking at her watch, and picking up the pace.

Twin metal doors sliding aside, the three entered the building. Torres suddenly stopped, gazing in awe at the room around him. The room screamed out technology, the very walls lined with circuitry. Everything around him was sleek and silvery, radiating energy.

“This is incredible. I’ve never seen anything like this.” said the Captain.

“You’ll have enough time to see it later on. Right now, we need to get to the Mecha Room.” said Chisholm, looking at her watch once again.

The Captain followed the Lieutenants through a series of corridors. Finally, they came to a stop in front of a gargantuan reinforced steel door. Soleil walked over to the holo-panel in the wall and typed away quickly, fingers swiftly keying away the clearance codes. Slowly, steadily, the massive door slid aside, revealing a vast room. Captain Torres and the Lieutenants walked inside the computerized room. Amazed, the Captain watched the computers surrounding him. The whole room was white; ceiling covered with white light-panels .It seemed to be made out of computers, holo-blueprints of countless projects floating around inside it. As soon as they arrived, a tall man walked up to them, straightened his medium brown hair, black uniform glistening with medals of all sorts. Quickly, all three of them saluted.

“Captain Torres. Good, you made it here just in time. Oh, quit the formalities, there’s no need for that here.” said the man, and stopped for a second. ”I’m Major Hawes, Elite Division, leader of Project Biomech.”

All three of them lowered their hands, and the two lieutenants stood beside the Major.

“You’ll be the first soldier to have the Biomech-HvMS installed. Congratulations, you’re now part of the Elite Division. And don’t worry, the General already has your transference papers.” continued the Major, as the Captainstood silently in front of him.

“Major, I’m afraid I don’t quite understand.” replied Torres doubtfully.

“Well maybe Dr. Gumbert can explain it better. Come with me.” Said Hawes, and led the Torres to the center of the room. A thin man stood there, with a white lab coat, dark, unruly hair, looking at one of the holo-blueprints. The Major tapped him softly in the shoulder, and he turned around to reveal hazel eyes and a somewhat grim face.

“This Dr. Gumbert, engineer, doctor and creator of the Biomech-HvMS.” Said Hawes.

The doctor extended his hand and shook the Captain’s, then picked a holo-blueprint from nearby.

“This, Captain, is the Biomech suit Hive-mind System.Designed and built to be the best compromise between mechanised toughness and human flexibility.” Said the doctor, pointing to the holo-blueprint he had taken closer.

“The suit is divided into several sub-systems, which will be further discussed during training. They are to be installed here, here, here, and here.” Said the doctor, pointing at a different location with each ‘here’.

“Installed? As in built into me?” said Torres, with a worried expression marked on his face.

Gumbert didn’t seem to notice his reaction and continued,” Yes, inside you. The only external visible part when the suit is deactivated is a small circle, about 25 millimeters in diameter. It’s quite small and discreet.”

“Well, that’s a relief” said Torres sarcastically.

The doctor seemed to dismiss the sarcastic tone.” The installation will take quite some time, and it’ll be a few days until you’re fully recovered but be assured, the best surgeons available will perform the operation.”

“Of course...” said Torres. They wouldn’t want to damage their precious tech, he thought to himself.

“Wait, one more thing... Will I be the only one with this system? I don’t think just one soldier can make much of a difference.” said the Captain, looking at the doctor.

“Lieutenants Chisholm and Soleil will have systems 001 and 002 installed. Other members of the Elite Division will also have the HvMS installed and be put under your command. But it all depends on your performance in the training field after the installation. I’ll take you to the Medical Department, so we can install the system.” Replied Dr.Gumbert.

“Right now? “asked Captain Torres

“Yes. Right now.” Answered the doctor.

Doctor Gumbert walked ahead to a brightly lit hallway, walls lined with light panels, with Torres following closely behind him. He led Torres to a small circular room, whose semi-circular glass door slid open as soon as the doctor stepped in front of it.

“Step inside, please.” Said the doctor quickly, his hand pointing to the circular room.

Torres did as Gumbert told him, quickly walking into the room. Gumbert did the same, and pressed a button in the holo panel floating to their right. Suddenly, the room moved slightly. Torres looked nervously around.

“Don’t worry Captain. This is just an elevator.” Said Gumbert anticipating Torres’ response.

“It looks like a small room.” Still shocked, Torres continued,” I can’t believe the level of technology in this place.”

A soft chime was heard and the elevator stopped. The glass door opened and Torres and Gumbert stepped outside, walking down a short corridor to a silvery door, with Medical Department on it. Gumbert walked to a holo panel hovering to their left. The door slid aside quickly, and the two entered the room. The room looked... sterile. Everything clean, disinfected. The white walls and ceiling light panels added to this effect, as Torres looked around the room.

“Come Captain, right this way.” Said Doctor Gumbert, walking over to a pair of metal doors, which quickly slid aside.

Torres walked through the doors, and entered a smaller room. A small stretcher with very white sheets was placed in the center of the room, with a light blue robe on top of it. The only other item in the room was a stainless steel table with a few syringes, each with a different colored liquid.

“Captain, please lie down in the stretcher and put on the robe. I’ll be right back.” Said Doctor Gumbert and walked off.

The Captain quickly removed his uniform, folding it neatly and putting it beside the stretcher. He slid the robe on and lay down on the bed, looking at the soft brilliance of the light panels in the ceiling. Soon after, he heard a few footsteps and the low hiss of a sliding door. Doctor Gumbert had returned, with an army of doctors and nurses. One doctor walked over to the stainless steel table. He picked up one syringe filled with a yellowish-green liquid and approached Torres.

“Now, this will hurt a bit, but soon you’ll feel nothing at all.” Said the doctor.

Torres soon felt the sting of a needle piercing the skin in his right arm. Soon, the flashes of color that appeared before him were overtaken by a rolling blanket of darkness.

Hmmmm...

drd (March 24th, 2003, 9:34 pm)

I definately want more of this one.

I always have had a weakness for subtle cyborg tech stuff....

Any coincidence that cruise's last name is Hawes?! ;)

nice one

Wanderer (April 2nd, 2003, 1:56 pm)

Oh yes, it's definatly very cool :D You opened with "Prologue", does that mean there's more to come?

nice one

Eldritch (April 2nd, 2003, 10:01 pm)

There was SUPPOSED to be a sequel. But I'm thinking of dropping it. Too hard to write.

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