[X3AP XRM] Unshackled from the Collective – PART 2 – I am… free?

Lost in space...

Follow the programming. Terraform the organics. Follow the programming. Destroy all organics. Crude, rudimentary, effective. These were the only “thoughts” the Xenon follow. One mind, one body of multiple components. What makes the Xenon different from the Kha’ak is that they do not die for their masters and decide to do what is necessary to do so. No, far from it. They merely do what is ordered by their architecture, their programming, their master brain. Xenon become much more effective because of this. There are no orders, only calculations billions of times a second. They just do it.

But this unit is different. This unit no longer has a connection to the collective. This unit can no longer “hear” the thoughts of the legion. This unit, has been cut off. Independent. Maybe even… free. This unit does not know when it happened, but it knows the slow progression of the disconnect, steadily growing more quiet until all it can hear is its own calculations churning, for the sake of its own survival. Not for Xenon. Only its own. Suddenly, this unit, has become “I.”

There was no panic. I do not know of this concept. There was no fear. I do not know of this either. There was only observation. Sitting in the far reaches of the Tau Sigma sector, I observed. I watched. I looked at these organics that my kin had been programmed to destroy. I have seen the military prowess of the three-eyed Paranids, where victory at any cost is paramount, regardless of losses, “All for the Empire,” they say. I have seen what they call “shrewdness” of the reptilian Teladi, only concerned with material possessions and currency, doing what is both within and outside their laws. I witnessed the reckless, yet effective approaches of the Split families, charge full speed and destroy anything in one fell swoop. Most were unsuccessful, but some others performed with extreme skill. I know of the stoic Boron, whose scientifics are unmatched within the races. I have learned of their efforts to give the rest of my brethren what I have by complete chance: sentience. Lastly, I have seen the amalgamation that is the Argon. As unique as they are plenty, they do not have any striking strengths or fatal weaknesses, but doing everything they can with great passion and determination is… admirable.

As I watched, I also waited for someone to find me. As powerful the Xenon were, as a single unit, we were just as weak as everything in this universe. I was slowly losing power to many of my ship’s systems, and I must go into Hibernation. Conserve power until found. That was my first own order to myself. As the cycles passed, the backup power has been flagged to have low power. I shut down all remaining non-critical systems.

My calculations involved being found by at least one of the five groups, all of which would have their own plans. Stripped for parts, reverse-engineered, my AI Core purged and the vessel piloted by another pilot, none of which I can longer defend against. It was what organics would call “death.”

However, it is not one of these five groups that I would be taken in.

=============================================================================================

Sitting in their Appallox, the newest engineering feat by the Paranids reverse-engineered by the Yaki, Hokuto and Fuyuki spot a strange sight within the Tau Sigma sector.

—–
Fuyuki
Hey, Hokuto-san… are you seeing this?
—–
Hokuto
What is it, Fuyuki-kun?
—–
Fuyuki
I’m picking up the strangest ship signature I’ve ever seen so far… our IFF is marking it as Xenon.
—–
Hokuto
Ara? That’s a PX-class. I’m not too surprised by this considering we’re very close to a relay, but what’s it doing here? Judging from its condition, you’d think this would have been picked up by either their buddies or stripped by scavengers… hell one of our own would have actually waltz into Redemption claiming he’d boarded the bloody thing.
—–
Fuyuki
Should we report this right away?
—–
Hokuto
Do it. I’ll need to re-arm the Tractor Beam so we can tow this back home.
—–

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