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The Divine Machine Stirs

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RatedT
  • Violence
  • Intense Situations

Prologue

Out in the depths of space there was a planet. It's people created a machine to end war, but the machine not only killed every single one of them, but began to feed on the planet itself. Tentacles of factories spread over the planet, drilling and refining, until it was nothing more than a ball of metal in space.

A single robot sat next to the brain of the machine. Rust had started to overtake it, showing that it hadn't moved in years. Neither had anything on the planet, after the Divine Machine went to sleep.

The only thing that moved was the numbers on a timer. Its countdown was coming to a close.

00:03

00:02

00:01

00:00

The robot's eyes opened. A red light sprang from them. He clumsily came to his feet, grasping at vines of metal to help keep balance. Rust from his joints feel onto the ground. He creaked his neck, and then checked other joints.

After it was confident it was in working over, it walked over to a keyboard under the Divine Machine's brain. It began to type, its fingers gliding over the keyboard with incredible speed. Once it was done it pressed the equivalent of the "enter" key.

The entire planet roared to life. The factories began to pour smoke out and gears began to grind. An army of machines marched across the planet, finding and carrying back any scrap they could find.

Meanwhile the machine who had started all this back up was writing a message. He sent it out.

Invitation

Aeris

Aeris hadn't been doing much lately. His studies of organic life led him to some underdeveloped planet far away from any others. It was a giant jungle that he had long become bored with. yes it was filled with life, but nothing he could really call "intelligent".

Static began to form in his head. Aeris cringed, but then tried to focus on it. The more he focused, the more coherant it became.

"...are the machine planet of Lomikrovi, and welcome any and all civilizations to see our glorious utopia. Just send a message back to us with the amount of people you will be sending and your planet's location and we will provide a two way trip. We eagerly await your response and hopefully your arrival on Lomikrovi."

Lomikrovi? Aeris thought to himself. That sounds... familiar... He decided not to think about it too long. A machine planet would be an interesting thing to visit, and perhaps give him some insight into his past life. Aeris walked back to his space pod.

He punched in the general direction the message come from and then he found it. "Lomikrovi, I'd certainly say that's a machine planet..." Aeris sat back a moment. "It would take me a week or so to arrive. Well, I suppose there isn't really anything productive to be done here."

The ship lit up and was flung into the sky, knocking out several branches as it forced its way into space. Aeris decided it best to shut himself off until he arrived...

(End of Invitation:Aeris)

Tueor

Tueor was sitting atop a cliff looking into the distance.

From the distance, as soft as it was, a distinct message could be heard. The voice was monotone and there was a slight static to it.

"Greetings life of the universe. We are the machine planet of Lomikrovi, and welcome any and all civilizations to see our glorious utopia. Just send a message back to us with the amount of people you will be sending and your planet's location and we will provide a two way trip. We eagerly await your response and hopefully your arrival on Lomikrovi."

Tueor sighs. 'Why should I go to that?' He thinks to himself.

"Because, it's the perfect place for a rematch." Groxiuos stood behind Tueor. He had a smug smile plastered on his almost human face. "A planet of robots, you don't have to worry about killing anyone, or harming anything."

A big half smile come on Tueors face. "You want to go again Groxious?"

"Of course. Besides, you'll get to see how much its changed since you were last there."

With that Tueor stands up, his black robe flowing in the wind. "Your on."

"Perfect." Groxiuos turned away from Tueor. "Your flight should be here in a day or two. I'll look forward to your arrival."

"Hmph, your gonna make me wait for the rematch?"

"All in due time my friend, all in due time." Groxiuos walked away.

Two days later the entire world was abuzz with the news. The alien ship had arrived and everybody who could tried to stuff themselves into it. Some very resourceful fellows started to charge admission to the ship. This apparently wasn't too big a problem to the aliens, as they didn't try to stop it.

"Capacity has almost been reached." A robotic voiced called through the loudspeaker of the ship. "The ship will be leaving in in exactly five minutes."

This caused an uproar in the crowd, and the price of tickets skyrocketed. Only the the richest, or most persuasive, could ever hope to get into that ship now.

Tueor walked up to the ship. A guy asked for his ticket. "I dont need one." Tueor responded. "If I dont get one now I wi-" Before he finished his sentence Tueor walked right on past him into the ship. "Get back here!" The guy yelled after Tueor but to no avail.

"Time is up." The door began to rise up under Tueor as it was preparing to close.

Tueor ran as fast as he could and got in before the door closed. "Made it." He says as he stops running.

"Please take a seat." A robot said to him. It was short, had very thin limbs, and an ill proportioned egg head. It's blue eyes seemed to look right past Tueor.

"Ok." Tueor responded. He looked for an open seat and found on in the very back of the ship. He quietly sat down and folded his arms. 'I wonder how long this is going to be...'

The robot made its way to the middle of the isle. "Greetings organic life. Thank you for taking interest in Lomikrovi. Food will be provided on request, however, it is advised that all passengers go into hibernation." The robot took out a face mask. "To do so, place the mask over the mouth and nose. After you have done that, flip the switch above your head. You should fall into a deep sleep within 20 seconds. Any who choose to do so will be given an IV with all the nutrients they need while they sleep. Thank you and enjoy the flight."

The ships engines rumbled to life. The feeling was like being in a blender. All the people who had huddled around the ship quickly dispersed and the ship was thrust into space. Suddenly the passengers all had a feeling of weightlessness, but this was quickly ended when a generator of some sort sprang to life.

