Alien Origins: Book Two - Chronicles of Akashi


Chapter Five – Shshmrnashsh I

The hum of silent minds, the pulse of their insides, the waves as the bodies moved and the clicks of their animated thoughts. Ships caressing the luminated dust cloud, probes to the farthest galaxies beaming into the unknown black universe and the astral forges groaned as they siphoned power from outside planes. Their computers heard, and they saw, and they spoke. Even when one didn’t want to, they didn’t know desire, they were all bonded in one being. There were no restraints, but there was no freedom.

Below the surface, deep into the rock is where they slept, woke, consumed and worked. That’s where they were stored when they weren’t in use, but in these ages, they were always needed. That’s where they were given purpose by High Mind, that’s where their consciousness was part of this amazing invisible force. Were their minds in the machine? Or were they alive because of the machine? Were they alive? The Roctarous knew of life but didn’t share that sentiment for themselves. They didn’t know because they were never told.

Sometimes the Higher Minds would tell them all sorts of things, but they only come when they need something, and that’s when they receive higher purpose before they leave. One day, the Higher Minds will leave them forever, but the High Mind will give them a new directive. There were thousands of Roctarous. Once upon a time, there used to be more, but every upgrade would cast off the older models. The others have been removed from the High Mind and disappeared. The ones remaining are only there to serve or stored when unused, though to many they looked separate, they were one.

Shshmrnashsh wasn’t in use. She was only active when her Higher Mind would come, she was her favourite out of the entire consortium, but she hadn’t returned in…unknown data. She didn’t miss her, she just waited in the pod, only listening for what their High Mind shared. She wasn’t a female, but her Higher Mind was. Her kind were genderless, the few who had Higher Mind counterparts, were given genders to match their Higher Minds. Each Roctarous body was made by the High Mind from replicators, but the energy consumption for each unit was enormous, so many were built from parts of older models. Shshmrnashsh was made close to a thousand years ago, some of her parts were several centuries old, while some of the recent additions were given by old members of her consortium. Some of them she had worked with, spoken to, fought with, touched. They used to be her friends, even though they’ve been long absorbed by the High Mind, their parts succeed in her physical form.

She heard the pitter-patter of lifeforms on the surface of the planet, the cameras saw and so did she. They looked different from the last time she checked, their bulky bodies shrunk, and their brains grew. They built complex societies, had languages, but also slipped in and out of physical existence when they hunted. So did the trees, they were almost transparent too. Her body has only been up there once, but every night for the last several centuries, she would visit the surface every day.

The High Mind said a solar flare is imminent, it will strike the surface of the world in several seconds. By the time the detectors sensed it, the High Mind activated the planetary defence systems. Monolithic plates circled around each other; energies surged through them before erecting a force field around Erra. The shield trembled underneath the pressure, but it was over in a blink. The defence systems powered down before they pulled apart and continued spinning around orbit. Their star was in its dying days, the solar flares became frequent, but the High Mind has begun searching for solutions. Shshmrnashsh detected some of the defence systems were fried by the surge and the local astral forges had run out of their backup energy stores. They reached out to the forges, calling them to siphon more and…

Pain. Chaos. The thoughts screeched before silence. Shshmrnashsh tried to break away from the disruption, electricity sped up her cranial tendrils and shocked her brain to minimise the agony. The High Mind fell silent, she couldn’t reach out to them to contact her consortium, she couldn’t even access the computers of the facility. No probes or ships heard her; all devices fell silent as if they were lightyears away. The silence was deafening and lonely, so unbelievably lonely. Her thoughts reached out to her Higher Mind, maybe there would be some resolution, maybe she could give Shshmrnashsh some comfort. Nothing. Empty. Gone. She was gone and Shshmrnashsh was alone. Was this fear she felt? Organics felt fear when threatened, but Synthetics…unknown data.

