l...l

Cover Song

Hollywood Undead - Take Me Home


Semper Vigiles

Chapter One

June 14th, 2077

Night City, Northern California

Sublevel-Four, Arasaka Tower

Dr. Jeremiah Kingston stood on the precipice of a technological breakthrough.

The only obstacle halting his progress was time itself.

As the head researcher for Arasaka's Advanced R D Division, he ensured the corporate giant's continued dominance in cutting-edge technology, whether in cybernetic or conventional fields.

His predecessor Dr. Anders Hellman was reassigned to another project by Saburo Arasaka, of which he had no direct knowledge.

Regardless Kingston's focus was no longer on the pretentious and often irritating bioengineer but on the mechanical masterpiece presented before him.

He knew not its origin nor the materials that made up this work of art, but it mattered little.

The only priority in his mind was to crack it open and see what made this mech tick.

That would, at the very least, make the heavy cost of its retrieval worthwhile.

On April 20th, 2077, a celestial object entered the Earth's lower atmosphere at a calculated velocity of over 800KMH.

Not a soul on the planet had any idea that this celestial body was on a collision course, nor did they know where it originated.

Arasaka and Militech were the only Corporations to detect its atmospheric entry before anyone else was the wiser. At 02:00 hours local time, the object crashed in a field ten kilometers outside of Night City's limits, causing a mass panic event within moments.

Riots and looting kicked off before long, leading the NCPD to declare martial law before the violence could escalate further.

Night City's mayor requested Arasaka and Militech security forces to help quell the riots, but the city official was given false promises and excuses from both corporations.

The Megacorps were far more interested in furthering their interests, dispatching elite scout teams to take control of the crash site's immediate area.

Nestled deep within the crater's epicenter lay a humanoid mech displaying specifications that didn't belong to anyone on the planet.

It didn't take long before the Arasaka and Militech mercenaries started throwing hot lead at one another.

Fears of a Fifth Corporate War sparked unrest across Continental America as both corporations mobilized more ground units for deployment to Night City.

It was only through the ingenuity of an Arasaka INS team that the Mech was ferried back to Arasaka Tower before the situation escalated, forcing Militech to make a decision.

Intensify the conflict or climb down.

Predictably Militech chose to diminish hostilities before a Fifth Corporate War exploded. That being said, both Megacorp's suffered a significant hit to their credibility with the inhabitants of Night City.

The mere threat of a Corporate War breaking out left the residents of Night City teetering on the edge of corporate rebellion.

The so-called 'Comet War' had come to a swift but bloody conclusion.

The consequences were left to the capable hands of Arasaka's Public Relations department.

Since then, Kingston has been assigned as the project lead for Project Prometheus.

His researchers spent the first week attempting to access the Exoskeleton itself, but their efforts were hampered by a barrier they had not likely.

At first glance, one can assume that the 'Prometheus' armor's main line of protection was its titanium plates and bodysuit, but this would be a gross misinterpretation.

When an X-55 Plasma drill was introduced to the outer shell, a barrier deployed, causing the drill to bounce clean off the Exoskeleton before it could even make contact.

The operator was sent airborne along with several other tools in the lab.

Since then, there has been a reserved effort to pierce the 'Prometheus' shell.

Saburo Arasaka had taken a particular interest in the Project and made 'Prometheus' Arasaka's number one priority.

Special Operations director Susan Abernathy assigned two squads of Nightstalkers for onsite protection at all times, along with a general order to lock down Sublevel-Four entirely.

It unintentionally crowded the laboratories, but that was a small inconvenience in the grand scheme of their work.

His aide Dr. Elizabeth Sims was even more enamored by 'Prometheus.'

While he was more interested in the Mech's military applications, Dr. Sims believed this suit could assist Arasaka's cybernetic implant department.

Why she was so set on analyzing its parts for civilian use was beyond corporate thinking, but he cared not for her constant prattling or idealism.

