Destiny Calls Out Your Name*

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Dumastin
Posts: 374
Joined: 13 May 2010, 14:28

Destiny Calls Out Your Name*

Post by Dumastin » 12 Oct 2017, 12:28

A nameless Namekian awoke in a strange bed. He snapped upright, his fists coming up defensively, as bright light pierced his eyes, then he jerked as his hands stopped short. He pulled, but they were held fast. He looked down, seeing blood spatter on his clothes. His own blood, the deep purplish of Namekian blood, but dry. Leather straps on his arms, securing him to the bed. Then a glitter at the edge of his vision, and he looked up, and saw…

It looked different than the Android who’d pummeled him senseless, but looking at him, he was all but certain it was the same one. The optics burned a quiet amber, the face was smoother and more featureless, the body more compact, the arms and legs shorter and bulkier.

If it hadn’t been for the straps, he’d have launched himself out of the bed. As it was, he still struggled, but the restraints forced him to stop, to hold back and think about his situation.

The android had brought him here. Therefore, he was prisoner or guest; either way, he’d been unconscious, so if his captor had meant to kill him, it would have already done so. He didn’t *feel* any different; in fact, the pain of his injuries was gone completely, including what he’d been almost certain were broken or fractured bones at the time. So something had been done to him to repair his injuries.

He met the android with a glare as it unfolded from the chair it was using to stand over the bed.

“Forgive the restraints. Experience has taught me to expect a degree of hotheadedness among organics.” As the android gestured, the Namekian could see, now that he knew to look, where its arms could unfold and extend, where its fingers could do the same. In this “folded” state it could be mistaken for something innocuous, he suspected. He’d not encountered an android quite like that in days of wandering around New Haven, though, and there were a lot of androids in the city.

“I mean you no… further harm. If I remove the restraints, can I trust that you will refrain from resuming our fight?” The android’s left hand unfurled into the talonlike state, and the pointed tips of one finger hovered over one strap. The Namekian nodded slowly, and the fingertip slashed through the restraint, then the other, in a fluid, quick movement. The hand folded back in on itself as the Namekian rubbed his wrist.

“This living unit has a shower attached. The closet contains appropriate clothing, and there is food available in the refrigerator.”

“My satch-” The Namekian cut himself off as the android reached down, next to the bed, and pulled the battered satchel into view. He sighed slightly. It wasn’t even as if there was anything especially valuable in it, especially now that he’d spent almost all of the money, but… it was the only thing he owned in the world, and he found himself a bit attached to it for that if nothing else.

“I will wait for you. Once you are prepared, come find me. Just down the hall, you understand. There, we will talk. I will provide the answers you seek.”

The android stepped back before the Namekian could speak, and the door slid open to admit him. The Namekian’s mouth hung open as he swallowed back what he’d been about to say. Shaking his head, he simply went about the room. If nothing else, the android had anticipated his needs handily; between the exertion and the beating, his stomach was grumbling irritably, and his body and clothes were stained with sweat and dried blood. He cleaned himself in the shower, marveling curiously over how spots where he’d been sure the skin had broken open had no evidence of injury whatsoever once the dried blood was washed away. He dried, ate; the food was cold, and not a patch on the fresh street food he’d been eating for the past few days, but it was serviceable and hearty enough to quiet his body’s hunger for the time being. He picked up his satchel and laid everything within out on the bed, taking stock to make sure none of his meager possessions were missing, and picked a plain t-shirt and black pants made of some sort of fiber that seemed similar to cotton denim out of the closet after going through everything that was in there. They fit him quite well, much better than the baggy clothes he’d gotten secondhand from the couple in New Hope. He gave his boots a quick scrub and put those on as well, the thick material having picked up some marks but remaining relatively undamaged.

--------------

About an hour after he’d been left alone in the room, he took in a deep breath and took a long step through one more doorway. And then he sucked in a breath at what he saw. The android stood there, hands clasped behind his back, facing an enormous window that dominated the entire side of the room and flooded it with the rich reds and oranges of the late-evening sun. The rest of the room was furnished as an opulent office, but he could see black bulges, holoemitters, though he didn’t recognize them as such, and screens and data terminals clustered around the huge wooden desk.

The door slid shut behind him, and silence bloomed between them. The android finally broke it, speaking without turning, and saying, “So. Answers. But I wonder what you will ask?” The chromed edges of his casing seemed to take on a golden sheen in the light.

