Chapter 15: Stand and Fall [Unedited]


I take a knee and take a moment to contemplate my worth. There's no expectation of mercy, and none is being granted for failure. #gio

The radiation levels in this drill court turned battle simulator are peaking the warning indicators on my HUD. #gio

Milliseconds always seem to make a countdown more intense. Those are my last thoughts before the nuke goes off. #gio


How is it that I, as a supreme being, am caught looking up to a lower being? It's quite humbling to say the least. #gio

An instructional quality also exists with this unpalatable relationship. Nelissa's sneer retains a professorial gaze. #gio

If I can't defeat her, I'm nowhere near where I want to be and ironically - probably nowhere near where she needs me to be. #gio


I'm not going to play the weapon who doesn't want to maim and kill because that'd be cliché, and besides, I actually enjoyed this. #gio

I must learn about myself, my purpose, and everything in particular. I've had a taste yet have no context with which to explain it. #gio

Nelissa looks down upon me from her protected platform while the nuke's remaining detonation time counts down in a corner of my HUD. #gio


Then I stop for a second. Wrecked mecha, dead bodies, and ruined weaponry are all around me. I'm not even at full strength. #gio

Is this who I am? Is this all that I'm capable of being - a government weapon for their use and discarding? Or is there more? #gio

I really want to dislike Nelissa, but she seems to be the only person who is willing to teach me about myself. #gio


Nelissa's good, but she's also beginning to frustrate me as I remotely take control of an NSF Tank in order to express my disdain. #gio

The military pension must have flashed before the tank operator's eyes as I overrode the system controls and fired at her. #gio

And now, I'm about to start cussing because she sits smugly behind a force shield with that smile - watching my shots be intercepted! #gio


And what if the NSF Tank operators thought they were firing at me when in essence, the blister batteries happened to be their targets? #gio

Friends, Lazaro? How about the friendly fire which lays out three NSF Tanks as I reappear in the middle of their sparking collapse? #gio

The foot soldiers don't even want any piece of this as they flee! No, wait - that's not it. Nelissa just had the nuke activated.. #gio


I'd have been more concerned about the mechanics between their energy bursts and the NSF Tanks' chassis if I were them. #gio

Connectivity exists among their fist lasers and the resultant accuracy of these loosed energy bursts that I continue to dodge. #gio

Targeting systems have long since replaced a sharp eye with the enhanced vision of a computer, but what if the reticule was hacked? #gio


I am not a monster. I'm simply a gentle man who has lost his way and will not allow anybody to get in it. #gio

The operators of these NSF Tanks hurl energy bursts at me like they have no idea of who they're dealing with. #gio

Except that, the distance from their energy bursts to my position shouldn't have been the main concern. #gio


And what was the number one complaint about tanks throughout history? This Nebulan Science Forces outfit is impressive. #gio

They're not yet as shrewd (read: vicious) as the Space Force, but they got to this point more quickly than Ennead Tech Corp. #gio

Now, please allow me to blow a few of these NSF Tanks off of the face of the GPS. #gio


But I digress. Let me explain the ball bearing treads by comparing them to a Space Force technology. #gio

A Space Force spacestation uses tiny thruster pockets called stabilizers to create frictionless conditions in air and water. #gio

In space, those gorgeous ships have ultra maneuverability. Ball bearing treads do this for the NSF Tanks on land. #gio


The NSF Tank, which towers above me and punches down upon me, whiffs. Others try to hedge my position with anticipative shots. #gio

It's nice to see that the military-industrial complex notion of putting a mech's specs online is still a vibrant practice. #gio

I guess that it's all about sales, but I'm about to exploit an interesting flaw which I uncovered in those specs. #gio


Strangely, I feel a connection to them as I witness the individual operators stand up from off of their ball bearing treads. #gio

In tank mode, these NSF Tanks have ultra maneuverability across any terrain because of how the nanite-based tread functions. #gio

I'll explain that in a second, but first I need to slip between dimensions since these things are also stacked with weaponry. #gio


"He's moving faster than the eye can see!" I'm sure that this is the professional opinion of Otto, the physicist, but he's wrong. #gio

Physics can't explain everything. Yet faith isn't the answer (here) either because that doesn't even try. #gio

But enough about that, the NSF Tanks convert into their bipedal mode, and I have to admit - these things are awesome. #gio


The action isn't really paused because life still treads along its perceptively normal time line. But time is relative. #gio

And I am operating out of a completely different dimension that would put a 1080p movie's action sequences to shame. #gio

So it's nothing for me to just walk over to the side a little bit, resume the action, and allow the incoming barrage to miss. #gio


Defined: The third dimension of strategy has to do with planning multiple moves ahead like playing a game of Chess. #gio

In the fourth dimension of strategy, life is the chessboard and its pieces. I have the ability to maneuver about and move the pieces. #gio

Take these laser pulses and energy projectiles for instance. Notice how I can just have this conversation while the action is paused. #gio


Although Nelissa has put me in a position where I can be potentially killed, I kinda respect her. No, this is not Stockholm syndrome. #gio

She - people like us, we play at an entirely different level. Nelissa wants me at my best so that she can beat the best. #gio