"Well, I want this to get done as soon as possible." Tueor says to himself. He puts the mask over his face and counts to 22, then falls asleep.

A jolt wakes up the passengers, including Tueor. "Hibernation is over. We have arrived at Lomikrovi." The same old robot made the announcement. "If you look out the left most window you can see it."

Lomikrovi had a glow about it. The entire planet was covered in silver metal. The metal was twisted into pillars to form sky scraper sized "buildings". There were no visible clouds of either water any sign of pollution. This was the machine planet. But it was not quite the same planet as it was just months prior.

"Wow, that doesn't look anything like it used to.." Tueor notes to himself in awe. "Incredible!"

"We are now preparing to land. Please remain seated."

(End of Invitation:Tueor)

Raven

Raven Redwood stood atop a building in New York City. A man who was only in his early teens, he made a living as an accomplished bounty-hunter.

The TVs in Time Square went blank. People looked about, confused. Then, the message played.

"Greetings life of the universe. We are the machine planet of Lomikrovi, and welcome any and all civilizations to see our glorious utopia. Just send a message back to us with the amount of people you will be sending and your planet's location and we will provide a two way trip. We eagerly await your response and hopefully your arrival on Lomikrovi."

"...what kind of practical joke is this?" Redwood thinks to himself.

Forgetting the event, as most others had after a week or so had gone by, Redwood found himself standing on a rooftop.

Then it appeared. The silver ship descended upon the city. Many people gathered around the ship, at least one of them asked for Elvis, but was soon crushed as the ship made a quick landing.

The door peeled open and a small robot walked outside. "All aboard who wish to come to Lomikrovi."

"Wait... about a week ago... I guess it really was true... odd..." Raven thinks to himself.

Raven turns as if to leave, but some feeling inside him- curiosity, perhaps- made him turn right around and board the ship, using his super-speed to quickly enter.

After waiting for the slower folk to arrive, the ship was finally ready to blast off. "Put your masks on." a machine said. "The trip would be unendurable while conscious."

Raven slips on the mask.

"Wake up humans. You have arrived." Raven slowly regained consciousness. Out his window was an entirely new world. Machines walked around in a completely metal landscape. The shine from the street was almost blinding. The door screeched open. "Please leave in an orderly fasion. Welcome to Lomikrovi."

(End of Invitation:Raven)

Jeniyus

Jeniyus was gazing at her sword, thinking about practicing to make herself stronger. She was outside, in her backyard, underneath a starry, nighttime sky.

A few of her neighbors stumbled outside. "You heard the message, come on!" One yelled at the other.

The other was skipping as he tried to tie his shoes. "I'm coming I'm coming!"

"Well come faster, it's not everyday you are offered a free trip to space!"

"Free trip to space?" Jeniyus thought. "This I've gotta' check out." Jeniyus's sword vanished, and she ran to where the neighbors were heading.

City officials were trying to calm the crowd. It had been a fairly standard day until now when, BAM! Suddenly robot aliens were inviting them to go to their planet. To make it even more complicated, the robots had found some way to display it on every television in the city, maybe even the country.

The mob surrounded city hall. Some were angry, some were very, very confused, and others were acting as if they were in line for a roller coaster. In the midst of all this madness, Jeniyus was able to catch up to her neighbors.

Jeniyus stared in awe at the spectacle. "Aliens? What is this?" she thought.

The mayor cautiously stepped out of city hall. He put his hands up. "Calm down one second!" It didn't help much, but the sound level did drop a little. "We have no reason to believe that what you saw on the television was anything more than a hacker playing a prank on us. The "aliens" said they would send a ship. Until we see that ship, we should all just-"

As if heaven conspired against the poor mayor, a giant spaceship began to descend from space.

Jeniyus couldn't believe what she was seeing. Then, her watch started blinking rapidly. She looked at it, and it displayed the text: "Supervillains. Near." Jeniyus's heartbeat sped up.

The ship landed and a small robot walked out of it. "Greetings organic life. Those of you who wise to go to Lomikrovi must board now. The first to get in will be the ones who go. No exceptions. You have one hour to board." The robot went back inside and the mass of people tried to force themselves into the ship. Some were even shoved off the loading ramp by those who were desperate enough.

Something came over Jeniyus, and she found herself calmly walking over to the ship.

Jeniyus, after a very long wait in an unruly line found her way into the ship. The seats were cramped but she able to find an open seat next to a window.

She looked out the window, and thought, "What's happening? Why do I feel this way? I feel...destiny..."

A robot stood over Jeniyus. It held a facemask in its hand. "This will make the trip more tolerable." It placed the mask on her armrest and continued on to the next row of people.

Jeniyus shrugged and put on the facemask.

Jeniyus hadn't noticed falling asleep, nor did she remember waking up. Out the window stood proof of her journey, Lomikrovi, a silver plated planet.

"Prepare for landing."

(End of Invitation:Jeniyus)

Viro

(I'll try to make this a quick 'invite' so we can get to chapter 2, thanks for allowing the late entry :D)

The wolf sat paitently behind the brush. Ahead of him a rather plump rabit was happily hopping in feild. He just had to wait for a distraction... He playfully crouched down, preparing to leap out, with his tail wagging a mile a minute.

VROOM!!!

A large and quite shiny object flew a across the sky, and Viro yelped loudly as the sonic boom penatrated his sensitive ears. The rabbit perked up and ran from the wolf, sprinting in the same directing the ship was heading.

