Red lights flashed as the elevator slowly descended downwards, the doors to the lift broken as the left slide attempted to connect with a disabled right slide. The still figure inside the lift now shook, dragging in a deep breath as he patted the void energy which froze across the blackened chestplate of the Titan. Avgust felt his fingers wrap around the energy, which felt colder than ice as he glanced up towards the ceiling of the elevator through his cracked visor.
I sense someone has activated Elevator 7C, heading down to the complex that stores me. Muromets voice crawled over the speakers of the elevator, It has been quite some time, Lieutenant Boris. Though I believe I had the honours before.
Avgust remained silent, as he removed his hand from his damaged chestplate as he slid it across the floor as he felt the shape of the rifle near his side. He grabbed it, as he pulled it closer to him. The Titan pulled his legs closer to his body, as he connected his heels to the ground of the elevator as he attempted to lift himself up. He failed the first time, landing on the bottom with a thud before he attempted for a second time—with a bit more success.
Do you wish to speak, Lieutenant? Muromets spoke, Or do you wish to keep silent?
"Would it make a difference if I did?" Avgust asked, tasting blood in his mouth. His legs ached, his chest felt as if it was full of pins. He reached up to the railing, as he seized it before lifting himself up for a third and final time as he cemented his feet on the floor.
You were nearly killed, Lieutenant. Muromets replied cruelly, I understand how traumatic it might be.
"How dare you?"
I seek to assist whoever I can, Lieutenant Boris. But, that doesn't mean I have unlimited patience. Whenever threats are presented, it is my duty to respond.
Avgust remained completely quiet, as he seized the rifle with his mighty grasp as he stood by quietly. He refused to respond to Muromets now, as he knew fully well it was trying to dismantle him. Muromets had orchestrated the entirety of this incident. It tried everything in its power to kill him, to kill his team. It did kill his team. And now that they were gone, now that Teash and Zareph were dead, it was his sole responsibility to destroy Muromets.
He would kill Muromets, as Muromets had killed them. And Muromets would kill him, as he had killed Muscovite.
I perceive that you might be considering my destruction, Lieutenant.
"It isn't just a consideration," Avgust shot back, "it is a fact that I will tear you to scrap."
I have your report right here, Lieutenant Boris. Muromets spoke, You and your allies already know that you would be willing to sacrifice their lives if it meant success. You demonstrated that very well, by the way. Saved it for the diagnostics, and I shall process it later. But what else would you be willing to do? I would venture—
The rifle cracked as the speaker in the elevator exploded, bits flying everywhere as Avgust lowered the weapon once more. Svarog appeared over his shoulder, shaking itself in a motion to suggest the shaking of a head as it spoke: "I thought we would never get it to stop talking."
Avgust stood quietly, ignoring Svarog's remark as the Ghost narrowed itself: "You know as well as I do that you would sacrifice yourself before you would sacrifice them. Don't let Muromets distract you."
"They died hearing what Muromets said." Avgust replied, "That was on me. I shouldn't have let them die the way they did, Svarog. I should have stopped it."
"You see, that is Muromets distracting you." Svarog said instantly, "This is psychological warfare. It is going to try to make you sloppy, make you slow. Because it is fully aware that you can destroy it; that you will destroy it."
Avgust nodded his head, as he weighed the weightless rifle in his hands. The elevator slowed to a halt, as the doors attempted to open, but couldn't given their damaged state. The Titan walked forward, as he seized the door constantly sliding to an open and closed state, as he pushed it out of the way before he walked through.
His steps echoed on the grating below his feet, as the Titan looked around at the wires that curled around everywhere. Red lights flashed throughout the facility, as a door flashed blue momentarily, before it opened itself. Avgust watched the door carefully, as the speakers crackled once more.
Avgust Vladimirovich Boris. Meyers-Briggs recorded as ENTJ. Blood type recorded as AB-. Born in the Yakutsk Republic, Russian Federation. Parents were Vladimir Nikolaevich Boris, and Alexandra Ivanovna Borisa. When asked what it would mean to sacrifice others, he suggested that it must only be done to keep a cause alive. Reported as deceased on the 14th August, 2350 in a Cosmodrome bordering the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan. Alive, as of the 15th December, 2536.
