Yes, all thoughts are full of mental wounds –
Everyone goes their own way, as they can.
Velvet “Captain Arctic”
A fragment of reconstructed data from the Prototype №40, found in sector 18-SF-42358k on the Galactic Navigation Classifier. The fragment is of very poor quality, in some places there are noise, interference and significant degradation of the image.
Big dark room. Walls and ceilings are lost in the dark. The floor consists of black mirrored slabs on which light lines run from time to time that cast a gleam on a barely even able to stand human figure. The man is seriously wounded. His face is disfigured and turned into a bloodbath. Instead of his right eye, he has a black hole of the laceration. Both arms are twisted at an unnatural angle. There’s a bloodstain beneath their feet.
There is someone hovering over him clad in metal, and it is not clear whether it is a battle armor or an artificial body. The creature is higher and massive than the man several times. The contours of his figures appear and disappear hidden by a camouflage field.
It says something and shows a limb on the floor in front of the person. The man doesn’t react. The monster takes a step forward and repeats its words much louder, shifting to a deafening roar, and again pointing to the floor in front of him. One of his limbs begins to be wrapped in a cloud of plasma.
Nothing happens for a few seconds, and then two bundle-manipulators burst out of the creature’s back and pierce the man’s chest. The man bends backwards and tries to scream, but chokes on his own blood.
The bundles lift a man’s body above the floor slowly and bring it closer. The man is shaken by convulsions. Blood no longer drips, but flows.
The creature repeats its words for the third time quietly.
Through uncontrollable convulsive pulling the neck starts to move meaningfully, and then, with an inhuman force of will, the man raises his head and looks straight in the «face» of the mechanical creature.
And all of a sudden, the man got all tense and spat on the monster with a nearly black blood clot. It twitched as if from a stroke, and the man’s body began to shiver again. Gurgling wheezing catches in his throat, blood bubbles are blown on his lips. The tremor grows stronger, the wheezing grows louder.
A metal monster throws a man’s body upward releasing its manipulators. It swings the upper limb around which the plasma cloud forms a wide cone of the sword and… the video is interrupted. A girl appears in the frame. Her eyes sparkle with rage and madness.
– I am Enáya Nakimarúto Kun Vo Yóomi, daughter of Taarval and granddaughter of Satochi Nakimaruto, Crown Princess of Yoomi Robotics. I am Bionic. I am Psion. I am Mut. I am a Man. And I swear to everyone, who hears me, on my mother’s good name, on my blood and on everything I hold dear: We. Never. Again. And. Not to anyone. Will! We!! Kneel!!! – Every word the girl spits in the camera, and the last words scream at the top of her voice. Her cheeks were wet with tears.
– You’re going to answer for everything you’ve done. You don’t know who you’re dealing with…
The video stops.
End of Recovered Fragment.
– Captain, I think we found them…
– It looks like. Is this one dead? – The captain pointed to the head of an android lying on the dashboard and connected to the ship’s on-board network.
– I don’t know – the pilot shrugged shoulders, – I need to show Ssoshsh. I wouldn’t know about that.
– All right, – Captain activated the ship’s comms, – Kaylee, how are we doing?
– Uh… not so good.
– What do you mean, not so good?
– The main engine doesn’t work, and I can’t fix it.
– W-well, one of the capacitors of the outer energy gate is broken. We need a new capacitor.
– Ok, the others are working, how many working capacitors do we have?
– Great, three working capacitors, and you’re making a big deal out of it. Come up with something.
– Actually, we have 28, but only four of them worked. And now we have three. With three, I can’t…
– Why did only four of them work?
– First we had 17, and then when we had 16, you said “Kaylee, honey, you’re the joy of my life, come up with something…»
– I thought you said 28.
– We had had 28, and 17 worker capacitors. Then it was 16, and then 13, after we ran away from Djega station 4. Remember? And you said “Kaylee, you’re the prettiest, smartest girl I’ve ever seen, come up with something.»
– I get it… and we didn’t run. It was a tactical retreat.
– Yeah, so far retreat, that three capacitors were burned.
– What are we gonna do? Where am I gonna find a new one in the middle of space?
– Well, Captain, look at the viewscreen, – the men have looked. In front, everywhere you look, the entire visible cosmos was littered with pieces and fragments of broken spaceships that moved randomly, rotated and collided with each other soundlessly – In the middle of space, we will find. It’s just a wonderland! Here you can find not only a capacitor, here you can build a new ship. Isn’t that great? I have already sent you a couple of the most promising coordinates.
The captain and the pilot looked at each other. The pilot had a nervous swallow.
– Cap, I’m not going there. I have only manual override. And the thrust imbalance. The left thruster gives 53%, and the right 29%…
– I can fix that!
– Kaylee, will you raise the power of the starboard thruster to 53%? – the captain asked.
– Why not? You’re not gonna break a left thruster up to 29% power, are you?
– Captain, what are you talking about? I’m just gonna balance our move because otherwise we all die.
– Well, in that case, all right. Let’s do it.
– So fast?
– Well, It’s easier to pull down than to build… I mean, why are you surprised? You have the best and most beautiful mechanic in the galaxy on your crew, you said it yourself.
– Remember when we dropped our payload on the planet that smells so bad to get away from…
– I get it, Kaylee, I get it…
There was intense silence on the ship.
– There’s a grinder, I won’t get through. Nobody gets through there,- the pilot talked quietly.
– You know we can’t die now, right? We have no right – and the captain turned his head to the screen from which Enaya Nakimaruto Kun Vo Yoomi was looking at two men.
The pilot, too, looked at a girl burning with anger and determination, and nodded doomed. From the lower deck came hushed voices of people:
– Ooh, I think I swallowed a bug.
– Where do you find them?
– I don’t know…
– Lay off her!
– Don’t tell me what to do!
– Why am I still with you?
– ‘Cause you love us.
– Not us, just me.
The captain and the pilot looked at each other and laughed, taking the pressure off.
– Ok, start our Firebug. Ahead slow. Let’s go…
Editions 10/10. Pages 1-8