by Arxsys

Chapter 1: 00. Prologue

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00. Prologue

                Gravel showered my helmet, thrown from one of the many explosions shattering the landscape.  What was once a verdant field quickly became a twisted hell of craters and ash as artillery shell after shell impacted the soft soil.  It was all I could do to keep my composure between two uprooted boulders as chaos and fury screamed around me.  The unyielding stone at my back gave some semblance of protection from the storm.

                The dark gray armor shielded me from the worst of the storm.  Incoming shells sounded like runaway freight train,; at least the ones back in ancient times.  They tore through the air, eager to vent their wrath on the mortals below.  Soon enough, the noise and fury stopped.  That was the sign my work was to begin.  A soft tinkling noise followed my movements as gravel and grit trickled off my armor, scraping and grinding as I slipped around my hiding spot, eager to cause some chaos of my own…

“…going to implant you with the new series of augments that front line units are getting.  Considering that you are an engineer and not combat arms, they will be tailored for your skill set and increased survivability.”

The downside to all this was the insane amount of pain the injections cause as the nanotech bonds to your body.  Still, it was a minor inconvenience when you compared it to the upside.  Faster healing, increased response times and generally being harder to kill are always a bonus.  No idea what the other tech they are implanting would do, but it should be interesting.  Joys of being a test dummy.  Or good at my job.   Six of one, half a dozen of the other I guess…

“…to ALL of humanity.  As such, we are activating the Osiris Project.  The disparate societies of our shattered planet have banded together in this historic act to save our peoples.  This program will save the best and the brightest of our planet until this crisis passes.  With the combined resources of humanity, we can save over one hundred thousand individuals and the technology to help them repair what remains of our shattered earth.  Each vault will house ten thousand people, along with anything they could possibly need to survive after awakening…”

                I’ve always hated the cryogenic stasis training they put us through.  It was even worse knowing that it was for real this time.  When I opened my eyes again, a thousand years will have passed.  Everything I have seen, and everyone I have ever known would be nothing but dust.  Those somber thoughts echoed in my mind as I lay down in the armored coffin.  AI connecting to my armor and augmentations to guide the connections and hoses into their proper locations.  Pressure snaked over my body as plates locked me into place, hoses and lines crossed my frozen torso.  A sharp jab made me gasp for air as a needle punched into me above each collar bone.  The pain faded quickly into a cool sensation as chemicals flooded my bloodstream.  As everything faded to black, the last thing I saw was an armature lowering a plate to cover the face of my helmet.  In moments, sleep overtook me.

                Across the vast underground vault, row after row of steel coffins stood out.  Metal squealed against metal as lids were lowered into place and armored against the elements by robotic arms.  Slowly the noise tapered down to silence as everything was secured.  Coffins slid into armored recesses in the floor, the arms retreated into protective recesses in the walls, and the lights flickered and died.  The only things remaining in the dark were the maintenance robots and the AI that waited and watched.  Over the years, the dust settled, and the air became still.  The calm of the grave overtook everything.

                An eternity later, light breached the darkness of the crypt, dust motes swirling in the fresh air as they were disturbed by a very strange set of intruders.  Unsure of what exactly the intruders were, the AI silently watched and gathered information.  This could be the time to awaken, or the time to defend.  Only observation would tell.

***Recording contact beginning 2136

***Compiling data onto new archive on secure server D

Unaware they were being watched, the ponies curiously edged into the darkness.  Flickering lanterns threw twitching shadows across the room.  Blinding white light contrasted harshly from the alicorn and unicorns leading the party.  The purple one always ventured a step or two ahead of the rest, eyes full of curiosity, glancing around as if she could take in every detail in a moment.  Near the back of the party, a feminine voice spoke out.

"Ah don't know about this Twi.  I suppose you were right about there being something in the Crystal Caverns under the city, but don't you think we should go back and tell somepony what we've found.  It looks like nopony has been here in a very long time, and I don't want us accidentally breaking some of the doodads around here.  Let alone anything important."

A long sigh came from the lavender mare before she spoke.

"I suppose you are right Applejack.  I have no idea what any of this does, and as much as I want to dig into it tonight, I think it would be best if we went back to camp and rested for the night.  I might be able to find something in the archives about this.  Maybe the Princess Luna would know something more.  Lets mark where we leave off in the dust and come back tomorrow."

The AI watched the strange creatures and their movements, unsure of what they were or how they entered the vault.  So many sensors and cameras were offline that it was impossible to tell for sure.  The animals showed some kind of intelligence though, apparently communicating through some form of vocalization.  Every single noise they made was recorded and fed through the processing cores that were still online.  As the animals turned and followed their steps back, none of them noticed the single barely glowing red lens that tracked their movements.

***Analyzing linguistics

***Unknown verbal phenotype detected

***Reverting to secondary software

***Attempting to connect with Google Translate

***Google Translate failed.  Language identified as Cantonese

***Deleting Google Translate

***Accessing anthropological database

In the cold metal coffin, the beast slept.  The soft humming of cryo pumps as its lullaby.

Next Chapter: 01. Freezerburn Estimated time remaining: 3 Hours, 6 Minutes
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