Avgust ignored what Muromets said, as he stepped through the doorway that was opened to him. This lead to another long passageway, as the Titan turned his head to the right to spot a trail that, went on for quite some time. He continued, as he stomped on the grating that led to a door that also now flashed blue.
I don't know what is more ironic, that even though your two allies knew you would be willing to sacrifice them to accomplish this cause. Or that you intend to destroy what you swore absolute loyalty to, and thus you are abandoning your cause.
Avgust remained quiet.
I would almost hope in their dying moments, they knew that if it ever went wrong, you and Gagarin would have detonated these nuclear weapons. But now that they are in my possession, I would almost wonder whether or not your efforts have been squandered.
I could launch them at any moment. Lock you in here for an eternity and turn every monitor to their visual feed as they crash into your City. It isn't like you will perish any time soon. Your Ghost could constantly revive you, just to watch you die and die again. No food, no water and no oxygen. Well, perhaps I could leave the oxygen on. Have you die every three days from lack of water.
"We have rations." Svarog spoke, "Not to mention, I am sure I could take your system over once you are destroyed."
Rations only last so long. And for something so small and fragile, I am wondering how you have developed the nerve to speak to me in such a way. Perhaps, you are a machine that can also process fear. And machines that process fear, make mistakes. Much like Muscovite, and this Zareph as you called it.
"Why, I ought to—" Svarog attempted to say, as Avgust waved the Ghost to be silent. The Titan stepped through the now open doors, as he entered a room full of nothing but levels and levels of servers. The Titan slowly walked down the stairs, looking at the layers of computers that made up this system.
I see you have located my server room. Don't worry, you cannot destroy me from here. But perhaps you can destroy all information I have regarding our agents. Or set off a contained explosion in this area, that will only kill you.
Avgust walked through them carefully, as he noticed tiny robotic arms that slid along a rail system that were seemingly trying to repair damage done to the systems. As arms removed paneling and grating, others would cut or weld other sections to complete boards of computing information. Avgust knew that this system would better be left if destroyed, as he summoned his light and drew arc energy from his personage in the shape of a contained electrical charge.
It would create an EMP, which would knock off the system and destroy any information contained within it. The Titan dropped the ball of electricity, as it exploded and danced along the floor and computer boards. Sparks exploded everywhere, as the robotic arms that were once working collapsed to the floor: dead.
Very interesting. Perhaps you could have drawn your own profile from these archives. Don't worry, I still have it on my registry. Your behaviour, while predictable, has shown me a side I believe you didn't ever want to come out centuries ago.
"I made you a promise." Avgust growled.
Yes, but you aren't quite talented at keeping them, as you used to be.
Doors on the other side of the chamber flashed blue, as they opened as Avgust approached them. The room Avgust entered, was nothing more than a suspended platform held over large tubes and wires that ran the length of the room. The Titan walked through it, heading for the other door that the room had places opposite of him.
You are drawing closer unto me. Carelessly, it seems. Every other time you have been through here, you have taken your time. Perhaps that has to do with the fact, you are determined to destroy me.
As Avgust stepped through the door, the Titan looked upon a room similar in size and shape to Gagarin's. The monitors were instead red, and the raised disk had a long caterpillar-like shape drop down from it. Robotic arms decorated the length of the device, as tube and wires ran down the length to what appeared to be the 'head' of the machine. The chamber was multilayered, as rows of servers and supercomputers decorated the room.
The head of the device turned towards Avgust, as a thousand red eyes focused on the Titan's details. The machine turned itself toward him, as the dark chambers were now projected with bright white lights. Avgust instantly understood the shape, and realised what the machine was.
It was Muromets, but a form that he had never know until know. Muromets used to be a disk, like Gagarin, but it had adapted a shape, grew like a cancer as it tried to seemingly empower itself. Make itself stronger, faster and smarter. If Avgust didn't put an end to this, who know what Muromets would have done to improve itself.
And now you join me. When we last met centuries ago, your intentions were much different than they are now. You have changed greatly, from a warrior and defender of our people, to one that we would have long ago considered enemies.
"You've changed." Avgust said, audibly angered, "The Collapse has changed you, broken your mind and shattered whatever decencies you once contained. Your rampancy is corrupting you like a cancer, making you desire things that make you incredibly dangerous."
