The original copy (and from the original write I believe) is here:
Again... I did not write this, and I take no credit for it. Yet I do hope you enjoy it, and try to give credit and compliments to the original writer and source.
x Jeremy M.
----- Part 1 ----------------------------------------
We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 10/30/08(Thu)23:42 No.2911901
We made a mistake. That is the simple, undeniable truth of the matter, however painful it might be. The flaw was not in our Observatories, for those machines were as perfect as we could make, and they showed us only the unfiltered light of truth. The flaw was not in the Predictor, for it is a device of pure, infallible logic, turning raw data into meaningful information without the taint of emotion or bias. No, the flaw was within us, the Orchestrators of this disaster, the sentients who thought themselves beyond such failings. We are responsible.
It began a short while ago, as these things are measured, less than 6^6 Deeli ago, though I suspect our systems of measure will mean very little by the time anyone receives this transmission. We detected faint radio signals from a blossoming intelligence 2^14 Deelis outward from the Galactic Core, as photons travel. At first crude and unstructured, these leaking broadcasts quickly grew in complexity and strength, as did the messages they carried. Through our Observatories we watched a world of strife and violence, populated by a barbaric race of short-lived, fast breeding vermin. They were brutal and uncultured things which stabbed and shot and burned each other with no regard for life or purpose. Even their concepts of Art spoke of conflict and pain. They divided themselves according to some bizarre cultural patterns and set their every industry to cause of death.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 10/30/08(Thu)23:42 No.2911904
They terrified us, but we were older and wiser and so very far away, so we did not fret. Then we watched them split the atom and breach the heavens within the breadth of one of their single, short generations, and we began to worry. When they began actively transmitting messages and greetings into space, we felt fear and horror. Their transmissions promised peace and camaraderie to any who were listening, but we had watched them for too long to buy into such transparent deceptions. They knew we were out here, and they were coming for us.
The Orchestrators consulted the Predictor, and the output was dire. They would multiply and grow and flood out of their home system like some uncountable tide of Devourer worms, consuming all that lay in their path. It might take 6^8 Deelis, but they would destroy us if left unchecked. With aching carapaces we decided to act, and sealed our fate.
The Gift of Mercy was 8^4 strides long with a mouth 2/4 that in diameter, filled with many 4^4 weights of machinery, fuel, and ballast. It would push itself up to 2/8th of light speed with its onboard fuel, and then begin to consume interstellar Primary Element 2/2 to feed its unlimited acceleration. It would be traveling at nearly light speed when it hit. They would never see it coming. Its launch was a day of mourning, celebration, and reflection. The horror of the act we had committed weighted heavily upon us all; the necessity of our crime did little to comfort us.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 10/30/08(Thu)23:44 No.2911914
The Gift had barely cleared the outer cometary halo when the mistake was realized, but it was too late. The Gift could not be caught, could not be recalled or diverted from its path. The architects and work crews, horrified at the awful power of the thing upon which they labored, had quietly self-terminated in droves, walking unshielded into radiation zones, neglecting proper null pressure safety or simple ceasing their nutrient consumption until their metabolic functions stopped. The appalling cost in lives had forced the Ochestrators to streamline the Gift’s design and construction. There had been no time for the design or implementation of anything beyond the simple, massive engines and the stabilizing systems. We could only watch in shame and horror as the light of genocide faded into infrared against the distant void.
They grew, and they changed, in a handful of lifetimes they abolished war, abandoned their violent tendencies and turned themselves to the grand purposes of life and Art. We watched them remake first themselves, and then their world. Their frail, soft bodies gave way to gleaming metals and plastics, they unified their people through an omnipresent communications grid and produced Art of such power and emotion, the likes of which the Galaxy has never seen before. Or again, because of us.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 10/30/08(Thu)23:45 No.2911920
They converted their home world into a paradise (by their standards) and many 10^6s of them poured out into the surrounding system with a rapidity and vigor that we could only envy. With bodies built to survive every environment from the day lit surface of their innermost world, to the atmosphere of their largest gas giant and the cold void in-between, they set out to sculpt their system into something beautiful. At first we thought them simple miners, stripping the rocky planets and moons for vital resources, but then we began to see the purpose to their constructions, the artworks carved into every surface, and traced across the system in glittering lights and dancing fusion trails. And still, our terrible Gift approached.