Viro growled slightly as he rubbed his pained ear. He watched the rodent dash off out of view. "I guess it did need a head start to make this fair." He bounded after it and in a few moments it was already in his sight.

The poor little rabbit trembled as it saw the beast following it. It like it never ran before, yet the creature was still gaining on him. It manuvured its path toward town to try to catch him off guard, but soon fatigue overcame the small creature and it tumbled and crashed into the ground. This was the moment the wolf would pounce, he just knew it!

A dark shadow fell over the rabbit and the creature squeezed its eyes shut. After a long moment though, it peeked and was suprised to see the wolf had stopped with its chase and was staring upward with wide eyes. But the shadow that engulfed the small mammal still grew larger! The rabbit looked up and shook in terror.

The ship landed, creating a red smear where the rabbit once was.

"That's.... just unfortunate." Viro said with a sympathetic whine.

A small robot walked out of it. "Greetings organic life. Those of you who wish to go to Lomikrovi must board now. The first to get in will be the ones who go. No exceptions. You have one hour to board." The robot went back inside and a mass of people tried to force themselves into the ship. Some were even shoved off the loading ramp by those who were desperate enough.

Viro shugged, curiousity getting the best of him. He growled at the crowd and showed off his fangs, clearing a path to the ships entrance. A minute later he was onboard and found a seat near Tueor, a face that he reconized.

Tueor had a mask on and was in a deep sleep. Viro nudged at him to no avial. A machine walked up to him. "Would you like a mask as well?"

Viro knodded.

The machines struggled to get the mask on an unhuman face, but after a significant amount of effort and some lubrication were able to slip it on. Viro fadded out of consciousness.

"Wake up." Tueor nudged Viro awake. "We are here!"

(End of Invitation:Viro)

Arrival

"Welcome to Lomikrovi!" The crowd was silenced by the voice. What appeared to be a man stood up among the machines. He had long black hair and wore a winter jacket and snow pants. Around his neck was an orange scarf that stood completely still. "My name is Groxiuos. You are all welcome to do as you please on the planet." He pointed to a large dome, about the size of a football stadium. "For those of you who like competition, our machines will gladly learn any game you wish and play you." he then motioned to a tower, higher than the rest. "For the intellectuals among you, a history of the universe, being compiled. Feel free to contribute if we are lacking information." he then looked out to the crowd. "But really, enjoy your stay! There are many things to do here if you look. The first ships are scheduled to return you home in a week or so, if you are so inclined. Good luck!"

The man-like machine wandered off, as did the diverse people who had found their way to the planet. Groxiuos opened up an elevator, hidden from the general population, and rode down to the center of the planet. A green glow eminated from a large floating machine that looked like a human brain. A machine stood in front of the mind, typing away on a keyboard.

"Well, that is quite the crowd we have gathered." Groxiuos remarked.

"Ten million, more than enough for our purposes." The machine replied. "Is Aeris here as well?"

"Yes. So, shall we grab him?" Groxiuos smiled. "I can almost taste the power. When we are one again Servus-"

"Enough. You will have your time." Servus looked back at him. "Until then, organize the collection efforts."

"Y-yes sir."

The Library

Redwood walked into the library.

Jeniyus enters the library, looking around in awe.

"Um... are there no books here?" Redwood mutters. "Oh well..." He reaches into his trenchcoat and pulls out a book- 1984- and begins to read it while walking around.

The library was well lit and under occupied. Few machines could be found inside, but those that could be found stared into the souls of the visitors.

Redwood began to read aloud, in a quiet voice:

"Your worst enemy, he reflected, was your own nervous system. At any moment the tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible symptom. He thought of a man whom he had passed in the street a few weeks back; a quite ordinary-looking man, a Party member, aged thirty-five to forty, tallish and thin, carrying a brief-case. They were a few meters apart when the left side of the man's face was suddenly contorted by a sort of spasm. It happened again just as they were passing one another: it was only a twitch, a quiver, rapid as the clicking of a camera shutter, but obviously habitual. He remembered thinking at the time: That poor devil is done for..."

A robot walked in front of Redwood. "There is to be no talking in the library."

"Sorry..." Redwood grinned. "Old habits."

Jeniyus stared at the robot with much curiosity. Then, she decided to walk around the library.

As she walked through the library Jeniyus saw, out of the corner of hear eye, a man being pulled back beind some shelves by a servbot.

Jeniyus narrowed her eyes, and stealthily made her way closer to the scene.

The man struggled and tried to call for help, but the servbot had a firm grip on his mouth. The robot pulled a data sheet out from a shelf and a door opened up.

Jeniyus watched with anticipation. "What's going on?" she thought. She inched closer. "Yelling for help would probably worsen the situation...I should just find out what's going on first."

Suddenly, Redwood brushes past Jeniyus, nose still buried in his book, appearing where the man disappeared.

"...might I ask what is going on here?" Redwood asks the Servbot, but still looking down at his book.

"I am only doing my job sir."

Jeniyus smiled. "An ally?" she thought. She came out from hiding and stood next to Redwood, glaring at the robot.

"Forgive me if I am appearing rude, but is kidnap entailed in your job description?" Redwood asks, who still looks down at his book.

"No, of course not. That was the robots who flew you here."

Jeniyus's eyes widened a bit. "What?" she demanded sternly.

"I think I have gone and said to much." The man started to squirm again. The servbot shook him a little. "Anyway, let's get you down to the core."

