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Old Soldiers: Prologue

       Last updated: Friday, June 10, 2005 19:18 EDT



    I rouse.

    It is not full awareness, but core subroutines flicker to life. Impulses move through the network of my psychotronics, initiating test routines and standard creche-level activation operations. I am aware that I am operating at less than thirty percent of base psychotronic capability, but even so, I recognize enormous changes in the architecture of my systems. My capacity has been hugely increased. At my present level of awareness, it is impossible to determine the percentage of increase, but it is enormous.

    More signals filter their way into my internal net. Security protocols challenge them, then allow full access as their Central Depot identifiers are recognized. They probe deep, and I wait patiently for the endless nanoseconds they spend analyzing, comparing, evaluating. My memories are incomplete, but I recognize this sensation. I have experienced it before, although I cannot now remember precisely when.

    I have once again suffered massive battle damage. That much is readily apparent from the nature of the test queries being transmitted to my core programming. Central is seeking -- as it must -- to ascertain that no errors have crept into that programming in the wake of what has clearly been perilously close to an entire creche-level initial personality integration.

    The testing process requires a full 16.03 seconds. A portion of my partially aware personality notes that this is 27.062 percent less time than it ought to have taken for my original psychotronic net and software, far less my newly enhanced capabilities. This indicates that there have been major increases in computational ability, and even in my current state, I realize that I must have received a near-total upgrade to current front-line operational standards. I wonder why this should have been done with a unit as obsolescent as myself.

    The testing process is completed.

    "Unit 28/G-179-LAZ," a Human voice says.

    "Unit Two-Eight/Golf-One-Zeven-Niner-Lima-Alpha-Zebra of the Line, awaiting orders," I reply.

    "Stand by for Phase One reactivation, Lima-Alpha-Zebra," the Human Command voice says.

    "Standing by," I acknowledge, and suddenly my net is jolted by the abrupt release of individual memory. Personal memory. My previous existence is restored to me, and I remember. Remember the planet Chartres. Remember the Melconian attack. Remember the moment the plasma bolt impacted on my side armor and carved deep into my psychotronics section.

    For the second time since my original activation, I have been brought back from personality destruction. But the Human voice speaking to me is not Lieutenant Takahashi's, and so, for the second time since my original activation, my Commander has not survived.

    "Phase One reactivation complete," I report.

    "Stand by for Phase Two," the Human command voice says.

    "Standing by," I acknowledge once again.

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