They had less than 2^2 Deeli to see it, following so closely on the tail of its own light. In that time, oh so brief even by their fleeting lives, more than 10^10 sentients prepared for death. Lovers exchanged last words, separated by worlds and the tyranny of light speed. Their planet side engineers worked frantically to build sufficient transmission infrastructure to upload the countless masses with the necessary neural modifications, while those above dumped lifetimes of music and literature from their databanks to make room for passengers. Those lacking the required hardware or the time to acquire it consigned themselves to death, lashed out in fear and pain, or simply went about their lives as best they could under the circumstances.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 10/30/08(Thu)23:45 No.2911924
The Gift arrived suddenly, the light of its impact visible in our skies, shining bright and cruel even to the unaugmented ocular receptor. We watched and we wept for our victims, dead so many Deelis before the light of their doom had even reached us. Many 6^4s of those who had been directly or even tangentially involved in the creation of the Gift sealed their spiracles with paste as a final penance for the small roles they had played in this atrocity. The light dimmed, the dust cleared, and our Observatories refocused upon the place where their shining blue world had once hung in the void, and found only dust and the pale gleam of an orphaned moon, wrapped in a thin, burning wisp of atmosphere that had once belonged to its parent.
Radiation and relativistic shrapnel had wiped out much of the inner system, and continent sized chunks of molten rock carried screaming ghosts outward at interstellar escape velocities, damned to wander the great void for an eternity. The damage was apocalyptic, but not complete, from the shadows of the outer worlds, tiny points of light emerged, thousands of fusion trails of single ships and world ships and everything in between, many 10^6s of survivors in flesh and steel and memory banks, ready to rebuild. For a few moments we felt relief, even joy, and we were filled with the hope that their culture and Art would survive the terrible blow we had dealt them. Then came the message, tightly focused at our star, transmitted simultaneously by hundreds of their ships.
"We know you are out there, and we are coming for you."
----- Part 2 ----------------------------------------
We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)00:54 No.2917914
In darkness and silence I fell, and for a while I was at peace. Within the armored hull of the pod, suspended in shock gel and a hundred layers of ablative film, I could pretend the universe didn’t exist, had never existed, and that the last 50 years relative had never happened. But in the dark, in the absence of action or stimulus, my machine-self idled and my soul-self let its imagination wander. In my mind’s eye I could see the other pods falling around me, decoys and comrades alike, indistinguishable to the keenest sensors until the rising flak broke them open to spill their contents into the burning sky. I waited for one of the questing beams of light to single out my refuge and end me, and to my surprise some part of me felt afraid. My machine-self counted the seconds and calculated my altitude. It would be a simple thing to end it all, to just empty my mind and wait for the ea- the ground to strike me and erase the memories. The temptation was strong, but I’m not capable of dying quietly, none of us are, or we wouldn’t be here.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)00:55 No.2917921
A thousand meters above the city, my survival instincts asserted themselves and machine-self triggered the deceleration protocols. Micro-explosives shredded the remains of the heat shielding, filling the air around me with a cloud of glittering, laser-scattering chaff. The drogue chutes deployed, pulling the retrorockets to the end of their tethers a microsecond before they ignited and gravity returned. Spy drones launched themselves from the pod’s exposed skeleton and flew out over the city, relaying telemetry and images to machine-self. A map grew in my mind, heat sources and weapon emplacements highlighted across my vision. Through the eyes of my drones I watched my pod finish its deceleration with the aid of a relatively soft building, and machine-self suspended the detonation of the pod’s release system. Under the building’s rubble, the explosive bolts would only damage my body and bring more wreckage down on my head. I would have to dig my way out.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)00:55 No.2917928
I probed the debris with ultrasound and machine-self analyzed the composition and distribution of rubble encasing me, finding a small opening above me. I punched one of my limbs through the top of the pod’s skin and placed a small demo charge in the gap, dialing it down to minimum strength before pulling my limb back into the safety of the pod’s confines. The blast cleared the rubble, and the remaining shock gel crystallized around me as it absorbed my half of the energy. I pushed my body upwards through the brittle foam, clambering up through the hole I had made, and took a moment to scan the burning corpse of the building I had landed in. My eyes flickered across the surroundings; soul-self sought meaning in the pictograms and murals that decorated the walls, while machine-self analyzed their material and estimated their resistance to my onboard weaponry. Both my selves snapped to attention as a strange, patterned chattering became audible over the roar of the flames, and one of The Enemy entered the hall.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)00:56 No.2917929
