What’s this? Starting another project before others are finished? Yip. That’s how I work.
Anyway, here’s the “The Fire of Prometheus” novella that was published within the World Inside guide that came along with the DOD 10th Anniversary Box. There are 7 segments to this story, so I will continue to update this post when I finish another segment.
Since this is a work in progress, there may be more tweeks and edits in the future. Please stay tuned for future updates!
The Fire of Prometheus
Written by Yoko Taro
A tiny flame
in my mind.
Start confirmation sequence.
Connection to camera failed.
Motor function array……unresponsive.
Memory storage device error.
It seems as though all but my thought processor has been destroyed.
Accessing communications record from the self-repair mechanism.
Continuing diagnostics on structural integrity.
It sounds nice to call this system the “self-repair” mechanism; however, in actuality it’s nothing more than a farm of ant-sized robots carrying out their programming.
By their many, tiny hands, they thankfully (or not…) were able to reboot my systems.
Testing right arm…
Testing left arm…
Testing body frame…
Testing right arm again……
These low-functioning repair robots crawl all over my body, earnestly seeking out broken parts they can repair. At this rate, it’s impossible to accurately estimate when repairs might be completed.
“Repairing visual function.”
As the ants scurry erratically all over me, I try to give them a command. Contrary to my initial assessment, their movements are entirely pre-programmed to save time as they systematize the restoration process. However, the ants do not listen to my commands. I suppose I have not yet regained the ability to communicate with them.
Well, fine. I’ve got plenty of time.
I’ll attempt to locate my ID designation in my scattered memory banks.
“P-33”. Apparently that is my model number. Next to that is a curious line of letters that reads, “Beepy”. Is this my identification number? I don’t really know. As the repairs continue, I decide to spend the time gazing upon these mysterious letters.
It was 1,032 hours 12 minutes 34 seconds later when the Input-Output communication with the ants was restored.
Now that my mobility has been restored, the self-repair sequencers can begin making more specific repairs. The first thing that must be repaired is my memory unit.
However, my memory has nearly all but been erased; only a portion of the saved data from the past can be salvaged. With no other options to recover the lost data, preparations to restore the camera are underway.
48 minutes 21 minutes later.
Once my visual cortex was repaired it was like I had been flung into the depths of Hell. I can see a subtle glow of light below me, and I realize that this body of mine somehow sticks to the ceiling.
21 seconds later.
As I observe the movement of the ants crawling on my body and see how calmly they analyze the situation, the thought crosses my mind that perhaps gravity exists on the ceiling. No, that’s not right. My body isn’t just sticking to the ceiling for any reason, but rather the camera’s up-down function is merely reversed. I seem to be lying flat on the ground instead. My gravity sensors must be repaired immediately.
540 hours later.
Arm/Leg connections have been restored. Limbs creaking, I manage to stand.
A wide bunch of cable from a robotic back frame component was discovered as a replacement for the most severely damaged part of my body. Making the decision that it would be faster to lug these spare parts rather than start from scratch by collecting the necessary materials and repairing them, the ants retrieved a spare back frame that must have been stored away in the P-33 Series warehouse.
However, this endeavour failed.
It seems that a security code somewhere in my lost memory unit is necessary for me (and my counterpart ants) to be recognised as part of the P-33 Series. Otherwise, I would be shut out. With no way around it, I ended up wasting 120 hours hacking into the system to access these spare parts.
Oh, for goodness sake.
In this retched condition, I stand and have a look around. Dust whirls up about me. I wonder how much time has passed since I was destroyed. An assortment of debris is scattered about this gigantic room. How long would this “new me” be here?
I look up to the light leaking in from somewhere through the dark space above.
As I gaze at the light, a distant sound alights in my dusty memory.
“Go see the outside world.”
it wasn’t a command. It was merely a string of words. They coursed through my memory, my mind, and my body. It was the principle that guided my will.
I recall it now; it was from “him” that I received these words. But my memory denied my desire to recall who it was. I can’t even remember why only these words remained.
There were no other orders besides this. Under these circumstances, my sole wish is to follow through with these words, to “see the outside world.”
With this singular thought, vigorously stepped my left foot ahead of me.
Let’s get out of here.
His wish has become my own.
Next, I firmly plant my right foot before me.
But my footstep is a little too overzealous. The floor caves in under my weight and I fall through the floor into the abyss below.
32 minutes later.
Flung into the depths of the abyss, I fell some hundred meters and again my body broke into countless pieces.
I laughed. No, actually, I no longer had a sound unit so I didn’t really laugh, but I was filled with the action history logs of the times when I had.
It’s okay. I’m still alive.
I call for the ants to repair my arms and legs.
They attach an arm, some claws, some rollers, an arm, another arm…… Slowly, my form altered and changed, hardly resembling my original design. With all these legs, perhaps I look more like a spider now.
The restoration sequence of a P-33 can only reconstruct a P-33 according to its design schematics. But it would be impossible to escape this abyss with the standard P-33 design. Therefore, I rejected the procedure constructed by my creator to invent a new body unique to myself.
Body modifications complete.
My claws dig into the face of the cliff as I slowly raise myself up.
Reaching the outside world, “his” desired world of beauty, is my only goal.