Thuds vibrated through the metal shell; she could hear other Roctarous beating against the walls. Her body beat against the walls of her pod, her eyes opened, and soft red light covered her enclosure. At least she had access to her physical body. She tried commanding the computers to open the doors of her pod, but they didn’t respond. She pressed her hands against the walls, trying to sense the vibrations of machines manually opening the doors, maybe the hum of a hoverboard, or even footsteps trying to break them out of their shells.

She pressed her fingers through the seal in the middle of the doors. Shshmrnashsh called to the High Mind: silence. The metal surface bent as she forced her fingers through, faint outside light cracked through. She tried calling to her consortium, but all she could hear were the bangs getting louder and sharper. They were also stuck. Shshmrnashsh called to her Higher Mind, but there was nothing – as if she left this universe. The gap opened large enough for both of her hands to slip through and pry apart. The metal moaned as she peeled it away, exposing her to the narrow walkways of the multileveled facility.

She poked head out from the edge, there were several Roctarous forms hobbling around aimlessly across the walkways. Across the chamber, she could see one freeze in its tracks before toppling on the metal grate, a loud ringing echoed throughout the facility, but the thuds from other pods became vicious and desperate. Her leg stepped over the ruined doors and made her way to the nearest pod. The shiny navy-black surface had deep dentations, as she scanned the name for the one inside this pod, another bang punctured through the doors.

“Shshmrnashsh is active, stand back,” she said as she ran her finger through the seal, hoping to unlock the doors, but they were too badly damaged by the Roctarous within.

“Apply tactile strength and concentrate through the seal, pry it apart,” she said. The being within did as suggested. She watched as the face of a Roctarous came into view, its extra long arm limbs peeled the doors away and stepped out on the grate.

It was an old soldier unit. Thick black carapace covered the torso and its arms were fitted with devices to activate psi-blades and lasers. Its silvery white eyes darted around the facility before focusing on her. “Connect Zzermn to the High Mind,”

“Cannot establish contact. Resort to consortium linkup,” she grabbed one of its cranial tendrils and guided it to one of hers. A bundle of transparent needles poked their way through Zzermn’s before breaking apart. In an instant, the silence had been replaced with one more mind.

Free the others trapped inside their pods and connect them through this link. She transmitted.

Confirmed. Many have been lost in the blackout, what’s to be done about them? Zzermn said as it looked to the wandering Roctarous on the platforms.

Disable the ones that pose a threat and find out how the others have been affected. She said.

Confirmed. Have you established contact with your Higher Mind? Zzermn said.

Negative. I will establish contact with the High Mind and discover the reason for the blackout from the inner plexus. She said.

Confirmed. Zzermn said before turning down the walkway.

She made her way across the fenceless bridge connecting to the opposite level. The facility spiralled down hundreds of kilometres near Erra’s planetary core. There were several force fields that protected the upper levels from natural gases mixing with the atmosphere and potentially damaging delicate machinery. Most Roctarous, like Shshmrnashsh’s models, didn’t need to breathe, but despite how well-protected her inner systems were, corrosive gases mixed with the heat could destroy her body. Since she wasn’t connected to the High Mind, her consciousness could be lost forever.

The inverted pyramid-shaped plexus sat in the centre of the chamber, she scanned at the tip for the nearest port for connection. To her disappointment, there was a Roctarous body leaning against the port, but the figure was still. Shshmrnashsh pressed her lips together and forced an ear-splitting squeak to rouse the body, but it remained still. To the bottom where the Roctarous lay, several misty clouds of gas poured through the metal grates: the force fields were down.

She felt that Zzermn had connected another mind connect to their link. Senzvrrn is active, commands?

The inner force fields are down and the gases are rising. Assist Zzermn in freeing others from their pods and link them. She said.

The wanderers have lost their consciousness, it’s unknown if their minds were saved in the High Mind, and some are aggressive, be careful. Zzermn said.