The Namekian started to consider, but as he spoke, the words started to tumble out. “I… All I want to know is, why?” He eyed the back of the android’s head, as if he might find the answers written there. “Why did I wake up alone, in a ruined hole, underground? Why can’t I remember anything before that? And why is it that I feel so different when I fight? My heart beats faster, my blood runs hot, I feel like I’ve never really LIVED until that moment…!” He took in a deep breath. “I can’t remember anything. All I want to know is who I am…”

The android’s head tilted forward, against the window briefly. Then he turned around, and there, framed by the setting sun and the busy skies of New Haven, he nodded and began to speak. His first words hit the Namekian like a punch to the gut.

“You do not remember, because the Bear Forest facility was the place of your birth.”

He continued speaking, as the nameless man sank into a chair and stared at him.

“I will spare you the details; a history lesson would go on too long and be unwarranted. You are the final product of a process spanning several centuries of work, the culmination of brainstorming and planning that began before even I was created. The goal was simple and singular, the replication of the reproductive process through artificial means.”

The Namekian’s jaw worked as he digested that, almost metaphorically “chewing” his way through what he’d been told. Prime didn’t interrupt his thoughts until he spoke up on his own. “A clone, then? I’m someone’s... clone?”

“Some interpretations of the word might attach, but by my definition, ‘clone’ would be inaccurate to some degree. Clones are, ideally and outside of unintended or accidental errors in the process, a direct genetic copy unless additional genetic modification is introduced for some reason or other. The word is at the very least insignificant, to a fairly great degree, to describe what the project was.”

By now, the golden hue of the setting sun was fading into the perpetual twilight that accompanied the city of New Haven. Artificial solar-generators throughout the city would continue the process of late evening, of course; a necessity, in a city where antigrav technology and stable tectonics had inspired people to reach for the skies architecturally as well as metaphorically, when simple biology still made sun exposure so important. Eventually, the artificial evening would fade into the ghostly gloom of a New Haven night, a dim lack of darkness that was somewhat unusual in the inhabited galaxy.

The android crossed the room to sit behind the desk, leaning forward over the polished wood and laying his palms flat on the surface.

“That’s… not really comforting. What’s the difference? Why, why all of this? That’s what you haven’t said anything about yet. Why?” His fingers clenched and unclenched, his eyes were wide, lips narrowed. His ears were drawn back slightly, and his antennae quirked in an agitated mannerism that some Namekians had when agitated.

Prime looked at him and stiffened, straightening for just a moment, before returning to his normal posture. The Namekian was too agitated to notice the out-of-character movement before he returned to the way he’d been sitting before, though.

“You ask many questions, but I wonder how much you’ve thought about the answers. Let me return this one with a question of my own. What difference does it really make? Between being a clone, and being… something else? Being a Namekian of natural birth whose memory was lost through some injury, perhaps?”

The Namekian surged to his feet. With a shout, he grabbed the chair he’d been sitting in and heaved. Sparks flew off his body as he ripped it free of the bolts securing it to the floor and hurled it to the side, demolishing some sort of trophy case against the wall opposite the window. Glass rained around him as the trinkets and objects inside scattered across the floor. He stomped across the glass shards and put his hands on the desk, looming over the android. “What DIFFERENCE does it make? Maybe it’s all the same to you, but it matters to me! How do I trust my own mind, now!? How do I know I wasn’t… created, *programmed,* to feel the things I feel!?”

The android surged out of his seat, limbs unfolding in the blink of an eye into their full extension. His hand shot out, his long, skeletal fingers seizing around the Namekian’s throat. He slid over the desk, planted his feet, and lifted the Namekian off the ground, then choke-slammed him into one of the remaining seats with enough force to shatter the wood supporting it into splinters.

“Do not mistake my calm demeanor for passivity. And do not make such accusations lightly or without considering the consequences.” His voice was even, but had a cold edge to it that hadn’t been there before. The finger-talons tightened, drawing beads of blood at their sharp tips, as he pressed deeper into the ruined chair, and the Namekian gagged for breath. “The man who instigated the project that resulted in your birth, the man whose genetic code formed the basis for your own, he valued freedom above all else. Freedom of thought, of choice.” Prime’s voice took on a savage tone. “He wanted a son, not a slave, or puppet, or copy. An heir to the future he died trying to forge! An inheritor for the freedom that he never found for himself!” He growled-actually *growled*-as he removed his hand and stepped back, holding up his bloody fingertips as he brought himself back under control. So few people had ever seen Prime’s temper that he suspected many of them didn’t realize it existed, but it was there, buried deep, and there were some real raw spots there in his normally-impenetrable emotional armor.

