Edited by: Teakleak
The sun shines in through the windows.
My eyes fly open.
“A good morning, hopefully,” I say.
I live in a small floating house. Nothing to brag about, or so most people would think. In reality, though, it was outfitted with enough firepower to blow an entire Omega to hell. Yeah. I didn’t hold back.
I myself don’t pack much firepower. My cybernetics are mostly for defense, speed, and to enhance my brain.
I’m not a Warrior, after all. I’m a Builder. Warriors fight. Builders build. Violence is sometimes necessary, but not what I lived for.
I get off my bed and stretch. The morning fog that is draped over my mind disappears. I blink, and the world comes into focus around me.
In the corner, plugged into the wall, is a power-suit. It’s dark violet and has two large claws mounted on its shoulder. The visor is silver and glints in the light. The metal parts are rugged, sharp, and streamlined.
I walk over to it, my feet tapping on the ground.
I find the signal of the suit in my neural implant. I broadcast on the same wavelength and frequency, and send a command over.
The suit ripples open, the helmet hovering half a foot into the air.
I walk to it and smile.
My suit was a Builder’s suit. Albeit, a poorly built one. I had been in a rush, and buying one was too expensive. It isn’t wasn’t built for too much heavy- lifting, but for mobility. I don’t want to use public transport. I don’t trust anything that doesn’t have me piloting it.
I get in the suit and it closes smoothly. The interior of the suit is soft and smooth. Hard metal is not very comfortable and can be very distracting in times of distress. Especially in times of distress.I reach up and grasp the helmet. I slide it over my head, and onto the grooves of the suit. It clicks shut and the H.U.D flares to life.
The H.U.D is mostly just for show. All those blue patterns floating around my visual display possessed no real meaning, but ha, I like them.
I think about something else.
“A Builder student in one of the most powerful schools out there. Huh.” I mutter.
In our society, everyone goes through the schools. They form the base of our civilization.
In the early ages, schools were a place of learning. Today, they still are but are much more efficient at it. They determine your rank, status, and ability. They can turn ordinary citizen A into a Warrior of the highest caliber, or a revolutionary Builder.
Of course, this depends on the school they go to. It’s not like any random school could pump out specialists that easily. Each person requires special training to grow. Some schools know exactly what sort of training to give, others don’t. It takes a certain amount of effort to groom anybody. It isn’t like you can turn into a Mecha-Warrior with a snap of a finger.
Most schools are specialized for that reason, And only the best schools could afford to help in every path.
I stretch my muscles. Then I go over all the systems. Green.
The only problem I spot is a small glitch, a problem with one of the vents. I find the root of the problem, replace it with some patchwork code, and the suit is ready to go.
I open the hangar doors via a mental command. I then kick my thrusters into drive. I fly out, and into the sky. An hour later, I’m in space, flying among thousands of ships.
There’s a lot of traffic. Most of it is large carriers, while others are scout class ships, which are probably meant for nothing but personal travel. A shame. They deserve better than that. Some are flying solo, like me.
With my implants, I could survive without air for… thirty-two minutes, according to my calculations. Depressurization would not be a problem at all, maintaining my temperature would be, though.
So, on average, if I crashed into one of these ships, leading to my power-suit being disabled… I would have around ten minutes before I lose consciousness, and fifteen before I die.
Thankfully, I’m already adept at controlling my suit, despite the occasional problem that pops up.
I fly forward a bit faster and slip through a gap. I twist and just barely avoid being crushed like a tin can.
A flyer’s head turns. He’s using a glider and is to the immediate right of me.
Gliders maneuver smooth, hence the name. They are a popular choice for luxury flight.
He flies forward and does a barrel roll between three carriers.
Was that a challenge?
Then I kick on the thrusters at sixty percent.
Alarms blare into my ears. I shut them out.
My venting system is compromised. Fuel is leaking out of it at this very moment. That glitch- was actually a physical problem that the system couldn’t recognize.
A bit of panic rises up in me.
I knew this would happen, damn it. I shouldn’t have rushed the suit.
Alarms blare once again.
Warning. Imminent threat of collision.
It’s the flyer who saves me.
He, or she, swoops in, and pushes us both to the side, away from the stream of ships, and into a grey zone, It’s the equivalent of a sidewalk.
