Author : Methias

He slumbered. He remembered. His recollections were filled with vague, half-things. Muted feelings, dulled senses, broken memories.

He remembered the last time he slumbered. He remembered the fall.

He remembered the fire and the death. He remembered a heat so intense that that the simulated pain cut out to a dull warning tingle, lest it distract him. He remembered the wiring under his hull screaming its protest as the unseen waves of power struck his hardware and caused it to stutter and die. He remembered sleeping then as his repair systems went to work, confident that he would wake to continue his mission. He was built to endure.

Time passed, how much time he could not say. When he slept, time lost its importance.

He remembered waking. The city was gone, a vast plain in its place. He remembered having to dig himself free of the clinging dirt in which he was buried. He remembered completing the journey that had been interrupted by the fall. He remembered seeing men on his way there. He remembered their fear at his sight. He remembered their cries as they fled into the plains. He did not pursue. He had orders.

He remembered.

When he reached the coordinates logged in his memory he found no trace of his destination, but a brief scan revealed a large metal lined mass below him. He dug.

He remembered guarding the room, as he had been instructed before his slumber, until exposure to the elements caused its reinforced thermocrete to crumble to dust.

He remembered slumbering again.

A vague sensation of loss pulled at him. He reached back into his drives, trying to pinpoint its origin.

He remembered back, back to the very beginning of his cored memory. He remembered awakening for the first time. He remembered his issued identifier and his designated role; adaptive autonomous combatant. He remembered his first battles fighting on the forefront of an invasion for his human masters. He remembered his standing orders; critical resource defense and denial. He remembered that his adaptive programming made him a valuable asset, and ensured his continued service through 183 years of active service and 38 refits. He was built to endure, and endure he did.

Still he could not locate the origin of the sense of loss, but there was nowhere left to search. He had examined his entire memory bank and found no source.

The feeling grew, and he began to dream. He dreamed of death, that of others and of his own.

He dreamed of fighting in a war, but not as he remembered. In his dream he was human. In his dream he was a soldier fighting in a war for his home against an army of dead men in machines. In his dream he was shot one night in an ambush, cut off from his friends. In his dream, he died.

His dreams became more and more clouded as he dreamt back, further and further.

He dreamt of children, playing on a swing behind a house. He dreamt of carrying them to bed after they fell asleep in the fort they had built out of the couch. He dreamt of a woman. He dreamt of loving her.

The sense of loss grew, and he remembered.

He awoke.

He had been so long from them, he had almost forgotten.

He examined his metallic frame. It was spotless, free of rust and corrosion, his innate repair systems flawless. He would see them again, but not yet, not for a long while. He was built to endure, and endure he did.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows