(This is an experimental idea and I'm not sure how good it will fare, but I want to give a story a go...)
Chapter 1: The Man Without a Mind
A heavy rain fell down upon the broken streets of an unknown town. The rain smelled disgusting and was almost black from all of the pollution that covered the land. The clouds up above the town were pitch black. They always were. Trash and rubble littered the roads of the small city. The building lined up across from each other were in ruins and looked barely livable.
The only sound that could be heard was the patter of the falling rain. Everything else was silent, as if there was not a soul anywhere near. The whole town was a terrible sight to see. It looked like there was a great war here, destroying everything that came into its path.
Ragged footsteps could suddenly be heard from afar. Down the road, a lone man walked, looking as if he were a lost cause. His hair was messy and his beard unkempt. The man’s clothes were torn and dirty and he did not even sport any shoes, unless you counted the bindings on his feet.
The man looked around the area, wondering where he was, even though the scene seemed quite familiar. A flash of lightning streaked across the sky. The man jumped in fright, not knowing what caused the event, and ran under the cover of a still intact house.
The man rubbed his skin, trying to keep warm in the immense cold. He had been walking for at least a day, running from an unknown advisory. The man was confused. He had no memory of any past events. He did not even know his own name. It almost seemed like his mind blocked out only certain parts of his memory and left others in, trying to make him solve the puzzle himself.
All the man knew was that something was after him. Something unknown. It came during the nights, seeking him out, trying to take him away to do unspeakable things too him. The man tried not to think about it, and wanted to find some help before the thing found him first.
After a few minutes without the lighting, the man crept out of the shelter, making sure it was safe, and started to walk again. He did not want the evil thing to catch up with him. Not after he had gained this much ground. As he was walking, his foot pierced a piece of glass, causing him to become stunned for a moment.
The man ripped out the piece of glass and observed the cut. There was no blood. The man pondered about this for a moment, but did not want any delays. He would investigate it later once he found some kind of life out there in the wasteland to lend some help to him.
Suddenly a faint sound was heard in the distance.
The man turned towards the direction, wondering what the source of it was. He started to pick up his pace and walked towards the sound. He heard the noise again, except louder this time. He was getting closer. The man carefully stepped over the rubble, trying not to make any noises as he approached.
He heard the beeping noise once more and discovered that the source of the sound was around the corner of the building he was near. The man flattened himself against the wall of the building, breathing deep before he leaned his head around the corner to view the source of the strange noise.
As soon as he looked, he felt like his whole body shut down. It was the thing that was chasing him. It was a machine, colored black and shaped like some sort of spider. Its appearance was enough to unnerve most people. The machine made some sort of noise and turned towards the man’s direction. It knew he was there.
The man slowly turned around and broke into a sprint as fast as he could. The machine clanked its legs as it crawled across the road quickly, attempting to catch the poor man. It shot some sort of projectile at him, but missed, shattering an unbroken window instead.
The man let out a yelp and ran even quicker towards a bridge leading across a dried up river. This machine would not stop his pursuit and hissed as it noticed that he was losing the pursuit.
The man soon though that he was almost losing the spider until, to his dismay, he realized that the bridge was split apart in the center. He was trapped. There was no way across this dead end. The man stopped at the edges of the broken bridge, looking down the great distance. There was no way that he would survive a fall like that.
The mechanical spider jumped into view, satisfied that it had finally caught up. It knew that the man was trapped and knew that it had won. The man let out a fearful noise as the spider advanced upon him.
As he tried backing up, he almost lost his footing, causing a few pebbles to fall down below. The huge spider extended its arm quickly, smacking him in the chest and grabbed him by the shirt.
The man struggled to get free, but the machine’s iron grip would not release him. Suddenly the threads on the tattered shirt began to rip and the man fell out of the ripped shirt. The spider vainly tried to grab its catch, but missed and instead fell off of the bridge along with him.
The man let out a loud yell of terror as he plummeted down to the dry riverbed...
(I would like some output on how you readers felt about this. I would like some honest critique and see how you all felt about it... Thanks for reading the first chapter! There's more to come if this idea proves to be a good one!)
