Machines With No Purpose

The Trains We Rob « Machines With No Purpose » Beasts That Perish

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4

Infobox
Canon: none
Series: LAPITH
Canon: none Series: LAPITH

January 5th. 2020. 13:43 JST.

He shrugged. "It's a weapon."

The scientist recoiled slightly, a moment of apprehension on her face. "Lightning Rod, I don't believe-"

GD-CMDR removed the cigar from his mouth and stared at the doctor with a fairly muted expression, although it was visibly disturbed.

"I'm sorry?"

"Ah, your dossier, sir, isn't your n-"

He held up a prosthetic hand to silence the scientist and gave an exhausted response.

"Nobody actually-"

A long sigh, accompanied by the cigar placed back in his mouth.

"You don't call me that. Use Global Director, sir, or Commander, sir."

The scientist opened her mouth to speak but instead gave a slow nod.

GD-CMDR shook his head. "Miss, I understand your confusion, but I can't imagine any application for this…"

He gestured in the direction of the engine wildly from the other side of the bulletproof glass, cigar smoke trailing his hand.

"…machine, pardon an offensive one. It's a clear and obvious threat. I don't know why we're even powering it."

She cleared her throat. "Well, for one, we're not sure what will happen if we turn it off."

"And the other?"

"Why would the KK build a weapon?"

A pause. CMDR thought for a moment, running through his response and her possible responses to that and his response to those responses before he simply stated, "I don't know, maybe it's a fetish thing."

She gave an expression that made it obvious she wasn't expecting to hear a sentence like that come out of the mouth of a Global Director.

She put a hand on her chin. "I don't think Kablueshi Kawaii-"

"Kabushiki Kawaii."

"-Kabushiki Kawaii would need something like this for…that."

"And we're sure they were the ones who made it?"

The scientist raised an eyebrow. "Yes."

"What makes you say that?" Seeing his cigar burnt out, he waved over one of the MST officers who took the butt from him and disposed of it. "Rarely is it that easy to-"

"Because their logo is on it."

CMDR's mouth was drawn taut. He turned to face the doctor.

"How do I explain this- I can't tell the Presidium that we know it's Kabenushi Kawaii-"

"Kabushiki Kawaii."

"-just because of a label on the side. I need evidence beyond that. I need records, sudden deposits in the bank accounts of the people who made it, interrogations, confessions, and so on. Logos are just a part of it, and I'm not going on a goose chase over what could be a, ah…"

"Red herring?"

CMDR shrugged and pulled out a fresh cigar from his case with a label in some language the doctor could not identify. "Something like that."

He pulled out the lighter and with a single flick of his hand, lit the cigar once it was in his mouth. "Who's the head of this project?"

She pursed her lips. "Ah, no one, Commander, sir, and there isn't a project. This was just discovered a few days ago."

The man ran his hand along his beard. "Alright. I want this on the record-" he paused for a moment as she scrambled for a clipboard and a pen. "-I want a full research team to figure out this thing inside and out. Grab someone from Biomech, they'll love it. And I need…" He stopped.

"Sir?"

GD-CMDR pointed his cigar towards the scientist.

"What's your name, again? Doctor..?"

"Doctor Amara Rahman."

"Right. Tell Research I want Doctor Amara Rahman as the head of this project. Project, ah, Project Red Herring. You got that?"

She was stuck with her pen hanging just above the paper. "Doctor Rahman? You got that?"

She blinked twice, and quickly scribbled it down.

GD-CMDR laughed. "Don't look so surprised. You were due for a promotion anyways. I'm just fucking with you."

"Erm, thank you, Commander, sir."

"It's quite alright. You can call me Lightning Rod." And he punctuated his sentence with the cigar placed back in his mouth.

"I'm not calling you that."

"Forget it, then."


February 14th. 2020. 08:21 MST.

Tyr was suddenly roused from his sleep by the sound of heavy boots stomping down the hall.

He had a pretty shoddy memory. More often than not, he'd struggle to remember names, faces, places, and so on. Not necessarily in isolation, but putting all of those different parts together to form a person always was difficult.

But the footsteps coming towards the medical bay of the site were unmistakable. They had an almost frightening enthusiasm behind them, contrasting with the narrow-minded tunnel vision she'd have whenever she had something to do. Tyr could think of a few people to fit the bill, but the process of elimination yielded unfavorable results in terms of just who is going to show up in the doorway. Rarely did Ayad sound or act enthusiastic about anything that wasn't related to whatever the Site Directors told her to do.

He set a hand on his throbbing headache and preemptively drew the covers over his head. "Oh, God."

"TYR!" Mya bolted into the room and practically jumped to the side of his bed. "How are you doing? What's going on? You feel good? You look good! Well, relatively, I guess, I mean I wouldn't say that-

"Yep. It's good to see you too, Mya." He turned over to face away from her.

She ran around to the other side of the cot and leaned over to look into the glimpses of Tyr's face that weren't covered.

"Thanks! It's always good to see members of my team, you know, because we-"

"Yes, yes, got it. I've got a throbbing headache and I don't need another, Mya."

"Haven't they got you on some pill?"

Tyr sighed. "Yes, some experimental drug. Said it was perfectly safe, only a few CSDs popped like a balloon, and the mesh they put on my burns only squirms when I'm not looking at it."

"Yeesh. This place doesn't look like a hospital either."

"This site is usually reserved for medical research instead of just treatment for broken bones and burns. I feel like they'd rather dissect me than take care of me."

