Eisen: Deft Engineer
When he married Akiko Tetsuo, executive and heiress of the Tetsuo Manufacturing Corporation, he adopted her prestigious surname. For years he piloted the starship that shuttled her between exoplanetary mining projects. But when the central AI controlling countless mining robots on Tau Ceti F became corrupted and homicidal, he arrived too late to rescue her. After working to evacuate the survivors, he swore to track down the source of the AI’s corruption: the same mining bot that killed Akiko. His hunt led him to a newly excavated cavern, where ornate stone carvings surrounded a swirling, squirming void of eldritch energy…
“Personal journal. Entry, uh, one, I guess. Akiko’s been on me for years to keep a diary like she does. It’s the one thing she’s ever asked that I brushed off. I didn’t mind taking her name back in the day, since it’s her family’s company. I agreed to captain the Toki Maru, even though I never wanted to be in charge of anything. But narrating a bunch of trivial stuff for posterity? Too much trouble. Figured I’d finally do it, surprise her when we got back, but we may have bigger surprises to worry about.”
“Wasn’t supposed to be any big deal. A few miners went missing on Tau Ceti F, and Corporate wanted an exec onsite for the investigation. I dropped her off and the Toki Maru proceeded on our resupply run. But then that message. She said something was off with the central operations AI, and then there was some really strange noise on the line. Then the transmission cut off. Not a distress call, but… we’re going back, just to make sure everything’s okay. Probably I’ll surprise her with my new journal and she’ll laugh about my overreaction.”
“Oh God. Berserk mining unit slammed me into a wall right as I entered the command center. No idea how long I was out; head’s still splitting. Firefight down the hall’s making it worse. Not sure whether this thing is picking up my voice through the noise. System defenses firing on everyone. Security team went ahead of me, trying to take out enough guns to access the AI nexus. They want to find out what it’s doing, why it’s gone berserk. I just need to know if she’s okay in there. I need her to be okay in there.”
“They should have left me. I should have died beside her. Most of the security team’s dead. The mining bots … drills, clamps, lasers. All reprogrammed to kill, all with “TETSUO CORP” labels on them. They’re playing with us. Unit F1-E blocks exits, herding survivors. Unit U21-A took the commander’s arm, then made him run before it finished the job. Whatever happened to the central AI, it’s made them sadistic somehow. Unit C17-U. That’s the one that cold-cocked me before killing Akiko. If it hadn’t, I might’ve… I need to find it. It needs to die.”
“Haven’t recorded in weeks. A lot’s happened. I found C17-U, and it nearly killed me. Funny, the Tetsuo MedTech logo was the first thing I saw when I came to. Some bad laser wounds, lost an eye. Finally out of the hospital, but I was useless during the start of this war. And it is a war now. They’re moving out, and spreading the AI’s madness as they go. We’ve nearly lost the colony already. We’ve isolated our networks, but all it takes is one signal and another machine’s talking about the “gateway” and the “source” while it murders us.”
“Corporate tried to call me back to Earth, to take Akiko’s place. Not going to happen. Too much to do out here. Feel bad for refusing them, but this has to be done. The ship’s mine now. Disabled all the safety features, disabled the networks, dropped off the few who didn’t want to go along with this. Rechristened her the Taka Maru, armed her with dozens of scavenged weapons and batteries. We’re part of the resistance fleet now. Military wants to “contain.” No. We’re not stopping until these psychotic machines are wiped out.”
“I keep thinking about the first time I lived aboard a ship. Papa told stories about growing up on Earth. It sounded awful when I was a kid. All that open space? A home you couldn’t just fly somewhere else when you wanted? That was no life! I learned better, obviously. Akiko and I spent so much time aboard the ship, but it was never home. We always meant to return to Earth, but there were always so many projects. Now home’s a ship again. Probably my last. Don’t know how to make a new one without her.”
“I have friends at Corporate who understand why I have to do this. They finally got into the sealed records, found out what the Board never told the public. The madness didn’t start with the AI, It was brought there, from a newly excavated cavern. Carried in the systems of C17, the same damn mining unit that almost killed me. The Resistance calls it a suicide run. Maybe they’re right. Tau Ceti F is the literal heart of machine territory. But I have to get there. If we see how it started, maybe we can stop it.”
