Pseudo Civili (Dopinephrine 6) (PDF)

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- D o p i n e p h r i n e -

Pseudo civili
Part I
ATHLON and Athena danced as they sped towards unknown space. Harmony giggled as the two
androids spun around each other joyously, diving and swooping with inches to spare as they
flew. They were happy, completely satisfied in each other’s presence, simply passing the time on
their way to whatever new destination presented itself.
As they played, Harmony’s computer flashed to life, casting a dim red light across Athlon’s
interior where she lived. She swiveled in her seat to read the fault; an energy buildup was
pooling in Athlon’s auxiliary propulsion motivators. His systems had been behaving erratically
ever since the Titan’s Delphi Cube had spread throughout his body, upgrading his hardware and
changing his internal structure.
Harmony removed her flight harness and was about climb into the propulsion chamber to
inspect the motivators when Athlon gasped. Harmony was thrown from her seat as Athlon
spiraled away from Athena, gaining speed as he flew off course. Harmony gripped the railing
she had welded into place just days earlier during their visit to Ursa Pythagoras, hanging on as
Athlon’s body rattled out of control.
Overwhelming fear struck Harmony as Athlon’s emotions coursed through the nanobots
connecting their brains. He wasn’t forming coherent thoughts; simple terror ruled his mind.
Knowing she couldn’t reach her panel, Harmony yelled at Athlon’s command interface,
activating voice controls. She screamed at the propulsion system to shut down as violent
vibrations sent sparks flying from various modules built into Athlon’s chest cavity. Screens lit up,
confirming Harmony’s command, but Athlon continued rocketing off course.

Another voice command succeeded in suspending Athlon’s interior artificial gravity, and
Harmony kicked off the wall, finding her chair. She struggled with her flight harness, and
secured it after a short struggle. Her hands flew across her keyboard, calculating a trajectory and
summoning an external view.
A moon loomed ahead of the malfunctioning Android. Harmony punched in her override code
and grabbed the joysticks on either side of her chair. She pulled up as hard as she could, but
Athlon’s body barely responded. Unable to slow propulsion, Harmony began flipping switches
and punching commands into the central computer, all the while searching for Athlon in the sea
of chaos his mind was projecting.
As the moon rushed up to meet them, Harmony fired the maneuvering thrusters in Athlon’s
knees. She turned the power up to 120%, and felt the thump as Athlon’s stomach bounced off
the surface. They began to regain altitude, and Harmony steered Athlon slowly back towards
open space.
A scan located Athena, who was rushing after them. She was several hundred-thousand
kilometers back; Athlon had accelerated at new speeds, leaving her far behind. Harmony gazed
down at Athlon’s velocity gauge, which was still climbing, well past anything he had ever been
capable of before.
Athlon’s emotions surged in Harmony’s thoughts, ruining her ability to focus. Deep sadness
permeated his brain. Harmony clenched her teeth as she fought the sense of hopelessness that
threatened to overtake her as well.
Another surge of speed pushed Harmony deep into her seat. They were moving way too fast for
her to react if another obstacle presented itself. Harmony watched as Athena’s blip moved off
the edge of the screen.
Deep in Athlon’s mind, he was struggling for control. He felt like he had been dropped into an
ocean blindfolded. He was aware of Harmony’s actions, but he could not get around the
emotional tidal wave that kept him from controlling his own body. Through Harmony’s thoughts
he felt Athena moving out of range.

The thought of Athena moving at top speed towards them, only to see them disappear from her
scanners offered Athlon a burst of focus. He had to show her where he was going. His own
command structure was too much to navigate as emotions continued to flood his path; his mind
was racing. Athlon was losing control again. Frustrated and desperate, he poured his fear into a
single thought: find us.
A tiny port at the base of Athlon’s skull slid open. His changing body had begun developing
what could only be described as mechanical glands: brand new organs working inside the
Android’s head. Dozens of microscopic beacons flew from the port into space, marking Athlon
and Harmony’s path through space.
Stars began to streak into long white lines on Harmony’s viewscreen as Athlon’s velocity
continued to increase. She would have to fight her way to the propulsion chamber and manually
disconnect the system from the thrusters; otherwise they would eventually find themselves
speeding into a star. Even Athlon might not survive heat that intense. Harmony closed her eyes,
and was running through the steps for a manual disconnect in her mind when purple light
flooded her makeshift cockpit. She opened her eyes to see lines of code scrolling across her
screen. Calculations… Harmony recognized some of the symbols, but she couldn’t focus…
where had she seen them before? Harmony searched her memories while simultaneously
attempting to scan for celestial bodies in their path.
The Parnassus. That’s where the symbols were from. She had seen them on the bridge of
Rhythm’s ship. Harmony furrowed her brow; she was trying to think about too many things at
once. Stop Athlon, that was the priority. there would be time to sort the rest of this out once they
were safe.
Harmony squinted as her screen flashed with brilliant light. A yellow tear opened ahead of
them, revealing the dangerous beauty of Yggdrasil, realm of the ancient Titans. Harmony began
to panic. Only Titans and the unique ships they forged could survive the harsh conditions within.
Athlon was neither.
Athlon’s skin shimmered with opalescent colors as he slipped through the tear, and into
Yggdrasil. Harmony braced herself, waiting for Athlon’s body to be ripped apart. Instead, her
viewscreen dimmed, and new maps began loading into Athlon’s database. The fierce trembling