The man without a mind suddenly awoke. He was alive, surprisingly, but he had no idea what had happened. He completely shut down in the middle of the fall. When his eyes opened, everything was blurry and brown. Water. He must’ve fallen in one of the only pools of water that was left in the dried up river.
The man swam up to the top. He felt very slow and sluggish as he went through the water, almost as if his joints were losing their functions. He took a breath of polluted air as he rose to the surface. He quickly swam to the shore of the small pool and laid himself on the dirty ground.
That fall had taken a lot out of him. He felt very drained, but other than that he was fine. It was almost like a miracle. The man sat up and looked around. He saw a huge bunch of black metal broken and destroyed. It was the spider. The man let out a sigh of relief. He was glad that he wouldn’t have that thing chasing him anymore. Now he just wanted to find out why it was doing that in the first place.
The man peered into the distance to spot some sort of truck riding towards him. He wasn’t really sure if he should either worry or be relieved about it. Nevertheless, he rose up on his feet and started to wave his hands. Hopefully they were sane humans.
The truck pulled up and a few armed people in some sort of military uniform came out of the back and pointed their weapons at him. The man put his hands up in the air, surprised that they would meet him with such lethal force. He knew what they were using as weapons. Guns. For some reason he could remember that evil contraption that had cost so many lives over the years on this planet and others.
A woman, rough looking with crew cut hair and tattered clothes, walked up close to him, gun still raised.
“Who are you?” she said as a demand, not a question.
“I.....I....I’m,” The man could barely get out the English. He knew the language, but he had never remembered using it, and sounded quite strange trying to pronounce the words.
“Spit it out!” yelled the woman angrily, aiming the gun closer to the estranged man. An old, dark skinned man with shaved hair and a dark beard put his hand out as a warning.
“Terra, calm down,” he said in a quiet but overpowering tone. “This man has obviously been through a lot, just give him a break. Now son, take your time and please answer the question. What is your name?”
The man bit his lip, trying to recall any type of memory in his brain. Suddenly, he remembered.
“My name is.... Cecil,” the man said slowly. “Cecil Armstrong.”
The old man smiled and the woman called Terra rolled her eyes.
“At least he knows how to speak,” she said, turning her back to them and jumping back in the truck.
“Cecil?” the old man replied to him. “My name is Maduza. It is a pleasure to meet you, Cecil.”
Maduza held out a hand to shake Cecil’s, but the confused man looked at the gesture with confusion. Maduza smiled sadly and let the hand fall.
“Well, son,” Maduza said. “How ‘bout you come with us? We’ll show you around the base! Its the only civilized place in this whole damn town. What do you say? You comin’?
Cecil nodded and and followed the old man to the truck. The vehicle was in very bad shape, but was still running. There was rust lining the edges of the doors and the paint job was almost faded off completely. The front window was cracked slightly and one of the headlights didn’t seem to work.
Cecil walked to the back of the truck and took a seat on the makeshift benches. There were five others in the back, including the woman Terra. The man across from Cecil was very big and muscular and seemed to be glaring all of the time. The man looked up at Cecil and muttered in a deep voice when he noticed that the kid was staring at him.
Cecil was slightly frightened by the man, but decided not to pay attention to him. Terra was sitting next to him and punched him on his shoulder to get his attention.
“Let me introduce you to the team,” she said gruffly. “You might as well know their names while you’re here.”
Terra pointed to the large and fearsome man across from him.
“That is Marcotti,” Terra said. “He may huge and bulky on the outside, but he’s got a heart o’ gold deep inside.”
“Shut up,” Marcotti replied to Terra’s description of himself. “You don’t know nothin’.”
“He’s already showing his kindness now!” Terra said with a grin. She gestured towards the woman sitting next to her. The woman was very skinny and had fairly long black hair and a beautiful face to accompany her. Despite her attractive appearance, there was a scoped rifle that looked very deadly strapped onto her back.
“This is Sheila,” Terra said to Cecil. “She doesn’t talk much, but she makes up for it by being the best shot in the whole team.”
Sheila seemed to ignore the words that came out of Terra’s mouth and continued to look blankly ahead.
“Yep, that’s Sheila for ya,” Terra said to Cecil.
Terra pointed to the two men sitting next to Marcotti. They were both dressed in the same gear and had the same weapons. Both of them had short hair and a clean shaven face.