The Namekian pushed himself away through the ruined piece of furniture, holding a hand to the scratches on his neck. But as Prime watched him, saw how he moved, he felt his voice, his anger, soften slightly. Many men would cower in such a position, especially after how disastrous their previous fight had been for him, but the Namekian’s eyes were hard, a tension to his muscles… he was ready to fight back, now, however hopeless it was.

Prime turned away, allowing his body to retract back into its “compact” form. Energy burned on his fingertips as the blood sizzled away, and he let out a hiss rather similar to a sigh. His head bowed forward. “I apologize. That was… uncalled for, and and outburst like that is not typical of me. I… this is a difficult topic for me to maintain objectivity, and the implication that, that you were…” He stopped, straightening, gathering himself. “You did not know. Don’t know. That is not your failing.”


The Namekian picked himself up off the floor, rubbing at his arm where he’d cut himself on broken glass. The shirt, at least, had protected him from the splinters of the shattering chair. The anger that had surged in him before was still there, but he waited, breathing heavily as he coaxed it down to a manageable level.

He crossed his arms. “Why all the mystery? That’s what has me so worried about… what I said. The place where I woke up was almost destroyed for some reason, and everything else was so cryptic. I followed a trail of breadcrumbs to get here, only for you to beat the hell out of me once I do.”

Prime turned around , looking at him, then down at the ruined chair. He shook his head, making that sighing hiss again. “Give me some space. I can fix this.” The Namekian stepped back, and Prime raised his hands, ghostly beams of pale green energy streaming from his palms and over the wreckage. He shifted one palm, and another beam lanced out to envelop one of the surviving chairs in a haze of green-tinted force, and as the Namekian watched, the bits of shattered chair on the floor started to disappear bit by bit, like they were dissolving or disintegrating.

“Things were not meant to be so mysterious. Not quite at any rate. The root cause was simple: it was… your genetic progenitor’s… intent that you have the opportunity to live your life free of external influences if you so chose.” He stumbled over that line, obviously having to stop himself to swallow the name. “He was an infamous individual in some respects, and chose to limit his own influence in your development in the hopes that you could live without finding yourself trapped within his shadow, if you preferred.” Bit by bit, the chair was reassembling itself, fragments on the floor disintegrating and reappearing as part of the whole. Rebuilt at the molecular level, using the fragments for material and the intact chair as a model. “He… had a relatively poor track record, when it came to attempts to mentor others. I suspect he feared, whether he realized it or not, that in exposing you to himself he might risk setting you on a course as destructive as his own.”

The process seemed to be very slow, but he continued speaking as he worked.

“Implanting the mental matrix we created into a physical, organic body… it was not a slow, or easy, process. The body, once completely matured, had to be kept alive while an intelligence-yours, as it happens-was mapped from circuits to neurons, from software to wetware. Weeks, months. The process was interrupted by a battle, a battle which claimed the lives of both your progenitor and many of his contemporaries. Even a part of myself. The decision was made to focus as much of the Prime network’s computing power on finishing the neural mapping while we still had the capacity to do it. Evidently the Prime subgestalt which controlled the bunker, and which oversaw the process, overloaded and burned out. He was meant to greet you, to orient you and advise you if necessary.”

The Namekian crossed his arms, a scowl on his face. “That still doesn’t explain why you attacked me. A simple explanation would have been nice.”

“Simple is rarely the most effective. I needed to gauge you. Test whether your neural mapping was accomplished in full, which seems to be the case. Judge for myself how the process of attaining a physical body may have affected you.” About half of the chair had been reconstituted by this point.

“Test me? By beating the hell out of me?” The scowl deepened.

“It seemed the most efficient path, based on your encounters thus far. The cube you were carrying contained some rudimentary sensors and transmitters that allowed me to keep tabs on your progress. You seemed to have an appreciation for and affinity for fighting, which struck me as unusual. A degree of natural talent as well, which I didn’t anticipate. I decided that the simplest way to get to the root of what I needed to know was to put you into a confrontation similar to ones you’d already dealt with. I needed to know who you were, in a sense.”

“What do you-what do you mean, who I am?” He paced, his boots crunching on stray glass, still digesting the android’s fantastic claims. “You claim you made me. From scratch! Wouldn’t you know better than anyone?”

