Legacy's Oath Suit (Hunter)
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Legacy's Oath Mask
We're all thrust into situations we find unseemly. The real test is what you do when you find yourself in one. We're staring down the barrel at another Collapse. I can see all the signs around me. There is no denying it anymore. The Darkness has arrived. Now, I'm being tested once again.
I carry a great potential inside. To create. To forge. No one else can do what I do… and a part of me thinks I should keep it that way. I'm not sure I want to share this gift. It's a tremendous responsibility, this power. I know how I use it. Can I trust anyone else to do so reliably? Would this ability be corrupted, squandered; should others have access? I can already see the Darkness manipulating it to its advantage.
On the other hand, it would push Exos everywhere ahead technologically, elevating our standing and truly making us superior. I've always felt the Last City could use more protection than the Vanguard could afford. I could provide that, widespread, and make it readily available to all. March myself right into the Deep Stone Crypt and use the Bray Exoscience Facility to its fullest capability. Stave off this dark night. The armory is already known. It's a pointless institution if it's not providing help to those who need it.
Where would that leave me though? I imagine I'd be just another Exo, reducing the Black Armory and its traditions to some moot forgotten foundry. That's not the legacy I'm trying to preserve. The armory… me… we're more than just the weapons we make. What we represent—the values we stand for—would be lost without us and would run astray without supervision. Yet, if I don't act now, there won't be anything left to preserve. The Darkness will not yield. The Guardians will require more from me. The armory needs to evolve.
Legacy's Oath Grips
Lakshmi-2 knew exactly what she was asking. The query was the question. She needed to be both literal and lateral.
REMOTE ARCHIVE DATABASE TEXT ONLY SEARCH INITIALIZED
A luminous ream flooded the holographic display: a few hundred thousand electric haystacks, likely nary a needle among them.
PLEASE ENTER SEARCH QUERY
The haystacks had dwindled, but she could still spend years rummaging through them to no avail.
Lakshmi-2 stood silent amid the stacks, musing for some time.
PLEASE ENTER SEARCH QUERY
There! Now she had just one enormous haystack. What needles there may be would certainly lie within.
PLEASE ENTER SEARCH QUERY
If anything changed in the millions of search results, Lakshmi-2 couldn't discern it.
PLEASE ENTER SEARCH QUERY
The computations couldn't have taken any longer than the other searches, but Lakshmi-2 didn't know if her typed commands would be interpreted. Anticipation stretched time.
Lakshmi-2's eyes widened as the haystack vanished, leaving a double handful of glittering data points. But how many were needles?
After only a few minutes of reading, she knew: it had happened before. After a few hours, she felt she had all she'd find from the archive and made a few notes for further inquiry:
Historical Basis for Spontaneous Reset Syndrome
—Vander-2/3: Rescued from the Great Disaster because reset incapacitated him. Served as City guard post-reset. Ghost destroyed on Luna. (Pre- or post-reset? Do Ghosts protect Exo Guardians from spontaneous reset?)
These were Exos that had seemingly rebooted themselves; they had wiped away their own identities and taken a new number. Or had someone else somehow done it for them? Could there be records of some of them outside the archive? Could one or two still be alive?
Lakshmi-2 closed her eyes, slowed her breathing, and focused on the dichotomy of her emotions. What she'd discovered felt momentous, but she knew her colleagues would treat it as a curiosity. People often discounted Exos. It was if there were a line between frame and flesh and blood. The idea offended Lakshmi-2, but at the same time, she knew Exos were different enough from normal Humans. The existence of Exos who reset themselves—for whatever reason—proved that.
Or did they?
A quick search of the medical archives turned up ailments and causes considered quackery by the Golden Age: psychogenic amnesia, dissociative fugue, retrograde memory loss, personal obliteration, betrayal theory…
What did it all mean?
Lakshmi-2 felt uncertain, and that always boded ill.
Legacy's Oath Vest
I'm so angry, so frustrated. I've lost family and friends. The world has been ripped apart, and I'm left standing in the void at the center. Why me? Why am I left alone here? Survivor's guilt doesn't begin to describe my pain. I miss my family. I don't know what family means when I don't even carry the blood to tie us together any longer. At times, I feel I was made to be a walking advertisement for BrayTech. A product. "Look how successful the Exo Project was." I'm just a collection of memories and impulses—some kind of abomination.
I know that can't be true. I… just don't know what to do. I must be meant for more. I can't live a "normal life." I never had a chance for that, not with the family I was born into. I'm filled with rage. I want to correct the mistakes of my predecessors. The blights on humanity unleashed by my grandfather… could that be his intent when he made me? Was I born from unacknowledged guilt and some fear of consequence? He seemed incapable of those emotions, but he was only Human in the end.