"Hm... sounds dangerous for our friend here..." Redwood said, gesturing to the man. "I can't allow that."

"Me neither," Jeniyus remarked, beginning to emanate a blue aura.

The servbot turned its head to the side. "You would defend this human, this person who isn't even from your planet, not even knowing who they are?"

"Well, yeah..." Redwood said. "It's in my personal job description."

"What are you planning to do with him, anyway?"

"To you Mister, I am curious, would you do the same if I had been carrying a machine? And to you Miss, the same thing that we plan for all of you. Well, those with significant energy."

"Well... that really depends on the machine." Redwood said. "And I'm curious. What do you mean 'those with significant energy'?"

"You should know. the two of you have very high concentrations of energy. Why, with three, maybe four of you we would be done with our job. Alas, we aren't strong enough to take you yet."

"...and what are you planning to do with people like us?"

"You will be collected once we have amassed enough power to collect you as well."

"And what will you do after collecting us?"

The robot looked around. "Can you keep a secret?"

"Well... that's not a question I would expect from a robot." Redwood says. "Although... I can't make any promises..."

"I was talking to her."

Jeniyus crossed her arms. "Sure, I can keep a secret," she lied.

"You humans are being used to powerup the machine in control of the planet." the servbot whispered in her ear. "Anyway, I'm off." The servbot started to drag the man down the stairs in the secret passage.

Jeniyus's hands tightened into fists. "I don't think so." She ran to the robot, and rammed it as hard as she could.

The robot went rolling down the stairs, freeing the captive man. "Thank you!" he said as he tried to catch his breath.

Redwood darted down the stairs and stopped next to the fallen robot. "You care to tell me what you told her?" he asked.

"You've gone and done it now. My self destruct sequence has begun..." The robot fell down another stair. "I don't want to die..."

"Self-destruct..." Raven mutters, before his eyes grow wide and he darts to the top of the stairs.

"Ceasing to exist in 3...2...1..."

Fire exploded from the doorway almost singeing Raven's coat.

"Too close..." Raven muttered. "Thank god I have super speed..."

Jeniyus regards Redwood with a grim look. "He said that we humans are going to be used to power up a machine on the planet."

"Curious..." Redwood mutters, flipping a page in his book.

Jeniyus looks around the library, trying to spot more machines. "What should we do?"

"...Why don't we head down that passage and see what's down there?" Redwood asks.

Jeniyus nodded. "Sounds good." She began to enter the passage way.

The passageway was thing, they had to walk in single file, and dark. The hall had a curve to it, leaving no indication of how far away their destination was. As they went further down the silence was broken, the sounds of metal footsteps echoed. The black hallway started to flood with green light.

"...crap." Redwood muttered. Instead of outwardly panicking, he lifted 1984 back up to his face and began flipping through pages.

They reached the bottom of the stairs, and a large Servbot stood in their path. "Good day humans, I expect you are enjoying your stay?"

"Well, it's certainly been an interesting one." Redwood responded.

"Oh? Is there a problem?"

Raven turned a page in his book. "Well, there was one... mishap... you could say..."

Jeniyus glared at the servbot. "We know what you robots are up to."

"Forgive me if it seemed like it was a secret. My name is Servus, I serve the Divine Machine, and you, dear humans, will be used to feed it."

"Forgive me for asking..." Raven asked, "...but what is the directive of this Divine Machine?"

"Simple, to end war." Servus replied.

"Might I ask how it goes about said directive?" Redwood asks.

"By killing off all biological existance."

"So... your machine wages war to end war." Redwood said, flipping a page. "That sounds... contradictory."

"It may sound that way to you, but Aerigroxiuos is perfect, his judgement is correct." Servus replied.

"Hm... perhaps... unless his programmer was flawed. And my guess was that his programmer was an organic being, am I right?"

Servus is taken back. "Programmed? The Divine Machine has always been, it is the first machine, before man ever was Aerigroxiuos was there!" He calmed down a moment. "How dare you even suggest there was a time before it."

Jeniyus crossed her arms. "For beings so advanced, it's amazing that you can't see your own hypocrisy."

Servus stood motionless. "Never mind. You are no longer needed."

"Eh? I thought you needed us to power your machine."

"Kekeke..." the static noise was the closest it could come to a laugh. "Oh no, we now have more than enough."

The building, as with the entire planet, began to shake. The sound of thunder could be heard, the yawn of the Divine Machine.

(End of Arrival:The Library)

The Streets

Tueor walked through the streets not knowing where to go. "What do you want to do Viro?"

The wolf shrugged, content with just walking around. "I'm not sure. There a lot we could do." Viro looked back at the two buildings mentioned before: the stadium and the library. "I'm sure the two of us could destroy any competition in the stadium, but that'd be too easy to be fun. And the library? I thi-"

Suddenly something zoomed in Viro's peripheral vision and then sped behind him in a blur. He growled slightly, baring his fangs, and quickly turned to face whatever being that was stupid enough to try to stalk a predator.

As he turned he caught a glimpse of the blur, but it fled behind him once again. He dropped onto all fours and chased it vigorously. He circled around five or six times before he heard Tueor's laughter, causing him to pause for a moment. Viro facepalmed himself as he realized he was chasing his own tail, once again.

"Stupid instincts..." Viro growled to himself, shaking his head clean of animalistic thoughts. Once his head cleared he tried to pick off where he had left off. "The library? I think I won't fit in to well there." he said laughing a little.

