Body and Mind

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Tormented military man trapped inside of a war machine recollects his long and troubled past to a stray dog.

Submitted: November 16, 2013

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Submitted: November 16, 2013

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I left earth when I was ten; I still even now remember the distinct smell of ash in the air. I've been told it hadn't always been like that. It used to be a beautiful place, filled with lush green plants and endless urban sprawls. But those are just stories now.

At the dawn of the 40th century, the civilization of the ones that came before me, ended. Not by war, as many had predicted, but by the stars. There are legends of a bright soundless flash in the sky that caught the earth ablaze, burning down building and forest alike. According to the archives, the blast set off an endless chain of natural disasters as well, from earthquakes ripping the land apart, to super volcanoes spewing ash into the atmosphere. As I looked back at the Earth from my ship, I felt relieved. That planet had been nothing but hell to me and I my future looked hopeful.

The trip to the new planet would be a long one. As we were riding there, workers were on the terraforming the new planet. It was a long process that made the planet habitable for us. Most that went ahead to terraform did not survive. It was a dangerous process, but it had to be done. They worked for small pay with the promise of a large sum of money once the rest of the population got there. Most were lower class on Earth and had nowhere else to go.

Twelve years later my family and I reached the new planet. My parents had comfy government jobs waiting for them, much like most of my family. The ones that terraformed the planet were cast off when the rest of the population arrived. They were denied their full promised payment and then were hid away from society.  Hundreds of thousands of people simply hid away.

Those who risked their lives to make this planet habitable began to rebel and caused what was known as the “Outcast Uprising.” They attacked, maimed, and killed any goverment employees they could find.  My parents were slaughtered at their day job, like most of my family. More people were joining the Outcasts than predicted. Many that joined the uprising had not even risked their lives terraforming, they simply sympathized with them and their story. The Outcasts were becoming more of a threat every single day.

 Most people that weren't rebeling were drafted to fight the Outcasts. Me? I joined on my own accord. Being one of the few that willingly joined the armed forces, I raised ranks very quickly. By the end of the third month I was already a Warrant Officer. By the end of the fifth month a General approached me and said I had been chosen to join Transfer Program. I couldn’t refuse the offer. It has been said that those who were chosen to join Transfer Program were the best and the brightest of the armed forces. Said to be adept with both their body and minds. They said they would make us new men. Who are “they?” some would ask. I’m not even sure I know.

One day into the program and we were already getting implanted with chips. They said it's to help with strategic placement. I obliged like a good little soldier and headed into the operating room where they sedated me. When I awoke I found myself in a different room. My body still felt numb, I assumed it was from the sedation. I tried to call out, but I could not move my mouth. I was stuck there until someone decided to check on me. Luckily for me though, someone did. It was a man in a lab coat, he walked over and stuck out is hand and flipped what sounded like a switch on my torso. My body began to make noise; this confused me, even more so as it began to move. As my head looked around against my will, I noticed that I was not in my body anymore, I was inside of a machine.

My body blindly followed the man to a truck, where I boarded the back along with other machines. I tried as hard as I could to move, to have some sort of control over this machine and nothing worked. The truck drove off with us, taking us to an unknown destination. I was not sure if I should fear for my life; if this was my life from now on. After a few hours I began to hear explosions in the distance, getting louder and louder the longer we rode. The truck then came to an abrupt stop. My body got off the truck along with all the other constructs. We formed a line, raised our arms and marched. Our bodies would shoot any and all that got in our way, friend and foe. We could level entire buildings with a single shot. We were government funded monsters. 

After about a year of being deployed, the war ended with no clear winner. The world was in shambles with no central government and was constantly hostile, as the war never truly ended for most. All of the machines I was deployed with had been destroyed, but any technology that was capable of destroying us was lost in time. I was alone with this machine.

This brings us to the present. It's been many years since I joined Transfer Program, more years than I care to remember. I can hardly remember the man I use to be. Was I even a man? I don't know. I don't even hear my voice in my head anymore, it's just noise. I'm still here though and I'm still at the mercy of this machine. It uses me to process its own thoughts. I can hear it sometimes, humming quietly in the back of my head. It leaves no survivors, has no remorse, I have become numb to its actions. It's all just one endless nightmare to me now. Sometimes I wish I could warn its victims, tell them to run, and don't look back. Tell them to leave before it kills them, but no words come out, only carnage. Can you even hear my thoughts, machine? I can hear yours.

The machine looked away from the dog it had been staring at as I was recollecting my past, pretending the dog could hear my thoughts. It was odd that the machine stayed in one place for so long. It started walking off and the dog followed as he sniffed the ground. He looked up and barked at something that we could not see, and ran off around a building. The machine slowly followed.

As the machine got closer to a nearby ruined building, I could hear the voice of a girl nearby. She sounded like she was playing with the dog, but we kept walking. As it drew near we could hear her more clearly, she sounded so happy to see the dog. The machine stepped on a stick that made a cracking sound loud enough for the girl to hear. I could hear that the girl had stopped playing with the dog. The machine kept walking. As it stepped around the corner she stumbled back in fear, she couldn’t be any older than thirteen. The dog looked up at us and started barking. The girl began whimpering as she tried to get the dog to run. Her whimper slowly turned into a silent sob as the machine’s arm rose. I kept thinking, as loud as I could, I can't do it. Don't do it. Don't make me do it, let one live. The dog began to growl at us when the girl's silent sobs turned into tears. The machine still just stands here, arm raised.

It starts charging up the cannon on its right arm. The girl slowly backs into the corner and curls up into a ball. In the distance we notice some marauders. They are heading this way. I feel nothing for marauders, they know the life they chose, but this little girl doesn't deserve death.

The marauders are now sprinting towards us welding blades. The machine discharges the cannon barely an inch above the girl’s head, which shoots straight through three marauders, but the rest keep running at us, unhindered.

The girl was startled; she had expected to be dead by now. She stumbled around the corner away from us. The machine shot off three more rounds out of its arm killing eleven more marauders. The remaining four are now close enough to see the whites of their eyes. Their pupils are dilated. The machine sprouts a circular saw out of its left arm. With one swipe he cuts the remaining four marauders in half. Their screams would traumatize most, though I heard one barely get out the words, “Thank you.” The machine just stands here, arm raised, staring at the bodies.

We hear footsteps slowly coming around the corner. The machine looks back and sees the girl walking back over. The machine turns around and points the cannon at the girl. She stumbles back again, she's shaking. The machine lowers its arm and gets down onto its knee and holds out its hand. The girl stops shaking and slowly extends her arm to grab its hand. The machine then picks up the girl, sets her on its shoulder and starts walking. Thanks to this girl, we just may one day be able to truly have a purpose again.

 


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