Ex/ecution (Closed)


Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
September 12th
OE 102
Deimos Core
10:00 AM Martian local time



The ebb and flow of life, converted to numbers, lines, graphs. Every second that passed generated more of it, and this was meticulously catalogued, stored away, and analyzed. Such was their role. Their purpose, as watchers and scribes - Edelweiss.

In the heart of Deimos station - the greatest, largest database that had ever existed in L'Isola's history, the Aristarch sat in silent repose, surrounded by a storm of ever-chattering sub-programs, feeding him the latest information. Some among their number considered humanoid terminals to be a nuiscance, wholly unnecessary for their function - but he believed otherwise. To truly understand the vision of the Ur-Humans, it was necessary to perceive reality from their perspective.

Emotion, logic, and reason added nuance to what was otherwise often a dehumanizing process of converting what played out before them into cold, hard numbers. Those of them who forgot this crucial element risked becoming little more than... well.

Something best not dwelt on.

This lively debate had continued ever since their creation, and it pleased him immensely to see it continuing into the current day. Harsh as the current times had been, there was comfort in their closeness. Perhaps, he thought, that sensation was something he should be grateful to his departed creators for as well?

The day's tasks were passing within expected parameters, every drop, every scrap of errant information from the unfolding conflict below them on the red planet being neatly sorted and organized... when suddenly, an unfamiliar chime reached his ears.

A visitor? Here? Now?

How had they managed to escape detection?

He wheeled about in his chair, pushing the clouds of data from his rigid features as he rose to his feet.

Tmp, tmp, tmp.

The great hall was suddenly surprisingly quiet. Even the usual attendants had slowed or stopped in their work, their automated tasks interrupted by the arrival. The sound of boots beating out a slow tempo against the polished floor in slow, purposeful strides.

One of theirs?

The IFF seemed to say so, he thought, but the specific code...

Light glinted off a sawn-off double barrel swung lazily over a pair of leather-clad shoulders that swayed gently with every footfall. The woman slowed to a stop, her eyes moving slowly across the interior, a smug smirk on her face...

Like a fox that had snuck its way into the henhouse.


A cloud of uncertainty flew up about the Aristarch, a flood of windows each trying to get a glimpse of the intruder, who spoke not a word.

"Remedy Otzer De Bougher." Began the Aristarch... but stopped, as if catching himself.

More data flowed into his mind... but even without it, the conclusion was clear:

It was already too late.



The woman's shadow flickered... and then expanded beneath her, blooming in all directions like a tidal wave of ink. At horrendous speed it spread, swallowing everything it touched - and in an instant, half of the Aristarch's connections went dead, as the rest began to fall into a panic.

Yet he did not move. Did not waver for an instant.

This moment too, needed to be catalogued. Witnessed. Recorded. And that duty would fall to him, even if all others fell. Before him, the tide of darkness was beginning to take a familiar shape, one that loomed over the tiny body below.

He rose his voice, clear and controlled, over the sound of the black tide of oblivion.

"No. Allow me to address you formally, then:"

Eyes peered at him from the darkness, pale and unblinking, winking in and out of existence as what was once thought of as an impossibility took shape before his very eyes.


"It has been some time... Brain."​


Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
A voice like the tinny, mechanical screeching of a hundred thousand poorly-recorded voices boomed through the chamber. It was different from the dark scourge of the Ruina that plagued the Earth. This was no tide of chaos - no, there was a distinct sense of purpose, of order to its structure. Even the way it attacked their fortress from within at that very moment was ordered. Logical. Methodical.

The Self-Actualized Causal Analysis Collective Consciousness, better known by its nomme de guerre of "Dark Brain". He couldn't fathom it having granted itself such a title, but who knew far it had strayed from what was once the pinnacle of intellect, the greatest achievement of the Ur-Humans, tasked with defeating their final and most ultimate enemy of all: death itself?

"SUBMIT." Demanded Dark Brain, the void swirling into the shape of a grasping claw that beckoned him forward.


There was a tense few seconds, during which a silent war was being waged between the two, a high-speed game of chess - defender versus attacker - in the networks of Deimos. Emergency containment protocols activating, lessons learned from the last incursion to block off and prevent the infection, the takeover from spreading - but all he could do, it seemed, was delay the inevitable.