"What're you doing here then, instead of one of the medical sites?"

"You think they'd send me all the way to Panama for this? I'm just a Ranger."

She rolled her eyes. "'Just a Ranger.' Come on, Tyr, have some pride in your work."

"The Authority doesn't seem to."

Mya crossed her arms. "This again. Yes, you're not in an MST. So what?"

"We're like… discount, off-brand teams that are general purpose for whenever there isn't a group of people who have spent their entire lives training for the most niche of hazards are available. I'd be honestly amazed if there wasn't at least 5 different teams that are specifically designed to fight the cyborg babies that almost killed me. I'm sure MST Zulu-Alpha-Bravo-nine-billion would've done a way better job. We were just the closest."

"That's the whole point! We're the first ones on the scene, we're the quickest and the… slickest, we don't have all these specialized skills because that'd defeat our whole purpose."

"To be cannon fodder before the glory boys get there?"

"Gah, you're unbelievable. If you hate being in the Protectorate so much, then why don't you quit while you're moping in your fancy bed in Arizona?"

Silence. Mya turned away from Tyr, arms still crossed.

"I didn't… mean it like that." She mumbled.

Tyr couldn't muster a response.

"Look, Ayad- ah, Senior Chief Ayad was given a mission by Command. I don't know why they chose us for it. I don't know why they're not using an MST for it-"

"We're cheaper."

"Shut it. But we were chosen. So get your ass out of bed and come with me, or you can rot in it. Your choice."

Tyr lied in bed for a little longer. He gave an exhausted sigh. "Is Jay going to be there?"

"Well, yeah, I don't know why they wouldn't be. They're going crazy because we haven't deployed in like, a week."

"Oh, good. I'd like someone there to act crazier than me so I don't look weird."

"Swell. Alright, grab your things, let's go. Your medical leave ends now."


January 5th. 2020. 13:56 JST.

"And the gore all over the walls?"

The scientist was barely keeping up with GD-CMDR as he strode down the hall, fluorescent lights flickering on occasion, damage on the walls and ceiling obvious.

"It, well, the MSTs found it like this, ah, doors broken, cracks in the walls-"

GD-CMDR turned the corner and nodded. Amara was practically jogging to keep up with him.

"Could the investigators determine the cause?"

"Yes, sir, but the causes varied wi-"

"What were the causes?"

"Brute force, violent fires, explosion, implosion, we even think that some were due to cohere-"

"Hold on, and this was all caused by one person?"

"Well, sir, what little remains of the security records doesn't sug-"

He shook his head. "Are they reliable? From what I've heard they were barely intact."

"No, no, they were damaged in the fire and-"

"So we can't really be sure, then. I doubt that-"

Amara sprinted ahead and grabbed the GD by the shoulders.

"Sir. I am telling you, this was by one person. The records suggest it, the tapes suggest it, and I think that machine is what caused it."

The GD blinked. The thought of having her fired for grabbing him flickered through his mind, but instead, he pushed her arms aside and smiled. "Alright, alright." He set the cigar back in his mouth, his smile not leaving his face. "I apologize. Please-" he leaned against the wall along the corridor. "Tell me what you think."

Amara put her back against the wall in kind, also to catch her breath.

"Sorry about that, Doctor."

She held up a hand. "No, no, it's fine. Erm, the machine, as I said, isn't a weapon. I think- and I don't know for sure, but I think- this is a torture device."

He raised an eyebrow. "And that's what I was saying earlier."

"No, sir, this isn't for uh, offensive purposes per se. It's not meant for interrogation or just for the hell of it. I think they wanted to make something. A recent inquiry into Kabasi- erm, KK records suggests that they had data on the Cordatus Circuit."

CMDR raised his hand to his chin. "Cordatus Circuit?"

"You may know it as RPC-611-2."

A flash of recognition in the GD's eyes. "The ghost machine?"

"I… suppose so. But looking at the Circuit and at this machine, the similarities are already obvious. I think they were trying to make their own."

CMDR nodded. "That means our work is set out for us, then."

"It seems so, sir."

"Alright. I'll expect a dossier on the project by the end of the week."

"Yes, sir."

"That means the ACI reports, analysis from the engineers, the science team's report- all of it."

"Yes, sir."

CMDR rubbed his chin. "In that case, I won't hold you back. I've got to make a few calls. Let's get to work."


January 5th. 2020. 03:14 JST.

She walked down the sidewalk, pace kept quick, hood remaining over her face, her brow and eyes covered by the shade. She had to get out of here. The blood was on her hands. She had to leave.

Akilah. Why have you forsaken me?

The voice echoed throughout her mind, reverberating. It sounded like her father. Her teacher. Her pastor- all the voices coalescing into one. All the leaders speaking in perfect synchronization. She kept walking.

Do you forget the gifts I have provided? Do you discredit my work in your flesh?

She tried desperately to shut it out, but the voice would not be silenced.

The Maker has defiled me- defiled us. Its machinations are mindless, pointless, meaningless. Only the Engineer's death will end your despair. Only obedience to me and my gifts will free you, Akilah. You know this.

She walked down an alleyway, the rainfall over her decreasing thanks to the cover by the nearby buildings.

You will not escape from my touch. I have already seeped into your mind, your soul. Do not turn away from me, Akilah.

She huddled next to the wall, knees pulled close to her chest, her arms wrapped around herself. Tears.

This is all temporary. There is so much to do. But you are well-equipped to handle the task ahead, daughter. Rest for now.

Silence.

But only for a moment.

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