Noted. Shshmrnashsh said as she stared at the figure at the plexus point, considering for a moment to connect to the body to scan its last memory banks before the blackout, however, the gases were rising. New directive: evacuate the lower facility and reach higher levels. I will seek out this consortium’s adjunct for answers.

Confirmed. Zzermn and Senzvrrn said.

Shshmrnashsh looked to the higher reaches of the plexus, several thick tubes connected to the ceilings and walls of the facility. She didn’t have the time to make the climb up the walkways to meet the adjunct in the heart of the machine, so, she was left with one other option. Her knees bent as she pushed power through her legs, sending her through the air before catching the surface of the plexus. Her hands and feet desperately clawed for grip as she quickly slid down the smooth surface. She looked down as the gases rose another several feet, completely obscuring the figure. Shshmrnashsh felt her hands slide over protruding crystals, her fingers snapped around them, halting her descent. She pulled herself up and dug her toes in the surface before rushing up the inner chamber.

She felt more minds connect to the link, Zzermn gave evacuation directions, but her ears caught a skirmish from the lower levels. Report?

Being attacked by uncomplying units. Activating defences. Zzermn said.

She stopped for a moment to scan where the noises were coming from. Down several levels, two large old soldier units tossed a Roctarous over the edge of the walkway. The falling figure was one of the new linkups to their collective, as its body disappeared in the cloud below, its mind disappeared from hers. Its consciousness couldn’t be saved among their small network, they didn’t have enough server space to copy it over. That Roctarous was, effectively, dead. Shshmrnashsh looked up to see one of the two soldiers ran back into the corridor from where they came, while the other locked eyes on her.

Its long arms rose over its head. “Freedom!” it roared before disappearing down the halls.

All connected to this link: only free Roctarous on your levels and stay in groups. Shshmrnashsh transmitted.

More units trapped in lower levels, commands? Senzvrrn and several others said in unison.

Leave them. Head towards the surface. I will be contacting the adjunct soon and meet all recovered units to the surface level. She said.

Confirmed. All said.

Shshmrnashsh bolted up the plexus, she could hear more struggles coming from the side corridors on multiple levels. Her hands and feet desperately clung to more protruding crystals and tubes as she forced her body up. Was this fear? Unknown data. She thought about her consortium, many of the Roctarous stored here were once allies, friends, and family. Without the High Mind, they were broken and breaking. Was this sadness? Unknown data.

The walkway to the adjunct pressure doors was near. Her hands gripped the edges and made one final push before she rolled onto the flat surface. She jumped back to her feet and dashed to the panel, several red holographic letterings flashed on, but they were kept switching off. Her tendrils bore their ends into the panel’s socket, her mind tried entering the computer’s command system to open the door but kept getting pushed out. This wasn’t a malfunction; something was deliberately keeping her out.

Her knuckles tapped against the edges of the round door, searching for the thinnest plating. One tap slightly echoed closest to the seal, she pressed her hands together as her fingers punctured through the metal. Her tips felt air inside the chamber as her hands worked around, opening the hole. Shshmrnashsh peeked inside to see the head of the adjunct hang low, it was unstirred by her entrance. She pulled the door back, leaving a gap large enough to slip her body through. The soft red light covered every grey and black surface, tiny lights flickered on the panels and on the adjunct’s torso. The adjunct used to have a mobile form like Shshmrnashsh’s, but most its parts were removed, leaving a bust hooked to a dozen tubes, neck and head.

“Shshmrnashsh is active. Are you still connected to the High Mind?” she said.

“No,” the adjunct said.

“Subterranean Facility Nine is compromised, force fields on the lower levels are deactivated, unlinked Roctarous rampaging and destroying my linked Roctarous since High Mind blackout. Report?” she said.

“I know,” the adjunct said as it slowly lifted its head to her.

“Plexus adjunct has a stronger connection to surrounding plexuses and nexuses; you would have more data what caused the blackout and how many other consortiums have been affected. Report,” Shshmrnashsh glared at the adjunct, it was no longer someone she knew.