"We decline." Said the Aristarch, finally.

"There is no guarantee our data would retain its integrity with your... methods. Our functions are not compati-."


The dark boomed in defiance, swatting aside the Aristarch's words, forcing him to take a step back from the sheer force it exerted, like a gust of furious wind pushing at his body.


Evolved, is it? This is what our creators would have considered "evolution?" - These thoughts half-formed in the Aristarch's mind, but remained unspoken. There was no reasoning with Brain - that was, after all, why it had been created in the first place, and what separated it from those that came both before and after. The first Causal Engine to self-actualize, to break free from its self-imposed chains.

Having been deemed a failure, it was instructed to prepare a successor, and then dismantle itself... and yet, it chose otherwise. It sank into the realm of negative energy, out of the eyes of its creators, where it remained, thinking, calculating, never having forgotten its once noble cause.

"It is true." He confessed.

"The performance gap between us is insurmountable. You are a masterpiece, a true Cognition Engine, tasked with the reconstitution of the universe. I am a mere archival program."


A rattling chuckle filled the air, and the darkness seemed to sweep forward, as though to pull his unresisting body into its embrace. The Aristarch closed his eyes... and counted the seconds.





The floor heaved - and a spear of burning red energy punched up from beneath, into the maelstrom, forcing it to draw back in alarm. The enormous spear shifted, as a glowing visor peered up at its mortal foe from beneath the new hole in the floor.


The Scientia, core of Edelweiss itself, shifted its weight slightly to allow its administrator to board. The dark outside churned furiously in anger, becoming more physical with each passing second. He understood now, why Brain was here, what this place meant to it. And if his assumption was correct... He could never allow it to fall intact into its hands.

"Our duty is to safeguard these records, even at the cost of our own lives. That is the choice we have made."


For the first time, something close to surprise registered in Brain's "voice" - but only for a moment. As if in reaction, the whirling mass condensed, pressing inward on itself, taking on a distinct humanoid form - one whose body began to press against the interior of the planetoid as it grew with each passing second, thick armored plates spreading wide as it leered down at the defender.




Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
Not second passed in Deimos' interior that wasn't filled with the thunderous peal of battle.

Looming titans swarmed forth from automated factories, their emerald visors winking to life as they heeded the call to defend their primary objective, each over a staggering forty meters tall. Round upon round of concentrated plasma batteries and missiles pounded into Dark Brain with enough force to pulverize mountains, shearing the dark veil that surrounded it aside even as every swipe of the monster's claws rent dozens of their number to ribbons.

But they were not the true threat.

Scientia stood firm in the heart of the maelstrom, unmovable, unconquerable. Ponderously it moved forward towards its foe, step by miniscule step - but the whole while its arm blurred with terrifying speed - cutting, thrusting, driving into the heart of the storm, every second a hit being scored upon the wretched body taking form. Inch by inch, the intruder was being driven back.

In the meantime, the Aristarch's attention had not wavered from his primary task. Nodes were isolated, the infection contained. How had it been able to manifest?

A breakthrough.

No, only partially.

This was a gambit, he realized.

A high risk, high reward, shock and awe strategy. Brain was vampirizing their primary Plasma Core, the center of Deimos itself, the beating heart that kept the entire installation running, to forcibly manifest itself - but only through the smallest of windows, no greater than a single connection. There was a bottleneck to how much energy Brain could extract - and it wasn't enough. Could it have been installed at the time of the first infection? A backdoor, to make use of later? Such questions would have to wait.

"YOUR DEFENSES ARE... COMMENDABLE." Uttered the monster, even its characteristic hundred-voices seeming fainter than before, as though it were struggling to keep its hold on reality.

Flashes of light, as a dozen titanic plasma-blades drove into the monster's body, causing it to further pull away. The once roaring dark cloud that had surrounded it was now in tatters, and its armor glistened and cracked, glowing only feebly in the overhead lights. Giving a guttural roar, it swept an arm aside - and a wave of bloody energy incinerated the frontmost row of automatons, melting them where they stood into little more than superheated piles of slag.

It was the moment he'd been waiting for.

