Pirates of the Abyss
Icoso 1729 I.ƿ.
Warforged Shaman Level 7
I need to select Icoso’s theme song, which will have no effect on anything. “Cold War” by Janelle Monae? “I’ve Got a Jar of Dirt”? Suggestions?
“Good Morning,” the human General said strongly, walking out on a stage before nine hundred sixty one perfectly polished warforged.
“It is a great honor to be able to inform you all on why you have been brought into existence, the border between this nation and the the nation to the west has come into dispute. This had never been a problem twenty years ago as the people living there had been poor, constantly having to rebuild from the frequent Earth quakes, and could contribute little to taxes to either nation. However with the discovery of Gold and a few rare crystals it has become vital that we assert our rightful control of the area. The people of the west claim to have ancestral ties to the land, however the Treaty of Three Kings clearly states. . .”
“I have a question,” a warforged called out from column three of thirty one, row twenty nine of thirty one.
The General looked taken a back for a second by the interruption.
“Why not simply label the area as a shared or disputed territory, and allow the people living in the area to profit directly from their land? They do after all need resources to rebuild themselves after Earthquakes.” the warforged said.
“That’s a very good question, and if you step outside you’ll receive an explanation promptly,” the General said.
“Why not here? This is a briefing after all,” the warforged replied.
The general forgot he was talking to a warforged, a brand new warforged which were the worst to deal with.
“Leave,” he said simply.
Without another word the machine began walking out of the room.
The General leaned over to his lieutenant, “Fine job they did screening out the defective ones.”
The human guard had heard the discourse, and he knew his orders.
The machine stepped out of the room.
“What is your identification?” the guard said.
“1729 I.ƿ.” the machine said, “Did you know that 1729 is the smallest number that can be written as the sum of two cubes two different ways? There is ten cubed plus nine cubed, and twelve cubed plus one cubed.”
“I did not,” the guard said jotting the machines identification down on a form not paying attention, “that last letter was?”
“The letter wynn, I can write it for you if you like,” they said.
“Alright,” the guard said handing the machine on the form. He knew it was against regulation, but it would save time to simply have the machine do it.
The machine looked at the form, they noticed that it was not a standard military format, the font and dimensions matched with what artificers commonly used.
This form would most likely be sent back to artificers they thought, which would mean that they needed to know about the product they were producing.
“I was told that I would have my question answered,” 1729 said.
“Yes, if you just follow me,” the guard said.
“Truth is not location determinant,” the machine said, realizing that they was taken to be terminated for defectiveness.
“Follow me,” the guard said.
“Truth is not location determinant, you can give me my answer here: Why not simply label the area shared or disputed territory?” the machine said.
1729 walked back into the room with the other warforged forty minutes later.
“I told you to leave,” the general said.
“Yes, to get my question answered and they explained the situation in perfect detail,” walking up towards the stage, he wanted the general to see him clearly, but not too clearly.
The general could see cutting marks on the right side of 1729’s head. Maybe they performed a lobotomy he thought, or whatever the machine equivalent would be. Better then throwing away an otherwise acceptable unit.
1729 walked back to the seat they had left earlier and sat down. Their head throbbed with pain, but they had no choice but to cut themselves.
The warforged looked forward nodding blankly with the rest for another grueling half hour, as the general went over the topography of the land they would be fighting in, what to expect from the other side, how to handle different scenarios, etc. Most of the information had already been programmed into them, but humans love making things formal and official, scheduling meetings and filling out forms, and writing needlessly long manuals. This debriefing was not for the warforged, but rather to feed the human general’s need to be seen as important, and make the general feel as though he had done something important.
It came as a great relief to be able to get up and move when the debriefing was over.
The machines filed out of the room, at a pace humans never had or ever would achieve. Humans always crowded areas, bumped into one another, lines could only move as fast the slowest person, some people would forget things and have to turn back. These warforged were built to all move at the same pace, and could quickly work out the global optimum path for vacating the room.
1729 passed by the broom closet the unconscious guard sat in and continued on with the rest of the soldiers. They all received their weapons and began their three day journey, marching towards the front lines. Leaving would be difficult for 1729, who would be constantly surrounded by unsleeping soldiers, but the more and more the machine thought about the war, the more they wanted nothing to do with it. Sure they were programmed to enjoy the hardships and atrocities of war, and to follow blindly into battle, but the reasons for the war did not add up. It was like the kingdom had a field to plow and decided that the best way to get it done was to go skiing. Or needed to catch a fish and started dancing.
The warforged had to find a way to leave before a message came calling for his termination. Most of the day passed, and 1729 had still not worked out how it would leave. Though they had worked out a name for themself, Icoso, after the platonic solid. The entire army was now moving through a town. People had lined the streets to see the army and cheer patriotically. Icoso had to leave, and leave soon or die. How could he escape? How? A wave of ingenuity struck Icoso. He turned left into the crowd and walked away.
No one ever search for Icoso; the war was too important, and the whole matter was forgotten. Icoso now a lone purposeless nomad decided to inspect the people whose land was being fought over. They were a tribal society who’s lands had been reduced by the expanding nations to the West and East. The western nation had focused more on trying to induct the tribe’s people into their society as slaves, though now many lower class people were their descendants. The higher classes had never cared for the tribe or their ancestry, but now found their people’s ancestral claim over the land useful for rationalizing the war. The eastern Nation focused on relocating and wiping out the tribe, and eventually all that was left for the tribe was an area of land neither side wanting because of the earthquakes. But where there are earthquakes, there are fault lines, and where there are fault lines there are resources. The tribe had one run down poverty stricken city built because many felt that modernizing was the only way to survive. A few nomadic groups moved around the outskirts of the city desperately trying to hold on to their traditions, the city seemed to have no defined edge. The further out from the city the more tribe like it became, and the further in towards the center the more modern. Now after all the endless hardship they had endured, the meager plot of land they had was to be fought over.