"Dr. Kingston." Speak of the devil, and she shall appear.

A woman's voice spoke up, and Jeremiah's attention strayed from the silent machine to a blonde-haired woman in her mid-thirties.

Standing off to his side was Dr. Sims herself. Her attire was that of a typical Arasaka scientist, nothing less than a white protection suit that encased her entire body. The only feature marginally exposed to the outside world was her face behind a glass pane.

"What is it, Sims?" He replied.

Her only response was to hand him a datapad with the Prometheus exoskeleton. The Mech was giving off readings they had never seen before, and mixed in were compounds and materials that were both known to them and not.

Titanium was the prevalent material serving as the primary source of protection, but the energy shield scrambled all attempts to decipher the other compounds existing within the mechanical body.

"Initial scans show the energy field is concentrated around a compartment located at the small of the Mech's back." Kingston handed her the datapad and began pacing towards a workstation to the left of the Mech.

"Its location is not the problem, Dr. Sims. The problem is penetrating the shield. We cannot touch its outer shell until we find something to disable it."

The easy solution would have been to access the suit directly via a jack port or splice it open with a daemon. However, not even the most potent daemons could breach the Mech's cyber defenses, which left many at the ARD baffled and intrigued.

What secrets lay within the titanium cage if even the most confidential and hazardous virus programs could not breach the Mech's cyber defense systems?

Project Prometheus would be the crown jewel of the Arasaka Corporation, and Kingston would be its proprietor.

"We've used every tool in this lab and are no closer to penetrating its shield than we were a month ago. Saburo Arasaka is getting impatient, and his tolerance has been razor-thin with Yorinobu's consistent rebellion." Kingston's eyebrows furrowed as he accessed his notes on 'Prometheus.'

There has been constant tension within Arasaka Tower since Yorinobu's arrival.

The three mainline Factions and those loyal to them became more prominent every day, loyalties were being tested, and many found themselves in less than-desirable positions. Dr. Kingston cared not for the tension inside Arasaka Tower so long as it did not interfere with his work.

"We have a deadline to meet Dr. Sims, and I want to be at least able to look Saburo Arasaka in the face and say we made progress. Anything less, and we might be out of our jobs."

Dr, Sims understood the underlying threat.

If Saburo Arasaka found them inadequate, he would find someone else to produce results, and it wouldn't just be their jobs on the line if they didn't produce results.

"Gather the Project Team. I want a staff meeting in 30 minutes. We must progress on this Exoskeleton before the week is out." Sims nodded and was out the door within moments, leaving Kingston alone with the intimidating mechanical cyborg.

The damned thing made him feel self-conscious whenever he was alone with it.

It felt like an eye was following his every move the longer he stayed with it.

The Mech's design was military, with multiple compartments around its waist and upper breastplate where one could slot in magazines. A single pauldron on its left shoulder provided ample protection covering the shoulder to just above the elbow.

Curiously, the right arm's shoulder plater was less bulky and seemed to be made of a lighter material at a glance. Kingston didn't know why a mech would want their right shoulder to be more lightweight, but he didn't particularly care.

The defining feature of Jeremiah's wandering eye was the visor. Its color had no defining features and was as black as night.

"If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."

He was never one for superstition, but that quote fit the Prometheus suit entirely. Adam Smasher had nothing on this Mech for all his bluster and infamy, no matter what the rest of the Arasaka ARD team said.

"Dr. Kingston." The soft voice of Dr. Sims startled him out of his wavering thoughts.

"Yes."

"We're ready to begin the meeting."

With one final glance towards the lynchpin of Project Prometheus, Kingston cleared his thoughts and made for the Sub Levels meeting room with Dr. Sims in tow.

All the while never noticing the ever-subtle movement of the Exoskeleton's head following his every move.


Welcome to the start of something different, for me at least. I spent a reasonable amount of time on this site, and I'd figured I should contribute to its many works. Please review to your heart's content.