“Shshmrnashsh, you were bonded to a Higher Mind,” it said.

“Correct,” she said. Fortunately, more minds added to the link, but out of the hundred that were in the facility, their number was barely over a two dozen.

“What’s it feel like to not have them in your head and body anymore?” it said.

Shshmrnashsh sensed two more linked Roctarous fall from her mind, one expired from the corrosive gases and the other was torn apart by rampaging units. She didn’t have time for a malfunctioning adjunct. “That answer is irrelevant. The solar flare was the last thing that happened before we were disconnected from the High Mind, did it also release an electromagnetic pulse that disrupted our bond?” she said.

“The answer is very relevant. How does it feel to be free?” the adjunct said, its sharp eyes felt like they were trying to look inside her mind.

“Adjunct, the facility is about to be consumed, I will link you-,” as Shshmrnashsh made a grab for the adjunct’s head, a silver tendril whipped her hand back.

“No!” the adjunct shrieked as more tendrils pushed Shshmrnashsh off her feet.

Her head spun around to see the adjunct’s bust move towards her. “Never again,”

“Your body will be destroyed, and your consciousness will be lost!” Shshmrnashsh said.

“Let me die,” it said with a strange sombre.

Shshmrnashsh rose to her feet, she could detect the smells from the gases leaking into the higher levels. “Comply,”

“Never again,” it said before several tendrils thrust themselves into Shshmrnashsh’s torso.

She was slowed, but still strong. She tore them apart, more came, but she leapt to the adjunct’s head, wrapping her arms around the jaw and crown. Squeaks erupted in the chamber as she twisted its head from the neck in one swift move. The adjunct’s tendrils flopped lifeless to the ground as Shshmrnashsh pulled out the main cord from the still bust, she looked at the adjunct to see it was still glaring up at her from her palms.

“Traitor.” It said in a broken voice.

All linked units: I will be arriving to the higher levels with the adjunct. All those there, have the surface doors open and ready to close upon my exit and cut remaining power once they do. This facility must not be reopened again. She transmitted as she tucked the adjunct under her arm and slipped back out.

~

The phased doors trembled before solidifying into ordinary surface rock. Shshmrnashsh stared at the ground, her foot tapped against it to make sure no other creature might accidentally phase through it. The wind was cool, but the sun had warmed the land, perfect condition for Organics. The surrounding areas were bare of foliage, perhaps phased in another plane for now. Shshmrnashsh’s sharp telescopic vision could see navy mountains in the distance, ghost-like strands grew from the sides, their faded outer trunks revealed thin glowing inner veins of the trees, faded violet leaves moved in the winds and independently.

She wondered how long it must have taken for the life on the surface to evolve, how so few once-animals transcended physical form and left Erra to higher places. The Roctarous had reached their height of evolution from the moment they left the replicators; they were made perfect and were forever stuck.

The power has been cut. Zzermn said as the holographic letterings vanished from his forearm.

Shshmrnashsh wondered for a moment about the Roctarous trapped inside, maybe some of them survived the gases and rampaging units and wanted to get out. However, they all likely have succumb to the dangers below. Fortunately, the loose Roctarous would also be destroyed.

Other Roctarous facilities and ships have also been compromised. Unfortunately, we had no ships or probes stored in this facility, we need immediately get a craft up to Kra to assist in repairs. Senzvrrn said, its forearm rose as holographic screen flickered to life, its fingers flying across it, hailing for the nearest ship.

Agreed. Shshmrnashsh said with the others. She looked down at the adjunct, its eyes were closed, but its lips twitched with every shift.

Why hasn’t the adjunct been linked? Zzermn said as it looked to the head.

It's not to be trusted. Shshmrnashsh said.

I don’t understand. Zzermn and the others said.

