Shining Crystal Rescue Warriors

Niko's Journal, Entry 1

Sensei Conner suggested I start a journal, so here it is.

Everything I thought I ever knew was all a lie.

I believed in the Maelstrom Empire. I did. Thought what we were doing was the greatest thing in the world. Now… damn them. Damn them all. I gave them my heart, and they had no business breaking it.

It seems that the others haven’t thought our situation through, at least not yet. I worry about what will happen to them when our new status really sinks in. We are no longer in the Maelstrom military. They are still training as if we were, but we aren’t. The Commander double-crossed us. Don’t they realize that yet?

When the Commander sent us on our mission to this world, I genuinely thought that he expected us to eliminate our targets, the Ravenni clan. Since then, Sensei Conner has been kind enough to give me some insight about the nature of the clan we were sent to kill. Nothing particularly specific; he has said very little, and I haven’t asked very much. But I have at least come to understand that we never had a chance of success. Furthermore, there was an extremely high probability that we wouldn’t be coming back.

And the Commander had too much experience as a military officer not to know that.

Why, then, was our very first “live” mission a suicide mission?

I have a few suspicions. I believe that the first real goal of the mission was to see if we were so utterly devoted to the goal given to us by the Maelstrom Empire that we would be willing to slaughter 3,400 civilians to see that it was done.

In addition… I think we may be prototypes.

We’re clones, after all, and easily mass-produced. But who would want to mass-produce a product without testing it thoroughly? Any flaw in the originals would be duplicated endlessly if not detected early. Presumably, then, the boys – who attacked the building without question, who never encountered the Ravenni clan, and who made it out afterwards – are considered to have passed the test, while we are considered to have failed.

Lurid possibilities come to mind when considering this line of reasoning. Both teams had “evac” buttons. But would both buttons have worked? Perhaps the true purpose of the mission was not only to see which of the two teams would pass their test, but to ensure that only one team would live to see possible mass production. Perhaps only the first button to be pressed would have worked: perhaps the buttons were rigged so that the second button, if pressed after the first had been activated, would detonate self-destruct devices implanted into our uniforms; or perhaps the teleportation coordinates would have shifted, dropping the second team into deep space.

In any case, I doubt that the Commander expected both teams to live. But we did live. He probably knows it. Perhaps he is even surprised.

The question is, having lived… what do we do now?

I am certain that it is crucially important to break with our old Maelstrom-empire style of training as soon as possible. As long as we continue to behave in the way that they trained us, we remain predictable. Predictability is a very bad thing. I am trying to make the break now. The others aren’t ready yet.

Making the break is proving to be more difficult than I had anticipated. I have been skipping morning training entirely, and I think I will continue to do so. For now, I believe I will train in the evenings instead.

I might just stick to katas for a while. I am having terrible trouble concentrating on much else.

Who am I? I don’t even know. I am a made thing, built out of blocks of genetic material in much the same manner as one might build a wall out of bricks and mortar. My personality was downloaded from a computer somewhere. Ironically, I’m not even an original – I’m a replacement for the original Sapphire clone, who may herself have been a replacement for her own predecessor. Who knows how far back it goes?

I have never had to make decisions before and am having trouble with it now. And what if I make a decision, and it’s wrong?

The very first real decision I have made bothers me terribly.

We were supposed to register for classes today at the new school. The school was attacked in the middle of registration, which doesn’t bother me so much. Ninjas? Get serious!

The new vice-principle of the school, however, is one of the Maestrom Empire clones. Just like the Commander… just like all of them. The second I saw him, I was going to kill him. I really was. We can’t take that sort of risk.

But in the end… I didn’t. I could have. I had the drop on him. But I didn’t. I didn’t, because I wanted to choose what sort of person I would be. I wanted to make that choice. I didn’t want the Maestrom empire training to make it for me. So I walked away.

But I worry. Is it normal to worry after making a real decision? He could take out the school and everyone in it. We could be knee-deep in corpses before we even suited up. And if that happened, wouldn’t all those deaths ultimately be my fault?

He said he was there to protect the students. But isn’t that what the Maelstrom empire said? All that talk about Honour? And it was all a lie. They sent us to kill 3,400 civilians. So much for Honour.

I don’t know. I don’t know about any of it. My head hurts thinking about it. It hurts all the time now.

For the moment, I am trying to concentrate on choosing classes tomorrow. I am trying to go through and choose all of those courses that the Empire would never, ever have had me take. I don’t even know what half of them are.

All of that is for tomorrow, though. It’s late and I am tired. More later, I guess.

Niko

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