I've had centuries to wait for this moment. To consider what I will do. What I must do. My intention has always been to protect Moscow, and so it will remain now. Whether this means reducing other civilisations to ash, or invite them as guests is up to me.
"You are delusional."
I haven't been the only one dead for centuries. Perhaps this 'delusion' hasn't affected just me. Perhaps it might have broken something inside of you too.
The loudspeakers crackled, as Avgust's attention immediately snapped to them. Suddenly, a voice that was unmistakable made it's mark on Avgust's mind. The words that were spoken next were definitely not Muromets, but his own.
«I, Avgust Vladimirovich Boris do swear before the Administration to uphold the laws and ordinances, and do my duty to protect Moscow and our glorious land from hostility and insurrection.»
«If it were up to me, I would believe that an enemy that cannot be negotiated with must be destroyed at whatever cost.»
«Our weapons are to be used against those who refuse to obey and stand with us.»
«If there is a threat to Moscow, or to the Russian Federation, it is my duty to dispatch of it. To destroy it, regardless of the cost.»
Avgust froze completely, as his voice stopped playing over the speakers of the room. Muromets turned its ugly body, as it seemingly mocked Avgust. Its arms extended, as it grabbed onto certain spots and levers, as it threw them and activated them in a certain order. The chamber instantly came to life, as it spun around. The platform Avgust stood on spun clockwise, as the other layers followed it.
You can see, we were in agreement, Lieutenant Boris. I do believe we agreed at one time, but unfortunately you became delusional about your duty and your responsibilities. I haven't changed. But you have.
"Times change." Avgust replied, as he stepped closer to the being of Muromets. The thousand red eyes turned to focus on the Titan, as they seemingly examined every aspect of his being.
Yes they do. But history remains the same. And history has taught us a valuable lesson. Traitors flee, and hide who and what they were. But loyalty stands regardless. I have a new mission objective, and it must be completed.
Avgust shook his head, as he lifted his rifle and fired into the 'face' of Muromets. The ugly formation twisted, as it threw a robotic arm in the way of Avgust's stream of bullets. The speakers crackled, as Svarog spoke: "Remember the server room? Well, let's destroy the servers here. I'm sure they are much more damaging."
"Good idea." Avgust replied, as he swung his rifle to the closest server and fired at it. The metal and plastic casing peeled away, as the Titan continued to fire. Eventually, sparks and flame erupted from the device as it exploded into shrapnel and circuitry.
Muromets cried sharply, or cried as much as a robot could, as it's monotone voice returned: I see you intend to destroy me. No matter, it will just mean you will die faster.
Vents to the room opened, as the sound of a vacuum activated. Avgust instantly knew what Muromets intended to do, as he changed his aim to another server. He opened fire on it, just as he did the other as eventually this device was brought to explode as well.
W-Why attempt? What could-could you possibly think you will accomplish. Muromets spoke.
Avgust raised the rifle to a third server, firing on it as it too eventually broke and shattered. The disk overhead that controlled Muromets began to pick up speed, as one of its protective rings flew off and crashed to the ground. The Titan instantly processed what he needed to do, as he began to open fire on the disk overhead. Metal was thrown from the base of the device, as sparks showered to the floor.
H... how could you... this solves nothing...
"Oxygen has dropped below seventy-percent," Svarog warned, "should I activate our oxygen supply?"
"When it drops below thirty, then do so." Avgust replied, as a fourth server swung on a platform below him. Concentrating, Avgust opened fire on it as it too eventually erupted into flame.
Tubing running down the ugly formation that was Muromets erupted, as it flailed around uselessly—spraying around sparks and flames. A few of Muromets' eyes flickered off, as the device writhed around with pain. Eventually, the spinning disk erupted with flame, as it slowed down dramatically. A gas leaked from it, as smoke spun around.
You are indeed-indeed... to destroy me. But, I cannot allow for that... , our solution is at hand.
The monitors flashed, nuclear warning symbols showing brightly as a timer counted down from a minute, to fifty-nine seconds. Avgust looked around, spotting a fifth server as he shot at it. Like any of the others, it exploded and showered the room with scrap and sparks. The sixth follow it, as Avgust took aim and managed to crack off the first three shots.