Machine-self studied it dispassionately, carefully measuring and noting every feature of its alien form. It stood two meters tall and roughly three across, looking very much like a crab wrapped in Mylar film. It was made of fours. It had four arms and four legs, four eye stalks, four “fingers” at the end of each arm and four claws on each “foot.” It was lugging some kind of breathing apparatus on the flat shelf of its back, and clutched a hose and nozzle contraption in two of its hands, spraying fire-retardant foam onto the smoldering walls around it. My soul-self didn’t care about its function or purpose; I felt only hate and rage. Soul-self formed an intent, machine-self calculated a course of action, and my body leapt from behind the rubble that concealed me from The Enemy’s sight.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)00:57 No.2917939
File :1225515479.jpg-(1.5 MB, 2038x1359, jumping spider.jpg)
Eight cybernetic limbs propelled me upwards, faster than the monster’s twitching eyes could follow. I pushed off the high ceiling, my inorganic frame and pre-programmed responses moving with unnatural speed, and landed behind the creature with a loud crash. It let out a high frequency chattering and spun to face me, dropping its hose in panic. This specimen of The Enemy was clearly not a soldier, it wasn’t prepared to face anything like me, but I didn’t care. I darted forward and clamped two of my forelimbs onto the upper segment of its body and two on the bottom half, and pulled it apart like a lobster. I felt its chitinous exoskeleton crunch under the Mylar clothing as it helplessly beat its arms against my armored carapace, and something inside of me felt joy for the first time in a very long while. From behind me came a noise I would quickly come to recognize as a scream, and I swiveled to meet the new targets.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)00:59 No.2917948
There were three more of the things in the next room, looking at me with what could only be terror. My machine-self noted their size and numbers, the digging tools clutched in their claws, the potentially explosive tanks of breathing gas that each one carried, and the unstable structure of the building around me and determined they might actually pose a threat to my combat chassis. Dispensing with theatrics, I simply fired a high velocity electomag slug at a point on each of their shells equidistant from all four eye stalks, assuming (rightly so) that it would be a major nerve cluster. As the three fell dead, I turned my attention back to my original target, which remained alive despite its gruesome bisection. I hesitated in thought, it had been nearly seven minutes since my landing and military personnel couldn’t be far behind the damage control teams. But there were billions of these monsters on this world, and we would need a good understanding of their anatomy to kill them all. I unfolded a combat blade from my right forelimb and went to work.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)00:59 No.2917954
The skies of this world had been clear and cloudless before we came, the ground bright and hot with reflected sunlight from their endless days, but that had quickly changed. Towering mountains of reflective chaff filled the atmosphere, reaching up to the edge of space and casting dark shadows across the cities that had known the continuous light of two suns for thousands of years. Sinking chaff met rising smoke, hot and cold air mixed for the first time in recorded history and micro-storms formed between the glass and stone towers that had housed this world’s murderous denizens for untold generations. A small squad of four Enemy soldiers had gathered around the entrance to the building I had landed in, unwilling to enter, and seemingly incapable of simply leveling the structure with explosives. It mattered little, I had slipped out of a window when a brief whirlwind had blown down the main avenue, spitting out harmless ball lightning that crawled across their emplacements and left them cowering on the ground. I clung to a shadowed wall a block to west of them, my body recharging itself from a power line, machine-self analyzing their weapons and technology while the weather quickly eroded their fighting spirit. A lucky shot from their powerful but clumsy handheld weapons could easily damage or destroy my body, and the vehicles approaching from the east mounted some seriously threatening equipment. Fortunately I was not alone in this place.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)00:59 No.2917958