“Ship went down under heavy fire. Rest of the crew killed along the way, and I’m not doing so great myself. Tired of seeing the Tetsuo name—our name—on all this death. Figured out how to salvage bots and equipment to make auto-turrets. At least they’ve kept me alive so far. I’ve found the cavern, or at least I assume that’s the green glow and gibberish further down the tunnel. I don’t know what’s in there, if that machine’s waiting for me, or something much worse. Now’s as good a time as any to find out. Love you, Aki.”
Voice Over Lines
- “Nichts zu sagen, aber dauernd am Labern.” You sure talk a lot for someone with nothin’ to say.
- “Sind wir startklar oder was?” We ready to head out yet or what?
“Gebt ihnen Saures!” Make ’em regret bein’ born!
- “Diese blechdosen sind gleich Sternenstaub.” I am going to blow those tin cans to space dust.
- “Shi nu no wa o ma e ra da!” My enemies fall before me! (Japanese)
- “Zuviel Gelaber. Erst schießen.” You talk too much. Shoot first.
- “Hast du nicht kommen sehen, was?” Didn’t see that coming, did ya?
- “Bring nächstes Mal deine Freunde mit. Die Hilfe kannst du gebrauchen.” Bring your friends next time! You could use the help.
- “Du hast dich mit dem falschen Schrottsammler angelegt.” You messed with the wrong junker.
- “Die haben mich komisch angeschaut.” They looked at me funny.
- “A ma i na!” You’re too terrible to know you’re terrible!
- “Prost!” Cheers!
- “Geh besser nach Hause.” I think it is time you went home.
- “Pass auf die Schepperkisten auf.” Watch out for clankers.
- “Kerzen raus. Partytime.” Light the candles; the party’s starting.
- “Ich hab eigentlich gar keinen Flugschein.” You know, I don’t actually have a pilot’s license.
- “Keine Angst: Wo das herkommt, gibt’s noch mehr.” Don’t worry: there’s plenty more where that came from.
- “Immer wieder lustig, so eine kleine Roboter-Apokalypse.” Nothin’ like a little robot apocalypse to cheer you up.
- “Gut … böse … ich bin der mit der Knarre.” Good… bad… I’m the guy with the gun.
- “Ich brauch ‘nen Drink. Du zahlst.” I need a drink. You’re buying.
- “Wann kommt die Kohle?” When do I get paid?
- “Lauf weg, bleib stehen, mit egal. Du bist eh schon tot. Scheisse. Scheiße.” Run; stay; makes no difference to me. You’re dead either way.
- “Scheisse” – Fuck!
- “Na großartig.” Well shit.
- “Na niiiiii!” WHAAAAAAAAT!?
- “Versuch es wenigstens, wäre ja sonst traurig.” I’d be disappointed if you weren’t trying.
- “Keine Belohnung der Welt reicht dafür.”No reward is worth this.
- “Schöne Bescherung.” That was one hell of a screw up.
- “Fuzakeru na!” Quit messing around with me!
- “Ähm, ich bräuchte hier mal Hilfe!” Uh, need some help here!
- “Ende der Glückssträhne.” Think my luck’s running out.
- “Ich hab schon Schlimmeres erlebt.” I been through worse.
- “Ba ka na!” This is too stupid to be true!
- “Hilfe wäre ganz nett!” Need a hand here!
- “Aus dem Weg!” Get out of the way!
- “Die Waffe ist bereit!” Weapon is hot!
- “Scanne nach Zielen!” Scanning for targets!
- “Aaah, uuhhh.”
- “Hilfe!” Help!
- “Ich brauche Hilfe!” I need help!
- “Benötige Unterstützung!” Need assistance!
- “Ich bin getroffen!” I’m hit!
- “Erleide Schaden!” Taking damage!
- “Ich bin getroffen!” I’m shot!
- “Lass den Scheiß!” Knock it off!
- “Das war so nicht geplant!” This wasn’t part of the plan!
- “Billiger Trick!” Cheap shot!