The android lowered his hands, and the beam cut off, the destroyed chair now restored and pristine. “You are not solely the mind that we created. My data anticipated that outcome, but to anticipate the possibility is quite different than beholding the reality.” His gaze came up from the chair, and he pointed at the Namekian’s chest. “You lost your memory, because we could not determine a way to encode it in a way that a biological brain could process, but in its place, mind and body have changed, become something new. Something different. You are a different man than I was expecting. In more way than one.” He sank down into the chair he’d just repaired with another hissing sigh. “I apologize for the mystery. It goes back to our desire to ensure that whatever choices you made were respected. I admit that to some extent, the note my counterpart on Earth left behind was intended to pique your curiosity, but no more than that.” His hands went out, palm-up, gesturing around the room. “Your choices led you here, because you had questions that needed answering. You weren’t forced here, and if you had chosen instead to fade into obscurity, to pursue a different path that didn’t lead to New Haven, I suspect we might never have met. I almost expected that to be the case. And yet here we are.”

The Namekian’s scowl softened, and he sank into the opposite chair. He was sweating, and his stomach was a knot of tangled emotions he couldn’t even begin to process. “So that’s it, then. There’s no… secret purpose. No ulterior motive. No lost past hidden behind all those missing memories.”

“No. Just… you.”

The Namekian leaned forward, his guts churning. It was like the world was spinning around him. Part of him realized that he’d, in a sense, pinned his way of thinking on that idea of a dark secret past. The revelation that there was nothing behind that veil but an empty void had left him aimless, mentally, like his heart was adrift at sea in an endless night.

‘Breathe.’ The voice echoed in his head, and he fought to do so, to steady himself. Short sharp breaths became deep ones, and he closed his eyes. First the breath, then his heart began to settle as he focused on the brief training sessions the saiyan Baz had given him, teaching him basic lessons like how to move well, how to handle falls and impacts properly.

It was like a lighthouse suddenly snapped on in the distance. Like a thought that had been there all along, that he’d been avoiding, finally rose up before him, and for the first time he really considered it. He’d been running away from it all this time, ran all the way to New Haven in hopes of finally putting it to rest. And instead, he found, he didn’t feel like he had to worry after all; the revelations the android had given him still turned his stomach, still left his whole brief view world in disorder, but there was still a bedrock beneath it all. And above that, a sky, with a light shining in the darkness.

“I’m going to… fight.”

Prime straightened as the Namekian spoke, the focusing lenses around his optics narrowing.

“I felt it… from the first fight I ever got into. My first day in New Hope. I felt like I was born to fight. Made for it.” He sighed slowly, looking down at his hands, at the first scars they’d picked up in his few fights thus far. “I wanted to run away from that. I felt like…. Like, if I was being made to do it, then it was the last thing in the world I would do. I don’t know why, but there’s just an element of… natural stubbornness I can’t quite explain. And now, I believe you. I don’t know where that feeling comes from, but I’m going to follow it, now that I’m not afraid of it. I’m going to get serious about it.”

Prime nodded. “An admirable goal. I’d suggest finding a trainer. I expect there’s plenty, even right here on New Haven. You have talent, but it’s raw, unrefined. With appropriate training, you could be quite skilled.”

The Namekian shook his head. “That’s not what I mean. If I’m going to do this, I’m doing it all the way.” He clenched a hand into a fist, so hard his forearm trembled. “The power building inside me. The thrill that runs through me, when I fight an opponent stronger than I am. You showed me that.” He looked up at Prime. “I’m going to follow those feelings as far as they go. As high as they go. Until there’s nobody stronger, if that’s what it takes to satisfy me. Now that I open my eyes and see that mountain before me, I can’t stop until I see the peak.” He felt alive, he was sweating, his skin burned. He wanted to run, to leap, to get started *now.* To fight.

The android’s voice was quiet. “What makes you think you can accomplish something like that? The path you’re talking about… the mountain goes higher than you can even begin to imagine. Many would say that you’re claiming the impossible.”

The Namekian closed his eyes and sighed slowly, clenching his fists. “Even if it is impossible… I’d rather die chasing a dream, than live and always wonder if I could have made it.”

Prime looked away from him, turning away and clasping his hands behind his back. Quietly, still, and after a pause, he said, “Is that so…” Another long pause. He slowly turned to face the Namekian.

“I would ask that you stay here, at this facility, for some time. A couple of days, perhaps. The living quarters you’ve already familiarized yourself with are there for your use permanently, of course, as is a modest stipend should you need to purchase anything additional during your stay.”

The Namekian frowned. “Why?”

“Because I may have a suggestion in mind for a trainer that could suit your purposes, and I need time to see if that is truly the case.”