I wonder about her ambitions because to even come close to me, a person better have mastered the fourth dimension of strategy. #gio


Although I'm apparently a weapon of mass destruction, I am not a cold-blooded killer. But I'll humor Nelissa's request. #gio

I'm curious about my abilities as well. With no memory of them, survival of this predicament will expose some of my natural prowess. #gio

"There's been no change in his biometrics," Nicolasa warns from behind the comfort of his laptop. "You're gonna kill him!" #gio


Remember that old 'Will you walk into my parlor?' bit with The Spider and the Fly? Imagine if the Fly said that first line. #gio

Nelissa wants to test my abilities, and she tried to goad me into fighting by dangling the lives of her troops like carrots. #gio

For additional enticement, laser pulses and energy projectiles are fired at me in case I don't feel like submitting to her test. #gio


Shaking her head almost in disbelief, Nelissa steps up to the plate by stepping in front of Lazaro and smirking in my direction. #gio

"NSFm-1 Alpha, that's life and ultimately why Human lives aren't worth a whole lot. Destroy him," she orders! #gio

I'll explain her last couple of lines in a second, but let me be the first to say that battling this woman is going to be fun. #gio


I speak on it some, "You're my friend as long as I submit to your whim. The moment that I try to be myself, you discard me!" #gio

In what must have been a tense moment for all of them, I extend my arms to their sides - but only to illustrate the point. #gio

The acoustics are great in here, and it helps that the silence of the standoff is deafening. I hear a snicker in the background. #gio


"Because we are friends," Lazaro responds. What is he even talking about? I don't know this fool! #gio

And thirty-four NSF Tanks say otherwise. Yes, they are in tank mode currently but waiting for a chance to unleash their bipedal mode. #gio

Insulting my intelligence will get this entire place razed. Why am I so angry? No, it isn't anger. It's something else. #gio


I continue my scans. NSF Body Armor is puncture resistant, features an energy pulse retardant, and happens to be lightweight. #gio

My eyes trace the entire periphery as Lazaro makes his pitch, "Please just allow our soldiers to collect you." #gio

"Why!" I shout of my situation more than question. Soldiers tense up by moving their fingers to their trigger pads. #gio


With the Space Force having vacated the Terran System, the Nebulan Science Forces took the technological lead. #gio

The tripodal weapons are called blister batteries - weightless to swivel, quick to breakdown and set up. Twenty-seven are posted. #gio

"NSFm-1 Alpha!" Lazaro speaks through his Ear-To-Mouth Com which projects over the PA system to plead, "Nobody wants to hurt you." #gio


Two hundred and sixty-six soldiers. Three hundred and eighty-six pieces of Space Force Standard Issue weaponry between them. #gio

Lazaro, Nicolasa, and Otto file in frantically and attend to positions which are at a perceptively safe distance. #gio

Nelissa saunters in just as calmly. She doesn't take me seriously, and I hate when that happens. This entire base will hate it too. #gio


I can't even imagine what's amassing outside of here, and I don't need to. Some of my suspicions have already been confirmed. #gio

My HUD spies body armor, tripodal heavy weaponry, tanks, and at least one nuke. This isn't a show of force; it's a show of deference. #gio

Leaning slightly forward - a brooding posture of arrogance is how I choose to meet this obstacle. I'm unstoppable.... #gio


I step outside and into a sizable drill court which doubles as a parking garage. All eyes are on me, but is this really death row? #gio

All weapons are trained on me as well - from personal armaments to vehicular artillery. #gio

Laser targeting dances about my position while spotlights douse it in a blinding glow of attention. #gio


With Nelissa most likely in charge of the situation now, the game has changed. My first impression of her is that she does not play. #gio

Up ahead of this vacant corridor, a pair of oversized doors look to be more my da-nation than my salvation. #gio

I'm not looking forward to this but move forward I must. Reluctantly, my hands push open the doors to get it over with. #gio


My captors are in the midst of a lockdown procedure, but they also have operating protocols for these situations as well. #gio

It's almost like a fire drill because you don't need to be told where to go and when to be there. #gio

They also don't need to know my exact location. Patience and positioning merely waits me out. #gio


After turning a corner, I seem to be off by myself in thought - contemplation of my existence. These senses mean nothing to me. #gio

Not only off by myself in considering my worth in an existential sense, but I am off by myself physically within this corridor. #gio

This is anything but peculiar, and I don't need to make use of my special abilities in order to know that. #gio


It is the result of wanting so much to be free and experiencing an intense letdown from my rapidly dwindling set of options. #gio

I slow up but only to feel sorry for myself. Walking close to the right side wall allows me to touch the coarse paint job. #gio

The sensation of touch. The feeling of fear. The excitement of an energy rush. I bring my right hand before my face. #gio


The jig is up! They'll find themselves hard-pressed to control my access, but they have no problem turning the WIFI off. #gio

So there goes Plan B as the facility becomes communicatively dark and I lose access to not only NSF conversations but movements. #gio

And if that isn't enough, the synthetic adrenaline starts to wear off. Instead of feeling pumped, I feel another emotion: Fear. #gio

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