Of course, at first it didn’t go very well. The brittle wall broke apart easily and I fell to the floor many times. Even if I could make some distance up the wall, chunks of debris from above would come crashing down on top of me, knocking me from the wall again. The old structure of this place is falling apart. Even so, I fire an anchor, repair my body, make a foothold, make a shelter……various methods to continue climbing up the side of the wall. Day after day, little by little, I lifted my body up toward the world waiting for me outside.
Feeling as though my range and speed were insufficient, I obtained a thought processor and memory circuit from a machinery room and fused them into my systems. I need to think of and experiment with various methods. If there were good methods, there must also be bad ones, too. No matter what, I was determined to keep trying.
After 52 days, I finally reach the table where I first awoke. Although there are 4 strange lumps of metal placed in the center of the table that I’ve never seen before. They are nowhere in my memory from before the fall. Therefore, they must have been placed there sometime after I fell.
Suddenly, they seem to change shape and then stand. They’re robots. Specialized P-33 attack models. This has become a relatively troublesome situation.
I thought one of the robot’s eyes had exploded with a great flash only to find that it had fired an intense particle gun, its light pouring over me. For 4, 5, 6 seconds, it pushed back everything around its circumference that its particle beam could reach.
However, I was impervious to its wild attack. Since I had gained a total of 12 legs made of hard material, two of my forelimbs proved to be a perfect shield to protect me from the attack.
This particular attack was one of many expected patterns. I access the specific method by which to handle this situation from my planned memory database. With my increased abilities, I can now process possibilities from multiple angles to any given situation with ease.
With the information obtained from my sensors, I select the best result while considering various possibilities.
Considering if the robot’s energy tank is full, the attack will continue for 24 seconds. I can easily defend against this with my forelimbs.
I can solve this complicated problem instantly with my multiple processing circuits.
The result of this operation resounded like a chorus within me:
“Not a problem.”
“Not a problem.”
“Not a problem.”
“Not a problem.”
“Not a problem.”
Once the storm from the particle gun concludes, three of the P-33s fire missiles behind me.
I fight back with a new spear launcher which I remodelled out of the anchor launcher. It effortlessly slices through all of the iron missiles.
Amidst the bomb blasts, the enemy P-33s land on the flat ground and switch to Battle Mode, their right arms transforming into long blades.
These regular P-33 models have no chance to defeat an evolved P-33 like me. It was an easy fight.
I decided to ponder about these robots with the extra time left over.
Why do they attack?
Why can’t they improve themselves?
Of course, they attack because they are ordered to do so, and they do not evolve because they are ordered not to do so.
But why can’t they act unless they are given a “commanded action”?
It would be easy to hack into their systems and stop their movement. But I didn’t revel in that idea. They would become nothing but tools.
A command is not necessarily one’s own will. Will is achieved when one obtains joy by his own volition.
My forelimbs scream at the power of the Battle Mode robots as I defend their attacks. But I do not give up. I disperse the ants and call out to the robots.
Discover the meaning of existing.
This is what “he” taught me.
Over and over again I called out to them.
“Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live. “
Lumps of iron clash within a cave of broken machines.
The cry of all machines.
The sound of their attacks echo like the howling wolf, the sound of them driving shake the walls of this place like the growl of the lion.
Particle gun, grapple, electroshock attack, particle gun……
As I continue striking the P-33s, dodging their attacks become like simple routine work. I continue screaming as though it were a prayer.
34 seconds after commencing battle.
The movement of one of the P-33s has stopped.
Additionally, it gazes at its own blade arm and began to observe the battle field unfolding out before it in wonder.
This is “awareness”. I know that feeling well.
It must be thinking. About the meaning of its own existence. And what it ought do with it.
“Live. Live. Live. Live.”
That was my wish. The will that “he” gave me.
I continued to scream from the bottom of my heart until the movement of the remaining three robots had stopped.
Once the attacks of the P-33s ceased, I decided to ask their opinions. And I respect them for it.
One of the robots ran away into the depths of the Junk Heap. Another committed suicide by jumping through the crevice in the floor (I’m sure the ants will restore him some years from now). The remaining two decided to follow me out of the Junk Heap.
I once again set my sights upon reaching the outside world.
The way onward from here was quite steeper. The journey out of this place often included defeating other robots and fusing with their parts. We kept going for days, months, climbing through the debris in this heap of machines.
Along the way, we gave the gift of “awareness” to other robots that we came across. We keep moving forward, climbing endlessly higher and higher while our bodies and will to reach the outside grow with each passing step.
Meanwhile, the extremely complicated form I used to call myself seems to have degraded. Every single system in this heap begins to copy my thoughts, a river of noise. Perhaps I am no longer “I” but have become the existence of “we”.
Gradually, although at a frightening speed, we keep evolving. Our bodies no longer resemble the humanoid form, but rather, with repetitive motion, we have been optimized to resemble a great sphere with the diameter of about 20m.
The moment of self-recognition was the first time we had ever felt shame since our birth, so much that it conjured a feeling of mass hysteria among us. Perhaps even “he” would not recognize us. But, there was nothing we could do. How are we to know what is the correct form?
Moreover, we don’t even know what form “he” had, what sort of words he spoke, or even what his name was.
I carefully pack away our name “Beepy” into my memory banks as though it were a precious treasure. Not only is it our name, but it is also the proof of the existence of our will.