The Namekian crossed his arms. He still had… a bit of lingering resentment toward the android, but his anger had largely burned out. Slowly he nodded.

Prime nodded his own acceptance in return. “If you’ll excuse me, then. I need to get started.”

Without another word, the Namekian turned and left.

Slowly, Prime sank into the chair behind the desk, part of him monitoring the Namekian’s path, his vitals, his nascent ki signature. The room darkened, now that the boy was gone; Prime had no need of lights. He put his forearm out on the desk, turned it so that his palm was upward, and began projecting a holovid file. The upper body of a somewhat-older, battle-scarred, cybernetically-modified Namekian appeared and started speaking, as Prime’s body remained motionless, watching the file again.

When it ended, he rubbed the plating of his forehead, his face tilted down. Had he been an organic, one might have heard sobbing in the darkness. With Prime, there was only silence.


------------------------------
It was two days later that the Namekian stood in that office once more, in front of the desk, with the android seated behind it.

“If you are truly serious, if you really mean to go as far as you say,” the android said, “then I will offer my services as a coach and trainer.”

The Namekian’s mouth quirked up in a bit of a smirk. “You?”

“There are few in the galaxy better suited. Very few indeed truly suited to the training of an Ascended in the process of emergence. None that understand the unique nature of your power better than I. I can teach you to harness your power, to train your body, teach you technique and style. I will mold you into someone worthy of the title you seek.”

The Namekian frowned, and his gaze slid downward, breaking eye contact with Prime. “Why?”

Prime watched him with his glowing gaze for a short time before speaking. “The central drive of my existence is the pursuit of perfection. Perhaps that goal is impossible, too, but self-improvement, day by day? That, I can attain.” He laid his hands flat on the table. “You… spoke to me, in some way. I felt a kinship. I traveled with, and served, your… your father, I suppose, because he led me to expand myself, my knowledge, my worldviews, in ways I could not possibly have foreseen. I am far greater for that experience than I ever would have been alone. I hope, through a partnership of a different sort with you, to continue to learn. You have great potential, and a strong spirit. I want to learn more about what drives you.”

The Namekian looked down at him, studying that unreadable face, then slowly extended his hand. Prime took it, and they shook.





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The Namekian sweated under the load of a set of weights, grunting as he struggled to force his exhausted muscles through another set of bench presses. Prime’s body was still setting up additional equipment, but the Namekian’s training, which Prime had claimed would only be describable as “hellish,” had already begun in the hour since they forged their agreement. He racked the weights and sat up, massaging his arms as he looked over at the android. “You know, l do have one more question.”

“Yes?” Prime set down the crate he was carrying and straightened, focusing his gaze on the Namekian.

“Do I have a name? Did you or anyone else ever think of one?”

“I’m afraid not. It was decided to allow you to choose your own name, although that was meant to occur upon your awakening.” The Namekian continued rubbing his shoulders as he frowned, and then Prime went on. “There was a project name, if you’re interested in that at all. Whenever we referred to the project that created you, it was always under a codename. The ‘Genesis Project.’”

The Namekian tilted his head as he thought it over. “I like it. Genesis is a bit of a mouthful, though.” He grinned as he laid back down, gripping the weights again. “I’ll take it… but call me Gene for short.”

Prime nodded. “As good a name as any. We’ll be getting underway toward Earth within the hour. Three more sets before you move on, remember.” He bent down to pick up the crate, took another look at the Namekian--Genesis, that was--and subtly increased the artificial gravity another few fractions of a percent.

Galaxy’s strongest? It seemed like a fever dream, but the boy’s intensity hadn’t flagged one bit since Prime’s hellish training regimen had begun. At times, even the android thought it might be possible...

Dumastin
Posts: 374
Joined: 13 May 2010, 14:28

Re: Destiny Calls Out Your Name

Post by Dumastin » 12 Oct 2017, 12:29

holy shit that was a beast to write. hope it's not equally beastly to read. sorry in advance

Kuro
Posts: 141
Joined: 16 Mar 2016, 13:12

Re: Destiny Calls Out Your Name

Post by Kuro » 15 Oct 2017, 13:21

Nice job on it. Emerging out of its shell Gene has begun to make his real entrance into the universe. Worlds strongest, maybe. Universe's Strongest...sounds like there may have to be a tournament in the making...

Kuro
Posts: 141
Joined: 16 Mar 2016, 13:12

Re: Destiny Calls Out Your Name*

Post by Kuro » 17 Oct 2017, 20:56

rpp awarded

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