Small Things

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Tessen


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"Hell, no! We won't go," came the chant from the drone racks.
The young ethereal, Aun'la Fio'vash Kais'vesa, tried to shrug off his fatigue as he stumbled over a sleeping Vas'gue'la legionaire. They were all tired. His strike team was asleep in their drop ship, most of them unable or unwilling to stumble down the Manta's long corridors to their racks. He climbed up over the central spine of the drop ship and into the drone racks.
 "Don't even talk to us about it," said slash slash fio one eight.
"The duties of the greater good--" began the ethereal.
"Save it for the shas and the gue'la. We aren't biologicals!" The other kor'vesa made an eeriethumping noise as they used power fields to shift rhythmically in their racks.
"Yeah!" shouted slash slash fio two seven.
"We're all goin' to DIE down there!" said slash slash fio three four.
"I've seen it. We get dumped to do the dirty jobs; killing their little vehicles, chasing broken units. And WHAM some frenzied muhreen with power EVERYTHING comes and wastes a whole squad. I saw it happen to Vian'vral's heavy drones. They were gone in the wink of a microprocessor. And they want us to drop back into Secundus? Hey, I've survived two drops into that pit.Mont'au, Aun, I could do a better job than Kit'jner. I'll dothat, okay? I'll be the gue'la Warmaster. It'll be for the Greater Good."
"But you can't die, Kor'vesa. Even if your hull is totally destroyed in action, with the aid of the real-time experience backup, we can replace your entire intelligence, even your memories, and learned skill sets from here." Kais'vesa touched the massive processor support column that ran through the drone bay.
"That won't be me!" said one eight. "That's some newby drone."
Ahhh, thought the ethereal.The self-preservation virus.He reached through his implants to the drop ship, and then the Manta, and through the manta to the mother ship,Indignant Virtue.

 "It will be you," said the Ethereal. "It is you in every way."
"NO! There's no continuity. Hey! Hey, what's happening?" All the drones had just been locked in their launch harnesses as the diagnostic trace swept over them.



The drones were suddenly quiet, respectful. One eight stirred. "You honor us with your presence, Aun."
 Kais'vesa went back the way he had come, shaking his head. They were really more likeable when they hadself-preserve. But in a few decs, he was going to sacrifice them all to stop the gue'la turncoat, Exeter. As the lead elements of his part of the drop, they would all die.
Again.
 




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