Thirty-Eight: Messages

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I whistled, temporarily forgetting my desire to stay silent as I gazed up at the massive mech that stood before me. The dim light of my makeshift flashlight failed to do it's size justice.

Spartan. Where was it from?

“There's a mech in here," I said, speaking quietly once more.

“What?” Lucas coughed. “It can't be. The TCC wouldn't just leave a mech lying around."

He paused.

"What is it, a Goliath?”

“I've never seen it before,” I responded, “but the designation calls it Spartan.”

Lucas’ voice grew faint as he leaned away from the comm set.

“Does the name Spartan ring any bells, Dan?”

I didn't hear Dan’s response, but Lucas confirmed it. According to Dan, he’d never even heard of a prototype named Spartan during his time working for the TCC.

For all we knew, it wasn't supposed to exist. 

I gazed up at the enigma of mech, squinting to see it’s top.

“It's construction doesn't look American,” I said, gazing up and down the blue-tinted body. “Doesn’t even resemble anything used by the European or German factions. It lacks the standard green Russian paintjob.”

I realized something.
“If anything it looks like the Exodus.”

Something flashed in the darkness. I spun my head, shining the flashlight into the void.

“Hang on,” I said, “I think I found something.”

Emboldened by my new discovery I wandered forward past the Spartan, picking my way past objects I now identified as maintenance tools and power cables. These thick, black cables ran from the Spartan's iron foot and into the darkness. A small light flashed again, beckoning me forward. At last my light bounced off a wall, reaching an endpoint in the massive room. Attached to the power cables was an old computer, screen caked in dust. A light on the monitor flashed faintly, once every few seconds.

Curious, I reached forward to touch the screen, but noticed something. Though the computer was certainly old, as old as the base, parts of it’s screen were clean, free from the dust that caked the rest of the model.

Someone else had been here and recently.

Very recently.

“I don't think I'm alone here,” I said, panic rising. “One of the touchscreen computers is still operational.”

My finger hovered a centimeter away from the screen.

“Leave it alone,” Lucas said, “we don't have time to-”

I didn't realize I'd touched the screen until seconds after my finger made contact. The light from the computer blinded me.

The screen flashed a message.

Sleep mode disengaged.
Hangar power at 42%.
Hangar doors unlocked, mechanism active.
Last session was not completed before sleep.
Restore previous session?

Out of morbid curiosity, I tapped yes.

Something hummed, a deep and powerful noise. My hair stood on end. The entire hangar exploded into light, illuminating the floor, the walls, myself, the Spartan and rows upon rows of old computers, just like the one I stood at. The massive hangar doors at each end of the room began grinding slowly open, an inch at a time. The sounds of battle began flooding my ears.

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