Whether he planned this or not, I'm going to destroy that damned crypt, and I'll rid the world of the shadow cast by Clovis Bray and his infernal creations.
I also know what that means for me. One day my mission will end, and I won't have to wonder what to do with myself. I will be the last to go.
Legacy's Oath Strides
Hmph. I don't always know where I've been, what I've done. Every so often, a weapon comes across my workbench, and I see… traces… what looks like my work. Something that sparks a memory, a flash. Nothing of substance. Nothing reliable.
Marks on my body tell me I've seen plenty of action. If need be, I'm ready for more. The Tower is my home. It suits me, and I'll protect it, no matter the cost. I'm treated like a person here, not a machine. Feeling accepted and enjoying your work aren't easy things to come by, and I'm… hmm, sure I'm already doing the most important work of any of my lives. Safeguarding humanity. Arming Guardians. Ready to defend what I care about. Can't think of a higher calling for myself.
Being an Exo isn't some sort of curse. It's given me opportunities I wouldn't have otherwise. I'm… uh, lucky. I don't live with the burden of whoever I was. Lotta folks only get one chance. I've had 44 to start over—to get it right. I feel like I've done it this time. Must have messed up the previous 43… I know I never want to see 45, that's for sure. If I have to give everything I have to save the people and home I care about, so be it. Might be time for a new generation, anyway.
This is who I want to be. My choice. I want to be good. Make a difference. A lot of people are driven by selfishness. Greed. Obsessing over things they can't control. I try not to let those things guide me. I aim to be my own guide, and so far, I'd say it's been pretty successful. Everyone should be so fortunate—a fresh start to do what's right. I'll keep doing what I can. There's a whole world of good and bad out there. Only one is worth helping.
Legacy's Oath Cloak
"Do you know why we're here?"
"Of course. You invited me to this interview… Oh, no tea, thank you. I don't drink."
"You're aware of why—"
"Why you're interested? Of course. I've been doing a lot of research since I awoke. You're from something called the Future War Cult. Odd name for what seems to be sensible precaution."
"And so your interest in my case must have something to do with the Cult's 'sensible precaution.' I gather that our kind were made as some sort of super soldiers long ago, for a war no one seems to know much about. And now, we live much like other people in a universe that has gone to war with itself. Although, I think we Exos might also be immortal. Isn't it odd?"
"Much of this conversation is odd."
"I'm not talking about us. I mean that given a whole universe seemingly at war, with invading aliens of all sorts, there's a people specifically designed to be super soldiers. And yet, we Exos just do as we like?"
"Take me, for example. I'm a researcher—a scientist. And I'm a damn good scientist, from all that I've read. And when I woke up, there was nothing more natural for me to do than simply carry on doing that. Super soldier? More like super scientist. I'd hardly know which end of a gun to point at them. But here? In my lab? I touch a machine or just look at it, and I know how to use it. It's like… like…"
"Riding a bicycle."
"Never mind. Tell me more about what happened when you woke up."
"Well. Suddenly I was here, in my lab, but lying on the floor over there. I looked around, and it was like I said. I just knew how everything worked. But I couldn't remember anything."
"Nothing at all? Not even your name?"
"No. Nothing. Well, language and motor skills and so on, obviously. But it was the oddest sensation. I've since looked up how I might describe it, and I never found anything better than déjà vu. Everything was familiar but foreign. Even my own body. It was… unsettling. But then I found files of some of my research. And I knew it was mine. It was like reading something I'd forgotten I'd written. I didn't remember where or when or even why I'd written it, but they were clearly my thoughts. It was clearly me. And that's how I found my old name."
"Yes, let's talk about your old name. The number. Why did you change it?"
"It… it wasn't… it didn't… A new designation was necessary."
"Are you all right?"
"Yes. I'm fine. Why?"
"Something happened to you there. Your eyes. Nothing moved."
"Well, excuse me. I don't know what you mean. So… do you have a theory?"
"Several. What were you researching before you… before you changed your name?"
"Briefly. Your research?"
"Yes, well, I won't bore you with the technical details, but we're engaged in a study of dark matter and dark energy. It seems to be my main area of interest. I awoke when I'd been in the midst of looking into…"
"Yes. The data we've collected has peculiar… anomalies. Between you and me, I think it stems from human error. But I'm going back over all of my previous work to see if I missed something."
"And have you? Found anything amiss?"
"No. If anything, it's been quite therapeutic. It turns out that I'm a damn good scientist."
"Um… you know, it's odd. I find myself quite parched. Would you mind pouring me some of that tea?"
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