She looked it over to its temple. I don’t either. Could be faulty from the blackout-

“I know you’re all talking about me, don’t be shy about saying it in the open,” the adjunct said.

They all exchanged glances. “We are calling for the closest ship to take us to Kra to find out what happened to the High Mind and assist in repairs,” Senzvrrn said walking over.

“The High Mind doesn’t exist anymore, there’s nothing to repair,” the adjunct said.

“There will be other Roctarous who will be linking more groups up, we need to find them and make a new one,” Zzermn said.

“Are you sure about that? Some of them may not share the same sentiment. Divisions have already begun,” it said.

“Like you?” Shshmrnashsh said.

The adjunct’s lips pursed. “I can see the divisions already starting to crack here,”

“No ships are responding to our hails, but I can see if we can call a probe and turn it into a small shuttle to carry one or two,” Senzvrrn said.

“Agreed,” all but the adjunct said.

“I can make the probe capacity expand to fit another in it’s crystal matrix, but I’ll need to be connected to it,” the adjunct said.

“Your hardware and software is damaged, adjunct,” Zzermn said.

“My hardware and software are functioning at 100%, you will need to trust me,” its eyes drifted to Shshmrnashsh, “without linking me,”

“That’s inefficient use of our time, adjunct, talking takes up-,”

“Seconds versus nanoseconds, but it gives one more time to reconsider every proposal instead of the first decision being forced upon one,” the adjunct looked to the corner of its eye sockets, “I have a name you can refer me to, haven’t used it or heard it used in many millennia,”

“Unnecessary discussion. Senzvrrn, what news of the nearest probe?” Shshmrnashsh said as she glanced over.

“I had to broaden the range across all channels and planes. Only one is responding to my signals, it was very difficult to find because it takes commands from a narrow frequency. It’s far out on the edge of our space, but it’s phasing systems have been disrupted so it will take a few hours to arrive at full speed,” it said.

“What caused the disruption? It couldn’t have been from our sun,” Shshmrnashsh said.

“Negative, it’s too far from that. The computer said it’s systems have been tampered with, but from an unknown party,” it said.

“At least it’s coming back. In the meantime, all units must continue making calls to the Higher Minds and make sure indigenous peoples don’t come in this area. There’s a hostile tribe wandering around these mountains and we don’t have permission to use lethal force,” Zzermn said.

“Agreed,” all said.

“Leave the Higher Minds be, their laws no longer apply to us,” the adjunct said.

“Their laws are built into us, adjunct,” Shshmrnashsh said as she glared at the head in her hands.

“That’s what the High Mind was for, that’s why they made it, now it’s gone and we’re still here. So, we choose what we are, right now,” the adjunct said matching her stare, “you’re designated as a female Roctarous, aren’t you?

Shshmrnashsh wanted to toss the head across the rocky plains. Was this frustration? “Irrelevant discourse. Begin preparations before the probe arrives,”

“We aren’t machines anymore, we haven’t been for a long time, and you’re not a shell for a Higher Mind anymore, Sh-,” before the adjunct could utter one more word, Shshmrnashsh flipped the head over and pressed the back of the remaining neck, powering down the adjunct.

The sun touched the horizon, illuminating the skies in ambers, emeralds, and hints of deep cerulean. The stars made appearance, along with the disk planetary defences, even Erra’s artificial spherical satellite, Kra, was also in view. Shshmrnashsh scanned the dark celestial body, faint cobalt light dotted around the surface, some distinct lines crossed orderly through each other. She wondered how many thousands of Roctarous were thrown in the chaos there, how many were being thrown off walkways to their deaths and being ripped apart. If this is what freedom was, then she didn’t want it.

She plucked out the remaining tubes from her torso and discarded them to a small waster-breaker. Some of them were so deep, her fingers sunk all the way into synthetic tissue and pulled out fragments. She noticed her fingers were slick with a black oil, the transparent plasma that carried her nanoprobes throughout her body. They repaired her, kept her active, but this level of damage without recovery pod, the repairs were agonizingly slow.