A robotic arm swung from its position, striking Avgust across the head as he flew across the room and lost possession of his rifle. He cried in pain, as he hit the wall and slumped over. But the Titan couldn't allow himself to pass out, as he lazily got onto one knee and tried to stand. His vision blurred slightly, as he collapsed hand-first on the floor in front of him.
"Avgust!" Svarog said, "Get up!"
The Titan pushed himself off the floor, as he stumbled slightly in an attempt to walk. His vision improved slightly, as he resisted the pain and urge to fall down again. Avgust summoned his Thunderlord, as he aimed it at the sixth server. Electricity sparked across the barrel of the weapon as the Titan activated it, taking aim with the heavy machine gun. With two more shots, the electrified bullets penetrated and short circuited the server as it too exploded.
T-... rait... Traitor, dare to— Muromets managed, as its disk slowed down even further. You dare to stop, what must be done?
"I'm not finished." Avgust replied, tasting his own blood as it ran down his face and down to his lip. The oxygen supply to his helmet activated, but the gas began to escape from a crack made in the visor. The Titan ignored this, as he turned to find a seventh server.
As he turned, he spotted the time marked on the monitor: thirty-two seconds. But from his peripheral, Avgust spotted the server as he lifted his Thunderlord towards the object and opened fire. The metal and plastic plating peeled away from the high-calibre of bullet and electric energy, as they server exploded.
A mechanical groan filled the air, as the arms of Muromets fell dead, sparks shooting from them. The eyes of the ugly creation flickered, as the body of the maggot-like contraption writhed. Tubes exploded, as electricity and flames flew freely from the device. Avgust lifted his Thunderlord towards the beast, as he opened fire once more.
More tubes were punctured, as they too flew freely as the mesh of wire and cable revealed itself under the tubular flesh of the machine. Muromets' head lifted toward Avgust, as the monitors froze in place at twelve seconds. The disk spun slower and slower, as the room stopped shifting and spinning itself. The ventilation system closed, as the oxygen warning on Avgust's suit stopped beeping.
Avgust drew in a deep breath, as he approached the the maggot-like computer. As he drew closer, he took off his helmet and cast it to one side. He pressed his gloved hand to the gash on his head, before he took it away to feel the crimson substance he bled. Avgust stared directly at Muromets, as as he approached he drew his sidearm and looked into the cold and unfeeling red eyes of the computer.
Zurtweyquieopxhaop... Muromets said, before the speakers broke and started up again, Twelve seconds to launch. That was all that was needed before what needed to be destroyed, would have been gone forever. Now, I stay limp in the place where I was created.
"And where you will be destroyed." Avgust muttered, as he stepped closer and closer to the head of Muromets.
Odd to think one of the Administrations own agents would have destroyed me. Muromets replied, I have thought of it. Designed a scenario for every agent in case of scenarios like this.
"But it didn't work." Avgust replied, "Your programming deserves to be terminated."
This wasn't the scenario I had planned.
Avgust paused, as he looked over the head Muromets oddly.
I would have asked a question.
"Then why didn't you?"
Perhaps I felt it unnecessary. Regardless, you weren't willing to listen to reason anyways.
Avgust dropped the empty magazine his sidearm had, as he freed one from the bind of his utility belt before he loaded it. He stared directly at Muromets as he did this, as he pulled back the slide to load in the first bullet. "What was your question?"
What if I was wrong? Muromets replied, Could anything ever be right?
Avgust froze as this was said, taking a minute to ponder it as Muromets' red eyes continued to blink. After a while, Avgust placed his boot on the head of the machine, as he lowered his sidearm and pulled the trigger in quick succession—each shot striking the head of the machine as the metal and eyes pulled away and exploded. Sparks filled the air, before a fire started from the head of the machine.
When the sidearm clicked, signifying that no more ammunition was contained inside the weapon, the Titan lowered his weapon, holstered it, and stepped off the head of the machine. Avgust glanced at the machine one last time, before he turned on a heel and walked away.
As he walked away, he bent down to collect his discarded helmet and scout rifle. He lifted the two items up, as he placed the helmet on his head once more, and shouldered the scout rifle, and walked up the stairs and through the door.
And out, of the chamber where it all could have ended.