I connect to my systems and notice the figure is trying to connect to me. Then I notice their visor is only half transparent, and so I make out that the figure’s a he.
I raise a hand, somewhat twitchily due to the damage, indicating for him to wait. He does.
I assess the damage.
A data blueprint shows up in the corner of my vision. A single glance tells me there’s no hope for my suit.
There’s only one thing to do at this point. Call for help.
I broadcast on a particular frequency. I have to use special relays, as the nearest Sentinel is far from here. Then I connect to the man in front of me.
“Are you alright?” He asks
“Yeah. Though I need to get a new suit soon.”
“Do you need me to call the Sentinels?” He asks me.
I shake my head.
“Already did. By the way, that was some good flying.”
“Ha. Not really. In all honesty, I thought you were going to win. Those were some peculiar moves. I’ve never seen anything like them before.”
“Sometimes, I get a bit too excited. The moves you saw were a result of that excitement.”
“Cool. I’m Jack, by the way. Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too, Jack. I’m Dan.”
Just as I say that three blue and white ships zoom in on our positions.
“Ah, the Sentinels are here. Here’s my tag. Maybe we can go out for a proper race sometime.”
Tags are indestructible and contain the digital fingerprint of the person they are connected to. They could be used for a variety of things, like verification, profiles, and beacons. Communication too.
Each person has a single tag located in their head. To get a person’s tag you would need to have either an expert surgeon or an advanced med-pod on hand, neither are easy to have access to. Tags aren’t easily replicated, either. Anyone who tries is caught and punished heavily.
“Though, I need a craft.”
“That’s no problem. I have some spare scouts gathering dust back home. I’ve never seen your suit before, by the way. Did you get it custom made?”
“No. Well, yes. By myself.”
“Nice. Anyway, I need to go, so see you.” He says.
“See ya.” I say as his figure zooms off, leaving blue trails behind him.
The Sentinel ships come to a stop near me. The door of the central ship slides open, and a man walks out. He has a silver strip lining his forehead and an ‘A’ is engraved in the center of it.
An Android, and an A-ranked one at that.
The connection with Jack cuts off, my comms being unable to handle long distance. In turn, I feel the Android try to connect with me.
I open the channel.
“Citizen. You’ve reported that your suit has malfunctioned. Is this correct?”
Internally, I sigh. I know where this is going, and I’m not going to like it. The first day of school and I’m going to be late, damn it.
“Your suit does not match any records on the database. Where have you acquired it?”
“I built it myself.”
“Do you have a registered Builder’s license?”
“Were you aware of any problems your suit might’ve had before using it?”
“…Yes.” Honestly, I was tempted to say no, but the android has advanced scanners and can tell I’m lying. If I was given a moment to prepare, I could have probably set up my cybernetics to eliminate the signs of dishonesty.
As it is, lying would have gotten me in more trouble.
“I see…” The android says, some distaste evident in his voice.
Androids aren’t built to function like humans. No, they have set rules and limitations, and can’t change their own code. They are, in a way, limited. They are coded with an extreme sense of morals, and would not hesitate to do the ‘right’ thing. In most cases, that isn’t a bad thing, but sometimes people could twist that to their advantage.
Like me, for example. Once, I had been cornered by three androids. I had escaped by putting a gun to my head and threatening them with suicide should they not let me go.
Of course, things aren’t as simple as that, since if it was any normal person, they would’ve gone and incapacitated them with their excessive firepower. Then again, my build is based on speed so I could have ended myself long before their attacks reached me.
But now, all of that knowledge is pretty much useless. One, because I can’t really move, not when my suit is disabled, and two, because I have turned over a new leaf.
And things are already going to shit. Damn it.
I am tempted, to hack into the android and the ships to simply erase any traces of this happening. But, I restrain myself, as that would only serve to complicate things further.
The android moves forward.
“Daniel Zyron, for creating a power suit, and not registering it, and then going on as to use that very suit while knowing….”
I barely hear the rest of the android’s words as two massive handcuffs lock around my Power-suit. I’m then led to the ship where I’m freed of my suit and handcuffs and sent to a small cell with a signal jammer somewhere nearby.
I slink into the cell and sigh.
And here I was hoping for a vacation.