that had come with the incredible speed of Athlon’s rogue flight subsided, and they glided
through Yggdrasil with smooth ease.
Athlon’s emotions shifted again, filling Harmony with confidence. He was sure of himself; the
Ares Clef in his head forming music that was full of bravado. Harmony could sense he was still
buried under the emotional flux, but he was not as lost as he had been moments earlier. She
sent him thoughts of peace, and focused on memories of Athlon and Athena together, hoping to
ground her friend’s drastic fluctuations. She received no response.
They travelled through Yggdrasil for over an hour, Harmony monitoring every system, but afraid
of what would happen if she did anything to alter course. Eventually, her screen flashed yellow
once more, and another tear opened before them. They passed back into normal space with a
jolt; Athlon was still traveling at an incredible rate of speed.
After a bumpy few moments, Athlon started to slow down. Harmony started scanning the sector,
searching for clues about where they were. Athlon’s computers stitched together a new map for
the unknown region, revealing a smattering of planets collected around a few stars.
Harmony gripped her joysticks once more, and tried to steer Athlon towards the nearest planet
with an atmosphere and a tolerable climate. A grinding sound came from his navigational
framework, and Harmony let go, fearful of damaging Athlon’s systems during the Android’s
unpredictable evolution. She slumped in her seat, resigned to being little more than a
Athlon and his tiny companion rocketed silently through this new corner of the Dopinephrine
Galaxy, practically blind and rudderless. Micro beacons continued streaming into space every
few thousand kilometers, leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for Athena, though it would take her
months to fly this far without Yggdrasil.
An alert showed Harmony what she hoped was their destination: a small planet with the correct
conditions to support biological life, right in Athlon’s path. Harmony still didn’t understand if
Athlon was in control of this flight plan or if something was summoning them; either way she
was annoyed at her lack of control, and distressed by the implications.

As the planet came into view, Harmony became locked out of her control center completely. No
scanners, no communications, no interface whatsoever. She ran her fingers through the fur on
the back of her neck and reached again for Athlon’s consciousness in her thoughts. She felt in
him a moment of fear followed by one of vague curiosity. Then there was a thud that rocked
Athlon’s body so hard it knocked Harmony out cold.
Athlon opened his eyes. He rolled over onto his back and looked up at a beautiful blue sky,
streaked with wisps of white clouds. He was laying in the bottom of a crater, thirty feet below the
surface of the ground. He heard the sounds of movement above him, and soon a head
appeared. An android peered down at Athlon from the mouth of the crater. They stared at each
other. The androids blinked.
More metal faces appeared, and soon a crowd had gathered around the gaping hole left when
Athlon crashed into their planet. Athlon managed to stand up, and called hello to the robotic
people above.
An unseen figure ordered the onlookers to make way. The androids disappeared from Athlon’s
view, scurrying away from the approaching voice. Athlon stood up, and engaged his thrusters,
flying neatly out of the crater and landing on the ground nearby.
A man strode towards Athlon with a chuckle. An android followed close behind him, carrying the
end of the man’s grand cape, which was lined with gold trim. The man opened his arms and
extended them towards Athlon.

My good friend! Welcome!
The man threw his arms around Athlon in a huge hug. Athlon hugged him back, searching the
android for information. Their eyes met for just a moment, but then the smaller android cast his
gaze down away from Athlon.
I am ABADDON, Regent of Babylon, and your humble host.

He was handsome, and Athlon felt an easy charm in the way he spoke. Athlon introduced
himself to Abaddon and extended his hand towards the android still looking at the ground. The
android flinched away from Athlon.

Don’t be shy Hiratio. Say hello.
Hiratio looked up at Abaddon with what Athlon could only classify as fear. He reached out and
touched Athlon’s hand before shrinking back once more.
Abaddon chuckled, and then clasped one hand on Athlon’s shoulder, turning him towards a
massive structure in the distance, framed against breathtaking mountains.
That is my home, and the seat of government for Babylon. It
has been so long since we have had a guest here; you must do
me the honor of allowing me to show you around!
Athlon began to explain that he had to try to contact Athena, but piercing pain surged through
his head, and he fell to his knees. Blurred memories of Yggdrasil and uncontrolled emotions
sent Athlon into a panic. He cried out for Harmony, the nanobots in his brain reporting that she
was unconscious. Guilt struck Athlon to his core as he realized she had been hurt during the
crash and he hadn’t even noticed. He cried out as the pain grew worse, struggling to relay that
Harmony needed help.
Abaddon knelt next to Athlon, and called Hiratio to lift the troubled Android. Athlon put his hand
against his chest, fighting to explain, pleading with his own mind to function. He was filled with
fear that Harmony would die while he was unable to help. His eyes grew wide and he began
clawing at his collar where Harmony’s entrance to Athlon’s chest was concealed. Losing all
rationality, Athlon began ripping the wiring out of his neck, leveraging new levels of strength to
tear through his own body to get to his friend.
Sparks flew out of the cables as Athlon loosed them, and steam poured from his jaw. His vision
flickered as his body started to convulse, and alarms screamed as his cognitive systems
overheated. Athlon gasped for extra air, his eyes wild, and then he passed out.