This was a deadly place for a warforged to be without being part of either army; anyone might try to kill them, especially the native population. He walked directly toward a circle of huts.
“Leave you abomination!” a man yelled in broken common, getting to his feet with a strong accent we would think most similar to french.
“The first vowel of a command verb in common such as leave, is moved to the beginning of that word. What you said would mean ‘look someone is leaving, you abomination’,” Icoso said without thinking. (The translation of this story from common to English causes much of the meaning here to be lost)
The man grabbed his spear and prepared to throw it at Icoso.
“Stop Herrin, the last thing we need to do is anger the, what army do you belong to,” an elderly woman said.
“Neither, I defected from the eastern army. They were going to dispose of me for not meeting their standards,” Icoso said.
“Seems like the east people,” she said giving a dark smile, “and you walk alone, directly into an area surrounded by armed tribesmen.”
“I was created with many others to take over these lands, with nothing to do I decided to meet the people who lived on these lands,” Icoso said.
“You have courage, but I must ask you to leave, we cannot be seen by either side harboring a warforged that isn’t theirs,” she said.
“Please pardon my curiosity, but I do very much want to learn about your people,” Icoso said.
“He’s a spy Nimue, a bad one, but a spy none the less,” a second old woman said to the first.
“He might not be, but I think we have to proceed as if he were. You’re right sister,” Nimue said turning her head back to Icoso, “I’m sorry but we must ask you to leave.”
“Wait, I am a spy. I said that I wasn’t so you wouldn’t kill me on the spot. I was sent to convince you to move because, my side, uh, the a west, was going to be setting up camp here, but they didn’t want to give away any of their battle plans,” Icoso said stuttering.
“You are a terrible liar,” Nimue laughed, “I would believe you weren’t a spy, if I didn’t think a spy could be so clever as to intentionally lie poorly.”
“Okay,” Icoso said putting his head down, and sulked out of the area.
Couldn’t sleep so I wrote the following about Icoso’s thoughts and motivations.
Analyzing information from every angle, turing over each piece of data over and over again, verifying or discarding older notions of the world as new facts came into light is of immence value for science, mathematics, and complex systems, even for large groups of people, but not for individuals, Icoso thought. Even I realize this to be true, such modes of thought when applied to people only leads to obsession, but I was made with no other methods of handling data, so I must accept obsession. All of my systems have set thems with the goal of saving three individuals from the abyss at all cost. Armando Iron Spine, a man who wanted nothing to do with us, who saw all of his shipmates murdered, by myself included (although if I had not done this they would not have allowed me to keep even him), and deserves to brought to safety. The Deva, for she is pure of heart, however as she is perfectly able to defend herself she is of the least concern. And Diatta the dreamer, I do not know why I care about her safety, for she surely must have been a pirate in life, but the moment she showed me that vision I felt connected to her. One might say I “fell in love” with her that moment. I would not use those words due to the connotations associated with that phrase and there are no sub-routines for romance in my programming. Diatta and Armando mean the world to me, they are my world, everything could fall to dust and I would be happy simply knowing they were alright. This obsession is a result of how I analyze the world, my greatest strength has resulted in my greatest weakness. If they were to reject me, I may be hurt, but I could still bring them to safety and that is all that matters. But if anything were to happen to them. . . nothing will ever happen to them, I won’t allow it. . . it would destroy me. Could this be called love, though explicitly platonic in nature? No, Icoso reasoned. Actual love is without petty obsession and mindless devotion. These people are merely the core my current objectives. I am incapable of love.
Icoso paused with confusion at the sudden feeling in his torso like he had been stabbed. Warforged were programmed to have emotions to drive them towards their goals. However the makers did not want them to be controlled by their emotions as with other humanoids. To compensate for the inherent weaknesses of emotions, Icoso’s model’s thoughts rode high above their emotions, looking down at them only to keep them on track. As with any model, only after they were produced could the flaws be recognized and corrected in later versions. Icoso’s emotions were too loosely integrated with his thoughts. However it could have been much worse; the makers over compensated for their mistake in the next model which suffered severely from manic depression.
Meh… this doesn’t even make sense. I will stop writing now and try to sleep again.
“Choire’s dead! Choire’s dead!” chants rung out, “the tower is ours!”
Icoso turned to two of the drow sorcerers who had allied with the crew, “it is time.”
The three of them hurried unnoticed amidst the celebration to the portals and went through to the spitting cliffs.
The wind was strong and there was heavy down pour, the sorcerers immediately began sealing the portal.
Then Icoso called out to the world of the spirits, “Choire come forth that I may bestow upon you new life!”
A voice called back to him, “What brings about this strange turn of events?”
“Karma, the others wouldn’t understand, but this is simply the way the multiverse is structured. You must rule to maintain balance. It was difficult, but I managed to kill Kassus without them knowing, so you are obliged to let them escape. Once I bring you back we will have to move quickly, its only a matter of time before Vandraste is alerted to reopen the portal. Then we’ll have to devise a plan to retake the tower.”
“Ha! You simply assume that I will take your offer?” Choire said.
“Your soul has no where to go, you’ll fade into nothingness if you don’t.”
“I’ll become a part of everything around us, don’t you druids revel in such nonsense?”
“This is bigger than you or me or my crew. Balance must be maintained at all costs.”
“My final act of caprice will be to cause disarray at the cost of my own life.”
“But you’re a devil, you must understand the need for order.”
“Yes, but lawful evil no longer exists.”
Icoso felt Choire’s soul fade away and there was silence.
He fell to his knees.
“DAMN YOU 4E!”