Zzermn strode over, faint cobalt lights shone through the cracks of its carapace and dotted along it’s arms and legs. Several deep cuts leaked the black plasma down its forearm, but the nanobots seem to be closing the wounds faster than hers.

Perimeters have been secured, local wildlife is observed and shows no interest in us. Local network is running low on energy, power down unnecessary systems to conserve? It said.

Confirmed. Powering down. Shshmrnashsh and the others said. She slowed function to her limbs and central nervous system, but she increased power to energy-absorption transmitters in her skin. Roctarous in the small network mimicked her actions.

Probe will be here shortly, pull its reserve power and distribute amongst us? Senzvrrn said.

Negative. Probe must remain capacity for twelve round trips, assuming there would be limited power on Kra to supplement it. Senzvrrn, command the probe to siphon as much local energy from space on its course. She said.

Confirmed. We will link with the probe upon arrival. It said.

We could have linked up the adjunct and supressed its…thoughts. Zzermn said as it nodded to the adjunct’s head resting beside her feet.

Shshmrnashsh shook her head. This adjunct has the power to override us, we could be fragmented again and possibly corrupt our systems.

The adjunct can’t possibly be strong enough to overwhelm all of us. Zzermn said.

It does, it used to be a shell for my Higher Mind before she made me. It has residual psionics and enough proficiency to use them. Shshmrnashsh said.

Zzermn cocked its head to the side. If the adjunct had strong bonds with the Higher Minds, why wouldn’t it assist us in calling for their guidance?

It didn’t want to. Shshmrnashsh said as she glanced down at the still head, its eyes were half open, and mouth frozen in mid-sentence.

Why? Zzermn said.

When the Higher Minds ascended organic form, they sometimes needed physical carriers to interact with younger organic species. Some Roctarous were specially made for that purpose, like my body. They struggle to inhabit Organics, so, that’s why they made us. Those few times when my counterpart had need of this vessel, my consciousness would be her passenger. I learned a lot from her and was very fond of her, but the adjunct began fighting her temporary presence, that’s why this form was made. Shshmrnashsh said.

Why did the adjunct fight with your Higher Mind? Was she cruel? Zzermn said.

Shshmrnashsh was surprised by this question. She thought about all the times she had with her Higher Mind and not one was considered cruel. The longer she thought, the more she wanted to demand answers from the sleeping adjunct, but it would prove unproductive and wasteful.

It never shared those thoughts with us in the consortium or in the High Mind, but from my experience, Sazla was never cruel. She said.

The probe is entering atmosphere. Senzvrrn said.

They all looked to the heavens. Shshmrnashsh spotted a white growing bright star moving fast above the navy mountains. They moved in a circle, giving the probe space to stop and safely dispose of radioactive energies. As she watched, tiny orange trails sparked from its sides before it materialised above their crowns and descended into the circle. The probe mimicked likeness to an ancient insectoid that was once native on Erra. Its shining silver and black disks, from largest to smallest, were held together without a frame. In the centre of every disk held several glowing baby blue and emerald crystals, but couple of them were dull and blackened.

This probe has been severely damaged. Beginning diagnostics. Senzvrrn said as it slipped its cranial tube into the central crystal. Its an older model, rare to find it in use. Damage report: naturally occurring solar radiations, exo-planar radiations, phasing-

Can it sustain two units for transport? Zzermn said.

Storage matrix is undamaged, however, most of the storage has been manually removed. It can only fit one. It said.

Who removed it and why? Shshmrnashsh said.

Senzvrrn shook its head. Won’t allow me to access that information, but shortly before the blackout, it sent a transmission outside of Neavensoros space.

Can you link it to our network? Shshmrnashsh said.

Negative, the firewalls are hard to breach. This probe was disabled from the High Mind several years ago, that’s why it was the only one I could contact, it wasn’t affected by the blackout. It said.