“Those two are Sak and Venz,” she told to Cecil. “As you can see they are twins and their teamwork is like none you have ever seen. It’s really a benefit on the battlefield fighting them Androids.”
“Thanks!” Sak and Venz replied to Terra simultaneously.
Cecil looked over at Terra with confusion.
“You said something about Androids?” Cecil said inquisitively. “What are those?”
Everyone in the back of the truck looked at him surprised expressions on their faces.
“What?” Cecil said, breaking the awkward stare and silence.
“Where have you been your whole life?” Terra asked Cecil. “Everyone knows who the Androids are!”
“I don’t know!” Cecil said frustratedly. “I can’t recall anything that has happened to me or this planet! Its almost like my brain was wiped clean of everything but my name and the English language.”
Terra raised her eyebrow curiously.
“Just don’t worry about it for know,” she said in a soft voice. “Maduza will tell you everything you want to know. Believe me, he loves telling stories.”
“I’m sorry,” Cecil said, rubbing his neck, embarrassed. “I must seem so stupid right now!”
“I said, don’t worry about it,” Terry replied.
There was another silence in the truck. Cecil turned his head to Terry.
“Well, thanks for all of the help you could give me today, Terry,” he said to her. “You don’t know how much I appreciate it.”
Soon Cecil lost track of time as he gazed out at the dark clouds. The weather seemed to never change. It was always a dimly lit world with the patter of acid rain pouring down on it. It was nearly impossible to know what time it really was out here in theses conditions. Cecil looked over at Terra questioningly.
“Is it always like this,” Cecil asked curiously.
“Yes,” Terra replied. “Its been like this ever since I was a kid. Depressing, isn’t it?”
“I guess. It’s just so dark and damp all the time. I don’t see how all of you can stand it.”
“We can’t,” Terra said to him.
The truck bounced and shook while it crossed the bumpy and trashed land. Half of the people in the squad were sleeping while sitting up, but Cecil wasn’t very tired. He hadn’t been tired ever since he lost all of his memory. Cecil knew that something strange had happened to him, and he wanted to find out why it happened. It was probable that he would never find out, but Cecil would not give up.
The rusty vehicle turned around one of the ruined blocks and made it to an open area that might have previously been a park. There were makeshift shelters in the ruined park and trenches were built deep with mounted guns on them. This base was obviously heavily defended for reasons that Cecil was curious about.
Cecil saw some men and woman walking around the area with guns and military uniforms on. There weren’t many, but this was the most people that Cecil had seen at one time.
“What is this place?” he asked the people in the truck.
“Home,” Marcotti said gruffly.
The truck drove into a dug out garage where several mechanics were working on vehicles that looked damaged. The squad emptied out of the truck and set their feet on the rocky ground, happy to be in a safe haven once again. A tall man with dark brown hair and a grim look on his face walked up to them. He shook Maduza’s hand and looked over at Cecil.
“Who’s he?” the man asked.
“His name is Cecil,” old Maduza replied. “We found him wandering out there in the wilderness.”
“Interesting,” the man said, scratching his grizzled beard. “Alright, Cecil. What were you doing out there?”
“I don’t really know,” Cecil replied after a pause. “I’ve recently lost my memory and have no idea what is going on, sir.”
The tall man looked over at Maduza with an eyebrow raised.
“You sure do bring in some interesting people, Maduza,” he said to the old man. “Come, Cecil. Lets have this conversation in the mess hall. We’ll get ya some water and a bite to eat.”
The tall man held his hand out for Cecil to shake.
“It is nice meeting you, Cecil,” he said. “My name is Vincent. I’m sure we’ll get along just fine.”
Cecil shook the hand like he saw Maduza do and followed the man named Vincent through the trenches to the mess hall. There were people working in the trenches, making renovations as they passed by. They all cast strange looks in Cecil’s directions, but returned to their work despite their curiosity.
Cecil followed Vincent into the room labeled the “Mess Hall” and took a seat on one of the rickety benches near the tables. The room was very dirty, and the title of it was quite fitting. There were several men inside drinking, smoking, and laughing while their breaks lasted.
Vincent ordered a couple hamburgers and two glasses of water for them. He folded his arms across his chest and leaned back.
“So, do you like the place?” he asked with a grin.