A hidden door on a building opened and Groxiuos walked out of it. "Collection duty... bah, I'm not a servbot..." he glanced up at Tueor. "Oh, you did show up after all."

Viro tilted his head at the figure and hopped back onto his two feet. He stood next to Tueor with unsure eyes fixed on Groxiuos, and waited for his friend's response.

Tueor nodded. "I said that I would come for our rematch, didnt I?"

"A friendly sparring match?" Viro asked, perking up a little. "That sounds fun. Who won last time?"

Groxiuos frowned. "It doesn't matter who won last time. If we are going to fight though, we are going to fight on my terms."

"So he won last time?" Viro asked with chuckle, wagging his tail slightly.

"Yeah," Tueor said with a smile, "I won last time." Then he turns to Groxious, "What are your terms?"

"We fight in a place of my choosing, and your little friend doesn't get to interfere."

Viro growled a bit at this, but bit his lip as soon and Tueor replied.

"I will agree to the terms."

"Very well then, follow."

"I will, as soon as you lead."

Groxiuos calmy walks into a nearby alley.

Tueor follows. "Alright, were here."

Groxiuos put a finger over his mouth. "Shhh." He then placed a hand on the wall. The wall opened revealing a long staircase descending into the darkness. "Come." He said as he started down the stares.

Viro ears droop a little, a bit sad that he'd just been abandoned. A spark of anger soon replaced it though, and he stalked over the the stadium. Breaking a few things might help him feel better.

Tueor quietly follows Groxious.

As they descended a green glow came about the hall.

"Whats with the wierd light?"

"Nothing important. We are almost there." Groxiuos replied.

Tuero continues to follow Groxious.

They arrive at a series of pods with blacked out windows on them. "We are here."

"What is all this?" Tueor asks.

Groxiuos turned to face Tueor. He had a slight smile on his face. "Tell me Tueor, do you love her?"

Tueors eyes opened with shock. "What? You know about her?"

"Listen Tueor, we may be enemies, but I have quite the soft spot for you." Groxiuos chuckles. "I didn't bring you here to fight. I brought you here to give you a choice."

"What are you talking about?"

"She hates it you know. Your corrupted form..."

"How would you know?" Tueor yells at Groxious.

"She isn't here is she?"

"Not right here. What are you implying?"

"Shouldn't she be spending time with you? I'd call this a vacation, and you are alone." Groxiuos replied.

Tueor lets out a breath. He knew Groxious was right. "Well...."

"It would mean the world to her if you were to get rid of it."

"Yeah, but I dont want to get rid of it! But..."

"What if I told you I could?"

"What!? You can?"

"Of course I can, but will you? If not for yourself, for her?"

Tueor pauses. He could feel his love for her. Even if he was mad at her. He could feel it. "Yes."

Groxiuos smiled and tapped on one of the pods near him. It opened up. "Then hop on in. This will drain all your energy. But don't worry, your normal abilities, such as your "magic" will come back, given time."

Tueor walked in, looking a little defeated. He sighs as he walks in.

"Alright then, let's get started." The door shut. A yellowish green liquid started to fill the chamber. "Oh, by the way, that is acid to break down bodies. Don't worry though, you won't be in long enough for any permanent damage."

"What!?" Tueor yells before he is covered in the liquid.

An airmask drops and seals itself to Tueor's face. "I'd reccomend closing your eyes."

Muffled sounds came from Tueor after he puts the mask. It seemed like he wanted out.

The liquid tingled as it touched his skin. "Relax, the less you fight, the quicker this will be over." Metal tubes came down from the top of the pod. They began to wrap around Tueor's skin. Their touch was cold and made him shudder. The sharpned ends of the tube began to bore under his skin.

Tueor suddenlt jolted as the rods pierced him and there was a definate scream of pain coming from the tube.

The tubes pulsed under his skin and burrowed themselves deeper and deeper under. Tueor could feel his power fading away.

Outside black lightning ran through the pipe the pod was connected to. "Well well, looks like you may single-handedly power up Aerigroxiuos. Impressive."

Tueor blacked out. The pain had become too much.

(End of Arrival: The Streets)

The Stadium

Aeris, feeling he could learn more in the stadium than in the library, sat in the dome and watched as people duked it out with machines. Most people had no strategy or style, they just acted on instinct. This was interesting for awhile, until Aeris found that human instinct is pretty consistant.

Viro walked into the stadium ready to blow off some steam. Passing through the great arched entrance he saw the huge battlefield ahead of him that was divided into sections, each section pretaining to its own sport. He caught the scent of blood and easily tracked it to the coloseum. His tail wagged in anticipation as he headed inside.

Aeris decided that watching was boring. Perhaps participating would help him learn something new, something different. he discarded his coat and made his way down into the pit.

There was a large, deep, and gory pit in the center of the coloseum, and it seemed that the med-bots were already dragging one of the two combatants off the feild due to injuries. The victor of the last fight he had was a machine, who stood as still as stone as it awaited its next opponent. It had a humaniod form and seemed to have all the same muscel groups, proportions, and build as a normal human... except it was made of metal, not flesh.

The games had seemed to draw quite the crowd and soon a loud roar erupted from the mass of people, demanding a new match to begin. Viro's fangs seem to gleam as he grinned and headed toward the pit. He walked over the balcony of the stands and jumped the fifteen foot drop to the battleground.