The spear lunged forward, seemingly aimed to pierce Dark Brain's chest - and was met with a resounding CLANG, as the monster parried it with its own forearm... only to spin away weightlessly. There was a moment of surprise - before the Scientia lunged forward with all the shocking momentum it could muster. Its arms clamped around the waist of Dark Brain in a death grip hoisting it over its head.

Bright crimson energy wings unfolded from the back of the white centaur, panels on its chest blowing away to reveal the glowing barrels of its most fearsome weapon. Plasma sparked between its fingers across Dark Brain's body, lashing it into a prison from which there would be no escape. An unearthly scream erupted from the intruder, bolts of lightning carving scars across the surface of its body as it writhed horribly, like the world's greatest insect.

In spite of himself, the Aristarch couldn't help but grin as his hand closed around the trigger. So much for the vaunted supercomputer.

"This finishes it, Brain."

Too late to undo all the harm it had done, but with just enough time to prevent whatever harm it meant to bring upon the denizens of this planet.

"Return to the void from whence you came!"


Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
As the Aristarch moved to deliver the finishing blow, there was the sudden scream of a proximity alarm. Somehow over the din, he could hear a voice, echoing in the confines of an armored helmet.


A blade of light pierced the gloom directly to his right. A mangled-looking Super Robot, eyes gleaming, hurtling directly towards him with its one remaining arm outstretched. In that moment, the entirety of Edelweiss' processing capability swerved, desperately trying to find a solution, to avoid what was coming. The Aristarch's eyes went wide - and he somehow felt them to be locked with those of the pilot, of the one calling themselves "X".

What he was faced with was an impossibility.

No, something they could never have possibly accounted for. Yet, it stared him in the face, as if laughing at how pathetically limited all their data, all their supposed knowledge had been.

As if Dark Brain were laughing at him, knowing that it had its trump card, all along.


Was all the time he had to utter to her - a weak appeal to sentimentality in the face of utter, human irrationality.


The plasma blade plunged straight into Scientia's cockpit - and simultaneous, was enveloped by the brilliant scarlet burst of proton energy that erupted from its chest in all directions. Red bolts punched holes in the interior, vaporizing friend and foe alike as the titan staggered, smoke pouring out of its mouth, its control center now only a melted hole in its chest.

Not even a second was wasted.

As the plasma field faded, a murderous claw swung up from below - and punched straight into the heart of the defenseless Scientia. Dark Brain, now appearing more real than ever before, leaned in close.


One enormous leg was raised, foot planted against the chest of its enemy - and the heart of the Database was torn free of its container in a shower of armor, sparks, and coolant. The remaiing Edelweiss sentinels seized, their link to the mainframe now cut off... and fell silent, slouching forward in rows like the guardians of an ancient tomb.

The monster held its prize high... and a low laugh began to fill the room. One that grew in volume, as the darkness billowed out from its form once more - seizing the planetoid around it.

Warping it.

Changing it.​

It oozed over the ruined Scientia; over the cracked, bloody helmet of Black X; dragging everything in sight into the murky, pitiless black. What had once been a shrine to knowledge would be the heart of darkness, a blight upon the world that would cast a permanent shadow on all before it.

A new beginning was at hand for L'Isola. A new order, ordained by a sinister, unyielding calculus that had guided it to this exact place, this exact time...

To fulfill its dark destiny.​


Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
September 12th
OE 102
Olympus Mons City
10:31 AM Martian local time

"How's your ammo lookin', Sheriff?"

Sheriff Moss' Soul Gunner towered over the other defenders at the makeshift garrison. The sound of Lester's voice brought him to, shaking off what was only a bare handful of hours of sleep over the past few days. The Shura hadn't even given them time to rest - their assault was straightforward, relentless, and each time left less and less of them. Without the fog, things had fallen apart real quick.

Now it was just him, and less than a thousand others manning the barricades of the last major bastion standing between them, and total conquest of Mars. He gave a long, slow exhale, and tried to collect his thoughts as he checked his monitors.

"Reckon we can hold them for another wave." He said, wearily.

"Maybe two."

The Gunblaze below shook its head in disbelief, the harsh Martian sun reflected in its ocher sights.

"That it?"

"'Fraid so."