When Athlon awoke, he was unable to move. He was suspended in a field of pink light; his
scanners couldn’t penetrate it, but he could read that the source of the field was a series of
advanced projectors. above his head. The light was perfectly calibrated to the signature of the
Ares Clef, rendering the treble matter that formed his body motionless. Dampening fields
blocked his communication systems. It was a perfect prison.
Athlon looked around to find that he was in an ornate room. It was decorated with fine tapestries
and carved pillars, and intricately decorated artifacts were displayed around the room.
A door slid open across from Athlon, and Abaddon entered, followed closely by Hiratio. Abaddon
stepped close to Athlon, and pressed a button just below Athlon’s field of vision. The light
shimmered, and Athlon felt freedom of movement return to his head. He asked if Harmony was
Dear Athlon, of course she is safe. Hiratio here managed to
remove her from you, and she is nearby. You took considerably
more work. You did quite a number on your cognition conduits.
It took us awhile to repair you. Unfortunately, these dampening
fields are necessary to insure you don’t injure yourself further.
Abaddon smiled. Athlon could practically smell the deceit. He had been weak and distracted,
and he had fallen into this spider’s web. The friendly greeting had simply concealed his true
nature; Athlon was sure of it.
Of course. I can see that I don’t fool you. You are much more
clever than the average drone aren’t you. I’ve made a copy
of your memory banks; you’ve accomplished impressive things.
And Athena! What an impressive specimen she is. A female drone
with true emotions, like you. My drones here could never
understand. They are small, limited creations. No imagination. Isn’t
that right Hiratio?
Hiratio glanced at Athlon before nodding.
I can’t risk you filling their fool heads with ideas beyond their
comprehension. Already they chatter of your arrival. It
distracts them from their work. At the same time, I can’t bring

myself to destroy you. You are too beautiful. I’ll have to keep
you here, where you can’t damage the drones. I won’t harm
the Nereid either, so long as you don’t try to cause trouble.
She will make a fine… pet.
This time Abaddon’s grin held no charm. Athlon allowed rage to flash across his face for show,
but he had faith in Harmony’s ability to take care of herself. Best to allow Abaddon to feel that he
had the upper hand, especially since he did. Athlon told the Regent he would make him pay if
Harmony was harmed, thinking it sounded like a plausible remark to spit at one’s captor.
Abaddon chuckled and mock-waved at Athlon, then left. Hiratio lingered for half a moment,
peering up at Athlon, who winked at him before the “drone” hurried after his master.
The only move was to play for time. Athlon closed his eyes and thought of his beloved as
another wave of emotions crashed against the shores of his mind.
Athena sped through space, tracing the path Athlon had taken. She was deeply worried, but kept
her emotions in check, focusing instead on the task at hand. Find Athlon, she thought, and find
a way to help him.
She opened a long range channel and began broadcasting an encrypted message on
Harmony’s emergency frequency, calling out for her lost friends. She knew there was no chance
of reply, yet still felt afraid when none came. Athlon had told her about his increasing instability,
starting shortly after they departed Olympus almost a week earlier. His body was going through
incredible changes, and they decided that the emotional fluctuations were simply intense side
effects. Athena thought of how frightened he must be, speeding out of control as his body
rewrote itself.
Athena tracked Athlon’s movement using information from long range scans she had gathered
during his sudden departure. She was approaching the moon he had so narrowly missed; a
scan of the planet it orbited revealed an infant race of amphibian creatures dependent on the
moon’s effect on the planet’s tides to maintain their rudimentary settlements. If Athlon had

crashed at such a high speed, the moon would have certainly been knocked out of its orbit,
causing catastrophe to the fledging race below.
Athena’s fear rose as she approached the last location Athlon had passed before moving out of
her scanner’s range. Where did he go from here? He seemed to have leveled out after missing
the moon; Athena decided to continue on the same trajectory he had been on for the last
million kilometers. The trail was going cold.
Hours passed before anything appeared on Athena’s continuous scans. It entered her mind like
a whisper of static, the tiniest blip of information in the distance. As she got closer, the static
began to clear, revealing what she was sure was a voice. She cleaned up the recording, letting it
grow stronger as she neared its source.
ind us
It was Athlon. Athena scanned the microscopic beacon, and read Athlon’s signature written into
its construction.
It was hope itself.

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