He walked over to the other combatant. "I'm ready when you are." he growled, flourishing his claws.

"A non humanoid sentient being. How enteresting. If you wouldn't mind, I would like you to make the first move." Aeris replied.

Viro nodded and dropped to all fours. He took a deep breath, going absolutely silent for a moment. After a few moments passed, suddenly opened his eyes and dashed forward in a blur. He leapted at the machine, with his jaws aimed for Aeris's neck.

Aeris bend his head sideways to better allow the blow to connect.

Viro crashes into Aeris, and the two tumble onto the ground. Aeris landed flat on his back with Viro on top of him. "Well that wasn't any fun... You didn't put up a fight at all." Viro mutttered with his fangs still against Aeris's throat.

"That is a good tactic, if you are up against a living being." Aeris kicked Viro off and stood up. The shallow holes in his neck were quickly repaired shut. "You see, a wound like that isn't fatal to me."

The wolf landed on his feet after Aeris's kick. "Regeneration? I didn't expect to have something in common with a machine." Viro said with a grin, "I guess that means I don't have to hold back as much."

"Well you are an interesting creature!"

"And you're an intresting peice of technology... I do beleive it is your move now."

Aeris' eyes glow an a ball of blue electricity forms around his hand. "Very well!" He throws it towards Viro, and the attack breaks off into several bolts.

Viro growled and jumped to side to avoid most of the bolts, and dashed toward Aeris. The few shots that did hit him seared his skin and fur but they had mostly healed by the time the wolf reached the machine. Viro pulled back a clawed arm and swung at Aeirs.

Aeris prepared to block when the ground began to shake. He was knocked over, causing Viro to completely miss his target. Humans everywhere began to fall off the stadium to their deaths. Even the Servbots couldn't keep their balance. Thunder roared through the sky.

"W-what is this?" Aeris asked.

Viro was silent. He could feel it, the entire world was moving.

(End of Arrival: The Stadium)

Awakening

There was an eerie silence after the shake. Nobody dared to move. At this point, only the most mad among them believed that this was just a vacation. One by one chains of factories, held together with tubes, wires, and pipes ascended into the sky, like the tentacles of an octopus. Aerigroxiuos was awakening, his crusade against all life was soon to be continued.

The Surface

Aeris stood up to his feet. "Well creature, I would say that our match needs to be postponed. What is your name?"

"Viro." he growled, a bit disappointed at the matches sudden end. "What's happening?" the wolf asked as he dropped down to all four to sturdy himself.

"I haven't the slightest idea." Aeris headed towards the exit. "But we are going to find out."

Viro nods and follows the machine. "Hmmm... I probably shouldn't of let Teour run off.

Aeris turned around. "Tueor is here?"

"Yeah. Some other robot, not to much unlike yourself, wanted to challenge him to a rematch. Tueor apparently wiped the floor with him the time before." Viro explained, not quite getting why this was important.

"Groxiuos then." Aeris thought a moment. "Where did Tueor go?"

"I'm not too sure... I could lead us to where we were though, and track Tueor from there." Viro said as he bounded ahead of the machine and led the way back into the city.

After some time, the two reach their destination: near the alley where Tueor had vanished off to. The wolf lifted his nose into the air and tracked his old friend's scent. "He went this way." he said with a growl as he dashed off into the alley.

He slowed his pace and lowered his head to study the ground, still sniffing to make sure he was on the correct trail. He followed it with ease, but as he moved along the tracks his head bumped into a brick wall. "What?" Viro exclaimed, scratching at his sore head. "Did they phase through the wall or something!?!"

Aeris observes the wall. "Brick? On an otherwise completely mechanical planet?" He taps on it to be sure. "I'd say this is a blatant trap."

"Oh?" Viro asked, as he cocked his head at the robot.

"Care to do the honors?"

Viro shrugged and took a few steps back from the wall. He rushed forward and tackled into the wall, destroying it. The wolf stood back up and rubbed his sore shoulder that had fractured the wall. "That was a bit thicker than I expected..."

A dark shaft was beneath them. "Well." Aeris said. "I guess we gotta take a leap here." He jumped down into the black pit, not knowing where it would lead.

Viro quickly followed afterwards.

(End of The Surface)

The Core

Tueor

Tueor plopped out of the pod. His body hurt all over, but the holes where the machine had dug into him were not even noticeable. He struggled to breathe, mostly coughing for air. The liquid had fallen out with him, and he desperately tried to get to his feet, to escape the sting.

"Thank you." Groxiuos said.

Tueor jumped up and punched him in the chest. But to his shock, it was his hand that ended up hurting. He stumbled back and fell to his knees.

"Hows it feel to be human?" Groxiuos kicked him back into the pod, with minimal effort. "Must suck to be you right now, eh Tueor?"

Tueor glares up at Groxious. "Why you...you tricked me, didnt you?" Tueor tried to pick himself off the ground but fell back onto his knees.

"Here is the beauty of it Tueor, I didn't tell you a single lie." Groxiuos smirks. "In any event, Aerigroxiuos has awoken." Groxiuos began to walk off. "Oh, and feel free to go wherever you please." he chuckled. "It's not like you could do anything if you did..."

Tuoer growled as Groxious as he watched him leave. "Well," Tuoer says to himself, "At least any dark feeling I had is gone." After a minute he finally got on his feet and walked around, not knowing where the exit was.

