Chapter 0:

I Didn't Want to Hear It

2173: Second Akro-Mars Conflict

  I've been going back and forth from Akro's frontier for far too long. One might say I'm wasting my life, but I just can't wrap my head around abandoning this place and moving on; it is mind-boggling that you can make a living for 30 years just by retrieving defective patrol drones from this ridiculous city's borders, and we still managed to reach the palace, and it is even more mind-boggling that it was all for nothing. We lost, I get it, but it was never over, and now my fellow veterans understand it; if there's even any still around.

- "It is time I, King of the Machinery, come forth and break silence. You can all have your shot at taking over this place; due to personal interests, I've been managing it for the last few decades, but I'm ready to let go. The only thing I ask is that I can have my daughter back."

That was quite the shock. Early in the morning, I heard this on max volume played on every possible device close by. I hardly processed just who was talking when he suddenly continued -

 - "Whoever brings her, gets the key to the palace. I'm pretty sure the governments around the world have the information and resources needed to complete the task, right? Just keep in mind that Akro's defenses will remain active, please."

That's just absurd. Nothing makes sense right now. Why? Why? Thirty years of peace, couldn't you even wait till I dropped dead?

 - "And just so the public knows, as I doubt they've been informed. I am not a rebel and haven't been for the last 30 years. The operation was, in fact, a failure."


  It took a moment for me to notice he was done. People must be going crazy in the streets right now. I wonder if it's desperation.

  Well, that took me back. This brief feeling of panic, I haven't had it in years. But I was kind of expecting something like this, deep down. It all makes sense now.


  If there's one positive thing about being a former rebel high in the hierarchy, is that all of us who survived that backstabbing the now King of the Machinery put us through can live in relative peace as absolutely nobody has our identities, and he apparently decided against selling us out.

  But I was right about Ian. Just like me, he's been here for those thirty years, behind those walls. He couldn't let go of the crazy promises made by the robot that was supposed to be the governor's right hand. They must be working together, as the pair of liars they are. The robot is still the right hand, apparently, as that was his voice in the announcement.

 And I'm willing to bet the reason why he didn't sell my identity, actually. I remember exactly which hospital we delegated to take care of his dying daughter, and I know what she looks like. I'm one of the few with this information. Surely, he's calling for me. And I absolutely, sincerely, didn't want to answer. And as a matter of fact, I won't: I'll protect this world and become the hero I wanted forty years ago as a recruit.

 I'll find his daughter and vanish from planet earth. To Mars, maybe. I can dream. I just can't let this place in the hands of some Unionist menace, which I essentially despise more than my own traitor. 

 I wonder if his daughter hasn't changed, I still remember her smile... will it give me hope once again? I'll assume it does, so I can be motivated. Because honestly,

  I didn't even want to hear this call.