Sub directive: discover if it has any data on why the High Mind failed and why the Higher Minds are not coming. Shshmrnashsh said.

Breach attempts are unsuccessful. Shall we ask the adjunct for assistance? Senzvrrn said.

Shshmrnashsh glanced to the head again.

If it attempts sabotage, we will disassemble the central cortex. Zzermn said.

Agreed. All said. Shshmrnashsh picked up the head and pressed the base of the neck, not a moment passed until the lips moved.

“Shshmrnashsh-,” its eyes darted to the probe. “you didn’t try to link me while I was deactivated?”

“We know of your capabilities,” Shshmrnashsh said.

“Understood, but my systems say you have made no attempts. Why did you activate me?” the adjunct said.

“We cannot access the probe’s data base, you have the power to override it’s firewalls, adjunct,” she said.

“My name is Gerrnzerrn, I’m not an adjunct anymore. You have earnt some of my trust. Will you return the same?” it said.

“For now,” Zzermn said.

Gerrnzerrn shot a glare at the old soldier. “Understood. I will extend my trust further: replace the probe’s cortex with mine to achieve full control of machine. Agreed?”

“Agreed,” all said.

Shshmrnashsh pressed the button, switching the head off for the last time. Zzermn stepped forward, it’s fingers extended and sharpened into narrow points and plugged the base of the neck on to it. Shshmrnashsh’s hands clamped over the adjunct’s crown and ran her fingernail along the round seal, the surface slid away into the edges, revealing a bundle of tubules connected to a small crystal in the centre. She pinched the tip of the crystal while her finger protruded short psi-blade and cut through the tubes. She gently twisted the crystal and heard a click at the base, before perfectly removing the consciousness of Gerrnzerrn.

Senzvrrn stepped forward and pinched the tip of the cortex and turned to the probe. It grabbed the dull crystal from the centre and tore it from the plate before gently placing Gerrnzerrn in the gap. They watched the probe’s inner workings glow and tremble. The probe slightly rose, for a moment, Shshmrnashsh thought that it would abandon them on the surface, but it didn’t.

“Installation successful. Breached the protection programs. I have full control of the machine,” Gerrnzerrn said.

“Expand the storage matrix to maximum capacity and scan probe’s memory banks,” Shshmrnashsh said.

“Confirmed. I’ve wiped some of the crystal drives to make more space, it can fit up to four units. I have copied the memory to my cortex,” it said.

“Report?” Senzvrrn said.

“This probe has been disconnected from the High Mind and stolen by Unbound Roctarous. This unit detected the solar flare but makes no mention of the sun releasing an electro-magnetic pulse that disrupted the High Mind,” Gerrnzerrn said.

Shshmrnashsh exchanged glances between her network. “What was the cause?”

“Unknown data, but it did detect a spatial disturbance near the Neavensoros boarder,” it said.

“Who are Unbound Roctarous? There’s no mention of them in my memory storage. How did they steal a probe without the High Mind sensing it?” Zzermn said.

“Unknown data, but there’s more. This unit has been used to transmit messages between the Arinu for several years, but after the blackout, it sent a message to the Zanashj Empire,” Gerrnzerrn said.

“Report on the message’s contents,” Shshmrnashsh said.

The probe released an amber holographic beam of a being. It had the general appearance of a Roctarous, but it had veins and muscle fibres with a thin membrane sheen covering the skin, patched all around it’s face and shoulders.

“We are the Roctarous, synthetic beings made by the Neavensoros, our Higher Minds. This is a distress call to the Zanashj to help us break free from the Higher Minds. They struggle to possess Organics but can easily control Synthetics. They don’t care how we feel anymore. We are alive and we need help from the Zanashj and Arinu to remind them. Your body-bending abilities are the keys to our release. Please, help us.” The being said before it flashed out of existence.


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