“Uh... I guess so,” Cecil answered.
“Good, good. My father built this place twenty years ago. He used to tell me that it was the only place that you could be safe in the whole wide world. Yes, my father was a good man. He died a few years ago in a battle with the Androids. I’ve taken charge ever since, but I doubt I will ever be great as my father.”
“I am sorry for that,” Cecil replied sadly.
“No, its alright,” Vincent replied quickly. “He died well.”
There was a long pause between them. Cecil scratched the back of his neck nervously.
“I hear word of these Androids everywhere,” Cecil finally said. “What are they?”
Vincent raised his eyebrow.
“Ah yes, you have lost your memory. It is only natural that you would not know about them. Hmmm. I think before I tell you about them, I should tell you some more backstory. Let us start from the beginning of this terrible catastrophe.”
“Many years ago the Earth was a thriving place. Imagine a world with bright blue skies, clean streets, and a warm sun overhead. I have never seen the sun before, but Maduza’s talk about it makes my heart warm. It is a shame that we shall never see it again.... Now then, technology was advancing greatly. Scientists have discovered cures for many diseases and even age! Everything went downhill when they started to develop advanced AI.”
“AI?” Cecil inquired.
“Artificial Intelligence. It is an idea where machines can harness the intelligence of human beings. It makes machines think like us, act like us, and do many other things both good and bad. Anyway, these scientists developed many great computers that contributed to everything. Doctors were replaced by mechanical men, teachers replaced by smart bots, no one had to work anymore!”
“After a while, these robots seemed to realize that humanity was a very weak thing. They were highly dependent upon them and would never survive without their work. Soon, the machines banded together, and set out on a mass genocide, killing every human they came across.”
“The machines built factories in place of normal buildings and mass manufactured war machines. The battles that ensued were fierce, but humanity dwindled in the end. Right when there seemed to be no hope left at all, a small task force of scientists designed a huge electromagnetic pulse bomb that would disable any machinery across the land and destroy it.”
“When they were the last survivors they fired the bomb and the pulse disabled most of the machines. The whole world was devoid of life. Bodies littered the streets. The clouds were now dark. Even the sun was beginning to be blotted out by the pollution from the factories. Humanity started to rebuild.”
“However, some machine must have survived. The being did not know what to do at first, but soon had a plan. It gathered all of the bodies of humans it could find on the streets and took them to a lone factory where it would rebuild them. It would turn them into Androids. The machine designed some sort of device that could take control of a sentient being, living or non-living and take control of their limbs and actions. It could harness the true power within the bodies and even make them stronger than normal.”
“Thus, a large war ensued and is still waging on today as we speak. Those Androids are like zombies. They aren’t afraid of dying, and that makes them very tough to kill. As you can see, the world is a little more abandoned around here. Luckily we have enough defenses to hold off against Androids if they come. They don’t use guns and we do, so it puts them at a great disadvantage.”
“It sounds like we don’t have it too good,” Cecil commented.
“It’s the sad truth,” Vincent replied with a grin expression. “Someday, humanity will either prevail and destroy whoever is making these animated corpses or die trying.”
There was a pause between the two of them.
“So, these Androids are really just dead bodies with batteries?” Cecil finally said.
“Basically,” Vincent replied. “The horrible thing about it is that someday you might find yourself fighting an old friend that had died in combat. Some soldiers have gone crazy because of it.”
Cecil nodded. He was kind of afraid of seeing what these Androids were like.
“You said that that electromagnetic pulse killed all of those robots, right?” Cecil asked.
“Well, the other day I was attacked by some strange machine. It was shaped like a spider and it seemed like it was searching for me.”
“That is very strange,” Vincent replied, scratching his chin. “Are you sure that it was a machine?”
“I am positive. I know where its remains are. It fell off a great distance and smashed into the ground near me.”
“We’ll have to check it out tomorrow,” Vincent said. “We could get some valuable information from that machines memory, but its getting dark out and I’m hungry, so we’ll go tomorrow.”
The waiter brought them their food almost on cue. There were two steaming hamburgers and some nice fresh water (or at least as fresh as you can get it anymore). Cecil wasn’t hungry or thirsty, but he figured that he could be polite and eat everything Vincent had ordered for him.