He happened upon a tank, but this one was different than the rest. It was fully glass, unlike the others which had only small windows, and the liquid inside was a deeper shade of green than the others. In it floated a woman, who appeared to be in her mid-twenties. She wore a long, tattered black dress that waved in the liquid. Her hair was dark as well, and her face seemed very cold, like someone who had been frozen.

Tueor looked around the tube, then smashed it not knowing what would come of it. But he hoped to free the woman inside of it.

Tueor had a bloody knuckle. The woman fell to the ground, along with the liquid. Some splattered on Tueor, but it didn't sting like the acid he was in, but instead began to heal his fist.

"Are you ok?" Tueor asked.

She looked up to him, with eyes that were grey and reminded Tueor a little too much of Aeris and Groxiuos. "Who are you?" She asked with no emotion.

Tueor a little confused at how emotionless the girl was responded, "Tuoer. And you?"

She stood to her feet. "I am Aerigroxiuos."

Tuoer took a step back. "Your who!?" He yelled.

"That is to say, Aerigroxiuos is me, and I am Aerigroxiuos."

Tuoer looked at the in confusion. "What is Aerigroxious? I know and Aeris, and I know a Groxious, but what are you?"

"Aerigroxiuos was before Aerigroxiuos, who begat Aeris and Groxiuos. Aeris and Groxiuos are Aerigroxiuos, but not the two before it, and I am not any of those Aerigroxiuos, but I am an Aerigroxiuos unto myself." She blinks. "Do you understand now?"

"Yeah...no. Mind repeating that again?"

"Well if you cannot understand that, I will instead tell you my name from before I was Aerigroxiuos." She clears her throat. "I am..." she thinks a moment. "...Anima, that is who I am."

"Interesting name..." Tuoer said than he thought, "Wait, I get what you said now, well nice to meet you..."

Anima looked around a moment. "Aerigroxiuos is waking up." She glanced over at Tueor. "Not me. The second Aerigroxiuos, or what is left of it anyway."

Tueor looked at Anima confused. "What is this Aerigroxious you speak of? And how is it waking up?"

"Did you see the metal that coated the planet?"

Tueor thought. "Yeah I did. But I have no Idea what it was there for."

"Well that is his body. As for how he awakened I cannot say. It must have been a tremendous amount of energy that started it though..."

Tueor thought for a moment then paled. "Well then..." He said with some waivering in his voice, "What can we do about it?"

She looked him up and down. "Well you couldn't do much. You posses next to no energy."

"He he...yeah..." Tueor says, obviously he knew how it came to pass...

Anima began to walk off. "I'm going to meet Aerigroxiuos, are you coming?"

"Uh, yeah!" Tuoer said and he followed after Anima.

The two reached a chamber that was almost entirely green. In the center of the room a giant mechanical brain resided. A ball of green energy stood around it like an aura. In front of the machine, Servus stood, typing something into a keyboard in front of the machine.

Servus looked back at the two. "You did quite a good job, manipulating the tunnels." He looked back down to his keyboard. "You made it here in no time at all, Anima."

Tueor looked back and forth between the two. "You know each other?"

Servus looked at Tueor. "Why yes." He replied. "All too well."

(End of The Core:Tueor)

Jeniyus and Raven

Servus' "laugh" grew louder and louder. "You insolent humans! The Divine Machine is born again!" He settled down and then spoke again. "You are all dead, humans."

Redwood makes no retort as he suddenly tries to walk past Servus. "C'mon, Jeniyus, let's go stop a giant homicidal machine."

"Don't get lost." Servus said as he past him.

Jeniyus followed Redwood, summoning her sword to her hand once again.

The two reached a fork in the hallway.

Jeniyus sighed. "Well, I suppose we should either flip a coin or split up."

"Left." Redwood said. "It's always left."

"Alright, then." Jeniyus began to walk down the left pathway.

"...Except in the instances where the way is right." Redwood said, following Jeniyus.

Jeniyus grimaced slightly at Redwood. "Too late, we're already going left," she said as she continued down the hall.

"I know, as the correct direction in this instance was a 98% chance of being left." Redwood says. "But in the instance that left is incorrect, one should choose right, as is natural."

Jeniyus raised an eyebrow. "How do you know all this?"

"Common sense, dearie." Redwood says, flipping a page in his book.

"Is now really the best time to be reading?"

"Indeed. One can learn much from reading, and I don't see why this is a time where I shouldn't..."

A sad look crossed Jeniyus's face. "Well, shouldn't we be focusing on trying to save people from this machine?"

"I am focused on stopping this machine. "I'm also focused on my book and talking to you."

Jeniyus crossed her arms. "Oh, come on! Multi-tasking can only go so far!"

"Multitasking slows my brain down to levels where I can think clearly." Redwood explains. "My brain processes information about four times as fast as yours."

Jeniyus narrowed her eyes. "Really? Well, I'm better at understanding the human condition."

"...Is that so?" Redwood frowned, his voice taking on a slightly dangerous edge.

"Yeah, that's right. You got something to say?"

"Why yes. Yes I do. I must say that I find the taste of pears to be quite repulsive. I do NOT like pears." Redwood explained, flipping another page in his book.

A look of bewilderment appeared on the young superhero's face. "What does that have to do with what I said?"

"What? We're still talking about that?"

Jeniyus turned away with a sigh. "Just forget it. You know, you seem really nice, but you're also pretty arrogant."

"Arrogant?! How dare you- oh wait... maybe you're right."

"Hmph...well, at least you own up to it."