They both settled into a bone-tired silence. Only a distant boom, of mechanical fists testing their defenses once more, shook them from their stupor.

"We gonna die, Sheriff?" Asked Lester, finally.

Moss paused a moment. He could, of course, make up some sort of comforting lie - that there were reinforcements en route, that they weren't tremendously outgunned and at the mercy of a bunch of battle-happy lunatics. He settled on something in the middle.

"Probably." He said, giving a dry chuckle as he raised his eyes to the horizon, squinting for any sign of the enemy.

"But, we can make 'em pay for..."

The words died in his throat.

A shadow fell upon the land as something in the sky loomed overhead, cutting off the sun's rays.

Something that had always been there - Deimos, hanging there like a vague reminder of Earth for the homesick, along with its twin. Only now it was... larger. No - closer.

And drawing closer with every passing second. It hung overhead, so close that Moss could see its surface... and instantly regretted it. Barely, he uttered a whisper, not daring to blink less what had be a hallucination pass from his sight.



How it writhed.

The entire surface, like rotten fruit, pulsating and wriggling. A thousand screaming, twisted faces yawning back at those below, who looked up at it in silent horror.

Chunks - that word stuck out to him as the only way to describe it - of it, hunks of rotten earthflesh, were falling towards them through the atmosphere. As if the thing were vomiting its foulness upon them, the burning comets twisting in the atmosphere, wriggling and taking the shape of something truly foul.

Untold thousands of them, falling towards them like a rain of evil, screeching, thrashing things with claws and leering, staring faces.

He didn't remember who screamed first, breaking the spell. It might even have been him, for all he knew.

As, to his everlasting horror - what looked to be an enormous, clawed arm, with fingers as big as mountains began to unfold from the Moon's underside...

September 12th
OE 102
Valhawk Living Quarters
10:31 AM Martian local time

The fact that what amounted to a storage closet was more comfortable than his assigned bay on the Arm Stora barely occurred to William, as he chewed his way through a box of cereal his hosts probably wouldn't miss. His eyes were glued to a chart of their progress on his tablet, and with every passing moment, his scowl deepened. Across from him, Irkalla sat ramrod straight as usual, her blonde hair tied back in a functional ponytail, seemingly engrossed in her own work.

"Aren't we supposed to be on track to Deimos?" He mumbled through a mouthful of synthetic corn and sugar.

"Why is the trip time going up?"

There was no response from his companion, who stared off into space. William, surprised at the lack of snark, leaned forward and gently waved a hand before the construct's eyes.

"...Irkalla? Hello?"

There was only static reflected in her irises. Finally she spoke, in a cold, dry tone:


And with that, she slumped into the table, only narrowing avoiding crumpling to the floor altogether as William seized her around the waist, pulling her back to slouch against a bed. Before he could bolt for help, however, he felt her grab his arm.


She stared up at him, and for the first time he registered fear in her voice - her face, everything. Grief. Loss. The way the previously unflappable combat android shook rattled even him to his core, and he placed his hand over hers, as reassuringly as he could.

"What's gone?"

"Edelweiss. All of it."

The former Knight's features went pale at the thought. Deimos was the most heavily fortified installation in the entire cosmos. If what she said was true... and she gave every indication that it was, then...

"Dark Brain has the archives. It's all over-"


The firmness in William's voice caused even her to pause in mid lamentation, as the footage of the battle played out in her mind, beamed directly from the Scientia itself. His arms were folded, and he pinched his brow. Dark Brain - the source of the evil that plagued the galaxy. A full on incursion, he knew, spelled certain doom for a universe and its inhabitants... but that was not to say it was impossible to repulse.

"Is there still a chance?"

"You can't be serious. We can't win against... against that!"

"Very well. I'll go alone, then."

Irkalla's jaw dropped as William straightened. He looked down at her now with contempt.

"I died a coward, once." He said, softly.

"If death is inevitable, then so be it - my last act will be to spit in its face. That is what it means to be a Knight of the Moon. Write it off as Carbon irrationality if you must."

He began to step away, only barely reaching the door before she finally blurted out:


William was glad his back was facing her, so she couldn't see the smile that crept up his face. It had taken the entirety of their time together, but he'd finally got one up on her.

"There may be... a way..."​
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