Somewhere down the road a heavy gun spoke and one of The Enemy’s tracked vehicles erupted into flame. The remaining three vehicles turned their armored prows toward the threat and began firing into the distance, trying to pick out the source of the attack in the storm lit gloom. The armored infantry rose from cover and began firing, their backs to me. I launched a volley of smoke bombs and sonic strobes into their emplacements and dropped off the wall, bounding across the road in a heart beat and tearing into them with my combat blades and Electromag Cannon. I hit the first one from behind, shoving it forward into the low marble wall it had been crouched behind. Diamond edged claws peeled back a plate in its bulky ballistic armor, and a Low-V EM slug liquefied everything inside the suit before it could make a sound. The screaming sonic strobes and swirling smoke left them disoriented and blind, but the howling wind was rapidly thinning out my cover. My inertial compass and internal map told me there was another of the Enemy’s troops six meters south of me, assuming they hadn’t moved very far since I popped the smoke grenades. I hunkered down low to the ground and scuttled forward until I could make out the muzzle flash of its weapon as it fired wildly into the surrounding smoke.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)01:00 No.2917960
I was two meters from it when a section the wall next to me exploded, sending fragments of hot stone bouncing off of my metal skin. I responded with a hasty HV shot at the muzzle flash and was rewarded with a brilliant flash of light and an exclamation of pain. The creature darted forward through the thinning smoke, three arms and a smoldering stump outstretched. It bowled into me, a metric ton of meat and armor pushing me backwards across the polished ground. I tried to push it off of me with two of my forelimbs, but it simply grabbed them with its powered gauntlets and began to squeeze. I felt my carapace compress under the strain and lashed out with my other two forelimbs, impaling its “face” with my combat blades, but the armor and exoskeleton were too thick for me to reach its primary nerve cluster. I had only seconds before the smoke was completely gone and its allies noticed our struggle, when machine-self calculated a firing solution. I wrenched my body to the side, straining my limbs even further, and fired a HV round into the stump of its missing arm. The slug punched through the gap in its armor and shattered into a hundred pieces of razor sharp shrapnel that bounced around inside of its armor.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)01:00 No.2917963
By the time I pushed its shredded corpse off of me, the smoke was gone, and with it went most of my advantages. Five meters in front of me, one of the troopers brought his weapon to bear. I tapped into my dwindling power reserves and sprung from the ground as it fired, covering the distance between us in a single bound. I landed hard on its back, driving it to the ground, wrapped all eight of my limbs around the upper half of its body and squeezed. Armor plates built to deflect bullets and distribute sharp impacts buckled and folded under the pressure, pulping their contents. As my foe collapsed, I franticly scanned my surroundings for the last of the soldiers, and found it crouched three meters away. I didn’t have enough power left for an HV shot, and I had barely enough strength to close distance between us, but it proved unnecessary. A small hole was burned in its armor where one of its fellows had hit it in the chaos of the fighting. Satisfied that the infantry threat had been eliminated, I turned my attention to the guttering wrecks of their vehicles, rent and torn by the superior firepower of my approaching allies.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)01:00 No.2917967
Dressed in matching black, 8 meter tall bipedal tanks, they identified themselves as Jonathan Kymorez 482 and 739. A third stood at an intersection three blocks to the south, the smoke billowing from its cracked hull indicating the reason for its silence. My machine-self noted the superficial damage the remaining two wore on their scarred hulls and requested a Datanet relay from their machine-selves, while my soul-self thanked them for their firepower and made meaningless small talk. They thanked me for the targets and informed me of a semi-organized push on the well defended northern quarters of the city. They had lost their infantry support and two of their clones shortly after landing, and requested that I scout their path northward. I agreed, and after a brief respite to recharge from the local power grid, I used JK739’s high-gain antenna to pull compiled maps and tactical reports off of the fleet’s Datanet, upload my logs, and then we set off to join up with the rest of the horde.
----- Part 3 ----------------------------------------
We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)01:01 No.2917977
File :1225515711.jpg-(317 KB, 603x600, EmptyCityCDcov.jpg)
It was a city of empty rooms, I reflected as I moved through yet another abandoned building. Every structure was gleaming and pristine on the exterior, but empty and decrepit on the inside. What had happened to the people who had lived here before we came, and who had gone to so much trouble to maintain the exterior of this dead and lonely city? From above, this world had seemed to be the home to tens of billions, but since landing here I had seen no one save soldiers and a few fire control teams. If every city on the globe was like this, there might only be a few million soldiers and groundskeepers. Where had the population gone? At first I thought they had been moved to shelters in preparation for our invasion, but the decaying furniture and rusted appliances spoke of decades of neglect. No, they fled this world long ago, but why leave anyone behind to face our wrath? Were they clones and criminals, left here to harass and delay us, or sacrifices intended to sate our vengeance?