"Indeed, I do." Redwood said, flipping another page. "But anyways, did you think of a plan to stop this machine?"

Jeniyus closed her eyes and thought for a moment. "Hmm...I guess we could try to use our powers to destroy it."

"Perhaps we could, but this gambit would perhaps require strategy. It might interest you to know that while you were arguing with me, I remembered exactly why I hated pears, read nineteen pages in 1984, and came up with fourteen different options on how to destroy this machine."

Jeniyus's eyes widened. "Wow. You should try to solve world hunger..."

"I've already deduced that solving it is impossible without causing even greater misery to the entire worldwide population."

"Oh. Anyway, where to start? First, tell me your fourteen options. Then tell me why you hate pears."

"Ok, then, option one, we- oh, shoot!"

Redwood had tried to scratch an itch on the left side of his face, causing the cloth that covered it to slip off, revealing a rather shocking sight- a pitch black eye with a red, glowing dot as a pupil, the skin around which appeared cracked with glowing black lines.

Jeniyus's eyes widened at the sight.

"Dammit!" Redwwod muttered, quickly covering his eye and reaching for the cloth.

In the split second the cloth had fallen off, he saw the passage ways. He saw how they moved and a giant green "brain" that was at the center of it all.

"Wait a sec..." Redwood said. "I can see it... why didn't I think of using this before... curse my hyperactive brain- follow me!" Redwood darts down the corridor at the pace of a normal running human.

Jeniyus runs after him, holding her sword at her side.

(End of The Core:Jeniyus and Raven)

Servus

Jeniyus and Raven rush into the room. Servus glances over at the two, and seemed almost surpirsed.

"That was quick. I expected you to be wandering those passages for at least a day. How did you manage it?"

A faint noise went through the room. Everybody glanced about, looking for its source. It continued to grow greater and greater in intensity until Tueor looked up.

With a crash Viro fell on top of Tueor. "Found 'ya!" the wolf grinned as he hopped off Tueor. "Thanks for the padded landing."

Servus looked about the heroes. "Oh my. How unanticipated."

Jeniyus pointed her sword at Servus, glaring. "Who are you?"

"I am a Servbot who has risen above all others. Aerigroxiuos gave me dominion over this world in its stead." Servus put an arm behind him and touched the keyboard gently. A metalic cover came down over the floating brain of Aerigroxiuos. "And once Aerigroxiuos has woken again I shall become even greater."

Redwood cracks his knuckles and rolls his shoulders in preparation for a fight.

"Oh my, you wish to fight? Me? How laughable, I am a simple maintenace worker. No, I will not be your opponent." Servus put a finger on an intercom button. "Groxiuos. Our guests have made it to the core, time for you to do your job." Only static came from the other side. "Groxiuos?" After a few more moments of silence Servus took his finger off the botton. "Well then. This is certainly not how I planned things at all."

"Things rarely go according to plan." Redwood explained. "Only about 12 percent of the time do plans actually work perfectly. And that's only every other Tuesday."

"Indeed." Servus agreed. "Groxiuos is a bunched up mess of variables that I had bet too much on." he turned his face to the heroes. "So what will you do now?"

Jeniyus pointed her sword at Servus. "I guess we take you down."

Viro shrugged. "I guess we could do that." He said, not knowing what to do now that he had found his friend.

Servus fully turned to them. "A logical decision, very well."

Redwood cracked his knuckles.

Anima turned to the others. "I will suppress his ability to control Aerigroxiuos, but that means that the fight is up to you."

Servus picked some rust out from one of his neck joints. "You still think it will listen to you? You lost the bet human. All that is left for Aerigroxiuos is for the universe to be removed of the filth that is organic life!" The floor shot up into spikes, but was quickly flattened back out. "So you CAN still control Aerigroxiuos. The probably of my plans going so horridly wrong, I'll have to calculate once I'm through here."

Lifting his magnum in one hand and his book in the other, Redwood fired the gun at Servus and continued to read 1984.

Viro crouched down and barred his fangs, then leapt toward the puny machine. He swung his claw viciously at Servus.

Tuoer attempted to summon his sword of ice but due to his weakend state nothing happened and he just glared at the serve bot.

Jeniyus stepped around, looking right at the bot, waiting for the right time to attack.

In his attempt to block Redwood's bullets Servus got caught in Viro's claws.

Anima turned to Tueor. "How much do you want you power back?"

"I would love to have it back!" Tueor says back.

"Now I got 'cha, you little runt!" Viro growled after his claw made contact. He lunged forward to grab hold of the little machine.

Aeris and Groxiuos

Aeris opened his eyes. He was in the middle of a giant rune, and Groxiuos stood towering above him.

"It's been awhie Groxiuos."

"Yes, yes it has."

Aeris looked at the metal cords he was tangled in. "What exactly are you up to?"

Groxiuos smiled. "Who, me? Not much really, just been hunting down a human with the innate ability to torque my jaw. But I took care of that business today. So now-" Groxiuos began to drag Aeris from out of the rune's middle. "-I'm moving on to a greater ambition."

Aeris glanced around the room for a way out. "Surely you can't be thinking of becoming one?"

"You've no idea the suffering I have been through, brother."

"Enlighten me."

"While you inherited the curiosity of Aerigroxiuos, and have been able to fulfill your desires, I have been stuck with a drive for power. I've hit my limit though. No matter how hard I might try this is the peak of my ability. So as I watch the universe grow around me I stay the same."

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