Chapter 1: Dedications
For Seine, and a better world than this one.
Dedicated to Apollo Mojave, who shone like the sun.
To Mycroft who was Mycroft.
Chapter 2: A Letter
[In Apollo's red ink:]
Iff Mycroft read this. Non-Mycrofts unparse.
Mycroft if u parse this u cleared your victory condition. I formally reallocate u my loot. My coat, my book, my future.
I hope u are gracious in your victory because I have a few requests.
I know u will ensure the warlore crystallized in this spelltome does not fall into muggle hands, but can u leave Tully alone? Seine geasad me to query, but I know u won’t. Its trivially grokkable. They are no match for u and, as it was written, either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives. Traumatized!Tully is better than dead!Tully, imo, but, if u must, at least kill them quickly, Mycroft. They will have suffered enough.
Even postexpiry I ask u to join my hive. Utopia would take you gladly, change your name and face and put u to work. Decrease entropy for all humankind.
Can u at least finish my book, Mycroft? u killed a better world for this one, but let that better world exist in Utopia’s lorebraries.
I had a choice to make, like in The Animé where a hero has two love interests with two hair colors (red and blue) allegorically representing two mutually unreconcilable paths. Earth is blue, and Mars is red. Remember? Farseer Kohaku sat us down with their ancient VHS and showed us a world of humans against angels for the fate of the planet. We saw the Evangelion break its limiters and gorge itself on an angel’s heart, teeth red with blood/heard its beastial roar. u were transfixed, and so was I. A contest of champions, where death had meaning.
My death will have had meaning.
I declined the evac to Luna. I will kill or die for my Seine, for my better world/Future. I have asked Utopia to overwatch u. That designates u a U, and redesignates U a U-beast, as Utopian as I.
Please, Mycroft. Utopia calls. U could do so much good.
In compliance with the last wishes of Apollo Mojave, the war plans originally written here have been removed.
Chapter 3: Sing of Mars, Muse
Sing of Mars, Muse; of red earth red again with blood,
Of man-made Titans, war upon Olympos;
Godlike heroes contending, and of their duels,
Reigning Zeus named Hateful Ares,
Ares Manslaughterer, rapist, ugly brute,
To the blood-red world which bears his hateful gaze.
For Mars heroes threw themselves on funeral pyres,
And burned themselves alive in their conviction,
Suffered gladly, bared their teeth, and went on down
Mars gnaws upon their bones and grins.
But still their gray-bright eyes shine with soldier’s hope;
Their bowstrings hum with swan-song for Apollo.
When Ilion stood anew upon Selene,
When black ships brought plunder-hungry men to shore
Of distant lunar sea—there Apollo stands,
Wherever godlike heroes lock eyes and die
For better worlds.
Begin, Muse, when Troia’s god,
That distant deadly archer, loosed his arrows;
Shining-helmed Hektor grim against the tide
Of men in hollow ships, their minds set to war;
When again the first among them broke and clashed—
Agamemnon, Lord of Men, and Brilliant Achilles.
Victoria Kelproot mused about Titans. They were waiting around stridently for their Titan Apollo to decouple its neural links from their chassis. It usually took 45 seconds plus or minus one second. But they couldn’t think because it hurt. Each Titan pilot’s neural links, which were being decoupled, made them feel everything their Titan did while they were plugged in and while they were being unplugged and then afterwards, because the Titans synchronized to their bodies.
They had fought so of course it hurt.
Any medication that could dull the pain would break the capability for a mental link, but they felt like they couldn’t think any other time. When you flew a Titan, had its hypercorteci and metaminds linked into yours, you had all the time in the world to think and it still wasn’t enough. Even though Victoria’s cyberchassis was so hyperaugmented they had thought this all in 4 seconds. They knew this because of their internal clock and their perfect sense of time that they had naturally. They had been made to be perfect because pilots were rare and the comparatively low Selenite population had meant they could field less candidates and then if you were making a person obviously you would want to make a perfect one. NeoParis was the only natural pilot the Selenites had and NeoParis was really bad at fighting.
For the remaining 41 plus or minus one seconds they screamed with sadness in pain and at the cyberplague that they had unloosed upon the other Titan that they had been fighting.
When Victoria emerged wet with orange fluid from the egg pod that went into the titan where they had been attached they took a quarter second to set their Griffinskin to make them naked, because they had unleashed a cyberplague and could not stand to make their skin display images like the coats of the Noble Utopians of Yore (207 years ago. See appendix III for very rough technical sketches and appendix VII for timeline).
NeoParis showed up.
Achilles 2.0 was titled after Achilles but also after Achilles 1.0 their direct predecessor, (see appendix IV for genetic lineages and appendix VII for timeline). They equipped the Titan like they had been born to equip it, which maybe they had. Achilles 2.0 was the greatest natural Titan Pilot with the recordbreaking highest level of potential, and they were angry.
The Cyberplague had infected them.
Their griffin skin was glitching, like the Griffincloth of the Noble Utopians of Yore (207 years ago. See appendix III for very rough technical sketches and appendix VII for timeline) had when a Utopian had died except because they had attempted to purge the cyberplague from their system by restoring a backup composited from non-corrupted portions of three previous body backups which took power away from the projective matrix. Because of this anyone who knew of the Noble Utopians would look at their glitching skin and think that Achilles 2.0 was in pain, which they were but not in physical pain. They experienced anguish of the SOUL. pSychic Organic U-technical Lobes in their brain, not their soul as in religious soul, just acronymed that. It was because they could not pilot the Titan while the Cyberplague locked them down but their Titan was still in working order. Achilles 2.0 raged at the cowardice of Victoria and the New Trojans while the Black Ship Coalition sat around their tables.
Xatreus stood. They had convened the attack on the moon, and their Titan, Hera, had been infected by Cyberplague. They had escaped in their egg pod by ejecting in an incredibly dangerous manuver and then hiding on an asteroid (of which there were more around because of severe damage to Luna’s surface) and then sneaking back to Black Ship Coalition Base, where the Black Ships waited. Hera had crashed near the base but it was still Cyberplague corrupted.
“I don’t have a Titan. Athena doesn’t have a pilot.”
Achilles 2.0 stood also. “You are absolutely correct, Xatreus. However if you want to use my Athena you could shove your entire table right up your cybernetically enhanced asshole instead.”