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)01:02 No.2917983
I passed a window and noticed once again the perfectly maintained and polished streets, the civilian vehicles that had become fused to the ground by successive layers of paint and rust, and the meaning became clear. This world was a decoy, a deception and sacrifice in one. They expected us to fight like them, to coldly kill from a distance and go home confident that we had avenged our loved ones. But there was no home left for us, and they didn’t expect that our anger and our rage would take this form. This wasn’t a war to us, it wasn’t some cold and calculated competition for resources or survival, it was about revenge. We were probably the only race in the universe crazy enough to fly across the galaxy and drop and army on our Enemy. No, that’s not true, we’re not an army. Armies have command structures, ranks and organization, ideals and goals. We had just the one goal and a million individual motivations, we were a mob with a direction and nothing more. A muffled scratch interrupted my thoughts and returned me to the job at hand.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)01:02 No.2917990
The Jonathan Kymorezes told me I had been fortunate to land in one of the quieter parts of the city, they had faced organized resistance the moment they set down and lost most of their armor and all of their support within the first few minutes of fighting. One of their clones had detonated his power core to cover their retreat into the quieter sections of the city, and the explosion had taken out most of their pursuers. Now they were trying to make their way north and join up with the main body of the horde for a push on some important looking and well defended structures. Their tanks, while imposing, were incredibly vulnerable in an urban environment, and it fell upon me to keep them safe from harm. Right now that meant scouting ahead for ambushes, clearing them out if I could, relaying targeting telemetry to the Kymorez brothers for bigger threats, or sneaking them around the most dangerous obstacles. The Enemy was quickly learning the art of the ambush, and my vigilance was being sorely tested.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)01:03 No.2917993
I crept across the ceiling of what must once have been an extravagant apartment, and listened carefully to the sounds coming from the other side. The Enemy was cold blooded, their respiration almost completely silent, and they were proving they could be almost impossible to detect when they want didn’t want to be noticed. Directly above me, I could hear the soft chatter of alien words and the faint clunk of a rocket launcher being loaded. The anatomy of The Enemy’s appendages and eyes made it difficult for them to aim small arms reliably, but their missiles and vehicle mounted weapons made good use of computer aided targeting, and a lucky shot from a high explosive warhead could cripple or destroy one of my wards. I reached into my pack and pulled out one of the aforementioned warheads, confiscated from a similar ambush attempt five blocks to the south, and glued it to the ceiling. I activated the timer, dropped from the ceiling and ran from the room. The timers on the missiles only had one setting and, not for the first time, I regretted not being more conservative with my demo charges.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)01:03 No.2917996
The initial blast took out the room and the squad above it, secondary explosions from their ammo cache tore open half the building, and thirty floors of empty rooms slumped into the street below. I clung to the building next door and waited for the smoke to clear, carefully scanning every window and doorway along the street for movement. Half the city was on fire and the sky was a solid mass of lightning, so I didn’t anticipate anything coming to investigate the noise. When the rubble had settled without further signs of life, I signaled the Kymorez brothers to advance from their hiding place. I would have preferred to conduct a building-by-building search to root out any other potential threats, but the brothers were eager to reach the northern front where their heavy weapons could make a difference and, truthfully, so was I. There was something in the north that The Enemy felt compelled to defend, and I would be there to watch it burn.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)01:03 No.2918002
Two blocks to the north I found the first signs of friendly activity, and three blocks further there was a patrol of a dozen bipedal infantry and a couple of fast, wheeled tanks burning dead crabs in the street. They told us that the route north was clear, dozens of teams were running patrols through the surrounding city to clear the path for reinforcements before the big push got under way. The Kymorez brothers were happy to hear this, and immediately set off to join up with the forces massing at the edge of the Enemy controlled territory, but I wanted take a look around first. I found the largest building on the block and rode its clattering, rusted lift system to the topmost floor, then climbed out onto the windswept roof to survey the surrounding cityscape. Thick, heavy smoke had settled over much of the surrounding city, like an ocean of airborne ash. To the east and south fires were rapidly advancing across the skyline, hot smoke billowing into the sky and mixing with small but violent thunderclouds to create a spectacular lightshow. To the west, silent, sprawling industrial complexes gave out to a wide expanse of water, one of this world’s few, small, landlocked seas. And three kilometers to the north, a thousand meters tall and lit with the reflected light of the burning city, a tower of black crystal rose from the gloom.
>> We made a mistake !!Qso1Kr9WQWm 11/01/08(Sat)01:04 No.2918005
Even from this distance I could see it was something special, too thin and graceful to be another of the same residential complexes I had spent hours fighting through. The base of the structure seemed to merge into the ground, as if some bored god had melted the sand into liquid glass and pulled the spire up from it. I could make out the shapes of the Enemy’s forces, infantry manning hardened emplacements and heavy weapons where the tower’s tapering base rose out of the surrounding buildings and smoke like an artificial hill. Our forces would have to fight uphill across the open ground to reach the central spire, without the benefit of the concealing smoke. I tapped into the localized Datanet our forces had set up and scanned the local chatter for any useful information. Gavin Yukoro 176 was making a speech, trying to rally troops for the upcoming assault. The Gavin Yukoros were always making big, grandoise speeches about abstract concepts like glory and honor, and I quickly filtered him out. Reports were coming in from other cities, some were so completely deserted that the assault groups had simply started fires and hijacked transports to other parts of the globe, and some were so heavily fortified that the fleet had to nuke them from orbit to soften them up for the ground attack. I uploaded my observations and theories to the Speculation>Population? Forum and made my way back to the lift. There was no information on the tower to the north, so if I was going to satisfy my curiosity, I would have to do it on my own.