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I hate it when I wake up, dead.

It usually means my day is going downhill from there. I'm a pessimist by nature and you would be one too, if you were working on this rock. Brennan 326. Hot, one hundred and eighty degrees in the shade, a three-gee, metal-rich hellhole. Even in this suit, I can feel the twin suns beating down on me and I weigh over three thousand pounds. The all-encompassing, amniotic, shock-absorbing, nutrient-rich, resurrection fluid of my exo-suit tastes like hot bacon grease and is always the worst part of waking up. Taste bacon? You've been dead. When you've been alive awhile, you can almost forget about it.

I've been here for over 2 years. I've died, let me check, 9 times this year, a new personal best. Much better than last years dismal 27 deaths. The Resurrection Corp's job is to stop the invasion of our mining colonies in this sector by the Dalrothi, an intelligent machine species from outside of our galaxy. They take over our automated facilities and ignore us. I don't think they even consider us living or sentient beings, by their standards. When the job looks as if it will take more resources than the Imperium is willing to spare, they don't send large armies, they send a surgical strike. Superhuman, nearly indestructible, but the most dangerous thing is that we can be killed and it doesn't take unless you destroy us completely.

We are a self-renewing army. The ultimate expression of the man-sized weapon technology of the Imperium. As long as twenty percent of me and my suit remains, our combined nanites will gather up materials from the environment and rebuild me; If I suffer a rail-gun wound, an hour, lost limb, two hours, missing head, 3 days. I have been completely rebuilt while I was here. Every bit of me. Every memory, nightmare, explosion... Sometimes, I think that I can remember other things, planet thoughts, hearing Brennnan 326 in my dreams. I am composed almost completely of the atoms of this world now.

Our dropship was shot down by a hot plasma cannon which nearly vaporized all of the ship and part of me, from the waist down. It was... unexpected. I lay dead on the planet's surface for three months. The Dalrothi were known for using slug or kinetic-kill weapons for planet defense. I guess the lab boys were right, they can learn. There were twenty of us. We could've taken the planet in a week, with no permanent losses. Alone would take a little longer.

There was never a thought of not completing the mission. I didn't know what this facility made and I didn't care; likely secret and above my pay grade. The auto-factory sends whatever it mines from this planet into orbit by gravity sling, a magnetic railgun system, to await pickup by Imperium transports that come periodically through the system. When the factory stopped transmitting, teams were sent to investigate, no one returned; that's how we drew this shit detail.

As I approached, two dozen of two thousand sentry drones remained. I lost fifteen lives and two years to get here. After I sat for an hour and regrew my left arm, (damn, that hurt) I got up to see exactly what twelve hundred square miles of factory looked like from the inside. The facility's cargo entrance was easy to open, peeling the door back barely caused me to breathe hard. Inside, the place was spotless, like so many of the technologies of the Imperium, nanomachines used every drop of matter for building something and the positive side effect is a shiny, dust-free environment. I walked for two days, across mirrored floors, before I reached a control center. There was no hurry, I had already taken two years to get here. If this facility were high on the list, another team would have been dispatched. As long as my transponder worked, they would not send another. The Imperium was large and patient.

Having arrived at the control center, the Dalrothi tech was easy to dismantle and I performed an analysis on the hardware. After this, until they upgraded again, we can disrupt their tech planet-side, with a tailored electromagnetic pulse and not even stop on hell-holes like this one. I found the last hot plasma cannon on the roof of the facility and after resting and regrowing my right leg, destroyed it. Optimistic, I reasoned I might get to be outside of this suit for a year or two before returning to duty. After dismantling and storing the specifications for the Dalrothi tech, I found the materials which were not being sent into space and re-calibrated the computers for business as usual.

Once I was ready to get off Brennan 326, I was shocked to find not a single transport ship, not a shuttle, not even an escape pod. Oh. This was a robotic facility; no need for anyone to fly or escape. They flew in on their own and left that way. Until now, I never even considered how I was going to get out of here. I could attempt to damage my transponder, except it would have to be a permanent solution otherwise it would repair itself. A new thought; vaporization, hmmm. Then there would be no need for a pickup. I ruminated on escaping my private hell.

A day later, I realized my mistake. I could get off this planet by riding the gravity sling. Yes, it would generate more than two thousand gee forces to propel its load into orbit, turning me, inside of my suit, and in less than a second, into a fine boneless soup. When the planet indicated that the facility was back online, they would send a transport to pickup the equipment and my boneless corpse. I should wake up in about two months when the transport cargo ship arrives. What's one more death for the road? I really hate bacon.

Thaddeus Howze © 2010, All Rights Reserved
995 words
A piece of Flash Fiction I entered into a contest.
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SgtPossum Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2010
That's fantastic!

I personally love the personality in the narrative tone throughout; I can sort of understand how he feels. Not only that, but the idea is both realistic and original. Almost unkillable soldiers...very good idea. Furthermore, the idea that it took him two years just to do that job makes the whole infiltration sound so uninteresting and mundane, when to the audience it sounds like a harrowing, death-defying journey. That is true brilliance.

As well, I love the note you left it on. "I really hate bacon." Perfect!
Ebonstorm Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2010  Professional Writer
Thank you so much for the kind words. I have been working with this short as part of my National Novel Writing Month novel and have added another 60,000 words to the story. I will likely post some more pieces of it here as soon as I get a minute.
SgtPossum Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2010
Excellent! :D
guitfiddle Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2010
Idea/image rich work here, with a wry, world weary tone.. well done.
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